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

K Randolph kwrandolph at gmail.com
Wed Nov 26 18:51:22 EST 2008


On Wed, Nov 26, 2008 at 1:49 PM, <JimStinehart at aol.com> wrote:

> Karl:
> You wrote:  "In Genesis 18 we have the narrative of Abraham standing before
> YHWH in a place near Hebron called the Oaks of Mamre, overlooking the place
> where
>  Sodom was situated. The next day the narrative has him returning to that
>  place to see what happened to Sodom. Context indicates that the two times
>  were at the same place, with no need for Abraham to hike back to Bethel."
> 1.  Absolutely nothing can be seen from the city of Hebron.
> If you had read the text, it says that Abraham went a distance from his
tent, not that he saw Sodom from Hebron.

> 2.  The "Oaks of Mamre" cannot be near the city of Hebron.  Oak trees need
> at least 15 inches of rain a year.  The city of Hebron only gets 10-12
> inches
> of rain a year.
> Another indication of climate change.

> 3.  No place near the city of Hebron affords a view of the southeast coast
> of
> the Dead Sea.  No way.  It's geographically impossible.
> Within five miles, which is still near, there are plenty of places.

> 4.  Genesis 13: 18 explicitly states that the Oaks of Mamre are "in"
> Hebron:
> "And Abram moved his tent, and came and dwelt by the terebinths of Mamre,
> which are in Hebron…."
> Note the presence of the preposition "bet/B", which means "in".  Your claim
> that the Oaks of Mamre were located at some distance from the Patriarchs' "
> Hebron" is in direct contradiction of what Genesis 13: 18 explicitly says.
> The prefix B- is used also in ways that would be better translated as
"near" or "by". If you had studied the Hebrew language, you would have known
that, but you don't know Hebrew…

Oh by the way, the same verse says that Abraham pitched his tent "in" B-
Hebron: do you mean to claim that there was enough empty space within the
walls of Hebron for Abraham to pitch a tent within a forest of trees?

> 6.  Because it was morning when Sodom was destroyed, as we previously
> discussed, that is the most likely time for there to be high winds in
> Canaan. "These
> [strong] storms appear [in Israel] only from October-May and are most
> frequent
> during the cold season.  The diurnal course is characterized by a
> strengthening in the morning hours…."
> _http://cat.inist.fr/?aModele=afficheN&cpsidt=2168854_ (
> http://cat.inist.fr/?aModele=afficheN&cpsidt=2168854)   "The prevailing
> wind in Israel is from the NW…."  (From "Air Pollution Control in Israel
> During the First and Second Century", by
> Y. Mamane.)
> You're not an outdoors person either, are you? Ignorant in so many areas.

Except when a cold front comes through, the time when one is least likely to
see strong wind is during the early morning hours, the quietest usually
right at dawn. Then as the morning progresses, the wind picks up, just as
your quote above mentions. I have seen the same pattern so many places,
including the Mediterranean climate where I presently dwell.

> And although the prevailing winds in Canaan were normally from the
> northwest,
> the Bible is well aware of a cold north wind in the winters:  "Awake, O
> north
> wind…."  Song of Songs: 4: 16  "The north wind bringeth forth rain, and a
> backbiting tongue an angry countenance." Proverbs 25: 23
> So we see the "perfect storm" here.  The cold north wind blows the smoke
> from Sodom/Beth Shan south down the Jordan River Valley toward Beth-el.
>  Abraham,
> having gotten up early, made the 17½–mile trip from the Aijalon Valley (the
> Patriarchs' "Hebron") to Beth-el by donkey in under 4 hours, arriving at
> Beth-el at the ideal time (prior to mid-morning) to see the maximum effect
> of the
> just-completed fiery destruction of Sodom/Beth Shan.
> This is so weird it's laughable.

The north wind almost always brings with it clouds and rain, which would
both obscure and wash out any smoke from the destruction of a city. That is,
if it were a north wind.

> 7.  If we stick with actual geography, we will see that the Patriarchal
> narratives have pinpoint accuracy as to all matters, including the local
> geography
> of Canaan.
> Exactly, if you follow the text as written. We don't know exactly where the
Oaks of Mamre were, other than near or next to Hebron, and I mean the place
presently known as Hebron. If these Oaks of Mamre were to the east of
Hebron, Abraham could have pitched his tent about a mile from town, yet
would have been only about two miles from a point from which it is possible
to look over the region south of the Dead Sea. From there to where the ruins
of the five early bronze age cities were found is a straight line view about
25 miles, easily seen, especially shortly after sun up before the winds pick
up and carry up dust to obscure the view.

> Jim Stinehart
> Evanston, Illinois

Karl W. Randolph.

More information about the b-hebrew mailing list