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

Yitzhak Sapir yitzhaksapir at gmail.com
Sat Jan 5 20:15:03 EST 2008

On Jan 3, 2008 10:47 PM, K Randolph wrote:

> Then how do you account for that many Canaanites did survive?

Where does it say in the book of Joshua that Canaanites from Lachish

> You have just described medieval feudalism, but was this the case of ancient
> Near East as well? From what I read, that was only partially true. Those who
> had something to fear from the invader, yes, would take refuge in the
> fortified stronghold, but what about the rest? The most clear example is
> Jeremiah 37:12–14 where Jeremiah attempted to wait out the siege of
> Jerusalem "among the people" outside of Jerusalem. While it is true that
> Jeremiah was centuries later, did his example show a change in
> circumstances? I think it is unlikely, from what history I have read.

Jer 37 may be applicable, except it describes what Jeremiah did after the
invaders retreated.  In any case, I did not discuss medieval feudalism.  If it
happens that in medieval times, the same situation took place, then that
would only indicate that across these different times, people acted much the
same way.

> Yet there is a literary standard for when the repetition is used. Follow
> that when evaluating a text. Does this text follow that literary formula?

Who says there is a literary standard.  No one says there is a formula that
must be followed in order to use repetition.  Besides, formula is just the
same as no repetition -- it eliminates the possibility for literary creativity.

> You are adding to the text. The fulfillment came in 1 Kings 16:34, during a
> time of idolatry, the foundations were laid with human sacrifice, namely the
> oldest son of the builder, the gates blessed with another human sacrifice,
> namely the builder's youngest son. This was apparently a building formula
> among certain idolatrous societies. There is nothing in the text about all
> the other details you added above.

As you can see, your view that human sacrifice is implied by these verses
is your own addition to the text.  I am not sure what details I mentioned are
not in the text, but it is pretty clear that Josh 6:17 is talking
about a continuous
state rather than a singular action in the past (hence the use of the
imperfect), and
the 6:26 is a curse that relates to whoever builds the city.
Evidently it talks
about the death of the builder's children, but nowhere does it say he would
be idolatrous or sacrifice them.  As a curse, it just means that his children
will die if he tries to build the city.  1 Ki 16:34 doesn't mention any child
sacrifice either.

> And are you sure that your "knowledge" is not modern mythology concocted to
> push an ideology? For example, what about the use of human sacrifice? How
> widespread was it? How was it expressed in the language? Do you deny that
> Joshua 6:26 and 1 Kings 16:34 linguistically refer to that practice? Why?

Please refrain from using terms such as "modern mythology."  Modern linguistics
is not mythology, even if you think it to be so, and it adds nothing
to the discussion
to call it that.  I don't have to explain why Josh 6:26 and 1 Ki 16:34
do not refer
to the practice of child sacrifice, much like I don't have to explain
why they do not
relate to blue suns.  First, you have to show that they do refer to
child sacrifice.
In general, Josh 6:26 reads as a curse.  This makes it unlikely that
the deaths of
the children of the builder of Jericho are his own personal intention,
as would be
if he sacrificed them.  The curse says -- if you want to build
Jericho, then something
you do not want will happen, that is, your children will die.
Otherwise, it wouldn't
be a curse.

> Yet on another level, the personal level, do you claim that people were
> different then than they are today? In other words, they don't share the
> same loves, desires, sense of right and wrong, and so forth that modern
> individuals have?

People are not different, but they have different cultural values, and
our cultural sense
of right or wrong is different from the values during Biblical times.

> On a technical level, what do you know about agriculture, weaving, ceramics,
> cooking, metalsmithing, etc.? Can you tell me why the locksmiths were
> specifically mentioned in 2 Kings 24:14, 16? What tools do these trades use?

Locksmiths are not mentioned in those verses.

> Which is the best preparation for a lexicographer? Is it good and
> concentrated study on languages and linguistics? Or is a person of wide
> interests, insatiable curiosity of many subjects, experiences in many
> fields, better prepared to recognize how words are used in their contexts?

There is no question that if the two are placed as two options, then
it is clear that
concentrated linguistic study is best for the lexicographer.
Generally, in a specific
topic or area of expertise, then it helps a lot to also have expertise
in that area.  But
that does not mean that an expert in this area does not need to have a
good solid
foundation in linguistics.  For example, if we are discussing the word
masger, then
it is clear that someone who has expertise in archaeometallurgy as opposed to
someone with just a general background in linguistics would be better
prepared to
comment on such terms.  On the other hand, without knowing that Arabic has a
cognate verb of the root sajara meaning "to heat up in a furnace," (so
HALOT) one
might not be prepared to understand the word correctly.

Yitzhak Sapir

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