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Re: [biblicalist] Bible Chronology

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  • jimstinehart@aol.com
    Dr. Jerry E. Shepherd: You wrote: “No, I don t think yods were employed as hyphens. There are places where it has been argued that they serve as
    Message 1 of 24 , Apr 9, 2012
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      Dr. Jerry E. Shepherd:

      You wrote: “No, I don't think yods were employed as hyphens. There are
      places where it has been argued that they serve as abbreviations, and this is
      perhaps plausible. But I don't think there is sufficient evidence of the
      "hyphen hypothesis" :) .”





      Then please consider some more apparent examples of this phenomenon.

      I Samuel 14: 50 has ’B-Y-NR, with an interior yod/Y, whereas I Samuel 14:
      51 has ’BNR, with no interior yod. The interior yod/Y is optional, and is
      best understood as being a name divider or dash.

      II Samuel 10: 10 has ’B$Y, with no interior yod/Y, whereas II Samuel 10: 14
      has ’B-Y-$Y, where the optional interior yod/Y seems to be a name
      divider/dash.

      I also see “Machiel” at Genesis 46: 17 as being MLK-Y-‘L, where the
      interior yod is an optional name divider/dash. It’s the same for “Abimelek” at
      Genesis 20: 2, which I see as being ’B-Y-MLK.

      Now let me throw out a super-controversial possible application of this
      principle. Consider what we see at Genesis 13: 18, 14: 13 and 18: 1. Is it
      how I see it?

      ’LN – Y – MMR’

      Or is it how Hebrew analysts see it?

      ’LNY MMR’

      On one standard view, ’LNY is the masculine construct plural of ’LWN [with
      the singular form appearing at Genesis 12: 6], and means “oak trees of”
      [mistranslated by Onkelos in Aramaic and KJV in Elizabethan English as “plain
      of” or “plains of”]. But why would the interior vav/W drop out in a
      masculine construct plural form?

      On my view, the original, defective spelling of “Ayalon” in early Biblical
      Hebrew was ’LN. [We know from Amarna Letter EA 287: 57 from IR-Heba, the
      Hurrian princeling ruler of Jerusalem in Year 12, that “Ayalon” could be a
      3-syllable name having no closed syllable: ia-lu-na. The earliest Hebrew
      spelling of that name would then be expected to be ’LN.] The text is saying “
      Ayalon-Mamre”. “Ayalon” is ’LN, then comes the dash/name divider, which
      is the interior yod/Y, and then comes Mamre.

      In my opinion, Genesis 13: 18, 14: 13 and 18: 1 are telling us that Abram
      chose to sojourn in the Ayalon Valley [the word “valley” is explicitly used
      at Genesis 37: 14] in Year 12, at a time when the Ayalon Valley was
      historically controlled by an Amorite princeling with the Patriarchal nickname of
      Mamre. Per Genesis 13: 9, 11, the Ayalon Valley is the opposite of “east” of
      Bethel. I see the applicable phrase in those three verses as being ’LN –
      Y – MMR’ and as meaning “Ayalon-Mamre”.

      The historicity and antiquity of the Patriarchal narratives is in part
      riding on the narrow linguistic issue of whether an interior yod/Y in the middle
      of a proper name in the Patriarchal narratives could function as a name
      divider/dash.

      Jim Stinehart
      Evanston, Illinois


      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • Jack Kilmon
      ... From: jimstinehart@aol.com Sent: Monday, April 09, 2012 5:02 PM To: biblicalist@yahoogroups.com Subject: Re: [biblicalist] Bible Chronology Dr. Jerry E.
      Message 2 of 24 , Apr 9, 2012
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        -----Original Message-----
        From: jimstinehart@...
        Sent: Monday, April 09, 2012 5:02 PM
        To: biblicalist@yahoogroups.com
        Subject: Re: [biblicalist] Bible Chronology


        Dr. Jerry E. Shepherd:

        You wrote: “No, I don't think yods were employed as hyphens. There are
        places where it has been argued that they serve as abbreviations, and this
        is
        perhaps plausible. But I don't think there is sufficient evidence of the
        "hyphen hypothesis" :) .”





