Skip to main content

Full text of "The "Encyclopaedia Biblica" (Vols. I and II) and the Textual Tradition of Hebrew Proper Names"

See other formats


Early Journal Content on JSTOR, Free to Anyone in the World 

This article is one of nearly 500,000 scholarly works digitized and made freely available to everyone in 
the world by JSTOR. 

Known as the Early Journal Content, this set of works include research articles, news, letters, and other 
writings published in more than 200 of the oldest leading academic journals. The works date from the 
mid-seventeenth to the early twentieth centuries. 

We encourage people to read and share the Early Journal Content openly and to tell others that this 
resource exists. People may post this content online or redistribute in any way for non-commercial 

Read more about Early Journal Content at 
journal-content . 

JSTOR is a digital library of academic journals, books, and primary source objects. JSTOR helps people 
discover, use, and build upon a wide range of content through a powerful research and teaching 
platform, and preserves this content for future generations. JSTOR is part of ITHAKA, a not-for-profit 
organization that also includes Ithaka S+R and Portico. For more information about JSTOR, please 



Two of the four volumes of which the Encyclopaedia 
Biblica is to consist have now appeared, and it is already- 
apparent that this great work will be much more than 
a mere survey and summary of the work of scholars and 
investigators. It is full of original suggestions, and con- 
tributes greatly in many departments to the advance of 
Biblical study. To judge from some of the reviews this 
is accounted in certain circles a vice rather than a virtue : 
in such a work originality appears to be unwelcome 
because it is unexpected. One thing — though by no means 
a grudging reception — this characteristic of the new work 
certainly seems to call for, and that is to draw attention 
to, and where necessary to criticize, what is here freshly 
said or mooted lest it should be unused, or for lack of 
criticism become misused. 

In the present article I confine myself to a single subject, 
and to a large extent to a single aspect even of that ; I intend 
to indicate the nature of the contributions made in these 
volumes — often in obscure articles and out-of-the-way 
sections — to the study of Hebrew Proper Names, and 
more especially to consider the question of the textual 
tradition of those names. 

The comprehensive article on " Names * " to which, when 

1 One section of this, dealing with Place Karnes, is contributed by 
myself: in voL i I have written the article "Ammi, Karnes in." Keither 
of these, and consequently none of my own work, is discussed in the 
present article. 


the work is complete, the reader interested in the subject 
will naturally first turn, will appear in a later volume. 
But there are several articles of a general character, more 
or less directly and intimately connected with the subject, 
in the first two volumes, and especially in the second 
a large number of brief articles the importance of which 
is out of all proportion to their size. Were it but for 
these alone the Encyclopaedia Biblica must henceforth 
be constantly in the hands of all serious students of the 
subject, for they will find that the knowledge acquired in 
the past is here fully and succinctly stated ; and that no 
previous work has so systematically broken fresh ground 
in the discussion especially of the textual validity but also 
of the philological, historical, and religious significance of 
the proper names of the Old Testament. 

The following series of articles deals with the particularly 
interesting groups of names compounded with an element 
denoting kinship — Abi, Ammi, Dod, Hamu or Hami. 

In Abi Professor Cheyne discusses somewhat fully both 
the philological and religious problems presented by the 
names containing that element. He independently supports 
the view which I have elsewhere * defended at length, that 
names of the type Abiel are sentences, and that the " i " is 
not pronominal. In the second section of the article he 
discusses the question which part of the name is predicative, 
and concludes that it is the term of kinship when the other 
term is divine ; but that in such a name as Abiram, Abi is 
the subject, and ram (exalted) the predicate. Here again 
I find Professor Cheyne in agreement with myself 2 as 
against, for example, Professor Moore. In the last two 
sections Professor Cheyne discusses the religious significance 
of these names, and rightly criticizes Professor Hommel's 

1 Studies in Hebrew Proper Names (1896), pp. 75-86. This work will be 
cited henceforth throughout the article as H. P. N. 

