Meaning of "Israel"

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James Stinehart

Meaning of "Israel"

Postby James Stinehart » Sun Mar 03, 2019 10:58 pm

Meaning of “Israel”

This post discusses three possible west Semitic meanings of “Israel”: (i) Ugaritic; (ii) Patriarchal Hebrew; (iii) modern scholarly Biblical Hebrew.

The five Hebrew letters transliterated by KJV as “Israel” are ישראל. As we will see in this post, these Hebrew letters, and their proper division, can be alternatively viewed as being either Y- SR - ’L or, per the Ugaritic meaning, YŠR - ’L / yšr-il.

(Although not discussed in this post, a third possible division of these Hebrew letters is YŠ - R - ’L. For example, at Ugarit a maryannu [usually a Hurrian charioteer] has the name yšr’il [Meindert Dijkstra, at p. 60 of “The Land of Canaan in the Late Bronze Age” (2017)]; in my opinion, such name might possibly be yš - r’ - il. Going back to an earlier era, the name Iš-ra-il is found at Ebla; however, the meaning [and division] of this Eblaite name from the end of the 3rd millennium BCE is unclear, as is the question of whether it is truly a direct forerunner of the Biblical name “Israel”. But I digress.)

At Ugarit, in the Ugaritic name yšr-il the initial yod / Y is an integral part of the verbal root, rather than being a verbal prefix, with the verb being yšr. By contrast, in the Patriarchal and scholarly Hebrew meanings, the verb in question is viewed as being SRH, where the final -H drops out when Y- as a verbal prefix is added. The other difference is that at Ugarit, the sibilant is a shin, whereas in the conventional Hebrew understandings the verb is a sin. (Although these are two separate phonemes, nevertheless in unpointed alphabetical Hebrew writing there is no difference between shin and sin, and accordingly shin should be considered as possibly being part of the intended meaning of “Israel”.)

1. Ugaritic Meaning of “Israel”

At Ugarit, the following name is attested (in Ugaritic): yšr-il. If this Ugaritic name were to be written in unpointed Hebrew text, the spelling would be identical to the Hebrew spelling of “Israel” (since shin is not distinguished in Hebrew writing from sin).

The Ugaritic verb yšr (quite similar to the same verb in Hebrew, as discussed below) means “to be upright, to be lawful”. Thus the Ugaritic name yšr-il means (in Ugaritic): “God [is] Upright” or “God [is] Lawful”. This is a typical Late Bronze Age name of a noble man, where the name praises a deity. Note that the Ugaritic meaning is not blasphemous from a Hebrew perspective (since Hebrews and Jews, along with most all other peoples in the ancient Near East for that matter, would presumably agree that the divine is “upright” and “lawful”). Accordingly, it is possible that this west Semitic / Ugaritic meaning of “Israel” is an intended secondary meaning of “Israel”.

Hebrew has the same common word: yšr / YŠR / ישר, having a somewhat similar meaning: “to please, to be straight, right”. The Hebrew verb YŠR appears 27 times in the Bible, e.g. Psalms 5: 8; 119: 128. So absent the Patriarchal Hebrew explanation that is set forth at Genesis 32: 28 (quoted below), which relies on an otherwise unknown Hebrew verb (as discussed below) [unlike the well-known Hebrew verb yšr / YŠR / ישר], a Hebrew audience might well have thought that the main, if not sole, meaning of the name “Israel” is its Ugaritic meaning above.

In the context of the Patriarchal narratives, the focus on God being “upright” and “lawful” and “straight” and “right” might be intended to reassure the Hebrews that God will surely honor His divine promises to the Hebrew Patriarchs: progeny, and the land of Canaan. Since the Ugaritic meaning of “Israel” works so nicely, we should perhaps seriously consider whether this Ugaritic meaning was an intended secondary meaning of the name “Israel”.

2. Patriarchal Hebrew Meaning of “Israel”

Genesis 32: 8 conceptualizes the name “Israel” as being Y- SR - ’L. In context, the underlying Hebrew verb here is viewed as being an otherwise unknown (as discussed below) Hebrew verb SRH (with a sin), with Y- being a verbal prefix. Based primarily on the fact that SR is the extremely well-known Hebrew common n-o-u-n which has as its most common meaning “prince”, in context the mysterious Hebrew verb SRH is thought to mean one or more of the following: “to be a prince”, or “to have the power of a prince”, or “to fight or struggle as a prince”, or “to prevail as a prince”, or “to prevail as a prince (having the power of a prince and having fought as a prince)”. Take your pick, because SRH as a Hebrew verb appears only here at
Genesis 32: 28, and in the parallel passage at Hosiah 12: 3 (where the context is identical).

