[b-hebrew] Exodus Date (Josephus vs. Manetho)
Walter R. Mattfeld
mattfeld12 at charter.net
Fri May 28 21:04:17 EDT 2004
My recent re-reading of Manetho _of the past 24 hrs._ has me suspecting
that his "Amenophis and son Ramesses" is none other than Seti I and Ramesses
II, co-reigning together. And they, according to Manetho, expel the
"Leperous Quarrymen of Avaris and their Asiatic brethren" who invaded Egypt
from south Canaan (Jerusalem), the Jerusalemites being invited to invade
Egypt by Osar-Seph (Manetho's name for Moses).
What strikes me is certain parallels in Manetho's account with motifs found
in the Hebrew Bible.
Many Liberal scholars understand that the sudden appearance of 200+ Iron IA
villages in the Hill Country of Canaan from Galilee to Arad is Israel
settling the land under Joshua- and I agree. This is a Ramesside era event,
which aligns "somewhat" with Israel having built Ramesses in the eastern
delta before her Exodus.
In the biblical account, once in the wilderness, Moses orders all the lepers
to be expelled from the Camp, and he also becomes a leper, but is healed by
God. Manetho relates that Amenophis (whom I believe is Seti I) gathered
together all the Lepers of Egypt and sent them to work in the stone
quarries. Later they request to be relocated to an abandoned site called
Avaris. He allows their settlement there. I note that nearby is Pi-Ramesses,
which is Ramesses of the Bible. So, Israel "dwelling apart from the
Egyptians" in the biblical account, and building Ramesses may recall Seti's
forcing leperous peoples (Egyptian and Foreigners ?) to separate from the
Egyptian people and work the quarries as corvee laborers or slaves and build
his many monumental temples. Perhaps Seti, co-reigning with his son,
Ramesses II, named the city Pi-Ramesses in honor of his father Ramesses I
(he named his son Ramesses II in honor of his father why not the town too ?)
In Manetho's account, the ungrateful leper-quarrymen of Avaris under their
leader Osar-Seph (Moses) invite their kinsmen in south Canaan (Jerusalem) to
invade Egypt and liberate them from their Egyptian oppressors. They do so,
and Amenophis (Seti I) and his 5 year old son Ramesses retire with their
army to a 13 year exile near Ethiopia. Then Amenophis returns with his son,
Ramesses and they expell the leperous quarrymen and their South Canaanite
Osar-seph (Moses) in inviting the Jerusalemites to invade Egypt, offered to
guide them to Avaris and help reclaim the city which had _belonged to their
ancestors_, apparently referring to the Hyksos Expulsion of 1560/1530 BCE.
This explains for me why the Bible preserves chronologically the Hyksos
expulsion of the mid 16th century BCE as the Exodus, but speaks of the
Exodus as occuring after the building of Ramesses (cf. Kenneth A. Kitchen &
James K. Hoffmeir's note that the elapsing time from the Exodus to Solomon's
4th year was almost 600 years, NOT 480 years, 966 BCE + 600 = 1566 BCE).
That is to say, I suspect that two different events are fused together in
Some scholars have thought that the Amenophis who expelled the leperous
quarrymen of Avaris is one of the warrior Amenhoteps (I, II or III), because
Amenophis _is_ the Greek rendering of Egyptian Amenhotep.
Why do I think Seti I is Manetho's "Amenophis" and not Amenhotep I, II or
III ? The _CLUE_ is that Manetho states that 1) Amenophis named his son
Ramesses/Rampes "after his father", this suggests for me Ramesses II being
named after his grandfather, Ramesses I. 2) When Amenophis expells the
Leperous Quarrymen of Avaris it is with his 18 year old son Rameses/Rampes
at his side (his son being 5 years old when he retired to near Ethiopia 13
years earlier), suggesting co-rulership, and Ramesses II in inscriptions
refers to his _co-rule_ with his father. 3) Seti I and Ramesses were famed
for the plethora of monuments and temples and palaces erected in their
reigns and the stone quarries of Egypt were "kept busy" under their reigns,
this aligns for me with Manetho's comments about Leperous quarrymen being
settled at Avaris, probably to use the site as a work camp while they built
Pi-Rameses under the joint reign of Seti I/Rameses (Ramesside incriptions
mention Apiru work gangs hauling quarry blocks to erect Pylons, perhaps
Apiru=Abiru=Hebrews ?). 4) The 13 year withdrawal of Seti and Ramesses -if
correctly recalled by Manetho- would explain why Israel leaves Egypt with
the plunder of the Egyptians, Manetho claiming that the south Canaanites and
Quarrymen are plundering Egypt for 13 years when they are expelled.
