[b-hebrew] Rohl's Chronology Deconstructed

Brian Roberts formoria at carolina.rr.com
Mon Jul 26 14:16:52 EDT 2004

Dear Marianne,

On Monday, July 26, 2004, at 01:58  PM, MarianneLuban at aol.com wrote:

> 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.

Do the pharaohs ever defy our expectations?

>   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.

I think you're underplaying the significance of the rebellions in 
Canaan. After all, the campaigns of the Habiru did have the governor of 
Jerusalem very shaken, quite panicky. What did Akhenaten's clout buy him 
in Canaan? We have no indication that he sent troops or war materiele 
that helped turn the tide for the Egyptians. By the way, Canaan could 
not have been too much under the Egyptian thumb directly, because 
there's no evidence of Egyptian development on the ground in the period 

Best Salaams,


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