[b-hebrew] Evidence for the Exodus

Brian Roberts formoria at carolina.rr.com
Thu Aug 5 16:08:13 EDT 2004


My responses to your posts are below:

On Thursday, August 5, 2004, at 02:21  PM, MarianneLuban at aol.com wrote:

> In a message dated 8/5/2004 10:25:07 AM Pacific Daylight Time,
> yonsaf at beitberl.ac.il writes:
>> Sometimes the authentic info may contained in slips of the pen or 
>> "between
>> the lines" or in cryptic passages or passages that seem out of place.
>> Take for example Num. 12:1, where both Miriam and Aaron seem to be 
>> angry
>> with Moses over his  Cushite wife, "for he took a Cushite wife". What 
>> has
>> this to do with the berit, the Exodus, the desert wanderigs (unless yu 
>> want
>> to claim that these particular Cushites were a Sinai sesert tribe) or 
>> the
>> consquest of Canaan?
> There is an ancient tradition that Moses was a "king of Cush" (or Kush) 
> and
> that he had led the Egyptians to attack a "royal city of Ethiopia" 
> named Saba
> hemmed in by three rivers, the Nile, the Astapus and the Astaboras.

Ancient tradition documented first by whom?  Would you be referring to 
one of the many Books of Jasher, or by Josephus? (Book II, Chapter 10, 

> Josephus
> said that this same placed later came to be known as "Meroe", which we 
> all know
> had a considerable civilization with pyramidal structures and beautiful
> jewelry that was Egyptian-like but different.  I have little doubt that 
> this was
> the home of the Queen of Sheba.

You do realize that there was no ancient city named Saba in Ethiopia in 
the time of Moses? The earliest coastal civilization settled in 
Ethiopian was the Dia'amat polity, whose mukarribs date back to the late 
8th century BCE based in Yeha, but who migrated from and still 
communicated with Saba (through its capital Ma'rib) in SW Arabia.

Josephus is confusing Meroe and Saba here. There was no "Ethiopia" at 
the time of Josephus. The civilization there was known as the Aksumites 
(Axoumitoi in Greek), and it flourished from the first century CE to the 
7th century. Josephus is using that inaccurate system inherited from the 
Greeks that began to conflate the Nubians, Cushites, and "Ethiopians". 
The King of the Ethiopians mentioned in Josephus was likely a Meroitic 
king. In Moses' time there wasn't a Meroitic king, but very likely a 
Kushite king. "Aethopian" and "Nubian" were mostly terms the Greeks used 
to describe any African who was more or less dark-skinned.

> There he married a king's daughter called
> "Tharbis", which seems to me just a version of an Egyptian word for 
> "princess"--tA
> rpyt.  Otherwise, she is called "Ra'osa", which I think is "rsyt" or 
> "woman of
> the south".  Her father is called "Zoros", which is the same as  Zerah 
> the
> Ethiopian conquered by King Asa in Chronicles.  Perhaps this was 
> thought a good
> name for an Ethiopian king--or perhaps there is some truth behind it.
> Regardless, there was a New Kingdom title, "King's Son of Kush", which 
> did not
> necessarily mean a son of the pharaoh but meant the Viceroy of Kush 
> when it was a
> conquered territory.  According to Josephus, Moses married the Kushite 
> princess
> by way of a political move.  If one can accept the truth of this and 
> that Moses
> also married Zipporah, a daughter of a chief of Midian, one has to
> wonder--just where was Midian?  There were some desert dweller of 
> Ethiopia called
> "Medjai" by the Egyptians.  These were a hardly people and made up a 
> goodly portion
> of the pharaohs' armies and also their police force.  There was also a 
> land
> called "Mitanni" by them--but that seemed to lie to the east and was 
> once quite
> a powerful nation.  Maybe Midian was the Egypt "mDA"--the grapheme /D/ 
> often
> being interchangeable with just plain /d/ and /A/ very often being 
> pronounced
> "ee"-- or "an" in final place. (The grapheme /A/ is one of the most 
> complex
> things in all of Egyptian philology).  If Moses had to leave Saba, as 
> Josephus
> claims, when one of the sons of his wife rebelled and was made 
> king--but feared
> to go back to Egypt for some reason, then to dwell among the Medjai 
> would have
> been a logical move.  Nowadays the Ethiopians speak Amharic, a Semitic 
> tongue
> written with a syllabary.  Just what these Medjai spoke or where they 
> came
> from (being nomads) is unknown.  If Miriam and Aaron were disgruntled 
> about the
> Cushite wife of Moses (for which they were punished by God) it makes 
> little
> sense they would be unless she was right there in the midst of the 
> populace.
> But where was Zipporah?  Perhaps "she" was the Cushite wife, after 
> all.  It also
> doesn't make sense that the princess of Saba would have gone into exile 
> with
> Moses once her son forced Egypt's viceroy to leave.  This is all 
> speculation,
> but probably there is something  to this "Cushite wife" business.

You're assigning far too much credibility on these matters to Josephus. 
There is far more evidence linking the land of the Queen of Sheba with 
Saba in present Yemen. Come over to the good side, Marianne. :)

Best Salaams,

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