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

dwashbur at nyx.net dwashbur at nyx.net
Thu Nov 8 12:42:47 EST 2007



On 8 Nov 2007 at 10:24, JimStinehart at aol.com wrote:

>  
> George  Athas: 
> You wrote:  "Jim, is there a  specifically Hebrew notion in your discussion? 
> If not,
> it would be best not  to pursue this thread." 
> The key issue is how to understand the Biblical Hebrew phrasing of  Genesis 
> 28: 10-11.  My reading is  that the reference to the sun going down means the 
> first time that the sun went  down on Jacob's trip out to Harran.  It was the 
> first night that Jacob ever spent alone in his entire life,  away from his 
> family. 
> If Jacob had already been on his trip for one or two or three days  already, 
> why would the narrator be telling us about the sun going  down? 
> 1.  Here is my literal  reading of the Hebrew text of Genesis 28: 10-11: 
> "And departed Jacob from  Beersheba, and went toward Harran, and lighted upon 
> a place, staying all night  there, because went down the sun...." 
> Am I misunderstanding what the Hebrew text actually  says?  To me, the clear 
> implication  is that after leaving Beersheba and heading out in the direction 
> of Harran,  Jacob traveled until the sun started to go down, at which point 
> Jacob had to  stop traveling any further that first day.  

You're reading too much English usage into it.  Once again, the Hebrew gives no time 
frame.  The subordinate clause simply explains why he stopped at the place that he did, as 
a setup for the encounter that follows.  If we follow the Masoretic pointing, it actually says he 
"lighted upon THE place," because it includes the definite article.  So, "the" place.  What 
place?  The place we're going to talk about, of course.  He took one of the rocks from that 
place and made a pillow out of it (he was a tougher man than I am!).  That rock figures 
prominently in the story a little later.  The implications here have nothing to do with time 
frame and everything to do with setting him up for the vision that comes to him in the night.  
We have a fair idea where Bethel/Luz is, and mentioning that the nearby city's name was 
Luz is the only actual locale indicator we have.

Dave Washburn
Why do it right when you can do it again?



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