[b-hebrew] 1 Kings 20:14 Who are the young men, princes of the districts?

JimStinehart at aol.com JimStinehart at aol.com
Fri Apr 30 16:12:00 EDT 2010

James Christian:
You wrote:  “with all due respect Jim the archives of this list show that 
we have all (including Yigal) been considering your theory for the full 3 
years you've
 been presenting them. You have consistently brushed aside the refutations
 without handling them properly and this has led to us not being convinced.
 What more do you want from Yigal? He's looked at your theory and seen that
 the foundation is faulty.”
It would help me if you would specify which precise aspects of what I have 
presented in the last few days are evidence “that the foundation is faulty.”
1.  Chapter 14 Was Composed in the Late Bronze Age
I have set forth lots of aspects of the wording of chapter 14 of Genesis 
that indicate a very old composition date, dating all the long way back to the 
Late Bronze Age, and perhaps even to the mid-14th century BCE.  As to 
chapter 14 of Genesis (but not as to the rest of the Bible), this is a mainstream 
scholarly view, as Yigal Levin of course is well aware, as can be seen from 
the following quote from the Anchor Bible series:
“Genesis xiv stands alone among all the accounts in the Pentateuch, if not 
indeed in the Bible as a whole.  …The date of the narrative has been 
variously estimated.  …A fresh re-examination of all the available scraps of 
evidence, both internal and external, favors an early date, scarcely later in fact 
than the middle of the second millennium [BCE].”  E.A. Speiser, “The 
Anchor Bible Genesis” (1962), Doubleday, New York, at pp. 105-106.  
Karl’s response, not surprisingly, was basically along the lines that all 
the rest of the first five books of the Bible are much older than university 
scholars think.  But James Christian, I think you may realize that, 
regardless of what your or my own personal views may be, about the only prose 
section of the Bible that mainstream scholars are willing to concede may well date 
all the long way back to the Late Bronze Age is chapter 14 of Genesis.
I would think that perhaps all of us might agree that there is a very 
realistic possibility that chapter 14 of Genesis may have been composed in the 
Bronze Age.  Maybe Yigal Levin would not go quite that far, but at least he 
knows that that is one mainstream university scholarly view as to the date of 
the composition of chapter 14 of Genesis.
I myself see that as the rock-solid foundation of my analysis.  Do you see 
that starting point as being “faulty”?
2.  Amorites South of the Dead Sea?
If chapter 14 of Genesis was composed in the Bronze Age, how could it 
portray Amorites as living south of the Dead Sea?  To me, that makes no sense.  
In the Middle Bronze Age, the Amorites had dominated both Mesopotamia and 
Syria.  By the Late Bronze Age, the Amorites were largely confined to Lebanon 
and Ugarit, though there were some Amorite princeling rulers in Canaan south 
of Lebanon.  In the Late Bronze Age, Amurru was an Amorite state, in 
northern coastal Lebanon.  Plus we know from Richard Hess’s detailed analysis of 
Amarna names that there was an important enclave of Amorite princelings in the 
north-central Beqa Valley, at and near Hasi, in the Amarna Age.
Meanwhile, no mainstream scholar has ever suggested that the Amorites at 
any time historically lived south of the Dead Sea.
Yet 100% of university scholars who have opined on this subject in writing, 
to the best of my knowledge, nevertheless tell us that the Amorites at 
Genesis 14: 7 are portrayed as living south of the Dead Sea.  How can that be?  
If chapter 14 of Genesis is a truly ancient text, composed when the Amorites 
were well known by all, how could the Amorites be portrayed as living in a 
place where they never lived?
That is a key aspect of the foundation of my analysis.  Do you see that as 
being “faulty”?
3.  No Peoples and Places at Genesis 14: 6-7 Historically Attested South of 
the Dead Sea
Don’t you think it’s suspicious that no peoples or places at Genesis 14: 
6-7 are attested in the secular history of the ancient world as being south 
of the Dead Sea?  
Genesis 14: 6.  I interpret HRRM %(YR at Genesis 14: 6 as meaning “
well-wooded hill country”.  That’s a perfect description of the well-wooded hill 
country north and south of Seir/Jazer in the Transjordan east of the Jordan 
