[b-hebrew] Rohl's Chronology Deconstructed

MarianneLuban at aol.com MarianneLuban at aol.com
Mon Jul 26 15:51:14 EDT 2004

In a message dated 7/26/2004 11:17:08 AM Pacific Daylight Time, 
formoria at carolina.rr.com writes:

> > 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?

History, as we know it from any era, is not about "expectations".  All we 
know about any ruler in ages long past comes from his own recorded deeds or the 
observations of someone else who had something to contribute.  But when there 
is plenty of evidence, a definite picture emerges about the character, aims, 
and proclivities of any given king.

> >   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 
> concerned.

I definitely do believe that Akhenaten lost some of his clout in Canaan.  
That much is known.  However, Akhenaten reigned less than 20 years, insofar as we 
know.  But Egypt was still considered mighty and nobody much tried to test 
her might--such as an invasion of Egypt proper--which we know happened later 
often enough.  Amenhotep III had made a treaty with the Hittites, too, which was 
not broken until around the time of the death of Tutankhamun.  In other words, 
the Hittites encroached on some Egyptian-held territories in Asia--so 
obviously the Egyptian empire had not crumbled totally on account of Akhenaten.  One 
of the reasons is that Tutankhamun had a good general by the name of Horemheb, 
who attempted to "shore up" some of the damage done by Akhenaten's faulty 
policies.  Of course there were Egyptian military personnel in Canaan--and the 
petty princes there even complained to the pharaoh about some of them and their 
cheeky ways.  These occupying Egyptians have their names all over the Amarna 

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