[b-hebrew] First 9 Written Hebrew Words

Yigal Levin Yigal.Levin at biu.ac.il
Mon Dec 3 14:00:36 EST 2012



Shlomo Izre'el's article really is interesting – thank you for bringing it to my attention. However your post totally misconstrues what it says. Nowhere does Izre'el call the language of the Amarna letters "Hebrew". He calls it "Canaano-Akkadian", a local literary dialect used by Canaanite scribes who "thought that they were writing Akkadian". So do you consider Canaanite and Hebrew to be identical? Most linguists would say that Hebrew is one of the Iron-Age dialects that developed from Late Bronze Age southern Canaanite. But they are not the same. 


Yigal Levin


From: b-hebrew-bounces at lists.ibiblio.org [mailto:b-hebrew-bounces at lists.ibiblio.org] On Behalf Of JimStinehart at aol.com
Sent: Monday, December 03, 2012 4:55 PM
To: b-hebrew at lists.ibiblio.org
Subject: [b-hebrew] First 9 Written Hebrew Words


First 9 Written Hebrew Words


Set forth below are what may be the first 9 Hebrew words that were written in transcriptions whose actual physical artifacts remain intact to this very day.  These are west Semitic/pre-Hebrew words written in Years 13-14 by the scribe of IR-Heba, who was the Hurrian princeling ruler of Jerusalem at that time during the Amarna Age.  After each word I have set forth the meaning given by Shlomo Izre’el, followed by my own guess as to what may be the equivalent word in Biblical Hebrew.


It’s fascinating to see all those vowels!


1.  u-$a-a-ru.  “denounce”.  ???  [Psalm 5: 8 has $WRRY, meaning “my enemies”.???]


2.  ma-ax-si-ra-mu.  “whatever they need”.  Deuteronomy 15: 8:  MXSRW.


3.  zu-ru-ux.  “arm”.  ZR(Y at Genesis 49: 11.


4.  ca-du-uq.  “just”.  Genesis 38: 26:  CDQH.  


5.  la-qa-xu.     “they took”.  Deuteronomy 31: 26:  LQX.  [In the Bible, the lamed/L normally drops out.]


6.  ga-ag-gi-mi.  “roof”.  Deuteronomy 22: 8:  GG [as the root].


7.  u-bi-li-mi;  u-bi-il.  “porters”.  ???  Cf. the Aramaic word BLW, meaning “tribute”, at Ezra 4: 13??  [Does this word actually refer to the “taxpayers” of Jerusalem, who are “tribute-bearers” in the sense that they have funded the “tribute” for IR-Heba’s caravan that is being sent to Egypt?  Or by contrast is the reference, as conventionally thought, to “[captive] porters” who are slaves being sent to Egypt as “tribute” as part of the caravan?]  Cf. also the Hebrew word BLH in the form BLTY at Genesis 18: 12, though the meaning does not seem to fit too well???


8.  $a-de-e.  “field”.  Genesis 23: 11:  %DH.


9.  a-ba-da-at.  “lose”.  Exodus 10: 7:  )BDH.


The above 9 first written Hebrew words come from pp. 78-82 of the following scholarly article by Shlomo Izre’el:


 <http://www.academia.edu/230038/Canaanite_Varieties_in_the_Second_Millennium_BC_Can_We_Dispense_with_Anachronism> http://www.academia.edu/230038/Canaanite_Varieties_in_the_Second_Millennium_BC_Can_We_Dispense_with_Anachronism


I would appreciate everyone’s comments/corrections/help regarding these 9 words.


Interestingly, the two words I’m having the most trouble with, #1 and #7, each start with U, which does not seem like Hebrew to me.  Perhaps I am evaluating the first letter wrong, by effectively ignoring it?  How could a Hebrew word start with the vowel U as its own separate syllable?  Any help on that would be greatly appreciated.  The other 7 words seem to have fairly clear Biblical Hebrew equivalents.


Jim Stinehart

Evanston, Illinois

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