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2014-08-04

Numbers 32 ends with Moses annexing the land Gilead to the Manassites, even though it was originally promised to the Gadites, but don’t forget that the Tribe of Manasseh is the offspring of Joseph, so they get preferential treatment.

This next part is a little difficult to follow (if I had a dollar every time I said that about the bible!). It’s either trying to say that Gilead is composed of a major city, outlying towns, and even smaller outlying villages, or that there are three separate and distinct areas: Gilead, some unnamed towns, and Kenath.

Either way, each area is divvied up between three Manasseh patriarchs. First, Machir is given all of Gilead. Next, Jair takes all of the small towns of the area and names them after himself; Havothjair which means, “towns of Jair.” Wow, renaming a city after yourself? Just like Stalingrad! Lastly, Nobah takes over Kenath—which coincidentally means “possession”—and renames it Nobah. Wow, renaming a city after yourself? Just like Leningrad!

It’s quite clear from this passage that God and his Chosen People are some of the most despicable criminals imaginable, but it’s possible they’re even worse. In Numbers 32:42, we’re told that Nobah conquers Kenath and its villages. Now, the Bibical Hebrew word chavvah translates to “villages” and is used all over the bible, but that’s not what is used here. Instead, the authors use the word bath, which means “daughters!” Bath is used nearly 588 times in the bible, and almost every time it’s used it’s referencing female offspring. It’s also occasionally used to refer to a fictional beast or a sacrificial lamb (which should give you an even clearer idea of how the Israelites viewed women). Finally, there is a small scattering throughout the Old Testament where the word is translated to mean “villages.” Normally, I would unthinkingly assume the author is using metaphor to mean “daughter” villages, and that’s certainly what the translators did, but let’s not forget that we’re talking about a culture that invades cities, kills everyone but the little girls, and forces them to live out their lives as sex slaves. For that reason, I don’t think it’s that big of a stretch to think that maybe the use of the phrase “daughters” is literal.

 

Comments

Maju writes:

 

Hmpf, Leningrad was named that way after Lenin's death. It is not a case of naming a city after oneself, unlike that of Washington D.C. (yes, George Washington was still President when named).

Uh, what about Jamestown? It was named that way in life of King James, whoever he was, or Virginia named after the Virgin Queen Elizabeth (a bit better known thanks to Shakespeare), or Carolina, named after some King Charles, or Houston, Texas, named after the first President of Texas Sam Houston (another nobody, known in his home at dinner time), or...

I mean, seriously, look around you: there's hardly a country in the world with more towns named by people after themselves (or their cheerleaders after their alpha leader, what is the same because not even Stalin named Stalingrad, someone else did) than the USA!

Maju writes:

 

Then again it makes sense because only in the USA you find a Bible in every single hotel room.

TheAlmightyGuru writes:

 

Don't get me wrong, I have no respect for the American egos who do this either!

Maju writes:

 

I reacted because, would you have read your own link to Wikipedia, you would have know that Lenin never named any city after himself, nor anyone else did in his life. Lenin was, AFAIK, strongly against personality cult, at least formally so.

You fell into a Soviet-bashing propaganda topic, half the time wrongly so, without even considering that it was actually a very common practice in the USA.

In fact much of the Soviet times name-changing of towns was to remove religious or tsarist names. St. Petersburg was/is named after Peter the Apostol (patron saint of Peter the Great and other tsars of the same name) while the town once known as Stalingrad and now as Volgograd was first named Tsaritsyn, the confluent Tsaritsa river, which is both a corruption of a Tatar word for "yellow river" and the term for the Tsar's wife or regent female Tsar (Tsaritsa). In other words: both towns carried bad memories of theocratic dictatorship that needed to be erased. While the choice of new names may be arguable, it is clear that they were not worse than the ones that preceded them.

TheAlmightyGuru writes:

 

@Maju: You're absolutely right. I should have spent more time researching this topic instead of following my prejudices. This is certainly a topic on which I need to read more about.

 

Oh the irony!