[b-hebrew] When Did Lot Get to Zoar?

JimStinehart at aol.com JimStinehart at aol.com
Tue Oct 21 09:49:40 EDT 2008

1.  The Hebrew verb at Genesis 19: 23 does not mean “to rise”, but rather 
means “to go forth”.  Thus even before we consider the matter of tense, the 
notion of the sun “going forth on the earth” means a time long after sunrise, 
when the earth has been filled with the sun’s bright light.
2.  In context here, sunrise has long passed.  Lot started to get ready to 
leave Sodom at sunrise.  Lot dawdled.  Lot was whisked to the outskirts of Sodom 
(still in harm’s way).  Lot talks/argues with the angels.  Then Lot and his 
family walk to Zoar, which likely was a distance of 5 miles.  Lot and his 
family must walk at least one hour, at a minimum, to get out of harm’s way.  Thus 
sunrise is long past when Lot and his family finally arrive at Zoar.
Your proposed English translation is therefore very misleading.  To someone 
who does not know the Hebrew language’s lack of tense, your translation makes 
it sound as if the text mandates that Lot got to Zoar at sunrise.  That is not 
the case.
3.  Your defense of the age-old view that the Patriarchs’ “Hebron” is the 
city of Hebron boils down to this:
“I expect neither the writers or the translators considered the possibility 
that their
 words would be used to try to decide between a 6am and a 9am destruction.”
I myself read that as an implicit admission that if we read the text closely, 
a city of Hebron location won’t work for the Patriarchs’ “Hebron”.
4.  No one has yet set forth a single line of text in the Patriarchal 
narratives that either (a) supports the age-old view that the Patriarchs’ “Hebron” 
is the city of Hebron, or that (b) contradicts my assertion that the Patriarchs’
 “Hebron” is the Aijalon Valley.
We all know that it frequently is the case that two or more different places 
in ancient Canaan have the same name.  For example, think how many places are 
called “Qadesh”.  When you deny that Isaac was born in Galilee, you do not 
deny that there was a Qadesh (of Upper Galilee) in Galilee.  No, your argument 
is that Genesis 20: 1 is referring to a different place with the same name 
(Qadesh).  So then why can’t the Patriarchs’ “Hebron” likewise be referring to a 
different place than the city of Hebron, with only the names being the same?
5.  Can you point to a single line of text in the Patriarchal narratives that 
fits the city of Hebron better than the Aijalon Valley as being the locale of 
the Patriarchs’ “Hebron”?  We all know that the names of the city of Hebron, 
and of the Patriarchs’ “Hebron”, are the same (as George Athas has repeated 
many times over).  But the question is whether the places are the same.  Aren’
t these two very different places, that share the same name?
Jim Stinehart
Evanston, Illinois  

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