[b-hebrew] Hebron: The Linguistic Search for the Patriarchs' Bronze Age "Hebron"

K Randolph kwrandolph at gmail.com
Sat Oct 11 01:18:18 EDT 2008


On Fri, Oct 10, 2008 at 3:31 PM, <JimStinehart at aol.com> wrote:

> Dave Washburn:
> 1.  You wrote:  "No, the text says Haran died "in Ur of the Chaldeans, in
> the
> land of his birth."  That's Gen 1128, NIV."
> But you read Hebrew, so you know that's a mistranslation.  As Yigal Levin
> confirmed on a thread long ago, "molodet" in Biblical Hebrew refers to
> one's
> father's descendants.

Forget that one. Only in Esther, which is the only post-Exile book to
include the word, uses it in a way other than place of birth, and even there
it refers to her "place of birth" in the meaning of the people she was from.

>  Only in modern Hebrew has the word "molodet" taken on the
> new meaning of "birth".  Genesis 11: 28 says that Haran died at Ur of the
> Kasdim (not "Chaldeans")

If you knew Hebrew, you would recognize that "Chaldean" is the English
rendition of KSDYM. But you don't know Hebrew ...

> in the presence of his father, in the land of his
> father's descendants, that is, where Haran's "molodet" were at the time.
>  Haran
> died on the "road" on a long "caravan" trip way out to Ur.
> Note that the Patriarchal narratives  n-e-v-e-r  refer to Terakh's or
> Abraham'
> s "am" as being from Mesopotamia.

Oh yes they were, repeatedly, as being from Ur of the Chaldeans. The most
famous of the Chaldeans were those connected with Nebuchadnezzar with his
capital in the city of Babylon.

>  That's because they weren't.  The text
> always carefully refers to "molodet" in Mesopotamia, referencing the fact
> that
> Terakh and the "molodet" of Abraham went on a long one-time caravan trip
> way
> out to Ur.

This is beyond silly because that's not what the text says.

> If we pay close attention to the words "am" and "molodet" and where each
> such word is used in the text, we can see that Abraham's "am"/ancestors are
> not
> portrayed as being from Mesopotamia.  Historically, we know that Abraham's
> ancestors were not from Mesopotamia, but rather were indigenous to Canaan.
> Rather than contradicting secular history, the text shows a fine knowledge
> of
> secular history.  But we must pay close attention to the particular words
> that are
> used in the text:  "am" vs. "molodet".
> 2.  You wrote:  "[I]f we take the text at face value, this was his
> [Haran's]
> name at birth and had nothing at all to do with any travel plans by Terah
> or
> anybody else."
> So you are arguing that none of the people's names in the Patriarchal
> narratives foreshadow what their main role will be in the Patriarchal
> narratives?


> where Haran sounds like Charan, which means "road" or "caravan"?

There is no such word in Biblical Hebrew.

>  Are you
> going to tell me that the name "Sodom" does not mean "scorched" and that
> the
> name "Gomorrah" does not mean "a wasted heap"?

Exactly! Where do you get these strange ideas?

>  Is it just a "coincidence"
> that the first two letters of Abraham's name spell "father", and the first
> third of the Patriarchal narratives focus on Abraham's monumental problems
> in
> attempting to "father" a son by beloved Sarah?  Why does YHWH give
> Abraham's most
> important son the name "Isaac", which means "laugh"?  Is it relevant that
> Sarah had initially "laughed" at the idea that in her old age, she might
> still
> be able to bear a son, Isaac (Genesis 18: 13, 15);  that Sarah then later "
> laughs" with joy at Isaac's birth (Genesis 21: 6);  and that still later,
> Ishmael "laughs" with his toddler younger half-brother Isaac in a manner
> that
> Sarah deems inappropriate, leading to the immediate exile of Ishmael and
> his
> mother, Hagar (Genesis 21: 9)?

This is completely irrelevant to your thesis, as I pointed out in an earlier

> Shall I go on?  Every single important name in the Patriarchal narratives
> has
> an important symbolic meaning, based on puns.  When you and Karl Randolph
> try
> to deny that basic, objective fact, I do not know quite what to say.  Both
> of
> you know Hebrew so well.  How can you possibly miss every one of these puns
> after puns after puns after unending puns?

