Amenhotep II as Pharaoh of the Exodus

Share/recommend this article:
This article was first published in the Spring 2003 issue of Bible and Spade.

Excerpt The Biblical book of Exodus does not name the Pharaoh whom Moses encountered after his return from Sinai. This absence has provided the occasion for considerable controversy and speculation as to just who this Pharaoh was and when he ruled in Egypt. Continue reading

Explore
Related Articles
Support
Like this artice?

Our Ministry relies on the generosity of people like you. Every small donation helps us develop and publish great articles.

Please support ABR!

Visa, MasterCard, American Express, Discover & PayPal

The Exodus Problem

Three main views have been proposed: (1) that he belonged to the 18th Dynasty and ruled in the 15th century, (2) that he belonged to the 19th Dynasty and ruled in the 13th century, and (3) that there was no Exodus and thus no Pharaoh of the Exodus, but it was only a literary creation of later Israelites. The first view may be referred to as the early date for the Exodus, the second is the late date, and the third is the nonexistent Exodus.

Exodus Literature

Literature on the subject of the Exodus is extensive. In his Schweich Lectures for 1948, From Joseph to Joshua, literature from the 19th century to 1948 was covered by the excellent English bibliographer H. H. Rowley. He provided an exceptionally thorough list of studies in favor of dating the Exodus in the 13th century under the 19th Dynasty and in the 15th century under the 18th Dynasty. T. L. Thompson, in J. H. Hayes and J. M. Miller’s work Israelite and Judean History has updated this bibliography to 1977 (1977: 149–50, 167–68, 180–81). The bibliographies in these sections are of more value than the discussions in the text, which adopts a very negative view on the historicity of the Exodus. A strong picture has been made for the 19th Dynasty as the background for the Exodus in the work of K.A. Kitchen, Pharaoh Triumphant (1982). More recently, a theologically sensitive, but historically minimalist, commentary on Exodus has been contributed to The New Interpreter’s Bible, by W. Brueggemann (1994: 675–982).

The attitude of Old Testament theologians toward early Israelite history has varied. G. von Rad used the first major section of his Old Testament Theology to give a negative evaluation to the historicity of the Biblical account and that left him free to construct his theology unhampered by historical limitations (1962). G. Ernest Wright, on the other hand, held that theology must ultimately be rooted in history in his God Who Acts. Coming from the Albright school as he did, Wright firmly anchored his Exodus and Conquest in the 13th century. In his 13th century approach Wright was preceded by W. F. Albright in his The Archaeology of Palestine (1961: 108–109) and paralleled by J. Bright’s History of Israel (1983).

Three more specialized works on the Exodus and its Egyptian background have appeared quite recently. A conference on the subject was held at Brown University in 1992 and its proceedings were published as Exodus: The Egyptian Evidence (Frerichs and Lesko 1997). Unfortunately, most of the studies published in this work adopt a negative evaluation of the historicity of Exodus. Two of the contributors to this conference, Dever and Weinstein, attacked the editor of Bible and Spade for his date of the destruction of Jericho to the Biblical time of Joshua, even though they offered no critique of his excellent and detailed studies of the pottery of Jericho (ibid. 69, 93–94). More positive, but more general, is J. D. Currid’s Ancient Egypt and the Old Testament (1997). This work does not deal in detail with the event of the Exodus, but provides much useful information on the Egyptian cultural, religious, and linguistic background for the event. Along the same line is J. K. Hoffmeier’s Israel in Egypt: The Evidence for the Authenticity of the Exodus Tradition (1997). This work includes primary archaeological evidence from surface survey work in the region of the northern lakes across the Isthmus of Suez.

A commentary on Exodus published very recently is that of W. H. Propp in the Anchor Bible Series, Exodus 1–18 (1999). Unfortunately, any historicity of the Exodus is buried here beneath a welter of source criticism, anthropology, and mythology. The promise is made that the history involved will be treated in a second volume that will be published later. The most recently published commentary on Exodus available to me at this writing is that of Peter Enns, Exodus, in the NIV Application Commentary (2000). This work is literarily conservative, theologically insightful, but historically inconclusive, as is expressed in the introductory summary statement:

One final matter concerning history is the fact that a good many historical issues remain hopelessly unresolved. In what century the Exodus took place will remain a point of debate for some time, even among evangelicals. We still do not know who the Pharaoh of the Exodus was. Curiously enough, we are not told (see Ex 1:8). To this day we do not know what route the Israelites took, what specific body of water they crossed, or where Mount Sinai is. These events form the very basic contours of Exodus and yet they continue to elude us. Can proper interpretation of the book proceed only after these basic questions are answered? No. In fact, the church has been deriving spiritual benefit from Exodus for a long time without such firm knowledge (25).  

Enns is certainly right that one can derive spiritual and theological value from the book without knowing the precise historical setting. Nevertheless, to be able to connect the book more directly with ancient history can only enhance its theological meaning.

Interim reports on the excavations at Tell el-Dab‘a, which contains the ruins of ancient Avaris and Ramesse, can be found in the two publications of lectures by the excavator, M. Bietak (1981 and 1996). These works provide archaeological evidence that bears on the setting of the Israelite Sojourn that led to the Exodus.

To summarize, older works on the question of the Exodus have concentrated upon deciding between dating it to the 13th century under the 19th Dynasty or the 15th century under the 18th Dynasty. That was the approach taken in my review of the subject in the revised edition of the International Standard Bible Encyclopedia (1982). More recent works have gone in either one of two directions. On the negative side, more works are currently being published than previously that question the historicity of the Exodus. On the positive side, other works are coming out which have provided a closer attention to Egyptian archaeology and socio-cultural history, as findings from those fields present a background for the book of Exodus and the events that it describes.

The 13th Century Exodus

Dating the Exodus on the basis of Biblical evidence has involved either one of two approaches. The theory that dates the Exodus in the time of the 19th Dynasty in the 13th century BC utilizes the name of Ramesses for the store city that the Israelites built for Pharaoh (Ex 1:11). The long-lived Ramesses II was known as a great builder. The location of his delta capital is known and part of his palace there has been excavated.

The use of this evidence to date the Biblical Exodus is complicated, however, by the use of the same name of Ramesses for the land to which the Patriarchs came centuries earlier (Gn 47:1l; cf. Gn l5:13; Ex l2:40). Since no ruler is known by the name of Ramesses that early in Egyptian history, both of these references to Ramesses look like an updating of an earlier place name. This phenomenon is also evident in Genesis 14:14 where the later name of Dan has been used for the contemporary name of Laish (Jgs 18:7–29). In some cases, the Bible gives the older name and later name together (Gn 23:2). Thus the mere use of the name of Ramesses is not a secure basis upon which to identify the Pharaoh of the Exodus and, through him, to date the Exodus.

The 15th Century Exodus

The other approach to dating the Exodus through Biblical evidence is the chronological approach. In this case the datum in 1 Kings 6:1 is utilized to date the Exodus and through this Biblical date the Pharaoh who ruled Egypt at the time can be determined and his person, character, and reign can be explored for potential Biblical connections. That is the approach taken here and it requires a detailed examination of chronology.

Biblical Chronology

The starting point for such a study of chronology is in the monarchy, for 1 Kings 6:1 dates the Exodus a particular time span back from a regnal year of Solomon. For this starting point we may utilize Edwin R. Thiele’s chronology developed in his Ph.D. thesis at the University of Chicago, later published under the title of The Mysterious Numbers of the Hebrew Kings (1965). According to that chronology, Solomon died in 931 BC after a reign of 40 years. That means that he came to the throne in 971 BC. According to Thiele, dates that are given in the text that deal with the building of the Temple show that Solomon used a Tishri calendar to measure those regnal years (Thiele 1965: 29). The reign of Rehoboam who followed Solomon in Judah was calculated according to the accession year system which means that Year 1 started the year after Rehoboam, likewise Solomon, came to the throne. For Solomon this means that 971/970 BC was his accession year and 970/969 BC was his first full regnal year (Thiele 1965: 28–30). That makes 967/966 BC his fourth year. The Exodus occurred in the spring and Solomon’s Temple building began in the spring (the month after Passover), and thus the building began in the spring of 966 BC, between the two Tishri new years. This gives us the starting point from which to figure backwards, the spring of 966 BC.

The time period to add to this date is the 480 years that are given in 1 Kings 6:1. This goes back to the time when “the Israelites had come out of Egypt.” Adding those 480 years dates the Exodus to the spring of 1446.

There is evidence from 1 Kings 6:1 that a precise numbering was intended. The fourth year of Solomon is not a round year and the precise month when the building began, Ziv, is given according to the old calendar, not the one adopted during the Babylonian Exile. The same precision is encountered with the completion date for the Temple in the 11th year of Solomon, in the month of Bul. These two dates were compiled according to
a very specific system, and there is no indication in the text that those who recorded these data thought any differently about the accuracy of the 480-year figure.

Instead of assuming that the 480 years is a certain number of generations, as some do, one could propose alternately that the successive Passovers were recorded at the central shrine, the tabernacle at Shiloh, throughout this period. When the tabernacle equipment was stored in the newly built Temple in Jerusalem, the records from Shiloh would have been brought there, and could have served as the basis for these calculations. At the very least, this date deserves continued consideration as a working hypothesis. From these data we have developed a date of the spring of 1446 as a working date for the Exodus.The question then is, how well does this date fit with Egyptian chronology and history?

Egyptian Chronology

Egyptian chronology is constructed from the king lists, from the highest regnal year dates attested for the various kings, from Manetho, and from Egyptian astronomical data. The Egyptian astronomical dates include the dates in the civil calendar for the observation of the heliacal rising of the star Sothis, and new moon dates. Neither of these two astronomical factors is completely secure. We do not know for certain whether the Sothic observations were made in the south or in the north and that makes a significant chronological difference. New moon dates are useful but must be determined with precision. If a new moon date is off by one day, the date for it does not move by one year; it rather moves 11 years in one direction or 13 years in the other. Thus a precise chronology may call for a precision that is not yet available to us from these ancient texts.

These variations have given rise to the proposal of three different chronologies, which are known as the high, middle and low dates or schemes (Åström 1989). These have been calculated for the 12th Dynasty, the 18th Dynasty and the 19th Dynasty. We are concerned here especially with the 18th Dynasty because that was the royal house that ruled Egypt through the 15th century BC. Adopting the high dates for Thutmose III in that century does not necessarily mean that the high dates have to be adopted for the 19th Dynasty. Those dates could just as well be calculated according to the middle or low chronology; it would just mean that there was more time involved in the period of the late 18th Dynasty and the early 19th Dynasty.

For our purposes here the important dates to note are those for the reign of Thutmose III: high, 1504–1450 BC; middle, 1490–1436 BC; low, 1479–1425 BC. The current trend among Egyptologists, especially from Germany, has been in the direction of the low chronology. The middle chronology was that proposed by R. A. Parker (1957: 39–43; 1976: 177–89). The high chronology is the older chronology advocated by L. Borchardt (1935) and J. H. Breasted (1964: 170, 502). There still are modern advocates of the high chronology. In my earlier encyclopedia article on the date of the Exodus I utilized the high chronology both because it seemed to be the most accurate and it also provided the best fit with Biblical data about the Exodus (1982: 234).

Egyptian History

In my earlier article on the date of the Exodus, I selected Thutmose III as the Pharaoh of the Exodus for several reasons. First, he is the Pharaoh who died closest to the Biblical date of the Exodus and no Pharaoh died for a quarter of a century before him (Hatshepsut) and no Pharaoh died for another quarter of a century after him (Amenhotep II). Thus he appeared to be the Pharaoh whose death came closest to the Biblical date for the Exodus. Then also he died at the right time of the year, in the spring, March 17 to be exact according to correlations for the 13th day of the seventh Egyptian month (Biography of Amenemhab). In addition, the mummy that is labeled as that of Thutmose III does not fit well with his dates according to x-ray. According to his inscriptions, he should not have died until he was well over 60 years of age, but the mummy labeled Thutmose III shows bone features of a man 40–45 years of age (Harris and Weeks 1973: 138). Finally, Thutmose III was the Pharaoh who really set Egypt on the road to an Asiatic empire with his almost annual campaigns from Year 23 to Year 42. The outflow of equipment and the inflow of booty from these campaigns would have created a demand for the store cities that the Israelites are said to have built (Ex 1:11).

There was a weakness in this presentation, however, and it was chronological. The problem is that the Biblical date points to 1446 as the year of the Exodus, while the dates for Thutmose III indicate that he died in 1450. I attempted to compensate for this difference by mentioning the coregency between Thutmose III and his son Amenhotep II at the beginning of the 480-year period and the coregency between David and Solomon at the end of the period. However, these compensations do not successfully close the gap between 1450 and 1446.

