Khirbet Qeiyafa debate continues

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Hebrew Student

Puritan Board Freshman
Hey Everyone!

Well, you learn that in the scholarly world, things are never easy, and, apparently, you don't help yourself when you present false information. In the news article I linked to in the last thread on this subject, the archaeologist of Khirbet Qeiyafa is cited as saying that the Hebrew term 'sh only occurs in Hebrew. Apparently, he spoke way too quick, and said something that was untrue, and this assertion is being called out. I did some searching and, I have to be honest and say that I have to say that he was wrong. Apparently, 'sh also occurs in Ugaritic, Phoenician, Moabite, Old South Arabic, and Old Aramaic.

However, there is something suspicious about that. For example, I don't know of anyone who is going to argue that this is Ugaritic. Ugaritic spells shophet with a t [tpt]. Also, Ugaritic is written with a cuneiform script, not a clearly protophoenician script. The same thing with Old South Arabic, as it was written in a totally different script.

Also, while Phoenician does have this root, it is very rare. The most common root used in Phoenician for "to do, make" is p'l. Phoenica is also to the far north of this area, and, while we know of Phoenician texts outside of the motherland, it makes this even less likely. Also, Moab is clear to the east, again making it unlikely.

That leaves Old Aramaic as the best alternate possibility. However, it seems rather odd for an Aramaic text to be at a fortress near Philistia, since most Aramaic is found to the north.

Also, my professor told me that the archaeologists found no pig bones. Apparently, pork was something that was eaten by these pagan nations surrounding Israel, but was not eaten in Israel itself.

Hence, I still agree that it is best to understand this text as Hebrew. The author of the above link suggests that a case that this is Phoenician is "tolerable." Given that, I would say that he is not even certain that any of these other languages he cites are better than Hebrew. I think it fits best with what we know about these languages, and it fits best with the archaeological context of the site itself. That is, apparently, what those who met at the Hebrew University to discuss the ostrocon said. However, the best thing we can say is that it is *probably* Hebrew.

God Bless,
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