[b-hebrew] song of Deborah

David Steinberg david.l.steinberg at rogers.com
Fri Nov 18 12:15:50 EST 2011

The fact that ancient names are used proves nothing. Look at the Iliad 
or the Nibelungenlied. Both contain ancient names and originated in 
historical events. In both cases they were written down much later and 
neither contains much of the historical events in any recognizable form.

Thus the persistence of ancient names neither proves or disproves the 
possibility of an early date for the poem.

David Steinberg
On 18/11/2011 11:02 AM, JimStinehart at aol.com wrote:
> David Steinberg:
> 1.   Your website is fascinating.
> I also agree with the following statement in your prior post as to not relying on the language of the Song of Deborah to date that text:
> “In fact, it could be very ancient with the language updated to be comprehensible to the listeners of recited poetry in mid to late First Temple Judah or written
> any time 800-400 BCE. The language, in fact tells you nothing about the
> date of composition, early or late.”
> To me, the conclusion is that we should focus instead on the proper names in the Song of Deborah and in any other Biblical text that may be very old, such as the Patriarchal narratives.
> 2.   To show how bona fide Late Bronze Age proper names can date a Biblical text, let’s look at the mangling of a Hurrian name in Chronicles.   I Chronicles 21: 15-28 repeatedly references “Ornan”, a Jebusite with a threshingfloor in King David’s   Jerusalem  .   That’s got to be “Araunah” in II Samuel, who is a Jebusite with a threshingfloor in King David’s   Jerusalem  .   But take a look now at how that fine Hurrian name has been mangled almost beyond recognition in Chronicles.
> )RWN-H/Araunah at II Samuel 24: 20-24 is the Hurrian name Erwin [Er-wi-in, or alternatively Arawana], plus a Semiticized -H ending.   [On one occasion, at II Samuel 24: 16, the consonants R and W are reversed.   Such metathesis is common in Hurrian, and as such is not necessarily a Biblical scribal error.]   The post-exilic author of I Chronicles 21 decided to “improve” that prior Biblical rendering of the Hurrian name Erwin.   He mistakenly thought that the interior vav/W in )RWN-H was a plene spelling vowel indicator, so he archaized the spelling of the name by dropping it.   But the Hurrian word erwi [meaning “lord” or “to be lord”] needs a consonantal W [or a B or a P].   Note that the KJV in about 1600 A.D. made the same mistake!   KJV mistakenly saw the interior vav/W in )RWN-H/Araunah at II Samuel 24: 20-24 as being a vowel indicator [instead of being what it actually is -- a true consonant], and so KJV transliterated it as the   vowel   U.   That’s how the Hurrian name Erwin is known today as “Araunah”.   The post-exilic author of I Chronicles also realized that the final -H was a Semiticized ending, so he tried to further archaize the name by dropping the -H and substituting what sometimes is a Hurrian ending, -N.   That’s how I Chronicles came up with the gosh awful )RNN/“Ornan”, which bears no reasonable relationship to the Hurrian name Erwin.
> Where you have bona fide Late Bronze Age proper names in the Bible, then either the Biblical text was composed in, or shortly after, the Late Bronze Age [the Patriarchal narratives, Song of Deborah], or else a pre-exilic author [as in II Samuel] has both borrowed ancient names from those two sources, and then supplemented them with Hurrian names from the Hurrian families that remained in Jerusalem until exilic times.   As to that last point, that’s what Joshua 15: 63 is telling us, once we realize that “Jebusites” = Hurrians [with “Araunah the Jebusite” being a Hurrian in Jerusalem -- Er-win the A-bu-u-se-ya]:   “As for the Jebusites [H-YBWS-Y] the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the children of Judah could not drive them out:  but the Jebusites [Hurrians] dwell with the children of Judah at Jerusalem unto this day.”
> In my opinion, the Bible is much older, and more historically accurate, than university scholars realize.   One key to seeing that is to focus on all those many delightful Late Bronze Age proper names in the Bible.
> Jim Stinehart
>    Evanston  ,  Illinois     

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