        Then please consider some more apparent examples of this phenomenon.

        I Samuel 14: 50 has ’B-Y-NR, with an interior yod/Y, whereas I Samuel 14:
        51 has ’BNR, with no interior yod. The interior yod/Y is optional, and is
        best understood as being a name divider or dash.


        Jim:
        Is it possible the yod is a mater lectionis? The Old Greek author
        transliterated it as Αβεννηρ suggesting a pronunciation of AHbeenair.

        Jack

        Jack Kilmon
        Houston, TX
      • jimstinehart@aol.com
        Jack Kilmon: We probably agree what the components ’B and NR mean. ’B means “father”, and in a proper name usually implies “[divine] Father”,
        Message 3 of 24 , Apr 9, 2012
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          Jack Kilmon:

          We probably agree what the components ’B and NR mean. ’B means “father”, and in a proper name usually implies “[divine] Father”, being a standard theophoric in west Semitic proper names. NR literally means “lamp”, but usually has the figurative meaning of “progeny” (e.g. I Kings 11: 36).

          Whether an interior yod/Y is or is not a mater lectionis is not the key question, I don’t think. Rather, the key question is whether an interior yod/Y has any substantive meaning. For example, is that interior yod/Y here a mere name divider/dash, having no substantive meaning whatsoever, or by contrast does it mean “my”? When the same person’s name can be spelled either with or without the interior yod/Y, that suggests that the interior yod/Y is an optional orthographic element, which has no substantive meaning whatsoever, so that rather than meaning “my”, it’s a mere name divider/dash.

          Compare ’B – Y – NR with ’BNR. I see them as being the same name, though with different spelling conventions. The pronunciation of both spellings would likely be identical. So I don’t see how the Greek rendering helps in the slightest, one way or the other.

          The question, as I see it, is whether ’B – Y – NR and ’BNR are the same name with identical meanings but different spellings (my view), or whether the two names have different meanings and are different names, with the former referencing “My [Heavenly] Father”, whereas the latter, by contrast, references “[Heavenly] Father”.

          I agree that in most cases, not too much is riding on this distinction. But in the case of the controversial phrase at Genesis 13: 18, 14: 13 and 18: 1, the whole interpretation of the Patriarchal narratives is riding on this issue. I see ’LNYMMR’ as being ’LN – Y – MMR’, as opposed to the standard interpretation that this phrase is ’LN-Y MMR’, where ’LN-Y is viewed as being the masculine construct form of ’LWN. (But why would the interior vav/W drop out in the construct plural form?) If my interpretation is correct, then the Biblical text is flat out telling us that Abram sojourned at Ayalon-Mamre, that is, the Ayalon Valley when it was historically dominated by an Amorite princeling (in Year 12) who is given the Patriarchal nickname of Mamre. But on the other hand, if the standard interpretation is correct, then the text is ambiguously stating that Abram sojourned at the oak trees of Mamre. A focus on oak trees would fit the Ayalon Valley better than Mount Hebron in southern hill country. (As would being the opposite of “east” of Bethel per Genesis 13: 9, 11, and no one ever being said to go “up” to the Patriarchs’ “Hebron” in Genesis, and there never being said to be HR/mountains/hills at or near the Patriarchs’ “Hebron” in Genesis, and Genesis 37: 14 saying that it’s a “valley”, where “valley” in Hebrew, unlike in English, means a real, broad valley. And with all three Patriarchs being portrayed as experiencing large-scale drought in Canaan, it would make no logical sense to sojourn at Mount Hebron, which was very prone to drought, especially with cisterns not yet being widely used in the Patriarchal Age. The future site of King David's city of Hebron in southern hill country had not yet acquired the name "Hebron" in the Bronze Age, so the decision shouldn't be made on the basis of the Hurrian name xa-vu-ru-u-ne/"Hebron", with the Hurrian nature of this name fitting the Amarna Age perfectly.) But still, even though everything else in the text and in history and in logic strongly suggests that the Patriarchs sojourned in the eastern Ayalon Valley rather than near the top of Mount Hebron, it would be more convincing as evidence if there is a direct, explicit reference to “Ayalon”, with the defective original spelling of ’LN.

