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“The Incongruous Clause in Gen. XIII. 10”

That’s the title of an journal article by W. W. Moore, found in the University of Chicago Press’s The Old Testament Student, Volume 6, Number 8 (April 1887), pages 237-240. It’s available online for free, having passed out of copyright some time ago, here, courtesy of the kind folks at JSTOR. Here’s how it starts:

“And Lot lifted up his eyes, and beheld all the plain of Jordan, that it was well-watered every-where, before the Lord destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah, like the land of Egypt, as thou comest unto Zoar.” The last clause seems, from its position, to qualify “the land of Egypt.” But this construction deprives the statement of all meaning, inasmuch as Zoar was not in or near the land of Egypt. The clause is equally unintelligible, whether we place the pentapolis, of which Zoar was a member, at the southern or at the northern end of the Dead Sea.

Most commentators quietly ignore this difficulty. Others evade it by arbitrarily re-shaping the whole sentence. . . .  (more…)

On Genesis 12:3

And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.

Genesis 12:3, KJV. (more…)

Who Was Nimrod?

In Genesis 10:8-12, four verses tell the story of Nimrod (if the last two verses are about him at all). Nimrod is then mentioned again only in Chronicles, which simply copies one line from the Genesis story (1 Chronicles 1:10), and in Micah 5:8, which refers to Assyria as the “land of Nimrod,” but does not say anything more about Nimrod the character.

So without further ado, here’s everything the Bible says about Nimrod (Genesis 10:8-12, KJV): (more…)

What did Ham do to Noah?

One of the Bible’s odder stories is Genesis 9:20-27, which reads as follows, according to the 1917 Jewish Publication Society Bible: (more…)

A Hapax in Genesis 8:22

Genesis 8:22 contains a hapax legomenon, a word which appears only once in the Hebrew Bible. Or, more precisely, it is considered a hapax by some counts but not others. In the words of the 1906 Jewish Encyclopedia, from the entry “Hapax Legomena“: (more…)

Genesis 7:11 — When did the Flood Begin?

In the Masoretic Text, Genesis 7:11 reads as follows: In the sixth hundredth year of Noah’s life, in the second month, on the seventeenth day of the month, on that day all the fountains of the great deep were broken up, and the windows of heaven were opened.

In the Septuagint, as translated by Brenton: In the six hundredth year of the life of Noe, in the second month, on the twenty-seventh day of the month, on this day all the fountains of the abyss were broken up, and the flood-gates of heaven were opened.

This seemingly small discrepancy is only one among several oddities encountered by those trying to decipher the Flood’s chronology, which has lead to a substantial amount of discussion among biblical scholars. (more…)

E. A. Speiser on Genesis 6:3

In the KJV, Genesis 6:3 reads like so: And the LORD said, My spirit shall not always strive with man, for that he also is flesh: yet his days shall be an hundred and twenty years.

This verse raises a variety of interesting questions, such as the meaning of the curious Hebrew word beshagam and just what “his days shall be an hundred and twenty years” is referring to. Both are good questions, perhaps for another post and another day.

The question at hand is the meaning of the Hebrew word ydwn, which the KJV renders “strive.” (more…)

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