"oaks of" vs. "Ayalon --"

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James Stinehart

Re: "oaks of" vs. "Ayalon --"

Postby James Stinehart » Thu Mar 21, 2019 8:57 am

Mark Lightman:

A. You wrote: “Agreed Onkelos knew Hebrew well, as did, I think, the author of the Graecus Venetus”.

To the best of my knowledge, the key phrase at Genesis 13: 18 is translated / understood as follows in the various sources:

1. Most all modern English translations (except those that reproduce the KJV), and all Greek Septuagint translations, understand the term in question as being “oaks of” (or some close variant thereof).

2. Onkelos and KJV, by contrast, make the seemingly impossible translation of “plain of” (or “plains of”).

3. No one except me understands the key phrase in question as being (i) the 3-letter defective spelling of “Ayalon”, followed by (ii) a yod as a ḫireq compaginis: “Ayalon -- ”.

B. Given the above competing translations, the logical question to ask then is as follows. Does the extensive description of the Patriarchs’ “Hebron” fit the mountainous locale 20 miles south of Jerusalem (in any era)? Or, by sharp contrast, does such description instead perfectly match the rural northern Ayalon Valley in Year 13 in the mid-14th century BCE Amarna Age?

1. The Biblical Hebrew word emeq / עמק at Genesis 37: 14 in describing the Patriarchs’ “Hebron” fits the Ayalon Valley perfectly, but not the mountainous city of Hebron or its environs.

2. The total lack of har / הר in describing the Patriarchs’ “Hebron” fits the Ayalon Valley perfectly, but not the mountainous city of Hebron or its environs.

3. The total lack of alah / עלה in describing the Patriarchs’ “Hebron” fits the Ayalon Valley perfectly, but not the mountainous city of Hebron or its environs.

4. Abram had passed through the Ayalon Valley in taking the Diagonal Route to and from Egypt. He knew that its deserted pastureland in Year 13 was absolutely perfect for the lifestyle he wanted to live. By sharp contrast, Abram knew nothing about a site 20 miles south of Jerusalem.

5. It is virtually impossible to maintain a large flock of sheep and goats for years at or near the mountainous site of the city of Hebron 20 miles south of Jerusalem. By sharp contrast, during the mid-14th century BCE, when drought conditions caused nobles and peasants to abandon the rural northern Ayalon Valley, the natural pastureland there was perfect for a large flock of sheep and goats. The notable lack of humans meant that no sharp elbows had to be thrown.

C. The reason w-h-y Jewish and Greek translators misinterpret this phrase at Genesis 13: 18 is because they were loyal to Judah, not to Israel. Making that misinterpretation neatly put the beloved Patriarchs’ favorite place to sojourn in the very heartland of Judah. Whereas if one follows what the Biblical Hebrew text actually says (ignoring openly-disclosed, later-added “glosses”), one discovers that in fact, the Hebrew Patriarchs are n-e-v-e-r portrayed as sojourning in Judah! The Patriarchal narratives are H-e-b-r-e-w , all the way in every way.

Jim Stinehart

Saboi

Re: "oaks of" vs. "Ayalon --"

Postby Saboi » Thu Mar 21, 2019 2:50 pm

Genesis 35:8 reads אלון־בכות for βαλανηφάγος and βαλανηφόρος "date-bearing", in Judges 4:5
the same tree is called תמר, the Septuagint reads φοίνικα.

Hdt. 1.193
The Assyrians tend these like figs, and chiefly in this respect, that they tie the fruit of the palm[ φοινίκων] called male by the Greeks to the date-bearing palm [ βαλανηφόροισι]

Genesis 35:6 mentions כנען that is φοινικών ''palm-bearing region, palm-grove'', so perhaps the story is meant to explain the name כנען. לוזה is Λητώ.

Genesis 35:7 reads נגלו for δηλοῦμεν "to make visible or manifest", a verb form of Δῆλος thus contextually, אלהים here is plural.

The clues suggest the place is Shiloh.

Joshua 21:1 - Shiloh[שלה] in the land of Canaan
Judges 21:21 - Daughters of Shiloh [בנות־שילו]
Judges 18:31 - the house of God [בית־האלהים] was in Shiloh.

