Kadesh=Carchemish? Really? Ramesses=Necho? WTF!

I continue my critique of the Velikovskyans.

The Hittite, Assyrian and Egyptian Kadesh is identified by scholars as being Tell Nebi Mend, the largest tell within a four mile radius of itself, called “Tell Neby Mendeh” in earlier works, 34°33’26″N, 36°31’10″E, inhabited from the Middle Bronze into the Iron Age, with a destruction by the Sea Peoples. This identification is supported by the fact Ramesses II took 31 days to reach Kadesh from Tjaru (see AJaL, sect. 3), the discovery of two letters to Niqmad (sometimes called Niqmadda, Ari-Teshup), the successor to Aitakama, the King of Kadesh in the Amarna Letters, who was, as the Hittite records attest, murdered by his son, Niqmad, in 1313 BC, the Egyptian reliefs, showing Ramesses coming from the Northwest (the image of Ramesses II from Abu Simbel seems to have been flipped by the artist for reasons of having Ramesses II above, not below the river (Ramesses had to be shown pushing enemy soldiers down, not up, into the Orontes), and the entire relief in the Ramesseum, 2nd Pylon has been flipped by the artist, this seems to be a better representation of the image from the 2nd Pylon of the Ramesseum, the Seti I relief from Karnak, telling of Seti I’s “ascent which Pharaoh, L.P.H, made to take apart the land of Kadesh and the land of Amurru” while differing from Ramesses II’s, still refers to Tell Nebi Mend, Amurru being the mountainous land from Zemar/Sumur to Byblos,), and the fact the river flowing by Kadesh is called the r-n-t (Arantu/Araunti) in most Egyptian texts, and the n-r-t (Anratu/Aunrati) in others, clearly referring to the Orontes River. The fact “Kadesh the Old” (Breasted: “Kadesh the Deceitful”), behind which the Hittites camped, has been found at the MB ruin of Sefinet Nuh, at 34°34’40″N, 36°32’36″E, and the fact a quickly made local stele of Seti I was found at Tell Nebi Mend in 1921 also supports Kadesh as Tell Nebi Mend. The fact that, in the Amarna letters (EA 174-175), Aitakama of Kinsa (Kadesh) assisted the troops of Hatti in setting cities in the kingdoms of Hase/Hasi (Tell Hizzin, 33°57’54″N, 36° 6’14″E) and Hashabu (Tell Hashbe, 33°58’57″N, 36° 4’19″E) on fire shows Kadesh was a reachable distance for troops from the northern Beqa’a. The final nail in the coffin is the fact that the clay from an Amarna letter from Aitakama, king of Kadesh (EA 189) has been shown to be consistent (pg. 97) with the area around Tell Nebi Mend, although, due to contamination, it’s hard to be sure.

The name “Kadesh” was preserved throughout the millennia in the the name of the Lake of Homs, an artificial lake built during the time of Diocletian, called by Abulfeda the “Lake of Qades”, and in a “Quadis” south of the Lake of Homs and NW of Hermel on an 1819 map using pre-1802 information, as shown by the fact that the Lake of Homs was regarded as a long, narrow, strip of water fed by a short branch of the Orontes, which is clearly not the case. This “Quadis” was probably a small mill built of basalt chips, just south of the bridge built over the el-Mukadiyeh, called Tahunet Kades, which was located near 34°33’16″N, 36°30’57″E. Centuries later, Edward Robinson, the great explorer of Palestine and Sinai, expressed puzzlement regarding why the lake should be called “of Qades”-“Why [the Lake of Homs] bears the name of Kedes is unknown. No city or village of that name, ancient or modern, is found in the vicinity.” The first man to propose the identification of Tell Nebi Mend with the Kadesh of Ramesses II was Claude Reignier Conder in the Spring of 1881, who made his identification based almost entirely on false or irrelevant evidence. It was, however, Breasted, who first made a half-competent account of the battle with Kadesh assumed as Tell Nebi Mend. From then on, Tell Nebi Mend was held to be Kadesh by over 80% of Egyptologists. After Pezard’s excavations there (1922), Kadesh was accepted as being at Tell Nebi Mend by all scholars, mostly, due to the exclusion of nearby sites by other excavations.

