leviny1 at mail.biu.ac.il
Mon Sep 19 16:04:53 EDT 2005
The dating of the Exodus to the 13th century rather than the 15th is not
based only on the identification of Ramses II as the Pharaoh of the Exodus.
Karl is correct in saying that the evidence for this is shaky at best.
However, assuming that the Exodus WAS a historical event at all and that it
occured about a generation before the Israelites first entered Canaan, all
of the archaeological evidence (changes in settlement patterns, appearance
of hill-country sites, destruction of some Canaanite cities etc.) points to
this happening not earlier than the end of the 13th century. The fact that
the one and only mention of the name "Israel" in an Egyptian text (the
Merneptah stele) is at the same time is nice, but not conclusive, since it
could be argued that they were around for 200 years before and just didn't
make it into the texts.
On the other hand, not a whole lot was happening in the late 15th century.
Canaan was firmly under Egyptin rule - certainly to the Canaan of
independent city-states described in Joshua. And there's no archaeological
evidence of any great changes either, The hill country, which is where the
Bible says that the Israelites settled, remained almost empty. No major
Canaanite cities were destroyed (except Jericho, actually).
The identification of Shishak with Sheshonq I, both of whom were said to
have invaded the land of Israel in the late 10th century, is too close to be
coincidental. The very real differences between the biblical stories (1
Kings and 2 Chron.) and Sheshonq's own account are due to the differences
between the respective purposes of the different texts. None of them were
writing "history" in the modern sense of the word. So whether it happened in
920, 925, 930 or whatever, the Shishak invasion is the earliest "biblical"
event that we have, that is clearly mentioned in a dated external source.
Working back from there, we get to about 930 for the death of Solomon and
the ascension of Rehoboam.
However, I don't think that we can take either Solomon's 40 years or David's
literally. 40 is a typological number that means "a complete period of
time". Besides which, the probability of a king ruling 40 years, and then
his son being young enough to rule another 40, is very low. In any case, we
don't have a precise number. For Saul we have no number at all. The Hebrew
text of 1 Sam. 13:1 is clearly garbled - Saul did not become king at the age
of a year, and he probably rule more than 2 years - any attempt to
reconstruct the dates is just that. For Samuel we have no dates at all, and
most of the numbers given for the judges are also multiples of 40 (and some
of them could have been concurrent). Given all of that, the fact that the
archaeological evidence of the beginning of settlement points to around 1200
BCE, about 3 centuries (give or take 30 years) before Shishak, seems to work
As far as the 480 mentioned in 1 Kings 6:1, note that 480 is 40 (again!) x
12, as in the number of tribes etc. Again, probably symbolic. In any case,
not enough to "prove" a 15th century Exodus.
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: "Yitzhak Sapir" <yitzhaksapir at gmail.com>
> To: <b-hebrew at lists.ibiblio.org>
> Sent: Monday, September 19, 2005 5:32 AM
> Subject: Re: [b-hebrew] Raamses
> > On 9/18/05, Peter Kirk wrote:
> > >
> > > Indeed to the last point. But in fact your argument is back to front.
> > > was the dating of Solomon which came first, e.g. from Ussher and as
> > > recently refined e.g. by Thiele. And then Shoshenk I of Egypt was
> > > from the synchronism with Solomon, on the dubious assumption that he
> > > the "Shishak" of 1 Kings 14:25. There is little good evidence from
> > > for the date of Shoshenk I, and what there is is hard to reconcile
> > > the mid 10th century.
> > >
> > I was afraid of this... I cannot but point you to Kitchen's article
> > [Kitchen, Kenneth A., "Ancient Egyptian Chronology for Aegeanists",
> > Mediterranean Archaeology and Archaeometry 2.2 (2002)]
> > In this article, he:
> > 1) mentions Galil's work as an independent and different system than
> > Thiele's analysis was important, but it's not the only way to analyze
> > data, and not the only "solution."
> > 2) independently works out in p. 8 that Shoshenq I lived between 945-939
> > through 924-918 BCE, in order to prove, independent of the Bible, that
> > I and Shishak of the Bible were contemporaries, as far as the Bible is
> > concerned.
> > That it works out with the Bible is nice, but it's not necessary for
> > any Egyptologist.
> > 3) "Shishak" of 1 Kings is actually "$w$q" in the Ktiv and if one
> considers that
> > his successor several generations later is spelled out in Akkadian as
> > "shushinqu"
> > one gets that "$$nq" of Egypt, "$u$inqu" of Akkadian, and "$w$q" of
> > a best fit at $o$enqu or $o$inqu, where the n drops in Hebrew as it
> > does in other
> > examples. See Kitchen's comments in the above, p. 7.
> > Generally, if you wish to continue arguing this I would suggest taking
> up on
> > the ANE list or the Egyptology list. There is simply no sufficiently
> > experts on this list to answer questions of this sort. There is much
> > misinformation on these issues and these discussions seem to wind on
> > no end unfortunately, but at least, it doesn't have to wind on with no
> > end on this
> > list.
> > Yitzhak Sapir
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