[b-hebrew] xrm and the Canaanites' VIP treatment

Yitzhak Sapir yitzhaksapir at gmail.com
Wed Jan 2 02:36:57 EST 2008

On Dec 31, 2007 8:16 PM, K Randolph wrote:

> …  I didn't
> > even get to write my Kenneth Kitchen review yet which relates to a point
> > I mentioned.  The Bible clearly states that Lachish was destroyed.  It
> > says
> > that Eglon was placed on xrm just like Lachish.  xrm generally has
> connotations with destruction but even if it just means that everyone in
> > Lachish was killed, and the city was banned from continued habitation,
> > that would be visible in the archaeological record.  Instead, the city
> > continues to be inhabited for a 100 years after Hazor.…

> Since this is a discussion group concerning the Hebrew language, the
> question here is what is the meaning of XRM? As a verb, it is used around 40
> times. However, it is used in a variety of contexts which makes it hard to
> pin the word down, but as far as I can tell, it means, " to identify a
> person or object such that he is designated for special attention, e.g.
> consecrated to the Lord such that one can no longer make use of it for
> himself, sentenced to destruction or condemned to death ⇒ (physically) to
> (indicate by a) mark, as in to blemish, make imperfect ". That fits the
> context of Joshua 10 where Lachish and Eglon were two city/states involved
> in a five city/state confederacy against Joshua and Israel, thus they were
> given special treatment, made sure they were captured.
> The picture I see in Joshua is that Israel did sort of like a blitzkrieg:
> quickly capturing city after city, depopulating and looting them, then
> abandoning them which allowed
> Canaanites who were missed in the capture of the cities to resettle them.
>  Further, if the cities were totally abandoned at the most a year or two,
> then resettled, there would be no archeological trace of that capture unless
> the city were destroyed. This picture shows why this discussion is about the
> Bible, for it tells us what we should expect to find in the archeological
> record.

The Biblical account clearly states that all people of the city were
killed.  The
word &ryd at the very least means - survivors.  There were no survivors, so
hence, no Canaanites who were missed in the attack to return.  Yes, this
phrase is not described explicitly for Lachish, but it is described for Libnah,
and for Lachish, Joshua is said to have killed everyone "just like in Libnah."
So it must be read as having killed everyone without any survivors.

As for xrm, while "given special treatment" is a novel way to
interpret the word,
it is at the very least an understatement.  With "made sure they were captured"
for clarification, it is also wrong.  When described here, it must
refer to the same
type of actions as Joshua is said to have taken in Josh 6:14 - Josh 7:26.

Therefore, not only were there no survivors, not only could Israelites
not resettle
the city (6:26), they could also not take from the spoils.
(Essentially, resettling
the city is a form of taking from the spoils).  This is what xrm means and the
response by Joshua is to stone and burn the transgressor.

Claiming the Biblical text says otherwise is to misinterpret the text.

Yitzhak Sapir

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