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Re: [biblicalist] Who Are Sarah's Parents?

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  • George F Somsel
    Right !  We don t determine the parents names from the daughter s. george gfsomsel search for truth, hear truth, learn truth, love truth, speak the truth,
    Message 1 of 9 , May 12, 2012
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      Right !  We don't determine the parents' names from the daughter's.

      george
      gfsomsel

      search for truth, hear truth,
      learn truth, love truth, speak the truth, hold the truth,
      defend the truth till death.

      - Jan Hus
      _________



      >________________________________
      > From: "jimstinehart@..." <jimstinehart@...>
      >To: biblicalist@yahoogroups.com
      >Sent: Saturday, May 12, 2012 8:34 PM
      >Subject: Re: [biblicalist] Who Are Sarah's Parents?
      >
      >
      >

      >
      >
      >George F. Somsel:
      >
      >You wrote: “Are you saying that the parents' names can be determined from the children's names (or at least the daughter's)? In that case, how do you determine the parents' names for Dinah?”
      >
      >1. We are expressly given the names of Dinah’s parents: Jacob and Leah.
      >
      >2. Given that Leah’s father Laban lived in the heart of Hurrianland at Harran in Naharim, it is likely that his wife (Leah’s mother) was an ethnic Hurrian; in that event, Leah herself is half-Hurrian (on her maternal side). Since Hurrians historically gave their children Hurrian names, and since Leah names all of her children, we might predict that Leah would choose a name for her daughter that has a sensible meaning both in Hebrew (west Semitic) and in Hurrian. The conventional west Semitic etymology of DYNH is that it means “judged, acquitted, vindicated”, based on the Hebrew verb DYN meaning “to judge”, to which has naturally been added -H/he as the classic west Semitic/Hebrew feminine ending. The name DYNH has an even more appropriate meaning in Hurrian. As a Hurrian name, the Hebrew yod/Y would represent the Hurrian vowel A as its own separate syllable, and D and T are basically indistinguishable in Hurrian. So the Hurrian name here is
      Ta-a-n + the west Semitic feminine ending -H, where ta-a-n means “to do” as a Hurrian verb. Thus the Hurrian meaning of the name “Dinah” is: “done”. Note that that is the perfect meaning for Dinah here, because Dinah is the last child that Leah bore, meaning that Leah was “done” bearing children, for better or worse, when she bore Dinah.
      >
      >3. The parents' actual names cannot be determined from a daughter’s name. But given the facts that (i) Hurrian is a non-Semitic language, and that (ii) Hurrians historically insisted on giving their children Hurrian names even if they were living in Canaan, we can often tell from analyzing a daughter’s name whether the daughter’s mother or parents were ethnic Hurrians. If a daughter’s parents are ethnic Hurrians, then a whole raft of historical facts follows from that. We know that Hurrians sometimes made a contract for their daughter to be adopted by a man who promised that, in due course, the adopted Hurrian daughter would marry the man’s natural son as his sole main wife. We know that Hurrian women were often considered the most attractive women in the Late Bronze Age ancient Near East. The historical time period would be the Late Bronze Age prior to the end of the 14th century BCE, and would likely need to be limited to the mid-14th
      century BCE (because based on the Amarna Letters, that is the only time period when Hebrews living in Canaan would have to interact with Hurrian princelings on a regular basis). Yet from a Hebrew perspective, we also know that an adopted daughter would not likely be treated the same as a blood daughter, at least for most purposes. Thus if Terah adopted $RY, an ethnic Hurrian living in Canaan, as his daughter for the express, agreed-upon purpose of marrying Terah’s natural son Abram as Abram's sole main wife, then (i) Terah himself would think of $RY primarily as being his daughter-in-law, rather than being like a blood daughter, yet (ii) Abraham could truthfully call Sarah his “sister”, since she was his half-sister by adoption.
      >
      >But perhaps the following consideration is what’s most important here from a Biblical perspective. Because $RY was merely adopted by Abraham’s father Terah, rather than being a blood daughter of Terah, and because for most purposes an adopted daughter was not treated the same as being a blood daughter, Isaac is not a blood descendant of Terah through any maternal ancestry. Thus in order for Isaac’s son Jacob to be a blood descendant of Terah through some maternal ancestry, and hence for all of Jacob’s future descendants to be blood descendants of Terah through some maternal ancestry, it is absolutely critical for Isaac’s wife Rebekah to be a b-l-o-o-d descendant of Abraham’s father Terah in her own right. Hence the elaborate, detailed genealogy that is provided for Rebekah at Genesis 22: 20-23, whereas there is nothing comparable for Sarah, who [so unlike Rebekah] is not a blood descendant of Terah.
      >
      >With Rebekah guaranteeing that all of Jacob’s future descendants will be blood descendants of Terah through some maternal ancestry, the requirement that a Hebrew man must marry a descendant of Terah now no longer applies. 4 of Jacob’s 12 sons who remain within the Covenant have as their birth mothers Zilpah or Bilhah, who manifestly are not descendants of Terah. Likewise, each of Jacob’s two leading sons, Judah and Joseph, marry and bear children by women who are not descendants of Terah. That is why Rebekah, uniquely among women who bear one or more sons who remain within the Covenant, is given a detailed, formal genealogy in the Patriarchal narratives.
      >
      >4. All five of the longstanding Biblical mysteries that I raised in my first post on this thread basically answer themselves, once it is recognized that $RY is the expected early Biblical Hebrew rendering of the attested Hurrian woman’s name $a-ru-ya. $a-ru-ya means “Desired by God” in Hurrian, and as such is a generic Hurrian name (much as “Abram” means “[the divine] Father Is Exalted” in west Semitic and is a generic west Semitic name, with the Hebrews being native west Semitic speakers who in my opinion are accurately portrayed in the Patriarchal narratives as being indigenous to Canaan). [What’s confusing is (i) that $RY lives in Canaan although she is an ethnic Hurrian, (ii) that the ruling class of Canaan in the Patriarchal Age was dominated by Hurrian princelings, both historically and as portrayed in the Patriarchal narratives, and (iii) that the Patriarchal narratives open with Terah’s family being on a one-time-only long
      caravan trip from Canaan way out east to Ur in Kassite southern Mesopotamia to buy lapis lazuli at wholesale as commercial mechandize.] Note that $RY, a Hurrian name, has a completely different meaning than the divinely-changed name SRH/“Sarah” (whose meaning is in my opinion properly explained at Genesis 17: 16, but there is no space here to analyze that non-Hurrian divinely-changed name).
      >
      >To the best of my knowledge, “Sarai” is not historically attested in any language as a woman’s name in the ancient world. If instead we view $RY in the received text as being the expected early Biblical Hebrew rendering of the attested Hurrian woman’s name $a-ru-ya, then all five of the longstanding Biblical mysteries that I mentioned in my prior post are deftly resolved. It is my considered opinion that the Patriarchal narratives are much older, and much more historically accurate, than is recognized by most of today’s scholars. In particular, it is of critical importance to take note of the dozens of Hurrian names that appear, with letter-for-letter accuracy in Hurrian, in the received unpointed Masoretic text of the Patriarchal narratives. Such as $RY.
      >
      >Jim Stinehart
      >Evanston, Illinois
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    • jimstinehart@aol.com
      Once we recognize that Sarah’s birth name $RY is the expected early Biblical Hebrew rendering of the attested Hurrian woman’s name $a-ru-ya, many
      Message 2 of 9 , May 13, 2012
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        Once we recognize that Sarah’s birth name $RY is the expected early Biblical Hebrew rendering of the attested Hurrian woman’s name $a-ru-ya, many longstanding Biblical mysteries are instantly resolved.