The identification of Kadesh with Tell Nebi Mend has been rejected by the Velikovskyans. Their argument that Thutmose III could not have went to Naharim without first capturing Kadesh ignores the existence of Damascus. The river south of Kadesh was an artificial moat or ditch, probably re-used from Middle Bronze times, dug from 34°33’5″N, 36°30’56″E to 34°33’N, 36°31’22″E, and mentioned by Thomson in Robinson’s “Later Biblical Researches” as “ma[king] the Tell an island”. The double moat and bridges are unconfirmed, but interesting. The Abu Simbel relief contradicts the text no matter where Kadesh may be located. The fact archeology at Nebi mend is at a primitive stage and has not unearthed walls directly attributable to LB IIB Kadesh should not discourage further excavation of the site. Strabo’s connection of the name “Orontes” with a certain 4th century General Orontes in Geo. 16:2:7 is probably a late tradition, and may reflect the usage of the name only in the lowest parts of the river, near Mount Zaphon, since there is no record of any river “Zaphon”, or “Typhon”, in the Assyrian records. The Orontes was, after all, called Arantu in the Kurkh Monolith of Shalmaneser III and in the records of Ashurnasirpal II. The fantastic statement of the Velikovskyans that the Euphrates had no Egyptian name ignores the fact that it was called by the Egyptians “the inverted water” numerous times. Velikovsky does not even understand what he is saying when he says “In the Egyptian, the initial p could be omitted if it was understood as the definite article”! The “p” in “Prat” is not a definite article! “P”‘s were added as definite articles by the Egyptians, never taken out of the original word. Velikovsky is practically arguing that, since “in the English, the initial the could be omitted if it was understood as the definite article”, the English Ron, Oklahoma, is the Greek Ptolemais Theron, since the Americans omitted the “the” in “Theron”! The “Forest of Baw” of Abu Simbel is not at modern Bab, but, being spelled “Rbw” at the Ramesseum, is at modern Laboue, biblical Lebo-Hamath. (H)Arnam (see Sect. XIX) need not and should not be identified as Shalmaneser III’s Arne, (which is not identified with modern Arme,  but with Tell Aran, 36° 7’27″N, 37°20’50″E), but should instead be identified with modern (and ancient, #81) Hermel, whose name is related to (H)Arnam.

Kadesh cannot be Carchemish due to the 31 day travel time limit (if Thutmose III could not even travel 9 mpd, according to the Velikovskyans*, how could Ramesses travel at over 20?) and since Kadesh and Carchemish were listed as separate Hittite allies in the Poem of Pentaur. Also, the description of Kadesh as south of Tunip in the official record of the battle militates against Kadesh being Carchemish. The fact Ramesses II had to cross the Arantu to get to its west side confirms it could not have been the Euphrates. The identification of Tell Nebi Mend with biblical Riblah-in-Hamath, generally identified with the modern village-ford of Rible, 34°27’38″N, 36°32’25″E (not to be confused with Riblah on the east side of Ain/Khirbet ‘Ayyun/A’yoon/Uyun, 32°43’10″N 35°39’60″E) is unfounded, for any fort that was ever built at Riblah, either by Seti I, who never mentioned any Riblah, or by Necho II or the king of Hamath, has long been picked apart by the locals to be used for the building of Graeco-Roman cities, and there is no evidence that Riblah was a fort (2 Kings 23:34 is probably corrupt). While no excavations or pottery surveys have so far been done at Rible, it is known to have been mentioned in an Assyrian letter to Tiglath-Pileser III. Tell Nebi Mend is much better identified as Kadesh for the reasons set out above.

As for the identification of Necho II with Ramesses II, the only proper response is: WTF? Assyrian chronology proves these kings were over 600 years apart. The Abydos (Seti I) and Turin (Ramesses II) king lists are further attestation of this fact. The differences between the two are plain. Their capitals, Avaris/Pi-Ramesse/Qantir and Sais/Sa el Hagar were on opposite sides of the Delta! Tanis/Zoan/Djanet, which Velikovsky considers to be another name for Sais, was, in the Ramesside days, a small provincial town, and only gained importance after the Renaissance (19th year of Ramesses XI), after which Pi Ramesse, ruined due to the shifting Pelusiac, was used as a monument quarry for the Tanite kings. Tanis, however, cannot be Sais. The Saite nome is always identified with the 5th nome, the area of Sa el-Hagar, not with the 19th, or Tanite nome. Djanet (Tanis) and Zau (Sais) were spelled differently by the Egyptians. Sais was put by Strabo, Pliny, and Ptolemy in the Western Delta. Sa el-Hagar has well-charted (not well-excavated) ruins matching the description of Herodotus and some statues of Wahibre/Hophra/Apries. The fact Herodotus considered (2.17) the Saitic branch to be what most call the Tanitic cannot be explained, but the fact some called the Tanitic mouth the Saitic is confirmed by Strabo (Geo. 17:20). Manetho(quoted in Josephus)’s mention that Avaris was located in the Saite nome is not proof of anything but that a copyist can easily misspell “Sethroite nome” (named after Sethrum, otherwise known as Herakleopolis Parva or Hanes (Is 30:4), modern Tell Scherig/Sherig/Belim, 30°58’42″N, 32°10’30″E). Tanis was in the 19th, not the 14th (Avarite/Sethroite) nome.

