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

dwashbur at nyx.net dwashbur at nyx.net
Thu Nov 8 22:10:48 EST 2007

On 8 Nov 2007 at 15:24, JimStinehart at aol.com wrote:

> Dave  Washburn: 
> You wrote:  "If we follow the Masoretic pointing, it  actually says he 
> 'lighted upon THE place', because it includes the definite  article.  So, 'the' 
> place." 
> Maybe I'm beginning to understand now what's  going on here. 
> 1.  I myself see the Masoretic pointing system as not having been invented  
> until about 2,000 years after the composition of the Patriarchal  narratives.  

Nobody I know of questions the idea that the system itself was invented in medieval times.  
But it's not as though they also invented the pronunciation of the text; they codified what 
had been passed down to them.  If you check the archives, you'll see that we've had this 
discussion here before.  Most of us agree that, while there are clear problems with some of 
the masoretic material, it's generally sound.

> I myself never follow  the Masoretic pointing system in interpreting the 
> Patriarchal narratives.  But maybe that's why I see this verse  differently than 
> other analysts. 
> 2.  If we ignore the Masoretic pointing, is my proposed translation  
> acceptable? 
> "And departed Jacob from  Beersheba,  and went toward Harran, and lighted 
> upon 
> a place, staying all  night there, because went down the  sun...." 
> On my view, it's not right to translate "a  place" here as "a certain place", 
> as is so often done.  

But with or without the pointing, that's what the Hebrew means.  See the grammars.

As I view it, Jacob stopped where he did  solely 
> because the sun was setting, and he knew he could not travel after  dark.  This was 
> Jacob's first night  on the road, in my view.  In my  view, there was nothing 
> special about the place at all, except that it was where  Jacob happened to be 
> when the sun started to set on Jacob's first night of his  long trip to 
> Harran. 
> 3.  Is your view of the case, which differs dramatically from mine, dependent 
>  on the medieval Masoretic pointing?  You are seeing Jacob as coming to a 
> particular place, "a certain place",  "the place", that is, where Abraham had 
> built an altar to YHWH in chapter 12 of  Genesis, and where Abraham and Lot had 
> stood when they were deciding where each  man would go in chapter 13 of 
> Genesis. 

Exactly where did I say anything like this?  I have never even hinted that it was the same 
place Abraham went, and I frankly don't appreciate you putting such a cockamamey idea 
into my mouth.  You have a serious problem with reading things into other things, friend.

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

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