[b-hebrew] Early and late biblical Hebrew

jimstinehart at aol.com jimstinehart at aol.com
Fri Nov 25 18:40:37 EST 2011

Isaac Fried:

You wrote:  “This is how they were called by the people of the land. Those who were living close together were typically called QNIZIY, and those who were living spread out were typically called PRIZIY.”

1.  The PRZY did not live “spread out”.  The most famous PRZY lived in Jerusalem.  Genesis 12: 6 tells us that the Canaanite ruled Shechem.  Genesis 13: 7 then says that the Canaanite and the PRZY were in the land;  in context, that means that the Canaanite Lab’ayu ruled Shechem, and the Hurrian/PRZY/Piri-izzi-ya IR-Heba ruled Jerusalem.  Because those two antagonistic rulers held sway in the only two cities that existed at that time in hill country south of the Jezreel Valley, Abram and Lot could go neither north [by Shechem] nor south [by Jerusalem] in leaving Bethel.  So Genesis 13: 11 explicitly says that Lot went “east” from Bethel, and per Genesis 13: 9, Abram went the opposite direction as Lot.  So Abram went west, to the Ayalon Valley, a territory controlled by an Amorite princeling, just as Genesis 14: 13 says.  If it’s Year 12 [and it must be the year before Year 13, per the second half of Genesis 14: 4], then all three rulers match exactly:  (i) the Canaanite strongman Lab’ayu in Shechem;  (ii) the Perizzite/Hurrian Ir-Heba in Jerusalem;  and (iii) the Amorite princeling Milk-Ilu in the Ayalon Valley.  That’s  p-i-n-p-o-i-n-t  historical accuracy in a Year 12 context.

2.  As to QNZY, David Steinberg has pointed out that KNS does not match, having only one phoneme in common.  Why not instead go with a super-spectacular 4-letter match?  Take a gander at this Hurrian name from the Late Bronze Age Hurrian province of Nuzi in eastern Syria:  Qa-ni-iz-za.  [Gelb and Purves, “Nuzi Personal Names” (1943),  p. 79b.]  Hebrew yod/Y is used to represent the Hurrian vowel A, and the Hebrew rendering of Hurrian names never doubles a consonant.  So QNZY is Qa-Ni-iZ-A.  You can’t beat 4 for 4.

The Patriarchal narratives are much older, and more historically accurate, than university scholars realize.  Just look at those ancient Hurrian proper names!

Jim Stinehart
Evanston, Illinois

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