[b-hebrew] Year 14

Joel C. Salomon joelcsalomon at gmail.com
Fri Oct 23 12:23:19 EDT 2009

JimStinehart at aol.com wrote:
>> “What calendar is this “Year 14” that you speak of?”
> The Egyptian pharaohs kept track of time in this way.  The first year of the reign of Akhenaten (Egypt’s only monotheistic pharaoh) was his “Year 1”.  The last year of Akhenaten’s reign was “Year 17”.  (In the Patriarchal narratives, the first historical monotheistic leader of a people is accurately stated, based on the secular history of the Late Bronze Age, to reign in Egypt for 17 years.  Genesis 47: 28)

As I understand it, many cultures dated things that way: “The nth year
of King X”.  What make you think, a priori, that the text refers to

> But if you’re really interested in the Valley of Siddim, I can post five Amarna Letters from defeated princelings in the northern “Valley of Siddim” tomorrow, all dating to Year 14.

That would be interesting.

> Joel, regardless of what Wikipedia may say, you yourself know that there are two places in Canaan or greater Canaan that perfectly fit the Biblical description “valley of fields”.

What gives you the idea that I know any such thing?

> Akhenaten was not a strong pharaoh militarily, and just over a year ago he had improvidently cut off all relations with the anti-Hittite great power Naharim.  Now the Hittites were on the march!  It seemed a perilous time for the tent-dwelling first Hebrews in Canaan.  Scholars are blinded by 20/20 hindsight.  Scholars know that in fact, the Hittites never marched father south than northern Lebanon (the Amorite state of Amurru, whose selling out to the dreaded Hittites -- begun in Year 14 and completed in Year 16 -- is the historical “iniquity of the Amorites”).  But the Hebrews didn’t know that then!  The Hebrews fervently prayed to YHWH to save them from the seemingly unstoppable Hittite war machine.  And the Hebrews’ prayers were answered.  The Hittites never invaded Canaan proper.  In my controversial view, that is the historical foundation of Judaism.  In the mid-14^th  century BCE, the Hebrews prayed to YHWH to not let the Hittites invade Canaan, and the Hitt
ites indeed never invaded Canaan.  Akhenaten had relatively little to do with it, except that he was very weak militarily as a pharaoh, which made the Hittite threat so very ominous.  

I do not know the various views (traditional & scholarly) of the history
of that era well enough to evaluate this claim, but it seems from your
argument that the story ought to have been recorded in Judges, not Genesis.

> On this thread, I am asking people on the b-hebrew list to focus on the numbers here.  After (i) 12 years of peace, (ii) in Year 13 (iii) 5 princelings formed an anti-Hittite league, but then (iv) in Year 14, (v) 4 attacking rulers utterly destroyed those 5 princelings.  Note that  e-v-e-r-y  one of those five numbers in the “four kings against the five” has pinpoint accuracy in the secular historical context of the Late Bronze Age.  That’s the hallmark of a mid-14^th  century BCE composition by the first Hebrew, who knew what he was talking about, not a non-historical “myth” ginned up centuries later by multiple authors, none of whom knew what they were talking about, as scholars would have it.

OK, I’ll bite.  Point me to some external source for the battle you’re
talking about, and the list can discuss whether there is a linguistic
tie between the Biblical names and the names in the Amarna Letters.

—Joel Salomon

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