[b-hebrew] Directions with MIN

Charles Grebe cgrebe at briercrest.ca
Sun Apr 5 17:41:48 EDT 2009

When the preposition MIN is used with a direction like QEDEM (east) or TSAPHON (north), how do you know when it means "direction from" or "direction towards"?
For example, in Genesis 13:11, MEQEDEM pretty much has to mean towards the east. After Lot chose the plain of the Jordan, he travelled east from the high country between Bethel and Ai (v. 3). See also Genesis 12:8 where Abram camps east of Bethel (or eastward from Bethel).
In Genesis 11:2, however, should MEQEDEM be understood to mean "from the east" or "to the east" or even "in the east", and more importantly, how do you determine which it is? There are examples of all of these in the English translations for this verse.
I had a look at IBHS 11.2.11.b.2 but it didn't help much. Thoughts?
Charles Grebe
Director of Distance Learning
Briercrest College and Seminary
Caronport, SK
Briercrest College and Seminary is a community of rigorous learning that calls students to seek the kingdom of God, to be shaped profoundly by the scriptures, and to be formed spiritually and intellectually for lives of service. www.briercrest.ca 
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