[b-hebrew] Asher again

Arnaud Fournet fournet.arnaud at wanadoo.fr
Wed Jul 14 16:17:27 EDT 2010

----- Original Message ----- 
From: JimStinehart at aol.com
To: fournet.arnaud at wanadoo.fr ; uzisilber at gmail.com
Cc: b-hebrew at lists.ibiblio.org
Sent: Wednesday, July 14, 2010 9:24 PM
Subject: Re: [b-hebrew] Asher again

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 
Do you have any literary parallels inside or outside the Bible for that kind 
of rhetorics?

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.
To be frank, I'm very sceptical about their being even Hurrian whatever at 
They are clearly not attested Person Names and they do not even look like 
being possible phonological Hurrian items.

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.
Just a few spontaneous remarks:
1. Ayin is nearly the complete phonetic opposite of -i- or -y-: grave / 
guttural / occlusive versus acute / palatal / approximant.
2. How comes that this early Hebrew scribe is using consonants to note 
vowels (and other mater lectionis)?
3. Why is this early scribe not just using Y to note -i- or -y- as would any 
naive human being?

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.
I must confess that I still have some way to go before it makes consistently 
perfect sense at this point in the process.

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).
There is little doubt that Ayin was *not* a component of Hurrian phonology, 
neither was any emphatic of that kind.
It's fairly possible that Hurrian had a glottal stop in addition to voiced 
and voiceless velar fricatives and this was all.

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 
I have a problem with this "thing" popping up as a vowel or a consonant or a 

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 mentioned in a previous post, the word "lord" ebri or ewri or even erbi 
is a loanword of Akkadian abaru "strong".
The idea that p and b could be interchangeable is completely inacceptable.

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.
I don't understand the reasoning.
Ayin is Ayin. It's not a phonetic joker card.

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”.
Where is the first syllable #e- of ebri- ?

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.”
What other examples of that hypocoristic suffix do you have ?

In all cases, Pirizzi and ebri/ewri cannot have any relationship.

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%(.
I'm not aware that there is any example in Hurrian of a first syllable being 
Ebri is from Akkadian abaru and the first syllable should be there.
Pirizzi is another word.

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 

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”.
Ebri is not a "real" Hurrian root and BRx cannot be the same thing as ebri.

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