[b-hebrew] RB

JimStinehart at aol.com JimStinehart at aol.com
Tue Nov 9 09:47:39 EST 2010

George Athas:
You wrote:  “Jim, that first paragraph of yours is filled with so many 
logical leaps, errors, fallacies, and unrealistic expectations that you are 
completely contorting evidence. It is so unscholarly and illogical that I 
hesitate even to call it an ‘argument’. I’m dumbstruck!”
I take it that by that you mean that you consider a Hebrew ayin at the end 
of a word or name to be a rock-solid consonant.  But is it?
As a common word, )RB( in Hebrew is like erbe in Akkadian.  Both mean “four”
, and they have only two key consonants:  RB.  The last letter is either a 
vowel or a letter that has some attributes of a vowel.  In cognate words, 
true Hebrew consonants usually have a consonant equivalent in Akkadian, but by 
sharp contrast, Hebrew ayin has as its Akkadian counterpart either nothing 
or a vowel.  Thus the Hebrew verb $M( is $em- or $emu in Akkadian. 
When one sees the ubiquitous RB in a Late Bronze Age proper name or title, 
such as )RB( as the name of an Anakim giant or QRYT )RB( as the name of the 
city where Abraham bought Sarah’s gravesite, one naturally thinks of “great”
, not “four”.
In fact, a meaning of “City of Four” makes so little sense for QRYT )RB( 
that commentators have had to be very creative.  There are only 3 Patriarchs, 
so Adam is often added in to make four great men buried there.  That makes 
no historical sense.  Absent that, many commentators give up on the notion 
of “four” altogether and insist that it means “City of [the Anakim Giant] 
Arba”.  Then the giant’s name “Arba” is not commented upon, as if it were 
just a name, with no meaning.  But a giant’s name would logically be “Big”, 
and would not logically be “Four”.  Gesenius even goes so far as to venture 
that the giant’s name may mean “homo quadratus”.  Can such wild 
speculations be taken seriously?  Nothing about “four” fits either an Anakim giant or 
the city where Abraham buys Sarah’s burial plot.  Meanwhile, RB meaning “
great” is the historical basis for more city names in Canaan than virtually 
any other root.  Since the Hebrew verb RB( does not seem to mean “be four”, 
but rather in Leviticus seems to mean “be big (in a manly way)”, there’s no 
reason to think that QRYT )RB( can only mean “City of Four”.  That ending 
ayin in this ancient proper name is not part of the archaic root, that’s all.
Isaac Fried is right to ignore the final ayin in )RB( in determining its 
root.  In context, the only sensible interpretation of QRYT )RB( is that it 
means “Great City”, based on the archaic 2-consonant root RB.  Adam is not 
buried there, and no ancient author had the slightest idea what a homo 
quadratus was.  Rather, based on its archaic 2-consonant root, RB, Biblical QRYT 
)RB( is historical Rubutu, in the Aijalon Valley.  That’s the gated city where 
Abraham bought Sarah’s gravesite from a non-Semitic lord.  The setting is 
fully verified to the nth degree, including not only the geographical 
location but also the specific ethnicities of all the various peoples involved, in 
a Late Bronze Age historical context.  It’s simply a question of considering 
that QRYT )RB( may well have a 2-consonant root:  RB.
Jim Stinehart
Evanston, Illinois

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