The original Hebrew text,

וְהֻצַּב גֻּלְּתָה הֹעֲלָתָה וְאַמְהֹתֶיהָ מְנַהֲגוֹת כְּקוֹל יוֹנִים מְתֹפְפֹת עַל לִבְבֵהֶן

The meaning of the first word הֻצַב of this verse is so unclear that the translations have not been able to come to a consensus. One must only enter the number of this verse in Bible Hub search to reveal the discord and the extent of variance between the translations.

The KJV suggests reading this as a proper name, Huzzab, apparently an Assyrian princess that would have been famous enough to the Israelite audience to have understood the reference--and the NJPS seems to concur with this. This translation has some merit because it makes the second part of the verse flow well,

(And Huzzab) [insertion from the NJPS] is uncovered, she is carried away, And her handmaids moan as with the voice of doves, Tabering upon their breasts. JPS

The subject of Her in Her handmaidens is clearly Huzzab mentioned right before that, and since it is a name it makes this verse quite readable. This works better than the NIV which presumes Ninveh to be the subject of this verse even though Ninveh is not found in the original Hebrew and is only extrapolated by the translators. On the other hand, Huzzab doesn't sound like an Assyrian name at all, it actually sounds like the Hebrew word נצב "standing". See Gen. 24:13. So there is good reason to doubt the KJV translation here.

My question is, is there any evidence from ancient Assyrian sources to suggest that Huzzab could have been an ancient Assyrian name, or at least a name that would sound remotely similar to another existing Assyrian name?

1 Answer 1


I don't know any texts-cited ancient person (from Assyrian sources) with this name. It would be useful for you to consult the following couple of reference texts about this topic. (1) an article by G. R. Driver (1964), titled Farewell to Queen Huzzab! (The Journal of Theological Studies NEW SERIES, Vol. 15, No. 2, OCTOBER 1964, pp. 296-298). Driver asserts in unequivocal terms,

The form of the word rules out any Assyrian term, whether a common noun or a proper name; and no queen bearing such a name has been (or indeed can ever be) found. These unlucky attempts at explaining the word are the source of the two best-known English renderings, namely the A.V.'s 'Huzzab shall be led away' and the R.V.'s 'Huzzab is uncovered', which appears to mean nothing.

His choice is to translate the verse: "The [captive] train goes into exile, they and their slave-girls are carried away". You may also see (2) The New American Commentary (based on NIV translation), vol. 20, by Kenneth L. Barker, and Waylon Bailey (p. 207, espec. ft #50).

Personally, I prefer consider this term as a derivate verbal form from the root נצב, 'to set', 'to establish', 'to place' > 'to recommend' > 'to command', and then, a translation like the following (though not definitive): "It has been established that she [Nineveh] will be stripped and carried away, and her slave girls will moan [...]". (Compare, please, the same concept of 'to make naked' - again in reference to Nineveh - in Zep 2:14; the same divine sentence Babylon will suffer afterward... [Isa 47:1-3, and so on]).

This prophetic glance was fulfilled when - as stated by Assyrian and Babylonian Chronicles (as cited by A. Grayson, 1975, p. 94): "They [the combined Median and Babylonian military forces] carried off the vast booty of the city [Nineveh] and the temple (and) [turned] the city into a ruin heap."

  • I also added the point made by Driver that is pertinent to the question, namely that an Assyrian term must be ruled out here.
    – bach
    Commented May 1, 2018 at 18:04
  • Saro i wasn't able to finish reading this article on my JSTOR account (it is only avail for purchase it seems like). Can you elaborate (or quote him) on what basis does Driver choose to translate this term as "captive"? Thank you
    – bach
    Commented May 1, 2018 at 18:18
  • Regrettably, me too haven't buy the full article. I hope some other user has obtained a full access to JSTOR material. Sorry. Commented May 1, 2018 at 19:41
  • So how do you write "His choice is to translate the verse: "The [captive] train goes into exile, they and their slave-girls are carried away"? How do you know that if you haven't finished it?
    – bach
    Commented May 1, 2018 at 19:43
  • Because the JSTOR article preview I've read plus the exerption drawn by the text I've cited you in my answer - The New American Commentary (based on NIV translation), vol. 20, by Kenneth L. Barker, and Waylon Bailey (p. 207), ft. # 50 - trigger to this conclusion. Commented May 1, 2018 at 19:50

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