[b-hebrew] 6-Month "Year" and Jubilee

JimStinehart at aol.com JimStinehart at aol.com
Mon Oct 29 09:09:43 EDT 2007

1. You wrote:  "I take it from your response that you  are not willing to 
admit that your theory is outside the mainstream.  If you are, you have an odd 
way of  stating it.  The way I read your  response, you are claiming to be the 
mainstream and everyone else is outside of  it.  Of course you think your view  
is correct - every person thinks that of themselves.  But this is actually 
not what I was  asking you. I was asking you whether you admit your view is not 
mainstream  (whether you perceive the mainstream to be correct or not).  It 
was question of self-awareness, not  evaluation." 
I readily admit that my views of the  Patriarchs' ages are well outside of 
the secular academic mainstream.  Unlike the secular academics, I view the  
Patriarchs' ages as making complete sense, in the secular historical context,  and 
I see the Patriarchal narratives as having a completely coherent internal  
timeline.  Those views of mine  clearly place me way outside the mainstream. 
Having said that, do you notice that my  views are always closely based on 
what the text of the Patriarchal narratives  actually says?  Have you noticed  
that, by contrast, your views seem to be impervious to what the text actually  
says?  You start by trying to  explain the peculiar phrase "a month of days" 
by arguing that Jacob subjectively  felt that his first month at Laban's place 
was taking a very long time.  When I point out that the text says  exactly the 
opposite of that, you then switch gears and say that people were  surprised 
that Jacob was staying so long at Laban's place.  When I point out that the 
text says  exactly the opposite of that as well, you then state that Jacob had to 
wait 14  years and one month to marry Rachel.  When I point out that the text 
says nothing of the sort, and that Jacob  married Rachel 7 years and one week 
after becoming engaged to her, you do not  directly respond, except to say 
that "nothing in your answer makes me 'nervous'  or 'uncomfortable'." 
What the Hebrew text of the Patriarchal  narratives actually says is of 
critical importance, in my view.  Unless we take the text seriously, we  will not 
understand the timing issues involved in this wondrous  text. 
2.  You wrote:  "You have not, in  my estimation, inspired a Copernican 
revolution in the way we view the ages of  the Patriarchs.  Sorry, but that's  my 
evaluation. And since it doesn't seem likely that we'll find any resolution  or 
come to any agreement, I'll leave it at that.  I'll give you the last word, 
but I don't  see any gain for either of us in continuing this particular 
debate.  So, I'll only respond again if you  manage to pull off that Copernican 
revolution with your next  post." 
Let me then try a different way to try to  get you interested in taking 
timing issues in the Patriarchal narratives  seriously. 
If one asks a secular academic why the  timing of the celebration in Judaism 
of a Jubilee is every 50 years, I  believe that the two-fold answer you would 
receive is as  follows: 
(i)  7 x 7 = 49 
(ii) Leviticus 25: 8-10 tells us that 7 x 7  = 49 
Is that a convincing explanation to  you?  Does that explain the timing  
issue of why Judaism celebrates a Jubilee every 50 years?   
Let's first look at what Leviticus 25: 8-10  actually says: 
"You shall count off seven weeks of years –  seven times seven years – so 
that the period of seven weeks of years gives you a  total of forty-nine years.  
Then you  shall…hallow the fiftieth year."  Leviticus 25: 8-10   
Reading the above text of Leviticus closely, we see that it is very clear  
that the Jubilee is to be celebrated by the Hebrews every 50 years, with  the 
50th year being "hallow" or holy.  Leviticus does not state that the reason  for 
picking the number 50 is because 50 celebrates the universally  auspicious 
number 7.  All the  Gentiles in the ancient world, even more than the Hebrews, 
revered the number 7,  and knew that seven 7s was 49.  But  the Gentiles, 
unlike the Hebrews, had no reason to pay any particular attention  to the seemingly 
innocuous number 50.  7 x 7 is 49, not 50, so why did  the Hebrews uniquely 
decide to celebrate a great Jubilee every 50 years,  instead of every 49 years? 
On my 6-month "year" theory of the Patriarchal narratives, the answer is  
obvious.  The Covenant is fulfilled,  with Isaac's birth, when Abraham is age 50 
regular years.  Abraham is stated to be age 100 "years"  (Genesis 21: 5), but 
those "years" in the text are 6-month "years", so Abraham  in fact is age 50 
regular years at Isaac's birth. 
The Hebrews at the time of the composition of Leviticus  knew Abraham's 
actual age at Isaac's birth, which was when the Covenant was  fulfilled.  They knew 
the "secret"  of understanding the Patriarchs' actual ages.  That's why, in 
my opinion, they picked  the number 50 as the time when a Jubilee would be 
celebrated.  The timing of the celebration of the  Jubilee commemorates Isaac's 
birth to Abraham when Abraham was age 50 regular  years.     
All mankind loves the number 100, because we have 10 fingers, and 10 x 10  = 
100.  And all mankind loves the  number 7 as well, because the naked eye can 
see 7 heavenly bodies whose  movements are different than the stars:  sun, 
moon, Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn.  A fairly simple play on the 
number 7 is  7 x 7 = 49. 
But only Judaism reveres the number 50, because Abraham was age 50  regular 
years when the Covenant was fulfilled with Isaac's birth. 
The Hebrews knew the "secret" of the Patriarchs' actual ages, based on a  
6-month "year" concept.  So did the  early Christians.  So did  Mohammed.  So did 
the medieval  Christian clerics who put chapter and verse numbers into the 
Bible.  In my "non-mainstream" view, it is only  modern thinkers who are 
clueless about the actual ages of the  Patriarchs. 
Jim Stinehart 
Evanston, Illinois

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