The Bible Unearthed-An Extended Review, Part 4

Chapter 2

The anti-biblical portions of this chapter are almost entirely lie, misleading information, and falsehood. The chapter begins with an exposition of the sojourn through Sinai narrative, then talks a little about the Hyksos invasion and expulsion, strangely, giving the wrong dates (the reign of Ahmose I began in 1550, not 1570 BC, and the expulsion of the Hyksos should have taken Ahmose at least a few years, and at most, seventeen, to complete). F&S’s pointing out the fact the name “Ramesses” only appears in the thirteenth century and just after is a little irrelevant (a fundy could simply call “scribal update”). The absence of Israel in Egyptian records until 1209/8 (incorrectly stated by Finkelstein as 1207, the Egyptians did not use ascension dating) is a little curious, but, there is little room for mention of any specific groups of non-settled peoples in Palestine in Egyptian records except in name lists of Shasu tribes (i.e. Amenhotep III’s list). BTW, F&S should know there were no opportunities for Israel being mentioned at any time in Egypt (Hyksos-era record-keeping is nonexistent, when Egyptians mentioned slaves, they would only state ethnicity (Nubian, Asiatic, sometimes whether or not they were POW’s), not tribal affiliation. The voluminous archives F&S imagine we have from Tjaru and Ramesses simply do not exist (that Papyrus Anastasi 6 mentioning Pithom and Succoth was only found as trash in the sands of Saqqara after being used by a student scribe for training), there were only seven wine jar dockets recovered from Ramesses and no papyri whatsoever from Tjaru or any of the eastern fortresses. The Bible also explicitly states Israel had permission from Pharaoh to go, so all those fortresses in the Wadi Tumilat (those on the Via Maris are irrelevant) do not matter much anyway. The fact Israelite remains are absent from all archeological surveys of the Sinai stems from the fact that no tent dweller ever used pottery when in deserts for long periods of time, but goatskins. No campsite of Ramesses II at Kadesh or Thutmose III at Megiddo has been found (neither has any one of the Egyptian miners who went to Serabit el Khadim in the Sinai) The anachronisms F&S point to do not exist (Tell el Kheleifeh (29°32’50″N, 34°58’50″E), which F&S assume to be Ezion-Geber, cannot be Ezion-Geber, but is probably Eloth (built by Uzziah, then destroyed and rebuilt by Edomites [mistaken for Arameans, Hebrew d’s and r’s look almost exactly the same, plus, see previous verse]), it cannot hold ships of Tarshish on its shallow beach, see Sect. 6 of AJaL for Migdol (indeed, this toponym proves Ex. 14 must have been written before the late seventh century BC), this for Kadesh). The only real anachronism in the book of Exodus is the Tanite one. It is true, however, that Heshbon and other sites, such as Arad, were only settled during some distant earlier period and the Israelite era, proving that Numbers, at least, must have been written during the 1st millennium BC. Edom was a state a century before the Assyrian era. There is no evidence Goshen was named for an Arab king of Nehemiah’s time. Mention of spies from an Asiatic country need not be interpreted as evidence of a post-Assyrian date of writing, but could just as well be interpreted as pointing to a Ramesside (Hittites!) or a 13th-14th Dynasty date (Hyksos!). Even a Middle Kingdom date is permissible (nomadic Asiatics could attempt to bypass the Walls of the Ruler to invade the E. Delta to get pastureland, water, and food)! See Hoffmeier, “Israel in Egypt”, for the Egyptian elements. The idea the Exodus epic describes a struggle between Necho II and Josiah is just… stupid (remember the mid-12th century epic of Ex. 15 and the mentions in the Prophets).

Author: pithom

An atheist with an interest in the history of the ancient Near East. Author of the Against Jebel al-Lawz Wordpress blog.

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