[b-hebrew] The meaning of "Zoan" in the HB

formoria at carolina.rr.com formoria at carolina.rr.com
Fri Dec 12 16:43:16 EST 2003

Can the reference to the "fields of Zoan" in Psalm 78:12-43 be explained as an attempt by a pre-exilic redactor to keep his sacred texts relevant to its audience? The OT does not say that the fields of Zoan were the Pharoanic residence OR the capital of Egypt during the time of the Exodus. In fact it does not identify the nature of the fields of Zoan, except to say that it was in the land of Egypt. In fact, the name Zoan, in some African traditions, simply means "departure" or "motion". The passage takes on a deeper meaning when rendered as "the fields of departure".

Does anyone on the list know if this word is originally a Hebrew word or something else? Further, has anyone done an analysis of whether or not the reference to Zoan in Numbers 13:22 is the same word as that in the Psalm which can be translated as "departure"? If so, then the author of Numbers 13:22 could simply have been trying to say that Hebron was built seven years before the "departure" in Egypt. There might be no connection to Avaris/Tanis/Pi-Rameses here in these instances. I realize the long-standing identification of Avaris/Tanis/Pi-Rameses with Zoan, and I know it's no small matter to challenge it, so no flames here, please.

Best Salaams,



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