[b-hebrew] Exodus Date (Josephus vs. Manetho)

Walter R. Mattfeld mattfeld12 at charter.net
Mon May 31 08:00:14 EDT 2004

We are told Judah captured Jerusalem and set it on fire, then attacked
Hebron and the Negeb, but this is contradicted by David's capture of
Jerusalem and its Jebusite inhabitants :

Judges 1:8-10 RSV

"And the men of Judah fought against Jerusalem, and took it, and smote it
with the edge of the sword, and set the city on fire. And afterward the men
of Judah went down to fight against the Canaanites who dwelt in the hill
country, in the Negeb and in the lowland. And Judah went against the
Canaanites who dwelt in Hebron..."

Joshua 6:24) RSV

"And they burned the city [Jericho] with fire and all within it..."

Contradicting the above verses is the statement that _ONLY Hazor was burnt_
of all the cities conquered by Joshua :

Joshua 11:13 RSV

"But none of the cities that stood on mounds did Israel burn, except Hazor
only; that Joshua burned."

The first generation after the Conquest, remained apart from the Canaanites,
but we are told following generations intermarried with them and came to
worship their gods :

Judges 2:6-13 RSV

"When Joshua dismissed the people, the people of Israel went each to his
inheritance to take possession of the land. And the people served the LORD
all the days of Joshua, and all the days of the elders who outlived Joshua,
who had seen all the great work which the LORD had done for Israel...And all
that generation also were gathered to their fathers; and there arose another
generation after them, who did not know the LORD or the work which he had
done for Israel. And the people of Israel did what was evil in the sight of
the LORD and served the Baals; and they forsook the LORD, the God of their
fathers, who brought them out of the land of Egypt; they went after other
gods, from among the gods of the peoples who were around them, and bowed
down to them; and they provoked the LORD to anger. They forsook the LORD,
and served the Baals and the Ashtaroth."

The Bible explained that God "left the Jebusites" to test whether or not
Israel would be faithful to him (Judges 3:1).The Bible states that Israel
(that is Judah) "failed" God's testing and _intermarried with the
Jebusites_, the descendants of the Late Bronze Age Canaanite inhabitants of

Judges 3:5 RSV

"So the people of Israel dwelt among the Canaanites, the Hittites, the
Amorites, the Perizzites, the Hivites; and the _JEBUSITES_; and they took
their daughters to themselves for wives, and their own daughters they gave
to their sons; and they served their gods. And the people of Israel did what
was evil in the sight of the LORD, forgetting the LORD their God, and
serving the Baals and the Asheroth."

If Manetho has correctly preserved from Egyptian records two Exoduses from
Egypt, the first being the Hyksos Expulsion of the mid-sixteenth century BCE
and the second of the Ramesside era, the late 13th Dynasty under Seti I and
his co-reigning son Ramesses II, then perhaps the the Bible provides the
"mechanism" whereby the the two Exoduses came fused into one. That is to
say, we are told by Manetho that _both_ expulsions had the people headed for
the same place, JERUSALEM. Perhaps the Late Bronze Age traditions of two
Exoduses from Egypt (Hyksos and Ramesside) were passed on by
Jerusalemite-Jebusite-Canaanite mothers to their Israelite/Judahite sons,
and by late Iron II times these two Late Bronze Age events were fused into
one ?

Some scholars understand that the Bible as we have it today, was compiled AT
JERUSALEM, and it is AT JERUSALEM that twoLate Bronze Age Exodus expulsions
come to a conclusion according to Manetho.

I have argued in earlier posts to this list that perhaps the invasion of
Hill Country of Canaan from Galilee to the Negev may be of Arameans driven
from their marginal pasture lands by famine and war, they capturing first
Transjordan then Canaan's Hill Country. If this proposal is correct, then
two Late Bronze Age Exoduses, (if correctly preserved by Manetho ?) from
Egypt were fused with an Iron IA invasion from Aram (North Syria) via
intermarriages with the Late Bronze Canaanite descendants of Jerusalem (the
Jebusites), and by Late Iron II the fusion had been accomplished in oral

All of the above is of course _pure speculation_. Only an "extensive
petrographic analysis of the clays" found in the small portable cooking pots
of the many Iron IA villages of Hill Country Canaan (from Galilee to Tel
Masos by Arad) and of Transjordan will settle the mystery if these people
came from Egypt via the Sinai, Negev and Arabah and Transjordan, or if they
came from Syria. The technology, petrographic analysis exists and has been
used in the study of Philistine pottery, now it needs to be applied to the
Iron IA Hill Country and Transjordan cooking pots (invaders _need to eat_,
and they would bring their portable clay cooking pots with them- the Iron IA
villages _do have_ clay cooking pots).

The "old timers" on this list may recall that several years ago I posted my
findings that a careful study of the chronologies preserved in the Old and
New Testaments caused me to realize that the Bible had preserved a
mid-sixteenth Hyksos expulsion for the Exodus, and I attempted to argue this
was in fact the Exodus. But, with the passage of time and more study I came
to realize the evidence for a Ramesside Exodus as argued by Kitchen and
Albright was too compelling and could not be ignored. I eventually concluded
that the two events must have been _fused together_. It was ONLY just two
days ago that a "re-read" of Manetho caused me to realize that he had
posited two expulsions, Hyksos and Ramesside and that he had provided the
details from his understanding of the Egyptian records. If Manetho is
correct and if I am correct then the strange early dating of the Exodus to
the Hyksos period by the bible's chronology is at last resolved and
reconciled with the Ramesside details. CF. the following url for my earlier
article arguing for a Hyksos Exodus incorporating the chronologies of the
Bible, which has not been updated yet with my recent findings

Professor Hoffmeier discusses the history of the various Exodus dates
(he has excavated in Egypt and is currently excavating in the NW
Sinai at New Kingdom sites near Pelusium). He argues for an Exodus in
Ramesside times and agrees pretty much with his older colleague,
Kenneth A. Kitchen, who is now recently retired.