There are more differences. One ruled for sixteen years, the other for sixty-six years and two months. One had the throne name of Wahemibre, the other, Usermaatre Setepenre. One conquered Gaza in his tenth year, the other kept it as a possession passed on from past generations, one battled Muwatalli II of Hatti, whose brother, Hattusili III, mentioned the battle in several cuneiform tablets, the other Nebuchadnezzar II of Babylon, who mentioned the battle in the Jerusalem Chronicle. Necho built a canal from Bubastis to Suez, Ramesses did not. Finding parallels between Necho and Ramesses is harder than finding parallels between Jesus and pagan deities or Kennedy and Lincoln. Indeed, if Necho II was Ramesses II, how could Taharqa, a very well-attested king in the Assyrian records, make additions to the temples of Ramesses II? Alan Wilson & Baram Blackett’s reading “Nebuchadnezzar” in the gateway to Abu Simbel has not been evaluated by serious scholars, is based on a decipherment of Egyptian hieroglyphics based on the “Khumric” (Welsh) language that the pair made up on their own, and should be discarded. Both Wilson and Blackett are very nutsy Welsh Israelists with no credibility whatsoever. The fact Necho II has  few inscriptions in his home country while remaining a mighty king seems to stem from several factors, including that he did not have a Ramesside-length reign, did not have the time or the money to build commemorative inscriptions on temple walls due to his military spending and canal project, and the fact that his capital, Sais, has not been thoroughly excavated. He does have the Serapeum Stele at Memphis recording his burial of an Apis bull and some inscriptions along with Psamtik II’s at the limestone quarries of Mokattam Hills and at Nekhen. Cartouches of his were found at such places as Sidon and Carchemish, not to mention Naucratis and the Wadi Hammamat. This, even though his son, Psamtik II, carried a mighty campaign of destruction of all his monuments and cartouches! I highly recommend New Scientist‘s Oct 19, 1978 review of Ramses II and his time for a further and more conclusive rebuttal.

*Acording to the Velikovskyans, “In order to reach this place, the army which had just crossed the Sinai desert from Egypt would have continued marching for 10 days, covering about 90 miles. Such is the opinion of Breasted and his followers. But according to Danelius, who had kept the 1917 Palestinian campaign well in mind, an army that included cavalry and chariots drawn by horses could not progress that quickly in a country where drinking water is in short supply during the dry season, May to November:

It seems that neither Breasted nor any of his followers has given any thought to this vital question, not to mention other problems of logistics. In this respect, the dispatches sent by General Allenby to the Secretary of State for war during the advance of the Forces in the Philistine Plain are a veritable eye-opener. Gaza had fallen on November 7th 1917. Two days later: “By the 9th, the problem became one of supply … the question of water and forage was a very difficult one. Even where water was found in sufficient quantities, it was usually in wells and not on the surface, and consequently … the process of watering a large quantity of animals was slow and difficult”, wrote Allenby.” (Op. cit., n.84, #’s. 13,14 and after p.113).”68)

And on the very next day, on November 10th:

“The hot wind is an additional trial, particularly to the cavalry already suffering from water-shortage. [This was near Ashdod, in the Philistine Plain]. Owing to the exhaustion of their horses on account of the lack of water … [two mounted brigades] had to be withdrawn into reserve”, on November 11th.”

Applying this situation to Thutmose’s era, Danelius commented:

“There is no reason to suppose that nature was kinder to Thutmose’s troops in May, the month with the greatest number of days with the destructive hot wind blowing from the desert, than to the Allied troops in November. Allenby’s advance, too, was considerably slower than that demanded in Breasted’s calendar for the advance of the Pharaoh’s army: the Allied left wing covered only 40 miles in 15 days along the plain (op. cit., 7, #15), while Breasted suggested 80-90 miles in 10-11 days.”, the Velikovskyans, naturally, forgetting the fact of Ramesses having far more chariots than Thutmose, and Allenby’s force having wheeled guns and a far larger number of infantry, and the fact Gaza and Tjaru in Thutmose III’s record are fixed points, proving Thutmose III traveled 15.6 miles per day (140 miles in 9 days!) on the very badly watered North Sinai coast.

On Kedesh and Zaanannim

Kedesh is often considered to be Kedesh of Naphtali/Galilee alone, 33° 6’48″N, 35°32’1″E. However, 1 Chron 6:72 suggests a Kedesh in the Jezreel Valley. This is supported by Joshua 12:22, which places Kedesh between Megiddo and Jokneam in Joshua’s campaign list. The two words “of Naphtali/Galilee” seem to be used to distinguish the Galilean Kedesh with one in the Jezreel. A Kedesh in the Jezreel is also supported by the context of Judges 4 (Kedesh of Galilee was far too close to Hazor) and by Judges 5:19. The Jezreelite Kedesh was probably Tell abu Kadeis (32°33’34″N, 35°12’58″E?). The discovery of the approximate location of the “oak of Zaananinm” of Judges 4:11 and Joshua 19:33 will probably lead to a new and clearer understanding of the border of the Tribe of Naphtali. Indeed, if the tell is dug, it might lead to discovery of some very interesting remains, indeed!

On Sheba, Saba, and the Sabeans

Let us review: Sheba is the Kingdom of Marib (15°25’38″N, 45°20’10″E), which was mentioned by Sargon II as giving him tribute. It was certainly not located in northwest Arabia, while there are references to and inscriptions of Kedarites, Lihyanites, and Dedanites, there are is absolutely no evidence of any Sabean kingdom there. But how is Sheba related to the Sabeans in Job 1:15? Where is Seba (Ps 72:10, Is 43:3)? Why did Josephus identify Seba with Meroe and Sheba with Egypt and Cush?

