The Case for a Pre-exilic Abrahamic Tradition

1. yalad is used (rather than holid) in the J Abraham genealogies (Gen 22:23, 25:2); yalad (masc.) in the sense of ‘beget’ is clearly pre-exilic (see Jer 30:6[H], where yalad [masc.] = ‘give birth’ [impossibly]; cf. 16:3 where holid = ‘beget’). That is, yalad in the sense of ‘beget’ was replaced by holid before the exile. This is “unambiguous evidence.” Accordingly Abraham’s pedigree at Gen 11:26 is attributed to P and is post-exilic, as is the promise of Ishmael at 17:20, while the genealogy of 22:20-24 is J, c.10th century BC.

2. Beer-Sheba: Isaac names the well at 26:33(J), Abraham at 21:31(E). The different explanations (seva’ [‘abundance’ –following on 26:22: Rehoboth = “Room Enough”; Seva’ = “More than Enough,” “Surplus”] versus sheva’ [‘oath’]) imply different dialects with variant sin/shin pronunciation (as Jud 12:6). Are we to suppose that a…

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