[b-hebrew] Where Was Jacob's Ladder?

Yigal Levin leviny1 at mail.biu.ac.il
Wed Nov 7 15:05:21 EST 2007


I agree. How about the Biblical Studies list at yahoo? That's a
general-subject list, not one that focuses on language.

Yigal Levin



----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Gary Hedrick" <garyh at cjfm.org>
To: <b-hebrew at lists.ibiblio.org>
Sent: Wednesday, November 07, 2007 6:32 PM
Subject: Re: [b-hebrew] Where Was Jacob's Ladder?


> This topic should be taken to a biblical geography list. The connection 
> with biblical Hebrew is tenuous at best.
>
> Gary Hedrick
> San Antonio, Texas
>
> -----Original Message-----
> From: b-hebrew-bounces at lists.ibiblio.org 
> [mailto:b-hebrew-bounces at lists.ibiblio.org] On Behalf Of 
> JimStinehart at aol.com
> Sent: Wednesday, November 07, 2007 9:29 AM
> To: b-hebrew at lists.ibiblio.org
> Subject: [b-hebrew] Where Was Jacob's Ladder?
>
>
> Where Was Jacob's  Ladder?
> The geographical locale of Jacob's Ladder is  a surprisingly important key 
> to
> understanding the Patriarchal  narratives.
> In this post, we will see that the  traditional view of the geographical
> locale of Jacob's Ladder cannot be  right.  In a later post we can  figure 
> out
> where Jacob's Ladder was actually  located.
> I.  First Visit to Bethel/Luz
> The Jacob's Ladder experience takes place at  Bethel/Luz.  Here are the 
> key
> initial lines of text:
> "And Jacob went out from  Beer-sheba, and went toward Haran.  And he 
> lighted
> upon the place, and  tarried there all night, because the sun was set…. 
> And
> he  called the name of that place Beth-el, but the name of the city was 
> Luz at
> the  first.”  Genesis 28: 10-11,  19
> As I read Genesis 28: 10-11, Jacob got to  Bethel/Luz one day after 
> leaving
> Beersheba.  Thus Bethel/Luz must be one day's travel  time from Beersheba, 
> no
> more, no less.
> Moreover, it does not appear that Jacob left  early in the morning.  At
> Genesis  28: 1-5, Isaac gives his son Jacob a long blessing, and then it 
> appears
> that  Jacob packs a few modest belongings, and then departs from 
> Beersheba.  It
> seems likely that Jacob left  Beersheba mid-morning, not earlier.
> Finally, there is no reason for Jacob to be  traveling at an abnormally 
> high
> rate of speed.  Although there may be some threat that  his older twin 
> brother
> Esau might kill Jacob when their father dies, Isaac is in  good health 
> now,
> so Jacob is not desperately fleeing his brother at top  speed.  On the
> contrary, everything  suggests that Jacob got a fairly late start on his 
> trip, and
> then proceeded at a  normal pace.  True, Jacob is not  encumbered with 
> anything,
> so Jacob can move fairly quickly.  But we should assume normal travel 
> times
> here.
> In the ancient world, we might expect Jacob  to travel about 25 miles on 
> the
> first day of his trip, under the foregoing  circumstances, or perhaps a
> slightly less  distance.
> If the Beersheba from which Jacob leaves is  in the northern Negev Desert,
> and if the Bethel/Luz to which Jacob goes is  Bethel/Ai north of 
> Jerusalem, then
> the distance from that Beersheba to that  Bethel is 58 miles.  That is 
> over
> twice as far as Jacob could be expected to travel in one  day.
> Moreover, the first half of the journey  would be through the Negev 
> Desert.
> Hebron is 28 miles north of Beersheba.  A traveler would have to get up at
> dawn  and travel north through the Negev Desert before the heat of the 
> mid-day
> sun  became too oppressive.
> There is simply no way that Jacob could  travel from Beersheba in the
> northern Negev Desert to Bethel/Ai north of  Jerusalem, a distance of 58 
> miles, in
> one day, under the normal circumstances  that apply here.  That is 
> completely
> unrealistic.
> And why wouldn't there be some mention of  Hebron?  Jacob's famous
> grandfather  Abraham had lived at Hebron for many years.  One would expect 
> some passing
> mention,  at least, of Hebron if Jacob was proceeding from Beersheba in 
> the
> northern Negev  Desert to Hebron, and then on to Bethel/Ai north of 
> Jerusalem.
> II.  Second Visit to Bethel/Luz
> Note also the description of Bethel/Luz the  second time Jacob visits that
> locale, after the bloody incident in  Shechem:
> “So Jacob came to Luz, which is in the land  of Canaan--the same is
> Beth-el--he and all the people that were with him.”  Genesis 35:  6
> If Bethel/Luz were Bethel/Ai, just north of  Jerusalem, it would make no
> sense for the narrator to say:  "Luz, which is in the land of  Canaan". 
> Shechem
> itself is in  Canaan.  Bethel/Ai is further  southwest into Canaan, in the 
> very
> heart of Canaan, not close at all to any  border of Canaan.  Saying that a
> place "is in the land of Canaan" only makes sense for a border city, which 
> is
> just inside the border of Canaan.  That simply does not fit Bethel/Ai 
> north of
> Jerusalem in the very center  of Canaan.
> III.  Conclusion
> The conclusion must be that the geographical  locale of Jacob's Ladder 
> could
> not have been at Bethel/Ai, north of  Jerusalem.  Jacob could not possibly
> get that far in one day, a distance of 58 long miles, if Jacob left from
> Beersheba in the northern Negev Desert.  And with Bethel/Ai being located 
> in the
> very heart of central Canaan,  nowhere near any border of Canaan, it would 
> not
> make sense for the narrator to  tell us that Bethel/Ai "is in the land of
> Canaan".
> The traditional geographical interpretation  of the locale of Bethel/Luz 
> is
> clearly erroneous.  We cannot understand the Patriarchal  narratives 
> unless we
> understand that both the "Beersheba" from which Jacob left,  and the
> Bethel/Luz where Jacob had the Jacob's Ladder experience, are located in 
> northernmost
> Canaan, namely in southern Lebanon.  The Beersheba from which Jacob leaves 
> in
> chapter 28 of Genesis is not located in the northern Negev Desert.  And 
> the
> Bethel/Luz to which Jacob  travels in a single day from Beersheba is not
> Bethel/Ai north of Jerusalem.  Rather, the author of the Patriarchal 
> narratives is
> portraying all these movements of Jacob as taking place in  southern 
> Lebanon.
> The received text is perfect, as is.  The problem is the longstanding
> misinterpretation of this text.  The  text is telling us a very credible 
> story here,
> if only we can understand the  actual geographical locales involved.
> Jim  Stinehart
> Evanston,  Illinois
>
>
>
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