[b-hebrew] Does the Name Caleb Mean "Dog"? Not.
JimStinehart at aol.com
JimStinehart at aol.com
Mon Sep 12 09:58:37 EDT 2011
We have discovered a new way of analyzing certain exotic foreign names in
the Bible. YBWS-Y/“Jebusites”, formerly thought to be inexplicable
linguistically, turns out to be just like the princeling name Yi-id-ia in the Amarna
Letters: an Akkadian name with Hurrian characteristics, where the root is
the Hurrian spelling of an Akkadian verb, followed by one or more standard
Hurrian suffixes. That insight may enable us to solve another longstanding
Biblical mystery: the question of whether the name of Joshua’s trusted
confidante, KLB/“Caleb”, is, as scholars assert, a west Semitic name that means “
Dog”. Such a meaning makes no sense for an invaluable ally of Joshua.
Moreover, should we in any event expect Caleb to have a west Semitic name?
The Bible tells us over and over and o-v-e-r again that Caleb was a
Kenizzite. For example, we see the phrase “Caleb the son of Jephunneh the
Kenizzite” at Numbers 13: 6, Deuteronomy 1: 36, and Joshua 14: 6.
Who were the Kenizzites, and how should that name, QN-Z-Y, be analyzed?
Although many scholars properly see Kenizzites as being a Hurrian name,
nevertheless the scholarly view of this name is extremely peculiar, focusing on a
single letter, the Hebrew letter zayin/Z, and saying essentially nothing
about any of the other three letters in this exotic name:
“[O]f all the ethnic terms found in these early [Biblical] traditions
Kenizzi comes closest to a Hurrian form…. With Kenizzi, Perizzi cf. a-ki-iz-zi
king of Qatna during Hurrian preponderance…and Perizzi, name of a Hurrian
envoy in an Amarna letter….” Blenkinsopp, “Gibeon and Israel” (1972), pp. 18
W-h-y have scholars been unable to identify the linguistic root of QN-Z-Y?
Closer examination reveals that, contra Blenkinsopp, QN-Z-Y is n-o-t
like Peri-izzi or Aki-izzi, because piri is the Hurrian common word for “lord”
, and ag or aki is the Hurrian common word for “to lead, guide”, whereas by
contrast, QN is not a Hurrian common word at all. But we on the b-hebrew
list now know how to approach this linguistic problem. “Kenizzite” should
be expected to be an Akkadian-based name with Hurrian characteristics, just
like “Jebusites” and Yi-id-ia.
Remembering that Hurrian spellings of Akkadian verbs are often a bit funky,
QN is the Hebrew rendering of the Hurrian spelling of the Akkadian verb kā
nu. Although modern practice is, unfortunately, not to use the letter Q in
transcribing Hurrian, in fact Hurrian has the word NQD, which may be a loan
word from Akkadian that in Akkadian can be spelled with either a Q or a K:
the Akkadian verb naqādu or nakādu, each of which can mean “to be anxious”
or “to be disturbed”. Given how close the meanings are of those two
Akkadian verbs, it appears that an Akkadian K could on occasion interchange with
and/or be pronounced Q, that is, as an emphatic K. Note also that the
Akkadian verb kananu [meaning “to contract”, and being somewhat similar to the
Akkadian verb kānu being discussed here] could alternatively be written as
qananu, with K interchanging with Q in Akkadian [even though those two letters
do not interchange in Biblical Hebrew]. We see that kānu in Akkadian could
be written qan in Hurrian, and transcribed using Hebrew letters as QN.
On that analysis, QN-Z-Y means “Firm Is Blessed Teshup”, where QN/kānu is
an Akkadian verb meaning “to be firm”, -zi is a standard Hurrian suffix
meaning “blessed”, and -ya is another standard Hurrian suffix that is a
theophoric which often references Teshup. Names like QN-Z-Y, starting
interchangeably with Q or K, are commonplace at Nuzi [per the 1943 renderings in Gelb
and Purves, “Nuzi Personal Names”]: Qa-ni-iz-za and Ka-an-za-a-a and
Qa-an-zu, etc. How can one look at Nuzi name Qa-ni-iz-za and not see the Biblical
name QN-Z-Y? They’re the same name!
The format of all these names, both at Nuzi and in the Biblical names “
Kenizzite” and “Jebusite”, is just like Yi-id-ia in the Amarna Letters: the
Hurrian version of an Akkadian verb, plus one or more standard,
run-of-the-mill, classic Hurrian suffixes. Same.
Since “Caleb”/KLB is repeatedly stated in the Bible to be a Kenizzite, and
the name QN-Z-Y/“Kenizzite” is a Hurrian name (being an Akkadian-based
name with Hurrian characteristics, to be specific), we should then logically
expect KL-B to be a Hurrian name. And it is! And it should have a grand
meaning in Hurrian, well befitting a fine comrade of Joshua. It does!
The root of KL-B is KL, being the Hurrian common word kel-, meaning “it
pleases” or “it satisfies”. Many Hurrian names start with this Hurrian word:
Kel-teya, Kel-te$up, Keleya and from the Amarna Letters, Keliya, with all
four such names meaning “It Pleases Teshup” [remembering that -ya references
Teshup as a Hurrian suffix]. An alternative suffix for kel- is -b,
alternatively spelled -p [as Teshub with a -b and Teshup with a -p are
interchangeable in Hurrian]. This Hurrian formative has no substantive meaning, but
makes a common word suitable to be a freestanding name. We see this in the
form Kelip at the beginning of many Hurrian names: Kelip-erwi; Kelip-$arri;
Kelip-tilla; Kelip-ukur. The first such name, where erwi is one spelling
of the Hurrian common word for “lord”, means “It Pleases the Lord”.
The Biblical rendering KLB has no express theophoric, but the implication
is there. Thus for a Hebrew like Joshua’s trusted assistant, the name KLB/“
Caleb” is the Hurrian name KL-B, meaning “It Pleases [Deity]”, with the
fine implication then being in this context: “It Pleases YHWH”.
Does the name “Caleb” really mean “Dog”? Not. Rather, the meaning of
the name of Joshua’s fine confidante is “It Pleases YHWH”. The key is the
Bible’s repeated insistence that KLB/“Caleb” is a QN-Z-Y/“Kenizzite”. We
now know how to analyze Biblical names like “Kenizzite” and “Jebusite” as
being Akkadian names with Hurrian characteristics. Think Akkadian! [With
These exotic foreign names in the Bible are much older and more
historically accurate than scholars realize.
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