Simple, because they exist only in your fevered mind.

> Most scholars recognize that every single important name in the text of the
> Patriarchal narratives has obvious symbolism.  If you close your eyes to
> all
> those many puns, you will not be able to follow what the author of the
> Patriarchal narratives is telling us.

Name names. Who are your "most scholars".

> 3.  You wrote:  "Gen 48:22 says nothing at all about Shechem…."
> Heavens, Genesis 48: 22 uses the identical word in unpointed text as
> "Shechem"
> , used as the common noun "shechem".  How can a pun be any clearer than
> that?  It's the identical spelling in the original, unpointed text.

I who reads the unpointed text see this as an idiomatic phrase, that Joseph
gets a "shoulder up" over his brothers in that he has two tribes descended
after him, not one each as his brothers. It has nothing to do with a

Bu the way, this is reported as happening in Egypt, hence the Exodus was
needed to complete this drama.

> 4.  You wrote:  "Hamor is described in Gen 34:2 as a "Hivite, not an
> Amorite.
>  You're still getting nowhere."
> As I explained before, "Hivite" is a made-up, non-historical pejorative
> nickname, that is shrewdly designed to claim that the expansionist-minded
> Amorites
> in Shechem were nefariously acting like the regional equivalent of the
> dreaded international menace at the time:  the classic Hittites.  Genesis
> 48: 22 is
> important in confirming that Hamor is actually "the Amorite".

Ridiculous! Absolutely ridiculous! You need to read the story of Jacob.

> 5.  You wrote:  "There is no need for these names [Nahor, Haran, Hamor,
> Hebron] to have any particular meaning.  They may or may not, but it really
> doesn't
> matter.  As for coincidence, I'm reminded of the Bible Code:  we can find
> most anything we want to find if we look hard enough and use enough
> imagination."
> Each name makes perfect historical and textual sense, as I have shown, once
> one realizes that the Hebrew author is engaged in clever Hebrew wordplay in
> playing off heth/X against he/H.  Every single important proper name in the
> text
> has an important meaning.

If you knew Hebrew, you wouldn't, couldn't make these claims.

> Since you know Hebrew, you certainly know that Hebrew names, unlike English
> names, almost always have a definite meaning.  The Hebrew author of the
> Patriarchal narratives is not going to use names that have no meanings.
>  That is not
> the Hebrew way.

Almost every name has a definite meaning. In English we use so many from
other cultures that we often don't recognize those meanings, but that does
not mean that they are not there. Many people choose names for their
children because their meanings are important to them. Even the ancient
Hebrews chose names for those reasons, or for something as insignificant as
that a relative had the same name. That was the Hebrew way. Almost never did
a name foreshadow the role a person played in his life.

> 6.  You seem to be not recognizing any of the ubiquitous puns the Hebrew
> author uses throughout the text.  The discussion we should be having is why
> the
> author chose the names Nahor, Haran, and Hamor, and what those names are
> intended to mean.  The discussion we are actually having, though, involves
> you
> denying that those names have any particular, important meaning.
> If you are going to deny that names like Nahor, Haran, Hamor, Sodom,
> Gomorrah, Abraham and Isaac have any particular meaning, with no puns being
> involved
> with such names, then of course I will not be able to convince you what the
> geographical place name "Hebron" means.  Sadly, that also means that I will
> not
> be able to convince you where the Patriarchs' "Hebron" was actually
> located.

As long as you continue to violate Biblical Hebrew grammar, lexicography and
linguistics, you will convince no one who knows any amount of Hebrew

> Jim Stinehart
> Evanston, Illinois

This has gone beyond a discussion of Hebrew language to proselytism to a
particular viewpoint. All you do is repeat the same discredited points over
and over again. In order to strengthen your claims, you need to bring up
more evidence, which you don't do because you can't. You can't, because that
hoped for evidence doesn't exist.

Karl W. Randolph.

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