During and after the writing of the encyclopedia article on the Exodus, I had a few discussions with Siegfried Horn about the issue. I pointed out to him that Thutmose III was the only Pharaoh of Egypt who died around the right time of the Biblical date. Since he had suggested Amenhotep II as Pharaoh of the Exodus in his dictionary article (Horn 1979: 350), there appeared to be a discrepancy here. His suggestion to resolve this problem was that perhaps Amenhotep II died at the time of the Exodus and a substitute was placed on his throne without making the transition evident to the populace generally. While the theory sounded interesting, there were no inscriptions or archaeological evidence to support the idea.

As it turns out, Siegfried may have been right. While no evidence for the death of one Amenhotep and the succession of another Amenhotep was forthcoming at that time, a reexamination of the Egyptian texts from this period provides that kind of evidence when they are correctly understood. The evidence was right there all the time, but we did not recognize it.

The reason why we did not recognize it at the time was because the Egyptians may have covered up the problem.



Relief of Amenhotep II in his chariot firing arrows at a copper ingot target, Temple of Amun, Thebes, Egypt. The king often boasted of his physical prowess. He recorded, “…he entered into his northern garden and found that there had been set up for him four targets of Asiatic copper of one palm in their thickness, with 20 cubits between one post and its fellow. Then his majesty appeared in a chariot like Montu [the god of war] in his power. He grasped his bow and gripped four arrows at the same time. So he rode northward, shooting at them like Montu in his regalia. His arrows had come out on the back thereof while he was attacking another post. It was really a deed which had never been done nor heard of by report: shooting at a target of copper an arrow which came out and dropped to the ground­except for the king…” (ANET 244). [Clifford Wilson]

No Co-regency Between Thutmose III and Amenhotep II

The interpretation that there was a coregency between these two Pharaohs does not stem from any direct inscriptional evidence for it. Rather, it has been created because of some problem texts. There are no nice double-dated inscriptions for these two rulers like those of the 12th Dynasty. There are some occasional concurrences of their two cartouches together, but this is slender evidence indeed upon which to propose a coregency. Gardiner calls the juxtaposition of these cartouches in three locations “doubtful evidence” for a coregency and notes, “the student must be warned against this kind of evidence” (1964: 200).

What then are the problem texts that this proposed coregency is supposed to solve? The problem here comes from two pairs of texts from the reign of Amenhotep II in which they both referred to his “first victorious campaign,” but the campaigns are different and they occurred in different years. The second problem has to do with accession date(s) of Amenhotep II. He appears to have two, one for the time immediately following his father’s death and one for another time. The problem texts may be described as follows:

The Amada and Elephantine Stelae of Year 3 (Cumming 1982: pt. 1. 24–28; ANET 247–48)

After a long and self-laudatory introduction, Amenhotep II tells of his inauguration of repairs and expansion of the temples for Khnum of Elephantine and Anukis of Amada in Nubia. This he carried out:

after the return of his Majesty from Upper Retjenu when he had overthrown all his opponents in order to broaden the boundaries of Egypt on the first campaign of victory (italics mine; Cumming 1982: 27).

The text goes on to tell how the king slew seven hostage chieftains that he had brought back to Egypt from Takhsi in Syria and then hung their heads or bodies and hands on his royal ship as it sailed south to Thebes. After arriving there he hung six of them on the wall of the city and he sent the seventh on by boat to be hung on the wall of Napata near the fourth cataract of the Nile in Nubia.

The same event, the slaying of the chieftains of Takhsi, is mentioned in the Biography of Amenemhab. There it follows directly after the recital of the death of Thutmose III.

He introduces the coronation of Amenhotep II by dating it, when the morning brightened.” At that time Amenhotep II “was established upon the throne of his father” (Breasted 1906: 319). As a part of that ceremony, Amenhotep then slaughtered the seven princes of Takhsi and suspended their heads from his royal boat as he sailed from Memphis to Thebes. It is clear that Amenemhab knew nothing of a coregency between Thutmose III and Amenhotep II for if there had been such an arrangement, there would not have been a need for this installation ceremony after his father died.

On the other hand, one may question Amenemhab’s dating of the death of the princes of Takhsi at the same time as Amenhotep’s inauguration. Amenhotep’s own inscription dates that event in Year 3 at the end of his military campaign then. Events are commonly telescoped in tomb biographies more than they are in the royal annals. Thus Amenemhab seems to have telescoped two events together that actually occurred three years apart.

Whether the slaying of the princes of Takhsi took place at the time of Amenhotep’s coronation or at the time of his return from a military campaign, it is a remarkably brutal act. Gardiner refers to it as “an act of barbarity which in the crude moral atmosphere of that warlike age could be regarded with special pride” (1964: 199). Amenhotep did have a precedent in this action in that of his great grandfather Thutmose I who, in sailing back from a military campaign in Nubia, hung the head or heads of his enemies on his royal boat. In my previous interpretation of the events surrounding the Exodus I interpreted this action by Amenhotep II as a demonstration of his frustration at having arrived back in Egypt only to find his father, Thutmose III, dead in the course of the events of the Exodus. Since our more closely detailed focus is upon Amenhotep II as the Pharaoh of the Exodus, the execution of the princes of Takhsi may simply be a manifestation of his own brutality apart from any connection with the Exodus. If this Pharaoh then fell victim to the Exodus events instead, it looks as if that judgment was well deserved.



Tomb of Amenhotep II, Thebes, Egypt. The author suggests this was the second Egyptian pharaoh to have the title Amenhotep II. The first was the Pharaoh of the Exodus who died in the Reed Sea and the second, buried here, took his place and used the same name.

The Memphis and Karnak Stelae of Years 7 and 9

The only dated inscription from the reign of Amenhotep II which dates between the military campaigns of Years 3 and 7 is an appendix to the campaign of Year 3 on the Elephantine Stela in which he gave instructions in Year 4 for the extension of the festival of Anukis of Nubia from three days to four days and additional provisions were to be made for the celebration of that festival. The day and month of these instructions is not given; they could have occurred quite early in the year. There is also one non-royal inscription from Year 4 and that comes from Minmosi, superintendent of the quarries at Turah, who was commissioned to open up new quarries to produce stone for the construction and repair of the Temples (Cumming 1984: pt. 2, 143–44). No other dated inscriptions from Year 4 are known and no dated inscriptions are know from Year 5 or Year 6.

The campaigns of Years 7 and 9 are recited on a pair of stelae, one from Memphis and the other from Karnak, the northern and southern capitals of the country. The introduction to this text is similar in content to that which introduces the stela from Year 3, but it is shorter. The campaign of Year 7 was aimed at Syria. Almost a dozen sites there are mentioned as having been captured. They appear to range geographically from northeastern Syria down to the southwest. A summary of the captives taken is recited with the final reference to his return to Memphis.

The serious problem here that this text creates stems from the fact that this campaign is referred to in the text as “his first campaign of victory” (italics mine; Cumming 1982: pt. 1, 30). Thus we have the problem of two first campaigns of victory on our hands for this Pharaoh. In speaking of this contradiction Gardiner observes, “Too much has possibly been made of this discrepancy...” and he goes on to suggest that the first campaign really belonged to Thutmose III, and Amenhotep was acting as leader of the troops for him (Gardiner 1964: 200). Another way to attempt to resolve this problem is to suggest that there was a coregency between Thutmose III and Amenhotep (Redford 1965: 108–22). In fact, these two pairs of stelae are probably the main reason why such a coregency has been suggested. The idea here is that the campaign of Year 3 occurred during the short coregency and the campaign of Year 7 occurred after Amenhotep II became sole ruler. But since Pharaohs who were coregents did not start the number of their regnal years over when they became sole ruler, there is no reason why they should start numbering their military campaigns over either. We know that the identification of the campaign of Year 7 is not a scribal error because the campaign of Year 9 is identified as “his second campaign of victory” in the same text (Cumming 1982: pt 1, 31).

This problem is accentuated by the fact that Takhsi from the campaign of Year 3 is never mentioned in the campaign of Year 7, even though the focus of that campaign was also upon Syria. Adding to this problem is that we have two different accession dates for Amenhotep II, one of them implied and the other stated directly. The implied date for Amenhotep’s accession is the day after Thutmose III’s death. Since Tuthmose III died on VII/30, Amenhotep should have been inaugurated on VIII/1. The anniversary of the coronation of Amenhotep is given in the account of the campaign of year 9, however, and the date given there falls at the end of the 11th month. (Cumming 1982: pt 1, 32).

Summary of These Problems

There are two major and direct conflicts between the stelae of Year 3 and those of Years 7 and 9. Both of the campaigns of Years 3 and 7 are identified as the king’s first victorious campaign. This problem is not resolved by proposing a coregency here and it is not resolved on the basis of a simple scribal error, since the report from Year 9 refers to that campaign as his second victorious campaign. The other problem is the different accession dates. From the death date of Thutmose III the accession date of Amenhotep II should have been VIII/1, but the report of the campaign of Year 9 indicates instead that his accession date was toward the end of the 11th month. So we have here a Pharaoh who had two first campaigns of victory and two different accession dates. These problems have not yet been resolved satisfactorily.

Potential Correlations With the Exodus

It is of interest to note that these complications in the texts of Amenhotep II occur right at the time when the Exodus of the Israelites occurred according to the Biblical date for that event (1 Kgs 6:1). Above, the date of 1446 was suggested as the Julian date for that event, using correlations with the chronology of the monarchy. For the dates of Amenhotep we have used the high chronology for the reign of Thutmose III, 1504–1450) as explained above. Now these two chronologies can be correlated. In order to do so it should also be noted that the Egyptians used the non-accession year method of reckoning, in which the first regnal year of the king began on the day of his accession. They did not wait until the next New Year to start that first year.

Chronologically this means that Year 1 of Amenhotep II fell in 1450 BC. That means that his third year, the year of the first victorious campaign of the Amada and Elephantine stelae, fell in 1448. It also means that the first victorious campaign of Year 7 on the Memphis and Karnak stelae occurred in 1444 BC and the campaign of Year 9, also on the Memphis and Karnak stelae, was conducted in 1442. According to the dates for these three campaigns, the Biblical date for the Exodus fell right between the campaigns of these two stelae, in 1446. These correlations can be diagrammed as shown below.

The chronological correlation here fits very well. The Biblical date for the Exodus falls right between the two first campaigns of victory for the king named Amenhotep II. If the king of the first campaign died at the time of the Exodus, then the king of the new first campaign and the second campaign should be a new king who also took the same nomen and prenomen of Amenhotep II. This could have resulted from an attempt to cover up the disaster that had taken place. Instead of taking a new set of throne names, the king who came to the throne after the first Amenhotep took the same set of throne names. But the attempt to cover up the disaster was not complete or perfect. A hint of it was left behind by the king or the scribes who either forgot or intentionally did not take into account the first victorious campaign of the first king by that name. Hence the conflict arose, both in terms of numbering his campaigns and in terms of identifying his accession date.

This synthesis raises the question of whether the Pharaoh of the Exodus did die at the time of the Exodus. The account of Exodus 14–15 is not directly explicit upon this point, but it is the logical inference there. Yahweh says that He will get glory over Pharaoh. While some of that glory could be maintained by his loss of troops in the Sea of Reeds, if he escaped with his own life some of that glory could have been diminished. Depictions of the wartime Pharaoh show him in his larger-than life chariot heading his troops into battle. In actual battles against armed troops of the enemy this probably was propaganda and Pharaoh probably directed the battle from the rear of his army. But against largely unarmed civilians like the fleeing Israelites, Pharaoh would have had no reason not to lead his troops into the dry bed of the Sea of Reeds and thus he would have been the lead candidate for death by drowning there. Thus the logic of Exodus 14–15 is that Pharaoh did die by drowning at the time of the Exodus. This point is confirmed by Psalm 136:15 which says that Yahweh “overthrew Pharaoh and his host in the Red Sea” (cf. Ex 14:28; Ps 106:9–11).


Chronological Correlations with Exodus



Events in Egypt After the Proposed Date for the Exodus

If Amenhotep II was the Pharaoh of the Exodus according to the above correlations, and he died at that time, then we should identify him as Amenhotep IIA and connect him with the Elephantine and Amada stelae of Year 3. Then the Pharaoh of Egypt who came to the throne and took his name should be identified as Amenhotep IIB and connected with the Memphis and Karnak stelae. The question then is, is there any additional information from the rest of the reign of Amenhotep II that would tend to confirm his identity as the Pharaoh after the Exodus?

The same points that I utilized in my earlier article on the date of the Exodus can be used here. The only difference is that the identity of the Pharaoh of the Exodus has been shifted from Thutmose III to Amenhotep IIA. That resolves the chronological discrepancy between the Biblical date for the Exodus in 1446 and the date of Thutmose III’s death in 1450, and in so doing it puts the Exodus directly in the middle of two sets of problematic texts and thus provides another potential explanation for them.

1. Regardless of the number of Israelites who left Egypt, their departure still would have deprived the Egyptians of a sizeable supply of slave labor. Thus the total of persons brought back to Egypt by Amenhotep IIB as reported at the end of the campaigns of Years 7 and 9 may not be inflated. The total given in the text is 89,600 men, whereas, the individual numbers themselves total 101,128 (ANET 247). While some have questioned the very high number given here, if one looks at the needs for state labor right after the Exodus, the number does not look so high after all.

