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

Arnaud Fournet fournet.arnaud at wanadoo.fr
Thu Jul 29 10:32:20 EDT 2010

----- Original Message ----- 
From: JimStinehart at aol.com
To: fournet.arnaud at wanadoo.fr ; kwrandolph at gmail.com
Cc: b-hebrew at lists.ibiblio.org
Sent: Thursday, July 29, 2010 3:33 PM
Subject: Re: [b-hebrew] H-XT-Y at II Samuel 11: 3

Dr. Arnaud Fournet:

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

1.  The mainstream scholarly view is that the name “Uriah” is a west Semitic 
name that means (per Gesenius) “YHWH Is My Light” or, per Karl, “Lord Is 
Light”.  If that scholarly analysis is right, then no Hittite or Anatolian 
Indo-European would have such a blatantly Hebrew name.
Then why is he called ha-Hatti ?
As far as I know this is not a Semitic ethnonym.
If that name is so Hebrew, why is he not just categorized as Hebrew?

2.  In chapter 23 of Genesis, Abraham is portrayed as buying Sarah’s 
gravesite in the heart of Canaan from Ephron, a member of the X-T people. 
Historically, no Hittite or  A-n-a-t-o-l-i-a-n  Indo-European people ever 
dominated a city in the heart of Canaan, or sold a plot of land to a 
tent-dwelling Hebrew.  The Luwians that you mention were never in the hill 
country of Canaan south of the Jezreel Valley, so their daughters couldn’t 
marry Esau.

How can you and James Christian talk about Hittite or  A-n-a-t-o-l-i-a-n 
Indo-European people being in south-central Canaan?  There’s no evidence to 
support that.
More exactly, I'm personally suggesting that Hatt- / Hett- may be the name 
for some Hurro-Urartian persons, rather than the Hittites stricto sensu.
I have nothing at stake in that suggestion. You prompted me to look at your 
reference which mentions that idea.

3.  The mainstream scholarly view is that “Ephron” is a west Semitic name 
that means “Bambi”/“fawn”, that his father “Zohar” has a west Semitic name 
that means “tawny”, and that the phrase H-XT-Y has no attested historical 

4.  Could you please comment on the mainstream scholarly view that the names 
“Uriah” and “Ephron” and “Zohar” should be viewed as being west Semitic 
names with the above meanings, and that the phrase H-XT-Y should be viewed 
as having no historical meaning whatsoever?  Is west Semitic the first 
language you think of when you see the following four Biblical names 
referring to people in Canaan?

As a matter of principle, I completely disagree with your "habit" of 
mentioning only consonants. We have the vowels so let's add them.
As far as I can read that name in Hebrew the skeleton is ' R y h (with 
"weak" h) = 'uriyah.
With this vowel that form is not directly connectable with Hurrian ur(i)hi. 
But urhiya exists  = "he is true".



Looks like the-Hiti.
Now it remains to know what people that really points at.

That west Semitic analysis is the semi-unanimous view of the leading 
mainstream scholars, as we see here:

“[A]ll Hittites named in the OT have good Semitic names, e.g. Ephron, Sohar, 
Uriah.  ‘Apart from the expression “the land of the Hittites”, which 
sometimes denotes Syria, all other references to “Hittites” in the OT are to 
a small group living in the hills during the era of the Patriarchs and 
descendants of that group’ (H.A. Hoffner, POTT, 213-214).”  Gordon Wenham, 
“Genesis 16-50” (1994), at p. 126.

What is your own analysis of those four names?  Do you agree with the 
scholarly consensus that they are west Semitic names?  (I’m quoting the very 
top scholars in the world here.)  Why would the Biblical phrase “the land of 
the Hittites” sometimes denote Syria [Joshua 1: 4], if the Biblical Hittites 
are “a small group living in the hills” of Canaan?  II Kings 7: 6 seems to 
view the kings of the Hittites as being kings in Syria.  There weren’t any 
kings of “a small group living in the hills” of Canaan, were there?  And why 
is Solomon said to have Hittite wives at I Kings 11: 1?  Did Solomon marry 
several women from “a small group living in the hills” of Canaan, and if so, 
why would that be noteworthy?  I presume that university freshmen are taught 
this stuff every year.  Am I the only one who sees this scholarly analysis 
as not making sense?  Why would anyone think that the Biblical Hittites were 
Canaanites with west Semitic names?  Not only is there no historical backing 
for such a claim, but also it makes no linguistic sense either.
As far as I understand the issue, all hinges around who these people really 
are: the same as *our* modern Hittites or some other people (or maybe more 
than one people).
I'm also quite confused that you now seem to defend a truly Semitic 
identification of these "Hittites" when you previously referred to a 
suggestion they were not.
I do not understand what you exactly want to say or want to oppose.
What's the problem with some Luwian people being very much to the south or 
some Hurro-Urartian people being there after Assyrians deported them to that 

More over, Ephron with a Ayin is not Hiti but Het.
Not the same name and not the same period. Apparently there's 1000 years 
between Ephron beni-Het and 'uriyah ha-Hiti.
How do you connect two dots with a 1000-year gap in between?

Arnaud Fournet

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