[b-hebrew] H-XT-Y at II Samuel 11: 3

Arnaud Fournet fournet.arnaud at wanadoo.fr
Wed Jul 28 14:09:06 EDT 2010

----- Original Message ----- 
From: <JimStinehart at aol.com>
To: <b-hebrew at lists.ibiblio.org>
Sent: Wednesday, July 28, 2010 5:13 PM
Subject: [b-hebrew] H-XT-Y at II Samuel 11: 3

> H-XT-Y at II Samuel 11: 3
> The Biblical Hebrew word H-XT-Y, which appears for example at II Samuel 
> 11:
> 3, has been difficult to understand.  In the early 17th century AD, the 
> translators decided to translate XTY as “Hittite”, to the consternation of
> modern Hittite scholars:
> “How then did the term ‘Hittite’ come about?  It arose initially out of a
> few scattered biblical references to a Canaanite people after the end of 
> the
> Bronze Age.  The term was subsequently adopted by scholars to refer to the
> Late Bronze Age kingdom in Anatolia.  As far as we know, the Late Bronze 
> Age
> ‘Hittites’ never used an ethnic or political term to designate themselves…
> .  They simply called themselves ‘people of the Land of Hatti’.  That is,
> they identified themselves by the region in which they lived….”  Trevor
> Bryce, “The Kingdom of the Hittites” (1998), at pp. 18-19.
The Hittite language is called nes- in Hittite.
Nes-ili "in Hittite"
Hatt-ili "in Hatti"
Hurl-ili "in Hurrian"

The fact is Hittites conquered Hatti-land and acquired that name for 

It can be observed that Armenians call themselves Haykh and Diakonov has 
suggested that Haykh is derived from Hatik.
This suggestion may be wrong but in all cases phonetics is perfectly 

In other words, the possibility exists that the stem Hat- has been used 
without discontinuity for 4000 years to call people who live in the 
northeastern part of "Turkey".


> I myself question Bryce’s assertion that these people are Canaanites who
> post-date the Late Bronze Age.  But they’re certainly not the Hittites 
> from
> eastern Anatolia, that’s for sure.
Why is it so sure?

On the linguistic side, if a reference to
> the people of eastern Anatolia had been the primary intent of the Biblical
> authors, one might have expected XTT, with two tavs, not one.  For 
> example,
> all the references to Hatti in the Amarna Letters have two T’s, making 
> this a
> 3-syllable word.  For example:  (1) KUR.xa-at-ta, at EA 363: 11;  (2)
> KUR.xa-at-ti, at EA 197: 24;  and (3) KUR.xa-at-te, at EA 196: 10, 17. 
> The
> logogram KUR is always there, making certain that this is a reference to a
> country, not “an ethnic or political term”.
Hatta with two -t-t- indicates that the -t- is voiceless. That's how 
Hurro-Hittite cuneiform works.
There are only two syllables: [ha-ta] written <ha-at-ta>. <ha-ta> is to be 
phoneticized [ha-da].

KUR is indeed "land"
KUR ma-a-aS-ri-a-an-ni "Egypt" in Hurrian.


> The yod/Y at the end of H-XT-Y is a Hebrew suffix, not part of the root.
> We know that from other Biblical references to these same people as BNY 
> XT,
> where the second word is simply XT, with no yod/Y.  As noted by eminent
> Hittite scholars Harry A. Hoffner and Trevor Bryce (the two biggest names 
> in the
> field), the Hebrews are routinely portrayed in the Bible as interacting 
> with
> the XT people in the heart of Canaan, being a place where no Hittite ever
> was, that’s for sure.
Luwian which is a language close to Hittite is attested in North Syria, not 
so far after all.


 I agree with university scholars that the XT people
> are not the Hittites from eastern Anatolia.  But then who are these XT 
> people?
> It’s not likely, is it, that the XT people are utterly fictional, having
> no historical counterpart whatsoever?  Though that may be the view of
> university scholars, wouldn’t the rest of us want to take a look for 
> ourselves, to
> see if we can figure out who the X-T people were historically, perhaps
> focusing on X-T as being a key linguistic clue?
> One possible avenue to explore is a people who historically have many
> attested personal names that begin with XT, and who at least for a short 
> time
> (perhaps in the Late Bronze Age) lived throughout Canaan as prominent 
> members
> of the ruling class.  Well-known scholar Edward Lipinski comments on II
> Samuel 11: 3 in a succinct paragraph here:
> http://books.google.com/books?id=SLSzNfdcqfoC&pg=PA500&dq=Hu-ti-ya+Hurrian&h
> l=en&ei=tvdNTOa6I4L58AaYgZn9Cw&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=7&ved=0C
> EUQ6AEwBg#v=onepage&q&f=false
The -thsabe of Be-thsabe cannot be Hurrian TeSSub but it can be the Urartian 
equivalent: TeiSSaba.
Actually this is very much coherent with the ethnonym Hat- as Urartian is 
the substrate of Armenian.
Quite funny. It moves back to square one.
There is no attested self ethnonym for the Urartians as far as I know.
Ewri "lord" is coherent with Urartian (and Hurrian as well).

> The moderators have instructed me not to re-hash my own theories as to
> these matters, so I won’t.  But might I simply ask what other people on 
> the
> b-hebrew list make of those mysterious Biblical references to the XT 
> people?
> Who are the H-XT-Y at II Samuel 11: 3?  Should we be looking for an 
> historical
> people in Canaan with attested names out the wazzoo beginning with X-T?
> Assuming that the moderators are right in ruling out, in advance, any 
> further
> consideration of my own theories of the case (and the moderators are
> certainly correct that most people on the b-hebrew list already know how I 
> would
> approach this question, looking for an historical people in Late Bronze 
> Age
> Canaan who historically have many attested theophoric names that begin 
> with
> X-T, and refusing to assume, without examination, that every single 
> Biblical
> reference to the XT people is utterly fictional and has no historical 
> basis
> whatsoever, especially in the face of so many attested names starting with
> X-T of a people who for a time were very prominent members of the ruling 
> class
> throughout Canaan, including Jerusalem, the city of Hebron, etc., etc.),
> then what analysis do you all make of the Biblical XT people?
> Jim Stinehart

I don't see what makes these people "obviously" not Hittites or Anatolian 
Indo-Europeans of that kind in the first place!?
Please explain.

Arnaud Fournet

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