Ramases, was [b-hebrew] Amalekites!

Peter Kirk peterkirk at qaya.org
Tue Aug 10 06:27:07 EDT 2004

On 10/08/2004 06:46, Karl Randolph wrote:

>Rameses in Genesis 47 is a place name, probably not referring to a city, not a personal name. Who says that a place had to be named after a pharaoh?
Well, maybe not, but the name Rameses was almost unknown in Egypt until 
the time of Rameses I, and then became very popular because two 
important Pharaohs carried the name, and many things (and nine more 
Pharaohs) were named or renamed after them, including a major city in 
just the region described in Genesis, previously known as Avaris.

This is as if we read in a 19th century account of early settlement in 
America that a certain group settled in the 17th century on the Potomac 
river in the Washington area. Now we can't rule out the possibility that 
there was an otherwise unknown place name Washington near the Potomac in 
the 17th century, named after the small place of that name in northern 
England. But it is far more likely that the author was referring 
anachronistically to the US capital city.

The same place name Rameses is also found in Exodus 1:11, where it is 
often assumed not to be anachronistic and so to prove that the Exodus 
occurred no sooner than the time of Rameses II. But then if the name is 
anachronistic in Genesis, it may just as well be in Exodus.

And there is a problem even then if the biblical dates are taken 
literally. If the city Rameses was named after Rameses I after he became 
Pharaoh (or after he died soon afterwards) before Exodus 1:11 and so 
before Moses was born, that puts the Exodus at least 80 years later and 
so at the very earliest at the very end of the long reign of Rameses II. 
Another 40 years for the Exodus wanderings, and puts the Conquest well 
into the 12th century which causes other chronological problems.

Peter Kirk
peter at qaya.org (personal)
peterkirk at qaya.org (work)

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