MemberJanuary 17, 2021 at 8:31 pm
I think Dever is mistaken: there is a wealth of biblical information that we have not yet recognised… details we all read over and, lacking context, do not see for what they really mean. A new insight can trigger a cascade of revelation. So, for example, in the newly unpunctuated text of Deut 1:1-2, the structure is more apparent. The verses comprise almost entirely toponyms (place-names), prepositions, and conjunctions.
“These are the words which Moses spoke to all Israel beyond the Jordan in the wilderness in the Aravah opposite Suph between Paran and between Tophel and Laban and Hazeroth and Di-Zahav eleven days from Horeb through [by Way of] Mount Seir unto Kadesh-Barnea.”
After “Moses spoke”, there are no more verbs. In the Ancient Near East (ANE), a verbless list of toponyms and prepositions is an itinerary, but a particular kind of itinerary, a prescriptive or forward-looking itinerary, a kind of mental map. So “forward-looking” means ‘This is how you get there”. Descriptive or backward-looking itineraries describe journeys that have taken place. So “backward-looking” means ‘This is how they got there’. Backward-looking itineraries have verbs: for example, the Numbers itinerary of the actual Israelite journeys uses the verbs נָסַע “set out”, חָנָה “camped”, and בּוֹא “came”.
Davies, Graham I. “The Wilderness Itineraries: A Comparative Study.” Tyndale Bulletin 25 (1974): 46–81. pp. 53-70 (backward-looking itineraries), pp. 70-77 (forward-looking itineraries).