The KJV translation of Genesis 32: 28 sets forth the Patriarchal Hebrew meaning of this name as: “a prince hast thou power with God”. However, in the context of Jacob having just then wrestled with God, the implied full meaning of the name “Israel” in Patriarchal Hebrew could be viewed as being:

“a prince who, having successfully struggled with God, hast thou power with God”.

That is truly a beautiful meaning for both Hebrew Patriarch #3 individually, and for all of his progeny (Hebrews and Jews). The Hebrews and Jews have, like Jacob, certainly “struggled”, yet just as surely, have “power with God”.

B-u-t:

Is SRH really a Hebrew verb? It only appears twice in the Bible, here at Genesis 32: 8, where its meaning can be divined (more or less) by the context, and at Hosiah 12: 3, which is merely a parallel passage having the identical context. Did an early Hebrew author effectively create SRH as a Hebrew verb, since outside of this one context, SRH never appears elsewhere in the Bible?

There is no srh in Ugaritic with this meaning. srh in Ugaritic is a teen numeral.

By contrast, SR is an extremely well-known Hebrew common noun, meaning “prince, captain, chief, ruler, leader”, etc., and occurs 421 times in 368 Bible verses. Scholars tell us that SR derives from the Hebrew verb SRR, but SRR as a verb appears in only 4 Bible verses. Moreover, whereas SR as a noun has a broad range of meanings, SRR as a verb has the extremely narrow sole meaning of “to rule as a prince”. (As a secondary meaning of the name “Israel”, based on the storyline of the Patriarchal narratives, Robert Alter [cited below] approvingly cites Rashi, who viewed the Hebrew verb SRR [e.g. Isaiah 32: 1] as being the underlying verb in question for this name, which per Alter supposedly has the meaning of “lordliness”, but which in fact means “to rule as a prince”, possibly implying: “having the high-class manner of a ruling prince”.)

SRR is somewhat suspicious as a Hebrew verb (seeming to derive from the noun SR, rather than vice versa as scholars would have it), and SRH is highly suspicious as a Hebrew verb; both of these verbs occur but rarely in the Hebrew Bible, whereas the Hebrew common noun SR is ubiquitous throughout the Bible. What seems to be happening at Genesis 32: 8 is that the Biblical author is starting with the extremely well-known Hebrew common noun SR, and then creatively f-or-c-i-n-g this Hebrew common noun to be used as a verb, resulting in a forced meaning for “Israel”. Whereas the Ugaritic meaning of yšr-il is totally natural and unremarkable on all levels, the Patriarchal Hebrew meaning of Y- SR - ’L is the opposite: it is both forced and awesome. This is the hallmark of a creative genius Hebrew author.

3. Modern Scholarly Hebrew Meaning of “Israel”

Today’s university scholars take the odd view that the person who wrote down the supposed meanings of the divinely-changed names “Abraham”, “Sarah” and “Israel” in Genesis allegedly had no idea what he was talking about, so that the Biblical explanations of these three divinely-changed names are erroneous. This is part and parcel of the peculiar scholarly view that an early set of authors of the Patriarchal narratives was utterly incapable of creating any names at all, but, rather, passively copied down pre-existing names, and then a later set of authors of the Patriarchal narratives allegedly made erroneous guesses as to what the meanings of these divinely-changed names might be.

Many university scholars ignore both the text of Genesis 32: 28 and its context, and contend that the name “Israel” actually means (contra the Biblical explanation of this name): “God rules/judges/struggles”. For example, here is how leading Biblical scholar Robert Alter puts it (at p. 182 of “Genesis”):

“[The Biblical author] etymologizes the name Yisra-el, Israel, as ‘he strives with God’[, but] an educated guess about the original sense of the name [‘Israel’] would be: ‘God will rule’ or perhaps, ‘God will prevail’.”

But how can modern university scholars possibly know what the Hebrew verb SRH “really” means, outside of the narrow context of Genesis 32: 28? There in fact is no Hebrew verb SRH, except that the early Hebrew author of the Patriarchal narratives has taken the well-known Hebrew common noun SR and f-o-r-c-e-d it to be used as a verb. It is my own opinion that the early Hebrew author of the Patriarchal narratives c-r-e-a-t-e-d the name “Israel”, which though having definite similarities to the contemporary Ugaritic man’s name yšr-il, nevertheless is a new name. I further assert that this newly-created Patriarchal name “Israel” has e-x-a-c-t-l-y the meaning (in west Semitic) that is set forth for this name at Genesis 32: 28.

