[b-hebrew] Genesis 20: 1

Tory Thorpe torythrp at yahoo.com
Tue Oct 16 15:34:16 EDT 2007

The website you mention contains misinformation and is misleading  
you. If you actually read R. Cohen's article in BA 44 (1981), which  
is cited on this website, you will find a sage admission that the  
popular identification of biblical Qadesh with 'Ain el-Qudeirat "is  
not absolutely certain" and "documentary evidence is lacking" (p.  
13). The fact that 'Ain Qedeis by comparison is small an not as  
impressive as 'Ain el-Qudeirat means very little, next to nothing,  
since the Israelites who encamped in this region during the Mosaic  
period doubtless used and were sustained by all three springs on the  
east-west course of Canaan's southern boundary: 'Ain Qedeis, 'Ain el- 
Qudeirat, and 'Ain Qoseimeh. 'Ain Qedeis is the most easterly of  
these springs, and is therefore a stronger candidate for the specific  
place Moses locates at the extreme edge of Edom's border (Num.  
20:14-16). This area has NOT been extensively excavated, but Woolley  
and Lawrence did find sherds from the 2nd and early 1st millennium  
BCE at Tell el-Qudeirat (_The Wilderness of Zin_PEFA 3 [London:  
Committee for Palestine Exploration Fund, 1914-15], pp. 66-7). Like  
footprints in sand and tears in rain, a brief 40-year period of  
occupation of this area by wandering nomads with tents would not  
necessarily leave an echo in the archaeological record. But whether  
you accept or reject that conclusion, I still think it utterly absurd  
that a Judean or Israelian living in the pre-monarchical period would  
read Gen. 20:1 and lift his eyes toward Lebanon. I'm afraid it is not  
as you want to characterize it, your way and the leaps in logic it  
entails or side with the biblical minimalists. The prima facie  
probability is that Abraham went south of Hebron, and this seems to  
be stated plainly enough in the text.

Tory Thorpe

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