Personal Names in The Words of Gad the Seer

Meir Bar-Ilan

The manuscript of The Words of Gad the Seer was copied at Cochin, India in the middle of the 18th century, though only recently it came under scholarly investigation. The book is written in pseudo-Biblical Hebrew and is composed of several genres such as Psalms, rewritten Bible, legend, apocalyptic scenes and even philosophical sermons. It is likely that the book was composed in the Land of Israel in one of the early centuries of this era.

Most of the names in this book - more than forty - are Biblical, since the book describes Biblical figures. However, the author adds four more names, only Samel is already known. The three new names are: Zabad HaParhi (a man of Bethlehem), P(e)rshaz (a friend of the King of Geshur), Sefira (a daughter of a Moabite shepherd).

This article discusses the significance of these three names, the problems in understanding them, and the suggested solutions, one of which is connected with the Qeri and Kethib problem.

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last updated: February 20, 1996