          I see the linguistic question here as being whether these interior yods in proper names have a substantive meaning, or rather whether they are mere name dividers/dashes.

          Jim Stinehart
          Evanston, Illinois


          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        • Jack Kilmon
          ... From: jimstinehart@aol.com Sent: Monday, April 09, 2012 7:41 PM To: biblicalist@yahoogroups.com Subject: Re: [biblicalist] Bible Chronology Jack Kilmon: We
          Message 4 of 24 , Apr 10, 2012
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            -----Original Message-----
            From: jimstinehart@...
            Sent: Monday, April 09, 2012 7:41 PM
            To: biblicalist@yahoogroups.com
            Subject: Re: [biblicalist] Bible Chronology


            Jack Kilmon:

            We probably agree what the components ’B and NR mean. ’B means “father”,
            and in a proper name usually implies “[divine] Father”, being a standard
            theophoric in west Semitic proper names. NR literally means “lamp”, but
            usually has the figurative meaning of “progeny” (e.g. I Kings 11: 36).

            Whether an interior yod/Y is or is not a mater lectionis is not the key
            question, I don’t think. Rather, the key question is whether an interior
            yod/Y has any substantive meaning. For example, is that interior yod/Y here
            a mere name divider/dash, having no substantive meaning whatsoever, or by
            contrast does it mean “my”? When the same person’s name can be spelled
            either with or without the interior yod/Y, that suggests that the interior
            yod/Y is an optional orthographic element, which has no substantive meaning
            whatsoever, so that rather than meaning “my”, it’s a mere name divider/dash.

            Jack] A mater lectionis was also an optional orthographic element, had no
            substantive meaning other than to assist the reader on the pronunciation. I
            don't see how that defaults to a dash. Is there a precedent for the use of
            yods to separate the roots in names?

            Compare ’B – Y – NR with ’BNR. I see them as being the same name, though
            with different spelling conventions. The pronunciation of both spellings
            would likely be identical. So I don’t see how the Greek rendering helps in
            the slightest, one way or the other.

            Jack] The Old Greek rendering is a transliteration that was constructed
            based on the sound of the name and not the voweless lexical form. 4QSam(a)
            gives us some clues, IMO, to this question. It also uses an internal yod in
            DWD to form DWYD, an obvious mater lectionis. This was a base text for the
            Old Greek. We have both proto-Septuagintal and proto-Masoretic texts used
            side-by-side by the DSS community and have shown that Old Greek texts were
            not less reliable than Masoretic texts and there were Hebrew texts in
            variations previously believed to be "Septuagintal." For this reason I
            believe the Old Greek rendering of אֲבִינֵר as Αβεννηρ is probative that the
            yod is a mater lectionis.

            But that's just me.

            Jack

            Jack kilmon
            Houston, TX
          • jimstinehart@aol.com
            Jack Kilmon: You wrote: “A mater lectionis was also an optional orthographic element, had no substantive meaning other than to assist the reader on the
            Message 5 of 24 , Apr 10, 2012
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              Jack Kilmon:

              You wrote: “A mater lectionis was also an optional orthographic element,
              had no


              substantive meaning other than to assist the reader on the pronunciation. I


              don't see how that defaults to a dash. Is there a precedent for the use of


              yods to separate the roots in names?”

              The key issue is whether an interior yod/Y that appears between two
              separate elements of a proper name (i) has a substantive meaning, namely “my”, or
              (ii) has no substantive meaning whatsoever, and is merely a name divider,
              functioning like a modern dash.