2. From the end of Amenhotep IIB’s reign comes a text so unusual that some Egyptologists think that he may have been drunk while dictating it (Gardiner 1964: 199; Cumming pt. 1, 1928: 45–46). In this text Amenhotep expresses his hatred of the Semites. The inscription is dated 14 years after his last Asiatic campaign, that of Year 9, which shows that he still had Semites (Hebrews?) on his mind, even when he was down south in Nubia. The text conveys his counsel to the governor of Nubia. The Hebrews are not mentioned directly, but Takhsi is the location where Amenhotep IIA campaigned. If Amenhotep IIB held the Hebrews responsible for the death of his predecessor, that could have supplied fuel for his expression of hatred for the Semites. He also gives a warning against magicians. While the Nubians were noted for their practice of magic, there might also be an echo of the encounter with Moses the master magician here.

3. From after the end of the reign of Amenhotep IIB comes another document that could relate to the son of the Pharaoh after the Exodus. The text is the Dream Stela of Thutmose IV in which he tells about how, when he was out hunting he sat down to rest near the Great Sphinx and fell asleep. In his dream the sphinx told him that he would become Pharaoh even though he had not expected to become the ruler. He was not in line for it since he was not the crown prince at the time. In return for this reward he was to clear the sand away from around the sphinx. The stela with this text is located between the paws of the sphinx (ANET 449).

This text has been related to the Exodus account before (Horn 1979: 350), with Thutmose IV being the lesser son of the Pharaoh of the Exodus. In that case, his older brother died allowing him to come to the throne when he did not expect it. The same relation still holds true under the hypothesis described above, but the relationship is more complex. According to the genealogy worked out above, Thutmose IV would have been the son of Amenhotep IIB. This still means that he probably had an older brother who died in the tenth plague, but his coming to the throne had more to do with the death of his uncle. Assuming that Amenhotep IIA and IIB were either full or half brothers, Amenhotep IIA who died at the time of the Exodus would have been the uncle of the future Thutmose IV. Thus he would have come to the throne both because his uncle died in the Sea of Reeds and because his older brother died in the tenth plague.

These factors continue to support the idea that Amenhotep IIB would fit well as the Pharaoh after the Exodus, while his predecessor Amenhotep IIA would fit better as the Pharaoh at the time of the Exodus. His son and successor, Thutmose IV, also fits well as the son of the Pharaoh after the Exodus.



The Great Sphinx
at Giza, Egypt. An inscription between the paws, the “Dream Stela” or “Sphinx Stella,” tells how Thutmose IV was promised kingship by Harmakhis, god of the Sphinx, even though he was not the first-born son of Amehotep IIB. It is possible that Thutmoses IV’s older brother died in the plague of the first born.


A Mummy for the Pharaoh of the Exodus?

According to the Biblical indications discussed above, a Pharaoh died in the Sea of Reeds at the time of the Exodus event. What would have happened to his body? There are two possibilities here. One is that his body sank into the depths of the water and was never recovered. Another possibility is that his body washed ashore like the bodies of some of his soldiers (Ex 14:30). If his body washed ashore and was recovered by a search party sent out then it undoubtedly would have been taken back to Egypt for burial, but not the kind of burial that was usually accorded dead Pharaohs. In this case the burial would have been more secretive because there was a new Amenhotep on the throne who had taken his place. We might expect, therefore, that little work had been done on his tomb thus far and that his interment was one with minimal preparation. The question is, is there a body among the royal mummies that could fit this specification?

First of all, there is a mummy of Amenhotep II that we would designate here as Amenhotep IIB, the Pharaoh who lived to the end of his 26 regnal years. It is a mummy of the right age and, contrary to many of the mummies of the kings, it was found in the right place­in his own sarcophagus in his own tomb, No. 35 in the Valley of the Kings. X-rays of his mummy reveal him to have been about 45 years old when he died (Harris and Weeks 1973: 138). This fits well with the chronology of his reign. If he came to the throne at about age 18-20, and ruled to his 26th year, this mummy fits well with that which we have proposed for Amenhotep IIB.

Is there any evidence for another mummy that might be connected with Amenhotep IIA? There is a free floating royal mummy of the 18th Dynasty that has not yet been identified and this mummy is that of a king who was about the right age at death for what we have proposed for Amenhotep IIA. In his inaugural text, the Sphinx Stela, he indicated that he was 18 years of age when he came to the throne (Cumming, pt. 1, 1982: 20). Since he died about Year 5 of his reign, this would have meant that he was in his early 20s when he died in the Sea of Reeds. There is a mummy of this approximate age that has been misidentified as Thutmose I. There was no label on this mummy’s wrappings to identify him as such; it was only assumed that this was Thutmose I because he was found in the Deir el-Bahr mummy cache near a coffin that belonged to a Thutmose. The mummy of Thutmose I was a well-traveled mummy. Originally, he was undoubtedly buried in his own tomb. Then Hatshepsut later had her father moved into her own tomb. Still further, Thutmose III built another tomb for Thutmose I (No. 38). His body, however, was not found there, so when this unidentified body was found near one of the coffins of a Thutmose, Maspero, who made this discovery, assumed that it was Thutmose I.

Thutmose I was not related to the Pharaoh under whom he worked, Amenhotep I. Amenhotep I had no surviving male issue, so Thutmose I, formerly a general in the army, came to the throne. The length of his reign is disputed but he probably ruled for at least a decade. Thus he should have been a man of middle age when he died. The mummy that had previously been identified as that of Thutmose I has now been x-rayed and it shows instead that it belonged to a young man of about 18 years of age (Harris and Weeks 1973: 132). Thus this mummy cannot be that of Thutmose I. The question then is, to whom does this mummy of the 18th Dynasty belong? Could it be Amenhotep IIA?

The age would fit reasonably well with what we know of the early career of Amenhotep IIA. He should have been in his early 20s at the time of his one major military text, that of Year 3, and by the time of the Exodus in Year 5. Also there are some interesting features to this mummy. First, it is not desiccated like the normal mummies that were either soaked in a solution of natron, a sodium salt, or packed in dry natron. This argues for a rapid burial of this body. Second, there was no resinous coating applied to this mummy, as commonly was done, which provides a second argument for a rapid burial. As a result, this has been called “one of the best preserved of all royal mummies” (Harris and Weeks 1973: 34). The irony of this may be that it is the best preserved because it was not preserved in the normal way. His head was shaved and there are abrasions on the tip of his nose and on his right cheek that look like they may be antemortem or intramortem injuries, not postmortem changes.

In discussing this mummy, J. Tyldesley speculates that since it is not Thutmose I it may be one of his sons (1996: 127). Perhaps he was not one of the sons of Thutmose I but rather one of the sons of Thutmose III, Amenhotep IIA, to be more specific. It is probable that we never will know the identity of this mummy but it does raise the tantalizing possibility that this body could be that of the Pharaoh of the Exodus.

Sarcophagus of Amenhotep II

Sarcophagus of Amenhotep II, in his tomb at Thebes.

Summary

The evidence presented above is only circumstantial. No Egyptian inscription exists which tells directly of the Exodus of the Israelites and we may expect that none will ever be found. The reason for this is the propagandistic nature of Egyptian royal inscriptions. The kind of problem was even more acute for the Egyptians than for the Assyrians and Babylonians. In those eastern countries the king was only a servant of the gods; kings were rarely deified. In Egypt all of the Kings were treated as gods, Horus incarnate. For an event like the Biblical Exodus to have occurred on the watch of the divine Horus would have struck directly at his nature as a god, thus that kind of event could not be admitted, even if it occurred.

That being the case, more indirect channels must be utilized in a search for the Pharaoh of the Exodus. Irregularities that could match with some aspects of the Biblical story must be sought. Discrepancies between Egyptian texts at the appropriate time chronologically may provide this kind of indirect evidence for the Exodus. That is as much as one can hope for from Egyptian texts relating to the Exodus.

Using the Biblical date for the Exodus when applied to the Julian calendar indicates that search should be made first for this kind of indirect evidence around the middle of the 15th century BC. Only one Pharaoh is clearly known to have died at that time and that was Thutmose III. For that reason I selected him as the best candidate for the Pharaoh of the Exodus in my earlier study on this subject.

Closer attention to Biblical chronology has led to discrepancies within Egyptian texts from early in the reign of Amenhotep II. Using the precise Biblical date for the Exodus locates that event early in the reign of that king, not at the end of his predecessor. There is a gap of about three years between his dated inscriptions, between Year 4 and Year 7, which provide a gap into which the events of the Exodus can be placed. That being the case, the available tensions between his texts from Year 3 and Year 7 become more significant. On that basis the proposal has been developed here that Amenhotep II was the Pharaoh of the Exodus. The Biblical evidence requires his death at that time, around Year 5 of his reign. The king that served out the balance of his reign should, therefore, be his successor. In this case, however, the successor took the same nomen and prenomen and other titles that were used by the preceding Pharaoh. For that reason we have identified these two kings as Amenhotep IIA and Amenhotep IIB. Amenhotep IIA is the King whom should have died at the time of the Exodus and Amenhotep IIB was the king who served out the rest of his term as if he were that same king.

There are some features that come from the reign of the king that we have identified as Amenhotep IIB, the Pharaoh after the Exodus, which fit well with his succession at that time. There was his need for a new supply of manpower for state building projects and this need was filled by the 90,000 or more captives that he brought back to Egypt from his campaigns of Years 7 and 9. There was his extraordinary hatred for Semites expressed, strangely, in Nubia toward the end of his reign. As part of that expression to the governor there he warned him against magicians, which could carry an echo of a memory of the function of Moses at the time of the Exodus. His son, Thutmose IV fits well as the son of the Pharaoh after the Exodus because of the irregular nature of his accession expressed in the text of his Dream Stela found between the paws of the Great Sphinx.

There is a possibility that the body of the Pharaoh of the Exodus was recovered from the Sea of Reeds and that body has been found among the royal mummies of the 18th Dynasty. The mummy misidentified as Thutmose I has now been redated by x-rays and found to be that of a young man half the age of Thutmose I. There are some unusual features of this mummy that could suggest a connection with the Exodus but, given the nature of mummy evidence, that link probably cannot be forged even if it is a correct connection.

The evidence is circumstantial but the circumstances point to Amenhotep IIA as the Pharaoh of the Exodus.

 Recommended Resources for Further Study

     
Bible and Spade
CD-ROM
Archaeology and
the Old Testament
Giving the Sense



Bibliography

Albright, W.F.
1961 The Archaeology of Palestine, rev. paperback ed. Baltimore: Penguin.

ANET
= Pritchard, J.B., ed. 1955 Ancient Near Eastern Texts Relating to the Old
Testament
. Princeton NJ: Princeton University Press.

Åström. P.
, ed. 1989 High, Middle or Low? Acts of an International Colloquium on Absolute Chronology Held at the University of Gothenburg20th–22nd August 1987,
Pt. 3. Gothenburg: P. Åström.

Bietak. M.
1981
Avaris and PiRamesse: Archaeological Explorations in the Eastern Nile Delta, the Wheeler Lecture for 1979. London: British Academy.
1996 Avaris: Capital of the Hyksos, the Sackler Lecture for 1992. London: British Museum.

Borchardt. L.
1935
Die Mittel zur zeitlichen Festlegung von Punkten der äegyptischen Geschichte und ihre Anwendung. Cairo: Selbstverlag.

Breasted, J.H.
1906
Ancient Records of Egypt 3. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. 1964 A History of Egypt, paperback ed. New York: Bantam.

Bright, J.
1983
History of Israel, third ed. Philadelphia: Fortress.

Brueggermann, W.
1994 Exodus. In
The New Interpreter’s Bible, vol. 1. Nashville: Abingdon.

Cumming, B.
1982
Egyptian Historical Records of the Later Eighteenth Dynasty. Fascicle I. Warminster: Aris and Phillips.
1984 Egyptian Historical Records of the Later Eighteenth Dynasty. Fascicle II. Warminster: Aris and Phillips.

Currid, J.D.
1997
Ancient Egypt and the Old Testament. Grand Rapids: Baker.

Enns, P.
2000
Exodus. NIV Application Commentary. Grand Rapids: Zondervan.


Frerichs, E.S., and Lesko, L.H. , eds. 1997 Exodus: The Egyptian Evidence. Winona Lake: Eisenbrauns.

Gardiner. A.H.
1964
Egypt of the Pharaohs. Paperback ed. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Harris, J.E., and Weeks, K.R.
1973
X-Raying the Pharaohs. New York: Scribners.

Hoffmeier, J.K.
1997 Israel in Egypt: The Evidence for the Authenticity of the Exodus Tradition. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Horn, S.H.
1979 Exodus. In Seventh-day Adventist Bible Dictionary, rev. ed. Washington DC: Review and Herald.

