[b-hebrew] Septuagint vs. Masoretes/75 vs. 70: How Many Hebrews Did Jacob Lead into Eypt?

JimStinehart at aol.com JimStinehart at aol.com
Thu Jan 17 15:05:42 EST 2008

R. Brian Roberts:
1.  You wrote:  “Regarding your point #1, how do you make the determination 
that the absence of "Huppim" as an "arbitrary" drop? You're assuming that it 
was in the
 source text used by the Greek translators in the Ptolemaic period, which
 remained itself hidden for nearly a thousand years again before finding its
 way into the MT?  What evidence do you have to fortify that?”
(a)  The Masoretic text is based on very ancient sources, and is even more 
accurate than the fine Septuagint text.  On your reasoning, the Septuagint 
should be preferred in almost every case where there is a conflict with the 
Masoretic text.  In fact, the vast majority of scholars generally prefer the 
Masoretic text overall, while recognizing that the Septuagint is also a valuable 
ancient source.
(b)  The “evidence” is largely in the numbers, including numerical 
symbolism, as alluded to in your point #2 immediately below.
2.  You wrote:  “Regarding #2, so, in your view, restoring your sense of 
numeric symbolism to the texts is more important than getting to the facts of what 
they say?
 You're presupposing with this idea that every number in the Pentateuch has
 symbolism, and its use as representing real numbers in reality (redundancy
 intended) means less in comparison to its symbolic meaning. You're also
 presupposing that you, sitting here in the early 21st century, know better
 how to interpret the intent of the LXX than its extant copies would have us
I am only talking about the Patriarchal narratives, not the rest of the 
Pentateuch.  No part of the Bible outside of the Patriarchal narratives picked up 
on the number 19 as being an awkward, inauspicious number.  But the Koran 
picked up on that particular number 19, big-time.  Since Ishmael was age 19 “years”
 when he was exiled by Abraham, the one number that signifies the beginning 
of Islam is, precisely, 19.  Rather than being awkward or inauspicious due to 
its association with Ishmael’s exile, the Koran revels in the number 19, 
precisely because the number 19 is associated with Ishmael’s exile, and hence with 
the birth of Islam.  This particular numerical symbolism makes perfect sense 
out of the otherwise famously mysterious sura 74: 30 in the Koran:  "Over it is 
19."  The Koran asserts that 19 angels will be on guard to see if the people 
are being faithful to Islam.  More broadly, the numerical implication there 
could be seen as indirectly asserting that Islam (represented by the number 19, 
which is the one number most closely associated with the Arabs’ founder Ishmael 
in the Patriarchal narratives) will ultimately triumph over all.  
Once one starts analyzing the Koran in terms of the number 19, which is the 
number that Mohammed associated with Ishmael, it is hard to know when to stop.  
The first verse of the Koran has 19 Arabic letters.  The number of suras 
(chapters) in the Koran is 114, which is 19 x 6. The number of verses in the Koran 
is 6,346, which is 19 x 334.  Finally, the Arabic word for "name" is 
transliterated into English as ISM, which recalls the first three sounds in the name 
"Ishmael", a Biblical name that is sometimes transliterated into English as 
"Ismail" -- ISMail.  ISM, meaning "name" in Arabic, is the root of the very first 
word in the Koran (with the full word meaning "in the name").  The Arabic 
root word ISM, which so clearly recalls the name "Ishmael"/"Ismail"/ISMail from 
the Patriarchal narratives, appears in the entire Koran exactly 19 times.
Getting back now to the Patriarchal narratives and chapter 46 of Genesis, 
each of Joseph, Dinah and Ishmael is age 19 “years” when he or she is 
involuntarily separated from his or her father’s family.  So 19 is an awkward number in 
the Patriarchal narratives (though not in the rest of the Patriarchal 
narratives;  and as just noted, the number 19 is viewed very positively in the Koran). 
 Hence it would be eminently fitting for Rachel’s descendants to number 19 in 
chapter 46 of Genesis, since it is awkward that Rachel’s son Joseph, who 
saves all the Hebrews from starvation, is passed over in favor of Judah when Jacob 
names the leader of the next generation of the Hebrews.  Simply put “Huppim” 
back into the Septuagint text of chapter 46 of Genesis, and we’re there, 
numerically, as to the awkward number 19 and Rachel’s descendants.
Your modern disdain for numerical symbolism comes through loud and clear:  “…
restoring your sense of numeric symbolism to the texts is more important than 
getting to the facts of what they say?”  University scholars share your same 
disdain for numerical symbolism.  That’s why they have not been able to figure 
out what chapter 46 of Genesis originally said.
3.  You wrote:  “Regarding #3, so inauspicious numbers are okay, but awkward 
glosses are not?”
(a)  There are only two inauspicious numbers in the Patriarchal narratives:  
13 and 19.  Ishmael is age 13 “years”, in 6-month “years”, when he is 
circumcised.  Genesis 17: 25  Jacob is age 130 “years” (Genesis 47: 9), which is 
awkward 13, tenfold, when Jacob takes the awkward (though necessary) action of 
leading all the Hebrews out of beloved Canaan into Egypt.  Likewise, the 
awkward binding incident, when Abraham almost kills his son Isaac, occurs when 
Abraham is the awkward age of 130 “years” (that is, age 65 regular years).  The 
bloody Shechem incident in chapter 34 of Genesis occurs 130 awkward regular 
years after Abraham’s birth, with 130 once again being awkward 13, tenfold.  And 
then 13 awkward regular years after that is the first year of the terrible 7 
regular years of famine, which follow the 7 regular years of feast.  The 
entirety of the Patriarchal narratives works like that.  Every number fits in place 
perfectly in the Patriarchal narratives.
If you don’t like the numbers 13 and 19 being used in the Patriarchal 
narratives to indicate awkward situations, you’re missing a key clue as to the 
internal timeline of the Patriarchal narratives.  (Not to worry, you’ve got all the 
university scholars on your side on this one.  They loudly proclaim in their 
published works that the internal timeline of the Patriarchal narratives is 
completely incomprehensible.  Not!)
(b)  There are few glosses in the text of the Patriarchal narratives, in my 
view.  Those tiny handfuls of glosses are usually quite obvious, as they don’t 
fit in right.  To me, the phrase “with Joseph” just does not fit in right at 
Genesis 46: 27.
4.  On this thread, we will look at the numbers, and we will look at the 
numerical symbolism, regarding chapter 46 of Genesis.  Then you can decide if I 
have made a convincing argument or not.  But if you insist, at the beginning, 
that you will not in any event consider numerical symbolism, then you are 
voluntarily blinding yourself to what is going on in the Patriarchal narratives.  
The numbers tell the story in the Patriarchal narratives.  The numbers even 
give us the secular historical time period.  In a word, the numbers are 
important.  We will see both the number 75, and the number 70, writ large in chapter 
46 of Genesis.  That’s the unsurpassed genius of the Hebrew author of the 
Patriarchal narratives.
Jim Stinehart
Evanston, Illinois

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