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

K Randolph kwrandolph at gmail.com
Wed Nov 26 17:38:00 EST 2008


On Wed, Nov 26, 2008 at 1:16 PM, <JimStinehart at aol.com> wrote:

> 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.
> Where is your source? Cite references.

Genesis 12 already mentions possessions (as in cattle) and slaves, as they
left Haran, before going down to 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.
> Where is your source? Cite references.

Genesis 12 mentions that Abraham travelled throughout the land unto the
Negev, before going to Egypt. That would include at least the heights
overlooking Sodom, if not visiting the valley itself.

> (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.
> History is history, as long as it is accurate it matters not where it is

> 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.
> The text does not say "five fabulous cities", that's your invention.

All it says is that there were five cities in a very fertile, well watered
region. And that the people in them were very wicked.

> (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.

They had been domesticated at least a couple of centuries by that time,
there is no reason that a wealthy man such as Abraham would not have had at
least a few.

>  The Hittites were a non-factor
> in Canaan back then.

There were two groups whose names have been transliterated as "Hittite": one
a Canaanite tribe who lived in Canaan prior to Abraham; one a major kingdom
headquartered in Turkey.

>  There was no Hurrian presence in Canaan at that time.


> Back then, tent-dwelling pastoralists rarely sojourned right next to
> city-dwellers.

"Rarely" doesn't mean "never", and the text doesn't say that it was common,
just that it happened.

>  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.

This was the time after the invasion of Canaan under Joshua, when Israel had
driven out or killed many Canaanites, but had as of yet to reproduce enough
to refill the land.

>  The Late
> Bronze Age is also when the historical "four rulers against the five"
> occurred,
> just north of Canaan.

But the one mentioned in Genesis 14 was in the southern part of Canaan,
therefore not the same event.

>  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.

The total depopulation of Shechem by the sons of Jacob happened well over a
century after the events of Genesis 14.

>  Every single story in the Patriarchal
> narratives has a direct counterpart in the well-documented secular history
> of the
> Late Bronze Age.

Not exactly, not by a long shot.

> Jim Stinehart
> Evanston, Illinois

Looking at your theories is like going to a carnival fun house with funny
mirrors that strangely distort one's reflection. Likewise your theories are
a weird distortion of the Biblical narrative, violating linguistics and

Karl W. Randolph.

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