It is certain that Job’s Sabeans are not soldiers of the Kingdom of Sheba/Saba of Marib, but simply nomadic “Sabeans” (Sa-ab/ba-‘-a-a) mentioned by Tiglath-Pileser III between Tayma (Tema) and Ephah in a list of NW Arab tribes. These nomadic Sabeans were probably the “Sheba” of Genesis 25:3. Since the Land of Uz was within reach of both these nomadic Sabeans and the Neo-Babylonian Empire (Job 1:17), it might be situated somewhere in, east, or just south of Edom. The Sabeans of Is 45:14 and Joel 3:8, however, must be placed in Sheba proper.

Seba might be the port of Sabae mentioned by Strabo, and Sabat mentioned by Ptolemy, which was at or near Massawa. An African location for Seba is supported by Is 43:3. Josephus, forgetting all the Sons of Cush were Arabian peoples, confusing the fact the Queen of Sheba was a “Queen of the South” with the author of Daniel’s characterization of the kings of Egypt as “Kings of the South”, and hoping to give the Jews greater recognition by the Romans, unfortunately misled many to think Sheba was at or in Egypt, and Seba was at Meroe.

Why Emmet Sweeney is Wrong About Punt and Sheba

Even though I showed in my previous rebuttal Sweeney’s “Punt in Phoenicia” is impossible, since Ramesses III confirms that the Egyptians set sail for Punt from Mersa Gawasis, Sweeney still continues to amaze me in his capacity to make s**t up.

The simple fact that Retenu gave Thutmose III tribute of myrrh does not mean that Retenu actually grew its own myrrh! Myrrh was a precious commodity, and could be used to pay tribute with far less expense than sending out tons of wheat. Also, Sweeney forgets to check his own Bible when he claims that:

But, as Velikovsky stated, there is very good reason to suppose that in antiquity the shrub was also cultivated in Syria/Palestine. This is hinted very strongly in a number of biblical passages. Thus in the Song of Songs, reputedly composed by Solomon, we read:

“My hands dripped with myrrh, my fingers with liquid myrrh; Sweeter your love than wine, the scent of your perfume than any spice; Your lips drip honey, and the scent of your robes is like the scent of Lebanon.” [Song of Songs 4:10-11]

Note how Lebanon is apparently here linked with myrrh.

(Psst… I don’t think Emmet realizes Song of Solomon 5:5 does NOT come directly before Song of Solomon 4:10-11.) I have no idea where in the world Sweeney got his composite quote from, but it shows how Sweeney fact-checks his sources. As for what “the scent of Lebanon” is, I have no clue, although I’m guessing it’s the scent of some sort of wood (cedar?)-the scent is certainly not myrrh, that has never been documented as growing anywhere in Lebanon, in either the Sumerian, Mari, Egyptian, Assyrian, Biblical, Graeco-Roman, Medieval, or Modern records.

As for Sweeney’s imaginary Lake Huleh-it never existed. There most certainly was a “Lake Huleh” around 33° 4’N, 35°37’E, which was drained under Zionist auspices between 1951 and 1958, but that is not the “Huleh Valley” imagined by Sweeney! That is a figment of his imagination, and certainly not “the marshes of the earth” of Thutmose III-Egyptian control extended as far as Carchemish, and those legendary “marshes” were paired by Thutmose III with the Kingdom of Mitanni in his Poetic Stela.

Sweeney’s statement that the conventional Punt was “a primitive land” during the days of Hatshepsut is quite true- and supported by Hatshepsut’s reliefs, which show no clearly developed state in Punt. In the 2nd and 3rd millennium BC, conventional Punt was far from an empty land-the 1st Intermediate-Middle Kingdom site of Mahal Teglinos (SE Kassala) at the northern foot of Jebel Taka, containing Arabian, Kerman, and Egyptian pottery, attests to this. “At Agordat in the middle Barka valley (Eritrea), an Egyptian-style ceramic ear-plug and some stone celts which imitate bronze prototypes of the 17th-18th Dynasties have been excavated in sites dating to the mid-second millennium BC. On the Eritrean coast at Adulis (15°15’43″N, 39°39’35″E), two fragments of glass vessels typical of the New Kingdom have been found in a level dating to the late second millennium BC.” (Bard, Encyclopedia of the Archaeology of Ancient Egypt, p.637). Indeed, Hatshepsut describes Punt as a land rich in wildlife and spices, but never describes Punt itself as urbanized-her reliefs show no artificial harbors or port cities, just chiefs in kilts and queens in fine dresses and necklaces. See my previous rebuttal for more about Punt itself. Indeed, the Queen of Parehu’s chiefdom was said by the relief to have been carried by a mere donkey, showing Punt was hardly considered by the Egyptians to be as developed as Egypt. Punt’s triangle-sailed boats are most assuredly not ships of Tarshish, Keftiu, or Byblos. The fact the existence of Punt was well known to the Egyptians does not mean Punt was well-charted and explored. I doubt a typical Christian would be able to point out even the most general area of where Jesus was crucified on a world map. Hatshepsut herself made it clear that her voyage was one of discovery.