Now for the BIG MYSTERY, why is Seti I being called Amenophis (Amenhotep) ?
Clayton noted that Seti I wanted to restore Egypt to her former glory in the
days of Amenhotep III (Greek Amenophis). I suspect that Seti "may have" been
likened to a "reborn Amenhotep" in his restoring Egypt's power and glory- I
can't prove this- its only a guess or hunch.
What of Manetho's notion of an invasion of Egypt in Seti I's days, if Seti
is "Amenophis" ? Seti does state he led several campaigns to put down
_rebellions_ and he even captured Kadesh on the Orontes. Was their an
"internal revolt" of quarrymen at Avaris and an invasion from south Canaan ?
Nothing has survived in official annals (papyri and stone monuments), only
Manetho's account of Amenophis and son Ramesses expelling lepers from
Avaris by Pi-Ramesses and Egypt, who were plundering her, and the Exodus
story of lepers in the wilderness with Egyptian gold, being expelled from
the Israelite camp by Moses.
I have wondered about Manetho's Osar-Seph, whom he calims is Moses, and
formerly a priest at Heliopolis. Osar of course is Greek Osiris, Egyptian
wsr, meaning "strong, mighty, powerful", it appears in Ramesses II's tites
as User-Maat-Re Setep-enre, "the justice of Re is powerful, chosen of Re."
Could Osar-Seph [user-seph] then mean "powerful is Seph" ??? If so, who is
Seph ? The Exodus notes that Moses' God is a "firey" God, and he also sends
plague upon Egypt and upon his own people in the Wilderness. I wonder, could
Osar-Seph be the Syrian-Canaanite plague god, Resheph/Reshef ? The problem
of couse is the missing Re- as rsp means in Semitic "burning", an
appropriate epithet for the Hebrew God that is described as firey, and a
sender of plague. Of interest is that the Hyksos assimilated their god
Baal-Hadad or Baal-Saphon with the Egyptian god Set/Seth. The 400 year
anniversary stela set up to honor Seth by the Ramessides, shows him in
Asiatic warrior garb usually reserved for the Canaanite fire, plague and war
god, Resheph/Reshef. Could Osar-Seph [User-Seph ?], if Moses, be the adorer
of "mighty Resheph," god of plague, fire, and war, associations that the
Bible makes with Yahweh-Elohim ?
If Amenophis and son Ramesses/Rampses is Seti I and Ramesses, and if Manetho
is "correct" in dating the Hebrew expulsion or Exodus to the Ramesside era,
then the Bible's mention of Ramesses being built by a people who dwelt apart
from the Egyptians, and who had lepers dweling amongst them, begins to make
Of course, we have a problem. To what degree did Manetho know of Hebrew
traditions about lepers in the Wilderness of Sinai camp and a leperous
Moses, and then work these motifs into the "Amenophis/Ramesses" expulsion of
the leperous quarrymen ? The embalmed body of Ramesses V has smallpox
lesions on the body, noticeable on the face particularly- were smallpox
epidemics afflicting the Ramesside era ? Did Seti and Ramesses "isolate" all
the "scabby-lepers" (Manetho's terminology which reflects smallpox scabs ?)
as an act of self-preservation, to quarries, away from the Egyptian
populace, and then later expell them as a hygiene effort ???
I am not attempting to claim the Exodus happened as portrayed in the
Bible -I regard that account as fictional- but I am trying to uncover
"possible events" that came to be transformed into that account.
If I am
correct about Manetho arguing for a Ramesside Exodus and Josephus for a 16th
century BCE Hyksos Exodus, then the "dance, round and round the mulberry
bush" has been going on with scholars for over 2000 years ! If the events
are a _FUSION_ perhaps the end of the dance is in sight ?
Walter Reinhold Warttig Mattfeld y de la Torre, M.A. Ed.
mattfeld12 at charter.net
The above data from Manetho's account is taken from the following source :
W.G. Waddell. _Manetho_. Loeb Classical Library. 1930. Reprint.1980. Harvard
University Press. Cambridge, Massachusetts)
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