[b-hebrew] The Name "Esau"

JimStinehart at aol.com JimStinehart at aol.com
Thu Aug 29 09:32:12 EDT 2013


 
Isaac Fried: 
1.  You  wrote:  “Rebekah's family spoke some  sort of Hebrew-Aramaic.” 
If Rebekah’s mother’s native language was “some sort of  Hebrew-Aramaic”, 
then Rebekah would not have given her firstborn son a name,  ($W, that 
makes no sense on any level in west Semitic. 
Likewise, if Sarah’s mother’s native language was “some  sort of 
Hebrew-Aramaic”, then (i) Sarah’s birth name would not be unattested  outside of the 
Bible as a west Semitic name, while being fully-attested in Late  Bronze 
Age eastern Syria in a language that is not related to Hebrew or Aramaic,  and 
(ii) Sarah would not have given her only son a name whose only meaning is  
the west Semitic meaning “He Laughs”. 
Finally, if Abraham’s mother’s native language was “some  sort of 
Hebrew-Aramaic”, then Abraham’s middle brother would not have a name  [NXWR] whose 
only meaning is the west Semitic meaning “Snorer”.  Not. 
2.  You  wrote:  “Their gods were the gods of  the east, and they named 
their children after them. All names from that period  are theophoric….” 
That may be true historically, but it’s not true  Biblically.  The most 
obvious  meaning of the name “Reuben” is “Behold! A son”, with no theophoric 
element  whatsoever.  Yes, Leah cleverly  ad-libs a creative alternate 
etymology that contains a theophoric, “[the Lord]  hath looked upon my affliction”
, but though brilliant, that is terribly  fanciful. 
Historically, however, the name “Reuben” doesn’t exist in  the ancient 
world outside of the Bible.  The early Hebrew author of the Patriarchal 
narratives in fact created  that name, precisely so that it would have the obvious 
meaning of “Behold! A  son”, while being able to be alternatively viewed as 
having the fanciful  etymology “[the Lord] hath looked upon my affliction”
, which brilliantly and  eternally encapsulates Leah’s great sadness at 
continuing not to be Jacob’s  favorite wife. 
The name “Esau” was likewise created by the early Hebrew  author of the 
Patriarchal narratives.  It is carefully designed so that it will fit 
perfectly the following  narrow parameters:  (i) its meaning  is “red” and dark 
[like a “hairy” mantle], and (ii) it makes perfect sense in  the native 
language of a woman like Rebekah from Late Bronze Age eastern  Syria. 
3.  You  wrote:  “All names from that period  are theophoric, including 
יצחק IYCXAQ, which I think is a deliberate  corruption of איש-חק  I$-XAQ or 
איש-שחק I$-$AXAQ.” 
(a)  The name  “Isaac” is not corrupt at all.  All  the Hebrew letters in 
the received text are perfect as is. 
(b)  There’s  no )Y$ in the name “Isaac”. 
(c)  You seem  to agree with me that there’s no way that Sarah would give 
her only son a name  whose only meaning is the west Semitic meaning “He Laughs
”.  At least we agree about that. 
(d)  If one  is willing to note that Sarah’s birth name, $RY, is attested 
in Late Bronze Age  eastern Syria in a language not related to Hebrew or 
Aramaic, while no name of  that kind is ever attested in the ancient world as 
the west Semitic name of a  human woman, then one will properly deduce that 
the primary meaning of the name  “Isaac” similarly is coming from that same 
Late Bronze Age east Syrian language,  and has a wondrously positive, 
theophoric meaning, without the need to change a  single Hebrew letter in the 
received text.  
3.  You  wrote:  “I will listen to your ideas  under the condition that you 
refrain from mentioning any other language but  Hebrew and Aramaic.” 
But the name “Esau” makes no sense on any level in west  Semitic.  Nor was 
Esau’s mother a  native west Semitic speaker.  Nor  was Isaac’s mother.  
Nor was  Abraham’s mother. 
Isaac Fried, all of these wonderful women, who indeed are  truly admirable, 
 m-a-r-r-i-e-d  into the Hebrews!  They weren’t Hebrews at birth, and their 
 native language was neither Hebrew nor Aramaic nor any other west Semitic  
language.  Just look at the names  they give to their precious sons, which 
sometimes make little or no sense in  west Semitic, but which invariably 
have a profound meaning in the non-west  Semitic language that was dominant in 
eastern Syria in the  Late Bronze Age. 
Isaac Fried, the Patriarchal narratives as a written text  are much older, 
and much more historically accurate, than you and university  scholars are 
willing to contemplate.  But the only way to prove that is to be willing to  
a-s-k  how Rebekah, a woman from Late Bronze  Age eastern Syria, would have 
viewed the name she gives to her firstborn  son:  ($W. 
The received text is perfect, as is.  All that’s needed is to view the  
received text of the Patriarchal narratives from an historical perspective, and 
 then we’ll see how truly ancient it is as a written text, and also its  
absolutely stunning historical accuracy. 
Jim Stinehart                                                               
                                                                 Evanston, 
Illinois
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