Kitchen, K.A.
1982 Pharaoh Triumphant. Warminster: Aris and Phillips.

Parker, R.A.
1957 The Lunar Dates of Thutmose III and Ramesses II. Journal of Near Eastern Studies 16: 39–43.
1976 The Sothic Dating of the Twelfth and Eighteenth Dynasties. In Studies in Honor of George R. Hughes. Studies in Ancient Oriental Civilization 39. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Propp, W.H.
1999 Exodus 1–18. Anchor Bible Series. New York: Doubleday.

von Rad, G.
1962 Old Testament Theology. New York: Harper and Row.

Redford, D.B.
1965 The Coregency between Thutmosis III and Amenophis II. Journal of Egyptian Archaeology. 51: 108–22.

Rowley, H.H.
1950 From Joseph to Joshua. London: British Academy.

Shea, W.H.
1982 Exodus, Date of the. Pp. 230-38 in The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia 2, rev.ed., eds. G.W. Bromiley, et al., Grand Rapids: Eerdmans.

Thiele, E.R.
1965 The Mysterious Numbers of the Hebrew Kings, rev. ed. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans.

Thompson, T.L.
1977 The Joseph and Moses Narratives. Pp. 149-212 In Israelite and Judean History, eds.J.H. Hayes and J.M. Miller. Philadelphia: Westminster.

Tyldesley, J.
1996 Hatchepsut: The Female Pharaoh. London: Viking.

Wente, E.F., and van Siclen, C.C.
1976 A Chronology of the New Kingdom. Studies in Honor of George R. Hughes. Studies in Ancient Oriental Civilization 39. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Wright, G.E.
1962 God Who Acts. London: SCM Press.

 

Comments Comment RSS

8/1/2008 10:33 AM #

In addition to above article, Dr Shea is quoted by Dr Clifford Wilson in "The ABC's Of Bilical Archaeology" [On-line Bible CD, Classic Edition] stating that the Orthodontics Department of Michigan University took an X-ray picture of the alleged mummy of Thutmosis III in Cairo Museum, which turned out to be a little strange. I find the evidence in favour of Thutmose III as the Pharoah of the Exodus very persuasive, but the date of the taking of the X-ray does not appear to be documented. It may seem a small detail, but it is important when presenting this type of evidence to an unbelieving sceptic. Is the date readily available?

Thank you. Ian McClean.

Ian McClean - 8/1/2008 10:33:53 AM

8/1/2008 6:40 PM #

Dear Ian,

Thanks for your question about the x-raying of Thutmose III. Here is a reference from Dr. Bryant Wood:

"The information can be found in X-Raying the Pharaohs, by James E. Harris (1973)."

We hope you find this information helpful! Thanks for your interest in the ABR ministry!

Henry Smith

hsmith - 8/1/2008 6:40:55 PM

9/24/2008 10:31 PM #

In the article, Shea cites an inscription of Amenhotep II which expresses hatred toward Semites, as well as a warning against magicians. Could you give the direct quotation or a reference to the direct quotation? The one place I could find the translation of the inscription was "Urkunden des ägyptischen Altertums IV 1343-44" which I do not have access to. Gardiner simply mentions a short summary of the inscription in passing, as do all other references I checked. Thank you.

TRN - 9/24/2008 10:31:16 PM

9/26/2008 5:27 PM #

Dear TRN,

The text is published in Barbara Cumming, Egyptian Historical Records of the Later Eighteenth Dynasty 1 (Warminster, England: Aris & Phillips, 1982), pp. 45–46.

Hope this helps!

hsmith - 9/26/2008 5:27:12 PM

3/3/2009 8:57 PM #

What about the discoveries of the Red Seas Crossing by Ron Wyatt and team, which conclusively put the Exodus in 1446 BC and the Pharoah Amenhotep 3? The Thutmose TITLE seems to equate to the "Prince of Wales" title in England, and therefore Thutmose 4 is the same person as Amenhotep 3, but now the ruling pharoah rather than the northern governor.

This explains why Tutenkhamun was not known as Thutmose - he had not yet been invested at that level.

Thutmose 2 was the Biblical Moses (Egyptian Senemnut), adopted son of Hatshepsut (Pharoah's daughter), and their monuments were defaced to hide the fact that Thutmose 3 was a ring-in when Moses did a runner.

Paul Davies - 3/3/2009 8:57:42 PM

9/9/2009 3:55 PM #

Dear Mr. Davies,

Unfortunately, Mr. Wyatt's discoveries have been thoroughly discredited.

From Dr. Bryant Wood:

"Ron Wyatt, now deceased, was not a credible scholar.  He was an anesthetist with no training in archaeology or the ancient Near East.  He was merely an adventurer.  Wyatt was a Seventh Day Adventist and has been thoroughly refuted by his own denomination (Holy Relics or Revelation—Recent Astounding Archaeological Claims Evaluated, by Russell R. and Colin D. Standish, published by Heartland Publications in 1999 and available from ABR:

www.biblearchaeology.org/.../product.aspx?id=108  

ABR has published research articles debunking the claim that Mt. Sinai is located in Saudi Arabia:

www.biblearchaeology.org/.../...Saudi-Arabia.aspx.
and www.biblearchaeology.org/.../...Saudi-Arabia.aspx.  

In short, the Bible records that the sea crossing took place at the beginning of the Exodus journey, closer to Egypt, rather than at the end of the journey, closer to Mt. Sinai, as Wyatt’s theory would have it.  

Even more damaging is the fact that it took the Israelites but 60 days to reach Mt. Sinai (Exod. 19:1).  Travelling by foot with all of their animals, they only would be able to make 5–6 miles per day, much too slow to reach Saudi Arabia in 60 days.

See www.biblearchaeology.org/.../...f-Mount-Sinai.aspx

According to the requirements of Scripture, the sea crossing took place in the Isthmus of Suez.  I believe it was at Lake Ballah, no longer seen today since it was drained when the Suez Canal was cut.

See www.biblearchaeology.org/.../...ossing-Part-I.aspx and

www.biblearchaeology.org/.../...ssing-Part-II.aspx  

Mt. Sinai should be located somewhere in the northeast Sinai: See www.biblearchaeology.org/.../...th-Mt-Sinai.aspx).  

Note that the so-called “chariot wheels” at the bottom of the Gulf of Aqaba shown in the presentation have four spokes whereas Egyptian chariot wheels have six spokes."

We strongly recommend that Christians should not accept Mr. Wyatt's conclusions about the Exodus or the Sea crossing. They do not hold up to scrutiny.

I hope this helps you in your study of the Word of God.

Sincerely,

Henry B. Smith Jr.

ABR - 9/9/2009 3:55:54 PM

11/3/2009 3:58 PM #

Thank you my brother for your humility, passion and zeal for God's Word, His truth and His might. My the Lord bless you and keep you, may He shine His face upon you and your blood family and your family at ABR.  Luke 6:46

Victor Manuel Gonzalez - 11/3/2009 3:58:29 PM

1/22/2010 7:42 PM #

William Shea is correct in attributing Amenhotep II as the exodus-pharaoh. And just as he did, at first I also incorrectly identified the exodus-pharaoh as Thutmose III. This is impossible, namely due to a set of conflicts that arise between the historical data and the requirements of the exodus-pharaoh's biography.

However, Shea incorrectly creates a 2nd (and "mysterious") Amenhotep II, a claim that would raise the eyebrows of any and every Egyptologist. I have addressed and refuted this notion thoroughly in my published article, "Amenhotep II and the Historicity of the Exodus Pharaoh", published in The Master's Seminary Journal (Spr 06).

This article essentially identifies several crucial, historical requirements of the life of the exodus-pharaoh and examines them against the life of Amenhotep II, to determine whether he meets these reqirements. The conclusion drawn is that not only does he meet all of the requirements, but he is the ONLY pharaoh of the 18th or 19th Egyptian Dynasties who can meet all of these biographical requirements.

In the article, I also discuss the reasons for the defacing of the images of Hatshepsut, of which Mr. Davies commented in March of 2009. The article can be acquired in PDF format at the following address:

exegesisinternational.org/index.php

This article represents the most thorough treatment of the connection between the exodus-pharaoh and Amenhotep II yet in print.

Douglas Petrovich
formerly Academic Dean at Novosibirsk Biblical-Theological Seminary
currently PhD student at the University of Toronto (major: Archaeology of Syro-Palestine; first minor: Egyptology)

Douglas Petrovich - 1/22/2010 7:42:03 PM

2/26/2010 12:53 AM #

This is fascinating!  I'm convinced Thutmose II A was the Pharaoh of the Exodus.  I didn't realize he was so young.  And it is tantalizing to think we have his wel preserved mummy.  Wow.

Momstootie - 2/26/2010 12:53:25 AM

8/19/2010 5:20 PM #

This is all great, ONLY as long as the source material and their individual interpretations are correct...
The discoveries of the remains of Amenhotep IIIs chariots at the bottom of the Red Sea off Nuweiba has put the argument to rest. His first-born son (who died in the last plague) was Tutankhamun, and his younger second son became the pharoah Akenaten (who introduced worship of the God of the Bible to the best of his ability when he took the throne, having witnessed the embarrassment of the traditional gods in the plagues). Ay stepped in to hold the fort and pretend that nothing had changed when Egypt was without an army or nobility until Akenaten was old enough.
Please note, this is based NOT on argument and theory, but on the artifacts, which the Egyptian Dept of Antiquities stated conclusively put the Exodus into the 18th dynasty, as it was the only period where 4-, 6- and 8-spoked wheels were used together.

We know know that Pharoah's daughter was Hatshepsut, who adopted Moses under the name Senemnut. She was a widow with no other children, and her father had no surviving sons, which is why she had to govern a section of the country as pharoah's representative.

Moses became Tutmosis II, did a runner, and was replaced by a distant look-alike Tutmosis III. He took the title Amenhotep II when he took over as King, and his second son (not first-born) became crown prince Tut IV and then King Amenhotep III.

Tut was not yet a governing crown prince or he too would have taken the Tutmosis title, which was used like the "Prince of Wales" title in england in that dynasty.

Paul Davies - 8/19/2010 5:20:27 PM

5/20/2011 1:26 AM #

Hi,

Looking at the dates 966+480 gives you 1446. If you use the lunar calendar instead of the gregorian solar calendar you get 480x11/365 or 14.5 less years ie 1446-15= 1431 as the date of the exodus. This is quite close to when Thutmosis iii died. Is it logical to use the lunar calendar since the gregorian calendar as the Hebrew calendar is based on the lunar calendar and not the gregorian calendar and the gregorian calendar came only much later

Regards

Qamar

Qamar - 5/20/2011 1:26:30 AM

5/20/2011 3:16 PM #

Hello, Qamar.

I cannot tell you how William Shea would reply, but I most certainly can tell you how I would reply. The thing to remember about the lunar calendar of the Hebrews and most other ANE societies that used what we term a “lunar calendar” is that in fact these were “lunisolar calendars”, unlike the Islamic calendar of today.

The reason for this distinction is that the ANE calendars feature intercalary months, which means that they added months to bring the lunar cycles into synchronization with the solar year, given that they well understood that a strictly lunar calendar would put them in conflict with the well-defined timeframe of a year, based on regular seasonal variations.

Most ancient calendars counted 12 lunations (as does the modern Isalamic calendar) in a year, giving 354.37 days for the lunar year. To avoid the problem of seasonal drift, they would add an intercalary month every two or three years. This was done in Egypt and Mesopotamia, as well.

Therefore, we would be mistaken to subtract the approximately 15 years that you have done in the above equation, which has you arrive at 1431 for the year of the exodus. Stick with 1446, as this reflects the rather sophisticated ANE “lunisolar calendars” that compensated for the drift that otherwise would set them off course with the solar (or “terrestrial”, if you prefer) year. Your comments do deserve more of an answer, however, and I will break this into several critical points that need to be made. The reason this is important is that, without saying it, you are led to the possible position that Thutmose III could be the exodus-pharaoh, and that he thus died in the year of the exodus, which is quite problematic on numerous fronts.

1) The date of 1431 BC as being “quite close” to the time of Thutmose III’s death is not only imprecise (close only counting in horseshoes and hand-grenades), but it reflects one’s view of which theory of NK (New-Kingdom, of Egypt) chronology is correct. If you read footnote #45 of my article entitled “Amenhotep II and the Historicity of the Exodus Pharaoh” (link: www.biblearchaeology.org/.../...xodus-Pharaoh.aspx which incidentally argues against a few of Dr. Shea’s positions in the above article and others that he wrote, you will see a discussion of the high, low, and middle chronology.

