Necho, Ramesses, and Stratigraphy

Velikovskyians, when pointed out the fact that Necho cannot be Ramesses, point to various OOPArts (pottery, scarabs, ect.) in archeological strata (i.e. Ramesside scarabs in the 6th century stratum at Lachish, a Stele of Seti I at Beth-Shean in an Iron age stratum (980-732 BC), and some anomalous pottery in tombs. All this is easily explainable by the fact that, sometimes, especially during emergencies, city planners dug up old soil (and pottery and scarabs along with it) to make way for new projects or strengthen existing construction. This is what happened in the case of Lachish and Azekah. As for rare examples of OOPArt pottery and scarabs not found in fills, they are most likely heirlooms.  The Seti I stele was probably dug up during a digging project or was possessed by the Beth-Sheanites as an heirloom. The Tomb of Ahiram from the early 10th (not 7th!) century and the beads of Carchemish may be explained likewise. Younger pottery can get into older strata during burials. Byblos, apparently, has suffered so much digging up and burying that it cannot be stratified in certain areas!

In all other cases the supposed parallels have probably been made up. Archeologists’ works should be consulted after reading any original Velikovskyan statement.

A Clarification of Samarian Stratigraphy

The Samaria Ostraca, from Pottery Period IV, appear to date from the reign of Jeroboam II (783 BC) on paleographic and logical (Year 14) grounds. The Ostraca, however, seem to have been found in a fill below the floor of the Ostraca House. This makes it certain that the Ostraca were written before Building Period III. For the convenience of not having four building periods ascribed to the the time of Jeroboam II to 723 BC, it seems we can still conclude Building Period III might be contemporary with the Ostraca, but the possibility of four building periods between 790 and 723 BC should not be definitively excluded. The Osorkon II jar, dating by the conventional chronology from the reign of Ahab, found in a fill of the Osorkon house (which dates after the Ostraca House, probably after c. 630 BC), tells us only that Osorkon must have reigned before the construction of the Osorkon house. We can therefore reconstruct the following chronology for Samaria:

Pottery Period I (Building Period 0)-Late Iron I and Early Iron IIA-Shemer Family

Pottery Period II (Building Period 1)-Late Iron IIA-Omri to Jehoahaz

Building Period II (Pottery Periods III and IV)-Joash to Jeroboam II

Pottery Period IV/Building Period III-Jeroboam II to 720 BC. Ostraca House built in this phase.

Pottery Period V/Building Period IV-First Assyrian rebuilding, dating to Sargon II.

Pottery Period V/VI/Building Period V-Second Assyrian rebuilding, dating to Sennacherib and Esarhaddon.

Period VI-Last Assyrian. Destroyed at the end of Assyrian rule.

Period VII-Post-Assyrian, Pre-Chaldean or Chaldean. Osorkon House built here.

Period VIII-Chaldean-Persian or Persian

Some West Anatolian Placemarks

Miletus, 37°31’51″N, 27°16’37″E

Pyrrha, 37°33’41″N, 27°22’28″E

Myus, 37°35’45″N, 27°25’46″E

Priene, 37°39’34″N, 27°17’52″E

Colophon, 38° 7’43″N, 27° 6’55″E

Lebedos, 38° 4’24″N, 26°58’3″E

Teos, 38°10’44″N, 26°47’15″E

Erythrae, 38°22’51″N, 26°28’52″E

Clazomenae, opposite 38°22’8″N, 26°47’4″E

Phocaea, 38°40’2″N, 26°45’35″E

Where be Eglon?

Eglon was a city mentioned only in Joshua 10, 12, and 15. It is described as being attacked by Joshua before Hebron, but after Lachish. It is identified as being either Kh. ‘Aitun (31°29’26″N 34°55’41″E) or Tell el-Hesi. Since Joshua often campaigned in an irregular order, only the list of Josh 15:33-47. Since it is mentioned as being in the Shephelah, and Lachish and Bozkath come just before it, and it is not put in the plain, while the identification is still undecisive Aitun seems to win by a head.

Where be Kir?

