[b-hebrew] Sahaduta at Genesis 31: 47

Fournet fournet.arnaud at wanadoo.fr
Wed Jul 14 08:23:53 EDT 2010

 <JimStinehart at ...> writes:

> The name $H-DW-T) at Genesis 31: 47  is presented as being a foreign name 
> spoken by Laban of NHRYM.  If the text is historically accurate, we would 
> expect $H-DW-T) to be composed of two Sanskrit words having Hurrian 
> characteristics, all rendered in Biblical Hebrew.  If so, that would be very 
> because no Hebrew or Jew in the 1st millennium BCE could come up with that, 
> whereas if $H-DW-T) is Aramaic, no written Aramaic is attested prior to the 
> 1st millennium BCE. 

Something that puzzles me is that a Hurrian or Mitanni Aryan could be attested 
as late as the 1st millenium BCE.
Leaving that aside, another issue is that NHRYM cannot be completely equated 
with Mitanni or Hurrian-peopled areas.


 $u-wa-ar-da-ta.  This name occurs 
> in 10 Amarna Letters, including, for example, Amarna Letter EA 278 from 
> Suwardata.  The only alternative spellings both occur in Amarna Letter EA 
> from Abdi-Heba of Jerusalem, and they are important to note:  $u-ar-da-tu 
> $u-ar-da-ti.   Abdi-Heba sees the W as being optional, and deletes it.  
> That shows that the W after the initial $ was optional and could be deleted.

Another idea is that the underlying form is *Suha- which is rendered as either 
*su-a- or su-wa or su-ha.

> Su-wa-ar-da-ta may be rendered ‘
> given by the sun(god)’.”   I do not fully agree with that explanation.  The 
> Hurrians did not worship a sun-god;  rather, the all-important god for the 
> Hurrians was the Hurrian sky-god, Tessup.  So $u-wa or $H in a Hurrian’s 
> literally meaning “sky” [or “sun”], would reference the sky-god Tessup, not 
> a sun-god.  As to the verb, the Sanskrit word for “to give” is actually 
> da-da-ti  Though this is a Sanskrit verb, not a Hurrian word, the ending –ta 
> may be the Hurrian verbal ending for 1st person singular for an intransitive 
> verb.  [See p. 64 of the Fournet/Bomhard Hurrian website.]  So ignoring the 
> interior R for a moment (discussed below), the meaning would be:  “the 
> Hurrian sky-god Tessup I have been given”.

Actually TeSSub is a thunder-god.
Apart from that minor issue, the problem is that -ta or maybe even -tta with a 
geminate can only be suffixed to a passive verb or an intransitive verb. 
In addition this kind of person-name formation is unattested. 
Personally I would favor a purely Indo-Aryan analysis: Su-war-da-ta, Su-ar-da-
ta "given by the sun".
It's unclear to which extent Sahaduta can be equated with *suwardata. 
This would entail that Sahaduta is a distortion of an original *suhadata.
What is interesting is that the laryngeal of "sun" *saH2w- seems to be still 
All this would be coherent with this name being very much older than the 1st 
millenium. I have no idea if we have the right to push the dating back that 


> The pinpoint historical accuracy of the consonantal Masoretic Text is 
> absolutely amazing.  No one has understood Hurrian for 3,000 years, and who 
> expect Sanskrit in the Bible?  Yet $H-DW-T) is right there at Genesis 31: 
> 47, highly accurate as a Sanskrit name with Hurrian characteristics.  And 
> early Hebrew author also knew that a bona fide historical name from the 
> Late Bronze Age could feature a Hebrew word followed by a Hurrian-type 
> Abdi-Heba and YGR $H-DW-T).  YGR is the Hebrew word “fear” [not an Aramaic 
> word].  And $H-DW-T) is the Hurrian version of Sanskrit words which 
mean “sky 
> [that is, the Hurrian sky-god Tessup] I have been given (as my witness)”.  
> So in historical context, when Laban says YGR $H-DW-T), he is saying:  
> “Fear (of) the Hurrian sky-god Tessup I have been given (as my witness)”.

This meaning is not possible.
Hurrian never had person-names with that syntax or formation.


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