[b-hebrew] Genesis 20: 1

Yigal Levin leviny1 at mail.biu.ac.il
Fri Oct 19 03:39:19 EDT 2007


As I wrote, I only think that this is what Jim meant. So let's leave Jim out 
of it. What I wrote was that there is a possibility that Sodom was in or 
near the northern part of the Dead Sea rather than its southern part. I'm 
undecided, I thing that the evidence is not clear. On one hand, that fact 
that Abraham could see Sodom from Hebron points to the northern part of the 
sea. On the other, "the five cities of the plain" are often used as a 
southern boundary of Canaan. And Zoar, which was spared, was well known in 
later times as being at Ghor e-Safi at the southern tip of the sea (now on 
the Jordanian side). In any case, Sodom and co. were certainly in the region 
of the Dead Sea, not in northern Canaan.

What you just wrote however, is false reasoning: turning a person into a 
pillar of salt in any case is a "tweaking" of the laws of nature. There are 
differences of opinion amount Jewish thinkers (for example Rambam vs. Ramban 
or Rihal, but going back to the Talmud) as to whether when God does what we 
see as a "miracle" He is really altering the laws of nature (which, as you 
pointed out, He created in the first place), or simply working within those 
laws, in ways that WE find difficult to comprehend. We are NOT going to hold 
that debate on this list. It does not matter for our purposes. In any case, 
turning a person into a pillar of salt is something that only God can do, 
and God does not require that there be mountains of salt in the are in order 
to do it. So just based on Lot's wife, it could have happened anywhere.


Yigal Levin


----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Shoshanna Walker" <rosewalk at concentric.net>
To: "b-hebrew" <b-hebrew at lists.ibiblio.org>
Sent: Friday, October 19, 2007 6:27 AM
Subject: Re: [b-hebrew] Genesis 20: 1


> Yes, but WHERE was she turned into a pillar of salt, up in the north
> where G-d would have had to suspend the laws of nature which He
> created, or by the Dead Sea, which is a region entirely made up of
> salt?
>
> WHERE was she most likely to have been turned into a pillar of salt?
>
> I didn't get that he was saying that S'dom was in the northern part
> of the Dead Sea - where anyway there are no salt mountains
>
> Shoshanna
>
>
>
> I've stopped trying to read Jim's run-on posts carefully, but I think that
> what he was saying was that Sodom was in the northern part of the Dead 
> Sea,
> which is visible from Hebron, and not where it's usually pointed to in the
> southern basin (which is called Sodom in modern Israel), which is more
> visible from Arad. IF this is what he was saying, he may be right. In any
> case, this has nothing to do with Lot's wife. All the Torah says is that 
> SHE
> was turned into a pillar of salt - not that the whole region was made of
> salt. A single pillar of salt about 5 or 6 feet high and a foot or two 
> thick
> would hardly have lasted the past several thousand years of earthquakes,
> flash floods and so on.
>
> Yigal Levin
>
>
>
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: "Shoshanna Walker" <rosewalk at concentric.net>
>>
>> For instance, if, as you claim, S'dom was in the North, and not in
>> the Dead Sea area, where ALL THE MOUNTAINS ARE MADE OF SALT  (maybe
>> you don't know Israel so well, but you can actually break off pieces
>> of the mountains, and they are pieces composed of crystals of SALT,
>> and salty to taste), then you would have to call G-d a liar for
>> reporting that Lot's wife was turned into a pillar of salt for
>> turning around to look at S'dom up in the north - after all, if the
>> whole story took place in the north, WHERE THERE ARE NO SALT
>> MOUNTAINS, then that is much more of a geographical impossibility
>> than that of Avraham being able to see the SMOKE of the destruction
>> of 4 cities from not a lot of miles west of them, which is not
>> impossible at all - as I could see the actual waters of the Dead Sea
>> from Jerusalem.
>>
>> Layla Tov
>>
>>
>> Shoshanna
>>
>>
>> Shoshanna:
>> If YHWH had told Abraham, in a conversation not reported in the text,
>> that
>> nothing had happened between Abimelech and Sarah, then why wouldn'Äôt
>> Abraham  be
>> ecstatic with joy at Isaac'Äôs birth?  Sarah is ecstatic with joy at
>> Isaac'Äôs
>> birth, but Abraham says  nothing.
>> 'ÄúAnd Abraham was a hundred years old, when his son Isaac  was born unto
>> him.
>> And Sarah said:  'God hath made laughter for me;  every one that heareth
>> will
>> laugh  on account of me.'Äô  And she said:  'Who would have said unto
>> Abraham,
>> that Sarah should give children suck? for I have borne him a son in his
>> old
>> age.'  And the child grew, and was  weaned.'Äù  Genesis 21:  5-8
>> Abraham is not reported to praise YHWH upon Isaac'Äôs  birth.  Abraham is
>> not
>> reported to  say one nice word to or about Isaac prior to the binding
>> incident.
>> Why?
>> The author of the Patriarchal narratives has not made a  'Äúmistake'Äù,
>> nor has
>> he 'Äúoverlooked'Äù this issue.  Rather, the author is forcing us to
>> consider
>> that Abraham may have had doubts about what had happened, or not
>> happened, when
>> Sarah was in Abimelech'Äôs  household.
>> Perhaps nothing at all happened.  But based on what the text says, it 
>> does
>> not appear that YHWH told Abraham that nothing had happened.  That is a
>> key
>> element in the  text.
>> I agree with you that the text is perfect, as is.  But I do not agree 
>> that
>> these stories  are simple.  The author is laying  his real point between
>> the
>> lines a little  bit.
>> It may well be that nothing in fact happened between  Abimelech and 
>> Sarah,
>> but what I am saying is that Abraham does not appear to  know that.
>> That is the key for making this story work,  historically.  Abraham must
>> have
>> a  bona fide doubt, for many years, as to whether Isaac is his blood son
>> or
>> his  adopted son.  It is virtually  certain that in fact, Isaac is
>> Abraham'Äôs
>> blood son.  Though much less certain, nothing at all  may have happened
>> between
>> Abimelech and Sarah.  But the key is that Abraham is not sure  what did 
>> or
>> did
>> not happen between Abimelech and Sarah.  That'Äôs all I'Äôm  saying.
>> If Abraham had been certain from the beginning that  nothing at all had
>> happened between Abimelech and Sarah, Abraham would have  jumped for
>> joy at Isaac'Äôs
>> birth.  The text reports, however, that whereas Sarah waxed lyrical at
>> Isaac'Äô
>> s  birth, Abraham said nothing (other than to confirm Isaac'Äôs
>> divinely-given
>> name).  Abraham'Äôs silence speaks  volumes as to what Abraham knew for
>> sure
>> from YHWH, and what Abraham had his  doubts about.
>> In the end, Isaac  is Abraham'Äôs blood son.  But the way  the text tells
>> the
>> story, Abraham was not sure about that for many  years.
>> Jim Stinehart
>> Evanston, Illinois
>>
>>
>>
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