The name Jacob-el is to be found in topographical list of Ramesses ii, i.e. in the 13th century bc. Unlike to common view, this toponym should not be located in the north, since it is surrounded by toponyms with the prefix “Qos”. These toponyms were rightly connected by scholars to the worship of the Edomite god Qaus. Hence, it is suggested, that a clan related to an eponym named Jacob-el, settled in mount Seir or Edom in the 13th century bc. This assumption might shed a new light on the brotherhood and animosity between Jacob and Esau in the narrative of Genesis. It might also explain the transmission of the cult of yhwh from Seir-Edom to early Israel.
The Song of Deborah (Jud 5:2-31a) is one of the Biblical texts that has been most thoroughly analyzed. In this article I wish to present a new solution to some of the basic issues relating to the song. My hypothesis is based on exegetical and historical insights that can shed light on the process of editing and sculpting that the song underwent. A distinction between the original poem and editorial additions may, in my opinion, help solve some of the major problems in our understanding of the poem and its thematic coherence. Once the kernel of the text is isolated and the editorial additions are peeled away, the original song text is revealed, which is based on a clear and elaborate numerical structure.
It is common to take the law of Num. v 5-8 as being basically a repetition of the law of Lev. v 20-26 with one innovation. The author rejects this commonly held view, and argues that the two laws stem from different priestly schools and represent opposite conceptions with regard to to the relationship of cult and morality. Lev. v originated in the Priestly Torah (P) and reflects the sharp distinction made by this school between cult and morality. Num. v stems from the Holiness School (H) and reflects the ideology of this later priestly school that combines morality and cult by broadening the concept of holiness. The new ideology is best expressed in Lev. xix and it is reflected in the contents and terminology of the law of Num. v 5-8.
I have recently studied the numerical architecture of several biblical poems and found sophisticated use of the numerical structures of words and cola. It is possible that some of these numerical structures are based on numerical values of the letters of the names of God.
If this is indeed the correct explanation of these numerical structures, it should be perceived through wider cultural spectrum: The phenomenon of symbolizing divine names with numerical values is known in the Mesopotamian world. The development of Alphabetic script opened new possibilities for representation of divine name by numbers. Now, God might be represented by the numerical values of the letters of his names. This method has special significance in a society that forbids representing God’s image with a statue. The fact that the representation of the numerical values of letters is not attested in mundane use in Ancient Israel before the Hellenistic period, may point to the possibility that this method was first a sacred secret knowledge.
The numerical structures are best demonstrated in the Masoretic version of the Hebrew Bible. This fact may bear a significant impact upon biblical text criticism.
The four-words phrase עד כי יבא שילה in Gen 49:10b is a famous crux interpretum. I argue that the poem now contained in Genesis 49:2-27 had an elaborate numerical structure of verses, cola and words and that this structure can be fully appreciated only when we read this phrase as a five-words one: עד כי יבא שי לה.