[b-hebrew] Genesis 12: 5: Are "Souls" Slaves?

JimStinehart at aol.com JimStinehart at aol.com
Sat Nov 17 19:45:58 EST 2007

Yigal Levin: 
    1.  You wrote:   “Let's not get carried away.  The fact that I don't 
disagree with  you on every point does not mean that I accept your whole  theory.”
Yes, I realize that you do not agree with many aspects of my  controversial 
new theory of the Patriarchal narratives.  Yet to date, I believe that you and 
I  have always agreed as to what the Hebrew words are literally saying. 
    1.  You wrote:   “First of all, as you may have seen in my reply to 
Shoshanna, Alter  seems to follow an age old tradition when seeing these people as  
Thank you for providing those  references. 
    1.  You wrote:   “But I agree with you that the text does not support 
that  interpretation.  However, neither  does it support yours. The Patriarchs 
originated in Mesopotamia, NOT  Lebanon.”
Can you cite me any text in the Patriarchal narratives  that supports the 
Ezekiel-era proposition that the Patriarchs originated in  Mesopotamia? 
The word “am”/people/ancestors never once is used when  anyone is at Ur or 
Harran in the Patriarchal narratives.  I believe that most of the Hebrew  
experts on this b-Hebrew list agree with BDB that “mowlodeth” means “kindred”  
(or “father’s descendants”).  So  neither Genesis 11: 28 nor Genesis 12: 1 is 
telling us where Abraham or his  brother Haran were born.  Rather,  they are 
telling us where Abraham’s father’s descendants were at the  time. 
Genesis 25: 8 tells us that  Abraham was indigenous to Canaan:  “And  Abraham 
expired, and died in a good old age, an old man, and full of years; and  was 
gathered to his people [“am”][at Hebron, in Canaan].”  Genesis 25:  8 
There’s nothing bad about Abraham’s ancestors being from  northern 
Canaan/Lebanon.  What  separates the Hebrews from their ancestors is, in large part, 
the divine advice  at Genesis 12: 1 that Abraham was directed to go to a new 
place, southeastern  Canaan.  Abraham’s ancestors had  never been at Hebron.  But 
Abraham’s  ancestors were from northern Canaan/Lebanon.  The author of the 
Patriarchal narratives  does not hate Sur (“Tyre”) in southern Lebanon.  That’s 
chapters 27 and 28 of Ezekiel,  not the Patriarchal narratives. 
    1.  You wrote:  “No-where does it say that Abraham's "fellow  travelers" 
were actually his  relatives.”
That’s true.  But they’re not slaves, and they come with Abraham to modest, 
dull  Hebron.  All that only makes sense  if they are relatives who are 
temporarily acting as security guards for this  one-time caravan trip. 
    1.  You wrote:   “There is no evidence that Abraham "got rich" from 
trading goods. In  fact, gen. 12:17 says that the pharaoh made him rich because of  
Sarah was age 65.  Note that the text does not say that Pharaoh gave or paid 
Abraham one  dime.  Sarah’s beauty was one factor  in Pharaoh agreeing to 
Abraham’s and Sarah’s unusual proposal regarding  Sarah.  On her account, Pharaoh 
 further agreed that Abraham could sell his RK$/luxury commercial goods on 
the  same terms that Pharaoh routinely extended to state-sponsored caravans, 
where  the state sponsor was a formal ally of Egypt.  Pharaoh simply authorizes 
the normal  high price to be paid for Abraham’s RK$, and Pharaoh agrees that 
middle-aged  Sarah will come into Pharaoh’s household for a short time.  It was 
not that big a deal for  Pharaoh.  It was a huge deal for  Abraham. 
    1.  You wrote:   “Abraham and Lot are pictured as shepherds, not  traders.
I agree that Abraham and Lot are not professional  traders.  That is why I 
often refer  to their long trip out to Mesopotamia as being a “one-time” 
caravan trip.  That was the only caravan trip a Hebrew  was ever on.  But note that 
Lot does  not stay a shepherd for very long, quickly moving into the city of  
    1.  Certainly you do not see Abraham learning broken Hebrew  at age 75, 
do you?  Didn’t YHWH  speak to Abraham in Hebrew at Genesis 12: 1, while 
Abraham was at Harran?  Or do you think that the author of the  Patriarchal 
narratives was so unsophisticated that he did not realize that  during the Patriarchal 
Age, the people in Mesopotamia did not speak a language  similar to Hebrew?
For that matter, I presume that you agree with the  findings of today’s 
scholars that the Hebrews were indigenous to Canaan or  greater Canaan, and did not 
come from Mesopotamia.  Why do you think the Patriarchal  narratives would 
seek to lead us astray about  that? 
It’s Eziekiel, not the author of the Patriarchal  narratives, who hated 
southern Lebanon so much that he refused to view the  Covenant as being fulfilled 
with Isaac’s birth in southern  Lebanon. 
Jim Stinehart 
Evanston, Illinois

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