Sweeney’s new idea of Waset=Sewa=Sheba=Thebais is interesting, but probably wrong, since Genesis 10 mentions Sheba as a descendant of Raamah(=Ragmatum, modern Najran, Saudi Arabia) along with Dedan (modern Al-Ula). Neither Sheba nor Seba is mentioned as a descendant of Mizraim(=Egypt). This shows Sheba is probably that famous kingdom of Saba centered in Marib, 15°25’38″N, 45°20’10″E. The connection of Waset=Sewa=Sheba=Thebais has not, as I know, been accepted in the scholarly community at large. I also find it linguistically doubtful, since Egyptian s is not likely to have been transliterated as a Hebrew shin, since in all other cases it is transliterated as a samek (e.g. Rameses). It is also not likely to transition to a Greek Theta. Tarshish, meanwhile, might have an original “ch” behind the Greek tau and Hebrew shin. I’m still sticking with the old etymology “Egyptian Ta-opet/ape (“the head”)= Coptic Tape, spoken as Thaba=Greek Thebais”.

Also, the Queen of Sheba is described in the Bible as being amazed at “all the wisdom of Solomon and the palace he had built, the food on his table, the seating of his officials, the attending servants in their robes, his cupbearers, and the burnt offerings he made at the temple of YHWH”-yet the Deir el Bahari reliefs mention none of these, but do mention a Puntite chief named Parehu, ruling with his wife, Ati, and having two sons and a daughter. The Queen is also mentioned as “arriving at Jerusalem with a very great caravan—with camels carrying spices, large quantities of gold, and precious stones”-yet, Hatshepsut arrived in a fleet of ships, no camels were described as boarding them, and neither do her reliefs make mention of any visit to any kingdom-only of a visit to the Puntite coast. Neither does she mention arriving with even a single camel. Indeed, Hatshepsut received green (i.e. good) gold of ‘Amau from Punt and also received very much myrrh-but the Bible mentions the Queen’s great giving of spices-that “never again were so many spices brought in as those the queen of Sheba gave to King Solomon”-perfectly fitting a queen of the kingdom of Marib, which had many myrrh and some frankincense fields under its disposal, consistent with Jeremiah 6:20 and Isaiah 60:6, where Sheba was described as a source of frankincense (Heb. lebonah, from laben, “to be white”).

As for Sweeney’s desperate attempt to counteract Hatshepsut’s clear statement that

“He [Amon] hath made my kingdom, the Black Land, and the Red Lands are united under my feet. My southern boundary is as far as Punt …; my eastern boundary is as far as the marshes of Asia, and the Asiatics are in my grasp; my western boundary is as far as the mountain of Manu … my fame is among the Sand-dwellers altogether. The myrrh of Punt has been brought to me … all the luxurious marvels of this country were brought to my palace in one collection, which the Asiatics presented … turquoise/chrysocolla of the country of Reshet. They have brought me the choicest products of … consisting of cedar, of juniper and of meru-wood; … all the goodly sweet woods of God’s Land. I brought the tribute of Tehenu(Libya)…” (Emphasis Mine)

by saying “All the queen seems to be saying is that her southern border, in Nubia, is as far distant from Thebes as her northern border, in Punt.”, he seems to forget that, taking his statement literally, one would wind up in an Egyptian northern border on the northern border of the Kingdom of Judah, and the fact that Egypt’s actual northern border was at Carchemish, well north of his “Hula Valley”. Hatshepsut does not here include a northern border because the only thing directly north of Egypt is salt water, and her Levantine border was already covered in her eastern border, which was as far as the marshes of Asia, that is, the marshes of the Upper Euphrates. As to whether her southern border really was as far south as Punt, if she knew about latitude, her statement would be correct, if not, she would be simply exaggerating in the manner of Esarhaddon, who stated that all the kings who lived in the sea, as far as Tarshish, submitted to him.

It is therefore concluded that Emmet Sweeney is full of s**t regarding both Punt, Sheba, the Bible, and Lebanese geography, and that the conventional locations of both Punt and Sheba are correct. It is a pity rebels do not always think out the consequences of their statements before making them.

Why Emmet Sweeney is Wrong About Punt

The Land of Punt was a land visited by several Egyptian kings throughout the ages, from the reign of Sahure to the reign of Ramesses III, by sailing from Mersa Gawasis. It is widely agreed among scholars to be in the area of Eritrea, Ethiopia, and Eastern Sudan, that is, the sources of the Atbara and the coastal area between Suakin and the Gulf of Zula. This is based upon several factors:

1. The flora and fauna in the scenes at Deir el Bahari (pg. 277 onward), such as ebony, myrrh (‘ntyw/anti)*, and baboons are decidedly Eritrean/Ethiopian (see also here, p. 141). The giraffe is not from Punt, but from Khent Hunnefer, or Khent-hen-nefer, or Khenthennofer, another name for Kush (Nubia above the 2nd Cataract). The objection that the rhinoceros is of the Indian type has been answered by Kenneth Kitchen, “The same criticisms also largely apply to the rhinoceros; the presence of but one horn is of a piece with similar examples from Kerma and the stela Louvre C,14; all these examples are simply abbreviated, not of Indian origin (cf. Kitchen 1971: 187, and nn. 16-17).”.

