[b-hebrew] Order of Death: A Key to Understanding Genesis

pastormattfbcrankin pastormattfbcrankin at gmail.com
Tue Sep 20 13:40:34 EDT 2011


Jim,

I don't see how you can expect anyone to take you seriously when you make so many interpolations to the text.

Just to mention a few....

JS : The text states, in straightforward Biblical Hebrew prose, that Ishmael predeceased all of his half-brothers.

MW: If the prose is so straightforward, why is it that no one has ever "seen" this amazing fact before?  If it's really so obvious, why has no one seen it?

JS : Though we don’t hear about Abraham’s sons by minor wives until a later point in the text, nevertheless such sons would have been sired by Abraham at a younger age.

MW: Does the text tell us that?  This is an assumption with absolutely no weight based upon the text.

JS : We can probably figure out that there were 4 such “sons of concubines”, so that Abraham sired exactly 12 biological sons [all of whom lived to adulthood].

MW : Really?  We can "probably?" How? What evidence is there for this in the text? There is nothing in the text that names 4 other sons, or the fact that they all lived to adulthood.

JS : My only quibble with KJV is that “in the presence of”, or (L-PNY, though it literally means “in the face of”, is an idiom whose actual meaning is:  “during the lifetimes of”. 

MW : (L-PNY is most commonly translated as "upon the face" (of the earth), or "in the presence of" (an individual).  It can mean "during the lifetime of" (cf. w. Gen 11:28), but even there "in the presence of" makes perfect sense.  Why is it that here it is a mistranslation?  Who supports this view here?  What are the reasons in the text that it means that here?

JS : Based on the foregoing straightforward analysis of the Hebrew received text, we on the b-hebrew list can see what no modern university scholar has discerned:  both the birth order and the death order of Ishmael and Joseph are  i-d-e-n-t-i-c-a-l. 

MW : Jim, this is not a straightforward analysis.  You have pointed to things in the text that are not present.  Instead, they are based upon assumptions that fit into your theory.  We must start at the text and then go from there.  What you appear to be doing is trying to make the text fit your theories.  Which is exactly why no one has seen what you are seeing.  There is n-o-t-h-i-n-g in the text to support your view.

I know it's been said before, but I'll say it again.  Why don't you create a website with your theories, or a blog where people can interact with you?  Once again, you can't simply read into the text what fits your theory and call it straightforward.

Regards,

-Matt Williams


On Sep 20, 2011, at 9:03 AM, JimStinehart at aol.com wrote:

> 
> Order of Death:  A Key to Understanding Genesis
> 
> One key to understanding the Patriarchal narratives is to focus on what the 
> Hebrew text actually says about death order, and compare that to the 
> English mistranslations thereof.  In particular, we will see in this post that 
> modern translators are unwilling to report what the second half of Genesis 25: 
> 18 actually says about Ishmael’s order of death.  The text states, in 
> straightforward Biblical Hebrew prose, that Ishmael predeceased all of his 
> half-brothers.  We will find that, after taking into account the birth order of 
> both Ishmael and Joseph, the Hebrew text of Genesis tells us that each of 
> Ishmael and Joseph was the second youngest of 12 sons, but nevertheless 
> predeceased all 10 of his older half-brothers.  Same.  No modern scholar has 
> discerned the order of Ishmael’s death.  We will see that modern translators gin up 
> all sorts of creative, terrible things to say about Ishmael in “translating”
> Genesis 25: 18 [a kind of “translators’ midrash”, if you will], rather 
> than seeing that the second half of Genesis 25: 18 is a straightforward report 
> of Ishmael’s order of death, as compared to Abraham’s many other sons.
> 
> Ishmael’s Order of Birth  
> 
> Abraham was old when he sired Ishmael, though Abraham is even older, almost 
> impossibly old [Genesis 17: 17], when Abraham subsequently sires Isaac.  
> Though we don’t hear about Abraham’s sons by minor wives until a later point 
> in the text, nevertheless such sons would have been sired by Abraham at a 
> younger age.  Genesis 25: 2 reports 6 named sons that Keturah bore to Abraham, 
> and Genesis 25: 6 vaguely mentions “sons of concubines”, without giving 
> more details.  We can probably figure out that there were 4 such “sons of 
> concubines”, so that Abraham sired exactly 12 biological sons [all of whom lived 
> to adulthood].  [We later learn that Jacob/“Israel” famously has 12 sons, 
> and so does Abraham’s brother Nahor, at Genesis 22: 20-24, so the 
> implication is that Abraham likely had 12 sons.]  Of Abraham’s 12 sons [or 
> approximately 12 sons], it is clear that Ishmael was the second youngest.
> 
> Ishmael’s Order of Death
> 
> The second half of Genesis 25: 18 is a straightforward report of Ishmael’s 
> order of death.  Interestingly, virtually the only decent translation of the 
> second half of Genesis 25: 18 is the old KJV:  “he died in the presence of 
> all his brethren.”  I agree that in this context, NPL, which literally means 
> “to fall”, here means “to die”.  My only quibble with KJV is that “in the 
> presence of”, or (L-PNY, though it literally means “in the face of”, is an 
> idiom whose actual meaning is:  “during the lifetimes of”.  We can see 
> that here because none of Ishmael’s half-brothers were literally “present” 
> when he died, nor did any of them attend his funeral [if he even had a proper 
> funeral].  No, the key is that the Hebrew author is telling us that Ishmael’s 
> divine disfavor is shown by the fact that Ishmael, though the second 
> youngest of Abraham’s 12 sons, nevertheless is the very first son to die, 
> predeceasing all of his half-brothers, including all 10 of his older half-brothers.
> 
> Many translations of Genesis 25: 18 are downright embarrassing in their 
> creativity and lack of respect for what the Hebrew text says.  Here’s a 
> representative sampling:
> 
> Robert Alter:  “In defiance of all his brothers he went down.”
> 
> American Standard Version:  “He abode over against all his brethren.”
> 
> English Standard Version:  “He settled over against all his kinsmen.”
> 
> Darby:  “He settled before the face of all his brethren.”
> 
> New Revised Standard Version:  “he settled down* alongside** all his 
> people.  *Heb ‘he fell’.  **Or ‘down in opposition to’.”
> 
> JPS 1917:  “over against all his brethren he did settle.”
> 
> JPS 1985:   “they camped alongside all their kinsmen.”
> 
> Not only are all of those terrible mistranslations, but also they miss the 
> entire point that the Hebrew author is trying to make.  What the Hebrew 
> author is saying in plain Biblical Hebrew is that divine disfavor is shown by 
> the fact that though Ishmael was the second youngest of Abraham’s 12 sons, 
> nevertheless Ishmael was the very first son to die.
> 
> NPL is used 15 times in the Patriarchal narratives, and it always means “
> fell”, never “abode”, “settled” or “camped”.  Nor is there any concept here 
> of “against” or “in defiance of”.
> 
> Based on the foregoing straightforward analysis of the Hebrew received 
> text, we on the b-hebrew list can see what no modern university scholar has 
> discerned:  both the birth order and the death order of Ishmael and Joseph are  
> i-d-e-n-t-i-c-a-l.  Each is the second youngest of 12 sons, who nevertheless 
> predeceases all 10 of his older half-brothers.  The order of deaths of 
> Ishmael and Joseph are an integral part of understanding what the Patriarchal 
> narratives are telling us.  Despite the horrible modern mistranslations, the 
> second half of Genesis 25: 18 in fact is telling us in straightforward 
> Biblical Hebrew prose the following key fact about Ishmael’s order of death:
> 
> He fell [died] during the lifetimes of all his [half-]brothers.
> 
> Jim Stinehart
> Evanston, Illinois
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