University scholars claim that the author of Genesis 32: 28 allegedly “misunderstood” the pre-existing name “Israel”, but I see the name “Israel” as not existing until it was created by the early Hebrew author of the Patriarchal narratives.

All university scholars insist that the name “Israel” long pre-dates the composition of the Patriarchal narratives. But it doesn’t. Moreover, most university scholars think that, umpteen centuries later, a Jewish author in mid-1st millennium BCE Jerusalem, in composing Genesis 32: 28, guessed, and guessed wrong, as to the “real” meaning of the name “Israel”. Au contraire: (i) an early tent-dwelling Hebrew composed Genesis 32: 28 in the mid-14th century BCE; (ii) the name “Israel” did not exist until it was created by the author of Genesis 32: 28; and (iii) shock of shocks, the name “Israel” means (in west Semitic) e-x-a-c-t-l-y what Genesis 32: 28 says it means: “a prince who, having successfully struggled with God, hast thou power with God”.

Jim Stinehart

Isaac Fried
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Re: Meaning of "Israel"

Postby Isaac Fried » Mon Mar 04, 2019 12:37 pm

See my post from Sat Dec 02, 2017 7:56 pm
ישׂראל Israel, Gen. 35:10
We read there
וַיֹּאמֶר לוֹ אֱלֹהִים שִׁמְךָ יַעֲקֹב לֹא יִקָּרֵא שִׁמְךָ עוֹד יַעֲקֹב כִּי אִם יִשְׂרָאֵל יִהְיֶה שְׁמֶךָ וַיִּקְרָא אֶת שְׁמוֹ יִשְׂרָאֵל
I tend to think now that
יִשְׂרָאֵל = איש-שׂר-אל
so that with איש he became connected with his father יצחק, his uncle ישׁמעאל and his brother עשׂו. With שׂר he became connected with his babushka שׁרה SARAH.
Also, the letter L appears now in all the names: ישׂראל, לאה, רחל, בלהה, זלפּה Israel, Leah, Raxel, Bilhah, Zilpah.

In another post I toyed with the possibility that ישראל = איש-ראה-אל
Isaac Fried, Boston University

James Stinehart

Re: Meaning of "Israel"

Postby James Stinehart » Mon Mar 04, 2019 4:38 pm

Isaac Fried:

You wrote: “Also, the letter L appears now in all the names: ישׂראל, לאה, רחל, בלהה, זלפּה Israel, Leah, Raxel, Bilhah, Zilpah.”

1. Yes, but that seems of relatively minor importance, especially since Bilhah and Zilpah are minor wives, whose names are Aramaic.

2. The big deal, rather, is that the letter R appears smack dab in the middle of all three divinely-changed names, and at least per the KJV transliterations, that’s “ra” in the middle of all three such names:

(i) Abraham

(ii) Sarah

(iii) Israel

Is it possible then that these three divinely-changed names are, at least on one level of meaning, as follows?

(i) Ab – ra – ham

(ii) Sa – ra – h

(iii) Is – ra – el

Are the KJV transliterations (admittedly always suspect) misleading us here, or are they, albeit inadvertently, pointing the way to understanding the intended meanings, and historical time period, of these three divinely-changed names?

Isaac Fried, we’d all like to know what you think of the letter R being so prominent in the middle of all three divinely-changed names. Is that a meaningless coincidence, or, rather, is it telling us something b-i-g ?

Jim Stinehart

Isaac Fried
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Re: Meaning of "Israel"

Postby Isaac Fried » Tue Mar 05, 2019 9:32 pm

It is with a certain feeling of embarrassment that I admit that a suspicion is creeping upon me that many of these old patriarchal names are but for distinctive goats and sheep, which the ancient herders and nomads of the near east worshiped for their gift of milk, wool and meat.
After all, there seems to me to be a wide agreement as to the claim that the girl names רחל RAXEL (the jumpy one?), לאה LEAH (the heavy one?), and רבקה RIBQAH (the pet?) are all discernible goat attribute names. So why not אברם = אב-רם AB-RAM (the lofty begetter), related to the רְאֵם REM of Nu. 23:22, and שר-היא = שרה SARAH, related to the שְעִירָה (youngster crowding about the leader of the herd) of Lev. 4:28, and to the עשתר of Deut. 7:13?

