[b-hebrew] 1 Kings 20:14 Who are the young men, princes of the districts?
kwrandolph at gmail.com
Thu Apr 29 13:02:56 EDT 2010
On Wed, Apr 28, 2010 at 2:14 PM, George Athas <George.Athas at moore.edu.au>wrote:
> Well, we definitely will not agree on this one, Karl. Akhenaton was
> definitely 14th century BC,
That is what is disputed, and has been disputed by trained historians for
decades. However, because they were not of the herd, they were denied
professorships and scholarly publications, even degrees. (See Thomas Gold’s
description of herd politics within academia and research. Having grown up
in academia, I have observed some of what he describes.)
The problem is: the archaeology does not support this claim.
> and Amarna belongs squarely in his reign. Settlement in Palestine might
> have been thin at this time, but there were still political entities there.
> This is even why it is probable that there were Israelite and Judean
> polities in the sparsely urbanised Iron I period.
Scripture clearly puts the Exodus at about 1450 BC, give or take a decade or
two. The picture of Egypt at the Exodus is that of a shattered and
devastated nation, without an army nor pharaoh, easy prey for an invading
Archaeology shows that there was a massive presence of Egyptianized
“Asiatics” in Egypt in the 12th and 13th dynasties, who left during the 13th
dynasty. Their departure was so sudden that workmen abandoned their tools
and some women even forgot their jewelry. It is as if they were driven from
the land, as described in Exodus.
At about the same time, a few decades later, the rich and powerful middle
bronze age Canaanite culture suddenly came to a violent end, to be replaced
by a relatively sparse population that was materially far poorer and
recognizably different culture, and most of the major cities were either
abandoned or poor villages. This is the picture given in both archaeology
and the books of Joshua and Judges, and contradicted by the scholarly,
The only problem for the Biblical history, is that the dates assigned to the
archaeological findings are from a tradition that long predates modern
archaeology. Even the number and sequence of the pharaohs is from that
tradition, adjusted and massaged some by some archaeological findings, but
not allowed to be contradicted. That tradition has become the scholarly
consensus, and woe betide the historian who dares challenge it. But
archaeology and Bible both clearly contradict it.
The Biblical record indicates absolutely no Egyptian influence in Canaan
from the Exodus until after Solomon. Then after Solomon we find independent
city states that were previously under Solomon’s control, rich enough to be
of interest to a foreign (read: Egyptian) invader. This is the picture given
in the Tel Amarna letters. Hence, from archaeology, the Amarna period should
be dated to the ninth to eighth centuries BC.
> I know you always scorn scholarly consensus,
“Consensus is the refuge of scoundrels” though, if the data is there to back
it up, I have no problem in agreeing with the consensus. It is only when the
consensus goes out on a limb and contradicts other data, legitimate data,
then it does not deserve support.
> but you've really gone out on a limb with this one. I'm afraid I can't join
> you there this time, my friend.
That’s your choice.
> GEORGE ATHAS
> Moore Theological College (Sydney, Australia)
> Time and again I have observed that when an academic challenges the
reigning consensus in his field, that he does so at the peril of his job.
That is true even if he is a tenured professor (there are ways to get rid of
a troublesome tenured professor, they just take a little longer than a
simple firing). I have seen data deliberately falsified to bring it in line
with a consensus. I don’t always agree with the challenge, but even those
challenges with which I disagree should be heard without fear of losing a
I have no career as a historian, nor do I desire one, therefore I can call a
spade a spade without fear of losing my job. In this case, the spade is that
archaeology contradicts the claim that the Amarna period was the 14th
Which brings us back to the thread, namely were these men of the princes of
the districts an Egyptian squad stationed in Samaria? I noticed that the
meaning of “prince” refers to a person whose job it was to keep people in
line, sort of like a policeman or sheriff, not necessarily a hereditary
prince as in western culture. Even the sons of kings were “princes” in that
they were to enforce the edicts of their fathers. Thus these “princes” could
have been Egyptian officials assigned to keep certain districts under
Egyptian control in line, and their men were a squad of Egyptian soldiers
under their authority. That makes linguistic sense out of what is to me an
otherwise puzzling verse.
Karl W. Randolph.
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