[b-hebrew] Hurrian and the Masoretic Text

JimStinehart at aol.com JimStinehart at aol.com
Fri Apr 23 15:06:04 EDT 2010

1.  Thank you so much for your suggestion of XCCN TMR as possibly having 
the following meaning in Hebrew:  “gravel place (with) date palm tree”, or 
somewhat less literally:  “gravelly place with palms”.  But that seems like a 
strange name to me.
(a)  Are there any other west Semitic town names of that type?  Noun + -N  
suffix plus a second noun.  To the best of my knowledge, when you have a 
west Semitic geographical place name with an –N suffix, that –N suffix 
invariably appears at the end of the  s-e-c-o-n-d  word, not the first word.
Your knowledge of Biblical Hebrew is much better than mine, but I suspect 
that XCC-N TMR would not be good Hebrew.  I myself do not know any 
geographical place names in Hebrew having that pattern of a suffix –N at the end of 
the  f-i-r-s-t  word in a two-word town name.  For example, there is not a 
single example like that on the 119 items of Canaanite place names on the 
Thutmose III list, even though a suffix –N is by far the most popular suffix on 
that list.  [Two place names begin with (YN followed by a noun, but in that 
case that’s not a suffix –N, but rather an integral part of the root.]
>From that I deduce that XCC-N TMR probably is not possible in Hebrew, where 
a suffix –N has been added to the first noun in a two-noun geographical 
place name.  But if you have a counter-example, I will learn from your 
(b)  Why would a small village south of the Dead Sea have “gravel” or “
gravelly” in its name?
(c)  What does that have to do with Amorites?  Genesis 14: 7 refers to 
Amorites being at XCCN TMR.
2.  To me, the Hurrian analysis of XCCN TMR makes more sense, where this 
town’s name means, in Hurrian:  “the wisdom (of) nine”.  In Hurrian 
mythology, Wisdom/Hasis is associated with the important Hurrian god Ea, and the 
number 9 is a very prominent magical number.
But let’s see if the Amorite connection may decide the matter here.
3.  If Hazezon Tamar/XCCN TMR at Genesis 14: 7 is a Hurrian name meaning 
"the wisdom (of) nine", then the shortened version of the name would naturally 
be "wisdom"/XCC.  In the Akkadian cuneiform of the Amarna Letters, this 
comes out as "Hasi".  Hasi was located in the Beqa Valley (in eastern Lebanon).
At Genesis 14: 7, the reference immediately preceding XCCN TMR is 
"Amorites".  Bible scholars tell us that these are non-historical Amorites who, 
non-historically, are portrayed as being south of the Dead Sea, a locale which, 
scholars are quick to point out, historically never had any Amorites.  But we 
might ask a non-Bible scholar whether, historically, there were Amorites at 
Hasi in the north-central Beqa Valley.  Yet was the Beqa Valley 
nevertheless primarily dominated by Hurrians?  Only that specific scenario would 
explain XCCN TMR and Hasi as being Hurrian names, yet being associated with 
Amorites at Genesis 14: 7.
Here is what the world's leading expert on that particular subject has to 
say about that:
“In the Lebanese Biqa [the Beqa Valley],…Northern names [that is, 
Hurrian-type names] predominate [in the Amarna Letters].  …[But] if Hasi, Hasabu, 
and Eni-sasi, which all have West Semitic [that is, Amorite] names for 
leaders, are to be located near one another in the Biqa, then there is a cluster of 
West Semitic [Amorite] leaders in the midst of a valley of Northern 
[Hurrian] leaders.”  Richard S. Hess, “Cultural Aspects of Onomastic Distribution 
in the Amarna Texts”, Ugarit-Forshungen (1989), issue 21, at pp. 213-214.
The pinpoint historical accuracy of the Patriarchal narratives is, once 
again, absolutely stunning.  Not until 1989 did scholars finally figure out 
what Genesis 14: 7 has been telling us all this time:  in the Late Bronze Age 
there were Amorites at Hasi (whose full name, in Hurrian and in the 
Patriarchal narratives, was XCCN TMR/“Hazezon Tamar”), though the Beqa Valley was 
generally dominated by Hurrians at the time.
Jim Stinehart
Evanston, Illinois

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