[b-hebrew] Ruth 1: 12 too old for a husband

JimStinehart at aol.com JimStinehart at aol.com
Mon Jul 22 18:10:54 EDT 2013

Isaac Fried: 
You wrote:  “Rebekah had to wait no more than 9 years for the "divine gift 
of  fertility" at age 12.” 
Let’s consider what the text says in that  regard: 
“20 And Isaac was forty shanah old when he  took Rebekah to wife, the 
daughter of Bethuel the Syrian of Padanaram, the  sister to Laban the Syrian.  21 
And Isaac intreated  the Lord  for his wife, because she was barren: and 
the Lord was intreated of him, and Rebekah his wife conceived.  …26 …[A]nd 
Isaac was threescore shanah old  when she bare them [twin sons Esau and Jacob].
”  Genesis 25: 20-21,  26 
Isaac  marries at age 40 shanah, and sires his twin sons at age 60 shanah.  
If shanah is given the archaic meaning  of “the turn of the year”, being a 
6-month period, then all ages in the  Patriarchal narratives make perfect 
sense on all levels.  Here, Isaac marries at age 20 years [in  12-month 
years];  Rebekah is barren  for 10 long years [in 12-month years];  and then 
Rebekah finally bears the twins when Isaac is age 30 years [in  12-month years]. 
Note the  following two key points: 
1.  Rebekah is barren for 10 years [in  12-month years]. 
2.  If Rebekah were age 3, then as a little  girl she wouldn’t be “barren”
, and the text would not say:  “And  Isaac intreated the Lord  for his wife, 
because she was barren”.  Rather, Isaac is worried because Isaac and 
Rebekah have been trying to  have children for 10 long years, and Isaac worries 
that Rebekah, no longer very  young in the ancient world for a first 
childbirth at age 25 years, may alas  never bear him a son. 
Note how  all the nuances and overtones make complete sense, on all levels, 
if shanah has  the archaic meaning of a 6-month period regarding the stated 
ages of all persons  in the Patriarchal narratives, and if Rebekah is age 
15 years [in 12-month  years] when she marries Isaac. 
All of the ages  of all people in the Patriarchal narratives are 
reasonable.  No one is ever too old, or too young, to  be doing what such person is 
portrayed as doing in the text, in the context of  the ancient world. 
Jim Stinehart 
Evanston,  Illinois
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