Isaac Fried, Boston University

James Stinehart

Re: Meaning of "Israel"

Postby James Stinehart » Wed Mar 06, 2019 9:59 am

Isaac Fried:

You first observed: “It is with a certain feeling of embarrassment that I admit that a suspicion is creeping upon me that many of these old patriarchal names are but for distinctive goats and sheep, which the ancient herders and nomads of the near east worshiped for their gift of milk, wool and meat. After all, there seems to me to be a wide agreement as to the claim that the girl names רחל RAXEL (the jumpy one?), לאהLEAH (the heavy one?), and רבקה RIBQAH (the pet?) are all discernible goat attribute names.” Then you made two tentative suggestions:

1. You wrote: “So why not אברם = אב-רם AB-RAM (the lofty begetter), related to the רְאֵם REM of Nu. 23:22”?

But that has nothing to do with the divinely changed name אברהם / ’BRHM / “Abraham”, which I have suggested may possibly be ’B – R – HM. The divinely-changed name “Abraham” has both an R and an H in the middle. Your suggestion of רְאֵם REM (i) leaves no room for the distinctive H in “Abraham” (with no non-Biblical name in the ancient world that is based on “Abram” having that unique H), and (ii) not being a domesticated animal, “wild bull” would be an odd name for Hebrew Patriarch #1 -- indeed being more befitting for the “wild man” Ishmael, per Genesis 16: 12.

Your suggested that “lofty begetter” may be an intended secondary meaning of the birth name “Abram”. That’s O.K. But the question at hand is why all three divinely-changed names seem to have -ra- in the middle: Ab – ra – ham; Sa – ra – h; Is – ra – el.

2. You further wrote: “[A]nd שר-היא = שרה SARAH, related to the שְעִירָה (youngster crowding about the leader of the herd) of Lev. 4:28, and to the עשתר of Deut. 7:13?”

As to שְעִירָה / S‘YRH, the root S‘YR is very different from SR. And עשתר / ‘ŠTR is even further from SR.

Rather, “Sarah” / שרה / SRH / S – R – H sure looks an awful lot like “Sa – ra – h” / sA ra -H. The end of Genesis 17: 16 says that the divinely-changed name “Sarah” means: “kings of people shall be of her”. The best-known kingly title in the entirety of the ancient world, prior to the Common Era, was sA ra; and -H is obviously the standard Hebrew feminine suffix, effectively meaning “her”. So “Sa – ra – h” / sA ra -H = “Kings [of people shall be of] Her”. Do people on the b-Hebrew list agree with university scholars that the author of Genesis 17: 15-16 allegedly had no idea what the divinely-changed name “Sarah” really means?

* * *

Upon reconsideration, Isaac Fried, do you r-e-a-l-l-y think that the divinely-changed names “Abraham” and “Sarah” are based on the concept of “distinctive goats and sheep”? Shouldn’t Hebrew Patriarch #1 and Hebrew Matriarch #1 have much grander divinely-changed names than plays on “distinctive goats and sheep”?

Furthermore, do you accept the view of university scholars that the authors of Genesis 17: 5, 15-16; 32: 28 allegedly didn’t know what the pre-existing divinely-changed names “Abraham” and “Sarah” and “Israel” mean, and made erroneous guesses as to these names’ meanings?

You see, if we insist on ignoring the -ra- in the middle of the divinely-changed names Ab – ra – ham, Sa – ra – h and Is – ra – el, then we’ll never realize how truly ancient these names are, or how brilliant the early Hebrew author was who came up with these magnificent divinely-changed names.

It is my opinion that the early Hebrew author of the Patriarchal narratives was a true genius who, in coming up with the divinely-changed names “Abraham” and “Sarah” and “Israel”, had bigger things on his mind than “distinctive goats and sheep”. As I see it, that big fat R smack dab in the middle of all three of these divinely-changed names was his attempt to create a linguistic bridge to the most powerful ruler on earth during the Patriarchal Age.

