[b-hebrew] The islands

Noam Eitan bhebrew at yahoo.com
Tue Jun 8 19:11:42 EDT 2004

>My question was, what problem could Jews in mountaneous Jerusalem have with those islands?

Why take a narrow Jerusalemite perspective? The prophets were working within literary tradition extending centuries back and miles away. Hostility towards Sea Peoples could be part of those traditions or memory traces. Why take the poetic output of the prophets as a specific delineation of geographic and political realities of their period and city? 

J.C. De Moor writes in his book ‘The Rise of Yahwism’, (Pages 205-206):”… Israel was still living in Transjordan, far from the sea. Yet the text of (Habbakkuk 3) v. 14b creates the impression that the "countrymen" of Israel felt threatened by the hordes of Yam. A feasible solution is to assume that the poem reflects early Is­rael's reaction to another invasion of the Sea Peoples in Canaan, in the last decade of the 13th or the first decade of the 12th cen­tury B.C. Merenptah records a clash with the Sea Peoples, among them Sherdanu, in his fifth year (c. 1207 B.C.). Note the sim­ilarity of the designations of Yam, "him who walks in guilt" (Ps. 68:22) and "the Evil One" (Hab. 3:13). Again the Israelites were victorious, but the order of magnitude of the clash was much big­ger. Apparently we are closer to the catastrophal wave of attacks c. 1190 B.C.”

Noam Eitan, Brooklyn, NY

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