[b-hebrew] To Jim: Genesis 20: 1
rosewalk at concentric.net
Wed Oct 17 21:33:50 EDT 2007
There were four cities that were destroyed: S'dom, Gemorra, Admah
and Zeboim (Deut. 29 verse 22) - Zoar, the fifth city, was not
destroyed. (Torah here in this verse says cities of the district
were destroyed,despite what you say, Torah does not say only S'dom
and Gemorra were destroyed, does not say which ones, it tells us
"To the place where he had stood before Hashem" does NOT say it was
Beit-El - YOU may say it was, but the Torah does not. First you have
to explain what the Torah means when it says "to the place where he
had stood before Hashem" Radak explains this phrase to refer "to the
place to which he had accompanied the angels", FOR IT WAS THERE THAT
THE 'HAND OF HASHEM' had come to rest upon him" (See chapter 18,
verse 16). That place was, indeed, was a place from which he could
see S'dom and Gemorra! The Torah does not lie!
(Even if it was 27 miles north of Hebron, as you claim, and S'dom is
not so many miles east of that, after all, I can tell you from
eyewitness experience, living in Jerusalem in Abu Tor, that I COULD
SEE THE ACTUAL WATERS OF THE DEAD SEA FROM MY PORCH on all - MANY -
days that there was no haze in the way! If I could see the water,
certainly anyone could see smoke in the sky. So you estimate that
distance. Maybe you all forget how small Israel really is....)
Lot's daughters are not criticized for what they did - they were
righteous women whose actions were nobly motivated. Thinking that
the world had been destroyed with the destruction of S'dom, etc., and
even that Zoar had been spared only because they were there, they
felt that it was their responsibility to save the world by bearing
children, even though the only male was their father. The Torah does
not label their actions as incestuous, because they sincerely thought
there was no other way to ensure propagation of the species.
(Because their intentions were pure, they merited that among their
descendents would be Ruth, ancestress of David, and Naamah, queen of
Solomon and mother of Rehoboam, his successor and next in line in the
Davidic chain). LOT, HOWEVER, WAS NOT COMPARABLE TO HIS DAUGHTERS,
even though he was intoxicated the first night, he knew in the
morning what had happened (see verse 37), but allowed himself to be
intoxicated again, knowing full well what the result would be.
Unlike his daughters, HE knew from the angels that the upheaval was
to affect only a limited group of cities, not the whole world. So
yes, that would corroborate that Lot got a bad reputation.
The Philistines lived in Ashkelon, Ashdod and Gaza - not in southern
Lebanon, and not in the Sinai Desert.
The Torah does not say here that Kadosh is Kadosh-Barnea, and it does
not say that Shur is a desert. So don't make things up.
I agree with you that the Torah has been misinerpreted,
mistranslated, for millennia.
The commentators who I quoted - and all who study them - did/do not
NEED the Amarna letters to understand the Torah, which IS Divinely
authored (If you can claim that "the author of the Patriarchal
narratives presents it as being all divinely blessed." then I can
also present my claim - WITHOUT GETTING MUSSAR or being accused of
1. You wrote: ÄúThe traditional views of why Avraham left Hebron are very
Rashi explains: ÄòWhen he observed that the cities had been destroyed
and travelers ceased to pass to and fro [and there were no wayfarers to whom
he might extend hospitality] he went away from thereÄô [he moved to another
part of the country].Äù
That does not match what the text says.
(a) Only two cities were destroyed: Sodom and Gomorrah. Lot asked for
Zoar to be spared, and it was.
(b) Abraham goes way up to Bethel/Ai, 27 miles north of Hebron, and sees
the after-effects of the destruction of two cities in the distance. Sodom
and Gomorrah are nowhere near Hebron. I will quote the text and
own comments in brackets.
ÄúAnd Abraham got up early in the morning to the place where he had stood
before the LORD [YHWH]. [That place is Bethel/Ai, 27 miles north of Hebron.]
