[b-hebrew] Joshua 15: 52-59: Hill Country Cities?

JimStinehart at aol.com JimStinehart at aol.com
Fri Jan 2 14:28:25 EST 2009


Kenneth Greifer:
 
You wrote:  “I thought you said you were going to explain something about 
Hebron listed in Joshua. I can't remember what you said exactly, but I think you 
never explained it.”
 
That’s right.
 
I have belatedly come to realize that people, including scholars, rely on a 
misinterpretation of Joshua to misconstrue the pinpoint accurate geography of 
Canaan that is set forth in the Patriarchal narratives.  So in order to set the 
stage for understanding what Genesis actually says about the geography of 
Canaan, instead of continuing to follow the conventional post-Biblical 
misunderstanding of what the text of the Patriarchal narratives says about geographical 
matters in Canaan, we must go to the source of analysts’ confusion:  a 
misunderstanding of what Joshua says.
 
1.  Scholars insist that every city listed at Joshua 15: 52-59 is located in 
hill country.  No way.  The text of Joshua does not say that.  On this thread, 
we have now already seen three cities in the Aijalon Valley, from the 
mid-15th century BCE Thutmosis III list, that are accurately reflected at Joshua 15: 
52-59:  Magaroth, Halhul, and Arab/Rubutu.
 
2.  Scholars insist that the list of cities at Joshua 15: 52-59 is “late”.  
No way.  The pinpoint accurate match of the above three city names to the 
mid-15th century BCE Thutmosis III list proves the true antiquity of Joshua’s 
source for this city list.  Magaroth and Halhul are small towns in the Aijalon 
Valley that went extinct either in the Late Bronze Age or very early in the Iron 
Age.  No “late” source could replicate those two obscure towns.  We see that 
it is important to focus in part on the “unimportant” small towns that went 
extinct before most of the Bible was composed, in order to show that the Joshua 
city listing at Joshua 15: 52-59 is not “late”.  My next post will be on 
Biblical “Jokdeam”.  As we see, one by one, these obscure small towns from the 
Aijalon Valley in the Late Bronze Age at Joshua 15: 52-59 matching, in every 
case, the 7 items at items #100 - #106 on the mid-15th century BCE Thutmosis III 
list, we begin to appreciate what university scholars have consistently 
missed:  the great antiquity of the city list at Joshua 15: 52-59.
 
3.  We’ll get to the city of Hebron, and to the Patriarchs’ “Hebron”, soon 
enough.  But first we have to establish that scholars are wrong in seeing the 
city list at Joshua 15: 52-59 as being (i) “late” and (ii) comprised 
exclusively of cities in hill country.
 
4.  As to the city of “Hebron” in particular, Prof. Jeffrey Chadwick, a 
renowned expert on the matter, has not found any evidence of the city name “Hebron”
 being in existence for the city 20 miles south of Jerusalem prior to the 8th 
century BCE.  That means that the Patriarchs’ “Hebron” may not necessarily 
be one and the same place as the city south of Jerusalem, which only in the 8th 
century BCE or so acquired the name of “Hebron”.  That does  n-o-t  mean 
that the Patriarchal narratives are inaccurate!!!  No, it means, rather, that 
post-Biblical analysts have misinterpreted what the super-accurate text of the 
Patriarchal narratives says. 
 
 Note also that in the Early and Middle Bronze Age, the city of Hebron was a 
true “citadel”:
 
“During Early Bronze Age III (2600-2300 B.C.E.) the city was protected by a 
massive city wall over 20 feet thick.  …Since no ancient written references to 
the Early Bronze city exist, we do not even know its name…. Five hundred years 
later, in about 1800 B.C.E, Canaanites settled at Hebron.  A new and much 
higher city wall was erected during the Middle Bronze Age II (1750-1650 B.C.E.) 
following the line of the older and lower Early Bronze wall.”  Prof. Jeffrey R. 
Chadwick, “Discovering Hebron:  The City of the Patriarchs Slowly Yields Its 
Secrets”, Biblical Archaeology Review (September/October 2005), Vol. 31, No. 
5, at pp. 26, 28
 
The city list at Joshua 15: 48-60, which as we are seeing on this thread is 
closely based on a fine Late Bronze Age source, could not miss the Late Bronze 
Age name of the citadel/city later called “Hebron”.  But note that the phrase 
“hiy Hebron” at Joshua 15: 54 must be treated with caution.  Even on its 
face, it looks like a later gloss.  Joshua’s Late Bronze Age source would not 
have contained that phrase.  The  c-i-t-y  name “Hebron” did not even exist yet 
in the Late Bronze Age.  Rather, “hiy Hebron” is an editorial comment by 
whoever put the final touches on the Book of Joshua, in the Iron Age, many 
centuries later, after the city 20 miles south of Jerusalem had acquired the new 
Hebrew name of “Hebron”.
 
