[b-hebrew] Evidence for the Exodus

MarianneLuban at aol.com MarianneLuban at aol.com
Thu Aug 5 18:34:24 EDT 2004

In a message dated 8/5/2004 1:08:47 PM Pacific Daylight Time, 
formoria at carolina.rr.com writes:

> > 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, 
> Antiquities)

I have never peeked into a "Book of Jasher"--have you?  But that there was 
once such a book or a "Book of the Wars of the Lord" (might be the same book) I 
am no position to question.  Josephus may not have been perfectly honest in 
"The Life", but there is no reason for him to invent anything in the other 
works.  He is evidently explaining some tradition which began--where?  Who can say?

> > 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? 

I don't even know the time of Moses.  How do you know there was no city named 
Saba or something close in the vicinity of Ethiopia?  I say there is.

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.

Maybe, but  the Ethiopians have a tradition that the Queen of Sheba belongs 
to them.  

> 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.

It doesn't matter.  In pharaonic times there were still peoples there who 
warred with the kings of Egypt.  Meroe is about 300 km beyond the 5th cataract of 
the Nile.  This was "Kush", the territory.  Another 200 kms beyond that, 
below the 6th cataract was a place called "Soba", right across the Blue Nile from 
Khartoum.  Modern Ethopia begins at this same point to the east at its 
northernmost area.  It is mostly mountainous on its western side now--but who can say 
how all this was divided up once--and into what kingdoms?  Soba is at the 
spot where the meandering Nile suddenly splits and  becomes "The White Nile" and 
the "Blue Nile".  It fits the picture and your Yeminite Saba has nothing to do 
with all this.

> > 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. :)

To the "naysayers" who believe the legend contains nothing of value?  No, 
I know better than that.

Marianne Luban

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