[b-hebrew] Pharaoh Khepera'a in Jeremiah 44:30

Arnaud Fournet fournet.arnaud at wanadoo.fr
Tue Jul 20 15:53:41 EDT 2010

----- Original Message ----- 
From: JimStinehart at aol.com
To: fournet.arnaud at wanadoo.fr ; George.Athas at moore.edu.au ; 
b-hebrew at lists.ibiblio.org
Sent: Tuesday, July 20, 2010 8:31 PM
Subject: Re: [b-hebrew] Pharaoh Khepera'a in Jeremiah 44:30

Dr. Arnaud Fournet:

Although you know Hurrian well, you don’t seem to realize that the pointing 
of vowel sounds that is found in many Hebrew Bibles was added by the 
Masoretes in the Middle Ages.  Though the Masoretes may well have gotten 
most of the pronunciations of Biblical Hebrew common words more or less 
right (a subject much debated on the b-hebrew list), there is absolutely no 
way that the Masoretes, or any other human beings in the Middle Ages, would 
have had the foggiest idea of the actual pronunciations of proper names in 
long-extinct non-Semitic languages like Hurrian or Hittite from the Late 
Bronze Age.  So the medieval pointing 2,000 years after the fact is of no 
value whatsoever in examining the names and titles at Genesis 14: 1-2.

I'm afraid I disagree here.
I see no reason why Masoretes people would add vowels at random.
They did add vowels and we may suppose they did so according to what they 
believed was the most adequate way.
Even though I am very much agnostic as regards God, gods, religion(s) and so 
forth, I tend to think that people who take these issues seriously do not 
follow at-random or ad-libitum paths.
They added vowels and they did so in a way that cannot be dismissed or 
scoffed at.
They did add vowels and that situation must be looked at and considered with 
And in that case what they did is not very coherent with your approach so I 
would tend toward the position that your approach is troublesome.

1.  You wrote:  “Apart from history or History, is there some numerical 
symbolism hidden in the 4 to 5 equation?”

No.  Historically, the Great Syrian War in western Syria featured a 
coalition of 4 attacking rulers, led by mighty Hittite King Suppiluliuma, 
who destroyed a league of 5 rebellious Hurrian princelings.  There is no 
numerical symbolism here.

2.  You wrote, in response to my statement that ‘The first three letters of 
the name “Chedorlaomer” are KDR.’:  This looks like firm ground, if we take 
letter to mean consonant.”

There’s nothing there but the letters in the received text, all of which at 
the beginning of the name “Chedorlaomer” are true consonants.  The medieval 
pointing of vowel sounds for the names and titles at Genesis 14: 1-2 has no 
evidentiary value whatsoever, one way or the other.
What evidence do you have that "medieval" vowels have no value as evidence?
To be frank, I'm ready to think that these vowels are all the more valuable 
as they are just what they are.
What is the hidden agenda of these vowels?
What are the reasons to think the "medieval" vowels are fancy?

3.  You wrote, in response to my assertion that ‘“Chedorlaomer” may be a
nasty nickname that is a Ugaritic curse:  kdr + l + (mr, being three
well-attested words in Ugaritic that work nicely as a Ugaritic curse’:  What 
would that curse be and mean in that language?  I'm sorry but I don't speak 
fluent Ugaritic, you know.”

Kdr means “a sacred religious vessel” in Ugaritic.  L is both a preposition 
in Ugaritic, and an intensifier, that can mean “indeed...into”, and when 
paired with (mr, which means “dust, ashes, or excrement” in Ugaritic, the 
phrase l (mr can mean:  “indeed fell into excrement”.  So the king of Ugarit 
is said, in this highly pejorative nickname, to have allowed “a sacred 
religious vessel to indeed fall into excrement”.  The meaning is that the 
former independence of Syria, and perhaps in the near future of Lebanon and 
the Hebrews’ beloved Canaan as well, being “a sacred religious vessel’, has 
now “fallen into excrement”, that is, has been forfeited by Ugarit to the 
Hittites.  Ugarit King Niqmaddu II sold out Ugarit to the mighty Hittites, 
and Ugarit was never independent again, but rather was forevermore a docile 
Hittite vassal state.
I'm not sure I really understand the reasoning.

4.  You wrote:  “It strikes me as a huge claim that Ugarit could instigate a 
This place looks like a commercial harbor where about 10 to 15 different
languages are attested in about all writing systems of Planet Earth except
Chinese and Mayan (so far and as far as I know).  Commerce is the contrary 
of war. You never kill your clients and neighbors in general. Kind of rule 
#1 for commerce.”

Because of its great commercial wealth, Ugarit was the golden goose that all 
the great powers coveted.  Here is the standard account of what Ugarit did 
in the mid-14th century BCE when it was being raided by 5 Hurrian princeling 
neighbors from the Orontes River Valley:  “Finally the conspirators took 
action:  Ituraddu of Mukishe, Addu-Nirari of Nukhashshe, and Aki-teshup of 
Niya formed an ad hoc league [along with Qatna and Tunip], renounced their 
vassalage to Khatte [being five rebellious princelings as to the Hittites 
under Suppiluliuma], and [unsuccessfully] attempted to force Niqmaddu II of 
Ugarit to join them, on pain of invasion.  But now came the unexpected. 
Niqmaddu [of Ugarit]…made a volte-face and appealed, not to Pharaoh, but to 
the Hittite king to extricate him from this dilemma.  Suppiluliumas was not 
slow to seize the opportunity”.  Donald B. Redford, “Egypt, Canaan and 
Israel in Ancient Times” (1992), at p. 175.  The mighty Hittite king 
operated with three regional allies, making a coalition of 4 attacking 
rulers, who soon crushed the league of 5 rebellious Hurrian prlincelings. 
The Great Syrian War in western Syria was on!
So what is the connection with Ugarit(ic)?

5.  You wrote:  “How do you account for -u- in t-u-d- but -i- in t-i-d?”

That’s the medieval pointing of the Masoretes in the Middle Ages again.  It 
has no evidentiary value regarding names and titles at Genesis 14: 1-2.  All 
that’s there in the received text is TD(L.  There’s no U, and no I, with the 
I being a guess from the common era.
I disagree.
Even though this pointing is "medieval" as you say, it does not mean it is 
irrelevant for past and previous stages.
I tend to think that some features have an incredible potential to withstand 
the passage of time.
Logically these people have been reciting ever and ever the same phrases 
from the very "beginning", as far as "beginning" means something.
I'm ready to agree that their most recent rendition of their recitations is 
a relevant indication of their "initial" recitation.

6.  You wrote:  “How does this idea work with the -o- in Ari-o-ch?  I can 
see no -o- in arawaka or eriwika!?”

That’s the irrelevant medieval pointing of the Masoretes in the Middle Ages 
again.  The vav/W in )RYWK is a Hurrian W as a true consonant.  There is no 
I disagree with the way you dismiss the "medieval pointing of the 
This is evidence and data standing for "something".
It's not "nothing" as you say. It must be "something". Now I'm ready to 
agree that it's not obvious what that "something" really is, but it's not 


Arnaud Fournet

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