*’ntyw/anti was probably not frankincense; while ‘ntyw was the product of Punt par excellence, mentioned in nearly every text relating to the products of the land (including Pap. Harris and in the Story of the Shipwrecked Sailor, where a sailor, after being stranded on an island off the coast of Punt, comes upon a Puntite prince rich in ‘ntyw), even being shown as being grown near the coast in the Hatshepsut reliefs. While the coastal ‘ntyw plants on the Hatshepsut reliefs look more like frankincense than myrrh, the finished large red lumps of ‘ntyw do look very much like myrrh. Sntr, meanwhile, was a poorer incense grown in both Egypt, Punt, and Retenu, and was probably the resin of one of the the Pistacia species khinjuk, terebinthus, or atlantica.

2. The people of Punt wore kilts, had skilled dancing Pygmies (one of which was brought to Pepi II), and could pronounce the letter “P”, even having a chief named “Parehu”, unlike the Arabs. This “Parehu” ruled with a finely-dressed queen named Ati, and the couple had two sons and a daughter shown by Hatshepsut, suggesting rich chiefs were hereditary monarchs. They also wore rings on their ankles (Parehu on both legs, Ati on one), a purely African custom. The Puntites also had strange housing in the form of huts on stilts, entirely unattested in Arabia or the Sinai (the inhabitants of those areas used Bedouin tents or stone or mud-brick houses-stilted huts were out of the question). An inscription found at el-Kab (ancient Nekheb) states “Listen you, who are alive upon earth . . . Kush came . . . aroused along his length, he having stirred up the tribes of Wawat (Lower Nubia) . . . the land of Punt and the Medjaw (Eastern Desert). . .”, supporting an African location for Punt.

3. Gold of Amau, generally identified with the Hassai mining area (18°42’N, 35°23’E), was imported by Egypt from Punt. Amau also served as a source of ivory and ebony (see Meeks’ article on Punt, pg. 65). A certain Userhat of the same land left a graffito at Sabu, near  19°56’20″N, 30°32’42″E. Amau was never mentioned as being visited by ship in either the Hatshepsut reliefs or anyplace else, strongly suggesting Punt need be placed in Abyssinia.

4. A certain 26th Dynasty stele found at Tahpanhes declares it a miracle and a blessing that there was rain upon the Mountain of Punt in late December/early January, since rain was scarce in the southern provinces of Egypt.

Some people however, choose instead to identify Punt with such places as Phoenicia (Sweeney), an utter impossibility-Hatshepsut sailed to Punt by way of the Red Sea, as the sea fauna in her reliefs suggest, and as Ramesses III’s explicit statement in Papyrus Harris, Breasted’s Paragraph 407, that

They arrived safely at the highland of Coptos. They landed in safety, bearing the things which they brought. They were loaded, on the land-journey, upon asses and upon men; and loaded into vessels upon the Nile, at the haven of Coptos. They were sent forward downstream and arrived amid festivity, and brought some of the tribute into the royal presence like marvels.”

proves beyond all doubt. Also, while balm was grown in Gilead (the road the Ishmealites took went from Gilead to Jezreel to Yehem, 32°22’6″N, 35° 1’54″E, to Egypt-recall that Dothan is at 32°24’47″N, 35°14’19″E), myrrh was certainly not. The “lot” in Genesis 37:25 and 43:41 was not myrrh (Heb. mor), but labdanum. Myrrh was never known to have been cultivated in the Jordan valley, and was always considered to be exclusively a product of the Horn of Africa, Oman, and Yemen. Palestine/Phoenicia was NOT “the only country associated with Hathor”! She was worshiped at such places as Serabit el-Khadim, where she was called “the lady of mafkat” (=turquoise/chrysocolla) and Atika/Timna, where there was a shrine to her. As Kitchen put it, Hathor was “the goddess of anywhere ‘abroad'”. Osiris, too, was not “specifically associated with Byblos”, but was also associated even more specifically with the Island of Biggah, 24° 1’12″N, 32°53’8″E
Thutmose III’s claim to have conquered “all the regions of Punt” is just an empty propogandistic boast to begin his first year, not something to rely on as evidence for anything. I would highly recommend David Lorton’s article for a further rebuttal.

Update, as of August 28, 2011: According to here, pg. 28, “[closed bottle/jar] imports from the southern Red Sea confirm that the Yemeni coast and possibly Eritrea were involved in the Egypt-Punt trade network”.