Jim Stinehart

Isaac Fried
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Re: Meaning of "Israel"

Postby Isaac Fried » Wed Mar 06, 2019 8:22 pm

1. Notice also the names אבירם = אב-היא-רם of Nu. 16:1, and אחירם = אח-היא-רם (also as חירם and חוּרם) of Nu. 26:38. Also עמרם = עם-רם of Ex. 6:18.
2. I am not sure what is accomplished by the modification of אברם to אברהם, except of masking AB-RAM: the extolled אב AB.
3. I think that the ending AY of שׂר-היא-היא = שָׂרַי SARAY, is an ancient plural marker put to signal theophoric, or otherwise great, respect, as found in אדוֹני ADONAY of Ex. 5:22, and in שַׁדַּי $ADAY of Gen. 17:1 (also יִשַׁי YI$AY of 1Sam. 16:1.) Hence, Removing one היא and leaving the name at שׂרה = שר-היא, eliminated from it the mark of worship for SAR.
שׂר SAR is a member of an entourage.

Isaac Fried, Boston University

James Stinehart

Re: Meaning of "Israel"

Postby James Stinehart » Thu Mar 07, 2019 2:58 am

Isaac Fried:

1. You wrote: “Notice also the names אבירם = אב-היא-רם of Nu. 16:1, and אחירם = אח-היא-רם (also as חירם and חוּרם) of Nu. 26:38. Also עמרם = עם-רם of Ex. 6:18.

Yes, Numbers 16: 1 has “Abiram”. That is b-y f-a-r the most common rendering in the ancient world of names similar to “Abram”. “Abiram” is commonplace in the ancient world, whereas “Abram” is fairly rare.

“Abiram” is ab – i – ram / ’B – Y – RM, where the interior yod is a ḫireq compaginis, functioning as a modern dash, which simultaneously both distinguishes, and links, the two substantive halves of names like this. “Abiram” has the identical meaning as “Abram”, but it’s much easier to pronounce. Although Americans can pronounce consonant clusters in their sleep, so that the English pronunciation (not the Hebrew pronunciation) of “Abram” is no problem at all for English speakers who know no Hebrew, I believe it is heck for native Hebrew speakers to pronounce “Abram”, whereas pronouncing “Abiram” is a piece of cake. [Isaac Fried, how do you yourself personally pronounce “Abram”, when you are trying to mimic Biblical Hebrew pronunciation? Do you pronounce it Ab – ram, while studiously trying to avoid a Germanic glottal stop in the middle? I am quite sure that you do definitely do not pronounce it “A - bram”, as English-only speakers (unlike you) pronounce it. Am I right, or am I wrong, that for a native Hebrew speaker who does not think in terms of English, “Abram” is difficult to pronounce, whereas “Abiram”, by stark contrast, is extremely easy to pronounce?]

You cite Akh – i – ram / ’Ḫ – Y – RM at Numbers 26: 38, but that has little relevance to either “Abram”, “Abiram” or “Abraham”, as it has no B, it has no H, and the divine reference there is to “Brother”, not “Father”. The only possible relevance, and perhaps this is fairly important, is that this illustrates another ubiquitous use of the ḫireq compaginis, as appears in “Abiram”, but not “Abram”.

As to “Amram” / ‘M - RM at Exodus 6: 18, there is no consonant cluster there, no B, no H, and no ḫireq compaginis, so there’s no there there as to analyzing the names “Abram”, “Abiram” and “Abraham”.

The issue I raised above as to native Hebrew speakers pronouncing “Abram” vs. “Abiram” is actually important, because if I am right as to my pronunciation and frequency-of-attestation analysis, then we have another b-i-g question. Why in the heck is the birth name of Hebrew Patriarch #1 “Abram”, rather than being the ubiquitous “Abiram”, given that: (i) the two names have an identical meaning i-n H-e-b-r-e-w , and (ii) “Abram” is much harder for Hebrews to pronounce than “Abiram”?

But I am not going to say anything more about the birth name of Hebrew Patriarch #1 in this post, because this thread is meant to be dedicated to the divinely-changed names: Abraham, Sarah, Israel.

2. You wrote: “I am not sure what is accomplished by the modification of אברם to אברהם, except of masking AB-RAM: the extolled אבAB.”

Now we’re finally getting somewhere!!! Isaac Fried, university scholars are absolutely baffled by the H in “Abraham”. Genesis 17: 5 explicitly says that the H in “Abraham” is part of HM, which is short for HMWN (with HM indeed being the root of HMWN), meaning “many”, which in turn is short for HMWN GWYM, meaning “many nations”. But university scholars insist that the author of Genesis 17: 5 allegedly had no earthly idea what the name “Abraham” means, in that the author of Genesis 17: 5 “wrongly” thinks that the divinely-changed name “Abraham” has a different, and much grander, meaning than the birth name “Abram”. (Of course it does!) Meanwhile, although steadfastly denying the Genesis 17: 5 etymology of “Abraham”, university scholars for their part have never come up with a convincing etymology for “Abraham” (as shown below, per quotations from the leading university scholars on Genesis).