              A. What meanings do you ascribe to the following pairs of names? Do you
              view each pair as being the same name, or in your opinion does the presence
              of an interior yod/Y in one of the paired names mean that it’s a different
              name? In particular, does the presence of the interior yod/Y change the
              meaning of the first element of the name to adding the concept of “my”?

              1. ’BNR vs. ’B Y NR

              2. ’B$’ vs. ’B Y $’

              3. ’BRM vs. the ubiquitous non-biblical Ab i ram

              4. ’B$LM vs. ’B Y $LM

              5. ’LPL+ vs. ’L Y PL+

              6. At Elephantine: ’X’B vs. ’X Y ’B

              B. What meanings do you ascribe to the following names? In particular,
              does the interior yod/Y mean “my”, being a first person suffix attached to
              the first element of the name, or by contrast is it merely a name divider,
              functioning like a modern dash, which divides the first element in the name
              from the second element in the name (rather than being a suffix of the first
              element of the name)?

              7. ’B Y MLK vs. ’BY-MLK

              8. MLK Y ’L vs. MLKY-’L

              9. ’LN Y MMR’ vs. ’LNY-MMR’

              Summarizing Martin Noth’s scholarly work (and thereby making it available
              to a general audience), Thomas Thompson makes the case against those interior
              yods meaning “my” as follows [at p. 23 of “The Historicity of the
              Patriarchal Narratives” (2002)]:

              “It is very difficult to understand the yod as a first person suffix,
              since, in the basic form of this type of name the first element does not
              designate family relationship but is theophoric.”

              In all 9 cases above, I myself see an interior yod/Y as merely being a name
              divider, functioning as a dash, having no substantive meaning whatsoever,
              and in particular n-o-t meaning “my”. How do you view the above names?

              Jim Stinehart
              Evanston, Illinois


              [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
            • Frank Polak
              Dear listers, A simple question of method. In order to envision the pronunciation of ancient personal names we have to consult contemporaneous sources which
              Message 6 of 24 , Apr 13, 2012
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                Dear listers,

                A simple question of method. In order to envision the pronunciation of
                ancient personal names
                we have to consult contemporaneous sources which (approximately!! most
                important qualification!!) reflect the pronunciation,
                such as Assyrian. For Aḫram/Aḫiram/Aḫuram [)ḫrm in 12th? BCE
                Byblos; ḫrm in 8th BCE Cyprus/KAI 31.1] Assyrian
                has ḫirummu, reflecting the 1st person suffix, like Hiram of 2 Samuel/
                1 Kings.
                So in such names as Aḫimelek, the [i]-graph could well represent a
                similar suffix. After all, wat does Zimri-Lim mean if not
                >Lim is/be my protection<?

                Best,

                Frank Polak
                Tel Aviv University

                On 11/04/2012, at 17:10, biblicalist@yahoogroups.com wrote:

                > Summarizing Martin Noth’s scholarly work (and thereby making it
                > available
                > to a general audience), Thomas Thompson makes the case against those
                > interior
                > yods meaning “my” as follows [at p. 23 of “The Historicity of
                > the
                > Patriarchal Narratives” (2002)]:
                >
                > “It is very difficult to understand the yod as a first person
                > suffix,
                > since, in the basic form of this type of name the first element does
                > not
                > designate family relationship but is theophoric.”




                [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
              • jimstinehart@aol.com
                Prof. Frank Polak: You wrote: “A simple question of method. In order to envision the pronunciation of ancient personal names we have to consult
                Message 7 of 24 , Apr 13, 2012
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                  Prof. Frank Polak:

                  You wrote: “A simple question of method. In order to envision the
                  pronunciation of ancient personal names we have to consult contemporaneous sources
                  which (approximately!! most important qualification!!) reflect the
                  pronunciation, such as Assyrian. For Aḫram/Aḫiram/Aḫuram [)ḫrm in 12th? BCE Byblos; ḫ
                  rm in 8th BCE Cyprus/KAI 31.1] Assyrian has ḫirummu, reflecting the 1st
                  person suffix, like Hiram of 2 Samuel/1 Kings. So in such names as Aḫimelek,
                  the [i]-graph could well represent a similar suffix. After all, wat does
                  Zimri-Lim mean if not >Lim is/be my protection<?”

