[b-hebrew] P R (H/"Pharaoh"" Three Meanings

JimStinehart at aol.com JimStinehart at aol.com
Mon Mar 18 17:54:19 EDT 2013


 
Antonio Garcia  Hurtado: 
pr-aA, which is the traditional sole understanding of  PR(H in Biblical 
Hebrew, in Egyptian consists of Gardiner hieroglyphs O1-O29,  which are a 
rectangle with an opening at the bottom [signifying a house], being  pr, and a 
column lying on its side, being aA [with a series of Egyptian words  beginning 
aA meaning “great” in various senses].  The literal meaning of pr-aA is “
great  house”. 
Prior to the New Kingdom, pr-aA referred to the palace of  the king of 
Egypt, not to the  king of Egypt himself.  In the New Kingdom, pr-aA could be 
used  to refer to the king of Egypt, but almost always in a stock  phrase in a 
very limited context.  Thus the Boundary Stelae at Akhenaten’s new capital 
city use pr-aA twice,  but always as a stock phrase in a very limited 
context: 
Oath of the King: 
pr-aA anx wDA snb 
Pharaoh may he live, prosper and be well, 
Renewal of the oath in Year 8 
pr-aA anx wDA snb aHa… 
Pharaoh, may he live, prosper and be well,  stood… 
_http://www.digitalegypt.ucl.ac.uk/amarna/boundary.html_ 
(http://www.digitalegypt.ucl.ac.uk/amarna/boundary.html)  
Although Akhenaten praises himself greatly as the king of  Egypt in the 
Great Hymn to the Aten,  that Hymn never once uses the Egyptian phrase pr-aA. 
By stark contrast, the Hebrew author of the Patriarchal  narratives uses 
PR(H repeatedly to refer to the king of Egypt in all  manner of different 
contexts, and never in a stock phrase like the Egyptian  usage.  Why do you 
think that the  Hebrew author of the Patriarchal narratives was so enamored of 
the  H-e-b-r-e-w  wording PR(H?  The Bible seems to like that Hebrew  wording 
much more than the Egyptians themselves ever liked the Egyptian phrase  
pr-aA, at least in the context of functioning as a generic reference to the 
king  of Egypt.  Why? 
Doesn’t that suggest that the Hebrew author of the  Patriarchal narratives 
has a series of intended meanings for his  H-e-b-r-e-w  wording PR(H, rather 
than PR(H simply  being a passive Hebrew recording of the Egyptian phrase 
pr-aA, or PR(H somehow  being a creative play by a Hebrew author on Egyptian 
hieroglyphs [with a Hebrew  author presumably not knowing Egyptian 
hieroglyphs, or at least not knowing  Egyptian hieroglyphs well]? 
In my opinion, we need to focus on what four Akkadian  cuneiform signs 
would have generated the alphabetical Hebrew wording PR(H that  we see in the 
received alphabetical Hebrew text.  Then we should ask what layers of  various 
meanings may have been intended by the early Hebrew author of the  
Patriarchal narratives, depending on which alphabetical Hebrew letters are  intended 
to be referenced by those four Akkadian cuneiform signs.  For example, I 
see as significant the  facts that (i) the first two Egyptian letters of the 
name “Akhenaten” are Ax  [Egyptian aleph – Egyptian heth], and (ii) the last 
two Akkadian cuneiform signs  that generated PR(H could easily have been 
intended by the early Hebrew author  to signify )X:  Hebrew aleph –  Hebrew 
heth.  We must remember in  this connection that Akkadian cuneiform was 
utterly incapable of differentiating  between the various gutturals in Hebrew or 
Egyptian [ayin vs. aleph;  he vs. heth].  So instead of stopping with the 
received  alphabetical Hebrew text, which may either be mistaken or, more 
likely,  represent only one of the various intended meanings of the four Akkadian 
 cuneiform signs that generated PR(H, what is needed is to reverse engineer 
PR(H  to recover the original Akkadian cuneiform signs.  From there we then 
ask whether one of  the intended meanings of those four Akkadian cuneiform 
signs, which come out in  the received text as PR(H, was actually P R )X, 
meaning [after reversing the  word order]:  “A-khe-pA-ra”/“Devoted  to The Ra”
, which compares nicely to “A-khe-n-itn”/“Devoted to Aten”.  Although 
Akhenaten named his first four  daughters after Aten, he named his last two 
daughters after Ra, and the phrase  pA ra shows up in several of the nobles’ 
tombs at Amarna in connection with  representing the royal family;  so  by 
Year 12, Ra had supplanted Aten as Akhenaten’s preferred divine nomenclature.  
As such, P R )X can be viewed as  being a Biblically updated version of the 
historical name Akhenaten.  
The Bible is  t-e-l-l-i-n-g  us the time  period of both the Patriarchal 
Age and of the composition and writing down of  the Patriarchal narratives, if 
we only have eyes to see.  
Jim Stinehart 
Evanston,  Illinois
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