Who Is "Judith"?

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Jim Stinehart
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Joined: Sat Sep 28, 2013 11:33 am

Who Is "Judith"?

Postby Jim Stinehart » Wed Jan 08, 2014 10:12 am

Who is the first wife of Esau, whose name at Genesis 26: 34, YHWDYT, is mis-transliterated as “Judith”?

The traditional view is that Esau’s first wife was a Hittite who had a west Semitic name that means “Jewess”. But Genesis 28: 8 tells us that Esau’s first wife was a “daughter of Canaan”, meaning that she had been born in Canaan, and in 5,000 years of human history no Hittite woman was ever born in Canaan. Moreover, there was no state of Judah, and there were no Jews or Jewesses, in the Patriarchal Age. And besides, Esau’s first wife is an outsider, a XTY, so she could not possibly have a west Semitic name that means “Jewess”.

Taking a step back for a moment, it appears that in late 7th century BCE Jerusalem, when the Late Bronze Age cuneiform originals of the Patriarchal narratives were being transformed into alphabetical Hebrew, King Josiah ordered that the names of all of Esau’s relatives must be interpreted on a west Semitic-only basis. King Josiah’s purpose was to facilitate casting aspersions on Judah’s neighbor and natural rival, west Semitic-speaking Edom, a state in the southern Transjordan that did not exist until the 9th century BCE, centuries after the Patriarchal Age had ended. Unfortunately, from the late 7th century BCE until today, all analysts have consistently defied what the received text of Genesis says and have insisted upon analyzing the names of all of Esau’s relatives, including the name of Esau’s first wife, on a west Semitic-only basis. This, despite the fact that not a single XTY person in Genesis, including Esau’s first wife, has a west Semitic name [though some XTY, like both of Esau’s first two wives, were born in Canaan].

Here is the complete published explanation of the name YHWDYT at Genesis 26: 34 by the #1 Genesis scholar in the world today:

“ ‘Judith’ only used here as a proper name in the OT. In later texts it means a female Judean, i.e., Jewess.” Gordon Wenham, “Genesis 16-50” (1994), p. 205

Adding injury to insult, the scholarly view then sees a completely different name allegedly being set forth at Genesis 36: 2 for Esau’s first wife, transliterated as “Adah”, allegedly being a west Semitic name that means “booty”. University scholars try to tell us that there were multiple authors of the Patriarchal narratives, who couldn’t decide among themselves what the heck the name of Esau’s first wife was.

Does anyone on the b-hebrew list think that modern scholars have thereby done a good, creditable job of explaining the name of Esau’s first wife? We on the b-hebrew list should not passively accept the scholarly view that the name of Esau’s first wife is “Judith” at Genesis 26: 34, allegedly being the west Semitic name of a Hittite that means “Jewess”, whereas the name of Esau’s first wife is “Adah” throughout chapter 36 of Genesis, allegedly being a completely different name that is not related at all to the name “Judith”.

The key to an historical and textual analysis of the name of Esau’s first wife is to note that Genesis 14: 4 refers to “Year 13”. If we are willing to ask what the name YHWDYT meant in Year 13, when non-Semitic XTY were prominent in Canaan [and a few non-Semitic XTY had been born in Canaan], then surely we will be able to come up with a much better analysis of the name of Esau’s first wife than the scholarly view of “Judith” allegedly meaning “Jewess”. After all, there could not possibly be any worse, or more erroneous, view than that.

Jim Stinehart
Evanston, Illinois

Isaac Fried
Posts: 1029
Joined: Sat Sep 28, 2013 8:32 pm

Re: Who Is "Judith"?

Postby Isaac Fried » Wed Jan 08, 2014 1:45 pm

YHUDIYT is a girl's name corresponding to YEHUDAH, possibly the theophoric combination YA-HU-AD-HI.

Isaac Fried, Boston University

Jim Stinehart
Posts: 325
Joined: Sat Sep 28, 2013 11:33 am

Re: Who Is "Judith"?

