[b-hebrew] Benjamin

Karl Randolph kwrandolph at email.com
Wed Jun 28 13:20:55 EDT 2006


You can't rule out that two individuals sharing the 
same name were involved. Especially a name like Dan.

Genesis 14 mentions that Abraham and his troop 
caught up to the four kings at a place called Dan, 
then pursued them to the left side (i.e. north) of 
Damascus. If the four kings followed the main 
trading route from Sodom to Damascus, that would 
indicate that Dan in Abraham's day was south of the 
Sea of Galilee if in the Jordan Valley, or possibly 
along the King's Highway if to the east.

Further, as I pointed out in the example of 
Beersheba, Dan in Abraham's day needn't have been 
the name of a town, just the name of a commonly 
used pasture, well, or some other such feature.

The next mention of Dan as a toponym in Tanakh that 
I know of is in the last chapter of Deuteronomy, 
which most people agree was appended onto the book 
later, after when the tribe of Dan had captured and 
renamed Laish to Dan. All other references to Dan 
as a toponym are later.

Karl W. Randolph.

> ----- Original Message -----
> From: "Yigal Levin" <leviny1 at mail.biu.ac.il>
> I agree, although there are also limits on using the "it must be
> someone/somewhere else by the same name" excuse. You mentioned Dan. In Gen.
> 14:14, Abraham persues Lot's captors "as far as Dan". However the city of
> Dan, as we know from Joshua, Judges and in fact from extrabiblical
> references as well, was called Laish or Leshem until it was conquered by the
> tribe of Dan and renamed after their progenitor. Since the original Dan,
> ansector of the tribe, was Abraham's great-grandson, the reference (as well
> as that in Deut. 34:1) must be anachronistic. To claim that "it must be
> somewhere else called Dan" does not work in this case, since the
> geographical contexts make it very clear which Dan is meant, and of course
> that Dan was a well-know city, often used as a geographical reference ("from
> Dan to Beer-sheba" etc.), and we DO know the biblical toponymy of Israel
> well enough, as to make it unlikely (albeit not impossible!) that there was
> another such city which we have never heard about.
> Of course, to those who believe that the Torah was written by Moses, who was
> a prophet, this is no problem. God, who wanted the text to be relevant to
> people living in future generations, had Moses use a term that they would
> understand. Most of Moses' contemporaries didn't know the Land that well
> anyway. To those who do not use "prophecy" as part of their scholarly
> discourse, the ONLY probable solution is that these passages (at the very
> least!) were written many generations after Moses and refect the geography
> of the writer's day (or his concept of HIS past).
> There are other examples as well.
> Yigal

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