3 Ibid. 140 ; cf. 137, n. 3, and see the interpretation of the names 
Ahikam, Adonikam, Adoniram, in the Encyc. Bibl. Note also the Phoen. 
DplN cited under Ahikam, 


undiscriminating use of the parallel Babylonian names on 
the ground that proof of a tendency among the Babylonians 
is no sufficient proof that the same tendency existed among 
the Hebrews. 

Professor Cheyne also writes the article on Bod, Mr. Hogg 
that on Hamu : but whereas Mr. Hogg explains Hamu, 
which occurs at most in one or two names, as a term of 
kindred, Professor Cheyne decides that Dod, whieh is a 
rather more frequent though still rare component of names, 
is not a term of kindred. The two articles should have 
been correlated; the decision in the one case can hardly 
be altogether unaffected by that in the other. I decided 
myself x that in both cases the balance of evidence, which 
was too incomplete and ambiguous to be decisive, was 
in favour of the interpretation as a term of kindred. 
No fresh evidence is yet forthcoming 2 , and to Professor 
Cheyne the balance seems the other way ; he expressly 
indicates that this judgment is provisional. Certainly 
in itself it does not favour his view that he has to inter- 
pret the at least superficially similar names Eldad and 
Dodiyyah (see s.v. Bodavak), in two different ways, viz. 
Dad is God, and Yah is a divine patron. In the article 
Hamuel it should have been noted that the single m of 
the Greek text is quite indecisive evidence as against 
the double m of the Massoretic text, and that for the 
reason given in H. P. N., 323. In Hamul the reading 7Xl»n 
(Hamuel) of the Samaritan text might with advantage 
have been cited. Under Abner Lagarde's view that 
Ab=Aben=son, is referred to, but the full argument 3 
against it is not indicated. 

One of the chief difficulties in utilizing the evidence 
of Hebrew Proper Names to the full, lies in the numerous 
ambiguities and uncertainties of the lists in the opening 

1 H. P. N., 60 ff. 

* But in modification of what is said in H. P. N., 61, against Tl = to love, 
the Assyrian dddu, as cited in the article, should be noted. 
3 See H. P. N., 23. 



section of the books of Chronicles. It is a long while now 
since Wellhausen 1 showed what valuable historical matter 
lay concealed there ; several of the articles in the Encyclo- 
paedia Biblica contain bold and instructive attempts to 
unsolve the riddles of those chapters, or at least to read 
the riddles aright ; chief amongst such articles may be 
mentioned those by Mr. Hogg on the various tribes (e.g. 
Asher,Benjamin,Ephraim),some ofwhich have been preceded 
by thorough studies in the recent volumes of this Review, 
and Mr. Stanley Cook's illuminating article on Genealogies. 

But I turn now to the shorter articles. Every student 
is laid under deep obligation to the editors for the 
fullness — a fullness quite unrivalled in any work of the 
kind before — with which they have given the Greek forms 
of the names. Many have no doubt found Stade and 
Siegfried's Hebrew Dictionary useful for the very reason 
that the Greek equivalents are regularly given under the 
proper names ; yet even there it is as a rule only the usual 
equivalents that are cited. In the Encyclopaedia Biblica, 
we find not only the regular forms in the different 
Uncial MSS., and the Lucianic recension, but curious 
variants and manifest corruptions. Thus to cite one or 
two instances : Jaaziel (.WJf . . . o^etr\\ [B a], lrjovX [A], 
leir]X [L]) ; Jabez (TW\ Iya/Q'/s, [B], layfir\<s, Tapr)s [A], 
Ia/3»]s, Ia/3?/\, Ia/3e[t]s [L]) ; Japhlet (&.?S- . . . Id>a/x?jA, A<pa\rix, 
la<j>a\r)\ [B], Ia(j>akr]T [A], -(fyXer [L]). It is most con- 
venient and full of instruction, to have the forms thus 
brought together; one can thus see at a glance the kind 
of errors that arose, and judge of the value of the testi- 
mony of the Greek text in particular instances. 

