[b-hebrew] Exodus & Hyksos

Walter R. Mattfeld mattfeld12 at charter.net
Wed May 26 16:09:59 EDT 2004

Karl W. Randolph wrote :

"The problem that I find with a book like Prof. Stiebing's is that he
assumes that every place that has a name is occupied by a town. But
that's not the picture given in Genesis, Exodus and Numbers. The
picture given there is that many places had a name while uninhabited.

In western Europe where towns are often only a kilometer apart, the
concept of a named locality without a town sounds fairly unusual, but
I have been in places where the next town, or even hamlet big enough
to have a gas station, is 175 km away (if even listed) over dirt
roads, Arizona and New Mexico, states within the U.S., has places
like that. Yet between the inhabited places are dozens of named
sites, some of them with campgrounds (a  few of which are quite nice)
with the names listed on maps.

After experiencing traveling through areas like that, I don't expect
the places listed in Tanakh necessarily to have a town perched on it.
There is no mention of a town at Beersheba when Abraham camped there,
in fact, that's the reason I think he and Isaac regularly camped
there. My impression of Bethlehem when Rachel died there was also
uninhabited except for temporary encampments by nomads. Only later
were towns erected on the sites.

Therefore, to say that the lack of habitation at a named site at a
certain time makes for an anomaly doesn't hold water.

Other indications in Genesis are that the land of Canaan was fairly
sparsely inhabited, even up to the time of Joshua. The picture I get
from Joshua is that he broke the back of the military opposition to
his invasion, while the people mostly settled the uninhabited areas
between the towns."

Dear Karl,

Your explanation is a "common one" given to account for the absence of a

I am curious, what is your date for the Exodus ? Is it the traditional
Conservative understanding of ca. 1446 BCE based on 1 Kings 6:1 ?  If so,
who are the people settling in the Hill Country of Canaan ca. 1220-1150 BCE
? They wouldn't be Israelites as they had already arrived ca. 1406 BCE
according to Conservative scenario. Are we to understand that from 1406 to
1220 BCE, a space of nearly 186 years, Israel and her 12 tribes were
"nomadic tent-dwelling gypsies," who left no trace of themselves in the Hill
Country of Canaan, who then suddenly decided in Iron IA (ca. 1220-1150 BCE)
to give up wandering back and forth through the land in tents, and began to
settle down and build villages of stone ?

Numbers has Israelite building cities, not tent encampments upon the
alotting of the land by Moses :

"And Moses gave to them, to the sons of Gad and to the sons of Reuben and to
the hal-tribe of Manasseh the son of Joseph, the kingdom of Sihon...the land
and ITS CITIES...and the sons of Gad _built_ Dibon, Ataroth, Aroer,
Atroth-shopan, Jazer, Jogbehah, Beth-Nimrah and Beth-haran, FORTIFIED
CITIES, and folds for sheep. And the sons of Reuben built Heshbon, Elealeh,
Kiriathaim, Nebo and Baal-meon; and they gave other names TO THE CITIES THEY

So, are we to understand that from 1406 -1220 BC Israel DID NOT build these
FORTIFIED Cities, but dwelt in tents instead (many, if not most of these
locations exist ONLY in the Iron Age NOT the Late Bronze Age, ca. 1446-1220
BCE) ? If so, Why a "delay of almost 200 years ?

Regards, Walter

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