Balaam's Kittim Oracle

Yohanan Shalom b. David ybd_talmidtorah at
Thu Sep 26 07:31:50 EDT 2002

When taking the Kittim into account, we should be reminded to turn to the 
DSS.  It would appear that the DSS twist on things would show the Kittim as 
the Rommans.

However, I am not so sure that the DSS assumption is a valid one.  When 
reading B'reshit, I see the Kittim as being part of what we would call the 
Arabic countries of the world.  So, could Balaam's oracle be one that is 
directed toward the Arab countries of the world who in this day, and time 
seek to destroy Yisra'el?


----Original Message Follows----
From: "walter mattfeld" <mattfeld12 at>
Reply-To: "walter mattfeld" <mattfeld12 at>
To: Biblical Hebrew <b-hebrew at>
Subject: [b-hebrew] Balaam's Kittim Oracle
Date: Tue, 24 Sep 2002 22:53:50 -0400

I have proposed that Balaam's "Kittim oracle" is part of a National History
extending from Genesis to 2 Kings, and that this composition was written ca.
562 BCE in the Exile. Following this "assumption," I have sought to identify
an event before 562 BCE that might synchronize with statements made about
the Kittim.

Although Kition in Cyprus may be the source for the word Kittim, the
foundation of this port city appears to have been Phoenician, not Greek. Yet
the traditional understanding is that the Kittim are Greeks ( cf. Maccabees
1:1, where Alexander the Great comes from the land of the Kittim).

Kition had become "Greek" by the 8th-7th centuries BCE, which would "align"
with the later traditions (Hasmonean, 1 Maccabees 1:1) that associated
Greeks with the Kittim instead of Phoenicians. Genesis does not understand
the Kittim to be Phoenican descendants, but rather, descenadants of Javan
(archaic Iawan, Ionia, i.e., "a Greek nation").

For my "spin" on Balaam's Kittim oracle the audience is referred to the
following url

All the best, Walter

Walter R. Mattfeld (M.A. Ed.)
Millbury by Worcester, Massachusetts

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