[b-hebrew] HALOT Etymologies

Yigal Levin leviny1 at mail.biu.ac.il
Thu Dec 2 23:24:23 EST 2010


Who in the world said that HALOT was perfect? But as Isaac said, etymologies of names is often problematic. The names you list below are obviously not Hebrew. If you are now going to tell us that in Hurrian they all make sense and that they are all pinpoint accurate in the fourteenth century BCE, please don’t bother. We believe you.

Yigal Levin

-----Original Message-----
From: b-hebrew-bounces at lists.ibiblio.org [mailto:b-hebrew-bounces at lists.ibiblio.org] On Behalf Of JimStinehart at aol.com
Sent: Thursday, December 02, 2010 8:59 PM
To: b-hebrew at lists.ibiblio.org
Subject: [b-hebrew] HALOT Etymologies

HALOT Etymologies
We are often told that HALOT’s etymologies of Biblical Hebrew words and 
names are the finest that have ever been done in 3,000 years.  Yet when I look 
in HALOT for etymologies of some of my favorite Biblical names, here is what 
I find:
1.  (N-R at Genesis 14: 13:  “n.m.”  Is that the finest etymology ever 
done of this Biblical name?
2.  QNZ-Y at Genesis 15: 19:  “name of a tribe, meaning unexplained”.  That
’s the finest etymology there is?
3.  XTY at Genesis 15: 20:  “cun[eiform] Xatti…Hittites in Palestine:  
earlier population of the land, after the Assyrian name for Syria and Palestine 
in a wider sense”.  Did they really say “Hittites in Palestine”?  Are they 
4.  (PR-WN at Genesis 23: 8:  “n.m. of a Hittite”.  That’s the best 
etymology out there?
5.  $N(-R at Genesis 14: 2:  “$in(ar is the land of $anxar(a) in Syria, and 
was first used as a secondary expression for $umeru Sumer at a time when 
$anxar was not used as the name of a country”.  Really?  $N(-R is “Sumer”, 
but means “Syria”?
6.  BR$( at Genesis 14: 2:  “Arabic…ugly”.  That’s the  b-e-s-t  
etymology out there?
7.  $M)BR at Genesis 14: 2:  “the meaning of the personal name is not 
How can university scholars consider HALOT to be the gold standard for 
etymologies regarding Biblical names like the above?  Isn’t it clear that HALOT 
has no idea whatsoever what the actual etymology is for any of the above 7 
Jim Stinehart
Evanston, Illinois 
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