[b-hebrew] Carmel again

JimStinehart at aol.com JimStinehart at aol.com
Mon Jan 19 15:23:17 EST 2009


Kenneth Greifer:
 
You wrote:  “I did not understand what you said lately about David being 7 
miles south of Hebron in the wilderness. When you used to say Hebron was not in 
the Negev, how far away from the Negev did you mean it was? I am confused 
because I thought you said Hebron was further north, but I don't think you said 
how many miles from the Negev desert.  I know you have started a different 
subject, but I think you could take a minute and answer my question even if it is 
stupid.”
 
Professor Yigal Levin set forth the scholarly view of Carmel, which is that 
Biblical Carmel is the same place as the modern Arabic town with the Arabic 
name of Kurmul.  That Arabic town is located 7 miles southeast of the city of 
Hebron.
 
On the Carmel thread (which is now closed, so I will not re-argue the points 
I was trying to make on that thread), I tried to show that Biblical Carmel is 
not the modern Arabic town of Kurmul, but rather is located on the northeast 
corner of the Sorek Valley, a few miles west of hill country, based on the 
Thutmosis III list, the Amarna Letters, and what is said about Abigail’s Carmel in 
I Samuel.
 
Your real question, though, concerns Hebron.
 
Based on secular history, the city name “Hebron” did not exist prior to the 
8th century BCE.  Archaeology has revealed that there was a grand citadel of a 
city at the site of the city of Hebron in the Early and Middle Bronze Age.  
But in the Bronze Age that grand citadel of a city was not called “Hebron”.
 
If the Patriarchal narratives were composed prior to the 8th century BCE, and 
if the most important geographical place name in the Patriarchal narratives 
was not edited in during the 8th century BCE or later, then it is hard to see 
how the Patriarchs’ “Hebron” could be one and the same place as the city of 
Hebron.  The city name “Hebron” was not in existence yet in the Patriarchal 
Age, which in my controversial view is when the Patriarchal narratives were 
composed.  The city of Hebron is located 20 miles south of Jerusalem, in the heart 
of hill county, on the northern edge of the Northern Negev Desert.  That would 
be an odd place for Abraham to choose to sojourn with his huge flock of sheep 
and goats, which more naturally would be pastured in the Aijalon Valley.  The 
first thing the text of the Patriarchal narratives tells us (at Genesis 13: 
18) about the Patriarchs’ “Hebron” is “oak trees”.  Oak trees famously line 
the Aijalon Valley, but the city of Hebron, in the Northern Negev Desert, is 
too far south for there to be notable oak trees there.
 
The second thing the text of Genesis tells us about the Patriarchs’ “Hebron” 
(also at Genesis 13: 18) is “Mamre”, which the text soon clarifies means, at 
least in some contexts, “Amorite”.  The new thread I have opened on Jacob-El 
will attempt to show that the Aijalon Valley is the only place in southern 
Canaan that historically was associated with the Amorites.  That is a second key 
clue that the Patriarchs’ “Hebron” is the Aijalon Valley, not the city south 
of Jerusalem in the Negev Desert that was later re-named “Hebron”.
 
Not a single Biblical author ever asserts that Abraham’s “Hebron” and David’
s Hebron are one and the same place.  I do not think that a single Biblical 
author viewed those two places as being the same place.  It is a post-Biblical 
mistake that erroneously asserts, against the evidence in the Bible, that Ab
raham’s “Hebron” and David’s city of Hebron are one and the same place.  
 
 
I agree with the standard view as to where the city of Hebron, being David’s 
Hebron, was located.  I disagree, however, with the standard post-Biblical 
view that the Patriarchs’ “Hebron” is the city of Hebron.  I view the Patriarchs’
 “Hebron” as being the Aijalon Valley, which is not located close to the 
Negev Desert.
 
The reason I have discussed “Magaroth” and “Halhul” and “Carmel” on 
previous threads is to try to get people to realize that towns listed at Joshua 15: 
52-60 are not necessarily located in hill country proper, but rather may be 
located a few miles west of hill country proper, in the eastern Shephelah.
 
The problem is not what the Bible says about geography.  No, the problem, in 
my opinion, is the post-Biblical misunderstanding of what the Bible says about 
geography.  The reason why the Bible never says that Abraham’s “Hebron” and 
David’s Hebron are one and the same place is because every Biblical author 
knew that they were two completely different places.  David’s Hebron is the city 
of Hebron, located 20 miles south of Jerusalem in hill country, in the 
Northern Negev Desert.  The composition of the books in the Bible that mention David 
was done no earlier than the 8th century BCE (though David lived in the 10th 
century BCE), and so the 8th century BCE city name “Hebron” is used.  By 
contrast, the Patriarchal narratives were composed prior to the 8th century BCE, 
before the city name “Hebron” existed, and in my view there was virtually no 
later editing of the substantive content of the Patriarchal narratives.  The 
Patriarchs’ “Hebron” in Genesis is not the city of Hebron, but rather is the 
Aijalon Valley.
 
Jim Stinehart
Evanston, Illinois

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