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

JimStinehart at aol.com JimStinehart at aol.com
Sun Nov 18 21:36:19 EST 2007

Yigal Levin: 
    1.  You wrote:   “There is no evidence of "Hebrews" in Late Bronze Age  
There are several Egyptian portraits of Canaanites in the  mid-14th century 
BCE who look like early Hebrews from Hollywood  central casting.  Their 
peculiar,  long, untrimmed beards are a dead giveaway.  “SA-RAH” was the best-known 
word in the  ancient near east in the mid-14th century BCE.  All 7 foreign 
policy events from one  year in the mid-14th century BCE are described with 
specificity in  the Patriarchal narratives, including the morally questionable 
killing of the  leader of Shechem (chapter 34 of Genesis).  What is it exactly 
that you feel is “missing” from the secular historical  record regarding the 
Hebrews in the mid-14th century  BCE? 
    1.  You wrote:   “It has been shown that the so-called "Habiru" or 
"Apiru" of the Amarna  texts are NOT "Hebrews" in the biblical sense of an  
The Habiru and the early Hebrews are landless  tent-dwellers who are 
indigenous to Canaan, but who are “strangers in their own  land”.  Genesis 15: 13  
Such landless tent-dwellers are  ubiquitous in both the Amarna Letters and the 
Patriarchal narratives.   
    1.  You wrote:   “You are correct, that the biblical Hebrew language is 
related more  
closely to Canaanite than to any Mesopotamian language, even Aramaic.  …[T]he 
Iron Age Israelites were  largely descended from the population of LBA Canaan 
or its  environs.”
Now you’re talking.  (You have an odd knack of making my points better than I 
make them  myself.) 
    1.  You wrote:   “But the Patriarchal narratives make it very clear that 
"home" was  in Mesopotamia….”
Oops.  There  is not a single statement in the text that Abraham’s “am”
/people/ancestors were  in, or from, Mesopotamia.  Why are  you trying to force the 
Patriarchal narratives to say something that is both (i)  false and (ii) not 
in the text? 
    1.  You wrote “Terah sets out from Ur…on his way to Canaan,  but stops 
in Haran and dies there. The text does not say why he set out or  why he 
stopped in Haran, so neither do  we.”
Terakh and all his ancestors were indigenous to northern  Canaan/Lebanon.  
Terakh was on a  one-time caravan trip to far-off Mesopotamia.  Terakh, old and 
becoming infirm, was now  trying to get back home to Canaan.  There is no 
other reasonable explanation for why old Terakh would try to  take his family from 
sophisticated Ur in southern Mesopotamia all the tremendous  distance to 
unsophisticated, modest Canaan. 
    1.  You wrote:   “Two of his sons stay there [in Harran], but God tells 
Abraham to keep  going "to the land which I will show you", which turns out to 
be  Canaan.”
Not true.  Haran dies in Ur, in southern Mesopotamia, not in Harran.  Nahor 
must stay behind in Harran, to  care for his old, infirm father Terakh, who 
couldn’t make it back to Canaan from  the long, arduous caravan trip. 
    1.  You wrote:   “Nothing about this indicates that their original home 
in  Canaan.  They have no relatives  there.”
They have no relatives in southeastern Canaan when  Abraham first gets there, 
because the Hebrews were indigenous to northern  Canaan/Lebanon.  But after 
Abraham  sells the RK$/luxury goods from the caravan trip in Egypt for a sky 
high price,  Abraham’s relatives temporarily gather in Hebron.  That’s where 
Abraham’s 318 armed  retainers, “born in his household”, come from at Genesis 
14: 14.  Just like the dozen or so “souls” over  which Abraham assumed 
leadership at Harran, all these various people are  Abraham’s relatives. 
Genesis 25: 8-9 explicitly recognizes that the Hebrews  are indigenous to 
Canaan, in portraying Abraham as being “gathered to his  people/‘am’” at Hebron 
in Canaan.  Why fight the text?  The text  says what it says.  The text never 
 says that Abraham’s “am” were at Ur or Harran or anywhere else in  
Mesopotamia.  Why try to continue to  insist that the text says what it clearly and 
unequivocally does not  say? 
The Patriarchal narratives have pinpoint historical  accuracy from the 
standpoint of the secular history of the mid-14th  century BCE.  No matter how many  
times you try to claim that the Patriarchal narratives portray “home” as 
being  Mesopotamia, you cannot point to a single line of text that says that.  
You tacitly admit that given your theory  of the case, you have no idea why old 
Terakh tried to lead his family from Ur in  southern Mesopotamia all the very 
long way to unsophisticated, modest  Canaan.  Terakh was obviously trying to 
get back home to Canaan, after that  very long caravan trip way out to 
Mesopotamia, where those valuable RK$/luxury  commercial goods were bought (that were 
then sold for a fortune in Egypt,  resulting in Abraham being laden with 
silver and gold upon coming back to Canaan  from Egypt).   
In secular  history, the Hebrews were indigenous to Canaan, and that is 
precisely what the  Patriarchal narratives have been accurately saying for 3,500 
years  now. 
Abraham has no “am” in Mesopotamia.  Why fight the  text? 
Jim Stinehart 
Evanston,  Illinois

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