There, I attempt to make the case for the high chronology as being the only one of the three that can be correct. And if you look at section “3. Egyptian Chronology” and “a. The Astronomical Dating of the Ebers Papyrus”, made easy if you search for the word “Olympiodorus” once you are on the webpage with my article, you will see that the crux of the issue is the point of observation for where one theorizes the rising of Sothis (an astronomical event) was observed officially. Some theorize Memphis (high), others prefer Thebes (middle), while a few choose Elephantine/Aswan (low), yielding ca. 1504 BC, 1490 BC, and 1479 BC, respectively, for the traditional options for the date of Thutmose III’s accession. More on that later, but back to “3. a.” in my article, it is important to note that while the ancient Egyptian records never explicitly state where was their point of observation for the Sothic rising, Olympiodorus noted in AD 6 that it was celebrated at Alexandria, after having been observed at Memphis. This is our one-and-only ancient source choosing between the three opinions/options held today. The winner: Memphis (and/or Heliopolis, according to William Ward, whose important article I cite and discuss). Thus the clear choice is the high chronology.

2) Based on the high chronology, the following date-scheme is what we get for the 18th Dynasty:

Ahmose (ca. 1575–1550 BC)
Amenhotep I (ca. 1550–1529 BC)
Thutmose I (ca. 1529–1516 BC)
Thutmose II (ca. 1516–1506 BC)
Queen Hatshepsut (ca. 1503–1484 BC)
Thutmose III (ca. 1506–1452 BC)
Amenhotep II (ca. 1455–1418 BC)
Thutmose IV (ca. 1418–1408 BC)
Amenhotep III (ca. 1408–1369 BC)
Amenhotep IV = Akhenaten (ca. 1369–1352 BC)
Smenkhkare (ca. 1352–1349 BC)
Tutankhamun (ca. 1349–1339 BC)
Ay (ca. 1339–1335 BC)
Horemheb (ca. 1335–1307 BC)

This list may appear “nice and easy”, but it’s the result of 10+ years of constant revision, as well as the comparison of chronologies of many competent Egyptologists. It also includes a pharaoh-by-pharaoh study to determine proper regnal lengths, as far as is known to us. It is important to note that I modify the dates for Thutmose III by 2 years, in order to synchronize biblical history precisely with Egyptian history, based on the events of the exodus, in comparison with those of Amenhotep II’s reign. However, this is justifiable, as eminent scholar W. LaSor notes that a variable of ±6 years must be applied after calculating the date for the rising of Sothis (W. S. LaSor, “Egypt,” in I. S. B. E., vol. 2, 40). My 2-year shift fits into this variable.

3) Based on this dynasty-long chronology, the death of Thutmose III is dated to 1452 BC, which is a far cry from the 1431 BC date that you hypothesize for the exodus, although admittedly this is “close” to the date of 1425 BC that is used for the low chronology. Again, the low chronology is highly problematic because one would have to prove the preference of Elephantine for the rising of Sothis, though Elephantine is insignificant in Egypt’s storied history when compared to Memphis and Thebes. But even Thebes pales in comparison to Memphis, the Egyptians’ first capital and most prominent city going back to the time that the nomes united to form a monarchy (whether by choice or by compulsion of a strong-armed leader, a hotly contested point, BTW). Therefore, a date of 1431 BC for the exodus is exceedingly problematic, even if Thutmose III is your exodus-pharaoh.

4) Thutmose III is a terrible choice for the exodus-pharaoh, since his predecessor (technically Thutmose II, his father) reigned only 10 or 11 years at most. You see, as my article meticulously argues (“2. Biblical Chronology” and “c. The Inadequacy”), the pharaoh who preceded the exodus-pharaoh must have ruled beyond 40 years. Yet in the case of Thutmose III, it was his own reign that exceeded 40 years, not his father’s (or his predecessor’s, if you prefer). The biographical requirements in the Bible are quite strict. Please consult my article for this detailed argumentation.

5) Thutmose III is a terrible choice for the exodus-pharaoh, since the duration of his reign and the initial phase of that of his son and successor, Amenhotep II, represent a period of unprecedented expansion and imperialistic success. In his Year-3 campaign, Amenhotep II squelches a rebellion led by the Syro-Palestinian “kings” that thought they would gain their freedom when his father died, which incidentally was this same Year 3 of the son’s reign, given that they had a co-regency of 2 and 1/3 years. If Thutmose III were the right choice for the exodus-pharaoh, though he’s not, then the biographical requirements of the Egyptian records would be confounded, since his successor never would have been able to oppose such a rebellion with ease, as did Amenhotep II.

Moreover, after Amenhotep II’s Year-9 campaign, which was the same year as the exodus (and in which he gathered 100,000+ slaves, an eye-popping 46x more prisoners than those listed in the combined campaigns of Thutmose III and Amenhotep II that feature human booty-lists), Egypt never again enjoyed further imperialistic expansion or even attempted to defend its claim to carte blanche control over the entirety of Syro-Palestine (all the way to the border of Mittani’s empire). The Egyptian empire, at that very point in time (i.e. after Year 9 of Amenhotep II), turns into a shell. Foreign policy shifted to the making of treaties and the use of political marriages, in which Thutmose III boasted that Egypt would never engage. If Thutmose III were the exodus-pharaoh, all of the events down to his son’s Year 9 would be completely inexplicable.

So if your hidden question here is whether Thutmose III would make a good candidate for the exodus-pharaoh, the truth is that he makes an impossible candidate. Although (sad to say) he was my own choice years ago, before I studied the issues in any detail, now I know that he must be jettisoned from contention without a hint of doubt. However, he is the perfect candidate for the pharaoh who chased Moses out of Egypt and into the land of Midian, which probably resulted in Hatshepsut’s abdication of the throne, given that almost certainly she was his adoptive mother and gave up the throne either in shame or utter sorrow. In fact, as I argue in my article, there is no other candidate of the 18th or 19th Dynasty who fits all of the biographical requirements of the predecessor of the exodus-pharaoh. Thutmose III is your man, but only if he’s your expulsion-pharaoh, NOT if he’s your exodus-pharaoh.

Douglas Petrovich

Douglas Petrovich - 5/20/2011 3:16:08 PM

10/18/2011 10:18 PM #

Has any study been done on the connection of Tutankhamun and Akhenaten (or Amenhotep IV) to the Exodus? Akhenaten was the heretic king who rejected the gods of Egypt for the one Sun God. This has created speculation that this somehow related to the Hebrews one God concept. Thtankhamun's original name was Tutankhaton in keeping with his father's beliefs. After the death of his father he changed his name to Tutankhaum, for one of the old gods of Egypt.
Would not such a connection to the Hebrews open new avenues of conjecture regarding the "throne" politics of this period?

James Sewell - 10/18/2011 10:18:06 PM

4/2/2012 5:28 PM #

I have two questions about this subject, one is the timing based on the Bible saying that a king arose that did not know Joseph, and who that was and why we cannot go forward from that event and the fact that the Bible also states that Israel left after 400 years to the very DAY.

The Second is why this author keeps saying the Sea of Reeds?

thanks

matt

matt - 4/2/2012 5:28:24 PM

4/3/2012 9:46 AM #

Dear Matt,

Thanks for visiting the ABR website and for your questions.

Concerning the life and chronological setting of the life of Joseph, we would refer you to a six part article series, starting here:

www.biblearchaeology.org/.../...-Egypt-Part-I.aspx

Concerning the dating of the patriarchal era and lining it up with the Exodus, we recommend these two articles:

www.biblearchaeology.org/.../...ourn-In-Egypt.aspx

www.biblearchaeology.org/.../...of-the-Exodus.aspx

Lastly, the author uses the translation "Sea of Reeds" because in the original Hebrew text it reads, "yam suph". When translated more literally, it means Sea of Reeds.  This article talks about the issue:

www.biblearchaeology.org/.../...ossing-Part-I.aspx

We hope these articles help answer your questions.

Thanks for your interest in the ABR ministry.

Sincerely,

Henry B. Smith Jr.

ABR - 4/3/2012 9:46:21 AM

4/3/2012 12:51 PM #

In addition to what you have been told. There is one more scenario: After Joseph saved the Egyptians from famine, the Hebrews multiplied greatly in Goshen. The administrators of Pharaoh's court were concerned, felt threatened, the Jewish people would overrun and overtake their government. Many scholars believe they influenced the same Pharaoh to forget the good works of Joseph and he went along with them to enslave my people. When it states "a new Pharaoh arose, it could mean basically his attitude changed towards the Jewish people and forgot or rather disregarded their good works in saving Egypt from its own famine. We see this sort of behavior in our own time, with the so-called threat of new immigrants taking away American positions. Also, those in power tend to want to keep their positions and downsize workers who aided them in their positions to the top.  So, it is highly possible, it was the same Pharoah but influenced to have a new attitude toward his Hebrew subjects.

Happy Passover(reminds us from the Hebrew year 2448-1312 BCE about the above real story of our exodus),

Elisha Benajmin Ankri

Elisha Benajmin Ankri - 4/3/2012 12:51:54 PM

4/3/2012 12:52 PM #

Matt,

I have a few things to add to what Henry has offered you as help. First, regarding the Sea of Reeds, I also would recommend that you read chapter 9 of Hoffmeier's book, Israel in Egypt: The Evidence for the Authenticity of the Exodus Tradition (New York: Oxford, 1996), entitled "The Problem of the Re(e)d Sea", which is an excellent study on this topic. I do not agree with the Late-Exodus View to which Hoffmeier subscribes, but he is on track with Yam Suf. But basically, "See of Reeds" is the proper translation from Hebrew; the word "Red" is not used here by Moses.

The pharaoh "who knew not Joseph" is Ahmose, the first pharaoh of the 18th Dynasty. He had come from Upper Egypt, and he conclusively defeated the Hyksos and drove them out of Egypt, including their capital city of Avaris, which is the same city as biblical Ramses, the city that the Israelites inhabited since the days of Joseph, then (as slaves) fortified after the native Egyptians captured it from these foreign invaders (Hyksos).

When the text states that pharaoh feared that the Israelites would join themselves "with our enemies", what it means is that Ahmose was afraid of the Israelites' joining themselves to the expelled Hyksos, their fellow Western-Semitic Asiatics. In other words, if Israel was not "controlled", maybe they would unite with the Hyksos, re-take Avaris together, and defeat/eliminate the native Egyptians. Eventually you will see an article or book from me that will document all of this more fully and carefully.

Please explain what you mean by "why we cannot go forward from that event." This is not clear to me. Do you mean, "Why can we not use the conquest of Avaris as the date from which to count the time of the 430 years in Egypt?" First of all, you must have meant 430, not 400 (Exod 12:40-41). But to this question I would say first that this is an event important to the Egyptians, but NOT to the Israelites, per se.

I would answer also by saying that Exodus 12 clearly states that this must include the entire time that Israelites lived in Egypt. This must include the time when Jacob also was in Egypt. Actually, while Exodus 12 does not clearly state to what event this goes back, Galatians 3 DOES state it, though the "to the very day" stipulation does NOT exist in Gal 3. Please allow me to reproduce my interpretive translation of Galatians 3:15-18.

3.15 Brethren, I am speaking according to man, yet no one nullifies or adds anything to a related-to-man covenant having been confirmed. 3.16 Now the (plural) promises were spoken (by God) to Abraham and to his (singular) seed(, Jacob, as the latest recipient). He (God) does not say (to Abram in Genesis 17:19), ‘And to (your) seeds (I will give this land),’ as referring to many (seeds to whom God will give this land), but rather to one (seed): ‘And to your (one) seed, who is Christ(, I will give this land).’ 3.17 And this I(, Paul,) am saying: The law having come 430 years after (the promise was confirmed for the final time, i.e. to Jacob at Beersheba [Gen 46:1–4],) does not revoke the covenant having been confirmed beforehand by God, so as to nullify the promise. 3.18 For if the inheritance derives from law, then it no longer derives from promise; but God graciously gave it to Abraham by means of promise.

The context drives us to conclude the following: 1. the reception of the law in 1446 is the final chronological peg (in the 430-year period); 2. there was a period of 430 before this event that goes back to the first chronological peg, thus occurring in 1876 BC; 3. context shows that the former chronological peg is defined by a promise God gave to a particular seed (descendant) of Abram, who must have been alive in 1876 and have received the promise in that year. Which patriarch qualifies as being able to meet those requirements? The answer clearly is found in Jacob, who lastly received the confirmation (promise) of the original covenant while he was at Beersheeba.

Now, I did not go into all of the details that lead us to these conclusions, but if you ask, I will do so. But where it takes us is to the conclusion that the 430 years of Gal 3 is marked-off by 1) the covenant God reiterated to Jacob in the same year that he arrived in Egypt (1876 BC), and 2) the receiving of the law (1446), which occurred in the same year as the exodus. However, only Exodus 12:40-41 uses the "to the very day" qualification, so this means that the 430-year period "to the exact day" is marked-off by the exodus from Egypt on one (latter) end, and seemingly the entry into Egypt on the other (former), though--again--this is not clearly stated.

Hoping this helps,

Douglas Petrovich

Douglas Petrovich - 4/3/2012 12:52:58 PM

4/3/2012 1:15 PM #

Elisha,

You make a good stab at explaining the new pharaoh who arose, but you are not doing justice to the entire historical sweep of events in Egypt between the lifetime of Joseph and that of Moses' day. Your speculation is not even necessary, to put it succinctly.