And he looked out toward Sodom and Gomorrah [in the distance, even farther
away from Hebron], and toward all the land of the Plain [i.e., the
Valley], and beheld, and, lo, the smoke of the land went up as the smoke of a
furnace. [Abraham is seeing the smoke in the distance. The smoke is
nowhere near Hebron. The smoke cannot be seen at Hebron. That is
why Abraham went
way up north to Bethel/Ai: to be able to see the smoke.] Genesis 19:
The destruction of far-off Sodom and Gomorrah has no effect on Hebron
whatsoever. There is no basis at all for the assertion that
Äútravelers ceased to
pass to and froÄù. The people of Bethel and Hebron were not evil,
and did not
suffer on account of the sin of the people of Sodom and Gomorrah.
1. You wrote: ÄúAnother explanation for his move is that he wished to
himself from Lot, who had gained an evil reputation because of his
intimacy with his daughters".
(a) Lot was located nowhere near Hebron. Genesis 13: 9 expressly states
that Abraham and Lot went in opposite directions from Bethel/Ai. Abraham
went 27 miles south to Hebron, so Lot must have gone approximately 27 miles
(b) Lot had no Äúevil reputation because of his intimacy with his
. Even the much later book of Leviticus would not have prohibited Lot from
having a son/grandson by his oldest remaining daughter after LotÄôs
Far from condemning LotÄôs daughters for evil behavior, the author of the
Patriarchal narratives praises LotÄôs daughters for bravely preserving human
Äú'Come, let us make our father drink wine, and we will lie with him, that we
may preserve seed of our father.'Äù Genesis 19: 32
In the Patriarchal narratives, it is of paramount importance for a man to
have a male descendant, to Äúpreserve the seed of our fatherÄù.
1. You wrote: ÄúSforno explains that Kadesh and Shur were very large
cities in the
Philistine part of C'naan, and Avraham chose to live there because
the area was heavily populated and would provide him the opportunity
to spread his belief in G-d.Äù
If Qadesh is not a Lebanese city-state, then it is Qadesh-barnea, a small
oasis on the eastern edge of the Sinai Desert. If Shur is not a Lebanese
city-state, then it is the Shur Desert on the western edge of the
Sinai Desert. If
these are sites in the Sinai Desert, (i) they are certainly not Äúvery large
citiesÄù, and (ii) they have nothing whatsoever to do with the Philistines,
because the Philistines never operated in the Sinai Desert. There is no way
that any part of the Sinai Desert was ever Äúheavily populatedÄù.
There were so
few people living in the desolate Sinai Desert that it would be the worldÄôs
worst place to go for Äúthe opportunity to spread his belief in G-dÄù.
As I have discussed at some length, it would make all the sense in the world
for Abraham to go to Sur in southern Lebanon, which indeed (i) is a very
large city, and (ii) did have a lot of foreign
Hebrew text is perfect as is. ItÄôs just been misinterpreted for millennia.
The Hebrew text fits the historical time period perfectly, if it is
interpreted from an historical perspective. The commentators you
are quoting did not
have the benefit of the Amarna Letters as we do, so they could not have known
how accurately the Patriarchal narratives reflect the secular history of the
mid-14th century BCE, which historically is the time period of the first
1. You wrote: ÄúRadak suggests that he settled in Philistia (no, not
establish his presence - and thus the future claim of his offspring -
in another part of the land G-d promised us.Äù
That is a great argument supporting my view that Abraham went to southern
Lebanon. If so, then the Patriarchal narratives portray YHWH as vouchsafing
all of Canaan, from southern Lebanon to Hebron, to the Hebrews. But that
argument makes no sense if Abraham went to the Negev Desert and the
The desirable part of Canaan outside of the Hebron-Bethel area was primarily
to the north of Shechem: Beth Shan and the Jezreel Valley, and then up
north to the lush Bekka Valley and the tremendous ports of southern coastal
Lebanon, such as Sur (ÄúTyreÄù).
1. The traditional view cannot account for why Abraham left Hebron and
went to Gerar. The actual reason is that Abraham and Sarah wanted to
interact with Abimelech, in order to solve the fertility problems of all three
persons. The Gerar test for Abraham is just as awkward, unpleasant and
controversial as the later binding incident test. But the author of
narratives presents it as being all divinely blessed.
The critical importance of having a son is the most oft-repeated theme in
the entirety of the Patriarchal narratives. ThatÄôs whatÄôs going
on at Gerar in
chapter 20 of Genesis.
************************************** See what's new at http://www.aol.com
b-hebrew mailing list
b-hebrew at lists.ibiblio.org
More information about the b-hebrew