Update, as of February 18, 2013: According to here, pg. 26, a crate with the label “the wonderful things of Punt”, dating from the days of Amenemhat IV, has been discovered at Mersa Gawasis, thus solidifying Punt’s link with the Red Sea.

The Journey of Hanno

This is the itinerary of Hanno, who explored Western Libya not in the sixth, but in the early-mid fifth century BC. An average day’s journey shall be assumed to be at 75 miles per day. Consult North African AMS Topographic Maps for details.

Pillars-Rock of Gibraltar and Monte Hacho, the easternmost peaks in the Straits of Gibraltar.

Thymiaterion- Mehidya

Cape Soloeis-considered by Herodotus to be the westernmost point of Libya, it is Cape Geer/Ghir, at 30°38’N, 9°53’W, the only well-wooded cape one can sail east for half a day from.

Lake-somewhere in the vicinity of Agadir, perhaps the mouth of the Oued Sous.

River Lixos- Oued Massa, the surrounding fitting well with the description of Hanno.

Kerne- If we take Hanno’s “small island” and “five stades” literally, Kerne must be the island at 20° 0’40″N, 16°18’8″W.

Chertes(?)-19°52’35″N, 16°18’5″W(?)

Great Mountains-Certainly a textual corruption or mistranlation.

Large, broad river-Senegal

Anchor by some big mountains-around 9°49’39″N, 13°45’46″W.

Immense expanse of sea-Yawri Bay, 8° 5’N, 13° 0’W

Horn of the West-Cape Three Points, Ghana

Island-5°30’N, 5°22’E

Seat of Gods-Mt. Cameroon

Bay of Horn of the South-Corisco Bay. The “Gorillas” are probably Chimpanzees. The Island they inhabited was at 1° 3’26″N, 9°46’9″E.

The Location of Isy

Isy (or Asy) was a land of the West mentioned along with Keftiu in the Poetical Stela of Thutmose III as a country of the West. It was a copper-producing land, which gave to Egypt gifts of lead and bronze (Donald B. Redford, “The Wars in Syria and Palestine of Thutmose III”, page 80), and was mentioned along with Alashiya in several Egyptian texts (Redford, pg. 82). Since it was mentioned along with Keftiu, which seems to be Crete, and since lead and bronze are typical products of central and northern Anatolia, Egyptian “Isy” seems to be the same as “Assuwa”, mentioned in the Hittite records as a league of anti-Hittite West Anatolian nations to the North and East of the heartland Arzawa/Ephesus area.

The Bible Unearthed-An Extended Review, Part 2


F&S’s main goal throughout this introduction is to show how it became so that “Not since ancient times has the world of the Bible been so accessible and so thoroughly explored”. They also make sure to add at the end of the first section of their introduction a statement that “we now know that the early books of the Bible and their famous stories of early Israelite history were first codified (and in key respects composed) at an identifiable place and time: Jerusalem in the seventh century BCE”, boldly misleading the reader that the Pentateuch is laden with the Deuteronomic theology found in the Deuteronomic history, and that the discovery of the fact that the First Edition of the Deuteronomic History (Deut.-Kings) was written in 621 BC is anything new-it was widely accepted in the scholarly community for over half a century old when “The Bible Unearthed” was first published.

They first define what the Hebrew Bible, our Old Testament, is.
The Pentateuch (“five books”) are the works whose authorship is traditionally ascribed to Moses.
Genesis describes the history from Creation to the Death of Joseph. (X-Early Second Millennium BC)
Exodus describes the Oppression, Exodus, and Lawgiving at Sinai (Horemheb-Ramesses II).
Leviticus is a codex of priestly (Aaronid) law.
Numbers describes the 40-year period from Sinai to the Plains of Moab opposite Jericho.
Deuteronomy is a review of years past and contains a codex of non-Aaronid law.

The Deuteronomic History is the history from the camp at the Plains of Moab to the Exile.
Joshua describes the conquest of Canaan and following Israelite covenant ceremonies. (c. 1220 BC)
Judges describes the history of Israel in Iron I Canaan from the death of Joshua to c. 1070 BC.
1 Samuel describes the history of the rise of Samuel (c. 1090-1013 BC) and Saul (1033-1011 BC)
2 Samuel describes the history of the reign of David after Saul’s death. (1011 BC-971 BC)
1 Kings describes the history of Israel from Solomon’s reign to the reign of Ahaziah. (971-852 BC)
2 Kings describes the history of Israel from Ahaziah’s death to the Exile (852-562 BC)

