Needed Explorations near Maqla/Lawz:

1. Photography of Maqla Quarry (if existent).

2. Proper publication and translation of all inscriptions found around the mountain.

3. Geological exploration of the Split Rock.

4. Proper documentation of all cemeteries and wells found around the mountain, and a consultation with experts regarding their date(s).

5. Analysis and publication of flint tools and other lithic encampments around the W. side of Lawz.

6. An examination of the formation at 28°33’48″N, 35°16’50″E.

The Bible Unearthed-An Extended Review, Part 5

Chapter 5

It is in here that F&S try to show that Samaria and Judah (Nablus/Shechem and Jerusalem) were always distinct states, and never united under a single “Palestinian state” (my term, not theirs) until the Hasmoneans. As I have admitted in my two non-reviews, F&S are correct (however, this was only shown to be around 2007-8, not before). There is good reason for not supposing a Jerusalem-centered United Monarchy even if one assumes the High Chronology, since the Temple Mount and the City of David were not even connected during the entire Iron IIA (late 10th-9th century BC). However, some evidence F&S use is simply wrong. Shechem was never mentioned in Egypt until the Amarna letters. The MB Hill Country and its city-state system only began after the fall of the Middle Kingdom, not before. The EB hill country situation is a special case, two nameless sites, Tell el-Farah (N) and et-Tell (S) (probably NOT Tirzah and Ai) dominating the N. and S. hill country respectively. This already showed signs of regional divisions, but it cannot be compared to the post-EB situation of a less important Transjordan and and greater focus on political, rather than economic centers in the Hill Country. It is true that the Omride dynasty was always far more powerful than the dynasty of David, however, both had fortifications (Judah had the Temple Mount [assumption], Nasbeh/Mizpah, Lachish IV, Beth-Shemesh, and the Beersheba Valley and Kh. Nahas), Judah’s emerging some decades after the Omrides’, and both had spectacularly little evidence of widespread literacy (something achieved in both regions in the 8th century, Israel, naturally, coming over half a century earlier). F&S’s descriptions of Hazael, the Omrides, and Mesha are accurate.

Genesis 14!

Oh, goody! Let us now study the great piece of fiction called Genesis 14. As anyone can know, neither Amraphel nor Chedorlaomer have been to any scholar’s satisfaction identified with known kings, and, since we have quite detailed king lists, this shows Genesis 14 was most likely an exilic compilation in Babylon (or, perhaps, referred to the Assyrian era). The route goes as follows: in v. 5,  we see Chedorlaomer moving along the King’s Highway (Central Transjordan road) as far as Ashteroth ( 32°48’16″N, 36° 0’56″E), goes along the same road in v. 6 to the Valley of Kiriathim in Reuben (S. of 31°32’28″N,  35°41’11″E), then continues along the King’s Highway along Mount Seir (the entire E. of Aravah mountain ridge S. of the W. Hasa, not a single peak) as far as the Palm of Paran, “by the wilderness”, Paran, of course, being the Sinai Peninsula. This el-Paran was probably neither Thamad nor Eloth (probably Tell el-Kheleifeh, search this blog), but probably was near the western part of modern Eilat. The army then turned back to the Waters of Meribah-Kadesh at ‘Ain Qudeis (30°35’2″N, 34°29’3″E), and moved through the Negev and Hill Country of Hebron to En Gedi, that is, Hazezon Tamar.

Gezer

Gezer is by far the best argument the MCCers have for keeping the High Chronology. However, one can make a reasonable chronology of Gezer without resorting to Solomon.

XIV-LB III, Egypto-Canaanite. (1209?-c. 1120)

XIII-First Philistine-influenced stratum

XII-Second Philistine-influenced Stratum.

XI-Third Philistine-influenced Stratum. Extremely great destruction.

X First New Canaanite stratum (no Philistine influence). (10th Century)

IX-Second New Canaanite stratum (no Philistine influence). Unburnished red slip appears. Destruction by Shishak.

VIII-“Solomonic”, almost certainly (as of August 2011), Omride.

Also, more historical speculation:

1. Iron IIA began in the Philistine-controlled areas and areas dependent on the coastlands (this means Nahas Trading Network!) first, then spread from there in the 930s and possibly before. The latest Iron I strata (Benjamin, Transjordan, Gezer) were destroyed not by David, but by Shishak.

2. The only piece of writing from 10th Century Judah was a temple chronicle.

3. The material which made up Samuel was almost entirely a compilation of legitimate and illegitimate northern and almost entirely illegitimate priestly traditions.

