[b-hebrew] The Name "Chedorlaomer" in Hebrew and Ugaritic
JimStinehart at aol.com
JimStinehart at aol.com
Mon Jan 28 17:09:10 EST 2008
Kevin P. Edgecomb:
You wrote: “I write: Frankly, no. Both elements of Chedorlaomer, noted in
Genesis 14 itself to be from Elam, are present in other Elamite royal names:
Kudur- or Kutir- with the meaning of "servant/devotee" and Lugumur, an Elamite
divine name. Similar names appear among Elamite royal names: Kutir-Nahhunte
being one. The name itself is completely understandable as an Elamite name, and
doesn't require any other hypothetical reading.”
I have not discussed ayin-yod-lamed-mem/(YLM yet. But note the following
1. No king of Persia or of any predecessor of Persia ever had the name “
2. “Lugumur” is not the same as “-laomer”.
3. “Kutir-Nahhunte” is not very similar to “Chedorlaomer”.
4. No king from Persia or from any predecessor of Persia ever did anything
like what Chedorlaomer is reported to do in chapter 14 of Genesis.
5. Based on everything else in the Patriarchal narratives, the author of the
Patriarchal narratives had zero interest in, and zero knowledge of, Persia
and its predecessors.
6. If “Chedorlaomer” were the name of a king from a predecessor of Persia,
we would not expect the name “Chedorlaomer” to make perfect sense in either
Hebrew or Ugaritic. Persia and its predecessors were not Semitic-speaking
countries. The very purpose of this thread is precisely to show that the name “
Chedorlaomer” makes sense in both Hebrew and Ugaritic.
7. Prior to the late 6th century BCE, the Hebrews had little or no knowledge
of Persia or any predecessor of Persia. By sharp contrast, the northern
Hebrews from the very earliest times, and the southern Hebrews later on, knew
Syria all too well. Indeed, most architectural and cultural influences in 2nd
millennium BCE Canaan come from Syria, not from anywhere else. If chapter 14 of
Genesis was composed prior to the Babylonian Captivity, which seems very
likely, it would make sense for the author of the Patriarchal narratives to be
talking about Syria, just as it would be senseless for him to be talking about
Persia or any predecessor of Persia. And if chapter 14 of Genesis were composed
after the Babylonian Captivity (certainly not my view), it would make no sense
for Persia as the liberator of Jerusalem for the Hebrews to be painted so
darkly and negatively.
8. Ayin-yod-lamed-mem/(YLM is not a very close match to hatamtu or NIM
linguistically. The pre-Persians called their own country hatamtu, and the
Babylonians called their neighbor NIM. Maybe you have no problem deriving the Hebrew
word ayin-yod-lamed-mem/(YLM, which you call “Elam”, from non-Semitic
hatamtu or from Babylonian NIM, but I do. It takes a big linguistic stretch to get
from historical non-Semitic hatamtu or Akkadian NIM to west Semitic
ayin-yod-lamed-mem/(YLM in Hebrew. Don’t you have any interest in examining that big
linguistic stretch? That’s a much, much bigger linguistic stretch than anything
in my Hebrew analysis of the name “Chedorlaomer”.
9. Most of the uses of ayin-yod-lamed-mem/(YLM in the Bible manifestly do
not refer to historical hatamtu. In particular, many Hebrew men have the name
ayin-yod-lamed-mem/(YLM, strongly suggesting that this is a Hebrew word, not a
non-Semitic word for non-Semitic-speaking hatamtu. Why wouldn’t that
consideration raise some doubts in your mind? Hatamtu is not linguistically very
close to ayin-yod-lamed-mem/(YLM, and ayin-yod-lamed-mem/(YLM is usually used in
the Bible as a Hebrew man’s name. That raises red flags to me as to why cha
pter 14 of Genesis should be automatically written off as being entirely
non-historical on the basis of ayin-yod-lamed-mem/(YLM supposedly having to mean
hatamtu, without any Semitic linguistic analysis of either ayin-yod-lamed-mem/(YLM
or “Chedorlaomer” being done. Why would the author of chapter 14 of Genesis
deliberately make his story nonsensical by throwing in a totally bogus
reference to a predecessor of Persia? And why would he reference non-Semitic hatamtu
by the Semitic-sounding word ayin-yod-lamed-mem/(YLM, which doesn’t sound
much like hatamtu at all? Indeed, the only point of similarity that I can see is
that both such words, hatamtu and ayin-yod-lamed-mem/(YLM, have one mem/M.
