Sumerian Loan Words in Hebrew  

Appendix 4: Sumerian Loan Words in Hebrew  

Many Sumerian loan words made their way into Hebrew. What is a loan word? It is a word borrowed from one language & used in another: For example, “picnic,” “coup d’état,” and “jogging” are French loan words that English speakers liked and borrowed them.  

An example is the word Palace. We see it borrowed from the “Akkadian ekallu” which means palace; we have Phoenicianהיכל, the Biblical Aramaic. We have היכלא Syriac, היכלא Mandaic היכלא Ugaritic hkl (palace or temple); from Arabic haykal which means a church and it’s probably an Aramaic loan word; the Akkadian ekallu is probably a loan word from Sumerian e-gal which means great house.337  

The words: heichal (היכל), Adrichal (אדריכל), and tarnegol (תרנגול) are loan words. “Adrichal” in Modern Hebrew means “architect,” and first appears in the Talmudic literature. The etymology of this form, according to Even-Shoshan, is from the Akkadian erad-ekaly. This means “worker of the heichal” [which is the big house] – which we noted is originally Sumerian. Ilan points out that originally the adrichal was the builder, not the architect. Erad here is related to the Akkadian word aradu – “to serve” and ardu – “slave.” This appears to be cognate with the Hebrew root ירד ” to descend,” and relates to the lower, subjugated status of the slave. 

“Tarnegol” or “rooster” is also borrowed from Akkadian “tar lugallu,” which is Sumerian “tar lugal” or “bird of the king,” “Lugal” meant king in Sumerian, and it was made up of two parts – lu (man) and gal (great), like we had e-gal which was the big house.338 

These are quick snapshots demonstrating how Sumerian loan words made their way into Hebrew and how “Gog” could come from Sumerian. 

Despite the incredible number of parallels of GUG/UG, and the evidence of Sumerian loan words, Ezekiel wrote Gog not GUG. Do we have any linguistic attestation of Sumerian “u” becoming “o” in Hebrew, which is to ask can the Sumerian “Gug” turn into the Hebrew “Gog”? The answer is yes. An example, according to the lexicon Abraham Even-Shoshan, is that “the Hebrew word “Kor” comes from Sumerian “GUR, “a bundle of barley; standard unit of capacity.”339 The word was borrowed in Akkadian as “kurru,” and then in Hebrew as kor [כֹּר֙] “Solomon’s provision for one day was thirty kors [כֹּר֙] of fine flour…” (1Kgs 4:22) 

What is surprising is that the Gog (hostility, death) was worshipped in Israel as a star. We have already examined variations of the name Gog, including UŠ