[b-hebrew] ???????? KDARLAOMER

JimStinehart at aol.com JimStinehart at aol.com
Tue Aug 20 10:51:07 EDT 2013


 
Isaac Fried: 
You wrote:  “I am sorry, but I have to ignore everything you say about 
"Elamite,  Sumerian, Babylonian or otherwise" as I have no way of independently  
verifying its veracity.” 
O.K., if we are going to limit ourselves to Biblical  Hebrew, there is one 
of the four attacking rulers at Genesis 14: 1 whose  Patriarchal nickname 
should make perfect sense in Biblical Hebrew.  That ruler’s historical name 
was  “Aziru”.  That’s the same name as  the Biblical Hebrew name “Ezra” at I 
Chronicles 4: 17.  The Hebrew spelling is (ZRH.  In the cuneiform of the 
Amarna Letters,  that same name, with the same west Semitic meaning, comes out 
as a-zi-ra or  a-zi-ru or a-zi-ri.  The Phoenician  and Punic versions of 
this name are simply (ZR.  The name in all of these cases means “to  help”, 
and its implied meaning is “[God] Helps”.  So this is a good Biblical 
Hebrew name  that is the historical name of one of the four [hated] attacking  
rulers. 
But what is the Patriarchal nickname of this west  Semitic-speaking Amorite 
princeling ruler of the northern Lebanon state of  Amurru?  If the “four 
kings against  five” at Genesis 14: 1-11 is an accurate written record by a 
contemporary of the  Second Syrian War, which was fought in Year 14 [“in the 
14th year”,  per Genesis 14: 5, one year after the “Year 13” referenced at 
Genesis 14: 4],  then the nasty, apt Patriarchal nickname of Aziru, the 
Amorite princeling ruler  of Amurru, is:  )MRPL MLK  $N(R. 
A.  “Amrapel”/)MRPL 
“Amrapel”, the name of one of four attacking rulers at  Genesis 14: 1, 9, 
is )MRPL.  That is  a west Semitic name that should be analyzed as being a 
slightly abbreviated form  of )MR plus )PL.  Historically, this  must be 
Aziru, the Amorite ruler of Amurru in northern Lebanon, who unfortunately often 
operated in  Syria and ended up being  forced to become a Hittite puppet 
when the Hittites conquered  Syria in the Great Syrian War [Year  12] and the 
Second Syrian War [Year 14].  Thus the key concepts we should look for in 
this name and title are (i)  “Amorite, Amurru”, (ii) who brought “gloom and 
darkness” to northern Lebanon by  (iii) mucking around too much in “Syria”, 
eventually being forced to become a  Hittite puppet. 
1.  )MR here  is almost certainly the proper name “Amurru”, which is 
spelled as follows in the  Amarna Letters:  a-mu-ri.  “Amorite” in Hebrew is 
)MR-Y, where the  -Y is a suffix denoting a people.  The 3-syllable country 
name a-mu-ri, which is a play on “Amorite”  [having the same root], would be 
expected to be spelled )MR in Hebrew, and those  are precisely the first 
three letters of this name.  )MR here likely means:  “an Amorite [princeling] 
from  Amurru”. 
2.  If the  last part of this name, PL, is taken to be an abbreviated form 
of )PL [a view  which, interestingly enough, Gesenius held], then )PL = “
darkness, gloom,  misery, misfortune”.  [See for  example Psalm 91: 6.] 
Thus the full name, )MR -- )PL, abbreviated as )MRPL,  means:  “an Amorite 
[princeling who  brought] gloom and darkness [to] Amurru”. 
B.  “Shinar”/$N(R, which may originally  have been $NXR 
If Genesis 14: 1-11 is truly ancient as a written text,  then it must have 
originally been recorded in cuneiform.  Cuneiform writing did not usually  
differentiate between gutturals such as Hebrew heth/X or Hebrew ayin/(.  When 
this ancient cuneiform text was  transformed into alphabetical Hebrew in 
the 1st millennium BCE, it  would be a pure guess what guttural the third 
letter had been intended to  be.  The 1st millennium  BCE scribe here guessed 
wrong, writing down Hebrew ayin/(, when in fact Hebrew  heth/X had likely been 
intended. 
