Community Discussions

Find answers, ask questions, and connect with our
community around the world.

Home Forums Existence of the Israelites in Egypt Origins of the Hebrews: New Evidence for Israelites in Egypt from Jos to the Exo Reply To: Origins of the Hebrews: New Evidence for Israelites in Egypt from Jos to the Exo

  • Douglas Petrovich

    March 6, 2021 at 10:47 pm

    I have major issues with this statement, Thomas: “However looking at the language Jacob and his family spoke as they were wandering around in Canaan and before that living with Laban… they didn’t have their own language carved out yet.” Not only do you simply have no way of substantiating this claim, but all of the available evidence conspires against this notion. The most important extra-biblical evidence that demonstrates the fallacious nature of the idea that Hebrew did not exist as a language in Jacob’s/Joseph’s day is that we have Hebrew inscriptions in Egypt and Sinai dating to as early as 1840 BC and dating down to the reign of Amenhotep II (middle of the 15th century BC), which include DISTINCTIVELY HEBREW words, contra Christopher Rollston’s criticism of my book (Petrovich 2016). The real question is not “at what point do Jacob’s descendants speak another language, but at what point do Jacob’s ancestors speak a different language. The language they spoke is named after Eber/Heber, who (along with his son, Peleg) was alive in the days when the universal language was divided into multiple languages. Its language family (Semitic) is named after Shem, the ancestor of Eber/Heber and Peleg. If we are going to take the patriarchal genealogies seriously, this means that the Hebrews/Habiru/Apiru received a separate language than the other Semites at the time of the division of languages. While the other Habiru do not seem to have survived the ravages of antiquity, the Hebrews did. Ergo, the native language of Abram was the same as the native language of Jacob and his descendants. The secondary languages that they spoke (such as your implied but unstated reference to Akkadian) are a completely different issue.