[b-hebrew] Mowledeth

JimStinehart at aol.com JimStinehart at aol.com
Fri Nov 2 17:58:03 EDT 2007


 
One key to understanding whether the Patriarchal  narratives portray the 
Hebrews as being indigenous to Mesopotamia is to analyze  the 9 occurrences of the 
word MWLDT ("mowledeth") in the Patriarchal  narratives. 
In my last post, we saw that at Genesis 32: 10,  Jacob/"Israel" interprets a 
divine command to "return to thy land and to thy  MWLDT ("mowledeth)" to mean 
"to return to thy land and to thy father's  descendants", rather than meaning 
"to return to the land of thy birth".  As noted in that post, when the words  
"land" and MWLDT are separated by the word "and" in the Patriarchal 
narratives,  the vast majority of standard English translations translate MWLDT to mean  
"kindred" or some other term referencing the person's "father's descendants", 
 rather than translating MWLDT to mean "birth" or "nativity" or "native  
(land)". 
In this post, we will examine the first of two statements  by YHWH that Jacob 
interpreted at Genesis 32: 10.  In the first such statement by YHWH, at  
Genesis 31: 3, MWLDT and "land" are separated by "and".  As usual, we will see 
that MWLDT must  mean "father's descendants" or "kindred" there, and cannot mean 
"the  geographical place of one's birth". 
GENESIS 31: 3 
"And the LORD [YHWH] said unto Jacob:  'Return unto the land of thy fathers, 
and  to thy MWLDT;  and I will be with  thee.'"  Genesis 31: 3   
1.  We see  here that the words MWLDT and "land" are separated by the word 
"and".  For this reason, most standard English  translations correctly translate 
MWLDT here as "kindred", which means "father's  descendants".  All 6 of the  
following 6 standard translations use the word "kindred" here for MWLDT:  King 
James Version, JPS1917, Darby,  Young's Literal Translation, Revised Standard 
Version, English Standard  Version. 
The question is whether YHWH is saying the same thing  twice here, or rather 
whether YHWH is saying two separate things to Jacob.  Moreover, even if 
Genesis 31: 3 in  isolation were viewed as being slightly ambiguous, Genesis 32: 10 
clarifies its  meaning. 
2.  Here at Genesis 31: 3,  the phrasing itself suggests that MWLDT means 
"father's descendants", not "the  geographical locale of one's birth".  Jacob is 
told both to return to the land of Jacob's fathers, and also to  return to 
Jacob's MWLDT.  The phrase  "land of your fathers" lets us know that it's Canaan, 
and that turn of phrase  strongly suggests the meaning of "homeland".  But in 
addition to being told to return  to Canaan, Jacob is also being advised to 
return to Jacob's MWLDT.  That must mean that Jacob is being told  to return to 
his "father's descendants", Jacob's MWLDT.  Jacob must deal with his 
potentially  hostile older twin brother Esau.  And, in many ways more importantly, 
Jacob should, as will now be  discussed, go back to Canaan so that Jacob's sons, 
who are becoming teenagers at  this point, will for the most part be able to 
marry Jacob's MWLDT/"father's  descendants". 
3.  Who should most of  Jacob's sons marry?  The implicit  answer here, based 
on YHWH's admonition that Jacob should return to Jacob's  MWLDT/Jacob's 
father's descendants, is that for the most part, Jacob's sons  should marry Isaac's 
female descendants (by Isaac's children other than Esau and  Jacob).  We know 
that there are  certain exceptions to this general rule.  Each of Judah and 
Joseph marries a foreigner.  Yet as to Jacob's other 10 sons, each of  whom has 
a "normal" marriage not involving strange circumstances like the  marriages 
of Judah and Joseph, it seems likely that each main wife #1 of Jacob's  other 
10 sons may have been a blood descendant of Isaac by a child of Isaac  other 
than Esau and Jacob, i.e. was one of Jacob's MWLDT/"father's  descendants".  We 
see this  indirectly when one minor wife of one of Jacob's sons is a Canaanite 
(rather  than being a descendant of Jacob's father), which is considered so 
usual that it  is specifically noted: 
"And the sons of Simeon:  Jemuel, and Jamin, and Ohad, and Jachin,  and 
Zohar, and Shaul the son of a Canaanitish woman."  Genesis 46:  10 
The implication there seems to be that Simeon's main wife  #1 was, as usual, 
a descendant of Isaac, who bore Simeon five sons.  In addition, Simeon also 
had a minor  wife, a Canaanite, who bore Simeon one son:  Shaul. 
CONCLUSION 
Jacob has been divinely advised at Genesis 31: 3 (and  Genesis 31: 13) to 
return to Jacob's father's descendants (Jacob's MWLDT).  That means that Jacob 
can count on YHWH  to protect Jacob and Jacob's family from any hostility that 
Jacob's older twin  brother Esau may have (since Esau is a prominent member of 
Jacob's MWLDT/Jacob's  father's descendants).  And it also  arguably implies 
that most of Jacob's sons should marry female descendants of  Jacob's father 
Isaac (who are likewise Jacob's MWLDT), namely such females who  are descendants 
of Isaac's children other than Esau and  Jacob. 
One key to understanding the Patriarchal narratives is to  understand how the 
word MWLDT ("mowledeth") is used in the Patriarchal  narratives.  If we 
understand how  the Patriarchal narratives use the word MWLDT, we will see that the 
Patriarchal  narratives do not portray the Hebrews or the pre-Hebrews as 
being indigenous to  Mesopotamia.  On the contrary, in  accord with the most 
recent "discoveries" of modern historians, the Patriarchal  narratives view the 
Hebrews and the pre-Hebrews as being indigenous to Canaan or  greater Canaan, not 
to Mesopotamia.  As we keep on seeing in these posts on the 9 occurrences of 
the word  MWLDT in the Patriarchal narratives, the word MWLDT in the 
Patriarchal  narratives refers to "father's descendants", not to "the geographical 
locale of  one's birth".  Once we understand  how the author of the Patriarchal 
narratives uses the word MWLDT, we will see  that Abraham's brother Haran is not 
portrayed as being born in Ur, and Abraham  is not portrayed as being born in 
Harran.   Rather, the Patriarchal narratives view all of those people as 
having  been born in Canaan or greater Canaan, not in  Mesopotamia. 
Jim Stinehart 
Evanston, Illinois



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