Isaac Fried, can’t you see that university scholars are utterly terrified by the -ra- in the middle of the name “Abraham” / ab – ra – ham? From a university scholar’s point of view, there is almost nothing worse in all of life than the apparent presence of -ra- in the middle of all three divinely-changed names: ab – ra – ham; sA – ra -H; is – ra – el. For heaven’s sake, if Genesis 17: 5 gives us an accurate explanation of the name “Abraham” (it does!), then the logical corollary of that would be that the name “Abraham” was created by an early tent-dwelling Hebrew in Year 13 (with “Year 13” being expressly referenced at Genesis 14: 4). In Year 13 of the Amarna Age, and in no other year in 5,000 years of human history, it would make sense for an early Hebrew tent-dwelling author to use -ra- in the middle of all three divinely-changed names, in order to try to create a linguistic bridge to the most powerful kingly human ruler on earth, in the early Hebrews’ time of need. (That was before Egypt had done anything bad to the Hebrews. Unlike later books in the Bible, there is no hatred of Egypt in the truly ancient Patriarchal narratives. Indeed, the Patriarchal narratives are so very old that, contra the universal view of university scholars, there is also no hatred of Israel / northern Canaan in the Patriarchal narratives! That’s old. That’s a really old composition, by a Hebrew, not by a Jew or Greek.)

Here are the two leading university scholars on Genesis failing to come up with a believable explanation of the H in the divinely-changed name “Abraham”:

(i) Gordon Wenham, “Genesis 16-50”, p. 21: “[T]he change of Abram’s name to Abraham [is] probably little more than a dialect variant of Abram….”

But why would a divinely-changed name be thought to have the identical underlying meaning as the person’s birth name? Does that make any sense at all? No.

(ii) Robert Alter, “Genesis”, p. 73: “Abram…Abraham. The meaning of both versions of the name is something like ‘exalted father’. The longer form is evidently no more than a dialectical variant of the shorter one.”

But there is no dialectical or dialect variant of Abram spelled with an H as Abraham attested in the entirety of the non-Biblical ancient world!! Not. Moreover, certainly a divinely-changed name would logically be expected to have a different, and much grander, meaning than the person’s birth name, wouldn’t it?

Why are university scholars loathe to admit the obvious? The author of Genesis 17: 5 himself c-r-e-a-t-e-d the name “Abraham”, which never existed anywhere until he created it, and whose meaning is e-x-a-c-t-l-y what Genesis 17: 5 says it is.

To answer my own question, the reason why university scholars worldwide decline to view the name “Abraham” as being created by the author of Genesis 17: 5, and having the meaning set forth in Genesis 17: 5, is this. To admit that would implicitly be to admit that -ra- appears in the middle of all three divinely-changed names: ab – ra – ham; sA – ra -H; is – ra – el. And to admit that would mean, horror of horrors (from a university scholarly point of view), that the Patriarchal narratives were composed in Year 13 in the mid-14th century BCE by an early tent-dwelling Hebrew, who studded what became the last 40 chapters of Genesis with p-i-n-p-o-i-n-t historically accurate details from the world of Year 13, which were utterly unknown to both (a) Jews in mid-1st millennium BCE Jerusalem, 700 years later, and (ii) Greeks in the late 1st millennium BCE, 1,000 years later. Jews and Greeks have nothing whatsoever to do with the divinely-changed name “Abraham”, which, rather, was created by an early tent-dwelling H-e-b-r-e-w . Leaving out the 1% of the received text of the last 40 chapters that consists of openly-disclosed, later-added “glosses”, there is n-o-t-h-i-n-g in the Patriarchal narratives that is either Jewish or Greek. Instead, it is my considered opinion that the Patriarchal narratives were created by a tent-dwelling Hebrew author, whose world threatened to be turned upside down by the tumultuous events of Year 13 (such as the worrisome tumult at Lot’s Sodom in the Jezreel Valley, for instance).

The historically accurate details in the Patriarchal narratives that relate to Year 13 include the creation of three (count them, three!) divinely-changed names which each features -ra- in the middle of such name. That makes perfect sense for early Hebrews in the historical timeframe of Year 13, while making zero sense for any Jew or Greek umpteen centuries later.

