[b-hebrew] Asher again

JimStinehart at aol.com JimStinehart at aol.com
Fri Jul 16 09:54:09 EDT 2010

Dr. Fournet:
Richard Hess analyzes the name of a messenger from Mitanni, and the name of 
a defeated princeling in the Orontes River Valley in western Syria, as 
being Hurrian  names.  Why are you now talking about the Kassites?  The Kassites 
did not serve as messengers to Hurrian King Tushratta of the Hurrian great 
power state of Mitanni in eastern Syria.  The Kassites did not form a league 
of five rebellious princelings in the heart of Hurrian country in western 
Syria and get crushed by the mighty Hittites and three regional allies of the 
Hittites, in the historical “four kings against five” in the mid-14th 
century BCE.  All your talk of Mitanni and the Kassites is utterly irrelevant to 
discussing the ethnicity of the members of the league of five rebellious 
Both in secular history and at Genesis 14: 2, we only have names of four 
members of the league of five rebellious parties.  (That’s because both in 
secular history and at Genesis 14: 2, one member had no princeling ruler at the 
time.  That’s Tunip in Amarna Letter 59: 1.  “Tunip” is probably a Hurrian 
name.)  Of the four historical names we have of the members of the league 
of five rebellious parties, two are thought to be Hurrian, two are thought to 
be Akkadian, none are thought to be Indo-Aryan or Sanskrit, and none are 
thought to be Kassite.
Though you haven’t yet agreed with any of Hess’s analyses of these names 
yet, let’s try Aki-Teshup of Niya, at Amarna Letter EA 59: 15, 18.  Here is 
how Wm. Moran analyzes this name at p. 380 of his edition of the Amarna 
Letters:  “Aki-Te$$up (Hurr. ‘Te$$up is the guide’{?}, king of Nii”.  Aki sure 
looks Hurrian to me, per p. 80 of F/B:  “*[ag-ú] [P-x] ‘to bring, to lead’. 
 EL ag- <a-ku-u>.  …UR <ag/j(u)>”.  Tessup was the #1 god of the Hurrians. 
 I myself find it hard to imagine a more Hurrian-sounding Hurrian name than 
Aki-Te$$up.  Maybe “Te$$up” has an Aryan etymology, but it was a Hurrian 
god known by the Hurrian name of Te$$up.  Te$$up is all over the Mitanni 
Letter.  Wm. Moran observes at p. 387:  “Te$$up, Hurr. Storm-god.”  The name 
Aki-Te$$up is not Indo-Aryan, it’s not Sanskrit, it’s not Mitannian, and 
heaven knows it’s not Kassite!
So in order for the early Hebrew author of Genesis 14: 1-11 to come up with 
an apt nickname for Aki-Te$$up, we note the following characteristics:  It 
should be a Hurrian common word that effectively means “Hurrian princeling”
.  It should not be Indo-Aryan, Sanskrit, Mitannian or Kassite.
You will doubtless ask why the early Hebrew author did not either (i) write 
down the historical name “Aki-Te$$up”, or (ii) write down an attested 
Hurrian name.  For one thing, the early Hebrew author was not about to 
memorialize for eternity an outright, unambiguous blessing of a pagan god.  So the 
historical name “Aki-Te$$up” was out for sure.  Choosing an attested Hurrian 
name would have been confusing, because the early Hebrew author was picking 
out a nickname, that should have the generic meaning of “Hurrian princeling”
Now consider the four personal names that we have at Genesis 14: 2, and 
consider that the early Hebrew author may have made the non-obvious choice of 
using Hebrew ayin to represent Hurrian i.  All four names mean “Hurrian 
princeling” in Hurrian!  Is that neat or what?  $M)BR starts out with two normal 
Hurrian syllables, not needing any vowel indicators:  $u-mi.  But then we 
have a more unusual Hurrian syllable that begins with a true vowel, an e.  So 
aleph is used there to represent that true vowel, primarily so that we can 
figure out the syllable division.  )B means the discrete Hurrian syllable ‘eb’
.  The final R needs no vowel indicator here, because we already know the 
other syllables and the final R is a normal Hurrian syllable, -ri.  So $M)BR 
is $u-mi-eb-ri in Hurrian, literally meaning “on behalf of a lord”, and 
effectively meaning “Hurrian princeling”.  That’s a fine generic nickname for 
Aki-Te$$up, because it’s a Hurrian common word, it means “Hurrian princeling
”, the name “Aki-Te$$up” is a virgin pure Hurrian name, and nothing here 
has anything to do with Indo-Aryan, Sanskrit, Mitanni or Kassite.
