[b-hebrew] yamim or yamin? -- "Adamim" vs. "Adamin-the-Negev"

JimStinehart at aol.com JimStinehart at aol.com
Fri Jul 11 11:15:18 EDT 2008

Yitzhak Sapir:
You wrote:  “[T]he pervasive use of final nun for mem probably relates to 
nasalization as a dialect feature that can be traced back to the earliest stages 
in the development of Hebrew."
1.  Thank you for that valuable information.  That neatly explains the 
different endings on the three suggested transliterations for item #36 of pharaoh 
Thutmosis III’s mid-15th century BCE list of cities in Canaan:
(i)  i-t-m-m
(ii)  (e)-ti-m(e)-n
(iii) ‘(a)-ta-m-m 
This may indicate that final M and final N were interchangeable in west 
Semitic languages even before the first Hebrews.
The foregoing analysis of the Thutmosis III list is set forth by Eero 
Junkkaala at p. 155 (which is p. 164 on the Internet) here:
2.  That item #36 on the Thutmosis III list is usually identified with either 
(a) Adamah, referenced at Joshua 19: 36, or (b) Adamim (or Adamin, or 
Adamin-Negev), referenced as Adami-the-Neqev at Joshua 19: 33.  That ancient 
pre-Hebrew town name may be preserved in Khirbet ed-Damieh, in eastern Lower Galilee.  
Eero Junkkaala sets forth various different possibilities for matching up 
these various names.
Some scholars have seen n-g-b at item #57 on the Thutmosis III list as being 
the same place as Adami-the-Neqev at Joshua 19: 33.  (See the discussion of 
this issue at p. 164 of Eero Junkkaala’s book, which is at p. 173 on the 
Internet.)  On this view, the “Neqev” at Joshua 19: 33 may reflect an original 
G/gimel (instead of the Q/qof in the received text).  As such, “Adami-the-Negev” (“
South Adami”) may get its name from the fact that it is located just south of 
If Joshua 19: 33 is referencing “Adami-the-Negev” as a city in eastern Lower 
Galilee, and if item #57 on the Thutmosis III list is referencing “Negev” as 
that same city in eastern Lower Galilee, then that opens up the exciting 
possibility that “the Negev” at Genesis 20: 1 may be referencing Adami-the-Negev 
in Lower Galilee, and that “the land of the Negev” at Genesis 20: 1 is 
therefore referencing Lower Galilee.  Straight north of Adami-the-Negev is Qadesh of 
Upper Galilee, so that it is logical that the next geographical reference in 
Genesis 20: 1 after “the Negev” is “Qadesh”, as Abraham moves north, 
starting from central Canaan, going north through Adami-the-Negev/the Negev/the land 
of the Negev/Lower Galilee, until Abraham gets to Upper Galilee, with Qadesh 
being a well-known Late Bronze Age city in eastern Upper Galilee.
On the key issue of whether the words “the Negev” or “Negev” were used to 
refer to the Negev Desert in the ancient world, I received a very nice E-mail 
on July 7, 2008 from Steve Rosen, Professor of Archaeology at Ben-Gurion 
University in the Negev, who confirmed that prior to the 1st millennium BCE, the 
word “Negev” is never attested as the proper name of the Negev Desert:
“[Regarding] the Negev…the Northern Negev of today[,… w]e do not have any 
pre-biblical (Bronze Age or second millennium BC) texts, Egyptian or otherwise, 
which use the word.”
Prof. Rosen also notes that the word “Negev” is not attested outside of the 
Bible prior to Roman times as meaning the Negev Desert.
If “the land of the Negev” at Genesis 20: 1 is referencing Lower Galilee, 
rather than referencing the Negev Desert, then that would mean that the 
Patriarchal narratives portray the Covenant as being fulfilled with Isaac’s birth in 
Galilee, not in the Negev Desert.  Based on the secular history of the ancient 
world prior to Roman times, there is no historical basis for interpreting “the 
Negev” at Genesis 20: 1 as meaning the Negev Desert.  By sharp contrast, the 
attested presence of the Late Bronze Age town of “Adami-the-Negev” in eastern 
Lower Galilee, and the apparent reference to that same town on the mid-15th 
century BCE Thutmosis III list as “Negev”, provides historical support for 
interpreting “the land of the Negev” at Genesis 20: 1 as meaning “Lower Galilee”
Jim Stinehart
Evanston, Illinois

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