[b-hebrew] B vs. P

JimStinehart at aol.com JimStinehart at aol.com
Fri Nov 21 10:25:34 EST 2008

1.  Should the second half of the name of Jerusalem’s ruler in the mid-14th 
century BCE be spelled with a B or a P?  Wm. Moran, the editor of the Amarna 
Letters, spells it with a B:  “Abdi-Heba”.  So does Anson Rainy, though he adds 
a K:  “Abdi-Kheba”.  But this is the name of a Hurrian goddess, and the 
Hurrians spelled it “Hepa” or “Khipa” or “Khepa”, with a P.  Here is Wikipedia’
s nice explanation of B vs. P:  “The mother goddess of the Hurrians.  Hebat 
also Kheba or Khepat….The name can be transliterated in different versions; 
Khebat with the ending -t is primarily the Syrian, and Ugaritic version. The name 
written in cuneiform script allows the name to be pronounced with either /b/ 
or /p/, though in the Hurrian language Hepa is the most likely pronunciation. 
The sound /h/ in cuneiform is in the modern literature sometimes transliterated 
as kh.”  _http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hebat_ 
Prior to the Hebrews, B and P were often interchangeable in the ancient 
2.  The Hebrews inherited, then perfected, their language.  Because their 
predecessors often had not distinguished between B and P, some Hebrew words with 
B seem closely related to other Hebrew words with P.
Consider the following 8 words.  6 are Hebrew, one is Ugaritic, and one is 
Canaanite.  In each case, the 2nd and 3rd letters seem to reflect an archaic 
2-letter root, PR, which juxtaposes (i) ground or meadow and (ii) water, in a 
positive way.  The P could soften to B, and the R could soften to L, so the 
2-letter archaic root here could alternatively be PR or BR or PL or BL.  The first 
letter varies, but the 2nd and 3rd letters are PR or BR or PL or BL, and the 
meaning always juxtaposes (i) ground or meadow and (ii) water, in a positive 
1.  )BL at Daniel 8: 3, 6:  “stream”, or “land” that features a “stream”
2.  )BL at Judges 11: 33:  “meadow”, or “meadow” that has a “wadi”
3.  YBL:  “well-watered meadow”;  Isaiah 44: 4
4.  prgn in Ugaritic [which, if a prosthetic aleph were added, is arguably    
                                    comparable to:  )PR + G + N]:  “meadow 
sheep”, or sheep who pasture at a “well-watered meadow”
5.  PLG [which, if a prosthetic aleph were added, is arguably                 
                                        comparable to:  )PL + G]:  “a stream 
that has been dug in the ground                                  to provide 
water for irrigating a field”, or “stream”;  Proverbs 21: 1
6.  XPR:  “to dig in the ground to find water or a water well”;  Genesis 21: 
30;                26: 15, 18, 19, 21, 22, 32
7.  JBR at item #99 on the mid-15th century BCE Thutmosis III list:  “tract 
of land that is a meadowland with a wadi”, namely the Aijalon Valley.
8.  XBR + WN = XBRWN/“Hebron”
On the foregoing analysis, the Patriarchs’ “Hebron” should be a meadowland 
through which flows a wadi, 17½ miles west of Beth-el, not the austere city of 
Hebron on the northern edge of the Northern Negev Desert, which had neither a 
meadowland nor a wadi.
Jim Stinehart
Evanston, Illinois

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