[b-hebrew] Genesis 12: 5: Are "Souls" Slaves?
JimStinehart at aol.com
JimStinehart at aol.com
Sun Nov 18 21:36:19 EST 2007
1. You wrote: “There is no evidence of "Hebrews" in Late Bronze Age
There are several Egyptian portraits of Canaanites in the mid-14th century
BCE who look like early Hebrews from Hollywood central casting. Their
peculiar, long, untrimmed beards are a dead giveaway. “SA-RAH” was the best-known
word in the ancient near east in the mid-14th century BCE. All 7 foreign
policy events from one year in the mid-14th century BCE are described with
specificity in the Patriarchal narratives, including the morally questionable
killing of the leader of Shechem (chapter 34 of Genesis). What is it exactly
that you feel is “missing” from the secular historical record regarding the
Hebrews in the mid-14th century BCE?
1. You wrote: “It has been shown that the so-called "Habiru" or
"Apiru" of the Amarna texts are NOT "Hebrews" in the biblical sense of an
The Habiru and the early Hebrews are landless tent-dwellers who are
indigenous to Canaan, but who are “strangers in their own land”. Genesis 15: 13
Such landless tent-dwellers are ubiquitous in both the Amarna Letters and the
1. You wrote: “You are correct, that the biblical Hebrew language is
closely to Canaanite than to any Mesopotamian language, even Aramaic. …[T]he
Iron Age Israelites were largely descended from the population of LBA Canaan
or its environs.”
Now you’re talking. (You have an odd knack of making my points better than I
make them myself.)
1. You wrote: “But the Patriarchal narratives make it very clear that
"home" was in Mesopotamia….”
Oops. There is not a single statement in the text that Abraham’s “am”
/people/ancestors were in, or from, Mesopotamia. Why are you trying to force the
Patriarchal narratives to say something that is both (i) false and (ii) not
in the text?
1. You wrote “Terah sets out from Ur…on his way to Canaan, but stops
in Haran and dies there. The text does not say why he set out or why he
stopped in Haran, so neither do we.”
Terakh and all his ancestors were indigenous to northern Canaan/Lebanon.
Terakh was on a one-time caravan trip to far-off Mesopotamia. Terakh, old and
becoming infirm, was now trying to get back home to Canaan. There is no
other reasonable explanation for why old Terakh would try to take his family from
sophisticated Ur in southern Mesopotamia all the tremendous distance to
unsophisticated, modest Canaan.
1. You wrote: “Two of his sons stay there [in Harran], but God tells
Abraham to keep going "to the land which I will show you", which turns out to
Not true. Haran dies in Ur, in southern Mesopotamia, not in Harran. Nahor
must stay behind in Harran, to care for his old, infirm father Terakh, who
couldn’t make it back to Canaan from the long, arduous caravan trip.
1. You wrote: “Nothing about this indicates that their original home
in Canaan. They have no relatives there.”
They have no relatives in southeastern Canaan when Abraham first gets there,
because the Hebrews were indigenous to northern Canaan/Lebanon. But after
Abraham sells the RK$/luxury goods from the caravan trip in Egypt for a sky
high price, Abraham’s relatives temporarily gather in Hebron. That’s where
Abraham’s 318 armed retainers, “born in his household”, come from at Genesis
14: 14. Just like the dozen or so “souls” over which Abraham assumed
leadership at Harran, all these various people are Abraham’s relatives.
Genesis 25: 8-9 explicitly recognizes that the Hebrews are indigenous to
Canaan, in portraying Abraham as being “gathered to his people/‘am’” at Hebron
in Canaan. Why fight the text? The text says what it says. The text never
says that Abraham’s “am” were at Ur or Harran or anywhere else in
Mesopotamia. Why try to continue to insist that the text says what it clearly and
unequivocally does not say?
The Patriarchal narratives have pinpoint historical accuracy from the
standpoint of the secular history of the mid-14th century BCE. No matter how many
times you try to claim that the Patriarchal narratives portray “home” as
being Mesopotamia, you cannot point to a single line of text that says that.
You tacitly admit that given your theory of the case, you have no idea why old
Terakh tried to lead his family from Ur in southern Mesopotamia all the very
long way to unsophisticated, modest Canaan. Terakh was obviously trying to
get back home to Canaan, after that very long caravan trip way out to
Mesopotamia, where those valuable RK$/luxury commercial goods were bought (that were
then sold for a fortune in Egypt, resulting in Abraham being laden with
silver and gold upon coming back to Canaan from Egypt).
In secular history, the Hebrews were indigenous to Canaan, and that is
precisely what the Patriarchal narratives have been accurately saying for 3,500
Abraham has no “am” in Mesopotamia. Why fight the text?
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