[b-hebrew] song of Deborah

JimStinehart at aol.com JimStinehart at aol.com
Fri Nov 18 11:02:38 EST 2011

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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