[b-hebrew] )BYMLK vs. Abimelech vs. Abi-Molech

JimStinehart at aol.com JimStinehart at aol.com
Wed Apr 15 09:46:58 EDT 2009


George: 
 
You wrote:  “It seems extremely tendentious that a text has so many 'false 
positives' for the south….”
 
What “'false positives' for the south” do you see in the unpointed Hebrew 
text of the Patriarchal narratives?
 
1.  )BYMLK at Genesis 20: 2 is the historical name of the ruler of 
Ssur/Tyre in the mid-14th century BCE in northern Canaan, per the Amarna Letters.  
No ruler named )BYMLK is attested in secular history for southwest Judah in 
any era.
 
2.  GRR at Genesis 20: 1 is a linguistic match to KRR at item #80 on the 
mid-15th century BCE Thutmosis III (“T III”) list.  (Yigal Levin and a 
majority of other scholars see the Egyptian K in KRR as being equivalent to 
gimel/G in Biblical Hebrew.)  GRR also is close to GR in Ugaritic literature and 
to GR in the Amarna Letters.  All of those locations are regions in Late 
Bronze Age northern Canaan.  There is no GRR/Gerar attested prior to the common 
era in southwest Judah, as scholars readily admit.
 
3.  QD$ at Genesis 20: 1 is a well-documented Late Bronze Age city in Upper 
Galilee that is attested by that name in Ugaritic literature.  George A. 
Barton, “Danel, a Pre-Israelite Hero of Galilee”, in “Journal of Biblical 
Literature”, Vol. 60, No. 3 (Sept., 1941), pp. 216-218, 225.  Yigal Levin’s 22 
page article, with 84 footnotes, on the boundaries of the land of Canaan, 
which focuses primarily on Kadesh-barnea, cites not a single secular 
historical inscription prior to the common era for the name QD$ or Kadesh-barnea in 
southwest Judah or thereabouts.
 
4.  NGB at Genesis 20: 1 matches NGB at item #57 on the T III list, in 
northern Canaan.  NGB is not attested prior to the common era as being a name 
for the desert in southern Canaan.  That was confirmed for me by Prof. Steve 
Rosen, of the Archaeology Department of Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, 
in a 7/6/08 E-mail he wrote to me:  “We do not have any pre-biblical (Bronze 
Age or second millennium BC) texts, Egyptian or otherwise, which use the 
word [NGB].  I am not sure concerning classical period references to the 
region.  It is true that the Negev as such does not serve as a name for any 
administrative region, but I am not sure that it does not appear in texts from 
Roman and Byzantine times.” 
 
I have shown exact, letter-for-letter matches to well-documented Late 
Bronze Age inscriptions from secular history for all four of the above items at 
Genesis 20: 1-2, in a northern Canaan setting.
 
Scholars, by sharp contrast, have  n-o-t-h-i-n-g  in terms of a secular 
historical inscription prior to the common era for any of the above four items 
in a southwest Judah geographical context.  N-o-t-h-i-n-g.
 
In post-exilic times, Ezra reinterpreted the Patriarchal narratives in a 
Judah-centric manner.  Ezra’s reinterpretation of the Patriarchal narratives 
is “late”, non-historical, and unreliable.  But the unpointed Hebrew text of 
the Patriarchal narratives makes perfect sense in a Late Bronze Age secular 
historical context.  The Patriarchal narratives portray Isaac as being born 
in Upper Galilee.
 
The only “false positives” for a southwest Judah geographical locale of 
which I am aware are coming from the Ezra era, not from the unpointed text of 
the Patriarchal narratives.  II Chronicles 14: 13-14 says that Gerar is in 
southwest Judah.  That’s from the Ezra era.  Pursuant to the medieval 
pointing done in the Middle Ages, QD$ at Genesis 20: 1 is, as Yigal Levin points 
out at p. 63 of his article, pointed to look like a QD$ south of Gaza, not the 
historical Late Bronze Age city of QD$ in Upper Galilee.  But that pointing 
was done in the Middle Ages, and reflects the Ezra era non-historical 
reinterpretation of the Patriarchal narratives.
 
To the best of my knowledge, there are no “false positives” for a 
southwest Judah location of Gerar in the unpointed Hebrew text of the Patriarchal 
narratives.  Rather, there is match after match after match to a northern 
Canaan locale for Gerar in a Late Bronze Age secular historical context.
 
As far as I know, there is not a single secular historical inscription 
pre-dating the common era that would link Gerar in the Patriarchal narratives, 
or anything associated with Gerar in the unpointed Hebrew text of the 
Patriarchal narratives, to southwest Judah or any place anywhere near southwest 
Judah.  In particular, if you know of a secular historical inscription 
pre-dating the common era that would link the name )BYMLK, GRR, QD$ or NGB to 
southwest Judah or thereabouts, in any time period, please set it forth.  
Otherwise, the “false positives” you are referencing are most likely merely 
reflecting the “late”, religious, non-historical reinterpretation of the 
Patriarchal narratives done in the post-exilic Ezra era, not the unpointed Hebrew 
text of the Patriarchal narratives itself.
 
GRR/Gerar is an historical Late Bronze Age name of a region in northern 
Canaan, that roughly approximates the later concept of Galilee.  GRR/Gerar is 
not a fictional name of a fictional city in southwest Judah.
 
Jim Stinehart
Evanston, Illinois

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