Must have being an important place for that is where Joshua cast lots (Jos 18:10, Jos 19:51).

James Stinehart

Re: "oaks of" vs. "Ayalon --"

Postby James Stinehart » Thu Mar 21, 2019 6:58 pm

Saboi:

You wrote: “Genesis 35:8 reads אלון־בכות for βαλανηφάγος and βαλανηφόρος ‘date-bearing’.”

Note that at Genesis 35: 8, b-o-t-h the common word translated by KJV as “an oak”, and the proper name transliterated by KJV as “Allonbachuth”, feature an interior vav.

But at Genesis 13: 18, by stark contrast, there is no interior vav: ’LNYMMR’ / ’LN -Y- MMR’ / אלניממרא.

When you’re talking “oak” or “tree”, there’s an interior vav. But the defective spelling of “Ayalon” has no interior vav.

* * *

If you’re looking for Amorite rulers in Year 13, at an emeq that is n-o-t “up” in “hill country”, but that is on the Diagonal Route in drought/famine-prone Canaan, then you’re not looking for “oaks”. No, you’re looking for “Ayalon”. The Ayalon Valley in the days of princeling Mamre the Amorite [historical Milkilu the Amorite] = ’LN -Y- MMR’ / אלניממרא.

It’s right there in the received text, with p-i-n-p-o-i-n-t historical accuracy, if we simply jettison the anti-Israel animus that developed centuries later among the Jews, including Greek-speaking Jews. The Patriarchal narratives in general, and ’LN -Y- MMR’ / אלניממר in particular, reflect a H-e-b-r-e-w mindset all the way, in every way.

Jim Stinehart

James Stinehart

Re: "oaks of" vs. "Ayalon --"

Postby James Stinehart » Fri Mar 22, 2019 3:10 pm

Who is “Eshkol” at Genesis 14: 13?

If אלניממרא = ’LN -Y- MMR’ = “Ayalon -- Mamre” = "Ayalon [in the days of Amorite princeling] Mamre", then we can figure out who, historically, Eshkol is. (Excitement, excitement.)

“Eshcol” is a Canaanite (west Semitic) name. At Genesis 14: 13, Eshcol is a “brother”, that is, a Canaanite “fellow princeling”, of Amorite princeling Mamre the Amorite (historical Milkilu the Amorite) -- the princeling ruler of the Ayalon Valley in Year 13:

“And there came one that had escaped, and told Abram the Hebrew; for he dwelt in Ayalon -- [in the days of] Mamre the Amorite, brother [fellow princeling] of Eshcol, and brother of Aner: and these were confederate with Abram.” Genesis 14: 13

KJV “Eshcol” = ’ŠKL / אשכל. This name is a slight variant of the Hebrew common word ’ŠKWL / אשכול (e.g. at Genesis 40: 10), which means “a cluster (of grapes on the vine)”. In the ancient world, that name would have the implied meaning of “Drunk with Total Devotion to [deity]”, or simply “Totally Devoted to [deity]”.

As we will now see, Biblical “Eshkol” can be viewed as recalling Canaanite princeling Mu-ut - Ba‘li, who in the Amarna Letters was closely allied with Amorite princeling Milkilu the Amorite (Biblical “Mamre the Amorite”). For the reasons set forth below, (i) “Eshkol” effectively can have the same implied meaning as “Mu-ut”; and (ii) “Mu-ut” could be a shortened form of the name of the Canaanite princeling Mu-ut - Ba‘li, who was closely allied with Amorite princeling Milkilu.

As a personal name, “Eshcol” is unknown in the rest of the Bible. With L and R being liquids that often interchange, and with the initial vowel being either E or I, the name “Eshkol” may well be a deliberate play on the following west Semitic name from the Amarna Letters: Iškuru. Amarna Letter EA 83: 53. Although Iškuru literally means “drunk”, the implied meaning, once again (as with “Eshcol”), is “Drunk with Total Devotion to [deity]”.

