[b-hebrew] Exodus (dating of)

Walter R. Mattfeld mattfeld12 at charter.net
Wed May 26 21:46:12 EDT 2004

Walter wrote :
>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
>the half-tribe of Manasseh the son of Joseph, the kingdom of Sihon...the
>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
>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 ?

Harold Holmyard replied :

"In this Tranjordan area the Israelites were rebuilding the cities
that they captured from the Amorites. So they were not building from
scratch in a lot of these places but rather repairing and

Dear Harold,

If the Conquest is ca. 1406 BCE (with an Exodus ca. 1446 BCE), then we
should expect to find a number of destroyed Late Bronze Age cities and
villages in Transjordan, rebuilt and occupied by Israelites in Late Bronze
Age times, "to- including- and- through" Iron I and II times. This is NOT
the situation. There's hardly anything in the Late Bronze Age in
Transjordan, and the destruction occurs at the END of the Late Bronze Age
and the REBUILDING occurs in Iron I, but many other sites are New for Iron
I, just as described in the Bible (Israel building OTHER villages beside the
ones destroyed). The situation described in Transjordan in the Bible does
NOT match the Late Bronze Age and ca. 1406 BCE, it MATCHES Iron I. I have
already mentioned Stiebing's work, another excellent work for Transjordan in
particular is Professor Burton MacDonald, _East of the Jordan, Territories
and Sites of the Hebrew Scriptures_. 2000. Boston. American Schools of
Oriental Research. He exhaustively covers every known site in Gilead, Ammon,
Moab and Edom, and concludes the best match of the Exodus/Conquest is late
Iron II, the 7th-6th centries BCE.

If you want to go along with Karl's proposal that Israel wandered about
after the Conquest of 1406 BCE for 200 years living in tents, before
settling down and building villages be my guest.

Regards, Walter

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