[b-hebrew] Kadesh-barnea

JimStinehart at aol.com JimStinehart at aol.com
Mon Apr 12 10:21:48 EDT 2010

Unlike most of the Patriarchal narratives, Genesis 36: 8-43 is very late as 
to its composition date, as I believe a majority of scholars would agree.  
It is so late that the author of that addendum to the original Patriarchal 
narratives may have been aware of the 1st millennium BCE state of Edom.
There is an important Hebrew language issue here regarding Seir.  At 
Genesis 36: 8-9, whose composition is very late, we see a standard reference to a 
named mountain or a named mountain range:  “Mount/HR Seir”.  At Genesis 36: 
8-43, that is Mount Seir, which is a named mountain or named mountain range 
south of the Dead Sea that borders the Arabah.  Note that HR (i) is a 
2-letter word, (ii) is singular, and (iii) routinely in the Bible precedes a 
proper name of a mountain or mountain range.
Completely different is the following reference in truly ancient chapter 14 
of Genesis, a section of the Patriarchal narratives which many scholars 
(perhaps even a majority of scholars) agree may date all the long way back to 
the mid-2nd millennium BCE:  “HRRM Seir”, at Genesis 14: 6.  HRRM is an 
archaic plural, found only in chapter 14 of Genesis.  HRRM means “hill country”
.  Note that HRRM, so unlike HR, (i) is a 4-letter word, (ii) is plural, and 
(iii) no plural form of HR or HRR is ever used with an immediately 
following proper name in the Bible to reference a named mountain or a named mountain 
range.  So HRRM has a very different meaning here than HR, where both of 
them are immediately followed by the proper name Seir.
By the word HRRM, Genesis 14: 6 is referring to the “hill country” of the 
Transjordan that surrounds the city of Seir/Jazer, on the east bank of the 
Jordan River.  Seir/Jazer is located precisely in the middle of the hill 
country of the Transjordan.  There is no hill country south of the Dead Sea.
If we focus on the difference between HRRM at Genesis 14: 6 and HR at 
Genesis 36: 8-9, we see that they are referring to two completely different 
places.  Unfortunately, when the #1 Biblical geography scholar in the world, 
Anson Rainey, places “Mt. Seir” on a mountain range south of the Dead Sea in 
setting forth the route of the 4 attacking rulers in Genesis 14: 5-7 at p. 15 
of “The Sacred Bridge”, he is actually picking up “Mt. Seir” from the 
centuries later addendum to the Patriarchal narratives at Genesis 36: 8-9, which 
has nothing to do with the 4 attacking rulers.  In that very late section 
of Genesis (namely Genesis 36: 8-9), HR Seir is referring to Mt. Seir south 
of the Dead Sea.  But in chapter 14 of Genesis, the reference at Genesis 14: 
6 is to HRRM Seir.  That’s a completely different part of the world.  That’
s hill country.  The sentence in which that reference occurs began at 
Genesis 14: 5 with a reference to Ashteroth, which everyone agrees was in the 
northern Transjordan.  So the reference at Genesis 14: 6 to HRRM Seir makes 
perfect sense as being a reference to the hill country near Seir/Jazer in the 
It is really quite striking that not a single item that the #1 Biblical 
geographer lists south of the Dead Sea at p. 15 of “The Sacred Bridge” can be 
verified by a secular historical inscription pre-dating the Roman Era.  Not 
one.  The closest one, in fact, is “Mt. Seir”, but that is not what Genesis 
14: 6 says.  Genesis 14: 6 is referring to HRRM/hill country, and there is 
no hill country south of the Dead Sea.  If we distinguish HRRM from HR, as 
we should, then we see that every single reference at Genesis 14: 6-7 makes 
perfect sense north of the Dead Sea, with almost all such references being 
confirmed by secular historical inscriptions from the Bronze Age north of the 
Dead Sea, whereas none of such references makes any sense south of the Dead 
Anson Rainey insists that there is no secular historical documentation to 
back up the Biblical “four kings against five” at Genesis 14: 1-11, which he 
views as being pure fiction.  In fact, there is secular historical 
documentation from the Bronze Age out the wazzoo to show the pinpoint historical 
accuracy of the “four kings against five”.  But it’s  a-l-l  north of the Dead 
Sea, and that is why university scholars have never found it.  University 
scholars have, unfortunately, never once looked north of the Dead Sea for 
secular historical verification of Genesis 14: 6-7, which is one key reason why 
university scholars erroneously assert that the “four kings against five” 
at Genesis 14: 1-11 is completely fictional.  In order to show the pinpoint 
historical accuracy of Genesis 14: 1-11, only the following two things are 
needed:  (i) look  n-o-r-t-h  of the Dead Sea for verification of each people 
and place referenced at Genesis 14: 6-7, and (ii) do not rely for such 
identifications upon later books in the Bible, which were composed many 
centuries after chapter 14 of Genesis, and in many cases no longer understood the 
ancient references in chapter 14 of Genesis.  For example, chapter 14 of 
Genesis is so old that the Amorites had not yet gone extinct when it was 
composed.  So Genesis 14: 7 knows that the historical Amorites were in Lebanon, and 
were not, as Rainey’s totally erroneous map would have it, non-historically 
located south of the Dead Sea.  The fact that later books in the Bible did 
not understand who the historical Amorites had been should not prevent us 
today from appreciating the pinpoint historical accuracy of truly ancient 
Genesis 14: 1-11, which was composed by a Hebrew contemporary of the “four kings 
against five” in the Bronze Age. 
Jim Stinehart
Evanston, Illinois

More information about the b-hebrew mailing list