[b-hebrew] Joshua 15: 52-59: Hill Country Cities?

JimStinehart at aol.com JimStinehart at aol.com
Wed Dec 31 10:47:46 EST 2008


Dear Prof. Yigal Levin:
 
A.  As you and I review the city names at Joshua 15: 48-60, one of the key 
issues to be decided is whether or not Joshua had a Late Bronze Age source for 
at least some of those city names.  If so, then we would expect Joshua 15: 
52-59 to list some Late Bronze Age cities in southern Canaan that were important 
in the mid-15th century BCE, but that were extinct and long-forgotten by the 
time we get to the 1st millennium BCE.  That is why it is so critically 
important to cross-check the city names at Joshua 15: 52-59 against the mid-15th 
century BCE Thutmosis III list.
 
Regarding your reliance on modern Arabic names of modern Arabic towns 
concerning these matters, consider this.  Regardless of whether or not Joshua had a 
Late Bronze Age source, it is no surprise that beginning in the 14th century 
AD, about 3,000 years later, people living in Palestine often looked to the 
Bible to name their tiny villages.  As you yourself expressly state regarding “
Identifying biblical sites by their names being preserved in modern Arabic”:  “
True, this does not work in all cases, and many
 false identifications have been made in the past….”
 
We have to remember what key question we are asking here.  Does or does not 
Joshua have a Late Bronze Age source of city names?  Even if the Book of Joshua 
was pulled together “late”, as you insist, nevertheless the open question 
remains:  Did or did not Joshua have a Late Bronze Age source of city names?
 
B.  You wrote:  “Both Karl and I have explained why the Ayalon valley is not 
listed in the Judahite list - it was part of the allotment of Dan, while Gezer 
itself was part of Ephraim. So why insist on what's not there?”
 
In my very first post, I stated:  “I realize that Gezer, and the city of 
Aijalon, are dealt with separately, at Joshua 16: 10;  19: 42.”  I agree that 
according to Joshua 16: 4, 9-10, Gezer and most of the territory north of the 
Aijalon Valley were allocated to Ephraim.  I also agree that according to Joshua 
19: 40-48, quite a few cities in the Aijalon Valley area were tentatively 
allocated to Dan.  So far, so good.
 
But what about the towns in the Aijalon Valley that are not mentioned in 
Joshua as being assigned to either Ephraim or Dan?  Does Joshua 15: 52-59 report 
Late Bronze Age cities in the Aijalon Valley that appear on the mid-15th 
century BCE Thutmosis III list, and sometimes in the Amarna Letters as well, but 
that then disappear from secular history for 3,000 years?  If so, that 
super-exciting news would mean that Joshua had a Late Bronze Age source of city names.  
Let’s investigate that question.
 
FIVE MISSING CITIES IN THE AIJALON VALLEY
 
1.  Rubutu
 
First and foremost here would be Rubutu, which was one of the most important 
cities in Late Bronze Age Canaan.  Rubutu was not located anywhere near hill 
country, being located in the south-central portion of the Aijalon Valley.  I 
am somewhat surprised by your comment concerning that critical issue:
 
“105 is Raba(t)h, probably the same as the last "Hill-country" town listed in 
Josh. 
 15:60, which only shows that the geographical logic of the 15th century 
Egyptian scribe was not exactly the same as that of the Judahite scribe centuries 
later.”
 
If you are seeing Rabbah at Joshua 15: 60 as being historical Rubutu, then 
you would thereby be admitting that not all the towns listed at Joshua 15: 48-60 
are located in hill country.  Interestingly, Nadav Na’aman specifically 
insists that Rabbah at Joshua 15: 60 is not historical Rubutu, but rather that 
Rabbah was a small town located in hill country:
 
“Rabbah is clearly located in the hill country of Judah, near Kiriath-jearim, 
and its placement in the northern Shephelah is untenable.”  Nadav Na’aman, “
Rubutu/Aruboth”, in Canaan in the Second Millennium B.C.E.: Collected Essays 
(2005), at p. 206
 
I actually tend to think that Nadav Na’aman is probably right about that.  
Are you really willing to give up your old position that all cities at Joshua 
15: 48-60 are located in hill country?  I am surprised you would consider making 
such a huge concession.  The historical city of Rubutu in the Aijalon Valley 
is located nowhere near hill country.  If you made that huge concession, then 
you would essentially seem to be agreeing with me that we must look at each 
city in Joshua 15: 52-60, individually, one by one, to see which cities are, or 
are not, located in hill country.  That’s precisely what I want to do.  (I am 
guessing that in the end, you are not going to be willing to make that huge 
concession.  But perhaps I am misunderstanding what you are saying here about 
Rubutu and Rabbah.)
 
