Asimov's Guide to the Bible: The Old Testament by Isaac Asimov, Rafael Palacios

By Isaac Asimov, Rafael Palacios

Previous testomony

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That leaves the two small kingdoms of Israel and Judah, which, at the time that Genesiswas reduced to writing, also maintained a precarious independence. Surely, since it was in Israel and Judah that the two chief strands of Genesis were compiled, these would be noticed as independent sons of Shem. In a way they were. Arphaxad (better, "~r~achsad,"as the Revised Standard Version has it) is a complete puzzle linguistically,and does not even seem to be a Semitic name. However, Genesis 10:24 states that Arphaxad was the grandfather of Eber and Eber is the eponym of the Hebrew people, which would include the inhabitants of both Israel and Judah (as well as certain other related peoples).

But thou shalt not eat of the tree of the knowledge of . , good and evil, God creates a woman as a companion for Adam, forming her out of the man's, rib. Presumably the two might have lived in the garden in etemal happiness as long as they respected God's prohibition. There was, however, a spoiler in the garden: Genesis 3:1. Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field ... The serpent is portrayed as able to w k and as maneuvering the naive woman into eating the forbidden fruit in defiance of God's prohibition.

The Hebrew word, which is here translated as Ethiopia in the King James Version, is ‘*GushUndoubtedly, 'there are occasions in the Bible where Cush does indeed refer to the region south of Egypt and where it is justifiably translated as Ethiopia. Very likely, this is not one of those places. " The word is left in its Hebrew form and no attempt is made to equate it with Ethiopia. More often than not, the Biblical Cush refers to some Arabian tribe. There is a reasonable possibility that the word "Cush" in Genesis a:i3 refers to the land of the people whom the ancient Creek geographers spofce;of as the Kossaeans, and whom modem historians refer to as the Kassites.

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