[b-hebrew] gen 28 sulam

jimstinehart at aol.com jimstinehart at aol.com
Thu Nov 29 22:08:55 EST 2012

You wrote:  “Incidentally,it was the translators of the LXX who called it the land of the Chaldeans. Theyknew the Hebrew name, yet they chose to use a different name. What did theyknow that our modern scholars don’t, or don’t want to, know?”
I thought the question we were discussing is whether theunpointed received  H-e-b-r-e-w  Masoretic Text of the Patriarchal narrativeshas pinpoint historical accuracy in the historical context of Years 12-14,having been recorded in cuneiform, using west Semitic pre-Hebrew words, shortlyafter Akhenaten’s death.  I certainlywill not vouch for changes to the Masoretic Hebrew text made by Greek-speakingJews in the Septuagint, umpteen centuries after the fact.
One unfortunate aspect of the first written version of thePatriarchal narratives having been recorded in cuneiform, rather than inalphabetic Hebrew, is that the T sound [tav/T] was not always distinguished inwritten cuneiform from the D sound [dalet/D]. So the people who changed the cuneiform text into alphabetic Hebrew centurieslater often had to guess, when dealing with strange foreign proper names, as towhich of those two Hebrew letters had been intended:  
“[T]he scribe of Jerusalem [that is, IR-Heba’s scribe] willuse the same sign for both /te/ and /de/….”
Shomo Izre’el, “Vocalized Canaanite:  Cuneiform-Written Canaanite Words in theAmarna Letters”, DS-NELL V, N.R. 1-2 (2003), 13-34, at p.17.  http://www.academia.edu/230041/Vocalized_Canaanite_Cuneiform-Written_Canaanite_Words_in_the_Amarna_Letters_Some_Methodological_remarks
Thus when we see K%DYM in the received Masoretic text inalphabetic Hebrew, that dalet/D may originally have been a T sound.  Consequently, the Akkadian feminine endingthat after a country name effectively meant “country” or “land”, namely “tu” [as in “Elamtu”, for example], couldcome out in alphabetic Hebrew as either dalet/D or tav/T, because the originalcuneiform recording of this foreign proper name may not have distinguished betweenthose two sounds in cuneiform writing. Thus where K% means “Kassite”, the next letter, dalet/D, may originallyhave been meant to render a tav/T;  thatwould be the expected alphabetic Hebrew rendering in defective spelling of theAkkadian ending “tu”.
So I see K% as being “Kassite”, with the Kassites being theLate Bronze Age rulers of southern Mesopotamia. Dalet/D was originally intended to render tav/T, and as such is theAkkadian ending “tu”, in contexteffectively meaning “land” or “country” [in lieu of the logogram sequence KUR…KI].  And of course the ending -YM is a standard westSemitic ending meaning “people”.  So K%DYMrefers to the “Kassite land people”. Similarly, IR-Heba’s scribe in Jerusalem in Year 13 at Amarna Letter EA288: 36 refers to southern Mesopotamia by the phrase “land of the Kassites” or “landof the Kassite people”, namely “KUR…ka-a-si.KI”,being essentially the same phrase as we see at Genesis 11: 28, 31;  15: 7. These are the only two texts from Canaan that use such a phrase to referto southern Mesopotamia during the Late Bronze Age.  The match in nomenclature is indeed quitestunning.  
Jim Stinehart
Evanston, Illinois

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