Eber

Eber

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Eber is an ancestor of the Israelites, according to the "Table of Nations" in and . He was a great-grandson of Noah
Noah
Noah was, according to the Hebrew Bible, the tenth and last of the antediluvian Patriarchs. The biblical story of Noah is contained in chapters 6–9 of the book of Genesis, where he saves his family and representatives of all animals from the flood by constructing an ark...

's son Shem
Shem
Shem was one of the sons of Noah in the Hebrew Bible as well as in Islamic literature. He is most popularly regarded as the eldest son, though some traditions regard him as the second son. Genesis 10:21 refers to relative ages of Shem and his brother Japheth, but with sufficient ambiguity in each...

 and the father of Peleg
Peleg
__notoc__Peleg is mentioned in the Hebrew Bible as one of the two sons of Eber, an ancestor of the Israelites, according to the "Table of Nations" in and . Peleg's son was Reu, born when Peleg was thirty, and he had other sons and daughters. According to the Hebrew Bible, Peleg lived to the age...

 born when Eber was 34 years old, and of Joktan
Joktan
Joktan or Yoktan was the second of the two sons of Eber mentioned in the Hebrew Bible. His name means "small" or "smallness"....

. He was the son of Shelah
Salah (Biblical figure)
Salah is an ancestor of the Israelites according to the Table of Nations in . He is thus one of the table's "seventy names". He is called Shelah in and Sala in the Septuagint and ....

 a distant ancestor of Abraham
Abraham
Abraham , whose birth name was Abram, is the eponym of the Abrahamic religions, among which are Judaism, Christianity and Islam...

. According to the Hebrew Bible
Hebrew Bible
The Hebrew Bible is a term used by biblical scholars outside of Judaism to refer to the Tanakh , a canonical collection of Jewish texts, and the common textual antecedent of the several canonical editions of the Christian Old Testament...

, Eber died at the age of 464 when Jacob
Jacob
Jacob "heel" or "leg-puller"), also later known as Israel , as described in the Hebrew Bible, the Talmud, the New Testament and the Qur'an was the third patriarch of the Hebrew people with whom God made a covenant, and ancestor of the tribes of Israel, which were named after his descendants.In the...

 was 20. The Hebrew Calendar
Hebrew calendar
The Hebrew calendar , or Jewish calendar, is a lunisolar calendar used today predominantly for Jewish religious observances. It determines the dates for Jewish holidays and the appropriate public reading of Torah portions, yahrzeits , and daily Psalm reading, among many ceremonial uses...

 synchronises this date with 1817 BCE.

In the Septuagint and other Christian Bibles derived from it, Eber is called Heber and his father is called Sala. His son is called Phaleg, born when Heber was 134 years old, and he had other sons and daughters. Heber lived to an age of 404 years. (Septuagint Genesis 11:14-17)

In Jewish tradition, Eber, the great-grandson of Shem
Shem
Shem was one of the sons of Noah in the Hebrew Bible as well as in Islamic literature. He is most popularly regarded as the eldest son, though some traditions regard him as the second son. Genesis 10:21 refers to relative ages of Shem and his brother Japheth, but with sufficient ambiguity in each...

, refused to help with the building of the Tower of Babel
Tower of Babel
The Tower of Babel , according to the Book of Genesis, was an enormous tower built in the plain of Shinar .According to the biblical account, a united humanity of the generations following the Great Flood, speaking a single language and migrating from the east, came to the land of Shinar, where...

, so his language was not confused when it was abandoned. He and his family alone retained the original human language, Hebrew
Hebrew language
Hebrew is a Semitic language of the Afroasiatic language family. Culturally, is it considered by Jews and other religious groups as the language of the Jewish people, though other Jewish languages had originated among diaspora Jews, and the Hebrew language is also used by non-Jewish groups, such...

, a language named after Eber (Heber), also called lingua humana in Latin
Latin
Latin is an Italic language originally spoken in Latium and Ancient Rome. It, along with most European languages, is a descendant of the ancient Proto-Indo-European language. Although it is considered a dead language, a number of scholars and members of the Christian clergy speak it fluently, and...

. (There are different religious positions on this issue; see also Adamic language
Adamic language
The Adamic language is, according to certain sects within Abrahamic traditions, the language spoken by Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, i.e., either the language used by God to address Adam, or the language invented by Adam ....

.)