                  There is a split of opinion among scholars as to this issue. I have
                  recently listed several Biblical cases where the same person is alternatively
                  referred to as, say, Abishai or Abshai, or Abishalom or Abshalom. That suggests
                  that the interior Hebrew yod/Y in these Biblical names may have no
                  substantive meaning. For radically different reasons, that is the conclusion of
                  both Gesenius and Martin Noth. Gesenius sees each of )B and )BY as being
                  construct forms in a proper name, so he interprets both as meaning “father of”
                  and then he expects to see a noun as the second half of the name. He sees
                  each of Abram and Abiram as meaning “father of elevation” or “father of
                  loftiness”. Martin Noth, by contrast, sees that interior Hebrew yod/Y as being
                  optional and as functioning as a name divider. He views )BYRM as being )B –
                  Y – RM, where the interior yod/Y is a mere name divider, functioning like a
                  modern dash. Noth views )B and )X as almost always being a theophoric in
                  proper names, and he expects a verb to follow. So Noth interprets both Abram
                  and Abiram to mean “[the divine] Father Is Exalted”. As between those two
                  views, it’s probably better to expect a verb rather than a noun as the
                  second element of the name, which favors Noth over Gesenius.

                  But note that, albeit for different reasons, neither Gesenius nor Noth sees
                  a meaning of “my” applying to Abiram, which on their views does n-o-t
                  mean “My Father Is Exalted” [or “My Father of Elevation”].

                  The majority view probably is that adding the interior Hebrew yod/Y adds
                  the meaning “my” to the name. Thus whereas Abram is “[the divine] Father Is
                  Exalted”, Abiram by contrast means “My [divine] Father Is Exalted”. One
                  problem with the majority view, which sees the interior yod/Y as changing the
                  name’s meaning, is that each of Abishai or Abshai, and Abishalom or Abshalom
                  is applied to the same person. Another important argument against the
                  majority view is that for a theophoric, adding the concept of “my” seems
                  inappropriate, if not blasphemous: “It is very difficult to understand the yod as
                  a first person suffix, since, in the basic form of this type of name the
                  first element does not designate family relationship but is theophoric.”
                  Thomas L. Thompson, “The Historicity of the Patriarchal Narratives” (1973), p.
                  23. The reason why no definitive resolution of this matter has been reached
                  is probably because in most cases, such as Abram vs. Abiram, the meanings,
                  if not identical, are so closely related that not much seems to be riding on
                  this linguistic analysis issue.

                  Your actual case of Zimri-Lim is different, however, because the Zimri
                  element is not a theophoric. Richard Hess analyzes zi-im-ri-da in the way that
                  you propose: “Zi-im-ri-da is a nominal sentence composed of a predicate
                  element followed by a DN functioning as the subject. The first element is a
                  QITL noun form of the root dmr ‘to protect, protection’. The form includes a
                  1 c.s. possessive suffix. The second element is the DN Haddu. Zi-im-ri-da
                  may be rendered ‘Haddu is my protection’.” “Amarna Personal Names”
                  (1993), pp. 169-170.

                  But alternatively, an I in that situation could be viewed [in my opinion]
                  as being a mere name divider, so that there’s no concept of “my” whatsoever.
                  If the first element is then viewed as being a verb, the meaning would be “
                  Haddu Protects”. As against your proposed interpretation of Zimri-Lim, I
                  would argue that the concept of “my” virtually never appears in male nobles’
                  names, which rather are routinely objective homilies to pagan deities, not
                  referencing “my deity”, and not claiming that the deity is “my protection”
                  , etc., all of which would have been considered bad form and
                  semi-blasphemous in the ancient world.

