[b-hebrew] M$QH at Genesis 13: 10: Where Did Lot Go?

JimStinehart at aol.com JimStinehart at aol.com
Wed Oct 1 09:41:08 EDT 2008


Bill Rea: 
 
You wrote:  “I think you're making a simple mistake in looking at current 
geography and climate when trying to deduce the meaning of Hebrew words. I get the
 impression you believe that Abram lived somewhere around 3500 years ago. In
 that case you need to know what the climate was then and what the land use
 was then. Climate is not static. There are long droughts sometimes in the
 order of several centuries and equally long wet periods. I've not studied
 Middle Eastern climate but it’s not a simple matter of looking at today's
 climate and assuming it was the same several millennia ago. Even if you knew
 all those things they do not necessarily give you a good guide to the
 meaning of KKR.”
 
It is fine for you and George Athas to talk about climate change.  But the 
fact remains that in the Late Bronze Age (which in my view is the Patriarchal 
Age), the breadbasket of Canaan was the Jezreel Valley, whereas the Jordan River 
Valley was (unlike today) of relatively little significance in the Late 
Bronze Age.
 
1.  Egypt’s only permanent garrison in inland Canaan during the Amarna Age 
was at Beth Shan, on the eastern edge of the Jezreel Valley.  It was there to 
protect the breadbasket of Canaan:  the Jezreel Valley.  The Jezreel Valley and 
the coastal road were the only parts of Canaan actively administered by Egypt. 
 Egypt basically ignored the unimportant Jordan River Valley.
 
2.  There were many important cities in the Jezreel Valley in the Late Bronze 
Age, whereas there were almost no cities in the rest of the Jordan River 
Valley.  Megiddo, Afula the Big, Afula the Small, Jezreel and Beth Shan are five 
important “cities of the valley”/’cities of the KKR”, and there’s also 
Aksapa/Achshaph, all being in the fertile Jezreel Valley.  After the fall of Jericho 
in the mid-16th century BCE, at the very beginning of the Late Bronze Age, 
there were essentially no important cities in the Jordan River Valley itself 
(excluding the Jezreel Valley) in the Late Bronze Age.  That’s because the 
Jezreel Valley was the breadbasket of ancient Canaan, whereas there was no there 
there in the rest of the Jordan River Valley.
 
3.  If Lot wanted to live the soft city life, in rich cities in a fertile 
valley, then the only valley in Canaan that fits that description is the fertile 
Jezreel Valley, the breadbasket of Canaan.  Life was not easy in the rest of 
the Jordan River Valley, and there were virtually no cities at all in the rest 
of the Jordan River Valley.  Lot and Abraham had just come from the east, so 
they would know both the Jezreel Valley and the rest of the Jordan River 
Valley.  Both Lot and Abraham knew where the soft, easy city life was to be found:  
in the M$QH, the well-watered pasture, of the eastern half of the Jezreel 
Valley.  The Jezreel Valley was world-famous for growing grain (some of which was 
shipped to Egypt) and for rich cities, not for tent-dwelling herders of sheep 
and goats like Abraham.  The Jezreel Valley was definitely Lot’s kind of place.
 
The watershed in the Jezreel Valley is approximately at Afula the Small, at 
about the midpoint of the Jezreel Valley.  Water from Afula the Small and 
points east drains east into the Jordan River Valley, whereas water from points 
west of Afula the Small (such as Megiddo) drains west into the Mediterranean Sea. 
 So in that sense, Afula the Small and the eastern half of the Jezreel Valley 
can be viewed as being the northwest corner of the Jordan River Valley, 
broadly construed.  That is the  o-n-l-y  place in the Jordan River Valley where 
there are rich cities in M$QH, well-watered pastureland.  That is historically 
where the “cities of the valley/“cities of the plain”/”cities of the KKR” 
were in the Late Bronze Age.  That’s the only logical place for Lot to go in 
Canaan, if Lot is going to sell his herd of sheep and goats and commence living 
the soft life in rich cities in a fertile valley in Late Bronze Age Canaan.  
There’s no way Lot would go to the desolate Dead Sea!
 
Afula the Small may have been commonly referred to in the Late Bronze Age, in 
abbreviated form, as “Small” (in contrast to Afula the Great, which likely 
was referred to simply as “Afula”).  “Zoar” means “small”.  Afula the Small 
is attested in the mid-15th century BCE as ayin-P-R S-R.  The S-R there, 
meaning “small”, is redolent of ssade-ayin-resh/C(R/“Zoar”, also meaning “small”
.  In Biblical Hebrew (unlike modern Hebrew), a ssade was an emphatic S.  So “
Zoar” is in effect SS-a-R, which is close to the pre-Hebrew west Semitic S-R 
that is attested in Egyptian on the mid-15th century BCE topographical list of 
places in Canaan by conquering Egyptian pharaoh Thutmosis III.  The only M$QH 
in the entire Jordan River Valley is “as one goest unto Zoar”.  That is, from 
the perspective of Beth-el in central Canaan, then starting at Beth Shan on 
the southeast and heading northwest and ending at Afula the Small/Biblical “Zoar
” on the northwest, is the M$QH/eastern half of the Jezreel Valley, which can 
also be viewed as being the northwest corner of the Jordan River Valley 
(since water in the eastern half of the Jezreel Valley drains into the Jordan River 
Valley).
 
Lot is portrayed in the text as going to the only logical place for Lot to go 
in a Late Bronze Age context, if Lot wanted to live the soft city life in 
rich cities in a fertile valley in Canaan.  Biblical “Zoar”/SS-a-R in the 
Patriarchal narratives is historical S-R/“Small”, that is, ayin-P-R S-R/Afula the 
Small.  Lot settled in the only M$QH in the greater Jordan River Valley, namely 
in the “cities of the KKR” between Beth Shan and Zoar/Afula the Small.  It 
all makes perfect sense, in the secular historical context of the Late Bronze 
Age.  Each of Megiddo, Afula the Great, Afula the Small, Beth Shan and 
Aksapa/Achshaph is attested by name in the fertile Jezreel Valley in the Late Bronze 
Age.  Moreover, as noted previously the only permanent Egyptian garrison in 
inland Canaan was at Beth Shan, so we know that the Jezreel Valley was Canaan’s 
breadbasket in the Late Bronze Age.  There’s nothing remotely like that in the 
rest of the Jordan River Valley, which in the Late Bronze Age featured no 
important cities at all (outside of the eastern Jezreel Valley).
 
“Sodom” is not an historical name, but rather is a nasty Patriarchal 
nickname, meaning “burnt”.  The Patriarchal nickname Sodom/“Burnt” obviously 
alludes to the fiery destruction of Sodom that is portrayed in chapter 19 of 
Genesis.  But “Zoar”, by contrast, is an historical name of an historical town in 
the Late Bronze Age, namely S-R/“Small”/Afula the Small/ayin-P-R S-R, which was 
located in ancient Canaan’s breadbasket:  the M$QH/well-watered pastureland 
of the eastern Jezreel Valley.  
 
Genesis 13: 10, 12 is telling us that Lot settled, logically enough, in the 
rich cities of the fertile Jezreel Valley:  the “cities of the KKR” -- the 
cities of the valley (that is, of the Jezreel Valley) -- the cities of the “plain”
.
 
Jim Stinehart
Evanston, Illinois




**************Looking for simple solutions to your real-life financial 
challenges?  Check out WalletPop for the latest news and information, tips and 
calculators.      (http://www.walletpop.com/?NCID=emlcntuswall00000001)



More information about the b-hebrew mailing list