[b-hebrew] Amalekites (evidence for)

Walter R. Mattfeld mattfeld12 at charter.net
Sun Aug 8 07:12:36 EDT 2004

Chris wrote :

"I can not remember who it was but when I posted a message asking about
extra-biblical sources for the Amalekites I was told that there were none.

I am surprised to read that the Amalekites existed at the time of Abraham
and probably before which then makes the Amalekites NOT the descendants of
Amalek from ESAU. Also that there are references to the following: the
babylonian 'sute'; the Egyptian 'sittiu'; and in the Amarna tablets -
'Khabbti' (plunderers). All these identified with Amalekites.

I must also add that the same source says that some proffessionals consider
amalekites to be mythological, but that is without question an absurd

Can anyone confirm this information?"

Dear Chris,

Here's some info :

"Amalek. Archaeological Remains." Landes (IDB 1:102) and other scholars
state that archaeological research has thrown no light on the Amalekites.
Though some progress has been made in associating specific groups of nomads
with archaeological evidence (cf. Parr 1982; Sawyer and Clines 1983; Rosen
1988), no recovered data are attributed to Amalek with any degree of
certainty. Intensive surveys make it possible to say the Negeb had very
little occupation in the Late Bronze Age and that its resettlement began in
the early Iron Age, especially in the 11th-early 10th centuries BC. As
Rothenberg (1967:92-97) suggested, some of the small fortified settlements
in the Negeb highlands can be linked to the Amalekites. Certain scholars
(e.g. Herzog 1983:43, 47) have identified Tel Masos with the place called
"the city of Amalek" in 1 Sam 15:5. Of course, more data must be recovered
before such conjectures can be verified." ( p. 171. Vol. 1. Gerald
Mattingly. "Amalek." David Noel Freedman. Editor. _The Anchor Bible
Dictionary_. Doubleday. N.Y. 1992)

Beno Rothenberg identified some shards of crude handmade pottery as being of
the Negeb (petrographc analysis being done), at the Egyptian temple/shrine
of Hathor in the Timna Valley copper mines in the southern Arabah Valley.
Cartouches fixed the Copper mining activity to the days of Rameses II
through Ramesses V (ca. 1279-1141 BCE). Rothenberg, accordingly has proposed
that the crude handmade pottery of the Negeb should be identified with this
Ramesside period. If he is correct, then there is indeed Late Bronze Age
pottery in the Negev (Late Bronze ending ca. 1200 BCE). Rothenberg suggested
that this pottery was made by the Amalekites. He also found at this site
"Midianite" pottery (called al-Qurayya ware, after a site in Saudi Arabia)
and some Egyptian wares. He also found remains of a heavy cloth which he
identified as a tent erected by the Midianites after the shrine had been
abandoned by the Egyptians, and nearby a bronze serpent, which they may have
worshipped. He argued that these findings supported the Exodus story motifs
of Moses' encountering Amalekites, and Midianites, and the presence of a
tent-tabernacle and a bronze serpent, all of which "aligned somewhat" with
Liberal Scholar's claims that the Exodus was a Ramesside event.

As you may be aware, many proposals have been made for the siting of Mount
Sinai (over a dozen), but to date, ALL have been rejected because NONE have
the _required pottery debris_ evidence of the Late Bronze Age (1560-1200
BCE) in which the Exodus is understood to have occured. ONLY HAR TIMNA
(Arabic: Gebel Mene'iyeh) has the REQUIRED Late Bronze Age evidence of
Amalekite, Midianite and Egyptian pottery- I have thus argued that this site
is Mount Sinai. However, it does not have the shattered stone tablets- that
site is Serabit el Khadim in the southern Sinai, which was ALSO occupied in
the Late Bronze and Ramesside period. So, I understand TWO sites, Mene'iyeh
and Khadim are _fused_ together and are behind the events of Mount Sinai.
Both locations have Egyptian shrines to Hathor the cow-sky-goddess who in
myths gave birth to the sun each morning as the Golden Calf. And in her
honor, her worshipers sang and danced, sometimes naked, and engaged in
drunkeness. For me, Israel's singing and dancing and nudity (cf. the Latin
Vulgate and KJV) recalls Hathor rites. I have several articles at my website
www.bibleorigins.net under the OT and Illustrations Menus if you are
interested for more details.

Regards, Walter

Walter Reinhold Warttig Mattfeld y de la Torre, M.A. Ed.

mattfeld12 at charter.net


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