The Biblical name “Eshkol” is likely an indirect reference to the most prominent son of Labaya of Shechem (Biblical “Hamor” of Shechem; both historically and Biblically, the notorious Canaanite princeling ruler of Shechem was assassinated in Year 13 under very strange circumstances, involving trickery on behalf of, but without the prior knowledge of, an early monotheistic leader of his people). That son was Canaanite princeling Mu-ut - Ba‘li, who was closely allied with Milkilu, and whose name means “Totally Devoted to Baal” (or, more literally, “Man of Baal”). A shortened form of the name Mu-ut - Ba‘li would be Mu-ut, where the divine name is implied. Although their ultra-literal meanings differ, the names “Eshcol”, “Iškuru” and “Mu-ut” all effectively have the same implied meaning: “Totally Devoted to [deity]”.

To confirm the connection of “Eshcol” / “Iškuru” to “Mu-ut” (all of which have the implied meaning of “Totally Devoted to [deity]”), note that at Amarna Letter EA 83: 53-54, the name Iškuru is immediately followed by mu-ut-še [“her man / husband”]. The double pun here is that (i) Iškuru is always identified (uniquely and oddly enough) in the Amarna Letters as being a man/husband/mu-ut, and (ii) as a Canaanite princeling’s name, Iškuru / “Eshkol” and Mu-ut mean “Totally Devoted to [deity]”.

Accordingly, Biblical “Eshkol” recalls historical Mu-ut - Ba‘li, the Canaanite princeling who in the Amarna Letters was closely allied with Milkilu the Amorite (Biblical “Mamre the Amorite”), the princeling ruler of the Ayalon Valley in Year 13.

Just as Biblical “Eshkol” recalls historical Canaanite princeling Mu-ut - Ba‘li, it could furthermore be shown that Biblical “Aner” likewise recalls Hurrian princeling Tagi. Historically, these are the two main allies in the Amarna Letters of Milkilu the Amorite (Biblical “Mamre the Amorite”), the princeling ruler of the Ayalon Valley in Year 13. Thus Genesis 14: 13 and the Amarna Letters are fully in sync as to (a) who was the princeling ruler of the Ayalon Valley in Year 13, and (b) who were his two main princeling allies (one a Canaanite, and the other a Hurrian).

The p-i-n-p-o-i-n-t historical accuracy of the Patriarchal narratives in the historical context of Year 13 is truly amazing. No Jewish or Greek authors could possibly know any of these historical details. No way. Rather, the Patriarchal narratives are H-e-b-r-e-w , all the way in every way.

Jim Stinehart

James Stinehart

Re: "oaks of" vs. "Ayalon --"

Postby James Stinehart » Sun Mar 24, 2019 9:34 am

What Does “Mamre” Mean?

Background

On this thread, I have argued that at Genesis 14: 13, the eight Hebrew letters אלניממרא / ’LNYMMR’ should be interpreted as follows: ’LN -Y- MMR’ = “Ayalon -- Mamre” = “Ayalon [in the days of] Mamre the Amorite”. On that basis, I have suggested the following annotated translation of Genesis 14: 13:

“Abram the Hebrew…dwelt in Ayalon [in the days of princeling] Mamre the Amorite, ‘brother’ of [fellow princeling] Eshcol [a Canaanite], and ‘brother’ of [fellow princeling] Aner [a Hurrian]: and these were confederate princelings with Abram.”

Note first that near the end of this verse, KJV uses the single English word “confederate” to translate two Hebrew words, which could instead be translated (more informatively) as: “confederate princelings” (or “confederate lords”). That makes it more obvious that as was commonplace in the Late Bronze Age, the term “brother” is used at Genesis 14: 13 in the figurative sense of “fellow princeling”. (Mamre the Amorite obviously does not literally have one brother who is an ethnic Canaanite and another brother who is an ethnic Hurrian.)

What Does “Mamre” Mean?

“Mamre” is spelled MMR’ / ממרא.

For the reasons set forth below, it is my opinion that “Mamre” has two intended meanings: (i) “Amorite” and (ii) “vigorous”. The term vigorous in context does not focus on his physical vitality, but rather focuses on his penchant (per Genesis 14: 13 quoted above) for allying with other princelings to be able to form a formidable militia. Thus “vigorous” here means “militarily active”.