What that final editor was trying to do, in adding that particular gloss, was 
to back up what is said at Joshua 14: 15.  Please note that the Book of 
Joshua  n-e-v-e-r  asserts that the city of Hebron and the Patriarchs’ “Hebron” 
are one and the same place.  No, Joshua 14: 15 instead says that the former name 
of the city of Hebron was either Kiriath, or Kiriath Arbe, and that the city 
of Hebron should be associated with the Anakim giants, especially the greatest 
giant of them all, the “big” giant whose name appropriately was “Arbe” 
(meaning, in a Bronze Age context, “big”, based on the archaic R-B root meaning “
big”, which is the same root, with the same meaning, that we just saw in both “
Arab” and RBT/Rubutu).  That’s what Joshua 14: 15 says, while never 
asserting that the city of Hebron and the Patriarchs’ “Hebron” are one and the same 
place.  Joshua knows the Patriarchs (Joshua 24: 2-3), but Joshua  n-e-v-e-r  
asserts that the Patriarchs’ “Hebron” and the city of Hebron south of Jerusalem 
are one and the same place.  Indeed, it is critically important to realize 
that no Biblical author in the Hebrew Bible ever asserts that the city of Hebron 
and the Patriarchs’ “Hebron” are one and the same place!  The Hebrew Bible  
n-e-v-e-r  makes that assertion.  What the Bible says about this aspect of 
this specific geographical matter is correct.  It is post-Biblical analysts who 
have gotten way off the track, and who erroneously assert, unsupported by 
anything in the text of the Hebrew Bible, that the Patriarchs’ “Hebron” and King 
David’s city of Hebron south of Jerusalem are one and the same place.  No way.  
Every Biblical author knew that, on the contrary, they are two completely 
different places.  For example, the author of I Kings knows well both King David’
s city of Hebron (I Kings 2: 11) and the Patriarchs (I Kings 18: 36).  Note 
that I Kings never at any point tries to link David to Abraham regarding the 
geographical locale of the city of Hebron.
 
We will never get scholars to back off their claims that both the city list 
at Joshua 15: 48-60, and the Patriarchal narratives, are “late”, until we 
convince scholars that they have totally misunderstood what the Hebrew Bible 
actually says about the geography of southern Canaan.  The text of the Bible is, 
not surprisingly, generally quite good on matters of the local geography of 
southern Canaan, but post-Biblical analysts have totally misconstrued much of what 
the Hebrew Bible says on this important subject.  
 
Joshua’s Late Bronze Age source of city names did not contain the phrase “
hiy Hebron” that is in the received text at Joshua 15: 54.  That is a later 
editorial comment.  That later editorial comment is not necessarily false, but it 
has been terribly misleading to post-Biblical analysts.  We will find that 
secular history documents that the former name of the city of Hebron south of 
Jerusalem was a west Semitic name that probably meant “Citadel”, and which, both 
as to its substantive meaning and also in terms of linguistic equivalence, 
could well be said in Biblical Hebrew to be “Kiriath”.  In the Early and Middle 
Bronze Age, that citadel had truly massive fortifications, so it is hard to 
fault Joshua for saying that the former name of the city of Hebron was “Kiriath 
Arbe”, meaning “Big Citadel”.  Secular history records only the equivalent 
of “Kiriath”/“Citadel” as the former name of the city of Hebron, but that 
city truly was “big”/“Arbe”, with “giant”-size fortifications.  It may even b 
e that, though not present in the secular historical records that have 
survived, the city of Hebron previously was either informally called “Kiriath Arbe”, 
or perhaps the documented historical name that is the equivalent of “Kiriath”
 is a short form name of the full name “Kiriath Arbe”.  But all we’ve got in 
the Bronze Age records that survived is the apparent equivalent of the Hebrew 
word “Kiriath”, meaning “Citadel”, as the Bronze Age name of the city later 
called “Hebron”, as we can discuss in a later post.  Either Joshua knew 
something that secular history has not preserved, or else Joshua made a slight 
embellishment of the former name of the city of Hebron, which under normal 
circumstances no one would criticize Joshua for doing.  But unfortunately, Joshua’s 
references to “Kiriath Arbe” have led post-Biblical analysts into grave 
error, as they erroneously think that Joshua expressly asserts that the city of 
Hebron and the Patriarchs’ “Hebron” are one and the same place.  Joshua never 
says that!
 
There is fascinating new information to be found regarding the question of 
the former name of the city of Hebron at Joshua 15: 48-60.  But instead of 
jumping headfirst into the super-controversial Hebron issue, I must first establish 
that many of the cities at Joshua 15: 52-59 are Late Bronze Age cities 
located in the Aijalon Valley, as verified by the Thutmosis III list.  Jokdeam is 
next.
 
Jim Stinehart
Evanston, Illinois

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