[b-hebrew] Genesis 20: 1

Uri Hurwitz uhurwitz at yahoo.com
Thu Oct 11 09:36:19 EDT 2007

Yigal Levin wrote:
  ".... in 18th century BCE Mari there 
were two tribes that lived near the city: those who lived to its north were 
called "Bene Samaal", and those you lived to its south were "Bene Yamin". If 
you assume that the eponymous ancestors of the tribes were not "real" 
people, but rather representative figures, then "Son of the South" would be 
an apt name for the ancestor of the southernmost tribe of "Israel"..."
    Yes, and this may well be just one of several indications
   for the existence of an early northern Israel/Yacob federation  m  (UH)

"On the other hand, Gen. 35:18 gives another explaination for the name 
"Benjamin": as Rachel was dying in childbirth, she called her child "Ben 
Oni". This can mean either "Son of my sorrow" or "Son of my strength". 
"Yamin", meaning the right hand, also means "strength", so Jacob, by calling 
him "Binyamin", preserved the more positive meaning of his dead wife's 
    The above biblical explanations of the name are of literary nature added by
  biblical editors who had recieved various names through tradition. This was
  quite common. Compare the wrong Hebrew etymolgy given the Egyptian 
  PN Moses.
    The name Jacob appears more than a dozen times in Mari with various
   theophoric suffixes and prefixes.It appears also in a name of a Hyksos king
   in Egypt, and elsewhere. The verb's original meaning was was' to protect'.
   The original full Hebrew or NWS name was something like '* Ya'aqob-el' -- 
  may the deity protect.
   The form preserved in Genesis is a hypcorosticon.
   Uri Hurwitz


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