[b-hebrew] names and puns

Gabe Eisenstein gabe at cascadeaccess.com
Mon Oct 13 13:53:55 EDT 2008

Dear Dave,

Sorry to attribute to you a global denial of punning names in Genesis.
Guess what set me off was this:

"Gen 48:22 isn't a pun on anything.  It's a perfectly legitimate and 
common Hebrew word, and once again, it says Jacob took by force the 
piece of land he's describing, whereas the texts talking about Shechem 
say he bought land."

Puns connect different words, each of which is "perfectly legitimate" on 
its own. In this case the author was almost certainly aware of the 
linguistic similarity between the common word "shoulder" or "slope" and 
the name of the city (which I assume itself derived from the "shoulder" 
meaning), given the association between the "house of Joseph" and the 
early seat of Israelite authority.
If you are saying that the text has some different location in mind, 
which Jacob took by force, I find that very implausible. It seems much 
more likely that there are simply different traditions about Shechem.

Gabe Eisenstein

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