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Sihon

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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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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When Did "Fire Go Forth from Heshbon"?

Contrary to the biblical account of the Israelite conquest and burning of Heshbon in Numbers 21, the archaeological remains of Tell Hesban (biblical Heshbon) demonstrate that it was not settled until centuries after the conquest and settlement period and not burned until over half a millennium later!

Dr.

Elizabeth Bloch-Smith

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Ironing Out Israel’s Itinerary Through the Transjordan

The itinerary notes in Numbers 21 is a hodgepodge of styles and directions. Nevertheless, once we isolate each style, we find three separate itinerary lists, each from one of the standard Pentateuchal sources.

Dr.

David Ben-Gad HaCohen

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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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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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War at Yahatz: The Torah Versus the Mesha Stele

A closer look at the Torah’s focus on Wadi Arnon as the northern border of Moab: Who really cared about the boundaries of Sihon’s Amorite kingdom?

Dr.

David Ben-Gad HaCohen

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