[b-hebrew] Ephron

Yigal Levin leviny1 at mail.biu.ac.il
Mon Jun 21 15:47:15 EDT 2010

Jim, if we are to assume, as you do, that the patriarchal narratives are
historical, than it would hardly matter if at birth Ephron's parents named
him "Bambi" or "Lord". He could still grow up to be a big man. Using his
assumed status as an adult in order to understand his name would only work
if you assumed that his name reflected his adult status. This could only be
true either if the name that the story gives him is a literary device meant
to sharpen the message (very common in the Bible - we've recently discussed
the same feature in Ruth), or that "Ephron" is actually not a name but a
title. The latter would seem to be negated by the use of the patronymic
"Ephron ben Coxar".

Second, I'm not at all sure that Ephron was as prominent as Jim thinks. All
the text says is that he owned a field with a cave in it outside of town. So
he wasn't dirt-poor. If the only alternative that he was filthy rich?


"Heth" is the second "son" of Canaan in Gen. 10:15. In almost all of the
lists of the peoples of Canaan, the Hittites are included, beginning with
Gen. 15:20. This means that TO THE BIBLICAL AUTHOR, the Hittites were
Canaanites. The Philistines, including those of Gerar in the patriarchal
narratives, are NEVER listed as "sons" of Canaan. The authors knew the


I don't deny that there were Anatolian elements within the population of
Canaan or "Hurrian" names in the Amarna letters. However Abdi-Hepa is NEVER
accused of having Hatti loyalties, something that his enemies would be quick
to point out. There is no evidence of any Anatolians living in large numbers
or as a recognizable community in Canaan. And so there's no reason from
within the Bible to assume that the author thought that, say, the "Bene
Heth" of Hebron, of whom Ephron was one, were anything else than Canaanite.


Yigal Levin


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