[b-hebrew] The Exodus' mention in Egyptian Annals ?
Walter R. Mattfeld
mattfeld12 at charter.net
Wed Aug 25 12:02:58 EDT 2004
Bányai Michael wrote :
"We all know the Egyptian propagandistic literature. It exploits even the
Banyai's statement recalled to mind the oft heard assertion that the Exodus
is apparently _unrecorded_ in Egyptian annals. One of the "rationalizations
(AKA "arguments from silence") which some scholars resort to, is to the
effect that Egyptian pharaohs did _not_ record the "defeats" of Egypt ONLY
the victories, thus it is not to be wondered that Egypt would remain silent
on such an humiliating event.
K. A. Kitchen (an Egyptologist) speaking of the "absence" of the Exodus in
Egyptian annals :
"And as the pharaohs _never_ monumentalize _defeats_ on temple walls, no
record of the successful exit of a large bunch of foreign slaves (with loss
of a full chariot squadron) would ever have been memorialized by an king in
the temples in the Delta or anywhere else." (p. 246. K.A. Kitchen. _On the
Reliability of the Old Testament_. Grand Rapids. William B. Eerdmans
Publishing Company. 2003)
Then there are the war-reliefs of Ramesses II carved on his temple facades
celebrating his "great victory" at Kadesh on the Orontes over the Hittites,
but when the Hittite archives were excavated, they suggested a "stalemate,"
as the Egyptian border was NOT pushed north of the city. So the Egyptians
engaged in a _little_ "spin," making a defeat or "draw" into a resounding
Another Egyptologist, Donald B. Redford, sees things quite differently from
Kitchen, he understands that the Hebrews did what Ramesses II did, that is
to say, he understands that the defeat and expulsion of the Hyksos under
pharaoh Ahmose I was "re-spun" into a mighty vicory for Yahweh, setting his
people free :
"In sum, therefore, we may state that the memory of the Hyksos expulsion did
indeed live on in the folklore of the Canaanite population of the southern
Levant. The exact details were understandably blurred and subconsciously
modified over time, for the purpose of 'face-saving.' It became not a
conquest but a peaceful descent of a group with pastoral associations who
rapidly arrived at a position of political control. Their departure came not
as a result of an ignominious defeat, but either voluntarily or as a flight
from a feud, or yet again as salvation from bondage." (p. 413. "Four Great
Origin Traditions." Donald B. Redford. _Egypt, Canaan and Israel in Ancient
Times_. Princeton, New Jersey. Princeton University Press. 1992)
Redford's analysis, is not a "new" one though, he was preceded by some 2000
years, by the Egyptian priest-historian Manetho and the Jewish historian
Josephus, who associated the Hebrew Exodus with the defeat and expulsion of
the Hebrews under two events, the Hyksos expulsion and a later expulsion
under Amenophis and son Rameses.
If _"IF"_, Manetho and Redford are correct, then the Exodus _IS INDEED_
recalled in Egyptian annals, but as a VICTORY not a _defeat_ for Egypt ! It
was, then an "earth-shaking event" for both nations, Egypt was LIBERATED and
the enemy defeated and chased back to Canaan, while the Israelite version
had the Egyptians as oppressors who were defeated. That is to say both
versions, Egyptian and Israelite are somewhat "mirror-images" of each other
(you know, two sides to the same coin).
Although the Egyptian annals which have been unearthed suggest that the
Hyksos did not reign over Egypt for 400 years, they do reveal that after the
Hyksos expulsion Egypt ruled over her former oppressors for 400 years (again
another "mirror-image" or inversion/reversal).
Did Yahweh "defeat" Egypt after a period of 400 years of bondage for his
people ? Yes, the Hyksos and their descendants in Canaan were
"ruled/oppressed" by Egypt from ca. 1530 to 1130 BCE when Ramesses VI
withdrew from Canaan, and Israel begins to appear in hundreds of suddenly
appearing Iron I villages of stone, wresting the land away from Canaanites
who earlier had Egypt's protection against Israel (Merneptah having claimed
he defeated a rebellious Israel ca. 1207 BCE).
By what "mechanism" did the Israelites obtain the notion of an Exodus ?
Redford thainks they are nomadic Shasu wandering the Negev and Edom who
conquer and settle in Canaan with the Egyptian withdrawl, noting the Exodus
stories of Yahweh dawning from Sinai, Seir, Paran and Edom and Egyptian
Rameside annals referring the the Yaw Shasu of Seir.
>From a biblical point of view, the "mechanism" might be preserved as
Canaanite mothers and fathers teaching their Israelite sons and daughters
their Canaanite-Hyksos Origins traditions as noted by Redford. The Bible
does suggest that the Israelites DID marry the Canaanites and worship their
gods and goddesses.
Judges 3:5-7 RSV
"So the people of Israel dwelt among the Canaanites, the Hittites, the
Amorites, the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites; and they took
their daughters to themselves for wives, and their own daughters they gave
to their sons; and they served their gods."
Thus, if the Bible is right (Judges 3:5-7) Israel of Iron II (ca. 1000-587
BCE) is an AMALGUM of Canaanites and Hebrews; Why wouldn't these Canaanites
NOT pass on to their "Israelite sons and daughters" THEIR Hyksos Expulsion
origins, and Egypt's 400 year oppression of their ancestors ?
Well, that's _my_ "Spin" on the notion that Egypt NEVER made any mention of
Walter Reinhold Warttig Mattfeld y de la Torre, M.A. Ed.
mattfeld12 at charter.net
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