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Egyptian dj -> Hebrew ts


The Egyptian town known as Zoan or Tanis is in Egyptian dj‘n (dj-ayin-n, Dan, jaN), and after transition to Hebrew becomes Tsô‘an (tsadhe-ayin-nun, n;[oc). At first sight the transition dj->ts seems surprising. Hebrew has no "j" sound, so some form of transition is needed. This page looks at a few other cases of this transition.

Note that the hieroglyphic signs shown on this page are only one possible way of rendering the Egyptian - for example the single sign = might be used to express the two-consonant pattern Dd, rather than using the two individual one-consonant signs jD. A scribe would make a choice that seemed most in keeping with other artistic features of the entire scene.

Specific words


Egyptian djw (dj-waw, Dw, jW), a word for mountain, can be compared to Hebrew tsûwr (tsadhe-waw-resh, rWc or sometimes just tsur, tsadhe-resh, ruc). The Hebrew can suggest a cliff or boulder as well as mountain, and is used both literally and figuratively (of deity in this latter case). This topic is explored much more thoroughly in the companion page the word tsûr. The literal use extends through the whole Old Testament, but the figurative use largely stops after the time of David.


Egyptian dj’t (dj-aleph-t, DAt, jAT), a word for wrongdoing, can be compared with the family of Hebrew words based on ts’ (tsadhe-aleph, ac). Specific words in this family are: tsô’ah (h;aoc, pollution or filth), tsâ’âh (h"a"c, excrement) or tsô’ (aoc, soiled).


Egyptian djf (dj-f, Df, jF), a word for provisions, can be compared with the family of Hebrew words based on tsd (tsadhe-daleth, dc). Specific words in this family are: tsêdâh (h"dEc, provisions), tsayîd (diy;c, that which is caught, game), tsûwd (dWc, to chase or hunt), tsayâd (d"y;c, a hunter), and even tsîydôn (!odyic, the town Sidon, because of its association with catching fish). Use of this word-family for provisions, with its emphasis on the hunting and capture of provisions, is found predominantly in Genesis, Joshua and the Psalms. In the later narrative books of Kings and Chronicles, words translated as provisions are based on the ideas of storage, purchase, or preparation to make ready (kûwl, kûwn, kêrâh, lechem). This may well be seen as reflecting the changing social conditions.

To denounce

Egyptian djws (dj-waw-s, Dws, jWs), meaning to denounce, can be compared to Hebrew tsâvâh (tsadhe-waw-he, h"v"c), a verb with several meanings including to set in order, or to charge/command.


Egyptian djsr (dj-s-r, Dsr, jsR or jSR), meaning sacred, can be compared to Hebrew tsîyr (tsadhe-yodh-resh, ryic), a verb with several meanings including an idol, or beautiful form.

To cleanse or clear

Egyptian djsr (dj-s-r, Dsr, jsR or jSR), a verb meaning to separate or clear, can be compared to Hebrew tsâdaq (tsadhe-daleth-qoph, q;d"c), a verb with several meanings including to cleanse, make right, or clear in a moral sense.

To say or speak

Egyptian djd (dj-d, Dd, jD, a verb meaning to say or speak), is used as the first element of Joseph's Egyptian name. There are a large number of Hebrew words used to express various shades of speaking, but the following may be of interest: tsâhal (tsadhe-he-lamech, l;h"c) has the idea of shouting or crying aloud, tsâvach (tsadhe-waw-chet, x"v"c), to cry aloud, tsâ‘aq (tsadhe-ayin-qoph, q;z"c) has the idea of crying out or calling, tsârach (tsadhe-resh-chet, x;r"c) to raise a cry (often a war-cry), and tsâvah (tsadhe-waw-he, h"v"c), commanding or charging as mentioned above. None of these are presented as direct parallels, but they do illustrate that there are a number of Hebrew words relating to speaking that have initial ts.
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