[b-hebrew] elephants or ivory ?

K Randolph kwrandolph at gmail.com
Wed Aug 20 10:45:35 EDT 2008

While there were no elephants in Israel, archeological finds show that ivory
was known and used as a decorative item in many places where elephants were
not found. In other words, the ivory trade goes way back.

Karl W. Randolph.

On Tue, Aug 19, 2008 at 11:58 PM, Yaakov Stein <yaakov_s at rad.com> wrote:

> In Kings I 10:22 (and the parallel passage in Chronicles)
> we read that every three years Hiram sent Solomon
> The use of the conjunction and the cantillation marks
> separate the good sent into two groups,
> namely 1) gold and silver, 2) shenhavim and monkeys and tukim.
> The former group consists of inanimate objects,
> while two of the three in the latter are animals found in Africa
> (without going into a discussion of the precise meaning of tuki).
> Is it possible that shenhavim here means elephants rather than ivory ?
> This would seem to match the sentence structure better.
> The present word for elephant PYL does not appear in the tanach.
> Elephants do appear in the first book of Macabees
> (having been adopted by the Greek army after its conquest of India)
> but unfortunately as the original Hebrew has been lost,
> we can't see what word was used.
> There are those who believe that the fourth animal in Daniel
> is an elephant, but once again no specific Hebrew word is used.
> Were ivory intended, why is the word in the plural,
> rather than the singular as for gold and silver ?
> Of course the proper translation could be "elephant tusks",
> i.e. that unprocessed tusks were sent for carving in Israel.
> But since there were no elephants in Solomon's Israel,
> why would there be artisans skilled in ivory carving there ?
> Yaakov (J) Stein
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