[b-hebrew] Genesis 41: 1: "Two Years of Days"

James Read J.Read-2 at sms.ed.ac.uk
Wed Jul 15 10:51:02 EDT 2009

Hi Jim,

just a few questions on your 'analysis':

1) What age do you consider somebody to be a 'grown man'? I venture  
that a few list members may disagree.

2) Does why do you think that the Quran acknowledging Ishmael to be 19  
has a bearing? It makes no mention of whether this is 19 12 months  
years or 19 6 month years that you postulate. i.e. interesting but  
irrelevant (quran tradition is largely of biblical origin)

James Christian

Quoting JimStinehart at aol.com:

> Rolf:
> In the ancient world, a person’s age was increased by one at the New Year.
> In northwest Mesopotamia (Harran) and Egypt there was only one New Year
> every 12 months, in the spring in Mesopotamia for the harvest of   
> grains, and in
> early summer in Egypt for the annual flooding of the Nile River.  But
> Canaan celebrated a New Year both in the spring, for the harvest of   
> grains, and
> in the fall, for the equally important harvest of fruits.  Thus to this very
> day, the Jewish calendar has the first month of the New Year in the spring
> (in honor of the spring harvest of grains), but the first day of the New Year
> in the fall (in honor of the fall harvest of fruits).  Although the spring
> New Year is the norm internationally, in the Jewish calendar note that the
> year number is increased not at the spring New Year, but rather at the fall
> New Year.  About half of the caloric intake of the Hebrews came from the fall
> harvest, and about half from the spring harvest.  These two annual
> harvests, that is, these two New Years every 12 months, were equally  
>  important to
> the Hebrews.
> Consider now the case of Ishmael, who grows up in Canaan, which celebrated
> both a spring New Year and a fall New Year, which were of equal importance
> to the Hebrews.  Ishmael is circumcised by his father Abraham at the stated
> age of 13 “years” (Genesis 17: 25).  Logically, that means that Ishmael had
> witnessed 13 New Years to that point:  7 spring New Years and 6 fall New
> Years.  Ishmael is stated age 13 “years”, meaning that he is age 6½ regular,
> 12-month years.
> Isaac is born shortly thereafter, when Ishmael is age 7 regular years.
> Isaac is then weaned at age 2½ regular years, which was the normal   
> age to wean
> an important male child in the ancient world.  Ishmael is then immediately
> exiled by his father Abraham (Genesis 21: 14), when Ishmael is age 9½ regular
> years.  That is the equivalent of being age 19 “years”, in terms of
> 6-month “years”, Isaac having witnessed 19 New Years in Canaan:  10   
> spring New
> Years and 9 fall New Years.
> One key proof of the foregoing analysis is the description of Ishmael when
> he is exiled.  Fittingly for a 9½- regular-year-old boy, (i) Ishmael is
> repeatedly called a nar/N(R/“boy” by YHWH, the angel of YHWH, and   
> the narrator
> (Genesis 21: 12, 17, 17, 18, 19, 20), (ii) Ishmael is carried on his mother
> Hagar’s shoulder (Genesis 21: 14), and (iii) Ishmael cries in the wilderness
> (Genesis 21: 17).  If Ishmael were 13 regular, 12-month years old at his
> circumcision, then 3 regular years later when Isaac is weaned, Ishmael would
> be a grown man, age 16 regular years, at his exile.  The narrator would not
> call Ishmael as a grown man a nar/N(R/“boy”, Ishmael would carry his mother
> into exile, not vice versa, and Ishmael would not be limited in his actions
> to crying in the wilderness.  As noted in my prior post, the narrator
> likewise would not call beloved Joseph at age 17 regular years a   
> nar/N(R/“boy”,
> because Joseph would be a grown man at that age.  Rather, Joseph is stated
> age 17 “years”, being a mere boy of age 8½ regular years, at Genesis 37: 2,
> so it makes perfect sense for the narrator to refer to Joseph as being a
> nar/N(R/“boy”, just as for Ishmael.
> The Koran appears to know that Ishmael was age 19 “years”, in 6-month “
> years”, when Ishmael separates from the Abraham-Isaac line of the   
> family, with
> Ishmael traditionally being viewed as at that point becoming the founder of
> the Arabs.  That is the real reason for the outsized importance of the
> number 19 in the Koran, and in particular is the explanation for the  
>  otherwise
> mysterious sura 74: 30 in the Koran:  "Over it is 19."  As has often been
> noted, a famous verse called the Basmala ("In the name of Allah,   
> most gracious,
> most merciful"), which opens every sura in the Koran but one, has 19
> letters.  The first word (the Arabic word ism, which can be viewed   
> as being the
> root of the Biblical Hebrew name “Ishmael”) of that verse appears 19 times in
> the Koran.  It is only in modern times that the “secret” of people’s ages
> in the Patriarchal narratives being set forth in 6-month “years” has been
> lost.
> In the Patriarchal narratives, each person’s age is always set forth in
> terms of how many spring New Years and fall New Years, combined, that person
> has witnessed.  Only on that basis can the narrator call nar/N(R/“boy” (i)
> Ishmael, who at his exile is indeed a mere “boy”, age 9½ regular years, being
> 3 regular years beyond his circumcision at the stated age of 13 “years”,
> and (ii) Joseph, who as his father’s favorite son, but as a mere “boy”, is
> merely a helper to his older half-brothers by his father’s minor wives in
> tending the flock, when he is the stated age of 17 “years”.  When   
> the narrator
> uses the word nar/N(R/“boy” in these two cases to describe Ishmael and
> Joseph, the narrator is not insulting grown men.  No way!  Rather,   
> the narrator
> is accurately calling mere boys “boy”, with these two important boys being
> ages 9½ regular years and 8½ regular years, respectively.
> The Hebrew word nar/N(R/“boy” confirms that people’s ages in the truly
> ancient Patriarchal narratives are set forth in terms of how many spring New
> Years and fall New Years, combined, each person has witnessed.  That is a
> natural way to set forth people’s ages in a truly ancient document   
> coming out of
> Canaan, which, so unlike northwest Mesopotamia (Harran) and Egypt,
> celebrated both a spring New Year and a fall New Year.
> Jim Stinehart
> Evanston, Illinois
> **************Can love help you live longer? Find out now.
> (http://personals.aol.com/articles/2009/02/18/longer-lives-through-relationships/?ncid=emlweu
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