[b-hebrew] 1446 BCE Exodus ? Aper = Apiru ?

Walter R. Mattfeld mattfeld12 at charter.net
Sat Jul 24 19:30:37 EDT 2004

Yigael wrote :

Since there is NO direct Egyptian evidence of the Exodus (or even of the
> Israelites' sojourn in Egypt!) and NO biblical clues that would help us
> in" to known Egyptian history (such as the actual name of a Pharaoh - and
> the city of Rameses could well be an anachronism), and since I suspect
> numbers like that in 1 kings 6:1 are typological, I have no way of dating
> the Exodus. As a historian, all I can hope for is to date the Israelites'
> appearance (by whatever means) in Canaan. All of the evidence for that
> to point at about 1200: the Merneptah inscription, the destruction of many
> Canaanite cities (though admittedly not all of those mentioned in Josh.
> 1-12), the arrival of the Philistines and other "sea peoples", the many
> small settlements that dot the hill country etc. Moreover, the stories of
> the Judges seem to fit Iron I Israel, NOT late Bronze Canaan.

Dear Yigal,

I understand your dilemma, and that of your colleagues. The biblical
chronology suggests an Exodus in 18th Dynasty times but the "details"
accompanying the event suggest the 19th Dynasty. If Israel arrived ca. 1406
BCE why no settlements until 1200-1000 BCE ?

My own research has led me to conclude that _no ONE single date_ can
accomodate ALL the anomalies which surface in the archaeological record.

Did archaeology "find" fallen walls at Jericho ? Yes. Did archaeology find
Jericho terribly torched ? Yes. The problem ? The falls fell in the Early
Bronze Age ca. 2300 BCE and the city was consumed in a terrific
conflagration in the Late Bronze Age, ca. 1550 BCE. Was a place called
Heshbon found in Transjordan ? Yes, its tell Hesban, founded no earlier than
Iron I. Did it ever possess mighty walls worthy of it being styled the
"capital" of Sihon the Amorite ? Yes, in the 8th century BCE. Did
archaeology find a site called Elealeah near Heshbon ? Yes, its El-al, again
founded no earlier than Iron I.

For me, the bible is preserving REAL historical kernels, but they are in
"different" archaeological ages. How can this be ? Until Sir Flinders Petrie
developed pottery chronologies, tying them to Egyptian cartouches, no-one
had the faintest idea how old any site was in the Ancient Near East. The
Hebrews certainly did NOT have access to Petrie's pottery typologies so they
would have had _no idea how old any tell was_ within Canaan or Transjordan.
They lived at Jericho in the 8th-6th century according to the pottery
evidence. Perhaps they noticed the fallen walls and the burn layers about
the city as they dug into it, leveling it, to found Iron Age II Jericho ?
They may have drawn the conclusion from the physical remains they were
unearthing as they built the basements or floors for their homes, that their
ancestors had encountered a city who's walls had fallen and then it was
torched. They certainly could not distinguish a fallen Early Bronze Age wall
of ca. 2300 BCE from a Late Bronze Age ca. 1550 BCE torched city.

I feel confident in predicting the day will _never come_ that ONE date can
"be set" for the Exodus that will accomodate ALL the archaeological
anomalies. Certainly real events are being preserved here, Jericho's walls
DID FALL and she was horribly BURNED, but the events as attested by
archaeology are not in the same era.

Regards, Walter
Walter Reinhold Warttig Mattfeld y de la Torre, M.A. Ed.
mattfeld12 at charter.net

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