[b-hebrew] "Pit" in Exodus 21:33-34

Pere Porta pporta7 at gmail.com
Tue Apr 5 04:13:52 EDT 2011


I have an idea, Yigal.
I spent the most of my childhood in the fields, here in Catalonia, a
mediterranean country (the same as Israel).
Now, there were two kinds of "pit":

1. The most common was the pit one built up by digging the earth near a
house so that when rain fell, the water was driven to it through a pipeline.
This was a very and much appreciated reserve of water, mainly for the hot
days of summer.

2. But peasants built up too a kind of "pit" (named here in
Catalonia "bassa"), say 4 meters long, 4 meters wide and 3 meters deep to
get a supplementary reserve of water. This water came from different
sources, for instance from a well.
Depending on the way this "bassa" / "pit" was constructed it is/was quite
possible that a donkey, a mule and even an ox (oxen were not present in the
field tasks here in Catalonia) to fall into it.
If at its falling there was, say, a volume of water two meters high... then
the beast was drawned and died because it could not go out from the pit by
itself.

I never experienced myself such a case -namely I never saw an animal drawned
this way-   but I'm aware this event was something QUITE POSSIBLE to happen.

I don't know whether things are or were exactly the same in Israel (though I
gess they were). But maybe you'll find this experience of mine helpful and
useful for your purposes.

Very kind and hearty regards to you from

Pere Porta
(Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain)

2011/4/5 Yigal Levin <leviny1 at mail.biu.ac.il>

> Dear all,
>
>
>
> Exodus 21:33-34 says: "If someone leaves a pit open, or digs a pit and does
> not cover it, and an ox or a donkey falls into it, the owner of the pit
> shall make restitution, giving money to its owner, but keeping the dead
> animal". The word generally translated "pit" is "bor", which usually means
> "cistern", and is sometimes used figuratively with "sheol" to refer to the
> realm of the dead. The first of these meanings also appears on the Mesha
> Stele.
>
>
>
> Does anyone have an idea what kind of "pit" the verses envision a person
> having on his property, that would be have a large enough opening for an ox
> to fall into and be deep enough for the ox to be killed?
>
>
>
> Thanks,
>
>
>
> Yigal
>
>
>
> Dr. Yigal Levin
>
> The Israel and Golda Koschitzky
>
> Department of Jewish History
>
> Bar-Ilan University
>
> Ramat Gan. 52900
>
> ISRAEL
>
>  <mailto:leviny1 at mail.biu.ac.il> leviny1 at mail.biu.ac.il
>
>
>
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>



-- 
Pere Porta



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