Postby Jim Stinehart » Thu Jan 09, 2014 9:54 am

Isaac Fried wrote: “YHUDIYT is a girl's name corresponding to YEHUDAH, possibly the theophoric combination YA-HU-AD-HI.”

Yes, that is the traditional view of the name of Esau’s first wife at Genesis 26: 34, as I noted in my first post by quoting the most prominent Genesis scholar: “ ‘Judith’ only used here as a proper name in the OT. In later texts it means a female Judean, i.e., Jewess.” Gordon Wenham, “Genesis 16-50” (1994), p. 205.

But does that view make sense, in context? At the time Esau marries YHWDYT, Jacob’s son Judah had not yet been born; the state of Judah would not come into being until centuries in the future; Esau’s first wife is stated to be a XTY, which likely means that she is not a native west Semitic speaker, yet we are also told that Esau’s first wife was born in Canaan [being a “daughter of the land” and a “daughter of Canaan”]; and Esau does not remain within the Covenant [unlike his younger twin brother Jacob/“Israel”], which is yet another good reason why it does not make sense for Esau to be viewed as marrying a XTY women with a west Semitic name that means “Jewess”.

Rather than passively accepting the traditional and scholarly view of the name of Esau’s first wife, which does not seem to make sense at all in context, let’s instead ask if there is a name like YHWDYT that is attested for the o-n-l-y non-Semitic people who were prominent in Canaan in the “Year 13” that is referenced at Genesis 14: 4.

As historical background to this linguistic question, consider that Year 13 is the only year in which it would make sense for a wealthy man like Isaac to arrange to have his favorite son [Esau] marry two non-Semitic women who had been born in Canaan. The XTY, who originated in Syria, had been prominent in Canaan for only about 13 years or so as of Year 13; thus prior to Year 13 there would have been very few XTY females born in Canaan who were old enough to marry Esau. Looking in the other direction timewise, even more striking is the historical fact that beginning the very next year, in Year 14 [per Genesis 14: 5], the XTY prominence in Canaan and surrounding areas disastrously plummeted, as five XTY princelings in central Syria were destroyed by a winning coalition of four rulers in the Second Syrian War [as chronicled at Genesis 14: 1-11]. We begin to see that Esau’s reported marriages to two XTY women who had been born in Canaan make sense in virtually only o-n-e year in 5,000 years of human history -- Year 13. When Genesis 14: 4 says “Year 13”, it means Year 13. The Patriarchal narratives do not make good historical sense in any other time period, while making p-e-r-f-e-c-t historical sense, in all respects, in the context of Year 13.

As to a XTY man’s name attested for the only non-Semitic people who were prominent in Canaan in Year 13, we find: A-xi-ú-ti. A slight variant of that attested name would make the following three changes: (i) use D instead of T, since it is attested that D and T are interchangeable in non-Semitic names of this type [e.g., both Xu-ti and Xu-di are attested XTY men’s names in this general time period]; (ii) add -ya as an express theophoric suffix [being the most common XTY theophoric]; and (iii) add -T to make this into a woman’s name [like the non-Semitic XTY goddess name Hevat]. That results in the following non-Semitic woman’s name: A-xi-ú-di-ya-T. The expected Biblical Hebrew rendering of such name, using one Hebrew letter for each cuneiform sign in this non-Semitic name [per the consistent practice in the Patriarchal narratives], would be: YXWDYT. [The non-Semitic true vowel A as its own separate syllable, represented in cuneiform by the Akkadian true vowel A, is routinely rendered by the Hebrew letter yod/Y in the Patriarchal narratives. As to the second letter, cuneiform writing could not distinguish gutturals -- heth/X vs. he/H vs. ayin/‘ -- so it is likely that the he/H in the received text was actually intended in the cuneiform original to be heth/X.]