The feature of the work just alluded to is all the more 
in place, since the attitude of the writers of the various 
articles 2 to the Hebrew text is sceptical, and the emenda- 
tions suggested are radical. The extent and nature of 

1 In his De Gentibus et Familiis Iudaeis (1870). 

2 A large number of the articles in question are signed T. K. C[heyne] ; 
a large number are unsigned. 



the corruptions to which, according to these suggestions, 
Hebrew proper names have been subject, either in the 
transmission of the text or in popular use before they were 
committed to writing, may be indicated by the following 
illustrations; the instances cited, it must be understood, 
are the merest selection from an immensely larger number 
to be found even in these first two volumes of the work. 
Names occurring but once in the Old Testament are marked 
with a f . The emendations will be found under the several 
articles except where a number is given ; this refers to the 
column where the suggestion is made. 

tBesodeiah mW3 

Bezalel bvb)i2 

Jahleel b^brf 

Jahzeel btiW 
tHazelelponi yiB&ffl 

(Je) Kabzeel iwiap^) 

Ziklag ibp"i 
tHabaziniah iTOMn 

/ isa< 
I ti 

tion of 

> Hasadiah inon 
Hillesel $>K^>n 

(Je)hallesel tal£n(») 
Halusah HS?n 2649 
Kabzeel = Jehallesel 

Isaac prnf 

r is an ancient 

( popular corruption of 

Jacob spy 
Abraham DIVON 
Israel bvr\W> 1 
Jezreel bxyw /• 
Issachar naw J 

tHiel $Wn 

I Ahihalas pSwnN 

Abicabod n33>3K 
Abraham DirOK 2365 f 

Jizrahel bttmf 

( is a coriup- } T , 

1 . / ( Jehu wn» 

I tion 01 J 

•"> 23 1 1 

Ichabod *133'K 

Hamutal i'Olon 

Abital i>D\JN 

Elioenai wta 

Job 3VK 
tJemimah nCC 
tKeren Happuch "pan pp 

Ezion Geber -\2i pxy 
tEth-Kezin pxpnnjJ 

Jochebed 133V 
Hamutub 3tDlDn 
Abitub SD-SN 
Elishama yDt^X 
Eabani }3">n 
Temimah n^Dn 
Reah Tappuhim nvnan m 
Nesib Edom DIN yvs 
Ir Kasiu V5tp "Vy 

C C 3 

3 8o 


I is a corrup- 
i tion of 

- En Harod Tin }»J? 
Salecah or Salhad 

rabo or irbo 1947 

Girzites TO 

Endor (in i S. 

xxviii. 5-25) nil pj? 
fEn-Haddah Din pS 

Zelophehad "insta 

Gilead llbi 
tlshod 1WN 

Mahlah nivttD 

Perizzites TlS 

Grirgashites ''{WU 

The merest glance down the foregoing list can hardly fail 
to raise the question, Can we be sure in any case that the 
Old Testament has preserved for us the original form of 
a name ? that, even if the form still stands as it was first 
written down, it is not a form that had previously been 
corrupted in popular use ? If the most familiar and most 
frequently recurring names, like those of the patriarchs, or 
of places so frequently mentioned as Ziklag, are corruptions, 
what ancient names are likely to have survived in their 
original forms ? And then the further question arises, If 
the writers of the articles are justified in their scepticism of 
the traditional forms, what value attaches to the alternatives 
they suggest ; what kind of evidence for their emendations 
is available ? 

The Encyclopaedia Biblica thus raises a most important 
question which hitherto has scarcely been sufficiently faced. 
What is the extent of corruption to which proper names 
have been subjected in their transmission ? With what 
degree of assurance can we in specific cases accept the 
traditional as the original form, or surmise the original 
now only represented by a corrupt traditional form ? 

I will bring my criticism of details under suggestions for 
an answer to these questions. 

