Linguistic Evidence Linking the Igbo to Gad
Rabbi Yehudah ben Shomeyr
Jud. 12:6 Then said they unto him, Say now Shibboleth: and he said Sibboleth: for he could not frame to pronounce it right. Then they took him, and slew him at the passages of Jordan: and there fell at that time of the Ephraimites forty and two thousand.
Speech can betray a person. When I travel I like to listen to travelers speech and try and determine where they come from, what part of the world, or what part of North America they come from just by listening to their accent and pronunciation of words.
(The following is not meant to be derogatory nor offensive in any way)
“Hey Y’all!” Kentucky or Tennessee.
“Let’s drive around Bahston in ourah Cah.” New England States.
“I’ll take dis, not I’d druther have dat.” The Carolinas.
“She was runnin abowt, the houwse, eh.” Canada.
“Hey buddy, wh’do I look like t’yous, Rand McNalley!?” New York.
“I seem to have spilt a bit of tea on my trousers.” England.
“Ah, tank you very much-ah.” Asia
“I dooont knoow where d’ay went.” India or Mid East
“G’day Mate!” Australia
“Vistch vay did day go?” Russia or Ukraine
A good detective will take note of the written and verbal language of a victim and or suspect, paying close attention to enunciation, dialect and slang in order to determine their origins in an attempt to better trace and tract such persons of interest. For instance, In the Northern U.S., people call a carbonated beverage “pop,” in the Southern U.S. all carbonated beverages, no matter what brand is called “coke.” In the some parts of the Eastern U.S. a carbonated beverage is called a “soda.” Knowing the slang may help give away a where a person comes from.
As stated earlier in the above, we explored where the word Igbo came from and how it is related to the word Hebrew. Even Jewish historian Josephus a contemporary of the Rav Sha’ul (Apostle Paul) wrote in Antiquities of the Jews that, from Eber (Gen. 11:16-22, 14:13, I Chron. 1:25-27) came the word Hebrew which what Jews were first called.
It is said that when the warrior clan of the Igbo, the Ohafia warriors came to Nigeria, the locals asked them who they were and they responded, “We are Hebrews.” According to Eze Chukwuemeka-Eri (the present King who rules over all the Igbo), his Cabinet member Chief Ikenga, said the Ohafia warriors has a war song they sing prior to going to war which tells there they came from. The song basically says that they are “Ibrou (An obvious corruption of Hebrew)” who strikes fear into the enemy and scatters them. It tells how they journeyed over water and desert and reached Benien, Andoni, Ebeku and finally Aguleri and as a people branched out from there.
We know that regardless if Gad’s sons left before or after the Exodus or both, and regardless of how Paleo-Hebrew differs from Biblical and Modern Hebrew, you would think if these people really are connected to Israel, that some linguistic remnants would remain in the Igbo language.
It has been noted that the name “Igbo” in the Igbo Language also may have its origins in the word, “Ipugbo” and the phrase, “I pulu Gboo tupu ndi ozo,” meaning, “Those who left earlier.” Hinting that Gad’s son Eri, the father of the Igbo people and his companions left Egypt prior to the enslavement of the Hebrew People and the Exodus.
Eri, one of the sons of Gad is said to have built an altar in honor of the G-d of his father and that night Eri had a dream in which he was given a new name, “Igbo.” He adopted this new name and also named his fourth son Igbo in honor of this event and new name.
Igbo, in English had been give an interpretation; I-GO-Before-Others.
The etymological root of the name “Igbo” was rediscovered by an Anglican missionary and Archdeacon who worked among the Igbo in the 1900’s; Rev. G.T. Basden who also was a respected historian and ethnographer. He too asserted and agreed that the word “Igbo” was a corruption of the word “Hebrew.”
Examples of Hebrew words surviving in the Igbo Language
Adapted from: Biblical Evidence Confirming the Hebrew Origin of Igbo People, pg. 33-38, by Uchechukwu Ikeanyibe, Peculiar Heritage Publishing 1999, 2005
The author noted that this is not an exhaustive list, that some words have more than one meaning and that some words have changed so much in meaning and pronunciation that this is the reason some words have not Biblical reference.
