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

K Randolph kwrandolph at gmail.com
Wed Nov 26 15:11:54 EST 2008


On Wed, Nov 26, 2008 at 8:01 AM, <JimStinehart at aol.com> wrote:

> Karl:
> 1.  In response to my statement that "There were never five rich cities
> south
> of the Dead Sea", you wrote:
> "Sez you! Why should I trust you? What are your credentials? Your postings
>  indicate great ignorance."
> If there had been 5 such rich cities on the southeast coast of the Dead
> Sea,
> the Egyptians would have tried to conquer such cities, and we would have
> historical records concerning such.

Reading the text as written, instead of as amended by you, Abram lived well
before the Hyksos invasion of Egypt, at a time when Egypt possessed no
territories in the Levant. Hence the contemporary lack of records in Egypt
of cities in Canaan.

You didn't answer my questions above.

>  In fact, the Egyptians paid no attention
> whatsoever to the southeast coast of the Dead Sea, because there's no there
> there.

By the New Kingdom, centuries later, that was true.

Here, even you are giving evidence that your chronology is wrong and that
the chronology as indicated by the text as written is correct.

> 2.  In response to my statement that "Lot and Abraham had come from the
> northeast, so they knew there were five rich cities in the Jezreel Valley",
> you
> made the following strange comment:
>  "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."
> Egypt is southwest of Beth-el.  Abraham and Lot went nowhere near the Dead
> Sea in going to and from Egypt.

Look at a map. The most direct route for a pastoralist leading thousands of
livestock and hundreds of slaves to take care of them leads to Beer Sheva
and then to the highlands overlooking the southern Dead Sea. Reading the
actions, we get the picture that what is now desert was then vast prairies
that could support large flocks of livestock.

> 3.  You wrote:  "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."
> According to one standard source, the International Standard Bible
> Encyclopedia, the geology and climate of Canaan have not changed much since
> the
> Patriarchal Age:
> "3.  Geological Conditions [of Palestine]:  The fertility and cultivation
> of
> any country depends mainly on its geological conditions. These are
> comparatively simple in Palestine, and have undergone no change since the
> age when man
> first appeared, or since the days of the Hebrew patriarchs.

"…since the age when man first appeared…" is contradicted by other, numerous
sources. "…since the days of the Hebrew patriarchs." is also open to

I checked other entries, and found the ISBE untrustworthy in other areas as
well. If I can't trust it in areas where I have some knowledge, how can I
trust its claims in areas where I don't have knowledge? (Paraphrase of John

> 4.  You wrote:  "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."
> That is true for all of Canaan except the Jezreel Valley.  The Jezreel
> Valley
> was the only place in Canaan that routinely produced far more grain than
> the
> inhabitants of the Jezreel Valley could consume.  For several centuries
> Egypt
> controlled the Jezreel Valley, and shipped grains from there that did not
> grow
> along the Nile River back to Egypt.  That is precisely why Egypt maintained
> its only permanent garrison in inland Canaan at Beth Shan.
> From your description here, since Egypt for most its history through at
least to the end of the Roman occupation, was a net grain exporter, that
means that any grains imported from Jezreel would have been of low priority,
hence low priced compared to the cost of shipping it to Egypt. By the way,
which grains could be grown in Jezreel that couldn't be grown in Egypt?
Agriculture science indicates that the opposite should be the case, that a
wider range of crops could be grown in irrigated Egypt than could be grown
in Jezreel.

> 5.  Note that my view of the case does not involve any need to change the
> climate of Canaan.

The climate is constantly changing, and Canaan is no exception. It's the no
change in climate that is the exception.

>  Nor does my view require archaeologists to dig up five cities
> on the southeast coast of Canaan that have escaped the historical record.

These cities have not escaped the historical record: we know their names and
their general geographic location from the historical record, and
archeologists have discovered the ruins of five early bronze age cities
within that location, four of which were destroyed by a violent

> Not only do we know historically the five great cities in the Jezreel
> Valley in
> the Late Bronze Age, but we have nice puns on the names of all five cities
> right there at Genesis 14: 2.  "Sodom" is Beth Shan, "Bela, it is Zoar" is
> Afula the Small, etc.

Those puns are your own invention. They are not found in the historical

>  I am just applying the well-documented secular history of
> Late Bronze Age Canaan to the text, and finding that everything fits
> perfectly.

No it doesn't fit perfectly, and that's what we repeatedly point out.

>  It's not fictional.

If that is your claim, then why don't you accept the text as written? Your
additions change it to fiction.

>  Rather, it's all very closely based on well-documented
> secular history.
> LOL!

>  Jim Stinehart
>  Evanston, Illinois

Karl W. Randolph.

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