Hillel I. Newman, «A Hippodrome on the Road to Ephrath», Vol. 86 (2005) 213-228
LXX to Gen 48,7 refers to a hippodrome in the vicinity of Rachel’s Tomb. This cannot be satisfactorily explained as an exegetical creation of the translator’s imagination and probably refers to a genuine structure. This is also true of the stadium or hippodrome mentioned in Tg. Onq. to Gen 14,17, as the meeting place of Abram, the king of Sodom, and Melchizedek. Since 1QapGen locates the same meeting in the Valley of Beth Hakerem, which should be identified as the valley between Ramat Rahel and Bethlehem, it is reasonable to assume that both versions refer to the same hippodrome. There is no textual justification for assuming a late interpolation in LXX and no geographical or archeological justification for explaining these passages as allusions to a Herodian hippodrome. LXX may attest to a case of profound Hellenistic influence in Judea already under Ptolemaic rule.