Ahara or Ahiram
Abia, a state in Igboland
Also written Aba, a town in Igboland
Abiama, written in such Igbo phrases as “Chukwu Abiama (God of Abraham)
Abada, wrapa (for titled men)
Abije, an Igbo personal name
Akor, Ako, meaning shrewed, “Ako bu ije”
Adah, the title of an Igbo first daughter
Adam, my (first) daughter
Adammah, beautiful daughter
Adiele, an Igbo personal name
Adina, Somadina, an Igbo personal name
Agu, lion, also a desert, ikpa agu
Ahiara, a famous town in Biafra history
Ahia, Ahiam, market, my good, ngwahiam
Aja, sand, dust of the earth
Amadi, an Igbo personal name
Amaraya, His (G-d’s) Favor
Ama-asaa, seven broad ways
Amam, my inroad
Ammah, inroads to family houses
Amoka, a town near Onitsha
Anam, the abbreviation for Anambra, the name of a state and town in Nigeria
Anammelechi, I am looking unto G-d
Anah, ala, earth, land
Anachina, land of a town called Achina
Anani, Obianai, an Igbo personal name meaning “Endurance”
Ani, earth, land, specifically that of the Delta Igbo area
Ara, breast, madness
Aram, my breast
Aror, Aro, Arochukwu, a Levitical town
Asa, a town between Aba and Port Harcourt in Nigeria
Attah, a town located in Imo State of Nigeria
Ayya, Anya, meaning “eye”
Berechiya, lament unto his G-d.
Chima, G-d knows
Chinnam, G-d of my father
Chioma, G-d knows
Chizzayon, G-d of Zion
Chinnani, G-d endures
Ebere, Mercy, household name
Igbo, Ibu, name of a tribal people of Nigeria who stake claim to be descendants of Gad through his son Eri
Edar, a town in Abia Nigeria
Eze, King, Chief
Ezem, My King
Geba, move on
Ge-na-isi-isi, go to the beginning
Ha-ga-ba, Let them go
Heebos, ebos, Ibos, Igbos
Illem, my tongue
Lechi, Behold G-d
Mara, get to know
Naba. go, return
Naara, take, receive
Na-amah, in the Broadway
Naga, keep moving
Naka, at hand
Nasa, Chin-nasa, G-d replies
Naze, a town near Owerri in Nigeria
Neni, behold the cow
Netaim, netan, visit me
Neziah, verily, truly
Neri-ya, keep eating it
Obi, titles for elders and kings
O, Chim, Oh, my G-d
Ono, Onoh, an Igbo personal name
Onicha, Onitsha, a town in Igboland
Raphu, rapu, leave it, let it
Dalu, Well done, Thank you
Sobe, Sobechukwu, follow G-d
Sodi, solodi, follow husband
Uba, wealth and an Igbo personal name
Ugah, Uga, a town in Anambra State in Nigeria
Ummah, an Igbo personal name
Uli, a town near Onitsha, well known in Biafra
Uzoya, His (G-d’s) way
Uzzi, a town near Abakaliki
Zaam, (G-d) please answer me
Zoba, Chi-Zoba, G-d saves
Dibia, traditional doctor
Ziha, show them
I Sam. 8:2, Luke 1:5
I Kings 14:1
Josh. 7:24, 26
Gen. 4:9 Name of the first woman in the Bible after Eve/Chavah
I Chron. 4:36
I Chron. 11:42
I Chron. 8:1
I Chron. 5:15, II Sam. 23:33, Neh. 11:31
I Chron. 6:7
I Sam. 17:25
II Kings 17:31
I Chron. 3:34
I Chron. 7:38
Gen. 46:16, Num. 26:17
I Kings 15:8
I Chron. 7:28
Gen. 10:21, 24-25, 11:14-17
I Chron. 7:21
I Chron. 4:29
I Sam. 13:19
I Chron. 7:7
I Chron. 4:15
Jud. 15:9, 15
I Chron. 4:5
I Chron. 4:23
I Chron. 8:37
I Chron. 11:44
I Chron. 6:5
II Sam. 8:3
I Chron. 8:9
Other Linguistic evidence of the Israel/Gad/Eri-Igbo connection is the suffix of the names of places in Igboland: Nnri, Aguleri, Umuleri, Oraeri, etc.
