[b-hebrew] song of Deborah

JimStinehart at aol.com JimStinehart at aol.com
Fri Nov 18 14:22:53 EST 2011

David Steinberg:
You wrote:  “The fact that ancient names are used proves nothing.”
What a statement!  Spoken like a true scholar.
Let’s check out that startling assertion, in the context of Akkadian proper 
names with Hurrian characteristics in the Bible.  We know that of the 2,235 
personal names at Late Bronze Age Nuzi in eastern Syria whose language 
group has been determined, 1,500, or 67%, are Hurrian, and 631, or 28%, are 
Akkadian.  Gelb & Purves, “Nuzi Personal Names”, p. 5.  Thus if QYNY at Genesis 
15: 19 is referencing Hurrian princeling rulers in the Canaan of the Amarna 
Age, we should not be too surprised if it is a Hurrian name that is based 
on an Akkadian verb, since that general pattern applies to about 28% of the 
names attested at the Hurrian province of Nuzi.  Scholars have long 
speculated that QYNY/“Kenites” may be Hurrian:  “Like Ginsberg and Maisler, Abramsky 
maintains that the names qanazi and ben-qnad which appear in Ugaritic 
inscriptions are Hurrian, and suggests that qanizi is merely qani with the 
Hurrian suffix -izi….”  Othniel Margalith, “The Sea Peoples in the Bible” 
(1994), p. 147.
But even scholars who see the QYNY at Genesis 15: 19 as being Hurrians have 
been unable to understand the Biblical name QYNY, because they have failed 
to realize that it is, like so many other names attested at the Hurrian 
province of Nuzi, an Akkadian name with Hurrian characteristics.
In recording Hurrian names in Biblical Hebrew, the author of the 
Patriarchal narratives uses Hebrew yod/Y to represent the Hurrian vowel A as its own 
separate syllable.  That was necessary, because Hebrew itself has no such 
phenomenon of the vowel A being its own separate syllable.  On that basis, QYNY 
is representing Qa-a-ni-a [or Qa-a-ni-ya].  That’s the letter-for-letter 
equivalent of the Hurrian name Qa-a-na attested at Nuzi, where Qa-a-na at Nuzi 
is viewed as being a slightly shortened version of Qa-a-ni-a [or 
Qa-a-ni-ya].  The first Hebrew yod/Y represents the vowel A (being as discussed below 
a long A (ā) and/or the vowel A as its own separate syllable), whereas in 
final position, the second Hebrew yod/Y represents the Hurrian theophoric 
suffix -ya [which could alternatively be spelled -a, that is, the Hurrian vowel 
A as its own separate syllable].  What scholars have missed, in being unable 
to understand this Hurrian name at Nuzi, is that the root of this Hurrian 
name is the Akkadian verb kānu, rather than being a Hurrian common word.  The 
long vowel A in Akkadian is reflected here in Hurrian by the presence of a 
second A after the first A.  As to the initial consonant, K and Q are 
interchangeable in Hurrian:  Nuzi has both Qa-a-na and Ka-a-ni.
The Biblical name QYN-Y conceptually is Kāni-ya, where kāni is the Hurrian 
version of the Akkadian verb kānu meaning “to be firm”, and -a or -ya is 
the classic Hurrian theophoric suffix referencing Teshup.  As such, this 
Hurrian-Akkadian-based Patriarchal nickname means:  “Teshup Is Firm”.  That was 
a fundamental belief of the Hurrians, who viewed their storm-god Teshup as 
being strong and implacable, and as such is an apt Patriarchal nickname for 
Hurrians in Canaan in the mid-14th century BCE.
How does the foregoing analysis date the Patriarchal narratives?  In the 
entire Bible, the only two proper names that are Akkadian names with Hurrian 
characteristics are found at Genesis 15: 19:  QYN-Y and QNZ-Y.  Of particular 
importance here, we can tell that the Hurrian families who lived in 
Jerusalem until exilic times had no Akkadian roots, and never used Akkadian in any 
of their family names, because not a single name in the rest of the Bible 
that is paired with QYN-Y [“Kenites”] or QNZ-Y [“Kenizzites”] is an 
Akkadian-based name, yet every one of such personal names is a Hurrian name.  Prior 
to exilic times, later Biblical authors could come up with Hurrian personal 
names, but unlike the truly ancient Patriarchal narratives, later Biblical 
authors never came up with a single personal name that is an Akkadian-based 
name with Hurrian characteristics.
Though university scholars urge us to ignore proper names for purposes of 
dating Biblical texts, that is not good advice.  On the contrary, by paying 
close attention to the types of proper names in a Biblical text we can often 
date that text.  When we see $a-am-g/xa-ri and A-al-la and Xavur and Ben 
A-na-t in the Song of Deborah, that indicates a composition done shortly after 
the end of the Late Bronze Age.  When we see at Genesis 15: 19-21 that 
murderers’ row of Hurrian-based Patriarchal nicknames for the Hurrian princelings 
who thoroughly dominated the cities of Canaan as the ruling class only in 
the time period of the Amarna Letters -- Qa-a-ni-ya, Qa-ni-zi-ya, Xuti-ya, 
Piri-izzi-ya, Gera-ge-$e-ya, A-bu-u-se-ya -- that is telling us that the 
Patriarchal narratives were composed in the mid-14th century BCE.  Once the Late 
Bronze Age had passed, there is no way that any later author could have come 
up with those six Hurrian-based Patriarchal nicknames for the Hurrian 
ruling class of Canaan, especially the two Akkadian-based names that have Hurrian 
By ignoring proper names in the Bible for dating purposes, university 
scholars have failed to realize how old and historically accurate the Bible is.
Jim Stinehart
Evanston, Illinois

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