[b-hebrew] Genesis 31: 47: What Foreign Language Is That?

Yitzhak Sapir yitzhaksapir at gmail.com
Thu Nov 22 18:00:42 EST 2007

On Nov 22, 2007 10:27 PM, Uri Hurwitz wrote:

>   ..."It is unlikely that &hd is related to Arabic shahid, and
> reinterpreting shahid so
> that it contains some relationship to "witness" is simply popular etymology.
>     If there is some relationship  etc."...
>   " Shaid" in Arabic is witness. It is better to know what one is talking about.
>   The Aramaic equivalent of it is spelled with a Samekh in Hebrew.
>    ( The terrible connotations that this Arabic noun has nowadays is
>   outside the scope of this list)

Thanks Uri!

I'll keep this in mind (and maybe forward over to the HALOT editors).

HALOT did not list shahid as a cognate, and I figured if no cognate in
Arabic is listed, then it is probably peculiar to Aramaic.  Arabic sh is the
regular cognate of Aramaic sin.  For example, Arabic sha? / shat for
"sheep" shaib "old age" shid "lime" all from HALOT again.

I'm not sure what you mean about the Aramaic equivalent of Hebrew
samekh, but like I mentioned, &hdn is attested (with a shin/sin) in
Sefire 1, where the gods are named as witnesses to a treaty.  The
Hebrew use of &hd in Job 16:19 also has a sin.  While sin in
Hebrew is often paralleled in later Aramaic by samekh, in Old
Aramaic, sin is retained.  Spellings with sin continue to occur in
Official and even Judaean Aramaic, specifically in this root!  Thus
Nahal Hever 15 has &hdt? d? "this testimony" as well as its use in
Haphel h&dt.  Sokoloff also notes &hd "witness" in other texts.

In any case, together with ygr, then, both roots are to be
reconstructed for Central Semitic and a Hurrian etymology is
definitely excluded for both roots.

Yitzhak Sapir

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