[b-hebrew] Genesis 20: 1

Yigal Levin leviny1 at mail.biu.ac.il
Sat Oct 13 20:56:32 EDT 2007


You are undoubtebly correct that the verb "NGB" probably means "to dry". But 
I still stand by what I wrote - the ONLY area whose proper name is Negev is 
the Beer-sheva - Arad basin, and the use of "negev" for "south" in general 
is particular only to Hebrew.

As far as Josh 15:19, the story involves the town of Debir and its conquest 
by Caleb and Othniel ben Kenaz. Albright's identification of Debir with Tell 
Beit Mirsim, which is in the Negev, has fallen out of favor, and the 
presently accepted ientification is at Kherbet Rabud, just north of 
Dhahariya, or across the road from the modern settlement of Othniel. That IS 
"southland" from a Judahite perspective. The Negev of Caleb is mentioned as 
being somewhere in the south in 1 Sam. 14. So the "erec hannegev" of Josh 
15:19, while certainly dry, does not necessarily mean "dry land". It could 
also mean "Land of the Negev" or "the land of the south".

Yigal Levin

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Yitzhak Sapir" <yitzhaksapir at gmail.com>
To: "b-hebrew" <b-hebrew at lists.ibiblio.org>
Sent: Sunday, October 14, 2007 12:26 AM
Subject: Re: [b-hebrew] Genesis 20: 1

> On 10/12/07, Yigal Levin wrote:
>> The theory that the word "negev" is derived from the verb "nageb" (NGB)
>> meaning "to wipe" - a place that is "wiped dry" is only that - a theory
>> which may or may not be correct. In any case, "Negev" is NEVER used of 
>> any
>> desert other that the Beer-sheva - Arad basin.
> I am not sure who suggested that the word "negev" is derived from the verb
> "to wipe."  NGB is "to wipe" in Bava Matsia (Jastrow), but it is also 
> "dry" in
> a much wider array of cognates.  Most likely, "dry" came from "wipe" and 
> not
> the other way around.  I admit that I did not properly look up
> evidence prior to
> this suggestion, although having looked up HALOT I suggest you do too.
> It provides the very suggestive Joshua 15:19 as an example of its meaning
> "dry land."  It also refers to cognates in Mishnaic Hebrew, Jewish 
> Aramaic,
> Syriac, Neo-Aramaic, and Samaritan meaning "to be dry", and in Soqotri "to
> dry up."  On Jewish Aramaic, see
> http://cal1.cn.huc.edu/cgi-bin/jpaoff.cgi?off=1493361
> בגנ (a/a) vb. to dry up (SA נגב Ham 461:64, MH נגב Moreshet,
> Lex 220+) Pe. ונגב נהרא the river dried up Git 49a(25);
> דייגב נהרא ib. 27; קברייל נגב the Q.-river dried up
> MQ 80a(54); נגבו מיא TN Gen 8:13 [H וברח ]; נגבו אפיה דארעא
> the surface of the earth dried up ib.; part.pass. כד הוא נגיב
> when (the bean) is dry Kil 31c(35) // Sab 7b(15); נגיבה
> TN Lev 7:10 [H חרבה]; וצואת קטן נגיבה dry excrement
> of a minor AZ 40d(30)
> Pa. id.: part.pass. מנגבה TNGl Lev 7:10 [---> pe.]
> see also here:
> http://cal1.cn.huc.edu/searchroots.php?lemma=ngb&pos=v
> In light of the many cognates, and in light of Joshua 15:19,
> "ngb" = "dry land" may be only a theory, but it is also a very
> compelling theory and one that has to be answered if someone
> suggests that "ngb" refers to a very fertile land.
> Yitzhak Sapir

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