See Denise Dick Herr and Mary Petrina Boyd, “A Watermelon Named Abimelech,” BAR 28:01.


See Lawrence E. Stager and Samuel R. Wolff, “Child Sacrifice at Carthage—Religious Rite or Population Control?” BAR 10:01. See also in Frank Moore Cross: Conversations with a Bible Scholar, ed. Hershel Shanks (Washington, D.C.: Biblical Archaeology Society, 1994).


According to what scholars call the Documentary Hypothesis, the Pentateuch consists of at least four discrete textual strands that have been woven together to make one continuous narrative: J or the Yahwist (in German Jahwist) used in this strand; E, or the Elohist, who uses a more generalized term (Elohim) for God; P, the Priestly Code, which makes up much of Leviticus; and D, which stands for the Deuteronomist and consists of much of the book of Deuteronomy.



Benjamin Mazar introduced the term migdal temple, which was then adopted by G. Ernest Wright, to describe the Fortress-Temple at Shechem. Mazar, “The Middle Bronze Age in Palestine,” Israel Exploration Journal (IEJ) vol. 18 (1968), pp. 93–94.


Perhaps Abimelech’s mother came from the most powerful founding family and leading clan of Shechem, the Hamorites (literally, the “Donkey” clan), whose eponymous ancestor, Hamor, father of Shechem (Judges 9:28), is also “chief” of the land of Shechem in the patriarchal tale of Dinah (Genesis 34:2). All of the sons of Gideon, including Abimelech, however, would have been known primarily by their paternal household and identified with the Abiezerites, a clan of the Israelite tribe of Manasseh, with headquarters in Ophrah. Both the clans of Abiezer and Shechem are mentioned as “sons of Manasseh” in the land allotments of that tribe (Joshua 17:1–2) and as descendants of Manasseh (1 Chronicles 7:14–19). In the eighth century B.C.E., these two clans were living near each other in the vicinity of Samaria, the capital city to which the clan territories of Abiezer and Shechem sent wine and olive oil. See Philip J. King and Lawrence E. Stager, Life in Biblical Israel (Louisville, KY: Westminster John Knox, 2001), pp. 312–14.


Reading, with most commentators, ’elón ham-masseba; see George Foote Moore, A Critical and Exegetical Commentary on Judges (Edinburgh: T.& T. Clark, 1985), p. 244; and the discussion by Edward F. Campbell, “Judges 9 and Biblical Archaeology,” in Carol L. Meyers and Michael P. O’Connor, eds., The Word Shall Go Forth (David Noel Freedman Festschrift) (Winona Lake, Indiana: Eisenbrauns, 1983), pp. 263–271.


For the latest designations of the Shechem strata and dates for them, see Edward F. Campbell, Shechem III (Boston: American Schools of Oriental Research, 2002), pp. 8–9, where Temple 1 (Migdal Temenoi 7–6) is equated with General Stratum XVI–XV; Temple 2a and 2b (Building 5700), with General Stratum XIV–XI.


An even larger Migdal Temple has been excavated at Pella (in modern Jordan) during the past decade by a team sponsored by the University of Sydney, Australia. The Pella temple is 78 feet wide and 105 feet long. It was first built in 1650 B.C.E., at about the same time as Shechem Temple 1; it was rebuilt on a smaller scale in about 1350 B.C.E. and once again about 900 B.C.E. and destroyed a century later.


G.R.H. Wright, “Fluted Columns in the Bronze Age Temple of Baal-Berith at Shechem,” Palestine Exploration Quarterly vol. 97 (1965), pp. 66–84.


Wright, Shechem, pp. 87–102; Robert J. Bull, “A Re-examination of the Shechem Temple,” Biblical Archaeologist, vol. 23 (1960), pp. 110–119. For the latest strata descriptions and their dates, see Campbell, Shechem III, pp. 8–9.