In the first place, it has long been generally recognized 
that the proper names of the Old Testament have suffered 
in part from intentional, in part from unintentional or 
accidental corruption. The best known and clearest in- 
stance of intentional corruption consists in the substitution 


of bosheth (shame) for Baal in names originally containing 
the latter element 1 . This particular corruption is not to be 
attributed to an early class of editors or scribes, for whereas 
in the Hebrew text of Samuel the corrupt form regularly 
appears, in the Greek text of Samuel sometimes, and in the 
Hebrew text of Chronicles regularly, the original form with 
Baal is preserved. These considerations weigh against the 
at first sight attractive suggestion adopted after Klostermann 
and Marquart that the difficult form Jeroboam is merely 
an intentionally corrupted form of Jerubbaal. The name 
occurs so frequently that we should have expected, as in the 
case of other compounds with Baal, that the form with Baal 
would appear occasionally either in the Greek text of 
Kings or the Hebrew text of Hosea or Chronicles. Yet it 
probably never appears at all, for in view of the variants of 
the Greek MSS. we cannot be sure that we have a solitary 
example in the Iepo/3aa\ (al. Ie/>o/3oajoi) of Hos. x. 14. On 
the other hand, that Manasseh's mother (2 Kings xxi. 1) 
was Hephzibaal is probable enough. The controlling 
evidence of Chronicles is in this instance lacking. 

But by far the more numerous corruptions of names have 
been unintentional and accidental. 

These accidental corruptions have unquestionably been 
very numerous, as any one who will compare the parallel 
lists of the Hebrew text, or the Hebrew with the Greek 
text of e. g. 1 Chron. i-ix, must immediately become con- 
vinced. So numerous are they that it should be freely 
granted that a name of strange form or in any way suspi- 
cious that occurs but once in the Old Testament should 
only be accepted in the most provisional way and used with 
the extreme of caution in argument. And this even if the 
versions support the Hebrew text ; for their agreement only 
carries back the evidence for the form at the highest, and then 
only in the case of names in the Pentateuch to + 350 b. c. 
Hitherto there has prevailed a far too general credulity in 

1 Cf. JET. P. N., 121, where in n. 1 I ought also to have referred to Vatke, 
Bel. des A. T., 675, n. 3. 


accepting the traditional forms of names, and the scepticism 
of the Encyclopaedia Biblica is a wholesome corrective. 

But the more frequently a name occurs, the more im- 
probable is it that it has suffered accidental corruption in 
the transmission of the document in which it occurs. To 
take an example. On the ground of the improbability of 
the form, Professor Cheyne denies the existence of the name 
Bezalel (^2*3, generally explained as "in the shadow of 
God "), and proposes as the original form Hillesel. Now 
the only form in which the suggestion can be admitted in 
the light of the facts and the theory of probabilities, even for 
a moment, is that we suppose the corruption to have arisen 
as far back as the source from which P, in whom the name 
of the builder of the tabernacle is first mentioned, derived 
his information, or in the act of copying from that source. 
For the facts are these — this Bezalel is mentioned six times 
in Exod. xxxi-xxxiv, and twice in Chronicles (1 Chron. ii. 30, 
2 Chron. i. 5). Now a scribe may well have copied 
Hillesel as Bezalel with the double mistake (b for h and s 
and 1 transposed) once, he would not accidentally have 
made the same double mistake six times. No doubt then 
Professor Cheyne means us to understand that the mistake 
occurred in the transmission of P's source rather than of our 
present text of Exodus. That he does not say so is unfor- 
tunate, for it is well in considering a conjecture to see at 
once what is involved in it, and exceedingly important to con- 
sider at what period a supposed corruption of the text may 
have originated. The general principle that names suffered 
corruption in the early history of their transmission stated 
elsewhere (col. 1586, n. 3) certainly ought to be admitted ; 
but does it satisfactorily account for all the facts connected 
with the name Bezalel ? Bezalel also appears as the name 
of a contemporary of Ezra (Ezra x. 20). Now it is improb- 
able that another scribe would have made just the same 
mistake, for it is by no means the most obvious error or the 
one most likely to occur in copying Hillesel. But unless 
this were so we are carried back to the name in actual 


use. How are we to account for it ? Did the father of the 
child hunt up some musty document, and finding the name 
there confer it on his child 1 This is just possible 1 , but 
hardly probable. On the whole, then, I must consider 
Professor Cheyne's case against Bezalel not made out, 
and his suggestion that it is a corruption of Hillesel 
improbable 2 . It follows that the argument against Beso- 
deiah falls to the ground, though if it stood an entirely 
isolated instance of its type, this name, which occurs but 
once, might not unreasonably be suspected. 

