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

JimStinehart at aol.com JimStinehart at aol.com
Thu Apr 16 11:33:43 EDT 2009


George:
 
1.  You wrote:  “No, Jim, you're not right. )BYMLK is a very common name 
which would be at home pretty much anywhere in the ancient Near East.”
 
Do you have any support in secular history for that view?  To the best of 
my knowledge, the only person in secular history with the name )BYMLK was the 
ruler of Ssur/Tyre in the mid-14th century BCE.  No one else by that name 
ever seems to be mentioned by scholars.  Here is a typical scholarly comment, 
by esteemed scholar Gordon Wenham:  “Abimelek is a Canaanite name.  ‘My 
father is Milku’ (king);  a king of Tyre mentioned in the Amarna letters (EA 
146-66) bore this name.”  “World Biblical Commentary:  Genesis 16-50” 
(1994), at p. 70.
 
If you know of any person in secular history from southern Canaan who bore 
the name )BYMLK, that would greatly strengthen your case, and would 
undermine part of my theory of the case.  My understanding is that the name )BYMLK 
connotes northwest Canaan, where Baal was worshipped under the name MLK/“King”
.
 
2.  You wrote:  “I urge you, please go and do some proper research where 
your goal is not to fish for evidence to stock your pre-conceived conclusion, 
but rather simply to learn.”
 
O.K., I’ll research the names of the other two permanent residents of 
Biblical Gerar:  Phicol and Ahuzzath.  Then we can examine whether or not those 
two names are redolent of northern Canaan in the Late Bronze Age.  That’s a 
good idea, George.
 
3.  You wrote:  “Given your evasiveness to a previous question, am I 
correct in concluding that no matter what anyone will say, you will not change 
your view on a northern location for the patriarchal narratives?”
 
(a)   I’m always willing to change my view when it turns out not to be 
supported by the evidence.  I started out on the b-Hebrew list with my own 
interpretation of Genesis 20: 1 that turned out to be impossible under Hebrew 
grammar.  That’s what led to my research regarding NGB being Adami-the-NGB on 
the west bank of the Sea of Galilee, QD$ being the historical city of QD$ of 
Upper Galilee, &/$WR being &/CWR, and GRR being GLYL/Galilee.  On a 
grammatical basis, my interpretation of Genesis 20: 1 now reads more smoothly than 
the traditional view, because on my view, GRR/Galilee is located between QD$ 
(of Upper Galilee) and &WR [CWR/Ssur/Tyre].  If one is living between QD$ of 
Upper Galilee and &WR/CWR/Tyre, then naturally one is sojourning in 
GRR/Gerar/Galilee, just as Genesis 20: 1 states.  (The traditional view of Genesis 
20: 1 is awkward grammatically, because Gerar is not traditionally viewed as 
being located between QD$/Kadesh-barnea and $WR/the northwest corner of the 
Sinai Desert.)  Thanks to the b-Hebrew list, I have abandoned my first 
attempted reinterpretation of Genesis 20: 1, which turned out to be 
grammatically impossible (being much worse than the traditional view), and developed a 
new understanding of Genesis 20: 1 that works better grammatically than the 
traditional interpretation of Genesis 20: 1.
 
(b)   As to “a northern location for the Patriarchal narratives”, I see 
the Patriarchs as usually sojourning in southern Canaan, at the lovely Aijalon 
Valley (the Patriarchs’ “Hebron”).  But once a generation, for example if 
southern Canaan gets hit by a terrible drought, a Patriarch will move, on a 
temporary basis, up to the lovely “Paradise of Galilee” and Upper Galilee.  
The author of the Patriarchal narratives presents  a-l-l  of Canaan as 
being the Promised Land for the Hebrews, including Galilee, not just southern 
Canaan and the desert south of Canaan.  One evidence of the great antiquity of 
the Patriarchal narratives is the author’s notable lack of interest in 
Jerusalem.  From the Early Bronze Age to the present, if one is on a mountaintop 
east of Beth-el, as Abraham and Lot are in chapter 13 of Genesis, one of 
the most prominent views is of Jerusalem.  But the Patriarchal narratives make 
no mention of Jerusalem there.  Jerusalem was not yet a sacred city for the 
Hebrews when the Patriarchal narratives were composed.  That’s old! 
 
(c)  As to being “evasive”, I am trying to follow Karl’s good advice to 
not post on the b-Hebrew list more than once a day, and (as seconded by you) 
to back up my assertions with scholarly authority.  That means that 
realistically, I cannot post on more than one main topic a day.  That is why I often 
do not directly respond to things people say on my threads.  I try to focus 
solely on the key issues.  I am not trying to evade any substantive issue 
concerning the Patriarchal narratives. 
 
(d)  Finally, as to your expressed concern that “no one can sway you with 
any type of evidence away from your view”, a good start would be for someone 
to point to a secular historical inscription pre-dating the common era that 
references NGB, QD$, GRR or )BYMLK in a southwest Canaan locale.  I have 
seen no evidence whatsoever along those lines.  In my controversial view, we 
should not blindly accept the Judah-centric Ezra era reinterpretation of the 
Patriarchal narratives, which is “late”, non-historical and religious, and 
was adopted under duress when the post-Exilic Jews faced horrible times.
 
Based on the evidence that has been brought out to date, the unpointed text 
of the Patriarchal narratives and the secular history of the ancient world 
strongly suggest a northern Canaan locale for Biblical Gerar.  For example, 
based on secular historical inscriptions from the ancient world, the name 
)BYMLK is redolent of Ssur/Tyre in Late Bronze Age northwest Canaan.
 
Jim Stinehart
Evanston, Illinois

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