[b-hebrew] Deportation of Judea and Samaria

K Randolph kwrandolph at gmail.com
Sun Oct 28 09:23:08 EDT 2007

Dear Kevin:

My children didn't use the phrase "Everybody is ..." because they knew
I wouldn't take that.

On 10/28/07, Kevin Riley <klriley at alphalink.com.au> wrote:
> -------Original Message-------
> From: K Randolph
> Date: 28/10/2007 9:42:08 PM
> Bryant:
> Are you claiming the both the writer of Kings and Jeremiah were lying
> When they claimed that all the people who were left went to Egypt, in
> The same way as your teenagers (your teenagers know it's a lie, and
> Will admit it if you press them)? What sort of God is that who depends
> On lies to make his points? If you can't trust a God behind the
> Writing the Bible on little points like that "all" in Jeremiah really
> Meant all, why should you trust him on important themes in the Bible?
> While the above questions are admittedly theological, they show one
> Reason why some of us reject the claims of modern scholars who claim
> That there was a pool of Hebrew speakers who remained in Judea during
> The Babylonian Exile. Those questions also expose the fact that the
> Claim that there was a pool of Hebrew speakers left in Judea during
> The Exile is just as much a theological claim as to trust the Biblical
> Record.
> ****************************
> Perhaps it is instead a literary question: could God perhaps know Hebrew
> well enough to use the language rhetorically?

Depends on how you define "rhetorically".

> ...  I have never understood why
> people would assume [and it is just an assumption] that God and/or inspired
> writers would never use the language in anything but a woodenly literal
> fashion.

This is a straw man argument. I don't know of any Biblical literalist
who would claim that the language can only be understood in a woodenly
literal fashion. They may exist, but I don't know of any. What one
needs to do is to keep the context in mind.

Having said that, the context of neither 2 Kings 25 nor Jeremiah 43
lends itself to a rhetorical reading of "all".

> ...  Surely we can see that to use a language rhetorically and
> creatively is different to lying?

"Creative" is one thing. One of the difficulties of lexicography is to
look at words and wonder whether or not a particular usage is in a
creative context, or if it signifies a homonym or expanded meaning?
One simple example is )BD "to be(come) lost" is often used as a
euphemism for "to die, perish". If one does not take into account
creative uses, a lexicographer defining according to semantic domains
can end up assigning so many different meanings to words used often
and creatively that they become semi-undefined (this is one of my
criticisms of BDB and lexicons like it).

If, on the other hand, I make what is in context is expected to be a
factual statement, then for it not to be true is a falsehood, either
deliberate or accidental.

> ...  Perhaps there is exaggeration and
> hyperbole in the Bible, and maybe it is there for the same reason it is in
> all literature - to make a point.  Maybe God does have some things in common
> with our teenagers - one of which is the desire to get us to pay attention
> and actually listen to the message beyond the literal words.
> Kevin Riley

"If your right hand causes you to sin, cut if off....." is a clear
example of hyperbole, and it was recognized as such even by its
immediate hearers. The purpose was to emphasize the importance of
"erring" (sinning). The context made it clear. Context is the key.

The bottom line, with the context ruling out a rhetorical reading of
the texts in question, either there were no Judeans left in Judea
after the last ones fled to Egypt, or both Jeremiah and the author of
Kings were lying when they said "all". And if all were gone, then
there was no pool of Hebrew speaking Judeans in Judea to keep Hebrew
alive as a native tongue, learned at one's mother's knees, at the time
that the Judeans scattered throughout Babylon and Egypt found their
Hebrew language being drowned in a sea of Aramaic. And unlike the
survival of Aramaic in some isolated villages, the historical record
of Jews being scattered out of their land, all of them, means that
there were no isolated villages speaking Hebrew to keep the language
alive as a native tongue.

Karl W. Randolph.

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