Let’s review the bidding.
Naram-sin destroyed Ebla about 2350 BCE and then went home and was destroyed himself.
The Cities of the Plain seem to have been destroyed about 2350 BCE, an event not recorded in Ebla’s tablets, although the names of two of the cities are.
The cities are not listed in Joshua among the inheritance of any of the tribes; they are on the east side of the Jordan River.
They were re-occupied after 1200 BCE and nobody after that would have known they had been destroyed. By the time of Amos and Hoshea people would have forgotten that the real estate was ever empty. They would have known the same places, but under different names.
In Amos we find a reference to Sdom and Amorah as a paradigm of absolute destruction, and in Hoshea there’s a reference to Admah and Tsevoiim in the same context.
The probability is vanishingly small that Amos and Hoshea would invent names that disappeared from history 16 centuries before they were born.
The probability is vanishingly small that Amos and Hoshea would invent names that turned up in an archaeological dig 28 centuries after they died.
The probability is vanishingly small that their audience would have understood or cared about what Amos and Hoshea said unless they either told the whole story – which is not recorded in their work – or the audience already knew the story.
The reference to the cities of the plain in Genesis 10 has nothing to do with Amos and Hoshea, it is an identification of the location, with a reference to Tsidon, the site of which was occupied before 3000 BCE. Ebla used Tsidon’s port.
The idea that Genesis 10 has to come from the time of Ashurbanipal is not reasonable. The cities had other names at that point in time, and Amos and Hoshea came before his period. Anything in Ashurbanipal’s library in cuneiform was not accessible to Jews.
The idea that Genesis 10 comes from the time of Nebuchadnetsar has the same problem. By that time, Grar itself was a memory, having been destroyed by the Assyrians. Anything in Nebuchadnetsar’s library in cuneiform was not accessible to Jews.
The only time when the cities of the plain can reasonably be used to give directions, is in the period of Ebla, among people who were there at the time. I’ll talk more about the issue of Grar later in two contexts.
But wait, there’s more.
© Patricia Jo Heil, 2013-2018 All Rights Reserved