[b-hebrew] Caleb

JimStinehart at aol.com JimStinehart at aol.com
Thu Sep 15 10:42:11 EDT 2011

It seems that most of us on the b-hebrew list agree that the name of Joshua’
s stout ally, Caleb, cannot be a west Semitic name meaning “Dog”.  In 
support of my proposed Hurrian analysis of KLB being KL-B, or Kelip [“It Pleases 
[Deity]”], in Hurrian, consider the following.
1.  Certainly Caleb did not give his daughter a west Semitic name meaning “
fetters for a criminal”!!!  The name of Caleb’s daughter at Joshua 15: 16 
is Achsah, spelled (KS-H, where the root is (KS [and -H is a Semiticizing 
suffix, a phenomenon also observed with the Hurrian names Uria-h and Arauna-h]. 
 At Proverbs 7: 22 we see the Hebrew common word (KS, meaning “fetters for 
a criminal”.  That makes no sense as a name for Caleb’s daughter.  [There’s 
also “anklet (with a negative meaning)” as (KS, at Isaiah 3: 18, but that 
still does not have a positive meaning.]
(KS is A-ki-si or A-ki-is-si in Hurrian [with Hurrian having only s, which 
can be either samekh/S or sin/%].  That’s a variant of A-ki-iz-zi, a Hurrian 
princeling name found in the Amarna Letters, meaning “Led by [Deity]”.  
Compare the alternative spellings of the name of a Hurrian envoy in the Amarna 
Letters:  Pirizzi vs. Pirissi.  Hess uses the former spelling, whereas 
Moran and Rainey use the latter spelling.
In fact, as I noted in a prior post, Kenizzites and all four personal names 
associated with Kenizzites in pre-exilic books of the Bible are Hurrian 
names, not west Semitic names:  Kenizzites and Jephunneh and Othniel [with a 
Semiticized suffix] and Caleb and Achsah.
It’s the same with “Kenites”, where XBR and XB-B and R(W-)L [with the same 
Semiticized suffix as in Othniel] and MDYN-Y are all Hurrian names, not 
west Semitic names.
Likewise, Uriah and Ephron are Hurrian personal names that are paired with “
Hittite”, and Araunah is a Hurrian personal name that is paired with 
Jebusite.  Every one of the above names is Hurrian, and nary a one is west Semitic.
2.  But now for the new news.  There must have been a few prominent 
families in Jerusalem whose origins had originally been Hurrian, and who continued 
an age-old custom of giving generation after generation of their children 
Hurrian names.  That’s the only logical way that pre-exilic Biblical authors 
could come up with so many Hurrian personal names to match with Hurrian-based 
Patriarchal nicknames for Hurrians at Genesis 15: 19-21, where in the truly 
ancient Patriarchal narratives we find Kenites and Kenizzites and Hittites 
and Perizzites and Girgashites and Jebusites.
But now consider this.  Whereas Kenites and Kenizzites and Jebusites are 
Akkadian-based names with Hurrian characteristics, and only Hittites and 
Perizzites and Girgashites are purely Hurrian names,  a-l-l  of the Hurrian 
personal names in pre-exilic books in the Bible are purely Hurrian names [not A
kkadian-based names with one or more Hurrian suffixes, as is often the case in 
the truly ancient Patriarchal narratives].  Notice the following consistent 
pattern of simplification:
(a)  In the Amarna Letters, the names of Hurrian princelings are either 
pure Hurrian or Akkadian or Sanskrit.
(b)  But in the Patriarchal narratives, all names used for the Hurrian 
ruling class in Canaan are either pure Hurrian or Akkadian, never Sanskrit.  The 
reason for that is that no one in Canaan spoke Sanskrit, so the early 
Hebrew author did not know the underlying meaning of Sanskrit names and so could 
not manipulate Sanskrit names.
(c)  Yet in pre-exilic books of the Bible, all Hurrian personal names are 
exclusively pure Hurrian, not Akkadian:  Caleb, Achsah, Othniel, Jephunneh, 
Heber, Hobab, Reu-el, Araunah, Uriah.  That must mean that the handful of 
families in Jerusalem that continued to give their children Hurrian names did 
not have a tradition of Akkadian-based names with Hurrian characteristics.
One thing people tend to forget is that even though pre-exilic Biblical 
authors may not have known much about the historical Hurrians from the Late 
Bronze Age, the one thing they darn sure did know was whether a proper name was 
west Semitic or not.  Those pre-exilic Biblical authors were all Biblical 
Hebrew native speakers [lucky guys!].  They instantly saw that the names 
Kenites, Kenizzites, Perizzites, Hittites, Girgashites and Jebusites in the 
truly ancient Patriarchal narratives were exotic, non-west Semitic names.  So 
when they used those ancient non-west Semitic names in pre-exilic books of the 
Bible, they were savvy enough to pick personal names from the non-west 
Semitic Hurrian names they knew from a small number of families right there in 
If we work our way through these things, and keep our eyes and minds open, 
we can come up with dynamite etymologies for all of these proper names in 
the Bible.  Those pre-exilic Biblical authors were a good deal smarter than we 
sometimes give them credit for being.
Jim Stinehart
Evanston, Illinois 

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