As to $u-mi, it’s at p. 101 of F/B.  “*[summi] [P x-] ‘hand’.  EL šummi <š
u-mi->. Prepositional use as ‘with, on behalf of’.”  
$umi is a classic Hurrian word meaning “on behalf of”.
As to ebri, it’s at p. 17 of F/B.  [The word ‘ebri’ is at the end of the 
line of Hurrian text.  The English definition “lord” is near the very end of 
the English translation.]  “- < 14. dIM-ub URU kum-mi-ni-i-bi da-la-a-wu-š
i eb-ri > -- x : x x x : x x x: -- x : -- x.  The paragraph means: ‘8. And 
Meki, on hearing the order, 9. whining about it: ‘woe on Meki’, said he, 10. 
he bends his two legs toward Teššub, 11. (empty), 12. Meki these words 
toward Teššub, 13. remaining knelt down, says: ‘May you hear, Teššub, 
strongmost lord of Kummi’.”
Ebri is a classic Hurrian word meaning “lord”.  
$umi-ebri makes perfect sense in Hurrian as literally meaning “on behalf of 
a (Hurrian) lord”, and as effectively meaning:  “Hurrian princeling”. 
Thus we see a Hurrian common word, $umi-ebri, rendered in old Biblical 
Hebrew as $M)BR, effectively meaning “Hurrian princeling”, being used as an apt 
nickname for one of the five rebellious Hurrian princelings at Genesis 14: 
2.  How could it be any clearer than that?  There’s nothing about 
Indo-Aryan, Sanskrit, Mitanni or Kassite here.
Dr. Fournet, I have shown that every single element of the four personal 
names at Genesis 14: 2 is right there on the Fournet/Bomhard website, without 
exception:  ebri, -ssi, $umi-, and $an-a-b.  Nothing is missing.  The four 
personal names at Genesis 14: 2 are ebri, ebri-ssi, $umi-ebri, and $an-a-b.  
It’s just the Hebrew spelling of these Hurrian common words that’s throwing 
you off:  BR(, BR-%(, $M-)BR, and $N-)-B.  You’re letting the old Biblical 
Hebrew orthography get in the way of seeing these simple Hurrian common 
words, all of which effectively mean:  “Hurrian princeling”.  You’re upset 
because the Hurrian true vowel e is not expressly set forth at the beginning of 
BR( and BR-%(, but that’s par for the course in the defective spelling used 
in old Biblical Hebrew.  You’ve got to imply vowels right and left in old 
Biblical Hebrew defective spelling.  That’s just the way it is.  That’s the 
way an early Hebrew would have done the orthography (even if it makes modern 
Hurrian linguists role over in their graves).  It’s Hurrian common words 
with old Biblical Hebrew characteristics, as it were.  There’s nothing in those 
four personal names at Genesis 14: 2 that’s not front and center on the F/B 
website.  It’s very simple Hurrian.  Anyone can see it, if you’ll just 
widen the strike zone a bit as to how these simple Hurrian words might be 
rendered in the defective spelling of old Biblical Hebrew.  Forget Kassite.  
Think Hurrian!
Dr. Fournet, I think the following hypothetical may change your mind.  As a 
hypothetical, assume that Ezra could read Akkadian cuneiform, and that Ezra 
found the following Hurrian word in a library in Babylon during the Exile:  
$umi-ebri.  Using full spelling Hebrew of which Ezra was the master, here 
is how Ezra could be expected to record that Hurrian word in post-exilic full 
spelling Hebrew:  $WMY)BRY.  It’s an 8-letter exact match.  In particular, 
all four Hurrian vowels are explicitly written down in Ezra-style, 
post-exilic full spelling Hebrew.  But Genesis 14: 2 was composed prior to the 1st 
millennium BCE, when full spelling Hebrew had not yet been invented.  So at 
that time, the vav/W and yod/Y would not be used as routine vowel indicators, 
as they are in the later full spelling.  So dropping out those vowel 
indicators, which did not yet exist, this Hurrian word would be recorded in 
old-style defective spelling Hebrew as:  $M)BR.  That’s exactly what we see at 
Genesis 14: 2!  Yes, $WMY)BRY “looks” like Hurrian, because it has all those 
blessed vowels.  But there’s no way that a Late Bronze Age early Hebrew author 
would write down all those Hurrian vowels, since that Ezra-style full 
spelling was never done in Hebrew itself at that time.  The absence of express 
vowels means that $M)BR does not “look” Hurrian, but it is Hurrian, just done 
in old-style defective spelling Hebrew, that’s all. 
[I’ll address your specific comments, one by one, in my next post.]
Jim Stinehart
Evanston, Illinois

More information about the b-hebrew mailing list