[b-hebrew] Fw: Re: Names of Rachel's Second-Born Son

Bryant J. Williams III bjwvmw at com-pair.net
Thu Sep 29 19:13:48 EDT 2011

Dear Jim,

First, I sent the article on so that the list could read what Dr. Mariottini has written.

Second, when I read an article I am not going to agree with everything said.

Third, I truly believe in intellectual honesty.

Fourth, the calendars of Israel were of two types: sacred and secular. There is a six month difference between them since Passover, followed by Feast of Unleavened Bread, begins the sacred calendar in March-April; while the secular calendar begins with Hashanah, followed by the Feast of Tabernacles (Booth), in September-October. Your calendrical half-years is speculative.

Rev. Bryant J. Williams III
  ----- Original Message ----- 
  From: JimStinehart at aol.com 
  To: bjwvmw at com-pair.net ; yishalom at sbcglobal.net ; b-hebrew at lists.ibiblio.org 
  Cc: George.Athas at moore.edu.au 
  Sent: Thursday, September 29, 2011 1:50 PM
  Subject: Re: [b-hebrew] Fw: Re: Names of Rachel's Second-Born Son

Rev. Bryant J. Williams III: Thank you for posting those very interesting comments by Dr. Claude Mariottini regarding the left-handedness of Benjamin.  It is fascinating that YMYN at one point may have signified “west”, not “south” as usually supposed:  “The inhabitants of the Holy Land had the sea (yam) on the right, hence called
that side jamin, literally, “sea-side”; and the highlands of Aram on the left,
hence semol, “the left.”  Different nations derived their expressions for right
and left from conceptions peculiar to themselves.”  If BN-YMYN on one level means “Son of the West”, that would actually make geographical sense, as Jacob’s other 11 sons are definitely born in the “east”. But I must disagree with the following assertion that you quoted from that article:  “It was by a euphemism that the name of Jacob’s son was Ben-jamin. Among the Greeks also the “left” was euphemistically called εὐὠνυμος, good-omened, because it was wished to avoid the ominous ὰριστερός [“left”].  A similar custom must have obtained in Israel, since just in the tribe of Benjamin there were, as we are informed (Judg. 20:16), large numbers of men who,like Ehud, were  i. e. left-handed….” The Patriarchal narratives are older than the rest of the Bible.  The early Hebrew author of the truly ancient Patriarchal narratives had no idea what characteristics a future tribe of Benjamin might have.  He had no idea that such tribe might end up having more lefthanders than other tribes. BN-YMYN is  n-o-t  a “euphemism”!  No way.  In looking at Rachel’s newborn son, Jacob knew that (i) Joseph, who was Rachel’s firstborn son and had been heavily favored by Jacob with a ‘coat of many colors’, had vanished a month or so ago, and was presumed by Jacob to be dead, and (ii) Rachel herself had just now died in childbirth.  Jacob’s plan at that point was to honor both Joseph and Rachel by choosing Joseph’s only full-brother, being Rachel’s apparently only living son, to be Jacob’s heir-apparent, the “Son of my Right Hand”:  BN-YMYN.  Genesis 48: 14, 17, 18 makes clear that if Jacob puts his “right hand”/YMYN on the head of one “son”/BN of Joseph, then that son [Ephraim] will have a finer inheritance than Joseph’s firstborn son.  Similarly, at the time of Benjamin’s birth, and for the next 15 years [until all the Hebrews moved to Egypt], Jacob heavily favored Benjamin, just as Jacob for the preceding 10 years had heavily favored Joseph.  Thus we see Jacob holding back Benjamin, his favored son, in sending all 10 of his oldest sons to Egypt to buy food for the starving Hebrews in Canaan. For 15 long years Rachel’s second-born son was Jacob’s heir-apparent, being Jacob’s favorite son [in Joseph’s absence], and as far as Jacob knew being the only living son of Jacob’s favorite wife Rachel.  