LMB's Exodus Proposal

Dave Washburn dwashbur at nyx.net
Thu Sep 21 15:18:49 EDT 2000

You certainly like to shift topics, don't you?  There are a number of 
unfounded assumptions in this excursus, see below ad loc.
> Dear Dave,
> Nice to hear from you. Ashes are in fact preserved for thousands of years.
> Many ancient cities that fell to invaders have ashes everywhere. Charred
> wood and true ash, not to mention heat scored and cracked rocks and baked
> earthen bricks. Granted campfires are not cities, but these fires would have
> used stones in some cases. There should be considerable ash deposits and
> charred rocks, as well as pottery debris, after all, one has to prepare food
> and drink, and accidents do happen, especially when we are talking about
> 600,000 warriors and their families camped at Mt. Sinai for several weeks.

The comparison between cities and nomadic campfires is, in a 
word, ridiculous.  "Several weeks" is a rather short period of time, 
especially when considering that several years or decades of 
material accumulated in cities and contributed to the layers of ash 
that are found.  Likewise for pottery debris: we find it in cities 
because its use is concentrated in a small area for an extended 
period of time, a category that "several weeks" does not fall into.  
These were temporary camps, not permanent cities, and no 
amount of reaching on your part can make the two look alike.  
You're comparing apples and rabbits, and it's not working.  

> As to burial customs, the Pentateuch itself tells us that the dead are to be
> buried. Even Israel's enemies were given burial (the King of Ai taken down
> and buried). So why not burials for the thousands of worshippers of the
> golden calf ? The fastest and easiest type of grave is the one used by
> nomads to this day, a pit or shaft in which the body is placed then stones
> heaped up over the site to prevent scavanging animals from digging up the
> carcass and consuming it. These grave sites are quite easily recognized by
> the rock heaps over them (remember the rock heap over Achan's grave near
> Jericho ?). There should be thousands of them about Mt. Sinai, but the only
> ones I know of are of the local bedouins. As I said earlier, the Early
> Bronze Age peoples buried their dead in stone tombs which the bedouin call
> Nawamis, and they survived, why no Israelite grave sites ?

Doesn't the law also suggest that idolaters did not deserve a 
typical burial?  You're making an assumption based on your own 
expectations, but not necessarily on the evidence.  Both Achan 
and the king of Ai came after the law, and we frankly have no idea 
what the exact custom was, especially for those who had been 
executed for specific infractions.  IOW, your assumption is a bit 

> Explorers of the Sinai could tell you Dave, from first hand experience that
> there isn't enough water at any Sinai well to sustain 2 million people and
> their animals. 

First of all, where did I mention water?  Second, the text suggests 
that water was supernaturally provided.  I know this rubs your 
"humanist" approach the wrong way, but that's your problem.  
We're supposed to be talking about the text, not your humanist 
assumptions about what might lie behind it.

Neither are there enough Tamarisk trees in Sinai to sustain
> the millions of insects required to secrete Manna to feed 2 million people
> for 40 years of wandering in the wilderness. 

Insects?  Tamarisk trees?  Where did this come from?  Where 
does the text give any indication at all that the manna came from 
insects living in tamarisk trees?  Once again, you're overlaying your 
assumptions on the text instead of looking at what the text actually 
says.  I really don't care whether you accept the idea of the 
supernatural or not; that is irrelevant to interpreting the text, and it 
is also an invalid a priori method of defining events that you don't 
like out of existence.  That may be the humanist way, but it 
certainly is not historical method.

Supposedly the Israelites had
> flocks and herds when they left Egypt. Such animals are usually placed in
> temporary stone corrals, at least overnight. There should be thousands of
> these all about Mt. Sinai, but there aren't.

Where does the text indicate anything about temporary stone 
corrals, or temporary corrals of any kind?  Once again you're 
making an unfounded assumption.  These people were on the 
move, not thinking about making corrals.  The text tells us that 
they had no idea how long they would be at Mount Sinai, whether a 
day or a year, so it's doubtful they would bother to build corrals 
when they expected to continue their journey any time.  The fact 
that it turned into a multi-week stay is also irrelevant, because they 
didn't know it would.  I would also appreciate it if you would tell me, 
by quoting my posts, where I said anything about 2 million people.  
This is another unfounded assumption, this time an assumption 
about my viewpoint.  In addition, you're assuming that the Mount 
Sinai that we look at today (Jebel Musa?) is the right one.  We 
have no guarantee of that; for all we know, the Mount Sinai where 
the people stayed is in Arabia somewhere as Paul suggested in 
Galatians.  There are just too many unsupportable assumptions to 
take this seriously.

> Mt. Sinai was suppossed to have erupted in  fire and smoke that ascended to
> heaven when the Lord came down upon in all his majesty in Fire. Show me the
> scorched rocks on Mt. Sinai Dave, there aren't any because it didn't happen.
> Even if we allowed for weathering and the natural forces of wind and rain
> and heat, the scorched rock debris would be in the mountain's cracks,
> fissures and at the foot of the mountain's slopes- but they aren't there,
> cause it didn't happen. Dave I could show you Celtic hill forts in Scotland
> and Germany that have been exposed to the open elements for nearly 2000
> years, and show you the "scorched rocks" when the Romans destroyed them by
> setting the logs which retained the rocks on fire (Europe's weathering
> forces being much more severe than the dry climate of the Sinai).

This is hilarious.  Once again you make assumptions without 
consulting the text.  The fire and smoke likewise was 
supernaturally induced, according to Exodus, and so there is no 
good reason to expect scorched rock.  Once again, your view of 
the supernatural is irrelevant, because we're looking at the text, not 

your assumptions.

> While you're at it Dave, here's an easy one for you- show me the evidence of
> Noah's "world-wide" flood that covered the mountain tops to a depth of 15
> cubits in the 3rd nillenium BCE according the Hebrew Texts. According to
> archaeologists, we have cities that go back to the 7th millenium BCE or
> earlier like Jericho, and no one has ever found "the suppossed Flood" layer
> there. Cities of the Near East have been excavated to bedrock and some date
> well before the 3rd millenium BCE, and not one has a "saltwater" laid flood
> layer. Want to explain this anomaly to me Dave ? I look forward to your
> reply on this one !

Uh, where did this come from and how did it intrude on a 
discussion of Mount Sinai etc?  But again, you assume too much.  
First, you assume that I assume a world-wide flood rather than a 
local one a la Bernard Ramm and others.  Second, you assume 
that the global flood, if there was one, took place in the third 
millennium BCE, which the text does not say.  We know there are 
gaps in the genealogies of the Bible in various places, and we have 
no guarantee that there are no gaps in the ones in Genesis.  We 
don't know when this flood took place, so your assumption about 
3rd Mill. is a straw man, as is your assumption that I hold to a 
global flood.  I'm sorry, Walter, but virtually all of your "research" is 
built on unfounded assumptions.  As a patriotic American, I will 
defend your right to hold your views, but as a researcher myself, I 
will point out that they are unsupported and, frankly, unsupportable.

If you want to continue to discuss the flood, I would ask that you 
do it in a separate thread so the posts in this one don't get 
impossibly long.

Dave Washburn
"Éist le glór Dé."

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