[b-hebrew] Isaac's Age at the Binding Incident

Bryant J. Williams III bjwvmw at com-pair.net
Tue Jun 24 11:46:03 EDT 2008


Dear Jim,

You have stated that "All ages in the Patriarch narratives are set forth in
terms of 6-month 'years.'" This has not been proved to anyone's satisfaction. Do
not confuse the two different calendars.

Rev. Bryant J. Williams III
----- Original Message ----- 
From: <JimStinehart at aol.com>
To: <b-hebrew at lists.ibiblio.org>
Sent: Tuesday, June 24, 2008 7:22 AM
Subject: [b-hebrew] Isaac's Age at the Binding Incident


>
> Isaac Fried:
>
> You wrote:  “Where did you get this exact figure of fifteen regular years for
> Isaac's age [at the binding incident]?”
>
> 1.  We start with the fact that Abraham is exactly 50 regular years older
> than Isaac.  Everyone knows that Isaac is born when Abraham is stated age 100
“
> years”.  Genesis 21: 5  All ages in the Patriarchal narratives are set forth
in
> terms of 6-month “years”.  So Abraham is age 50 regular years at Isaac’s
> birth (meaning, of course, that Abraham will always be exactly 50 years older
than
> Isaac).
>
> 2.  Perhaps the best way to proceed here is to start with Isaac at age 20
> regular years, and then reverse engineer his life at 2½ regular year
intervals.
>
> (a)    We know that Isaac is stated age 40 “years” when he marries Rebekah.
> Genesis 25: 20  So Isaac is un-doubled age 20 regular years at his marriage
> to lovely Rebekah.
>
> (b)    The time when Isaac’s father, Abraham, would have found out about
> Rebekah is 2½ regular years earlier than that.  Not long after the binding
> incident, Abraham finds out a bunch of specific information about Rebekah, who
is
> living way out in Harran, in northern Mesopotamia.  Genesis 22: 20 - 24
> Realistically, Abraham would only find out that information at his father
Terakh’s
> death, when a messenger would have been sent all the long way out from Harran
to
> tell Abraham of his father’s death.  That messenger would naturally have told
> Abraham the rest of the family news, including the key information that
> Rebekah existed and, in a few short years, would be the ideal age to marry
Isaac.
> Since Terakh was age 70 “years”, in 6-month “years”, at Abraham’s birth
> (Genesis 11: 26), and Terakh dies at stated age 205 “years” (Genesis 11: 31),
that
> means that Abraham is age 135 “years” at Terakh’s death.  205 – 70 = 135
> That is the equivalent of Abraham being age 67½ regular years at his father’s
> death, when Abraham finds out the good news about Rebekah, not long after the
> binding incident.  67½ -50 = 17½, so Isaac is age 17½ regular years when his
> father finds out about Rebekah.
>
> (c)   The binding incident should then logically occur 2½ regular years
> before Abraham finds out about Rebekah.  That means that Isaac is age 15
regular
> years at the binding incident.  The numerical symbolism is nice here, as Isaac
> is age 30 “years”, in 6-month “years”, and 30 is the good number 3, tenfold.
>
> (d)   Consider also the analogy to Joseph.  Isaac is age 30 “years” when
> Isaac’s role as Patriarch #2 is confirmed, with Isaac surviving the harrowing
> binding incident.  When Joseph is named the #2 power in Egypt, Joseph is
> expressly stated to be stated age 30 “years”.  Genesis 41: 46
>
> (e)   So in regular years, Isaac is age 15 at the binding incident, age 17½
> when his father finds out about Rebekah, and age 20 when Isaac marries
Rebekah.
>  Note how all the numbers work beautifully in the Patriarchal narratives, on
> all levels.
>
> 3.  Now let’s examine Abraham’s ages.
>
> (a)  If Isaac is age 15 regular years at the binding incident, then Abraham
> is age 65 regular years.  15 + 50 = 65 (since Abraham was age 50 regular years
> at Isaac’s birth).  In the Patriarchal narratives, unlike all other ancient
> literature, the number 13 is awkward.  Ishmael is circumcised at stated age 13
“
> years” (Genesis 17: 25), which is awkward in that this painful operation does
> not prevent unlucky Ishmael from being exiled by his own father, Abraham.  So
> the ideal age for Abraham to be at the awkward binding incident is age 130 “
> years”, in 6-month “years”, with the number 130 being awkward 13, tenfold.
> That is age 65 regular years.
>
