[b-hebrew] daughters jacob never spoke of

Rochelle Altman willaa at netvision.net.il
Wed Jun 21 17:11:33 EDT 2006

>Yigal Levin wrote in answer to Sujata:
>>----- Original Message -----
>>From: "sujata" <shevaroys at yahoo.com>
>> >Gen 46:15 refers to 33 sons and daughters beside Dinah through 
>> Leah, >but the sons and grandsons listed in Gen 46:8-14 total to 33. Is the
>> > translation "sons and daughters" correct?
>> >  Best,
>> >  sujata
>> >
>>Not quite. You are probably using a "politically correct" translation like
>>NRSV. The Hebrew says: "These are the SONS of Leah which she bore Jacob 
>>in Paddan-aram, and Dinah his daughter, all souls, his sons and his 
>>daughters, thirty-three". Note "and his daughters". Even though the list 
>>does actually list 33, making it clear that no more than Dinah are 
>>counted, it still uses the plual "his daughters" in exactly the same way 
>>as it does in 37:35.
>>This means one of two things. Either either the plural is used losely, "sons
>>and daughters" meaning "children", no matter what the actual ratio is, or
>>there WERE other daughters, which were simply not "counted". Remember, 
>>we're discussing a patriarchal society, in which women did not "count", 
>>unless they were remarkable in their own right (there were such women), 
>>or unless they got their brothers into trouble, as in the case of Dinah. 
>>Since she had already been mentioned, the text continues to count her.
>Patriarchal? Well, yes and no. We are talking about a CLAN society; the 
>leader is a man, the patriarch, the shepherd of his people. (ANE, 
>remember??) Do note that all the shepherd imagery is not solely because 
>they had sheep!
>When in Gen. 27:3 Esav comes for the blessing -- that is, the clan leadership
>-- that Jacob has done a one-up on, Isaac tells him that it's too late; 
>he's already bestowed _everything and everybody (note that _everybody_). 
>Point is, in a clan society, everything and everyone _belongs_ to the clan 
>leader. (To this day, technically, everything and everybody in Saudi is 
>owned by the king.)
>You certainly are right about not counting women who were 
>"ordinary"...  However,  in Clan societies, a daughter-in-law is a 
>daughter of the clan leader.
>Now, back to the quote at Gen: 46:15....
>"These are the SONS of Leah which she bore Jacob in Paddan-aram, and Dinah 
>his daughter, all souls, his sons and his daughters, thirty-three".
>Leah did not bear 33 children -- the list calls the grandsons her "sons" 
>but, as number 1 wife, Leah is credited with all the descendants/children 
>-- including unnamed (Shaul, son of a Cana'anite woman) and uncounted 
>daughters by marriage. (I mean, hey, those grandsons weren't cloned!)
>>I would not object to either interpretation, as long as it fit the context
>>of the text.
>The terminology is CLAN terminology. The terminology is part of the 
>context. Sons count; unless a daughter by marriage did something to be 
>noted, she wouldn't be mentioned by name... or counted. Dinah was
>carried off by force-- but for a Clan society, she's to blame. (Anyone 
>think blaming the victim is modern???)
>I might add that I have three sons, 7 grandsons, and 2 
>granddaughters.  So, seemingly "impossible" ratios (7:2) are quite 
>possible. And, yes, I do consider my daughters by marriage, daughters. 
>Most people do.
>Back to being an ostrich,
>Rochelle Altman

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