[b-hebrew] Eastern Galilee

JimStinehart at aol.com JimStinehart at aol.com
Mon Apr 6 11:12:16 EDT 2009

Eastern Galilee
The Hebrew spelling of the names of 5 key cities in eastern Galilee is of 
critical importance in understanding the Bible.  Only 2 of these cities are 
controversial in their own right.  But all 5 have spelling issues, which turn out 
to be important in spotting these cities in the Bible.
We start this thread with the least controversial of these 5 cities in 
eastern Galilee:  Chinnereth.  (Chinnereth is alternatively transliterated into 
English as Kinnereth, which is a minor spelling issue of sorts right there.)
We find Chinnereth in the Bible right where it should be, in a list of cities 
in eastern Naphtali, at Joshua 19: 35, spelled as follows:
Likewise, we find Chinnereth right where it should be on the mid-15th century 
BCE Thutmosis III list, close to where two other cities in eastern Galilee 
are listed, in the first third of the 119 items on that list, where we see the 
cities that were farthest away from Egypt and hence were of highest propaganda 
value.  At item #34, the two spellings of Chinnereth (in consonantal form) are 
as follows:
The second spelling is identical to the Hebrew.  It is rare for the secular 
historical spellings of city names to be identical to the Biblical Hebrew 
spellings (as opposed to being merely similar), but here is one of those rare 
cases.  Anson Rainey (who, unlike the above consonantal version, implies Egyptian 
vowels) renders item #34 on the Thutmosis III list as follows:  k-n-na-ar-tu or 
k-na-(ar)-tu.  Note that the second version has only one N.  As with everyone 
else, Rainey sees this as being Biblical Chinnereth.
So we know that the city of Chinnereth was in existence, by the name “
Chinnereth”, already in the mid-15th century BCE.  Further confirmation of Late 
Bronze Age Chinnereth comes from Ugaritic literature referencing Danel as a 
Ugaritic hero in Galilee at Chinnereth, although the reference to Chinnereth there 
may be to a body of water.  As is well known,  “Chinnereth” can also reference 
the Sea of Galilee, a body of water alternatively called Sea of Galilee, Sea 
of Chinnereth, or Sea of Kinnereth.  All 5 of these cities in eastern Galilee 
are located just west of the Sea of Galilee/Sea of Chinnereth/Sea of Kinnereth.
So far so good, and seemingly nothing controversial yet.  
But what is Gennesaret?  Is that the Greek version of “Chinnereth”?  In 
Greek, Gennesaret means “a garden of riches”.  The city of Chinnereth/Gennesaret 
in eastern Galilee, on the west bank of the Sea of Chinnereth/Sea of Galilee, 
is the namesake of the “Plain of Gennesaret”, which because of its fertility 
and beauty was sometimes called “the Paradise of Galilee”.  In fact, Josephus 
called the highly fertile plain of Gennesaret in eastern Galilee “the 
ambition of nature, an earthly paradise”.
So the controversy begins.  When times got tough in southern Canaan, wouldn’t 
it make sense for Abraham and Isaac to head north to “the Paradise of Galilee”
?  Isn’t that more logical than heading south into the heart of the 
inhospitable Negev Desert?  But what does the text of Genesis say about that?  The name 
“Chinnereth” does not appear in the Patriarchal narratives, that’s for sure, 
so Chinnereth itself is not very controversial.  But the name of the 
historical city two slots south of Chinnereth is the first name that appears in the 
text, whether by coincidence or not, when Abraham leaves his habitual place of 
sojourning in southern Canaan, and the name of the historical city two slots 
north of Chinnereth is the second name that appears in the text, whether by 
coincidence or not.
However, before examining those two ultra-controversial cities and city names 
in eastern Galilee, and determining whether their apparent presence in the 
unpointed text of Genesis is but a mere coincidence, in the next post I will 
first look at the cities immediately south and north of historical Chinnereth, 
which are not nearly so controversial:  Adamah and Hazor.  The site and identity 
of Adamah are mildly controversial.  The Hebrew and non-Hebrew spellings of 
both Adamah and Hazor are also mildly controversial.  Then we will tackle the 
super-controversial cities and city names of the city just south of Adamah, and 
the city just north of Hazor.  All five cities and city names are in Joshua, 
exactly where they should be, and all five cities and city names are on the 
Thutmosis III list, exactly where they should be.  Some of the spellings differ, 
but that’s the way it is in the ancient world (as we’ll see in looking at 
the Hebrew and non-Hebrew spellings of Adamah and Hazor).  
Though nothing has been very controversial so far, the controversy is there, 
big as life, lurking right around the corner.  The well-documented historical 
geography of Bronze Age eastern Galilee is extremely controversial, especially 
in terms of the Hebrew spellings of these 5 important cities in eastern 
Galilee.  Indeed, the Hebrew spellings of the names of these 5 well-documented 
historical cities in Late Bronze Age eastern Galilee are arguably the single 
greatest controversy that exists regarding the Patriarchal narratives.  The 
historicity, or lack of historicity, of the Patriarchal narratives in a Bronze Age 
secular historical context depends in large part on how one views the Hebrew 
spellings of the names of these 5 well-documented historical cities in Late 
Bronze Age eastern Galilee.  Hebrew spellings are important!  
Jim Stinehart
Evanston, Illinois

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