[b-hebrew] Amalekites!

Karl Randolph kwrandolph at email.com
Thu Aug 12 16:17:01 EDT 2004


You *are* reading too much into the text. 

For example, how many millions have been named “Karl”? Therefore, if one runs across a group with a name referring to their ancestor “Karl” should we assume that they are my descendents? Similarly, Genesis names only a tiny fraction of one percent of the people who lived before Abraham, how many of the unnamed people were named Amelek? I get the impression that many “Biblical” names were more common than as found in Tanakh. It could very well be that Esau’s grandson was named after someone who was, at that time, famous but since forgotten.

If Genesis is, as it claims, an accurate history, it would not have the literary conventions that you apply to it. Or to put it into other words, the Biblical authors did not make the literary assumptions and conventions you make, nor did they expect their readers to do so.

Karl W. Randolph.

----- Original Message -----
From: "Yigal Levin" <leviny1 at mail.biu.ac.il>

> ----- Original Message -----
> From: "Karl Randolph" <kwrandolph at email.com>
> > Yigal:
> > You assume that when Noah and his sons got off the ark, that they saw the
> same landscape with which they were familiar from before the Flood.
> Karl, I assume nothing of the sort. In fact, I don't know what to assume
> about the Flood as a historical of geological event. All I'm trying to do is
> understand what the author of Genesis "assumed", and I think that he did
> assume that the world "went back" to what it was before the flood. When he
> said "Havilah", he meant "Havilah", and not some "other" "Havilah" that this
> "Havilah" was named after.
> >But if the flood were world wide, as reported in Genesis, then what is to
> prevent the old world from being completely wiped out and replaced by a
> completely different landscape? Then, when Noah and his sons came across a
> river, they just named it with a name they knew from before, in the same way
> immigrants from England named towns and other features of America (Canada &
> U.S.) with English names?
> >
> > Nowhere in Tanakh does it claim that the tribe of Amalek was descended
> from Esau. Who is to say that it was not named from a previous person with
> that name? Even assuming that the Bible is a true history does not assume
> that it is an exhaustive history, and the people of Amalek is a loose thread
> that comes into the story from who knows where, and were wiped out.
> >
> > Karl W. Randolph.
> >
> Karl, many of the names given in the biblical genealogies are also known as
> names of places, people and tribes/nations. In some cases, such as Edom,
> Moab, Ammon and Israel, the author makes a point of telling us that the
> character was the ancestor of the nation. But he only bothers to do this
> when it is relevant to the story.
> In a tribal society such as ancient Israel and Judah (and in many tribal
> societies that have been studied by anthropologists to this day), it is
> assumed that all members of the tribe (except, of course, "gerim") are
> descended from an eponymous ancestor. Often, the ancestor's name is the same
> as that of the region that the tribe lives in, and is also used as a
> geographical name (e.g. "Mount Ephraim"). The same is true for smaller
> units, such as clans living in a village (that is, the inhabitants of Tekoa
> were assumed to be descended from a man named Tekoa), and for larger units,
> such as nations (the Arameans were descended from a man called Aram). The
> genealogies are (in part - they have other purposes as well) a literary
> convention for describing the "relationships" between these various units.
> And so, the inhabitants of Tekoa would describe their "ancestor" Tekoa as
> being a "grandson" of Ephrathah, which they identified with Bethlehem, a
> "wife" of Caleb (1 Chr. 2:24, 50-51). The Calebites were the main Judahite
> phratry in the Bethlehem area, and the relationship of Tekoa to Bethlehem
> reflects the relationship between the tiny village and the midsize town at
> the time reflected in the genealogy.
> Now I know that "historically", Tekoa may not have been named after a man
> named Tekoa, and Caleb may never have had a "wife" named Ephrathah. And Esau
> may not have had a "real" grandson named Amalek. I also think that the
> authors of Chronicles and Genesis might have known this. Or not. But I do
> think that when the author of Genesis bothers to "place" Amalek in the
> genealogy of Esau, it is precisely because he wished to show how that evil
> nation is related to Israel. So yes, Esau's "grandson" Amalek IS the
> eponymous ancestor of the nation of Amalek, at least in the world of the
> biblical authors.
> Yigal
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