[b-hebrew] Mishkan

jimstinehart at aol.com jimstinehart at aol.com
Sat Jun 23 17:22:26 EDT 2012

Prof. Yigal Levin:

1.  You wrote:  “[D]oes anyone know of any other place in the Bible in which the noun mishkan is used to refer to a human dwelling?”

Per Gesenius:

(1)  “Surely such [are] the dwellings [M$KNWT] of the wicked, and this [is] the place [of him that] knoweth not God.”  Job 18: 21

(2)  “The LORD loveth the gates of Zion more than all the dwellings [MSKNWT] of Jacob.”  Psalms 87: 2

And figuratively here:

(3)  “What hast thou here? and whom hast thou here, that thou hast hewed thee out a sepulchre here, [as] he that heweth him out a sepulchre on high, [and] that graveth an habitation [M$KN] for himself in a rock?”  Isaiah 22: 16

2.  Numbers 16: 24 that you reference features )BYRM, Ab-i-ram, a west Semitic name that is well-attested non-biblically in the ancient world, and that is easy for native Hebrew speakers to say.  By contrast, the famous )BRM of Genesis has a birth name that is rarely attested, if attested at all, as a west Semitic name non-biblically in the ancient world.  And as a west Semitic name, isn’t it a tongue-twister for native Hebrew speakers who cannot pronounce consonant clusters?  Why does Abraham have such an unusual birth name?

Whereas )BYRM is like “Joe Smith” in English, a well-attested west Semitic name that is generic and easy to pronounce, )BRM is like “Joes-Mith” in English:  an unattested tongue-twister as a west Semitic name.

Don’t you find the birth names of Abraham and Sarah ultra-exciting?  In my opinion, they’re utterly redolent of the Bronze Age, being incomprehensible to 1st millennium BCE authors like JEP. 

Jim Stinehart
Evanston, Illinois

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