[b-hebrew] By Whose God did Goliath Curse and Where did David Take his Head?

jimstinehart at aol.com jimstinehart at aol.com
Thu Aug 1 21:38:25 EDT 2013

Prof.Yigal Levin:
Youwrote:  “Why in the world would David runto Jerusalem (which at the time was ruled by the Jebusites) with a bloody head?”  
Toshow one’s complete victory over a great foe, the slain foe’s head was paradedaround in an important place, while his armor was deposited elsewhere, and hisdecapitated body was perhaps put in a third place.  See I Samuel 31: 8-10 regarding what happenedto Saul.
Davidis showing the people of the most important city in south-central Canaan,including in particular the Hurrian [“Jebusite”] ruling class of Jerusalem,that David is a powerful warrior.  ManyHebrews lived peacefully in Jerusalem, which was the last city in Canaan stilldominated by Hurrian nobles:  “As for the Jebusites the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the children ofJudah could not drive them out;  but theJebusites dwell with the children of Judah at Jerusalem unto this day.”  Joshua 15: 63.  This show of David’s strength early on to theHurrian nobles of Jerusalem was one reason why David was eventually able to takeJerusalem from the Hurrians/“Jebusites” without a fight.
The mainproblem has been that people don’t understand that “Jebusites” is a Patriarchalnickname for the Hurrians, which was continued to be used by later Biblicalauthors.  So one sees comments likethis:  “One even conjecturesthat David threw Goliath’s head over the walls of Philistine-held Jerusalem.”  David Tsumura,“The First Book of Samuel”(2007), p. 468.  The linguistic basis for YBWSY being aHurrian personal name that is used as a Patriarchal nickname for the Hurriansis fairly easy to see if one bears in mind that more Hurrian names started withthe Hurrian true vowel A as its own separate syllable than in any other way.  Out of necessity, the Jewish scribe in late 7thcentury BCE Jerusalem who transformed the original mid-14th centuryBCE cuneiform tablets containing the Patriarchal narratives into alphabeticalHebrew had to come up with some Hebrew letter to render the Hurrian true vowelA as its own separate syllable.  Hewisely chose:  Hebrew yod/Y.  If and only if one views Hebrew yod/Y in therendering of Hurrian names as representing the Hurrian true vowel A does thename YBWSY make historical sense.  Andthen the story of David taking Goliath’s head to Jerusalem also makes sense.  
Throughout much of theHebrew Bible there is a completely unappreciated continuing theme:  the Hebrews gradually take over Canaan fromthe formerly mighty Hurrians, pursuant to divine Will.  A late chapter in that centuries-long saga iswhen the Hurrian nobles cede Jerusalem itself to King David.  The Hebrews took very great pride in the factthat the Hebrews had succeeded to the land formerly dominated in the Late Bronze Age by thesophisticated, powerful Hurrian charioteers of old.  
Jim Stinehart
Evanston, Illinois

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