[b-hebrew] The Zincirli stele: B vs. P
JimStinehart at aol.com
JimStinehart at aol.com
Wed Nov 19 11:54:45 EST 2008
1. In bringing the hated name “Amur-Ba(la” from Amarna Letter EA 170: 38
into Hebrew at Genesis 14: 1, the early Hebrew author of the Patriarchal
narratives could have used the proper, respectful spelling of the name of the pagan
god Baal: B(L. But the Hebrew author in fact respected neither Baal, nor
Amur-Ba(la, nor Amur-Ba(la’s nefarious brother, whose brigandage as the ruler of
the Amorite state of Amurru historically threatened the very existence of the
early Hebrews. So knowing that B and P have quite similar sounds, instead of
the respectful B(L, we get the disrespectful PL, which has a somewhat similar
Subject to the partial exception of the first letter, )MRPL in Hebrew
contains no explicit vowel-type sounds, so we must imply various vowel sounds.
Though the meaning of “Amur” in “Amur-Ba(la” is somewhat obscure, Gary H. Oller
states in a 1998 review in “Journal of the American Oriental Society”, Vol.
118, No. 4: “…amur [may mean] "behold!" or "look!" as a presentation particle
in the peripheral Akkadian of Canaanite scribes.” [Wm. Moran, the editor of
the Amarna Letters, agrees with that analysis.] )MR in Hebrew has a similar
sound, but could easily mean either “Amorite” or “Amurru”, depending on what
vowel sounds are implied in Hebrew. )MR = )MWR. As to the PL in the second
half of this name, a vowel sound can be implied before the P, perhaps an aleph.
So PL = )PL. A vowel-type sound might also be implied after the L [which is
explicit in “Amur-Ba(la], and this final vowel sound might be represented in
Hebrew as a final he/H, giving us an implied )PLH. PL = )PL = )PLH. )PL at
Amos 5:20 means “darkness”. The longer form, )PLH, is often used in the Bible,
such as at Deuteronomy 28: 29, and means “darkness, gloominess”. So instead
of the proper, respectful spelling of Baal in this hated Amorite ruler’s
name, what we get (after implying various vowel-type sounds) is a clever, nasty
pun, substituting “gloomy darkness” for “Baal”.
2. Indeed, Genesis 14: 1-2 is a goldmine of nasty puns like that.
(a) “Bera” of Sodom. BR( sounds like B + R(: “in evil”. “Sodom” sounds
like “scorched”. (“Sodom” also sounds like “fields”, which were the
source of Sodom’s wealth and great strategic importance.)
(b) “Birsha” of Gomorrah. BR$( sounds like B + R$(: “in wickedness”. “
Gomorrah” sounds like “a wasted heap”. That same word, meaning “a wasted heap
”, is the second half of the Patriarchal nickname “Chedorlaomer”, the other
hated Amorite ruler who was allied with “Amrapel” (along with a Hurrian ruler
and a mighty Hittite king, who collectively comprised the unique ethnic
makeup of the four attacking rulers in the historical “four rulers against the five”
at Genesis 14: 9). The Hebrew word meaning “a wasted heap” (with that old,
archaic ghayin) is used in both “Gomorrah” and “Chedorlaomer” -- a plague
on both your houses.
3. Virtually every name at Genesis 14: 1-2 is quite nasty, and deservedly
so. One key to understanding the pinpoint historical accuracy of the
Patriarchal narratives is to realize that as a pun, P could substitute for B in the
Hebrew version of the name of a hated ruler of the Amorite state of Amurru. So “
Amur-Ba(la”, having the respectful pagan meaning “Behold Baal!” in secular
history, in the Patriarchal narratives becomes “Amrapel”/)MRPL [and after
implying vowel-type sounds: )MWR + )PLH], which though having a similar sound,
means “Amurru -- gloomy darkness”. Nasty!
**************One site has it all. Your email accounts, your social networks,
and the things you love. Try the new AOL.com
More information about the b-hebrew