Tuesday, November 16, 2010


(The location is first mentioned by the bible as the place where Jacob, returning from Padan-aram to southern Canaan, had a vision of angels (Gen. 32:2). Jacob's realization that the place was "God's camp", led him to name the place Mahanaim - Two Camps, or Two Companies, to memorialize the occasion of his own company sharing the place with God's. Later in the story, Jacob is moved by fear at the approach of his brother (whom he has reason to fear) and as a result divided his retinue into two hosts (two companies), hence the town built on the site took two hosts as its name. This is regarded as a clear case of folk etymology for the place name by most critical scholars, and although the form of the name appears to be dual (hence two ...), many scholars at the present day prefer to regard the termination in this case as a corruption of a shorter ending. From the point of view of critical scholars, the place name was originally host, and this and the presence of angels in the story, is thought instead to derive from Mahanaim having been a sanctuary from very early times. According to the Biblical narrative it became a Levitical city (Joshua 13:26, 13:30, 21:38; cf. 1 Chronicles 6:80), though according to critical scholars it had always been a city associated with holiness.)

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