1. “Amorite”

Mamre is expressly stated to be an Amorite at Genesis 14: 13. The Hebrew word for “Amorite” (per Genesis 14: 13) is ’MRY / אמרי. The two key consonants in the Hebrew word for “Amorite”, as is the case for this word in virtually all languages, are M-R. (The first letter, aleph, is prosthetic and can be omitted when a prefix is added; the ending yod is an optional generic suffix that means “people”.) As a prefix, Hebrew mem/M literally means “from”, and can be used to change a noun / name into an adjective. So one meaning of “Mamre” / M - MR[’] / ממרא literally is “from Amorite”, that is, “Amorite” used as an adjective.

On an historical level, the reason for emphasizing the fact that the princeling ruler of the Ayalon Valley in Year 13 was an Amorite is because it was so very unusual in that time and place for a princeling ruler in southern Canaan to be an Amorite (instead of a Canaanite or a Hurrian). There were many Amorites at that time in Amurru (northern Lebanon) and Ugarit (northwest Syria), but very few Amorites in southern Canaan.

2. “Vigorous”

I submit to the B-Hebrew list (though I would appreciate everyone’s comments on this part of my analysis) that the second meaning of “Mamre” / M - MR’ / ממרא is “vigorous”. Once again, Hebrew mem/M as a prefix literally means “from”, and makes a west Semitic noun (which here may be “strength”) into an adjective: “strong, vigorous, commanding”.

Per Ugaritic, MR’ / mr’ means “to fatten”, and may alternatively mean “to command”. In non-Hebrew west Semitic languages, words based on MR’ / mr’ mean either “to command” or “lord, master”. Mark S. Smith, “The Ugaritic Baal Cycle” (1994), at p. 693 notes in this connection: (i) Aramaic *mārē', and (ii) ESA mr’. In Aramaic, mr’ can be mry, which means “to have dominion” as a verb, or “master” as a noun. In Akkadian, māru means “fatten”.

The Hebrew meaning of MR’ / מרא is somewhat unclear, but in the context of the proper name “Mamre”, the underlying Hebrew word is often thought to mean “to fatten” or “to be vigorous” or “to be robust”, based on (a) the foregoing cognates in other Semitic languages, and (b) the context of Genesis 14: 13.

Yet the Hebrew word with this same spelling has a different meaning the two times it appears in the Hebrew Bible. At Job 39: 18, MR’ / מרא means “to lift oneself up”. Gesenius sees the meaning of that Hebrew word as being “to lash [a horse with a whip]”, or “to be rebellious”, or “to lash oneself up”. On that basis, Gesenius sees MR’ / מרא at Zephaniah 3: 1 as meaning “rebellious”, whereas KJV and NRSV translate the word there as “filthy”. The Darby translation, by contrast, goes with “rebellious”.

The Ugaritic, Aramaic and Akkadian cognates all seem to indicate “fatten” or “to command” or “lord, master”. But oddly enough, the Hebrew meaning of this common word at Job 39: 18 and Zephaniah 3: 1 seems to be quite different. Though the spelling is the same, perhaps this is nevertheless a completely different Hebrew word?

In the context of “Mamre the Amorite” in the truly ancient Patriarchal narratives, M - MR’ / “Mamre” seems to mean, on that level of meaning: “vigorous, robust, energetic, strong, commanding”.

* * *

I view Biblical Mamre the Amorite as being historical Milkilu the Amorite in the Amarna Letters. “Mamre” is an appropriate Patriarchal nickname for the active Amorite princeling ruler of the Ayalon Valley in Year 13. This post, however, focuses solely on the meaning of this Patriarchal nickname.

I see the meaning of “Mamre” as being: “vigorous Amorite”.

Jim Stinehart

Saboi

Re: "oaks of" vs. "Ayalon --"

Postby Saboi » Sun Mar 24, 2019 12:56 pm

ממר means 'bitterness' and the Septuagint commonly translates into the adjective, πικρός 'sharp, pungent, bitter'
describing wine, perhaps related too μορία 'sacred olives' [מורה]. Plain of Mamre [אלני ממרא] seems to be another reading of the Plains
of Moria [אלון מורה] in Genesis 12:6 'bitter-fields'. Then אלון is perhaps ἅλων 'threshing-floor, plantation, salt-works' and אשכל [ασταφυλά] means 'plummet of grapes' and in the Sept. Aner is written Αυναν, so perhaps a common scribal error and originally
written ענן meaning οἴνην 'vine'.