The name "Ever" עבר (Hebrew root letters ayin ע, bet/vet ב and reish ר, transliterated in English to "Eber" or "Heber") are considered by Biblical scholars to be the roots of the word "Hebrew
Hebrews
Hebrews is an ethnonym used in the Hebrew Bible...

" (ivri עברי and ivrit עברית, in Hebrew), with "ever" most often meaning "side" or "beyond", but also region beyond or across, opposite side, or passage, as in me'ever מעבר and maavar מעבר in both Biblical and Modern Hebrew as spoken in Israel
Israel
The State of Israel is a parliamentary republic located in the Middle East, along the eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea...

 today.
[Genesis 10:21] Also to Shem, the father of all the Children of Eber
Children of Eber
The Sons of Eber or Bnei Ever a synonym for the earliest cultural Hebrews, are first mentioned in the Hebrew Bible in Genesis 10:21 . In orthodox circles the term is understood to refer to the wider family of Hebrew peoples from whom Abraham came. Each of the names of the children in question is...

, and the older brother of Japheth, children were born. (NASB
New American Standard Bible
The New American Standard Bible , also informally called New American Standard Version , is an English translation of the Bible....

)


In some translations of the New Testament
New Testament
The New Testament is the second major division of the Christian biblical canon, the first such division being the much longer Old Testament....

, he is referred to once as Heber ([Luke 3:35] ...the son of Serug
Serug
Serug was the son of Reu and the father of Nahor, according to Genesis 11:20-23. He is also the great-grandfather of Abraham.In the Masoretic text that modern Bibles are based on, he was 30 when Nahor was born, and lived to the age of 230...

, the son of Reu
Reu
Reu or Ragau in Genesis was the son of Peleg and the father of Serug, thus being Abraham's great-great-grandfather.He was 32 when Serug was born and lived to the age of 239 , according to the Masoretic text...

, the son of Peleg, the son of Heber, the son of Salah...);
however, he should not be confused with the Heber
Heber
Heber may be:-Religious traditions:*One of the Minor characters in the Book of Genesis*Heber the Kenite, mentioned in the Book of Judges 4:17 of the Hebrew Bible as Jael's husband...

 of the Old Testament (different Hebrew spelling חבר), grandson of Asher ([Genesis 46:17] The sons of Asher: Imnah and Ishvah and Ishvi and Beriah and their sister Serah
Serah
Serah bat Asher was, in the Tanakh, a daughter of Asher, the son of Jacob. She is counted among the seventy members of the patriarch's family who emigrated from Canaan to Egypt, and her name occurs in connection with the census taken by Moses in the wilderness. She is mentioned also among the...

. And the sons of Beriah: Heber and Malchiel).

Theories about Eber


There is a legend that the Avars
Eurasian Avars
The Eurasian Avars or Ancient Avars were a highly organized nomadic confederacy of mixed origins. They were ruled by a khagan, who was surrounded by a tight-knit entourage of nomad warriors, an organization characteristic of Turko-Mongol groups...

 were descendants of Eber through children of Abraham and his third (or second, as the Talmud
Talmud
The Talmud is a central text of mainstream Judaism. It takes the form of a record of rabbinic discussions pertaining to Jewish law, ethics, philosophy, customs and history....

 identifies her with Hagar
Hagar (Bible)
Hagar , according to the Abrahamic faiths, was the second wife of Abraham, and the mother of his first son, Ishmael. Her story is recorded in the Book of Genesis, mentioned in Hadith, and alluded to in the Qur'an...

) wife Keturah
Keturah
According to the Hebrew Bible, Keturah or Ketura was the woman whom Abraham, the patriarch of the Israelites, married after the death of his wife, Sarah. Keturah bore Abraham six sons, Zimran, Jokshan, Medan, Midian, Ishbak, and Shuah....

.

Eber (2303 BCE) son of Shelah (2333 BCE) and great-grandson of Shem
Shem
Shem was one of the sons of Noah in the Hebrew Bible as well as in Islamic literature. He is most popularly regarded as the eldest son, though some traditions regard him as the second son. Genesis 10:21 refers to relative ages of Shem and his brother Japheth, but with sufficient ambiguity in each...

 (2468 BCE) is also the founding patriarch of the descendancy of Joktan and his son Jobab.

Linguistic association of "Eber", "Heber" and "Hebrew"


In the King James Version
King James Version of the Bible
The Authorized Version, commonly known as the King James Version, King James Bible or KJV, is an English translation of the Christian Bible by the Church of England begun in 1604 and completed in 1611...