At a minimum, shouldn’t we at least look at Joshua 15: 52-59, to see if 
historical Rubutu may be found there?  That’s what I would like to do (in my next 
post).
 
2.  Magaroth/Maarath
 
Per some standard versions of the Septuagint (such as the classic Brenton 
translation), this city at Joshua 15: 59 is shown as being “Magaroth”, with the 
ayin being an archaic ghayin.  On that basis, I have shown a letter-for-letter 
exact linguistic equivalence between Biblical Magaroth (Maarath) and MQRT at 
item #106 on the Thutmosis III list.  That town is in the Aijalon Valley, is 
not assigned to Dan in Joshua, and rather is assigned to Judah in Joshua per 
Joshua 15: 59.
 
Scholars cannot locate any reference to Magaroth after the mid-15th century 
BCE.  That’s because it went extinct in the Late Bronze Age.
 
Now that we see a gamma/ghayin in the classic Brenton translation of “Magaroth
” in the Septuagint at Joshua 15: 59, Magaroth/Maarath appears to be MQRT at 
item #106 on the Thutmosis III list.  Is that spine-tingling excitement in a 
geographical place name, or what?  Have you and I made an exciting new 
discovery, right here on the b-hebrew list?  If Magaroth = MQRT, that would largely 
prove my controversial case that Joshua had a Late Bronze Age source for city 
names.  That would be very big news. 
 
3.  Halhul
 
I have shown a beautiful linguistic match between XLXWR/Halhul and HRKuR at 
item #101 on the Thutmosis III list.  The only question mark is that rare, 
special Egyptian K, which on my view in part came over into Biblical Hebrew as a 
heth/X here.  We know for certain that the Egyptians in the mid-15th century 
BCE did not use heths in the same way as Biblical Hebrew does (since Hebrew has 
only one heth).  So it should be no real surprise that this rare, special 
Egyptian K (which represents two sounds) came into Hebrew as XW.  That town is in 
the Aijalon Valley, is not assigned to Dan in Joshua, and rather is assigned 
to Judah in Joshua per Joshua 15: 58.
 
There is no mention of Halhul after the mid-15th century BCE until 3,000 
years later, in the 14th century AD.  That’s because Halhul went extinct in the 
Late Bronze Age.  Medieval people picked up the name from the Bible.
 
4.  Gibeah
 
Assuming that the Gibeah at Joshua 15: 57 is not the same town as the 
Gibbethon at Joshua 19: 44, we must wonder if that Gibeah is in the Aijalon Valley, 
and not assigned to Dan.  We will want to look at item #103, QPT, on the 
Thutmosis III list in that regard.
 
5.  Jokdeam/Jokbeam
 
Here is a 5th missing city.  It may be in the Aijalon Valley, per item #102, 
Y(QBJR, on the Thutmosis III list.  It is not assigned to Dan in Joshua, but 
rather may appear at Joshua 15: 56 as being a town assigned to Judah.
 
This city is never mentioned elsewhere in the Bible, because it went extinct 
in the Late Bronze Age.
 
C.  In order to confirm or refute my controversial theory that Joshua had a 
Late Bronze Age source of city names, the way we should proceed is to check out 
each and every one of these 5 apparently “missing” cities in the Aijalon 
Valley.  Do all 5 such cities show up both (i) at Joshua 15: 52-59, and (ii) in 
items #100 - #106 on the Thutmosis III list?
 
I myself think that Joshua had a much better, and more accurate, Late Bronze 
Age source of city names than modern scholars realize.  The only way to verify 
or falsify my controversial theory as to this important issue is to compare 
items #100 - #106 on the Thutmosis III list straight up with the cities listed 
at Joshua 15: 52-59.
 
With your permission, I would like to start, in my next post, with the 
critically important city of Rubutu.  Let’s take a look, and see what we find.  Who 
knows, maybe there’ll be some more pulsating excitement like 
Magaroth/Maarath/M(RT = MQRT on the Thutmosis III list?  We’ll never know unless we look.  
 
Jim Stinehart
Evanston, Illinois

**************New year...new news.  Be the first to know what is making 
headlines. (http://www.aol.com/?ncid=emlcntaolcom00000026)



More information about the b-hebrew mailing list