So all the words in the verse are to do with vineyards and this is supported in Deuteronomy 32:32.

Deuteronomy 32:32
For their vine is of the vine of Sodom, and of the fields of Gomorrah: their grapes are grapes of gall, their clusters are bitter

'clusters are bitter' (אשכלת מררת).

Isaac Fried
Posts: 1449
Joined: Sat Sep 28, 2013 8:32 pm

Re: "oaks of" vs. "Ayalon --"

Postby Isaac Fried » Sun Mar 24, 2019 9:20 pm

We read in Daniel 8:6-7
וַיָּבֹא עַד הָאַיִל בַּעַל הַקְּרָנַיִם אֲשֶׁר רָאִיתִי עֹמֵד לִפְנֵי הָאֻבָל וַיָּרָץ אֵלָיו בַּחֲמַת כֹּחוֹ וּרְאִיתִיו מַגִּיעַ אֵצֶל הָאַיִל וַיִּתְמַרְמַר אֵלָיו וַיַּךְ אֶת הָאַיִל וַיְשַׁבֵּר אֶת שְׁתֵּי קְרָנָיו
Has this וַיִּתְמַרְמַר = בא-היא-את-מרמר anything to do with "bitterness"?

Isaac Fried, Boston University

James Stinehart

Re: "oaks of" vs. "Ayalon --"

Postby James Stinehart » Sun Mar 24, 2019 9:37 pm

Saboi:

1. You wrote: “ממר means 'bitterness'…”

Yes, and MR / מר means “bitter”.

B-u-t :

(a) It wouldn’t make sense for an Amorite princeling’s name to be “Bitterness”, would it?

Genesis 14: 13 tells us that each of Mamre, Eshcol and Aner is a princeling / “brother”:
“Abram the Hebrew…dwelt in Ayalon [in the days of princeling] Mamre the Amorite, ‘brother’ of [fellow princeling] Eshcol [a Canaanite], and ‘brother’ of [fellow princeling] Aner [a Hurrian]: and these were confederate princelings with Abram.”

Note that near the end of that verse, Mamre, Eshcol and Aner are collectively described as being ברית בעלי / B‘LY BRYT / ba‘al beriyt, which I translate as “confederate princelings”.

(b) Moreover, MR / מר has an exceedingly negative meaning in its only appearance in the Patriarchal narratives, at Genesis 27: 34. But Mamre the Amorite, by sharp contrast, is viewed very positively in Genesis, as Mamre provides Abram with invaluable assistance in rescuing Abram’s nephew Lot and Lot’s family from Lot’s Hittite captors.

Accordingly, the Patriarchal nickname “Mamre” / MMR’ / ממרא cannot be a play on MR / מר / “bitter”. No way. Rather, “Mamre” appropriately means “vigorous Amorite”.

2. You wrote: “Plain of Mamre [אלני ממרא] seems to be another reading of the Plains
of Moria [אלון מורה] in Genesis 12:6 'bitter-fields'.”

But unlike ממרא / MMR’ / “Mamre”, the name מורה / MWRH / “Mowreh” has only one mem / M, and it has an interior vav / W, so the two don’t seem the same at all.

3. You wrote: “…in the Sept. Aner is written Αυναν, so perhaps a common scribal error and originally written ענן meaning οἴνην 'vine'.”

There’s no scribal error there. ענר / ‘NR / E-na-ar [KJV “Aner”] at Genesis 14: 13 is a shortened form of the following attested Hurrian name at Nuzi: En-na-ar-ḫi. Gelb and Purves, “Nuzi Personal Names”, p. 46. e-na-ar -ḫa is a Hurrian common word that means “looking or acting like a god”. (The final syllable, -ḫi or -ḫa, is a standard Hurrian adjectival ending that is dropped in the Biblical version of this Hurrian name.)

Genesis 14: 13 is telling us, historically accurately in the context of “Year 13” [Genesis 14: 4], that the Amorite princeling Mamre was in confederate relationship with a Canaanite princeling (“Eshcol”) and a Hurrian princeling (“Aner”).

