[b-hebrew] Genesis 20: 1

Tory Thorpe torythrp at yahoo.com
Mon Oct 15 14:03:09 EDT 2007

There need be no mention of Gaza in Genesis for it to have existed  
before Genesis was composed, or for it to have existed in the time  
Abraham is believed to have lived. The city evidently predates the  
Amarna age and the reign of Pharaoh Thutmose III. So the non-mention  
in Genesis is for you merely an argumentum ex silentio. The same is  
true in the secular material for the Qadesh and Shur located south of  
Hebron and Beer-Sheba.

There is only one "biblical" city named Beer-Sheba attested in the  
biblical sources. A different post-biblical city with that name is  
mentioned by Josephus as being located in lower Galilee (BJ iii.3.1  
[39]). This ancient author at least did not know several Beer-Shebas.  
The name clearly did not mean, in patriarchal times, any place well  
water was found through providence, else every well dug by the  
Patriarchs should have this name as the act of finding water in the  
desert was hardly something that would have been defined as luck. It  
is much simpler to see that Hagar's "wilderness of Beer- 
Sheba" (whatever the name of the place was at this moment) became  
popular overnight once news spread that water was there. Abraham  
later gave it the name Beer-Sheba which stuck, according to Genesis,  
and the rest is Jewish history.

Not everyone agrees that classic Philistines are being described in  
the Patriarchal narratives. How about Proto-Philistines?

By Sodom, I meant the region of Hebron. Sorry for that. In any case,  
my slip notwithstanding, there is certainly nothing in our text about  
Abraham journeying to Ai where he then viewed the destruction of  
Sodom from higher ground. After the destruction he left the area  
north of Hebron where Mamre is located, headed south and passed  
through the "south country" en route to the grazing territory of  
Gerar closer to the coast, probably stopping (dwelling) somewhere,  
but briefly, between Qadesh and Shur before actually approaching  
Gerar. The tradition is infinitely more plausible then what you have  
been attempting here on linguistic grounds.

Tory Thorpe

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