[b-hebrew] Kadesh Barnea

JimStinehart at aol.com JimStinehart at aol.com
Wed Dec 22 10:40:52 EST 2010

The following two totally different names could both come out in early 
Biblical Hebrew as QD$.
1.  QD$ in the Wilderness
QD$ as a Hebrew common noun, meaning “holy place”.  That could be a desert 
oasis, either in the wilderness of Zin or in the Sinai Desert.  These 
places are referred to in several books of the Bible after Genesis.  To 
distinguish a desert oasis QD$ from the major city called QD$ below, sometimes the 
Hurrian word for “temple/holy place” might be added:  BR-N(/burni/“Barnea”.
2.  QD$ in Eastern Upper Galilee
This may be the Hurrian common word ka-du-u-$a + suffix at IV-31 of the 
Mitanni Letter [Amarna Letter EA 24].  It means “named”.  The literal meaning 
may be “spoken for” [from the Hurrian verb kadi, “to speak”, which is one 
of the most frequently used words in Hurrian].  It seems to carry the 
positive overtones of “desired, wanted, desirable, identified”.  As a city name, 
it probably has the grandiose implication of “The Chosen City”.  With K and 
Q not being distinguished in Hurrian, this Hurrian word/city name would be 
expected to come out as QD$ in early Biblical Hebrew defective spelling 
[which recorded very few vowels].  Adding a -na suffix, and where K and G are 
often indistinguishable in Hurrian, then with a transposition of the vowels 
[discussed below], Ka-du-u-$a-na could come out as Guddashu-na at Amarna 
Letter EA 177.  Guddashuna, which is likely Qadesh of eastern Upper Galilee, had 
a Hurrian princeling ruler, Yamiuta, in the Amarna Letters.  As to the 
transposition of vowels, compare the transposition of the same vowels in Surata 
vs. $aratu as the name of the Hurrian princeling ruler of Acco, as noted by 
Wm. Moran at p. 384 of “Amarna Letters”.
3.  QD$ at Genesis 14: 7
A Biblical reference to “Kadesh”/QD$, where there is no “Barnea” to 
clarify that it’s a desert oasis/“holy place”, could either be an oasis in a 
remote wilderness, or the well-known city by that name in eastern Upper 
Galilee.  Using elementary logic, a coalition of four attacking rulers at Genesis 
14: 7 would be much more likely to attack a wealthy city than a desert oasis. 
 This is especially the case here, where the first place attacked was the 
nearby city of Ashteroth in the northern Transjordan, to which the text says 
the attackers “returned” before attacking QD$.  As noted on another thread, 
the references in the preceding verse, Genesis 14: 6, are all Hurrian:  XRY 
and $(-YR/$e-ir/“Seir” and )L P-)R-N/Eli Pu-ur-ni/“El Paran”.  The 
immediately succeeding reference, (-ML-Q-Y/“Amalekites”, also makes perfect sense 
in Hurrian, while [as explicitly so stated by HALOT] being inexplicable on 
a Semitic basis.  Here’s HALOT’s analysis of (MLQY at p. 846:  “no 
linguistic explanation possible”.  By now, everyone on the b-hebrew list should know 
that when HALOT says that, it likely means that (MLQY is a Hurrian name.  
With Hurrian names coming both before and after QD$ at Genesis 14: 7, it 
makes sense that the reference there to QD$ is to the important city of Qadesh 
of eastern Upper Galilee, which in the mid-14th century BCE had a Hurrian 
princeling ruler, and whose city name at that time was probably a Hurrian name, 
Ka-du-u-$a/QD$, rather than originally being the Hebrew common word for “
holy spot”.  Although Amarna Letter EA 177 from Guddashuna/QD$ is, 
unfortunately, mostly illegible, it is likely complaining about military pressure being 
applied in the area by a small contingent of Hittite troops, as accurately 
reported at Genesis 14: 7.  The immediately preceding Amarna Letters EA 
174-176, which are fully legible, start very similarly to EA 177, and then go on 
to complain of Hurrian attacking ruler Etakkama [Biblical “Arioch”] 
leading Hittite troops [whose ultimate commander was Biblical “Tidal”] in burning 
down Amorite villages in the Beqa Valley north of Qadesh of Upper Galilee, 
as a prelude to the Great Syrian War in western Syria in Year 14, which 
featured a coalition of 4 attacking rulers utterly destroying a league of 5 
Hurrian princelings:  “four kings against five”.
The  p-i-n-p-o-i-n-t  historical accuracy of Genesis 14: 1-11 is absolutely 
stunning, if one is willing [unlike HALOT] to analyze Hurrian names in this 
truly ancient Biblical text on a Hurrian basis.  QD$ at Genesis 14: 7 is 
historical Qadesh of eastern Upper Galilee [having nothing to do with any 
desert oasis].
Jim Stinehart
Evanston, Illinois

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