The following appears to me a sound canon of criticism : 
When a name occurs several times, and has not been sub- 
ject to intentional corruption, the genuineness of the 
form is not to be questioned unless reasonable cause can be 
shown for supposing that its transmission has been at one 
stage solely by means of a document in which the name 
occurred but once or twice (or in which at least it did not 
occur several times). In many cases it is by no means 
obvious that such a canon has been respected by those who 
in the Encyclopaedia Biblica have explained traditional 
forms as due to accidental corruption. 

One of the cases in which it is most difficult to believe 
that a name can be explained as a mere transcriptional 
error is Elioenai ( , J' , yi(n)^N). This name occurs some ten 
times in Ezra, Nehemiah, Chronicles, and of some seven 
or eight different persons ; and yet it is suggested that it is 
merely a mis- written Elishama (yw6tf). In spite of its 
strange form 3 , which has few parallels, the name Elioenai 

1 Cf. S. P. N., 7 f. 

2 Probably the number of cases in which it is suggested the element 
y'jn in proper names has suffered corruption (see list above) has been 
overdone. That the simple name pn is verbal not segholate as in the 
Massoretic Text is probable (see s. v. Helbz) ; G- transliterates xaAAj/s (with 
double \ and rj), not x aKes , which would represent the segholate form. 
I think it not improbable that b&shn lies concealed in the somewhat 
obviously corrupt ^iBfen, and in any case Professor Cheyne's explanation 
of the last part of the form seems sound. 

3 Cf. H. P. N., 158. 


must be admitted as genuine. The truth is, after the Exile, 
possibly under Babylonian influence, there appears to have 
been for a time a tendency to try forms of names unfamiliar 
to the earlier Hebrews 1 . To one of these unusual types 
belong Bezalel and Besodeiah just discussed; to another 
Eliphelehu (in?a*?K), to which, curiously enough, the 
Encyclopaedia Biblica takes no exception ; to yet another 
n\nt?n, if we accept the pointing suggested under Hashab- 
niah and the emendation of the name Hashbadana 2 . Some 
of these late names are referred to early personages by the 
Chronicler who, when at a loss, was more often content to 
supply himself with names current in his own day than to 
frame for himself " uncommon names in the interest of 
edification 3 ." 

The canon just formulated involves a corollary, viz. no 
element in a proper name is to be suspected ivhick occurs 
in several different names. The only instance in which 
this is violated, so far as I have observed in the Encyclopaedia 
Biblica, is not a violent one, since the element occurs in 
only two names. Nevertheless, the occurrence of the 
element 70 (dew) in the two corresponding names, Abital 
and Hamutal, appears to me a far stronger reason for 
maintaining the genuineness of the tradition of these names 
than the reasons adduced for supposing it to be a corruption 
of 30. Indeed, one of these reasons is truly astonishing. 
What has the resemblance of 3 and 7 in the Palmyrene 
characters to do with the matter ? Is there any reason for 
supposing that the early Hebrew script resembled the 

1 Cf. H. P. N., 220 ff. 

2 Mr. Cooke's explanation of this suspicious name (indifferently sup- 
ported by the Versions), as due to dittography of surrounding names, 
is highly probable. 

3 Professor Cheyne thinks that the names in i Ohron. xxv. 4ft, which 
have most frequently been cited as instances of the latter method, can 
be attributed to textual corruption (col. 2015). It is difficult to believe 
that design had nothing to do with these curious names, though it may 
have been the design of a scribe (operating on half-illegible names) rather 
than that of the author. 


