[b-hebrew] The islands

Peter Kirk peterkirk at qaya.org
Tue Jun 8 06:50:31 EDT 2004


On 07/06/2004 23:28, VC wrote:

>>>Just wanted to share a thought. What always puzzled me in the Tanakh -
>>>      
>>>
>and this turn is most often encountered in Isaiah - is the reference to
>certain islands. They are clearly hostile to the Jews, ...
>  
>
>>Where does it say this?
>>    
>>
>Is11:11 lists the islands among all hostile nations
>  
>

In this context there is no mention of hostility, although I accept that 
several of these other nations were enemies of Israel. The point is 
rather that some Israelites had been exiled to the islands - probably 
not to Britain in this case. There is certainly no indication that the 
islands were a military threat to the Land as you seem to think.

> ...
>
>>Well, the Philistines were said to have come from islands like Crete and
>>Cyprus which are rather large islands.
>>    
>>
>But this wasn't an acute problem in the time of Isaiah?
>Also, I don't think ancients took large landmasses like Cyprus for island,
>although I'm not sure.
>
>  
>
Interesting question, which I can't answer. No, Cyprus and Crete were 
not a threat in the time of Isaiah, but Isaiah does not say that the 
islands were.

>  
>
>>The Philistines were certainly a
>>threat to Israel at one time. But the whole point about the islands, in
>>context in Isaiah etc, is that they seem to have been at the remotest
>>ends of the earth.
>>    
>>
>Well, Cyprus certainly wasn't the remotest place at that time.
>  
>

Which is why I suggested Britain. But I doubt if there is actually a 
single referent for "islands": they may have been Cyprus to Isaiah and 
Britain to Jeremiah.

>I have heard a plausible argument that these islands
>  
>
>>are in fact my home country, the British Isles, for these islands were
>>visited by the Phoenicians and are likely to have been the most remote
>>country which the ancient Israelites knew anything about. (And the army
>>of these islands captured Jerusalem in 1917, so your appeal to modern
>>warfare doesn't work.)
>>    
>>
>British did not "capture" Jerusalem. They took took it after a minor battle
>after basically defeating the Turks at other venues. And they threatened
>Jerusalem not from the islands, but from their land bases. So even in
>modernity Jerusalem is off-limits for effective maritime warfare.
>  
>

OK, the decisive battle was not fought at Jerusalem itself. But the 
point is that inhabitants of an island could set up land bases in 
countries around Israel, and from there invade the land, defeat the 
defenders of Jerusalem and capture the city. Early 20th century 
technology of course helped somewhat, but the Romans were also able to 
capture Jerusalem, and although they didn't come from an island they did 
not travel overland.


-- 
Peter Kirk
peter at qaya.org (personal)
peterkirk at qaya.org (work)
http://www.qaya.org/




More information about the b-hebrew mailing list