                  Now consider the name Abimelek. It could be )B – Y – MLK, or it could be
                  )BY-MLK. In the latter case, it either means “father of [the] king] or “my
                  father is king” or “my [divine] father is king” or “my [divine] father
                  [is the] king”. In the former case, however, the meaning is “[the divine]
                  Father Is King”. To me, in all these names it makes more sense to view that
                  interior Hebrew yod/Y as being a mere name divider, which does not mean “my”
                  or “of”, and which instead effectively functions as a modern dash.
                  Perhaps it reflects the actual pronunciation of the name, but I see that yod/Y as
                  having no substantive meaning. Oddly, Hess here does not use the concept of
                  “my”, in evaluating the name “a-bi-mil-ki” in the Amarna Letters: “The
                  PN has a meaning ‘The father is king’ or ‘Milku is the father’. …The first
                  element represents a QAL form noun, )B, ‘father’. The second element
                  represents a QITL form noun, mlk ‘king’ or the DN Milk.” P. 18. One problem
                  with a name like this in cuneiform [as opposed to a Biblical name] is that we’
                  re not sure if an I is the equivalent of a Hebrew yod/Y.

                  In my opinion, Zimri-Lim may well mean “Lim Protects”, with there being no
                  concept of “my” involved. More controversially, I see )LNYMMR) at Genesis
                  13: 18, 14: 13 and 18: 1 as being )LN – Y – MMR), where )LN is the
                  original defective spelling of “Ayalon” [as the 3-syllable name ia-lu-na, per
                  Amarna Letter EA 287: 57 from IR-Heba of Jerusalem], and the interior yod/Y is a
                  mere name divider, neither indicating construct state nor the concept of “my
                  ”. I see that important phrase as meaning “Ayalon-Mamre”.

                  Jim Stinehart
                  Evanston, Illinois


                  [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                • Jerry Shepherd
                  Jim, Your posts are turning into small articles. Email discussion lists just aren t the proper venue for such long, involved posts. It s getting time to call
                  Message 8 of 24 , Apr 13, 2012
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                    Jim,

                    Your posts are turning into small articles. Email discussion lists just aren't the proper venue for such long, involved posts. It's getting time to call this thread to a halt.

                    Blessings,

                    Jerry

                    Dr. Jerry E. Shepherd
                    Associate Professor of Old Testament
                    Taylor Seminary
                    11525 - 23 Avenue
                    Edmonton, AB T6J 4T3
                    CANADA
                    Office: (780)431-5250
                    Home: (780)434-1164
                    Fax: (780)436-9416
                    Email: jerry.shepherd@... <mailto:Jerry.shepherd@...>
                    Internet: http://www.taylor-edu.ca <https://owa.taylor-edu.ca/exchweb/bin/redir.asp?URL=http://www.taylor-edu.ca>

                    ________________________________

                    From: biblicalist@yahoogroups.com on behalf of jimstinehart@...
                    Sent: Fri 4/13/2012 12:32 PM
                    To: biblicalist@yahoogroups.com
                    Subject: Re: [biblicalist] Re: Bible Chronology





                    Prof. Frank Polak:

                    You wrote: "A simple question of method. In order to envision the
                    pronunciation of ancient personal names we have to consult contemporaneous sources
                    which (approximately!! most important qualification!!) reflect the
                    pronunciation, such as Assyrian. For A?ram/A?iram/A?uram [)?rm in 12th? BCE Byblos; ?
                    rm in 8th BCE Cyprus/KAI 31.1] Assyrian has ?irummu, reflecting the 1st
                    person suffix, like Hiram of 2 Samuel/1 Kings. So in such names as A?imelek,
                    the [i]-graph could well represent a similar suffix. After all, wat does
                    Zimri-Lim mean if not >Lim is/be my protection<?"

