[b-hebrew] Dates of Ezra and Nehemiah

Peter Kirk peter at qaya.org
Sun Sep 17 17:01:16 EDT 2006

On 17/09/2006 22:24, Yigal Levin wrote:
> Peter,
> While I accept your statement that Iron-Age biblical dates are dependent on
> Mesopotamian dates and not Egyptian ones, and that Kitchen used "biblical"
> dates for Seshonq and some other TIP kings, the New Kingdom kings are
> actually dated independently of anything biblical.

Agreed, although the basis for their dates is far from secure.
> Dating the Exodus to Ramses II is not because "it would be appropriate for 
> God to humble such a great and proud ruler". It starts with the city of 
> Ramses at which the Israelites labored, which obviously cannot pre-date the 
> 19th dynasty. ...

Since the city of Ramses is also mentioned in Genesis 47:11, by the same 
argument Joseph cannot pre-date the 19th dynasty, and so the Exodus must 
have been several dynasties later. Alternatively, this is a minor 
anachronism caused by a redactor or copyist updating the name of a city, 
as has clearly happened with the mention of the city of Dan in Genesis 
14:14 and Deuteronomy 34:1 (cf. Judges 18:29).

> ... And then, the Merneptah Stele, which mentions "Israel" ALREADY 
> IN THE LAND around 1207. ...

This gives only a latest possible date for the Exodus, which might have 
happened centuries earlier, indeed the biblical date for it is centuries 
earlier, c. 1450 BCE based on 1 Kings 6:1.

> ... And the archaeological evidence of massive 
> hill-country settlement, much like the Bible attributes to the Israelites, 
> begins about 1200. And the end of Egyptian control of Canaan, around 1150. 
> All these mean that the initial Israelite settlement (in whatever fashion!) 
> occurred just before 1200, which means that the Exodus would have occurred 
> about 1250 - right in the middle of Ramses II's reign.
This evidence and its interpretation are disputed, and anyway this is 
evidence not from Egyptian chronology but from archaeology of Canaan.

> Of course, all this only if you assume that there WAS something like what 
> the Bible calls the Exodus, at any "real" time.

Peter Kirk
E-mail:  peter at qaya.org
Blog:    http://speakertruth.blogspot.com/
Website: http://www.qaya.org/

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