When Joseph ministered, the native Egyptians were in control of "The Two Lands" (Upper and Lower Egypt). However, between the time of Joseph and the time of Moses, Egypt experienced one of their "Intermediate Periods", which signals a lack of control of The Two Lands.

For a 100+year period, Egypt was invaded and overpowered by non-natives called Hyksos, who were Western-Semitic Asiatics. Native Egyptians were pushed out of the Delta. Eventually they set-up a stronghold centered in Thebes, of Upper Egypt. This led to what we call the 17th Dynasty, which existed only in Upper Egypt and was ruled by native Egyptians.

The north (Lower Egypt) was controlled by the Hyksos, out of Avaris. The Israelites, whose occupation there predated AND postdated that of the Hyksos (which I can and will prove from archaeology), lived and thrived there in Avaris during the Hyksos era. Yet the region was devoid of any native Egyptians with power.

Only in Moses' day had the tide turned, and the 17th-Dynasty's pharaohs asserted control in Lower Egypt. Thus upon their arrival and domination of the Delta area, which began in ca. 1560 BC, NEW native-Egyptian pharaohs began a NEW ruling Dynasty over all of Egypt (The Two Lands). For over 100 years, the Delta (and Goshen!) had not seen native Egyptian rulers.

Therefore, we have a perfectly precise scenario in which there are new kings in Egypt who arose, yet had no clue about Joseph. Moreover, they didn't care about him, or the Jews. They only cared about securing and consolidating their control, and eliminating rivals. Egyptian history and biblical history fit together like a glove. You just have to study it thoroughly.

Yours for the King,

Doug Petrovich

Douglas Petrovich - 4/3/2012 1:15:32 PM

4/3/2012 7:00 PM #

James,

First, I apologize for not responding months ago. However, a glitch in the server's function prevented me from getting automatic notice that your post was made. Otherwise I would have responded long ago.

No, not a whole lot of study has been done on the connection between Tutankhamun, Akhenaten, and the exodus. I do not believe that much of anything can be connected between King Tut and the exodus, but Akhenaten was the great-grandson of the exodus-pharaoh. I long have thought that Akhenaten's monotheism is related to what was experienced by the Egyptians during the time of his great-grandfather, but I have yet to produce an article about this.

However, I recently learned of an astounding command on an inscription of Amenhotep II, the exodus-pharaoh. He issued an order for his courtiers and subordinates to destroy the images of the gods, throughout Egypt. This is absolutely mind-boggling. It is MEGA-IMPORTANT. Probably during this campaign, his men took the opportunity to blot-out Hatshepsut's name/image from all over Egypt. I will publish on this ASAP. Oh, and it is quite likely that this command is connected to what Akhenaten later accomplished on a larger scale regarding the suppression of the pantheon.

"Would not such a connection to the Hebrews open new avenues of conjecture regarding the 'throne' politics of this period?"

Yes, this is quite possible. However, it probably does much more to open up avenues of conjecture on the relationship between the king (royal ideology) and the pantheon (religious practice).

Hoping you eventually will find my reply,

Doug Petrovich

Douglas Petrovich - 4/3/2012 7:00:32 PM

4/3/2012 8:59 PM #

Would there also be a connection between the inscription on the back of the chair of Tutankhamun? The original inscription was "Tutankaton" and the gold covering was "Tutankhamun."

James Sewell - 4/3/2012 8:59:49 PM

4/4/2012 11:05 AM #

James,

Tut indeed was established on the throne through his marriage to Ankhesenpaaten, one of the daughters of Akhenaten and Nefertiti. And he did change his name from Tutankhaten to Tutankhamun and leave Amarna for the 17th-Dynasty capital of Thebes, where he was buried (Valley of the Kings). His predecessor, Smenkhkare, also married a daughter of Akhenaten, and he seems to have been the first king to reject the "Aten heresy", but his reign was brief (3 years), so Tut is considered more of the (re-)transitional pharaoh.

There are several chairs of Tut, including the Golden Throne. The king and queen are depicted on this chair/throne, and she wears a diadem with the twin plumes of the "atef" crown, which is associated with Aten of the "Aten heresy". Between and above the figures, a central sun disc radiates from the top of the frieze, handing them the life-giving rays of the Aten.

On another inlaid chair of Tut, found in the Annex, the majority of the inscriptions (including all of the vertical ones) have the early "Atenistic" name of the king. His later "Amunistic" name occurs as well (in the horizontal inscriptions). Thus seemingly the chair was crafted when the traditional religion and the Aten religion coexisted. There are references to--and depictions of--several gods of the Egyptian pantheon, as well as to the Aten (of Akhenaten's monotheism), and once again the word "gods" appears, which had been eliminated under the strictly Atenistic religion.

Having said all of this, we can connect the early part of Tut's reign to this period of monotheism in Egypt, but strictly speaking, we cannot connect anything of substance (from his reign) to the events of the exodus. If anything, he leads Egypt out of the monotheism that very well could have sprouted from the legacy God's devastating defeat of the Egyptian pantheon during the reign of Amenhotep II.

Douglas Petrovich - 4/4/2012 11:05:48 AM

4/4/2012 1:46 PM #

I have always thought, from a spiritual interpretation of the events rather than from an archaeological one, that maybe God preserved the tomb of Tut so as to give us this link from monotheism back to polytheism. If true, it may give us an insight to the spiritual and philosophical view point of Tut and Egypt in light of Romans 1, "when they knew God ... "

James Sewell - 4/4/2012 1:46:34 PM

4/4/2012 2:08 PM #

James,

Certainly it is quite possible that God preserved the tomb of Tut for such a reason as this. The only problem with connecting this to Romans 1, at least FULLY, is that their form of monotheism was focused on Aten, the life-giving sun disk, rather than the invisible God who exists apart from the cosmos, the physical universe that he created from nothing. So the distinction to make is that Aten is not equal to Yahweh, but certainly they took a big step back in the wrong direction when they reintroduced the Egyptian pantheon.

Yours,

Doug Petrovich

Douglas Petrovich - 4/4/2012 2:08:32 PM

6/20/2012 1:28 AM #

To Mr. Davies.

If King Tut was killed during the 10th plague, then why did he rule for 8 years?

Also, I am convinced that the Pharaoh of the Exodus was Amenhotep 1.

He had ONE child, a son who died very young. And then another relative
became pharaoh.....

Hannah - 6/20/2012 1:28:03 AM

6/29/2012 10:47 AM #

Hannah,

You are right to call out Mr. Davies for attributing the 10th plague to King Tut. This is a bogus attribution.

As for your conclusion that Amenhotep 1 is the pharaoh of the exodus, you need lots more fulfillment of biographical requirements BEFORE you connect the exodus-pharaoh to a given pharaonic candidate. It's not quite so simple as picking a favorite candidate of finding 1 historical match.

And if you REALLY want to evaluate his candidacy, please compare his biography with the historical requirements I discuss in my article, Amenhotep II and the Historicity of the Exodus Pharaoh, which can be found at this link: www.biblearchaeology.org/.../...xodus-Pharaoh.aspx

In addition, there is the not so small necessity of historical synchronization, as both the Bible AND Egyptian history have their own quite specifically datable chronological references, which can be synchronized when worked with carefully. This cannot be underemphasized.

But the bottom line is that if you do your due diligence, you will find that Amenhotep I DOES NOT fit the historical OR chronological requirements for equating him with the exodus-pharaoh. More than this, I now have hard-evidence from Egyptian archaeology that is going to equate the very moment the Israelites left Egypt to the reign of Amenhotep II.

It may take about a year before it all gets to publication, as I first will publish in an Egyptological journal, without biblical connections, then publish in a biblical archaeology journal, with biblical connection. Obviously scoffers will still scoff, but for the open-minded, this will be an open-and-shut case of monumental proportions. Basically, God has allowed me to stumble across the holy grail of biblical archaeology, and I plan to do the careful, hard work to organize and publish the material in the right way.

And finally, the excavational history at the site where this material is from CLEARLY requires Amenhotep II as the exodus-pharaoh, and CLEARLY eliminates any other 18th-Dynasty pharaoh, including Amenhotep I, from contention.

Hoping that this proves to be helpful to you,

Douglas Petrovich, PhD Candidate (Syro-Pal Arch, Egyptology, ANE Religions)
University of Toronto

Douglas Petrovich - 6/29/2012 10:47:18 AM

7/2/2012 10:44 PM #

Ohhhhhh......OK.

Hannah - 7/2/2012 10:44:05 PM

7/11/2012 7:53 PM #

Thutmose III reigned from 1479–1425 BC, 18th Dynasty

Hannah - 7/11/2012 7:53:35 PM

7/20/2012 10:52 AM #

I agree that Amenhotep II was the pharaoh of the Exodus, my agreement being based on a new chronology that I have developed for the kings of Israel and Judah based solely on the biblical text, one that does not depend on the secular Assyrian kings list to anchor the reign of Ahab and thus all of the reigns of the Hebrew kings.*

In my new Bible-only chronology, the date for the death of Solomon is 967 BCE, not 931 BCE, which means that his forty-year reign stretched from 1006 BCE to 967 BCE, and it also means that he began construction on the Temple in 1002 BCE,** his fourth regnal year.

Using the new chronology for the Hebrew kings (in particular, the third year of Jehoshaphat as a sabbath year) and the chronology from Daniel's 70 Weeks to locate the beginning year for the ministry of Jesus, which was 28 CE (which was both a sabbath and jubilee year),*** a definitive table of sabbath and jubilee years can be calculated all the way back to the time of the Exodus. That table shows that the year 1002 BCE, when Solomon started building his Temple, was also both a sabbath and a jubilee year.

Using the 480-year figure from 1 Kings 6:1 to calculate the date gives the year 1482 BCE as the year of the Exodus. However, that year cannot be made to synchronize with the required dates for sabbath and jubilee years, years that synchronize with other key chrono-specific Bible verses in both Old and New Testaments. On the other hand, the 440-year figure for 1 Kings 6:1 from the Septuagint  (the reference in LXX is 3 Kings 6:0) yields the date for the Exodus as the year 1442 BCE, and this year synchronizes exactly with the sabbath and jubilee years.

It should be noted that the 1446 BCE date calculated by adding 480 years to the incorrect date 966 BCE as the year Solomon began building the Temple cannot be made to synchronize with the sabbath and jubilee years.

So, assuming that the 1442 BCE year is the correct date for the Exodus, how does that date synchronize with Egyptian history? Quite spectacularly, as it turns out. It places the Exodus in the Spring of the eighth regnal year of the pharaoh Amenhotep II (or sixth year if you accept that Amenhotep had a two-year co-reign with his father Thutmose III), which is notable since Egyptian records show that Amenhotep II campaigned in Canaan in both his seventh and ninth years, and brought back numerous slaves, probably to replace the manpower lost when the Children of Israel departed Egypt so abruptly.

Using 1442 BCE as the date for the Exodus, there are other chronological correlations that fit well for events in both biblical and secular Egyption history in the years before the Exodus. Here's how I see it chronologically.

1) Thutmose I became pharaoh in the year 1,524 BCE. The new king decreed that all male Hebrew infants be killed. The following year, in 1,523 BCE, his twelve-year-old daughter Hatshepsut rescued the infant Moses from the Nile River with the intention of raising him as a member of her household. When Thutmose I died in 1,518 BCE, his son Thutmose II became pharaoh and his half-sister Hatshepsut became his wife and queen.

2) In the second year of his reign, according to inscriptions on block 287 from the Chapelle Rouge, Thutmose II presided over a festival of Amen during which Hatshepsut was recognized as a pharaoh, circa 1516 BCE. During their coreign, Hatshepsut produced no male heir with Thutmose II, but he did sire a son, Thutmose III, with a secondary wife. When Thutmose II died in 1,504 BCE, Hatshepsut continued as pharaoh, at first sharing her reign with her step-son Thutmose III, who, being less than two years old, was too young to rule.

3) Seven years later, in 1,498 BCE, Hatshepsut assumed a masculine public identity and reigned as king of Egypt for the next seventeen years, with Thutmose III serving in a subordinate role. Sometime after her recognition as pharaoh, Hatshepsut elevated Senenmut to be her chief steward (top official), but Senenmut disappeared from history in 1,483 BCE, about a year before Hatshepsut’s death and at precisely the same time that the biblical Moses would have fled to Midian after murdering an Egyptian.

4) Forty years later, Moses returned to confront Amenhotep II and then lead the Children of Israel out of Egypt, and the rest is history!  

(*) Sacred Chrology of the Hebrew Kings (published in 2012 by The Prophecy Society)

(**) The 1002 BCE date is supported by chronologies in the Babylonian Talmud and the Seder Olam.

(***) The 28 CE sabbath year is confirmed by Josephus, who recorded that Herod's Temple was destroyed in a sabbath year (it was destroyed in 70 CE).

