[b-hebrew] Ruth 1:12 too old for a husband
JimStinehart at aol.com
JimStinehart at aol.com
Tue Jul 23 12:22:57 EDT 2013
Thank you so much for being somewhat amenable to my assertion that Rebekah
may have been implied to be age 15 years when she married Isaac. We at
least agree she wasn’t age 3!
1. You wrote: “The idea of a half year "shanah" is a nice theory. But
even it suffers from what it would do the stories of the patriarchal
accounts. Pharaoh's exchange with Jacob comes to mind. 60 years would hardly
deserve Pharaoh's comment: ‘How many are the days of the years of your life?
Au contraire, that is a brilliant line in the Bible. Jacob is stated age
130 shanah, meaning that he is age 65 years, in 12-month years. In the
ancient world, only a very spry 65-year-old could lead a large number of people
from Canaan to Egypt! Very few people lived to age 65 in the ancient
world, yet Jacob not only lives that long, he at that advanced age leads all
the Hebrews from Canaan into Egypt.
But by not saying 65 but rather stating that Jacob was age 13 tenfold
shanah, that focuses attention on the number 13 [a focus which would not be
possible if shanah were being used with its non-archaic meaning of a 12-month
year]. Note that just after Jacob is said to be age 13 tenfold shanah,
Joseph is portrayed as doing what historically happened in Year 13 of Akhenaten
’s 17-year reign: Joseph confiscates much valuable land along the Nile
River for Pharaoh at firesale prices.
Similarly brilliant is the statement at Genesis 47: 28 that Jacob was an
early monotheistic leader of his people in Egypt for 17 shanah, knowing that
historically Akhenaten was an early monotheistic leader of his people in
Egypt for 17 years.
We begin to see that by using shanah with the archaic meaning of a 6-month
period, the early Hebrew author ingeniously lets us know the e-x-a-c-t
years in which these various historical events occurred.
2. You wrote: “The idea is novel, but there is no direct entailment
between equinoxes and a six month year. Additionally, it can't overcome the
fact that they kept twelve-month years. The very mention of a seventh month,
which may or may not suggest that they acknowledged the equinox, entails a
twelve-month year. The language above simply shows that they recognized a
turning point in the year.”
Yes. And accordingly, a brilliant early Hebrew author could decide to set
forth the stated ages of all people in the Patriarchal narratives in terms
of how many “turning points in the year” had transpired, that is, in
terms of “equinox years”, being periods of 6 months. W-h-y did he make that
seemingly odd choice? Because it instantly doubled his chances of using
effective numerical symbolism, such as allowing the stated age of
65-year-old Jacob to recall Year 13 [per Jacob’s stated age being 13 tenfold
shanah]. One key proof that the early Hebrew author did in fact choose that gambit
is that e-v-e-r-y age throughout the Patriarchal narratives, beginning
with Abraham’s father Terah, makes perfect sense on all levels, if and only
if shanah is viewed as having its archaic meaning of a 6-month period.
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