[b-hebrew] Genesis 20: 1

Shoshanna Walker rosewalk at concentric.net
Thu Oct 11 19:33:35 EDT 2007

Excuse me, but the land of the Negev did NOT include Palestine, since 
there was no such place as Palestine, as there still is not, today.


Secondly, while some names remain constant, other names change.
Abraham was living in the Land of Canaan, today nobody calls it that.
To the south of Canaan was the land of the Negev, which apparently
included Palestine and much of the Sinai. Today the historic Negev is
split up into three separate areas.

What you propose is to take a constant name, Tyre, and change it,
while restricting Negev to its modern limits. Can that be justified? I
don't think so.

I also think you make too much of a belief that Isaac was born in the
spring, whereas I don't think Genesis is that clear on that.

Why not just take the historic meanings, as most of us do, and go with
that? The historic understanding is not ambiguous.

Karl W. Randolph.

On 10/11/07, JimStinehart at aol.com <JimStinehart at aol.com> wrote:
> Based on the critical comments made concerning my first attempt at a new
> translation of Genesis 20: 1, I have revised my new translation. 
>Set forth below
> are three versions of my  new translation.  Each version uses  identical
> English wording, but different punctuation and capitalization are 
>used  in each
> version, recognizing (per Version #1) that the original Hebrew had no
> punctuation or capitalization at all.
> 1.  Version #1
> No punctuation or capitalization [ambiguous as to whether Isaac is born  in
> southern Lebanon at Sur or in the Negev Desert]
> "and departed from there abraham to the south land and he settled between
> kadesh and s(h)ur and he sojourned in gerar"
> 2.  Version #2
> Dashes [Isaac is born in southern Lebanon at Sur]
> "And departed from there Abraham to the southland -- and he settled --
> between Kadesh and Sur and he sojourned in Gerar."
> 3.  Version #3
> Semi-colons and capitalization [Isaac is born in the Negev  Desert]
> "And departed from there Abraham to The South Land;  and he settled between
> Kadesh and  Shur;  and he sojourned in  Gerar."
> *       *       *
> I agree that Version #3, the traditional interpretation of Genesis 20: 1,
> works grammatically.  But what I am  saying is this:
> (i)  Version #2 is also a  legitimate interpretation of Genesis 20: 1, and is
> not impossible  grammatically.
> (ii)  Version #2 makes  perfect sense substantively, whereas Version #1 is
> virtually nonsensical  substantively.  If Abraham journeyed  into The Land of
> Negev, how then could Abraham settle in the Sinai Desert?  Wrong desert.  And
> having "settled" in the middle of  the Sinai Desert, how is it then 
>that Abraham
> sojourned at Gerar in the Negev  Desert?  Wrong desert again.  And there's
> not enough time for Abraham  first to settle in the Sinai Desert, and then
> commence sojourning in the Negev  Desert at Gerar, with all this 
>happening over a
> period of less than 30 days  after Abraham leaves Hebron.  Sarah  must get
> pregnant about 30 days after they leave Hebron, which is presumably 
>after Abraham
> and Sarah have interacted with Abimelech at Gerar (in chapter 20,  with
> Sarah's pregnancy becoming known only in chapter 21), in order for 
>Sarah to  bear
> Isaac "when the season cometh round", that is, when spring returns  again.
> Finally, it makes no sense  for Abraham and Sarah to go to a desert 
>in order to
> have, and raise,  Isaac.
> On this list, the key issue is the Hebrew grammar.  I view Version #2 as
> being a legitimate  possible interpretation of Genesis 20: 1 based on Hebrew
> grammar, even though I  admit that Version #3 would be most 
>people's first reading
> of Genesis 20:  1.  In my view, the author of the  Patriarchal narratives did
> all this deliberately.  He is deliberately causing us to think 
>initially that
> Abraham may have followed in Hagar's footsteps from chapter 16 of  Genesis,
> leaving Hebron and going toward Kadesh(-barnea) and Shur.  But we gradually
> figure out that in  fact, Abraham went in exactly the opposite direction.
> Abraham went north from Bethel/Ai (not  southwest from Hebron), 
>toward the Lebanese
> city-states of Kadesh and Sur  ("Tyre").  Isaac is born near Sur, 
>in southern
> Lebanon, in fulfillment of the Covenant.
> I see the ambiguity in Genesis 20: 1 as being deliberate.  The Hebrew author
> is forcing us to  think.  And by forcing a parallel  with Hagar from chapter
> 16 of Genesis, who (along with her son Ishmael) is left  outside of the
> Covenant, the author is making an important point by this 
>deliberately ambiguous
> wording of Genesis 20: 1.
> Jim Stinehart
> Evanston, Illinois
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