[b-hebrew] Xireq Compaginis

jimstinehart at aol.com jimstinehart at aol.com
Sun Jul 21 10:28:58 EDT 2013

Chris Watts:
You wrote:  “So to sumup you are placing Abraham and Isaac and Jacob from around 1500 - 1300 BC andtherefore Moses about 900 - 800 BC.”
Let me first set forth some exact dates for Abraham, Isaacand Jacob, and then I will answer your question more generally.
1.  Abraham’sDates.  Genesis 14: 4 refers to “Year 13”,and Genesis 14: 5 refers to “the fourteenth year”.  I see that as dating Abraham to Years 13-14of Akhenaten’s 17-year reign in the mid-14th century BCE.  The “four kings against five” at Genesis 14:1-11 reflects the military conflict that played out in central Syria in orabout Year 14 [with the exact date being disputed by historians;  mainstream historian John Darnell sees Year14 as being the key date, but a plurality of historians see the Great SyrianWar as occurring several years earlier, probably in Year 12, with this Year 14sequence then being a quashing of a subsequent rebellion against the newHittite empire in Syria].  Four rulers,led by a king with a bona fide Hittite name [Suppiluliuma historically, “Tidal”as his nasty Patriarchal nickname, where Suppiluliuma had historically seizedthe Hittite throne by the dastardly expedient of murdering his own olderbrother named “Tidal”], utterly destroyed five Hurrian city-states in centralSyria, which potentially threatened the future viability of Canaan aswell:  “four kings against five”.
2.  Isaac’sDates.  Isaac deals with Abimelek of Surregarding contested access to valuable water wells.  Chapter 26 of Genesis.  Abimelek of Sur mentions that very issue on 8occasions in the Amarna Letters [with the issue of contested access to valuablewater wells never being mentioned in any other Amarna Letters].  The last such letter refers to Akhenaten’soldest daughter, “Mayata”, as being the leading lady of Egypt, which is oftentaken as dating that letter to Years 13-14. I see that as dating Isaac to Years 13-14 of Akhenaten’s 17-year reignin the mid-14th century BCE.
3.  Jacob’sDates.  Two of Jacob’s sons, on behalf ofthis early monotheistic leader but without his prior approval, assassinate theruler of Shechem on a very irregular basis. Chapter 34 of Genesis.  If the AmarnaLetter of Labaya [the ruler of Shechem] that has an Egyptian hieratic exactdate is read as being “Year 12” [which is one mainstream view, though otherscholars read the damaged date as being “Year 32”, long before the Amarna Age],then historically in the following year, the ruler of Shechem was assassinatedon a very irregular basis on behalf of, but without the prior approval of, anearly monotheistic leader [Akhenaten] in Year 13.  I see that as dating Jacob to Years 13-14 ofAkhenaten’s 17-year reign in the mid-14th century BCE.
*       *       *
I see the Hebrews as coming together as a distinct people,and the religion of Judaism as being born, in Year 14, in large part as areaction against the terrible troubles the first tent-dwelling Hebrewsexperienced during Akhenaten’s tumultuous, troubled reign of 17 years.  The immediate concern of the first Hebrews inYears 13-14 was Yapaxu [with the exact dates again being subject to a split ofopinion among scholars, based largely on whether Labaya’s letter with ahieratic date is dated to Year 12 or Year 32], who like each Patriarch’ssuccessor had a native west Semitic-speaking father, and a mother whose motherwas an ethnic Hurrian.  Alas, Yapaxu’sfather, the Amorite princeling Milk-i-Ilu just west of Jerusalem, failed torealize that his firstborn son should get the shaft and properly so.  The fine Amorite princeling ruler Milk-i-Ilu [whose Patriarchal nickname at Genesis 14: 13 is "Mamre the Amorite"], to the first Hebrews’consternation, did not pick as his successor his pro-tent dweller younger son but rather picked Yapaxu as his favorite, firstborn son,whereas each Patriarch by contrast is portrayed as making the right decision tobypass his firstborn son and choose instead a younger son as his successor:  (i) younger son Isaac is properly picked byAbraham over firstborn son Ishmael;  (ii)younger son Jacob is properly picked by Isaac over firstborn son Esau;  and (iii) younger son Judah is properlypicked by Jacob over firstborn son Reuben.
In my opinion, the Patriarchal narratives are always talkingabout the traumatic, life-threatening events of Years 13-14, which almost sawthe tent-dwelling Hebrews being kicked out of their beloved valley near Jerusalem, but which insteadended up with the Hebrews, against all odds, coming together as a distinctpeople in south-central Canaan with a distinct, world-class religion.
University scholars say that the Patriarchal narratives arelate as a written text, and non-historical as to the details of the historical birthof Judaism.  I say, on the contrary, thatthe Patriarchal narratives were recorded in cuneiform writing by a scriberetained by the first Hebrew, who composed most of the Patriarchal narrativesin Years 13-14 while the above traumatic events were unfolding, and which werereduced to cuneiform writing [by a scribe] a year or so after Akhenaten’s deathin Year 17.  Thus in my view, thePatriarchal narratives are extremely early as a written text, and have  p-i-n-p-o-i-n-t  historical accuracy in describing the worldof south-central Canaan in Years 13-14, which I see as the timing of the historicalbirth of both Judaism and the Hebrews as a distinct people.  Linguistic features such as (a) the use ofxireq compaginis, (b) dozens of Hurrian names with accurate Late Bronze Agespellings, and (c) Biblical Egyptian names that make sense if and only if theyare coming from a text recorded in cuneiform in the Late Bronze Age [with theinevitable confusion of gutturals and certain sibilants that is the distinctivefeature of cuneiform writing], support the foregoing historical analysis of thePatriarchal narratives.
I have nothing of interest to say about Moses, who I do notview as being relevant to the composition of, or recording in writing of, the Patriarchalnarratives.

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