What objective person would consider that a “match”? Why should we accept
such a gigantic, gargantuan linguistic leap without even being permitted to ask
if there may be a more sensible west Semitic derivation and meaning of the
Hebrew word ayin-yod-lamed-mem/(YLM? Shouldn’t we at least be allowed to ask if
ayin-yod-lamed-mem/(YLM may possibly have a meaning or derivation other than
hatamtu? There’s no harm in asking, is there?
10. Genesis 10: 22 lists ayin-yod-lamed-mem/(YLM as the first named
descendant of Shem. That makes perfect sense if ayin-yod-lamed-mem/(YLM is referring
to Semitic Syria, while being nonsensical if ayin-yod-lamed-mem/(YLM is
referring to the predecessors of Persia, located east of southern Babylon, who were
not Semitic in any way.
11. When Jeremiah castigates the foreign nations one by one, note how
logical the geographical progression is if ayin-yod-lamed-mem/(YLM is Syria, and
Bozrah is the real Bozrah/Bosra (in southern modern Syria), in the northern
Transjordan, with ancient Udumu/Udu/Edom being located in the northern Transjordan,
not south of the Dead Sea (for Udumu in the northern Transjordan, see Amarna
Letter #256: 24). Chapter 46 of Jeremiah starts with Egypt. Then chapter 47
of Jeremiah moves to the southwest part of Canaan and the classic Philistines.
Then chapter 48 of Jeremiah logically moves on to Moab in the southern
Transjordan. Then the beginning of chapter 49 of Jeremiah moves on to Ammon in the
central Transjordan. Then Jeremiah 49: 7 moves on to Edom and Bozrah at
Jeremiah 49: 13, which I see as being the northern Transjordan. Then just north
of the northern Transjordan is Damascus in southern Syria, which is next at
Jeremiah 49: 23. Then moving straight west we come to Hazor in northern Canaan
at Jeremiah 49: 28, while also referencing the inhabitants of the north end of
the Arabian Desert, to the east, as Kedar. Then the text logically moves on
to Syria generally, at Jeremiah 49: 34, under the name ayin-yod-lamed-mem/(YLM.
With Assyria at this point in history being out of the picture, the next
stop will of course be Babylon itself (the ruler of all of Mesopotamia), at
chapter 50 of Jeremiah.
Note that the whole progression makes logical, geographical and historical
sense if ayin-yod-lamed-mem/(YLM is Syria, while being senseless if
ayin-yod-lamed-mem/(YLM is Persia or any predecessor of Persia. If this prophecy was
composed before the Babylonian Exile, Persia and its predecessors were essentially
unknown to the Hebrews. If this prophecy was composed after the Babylonian
Exile, Persia had at that point become the “good guys” who restored the
Hebrews to beloved Jerusalem. Why castigate your liberators?
12. Likewise, if both ayin-yod-lamed-mem/(YLM and Shinar are referring to
Syria (for Shinar/Shenir see Deuteronomy 3: 9), Isaiah 11: 11 makes sense, too.
We start with a reference to Assyria, then there are 3 references to parts of
Egypt, then ayin-yod-lamed-mem/(YLM and Shinar reference Syria, and finally
we get to Hamath, in southern Syria, and the islands of the Mediterranean, with
whom Syria traded. It makes no sense to put a reference to far-off Persia or
a predecessor of Persia in with that group of nations.
So instead of insisting at the very beginning, before having done any Semitic
linguistic analysis at all, that Chedorlaomer in chapter 14 of Genesis must,
nonsensically, be a totally fictional king from the predecessor of Persia, why
not take a look at the name “Chedorlaomer” first in terms of Hebrew words,
and then in terms of Ugaritic words?
I presume that you agree with me that no one from Persia or any predecessor
of Persia ever did the things that Chedorlaomer is said to do in chapter 14 of
Genesis. But a princeling ruler of Ugarit historically did all of those
things. Instead of woodenly insisting that ayin-yod-lamed-mem/(YLM in chapter 14
of Genesis can only mean a predecessor of Persia, namely hatamtu, why not do a
Semitic linguistics analysis of first “Chedorlaomer”, and then later we can
do a Semitic linguistics analysis of ayin-yod-lamed-mem/(YLM as well? Why try
to prohibit such an analysis, before such an analysis even begins? The only
way that chapter 14 of Genesis may be historical is if “Chedorlaomer” is
closely modeled on one particular historical princeling ruler of Ugarit. Shouldn’t
we investigate that possibility? At a bare minimum, why not do a Hebrew and
Ugaritic linguistics analysis first of the name “Chedorlaomer”, and then of
Hatamtu is not very close to ayin-yod-lamed-mem/(YLM. And Kutir-Nahhunte is
not very close to “Chedorlaomer”. So why not do a Semitic linguistic
language of both of those two fascinating words?
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