[b-hebrew] $RX the "Sister" at Genesis 46: 17
JimStinehart at aol.com
JimStinehart at aol.com
Wed May 23 11:36:10 EDT 2012
$RX the “Sister” at Genesis 46: 17
One of the seemingly most inexplicable phrases in the entire Bible is the
brief comment at Genesis 46: 17 after naming Asher’s sons who went to Egypt
with Jacob: “Their sister was Serah.”
Here is the scholarly analysis of that odd sentence:
“Assuming Jacob’s sons sire other daughters, the reason for her inclusion
in the genealogy is unknown.” Bruce K. Waltke, “Genesis: A Commentary”
(2001), p. 576.
Note how that scholarly comment not only admits that scholars don’t know
why $RX is included in the list of 70 Hebrews who go to Egypt with Jacob in
chapter 46 of Genesis, but also, very importantly, it misstates what the text
says. The text does n-o-t say that Asher sired $RX as his daughter. The
text does n-o-t say that $RX was Asher’s daughter. Why? Note that what
the text says is that $RX was the “sister” of Asher’s sons, and then two
sons of Asher’s son Beriah are immediately listed.
Compare Genesis 11: 31, which does n-o-t say that $RY was Terah’s
daughter, but rather says that $RY was Terah’s “daughter-in-law”, the wife of Terah
’s son Abram. Abram is said to be Terah’s “son”, but $RY is n-o-t said
there to be Terah’s “daughter”. Now compare Genesis 20: 12, where Abraham
tells Abimelek that Sarah is Abraham’s “sister”. %RH is said to be Abraham
’s “sister”, and $RX is said to be Beriah’s “sister”, but at Genesis 11:
31 $RY is not said to be Terah’s “daughter”, and at Genesis 46: 17 $RX is
not said to be Asher’s “daughter”. What’s going on here?
Now consider the linguistic point that if $RY and $RX are not west Semitic
names (and, to the best of my knowledge, those two names are never attested
outside of the Bible as being west Semitic names), then the heth/X at the
end of $R-X causes the name $R-X to in effect mean: “like Sarah” [or “
Did $RX come into the Hebrew family under identical circumstances as Sarah?
Was $RX “like Sarah”, as the non-west Semitic meaning of her name would
imply? Is t-h-a-t why $RX is noteworthy enough to be the only female other
than Jacob’s daughter Dinah to be placed on the list of 70 named Hebrews in
chapter 46 of Genesis?
The key is that $RX is n-o-t Asher’s blood daughter [which is why $RX is
not said to be Asher’s “daughter” at Genesis 46: 17], and that $RY is
n-o-t Terah’s blood daughter [which is why $RY is not said to be Terah’s “
daughter” at Genesis 11: 31]. Note that each of $RX and $RY is, rather, said to
be a Hebrew man’s “sister”.
If we follow through on the above line of analysis, we on the b-hebrew list
can be the first people in over 2,000 years to figure out why $RX the “
sister” is listed at Genesis 46: 17 as one of the 70 Hebrews who came to Egypt
More information about the b-hebrew