[b-hebrew] Canaan as the Original Homeland of the Hebrews: Part I

JimStinehart at aol.com JimStinehart at aol.com
Wed Jun 25 18:46:23 EDT 2008

Yigal Levin:
You wrote:  
1.  You wrote:  “You see, it does say that Terah was on his way to Canaan.”
You and I agree 100% on that.
2.  You wrote:  “It does NOT say why he was on his way to Canaan. The idea 
that he was on his way BACK HOME to Canaan is entirely your invention. Maybe he 
was out of work and there was work in Canaan? Maybe he had bought a retirement 
condo in Ashdod? Maybe he was ultimately headed for Egypt? Maybe God told him 
to go? The author does not say that he was not originally from Canada, 
either. The details that are 
 missing were apparently not important to the author - that does not give us 
 licence to "fill in the gaps" however we want to.”
Now we’re finally getting somewhere.  Let’s compare the various theories as 
to why Terakh was on his way to Canaan.
(i)  “Maybe he was out of work and there was work in Canaan?”
Is that consistent with Lot coming out of Egypt rich?  Genesis 13: 5  Why are 
you fighting the text so hard?  Lot comes out of Egypt rich.  That’s because 
Lot’s party had brought valuable “rekuwsh”/resh-kaf-vav-shin/“substance”/“
valuables” at Genesis 12: 5 from Mesopotamia, 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.
It would not make any sense for Lot to have valuable rekuwsh, which makes Lot 
a rich man coming out of Egypt, if Terakh “was out of work and there was work 
in Canaan”.
(ii)  “Maybe he had bought a retirement condo in Ashdod?”
Ashdod is located in Canaan.  How on earth could a man indigenous to 
Mesopotamia, who did not have a single relative who had ever set foot in Canaan (your 
view, not mine), buy a place in Ashdod, Canaan while in Mesopotamia?
Moreover, that flies in the face of the text’s insistence that the Patriarchs 
were unable to buy land in Canaan.  Abraham had to pay a king’s ransom to buy 
a burial plot for Sarah.
No way.
(iii)  “Maybe he was ultimately headed for Egypt?”
How can you so consistently disregard what the text so plainly says?
“And Terah took Abram his son, and Lot the son of Haran, his son's son, and 
Sarai his daughter-in-law, his son Abram's wife;  and they went forth with them 
from Ur of [Kasdim], to go into the land of Canaan….”  Genesis 11: 31
Terakh was heading for Canaan, not for Egypt.
As set forth in a post answering questions raised by Tory Thorpe, Abraham is 
divinely guided by YHWH to go to Egypt.  But that certainly was  n-o-t  Terakh’
s plan.
Why is it that every one of your theories of the case contradicts what the 
text so clearly says?
(iv)  “Maybe God told him to go?”
There you go again.  The text presents YHWH as speaking to Abraham in Harran, 
not to Terakh.  The text simply will not support these theories of yours.
(v)  “The author does not say that he was not originally from Canada, either.”
If Terakh was from Canada, why would Terakh want to go to Canaan?  You’re not 
making sense here.
(vi)  Terakh was indigenous to northern Canaan, and he had been on an overly 
long, one-time caravan trip to Mesopotamia.  Terakh was desperately trying to 
make it back home to Canaan.  But unfortunately for Terakh, old Terakh became 
too infirm at Harran to make it all the long way back to Canaan.
Note that your five theories of the case make no sense and are directly 
contradicted by what the text says.
My theory of the case, by sharp contrast, fits everything in the text 
Moreover, I think I must have missed the part of your answer where you 
explain why the text never once refers to “am”/people/ancestors regarding Ur, 
Harran or Mesopotamia.  If the text is trying to tell us that all of Abraham’s “am”
/people/ancestors came from Mesopotamia (your view, not mine), why then is it 
that the text never says that?  Why does the text insist on always using the 
rare word “molodet” in referring to Abraham’s relatives in the context of Ur, 
Harran and Mesopotamia?
Why fight the text?  The only sensible explanation of what the text says is 
that Terakh was indigenous to Canaan, and was trying to make it back home to 
Canaan, but became infirm at Harran and for that reason, and only for that 
reason, never made it back home to Canaan.
Why try so hard to make the text say something that it does not say?  We know 
from secular history that the Hebrews were indigenous to Canaan, not to 
Mesopotamia.  The author of the Patriarchal narratives knew that, and he assumes 
that his audience knows and understands that.  The author never imagined how 
JEPD and modern scholars would misinterpret his fine composition.
The author of the Patriarchal narratives was proud of the fact that his 
people were indigenous to Canaan, and did not try to hide that historical fact.
Jim Stinehart
Evanston, Illinois

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