Dan Bruce - 7/20/2012 10:52:49 AM

7/21/2012 8:48 PM #

Greetings Dan,

Doug Petrovich asked if I would respond to your note of July 20, in particular to your comments about Israelite dating. Doug hopes to make some comments later on the Egyptian dates.

The starting place for your chronological reckoning seems to be the beginning of Christ’s ministry, which you place in A.D. 28, with the Crucifixion and Resurrection in A.D. 30. Regarding the A.D. 30 date, which formerly was accepted by a number of scholars, the arguments against this and in favor of A.D. 33 are now very strong. See the discussion in Andrew Steinmann’s From Abraham to Paul, which as you know I have reviewed on this ABR Web site.

The importance of A.D. 28 to your system is because you state that this was both a Jubilee year and a Sabbatical year. I agree that it was a Sabbatical year; one of the evidences for this is that the Seder Olam (not Josephus, as you state) says that Jerusalem fell to the Romans in a Sabbatical year. That the burning of the Temple in the summer of A.D. 70 was the latter part of a Sabbatical year is also stated in the Tosefta, the Jerusalem Talmud, and the Babylonian Talmud (three times).

But how do you establish that A.D. 28 was also a Jubilee year? Just citing “the year of the Lord’s favor” in Luke 4:19 will not do it. This date seems to be foundational to your entire chronology. Are we supposed to accept it without proof?

Since you refer to the Seder Olam in several places as the authority on which you build your chronology, then you should be aware that the Seder Olam, as well as the other references in the Tosefta and the Talmuds, say that the First Temple was also burnt in the latter part of a Sabbatical year. However, the summer of 587 B.C. is not an integral number of 7-year cycles before the summer of A.D. 70. How do you explain this? The SO itself gives the answer, in chapter 30, where it is said that in the return from Exile, there was a renewal of all things. This included the counting for the Sabbatical cycles. The calendar of pre-exilic Sabbatical cycles therefore does not match the calendar of Sabbatical years that was re-instituted by those who returned from Exile.

Granted if A.D. 28 were a Jubilee year, then 1002 B.C. was also a Jubilee year according to the pre-exilic calendar of Jubilee and Sabbatical cycles. You make this the year when Solomon started building the Temple. That sounds nice, but did you not manipulate a lot of figures to make this come out this way? This reminds me of how Ussher placed the dedication of the Temple in a Jubilee year, but to do this he had to start the counting of the Sabbatical and Jubilee years a few years after the people crossed the Jordan to enter Canaan, in contradiction to Lev. 25 which says that the counting was to start when they entered the land. This kind of reasoning is called special pleading: unreasonable assumptions are made to support a thesis.

Back in 2010 you and I had some private correspondence on these matters. At that time I gave the following examples of what seemed to me your special pleading:

“Concepts that seem to be unique in your systems are 1) You have Rehoboam ruling for five years over a united Israel before the ten tribes break away, 2) You place Jehoram of Judah as ruler of the northern kingdom for three years before he became ruler of the southern kingdom, 3) You put an interregnum of 8 years between the end of Pekah’s reign and the start of Hoshea’s, even though you recognize that Hoshea killed Pekah, and that there were 2 rival states in the north about this time, and 4) You do not accept the Ahaz/Hezekiah coregency that virtually all conservative chronologists since Thiele have recognized as a necessary correction to Thiele’s system—here you would have done well not to have followed Thiele, since this immediately makes your chronology out of sync with the Assyrian data. Please let me know if I have misunderstood any of these things.”

You did not respond. And so I conclude that your placing the start of Temple construction in 1002 B.C., in order to get an even number of Jubilee cycles before A.D. 28, is built on several fudge factors, including those just mentioned. That was back in 2010; does your current chronology still contain these unwarranted assumptions? We have a right to ask that you present solid arguments, preferably in a reputable journal, in support of any one of these contentions, rather than expecting us to accept unsubstantiated statements that seem to be made in order to get the numbers to come out to meet your preconceptions.

This also brings into question your statement that yours is a “Bible-only chronology.” Where in the Bible do you find any justification for these assumptions that you must resort to in order to get the date of Temple construction to start in 1002 B.C.?

A further consideration: does it matter to your chronology that 479 years elapsed from the Exodus to the start of construction of the Temple, rather than the 480 that you mention, and then go on to say that you prefer the 440 years of the LXX? This again shows the importance of understanding the original languages, and modes of expression, of Scripture. Even the LXX correctly gives the sense of the time-phrase used, although I do not agree with its 440 number. The LXX says it was en tO tessarakotstOi etei tEs exodou – in the 440the year of the Exodus — that the people came out. As in the Hebrew (MT), the phrase “of the Exodus” means that the Exodus started an era, in which the year of the “going-out” (Exodus) was year one. This is the method used in the Pentateuch, as in Numbers 1:1 and elsewhere.

I have taken some pains to respond to these issues because I would like to see the various individuals who maintain that theirs is the only chronology built solely on Biblical texts to realize that those of us who question their findings are not doing so because of some blind adherence to extra-Biblical arguments. Some of my comments, as in my review of From Abraham to Paul, were also directed at those who still adhere to Ussher’s chronology, or a modified Ussher chronology, as the only one that is true to the Bible. Too often this results in claiming that a chronology derived from the Bible that also happens to agree with well-established Assyrian or Babylonian data is therefore derived from secular sources. This kind of bad reasoning is not helpful. How nice it would be if some of the well-meaning Ussherites and neo-Ussherites would get on board and recognize the progress in Biblical exegesis, as well as in the findings of archaeology, that have transpired since the days when their hero wrote!

I was encouraged recently to learn that this is not an impossible wish. Eight days ago, a person informed me that he used to think that Ussher’s was the only Biblical chronology, and he even wrote to the ABR Website saying that they should use Ussher’s dates. Then he began a more formal study of the Bible. What finally convinced him, he said, was my article in the Spring 2008 issue of Bible and Spade regarding the chronology of the kingdom period, and the accuracy of the 124 specific items of data in the Bible for that period. That person is now a positive contributor to the discussion of chronological matters. When we make progress like this, then we can go on to try to aid scholars like Doug Petrovich and Bryant Wood in relating events in Egypt and the Levant to the Bible. We cannot do this if we keep bantering around unsubstantiated chronologies that do not accept the following basic and well-established dates: the division of the kingdom in 931n, the death of Solomon in 932t, the start of Temple construction in the spring of 967 B.C., the start of the Conquest and the numbering of Jubilee and Sabbatical years in Nisan of 1406 B.C., and the Exodus in the spring of 1446 B.C.

Rodger C. Young
http://www.rcyoung.org/papers.html

Rodger C. Young - 7/21/2012 8:48:39 PM

7/22/2012 3:55 PM #

Rodger, I appreciate your taking the time to respond, and I understand your objections. The things you mention are questions I have wrestled with as well in coming up with an alternative chronology to the one used by most traditional scholars. The Thiele chronology that you use had to disregard Scripture at times, and my belief will not allow me to do that. The format here does not allow me to answer your objections adequately, but I think I do so quite adequately in my two books, "Sacred Chronology of the Hebrew Kings" (164 pages) and "Lifting the Veil on the Book of Daniel" (224 pages), both of which are available for reading in their entirety (for free) on my website ( www.prophecysociety.org ). I would urge you to read them. They do indeed challenge the traditional dating for the Hebrew kings accepted by scholars, all of which are based on the 763 BCE date for the Bur-Sagale eclipse (I wonder how many Christians realize that their study Bible uses a chronology based on interpretation of a pagan Assyrian records?), the same pagan eclipse interpretation that is the foundation for your Bible chronology. Again, I respect the fine work you have done, and I have read the chronological articles you have placed on your fine website, but I simply think you are wrong in anchoring your chronology in Assyria astronomy, and I've written two books that lay out my case saying there is a better way. I hope I can depend on you to check out my books with an open mind as I have done with your works. We are both after God's truth.

Dan Bruce - 7/22/2012 3:55:02 PM

7/24/2012 4:56 PM #

Hannah,

Your statement that "Thutmose III reigned from 1479–1425 BC" is not only a highly debatable supposition, but it is related to a matter that actually is highly debated among Egyptologists. They/we disagree over the date for the accession of Thutmose III: the “high chronology” view dates it to ca. 1504 BC; the “middle chronology” view dates it to ca. 1490 BC; and the “low chronology” view dates it to ca. 1479 BC. Why the disagreement?

Historically, the chronology for the 18th Dynasty has been based on the astronomical dating of the Ebers Papyrus, which records the rising of Sothis on the 9th day of the 3rd month of the 3rd season šmw (the 11th month on the Egyptian calendar) of the 9th year of the reign of Amenhotep I. This rare astronomical event is quite easily datable in absolute years. Yet how one dates this heliacal rising of Sothis is based on where in Egypt one theorizes that the Egyptians officially observed the event. Deciding whether one takes this as Memphis/Heliopolis, Thebes, or Elephantine will determine whether one adheres to the high, middle, or low chronology (for the most part).

A Theban point of observation, which I reject, would yield a date of ca. 1523 BC for the rising of Sothis. A Memphite point of observation would yield a date of 1541 for the rising. Memphis long was held as the proper point of observation, but in subsequent times Thebes was preferred because it lowered the dates of the 18th Dynasty, which was more in keeping with most people's idea of how the 18th and 19th Dynasties fit together chronologically.

Thebes was argued as the point of observation since Thebes is the provenance of the Ebers Papyrus. But this is a weak reason to hold to Thebes as the proper point of observation. Anyway, in even more recent times, it was proposed by Bierbrier that Year 1 of Ramses II was not 1290, but 1279. This threw off the chronology of the entire New Kingdom. It also invalidated both Memphis and Thebes as being possible points of observation, in the eyes of most. Only an observance in Elephantine would work together with this chronological revision.

So, an Elephantine point of observation became the latest and greatest fad, and Thebes and Memphis were rejected as options. However, this decision was a slippery slope. As Kitchen observed, Krauss (main revisionist) did not produce 1 scrap of definitive evidence to prove his assumption of Sothic observations at Elephantine, "only clever speculations which are no substitute for facts."

Plus, Bierbrier's dating of Year 1 of Ramses II to 1279 depends on a whole series of variables and his personal choices between possible solutions within each. As Parker wisely noted, "The date of 1279 BC is possible, but no more possible than the previously-proposed 1290 BC." And my chronology of the 18th and 19th Dynasties has shown that 1290 BC (for Year 1 of Ramses II) can work for the 19th Dynasty, AND 1504 BC can work as a starting point for when the reign of Thutmose III began (which I adjust to 1506, for reasons I explain in my article).

Moreover, I have demonstrated that Memphis is the best option for the observation of the Sothic rising. While the Egyptians never stated from where they observed Sothis, Olympiodorus noted in AD 6 that it was celebrated at Alexandria, AFTER HAVING BEEN OBSERVED AT MEMPHIS. It is highly unlikely that this tradition was altered during Egypt's history, and highly likely that this end-of-the-1st-Millennium-BC tradition followed an unbroken tradition going back to Egypt's earliest times.

Thus a reign for Thutmose III from 1506-1452 is not only plausible, it 1) better fits with Egypt's factual tradition of astronomical observation, and 2) does not determine its dates or point of observation from pressure to get the 18th Dynasty to "synchronize better" with the 19th Dynasty. In fact, the 19th Dynasty has no equivalent to the Ebers Papyrus, and it is better to fit the 19th Dynasty after establishing the 18th than the other way around.

My view of a Memphite point of observation is held by Redford and the Cambridge Ancient History, so I do not stand alone. Therefore, on the grounds argued above, I reject your suggestion that Thutmose III ruled from 1479–1425 BC, and I encourage you to realize that finding these dates in a book or an article somewhere DOES NOT make them accurate, not in the least.

Yours for the King,

Doug Petrovich

Douglas Petrovich - 7/24/2012 4:56:25 PM

7/24/2012 10:40 PM #

Dear Dan,

You wrote, "I agree that Amenhotep II was the pharaoh of the Exodus, my agreement being based on a new chronology that I have developed for the kings of Israel and Judah based solely on the biblical text, one that does not depend on the secular Assyrian kings list to anchor the reign of Ahab and thus all of the reigns of the Hebrew kings."

I'm glad that you arrived at the right pharaoh for the exodus-pharaoh, even though I'm not sure how you got there. Certainly one CANNOT synchronize the chronological events in the Bible with Amenhotep II's reign, however, . . . at least not with the Bible alone. Somehow you MUST rely on Egyptian historical records, since the Bible does not name him as such. Thus what you later say about your aversion to Assyrian records is incomprehensible (or inconsistent).

"Senenmut to be her chief steward (top official), but Senenmut disappeared from history in 1,483 BCE, about a year before Hatshepsut’s death and at precisely the same time that the biblical Moses would have fled to Midian after murdering an Egyptian."

