June 11, 2008

Other Side of the Jordan and Ruth

אֵלֶּה הַדְּבָרִים, אֲשֶׁר דִּבֶּר מֹשֶׁה אֶל-כָּל-יִשְׂרָאֵל, בְּעֵבֶר, הַיַּרְדֵּן
These are the words which Moses spoke unto all Israel beyond the Jordan; in the wilderness, in the Arabah, over against Suph, between Paran and Tophel, and Laban, and Hazeroth, and Di-zahab.
Bible critics inform us that the very first pasuk suggests that it was written by someone inside Israel much later on, due to the fact that it says בְּעֵבֶר, הַיַּרְדֵּן (beyond the Jordan, or, on the other side of the Jordan). I never fully thought that this was an issue because I felt that one can easily interpret בְּעֵבֶר, הַיַּרְדֵּן as a specific location (X), regardless of it being compared to another location. Basically, being on the east bank of the Jordan was referred to as בְּעֵבֶר, הַיַּרְדֵּן because their goal in my mind is to be in Israel. While reading the book of Joshua, I found this same phrase right in the beginning.

Joshua 1:14
נְשֵׁיכֶם טַפְּכֶם, וּמִקְנֵיכֶם, יֵשְׁבוּ, בָּאָרֶץ אֲשֶׁר נָתַן לָכֶם מֹשֶׁה בְּעֵבֶר הַיַּרְדֵּן; וְאַתֶּם תַּעַבְרוּ חֲמֻשִׁים לִפְנֵי אֲחֵיכֶם
Your wives, your little ones, and your cattle, shall abide in the land which Moses gave you beyond the Jordan; but ye shall pass over before your brethren armed...
Joshua uses the same phrase when stating that the women, children and cattle will stay put at their present location (בְּעֵבֶר הַיַּרְדֵּן). Clearly Joshua has not crossed the Jordan yet, where it would have matched the bible critics, instead, he uses it as a delineation of a specific location regardless of where he is currently standing.

Next Subject: Ruth

The last portion of Megillat Ruth is devoted to the geneology of Peretz to David:

Ruth 4:18

אֵלֶּה תּוֹלְדוֹת פָּרֶץ, פֶּרֶץ הוֹלִיד אֶת-חֶצְרוֹן. יט וְחֶצְרוֹן הוֹלִיד אֶת-רָם, וְרָם הוֹלִיד אֶת-עַמִּינָדָב. כ וְעַמִּינָדָב הוֹלִיד אֶת-נַחְשׁוֹן, וְנַחְשׁוֹן הוֹלִיד אֶת-שַׂלְמָה. כא וְשַׂלְמוֹן הוֹלִיד אֶת-בֹּעַז, וּבֹעַז הוֹלִיד אֶת-עוֹבֵד. כב וְעֹבֵד הוֹלִיד אֶת-יִשָׁי, וְיִשַׁי הוֹלִיד אֶת-דָּוִד
Now these are the generations of Perez: Perez begot Hezron; 19 and Hezron begot Ram, and Ram begot Amminadab; 20 and Amminadab begot Nahshon, and Nahshon begot Salmon; 21 and Salmon begot Boaz, and Boaz begot Obed; 22 and Obed begot Jesse, and Jesse begot David.
I'm not sure if anyone has mentioned this before, but I find this geneology to be a bit short. Correct me if I am wrong, but I believe a span of approximately 600-700 years pass between the birth of Perez and the birth of David. The list seems to be lacking for such a wide span of time.

If you look closely at the text you will see something interesting. In the english translation it says Nachshon begot Salmon and Salmon begot Boaz, but that is not what the hebrew says. The hebrew says Nashshon begot Salma and Salmon begot Boaz. I have a feeling most people think they are the same name (as well as those at Machon Mamre). But what if they aren't? Perhaps these are two separate people and the author was basically missing a whole slew of other names to fit in the geneology.