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Moab

Ar Moab

The Israelites travel to the east of Moab, through the wilderness, specifically to avoid encountering them. And yet, we are told that they travel through Ar-Moab, and even buy food and water from the locals. Do they walk through Moabite territory or not?

Dr.

David Ben-Gad HaCohen

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Ataroth and the Inscribed Altar: Who Won the War Between Moab and Israel?

Ataroth is an obscure Transjordanian city, referenced only twice in the Bible. Nevertheless, due to modern archaeological discoveries, it has become a central piece of evidence for reconstructing the history of the Moabite rebellion against Israel and King Mesha’s expansion of the Moabite kingdom described in both 2 Kings and the Mesha Stele.

Adam L. Bean

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Prof.

Christopher A. Rollston

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Waheb in Suphah, the Forgotten “Town in the Stream”

Describing the Israelites crossing the Arnon Stream into Amorite territory, the Torah quotes the Book of YHWH’s Battles that speaks of “Waheb in Suphah,” a phrase that appears nowhere else in the Bible. Many creative explanations have been given, but based on a survey on the ground we can identify it as the “Town in the Stream,” an ancient biblical town whose name had long been forgotten.

Dr.

David Ben-Gad HaCohen

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Sheger, Ashtoret and Ashtor – The Patron Gods of Transjordanian Shepherds

Deuteronomy uses unusual parallel terms “the shegar of your herd and the ashtorot of your flock” to describe the offspring of livestock. These are names of the ancient West Semitic fertility goddess known as Ashtoret or by her less familiar bi-name Sheger. Her consort is (sometimes) the god Ashtor. What do we know about these deities and what do they have to do with livestock?

Prof.

Aaron Demsky

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North Israelite Memories of the Transjordan and the Mesha Inscription

The Mesha Inscription describes Omri’s conquest of the mishor in the Transjordan, and Moab’s subsequent (re)taking of it, in the 9th century B.C.E. Reading Numbers 21 in conversation with archaeological findings confirms much of this and offers us a glimpse at the history of this region before the Omride conquest.

Prof.

Israel Finkelstein

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Prof.

Thomas Römer

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The Story of Jephthah: The Urge to Manipulate

The haftarah for Chukkat cuts off the end of the Jephthah story, ending on a triumphant note, with the defeat of Ammon. When looking at the whole story, however, we are presented with something very different. In Judges, Jephthah is a manipulative leader, who forces everyone’s hand, including God’s. Although his tactics lead to the defeat of Ammon, they also lead him to sacrifice his own daughter and to massacre thousands of his own brethren.

Prof.

Jack M. Sasson

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Jephthah's Wandering Biblical Message to the King of Ammon

An ancient quote, preserved in Jephthah’s speech to the King of Ammon, gives us a clue into the methods of the Torah’s redaction and the status of pre-pentateuchal sources.

Dr.

David Ben-Gad HaCohen

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Recasting David’s Foreign Origins

The book of Ruth tells the story of David’s great grandmother Ruth, a Moabite woman who attaches herself to a Judahite family. Could this have been designed as a positive spin for a persistent, problematic tradition about David’s foreignness—a tradition so controversial that it was excised from the rest of the Bible?

Dr.

Yael Avrahami

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Inventing the Mythic Amorite Kingdom of Sihon

Inserting the Amorites into Transjordan to manage a Conflict between Cousins

Dr.

Rachel Havrelock

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