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The Name Rebecca Author(s): W. F. Albright Source: Journal of Biblical Literature, Vol. 39, No. 3/4 (1920), pp.

165-166 Published by: The Society of Biblical Literature Stable URL: . Accessed: 17/10/2013 22:29
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to be patient,meansproperlyto be cool; Shakespeare TaQdbbara, says: Upon the heat and flame of thy distempersprinkle cool patience. Arab. taglbbara,to wreak vengeance,correspondsto the Germanseine Rache (or sein Miltchen) kiihle (cf. Arab. 1- tubarrid anhu). For the modernArab. g'bar, to wait, we may compareour to cool the heels. Arab. basr, cold water,and tabassara = bacrada representtranspositionsof sabara. Arab. to search out, signifiesproperlyto sound (AJSL 23, 244, bdra, and bara, to perish,is originallyto fall into a pit; cf. Heb. below) to destroy, which is derived from ah1t(stem pit to pit, ?.h) ?ihh't_, (AJSL 23, 248; JBL 35, 157, n. 2). In Assyrian, baru, is the commonexpressionfor to catch,to hunt; see my paper on the Sumerianorigin of our tun and barrel (MLN 33, 434). Johns Hopkins University The Name Rebecca The etymologyof the name (from*Ribkator *Rabkat, Ribk.d cf. JBL, XXXVII, 117,n. 3) has long been regardedas obscure, as a combinationwith the phonetically identical Ar. ribkah or rabkah, halter with a running knot, noose, snare, is hard to justify; a girl would hardly be called by such an ominousname as snare, even if she were a courtesan. Accordingly Bauer (ZDMG, LXVII, 344) has suggested that Ribka be regarded of bek4r~,heifer, cow, whichis in the highest as as transposition degree improbable,despite the mythologicalpossibilitieswhich are immediatelyrecalled (cf. JBL, XXXVII, 117). However, it may be that Bauer is on the right track; his ideas are always interesting and useful, even when wrong. be combinedwith Assyr.rikcibtu, I would suggest that Bibk.dcultivate, a transposed doublet clod, earth, soil, from rabcaku, of k(k)aralbu, cultivate,plow, whenceAram. D, Ar. .j, plow, from which is derived kurbdnu, kirbanu, lump of earth, and kirfbu, field, kirbitu, originally connected with Ar. garib, cultivated field, for *karib,by partial assimilation.For these words, whichare not in the olderglossaries,cf. Walther,ZDMG,LXIX, 429, and Zimmern, ZA, XXXI, 121; Walther is probably

Paul Haupt

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correct in combiningrikibtu (not rikibtu, as he gives) with Heb. regeb, clod, soil, for *rakb,but 'egraf = Ar. 'urf is not related, though furnishingan interesting parallel development. On the other hand Heb. rak-b, Aram. rikba, mold, decay, seems to refer primarilyto humus, and thus to be identical with rikibtu. Since the latter is presumablyderivedfrom rabaku,it stands for *ribiktu = Ribkd, which then means properlysoil, earth. Our philological exegesis, if correct, indicates that Rebecca is properly the name of the earth-goddess,like Ethiopic Baher and Mgder, personifications of Mother Earth who figure on the heathen Ethiopic inscriptions. The Egyptian earth-god Gbb clod, soil, earth, Ember) was father of Osiris, (= Ar. qabuib, the Hellenic (or Phrygian)Semele (= Slav. zemlya, earth, land) was motherof Dionysos, and Rebecca may have been the mother of the old Hebrew god of fertility,Jacob, the celestial bull who brought the fertilizing thunder-storm. I venture to say that this is as far as we can go with our motivein the saga of Jacob, which is of very complex origin, and, in the main, not mythological in character. Jerusalem W. F. Albright

The Assumed Hebrew Stem skt, be silent Deut. 27 9, Moses opens an address to Israel with the words after hasket is itself a suspiciousciro23p' LJ07. The indicatesa corruption in the text, and the pas.k cumstance, as it often fact that 1:0 is a dwra Xeydoevov should make one hesitate before acceptingthe word. However, its existence seems to be attested by Ar. sakata, be silent, die, properly subside, and recently Assyriologistshave discovereda stem sakatu, be silent (cf. now Zimmern, IMtarund Saltu, p. 34). Are these combinations justified? I think not. Ar. sakata is identicalwith Syr.h ., sink, subside,give way, as is shownespeciallyby the derivative sediment or Maktd, Mukt& = Ar. 'askat (a collective from *sakt, or the like), so has a W3, which appears in Hebrew as 0t. A parallel stem, perhaps ultimately the same (cf. AJSL, XXXIV, 142) is VIpW,be still,

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