$NXR very likely means “Syria”, and is  an attested Hurrian name:  
$a-an-xa-ri.  Gelb and Purves, “Nuzi Personal Names”  (1943), p. 124a.  The 
expected  Hebrew spelling of $a-an-xa-ri, being  a 4-syllable Hurrian personal 
name that references “Syria”, consists of the  following four Hebrew letters:  
$NXR.  If that third letter  was mistakenly recorded as an ayin/( in the 
received alphabetical Hebrew text,  due to cuneiform heth not distinguishing 
between Hebrew heth/X and Hebrew  ayin/(, then there’s an exact, 
letter-for-letter match here. 
“Amrapel”/Aziru was an “Amorite” princeling who brought  “gloom and 
darkness” to “Amurru” by spending too much time mucking about in  “Syria”, at 
Tunip and Damascus;  he  eventually found himself being forced to become a 
Hittite vassal in the  aftermath of the Great Syrian War.  “King of Syria” is 
a mocking title, meaning that by spending so much time  making raids and 
small-time alliances with Hurrian princelings in Syria  [especially in allying 
with the Hurrian princeling ruler of Qadesh on the  Orontes, Aitakkama, who 
was a Hittite puppet], this Amorite princeling  eventually forfeited the 
prior independence of Amurru [in northern  Lebanon].   
Note that historically Aziru, though he’s supposed to  only be the ruler of 
northern Lebanon, keeps on showing up in Syria [either  Damascus or Tunip] 
in the Amarna Letters:  “Aziru, the son of Abdi-A$irta, is in Damascus along 
with his  brothers.”  EA 107: 20-28.  “Message of Aziru….  I was residing 
in Tunip….  I swear I was residing in Tunip.”  EA 161:  11-34.  [Tunip was 
located in the Orontes River Valley, whose Biblical name is “Valley of  the 
Tilled Fields”/Valley of Siddim.  That’s the locale of the fighting in the “
four kings against five”.]  In the Amarna Letters, Aziru also  constantly 
talks about warring with the princelings of Nuhasse near the  Orontes River 
Valley  in Syria.  So Aziru cut quite a big figure in  south-central Syria 
through  Year 14, especially in the Orontes  River Valley area in west-central 
Syria, rather than confining himself, as he  should have, to Amurru in 
northern Lebanon.   
One of the most famous Amarna Letters is Akhenaten’s  blistering Amarna 
Letter EA 162, which reams out the Amorite Aziru for  consorting with the 
Hittites and for consorting with the Hurrian princeling who  as of Year 13 was a 
Hittite puppet in Syria, Aitakkama:  “Why are you at peace with a ruler  
[Aitakkama] with whom the king [pharaoh Akhenaten] is fighting?  …What happened 
to you among them that  you are not on the side of the king, your lord?  …
If for any reason whatsoever you prefer  to do evil, and if you plot evil, 
treacherous things, then you, together with  your entire family, shall die by 
the axe of the king.”  22-38.  To quote Wm. Moran’s mini-summary of  this 
letter at p. 250 [regarding the second sentence above]:  “This seems to be a 
reference to an  initial contact with the Hittites…before Aziru’s final 
capitulation as a Hittite  vassal.”  Akhenaten at lines 68-77  then sets forth 
a series of sarcastic, nasty nicknames to make clear his disgust  with the 
fact that Aziru is consorting with Hittite sympathizers.  [See Robert 
McRoberts here.  
http://suite101.com/article/aziru-and-the-dynasty-of-amurru-a378682]  Genesis 14: 1 has even nastier, and more brilliant, nicknames in showing 
 the early Hebrew author’s similar disgust with the four attacking rulers, 
whose  actions in Year 14 seemed to imperil the future independence of 
Canaan  itself.  If you’re talking truly  nasty nicknames, you’re talking Amarna 
Letter EA 162: 68-77 and Genesis 14: 1,  both of which reflect Years 13-14 
and the ominous Syrian Wars. 
“Amrapel king of Shinar” is a nasty Patriarchal nickname that  means:  “an 
Amorite [princeling who  brought] gloom and darkness [to] Amurru [by 
spending too much time mucking about  with Hurrians and Hittites in] Syria”.  “
Amrapel” is a west Semitic name,  befitting the fact that Aziru was a native 
west Semitic-speaking Amorite.  “Shinar” is a foreign Hurrian name from  
Syria, befitting the fact  that Aziru threw in his lot with the Hurrian 
princeling Aitakkama, who famously  was one of the first Hittite puppets in Syria 
in Year 13, with Aziru  eventually suffering that same fate of becoming a 
Hittite puppet.  As such, the name and title “Amrapel  king of Shinar” fit 
Aziru perfectly in Year  14. 
Jim Stinehart 
Evanston,  Illinois
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