[b-hebrew] daughters jacob never spoke of

Harold Holmyard hholmyard at ont.com
Thu Jun 22 07:35:43 EDT 2006

Shoshanna Walker wrote:

>I'm talking about the article you posted, reprinted below.
>If it's not in Torah, then it is just someone's theory, and if it is 
>not in Torah, then I don't believe that it is the Truth.
>Especially the last sentence, which shows no understanding of Torah. 
>Who wrote this article?
>Everything is sufficiently explained by Oral Torah, by all our Sages 
>and Commentaries, there is no need for the theorizing you presented.

HH: Here is the last sentence to which you refer:

    This double relationship suggested to Abraham the expedient that he
twice used when he lacked faith in God to protect his life and in
cowardice sought his own safety at the price of his wife's honor.


HH: The article was written in 1915 by J. Oscar Boyd. I don't know much 
about him except that he wrote a number of articles for the 
International Standard Bible Encyclopedia. I used it because it is 
available online. I have the modern edition of this encyclopedia, and 
the same idea is presented by P. J. Scalise. Scalise was one of the 
authors of the commentary on Jeremiah 26-52 in the Word Bible Commentary 
series. I don't know why you say this sentence above shows no 
understanding of the Torah. And I don't what makes your "Sages and 
Commentaries" more authoritative than this sentence above. God gave his 
word for people to understand, and you don't necessarily have to be 
Jewish to understand it. It seems very chauvinistic to talk the way you 
do about not needing anything beyond the Oral Torah and the Sages and 
Commentaries. It also stultifies the progress of thought to assume that 
everything correct that can be said about Scripture has already been 
said. I personally don't believe that at all, and Scripture itself 
indicates that some things won't be known until the end times (though it 
would not relate to this point):

Dan. 12:9 And he said, Go thy way, Daniel: for the words are closed up 
and sealed till the time of the end.

HH: At any rate, with the flood of new information about ancient culture 
and languages provided by archeology, we know a lot about the words of 
the Bible that the Oral Torah, the Sages, and Commentaries may not have 
retained. It may possibly bear on stories in Genesis. I am not saying 
that this is the issue here. Really, here the issue is simply whether 
Abraham is to be believed, and I see no reason to doubt him.

HH: To me it is insulting to Abraham to say it shows no understanding of 
Torah to believe Abraham when he admitted and explained what's he'd 
done. The sentence above to which you object simply accepts Abraham at 
his word. There is no way that it cannot show understanding of the Torah.

Harold Holmyard

>HH: Do you mean you don't think the events happened? What are you
>talking about?
>The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia
>    sa'-ra, sa'-ri:
>We are introduced to Sarai in Genesis 11:29. She is here mentioned as
>the wife that Abraham "took," while still in Ur of the Chaldees, that
>is, while among his kindred. It is immediately added that "Sarai was
>barren; she had no child." By this simple remark in the overture of his
>narrative, the writer sounds the motif that is to be developed in all
>the sequel. When the migration to Haran occurs, Sarai is named along
>with Abram and Lot as accompanying Terah. It has been held that the
>author (or authors) of Genesis 11 knew nothing of the relationship
>announced in 20:12. But there can be no proof of such ignorance, even on
>the assumption of diversity of authorship in the two passages.
>    Sarai's career as described in Genesis 11 was not dependent on her
>being the daughter of Terah. Terah had other descendants who did not
>accompany him. Her movements were determined by her being Abram's wife.
>It appears, however, that she was a daughter of Terah by a different
>mother from the mother of Abram. The language of 20:12 would indeed
>admit of her being Abram's niece, but the fact that there was but 10
>years' difference between his age and hers (Genesis 17:17) renders this
>hypothesis less probable. Marriage with half-sisters seems to have been
>not uncommon in antiquity (even in the Old Testament compare 2 Samuel
>    This double relationship suggested to Abraham the expedient that he
>twice used when he lacked faith in God to protect his life and in
>cowardice sought his own safety at the price of his wife's honor.
>b-hebrew mailing list
>b-hebrew at lists.ibiblio.org

More information about the b-hebrew mailing list