[b-hebrew] What Does "salt sea" Mean at Genesis 14: 3?

dwashbur at nyx.net dwashbur at nyx.net
Mon Dec 1 15:14:40 EST 2008


The Bible consistently refers to the Mediterranean as the "Great Sea," e.g. Num 34:6 HYM 
HGDWL.  See also Josh 1:4 and others.  Pardon my bluntness, but this seems like a no-
brainer to me...

Dave Washburn

On 1 Dec 2008 at 10:59, K Randolph wrote:

> Jim:
> On Mon, Dec 1, 2008 at 7:05 AM, <JimStinehart at aol.com> wrote:
> 
> >
> > What Does "salt sea" Mean at Genesis 14: 3?
> >
> > 1.  Does the reference to "salt sea" (yod-mem he-mem-lamed-heth/YM HMLX,
> > literally "salt the sea") at Genesis 14: 3 refer to the Dead Sea, or to the
> > Mediterranean Sea?
> >
> > The present division into chapters came relatively recently (when compared
> to the total time period the text talks about to the present). Therefore it
> must be read in context of chapter 13, where the area is clearly listed as
> being to the east. So, within the context, it is clear that the Dead Sea is
> meant.
> 
> 
> > 3.  Outside of Genesis 14: 3, there are 8 other references to "salt sea" in
> > the Hebrew Bible.  Of critical importance to us here, not once does any
> > other
> > author in the Bible assume that "salt sea", out of context, would
> > necessarily
> > refer to the Dead Sea, as opposed to the Mediterranean Sea.  On the
> > contrary,
> > all 8 other references to "salt sea" in the Bible contain one or more of
> > the
> > following four words, which are used to clarify that the Dead Sea is the "
> > salt sea" to which reference is being made in that particular case:
> >  "Jordan
> > [River]", "Arabah", "east" or "south border".    Numbers 34: 3, 12;
> > Deuteronomy 3: 17;  Joshua 3: 16;  12: 3;  15: 2, 5;  18: 19  None of these
> > four words
> > would fit the Mediterranean Sea, which is precisely why these particular
> > words
> > are used to distinguish the Dead Sea, as one salt sea, from the
> > Mediterranean
> > Sea, which is the other (more important) salt sea in Canaan.  Typical is
> > Joshua 15: 5:  "And the east border was the Salt Sea, even unto the end of
> > the
> > Jordan...."  (Note that the words "east" and "Jordan" accompany "salt sea".)
> > Indeed, in all but one of such 8 cases, the Dead Sea is referred to
> > exclusively
> > in terms of explaining where the southeast border of Canaan is, being a
> > context where it is very obvious that "salt sea" in that case must refer to
> > the
> > Dead Sea, not the Mediterranean Sea.  (The only exception is Joshua 3: 16;
> >  that
> > verse specifically refers to "Sea of the Arabah" and to activities at
> > Jericho on the north end of the Dead Sea.  Deuteronomy 3: 17 likewise
> > refers to the
> > Dead Sea as "Sea of the Arabah".)
> >
> > With the possible exception of Genesis 14: 3, never in the Bible is a
> > reference to "salt sea", without more, taken to preclude a meaning of the
> > Mediterranean Sea.  Rather, in every other case the matter is clarified by
> > an explicit
> > reference in the same verse to one or more of the following words:  "Jordan
> > [River]", "Arabah", "east" or "south border".  If the intention is to
> > reference the Dead Sea, then in addition to saying "salt sea", the Biblical
> > authors
> > invariably add a clarifying reference, using one or more (usually several)
> > of
> > the four above words.
> >
> > You have that context, in chapter 13. Further, %DYM can come from the root
> %YD, to whitewash, which is what salt encrusted objects look like when taken
> from the lake.
> 
> Your connection with "fields" is very tenuous at best, as the plural of
> "fields" is %DWT, not %DYM. In fact, the plural of fields is never elsewhere
> written as %DYM.
> 
> 
> >
> >   No historical battle was ever fought
> > southeast of the Dead Sea.
> >
> > Just because you are ignorant of any battle there does not mean that none
> was ever fought there, especially when we take into account all history back
> to the early bronze age. With your record so far, your ignorance in this
> matter means nothing.
> 
> 
> > Jim Stinehart
> > Evanston, Illinois
> 
> 
> You first admitted that your theory falls apart if Sodom was destroyed at
> sun up, which the linguistic clues indicate is the case. Then you claimed
> that Beth Shean was Sodom in code, only to have archeological investigation
> reveal that it was merely a garrison town during the Egyptian occupation.
> Therefore there was no wealth to be had in the city at that time. You
> repeated the error that KKR means "plain" when it doesn't. %DYM does not
> mean "fields".
> 
> You started with a theory, and now are fishing for evidence to support it.
> So far, NONE of the linguistic, geographical and historical references
> support your theory. What weird idea are you going to come up with next?
> 
> I previously asked you who you are? What are your credentials? You obviously
> lack linguistic credentials, as you are obviously almost totally ignorant of
> Biblical Hebrew language. Why don't you answer questions concerning your
> credentials?
> 
> Karl W. Randolph.
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