[b-hebrew] Machir and the Exodus ?
George F. Somsel
gfsomsel at juno.com
Wed Sep 1 01:33:52 EDT 2004
On Tue, 31 Aug 2004 19:12:25 -0400 "Walter R. Mattfeld"
<mattfeld12 at charter.net> writes:
> Any "additional insights" on the below excerpt about _Machir and the
> would be appreciated (the url for the article follows the excerpt)
> Regards, Walter
> Walter Reinhold Warttig Mattfeld y de la Torre, M.A. Ed.
> mattfeld12 at charter.net
> "The biblical chronology itself is problematic. The pentateuchal
> texts do
> not agree with one another as to how long the sojourn in Egypt
> Various biblically preserved traditions mention four generations
> 15:16), 400 years (Genesis 15:13) and 430 years (Exodus 12:40-41).
> first-century C.E. Jewish historian Flavius Josephus records a
> tradition of
> 215 years,* and an ancient rabbinic source gives 210 years.* The
> is reflected in the case of Machir, grandson of Joseph. Machir's
> sons were
> born in the lifetime of Joseph, yet, according to the Bible, they
> participated in the conquest of Canaan and the settlement of the
> (Genesis 50:23; Numbers 32:39-40; Joshua 13:31, 17:1). If this is
> true, then
> the Hebrew enslavement was limited to one generation. How, then,
> could it be
> that the Israelites in Egypt had, as the opening words of Exodus
> "multiplied and increased very greatly, so that the land was filled
> them" (Exodus 1:7)? Indeed, how could this occur in four
I dislike fundamentalist squirming to avoid obvious problems with a text
and the archaeological / non-biblical documentary evidence. Here,
however, I think we have a case where there is truly no attempt to avoid
the facts by any technicality. Josh 13.31 and 17.1 do not imply that
Machir was living at the time of the conquest. Rather it states in 13.31
that it was LiB:N"Y MfKiYR (the descendants of Machir) that it was to be
given. Similarly in 17.1 it is as a figure of speech where the
descendants are signified by their progenitor. This is not uncommon in
the Biblical literature. Consider too that had Machir actually been in
the conquest this would have contradicted the judgment given upon the
return of the spies and the murmuring of the people in Nu 14.22, 23 "?22
none of the men who have seen my glory and my signs which I wrought in
Egypt and in the wilderness, and yet have put me to the proof these ten
times and have not hearkened to my voice, ?23? shall see the land which I
swore to give to their fathers; and none of those who despised me shall
see it." It is first necessary to understand what the text actually says
before looking for problems -- perhaps they really don't exist (i.e.
those particular problems).
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