[b-hebrew] Habiru/Apiru/Ibrim

Uri Hurwitz uhurwitz at yahoo.com
Sun May 23 16:28:47 EDT 2004

    This is how T. Meek establishes the association between the  biblical and Akkadian terms:                     
 "The word  `ibri is
strictly gentilic in  Hebrew , but without the
gentilic ending it is found as the name of the
eponymous ancestor of the Hebrew nation, Eber
(references from Gen. and I Chron.- UH), which
manifestly goes back to an earlier form `abir(u), just
as melek goes back to an earlier  form milk, and that
to malik. Now the exact equivalent of `abir(u) , and
hence  of `eber and `ibri, in cuneiform is -habiru
(nom.sing.), habiru_ (nom. pl.), habiri_ (gen.-acc.
pl.), and it so happens that this word appears in
cuneiform literature from one end of the Near East to
the other, from the the twentieth century down to the
                  (Italics and footnote with
refernces, omitted -UH)

 citation from                      Hebrew Origins, Third edition, p. 7 ff

  Meek is not bothered by the absence of the long a_ shift, nor by the absence of a long vowel.  Completely apart from that,  it is hard to know from the MT how  the term was actually pronnouced in Hebrew  when used, or even written down.



"Jonathan D. Safren" <yonsaf at beitberl.ac.il> wrote:
There's also the problem of the vowels.
(abiru after the Canaanite vowel shift would become spmething like {obir =
MT Hebrew {over, but never {ivri.
Jonathan D. Safren
Dept. of Biblical Studies
Beit Berl College
44905 Beit Berl Post Office


Sent: Sunday, May 23, 2004 4:59 PM
Subject: Re: [b-hebrew] Habiru/Apiru/Ibrim (was: Date of the Jericho Battle)

> First, the linguistic association. Clearly the consonants are
identical in Akkadian and Heb. The Akkadian cuneiform sign for the first
consonant can be either Kha as in Arabic, ( fused with H (.) chet in Heb.),
or -- Ayin. That the latter was the pronounciation in this case is evident
in the first letter of the same social term in such disparate linguistic
cultures as Ugaritic and Egyptian, Ayin in both. The second consonantis B or
P , these are quite interchangeble as is known.The third is R in both.
> As for historical , anthropological correspondence between )abiru and
Ibrim.: The first are known throughout the ANE mostly in the second
millennium, not as an ethnicum, rather as landless outsiders, marauders but
sometimes as mercenaries. In short an ill defined appellation. Ibrim in the
HB is a term used mostly by others such as the Philistines to describe the
Herews or Israelites, not by the latter to describe themselves. Again an ill
defined appellation.
> The )Apiru of the El-Amarna tablets may refer to the groups we read
about in Genesis in the Patriarchial narratives that are involved in
skirmishes and even battles (see the enigmatic chapt. 14). It is certainly
a period that preceeds the settlement/conquest, but only five or six
generations seprate Amarna from Merenpath. Perhaps some Hebrews remained in
Canaan, not all went down to Egypt, but this is ouside the scope of this
> Uri
> _______________________________________________
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