[b-hebrew] Genesis 20: 1

JimStinehart at aol.com JimStinehart at aol.com
Tue Oct 16 14:02:49 EDT 2007

Tory  Thorpe: 
Let me  respond in this post only to your comments about  Qadesh. 
As to  whether Ain Qedeis might have been Qadesh-barnea, take a look at this  
Although that site has an anti-Bible bias, it does report  some important 
objective facts from secular history concerning  Qadesh-barnea.  Here are a few  
“Kadesh-barnea is today almost unanimously identified with the oasis of  Ain 
el-Qudeirat in the eastern Sinai, on the western margin of the Negev  
foothills about 50 miles southwest of Beersheba (_Finkelstein and  Silberman 2001_ 
(http://www.ebonmusings.org/atheism/otarchrefs.html#fs2001) , p.  268).  A 
nearby, smaller spring, Ain  Qedeis, seems to echo the ancient name, but initial 
acceptance of this claim  fizzled when it was realized that Ain Qedeis was far 
too small and barren to  have sustained a large population for any length of 
time;  one visitor described it as ‘a shallow  pool of water surrounded by a 
desert wasteland’ (_Cohen  1981_ 
(http://www.ebonmusings.org/atheism/otarchrefs.html#cohen1981) , p. 23).  … Most importantly, however, no evidence  of 
occupation exists at Kadesh-barnea for the time of the Exodus.  Not even a sherd from 
the Bronze Age has  been found (_Finkelstein and  Silberman 2001_ 
(http://www.ebonmusings.org/atheism/otarchrefs.html#fs2001) , p.  63), despite thorough 
excavation of the site and surveys of the surrounding  area.” 
Ain  Qedeis has an attractive name (though such name almost certainly 
post-dates the  Hebrew Bible), but it does not match the description of 
Qadesh-barnea.  Ain el-Qudeirat, by contrast, does not  have a name that matches, but it 
does nicely fit the Biblical descriptions of  Qadesh-barnea.  Alas, extensive  
excavation has shown no human inhabitants in the Bronze Age, which would be the 
 time period for an historical Patriarchal Age (as well as for the  Exodus). 
Thus  there is no match in secular history to Qadesh as a site in the Sinai 
Desert as  referenced at Genesis 16: 14 for Hagar.  Meanwhile, every human 
being in the Middle East in the Bronze Age knew  the super-famous Lebanese 
city-state of Qadesh, and knew it by the name  “Qadesh”.  So when the audience  
heard it said at Genesis 20: 1 that Abraham “settled between Qadesh and S(h)ur”,  
the audience would naturally wonder if the reference there was to the real  
Qadesh, the super-famous Lebanese city-state of Qadesh, or rather if the  
reference was to an otherwise unknown site in the Sinai Desert, which Genesis  16: 
14 had referenced regarding Hagar.  That is exactly what the Hebrew author 
wants us to think.  First ask if perhaps Abraham simply  followed in Hagar’s 
footsteps.  And  then gradually realize that No, Abraham went in the opposite 
direction from  Hagar, and went north toward historical Qadesh in northern  
Archaeology strongly supports my theory of the case,  while virtually 
destroying the traditional theory of the case.  The Amarna Letters strongly support 
my  theory as well.  In my controversial  view, the Patriarchal narratives are 
not mid-1st millennium BCE  fiction, as all of today’s secular scholars insist 
is the case.  No, the Patriarchal narratives are very  closely based on the 
well-documented secular history of the mid-14th  century BCE. 
If you  reject my theory of the case, I am afraid that you may find that you 
then have  no defense against the theory of today’s secular scholars, who see 
the  Patriarchal narratives as being fiction ginned up by four southern 
Hebrews (or  possibly four schools of southern Hebrews) in the mid-1st millennium  
BCE, about 700 – 1,000 years after the fact.  Though people may not like the 
fact that  my theory deviates in some respects from the traditional religious  
interpretation of this ancient text, please note that my theory is arguing for  
an historical Patriarchal Age, a text (the Patriarchal narratives) that was  
composed during the historical Patriarchal Age, and a text which closely  
follows the well-documented secular history of the mid-14th century  BCE. 
The  real reason why my suggestion that Isaac was born in southern Lebanon is 
 anathema to secular scholars is not because such view of mine lacks support 
in  the text or in secular history, but rather is because it flies in the face 
of  the scholarly insistence that the Patriarchal narratives were, like the 
rest of  the Hebrew Bible, composed by a group of southern Hebrews in the  
mid-1st millennium BCE who had a strong anti-northern Hebrew  bias.  That simply 
is not the case,  but it is the seemingly unanimous scholarly view today.   
If  Qadesh at Genesis 20: 1 is not the real Qadesh, the famous city-state in  
northern Lebanon, then I myself see no defense against the seemingly 
unanimous  scholarly view that the Patriarchal narratives are late religious fiction,  
nothing more than that. 
Jim  Stinehart 
Evanston,  Illinois

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