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

JimStinehart at aol.com JimStinehart at aol.com
Wed Nov 26 16:16:13 EST 2008


Karl:
 
1.  You wrote:  “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.”
 
(a)  Abraham did not have that livestock or personnel until he got back from 
Egypt.
 
(b)  Beersheba is farther west of the Dead Sea than is Beth-el.  Beersheba 
and Egypt are southwest of Beth-el, whereas the Dead Sea is east or southeast of 
Beth-el.  The Patriarchs never went anywhere close to the Dead Sea.
 
(c)  There is nothing in secular history to back up your contention that “
what is now desert was then vast prairies that could support large flocks of 
livestock.”  The only magnet that ever drew large numbers of people to the Negev 
Desert was that dreadful copper mining.
 
2.  You wrote:  “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.”
 
(a) In the Early Bronze Age, we have the famous Egyptian Execration texts, 
which famously curse Jerusalem and other Early Bronze Age cities in Canaan.  If 
there had been five fabulous cities on the southeast coast of the Dead Sea, 
Egyptian records would reflect that, one way or the other.
 
(b)  If we go back to the historical time period before the Hyksos invasion 
of Egypt, we lose most of the historical bearings of the Patriarchal 
narratives.  Camels were extremely rare way back then.  The Hittites were a non-factor 
in Canaan back then.  There was no Hurrian presence in Canaan at that time.  
Back then, tent-dwelling pastoralists rarely sojourned right next to 
city-dwellers.  Most common people lived in settled villages.  About the only time in 
Canaan’s very long history when, as a routine matter, tent-dwelling pastoralists 
sojourned right next to city-dwellers, and village life was at an all-time 
low, was the mid-14th century BCE time period of the Amarna Letters.  The Late 
Bronze Age is also when the historical “four rulers against the five” occurred, 
just north of Canaan.  That same year is when the ruler of Shechem, and all 
the men who were with him, were killed in a sneak attack that, surprisingly, 
resulted in no effective retribution.  Every single story in the Patriarchal 
narratives has a direct counterpart in the well-documented secular history of the 
Late Bronze Age.
 
Jim Stinehart
Evanston, Illinois

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