Instead of the name of Esau’s first wife being “Judith” meaning “Jewess” in west Semitic, which simply does not seem possible in context, here is what we then have:

YHWDYT = YXWDYT = A-xi-ú-di-ya-T = [or, as an informal English transliteration:] A-Hiudiyat = “Praise Teshup” [as a non-Semitic, non-Hittite woman’s XTY name]

In the context of the “Year 13” historical time period that is referenced at Genesis 14: 4, the name of Esau’s first wife at Genesis 26: 34 is likely the non-Semitic woman’s name A-Hiudiyat, having the good XTY meaning [though a bit blasphemous from a Hebrew perspective] of “Praise Teshup”. This name is not Semitic; it does not mean “Jewess”; none of Esau’s relatives are Hittites [since no Hittite woman was ever born in Canaan and hence could not be “a daughter of Canaan”, unlike the XTY, a non-Semitic people who had been prominent in Canaan for about 13 years or so as of Year 13]; and this name at Genesis 26: 34 is simply the formal, long-form version of the same basic name for the same person at Genesis 36: 2. [As can be discussed later in this thread, the name mis-transliterated at Genesis 36: 2 as “Adah” is likely Hudih, being a shortened, Semiticized version of A-Hiudiyat.]

Please also note the further historical linguistic fact that within a few generations after Year 13, virtually no one on Earth ever again knew a name like A-xi-ú-di-ya-T, which deftly recalls the Late Bronze Age attested non-Semitic XTY man’s name A-xi-ú-ti. The scholarly view that the name of Esau’s first wife at Genesis 26: 34 is late and west Semitic, and allegedly has the horribly anachronistic meaning of “Jewess”, is false. Esau did not marry a Hittite woman with a west Semitic name meaning “Jewess”. Not. Rather, in Year 13 Esau married two non-Semitic, non-Hittite XTY women who had been born in Canaan. For the reasons noted above, never again [that is, beginning already in Year 14] would a wealthy man in Canaan like Isaac arrange for his favorite son [Esau] to marry two XTY women. The key to understanding the historical world of the Patriarchal narratives [as accurately recorded in cuneiform writing in the original version of Genesis by a contemporary, who was the first Hebrew], including making an historical linguistic analysis of the heretofore mysterious name of Esau’s first wife, is the well-attested world of Year 13. When Genesis 14: 4 says “Year 13”, it means Year 13.

Jim Stinehart
Evanston, Illinois

Isaac Fried
Posts: 1029
Joined: Sat Sep 28, 2013 8:32 pm

Re: Who Is "Judith"?

Postby Isaac Fried » Thu Jan 09, 2014 12:41 pm

Her parents were apparently worshipers of the local deity YAH and gave her a name containing a reference to this divinity.

Isaac Fried, Boston University

Jim Stinehart
Posts: 325
Joined: Sat Sep 28, 2013 11:33 am

Re: Who Is "Judith"?

Postby Jim Stinehart » Fri Jan 10, 2014 9:53 am

Isaac Fried:

You wrote, concerning the name of Esau’s first wife at Genesis 26: 34: “Her parents were apparently worshipers of the local deity YAH and gave her a name containing a reference to this divinity.”

We are given the long-form, formal name of Esau’s first wife at Genesis 26: 34, and a shortened, Semiticized form of her name at Genesis 36: 2. Neither such name references a god YAH. Esau’s first wife is a XTY, and the XTY did not worship a god YAH.

(a) At Genesis 26: 34, as I noted previously: YHWDYT = YXWDYT = A-xi-ú-di-ya-T = [or, as an informal English transliteration:] A-Hiudiyat = “Praise Teshup” [as a non-Semitic, non-Hittite woman’s XTY name].

The XTY are world-famous for worshipping Teshup, whereas they did not worship a god YAH.