As such, from the moment of Benjamin’s birth [about a month after Joseph’s disappearance], and for 15 years thereafter, Jacob was planning to name Benjamin as Jacob’s successor, to be the leader of the next generation of Hebrews.  So for 15 years Benjamin was Jacob’s heir-apparent and was indeed BN-YMYN, “Son of my Right Hand”.  That name is not a euphemism. E-v-e-r-y-t-h-i-n-g  about this sequence makes perfect sense if and only if chapter 37 of Genesis is a flashback, which takes us back to the time period shortly before the bloody Shechem incident and Benjamin’s birth.  All of the “contradictions” that Prof. Yigal Levin’s article deftly identifies in chapter 37 of Genesis disappear entirely, once it is realized that chapter 37 of Genesis has been deliberately told out of normal chronological order.   You comment:  “Your calendrical analysis was years (?) ago shown to be very faulty.”  Au contraire.  Once we realize that Joseph is a “boy”/nar per Genesis 37: 2, who has witnessed 17 fall and spring New Years, being age 8½ in 12-month years, we can see that chapter 37 of Genesis is a flashback.  Benjamin is born in Year 13 tenfold, 130 years [in 12-month years] after Abraham’s birth, with Benjamin’s birth being reported in chapter 35 of Genesis.  Joseph was born in Year 120, so Genesis 37: 2 is referring to Year 128.5 [120 + 8½ = 128.5], being a flashback.  Periods of years out east in Naharim/Mitanni/Harran, where there was only one major New Year [the spring New Year] every 12 months, are set forth in terms of 12-month years [for example the period of 7 years in which Leah gives birth to 7 children with no twins].  So we know that Jacob’s family returns to Canaan in the 7th year after Joseph’s birth, which is Year 127.  Jacob initially settles at Succoth, so the bloody Shechem incident cannot occur until several years [3 years] after Jacob gets back to Canaan.  [Benjamin is born in Year 130.]    Mathematical proof that Joseph was born in Year 120 is that Joseph is twice said to die at stated age 110, which is age 55 in 12-month years, meaning that Joseph dies in Year 175.  [120 + 55 =175.]  That means that Abraham dies at exactly the half-way point of the Patriarchal narratives, dying at stated age 17½ tenfold, at stated age 175, which is age 87½ in 12-month years, being Year 87.5.  Judah is born 2½ years in [12-month years] before Joseph is born in Year 120, which is Year 117.5, with the accent on 17½.  And Terakh dies 17½ years [in 12-month years] after the fulfillment of the Covenant with Isaac’s birth, with Isaac being born when Abraham is stated age 100, Abraham being age 50 in 12-month years at Isaac’s birth, in Year 50.  [Terakh was stated age 70, being age 35 in 12-month years, at Abram’s birth.  So when Terakh dies at stated age 205, being age 102½ in 12-month years, that is Year 67.5:  102½ - 35 = 67½.  67.5 – 50 = 17½.]   See how every age in the Patriarchal narratives makes perfect sense on all levels, once we recognize that (i) Joseph was born in Year 120, (ii) Benjamin was born in Year 130 [in chapter 35 of Genesis, being Year 13 tenfold;  historically the ruler of Shechem was assassinated in Year 13], and (iii) chapter 37 of Genesis is a flashback, initially to Year 128.5 when Joseph is stated age 17, being age 8½ in 12-month years [which is 1½ 12-month years after Jacob returned to Canaan in Year 127].  Then Joseph has that later dream of 11 stars bowing down to him at age 9½ in 12-month years [which is the equivalent of being stated age 19], in Year 129.5, on the eve of the bloody Shechem incident [and shortly before Benjamin’s birth], which occurs in Year 130 [Year 13 tenfold].     I respectfully disagree with the assertion that Benjamin’s name is a “euphemism”.  Not.  And there are no “contradictions” in chapters 37 and 35 of Genesis.  None. Jim StinehartEvanston, Illinois


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