River, but there’s no well-wooded hill country south of the Dead Sea.  In a 
Late Bronze Age document, the “Horites” would be the historical Hurrians, and 
they are never attested south of the Dead Sea.  El-paran means “Great Desert
”.  In a sentence that begins (at Genesis 14: 5) with a reference to 
Ashteroth in the northern Transjordan, we would naturally expect El-paran/Great 
Desert to reference the Great Desert -- the Great Desert/Syro-Arabian Desert 
that forms the entire eastern border of the Transjordan, and that stretches 
in magnificent desolation all the long way east to Babylon.  How could “Great 
Desert” be thought to reference a navigable waterway, as scholars would 
have it?
Genesis 14: 7.  George Athas specifically told me that I cannot assume that 
$WB at the beginning of Genesis 14: 7 means “return”, in the sense, in 
context, of meaning “And then they returned (back north to the Ashteroth area)”
.  To the best of my knowledge, 100% of university scholars who have 
published on this issue have insisted that $WB at the beginning of Genesis 14: 7 
has the following extremely peculiar, and totally unique, meaning:  “And then 
they made a very wide turn to the right (and proceeded into the Sinai 
Desert).”  But did you notice that George Athas did not cite HALOT in attacking 
my view of $WB at the beginning of Genesis 14: 7, even though George Athas 
often relies on HALOT?  Let’s take a peek at what HALOT has to say about $WB:
HALOT states at p. 1,429 as to $WB:  “qal (683 times)…The basic meaning of 
$WB is defined by Holladay loc. cit. 53 as a word which is used of someone 
who has shifted direction in a particular way and then shifted back from it 
in the opposite way.  As long as there is no contrary factor the assumption 
is that such persons or people will turn back and reach the original point 
from which they departed.  …–1. a) to turn back, return Gn 14:7”.
Whereas every lexicon emphasizes that the most common meaning of $WB is “to 
return”, not a single lexicon has ever said that $WB means “to make a very 
wide turn to the right”.
As to QD$, our own Yigal Levin is, I believe, the world’s leading expert on 
that topic.  He has found not a single inscription in the Sinai Desert in 
ancient times having the name QD$ or Kadesh-barnea.  The text says QD$, not 
Kadesh-barnea.  QD$ is attested historically in Upper Galilee.  An alternate 
name for Qadesh of Upper Galilee in the Late Bronze Age was “Eye on Mt. 
Hermon”.  A variant of that name is at item #5 on the mid-15th century BCE 
Thutmose III list, roughly corresponding to En-mishpat at Genesis 14: 7.  “
Amalekites” cannot be the future descendants of an illegitimate 
great-great-grandson of Abraham.  Either the word means “valley dwellers”, as often surmised, 
or there was a one-letter scribal transcription error in the 1st millennium 
BCE, with the original word having been “valley” (which is what happened 
at Judges 5: 14, as we know from the Septuagint).  In either event, the 
original reference was to the Beqa Valley.  The Amorites, as noted above, are 
historically attested at Hasi in the Beqa Valley in the mid-14th century BCE.  
I see XCCN TMR as being a Hurrian name, whose short form would be XCC, which 
comes out in Amarna Letter EA 175 as Hasi.
Note how virtually every people and place at Genesis 14: 6-7 is 
historically attested in the Late Bronze Age north of the Dead Sea.  Remember, there is 
 n-o-t-h-i-n-g  in terms of an ancient historical attestation for any of 
those peoples or places south of the Dead Sea.
James Christian, please specify which aspect of my analysis is “faulty”.  
To the best of my knowledge, no university scholar has  e-v-e-r  looked 
north of the Dead Sea in analyzing Genesis 14: 6-7.  Why not?  Why not take a 
look?  There’s nothing historical that backs up the conventional view that 
Genesis 14: 6-7 is referencing peoples and places south of the Dead Sea.
Is there a Big Secret out there that university scholars are hiding from 
us?  If not, why is it that no university scholar is willing to look to Late 
Bronze Age historical inscriptions from north of the Dead Sea in analyzing 
Genesis 14: 6-7?
I am trying to reinstate the historical integrity of the “four kings 
against five” at Genesis 14: 1-11.  But if “the foundation is faulty”, please 
specify with specificity the error of my ways.
Jim Stinehart
Evanston, Illinois 

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