> (b)    As explained in #2(b) above, Abraham is age 67½ regular years when
> Abraham finds out about Rebekah.  That is 17½ regular years after Isaac’s
birth
> (when Isaac is age 17½ regular years).  The peculiar number 17½ plays an
> outsized role in the Patriarchal narratives (because it was important only
once in
> history, during the Patriarchal Age in the Late Bronze Age).  Note that
Abraham
> dies at age 17½ “years”, tenfold, namely age 175 “years”, in stated 6-month
> “years”.  Genesis 25: 7  [We know that Abraham is 10 “years” older than
> Sarah (Genesis 17: 17), so Abraham is age 137 “years” (age 68½ regular years)
> when Sarah dies at stated age 127 “years” (Genesis 23: 1).  That means that
> shortly (one regular year) after Abraham finds out about Rebekah at Terakh’s
> death, when Abraham is age 67½ regular years, Abraham is age 68½ regular years
> when Abraham buries Sarah.  Note that all numbers in the Patriarchal
narratives
> always fit together perfectly.]
>
> (c)  Then Abraham is age 70 regular years when Isaac marries the perfect
> bride, Rebekah.  Since Isaac is stated age 40 “years” when Isaac marries
Rebekah
> (Genesis 25: 20), mathematically Abraham must be 100 “years” older than that,
> which is age 140 “years”, being un-doubled age 70 regular years.  The number
> 70 is obviously important in the Patriarchal narratives, as it is the first
> number in the Patriarchal narratives, being Terakh’s stated age in 6-month “
> years” at Abraham’s birth (Genesis 11: 26), it is the number of Hebrews that
> Jacob leads to Egypt (Genesis 46: 27, per the Masoretic text, which is correct
> as to this number), and it is the number of days that the Egyptians mourn
Jacob’
> s death in Egypt (Genesis 50: 3).
>
> 4.  Now we look to parallelism to further confirm the above analysis.
> Abraham is age 130 “years” in his most awkward moment, which is the binding
> incident.  It’s the same for Jacob.  Jacob’s most awkward moment is when Jacob
leads
> all the Hebrews  o-u-t  of the Promised Land of Canaan into Egypt.  The text
> tells us that Jacob was stated age 130 “years” at that awkward time.  Genesis
> 47: 9
>
> *       *       *
>
> It is true that the text does not tell us Isaac’s age at the binding incident
> in so many words.  But all the numbers work perfectly on all levels in the
> Patriarchal narratives, including at the level of consistent numerical
> symbolism.  The only two ages that will work well at the binding incident are
Isaac
> being age 15 regular years, and Abraham being age 65 regular years.  Those
ages
> fit in perfectly with their determinable ages when Abraham finds out about
> Rebekah, and with Isaac’s stated age (and Abraham’s derivable age) when Isaac
> marries Rebekah.  The numerical parallels to the Jacob/Judah/Joseph cycle act
to
> confirm this analysis.  Each of the two great Patriarchs, Abraham and Jacob,
> is awkward age 130 “years”, in 6-month “years”, at his most awkward moment:
> the binding incident for Abraham, and leading all the Hebrews  o-u-t  of the
> Promised Land of Canaan for Jacob.  And each of Isaac and Joseph is age 30 “
> years”, in 6-month “years”, when his future as a great leader becomes assured.
>
> All of the numbers work perfectly like that throughout the entirety of the
> Patriarchal narratives.  No number is out of phase, and no number lacks
> appropriate, consistent numerical symbolism.  This isn’t Kabala or anything
mystical.
> No, it’s just straightforward numerical symbolism, consistently applied.  For
> example, the number 13 is always awkward in the Patriarchal narratives.  The
> number 17½ is always the best number there is.  And so on.  And all the
> numbers always fit together perfectly in a perfectly coherent internal
timeline of
> the Patriarchal narratives.
>
> So based on the entirety of how numbers are used in the Patriarchal
> narratives, we cannot only quickly narrow down the possible ranges of Isaac’s
and
> Abraham’s ages at the binding incident, but also we can determine that, based
on
> numerical symbolism, analogy and parallelism, Isaac must have been exactly age
> 15 regular years at the binding incident.  All the numbers work perfectly on
> that basis, and only on that basis.
>
> Jim Stinehart
> Evanston, Illinois
>
>
>
>
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