[b-hebrew] Canaan as the Original Homeland of the Hebrews
JimStinehart at aol.com
JimStinehart at aol.com
Wed Jun 25 18:44:36 EDT 2008
1. You wrote: “No-one speaks any language perfectly from the moment of
birth, except maybe the likes of Dr. MLK Jr. We learn from our mothers first (dads
too), and Sesame Street still plays a big role for many.”
What I meant was that in my controversial view, Abraham spoke perfect
pre-Hebrew from the time he was a toddler, as his first language.
2. You wrote: “If the author of the PN has Avram not born and raised in
Canaan, even if his distant ancestors were, what grounds are there for the
presumption, other than say ethnicity, that the author of PN believed Avram spoke
west Semitic as a first language? He presumably would not.”
On my controversial view of the case (not the scholarly view), the Hebrews
were indigenous to Canaan. Abraham is portrayed, in effect, as having been born
and raised in Galilee, in northern Canaan. Abraham is probably the first
generation who never knew village life, Abraham having been born in a tent in
northern Canaan, whereas his ancestors has been born in settled villages in
When Abraham is age 35 regular years, in middle age, in his best years, his
father, Terakh, who had been born in a village but was now reduced to living in
a tent, decided to try the risky gambit of making a one-time caravan trip
from Galilee all the long way out to Mesopotamia, a caravan trip that ended up
taking them all the way to Ur in southern Mesopotamia/Kasdim. All of Terakh’s
relatives put in their money for this caravan trip. A few young male relatives
went along with Terakh’s family on the caravan trip, in part to guard the
caravan from outsiders, but also to make sure that Terakh did not disappear with
his relatives’ money.
In many ways, the caravan trip went well, but in other ways, it did not. The
trip ended up taking 2½ years, instead of the 6 months that had originally
been hoped for. Terakh’s beloved firstborn son, Haran, had the misfortune of
dying in far-off Ur, predeceasing his own father. Then when Terakh tried to
lead the caravan party back to Canaan, Terakh was so infirm that Terakh could not
make it past Harran, where Terakh ended up having to live the rest of his
long life. But the party had bought a lot of valuable commercial luxury goods in
Mesopotamia, so that there was a possibility that the caravan trip, despite
all of its many other failings, might turn out to be financially lucrative.
On this view, the Hebrews are indigenous to northern Canaan. A small number
of pre-Hebrews were only in Mesopotamia once. Not a single one of Abraham’s
ancestors was born in Mesopotamia.
Does the text support the foregoing view of mine? Let’s take a look.
1. Jerusalem Is Never Mentioned
Even though the Patriarchs spend a majority of their time sojourning in
Canaan, Jerusalem is never mentioned in the text. That suggests that the author
was an early Hebrew who was indigenous to northern Canaan, and who had little or
no interest in southern Canaan (including having no interest in Jerusalem in
southern Canaan). When Abraham is famously on the top of that mountain near
Beth-el, the narrator never says that Abraham had a great view of Jerusalem,
much less does YHWH vouchsafe Jerusalem to Abraham’s descendants. That reveals
the early northern Hebrew mindset of the Patriarchal narratives, so very
unlike the mindset of the rest of the Bible.
2. Lot Is Rich Coming Out of Egypt
Lot is rich coming out of Egypt. Genesis 13: 5 The clear implication is
that Lot had not previously been rich. Why would Lot get rich in Egypt? The
answer is that the caravan party had very valuable merchandise from Mesopotamia
to sell. That’s the word “rekuwsh”/resh-kaf-vav-shin/“substance”/“valuables”
at Genesis 12: 5, which is the same word that is used to describe the
valuable “loot” that was snatched by various parties at Genesis 14: 11, 12, 16, 21.
Terakh’s original plan had been that the caravan party, having reached
Luz/Lus/Laish in northeastern Galilee, would naturally proceed straight west to
Sur/Ssur/“Tyre”, and sell the caravan’s goods for a modest price to middlemen
there. But with Terakh having stayed back in Harran, and with Abraham now
leading the caravan party, Abraham has divine guidance as to where to lead the
“Now the LORD [YHWH] said unto Abram: 'Get thee out of thy country…unto the
land that I will show thee.’” Genesis 12: 1
In the first instance, that meant that YHWH was telling Abraham to lead the
party straight to Egypt to sell the caravan’s goods at sky-high prices. Note
the following commentator’s lament that Abraham seemed to pass through Canaan
awfully fast in going right to Egypt:
“The rapidity of the narration between Abraham’s journeying in 12: 9 and his
leaving in 12: 10 gives the impression that he walked right through and out
of the Promised Land.” Bruce K. Waltke, “Genesis: A Commentary” (2001), at
Secondly, this divine direction meant that Abraham would then settle in
central Canaan after returning from Egypt, whereas Abraham’s ancestors had always
lived in northern Canaan.
3. “Molodet” vs “Am”
As mentioned in two previous posts of mine, the text never says that Abraham
left his “am”/people/ancestors in Mesopotamia. That’s because he didn’t.
Rather, Abraham left his “molodet”, his father’s descendants, either at Harran
(Nahor and Nahor’s 12 sons), or soon after getting back to Canaan (Lot). And
Abraham left his father’s house at Harran (as Terakh was stuck in Harran).
As I see it, the text supports my controversial view that the Hebrews were
indigenous to Galilee in northern Canaan. Abraham is in effect portrayed as
growing up in Galilee, speaking perfect pre-Hebrew from his toddler days onward.
**************Gas prices getting you down? Search AOL Autos for
fuel-efficient used cars. (http://autos.aol.com/used?ncid=aolaut00050000000007)
More information about the b-hebrew