[b-hebrew] $XR = black?

JimStinehart at aol.com JimStinehart at aol.com
Fri Apr 3 09:57:26 EDT 2009

You wrote:  “Numerous verses indicate that the promise was to Isaac, and that 
Ishmael did not share in them.”
A.  What verses are you thinking of?  Ishmael gets a very nice set of divine 
promises in the Patriarchal narratives:
(1)  “And the angel of the LORD said unto her [Hagar]:  'Behold, thou art 
with child, and shalt bear a son;  and thou shalt call his name Ishmael, because 
the LORD hath heard thy affliction. “  Genesis 16: 11
(2)  “And God heard the voice of the lad;  and the angel of God called to 
Hagar out of heaven, and said unto her: 'What aileth thee, Hagar?  fear not;  for 
God hath heard the voice of the lad where he is.  Arise, lift up the lad, and 
hold him fast by thy hand;  for I will make him a great nation.' …And God was 
with the lad, and he grew;  and he dwelt in the wilderness….”  Genesis 21: 
17-18, 20
B.  All those divine promises re Ishmael come true, in spades:
“these are the sons of Ishmael, and these are their names, by their villages, 
and by their encampments;  twelve princes according to their nations. …And 
they dwelt from Havilah unto Shur [$WR] that is before Egypt, as thou goest 
toward Asshur [)$WR]….”  Genesis 25: 16, 18
Note the clever Hebrew wordplay there, as $WR is contrasted to )$WR.  That’s 
another reason why the early Hebrew author of the Patriarchal narratives came 
up with the clever pun of $WR to refer to Egypt.
Note how the author of the Patriarchal narratives super-brilliantly refers to 
all three great powers in the Late Bronze Age who might oppose the early 
Hebrews’ worst nightmare -- the dreaded Hittites:
(1) &WR = Sur/Tyre  [Genesis 20: 1]
(2)  $WR = Egypt  [Genesis 16: 7;  25: 18]
(3)  )$WR = Assyria  [Genesis 25: 18]
The author of the Patriarchal narratives hoped that those three great powers 
would effectively form a “wall”/$WR around beloved Canaan, to protect Canaan 
and the Hebrews from the terrifying Hittite war machine.  (For those keeping 
score at home, that’s the 6th superb geographical pun on sin/shin-vav-resh.)
Is that clever Hebrew wordplay at its finest or what?  No other author in the 
Bible, or JEPD, could pun like that!  It’s absolutely breathtaking.  (Catch 
the pulsating excitement of the Patriarchal narratives.)    
Meanwhile, $XR/$XWR/$YXWR, which is the primary subject of this thread, does 
not appear in the Patriarchal narratives as a geographical term.  No author of 
any part of the Bible except the author of the Patriarchal narratives was 
capable of punning, and willing to pun, in both Hebrew and Egyptian at the same 
time.  No later author would pick up on the Egyptian phrase “pond of Horus”.  
As for the scholarly view that the Hebrews used an Egyptian phrase meaning “
pond of Horus” as an all-purpose reference to “a river, stream or wadi” located 
nowhere near the historical pond of Horus -- let me just be polite and limit 
myself to saying that I agree with Kevin Edgecomb’s devastating assessment of 
that untenable gambit. 
C.  Jacob cannot wait to leave Harran, just east of the upper Euphrates 
River, and Jacob never looks back as he hurries all the long way home to beloved 
Canaan.  None of Jacob’s descendants wanted to live in east-central Syria, just 
west of the Euphrates River (and just west of Harran).  That’s not part of the 
Promised Land for the Hebrews/Jacob’s descendants.  No, that land is for 
Ishmael’s descendants.  Even as early as when young Joseph is almost murdered by 
his older half-brothers, we see Ishmael’s descendants as traders who hail from 
east-central Syria, and who pass through Canaan on their way southwest to 
Egypt.  In the historical context of the time, we should interpret MDYNYM at 
Genesis 37: 28 as referring to people living in the historical Hurrian state of 
Mitanni in east-central Syria (with T and D often being interchangeable in going 
from one ancient language to another):  
“And there passed by Midianites [MDYNYM], merchantmen;  and they [Joseph’s 
older half-brothers] drew and lifted up Joseph out of the pit, and sold Joseph 
to the Ishmaelites for twenty shekels of silver.  And they brought Joseph into 
Egypt. “  Genesis 37: 28
Rather than being a “contradiction” (Ishmaelites vs. Midianites) in the 
Patriarchal narratives reflecting multiple authors who didn’t know what story each 
other was telling (the scholarly view), this verse instead shows that by the 
time we get to Joseph’s generation, some of Ishmael’s descendants had already 
become established foreign traders operating out of the historical Hurrian 
state of Naharim/Mitanni in east-central Syria, immediately west of Assyria and 
the Euphrates River.  (That’s one of the areas for Ishmael’s descendants 
referenced at both Genesis 15: 18 and Genesis 25: 18.)  These particular 
Ishmaelites are foreigners living permanently in Mitanni in east-central Syria, and 
hence are appropriately called MDYNYM.  There’s Naharim/NHRYM at Genesis 24: 10 
(ignoring the medieval pointing, as per usual), and MDYNYM at Genesis 37: 28, 
showing the author’s familiarity with the short-lived Late Bronze Age Hurrian 
state of Naharim/Mitanni.  JEPD in the 1st millennium BCE knew nothing about 
that long-vanished Hurrian state, but the early Hebrew author of the Patriarchal 
narratives knew it as a formerly great power of the day in east-central 
Syria, which just two years ago had suddenly and shockingly been ignominiously 
defeated by the upstart, terrifying Hittites. 
D.  Returning now to your comments about the Sinai and the Promised Land, the 
Hebrews didn’t want to live in the desolate Sinai, for heaven’s sake.  Other 
than as a transit route between Canaan and Egypt, the Sinai was known only 
for the satanic copper mines that Egypt ran in prison-like form there with slave 
labor.  No Hebrew ever wanted the Sinai to be part of the Promised Land!  The 
Promised Land is a great divine blessing, not a curse.
E.  The scholarly view of $XR/$XWR/$YXWR cannot be right, because the Bible 
wouldn’t use a non-Hebrew, Egyptian word meaning “pond of Horus” to refer to 
the Brook of Egypt over 100 long miles east of the historical “pond of Horus”, 
on the other side of the Sinai.  But your view, and that of Kevin Edgecomb, 
of $XR/$XWR/$YXWR cannot be right either, because the desolate Sinai was never 
part of the Promised Land.  When Moses is portrayed as wandering with the 
Israelites for 40 years in the Sinai, Moses is not presented as already being in 
the Promised Land!
Did I mention that $XR/$XWR means “black”?
In Hebrew.
Jim Stinehart
Evanston, Illinois

**************Feeling the pinch at the grocery store?  Make dinner for $10 or 
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