[b-hebrew] What Does "salt sea" Mean at Genesis 14: 3?

K Randolph kwrandolph at gmail.com
Mon Dec 1 13:59:03 EST 2008

On Mon, Dec 1, 2008 at 7:05 AM, <JimStinehart at aol.com> wrote:

> What Does "salt sea" Mean at Genesis 14: 3?
> 1.  Does the reference to "salt sea" (yod-mem he-mem-lamed-heth/YM HMLX,
> literally "salt the sea") at Genesis 14: 3 refer to the Dead Sea, or to the
> Mediterranean Sea?
> The present division into chapters came relatively recently (when compared
to the total time period the text talks about to the present). Therefore it
must be read in context of chapter 13, where the area is clearly listed as
being to the east. So, within the context, it is clear that the Dead Sea is

> 3.  Outside of Genesis 14: 3, there are 8 other references to "salt sea" in
> the Hebrew Bible.  Of critical importance to us here, not once does any
> other
> author in the Bible assume that "salt sea", out of context, would
> necessarily
> refer to the Dead Sea, as opposed to the Mediterranean Sea.  On the
> contrary,
> all 8 other references to "salt sea" in the Bible contain one or more of
> the
> following four words, which are used to clarify that the Dead Sea is the "
> salt sea" to which reference is being made in that particular case:
>  "Jordan
> [River]", "Arabah", "east" or "south border".    Numbers 34: 3, 12;
> Deuteronomy 3: 17;  Joshua 3: 16;  12: 3;  15: 2, 5;  18: 19  None of these
> four words
> would fit the Mediterranean Sea, which is precisely why these particular
> words
> are used to distinguish the Dead Sea, as one salt sea, from the
> Mediterranean
> Sea, which is the other (more important) salt sea in Canaan.  Typical is
> Joshua 15: 5:  "And the east border was the Salt Sea, even unto the end of
> the
> Jordan…."  (Note that the words "east" and "Jordan" accompany "salt sea".)
> Indeed, in all but one of such 8 cases, the Dead Sea is referred to
> exclusively
> in terms of explaining where the southeast border of Canaan is, being a
> context where it is very obvious that "salt sea" in that case must refer to
> the
> Dead Sea, not the Mediterranean Sea.  (The only exception is Joshua 3: 16;
>  that
> verse specifically refers to "Sea of the Arabah" and to activities at
> Jericho on the north end of the Dead Sea.  Deuteronomy 3: 17 likewise
> refers to the
> Dead Sea as "Sea of the Arabah".)
> With the possible exception of Genesis 14: 3, never in the Bible is a
> reference to "salt sea", without more, taken to preclude a meaning of the
> Mediterranean Sea.  Rather, in every other case the matter is clarified by
> an explicit
> reference in the same verse to one or more of the following words:  "Jordan
> [River]", "Arabah", "east" or "south border".  If the intention is to
> reference the Dead Sea, then in addition to saying "salt sea", the Biblical
> authors
> invariably add a clarifying reference, using one or more (usually several)
> of
> the four above words.
> You have that context, in chapter 13. Further, %DYM can come from the root
%YD, to whitewash, which is what salt encrusted objects look like when taken
from the lake.

Your connection with "fields" is very tenuous at best, as the plural of
"fields" is %DWT, not %DYM. In fact, the plural of fields is never elsewhere
written as %DYM.

>   No historical battle was ever fought
> southeast of the Dead Sea.
> Just because you are ignorant of any battle there does not mean that none
was ever fought there, especially when we take into account all history back
to the early bronze age. With your record so far, your ignorance in this
matter means nothing.

> Jim Stinehart
> Evanston, Illinois

You first admitted that your theory falls apart if Sodom was destroyed at
sun up, which the linguistic clues indicate is the case. Then you claimed
that Beth Shean was Sodom in code, only to have archeological investigation
reveal that it was merely a garrison town during the Egyptian occupation.
Therefore there was no wealth to be had in the city at that time. You
repeated the error that KKR means "plain" when it doesn't. %DYM does not
mean "fields".

You started with a theory, and now are fishing for evidence to support it.
So far, NONE of the linguistic, geographical and historical references
support your theory. What weird idea are you going to come up with next?

I previously asked you who you are? What are your credentials? You obviously
lack linguistic credentials, as you are obviously almost totally ignorant of
Biblical Hebrew language. Why don't you answer questions concerning your

Karl W. Randolph.

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