The rest are books of Poetry (Job, Song, Psalms), Prophecy (Amos to Malachi), and more history to the Persian period (Chronicles-Esther). Daniel (164 BC), is an outlier.
The first breaks from fundamentalism in biblical studies occurred in the eighteenth century, when suggestions of separate sources in the Pentateuch began to be made. Biblical Geography, paving the way for Biblical Archeology, began with Edward Robinson’s journey to Palestine and Sinai in 1838. By the days of Wellhausen’s unification of theories of Pentateuchical source criticism, both Cuneiform and Egyptian were deciphered, but there was much to be discovered. The first excavations in the Holy Land began with W. F. Petrie in 1890 at Tell el-Hesi (Eglon?). They continued with William Albright in the 1920s and 1930s, establishing the Baltimore School of Biblical Archeology, extensively criticized later on in “The Bible Unearthed”. This school was famous for its use of false parallels (Nuzi) and unsupported hypotheses (Amorite Hypothesis) to reach suspiciously pro-Biblical conclusions in every case. It was discredited during the 1970s by minimalists Thompson, Van Seters, and Lemche. From there onwards, a lukewarm Deverite synthesis, obediently supporting the Documentary Hypothesis, seemed to hold a secular Biblical Archeology (renamed Syro-Palestinian archeology) in place, with steady attacks from the Minimalists. In 1994, Israel Finkelstein first put forward a pottery chronology lowering dates in strata from c. 1160-740 by 30-90, and in some cases (Taanach) over 200 years, essentially nullifying the 1950s “Solomonic Paradigm” of Yadin, an integral part of the Baltimore School’s teaching. This chronology was roundly criticized by Amihai Mazar, who, pointing out sites like Taanach and Arad, suggested a “modified conventional chronology”, extending the length of Iron IIA (Yadin’s Solomonic Period) by half a century. This chronological debate will be discussed in detail in a later extension of this review.

It is in this context, seven years after Finkelstein’s first dream of writing “The Bible Unearthed”, in which the present book must be placed. Finkelstein’s “new vision” of Biblical history is nothing more than one suggestion from one school of thought. The whole basis of Finkelstein’s most controversial claim-the non-existence of the United Monarchy of David and Solomon, and the formation of the narratives of the reign of Solomon in the post-Assyrian era under King Josiah, is a pottery chronology contradicting several secure chronological tenets, thought up by no one but Finkelstein himself.

UPDATE: In this Interlude on Pottery, I admit Finkelstein might be correct due to C14 dating, but the Iron IIa still should begin before the Shishak invasion (according to this article, Canaanite Megiddo VIA fell before 970 BC, logically, to be mentioned in the Shishak list, the Iron IIA at Megiddo should begin before 926 BC [5th Year of Rehoboam]).

The Location of Keftiu/Kaptara/Caphtor

Firstly, it should be noted Caphtor is mentioned in Egyptian, Mari, Neo-Assyrian, and Israelite records, but is not mentioned in the Hittite or Greek records.

In the Egyptian records, it is first mentioned in the 12th Dynasty, and is mentioned well into the reign of Thutmose III. In the reign of Thutmose III, Keftiu was considered a land of the West (i.e. west of the Nile, in other inscriptions, Punt/Eritrea is mentioned as being a land of the East). Keftiu was also mentioned in a nonsensical topographical list of Ramesses II.

In the Bible, Caphtor is portrayed as the land of the origin of Philistines (Deut 2:23, Jerem 47:4, Amos 9:7), and as a coastland. The Philistines were called Cherethites/Cretans by the Amalekites in 1 Sam 30:14. Caphtor was also confused with “Coptos”, at the end of the Wadi Hammamat, or, perhaps, with the Greek name “Egypt”, and was therefore identified as an Egyptian, and not a Mediterranean (Javanite) land, in Genesis 10.

In the Mari records, Kaptara is mentioned as having merchants buying tin. The King of Hazor is also mentioned as sending gifts to the King of Kaptara. Alashiya (Cyprus) is also mentioned in the Mari records as a copper-producing country. In the Neo-Assyrian “Sargon Geography”, Sargon of Akkad was said to conquer “Anaku, Kaptara, Dilmun (in the Persian Gulf), and Magan (Modern Oman, considered to be at/near Egypt in Neo-Assyrian tradition).

Since the Bible and the Mesopotamian records offer no clues regarding the location of Keftiu, we have to use the Egyptian records. Since those never place Keftiu in parallel with Alashiya, Keftiu is suggested to not be at Cyprus. The phrase “Keftiu and the Isles of the Great Green” in the tomb of Rekhmare, suggests Keftiu is in the Aegean area. Kaptara is shown in the Mari records to be ruled by a monarch. This is consistent with Caphtor being Crete, with its four administrative centers of Knossos, Zakros, Phaistos, and Malia.

It is therefore clear that Biblical Caphtor can be reasonably identified with Crete, and identifications in Cyprus and elsewhere are unlikely.

Some Moabite Placemarks

Ataroth/Kh. Attarus-31°34’27″N, 35°39’54″E
Kiriathaim/Qarayyat-31°32’27″N, 35°41’11″E
Kerioth/Kh. Qurayyat `Aleyan-31°31’53″N, 35°52’48″E
Mephaath-Umm er-Rasas- 31°30’2″N, 35°55’14″E
Dibon-Modern Dhiban-not the ruins just NW (=Lower City)!
Kir Haraseth/Kerak-Just N. of 31°10’50″N, 35°42’5″E
Horonaim-At the mouth of either Wadi Numeria or Hasa (see Mesha Stele)
?/Muhai-30°59’40″N, 35°51’28″E