[b-hebrew] Song of Deborah
JimStinehart at aol.com
JimStinehart at aol.com
Tue Nov 15 09:55:02 EST 2011
Chavoux Luyt wrote:
“My first reaction was that Shamgar is as Semitic as you can get. But yes,
it might be uncommon in later periods and common in the Late Bronze Age. I
would still not give much weight to proper names in determining the age of
any text, but it can be an additional piece of evidence if there are other
facts that point to a certain date.”
I have not found any Semitic etymology for “Shamgar”.
Although his title “ben Anat” is west Semitic and honors a Canaanite god,
nevertheless as an honorific military title that title could be held by a
non-Semitic person. In evaluating the name “Shamgar” in the Song of Deborah,
we might first take note of the Hurrian atmosphere of that ancient poem.
QYNY means “Hurrian”, according to H.L. Ginsberg, B. Maisler and S.
Abramsky. Othniel Margalith, “The Sea Peoples in the Bible” (1994), p. 147.
Accordingly, the names XBR [‘Heber’] and Y(L, who are said to be QYNY/“Kenites”
, might be expected to be Hurrian personal names. [XBR means “Sky” or “Hea
ven” in Hurrian. The name of his wife Y(L would not be expected to be a
west Semitic name, nor would it be expected to have the incongruous west
Semitic meaning in this ancient poem of “Male Ibex”. A-al-la means “the lady”
in Hurrian, which is the ideal meaning of the name of the wife of XBR, as
Judges 4: 9 explicitly tells us that the point of the Song of Deborah is that
Israel’s enemy General Sisera will not die a manly death on the battlefield,
but rather will suffer the humiliation of being killed by “a woman”.] At
Judges 5: 6, Jael is linked to Shamgar ben Anat.
My prior post noted that ben Anat is an honorific military title that is
attested in the Late Bronze Age and early Iron Age. Shamgar is often viewed
as being a Hurrian mercenary. John H. Walton, Daniel I. Block, “Joshua,
Judges, Ruth, 1 & 2 Samuel” (2009), p. 132; Richard A. Gabriel, “The Military
History of Ancient Israel” (2003), p. 156. The name $MGR has no known west
Semitic etymology, and often is considered to be a Hurrian name. “Shamgar’
s name does not seem to be Israelite. Hamlin considers it to be a Hurrian
name and suggests that Shamgar ‘was of Hurrian descent’ (Hamlin, 78).” J.
Clinton McCann, “Judges: Interpretation” (2011), p. 47. “The name Shamgar
is non-Semitic (HALOT 4:1552, s.v. $MGR), and likely would have been
recognized as such even in antiquity….” Marc Zvi Brettler, “The Book of Judges”
(2002), pp. 24-25. “Shamgar. The name is apparently Hurrian, occurring in
Nuzi texts.” Robert G. Boling, “Judges: Volume 6, Part 1” (1975).
The Hurrian name $a-am-xa-ri is attested at the Late Bronze Age Hurrian
province of Nuzi in eastern Syria. Nozadze, “Vocabulary of the Hurrian Language
” (2007), p. 298. The consonants match, even though the third consonant is
written gimel/G in Hebrew but heth/X in Hurrian. “Hurrian had both
voiceless and voiced velar fricatives, /x/ and /γ/, both of which were written [in
Hurrian] with the sign for x.” Fournet Bomhard, “The Indo-European
Elements in Hurrian” (2010), p. 151. That voiced velar fricative γ, though
written heth/X in Hurrian, would likely have been written as a gimel/G by a Hebrew
author [as such sound is often transliterated as G in English]. Even in
Hurrian itself, the word “throne” is alternatively spelled gisxi or xisxi
[that is, with the first letter alternatively being G or X]. Fournet Bomhard,
Shamgar ben Anat is one of the most magnificent names in the entire Bible.
That grand name literally reeks of the Hurrians’ declining fortunes at the
close of the Late Bronze Age, as the Hebrews at long last definitively
displace the Hurrians as the dominant people in Canaan, just as accurately
predicted at Genesis 15: 18-21. If we focus on proper names, we see how
incredibly old the Song of Deborah is. There’s no way that a post-exilic author
could be coming up with all these vintage Late Bronze Age proper names.
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