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Bedouin Culture in the Bible$
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Clinton Bailey

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780300121827

Published to Yale Scholarship Online: September 2019

DOI: 10.12987/yale/9780300121827.001.0001

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Bedouin Israelites in the Hebrew Bible

Bedouin Israelites in the Hebrew Bible

(p.204) 7 Bedouin Israelites in the Hebrew Bible
Bedouin Culture in the Bible

Clinton Bailey

Yale University Press

This chapter explores the question of what the abundance of Bedouin culture in the Bible tells us about the possibility that the ancient Israelites who were depicted there as nomads were indeed that. It thus addresses two issues. First is how the biblical authors acquired their rich Bedouin-like materials: through plain observation or through transmitted traditions from a nomadic past? The chapter thus studies Pharaoh Merneptah’s citation of a tribe called Israel in the land of Canaan, in 1208 BCE, suggesting that Israelite nomads, whom the Bible does not mention, lived there before the Israelites liberated by Moses could have arrived there. The second issue is: what impelled the biblical authors to infuse these materials into a theological opus concerning the relationship between the Israelites and their god, Yahweh?

Keywords:   Israelite origins, Stele of Pharaoh Merneptah, Reasons for Bedouin materials in the Bible, Relations between nomads and peasants

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