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GOIIM (Heb. גּוֹיִם), name appearing in the Bible as "king of Goiim." Genesis 14:1, 9 mentions "Tidal king of Goiim," as one of the kings participating in a war during the time of Abraham. It has been suggested that Tidal is Tudḫaliya, the name of five Hittite kings (Heb. תִּדְעָל; Ugaritic transliteration Tidʿl, Ttʿl). Given the unhistorical character of Genesis 14, which lumps together names from different periods, it is probably futile to attempt to identify the biblical character with a specific Hittite Tudhaliya. Another possibility is that Tidal of Genesis 14 is borrowed from a Mesopotamian source opposed to Sennacherib king of Assyria (705–681), in which he was called Tudhula, "evil offspring" in Sumerian. This would be in keeping with the other midrashic names in the chapter already observed by medieval Jewish scholars, Bera, "in evil," and Birsha, "in wickedness." The word goyim is also used to indicate "nations" in general. There is an opinion that the connection between the two usages of the word goyim resembles that of ummān-Manda ("the horde, the armies of ' Manda'"), an ancient term applied to various groups including the barbarian nation that helped the Babylonians destroy Harran in 610 b.c.e. Thus, there is reason to believe that the name Goiim in Hebrew corresponds to ummān, and simply means "nations," and is incomplete for "the nations of…," the actual name of Tidal's realm having been omitted in translation or lost in transmission. The usage in Joshua 12:23 is probably a corruption of Goiim to Gilgal (according to lxx), that is, the king Gilgal of Galilee instead of the king of Goiim of Gilgal (cf. Isa. 8:23).


M. Cassuto, in: em, 2 (1954), 457–8; D. Wiseman, Chronicles of Chaldaean Kings (1956), 81, n. to 1. 38; Jean Bottero, in: Archives Royales de Mari, 7 (1957), 224–5; E.A. Speiser, Genesis (Eng., 1964), 107–8; N.M. Sarna, Understanding Genesis (1966), 113. add. bibliography: H. Tadmor, in: em, 8:435–36; N. Sarna, jps Torah Genesis (1989), 103–4; M. Astour, in: abd, 6:551–52.