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

MarianneLuban at aol.com MarianneLuban at aol.com
Sun Jul 25 21:06:35 EDT 2004

In a message dated 7/25/2004 4:12:07 PM Pacific Daylight Time, 
uhurwitz at yahoo.com writes:

> Yes, but now let us reexamine the Mernepah term 'Israel", which follows a 
> determinative for non-settled people. It stands to reason that the formation  
> and existence of any group with a given name preceeded its mention in a 
> stella of another, different power. For such a group to coalesce and attain a 
> status of a recognized ethnicon by neighbors or conquerors must have taken some 
> generations.

My sentiments exactly.  That's just it--no mention of Israel as a people 
until the late 19th Dynasty and prior to that only "Aamu, Apiru, Shosu", etc.  But 
now, this one time, we get the very name that a certain people called 
themselves.  Since the day of Akhenaten, when the Apiru caused so much difficulty for 
the Egyptian emperor, more than a century had now passed to this Year 5 of 
Merneptah, the date of the stela.  Now Clement of Alexandria was a Christian 
theologian who believed that the exodus had occurred at the time of the routing 
of the Hyksos.  He added up all the dates given in Joshua and Judges and came 
to the conclusion that 463 years and 7 months had elapsed from the time of 
Moses down to Saul, the first king of all Israel.
If one follows the math of Clement, and assumes the datum of 1570 BCE for the 
expulsion of those Hyksos, then by ca 1210 BCE should have been the time of 
the great battles in the highlands of Ephraim (this contingent led by Tola) who 
fought the Gileadites, casualties amounting to 42,000 men.  And, by Clayton's 
Chronology (which I largely follow), 1207  should have been Year 5 of 
Merneptah.  Under the circumstances, I hardly think it surprising that the Egyptian 
king would say "Israel is laid waste.  It's seed is no more".  How could a 
pharaoh, himself, have perpetrated a greater slaughter than this--even had he 

>   For this reason  some have recognized that non-sedentary Israelites, or 
> Hebrews, must have been in existence before 1200.The historian cannot perhaps 
> state much more than that; we are dealing here with earliest period of 
> Israelite history, which can only be desribed in outline, cf. A. Malamat.. 
>    It is an important point, and  has ramifications in that five, six 
> generatioins backwards one gets to the Amarna period. And that of course opens 
> various possiblities; but we have already discussed those elusive A'biru  (I'm 
> using the transliteration from the tablets originating in Jerusalem ).
My opinion would be that all this goes back farther than Akhenaten.  Judges 
11:26 gives a pretty good hint that, by the time of the oppression of the 
Ammonites, the Hebrews had already been in Canaan for 300 years since leaving 
Egypt.  It seems pretty clear to me that Joshua and Judges encompasses 
centuries--from Bronze to Iron Age.  Plus, don't forget, the Iron Age was already going at 
least in the reign of Tutankhamun, a dagger with an iron blade having been 
found in his tomb.  For me, the Hebrews came out of Egypt in waves--not in one 
fell swoop--but they ultimately had to wait, no matter what were their 
victories and defeats in the interim, for Egypt to grow so weak that it no longer had 
any holdings in the Levant before Israel could establish itself as a united 
kingdom.  Also helpful was the fact that, by then, the Hittites had ceased to 
amount to much--the only other "super power" that had posed any real threat to 
Egypt  during the 18th Dynasty.  Ramesses II of the 19th Dynasty had gone to 
very great lengths to cement a treaty with the Hittites, these powers dividing 
the Levant between them like a loaf of bread-- and by the era of his successor, 
Merneptah the treaty was still in full force.  But, by the end of the 20th 
Dynasty, both these great nations were reduced to a very low status in the ANE.  
And so arose Saul as ruler.  For David Rohl to maintain that the Lebayu of 
the Amarna Letters is none other than Saul is, in my opinion, a ridiculous 

Marianne Luban

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