[b-hebrew] What Does "Sodom" Mean?

K Randolph kwrandolph at gmail.com
Tue Nov 25 17:29:31 EST 2008


On Tue, Nov 25, 2008 at 11:53 AM, <JimStinehart at aol.com> wrote:

> Karl:
> I do not base my argument on Gesenius' work. ...
> Then why even bring him up?

> 2.  You wrote:  "[A]rcheologists are coming to the conclusion that the
> ruins
> of Sodom can be identified with those of a certain early bronze age site
> south
> of the Dead Sea."
> There were never five rich cities south of the Dead Sea.

Sez you! Why should I trust you? What are your credentials? Your postings
indicate great ignorance.

>  Lot and Abraham had
> come from the northeast, so they knew there were five rich cities in the
> Jezreel Valley.

Sorry, the narrative states that the break up between Abram and Lot happened
after they sojourned in Egypt, so they would have come from the south to
that point.

>  If Lot wanted to choose soft city life, Lot would naturally
> choose the sure thing:  sell his flock and take early retirement in Beth
> Shan.  It
> makes no sense to think of Lot bravely and audaciously going to a place
> where
> no one (that Lot knew) had gone before, southeast of the Dead Sea.

See above.

>  Nor would
> any invader of Canaan have the slightest interest in that area either.
>  There
> are some nice oases down there, with plenty of foliage, but there has never
> been any real wealth in that part of the world.  No individual seeking the
> soft
> city life like Lot, and no invaders looking for loot and plunder like the
> four
> attacking rulers in the "four rulers against the five" referenced at
> Genesis
> 14: 9, would have the slightest interest in a handful of oases southeast of
> the Dead Sea.

You are making the assumption that the climate and other situations have not
changed in over three millennia. As has been repeatedly stated in the past,
that assumption, apart from actual historical records (which, incidentally,
apart from Genesis, are lacking) is an invalid assumption.

>  Rather, both Lot and those invaders would instead make a beeline
> for the wealthy city of Beth Shan (that is, "Sodom").
> 3.  You wrote:  "[G]rain can be grown where ever there is well watered good
> soil. I've
>  seen wheat growing wild on hillsides. For you to claim that the Jesreel
> valley was the only place where grain was grown is therefore patently
> ludicrous.
> For you, coming from grain growing area, to make such an elementary error
> ...."
> Yes, wheat and barley were at times grown in many different parts of
> Canaan.

Here you show you don't know the history of agriculture.

Until the advent of cheap, overland bulk cargo transport, it was rare for
grains to be shipped long distances, and then mostly by sea, river or canal.
As a result, most if not all of the grain eaten in a town was grown in the
fields around the town. If a town became wealthy, it was usually because it
had a high value export other than grain. Therefore, grain was grown around
almost every town in Canaan, consistently, every year.

> But the one and only place where fields of grain were commonplace every
> year
> in Canaan was the wondrous Jezreel Valley.  The only place in Canaan where
> a
> tent-dwelling pastoralist like Abraham would never be welcome is the
> Jezreel
> Valley, which was given over to growing grain in fields, not to subsistence
> living tending sheep and goats.

Here you are making an assumption that the valley was heavily populated. But
was it? We read concerning Jacob, Abram's grandson, after a couple of
generations of population growth, that the land was still largely empty with
plenty of room for pastoralists to graze large flocks of sheep, even near
towns. Therefore your assumption is wrong.

>  The only cities in Canaan that were rich based on
> fields of grain were the five cities of the Jezreel Valley:  Sodom, Afula
> the
> Small, Jezreel, Afula the Great, and Megiddo.  Those are the five
> historical "
> cities of the Plain"/KKR/valley.

KKR does not mean plain or valley, rather it means district or region. That
could include mountainous areas.

Again, concerning climate, see above.

>  All five of those cities, and the Jezreel
> Valley itself, are attested on the Thutmosis III list from the Late Bronze
> Age.
>  Everyone in greater Canaan -- including Abraham, Lot, and any potential
> invader of Canaan -- knew that the finest land in all of Canaan was the
> Jezreel
> Valley, where there were five cities that were wealthy because of all those
> wondrous grain-growing fields.
> See above concerning grain transportation.

> "Sodom"/SDM and "fields"/&DYM sound very much alike.  This close pun on the
> word "fields" is letting us know that "Sodom" means Beth Shan, which the
> Egyptians used to guard the valuable "fields" of grain in the immensely
> fertile
> Jezreel Valley.
> Your supposed pun does not pass the smell test, or more accurately, the
pronunciation test.

> Jim Stinehart
> Evanston, Illinois

Karl W. Randolph.

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