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The Jewish Study Bible Contextualizes the Hebrew Bible with accompanying scholarly text on Jewish traditions and history.

Dialects

It is widely assumed that there were different dialects of Hebrew during the biblical period. The biblical narrator at Judg. 12.6 notes a difference between the Gileadites and Ephraimites in pronouncing the sibilant (sh/s) in sshibbolet/sibbolet. Scholars have suggested that stories that take place in the north (e.g., the Elijah and Elisha narratives in Kings) sometimes display dialectal forms that differ from the biblical norm, which is thought to reflect southern Hebrew, i.e., the Hebrew of the Judean kingdom. See, e.g., the spelling of the second feminine singular independent pronoun “you” ʾty (= ʾatti) in northern stories as opposed to normal biblical ʾat (see, e.g., 2 Kings 4.16 ). The Samaria ostraca from the 8th century BCE provide clear extrabiblical evidence of a northern Hebrew dialect. “Year” is written as sht (= shat) as against shanah in Judea, and “wine” spelled yn reflects yen as against southern yyn (yayin). On the basis of the contraction of ay to e in yn, scholars have suggested that the prophet Amos, who prophesied in the north, makes a linguistic pun (8.1–2) that is understandable only if one realizes that northern Hebrew contracted ay to e: He rhymes kayitz “summer fruit” and ketz “end” (probably pronounced the same).

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