[b-hebrew] Hebron: The Linguistic Search for the Patriarchs' Bronze Age "Hebron"

K Randolph kwrandolph at gmail.com
Thu Oct 9 13:54:52 EDT 2008


On Thu, Oct 9, 2008 at 6:46 AM, <JimStinehart at aol.com> wrote:

> Perhaps we can agree that there's at least a possibility that the
> Patriarchs'
>  "Hebron" may be the fine pastureland of the Aijalon Valley, instead of
> being, as traditionally supposed, the city of Hebron south of Jerusalem,
> where
> there is little good pastureland.

I don't know what you are talking about, "little good pastureland". Just to
the east and north of Hebron, in fact extending up into today's Hebron,
there is a valley full of fields for crops. Of course today there's little
pastureland, as the farmers would chase the sheep herders away. But back in
Abraham's time that would have been prime grazing area with Hebron a good
spot to look over vast flocks that Abraham owned. And with the indications
that the climate was different then, with areas that are now deserts then
being grasslands, ...

>  The name "Hebron" is not attested south of
> Jerusalem until the 8th century BCE, long after the Patriarchal Age, and as
> a
> city name it may have been chosen by the Hebrews in honor of the
> Patriarchs' "
> Hebron", a rural meadowland at a different locale.

In Numbers 13:22 Hebron is listed as a city that was founded before Tsoan in
Egypt. Further, in Joshua 10 it is listed as being important enough city
state to have a king. Both in the middle bronze age.

>  But is the name "Hebron"
> attested at the Aijalon Valley in the Late Bronze Age?  I think it is.
>  Let's
> examine the inscriptional evidence.  Language issues like this are the
> b-hebrew
> list's long suit.

But true understanding of language cannot be taken out of its historical
context. But then you accept only part of the historical record, ignoring
the final ten or so chapters of Genesis which tell of how and why Israel
ended up in Egypt and needing the Exodus. Those chapters are part of the
patriarchal record.

You are picking and choosing what you will accept as historical record,
thereby invalidating your claims.

> There are four items called "JBR" on the mid-15th century BCE list of
> places
> in Canaan compiled by conquering Egyptian pharaoh Thutmosis III.

Looking at his list, almost all along the shore and against Syria, he pretty
much left the highland areas where Israel settled alone.

>  In
> examining the possible relation of these four "JBR" items to the
> Patriarchs' "Hebron"
> , we should look at four puns on the name "Hebron".  As we will see, one of
> these puns is a play on "JBR".
> "Hebron" is heth-bet-resh-vav-nun/XBRWN.  The -on/-vav-nun/-WN is a suffix,
> that means "place".

I just took at random a dozen words ending in -WN:

$KRWN drunkedness
$L+WN authority
$RYWN mail (a type of armor)
%%WN gladness
TXTWN lower
TYKWN middle
TMHWN wonderment
)BDWN making lost
)BYWN needy person
)GMWN rush, marsh reed
)DWN lord
)LWN oak

It is clear from this list that the suffix -WN does not mean "place".

>  Thus for example the "-on" ending of "Sharon" means "
> place", with the Sharon Plain being a geographical area, not a town.  (The
> root
> of "Sharon" is yod-shin-resh/YSR, meaning "level".  The geographical name "
> Sharon" is always preceded by he/H, meaning "the", which causes the yod
> [which is not a guttural] to drop out completely.

Not always, e.g. 1Chronicles 5:16

(skip a lot of linguistic speculation)

> We have succeeded in locating the Patriarchs' Bronze Age "Hebron"!

Utterly failed!

>  It is
> the Aijalon Valley, "the JBR place", a fine meadowland with a wadi flowing
> through it, located 17½ miles west of Beth-el.  Since Lot went 17½ miles
> east of
> Beth-el to get to the Jordan River, the text strongly implies that Abraham
> went
> exactly the opposite direction, namely 17½ miles west of Beth-el, to get to
> the Patriarchs' "Hebron", which is the Aijalon Valley.  The name "Hebron"
> is
> based on, and is the Biblical Hebrew version of, the pre-Hebrew west
> Semitic
> mid-15th century BCE inscription for the Aijalon Valley:  "JBR".
> H + JBR + WN = XBRWN/"Hebron" = "the well-watered meadowland place" = the
> Aijalon Valley, which is the Patriarchs' "Hebron".
> Jim Stinehart
> Evanston, Illinois
> Seeing as Thutmosis III's depredations occurred mostly to the west and
north of Israel, that could explain why most of the early threats to
Israel's existence came from the south and east, why Philistia which played
such a great role in later pre-dynastic Israel played such a small role for
the first centuries after the invasion under Joshua.
If the pharaoh of the Exodus was a Hyksos pharaoh as I surmise, possibly the
last one, then Thutmosis III would have come shortly after the invasion
under Joshua but before Israel spread out to the lowlands, making his
military adventures largely unknown to most of Israel.

Karl W. Randolph.

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