        For starters, $RY is an ethnic Hurrian, whereas Abram is a native west Semitic speaker who is indigenous to Canaan (per his name, “Abram”, which is a classic west Semitic name that fits Late Bronze Age Canaan perfectly). Accordingly, $RY must have been an ethnic Hurrian who lived in Canaan, a phenomenon that was extremely common in the Amarna Age (as we know from the Amarna Letters), though either rare or non-existent in all other time periods. As an ethnic Hurrian, $RY can be expected to have known, and taken advantage of, well-documented Hurrian customs regarding adoption.

        On that basis, we can figure out that $RY was adopted by Terah (in Canaan) after the death of Abram’s mother (Terah’s wife). Based on historically-documented Hurrian adoptions of this type, Terah’s adoption of $RY would have been pursuant to a written contract with Sarah’s Hurrian parents that guaranteed that when they were of age, Terah’s natural son Abram would marry Terah’s adopted daughter $RY as Abram’s sole main wife. ($RY’s Hurrian parents may have insisted on using this Hurrian adoption custom precisely in order to ensure that $RY would be Abram’s sole main wife, especially since $RY was marrying into a non-Hurrian family. By contrast, Terah was not Hurrian and so on his own motion would not likely have thought of using any such adoption custom.)

        Where the “adoptant” (the adult doing the adoption) is Terah in our situation, here’s a case from the Hurrian province of Nuzi that shows this precise type of Hurrian adoption:

        “[S]ome adoption transactions [at Nuzi] specifically emphasize the adoptant’s obligation to marry the adopted daughter to…the adoptant’s natural son….” Heerak Christian Kim, “Nuzi, Women’s Rights and Hurrian Ethnicity” (2006), p. 29.

        From a Hebrew perspective, however, it is likely that for most purposes, an adopted daughter would not be treated the same as a blood daughter. So $RY is said to be Terah’s KLH/“daughter-in-law” at Genesis 11: 31, and is not said to be Terah’s BT/“daughter”, because Terah had adopted $RY for the express purpose of marrying Terah’s natural son Abram; Terah always thought of $RY as being his daughter-in-law, rather than being like a blood daughter. But at Genesis 20: 12, Abraham can truthfully say that Sarah was the BT/ “daughter” of his father Terah (though not the BT/“daughter” of Abraham’s mother), because Sarah is technically Abraham’s “sister” in the sense that she is Abraham’s half-sister by adoption. (In fact, Abraham always thought of Sarah as his wife, not as his sister.)

        The foregoing analysis fully solves the mystery of why Genesis 11: 29, 31 never say that $RY was Terah’s daughter, whereas Abraham at Genesis 20: 12 says that Sarah is the daughter of his father Terah but not of his mother. The text does not contradict itself. Rather, the text accurately reflects the well-documented Hurrian customs of adoption in the Late Bronze Age, along with the Amarna Age phenomenon that ethnic Hurrians were commonplace in Canaan in the mid-14th century BCE. The closer one looks, the more historically accurate the Patriarchal narratives are. Given the facts that the Hurrians virtually went extinct after the 14th century BCE, and that the received text of the Patriarchal narratives contains dozens of Hurrian names like $RY with pinpoint accurate Hurrian spelling (as rendered in early Biblical Hebrew), there’s no way that the Patriarchal narratives could be fiction ginned up by multiple authors such as JEPD in the 1st millennium BCE. Not.

        Jim Stinehart
        Evanston, Illinois


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