Isaac Fried, please consider the b-i-g implications of -ra- (spelled with resh / R alone in defective Biblical Hebrew spelling, as at the end of the Biblical Egyptian name “Potiphar”) being present in the middle of all three divinely-changed names: ab – ra – ham; sA – ra -H; is – ra – el. It’s right there, if we only have eyes to see. The Patriarchal narratives are m-u-c-h older, and m-u-c-h more historically accurate, than university scholars realize. One key proof of that controversial contention of mine is the manifest presence of -ra- smack dab in the middle of the grand divinely-changed name “Abraham”.

It is not my fault that the Greeks didn’t ghost-write the Patriarchal narratives, as Biblical Minimalists would have it. And it is not my fault that mid-1st millennium BCE Jews in Jerusalem also had nothing to do with the original composition of the Patriarchal narratives (excluding the 1% of the received text that consists of later-added “glosses”), as mainstream university scholars would have it. Rather, the objective fact of the matter is that, like it or not, the Patriarchal narratives are, in my humble opinion, coming to us straight from a tent-dwelling early Hebrew author in Year 13 of the mid-14th century BCE Amarna Age, who knew exactly what he was talking about historically. T-h-a-t is why we see -ra- in the middle of all three divinely-changed names: ab – ra – ham; sA – ra -H; is – ra – el.

Jim Stinehart

Saboi
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Re: Meaning of "Israel"

Postby Saboi » Thu Mar 07, 2019 5:06 pm

You mean the "Ra" in the transliteration "Abraham" but in Hebrew, the name is spelled אברם or the accented form אברהם, the Greek forms are εὕρημα and εὕρεμα, the "A" probably from Dorian, εὕραμα/אברם.

אבירם is ἀγείρων thus the root is אגר.

The interchange of יעקב & ישראל is dialectic, the root is ἄκρας "furthest-point" and this word describes bodily extremities, like the Heel or locations that are far away, like the Atlas Mountains or high up on a mountain.

Genesis 25:26 - His hand took hold on Esau's heel (עקב) and his name was called Jacob (יעקב)
cf. ἀκρόπους - extremity of leg.

Josephus - Antiquities of the Jews — Book 12 Verse 266
ἐντυχόντες γραφῇ τινι εὕρομεν, ὡς ἐξ ἑνὸς εἶεν γένους Ἰουδαῖοι καὶ Λακεδαιμόνιοι καὶ ἐκ τῆς πρὸς Ἄβραμον οἰκειότητος.
We have met with a certain writing, whereby we have discovered, that both the Jews and the Lacedemonians are of one stock; and are derived from the kindred of Abraham
Lee Mcgee

James Stinehart

Re: Meaning of "Israel"

Postby James Stinehart » Thu Mar 07, 2019 10:01 pm

Saboi:

You wrote: “You mean the "Ra" in the transliteration "Abraham" but in Hebrew, the name is spelled אברם or the accented form אברהם, the Greek forms are εὕρημα and εὕρεμα, the "A" probably from Dorian, εὕραμα/אברם.”

1. “Abraham” / ab – ra – ham / אברהם is n-o-t an “accented form” of “Abram” / ab – rm / אברם. Rather, as a divinely-changed name, “Abraham” / ab – ra – ham / אברהם must have a different, and much grander, meaning than the man’s birth name. It does! Per Genesis 17: 5, ab – ra – ham means “[Human] Father, by Divine [Grant], of a Multitude [of Nations]”.

ab

Although in a proper name ab usually means “divine Father”, i.e. God, here the early Hebrew author uses ab with its normal meaning as a Hebrew common word: “human father”.

-ra-

We know from the last Hebrew letter in the Biblical Egyptian name “Potiphar” that Hebrew resh / R, standing alone, can render Ra or ra. In the name “Potiphar” (Joseph’s Egyptian master who, historically, changed his name to honor pharaoh Akhenaten’s preferred god Ra), it’s Ra: the Egyptian sun-god. But in the three divinely-changed names, ab – ra – ham; sA – ra -H; is – ra – el, the -ra- in the middle is ra, an Egyptian-based generic theophoric that references the divine in general, not the Egyptian sun-god in particular. The Hebrews never worshipped a sun-god, that’s for sure. -ra- is featured prominently in the middle of all three divinely-changed names as an attempt by the early Hebrew author in Year 13 to extend a linguistic bridge to pharaoh Akhenaten, with the hope that Akhenaten would save the early tent-dwelling Hebrews from the “iniquitous Amorite”, Yapaḫu. (See for example Amarna Letter EA 298.)

ham

Genesis 17: 5 clarifies that ham is short for hamown (“multitude”), which in turn is short for hamown goim (“multitude of nations”).

