[b-hebrew] The Names for Mt. Hermon, Part III
JimStinehart at aol.com
JimStinehart at aol.com
Wed Jul 23 22:36:55 EDT 2008
I certainly agree that there were variant spellings in the ancient world.
The question then is this:
Is “Shinar” at Genesis 14: 1 redolent of “Shenir” at Deuteronomy 3: 9?
If so, then chapter 14 of Genesis may be closely based on a well-documented
military conflict in the Late Bronze Age, which in secular history occurred
immediately north of Canaan.
But if “Shinar” means “Kasdim”, and is referencing the place (southern
Mesopotamia) where Babylon and Ur were located, as scholars would have it, then
chapter 14 of Genesis makes no historical sense.
If the name “Amrapel”, which begins with A-M-R/aleph-mem-resh, is referring
to an Amorite (A-M-R) ruler of Amurru (A-M-R) in northernmost Canaan
(northern Lebanon in today’s world), then historically such ruler had no connection
to far-off, irrelevant southern Mesopotamia at all. Rather, that Amorite
ruler was closely associated with (i) Mt. Hermon and (ii) Syria. That Amorite
ruler (whose most prominent brother was named “Amur-bala”) sold out Amurru in
northernmost Canaan to the new masters of Syria: the dreaded Hittites.
Whether chapter 14 of Genesis is closely based on actual secular history,
rather than being pure non-historical fiction as scholars would have it,
depends in large part on the meaning of “Shinar”. If “Shinar” is redolent of “
Shenir”, then we’re in business. In secular history we have four attacking
rulers, all of whom are closely connected to Syria and none of whom has
anything to do with the southern Mesopotamia area, who smash a league of five rulers
and thereby imperil beloved Canaan. We know that all of that happened in the
Late Bronze Age, which seems to me to be the secular historical equivalent
of the “four rulers against the five” chronicled in chapter 14 of Genesis.
The numbers match (4 against 5), and the military outcome matches: the 4
absolutely smash and destroy the 5, in a total military mismatch. But do the
words match? Is “Shinar” redolent of Shenir/Mt. Hermon, and also of
Shinar/Singara/Sangar/Sanhar/Syria? If “Shinar” = “Kasdim”, as the scholars would
have it, then nothing makes sense.
The meaning of these particular words in the Hebrew Bible is of critical
importance in evaluating the historicity of the Patriarchal narratives. To me, “
Shinar” at Genesis 14: 1 is redolent of “Shenir” at Deuteronomy 3: 9,
despite the difference of one letter in the Hebrew spellings. That is the key
issue I am raising.
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