Palinyrene 1 The error, if error there be, must have arisen 
early, when it is far more probable that Hebrew writing 
resembled that of the Moabite stone and early Hebrew seals 
in which 3 and b are not particularly similar. Then, again, 
why is it " very improbable " that a name should be com- 
pounded with bu 1 Is the statement " the father is dew " 
(cf. Hos. xiv. 5) more improbable than " the brother is 
dawning light " (Ahishahar ; Abishahar is suggested as an 
emendation for Abishur)? 

In the preceding paragraphs I have given illustrations 
of what appears to me failure to appreciate the weight 
of evidence in favour of the traditional forms of names. 
I may now refer to one or two instances of insufficiency in 
the force of positive arguments brought forward against 
particular names. Jahmai ("'BIT) is questioned on the ground 
that the root non " does not appear to be used in Hebrew." 
But, as Gesenius long ago pointed out 1 , the proper names 
not infrequently contain roots which do not happen to 
occur in the extant Hebrew literature, though they are 
well enough known to us from the cognate languages. 
His list may need revision, but Hoglah may be cited as 
a good instance; the Encyclopaedia Biblica, indeed, 
questions the genuineness of the form in the case of Zelo- 
phehad's daughter, but allows it to stand in Beth-Hoglah. 
1 will add the case of the root "Of: this occurs in quite 
a number of names, but otherwise survives in the Old 
Testament in a single phrase alone — in the explanation of 
the name Zebulon (210 13f TIN DTii'N "0*ur). Again, previous 
failure to explain the form of a name is not in all cases 
decisive argument against it ; the form Jemima (now) may 
be difficult ; Professor Cheyne's suggestion here (Temimah 
TO^n) is very simple and easy, for in the earlier script 
D resembled ' much more closely than in the square, and 
the two letters were, as a matter of fact, frequently confused ; 
but I question whether he has sufficient ground for abandon- 

1 Gesck. d. hebr. Sprache u. Schrijl, 48 f. 


ing the text, or, at least, whether his emendation is more 
probably original than the traditional form. I have already 
referred to the insufficiency of the argument against 
Bezalel and Besodeiah on the ground of the manner of 
their composition. 

I have so far been criticizing the rejection of traditional 
forms of names and indicating the limits within which, 
and the grounds on which, we may accept the text of the 
Old Testament names. I turn now to the positive side of 
the matter — the character of the emendations proposed. 
There are unquestionably a great number of corrupt names 
in the Old Testament, and a great number which, if not 
obviously corrupt, are still far from being certainly correct. 
The writers in the Encyclopaedia Biblica have in these 
cases resorted to emendations with unexampled frequency 
and boldness. The forms they suggest are of course always 
possible ; but the question is, Are they in the particular 
cases more than the merest possibilities ? Have they as 
much probability as the form in the text? Have they 
more probability than several others that could be 
suggested 1 

Once again, actual evidence which has hitherto been 
insufficiently regarded undoubtedly brings us face to face 
with hard and rude fact. We are compelled (by an examina- 
tion, as before, of e. g. 1 Chron. i-ix, with parallel lists and 
the Greek Version) to admit that any combination of letters 
might on occasion become, in the course of transcription, any 
other combination. So long as we have evidence, whether 
derived from versions or parallel lists, to support emenda- 
tions, very extensive changes in names may be justified as 
the result of transcriptional accident. Further, it may be 
granted that many similar corruptions took place before 
our earliest versions. But what follows % A great proba- 
bility that many forms in the Hebrew text, though 
supported by the versions, are mere textual corruptions. 
Manifestly, then, considerable scepticism with regard to 
any form not established by the canon stated above, nor 


