Exodus and the Hyksos

Walter Mattfeld mattfeld at mail.pjsnet.com
Fri Jan 28 16:41:59 EST 2000

----- Original Message -----
From: Jonathan D. Safren <yonsaf at beitberl.beitberl.ac.il>
To: Walter Mattfeld <mattfeld at mail.pjsnet.com>
Cc: Biblical Hebrew <b-hebrew at franklin.oit.unc.edu>
Sent: Friday, January 28, 2000 1:57 PM
Subject: Re: Exodus and the Hyksos

> Walter Mattfeld wrote:
> > Scholars have noted that 1 Kings 6:1 states that 480 years elapsed from
> > Exodus to the  fourth year of Solomon's reign and the building of the
> > Temple. Some scholars date Solomon's fourth year to circa 966 BCE, by
> > 480 years to this date we come up with an Exodus circa 1446 BCE.
> >
> > Kitchen has sounded a note of warning though about the above equation,
> > pointing out that a period in excess of 553 years appears to be
> > instead of 480 years:
> As you point out, he reaches this figure by counting the years in Judges,
> Kings.
> Which is just another indication that you can't learn a thing from the
> chronologies, at least not until the founding of the kingdoms of Israel
and Judah.

WM: My position is that chronologies must be verified (do they make any
sense ?) before they can be accepted. Humanists believe the Exodus occured
in the 13th century BCE because Ramses is believed to be a city built by
Ramses II, ergo, by this "rationalization" the dates in the bible that don't
fit the 13th century BCE "putative" Exodus must be in error and unreliable
and not to be trusted. This "neat rationalization" allows those arguing for
a 13th century Exodus to turn "a blind eye" to the internal chronology
within the bible which screams back at them, "way too late guys, it's 1540
BCE not 1250 BCE !"

> I already pointed out in an earlier posting that the 480 years from the
Exodus to the
> Temple is a compound of the two typological numbers 12 and 40. Similarly,
the Major
> Judges all rule for multiples of 40 years (1/2 x 40; 1 x 40; 2 x 40). (The
> Judges are a different story)).
> You also can't be sure that the Judges ruled one after the other, i.e.,
> Behind each Judges narrative stands the story of a local chieftain. Youu
can see that
> by which tribes participate in which wars. So it is more probable that
many of the
> Judges were contomporaneous.

WM: We both know all the above is speculation. We have to work with the text
and prove it at every point. I see a text that supports a Hyksos Exodus in
1540 BCE, the only event in all Egyptian history that makes any sense
(Pharaoh Ahmoses I being dated 1580-1527 BCE by various authorites). Redford
agrees on this point, although you don't care for his arguments, I find them
in agreement with my independent findings, and thus accept them.

> Conclusion: Just as you can't rely on Methusaleh's 969 years or Abraham's
175, you

WM: I am in full agreement with you about the unreliability of the
numbers/chronologies in Genesis.

> can't rely on the numbers given in Judges, Samuel and 1 Kings up to
Chapter 8 at least
> (David reigned 40 years, 7 in Hebron and 33 in Jerusaleml Solomon reigned
40 years). A
> similar system operates throughout.

WM: It just may be possible, and this is pure speculation on my part, that
the correct date of the Hyksos expulsion was preserved, but later ages
creatively "subdivided" this period of time into blocks of 40 yrs, 480 yrs,
etc., for theological reasons.

> In conclusion, you can't rely on any of the numbers, statistics or years
in the Bible
> until the First Temple Period with the existence of kingdoms with court
scribes and
> chronicle-writers.

WM:  I find the Exodus date of 1540 BCE as preserved in Jewish and Early
Christian writings to be an acceptable fact, while acknowledging that later
ages, for theological reasons, subdivided this block of time up into
artificial units of 40 years, 480 yrs. etc. So, yes, it is possible that the
sub-divisions are artificial, but, the original block or date of 1540 BCE
was preserved.

All the best,


Walter Reinhold Warttig Mattfeld
Walldorf by Heidelberg

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