                    There is a split of opinion among scholars as to this issue. I have
                    recently listed several Biblical cases where the same person is alternatively
                    referred to as, say, Abishai or Abshai, or Abishalom or Abshalom. That suggests
                    that the interior Hebrew yod/Y in these Biblical names may have no
                    substantive meaning. For radically different reasons, that is the conclusion of
                    both Gesenius and Martin Noth. Gesenius sees each of )B and )BY as being
                    construct forms in a proper name, so he interprets both as meaning "father of"
                    and then he expects to see a noun as the second half of the name. He sees
                    each of Abram and Abiram as meaning "father of elevation" or "father of
                    loftiness". Martin Noth, by contrast, sees that interior Hebrew yod/Y as being
                    optional and as functioning as a name divider. He views )BYRM as being )B -
                    Y - RM, where the interior yod/Y is a mere name divider, functioning like a
                    modern dash. Noth views )B and )X as almost always being a theophoric in
                    proper names, and he expects a verb to follow. So Noth interprets both Abram
                    and Abiram to mean "[the divine] Father Is Exalted". As between those two
                    views, it's probably better to expect a verb rather than a noun as the
                    second element of the name, which favors Noth over Gesenius.

                    But note that, albeit for different reasons, neither Gesenius nor Noth sees
                    a meaning of "my" applying to Abiram, which on their views does n-o-t
                    mean "My Father Is Exalted" [or "My Father of Elevation"].

                    The majority view probably is that adding the interior Hebrew yod/Y adds
                    the meaning "my" to the name. Thus whereas Abram is "[the divine] Father Is
                    Exalted", Abiram by contrast means "My [divine] Father Is Exalted". One
                    problem with the majority view, which sees the interior yod/Y as changing the
                    name's meaning, is that each of Abishai or Abshai, and Abishalom or Abshalom
                    is applied to the same person. Another important argument against the
                    majority view is that for a theophoric, adding the concept of "my" seems
                    inappropriate, if not blasphemous: "It is very difficult to understand the yod as
                    a first person suffix, since, in the basic form of this type of name the
                    first element does not designate family relationship but is theophoric."
                    Thomas L. Thompson, "The Historicity of the Patriarchal Narratives" (1973), p.
                    23. The reason why no definitive resolution of this matter has been reached
                    is probably because in most cases, such as Abram vs. Abiram, the meanings,
                    if not identical, are so closely related that not much seems to be riding on
                    this linguistic analysis issue.

                    Your actual case of Zimri-Lim is different, however, because the Zimri
                    element is not a theophoric. Richard Hess analyzes zi-im-ri-da in the way that
                    you propose: "Zi-im-ri-da is a nominal sentence composed of a predicate
                    element followed by a DN functioning as the subject. The first element is a
                    QITL noun form of the root dmr 'to protect, protection'. The form includes a
                    1 c.s. possessive suffix. The second element is the DN Haddu. Zi-im-ri-da
                    may be rendered 'Haddu is my protection'." "Amarna Personal Names"
                    (1993), pp. 169-170.

                    But alternatively, an I in that situation could be viewed [in my opinion]
                    as being a mere name divider, so that there's no concept of "my" whatsoever.
                    If the first element is then viewed as being a verb, the meaning would be "
                    Haddu Protects". As against your proposed interpretation of Zimri-Lim, I
                    would argue that the concept of "my" virtually never appears in male nobles'
                    names, which rather are routinely objective homilies to pagan deities, not
                    referencing "my deity", and not claiming that the deity is "my protection"
                    , etc., all of which would have been considered bad form and
                    semi-blasphemous in the ancient world.

                    Now consider the name Abimelek. It could be )B - Y - MLK, or it could be
                    )BY-MLK. In the latter case, it either means "father of [the] king] or "my
                    father is king" or "my [divine] father is king" or "my [divine] father
                    [is the] king". In the former case, however, the meaning is "[the divine]
                    Father Is King". To me, in all these names it makes more sense to view that
                    interior Hebrew yod/Y as being a mere name divider, which does not mean "my"
                    or "of", and which instead effectively functions as a modern dash.
                    Perhaps it reflects the actual pronunciation of the name, but I see that yod/Y as
                    having no substantive meaning. Oddly, Hess here does not use the concept of
                    "my", in evaluating the name "a-bi-mil-ki" in the Amarna Letters: "The
                    PN has a meaning 'The father is king' or 'Milku is the father'. ...The first
                    element represents a QAL form noun, )B, 'father'. The second element
                    represents a QITL form noun, mlk 'king' or the DN Milk." P. 18. One problem
                    with a name like this in cuneiform [as opposed to a Biblical name] is that we'
                    re not sure if an I is the equivalent of a Hebrew yod/Y.

