[b-hebrew] Asher again

JimStinehart at aol.com JimStinehart at aol.com
Wed Jul 14 15:24:29 EDT 2010

Dr. Fournet:
At least at the beginning of your post, you seem to have ignored my 
insistence that most of the Biblical names I see as being Hurrian words are not 
attested Hurrian names, but rather, by contrast, are Hurrian common words that 
the early Hebrew author is using as nicknames for Hurrian individuals.  So 
for most of these Biblical names, what is needed is to ask whether they 
represent Hurrian common words.  In most cases, it’s clear that they are not 
attested Hurrian personal names.
Yet there is one case (other than Arioch) where the Biblical name seems to 
be but a slight variant of an attested Hurrian name.  In this post, I will 
focus solely on that name:  BR%(.
As a preliminary matter, in order to critique my view, it is necessary to 
be aware of my theory as to how the early Hebrew author consistently uses 
certain Hebrew letters as vowel indicators in representing Hurrian words or 
Hurrian names.  Here, the one vowel indicator is an ayin.  On my analysis of 
all these various words that may be Hurrian words, a Hebrew ayin consistently 
equates to a Hurrian i.  Moreover, for names that may be Hurrian words in 
chapter 14 of Genesis, the ayin is only used in connection with a discrete 
Hurrian syllable that is consonant-i.  [If we view the Hebrew ayin as being 
used in that particular fashion, consistently, then all these various 
previously inexplicable Biblical names suddenly make perfect sense, as Hurrian common 
words.  Please note that a Hebrew ayin in these cases is not representing a 
rare ayin in Hurrian (or any other Hurrian letter somewhat similar to an 
ayin).  No, in setting forth Hurrian common words used as Biblical names, the 
Hebrew ayin consistently represents the commonplace Hurrian vowel i, and it 
is usually used only at the end of a standard Hurrian syllable which is 
consonant-i.  To test out my theory of the case, treat a Hebrew ayin in all 
these cases as representing a Hurrian i, and you will then see that all of these 
Biblical names make perfect sense, usually as being Hurrian common words.] 
You wrote:  “BR% is also fairly desperate as a Hurrian word. A voiced 
initial is normally impossible in Hurrian.”
I see BR%( as being ebri-ssi.  It means “your lord”.  In Hurrian, the word 
starts with either (i) an e, as here, with the Hurrian common word “lord” 
consistently starting with either an e or an i in Hurrian, or (ii) as we 
will see in the Amarna Letters as a proper name (not a Hurrian common word), a 
P, with P being interchangeable in this context with B.  
As I noted in my prior post, to see that an e needs to be implied at the 
beginning of this name, look at $M)BR in the same verse, where the aleph is 
indicating a discrete syllable eb in Hurrian.  In all three of the names BR(, 
BR%(, and $M)BR at Genesis 14: 2, the root Hurrian word is ebri, meaning “
lord” or “Hurrian princeling”.  [In the first two cases, the initial e is 
implied, as confirmed by analyzing the third name.]  The reason for those 
nicknames at Genesis 14: 2 is to identify the five defeated princelings in the “
four kings against five” as being Hurrian princelings.
As noted above, in most cases when a Hurrian name is presented in old 
Biblical Hebrew in the Patriarchal narratives, an ayin not only means Hurrian i, 
but also it denotes a discrete syllable ending in i, being consonant-i.  
Thus here, the ayin at the end of this name confirms that the final syllable is 
%-vowel, with the Hurrian vowel being i.  If the Hebrew sibilant here is a 
sin/%, then this is probably representing an emphatic sin in Hurrian.  (See 
the Fournet/Bomhard Hurrian language website at p. 13.  An emphatic sin is 
often transliterated as a simple s, but it can also be represented by z.)  
The final syllable here then (where Hebrew sin/% is Hurrian emphatic sin) is 
likely the Hurrian suffix –ssi, meaning “your”.  The suffix “your” in this 
form is plural, but the noun to which it is attached can be either singular 
or plural.  F/B at p. 54.  For example, ulme-ssi is attested as meaning 
either “your weapon” or “your weapons”.  F/B at p. 54.
BR%( is [)]B – R[(]  + %(, or )B-R(-%(.  That’s eb-ri-ssi in Hurrian, 
meaning “your lord”, or “your (Hurrian) lord”, or “a Hurrian princeling for 
all of you” (to emphasize that “your” is plural here), or simply:  “Hurrian 
princeling”.  We see that BR%( has virtually the same meaning as BR(, with 
the root in both cases being eb-ri, meaning “lord” or “Hurrian princeling”.
BR%( in fact appears to be a slight variant of the Hurrian name 
Pi-ri-iz-zi, which is attested in Amarna Letters EA 27: 89, 93 and EA 28: 12.  
Pi-ri-iz-zi is a messenger of Hurrian King Tushratta of Mitanni/Naharim, so we would 
expect Pi-ri-iz-zi to be a Hurrian name.  Here is Richard Hess’s analysis 
of the name Pi-ri-iz-zi at p. 125 of “Amarna Personal Names”:  “The language 
represented by this PN [proper name] is Hurrian.  Pi-ri-iz-zi is a 
hypocoristic name [meaning a shortened name], composed of ewri ‘lord’ and zzi, a 
(hypocoristic?) suffix.”  In Hurrian, the letters W and B and P are often 
interchangeable;  in particular, we know that those three letters are 
interchangeable as to the Hurrian word for “lord”.  Hess cites ewri, and ebri and 
ibri are also attested versions of this basic Hurrian word.  The third 
possibility for the first consonant is the P that we see in this Amarna name (per 
Hess’s analysis).  Pi-ri is comparable to bi-ri in Hurrian, and if the vowel 
is placed before, rather than after, the first consonant (with both such 
variants being attested for this word in Hurrian, though as a common word there 
would always be a vowel before the first consonant), we have eb-ri.  So the 
pi-ri in this Amarna name is but a simple variant of the underlying Hurrian 
word eb-ri, meaning “lord”, just as we have been seeing as the Hurrian root 
word in both BR( and BR%(.
As to the suffix –zzi in the Amarna name Pi-ri-iz-zi, that is likely the 
Hurrian suffix –ssi discussed above.  As to z vs. s, consider for example how 
F/B presents the Hurrian word “intelligence, wit” at p. 87, with the 
sibilant alternatively being set forth as TS or z or s:  “[xaTSiTSi] ‘
intelligence, wit’;  EL xazzizzi/xasisi. CA <xa-(as)-sí-(is)-sí>.”  If –zzi in this 
Amarna name is the Hurrian suffix –ssi, then the meaning of the Amarna name 
would be “your lord” (or, to emphasize that “your” is plural here:  “lord 
for all of you”).  Thus it is likely that Biblical BR%( and Pi-ri-iz-zi in the 
Amarna Letters are slight variants of the same Hurrian name, with the same 
Hurrian meaning:  “your lord”, or more simply:  “Hurrian princeling”.
Thus BR%( works well as a Hurrian common word, basically meaning “Hurrian 
princeling”.  It is built on the Hurrian root word, ebri, just like the first 
Biblical name, BR(.  Both of these Biblical names have the same basic 
meaning in Hurrian:  “Hurrian princeling”.

Jim Stinehart
Evanston, Illinois

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