[b-hebrew] naHHAs versus nahhA$ ---- was previously ----Kadesh-barnea

Uri Hurwitz uhurwitz at yahoo.com
Wed Apr 14 12:25:02 EDT 2010


   Long before Arabic came to be spoken in the area of the
 copper mines,  people in the region spoke  different
 dialects of NW Semitic. The word NH(.)$T, "copper",
 for instance, is attested in a number of Phoenician
 Iron II inscriptions (see KAI Band III, p. 16, 1966).
    There is inscriptional evidence of Ammonite, Moabite
 and Edomite, as well as extra-biblical Hebrew for the
 existence of these dialects. My unstated assumption was
 that the Arabic word for copper has continued the traditional
 use of dialects spoken among the Edomites and the
 Ammonites there at least since Iron II, if not earlier
(see the Canaanite glosses in EA).

  As for the mention of the other Arab. root,unfortunately
 I didn't understand your transliteration, and
 nothing similar was in dicitionaries at hand.
 Is it possible for you to mail it to me off list in
 Arabic script? 


  Uri Hurwitz                           
Great Neck , NY                                   



URI HURWITZ] - The words NH$, the name of the Ammonite king in Hebrew, and 
NHS, the Arabic name of the ancient smelting enterprise in Khirbat Nahas, 
meaning copper, are identical. The Hebrew consonant $ is often the 
equivalent of the Arabic S. Compare $alom, Heb. and  salam, Arab.

One possibility is that this identity - not just similarity - is a 
coincidence, and that would be the end of this matter. Especially since the 
Heb. word means "snake", and the Arab. means "copper".

But then the Hebrew word for copper is derived from the same root, and 
appears in Fem. form, with an auxillary 'T' - N'ho$et. Compare with 
N'hu$tan, the icon destroyed by Hezekiah. Is the name derived from its serpe


[ISHINAN] - Uri,  naHHAs is indeed copper or brass in Arabic, while nahhA$ 
in Arabic is a biting snake  (see LisAn al-`Arab vol. vi, p. 730) hence the 
apparent confusion in Hebrew. They are from totally different roots, the 
former is from nHs root while the latter is from nh$ .

(Arabic phonology: "h" is a voiceless glottal fricative consonant, IPA - 
number 146.   While "H" is a voiceless pharyngeal fricative consonant, IPA - 
number 144  )

I hope this helps


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