[b-hebrew] The Name "Joseph": Patriarchal Successions

JimStinehart at aol.com JimStinehart at aol.com
Mon Jan 7 14:10:42 EST 2008


Rev. Bryant J. Williams III :
 
1.  You wrote:  “Regarding Ishmael vs Isaac.  The text of 22:2, 12, 16 
contradict what you say about Isaac. In each of the verses God says of Isaac to 
Abraham,
 22:2     ..."your only son, MT, 'et-yechidad 'asher-'ahabtat; LXX, TON 
AGAPHTON
 hON HGAPHSAS
 22:12   ..."your only son, MT, 'et-yechidad; LXX, TOU AGAPHTOU
 22:16   ..."your only son, MT, 'et-yechidad; LXX, TOU AGAPHTOU”
 
Yes, but that is after Sarah forced Abraham, with YHWH’s explicit approval, 
to exile Ishmael in chapter 21 of Genesis.  So with Ishmael seemingly out of 
the picture at this point (having been exiled 12 long regular years ago), Abraham
’s only remaining son, who was born either by Abraham’s main wife #1 or on 
her behalf, is Isaac.
 
Yet note that Abraham is not stated in the text to be grieved or upset at the 
imminent prospect of having to kill his “only son”, Isaac.  And note that 
Abraham had never thanked YHWH for Isaac’s birth.  Abraham bargains with YHWH 
for Ishmael in the text, but Abraham never bargains with YHWH for Isaac in the 
text, even in the harrowing binding incident.
 
Abraham makes the right decisions, for the right reasons, in selecting Isaac 
over Ishmael.  Abraham does that based on YHWH’s clear commands, and thus 
Abraham is righteous.  The very point of the binding incident, indeed, is to 
confirm that Abraham is selecting Isaac over Ishmael for the right reasons, namely 
because YHWH has divinely told Abraham to do so, rather than Abraham selecting 
Isaac over Ishmael because Isaac is Abraham’s favorite son.
 
2.  You wrote:  “Furthermore, the text in 17:17-22 clearly indicates that 
Sarah will give birth to a son well past the age of childbearing, that the 
child's name will be
 Isaac (Yitzhak) and that Ishmael will still be blessed, but not as the 
firstborn
 is normally blessed. In fact, Isaac is the focal point from this point on.”
 
Yes, I agree with that entirely.  That in no way means that Isaac was Abraham’
s favorite son, however.  The son who gets the ultimate blessing is always 
the right choice, and is fully approved of by YHWH, but is never the Patriarch’s 
favorite son.  Certainly you would agree that Esau was Isaac’s favorite son, 
yet Isaac gives the great blessing to Jacob, not Esau, and Isaac does not 
attempt to rescind that blessing of Jacob after the trickery of Rebekah and Jacob 
is revealed.  And likewise, you would certainly agree that Joseph is Jacob’s 
favorite son.  Yet Jacob names Judah, not Joseph, to be the leader of the next 
generation of the new monotheists.
 
This is precisely the very point that I am driving at.  It is quite unusual 
for a leader to give the greatest honor, and sole leadership, to a non-favorite 
son, especially a non-favorite son who is not the leader’s firstborn son.  
Yet that is exactly what happens in all three Patriarchal successions.  The 
author of the Patriarchal narratives is trying to tell us something important 
here, if we will only pay close attention to what the received text actually says.
 
3.  You wrote:  “Now, regarding the 14th Century BCE dating, I find that 
Akhenaten does not fit the context of the Patriarchal narratives nor the Mosaic 
legislation especially the dating to ca. 1446-1407 BCE in which the dating set 
by the I Kings 6:1,
 Judges 11:14-27 (especially 11:26 ("For three hundred years Israel occupied
 Heshbon, Aroer, the surrounding settlements and all the towns along the
 Arnon...."). Since Jephthah was a judge ca. 1100 BCE according to most 
scholars,
 then to ignore both times listed (Solomon building the Temple and Jephthah's
 remarks) is based not on facts but on a priori assumptions that cannot be 
proved
 especially with regards to JEDP.”
 
I may agree with most of your facts, but I entirely disagree with your 
conclusion.  True, the mid-14th century BCE may not fit any part of the Bible except 
the Patriarchal narratives, including not fitting well as a starting point 
for computing the dates of the Exodus and Solomon.  But that is not because the 
Patriarchal narratives are historically inaccurate.  No, that is because both 
the mid-1st millennium BCE Hebrews (including JEPD), and modern analysts of 
the Bible as well, misunderstand the Patriarchal narratives, and the mid-14th 
century BCE historical time period of the Patriarchal narratives.
 
Everything in the received text of the Patriarchal narratives matches 
perfectly to the well-documented secular history of the mid-14th century BCE.  
Archaeology may not have proven an historical Exodus or an historical Solomon’s 
Empire, but the archaeological facts do establish the historical beginnings of 
Judaism, in the mid-14th century BCE historical Patriarchal Age. 
 
Jim Stinehart
Evanston, Illinois




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