Hoffmeier :

"...James Jack [_The Date of the Exodus in the Light of External
Evidence_. Edinburgh. T & T Clark. 1925], who argued for a mid-
fifteenth-century date based on biblical data and what he believed to
be corroborating Egyptian evidence. Based on the Masoretic text of 1
Kings 6:1, which dates the departure from Egypt at 480 years before
Solomon's 4th regnal year, Jack concluded that 1445 BC was the Exodus
date since Solomon's accession date, 970 BC, 970 BC, could be
securely fixed (his 4th year being 966/7), thanks to synchronisms
between biblical and Assyrian texts." (p. 124. Hoffmeier)

"How then is the 480 year figure treated by scholars who reject it as
a literal number ? Petrie suggested that thfe number might have
resulted from tallying up the duration of the Israelite kings from
Saul back to Joshua. However, as Jack showed, if all the periods are
added together, such as the 40 years in Sinai, the lengths of the
Judges, and periods of peace between judges, plus the length of
David's reign, the total is 534 years. On top of this figure, the
duration of Joshua's leadership in Canaan and the length of saul's
kingship, which are not preserved, bring the total close to 600
years." (p. 125.Hoffmeier)

"Another solution, which is widely held by biblical scholars, is to
regard the 480 figure as a number that symbolizes 12 x 40 with 40
representing a generation. With a generation being closer to 25
years, 12 x 25 gives 300 years; when added to Solomon's 4th year, the
Exodus falls within the reign of Ramesses II around 1267. The
reference to the store-city of Ramesses in Exodus 1:11 is viewed as
additional support for placing the oppression in Egypt's 19th
Dynasty. Furthermore, the 13th century dating squared nicely with the
so-called "archaeological date" (ca. 1230-1220 BC) of the Conquest of
the Albright-Wright school. The archaeological evidence of the
settlement of Israel in Canaan, according to Isreal Finkelstein,
dates to the late 13th century or early 12th. Finkelstein's
conclusions do not necessarily contradict an exodus in the Ramesside
period." (p. 125.Hoffmeier)

"It is clear that after over a century of academic inquiry into the date of
exodus, we are no closer to a solution today...If there is a
prevailing view among historians, biblical scholars and
archaeologists, an exodus in the Ramesside era (1279-1213 BC) is
still favored." (p. 126. Hoffmeier)

Professor Kenneth A. Kitchen, another Egyptologist who has written on
dating the Exodus in several books and articles notes the problems in
accepting at face value 480 years elapsing from the Exodus to
Solomon's 4th year (1 Kings 6:1) :

"The Exodus: Time and Place. 1. Date. Much disputed for a century or
more..."The lazy man's solution" is simply to cite the 480 years
ostensibly given in 1 Kings 6:1 from the Exodus to the 4th year of
Solomon (ca. 966 BC) and so to set the Exodus at ca. 1446 BC.
However, this too simple solution is ruled out by the combined weight
of all the other biblical data plus additional information from
external data. So the interval from the Exodus comes out not at 480
years but as over 553 years (by three unknown amounts), if we trouble
to go carefully through all the known biblical figures for this
period. It s evident that the 480 years cannot cover fully the 553 +
X years. At best, it could be a selection from them, or else it is a
schematic figure (12 X 40 years, or similar). But again, on other
evidence to be considered, a date of ca. 1519 BC (966+553) and
earlier is even less realistic for the exodus. In Exodus 1:11, the
Hebrews are building Ramesses, whence also they are said to have set
out on the Exodus (Ex 12:37); "the land of Rameses" (Gen 47:11) is a
reflex of the same name and place. This place is Pi-Ramesses, the
east-delta city built by Ramesses II (1279-1213 BC). Thus the end of
the oppression and the start of the Exodus could not precede the
accession of this king at the earliest, i.e., not before 1279 BC on
our presnt knowledge of Egyptian chronology. That is only a little
more than 300 years before Solomon, not 480 or 553. In Ancient Near
Eastern terms, the solution is quite straightforward. There were most
probably consideraable overlaps between contemporary groups of judges
in Israel during the settlement period, hence 533 + X years totals up
all the years of such people, years which in reality were partly
overlapping and fitted within an absolute period of 300 years or so."
(p. 702. Vol.2. Kenneth A. Kitchen. "Exodus, The." David Noel
Freedman, editor. _The Anchor BIble Dictionary_. 1992. New York.
Doubleday-Anchor. 6 Vols.)

As can see from the above statements made by these two
Egyptologists "possessing a keen interest in correclating the Exodus
with Egyptian events," although they acknowledge that almost 600
years elapsed according to the bible's internal chronology, reckoned
by adding up the total reign years of the various judges, (600 + 966
= 1566 BCE and the Hyksos Expulsion), they _rejected_ the bible's
chronology, and opted for a Ramesside Exodus.

My most recent posts have been to show that BOTH Josephus and Manetho
were "_right_and_wrong_" the Exodus in the Bible is for me a fusion
of the Hyksos Expulsion of the 16th century BCE (Hoffmeier's nearly 600
years elapsing) and the
Ramesside 13th century BCE expulsion as preserved by
Manetho's "Amenophis" (Seti I as I understand and have given evidence
for in earlier posts) and his son Ramesses II.

Regards, Walter

Walter Reinhold Warttig Mattfeld y de la Torre, M.A. Ed.

mattfeld12 at charter.net


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