- Blog, Abnormal Interests, , November 28, 2008
Friday Loanword: šubû
Šubû in Akkadian is some kind of a gemstone. CAD Š3, 137, suggests that it is agate but I don't think this is much more than a guess. Mesopotamian craftsman used šubû to make both cylinder and ring seals but they also used several other types of stone. The only colors mentioned in Akkadian texts are white, green and red. But it may have come in other colors. In addition to the making of seal and the like, it they also pulverized it and used it in medications. Necklaces from šubû beads were used in various divination and expiation rituals. Like many such words, Akkadain šubû is itself a loan from Sumerian.
Now let's look at Hebrew שְׁבוֹ in Exodus 28:19 and 39:12. They both read,
וְהַטּ֖וּר הַשְּׁלִישִׁ֑י לֶ֥שֶׁם שְׁב֖וֹ וְאַחְלָֽמָה
And in the third row a jacinth, a שְׁבוֹ and an amethyst.
The LXX translates שְׁבוֹ, αχατης and it is for this reason coupled with a kind of process of elimination that most translators render it "agate." But ancient Syriac translations read qarbednā, "carnelian" and Targum Onqelos rendered it טְרַקְיָא, "turquoise(?)." See Mankowski, 136. Concerning, the phonology Mankowski, 137, says,
Phonologically שְׁבוֹ shows the -w characteristic of borrowing of Sumero-Akkadian word with long final vowels. The penultimate ə is parallel in the Akkadian loan נְבוֹ and may indicate a pretonic reduction already in Akkadian, since a pretonic vowel normally undergoes secondary lengthening in Hebrew, even in the case of loanwords.
Because šubû came into Hebrew as שְׁבוֹ rather than סְבוֹ one should posit a Babylonian rather than an Assyrian origin.
Mede mogelijk dankzij