[b-hebrew] The Name "Chedorlaomer" in Hebrew and Ugaritic

JimStinehart at aol.com JimStinehart at aol.com
Wed Jan 30 11:01:37 EST 2008

Isaac Fried:
1.  Thank you so very much for agreeing with my basic premise that the name “
Chedorlaomer” can be analyzed in terms of the three Hebrew words of which it 
is composed.
2.  However, you are still making the oldest error in the book.  You 
erroneously are thinking that since the name “Chedorlaomer” is so long, consisting of 
7 Hebrew letters, that must mean that the author of chapter 14 of Genesis is 
presenting Chedorlaomer to us as being a truly grand monarch.  But that is not 
the case.  In fact, the reason why the name “Chedorlaomer” is so long is to 
enable the author to have enough room to heap mountains of scorn upon the 
detested historical ruler of Ugarit on whom “Chedorlaomer” is closely modeled.
If you read the text closely, you will see that in the 13th year (that is, 
Year 13 of pharaoh Akhenaten’s reign in secular history), Chedorlaomer could not 
prevent his kingdom from being repeatedly raided by various small time 
princelings.  In desperation, Chedorlaomer finally calls in the mighty Hittites, 
with “Tidal”/Tudhaliya being a well-known Hittite kingly name from the first 
half of the 14th century BCE.  Once the mighty Hittites are in the picture, 
everything changes completely, as a league/bereit of five rebellious princelings is 
then totally smashed, effortlessly, by the Hittite king and his three local 
allies:  the west Semitic-speaking Amorite princeling ruler of Ugarit, 
nicknamed “Chedorlaomer” by the author of chapter 14 of Genesis, a west 
Semitic-speaking Amorite ruler of Amurru, nicknamed by the author “Amraphel” (with the AMR 
at the beginning of such nickname referencing both “Amorite” and the 
short-lived Amorite state of “Amurru” in the mid-14th century BCE), and a Hurrian 
princeling, nicknamed by the author “Arioch”.  On the linguistic side, note 
that both “Chedorlaomer” and “Amraphel” make perfect sense as being composed of 
individual Hebrew words, indicating that those two rulers are west Semitic 
speakers.  By sharp contrast, the names “Tidal” and “Arioch” cannot be 
analyzed in Hebrew, since they are a Hittite and a Hurrian name, respectively.
My main point here, however, is that although Chedorlaomer was rich, he was 
very weak militarily.  For a whole year, that is Year 13, he was raided 
repeatedly and with impunity by various small-time princelings.  Weak Chedorlaomer 
gets his loot back only by the drastic expedient of calling in the Hittites, 
which means that Ugarit will now have to become a Hittite vassal state.  This is 
the historical “iniquity of the Amorites”, set forth in the next chapter of 
Genesis at Genesis 15: 16.  That is why “Chedorlaomer” was so hated by the 
first Hebrews.  The dreaded Hittites burned the city, Qatna, of one of the 
rebellious 5 princelings to the ground, and Qatna was never reinhabited.  In fact, 
Qatna was obliterated so completely that historians today do not agree as to 
exactly where Qatna was located.  The early Hebrews were terrified that the 
Hebrews might soon suffer the same dire fate as unlucky Qatna had at the hands of 
the dreaded Hittites.
Thus the name “Chedorlaomer” is long not because Chedorlaomer was a grand 
monarch, but rather to enable the author of chapter 14 of Genesis to have enough 
room to heap unbridled scorn upon the iniquitous Amorite ruler of Ugarit, 
whom such author nicknamed “Chedorlaomer”. 
3.  Let me now quote the actual text of three of the early verses in chapter 
14 of Genesis, while adding in brackets my own historical explanation of the 
text.  You will see the incredible historical accuracy of chapter 14 of 
Genesis, despite the seemingly unanimous, though completely erroneous, secular 
scholarly verdict that chapter 14 of Genesis is nonsensical, non-historical fiction.
Genesis 14: 5:
“And in the fourteenth year [of Akhenaten’s reign] came “Chedorlaomer”[, 
the princeling ruler of Ugarit]  and the [three other] kings [that is, 
princelings or grand monarchs] that were with him, [namely:]”
Genesis 14: 1
“[the iniquitous Amorite princeling ruler of Amurru, appropriately nicknamed] 
Amraphel king of Shinar [that is, the Amorite princeling ruler whose domain 
was dominated by Mount Shinar/Senir/Hermon/Lebanon], [the Hurrian princeling 
ruler nicknamed] Arioch[, who had been re-educated by the Hittites in the 
Hittite heartland of] Ellasar[/Alisar],…and [the mighty Hittite king nicknamed] 
Tidal[/Tudhaliya, who truly was a] king of nations”.
Genesis 14: 9
“[This was the historical] four kings against the five[, when the above four 
rulers totally smashed, effortlessly, a hitherto successful league/bereit of 
five rebellious princelings in greater northern Canaan, in Year 14 of Akhenaten’
s reign].”
4.  You yourself have changed several Hebrew consonants in the name “
Chedorlaomer”, in order to jigger up alleged references to Chedorlaomer being a grand 
monarch.  Hence you write:
“[I]f you rewrite the name as QDAR-LA-)OMER it appears to make  
 full sense.  The root QDR essentially means '…be vast'.  …The root )MR 
likewise means 'profuse, spread out, exalted'.”
But now I am asking you to look at the name “Chedorlaomer” with new eyes, 
and to analyze the actual 7 Hebrew letters that are in the name “Chedorlaomer”, 
without changing a single Hebrew letter.  Remember, historically the 
princeling ruler of Ugarit, nicknamed “Chedorlaomer” by the author of the chapter 14 
of Genesis, was not a grand monarch at all, and in fact was very weak 
militarily.  That is precisely why Chedorlaomer was forced to call in the mighty 
Hittites to stop the constant raiding and looting of Chedorlaomer’s princeling 
kingdom by various small-time princelings.
The reason why the name “Chedorlaomer” is so long is so that the author of 
chapter 14 of Genesis can heap mountains of scorn upon the hated princeling 
ruler of Ugarit, who invited the dreaded Hittites into greater northern Canaan 
and thereby threatened the future existence of the first Hebrews living in 
Canaan proper.
If you look at the actual 7 Hebrew letters in the name “Chedorlaomer”, I 
think you will see, for the first time, the bitter invective being laid on this 
iniquitous Amorite by the Hebrew author of chapter 14 of Genesis.  The name “
Chedorlaomer” is brilliantly designed to accuse the princeling ruler of Ugarit 
of plunging all of Canaan into terrible warfare, a warfare that likely would be 
won by the dreaded Hittites, who would then totally devastate all of Canaan, 
just as they had obliterated unfortunate Qatna from the map completely.
Based on its three Hebrew component words, using primarily their 
word-for-word definitions set forth in BDB, the name “Chedorlaomer”/KDR + L + AoMR in 
Hebrew means:
“an attacking force rushing down like a hawk or vulture in vexatious, dark, 
gloomy, turbid seething tumult of battle [K-D-R], which leads to [L] (the land) 
being dealt tyrannically with, cherishing enmity and malice, and plunging 
(the land) into a conflict (that will result in the land [of Canaan] becoming) a 
ruined heap [Ao-M-R]”.
No one could come up with a darker Hebrew nickname that that.  Are you 
starting to catch the pulsating excitement of the Patriarchal narratives?
Jim Stinehart
Evanston, Illinois

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