lethargic_man: "Happy the person that finds wisdom, and the person that gets understanding."—Prov. 3:13. Icon by Tamara Rigg (limmud)
The Ḥorites dwelt in Seir beforehand; the children of Esau succeeded them and destroyed them, and they dwelt there in their place.
—Deuteronomy 2:12

Something I learned from the Judaica: the archaeological record shows that four thousand years there was a thriving Ḥorite civilisation in Seir. This was destroyed when the Edomites invaded; for a thousand years there were no cities at all in Edom, just a small population of seminomads.

Which is interesting, as it shows the author of Deuteronomy was familiar with the ancient history of the region. And for me the archaeological validation turns a throwaway reference in the Torah into a terrible tragedy overtaking a whole civilisation, only barely remembered in the historical record.

Thinking about it, it makes me glad that the Huns (for example) never succeeded in overrunning Western Europe two and a half millennia later, as the result could have been the same here.

That also was accounted a land of giants: giants dwelt therein in beforehand, whom the Ammonites call Zamzummim.
—Deuteronomy 2:20

The commentary in the Etz Chayim chumash explains this as meaning literally the buzz-buzzers, referring to the sound of their language to the Ammonite ears. Which reminds me of the way the Greek would later call anyone who did not speak Greek a barbarian: literally, someone who went bar-bar instead of speaking proper Greek.

So then, fellow non Greek or Ammonite speakers, how would you best prefer to speak: zam-zum, buzz-buzz or bar-bar?

So what makes Biblical poetry poetry if it doesn't have rhyme or metre, and isn't laid out differently from prose? )


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Lethargic Man (anag.)

March 2019

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