[b-hebrew] xiram

JimStinehart at aol.com JimStinehart at aol.com
Fri Jul 20 17:45:14 EDT 2012

Uri Hurwitz:
You wrote:  “What about regular declensions of 'ax' and 'ab'   - 'axykha' 
'axyv' etc, or 'avykha' 'avyw'  etc.  Note the letter "Yud" is preserved 
throughout the declension, and is also retained in the construct, e.g. 
'axy-hamelekh' or 'avy-hayeled'.  Clearly this points an early PS vowel following the 
two consonants of these nouns. Cf. with 'abw' (abu) in Arabic.  However, 
this ancient vowel was not preserved in all names of this type, e.g. 'Axav', 
That’s a very good point.  )BRM is an unusual spelling of this name.  I 
believe that the version of this name that is most frequently attested outside 
of the Bible in the ancient world is )BYRM, with an interior yod/Y.  [The 
matter is complicated and ambiguous, however.  For example, the Ugaritic 
spelling abrm is often thought to imply a hireq in the middle, though the matter 
is not free from doubt.]  
This type of interior yod/Y has long puzzled scholars:  “An obscure 
phenomenon…is…the suffixes of connection…, otherwise debated and unexplained -i…. 
 [T]he hireq compaginis is most common on nouns serving a nominative 
function, and similar forms at Amarna suggest that the i is not a genitive ending.”
  P. 127, with many Biblical Hebrew examples of this strange, controversial 
phenomenon set forth at p. 128, of Bruce K. Waltke and Michael Patrick O’
Connor, “An Introduction to Biblical Hebrew Syntax” (1990).  
If that interior yod/Y is viewed as being a “suffix of connection”, that 
to me sounds quite similar to my suggestion that it’s a mere name divider, 
having no semantic content, and in particular not meaning “my” or “of”. 
The name “Ahab”/)X)B is somewhat different, in my opinion, because the 
heth/X there is followed by a vowel-type sound of sorts.
The unusual name is )BRM, where the bet/B is immediately followed by a true 
consonant, resh/R.  You write avram, but where a Hebrew bet/B is not 
inter-vocalic, why do you see such a bet/B as having the sound V?  By contrast, 
)BYRM would be aviram or avirum, with the bet/B sounding like V, and with that 
standard spelling being very easy to pronounce.
The Bible of course knows the common name )BYRM, such as at Numbers 16: 1, 
etc.  But that normal spelling is not what we get for Abraham’s birth name.  
In my opinion, it’s possible that the name )BRM, with that non-standard 
spelling, was deliberately designed to evoke, on one level, the following 
common word:  a-ba-ri-im.  That non-Hebrew common word, which probably means “lord
” [and as such would be appropriate as one meaning of Abraham’s birth 
name], is attested in the Late Bronze Age.  The early Biblical Hebrew rendering 
of the non-Hebrew common word a-ba-ri-im would be expected to be )BRM, which 
is precisely the [non-standard] spelling we see in the received text of 
Jim Stinehart
Evanston, Illinois

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