[b-hebrew] Karnaim

Harold R. Holmyard III hholmyard at ont.com
Sun Nov 7 16:52:06 EST 2004

Dear Marianne,

>I am busy with the Samaritan chronicles right now and want to ask about
>something.  I came across a Samaritan ketubah in which the bridegroom was
>described, among other things, as "baHr karnaim" (the Samaritans 
>actually pronounce the
>first as "bakur"--but their dialect is another matter).  The footnote stated
>that the scribe had probably made an error for "kohanim"--but I find this
>rather spurious.  The Samaritans, being led since the collapse of 
>the Israelite
>kingdom by a series of High Priests, are very conscious of their 
>kohanim.  Ever
>since the time of Moses, they had a high priest from the line of Eleazar, but
>this line died out at some point in the Middle Ages and then the Levites took
>over, a situation that prevails to this very day.
>Anyway, don't we encounter this "karnaim" business in connection with Moses? 
>Moses, one supposes, didn't actually have horns and any Samaritan capable of
>writing a ketubah is not going to be ignorant of how to spell "kohanim". 
>Anyone have any ideas about this "karnaim" matter?

HH: If "baHr" mans "son," then the horns could be part of a phrase 
indicating a man of strength. Presumably a groom in a marriage would 
be a person of strength. Horns are a symbol of strength in the Old 

				Harold Holmyard

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