Kir (קִיר) or Qir was a land mentioned in 2 Kings 16:9, Isaiah 22:6, Amos 1:5, and Amos 9:7 as the place of origin and exile of Aram and as a place of troops bearing shields for the Assyrian army. The land has been placed everywhere from the region of Emar, Ur, Der, and Guti. The association of Kir with Elam in Isaiah 22:6 and the fact the all the Arameans (from Golan to Naharim) were said by Amos to be deported there in the future in Amos 1:5 makes it almost certain Kir was not situated in North Syria, but in the region north of Elam. However, 2 Kings 16:9 cannot be used as evidence since the Septuagint omits “to Kir”. It therefore seems most likely that Hebrew “Kir”, meaning “wall” is a translation of Akkadian “Der”, a city located at 33° 7’25″N, 45°55’50″E, also meaning “wall”.

Is the Town List of Rehoboam Relevant?

The town list of Rehoboam in 2 Chron 11:5-10 is often cited by the inexperienced as a standard to compare Shoshenq I‘s campaign list to. First, it is uncertain whether Rehoboam could even have time to build all these fortresses within a span of less than five years. Secondly, there are several clear logical anomalies in this list. In 2 Chron 11:8, Gath is listed as one of Rehoboam’s fortified cities. Yet, Gath was still a Philistine capital as late as Amos 6:2 (written around 734 BC). Lastly, some archeological sites in this list were only fortified, or even settled, in the 8th century BC. It seems that this list is one from the days of Hezekiah and is irrelevant to either the Shishak account or even the history of Rehoboam.

Update: Israel Finkelstein now believes this town list was based upon a Hasmonean reality.

Is the Chronology of Ahaz Workable?

By far, one of the most frustrating problems of OT chronology is the chronology of Ahaz. According to Isaiah 14:28, Ahaz died in the same year as a prominent king of Assyria-almost certainly Tiglath-Pileser III. This would make Ahaz die in 727/726 (Tiglath-Pileser died in Tebet (December/January) of 727/726). This fits with a plain counting back of years from Josiah to Hezekiah, which puts the ascension of Hezekiah in 726 BC. Unfortunately, this chronology does not fit with 2 Chron 30-32, 2 Kings 17:1, or any of the synchronisms in 2 Kings 19. It seems that Ahaz’s 16 years must be amended to eight, 2 Kings 17:1 must be amended to “second year”, and Hezekiah must have been made co-regent in 729 BC and counted years from the religious reforms of 715 BC late in his reign.

Is Janoah in 2 Kings 15:29 Yenoam/Yanoam?

Janoah was a city taken by Tiglath-Pileser III in 733 BC. The other cities he took, Ijon (Khiam), Abel Beth-Maacah (Abil al-Qamh), Kedesh(-Naphtali, 33° 6’48″N, 35°32’1″E), and Hazor. It is sometimes identified as Yenoam (or Yanoam), a city first mentioned by Thutmose III and last by Rameses III, most famously being mentioned by Merenptah as being “made into nonexistence” just before his mention of the Israelites. It has been identified with numerous sites, from Tell esh-Shihab, 32°41’32″N, 35°58’5″E (New Kingdom presence, topographical lists) to Tell en-Na’am (S), 32°42’47″N, 35°30’44″E (good location), to Tell en-Na’ameh/Na’meh/Na’am (N), 33°10’32″N, 35°35’43″E (good fit with EA 197), to Tell el-Ubeidiya, 32°41’20″N, 35°33’42″E. Of these, Tell en-Na’am (S) can be safely excluded for being too small and unfortified, and Tell esh-Shihab can be excluded for being outside the reach of Damascus in EA 197 (Ashtaroth, 32°48’16″N, 36° 0’56″E, was blocking the way). Tell el-Ubediya is a tough nut to crack, and might be somewhat compatible with the Seti I relief and Beth-Shean stela, but it does not have a very good relationship with either the topographical lists or EA 197. Tell en-Na’ameh has a good relationship with EA 197 and the lists, but is not that well compatible with Seti I’s Beth-Shean stela. It has good attestation from it size and archeology, not to mention its name. Its location is better compatible with Janoah than Kh. Niha, but the preservation of the name (m lost and regained?) poses problems. In short, while Yenoam is probably at Tell en-Na’ameh, Janoah’s identification is uncertain. Note: EA 364 (218), telling of a border dispute between Ashtaroth and Hazor prove Yenoam to be at the northern Tell en-Na’ameh.