Have A Look at This Thread

I am currently discussing a number of subjects with Mike Magee (primary author of askwhy.co.uk) on this post on his blog. So far, there are 11 blog post-length comments there, six by me. This substitutes for the week or so you have been having without any blog posts by me. Also, expect to see my 3rd YouTube video in early May.

I Suspect Ai Is et-Tell

Look at the Strong’s Hebrew Concordance for ‘Ai (word). Next, look at the Strong’s Hebrew Concordance for Tel (word). Now, remember the name of the 27-acre et-Tell and its identification as ‘Ai. While I still think Khirbet Maqatir is a more likely candidate for ‘Ai, given local tradition and the implication in the Biblical account ‘Ai was a small city, we must also also consider that Beitin was certainly Byzantine Bethel. I also suspect Judges 4:5 could be used as evidence placing Iron Age Bethel at Beitin.

Was there a Late Roman Clysma Just SW. of Ismailia?

The Maskhuta milestone (“From Ero to Clysma, 9 miles”) is often interpreted as evidence Heroopolis should be sought at Tell el-Retabeh. However, there is no evidence Retabeh was inhabited after c. 610 BC. While John Holladay, jr. does not mention any habitation at Maskhuta after the Early Roman period, Eduard Naville records that he found a Latin inscription reading “LOERO POLIS ERO CASTRA” in “a calcareous wall” here, page 21. LOERO may mean “locus of Ero”, that is, the place of Heroopolis. Thus, I suspect the true location of Heroopolis is at Tell el-Maskhuta itself, and that in the Early Byzantine era there were two Clysmas, one near Lake Timsah and the other near Suez.

EA 290 and Bit Ninurta

William Moran’s translation of EA 290 reads as thus:

[Sa]y [t]o the king, my lord: Message of [‘Abdi]-Heba, your servant. I fall at the feet [of the kin]g, my lord, 7 times and 7 times. Here is the deed against the land that Milkilu and Suardatu did: against the land of the king, my lord, they ordered troops from Gazru, troops from Gimtu, and troops from Qiltu. They seized Rubutu. The land of the king deserted to the Hapiru. And now, besides this, a town belonging to Jerusalem, Bit-NIN.URTA by name, a city of the king, has gone over to the side of the men of Qiltu. May the king give heed to ‘Abdi-Heba, your servant, and send archers to restore the land of the king to the king. If there are no archers, the land of the king will desert to the Hapiru. This deed against the land was [a]t the order of Milki[lu and a]t the order of [Suard]atu, [together w]ith Gint[i]. So may the king provide for [his] land.

Note that Gimtu (Gath/Tell es-Safi) and Ginti (Gath-Carmel/Baqa Jatt) are distinct cities. Rubutu is probably Arubboth/Araba in the West Bank, due to its nearness to Ginti and its consistency with being the Rubutu of the Taanach letters and the Shoshenq list. Suardatu is the king of Gimtu and Milkilu is the king of Gazru/Gezer. Qiltu is Keilah, a city of Jerusalem which allied with Gath.

The question here is what this letter’s Bit Ninurta is to be identified as. A number of scholars, including a large number of chronological revisionists (i.e., crazies), interpret the letter a stating “besides this, Jerusalem, Bit-NIN.URTA by name, a city…” and suggest Ninurta stands for Sulmanu, which stands either for Solomon or for the local deity of Jerusalem. This is quite a bit of a stretch, to say the least. Thus, most scholars look to other “Beth” names in Judah to find Bit Ninurta: Beth-Horon and Beth-Lehem (House of Bread). I know of no LB remains at Beth-Lehem. Beth-Horon may have belonged to Shechem or Gezer. Thus, the location of ‘Bit Ninurta’ remains uncertain, though Beth-Horon, near Gezer, is most likely.