[b-hebrew] Ssade Can Be Emphatic Sin

jimstinehart at aol.com jimstinehart at aol.com
Sat Nov 24 18:19:10 EST 2012

You wrote:  “[A]nyspeculation based on combining the names of the patriarchs or those connectedwith them with Egyptian language from a millennium later is as silly as sayingthat because Old English had the word “sote”, that therefore the Spanishexplorer Hernando de Soto was English.”
Well, if you don’t like Egyptian, then let’s compare the AmarnaLetters written by the scribe of Hurrian princeling ruler IR-Heba of Jerusalem straightup with the Patriarchal narratives.
1.  XireqCompaginis 
Per Wm. Moran and RobertHendel (the latter in 2012), the only use of the archaic xireq compaginis in Amarna Letters from Canaan proper is byIR-Heba’s scribe.  Per Harvard professorScott C. Layton (in 1990), the only use of xireqcompaginis in non-poetic common words in the Hebrew Bible is in thePatriarchal narratives.
2.  “Ayalon” as 3-Syllable Name
IR-Heba’s scribe (unlikeAmarna Letter EA 273) writes “Ayalon” as a 3-syllable name at EA 287: 57.  So do the Patriarchal narratives at Genesis13: 18, 14: 13 and 18: 1.  (Incidentally,that phrase in Genesis also uses xireqcompaginis.)
3.  HapaxLegomenon vs. Hurrian Common Words
I have identified four hapax legomenon in the Patriarchalnarratives (words that appear only in the Patriarchal narratives and notelsewhere in the Bible) that have baffled scholars, but which seem to beexplicable in terms of a close relationship to attested Hurrian common words.  IR-Heba’s scribe is virtually the only scribein greater Canaan who ever uses Hurrian common words.  For example, Wm. Moran views EN-ri at Amarna Letter EA 286: 7 asbeing the Hurrian common word eb-ri,where the first syllable in the Amarna Letter uses a logogram.  Irpiat Amarna Letter EA 289: 36 may be another version of this same Hurrian word,this time with the inversion of the consonants that was common at Nuzi.
4.  Milk-i-Ilu
IR-Heba’s Amarna Letterscomplain that the Amorite Milk-i-Ilu was allied with tent dwellers in Year 13.  Genesis 14: 13 confirms that Mamre theAmorite was allied with tent dwellers [the first Hebrews] in Year 13 [with thatdate referenced at Genesis 14: 4].  Mamrethe Amorite is an apt Patriarchal nickname for historical Milk-Ilu, whoseactual name is honored and set forth at Genesis 46: 17:  MLK -Y-  )L [once again with a xireq compaginis].
5.  Hurrian Proper Names
“IR-Heba” itself is aHurrian name honoring the chief Hurrian goddess Heba.  IR-Heba’s letters are filled with many otherHurrian proper names, because the Amarna Age was the only time when Hurrianprincelings like IR-Heba dominated the ruling class of Canaan.  The Patriarchal narratives likewise featuredozens of Hurrian proper names, more than all the rest of the books in theBible put together.  For example,consider these six Hurrian proper names at Genesis 15: 19-21:  (i) Qa-a-ni-ya: QYNY  [KJV ‘Kenites’];  (ii) Qa-ni-zi-ya :  QNZY  [‘Kenizzites’];  (iii) Xu-ti-ya : XTY  [‘Hittites’]; (iv) Piri-zi-ya  :  PRZY  [Perizzites’];  (v) Gera-ge-$e-ya  :  GRG$Y  [‘Girgashites’];  and (vi) A-bu-u-se-ya :  YBWSY  [‘Jebusites’].
6.  Compare the Numbers 
As with many other AmarnaLetters, IR-Heba’s letters feature the phrase “7 + 7”, a notion that featuresprominently in the Patriarchal narratives:  Jacob’s 7 + 7 years working for Laban, and the7+ 7 years of first feast then famine.  IR-Heba’sAmarna Letter EA 287, per Moran’s footnote 18, uniquely features the number318, which is a classic Hurrian number.  (Forexample, Akhenaten’s father was sent 318 Hurrian women from Naharim:  1 princess bride and her 317 retainers.)  That same Hurrian number 318 appears atGenesis 14: 15.
7.  Geographical Nomenclature
The only Amarna Letter fromsouthern Canaan that refers either to the Hurrian state of Mitanni in northernMesopotamia (eastern Syria) or to southern Mesopotamia is IR-Heba’s AmarnaLetter EA 288: 34-40.  Stunningly, thenomenclature “Naharim” matches Genesis 24: 10, and the nomenclature “land ofthe Kassites” matches Genesis 11: 28, 31.  
8.  Untoward Events at Shechem in Year 13
Amarna Letter EA 289: 18-24from IR-Heba sounds like a short summary of chapter 34 of Genesis:  “Are we to act like Lab’ayu [Patriarchalnickname Hamor] when he was giving the land of Shechem to the Xapiru [tentdwellers]?”  If shanah is given the archaic meaning of a 6-month period when people’sages are set forth in the Patriarchal narratives, then it can be determinedthat the untoward events at Shechem in chapter 34 of Genesis, after Lab’ayu/Hamortried to ally with tent dwellers for nefarious purposes [in particular with ason of his consorting with tent dwellers], occur 13 tenfold [12-month] yearsafter Abraham’s birth.
9.  Firstborn Son Given the Shaft
7 of 7 firstborn sons inthe Patriarchal narratives get the shaft and properly so:  Haran, Lot, Ishmael, Esau, Reuben, Er,Manasseh.  That’s how IR-Heba himselfbecame the ruler of Jerusalem.  IR-Heba’sAmarna Letters suggest that pharaoh Akhenaten named IR-Heba, a younger son, asthe new ruler of Jerusalem over the objections of IR-Heba’s father, who wantedhis firstborn son to be his successor.  AmarnaLetter EA 286: 9-16 is analyzed as to IR-Heba in that way by Tom Ishida atp.155 in The Royal Dynasties in Ancient Israel (1977):
“The words imply that the Egyptian overlord[Akhenaten] intervened in the strife for the succession in the kingdom ofJerusalem.  As a result, the normalpractice that the king and queen-mother [of Jerusalem] designated theheir-apparent was overridden, and the Egyptian king appointed Abdi-heba to beking.  It is clear that he was a memberof the royal family of Jerusalem but his parents did not want to choose him asthe successor, presumably because of his inferior rank in the order ofsuccession.” 
Conclusion: IR-Heba’s Amarna Letters and the Patriarchal narratives share many keycharacteristics.  That reflects the factthat they were composed contemporaneously, in Years 13-14, and in virtually thesame geographical locale [south-central Canaan].  They’re coming from the same time invirtually the same place.  Though ofcourse with totally different viewpoints.
Jim Stinehart
Evanston, Illinois
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