[b-hebrew] Seir and El Paran

JimStinehart at aol.com JimStinehart at aol.com
Mon Dec 13 12:01:10 EST 2010

Seir and El Paran
Genesis 14: 6 says that XRY live at $([Y]R [“Seir”] and )[Y]L P-)R-N [“El 
Paran”].  The traditional view is that XRY are troglodyte cave-dwellers who 
live at a place called “Hairy” (Seir) in the barren land south of the Dead 
Sea and at the Gulf of Aqaba.  The modern view is that the XRY are the 
historical Hurrians, but that they are non-historically portrayed at Genesis 14: 
6 as living at a place called “Hairy” (Seir) in the barren land south of 
the Dead Sea and at the Gulf of Aqaba.  But “Hairy” seems a strange name for 
a city or region, and there is no support whatsoever for the scholarly view 
that )L P-)R-N somehow, some way means the Gulf of Aqaba.  Both $(-R and )L 
P-)R-N are right there, however, on Dr. Fournet’s website.  Since the text 
tells us that XRY live in those two places, doesn’t it make sense to take 5 
minutes to glance at these words on Dr. Fournet’s website?  
The original spelling of “Seir” was likely $(-R, perhaps representing 
$e-ir.  $(YR is probably a later, updated spelling, though the pronunciation may 
still be about the same:  $e-ir.  When one thinks of XRY and $e-ir, one 
cannot help but think of Amarna Letter EA 24, written in Hurrian, at IV-115, 
where we see $e-e-ir-ri + suffix.  Per Dr. Founet’s website, the literal 
meaning is “king”, reported at p. 99 as $erri.  But in context, the likely 
actual meaning of this Hurrian proper name is “(God Is) King”.  Hurrian 
princeling IR-Heba of Jerusalem refers to this same place, east of the Jordan River, 
as $e-e-ri at Amarna Letter EA 288: 26.  Although Seir is traditionally 
thought to be southeast of the Dead Sea, in the Patriarchal narratives “Seir”
/$erri/$e-ir must be located in Gilead, north of the Dead Sea (at or near the 
city later called “Jazer”, an important locale not too far from IR-Heba’s 
Jerusalem), because when Jacob is in the hill country of central Transjordan 
east of Shechem (15 miles north of Jazer) upon returning from Naharim in 
chapters 32 and 33 of Genesis, Jacob cannot avoid meeting his estranged older 
twin brother Esau coming up north from “Seir”.  Genesis 33: 14
As to )L P-)R-N, the Hurrian word for “feast, holy day” is eli-burni, per 
Dr. Fournet’s website at p. 81.  Hebrew ’L represents Hurrian eli.  The 
Hurrian word burni, meaning “temple”, is alternatively spelled in Hurrian 
pu-ur-ni (p. 85), comparing to the Biblical version P-)R-N.  [The Hebrew author 
viewed the U in the -ur- syllable as being prosthetic, but that vowel was 
needed in order to show the syllable division in this three-syllable Hurrian 
word, hence the Hebrew aleph.]
When the Biblical text flat out tells us that XRY are living at those two 
places, shouldn’t we then take a few minutes to look for these names on Dr. 
Fournet’s website?  If it’s on Dr. Fournet’s website, rest assured that JEPD 
knew nothing about it!  Most of the 30 Hurrian names in the Patriarchal 
narratives are on Dr. Fournet’s website, and all such names pre-date JEPD by 
How is the old JEPD scholarly theory as to the Patriarchal narratives going 
to survive the existence of Dr. Fournet’s website?  I don’t think it can.  
Why would anyone think that the XRY are troglodyte cave-dwellers or 
non-historical Hurrians who live south of the Dead Sea at a place called “Hairy” 
and at the Gulf of Aqaba?  Do university scholars expect us to take those 
views seriously?  Why is it that we never hear about the Hurrian words $e-ir 
and eli pu-ur-ni when university scholars tell us that what Genesis 14: 6 says 
about the XRY is fictional?
Jim Stinehart
Evanston, Illinois

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