[b-hebrew] The Exodus' mention in Egyptian Annals ?

RGmyrken at aol.com RGmyrken at aol.com
Thu Aug 26 05:11:06 EDT 2004

Dear Marianne Luban,

I wrote:

> >It is important to note that Manetho does not describe any expulsion of 
> >Hebrews, but rather an expulsion of Hyksos, and then an expulsion of Hyksos 
> >together with polluted Egyptians.  It is only Josephus who equated these 
> >groups with the Jews of the Exodus (although some Egyptians in Manetho's 
> day 
> >equated the figure Osarseph in the second story with Moses - but neither 
> the Jews 
> >nor Moses appear in the story itself).

You wrote:

> That is not so.  Josephus directly quotes Manetho:  "It is said that the 
> priest who framed their constitution was a native of Heliopolis, named 
> Oserseph 
> after the god Osiris, worshipped at Heliopolis; but when he joined the 
> people, 
> he changed his name and was called Moses."
> So Moses is mentioned as having taken part in the rebellion--rightly or not. 

The crucial portion of the above quotation (CAp I.250), in terms of source 
criticism, is the leading words, "It is said..."  This points to an oral 
tradition.  Previously he had been recounting his written literary source - what 
Josephus called 'legends' or 'improbable tales' (I.229; cf. I.287) - on the 
expulsion of Seth and his allies during Dynasty XIX.  Now Manetho shifts briefly to 
'current talk about the Jews' (I.229), that is, the opinions of Manetho's 
contemporaries.  To make this perfectly clear, Manetho's literary source said 
nothing of Moses, but some people in Manetho's day claimed that the Osarseph of 
this Egyptian tale referred to Moses.

Had the older story been written with Moses and the Jews in mind, it would 
have referred to them as such throughout instead of to Osarseph, a band of 
polluted Egyptians, and their Hyksos allies.

You wrote:

> Also, Manetho says that the foreigners who came from the east to join in 
> the 
> insurrection were the "Solymites", the people of Jerusalem.  Apparently, 
> these 
> were the descendants of the same people who had formerly occupied Avaris 
> and, 
> according to Manetho, had in previous times "built in a land now called 
> Judea 
> a city large enough to hold all those thousands of people, and gave it the 
> name of Jerusalem."
> Well...it was built by the time of Manetho--and apparently he was satisfied 
> with this account of the city.

As you say, Manetho did record that the Hyksos, after being expelled from 
Egypt, founded Jerusalem.  (1) This particular statement is a little jarring 
compared to others in Manetho saying the Hyksos were expelled into "Syria", and 
reads like a Greek foundation story.  It was probably not part of Manetho's 
literary source but rather represents a correction by Manetho of Hecataeus of 
Abdera's Aegyptiaca (c. 315 BCE) which contained a foundation story in which 
Jerusalem in Judea was colonized by Egyptians.  Manetho here puts forward the 
theory, based on his reading of Egyptian literary sources, that Judea was 
originally populated by foreigners of uncertain origin (the Hyksos) rather than 
Egyptians as claimed by Hecataeaus of Abdera.  (2) Even so, the Hyksos who founded 
Jerusalem are not directly equated with the Jews, nor are said to be led by 
Moses, but are only said to be the original inhabitants of the "land now called 
Judea".  If anything, this would point to the Hyksos as a pre-Jewish population. 
 (Even the El Amarna correspondence knows of Jerusalem prior to the first 
reference to Israel in Egyptian sources.)

> >Note that the Hyksos worshipped the god Seth 
> Yes, but not at first.  At first they worshipped Baal who came to be 
> identified with the Egyptian Seth, because both had many of the same 
> attributes.  On 
> his "Stela of the 400 Years", Ramesses II shows a Caananite god and not an 
> Egyptian one.  It is Baal--although called "Seth" (also sometimes written 
> Sutekh). 

   Yes, as god of foreigners Seth combined the features of several Asian 
(Syrian) deities.  This does not diminish the association of Seth with the Hyksos 
(especially in later literary sources).

> >at Avaris, and Osarseph revived the cult of Seth ["Typhon"] at this same 
> city 
> >(which reflects the historical Ramesside revival of the cult of Seth).
> >
> But Manetho never says this.  He only gives the information that Oserseph 
> was 
> a priest, a native of Heliopolis who became the leader of the anti-pharaoh 
> forces. 

   And ally of the Hyksos at Avaris.  It is perfectly clear from the 
residence of the followers of Osarseph at Avaris, the center of Typhon worship, their 
alliance with the Hyksos, and their description as atheists, etc., that 
Osarseph was associated with the hated cult of Seth-Typhon in Manetho's source.  
Compare the description of Osarseph's crimes with those of Seth's confederates in 
The Ritual for the Expulsion of Seth and his Gang.
   The return of Seth and his confederates from Asia is a common theme in 
Egyptian religious literature, and the appearance of this artificial literary 
theme in Manetho (with the return of the Hyksos) has no objective historical 
value.  IMO.

Best regards,
Russell Gmirkin

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