[b-hebrew] Rohl's Chronology Deconstructed

MarianneLuban at aol.com MarianneLuban at aol.com
Mon Jul 26 13:58:47 EDT 2004

In a message dated 7/26/2004 9:37:18 AM Pacific Daylight Time, 
peterkirk at qaya.org writes:

> David Rohl is also trained in archaeology and Egyptology.
> By the way, I have found in Rohl's book "From Eden to Exile", p.11, a 
> clear statement: "The fact that Shoshenk is dated solely by identifying 
> him with Shishak - and therefore entirely through biblical chronology - 
> comes as a bit of a shock to [Israeli archaeologists]." So Rohl has 
> anticipated Yigal's confusion.

Yes, Rohl is trained in Egyptology, but that doesn't mean most of his 
arguments stand on terra firma.  His "Shishak" is Ramesses II and his argument for 
that is that an attested nickname for a king named Ramesses is "sisi".  Now that 
much is so, but the way Rohl accounts for the final "k" just doesn't wash.  
Given the tendancy of Ramesses II for self-glorification, if he had conquered 
Jerusalem, we would have heard about it.  After all, he boasted plenty about 
the Battle of Kadesh--and that was not even a true victory for the Egyptians but 
a kind of "draw"--where neither side really gained much.  The enemy. the 
Hittites, continued to be a problem until the treaty I spoke of previously was 
cemented.  Also, Rohl puts the exodus in the 13th Dynasty due to a pharaoh of 
that time called Kaneferrre--on the mere assertain of an historian, Artapanos, 
that a pharaoh "Chenephres" came 60 years before another named "Achencheres", in 
whose sway Moses led the Hebrews out of Egypt.  Yes, indeed, "Chenephres" is 
the way someone who wrote in Greek would have rendered Kaneferre, but what 
Rohl "omits" to say is that Manetho and his copiers all put this "Achencheres" in 
the 18th Dynasty.  Rohl's assertions are mostly based on stuff that could 
only impress people who really know very little about ancient Egyptian 
history--and among these he has a big fan base.  The only time, in my opinion, where 
Rohl makes any real points is when he talks about the Third Intermediate Period 
and it is quite possible that this era is shorter than the consensus allows.  
But that time is getting late in the history of ancient Egypt and assists not 
at all with making Ramesses II, who lived long before the TIP, a contemporary 
of King Rehoboam.  Someone else said that Egypt was weak in the time of 
Akhenaten.  That is not exactly true.  Akhenaten had a firm enough hold in Egypt for 
some years--but he evidently neglected his empire.  By the time of his 
successor, Tutankhamun, Egypt was still prosperous enough--as anyone who has ever 
seen the wonderful artifacts from his tomb can attest.  No poor king of Egypt 
could afford to put a ton of gold into his coffins alone and when Egypt finally 
did hit the skids, much later, the impoverished kings took to looting the tombs 
of ther royals of previous eras to keep them afloat--and even recycled the 
funerary articles of the same for their own use--a terrible sacriledge, reallly, 
but that is what they were reduced to--at about the same same Israel arose as 
a kingdom.  Previously, kings of Egypt had not sent their daughters to become 
wives of foreign rulers (insofar as we know--we know at least that Amenhotep 
III refused to give one of his many daughters to the king of Babylon, telling 
him "it just isn't done") but Solomon got a daughter of one of the negligible 
rulers of Egypt of the TIP, when Egypt was no longer a united kingdom, itself, 
and it was no big deal--because the rulers of Egypt were "no big deal", 
themselves, at that time.  Another thing that pretty much rules out a Jewish united 
kingdom emerging around the time of Akhenaten is the Hittites.  If, by the 
time of the death of Tutankhamun, Egypt was feeling a bit shaky, these Hittites 
certainly weren't in that position.  The Egyptians were so scared the Hittites 
would march on their land that Tutankhamun's widow made the savvy move of 
asking for a son of the Hittite king to be her new husband and king of Egypt--so 
that at least the takeover would be bloodless.  But that young man was 
murdered by one of the contenders for the throne of Egypt at that time.  And so the 
Hittites went to war with the Egyptians, anyway.  According to them, they 
prevailed--but failed to reckon with the plagues of Egypt.  The Egyptian prisoners 
of war gave the Hittites some pathogen with which they were very ill equipped 
to deal and they began dying like flies.  But the time of Akhenaten was no 
time at all for any "golden age" to emerge in Canaan.  Akhenaten still had plenty 
of clout--but he was no military pharaoh and thought he could keep the pax 
Egyptiaca with diplomacy, like his father before him had done.  He couldn't fill 
his predecessor's shoes but in that time the people of Canaan were still 
between the hammer and the anvil--Egypt and Hatti.  Despite all the rebellion 
there, this was no time of unification of anything in Canaan.  And after that, of 
course, came the powerful 19th Dynasty kings who "were" militarily inclined.  
Which king of Judah or Israel could have possibly resisted them??

Marianne Luban

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