This (mis)interpretation was based in part on William F. Albright’s linking a tripartite building form, having three parallel narrow long rooms, with store-houses (Hebrew, misknôt), which he likened in form to “modern American farm granaries.” Albright, Tell Beit Mirsim III: The Iron Age (New Haven, CT: American Schools of Oriental Research), pp. 22–24.


Campbell, Shechem III, p. 177.


The Austro-German excavators who dug parts of these buildings thought, as I do, that Wall 5703 was part of the building above it. See Wright, Shechem, p. 96.


For my part I do not believe Building 5900 was a granary, but rather an administrative building. The plan fits that of the “four-room” house, although Building 5900 is much bigger than domestic dwellings of that type, and as mentioned above it does not fit the pattern of the tripartite buildings. See Yigal Shiloh, “The Four-Room House: Its Situation and Function in the Israelite City,” IEJ, vol. 20 (1970), pp. 180–190; Stager, “The Archaeology of the Family in Ancient Israel,” Bulletin of the American Schools of Oriental Research 260 (1985), pp. 11–22; John S. Holladay, “House, Israelite,” Anchor Bible Dictionary vol. 3, pp. 308–318; King and Stager, Life in Biblical Israel, pp. 28–35.


Wright, Shechem, figs. 10 and 72.


Wright, Shechem, fig. 28.


For the sources and attitudes of various Biblical writers towards sacred trees, altars and standing stones, see the judicious treatment by Elizabeth C. LaRocca-Pitts, Of Wood and Stone: The Significance of Israelite Cultic Items in the Bible and Its Interpreters (Winona Lake, Indiana: Eisenbrauns, 2001; Harvard Semitic Museum Monographs 61), pp. 161–249. For an excellent guide to the sources of the Pentateuch, see Table A.1 in Theodore Hiebert, The Yahwist’s Landscape (New York: Oxford Univ. Press, 1996).


See the discussion in André Lemaire, “La disposition originelle des inscriptions sur plâtre de Deir ‘Alla,” Studi Epigrafici e Linguistici, vol. 3 (1986), pp. 79–93.


Ephraim Speiser, Genesis (Anchor Bible Series 1; Garden City, NY: Doubleday, 1964), p. 218.


Canaanites who ruled Egypt for nearly a century between 1640 and 1540 B.C.E.


Manfred Bietak, Avaris: Capital of the Hyksos (London: British Museum, 1996), pp. 36–40 and fig. 30.


See Benjamin Mazar, “Shechem—A City of the Patriarchs,” in S. Ahituv, ed., Biblical Israel: State and People (Jerusalem: Magnes Press and Israel Exploration Society, 1992), pp. 42–54.


Mazar, “The Historical Background of the Book of Genesis,” in S. Ahituv and B.A. Levine, eds., The Early Biblical Period: Historical Studies (Jerusalem: Israel Exploration Society, 1986), p. 54, originally published in Journal of Near Eastern Studies vol. 28 (1969), pp. 73–83.


Frank M. Cross, From Epic to Canon: History and Literature in Ancient Israel (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins Univ. Press, 1998), p. 47.


King and Stager, Life in Biblical Israel, p. 109


J.-C. Marqueron, “Die Gärten im Vorderen Orient,” M. Carroll-Spillecke, ed., Der Garten von der Antike bis zum Mittelalter (Mainz am Rhein: Phillipp von Zabern, 1992), pp. 45–80.


See my forthcoming book, Jerusalem and the Garden of Eden (Random House). Also see my “Jerusalem as Eden,” BAR 26:03; and “Jerusalem and the Garden of Eden,” Eretz-Israel 26 (Frank Moore Cross Volume, Jerusalem: Israel Exploration Society, 1999), pp. 183*–194* (English section).


For Megiddo’s Migdal Temple (2048) remaining in use until the 11th century B.C.E. and for the possibility of the Shechem Migdal Temple continuing until then, see Amihai Mazar, “Temples of the Middle and Late Bronze Ages and the Iron Age,” in Aharon Kempinski and Ronny Reich, eds., The Architecture of Ancient Israel (Jerusalem: Israel Exploration Society, 1992), pp. 170–171, especially notes 42–43.