4. You wrote: “So all the words in the verse are to do with vineyards and this is supported in Deuteronomy 32:32. Deuteronomy 32:32: ‘For their vine is of the vine of Sodom, and of the fields of Gomorrah: their grapes are grapes of gall, their clusters are bitter’.”

Not.

(a) Mamre the Amorite has nothing to do with Sodom or Gomorrah.

(b) Deuteronomy knows nothing, and cares less, about the non-Biblical history of the Bronze Age. Chapter 2 of Deuteronomy does not even know that “Seir” was the name of one of the Hurrians’ two divine bulls, that this Hurrian name is attested non-Biblically solely in the Late Bronze Age, and that as a geographical place name, “Seir” always applies to the Hurrian-dominated northern Transjordan. T-h-a-t is why today’s university scholars teach the freshmen every year that the “Horites” in the Patriarchal narratives are not the historical Hurrians (despite the letter-for-letter match between “Horites” and the spelling of “Hurrians” at Ugarit), but rather Esau’s prosperous in-laws are, allegedly, cave-dwelling troglodytes that live in a place (south of the Dead Sea) that has no caves. Read it and weep. I cannot make this stuff up.

If the topic is the Patriarchal narratives in Genesis, whoever cites Deuteronomy loses.

Jim Stinehart

James Stinehart

Re: "oaks of" vs. "Ayalon --"

Postby James Stinehart » Mon Mar 25, 2019 8:51 pm

Oddly enough, in researching other matters for this thread, I stumbled across an excellent scholarly article that allows me to make a much simpler explanation of the Biblical name “Eshcol” at Genesis 14: 13 than I had set forth in a prior post on this thread.

According to Juan-Pablo Vita, “Scribes and Dialects in Late Bronze Age Canaan” (2007), at p. 869 (though both of these matters have long been the subject of dispute among historians and linguists): (i) the immediate successor to Milkilu the Amorite [whom I see as being Biblical Mamre the Amorite] was not his son Yapaḫu, but rather was, perhaps on a temporary, very short-term basis, a Canaanite princeling who was a non-relative; and (ii) (even more controversially, believe it or not) the mysterious name of the Canaanite princeling who was Milkilu’s immediate successor may well have been: d IŠKUR.DI.KUD. If so, then the main element in the name of the Canaanite princeling who was Milkilu’s temporary and immediate successor was the name of a Mesopotamian storm-god: Iškur. [In the Amarna Letters, this god’s name is usually thought to be rendered in the non-Sumerian form of Haddad or Adad or Ba‘al, rather than Iškur; but having said that, the same logogram can render all four iterations of this god’s name. Vita expressly sets forth the name of this Canaanite princeling as being: d IŠKUR.DI.KUD.]

KJV “Eshcol” is: ’ŠKL / אשכל / Iškul.

By sound (though not by underlying meaning), the Biblical name of the Canaanite princeling who was closely allied with Mamre the Amorite in the Year 13 in the Ayalon Valley recalls the historical name of the Canaanite princeling who was the immediate successor of Milkilu the Amorite in Year 13 in the Ayalon Valley. That is to say:

Biblical Iškul recalls historical Iškur.

* * *

My very heavily annotated translation of Genesis 14: 13 can now be updated to read as follows:

“Abram the Hebrew…dwelt in Ayalon [in the days of (i.e. Year 13) princeling ruler] Mamre the Amorite [historical Milkilu the Amorite], ‘brother’ of [fellow princeling] Iškul [a Canaanite, who historically was d IŠKUR.DI.KUD (where by sound Iškul recalls Iškur)], and ‘brother’ of [fellow princeling] E-na-ar [a Hurrian, historically Tagi (where e-na-ar and ta-gi have similar meanings in Hurrian)]: and these were confederate princelings with Abram.”

Jim Stinehart

Isaac Fried
Posts: 1449
Joined: Sat Sep 28, 2013 8:32 pm

Re: "oaks of" vs. "Ayalon --"

Postby Isaac Fried » Tue Mar 26, 2019 10:58 pm

So, where exactly is this place Ayalon?

Isaac Fried, Boston University


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