[b-hebrew] Zech 9:10

Jerry Shepherd jshepherd53 at gmail.com
Thu Aug 15 19:20:54 EDT 2013

Hi Jim,

I think you forgot to change the subject line to Gen 14:3.



Jerry Shepherd
Taylor Seminary
Edmonton, Alberta
jshepherd53 at gmail.com

On Thu, Aug 15, 2013 at 1:04 PM, <JimStinehart at aol.com> wrote:

> **
> Jerry Shepherd:
> ** **
> You wrote, concerning Zechariah 9: 10:  “ ‘From sea to sea’ probably
> refers to the Mediterranean and either of the two arms of the **Red Sea**
> .”
> ** **
> You are interpreting the Hebrew word YM as follows:  (i) it means “sea”;  (ii)
> it may well imply, without necessarily mandating, “Mediterranean Sea” [even
> though there is no explicit reference here to the **Great** **Sea**];  and
> (iii) it does not mean, at least here, the **Dead Sea**.
> ** **
> At Zechariah 9: 10, no qualifier is added, so YM also could [at least out
> of context] conceivably be referring to a fresh water lake, namely the **Sea
> of Galilee**.  See Numbers 34: 11, which uses YM to refer to the **Sea of
> Galilee**, which is a fresh water lake;  there, this identification is
> clarified by adding “Chinnereth” after YM.
> ** **
> If one wanted to limit YM to only salt water seas, thereby excluding the
> Sea of Galilee and any other freshwater lakes, but by no means necessarily
> excluding the Mediterranean Sea [which is comprised of salt water], then
> one might add after YM  the phrase:  H-MLX, with such phrase meaning “the
> salt”.  Yes, “sea the-salt” might refer to the Dead Sea, which is a salt
> water lake, but “sea the-salt” could also refer to the **Mediterranean Sea
> **, which is a salt water sea.
> ** **
> I interpret YM H-MLX [“sea the-salt”] at Genesis 14: 3 as referring, at
> least on one level, to the Mediterranean Sea, and not as necessarily
> referring to the **Dead Sea**.  Since the **Mediterranean Sea** is a salt
> water sea, it could be referenced, if a bit ambiguously, by the Biblical
> Hebrew term YM H-MLX/“sea the-salt”.
> ** **
> The reason for considering that “unorthodox” interpretation of the
> intended meaning of YM H-MLX at Genesis 14: 3 is that then the “four kings
> against five” [Genesis 14: 9] would match up with exactitude to what is
> attested historically, instead of being completely unattested.  In Year
> 14 [cf. “In the 14th year” at Genesis 14: 5], historically, a coalition
> comprised of a king of Ugarit [whose pejorative Patriarchal nickname is
> “Chedorlaomer”/KDRL(MR, which in Ugaritic [kdr l ‘mr] means “the line of
> kings of Ugarit falls into excrement”], a fearsome Hittite king [who had
> gained the Hittite throne by murdering his own older brother named Tidal,
> hence the nasty Patriarchal nickname “Tidal”, which in context is
> effectively calling mighty Hittite King Suppiluliuma “Murderer”], a Hurrian
> princeling [the Hurrian-based Patriarchal nickname “Arioch”], and an
> Amorite princeling [the west Semitic Patriarchal nickname “Amraphel”]
> totally defeated five Hurrian city-states, which both historically and
> Biblically had but four ruling princelings at the time [whose Hurrian-based
> Patriarchal nicknames are “Bera”, “Birsha”, “Shinab” and “Shemeber”].  The
> exact ethnicity [but not the historical name] of each one of the 9
> historical combatants is accurately represented.  So also is the exact
> year [Year 14, which is often viewed as being the year of the Second Syrian
> War, confirming the Year 12 Hittite conquest of Syria in the Great Syrian
> War], and so also is the precise outcome:  this coalition of four
> attacking rulers historically utterly destroyed the five rebellious
> city-states.  Historically this happened north of Canaan, in the **Orontes
> ** **River** **Valley**, not far from the body of water into which the **
> Orontes** **River** empties:  a salt-water sea, the **Mediterranean Sea**.
> [Note the reference to **Damascus** at Genesis 14: 15, which suggests ****
> Syria**** as the geographical locale of the “four kings against five”.]
> ** **
> If YM H-MLX/“sea the-salt” at Genesis 14: 3 can possibly be viewed as
> implying the Mediterranean Sea, then  e-v-e-r-y-t-h-i-n-g  about Genesis
> 14: 1-11 checks out historically.  Indeed, the pinpoint accuracy of the
> Biblical account of the “four kings against five” is in that event so
> stunning that surely the Patriarchal narratives must have been recorded in
> writing shortly after the event, in cuneiform writing, about a year or so
> after the end of the troubled reign of Egypt’s only monotheistic pharaoh in
> the mid-14th century BCE.  [As to cuneiform, look again at Genesis 14: 15.
> Logically, the reference there must be to “the Obah”, that is H-WBH, being
> the historically-attested name of the district of Damascus in the Amarna
> Letters, not the otherwise completely inexplicable XWBH that we see in the
> received alphabetical text.  In cuneiform writing, cuneiform heth stood
> for both Hebrew heth/X and Hebrew he/H, so when this Late Bronze Age
> cuneiform writing was transformed into alphabetical Hebrew writing for the
> first time under King Josiah 700 years later, it’s little surprise that the
> intended Hebrew he/H mistakenly came out as Hebrew heth/X here:  both
> such alphabetical Hebrew letters are rendered by the same cuneiform sign --
> Akkadian heth.  This Biblical text, as a written text, is  r-e-a-l-l-y
> old!]
> ** **
> Whether the “four kings against five” is historical or not is riding
> primarily on the Hebrew linguistics question of whether YM H-MLX/“sea
> the-salt” at Genesis 14: 3 could possibly be interpreted as referring to
> the Mediterranean Sea, rather than as necessarily referring to the Dead
> Sea, as heretofore thought.
> ** **
> Jim Stinehart
> ****Evanston**, **Illinois********
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