supported by the contemporary evidence of inscriptions, is 
perfectly reasonable. A conjectural form may consequently 
often possess much more probability of being the original 
than does the form in the text. But in order that the 
conjectural form may possess any high degree of proba- 
bility on textual grounds, it must differ from the form in 
the text, owing to reasons which can be shown to have 
been frequent causes of accidental corruption. To take 
a simple instance, in any case, where din (Aram) now stands 
in the Hebrew text, it is equally probable, on textual 
grounds, that the original reading was DIN (Edom), for the 
two letters 1 and *) are so similar as to be almost identical, 
and were, as a matter of fact, constantly confused. If there 
is the slightest reason in the context for reading Edom 
instead of Aram, or vice versa, textual considerations render 
the emendation highly probable. But it is conceivable that 
DIN might on occasion arise by faulty copying of 2ND ; 
3 and D are frequently confused, so that 2ND might easily be 
copied DND; sometimes letters are transposed in copying, 
and 2ND might become DDK, and then if the first D happened 
to be a little faultily written, this might become D"iN. All 
this is possible : and if there were overwhelming reasons in 
the context for reading Moab instead of Aram, and nothing 
but Moab, we might admit the emendation as probable, and 
the error as due to pure transcriptional accident. But in 
this case it could not be urged that the emendation was 
supported by textual considerations ; the changes involved 
are occasional, not frequent, and consequently in the 
particular instance possible, not probable. Moreover, if 
Aram were contextually possible, it would be textually 
more probable ; and unless Moab were contextually the 
only possible reading, it would be very uncertain, since 
several other readings might be textually as probable. 

Now, many of the emendations and alterations suggested 
in the Encyclopaedia Biblica, which presuppose textual 
corruption just as little likely as that of Moab into Aram, 
rest in the main quite clearly on historical, geographical, or 


mythological considerations. With these in the present 
article I have nothing to do. But there are frequently 
added notes which may, and in some cases cannot but, be 
taken as suggesting that the emendations proposed are 
textually probable. 

I must content myself with referring to one or two 
details. Granting that the suspicions raised against ?K?¥3 
be justified, what value does the emendation proposed 
possess? As it appears to me, practically none. Trans- 
positions doubtless took place, and n and 3 may no doubt 
occasionally have been confused, though in the older 
Hebrew alphabets they are not similar. Consequently, 
?NV?n might have been accidentally copied ?NP¥3; but, 
then, several other names might equally well be the 
original, and if we are to guess, why not guess PNPXN (cf. 
rPPSN), which involves much less change ; or if we are to 
call the Phoenician to our aid, why not jmb'i (cf. the Phoe- 
nician proper names rbt, rb°hy2, r&MfitW)? But when 
several emendations are equally probable, any particular 
name furnished by one of the alternative emendations is 
of very uncertain reality. 

Sometimes the emendations suggested appear at first 
sight to have more textual probability than they really 
possess. Professor Cheyne's suggestion that Hena (Jttn) is 
a mere mis- writing of Avvah (nij>) is a happy one. He is 
possibly right in thinking Avvah a corruption of Gaza 
(nty) ; but, if so, the corruption was an early one, and in 
the early alphabet the letters 1 and T resembled one another 
much less closely than in the square characters. The pro- 
posed corruption was then possibly accidental, since any 
letter at times was confused with any other letter ; but 
it is not textually probable, since at the time when the error 
was made the letters confused were dissimilar. 

If emendation is to be anything more than the product 
of the ingenuity of the individual scholar, it must be 
controlled by considerations of probability which may con- 
stitute something at least approaching an objective standard. 


Where the versions are available, they constitute such 
a standard ; the value of the evidence may be differently 
regarded, but evidence exists. But in a large number of 
cases the versions are not available. How far is it possible, 
then, to subject emendations to a standard of textual 
probability 1 Just so far as it is possible to establish the 
frequency of specific confusions. This has been done to 
a considerable extent for the period when the Greek version 
was made ; it has been shown that certain letters are, as 
a matter of fact, subject to much more frequent confusion 
than others. But at that period it is probable that the 
Hebrew text was written in an early form of the square 
character 1 . Can the same thing be done for the period 
when the text was written in the " unmodified archaic 
character " in which the letters that most closely resemble 
one another are not in all cases the same as in the square 
alphabet ? Possibly something, if a collection were made 
of variations in parallel lists as between forms which are 
the same in the Hebrew and Greek texts. The corruptions 
in most of these cases probably date back beyond the 
Greek version. Now, there are scattered about through 
the Encyclopaedia Biblica notes 2 on the confusion of 
letters which assume confusions that have not generally 
been admitted as frequent. On what are these assumptions 
based? On such an induction as I have suggested? Or 
on emendations proposed in the work? In either case 
it is to be desired that the evidence should be given 3 . 
If the inductions are based on the emendations, then it 
can only have weight in so far as they are drawn from 
emendations which commend themselves independently 

1 See e. g. Driver, Samuel, p. Ixv. 

2 e. g. " o is very frequently miswritten for >3, " col. 1950, top. " sppn . . . 
comes from bxom by ordinary corruption and transposition," 1976, top. 
vv, 1274 ; t=2, 1961, top. 