 (KJV) of the Old Testament
Old Testament
The Old Testament, of which Christians hold different views, is a Christian term for the religious writings of ancient Israel held sacred and inspired by Christians which overlaps with the 24-book canon of the Masoretic Text of Judaism...

, the name "Eber" is used, while in the KJV New Testament
New Testament
The New Testament is the second major division of the Christian biblical canon, the first such division being the much longer Old Testament....

, "Heber" is used instead, each referring to the same person. And in both KJV books, the word "Hebrew" refers to the descendants of this person. The confusion between "Eber" and "Heber" lies in transcriptional misunderstandings through ongoing layers of Biblical translation, as well as the differentiated cultural origins of the Old and New Testaments.

The origin of the names for Eber and the Hebrews, as used in Europe
Europe
Europe is, by convention, one of the world's seven continents. Comprising the westernmost peninsula of Eurasia, Europe is generally 'divided' from Asia to its east by the watershed divides of the Ural and Caucasus Mountains, the Ural River, the Caspian and Black Seas, and the waterways connecting...

an Christian
Christianity
Christianity is a monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus as presented in canonical gospels and other New Testament writings...

 languages, derived from Aramaic
Aramaic language
Aramaic is a group of languages belonging to the Afroasiatic language phylum. The name of the language is based on the name of Aram, an ancient region in central Syria. Within this family, Aramaic belongs to the Semitic family, and more specifically, is a part of the Northwest Semitic subfamily,...

 עבר ''ʿĒḇer and עברי ''ʿIḇrāy, as spoken in the Roman
Roman Empire
The Roman Empire was the post-Republican period of the ancient Roman civilization, characterised by an autocratic form of government and large territorial holdings in Europe and around the Mediterranean....

 province of Judaea
Iudaea Province
Judaea or Iudaea are terms used by historians to refer to the Roman province that extended over parts of the former regions of the Hasmonean and Herodian kingdoms of Israel...

 and by those Jews who escaped the province's destruction. When Greek
Greek language
Greek is an independent branch of the Indo-European family of languages. Native to the southern Balkans, it has the longest documented history of any Indo-European language, spanning 34 centuries of written records. Its writing system has been the Greek alphabet for the majority of its history;...

-writing Jewish scholars compiled the Septuagint, the adaptations chosen for these names (for whatever reason) were Εβερ Heber and Εβραιος Hebraios. These names were adapted through Latin
Latin
Latin is an Italic language originally spoken in Latium and Ancient Rome. It, along with most European languages, is a descendant of the ancient Proto-Indo-European language. Although it is considered a dead language, a number of scholars and members of the Christian clergy speak it fluently, and...

 and French
French language
French is a Romance language spoken as a first language in France, the Romandy region in Switzerland, Wallonia and Brussels in Belgium, Monaco, the regions of Quebec and Acadia in Canada, and by various communities elsewhere. Second-language speakers of French are distributed throughout many parts...

 before reaching English
English language
English is a West Germanic language that arose in the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms of England and spread into what was to become south-east Scotland under the influence of the Anglian medieval kingdom of Northumbria...

 as "Heber" and "Hebrew", and these names were used in the KJV New Testament.

However, the KJV Old Testament was largely translated not from Greek and Latin sources, but from existing Hebrew texts accessible to scholars at the time, employing a uniquely Anglo-Saxon
England
England is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Scotland to the north and Wales to the west; the Irish Sea is to the north west, the Celtic Sea to the south west, with the North Sea to the east and the English Channel to the south separating it from continental...

 method of adapting Hebrew words and names. As such, in the Old Testament, "Eber" was used without the H, likely reflecting the common Hebrew dialects used among the Jews of Europe. However, the KJV translators chose to use the New Testament name "Hebrew" (instead of "Ibrite" or "Eberite") as the canonical term for the descendants of Eber in the Old Testament as well, likely to avoid confusing lay readers.

As the King James Version of the Bible became the primary Christian scripture of Great Britain
Great Britain
Great Britain or Britain is an island situated to the northwest of Continental Europe. It is the ninth largest island in the world, and the largest European island, as well as the largest of the British Isles...

, the association of "Eber" with "Hebrew" in the English-speaking religious world became a permanent phenomenon.

Other than Jewish sources can be found in the ancient Irish history, here a clear story can be found on the relation between Eber and the Hebrew language.

External links