[b-hebrew] Eliezer of Damascus: Another 3, 000-Year-Old Biblical Mystery...
JimStinehart at aol.com
JimStinehart at aol.com
Wed Feb 13 09:48:43 EST 2013
At Genesis 15: 2, Biblical El-i-Ezir is historical Ezir/Aziru, who is
rightly referred to derogatorily as being a “usurper”: BN-M$Q [based on the
Hebrew root $QQ meaning “to seek greedily”]. That aggressive Amorite
princeling, arguably being the most notorious figure in the entirety of the
Amarna Letters [or at least close to it], was a bona fide threat to what the
first Hebrews saw [per the Biblical account] as being their manifest destiny
to be the divinely-ordained inheritors of Canaan.
If you want a nastier Patriarchal nickname for Aziru, the upstart Amorite
princeling who by usurping Damascus had effectively proclaimed himself king
of Syria/Shinar/$N(R in Year 12, it’s at Genesis 14: 1. [Per the P.S.
below, $N(R should be viewed as being a reference to Syria, as in Damascus,
Syria, where Aziru had been ominously ensconced in Year 12, per Amarna Letter
EA 107: 26-28]. Aziru was one of the historical four attacking rulers in
the Year 14 “four kings against five” that is accurately reported at
Genesis 14: 1-11. Since Aziru was one of the bad guys [with the attacking rulers
being portrayed (using artistic license) as kidnapping Abram’s nephew Lot
and trying to turn Lot into a Hittite puppet like Aziru and Etakkama], we
can fully expect Aziru to have a very nasty Patriarchal nickname at Genesis
The derogatory Patriarchal nickname at Genesis 14: 1 for Amorite
princeling Aziru of Amurru is )MRPL [transliterated by KJV as “Amraphel”]. )MR
means “Amorite” [or “Amurru”]. )PL means “dark”, with the necessary
connotation of being “evil”. )MRPL is a shortened form of )MR-)PL, and means:
“dark, evil Amorite”. Nasty! And a well-deserved derogatory
Patriarchal nickname for Aziru, I might add, who indeed was a “dark, evil Amorite”.
Here is how professor Donald Redford describes the notorious Aziru at p.
171 of “Egypt, Canaan, and Israel in Ancient Times” (1992): “The tactics of
…Aziru were irregular for the times and confused [his] contemporaries….
Amurru was an ‘Apiru community, but lately graduated from that type of
stateless, lawless brigandage for which ‘Apiru bands throughout the Levant were
notorious. And it was the tactics of a brigand that Aziru used in all
his diplomatic dealings with his equals. If a town could be taken and
pillaged or a territory ransacked, Aziru did so without a second thought.”
That is to say, Ezir/Aziru was (1) a “usurper”/BN-M$Q, and (2) a “dark,
evil Amorite”: )MR + )PL = )MRPL. The Biblical nomenclature, though
derogatory, is well-deserved, and it is solidly based on the well-documented
history of Years 12-14 in the Amarna Age/Patriarchal Age.
P.S. $N(R is more easily understood as $NXR, or possibly $NHR or $NgR,
all of which reference “Syria” [not Babylonia]. Aziru, by usurping
Damascus, had effectively proclaimed himself “king of Syria/$NXR/Shinar” in Year
12. The proper names in the Patriarchal narratives, such as $N(R in the
received alphabetical Hebrew text here, were originally written on tablets
using Akkadian-style cuneiform in the mid-14th century BCE to write down west
Semitic/Canaanite/pre-Hebrew words. Those original cuneiform tablets were
later transformed into alphabetical Hebrew in the 1st millennium BCE,
usually with letter-for-letter accurate Late Bronze Age spellings. The one and
only main defect in using Akkadian-style cuneiform to write pre-Hebrew
words is that Akkadian cuneiform heth/X had to be forced into service to
represent four different Hebrew letters: Hebrew heth/X, Hebrew ayin/(, Hebrew
ghayin/g, and Hebrew he/H. [Akkadian itself has no ayin, ghayin or he:
only heth.] Here, the 1st millennium BCE scribe in Jerusalem guessed the
wrong letter that was intended by the Akkadian cuneiform heth/X in this proper
name. He guessed Hebrew ayin/(, when the likely intended letter was
Hebrew heth/X. Even Hebrew ghayin/g or Hebrew he/H would work fairly well, but
not Hebrew ayin/(! This is a scribal mis-recognition error, not scribal
The bottom line is that at Genesis 14: 1, the phrase “king of Shinar/$N(R”
should be interpreted as meaning “king of Syria”. That title for this
notorious west Semitic-speaking Amorite princeling ruler of Amurru is used
in the somewhat sarcastic sense that Aziru in Year 12 had temporarily taken
over Damascus, Syria, and in Years 12-14 he seemed intent on trying to grab
as much of Syria and Lebanon and Canaan as he could get away with.
The historical Aziru truly was a "dark, evil Amorite". )MR [Amorite] +
)PL [dark, evil] = )MRPL : "Amraphel" : "dark, evil Amorite". If you're
looking for p-i-n-p-o-i-n-t historical accuracy in a mid-14th century BCE
Late Bronze Age historical context, that's the Patriarchal narratives, all the
way in every way.
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