University scholars err in asserting that “Abraham” is merely a dialectal variant of “Abram”, having the identical meaning in both cases. Not! As a divinely-changed name, “Abraham” must have a different, and much grander, meaning than the birth name “Abram”.

University scholars are unable to accept the straightforward and correct explanation of the name “Abraham” that is set forth at Genesis 17: 5, because to do so would effectively date the name “Abraham” all the long way back to Year 13 [see Genesis 14: 4] of the Amarna Age in the mid-14th century BCE Late Bronze Age. That is the one year in 5,000 years of human history when it would make sense for a Hebrew author to attempt to create a linguistic bridge to Ra-loving pharaoh Akhenaten, by placing ra (not Ra) in the middle of all three divinely-changed names: ab – ra – ham; sA – ra -H; is – ra – el.

2. As to your Greek analyses, the Greeks knew nothing whatsoever about the name “Abraham”, which pre-dates the Greek presence in Canaan by 1,000 years.

The Greeks indeed knew absolutely nothing about the truly ancient Patriarchal narratives. In particular, the Greeks in the late 1st millennium BCE did not know:

(i) The name of the princeling ruler near Beersheba of Upper Galilee, where Abraham and Isaac dig a series of wells in chapters 20-21, 26-28 of Genesis (not Beersheba of the Negev Desert, which does not fit the Biblical description of Abraham’s and Isaac’s Beersheba at all), in Year 13 was Abimelek, and his primary concern (both Biblically and in the Amarna Letters) was contested access to valuable water wells.

(ii) The names of the Hurrians’ two divine bulls were “Seir” and “Ḫurri”, and the only time when “Seir” is attested non-Biblically as a geographical place name is in the Late Bronze Age hey-day of the Hurrians, with “Seir” in that historical context always referencing the Hurrian-dominated northern Transjordan (just north of the Jabbok River, per Genesis 32: 22).

(iii) The Jezreel Valley where, per Genesis 13: 9-10, Lot goes upon separating from his uncle Abram, was convulsed by a dangerous rebellion in Year 13 (the most important event in Canaan proper that is chronicled by the Amarna Letters), with the historical crushing of that threatening rebellion being portrayed in the Patriarchal narratives, using artistic license, as being the mother of all east winds, featuring divinely-sent fire and brimstone.

The Greeks knew n-o-t-h-i-n-g about the world of Year 13, which pre-dates the presence of Greeks in Canaan by 1,000 years. Likewise, the Jews in mid-1st millennium BCE Jerusalem also knew n-o-t-h-i-n-g about the world of Year 13, which is the Patriarchal Age and pre-dates them by 700 years.

Rather, the divinely-changed name “Abraham” was created by an early tent-dwelling H-e-b-r-e-w author, and the meaning of this name is e-x-a-c-t-l-y what is stated at Genesis 17: 5. That includes the interior -ra- being a generic, Egyptian-based theophoric which, as explained above, was intended as a linguistic bridge to pharaoh Akhenaten in Year 13.

This is all H-e-b-r-e-w , nothing else. There’s nothing Greek or Jewish about the Patriarchal narratives (excluding the 1% of the Hebrew text that consists of openly-disclosed, later-added “glosses”, which were added by a Jewish editor in 7th century BCE Jerusalem).

Forget Greek. Think Hebrew and Year 13.

Jim Stinehart

Isaac Fried
Posts: 1233
Joined: Sat Sep 28, 2013 8:32 pm

Re: Meaning of "Israel"

Postby Isaac Fried » Thu Mar 07, 2019 11:51 pm

Here are two more interesting names with אב AB:
אֲבִיאֵל = אב-היא-אל of 1Sam. 9:1 (in Nu. 1:9 it comes as אֱלִיאָב = אל-היא-אב).
and
אֲבִידָן = אב-היא-דן, of Nu. 1:11; possibly a contraction of אב-היא-אדן or אב-היא-אדוֹן
Also, אֲבִיהוּא = אב-היא-הוּא of Ex. 24:1. Or אביהוא AB-YHWA.

Isaac Fried, Boston University


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