[b-hebrew] Genesis 20: 1

JimStinehart at aol.com JimStinehart at aol.com
Fri Oct 19 12:37:52 EDT 2007

1.  You wrote:  "Jim, I can't EVEN read your run-on  sentences." 
I leave plenty of spaces in what I type, but on this b-Hebrew list (and  
nowhere else), what I send in comes out as having no spaces.  It's frustrating for 
me, too. 
2.  You wrote:  "G-d said that Avraham was a Prophet and  that he knew. You 
changing the subject, you are GROPING to disprove the  Torah.  NOT MY 
Not so.  I agree that Abraham  was a prophet, and that Abimelech viewed 
Abraham as being a prophet.  On my view, Abimelech would not have  taken old Sarah 
into Abimelech's household unless Abimelech believed that  Abraham was a 
prophet.  Abimelech  wanted a fertility prayer from a bona fide prophet, from 
I am not seeking to disprove anything about chapter 20 of Genesis.  Indeed, 
the key to my historical theory  of the Patriarchal narratives is, precisely, 
chapter 20 of Genesis. 
All I am saying is that even if nothing happened between Abimelech and  
Sarah, that was not known for sure by Abraham.  YHWH could have told that to 
Abraham in  private, or it could be reported in the text.  But based on the way 
Abraham acts, it  sure seems like Abraham for many years was unsure as to whether 
Isaac was  Abraham's blood son or Abraham's adopted son.  It turns out that 
Isaac is Abraham's  blood son.  But on my view, Abraham  did not know that for 
many years.  If Abraham had been certain that Isaac was Abraham's blood son, 
Abraham  would have jumped for joy at Isaac's birth, and Abraham would have 
loudly  praised YHWH to the heavens for the long-awaited arrival of Abraham's sole 
 heir.  But in fact, Abraham says  nothing.  Not even a single  thank-you. 
3.  You wrote:  "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." 
(a)  You and I agree that  Lot's wife died as Sodom was being destroyed.  I 
myself see the peculiar manner of the  death of Lot's wife as being 
metaphorical.  As set forth in my post to Yigal Levin, I see the assertion that Lot's  
wife was turned into a "salt" statue as meaning that Lot's wife had been  
unrighteous in not trying to bear Lot a son, after only bearing Lot four  daughters 
who grew up to be teenagers.  On my historical theory of the case, Lot's wife 
is being compared to an  historical Queen, who was in effect turned into a 
type of statue by her husband,  the King, when the Queen apparently refused to 
get pregnant again in middle-age  after bearing her husband only four daughters 
who grew up to be teenagers.  So I am not taking this story as  literally as 
you are.  But I am  seeing this story as being closely based on actual secular 
history.  I am not trying to disprove this  story.  I am only viewing it in a  
different, less literal, light than you. 
(b)  I myself do not think  that the Patriarchal narratives conceptualize 
Sodom as being located close to  the Salt Sea (Dead Sea).  I read  chapter 13 of 
Genesis as clearly locating Sodom somewhere near historical Beth  Shan, north 
of Shechem, very far north of the northern end of the Dead Sea.  On my view, 
Abraham had to go up north  to Bethel/Ai to see the smoke coming down the 
Jordan River Valley from the  destruction of Sodom. 
(c)  But the very point you  raise in this connection is very important to 
me.  Unlike you, I see a few words in the  Patriarchal narratives as being later 
glosses on the text, that were not in the  text originally.  In particular, I 
 view the phrase "now Salt Sea" at Genesis 14: 3 as being a later gloss.  It 
would not make sense for a "Valley of  Fields" to be located at the Salt Sea.  
The word "hiy" is inherently suspicious, as it may indicate a later  gloss.  
Deleting those three suspect  words leaves a text that makes perfect sense 
without those three  words. 
On my view, in the mid-1st millennium BCE a later editor  wanted to make the 
story of Lot's wife being turned into a salt statue seem more  realistic.  So 
this later editor  tried to locate Sodom at the Salt Sea, where there is a lot 
of salt.  I see the three-word phrase "now Salt  Sea" at Genesis 14: 3 as 
being a gloss on the text, added about 700 years or so  after the original 
composition of the text. 
I realize that you see every single word in the Torah as being  perfect.  I 
agree with you as to  over 98% of the received text of the Patriarchal 
narratives, but I part ways  with you as to a handful of suspect phrases, which I 
myself see as being later  glosses on the original text. 
Jim Stinehart 
Evanston, Illinois

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