[b-hebrew] Hebrew Meanings of Biblical Names

Chavoux Luyt chavoux at gmail.com
Mon Jun 18 12:54:02 EDT 2012

Hi Jim

> From: jimstinehart at aol.com
> The scholarly view that K$DYM means “Chaldeans” is untenable on all counts.  That view does not >work linguistically, because the second letter in the received text is shin/$, not lamed/L.  The very first >non-biblical attestation of the name “Chaldeans” has a lamed/L;  the claim that $ changed to L over time >has nothing whatsoever to substantiate it.
> The point I am trying to make on this thread [and I certainly welcome hearing opposing points of view >and alternative theories of the case] is that If we can get the historical time period right [the Late >Bronze Age, having nothing to do with JEP], we will find that  a-l-l  names of native west Semitic->speaking people in the Patriarchal narratives make good sense in Hebrew.  That stands opposed to the >conventional views that (i) NXWR nonsensically means “Snorer”, and that (ii) the name HRN does not >make good sense in context because Haran’s death in allegedly Chaldean southern Mesopotamia has >nothing whatsoever to do with “mountains”.  In fact, the Hebrew meaning of  a-l-l  of these names >makes perfect sense in the context of the Late Bronze Age backdrop of the Patriarchal narratives.

The late bronze age as the time of the patriarchs simply makes no
sense archaeologically. However, if "Kasdim" refers to the Kassites,
it does make perfect sense if Genesis _was_written_ in the Late Bronze
Age; i.e. the time of Moses (not the the patriarchs). It is perfectly
possible that Moses referred to Ur as the city then (during his
life-time) belonging to the Kassites. There is simply no need to imply
or assume that this was actually the time of the patriarchs.

Also, to insist that the names of the patriarchs must refer to
something that happens in their lives simply doesn't make sense. Why
are you called "Jim"? Any reference to anything happening in _your_
life? The fact that the Biblical writer would draw attention to those
cases where the name of a person and his given name coincided does not
mean that the name of every single person mentioned in the Bible
should refer to something happening in his life. Exceptions would be
e.g. Gideon being renamed as Jeru-Baál after destroying the Baal altar
where a _new_ "nick-name" is given to somebody because of something
that happened in his life. But I can see no reason why you would
insist this is true for all the patriarchs. Those cases where it is
true, are explicitly mentioned.

What I would grant you, is that there is also no reason to assume that
the names of the patriarchs were West Semitic, since they came from
Mesopotamia and if anything more likely spoke Akkadian (or possibly an
early dialect of Aramean). But they might have had names from any of
the languages spoken in Early or Middle Bronze Age Mesopotamia. These
names might have become "Hebraized" later when written down in the
Bible. But we are speculating to a large extend when looking at the
origins for these names (unless we have the archaeological background
and knowledge of ancient languages in addition to Hebrew to show
similarities with other names from the same period and place). And
this has more to do with archaeology rather than Biblical Hebrew.

Chavoux Luyt

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