Gordon Loud, Megiddo II: Seasons of 1935–39 (Chicago: Univ. of Chicago Press, 1948), plate 185, pp. 4–5.


Eliezer D. Oren, “The ‘Kingdom of Sharuhen’ and the Hyksos Kingdom,” The Hyksos: New Historical and Archaeological Perspectives, ed. Eliezer D. Oren (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Museum, 1997), pp. 253–283. For Migdal Temple, see fig. 8.8 and the discussion, pp. 263–266; Eliezer Oren, “Haror, Tel,” The Oxford Encyclopedia of Archaeology in the Near East, ed. Eric Meyers (New York: Oxford Univ. Press, 1997), vol. 2, pp. 474–476; J.D. Klenck, Animals in the Canaanite Cultic Milieu: The Zooarchaeological Evidence From Tel Haror, Israel (unpublished Ph.D. dissertation, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA, 1996).


Paolo Matthiae, “Ebla and Syria in the Middle Bronze Age” in The Hyksos, pp. 379–414; see especially p. 394 and fig. 14.9. Also see N. Marchetti and L. Nigro, “Cultic Activities in the Sacred Area of Ishtar at Ebla during the Old Syrian Period: The Favissae F. 5329 and F. 5238” Journal of Cuneiform Studies vol. 49 (1997), pp. 1–44; and “The Favissa F. 5238 in the Sacred Area of Ishtar and the Transition form the Middle Bronze I to the Middle Bronze II at Ebla” in K. Van Lerberghe and G. Voet, eds,. Languages and Cultures in Contact (Orientalia Lovaniensia Analecta 96) (Leuven, Belgium: Peeters, 2000), pp. 245–287.


Bietak, Avaris, pp. 36–40; figs. 30–31; pls. 13–15.


Bietak, Avaris, pp. 26–29; fig. 25 and pl. 12 C–D.


Oren, “Haror,” pp. 474–475. At the time of J. D. Klenck’s study of the fauna from the Temple precincts (note 27), few of the equid burials had been excavated. He examined two of the skeletons and concluded that they were Equus asinus (donkey). His study of many of the dog burials revealed that they were all puppies, six months old or younger; their necks had been broken. See Oren, “The ‘Kingdom of Sharuhen’ and the Hyksos Kingdom,” fig. 8.15 for puppy burial and fig. 8.18 for donkey burials at Tell el-`Ajjul. See also Billie Jean Collins, “The Puppy in Hittite Ritual,” Journal of Cuneiform Studies vol. 42 (1990), pp. 211–16.


Archives Royales de Mari 37; translation by Stephanie Dalley, in Dalley, Mari and Karana: Two Old Babylonian Cities (London: Longman, 1984), p. 140.


Cross, Canaanite Myth, p. 39.


William F. Albright, From the Stone Age to Christianity (Garden City: Doubleday Anchor Books, 1957 [original edition, 1940]), p. 279.


Usually this is taken to be a “rape” scene; however, Tikva Frymer-Kensky makes a good case for it being read as a seduction; see her Reading the Women of the Bible (New York: Schocken Books, 2002).


In the Masoretic Text (the traditional Hebrew text of the Bible), ha-’alla has the consonantal spelling of “terebinth” but the stem pattern of “oak”; see Robert G. Boling, Joshua (Anchor Bible Series 6) (Garden City, NY: Doubleday, 1982), p. 532.


See fig. 3, bell-shaped Pit 5095, for example, in Campbell, Shechem III, p. 150, fig. 142; and Wright, “The ‘Granary’ at Shechem and the Underlying Storage Pits,” Zeitschrift für die alttestamentliche Wissenschaft vol. 82 (1970), pp. 270–278.