(b) As to the shortened, Semiticized name ‘DH/“Adah” at Genesis 36: 2, we need to bear in mind that cuneiform writing could not distinguish between heth/X vs. he/H vs. ayin/‘. So what got written down in alphabetical Hebrew as ‘DH at Genesis 36: 2 likely had been intended in the cuneiform original to be XDH. As such, the name is Xu-di-H. The XTY root of both the name A-xi-ú-di-ya-T and Xu-di-H is the XTY common word xu-di, which was alternatively written xu-ti, and means “to praise”. In fact, the XT -Y people are the xu-ti people, meaning “the Praise Teshup people”. These are just three different ways of writing the same basic XTY root, which is xu-di or xu-ti. An informal English transliteration of the shortened, Semiticized name of Esau’s first wife at Genesis 36: 2 is Hudih, which then compares with the name A-Hiudiyat at Genesis 26: 34. The name has been Semiticized at Genesis 36: 2 by adding -H at the end, instead of the XTY feminine ending -T; the -ya express theophoric has been dropped; and the root A-xi-ú-di is then simplified to its most basic form -- Xu-di.

In the context of Year 13, we know from Amarna Letter EA 155 that Abimelek [that’s the same Abimelek in the Amarna Letters as each of Abraham and Isaac deals with in the Patriarchal narratives, always being obsessed in all cases with contested access to valuable water wells] shortened the name of Pharaoh’s oldest daughter Meritaten to “Mayati”. Likewise, Esau could call his XTY wife, whose formal name was A-Hiudiyat, by the shortened, Semiticized name Hudih.

Only in Year 13 would it have been possible and desirable for Isaac to arrange to have his favorite son Esau marry two XTY women who had been born in Canaan. XTY and “Judith”/YXWD -Y -T and “Adah”/XD -H are all based on same XT -Y root: xu-di/XD, alternatively spelled xu-ti/XT or a-xi-ú-ti/YXWT or a-xi-ú-di/YXWD. It’s always XD or XT as the basic root, meaning “to praise”, and all three names effectively mean “Praise Teshup”. No such name is a west Semitic name, nor are Esau’s first wife and her people native west Semitic speakers; nor do they worship a god YAH. Rather, these XTY in-laws of Esau worshipped Teshup and his consort Hevat. That’s the way Canaan was in the “Year 13” that is expressly referenced at Genesis 14: 4. Just two verses later we see the formal, historical name of the XTY people at Genesis 14: 6, namely: H- XR -Y, that is, “the XR -Y”. Those identical four Hebrew letters, H- XR -Y, which are the formal, historical name of the XT -Y people, appear four times in chapter 36 of Genesis in describing Esau’s in-laws, at Genesis 36: 20-21, 29-30. All the various Late Bronze Age languages of the Middle East agree that the two key letters in the formal name of these non-Semitic people are: XR.

In Year 13 the XR -Y, one of whose colorful Patriarchal nicknames is XT -Y [“the Praise Teshup people”], were the numerical majority of the princeling rulers of cities in Canaan proper [though the majority of upperclass people in Canaan were native west Semitic-speaking Canaanites]. The dramatic decline of the XRY/XTY began the very next year, in Year 14, as accurately reported at Genesis 14: 5. The Patriarchal narratives were recorded in cuneiform writing shortly after Year 13 by a Hebrew contemporary of the events that he describes [who retained for the purpose one of the many trained scribes in Year 13 Canaan, likely being the former scribe of XRY princeling IR-Heba of Jerusalem], and have p-i-n-p-o-i-n-t historical accuracy in the context of Year 13. But in order to see that, we must be willing to do a XRY/XTY analysis of the names of Esau’s first wife and of most of Esau’s other in-laws as well [except the native west Semitic-speaking daughter of Ishmael, whom Esau married as his third wife].

The dozens of XTY/XRY names in the received text of the Patriarchal narratives make perfect sense on a XTY/XRY basis in Year 13, while not making good sense either in west Semitic or in any other historical time period. When Genesis 14: 4 says “Year 13”, it means Year 13. Esau’s first wife was a non-Semitic, non-Hittite XTY/XRY who had been born in Canaan, and whose XTY/XRY name means: “Praise Teshup”.

Jim Stinehart
Evanston, Illinois


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