[b-hebrew] Re: Exodus & Hyksos

Harold R. Holmyard III hholmyard at ont.com
Wed May 26 20:17:22 EDT 2004

Dear David,

>Dr. Merrill is of course correct that no one 
>likes to admit defeat, and the ancient Egyptians 
>were no different (there are plenty of Americans 
>who think the US won the war of 1812).  He is 
>also correct that different kings of Egypt 
>exerted different amounts of effort to maintain 
>Egyptian control of Canaan.  Nonetheless, Egypt 
>did control Canaan more or less from the 
>expulsion of the Hyksos to some time just before 
>the reign of King David.  The Armana Letters, 
>the Merneptah Stele, and other evidence all 
>point this out.  Judges and Joshua do not even 
>mention any Egyptians in Canaan although their 
>presence there is well documented both in Egypt 
>and Canaan for just about any realistic period 
>for the conquest. There is simply no way a group 
>could flee Egypt and then conquer Canaan forty 
>years later and be consistent with the evidence.

HH: What I remember of the Amarna tablets is that 
Egypt failed to respond to the cry of the cities 
for help from attackers. We don't know what the 
strength of the Egyptian presence was. Dr. 
Merrill has given you factual information about 
the rulers at the time. Israel did not take full 
possession of the land immediately, and never 
really conquered parts of Canaan. And Egypt could 
have maintained a presence at Joppa, Gaza, 
Beth-shan, and elsewhere despite the presence of 
Israel. The International Standard Bbile 
Encyclopedia writes:

Most of the Amarna Letters reveal an unsettled 
state of affairs in Syro-Palestine itself, which 
belies the superficial appearance of unity 
implied by the Egyptian presence in Hither Asia. 
The morale of the Canaanite princelings had 
greatly deteriorated during the period of 
Egyptian decline with the result that they were 
often at war with each other. In their 
correspondence they occasionally stooped to 
hurling mutual accusations of treason against the 
crown and disloyalty to one another. Under such 
circumstances they were vulnerable to attack by 
dissident elements within their own domains as 
well as by enemies from without, and in their 
letters to the pharaohs we frequently read their 
desperate pleas for fresh supplies of Egyptian 
and Nubian archers to man their garrisons. Such 
requests were met uniformly with a stony silence 
by the Egyptian court. The dissolution of the 
Egyptian empire in Syro-Palestine, already 
underway during the rule of Amenhotep III, was 
greatly accelerated under Akhenaten, who was 
preoccupied with domestic affairs for most of his 

HH: Even the cities that Joshua defeated, like 
Jerusalem (Josh 10:5; 12:10), were not 
necessarily defeated permanently. David had to go 
back and conquer Jerusalem, which was still in 
the hands of non-Israelites around 1000 B.C. The 
full conquest took hundreds of years. The Book of 
Judges shows how it faltered:

Judg. 1:27 ¶ But Manasseh did not drive out the 
people of Beth Shan or Taanach or Dor or Ibleam 
or Megiddo and their surrounding settlements, for 
the Canaanites were determined to live in that 
Judg. 1:28 When Israel became strong, they 
pressed the Canaanites into forced labor but 
never drove them out completely.
Judg. 1:29 Nor did Ephraim drive out the 
Canaanites living in Gezer, but the Canaanites 
continued to live there among them.
Judg. 1:30 Neither did Zebulun drive out the 
Canaanites living in Kitron or Nahalol, who 
remained among them; but they did subject them to 
forced labor.
Judg. 1:31 Nor did Asher drive out those living 
in Acco or Sidon or Ahlab or Aczib or Helbah or 
Aphek or Rehob,
Judg. 1:32 and because of this the people of 
Asher lived among the Canaanite inhabitants of 
the land.
Judg. 1:33 Neither did Naphtali drive out those 
living in Beth Shemesh or Beth Anath; but the 
Naphtalites too lived among the Canaanite 
inhabitants of the land, and those living in Beth 
Shemesh and Beth Anath became forced laborers for 
Judg. 1:34 The Amorites confined the Danites to 
the hill country, not allowing them to come down 
into the plain.
Judg. 1:35 And the Amorites were determined also 
to hold out in Mount Heres, Aijalon and Shaalbim, 
but when the power of the house of Joseph 
increased, they too were pressed into forced 
Judg. 1:36 The boundary of the Amorites was from 
Scorpion Pass to Sela and beyond.
Judg. 2:1 ¶ The angel of the LORD went up from 
Gilgal to Bokim and said,  "I brought you up out 
of Egypt and led you into the land that I swore 
to give to your forefathers. I said,  'I will 
never break my covenant with you,
Judg. 2:2 and you shall not make a covenant with 
the people of this land, but you shall break down 
their altars.' Yet you have disobeyed me. Why 
have you done this?
Judg. 2:3 Now therefore I tell you that I will 
not drive them out before you; they will be 
[thorns] in your sides and their gods will be a 
snare to you."

				Harold Holmyard

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