Why Finkelstein’s 10th Century is More Plausible than Mazar’s

For background, see here. Mazar frequently uses the Shishak list to bolster his “Modified Conventional Chronology” by pointing both Iron IIa Arad and Taanach were mentioned in the Shishak list, and that, therefore, Iron IIa should have begun before Shishak. However, even Mazar’s own model clearly showed that 926 BC, the date of the Shishak campaign against Jerusalem (there were probably multiple campaigns), calculated from the Bible, was the most likely date for the Iron I-II transition. What was going on here? Finkelstein has recently issued an extremely attractive compromise which is perfectly consistent with the Shishak list, totally inconsistent with the Biblical account, and only roughly inconsistent with the radiocarbon models.

His solution?

1. Place the beginning of Iron IIa (Negev sites, Jezreel Valley), maybe in the 930s, just before Shoshenq’s capture of both lands.

2. Place the Iron I-II transition in the Benjamin hill country just before Shishak destroyed or weakened most of its cities. Since there is no evidence Gibeon was inhabited during the Late Iron IIa, and since Gibeon is mentioned by Shishak, Shishak must have campaigned against Gibeon during what was Iron I-Early Iron IIa in Benjamin.

This leads to some interesting historical speculation. Perhaps, as Finkelstein suggested, the Saulide dynasty lasted well into the 10th century, and, perhaps, it was Jeroboam I, king of Tirzah (Shechem was still a village), who made a deal with Shoshenq to peacefully administer the cities Shoshenq conquered and pay annual tribute if Shoshenq captured the cities for him?

The idea the Saulide entity continued into the days of Shoshenq I is suggested by the listing

22. Mahanaim

23. Gibeon

24. Beth-horon

25. Qadtam (Qatane? Kiriath-[Jeraim]?)

26. Aijalon

since only under the Saulides Mahanaim and Gibeon were in any way connected (2 Samuel 2:12).

In any case, the Solomonic Paradigm is just as dead as Minimalism.

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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