A Linguistic/Cultural evidence of the Israel/Gad/Eri-Igbo connection is the names which people bear which honors G-d.
Names/Titles of G-d:
YHWH, Yah, El, Elohim
· ELiYAHhu (Elijah) = Yah is my G-d
· YEHoshua (Joshua) = Yehovah Saves
· Sh’muEL (Samuel) = G-d Hears.
· AriEL = Lion of G-d
Names/Titles of G-d:
Chi, Chukwu, Chineke
· Chidi/Chuwudi = There is a G-d, G-d Exists.
· Chizoba = G-d Saves
· Chidinma = G-d is Good
· Chibueze = G-d is King
· Chukwuemeka = G-d has done Great things
There are some phrases that linguistically link the Igbo to Israel/Gad/Eri.
The Igbo’s kept a historical based, oral history that one can trace back to Gad’s son Eri; unlike the other peoples around them who used legend and myth to establish the origins of their people, claiming their progenitor fell from heaven to establish their people. A phrase heard in Igboland is, “Eri fell from heaven (Igwe).” It seems that the Igbo adopted the mythos phraseology of the peoples around them and is a perversion of, “Eri came from Israel (Jacob) and migrated from Egypt.”
“Mgbe Eri” or “Eri Mgbe” meaning “Since/at the time of Eri” to signify something a long time ago.
Nigeria has 374 ethnic groups, 500 spoken languages and most have some connection to the Igbo tongue.
According to the EBS (Edo Broadcasting Service) Fact File in Nigeria said that at least 250 identifiable tribes have distinct dialect yet share many commonalities with the Igbo Language.
Oduduwa a companion of Eri as he journeyed from Egypt to Nigeria, father of the Yoruba tribe in Nigeria proves a close Igbo-Yoruba connection and lends credence to the stories because of the close relationship in language that they share.
“The Jewish origin of the Igbos of Nigeria is as real as Oduduwa (of ancient Babylon) origin of the Yorubas or the Saudi Arabian origin of the Hausa-Fulah’s, without of course any prejudice to their (the Ibo’s) full Nigerian citizenship.” – Pof. O. Alazi
Please note that some words may appear as duplicates, but though spelled the same some words when pronounced or inflected differently carries a different meaning.
Ego ole/olee onu ya
A Personal Name
Wisdom or Knowledge
As mentioned earlier, Eri’s other traveling companions; Edo, Igala and Idoma, thought to be descendants of Esau also share a linguistic connection thus giving weight to the story that they came to Nigeria with Eri.
A Traditional Title
A Traditional Title
Here are similarities between the Igbo and Igala Languages.
“It is significant to note that while the Ika can communicate with other Igbo people with some of whom they are separated by as much as two hundred and fifty miles, the Ika can never communicate with Ishan, their nearest neighbors – a few miles apart – except through Ishan. While the Ika does not have to learn the other dialect of Igbo to communicate with the Igbo man. All he does – and this is usually mutual – is adjust. No amount of adjustments short of learning Ishan, can make an Ika communicate with the Ishan, without using Ishan.” – F.C. Ogbalu
“On realizing the Ibo people’s Jewishness, the British Colonial masters began to refer to the Ibo, the Ifites, the Ivites, as Hebrew (English version of Ibrit, Ivrite or Ifite) – a name that was corrupted as Heebo, Eboe and finally Ibo. The name “Hebrew” from where Ibo is derived is simply the English version of the Jewish word “Ibrit” (pronounced Ivrit). In Hebrew, “b” is often pronounced as “v.” For instance, Tel Aviv is written as Tel Abib (see Ezekiel 3:15), but pronounced and now also written as Tel Aviv. In the same way, the name Gavriel in Hebrew is written as Gabriel in English. Interestingly, “b” is also pronounced as “v,” in some parts of Ibo nation – for example, ibu (load) or ivu (load); edule (ram) or evule (ram); abu (song) or avu (song), and so on.” – Prof. O. Alaezi: Ibo Exodus p. 13