[b-hebrew] Xireq Compaginis

JimStinehart at aol.com JimStinehart at aol.com
Thu Jul 18 10:34:18 EDT 2013

Xireq Compaginis 
Perhaps the most mysterious name in the entire Bible is  the name of Esau’s 
first wife, at Genesis 26: 34.  Certainly it can’t be “Judith” meaning  “
Jewess”:  (i) there were no Jews or  Jewesses in the Patriarchal Age;  (ii) 
Esau is not within Isaac’s line of Hebrews [having been displaced in  that 
regard by his younger twin brother Jacob];  and (iii) the text is going out 
of its  way to portray Esau as marrying a foreigner, a XTY.  Yet though “
Judith”/“Jewess” certainly  cannot be right, nevertheless no better explanation 
has hitherto been  forthcoming.  The key to solving  this 3,000-year-old 
Biblical mystery is:  xireq compaginis. 
Rashi correctly observed that xireq compaginis was a  rare, archaic way of 
showing emphasis, and that although often confused with  genitive case, in 
fact xireq compaginis is not genitive case, either in form or  function.  It 
has previously been  thought that outside of poetry and proper names, there 
is only one prose passage  in the entire Bible that preserves the archaic 
xireq compaginis: 
“[T]he xireq  compaginis is definitely an archaic morpheme.  With the 
exception of two occurrences of  this morpheme in Genesis 31: 39 [in the 
Patriarchal narratives], a prose  passage, all the remaining instances [in the 
Bible] are confined to poetry[ and  proper names, including] Gen. 49.11 [in the 
Patriarchal narratives]….”  Scott C. Layton [of Harvard], “Archaic  Features 
of Canaanite Personal Names in the Hebrew Bible” (1990), p.  116. 
But recognizing that xireq compaginis is not genitive  case, but rather can 
function like a modern dash, being an archaic orthographic  device that 
shows emphasis, we in fact can see xireq compaginis at Genesis 26:  34.  All 
prior analyses have parsed  the key phrase here as follows:  )T  - YHWDYT.  
But consider the  following alternative parsing, which sees -Y- as being xireq 
compaginis:  )T - Y  --  HWDY-T.  All of a sudden the  name of Esau’s XTY 
wife makes perfect sense, and turns out to be but a mere  orthographic 
variant of XTY.  Note  the attested Hurrian woman’s name Xu-ú-te.  Note also that 
Xu-ti and also be Xu-ú-ti, that Xu-ti can be Xu-di, and  that Xu-ti-ia can 
be Xu-di-ia.  The  name of Esau’s XTY wife is, prior to the -T feminine 
ending:  Xu-ú-di-ia, rendered in alphabetical  Hebrew as HWDY.  [Yes, the first  
letter should really be X/heth, not H/he, but it’s the same cuneiform sign, 
XU,  and Hurrian has no he/H.  The final  -Y, as always, is the theophoric 
-ia.  The name of the goddess Heba is usually written Hebat, with the final 
-T  being a feminine ending.] 
Instead of incongruously meaning “Jewess” in west  Semitic, or having no 
identifiable meaning, the name of Esau’s first wife now,  for the first time, 
makes perfect sense on all levels.  That yod/Y is an archaic xireq  
compaginis, which is there for emphasis, in order to make us pay attention to  whom 
is going to be stated to be Esau’s XTY wives.  The basic name of Esau’s 
first wife is  HWDY/Xu-ú-di-ia, with feminine ending -T, and preceded by yod/Y 
as a xireq  compaginis.  It’s the same basic  name as XTY itself, which is 
Xu-ti-ia, differing primarily only as to attested  Late Bronze Age spelling 
Another 3,000-year-old Biblical mystery bites the  dust.  Just think xireq 
compaginis,  and suddenly the otherwise completely inexplicable name of Esau’
s first XTY wife  makes perfect sense on all levels. 
Jim Stinehart 
Evanston,  Illinois
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