[b-hebrew] Genesis 20: 1

JimStinehart at aol.com JimStinehart at aol.com
Thu Oct 18 11:39:01 EDT 2007

This second post continues the analysis of where Abraham  is when he is 
portrayed as witnessing the after-effects of the destruction of  Sodom. 
(c)  It is clear that Sodom is the opposite direction from Hebron, because  
Abraham goes 27 miles south of Bethel/Ai to settle in Hebron, thereby 
separating  himself from Lot. 
"[I]f thou wilt take the left hand,  then I will go to the right;  or if  
thou take the right hand, then I will go to the left.'  …and they separated 
themselves the one  from the other.  Abram dwelt in the  land of Canaan, and Lot 
dwelt in the cities of the Plain [kikkar/the Jordan  River Valley], and moved 
his tent as far as Sodom."  Genesis 13: 9,  11-12 
(d)  Thus  Sodom is located close to historical Beth Shan, over 27 miles 
northeast of  Bethel/Ai.  Hebron is located 27  miles south of Bethel/Ai. 
(e)  Now we can analyze the  otherwise ambiguous reference at Genesis 19: 27 
to Abraham going "to the place  where he had stood before the LORD [YHWH]".  
Yes, Abraham had stood before YHWH many  times at Hebron, including at Genesis 
18: 22. But one could not see Sodom, or  even the smoke from a burning Sodom, 
at Hebron, which was over 60 miles away  from Sodom.  No, Abraham has to get  
up early in the morning and hasten to a place much farther north, namely a  
mountaintop near Bethel/Ai, where Abraham can then see the smoke from Sodom  
burning in the Jordan River Valley: 
"And he looked out toward Sodom and Gomorrah, and toward  all the land of the 
Plain [kikkar/the Jordan River Valley], and beheld, and, lo,  the smoke of 
the land went up as the smoke of a furnace."   Genesis 19: 28   
At chapter 13 of Genesis, Abraham had stood before YHWH  when YHWH first 
gives Abraham the divine promise of the Promised  Land: 
"And the LORD said unto Abram  [at Bethel/Ai], after that Lot was separated 
from him: 'Lift up now thine eyes,  and look from the place where thou art, 
northward and southward and eastward and  westward;  for all the land which  thou 
seest, to thee will I give it, and to thy seed for ever.  … And [then] Abram 
moved his tent [from  Bethel/Ai], and came and dwelt by the terebinths of 
Mamre, which are in Hebron,  and built there an altar unto the LORD [YHWH]."  
Genesis 13: 14-15, 18 
(f)  The traditional location of Sodom at the Dead Sea is erroneous.  Based 
on the above verses of text, the  author of the Patriarchal narratives 
conceptualizes Sodom as having been located  near historical Beth Shan, on the west 
bank of the Jordan River, far north of  the northern end of the Dead Sea. 
(g)  So Abraham went 27 miles north of Hebron to Bethel/Ai to see the smoke  
burning from Sodom's destruction.  Genesis 20: 1 then tells us that Abraham 
departed "from there".  That means that Abraham departed from  Bethel/Ai.  That 
is a logical point  of departure if Abraham is going north to the south 
country of southern Lebanon,  to settle between the Lebanese city-states of Qadesh 
and Sur, and to sojourn on  the western edge of historical Garu (Biblical 
"Gerar"), which is precisely what  Genesis 20: 1 tells us.  Note that  the text 
does not state that Abraham returned from Bethel/Ai to Hebron, and  departed from 
Hebron.  The text does  not say that.  If Abraham were going  to go south 
into the Negev Desert and the Sinai Desert, Abraham's point of  departure would 
naturally be Hebron, not  Bethel/Ai. 
If we read the text closely, it makes  complete sense, as is.  There is  
nothing wrong or nonsensical about the text.  If we forget about loving to hate  
Jezebel from southern Lebanon, who wasn't born until 500 years after the  
historical Patriarchal Age, we will see that Abraham left Bethel/Ai and made a  
beeline for princeling ruler Abimelech/Abimilki of Sur in western Garu/Gerar in  
southern Lebanon.  That is what  Genesis 20: 1 is telling us, and it makes 
complete sense on all  levels. 
How could the Patriarchs be portrayed as  receiving a divine promise of 
northern Canaan if no governing Patriarch ever  sojourned in northern Canaan?  Each 
 of Abraham and Isaac in fact spends many years living in northern  
Canaan/southern Lebanon, near Sur ("Tyre") at Garu/Gerar, and that is why the  divine 
promise of the Promised Land to Isaac regarding Garu/Gerar in southern  Lebanon 
is so important: 
"Isaac went unto Abimelech king  of the Philistines unto Gerar.  [For] the 
LORD [YHWH] [had] appeared unto  him, and said: … 'Sojourn in this land, and I 
will be with thee, and will bless  thee;  for unto thee, and unto thy  seed, I 
will give all these lands, and I will establish the oath which I swore  unto 
Abraham thy father'".  Genesis  26: 1-3 
Everything in the text makes  sense, including the portrayal of a divine 
promise to the Hebrews of all of  Canaan, not just southern Canaan, if Abraham is 
in the southern region of  Lebanon near Sur, on the western edge of 
Garu/Gerar, when Genesis 20: 1 tells us  that Abraham "settled between Qadesh and    
Jim  Stinehart 
Evanston,  Illinois

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