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Re: orion Kittim, follow-up
Kittim (Kaf-tav-yod-mem) show up in Genesis 10:4 as descendents of Yavan
(=Greece)and in Numbers 24:24 where they are at the end of Balaam's
prophecy, the one in which he says he will explain the "end of days"
(Numbers 24:14). Thus, as this is the last of the "peoples" mentioned, the
fact that they are on the scene means that the Messiah could plausibly
appear. As it happens, the reason that "Balaam" refers to a Greek invasion
is that Leviticus and Numbers, the so-called P material, are not
incorporated into the canon of the Jerusalem Temple, the emergent Torah,
before the 4th century BCE. The author of Nehemiah 9 (describing events in
ca 405BCE is still unaware that Tishrei 10[or 9-10] is supposed to be a fast
day just as is the author of I Kings 8 is unaware of the fact. Hence,
Balaam's prophecy could still be "updated" in that century.Therefore,
Numbers 24:24 would seem to be a reference to Alexander's conquests toward
the end of the 44\th century).
In any case, I Maccabbees (written before the Roman conquest of Palestine
and by people who were Roman allies) uses the term "Kittim" to describe the
Greeks. Once the Romans took over, they had to be the Kittim, the last of
the peoples, hence Onqelos and the other Targums (as well as the Vulgate!)
read Italians or Romans. It might be added that for Jews living under
Muslim rule in the Middle Ages, all this created a problem since they
were aware of a post-Roman Empire.
At 11:10 PM 10/20/97 +0300, you wrote:
>Date: Mon, 20 Oct 1997 13:23:17 -0400
>From: David Goldman <email@example.com>
>Subject: KITTIM, follow-up
>I thank everyone for the clarification, but I am left somewhat confused.
>Does the "chronology" of the use of the word KITTIM begin as a generic word
>referring to "foreigners" in general, which was subsequently applied to the
>Greeks and Romans? If this is true, does this identification exist only in
>the scrolls, and if so, why? Also, how does the identification with Cyprus
>as the base of the Kittim become connected to the Greeks when the Greeks in
>general were Yevanim. The only reference I found, which is quoted in
>Tractate Taanis, is Jeremiah 2:10 which mentions "Iye Hakitiim". This
>reference may mean to "out there"/overseas... Furthermore,why would it be
>important for the Scrolls to characterize the foreign invaders who were
>Yevanim or Romim as the inhabitants of one particular island, and if it is
>a generic name, why would they refer to them generically? With Jeremiah in
>mind it is possible the usage in the Scrolls is generic, but the
>interesting question remains "why?".
>I see now that the reference in the Midrash is not to this word, by virtue
>of the clarification of spelling...