The tribe of Dan (correcture)

Banyai Michael banyai at
Sun Sep 15 15:04:33 EDT 2002

I was entirely surprised to see that my message got in a quite awful
condition to the list.

It seems, that some kind of virus got controll over it. Even an
unsubscribe message was attached, seemingly, with the currious adress
undersigned in my stead by radio at

Awful, isn´t it?

Now once more the original message:

I beg your pardon, Shoshanna and Ian, but I have the vague feeling, that
in spite of the correct reading of "Dan, as a tribe in Israel", meaning
"like / as if", you entirely missed its meaning since you have torn it out
of its context, which would have allowed a better understanding.

We already had an argument, Ian, about the benediction of Moses, Deut.
33:1-29. In short the argument for its interpretation as a blessing
brought at the coronation of Gideon ran as follows:

1.From Deut.33:5: “there arose a king in Jeshurun … when the leaders of
the people assembled” and from Deut. 33:20-21 “ …Gad …where the allotment
of the commander was (Moses' grave)… there came together the heads of the
people…” follows a coronation ceremony taking place by mount Nebo in Gad.
We read in Jgs.8:22 about the Israelites making Gideon the offer of the
kingship (Jgs. 8:13-21) somewhere by Succoth in Gad.
2. A further indicator is Deut. 33:12 “ Benjamin…the High God surrounds
him … and between his shoulders should he dwell.”. The image of the
shoulder is known only from Gen.48:22 in a riddle involving the name of
Shechem – shoulder – place of the main Israelite sanctuary till
Abimelech´s destruction. The place Benjamin occurs in Deut. 33 is not its
canonical one, prevailing in cases where there is no other reason,
geographic or else to override it. We may conclude that Benjamin is a
later pious insertion as the sanctuary moved to Jerusalem. But Benjamin
originally entirely lacked to the text of Deut. 33, as we may see from
Deut.33:7: “O Lord give heed to Judah and bring him to his people.” Judah
was apparently isolated from the rest of the amfictyony by the defection
of Benjamin (and of Dan - because notice, the southern Dan lacks entirely
in Jgs. 33:22) to another political alliance, we are alluded of in Jgs.
19-21 (and for Dan in Jgs. 14-16). The mention of Shechem limits our date
for Deut.33 to a period previous to Abimelech.

The conclusion from the lack of the southern Dan, the presence of northern
Dan, the isolated position of Judah is obvious.

Now we can undertake a similar analysis on Gen. 49 under following

1.Gen. 49:20 dates the text into a period as there was a king over Israel
2. Gen. 49:8-12 offers the same situation as Deut. 33, with an isolated
Judah, but unlike in Deut.33:12 is Shechem not anymore the main temple of
the amfictiony, but Shiloh, appearing in Gen.49: 10, saying that Judah
should have an independent kingdom, "until it comes to Shiloh", thus it
breaks its geographic isolation. Shiloh became the main temple by the time
of Abimelech. The ark was brought to Shiloh according to Ginzbergs
"Legends of the Jews" by a certain Zebul (featuring in Judges as the
commander in Shechem under the orders of Abimelech).
3.Gen. 49:5-7 contains a curse on the Levites, seen here as an object of
the rage of God. There is only a single period in the history of Israel,
that during the reign of Abimelech, as a real adversity towards the
Levites existed.
4. Benjamin and Dan are negatively presented either as ravenous wolf, or
as snake by the roadside in line with Deut. 33, where they are entirely
lacking, because they have left the Israelite alliance (the northern Dan
is however still member of the alliance).

Thus we can add and conclude, that if one departs from the supposition,
that both Deut. 33 and Gen. 49 have a historical kernel, than Gen. 49 is a
text missattributed to Jacob (because of Shiloh - which according to the
tradition by his time took the place of Shechem as main Israelite temple,
and because it should make disappear the memory of the Gideon dynasty)
instead of Abimelech, and Deut. 33 pertains to the time of Gideon (on the
same grounds).

Damnatio memoriae. 

The text of Gen.49:16, "Dan shall judge his people as one of the tribes of
Israel", means "Dan shall judge his people according to the law, as if he
would still be a people of Israel".

Nota bene, this has nothing to do with the Sea peoples since Dan features
in Deut. 33 (Gideons period) as a fashionable tribe of Israel.

Deut.33 precedes the text of Gen. 49. 

All the best, 

Michael Bányai 

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