[b-hebrew] Terakh

JimStinehart at aol.com JimStinehart at aol.com
Tue Jun 1 13:53:22 EDT 2010

1.  You wrote:  “Psalm 102:14 TRXM is a second person singular form of the 
verse RXM. That you should make such an elementary, first year type of 
mistake in Hebrew …”
That’s exactly what I said:  “T + RX + M = TRXM, and means “you behold 
with tenderest affection”, which may move you to marry.  Psalms 102: 13.”  I 
am very well aware that TRXM “is a second person singular form of the ver[b] 
RXM”.  Indeed, that verb appears in precisely that form at Psalms 102: 13, 
which is one key reason why I specifically cited Psalms 102: 13 in the first 
place.  One controversial part of my statement is whether the 3-letter 
Hebrew verb RXM is based on an archaic 2-letter west Semitic root RX, meaning “to 
In fact, my main focus in that connection is the Ugaritic verb TRX, which 
can mean “to pay the brideprice”.  I myself see that as being a critical 
role that Terakh plays in the Patriarchal narratives.  The linguistic questions 
here are (i) whether TRX in Ugaritic may have some connection to the second 
person singular form of the Hebrew verb RXM, which is TRXM [TRX vs. TRXM], 
and (ii) whether the name TRX is connected linguistically to either or both 
TRX as a Ugaritic verb, and TRXM as the second person singular form of the 
Hebrew verb RXM.  Moreover, the name TRX may have been deliberately designed 
to recall TRXM, even if, strictly speaking, there possibly is no pure 
linguistic connection at all.
 2.  You wrote:  “In this case, your whole argument concerning the meaning 
of Terach opposes the historicity of the patriarchal narratives, as in 
Hebrew given names at birth had little to do with what a person did later in life.
But in any event, wouldn’t a person’s birth name give us a good clue as to 
what type of language his parents spoke?  If TRX is a virgin pure west 
Semitic name, which is my view and is the main subject of this thread, then that 
strongly suggests that Terakh’s parents are portrayed as being west Semitic 
speakers, and as such being natives of Canaan, rather than being natives of 
non-west Semitic-speaking southern Mesopotamia.  Though not the main focus 
of this particular thread, the same west Semitic analysis applies to both of 
the names “Haran” and “Abram”.  It’s hugely important to my analysis of 
the Patriarchal narratives whether the names TRX, HRN, and )BRM are west 
Semitic or not.
 3.  You wrote:  “Third, you commit the etymological error, that because 
something appears to be connected by its form, therefore it is connected by 
its etymology and meaning. Especially in names, that connection often cannot 
be made.”
I myself doubt that it’s just a coincidence that the four meanings of the 
west Semitic name TRX that I set forth in my first post deftly encapsulate 
all of Terakh’s key actions in the Patriarchal narratives.
4.  You wrote:  “There is no evidence within Hebrew itself that all words 
originally had two letter roots.”
I agree.  But I think you would agree that  s-o-m-e  Biblical Hebrew words 
can be traced back to having an archaic 2-letter root, even where, as is 
routinely the case, by the time we get to the 1st millennium BCE the word is 
now treated as having a 3-letter root.  Thus the verb )RX is a 3-letter root 
in the 1st millennium BCE.  But originally, it may have been based on an 
archaic 2-letter west Semitic root, RX.  The )/aleph was added as a prosthetic 
aleph originally, though it later became part of the root.
I myself see all relevant aspects of the name TRX/Terakh as being fully 
explainable in terms of an exclusively west Semitic analysis.  Nothing in that 
name recalls southern Mesopotamia, Akkadian, etc.  The Akkadian word for “
caravan”, for example, is harranu, being close to the Hurrian word XRN for “
the road” and the name of the city where Terakh stayed, but being nothing at 
all like the west Semitic name TRX.  “Moon” in Akkadian is Sin, once again 
being nothing like west Semitic YRX or having any possible linguistic 
relationship to the name TRX.  Rather, the name Terakh/TRX is a virgin pure west 
Semitic name, which helps us understand that the author of the Patriarchal 
narratives knew, and historically accurately portrays, Terakh and his family 
as being indigenous to west Semitic-speaking Canaan.  
Jim Stinehart
Evanston, Illinois

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