[b-hebrew] elephants or ivory ?

James Spinti JSpinti at Eisenbrauns.com
Wed Aug 20 10:48:02 EDT 2008

If I remember correctly, ivory was also obtained from hippopotamus


James Spinti
Marketing Director, Book Sales Division
Eisenbrauns, Good books for more than 30 years
Specializing in Ancient Near Eastern and Biblical Studies
jspinti at eisenbrauns dot com
Web: http://www.eisenbrauns.com
Phone: 574-269-2011 ext 226
Fax: 574-269-6788 

-----Original Message-----
From: b-hebrew-bounces at lists.ibiblio.org
[mailto:b-hebrew-bounces at lists.ibiblio.org] On Behalf Of K Randolph
Sent: Wednesday, August 20, 2008 10:46 AM
To: b-hebrew at lists.ibiblio.org
Subject: Re: [b-hebrew] elephants or ivory ?

While there were no elephants in Israel, archeological finds show that
was known and used as a decorative item in many places where elephants
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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