Lot's wife

Banyai Michael banyai at t-online.de
Wed Oct 25 12:27:05 EDT 2000

Robert Vining wrote:

> On 10/19/00, Banyai Michael wrote-
> The salt pillar is a word game between "melah" salt and
> "Meluhha"/Amalek.
> That should mean, those looking back became Amalekites. We should assume
> the same for Benjamin, in the later story.
> RV: If this is valid, it, along with 19:36-38, sure put the enemies of
> ancient Israel in their place. The Moabites and Ammonites came from
> incestuous rape, and the Amalekites from those disobedient to God by
> looking back  (Lot's wife being the eponymous figure). Meanwhile,
> Abraham and  his descendants are the saved people of God. This then
> becomes a story with etiological purposes, although perhaps not its main
> thrust.

The first point is that the book Genesis is concerned with the questions:
who are
we, where do we and our holy places come from?. So we should look even for
seemingly anecdotical stories therein always for an etiological

An interesting detail is offered by Targum Yerushalmi, Numerus 21,1,4 but
also as
collected by Ginzberg, "Legends of the jews" VI,114: the Amalekites
before Israel as Moabites, or Canaanites.

Since the incest of the daughters of Lot is surely an injurious hebrew
about the origin of Moab and Amon, we have to assume that the original
retraced both to Lot and his wife. All lineages in Genesis (with a further
exception) give detail about the ethnic origin of the ethnarchs. We don´t
because this detail is lost, what madam Lot was thought to be.

I assume she was Amalekite, and the salt pillar story provided the popular
etymology to the name of Amalek. As Charles David Isbell underlined "there
is no linguistic connection between the root M-L-X [Mem-Lamed-Het] and
Amalek, Hebrew `-M-L-Q [Ayin-Mem-Lamed-Quf]". There is no need however to
assume the this popular etymology was a hebrew one. It is but used in a
creative manner to ilustrate in a polemyc way, what happens those turning
to Amalek.

What concerns the "false" identification of Meluhha with Amalek (first
proposed by Winkler) is much to be said. I am not able to enter it now in
detail, but following may be said.

The famous statement about "Meluhha and Magan which are ... Musri and
Kush" is probably to be understood as an attempt to distinguish between
Meluhha and Meluhha which is also known (vulgo) as Musri. In the manner
one would have done in the 17-th century to distinguish between
West-Indies (vulgo) known as America and East Indies (that is India).
We may read about the Arabian identification of the Hyksos with the
Amalecites. If we took it for serious, than we would have an explanation,
for the post Hyksos Meluhha/Musri name of Egypt.

Hyksos may be another popular etymology for Amalek (deriving it from
Melek-King), Hekaw meaning king.

We have according to Ptolemy (6:7) the Malichae in Arabia (clearly those
which we know from Akkadian sources as Meluhha and from Arabian and Hebrew
ones as Amalekites). Also according to Pliny we have Magan in Arabia. It
is no difficulty to imagine a drop of Arabian colonisation of Ethiopia
bringing there the semitic Kush language (Geez). In a similar way is the
name of Abissinia conected to the Arabian Habeshat colonists.

The imaginary geography of Sargon of Akkad (probably in fact a description
of the empire of Sargon II of Assyria) involves the way to Meluhha,
beginning at the "cistern" of the Euphrates at Bazu. This is most probably
the road we historically now know as the Kings´road (in fact in original
biblical tradition of giving road names according to the regions they lead
to or they passed through , probably better to be understood the road of

Of course Meluhha is not always meaning the political Amalek, but it
always owes something to Amalekite heritage.

One should wonder how it could be possible that the for the Bible most
important Amalek escaped all mentions of its Assyrian and Egyptian
neighbours. While the same makes true for the absence of Meluhha in the

Best regards,

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