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PostPosted: Sun May 24, 2020 3:06 pm 
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Yes, although it is disputed. Let me explain...

NOTE: Samaritan is a descendant of the dialect spoken in the Northern Kingdom of Israel, so it's not going to be included in this thread, which will focus on Hebrew dialects outside the House of Jacob so to speak.

Ancient Hebrew evolved from Proto-Canaanite somewhere in the early to mid-2nd millennium BCE. The migrants from Mesopotamia and Syria, to which the Hebrews also belonged, either spoke Sumerian (non-Semitic language), Akkadian or Ancient Aramaic. Ancient Hebrew is an interesting language, because unlike other Canaanite languages, it borrowed from Akkadian and Aramaic to create new roots or they adopted loanwords from both. Some words may even have been derived directly from Sumerian as well, such as Heykal "palace/temple" (Sumerian egal "big/great house"). This is how we know that the biblical account of migrants like Abraham coming from those lands are true. It also shows us that his family didn't speak Hebrew originally.

So, how many were the descendants of Ancient Hebrew? We all know Phoenician is related to Hebrew, but it isn't a descendant of Ancient Hebrew itself (Phoenician is the only attested native Canaanite language outside the one used by the Hebrews to date, and a northern dialect of Canaanite at that). If the biblical account is correct, Lot, the father of Moab and Ammon, was the nephew of Abraham and lived with him for some time till he moved to the land surrounding the Dead Sea. This may imply that the language used by the Moabites and Ammonites may be closely related to Hebrew, if not a Hebrew dialect.

Isaac the son of Abraham had two sons: Esau and Jacob. Jacob is the ancestor of the Israelites, so we all know it's through him that Hebrew as we know it is descended from. But Esau? The Edomite language would likely be a Hebrew dialect.

I've been trying to find info on Edomite, Moabite and Ammonite to see if I can make my own conclusions, but all I find is info from studies on sites like Archive and citations on Wikipedia. It is generally agreed on that all 3 are Canaanite languages and closely allied to Hebrew. If we look at proper nouns in the Bible that are connected to these peoples, they are clearly Hebrew, but are also apparently non-Israelite. For example, here are some Edomite names:

Kenaz = Hebrew Qenaz "hunter." It was never used among the Israelites except for Caleb's grandson (Joshua's friend), but I'd argue that he was an Edomite that became an honorary member of the tribe of Judah. Kenaz was the name of an Edomite alluph (chieftains) as well as Caleb's ancestor and a younger brother.

Magdiel = "God's (El's) excellence" in Hebrew. An alluph (chieftain) of Edom. The name has never been attested among the ancient Israelites.

Eliphaz = "God (El) is fine gold" in Hebrew. The firstborn of Esau as well as the name of a friend of Job. While some may take this to be an idolatrous name, it's not. Eliphaz references that God has no price and he's glorious as fine gold.

Attested Edomite inscriptions retained the singular feminine ending -t in many places outside of the construct instead of reducing it to -ah as in Israelite Hebrew. Arabic and Aramaic influence is observable. Glottolog lists Edomite as a Hebrew dialect. Huehnergard and Rubin also considers it more than a Canaanite lanuage and theorize Edomite is related to Hebrew.

Moabite and Ammonite are closely related. Both retain the feminine ending -t like Edomite and have Aramaic influence. But unfortunately there is little on Ammonite besides proper names in the Bible and few attested inscriptions. Moabite, on the other hand, we have biblical names, an almost complete inscription written by King Mesha of Moab and several other archaeological finds. Although attested Moabite inscriptions are scarce, it is the best attested of these 3 languages.

Moabite preserved a reflexive/reciprocal verb stem, called the "Hiphtael" in Gesenius' Hebrew Grammar. This stem serves as the reflexive/reciprocal of Qal (the basic verb) much like how Hithpael serves as the reflexive/reciprocal of Piel (the instensive verb). How we know it once existed in Hebrew comes from place names such as Eshtaol (from the root shaal) and Eshtemoa (from the root shama). All it does is swap the "t" from the reciprocal/reflexive construction with the first letter of the root.

Besides this, there could be other peculiarities with Moabite not attested yet. For example, in the Bible, רות Ruth was the name of a Moabite woman and an ancestor of David. her name is short for Reuth רעות meaning "friend." In other words, the Ayin can be dropped, at least if there's a long vowel that occurs after it.

So there you have it! I'll provide a list of sources I used. Stay safe everyone!

Peace and blessings always!


Sources (as Hebrew dialects) ... ottolog2-2

"You shall know the Truth, and the Truth shall make you free." -- John 8:32

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