[b-hebrew] Year 14

Yigal Levin leviny1 at mail.biu.ac.il
Sun Oct 25 02:31:11 EDT 2009

Dear Joel,

Just in case I was not clear, this discussion is ended. 

Yigal Levin

Co-moderator, B-Hebrew

-----Original Message-----
From: b-hebrew-bounces at lists.ibiblio.org
[mailto:b-hebrew-bounces at lists.ibiblio.org] On Behalf Of Joel C. Salomon
Sent: Friday, October 23, 2009 6:23 PM
To: Biblical Hebrew list
Subject: Re: [b-hebrew] Year 14

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
b-hebrew mailing list
b-hebrew at lists.ibiblio.org

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