                    In my opinion, Zimri-Lim may well mean "Lim Protects", with there being no
                    concept of "my" involved. More controversially, I see )LNYMMR) at Genesis
                    13: 18, 14: 13 and 18: 1 as being )LN - Y - MMR), where )LN is the
                    original defective spelling of "Ayalon" [as the 3-syllable name ia-lu-na, per
                    Amarna Letter EA 287: 57 from IR-Heba of Jerusalem], and the interior yod/Y is a
                    mere name divider, neither indicating construct state nor the concept of "my
                    ". I see that important phrase as meaning "Ayalon-Mamre".

                    Jim Stinehart
                    Evanston, Illinois

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                  • jimstinehart@aol.com
                    Frank Polak: The word I was searching for regarding your question is “anaptyctic”. “‘Anaptyctic’ vowels are unetymological vowels inserted between
                    Message 9 of 24 , Apr 15, 2012
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                      Frank Polak:

                      The word I was searching for regarding your question is “anaptyctic”. “‘Anaptyctic’ vowels are unetymological vowels inserted between consonants to ‘ease’ the pronunciation.” For example, regarding the west Semitic name ab-di-a$-ta-ar-ti at Amarna Letter EA 63: 3, Richard Hess at p. 11 of “Amarna Personal Names” says: “The first element is a QATL form of WS ‘bd ‘servant’ with an anaptyctic -i.”

                      Although Hess himself uses the concept of anaptyctic vowels sparingly, I for my part see an interior Hebrew yod/Y that comes between two distinct elements in a p-r-o-p-e-r name as routinely being anaptyctic. I also note that names from the Amarna Letters that are transliterated as beginning with “abdi” in most cases in fact begin simply with the logogram IR. One unique case, however, is IR-i-ra-ma at EA 123: 36, where the logogram IR is expressly followed by an I. Though at p. 15 Hess says that this may be “a phonetic complement”, I would analyze that I as being an anaptyctic vowel. Note also that where the logogram LUGAL is used for MLK, the name Abimelek can be spelled with either the vowel I or the vowel U in the Amarna Letters, which is consistent with my view that such vowel in any event has no meaning. Though usually spelled A-bi-LUGAL, at EA 152: 55 Abimilki is spelled with a U: A-bu-LUGAL.

                      Thus I see Abram and Abiram as being identical in all respects except as to spelling conventions. I well realize that in Biblical Hebrew c-o-m-m-o-n words, a Hebrew yod/Y has a meaning, often indicating construct state. But in p-r-o-p-e-r names, I see a Hebrew yod/Y or written vowel I, when inserted between two distinct elements in a proper name, as by contrast being an anaptyctic vowel, not meaning “of” or “my”, but rather having no meaning at all, and simply serving as a name divider and/or as a means of easing the pronunciation of the name. At a minimum, in analyzing any such name we should at least consider that the letter I or Hebrew yod/Y in the middle of a proper name, where it separates two distinct elements in that proper name, may be an anaptyctic vowel that has no meaning whatsoever.

                      What BDB said 100 years ago about this complex issue still rings true today [at p. 3 re the name ’BY’L] : “…makes ’BY here…cstr. But this seems unlikely; …views differ much as to these n.pr. and uniform interpr. is impossible.”

                      In my own opinion, ’BY at the beginning of a name is ’B, meaning “[the divine] Father”, and the yod/Y is an anaptyctic vowel that has no meaning whatsoever and is an optional spelling convention; in particular, that yod/Y does n-o-t mean “of” or “my”.

                      Jim Stinehart
                      Evanston, Illinois


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