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

K Randolph kwrandolph at gmail.com
Fri Oct 10 17:06:49 EDT 2008


On Fri, Oct 10, 2008 at 11:29 AM, <JimStinehart at aol.com> wrote:

> Karl W. Randolph:
> 2.  You wrote:  "With personal and place names, there could be all sorts of
> reasons for the name, and unless we are privy to the origin of the name,
> all we
> can do is
>  speculate fruitlessly.  …Secondly, as I stated above concerning Hebron,
> there can be all sorts of reasons for the name that unless we are privy to
> the
> reason, all we can do
>  is speculate fruitlessly."
> In the Patriarchal narratives, every important personal name, whether of a
> person or of a geographical place, is used as a pun.

Wrong again.

While it is true that most names have meanings beyond merely a handle used
to place a person, we can count on the fingers of one hand where the name
had anything to do with the person's role in life.

It is similar with place names: many, many towns were simply named after the
founders' names, or for one time events that occurred there, or on a whim or

>  In order to understand
> what the early Hebrew author is telling us, we must follow along with his
> puns.

Where do you get this idea? Wrong again.

On the one hand, you want to claim that the story of Abraham was not a
legend, rather it was written down early. In fact you insisted that it not
be called a legend. Now you are giving it all the features of a legend, one
of the main being that the names of people and places have names that add
meaning to the legend.

> Thus, we would not be sure that Shechem was an Amorite city unless we take
> account of the pun on "shechem" at Genesis 48: 22, which explicitly refers
> to
> the Amorites, and in context must also be referring to the city of Shechem
> as a
> pun.  "Shechem" is the historical spelling of the historical name of the
> historical city of Shechem.  Yet that name is also used as a pun by the
> early
> Hebrew author of the Patriarchal narratives.
> The foregoing analysis then leads us to reassess the name
> Chamor/Hamor/XMWR.
> Since Hamor is the princeling ruler of the Amorite city of Shechem, it
> makes
> sense for his name to mean "the Amorite".  Now we see the pun, which is a
> play on heth/X vs. he/H, and involves heth/X representing both he/H and
> aleph/),
> that is, both an H sound and a guttural sound:  XMWR  =  XMR  =  H + )MR  =
>  "
> the Amorite".  That is not a "coincidence".  That is a deliberate pun.

This analysis is absolute nuts, and flies in the face of all that we know of
Hebrew grammar, lexicography and linguistics. As Dave Washburn indicated, it
is so silly that words fail us. Go learn some Biblical Hebrew first, then
try to redo your speculations.

By the way, in Genesis 34:2, Hamor the father of Shechem was a Hivite, not
an Amorite.

> Since heth can represent he-aleph in the name "Hamor", the same is true in
> the name "Hebron".  XBRWN  =  H + )BR + WN  =  H + "JBR" + WN  =  "the
> well-watered meadowland".  "JBR" is the mid-15th century BCE word for the
> Aijalon
> Valley.  The pun makes perfect sense if the Patriarchs' "Hebron" is the
> ideal
> pastureland of the luxuriant Aijalon Valley located 17½ miles west of
> Beth-el,
> because the Aijalon Valley, so unlike the city of Hebron way up in austere
> hill country, is a "well-watered meadowland".

(Shake my head in disbelief!) See above.

> If we do not try to understand the author's deliberate puns, we will not
> understand what the author is saying.  That is to say, the historical
> content of
> this text only becomes apparent once one understands the author's constant
> punning.  If we ignore these unremitting puns, we will fail to understand
> what the
> author of the Patriarchal narratives is actually saying.  "Hamor" refers to
> an "Amorite" ruler, and "Hebron" is a play on Late Bronze Age "JBR", being
> "
> the well-watered meadowland" of the Aijalon Valley.  The puns here are
> critical to understanding the substantive content of the text.

These are the marks of a legend, not a history. Might work for the legend of
Gilgamesh, not the history found in Genesis.

> Jim Stinehart
> Evanston, Illinois

Jim, your name is from James, which is a corruption (don't ask me how) of
the name Jacob which means "crooked", as brought out in Esau's plaint in
Genesis 27:36 "…his name is crooked, and he has dealt with me crookedly…"
His name has nothing to do with his role in the narrative as the father of
the twelve tribes. Would it be fair if we were to say, "Your name is James,
and that's why your thinking is so crooked on this issue"? But that's what
you are doing to this narrative.

Similarly, Isaac means "laughter", which is what his parents did when God
told them that he would be born. But God had the last laugh and Isaac was
born, so his name merely reminded his parents of their laughter, but
otherwise had nothing to do with his life.

Jim, I'm trying not to be rude, but it is rude of you to repeat over and
over and over again the same disproven theories. Nowhere does a He Aleph
turn into a Chet, not in Hebrew. Nor ever a yod changing to a chet. And with
that falls your attempt to move Hebron to the Aijalon Valley based on
linguistic speculation.

Karl W. Randolph.

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