3 There is no indication in any of the notes alluded to that this evidence 
will be given in later volumes of the work. Perhaps it is not too late to 
express the hope that it may. 


of textual considerations. We need to have the evidence 
arranged and tested, for certainly in some cases emenda- 
tions, far from certain, and indeed, as far as can be 
judged from the evidence actually given, extremely 
hazardous, are made the basis for further changes. 
For example, it is proposed 1 to reject the names Kabzeel, 
Jekabzeel, admitted to be " in themselves likely forms," as 
corruptions of Hillesel, Jehallesel, on the ground that the 
conjecture involved would be " not very much less probable 
than the restoration of Halusah for Ziklag"! And these 
hypothetical compounds with hilles lead to the suggestion 
that Isaac goes back to the primitive form Ahi-halas. 

I will not discuss the probability of the various con- 
jectures as to popular corruptions, such as that just cited, 
or the proposal that Jacob is a worn-down form of 
Abi-cabod. They are not to be judged by textual con- 
siderations, though criticisms similar to those offered above 
seem pertinent here. The objections to the originality of 
the forms Isaac and Jacob (piTO' and apjP) are insufficient ; 
the forms are not in themselves impossible — quite the 
reverse. Then, again, we have no well-established laws of 
the oral corruption of names, though the modern forms 
of some ancient Palestinian forms may warn us that 
Hebrew, like other names, might become much transformed 
in the course of centuries. Here, then, everything depends 
on the sufficiency of the historical, mythological, or similar 
argument for the originality of the proposed form. 

I merely allude to this class of proposed corruption in 
order to emphasize the necessity for greater clearness than 
is often to be found in the articles as to the character 
and age of the supposed corruption. Four stages or 
periods at which names in our Hebrew Bibles may have 
suffered corruption may be distinguished. Corruption may 
have taken place (i) before the name was committed to 
writing ; or (2) while the text was written in the archaic 

1 s. v. Kabzeel. 


characters ; or (3) after the text had come to be written 
in primitive square type, but before the date of the Greek 
version ; or (4) after the date of the Greek version. Only 
in the case of corruptions of the fourth period can we 
expect variants in the Greek version ; in the case of earlier 
corruptions, we can only fully judge of the probability of 
a proposed emendation when we have first clearly con- 
sidered the period to which it is proposed to refer the 

In any fruitful inquiry into a subject, we need to start 
with the surest and best evidence. In casting doubt on 
much that has generally passed for good in the case of 
Hebrew names, the writers in the Encyclopaedia Biblica 
have rendered great service. It is doubtful whether the 
majority of their emendations are such as to afford us fresh 
evidence of the kind or to constitute a safe starting-point 
for further investigation, though they are often highly 
suggestive and in some cases exceedingly probable. 

The nature of my criticism has led me to refer mainly 
to points of difference and to methods that appear open 
to improvement. But I cannot bring it to a conclusion 
without recording afresh my sense of the value of the 
brief articles and the parts of the longer articles which 
deal with the form and meaning of the proper names. 
Thought has played freshly on the innumerable details, 
many of which have little opportunity of being syste- 
matically reviewed except in such a work as the present, 
and even in such works are too often neglected or most 
perfunctorily dealt with. And the details themselves, 
though they appear to lie off the more frequently trodden 
paths of Biblical studies, are not infrequently shown to be 
a serious help or hindrance to progress along those paths. 

G. Buchanan Gray. 

Mansfield College, Oxford.