[b-hebrew] The Name "Haran"

JimStinehart at aol.com JimStinehart at aol.com
Wed Mar 7 10:51:47 EST 2012


The Name “Haran”
 
The first half of the conventional analysis of the name of Abraham’s oldest 
brother, HRN/“Haran”, is correct.  It’s a west Semitic name.  Its root is 
HR, being the Hebrew word for “mountain”.  The -N is a standard Hebrew/west 
Semitic nominative ending, which is used to turn this Biblical Hebrew 
common word into a name, but which ending has no substantive meaning.  So Abraham’
s oldest brother has a west Semitic name that means:  “Mountain”.
 
But the second half of the conventional analysis of the name “Haran” is 
unconvincing.  It holds that neither Haran, nor the family of Abraham’s father 
generally, is connected to a “mountain”, so that the west Semitic meaning 
of this name is not tied to anything in the storyline of the Patriarchal 
narratives.  It further holds in particular that although Haran prominently 
dies in Ur in southern Mesopotamia, that area was a low-lying level plain, 
having nothing to do with “mountains”, so the name “Haran” is not referencing 
his place of death.  Finally, the conventional view is self-contradictory in 
simultaneously holding that (i) Haran is portrayed in the text as being 
indigenous to southern Mesopotamia [not true], yet (ii) nothing about his name 
reflects southern Mesopotamia in any way, shape or form [also not true].  
Surely we on the b-hebrew list can do better than that!
 
At Genesis 11: 28, Haran is portrayed as dying at Ur of the Kasdym:  
K$-D-YM.  K$ means “Kassite”, and is the Kassite version of the Sanskrit word “
kush” [discussed below].  -D- is -tu, being the Akkadian word for “country”, 
and/or -D- is an abbreviated form of -dunia$, being the Kassite word for “
country”.  -YM is a standard west Semitic plural ending, which in context 
clearly means “people”.  So K$-D-YM is “Kassite-country-people”.  Genesis 11: 
28 thus tells us that Haran died in Ur of the “Kassite-country-people”, 
that is, Ur in the days of the Kassite dynasty in Late Bronze Age southern 
Mesopotamia.  [K$DYM does not mean “Chaldeans”, as the attested consonants do 
not match, and by the time the Chaldeans arrive on the scene in the 1st 
millennium BCE (long after the Patriarchal Age), Ur was a ghost town.]
 
The root of the name K$DYM is K$.  That’s rendered as “Kassite” in 
English, but it’s really the Kassite version of the most famous Sanskrit word of 
all time:  “kush”.  In Sanskrit, “kush” means “the good qualities of a 
mountain”, or more simply:  “mountain”.
 
Voila!  We’ve got it.  The name “Haran”/HRN means “Mountain” in west 
Semitic/Hebrew, and Haran dies in the “Mountain”-named country, that is, the 
non-mountainous country whose Late Bronze Age name, however, reflected the 
[Zagros] “Mountain” origin of its rulers, the Kassites.  Though southern 
Mesopotamia itself certainly is not mountainous, nevertheless its name in the 
Late Bronze Age reflected the mountainous origin of its royal dynasty, the 
Kassites/K$, who hailed from the Zagros “Mountains” [located on the border 
between modern Iraq and modern Iran].
 
Moreover, if the relevant time period for the Patriarchal narratives is 
Years 12-14 in the Amarna Age [my view], then we might take note of the 
following gratuitous insult of a beloved child of an early semi-monotheist far to 
the west in Year 13 by the Kassite king of southern Mesopotamia [whose 
dominion of course included Ur, whose sole importance in the Late Bronze Age was 
that it was the wholesale capital for lapis lazuli, being valuable 
merchandise later characterized generically at Genesis 12: 5 as part of the RKW$ that 
Abram and Lot bring to Egypt]:
 
“Mayata alone did nothing for me by which I am restored to health, and 
showed no concern for me.”  Amarna Letter EA 11: 24-34
 
That gratuitous insult by a Kassite king in southern Mesopotamia of a child 
of an early semi-monotheist far to the west is neatly avenged at Genesis 
15: 7 by YHWH Himself, in the context no less of YHWH making the divine 
Covenant with Abram:
 
“Then He said to him, ‘I am the LORD who brought you out from Ur of the 
Kassite-country people….’”
 
Insult heard, and fully avenged.  Perish the thought of Abraham, the first 
Hebrew, spending his life in Kassite southern Mesopotamia! 
 
The key to understanding the name Haran of Abraham’s oldest brother is to 
compare its west Semitic meaning of “Mountain” to the underlying 
Kassite/Sanskrit meaning of the place where Haran died.  K$-D-YM means “Mountain”
-people-place, with the accent on K$/“Mountain”, and that was the name in the 
Late Bronze Age Patriarchal Age of the country in which Ur was situated.
 
The Hebrew author of the Patriarchal narratives is the most brilliant 
wordsmith of all time, and he knew the mid-14th century BCE like the back of his 
hand.  There’s no way that he’s going to waste the name of Abraham’s oldest 
brother as having no relationship to what is going on in the text, and as 
not being redolent of Late Bronze Age southern Mesopotamia.  Not.  Rather, 
Haran’s name neatly recalls the place of his death:  “Mountain”, as in the K$ 
portion of K$-D-YM meaning “Mountain”, in the Kassite/Sanskrit name of the 
place where Haran dies.
 
The name NXWR/“Nahor” of Abraham’s middle brother does not mean “Snorter” 
or “Snorer”, but rather on two different levels deftly recalls Nahor’s 
residence in Late Bronze Age northern Mesopotamia.  Likewise, although HRN/“
Haran” does indeed mean “Mountain” [and like NXWR is a west Semitic name], 
just as with “Nahor” the name HRN deftly recalls the time and place associated 
with this brother of Abraham:  Late Bronze Age K$-D-YM, whose root K$ is 
the Kassite/Sanskrit word for “Mountain”.  HR = K$ = “Mountain”. It’s a 
perfect Late Bronze Age match.
 
Jim Stinehart
Evanston, Illinois


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