4. Perhaps, the crowning of Jeroboam I as ruler of Tirzah (and Shoshenq I’s hill country campaign) came as a result of a more Saul-friendly (compared to Solomon) Rehoboam causing inconveniences for Egyptian rule.

Ron Wyatt’s Little Known “Discovery”

As anyone can tell you, the present WAR website does not tell the whole story about Wyatt’s false “discoveries”. One must remember Wyatt’s former website. One major “discovery” of Ron Wyatt, mentioned in detail only on creationwiki, the Wyatt Newsletters website, Arkdiscovery, and on Ron’s former website, is Ron’s so-called discovery of the real cave of Machpelah (sorta like his “discovery” of the real Mount Sinai). According to Mary Nell, the “Rafet” (spelling approximate) who helped Wyatt with his Gordon’s Cavalry excavation also showed Ron a cave in 1979 from which he saw strange fires. In 1993, excavation not supervised by Wyatt (or, probably, any competent archaeological authority) began on the site, which happened to use backhoes to break through the cave wall. It revealed a cave with a bowl said by Mary Nell to date from “the time of Abraham” (Middle Bronze Age?) and three burial niches. A (resedential?) structure was found around the site. The site was then drawn and diagrammed by Jim Pinkoski.

In short, there is no evidence this is the Cave of Machpelah, and it should definitely be examined by experts.

Elishah=Troy?

A certain idea popped into my head: that biblical Elishah of Gen 10:4 and Ezekiel 27:7, famous for blue and purple dyes from its coastlands could, in fact, be Troy, that is Wilusa/Illium. It would certainly be a better guess than South Cyprus, for that would leave two sons for Cyprus-one for the South and one for the Southeast would seem quite strange. This hypothesis of mine has not been, as far, examined by the scholarly community. One must research dye factories in both South Cyprus and the land of Troy to test this hypothesis.

Shihor

The Shihor means “waters [lake] of Horus“. It was around the area of the mouth of Pelusiac I during the Ramesside age. By the Josianic era, Shihor seemed to have become an name applied to any river that looked like the Nile. The Nahr Zerqa (River Blue), for example, was called the White Nile since it contained crocodiles. The Wadi el-Arish/Brook of Egypt (see AJaL, Section 3) was also called Shihor by the Egyptians. Certainly by exilic  times (Isaiah 23, Jeremiah), it seems to have become synonymous with the entire Pelusiac. During the time of the composition of Chronicles, Shihor was already a dead name (the Chronicler is likely paraphrasing from Kings and Joshua).

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.

Bad Arguments Atheists Use

Since I happen to be an atheist myself, I am often saddened by the amount of misrepresentations and bad arguments that other atheists use to fight against religion. I will list and debunk some of the more popular ones below.

1. Claiming the Bible is a complete work of fiction

Response: The Bible (OT) should be treated as any ancient history and is not a work, but a collection of works written by people who never thought their works would be collected with those of others. Some are probably totally fictional (Genesis), others, like Judges and Samuel, contain grains of truth (the importance of Shiloh, the existence of David, ect.), and others, like 2 Kings, are history interspersed with fictional accounts. It also contains vital history we as historians would be screwed without, such as the stories of David and Solomon’s temple building, and almost the entire pre-Assyrian 8th century.

2.  Claiming Jesus was based on pagan myths

Refutation: See here and J.P. Holding’s “Shattering the Christ Myth”.

3. Claiming “Yam Suph” must be confined to some marshy lake in the NE Delta

Refutation: See AJaL, Section 6.

4. Claiming that, since Exodus (or Israel being in Egypt) is not supported by the Egyptian monuments or papyri, it must have never happened!

Refutation: The only papyri we have recovered from Pi-Ramesse are five wine jar dockets and, if any Exodus did happen, no king of Egypt would mention it on the monuments. Using this argument should be criminalized. Much better arguments include the arguments from Philistines, iron, and Tanis (especially the latter two).

5. Claiming Kadesh is Qudeirat and Ezion Geber is Tell el-Kheleifeh.

Both equations are false. Tell el-Kheleifeh (29°32’50″N, 34°58’50″E) could have been used for small boats, but not for large ships. is possibly Biblical Eloth (the archeology fits). Qudeirat is very likely to be Hazar-Addar, since I can see no other site for it. It may have a hope of a chance of being Kadesh-in-Zin/Waters of Meribah-Kadesh, but this leaves little room for Hazar-Addar or Karka, and Kadesh-in-Zin was outside the promised land.

6. Claiming the Bible is “Bronze Age”

See here.