When I first learned of Senenmut, I also was excited at the possibility that he just may be Moses. I even read one source saying that he was a foreigner. However, when I read and learned more, I found out that there were some major problems, the most important being that 1) Senenmut was a native Egyptian, NOT a foreigner; 2) Senenmut's parents were native Egyptians and were buried in Egypt (far from the Delta); 3) Senemut practiced perverse homosexuality, which hardly seems to fit the profile of Moses. So, best for you to jettison the notion of an association, as I have.

"(I wonder how many Christians realize that their study Bible uses a chronology based on interpretation of pagan Assyrian records?), the same pagan eclipse interpretation that is the foundation for your Bible chronology."

Here I have some major concerns. First of all, it absolutely is NOT true that study Bibles or the Bible teachers behind them are using pagan interpretations as the foundation for biblical chronology. This is purely misstatement and false accusation. You need to retract or apologize, honestly.

ALL of those Bible teachers and study Bibles are using texts from the Hebrew Bible as their foundations. They are using 1 Kings 6:1, Exodus 12:40-41, and so forth. They also are using other chronological references to relative-date regnal years and regnal lengths, as well as many other purposes.

However, what the Hebrew Bible does NOT do is to provide absolute dates according to our modern AD-dating system. The fact that there is a Jewish calender that goes back before Christ does not resolve this problem, as this is extra-biblical evidence, and thus not part of inspiration. No inspired historical record can produce the synchronization between ancient biblical history and the modern calendar.

Second, you are demonstrating an extremely unhealthy view of history, the heart of God, and the value of good sources. In fact, you are showing a heart that is no different than Jonah's, who saw the Assyrians as undeserving of mercy and undeserving of being treated with great love and being valued by God.

Most ancient Israelites missed this message, just as Jonah did. Are we not instructed to love pagans as God does? Are we not instructed to show mercy to unbelieving pagans as God does? Are we not instructed by Jesus to give to whoever asks of us, because God himself is kind to ungrateful and evil men? THIS is the heart of God. THIS is how God views "pagans".

Moreover, Jude cites pseudopigraphical writings: the Assumption of Moses and Enoch 1. He sees value in non-inspired writings, and how do we know that these non-inspired authors were among the true believers in Israel (i.e. "they are not all Israel who are descended from Israel")?

If that is not enough, look at what Paul does in pagan Athens. Paul’s evangelistic thrust was couched in a strategy that was utterly ingenious: he appealed to the virtue of the pagan Athenians' pursuit of that which is religious (Acts 17:22), taking into account how he noticed the plethora of idols that stood in places throughout the city. His plan was to take his listeners from the known to the unknown. So, his focus moved to the inscription that was written “to an unknown god” (Acts 17:23). He quoted a pagan inscription to pagan people!!! Here the world's greatest evangelist was not wagging his finger at pagans, . . . but instead, respectfully was using their own pagan writings AND affirming the accuracy and value that is latent in them. Are we any more pious than Paul?

What all of this leads to is that I believe there are issues in your own heart that you need to address, namely as they relate to the intrinsic value of non-believers, and the recognition that the truth that derives from pagans is no less than the truth that derives from believers. Obviously you can deny what I am saying, but if you truly know and love God, and your heart is humble before him, I think that it will be no trouble to acknowledge the truthfulness in my words.

"The Thiele chronology that you use had to disregard Scripture at times,"

This is a startling statement, and one that would need to be proven. There are few people on earth (maybe none) who devoted themselves more to maintaining the accuracy of the Scripture in any and every detail related to biblical history than Thiele. Such unproven accusations are preposterous.

I honestly think that you need to do a lot of reflecting and rethinking.

Hoping that this will help,

Doug Petrovich

Douglas Petrovich - 7/24/2012 10:40:46 PM

7/24/2012 11:48 PM #

Doug, this ABR forum is not a good format in which to present my response to questions about my chronological research, since all that can be done is to give it out piecemeal answers without context and that approach does not allow me to present  the overview that gives context to the various parts. After all, the entire research fills two books.

As for the Thiele chronology for the kings you so admire, here is what Thiele himself said about it in the Conclusion to his book, "Mysterious Numbers of the Hebrew Kings":

“The vital question concerning the chronological scheme set forth in these pages is whether or not it is a true arrangement of reigns of Hebrew kings. Certainly, this system has brought harmony out of what was once regarded as hopeless confusion. But is it necessarily the true restoration of the original pattern of reigns? At the least this research shows that such a restoration is possible. However, we must accept the premise of an original reckoning of reigns in Israel according to the nonaccession-year system with a later shift to the accession-year method; of the early use in Judah of accession-year reckoning, a shift to the nonaccession-year system, and then a return to the original accession-year method; of the need to begin the regnal year in Israel with Nisan and with Tishri in Judah; of the existence of a number of coregencies; and of the fact that at some late date—long after the original records of the kings had been set in order and when the true arrangement of the reigns had been forgotten—certain synchronizations in 2 Kings 17 and 18 were introduced by some late hand twelve years out of harmony with the original pattern of reigns ..."

As you can see, Thiele's chronology, by his own admission, can only work if some Scripture is assumed to be in error. I did not have to make that compromise to arrive at the harmonization of the reigns of the kings of Israel and Judah presented in my book "Sacred Chronology of the Hebrew Kings." When the correct anchor dates are used for the divided monarchies, everything fits together exactly as described in the Bible.

I invite you need to read my books before you jump to conclusions as you did above. You can do so for free at www.prophecysociety.org

Dan Bruce - 7/24/2012 11:48:02 PM

7/25/2012 4:10 PM #

Greetings Doug, Dan, and all:

Regarding Thiele: Dan is right in that Thiele thought the Bible was in error when it came to the synchronisms between Hoshea of Israel and Hezekiah of Judah in 2 Kgs 18. But bringing up Thiele’s view in this matter is like beating a dead horse. Thiele’s problems with Hezekiah and Hoshea are reconciled if we posit a coregency between the Hezekiah and his father Ahaz, similar to the coregencies that Thiele accepted for Ahaz with his father Jotham, Jotham with his father Uzziah, Uzziah with his father Amaziah, and Hezekiah with his son Manasseh. This is such an obvious solution to Thiele’s difficulty that I think it would be difficult to find anyone who today goes along with what Thiele for his chronology of Hezekiah. Leslie McFall wrote, “Thiele’s omission of Hezekiah’s coregency in the third edition of his book is inexcusable, given the number of reviews that were published following the appearance of his work in 1951 and 1965 challenging his treatment of 2 Kings 17-18. Several reviewers pointed Thiele in the right direction by suggesting a coregency for Hezekiah, which made perfectly good sense of the text as it stood . . . and which conformed to Thiele’s own principles of interpreting similar data” (BSac 1991, pp. 33,34).

So let’s all agree that Thiele was wrong on Hezekiah, and stop using Thiele’s error in this matter to discard the basic principles that he expounded. If he himself had followed these principles consistently he would not have charged the Scripture with error. Those who want to establish their own chronology need to become more current in their scholarship rather than bringing up this matter again and again, while recognizing the real breakthroughs that Thiele made. To get up-to-date, those who follow Ussher, and others who have their own “Bible-only” chronology, need to attack instead those who have built on Thiele’s work but have refined it, namely myself (I can take it), Kenneth Kitchen and T. C. Mitchell in New Bible Dictionary, T. C. Mitchell in Cambridge Ancient History, Leslie McFall in his 1991 BSac article, and now Dr. Steinmann in From Abraham to Paul. All of these acknowledge freely their debt to Thiele’s scholarship instead of throwing out the baby with the bathwater because he was wrong on Hezekiah.

But Doug’s major point is that everyone needs somewhere to tie his biblical chronology to a BC or AD date, and this can only be done by referring at some point to non-biblical sources. I agree with Doug that Dan needs to apologize for saying that others are following pagan ideas by doing so, while his is a “Bible-only” chronology. If we read Dan’s book, we find that he places great store on a date in the life of Julius Caesar that he uses to start the 70 weeks of Daniel ch. 9, which he takes as 70 years. Dan, where did you find anything about Julius Caesar in the Bible? Where in the Bible does it say anything about a decree by Caesar that you add 70 years to so as to get AD 28 as the beginning of Christ’s ministry? How do you know anything about the years of Caesar’s life, if not from ‘pagan’ sources?

Thiele’s starting place for tying the biblical chronology that he worked out to absolute (i.e. BC) dates is indeed the Bur-Sagale eclipse, which can be established by astronomy to have occurred on June 15, 763 B.C. But any who think this is a slender leg to stand on should read carefully chapter four of Mysterious Numbers, where that date is corroborated by other, independent records of great exactness from antiquity. Ussherites in particular should recall that Ussher used as his starting point a reference in Ptolemy’s Canon. That was a good choice; Ptolemy has been shown by modern astronomers to be a very accurate ancient historian and astronomer. But Thiele has more excerpts from the Canon that can also be shown to be in harmony with the Assyrian King List. These other references are not consistent with Ussher’s chronology but are consistent with the biblical chronology that builds on Thiele’s research. Can it possibly be overstated: Thiele’s critics should stop making blanket statements that his chronology is not based on the Bible, while their favorite chronology is, and direct instead their thinking to trying to refute the excellent scholarship of Mysterious Numbers, chapter 4.

The editors of the ABR web site have been gracious in allowing Mr. Bruce and the rest of us to express our views. However, as even Mr. Bruce says, this is not the proper forum for someone to announce that he or she has developed a chronology that is “based on the Bible only” and that no one can fully appreciate until we’ve read all of the author’s book (or books). Let’s restrict ourselves to specific items. I have read some of what Mr. Bruce wrote, and although I think he has some good things to say, he has never answered my questions about the specifics in his book, as expressed in my comment of July 21 above. Neither has he answered my challenge to show how the three means of determining the date when construction began on Solomon’s Temple are not independent, (see comments on my review of “From Abraham to Paul” here on the ABR website) even though they all produce the same date in 967 B.C. Those who support Ussher and other alternate chronologies would do well to address this also.

Rodger C. Young
http://www.rcyoung.org/papers.html

Rodger C. Young - 7/25/2012 4:10:59 PM

7/27/2012 12:24 PM #

Dan,

I did not jump to any conclusions, but I am sad that you did not address the main issues in my post (the heart issues), instead focusing on only the least important issue there, which is how one deals with Thiele.

And obviously at that, you misunderstood my point. I never said that Thiele was accurate in every point, pious, or even a model person. I said that there are few people in the area of biblical history (and I meant OT chronology) who have done better at maintaining the accuracy of the biblical  text in such detail, which appears self-contradictory at so many turns, at first, second, and third glance.

I do not know how well-read you are in the area of biblical chronology, but if you do a lot of reading, you immediately will see how true this is when you read the plethora of other opinions, most of which authors rip away at historical accuracy as they mount their accusations of internal inconsistency and error-laded assertions made by the biblical authors.

Now, of course, I am talking about far more than evangelical authors here, especially since the percentage of authors writing on biblical chronology leans far, far heavier toward unbelieving liberal scholars than anyone else. I am away on vacation, and cannot pull off of my shelf all of the authors who qualify, but I am speaking of those such as Galil, Barnes, and so forth.

No one of the chronologists of the last 100+ years has come anywhere close to devoting the time, energy, or effort toward doing what Thiele has done. And in so doing, he found a way to separate the dizzying mess of accession and non-accession dating, which was different from Israel to Judah, and even differed at times within the historical tradition of one of those kingdoms. He understood Tishri and Nisan dating within Israel's history like no one before him. And, his work has proven to provide the one solid foundation on which biblical chronology has continued to build.

But as for your assertion that I jumped to conclusions, I would remind you that I responded directly to your statements about pagans and pagan historical record-keeping. This is something that, in this very forum, you yourself revealed about yourself and your heart. This is a reality irrespective of what may or may not be in your more comprehensive written work. For you to ignore this vital matter is quite disappointing, to be honest.

Sincerely,

Doug Petrovich

Douglas Petrovich - 7/27/2012 12:24:28 PM

8/16/2012 4:45 PM #

mr doug,
praise the LORD God for an article as this one from you plus additional info as the outcome from readers' comments.  
i will diligently read your two books from your site.
it was only yesterday when i came upon the sphinx stela and i got
a second reading from this site.
you are so blessed to have deciphered the exodus-pharaoh.
incidentally, i'm into writing some modules re the Word of God.
would you kindly allow me to quote from your site (and from you as
a Bible scholar) ?
do you also have studies on moses as the Torah writer?  Just so many articles are out refuting his authorship, even if the scriptures explicitly convey GOD's order for him to do it.  my stand is that moses could have had been trained in diplomacy (letters) and in warship, in preparation for his pharaoh-ship. am i right?  
thank you very kindly in anticipation of a favorable response.
GOD bless,
effie

effie maddara - 8/16/2012 4:45:11 PM

8/16/2012 4:59 PM #

mr. william,
i beg your apology.
a few seconds ago after having read this article, i wrote in, addressed to mr doug, thinking that he authored the same.....just on the basis of the comments where he seemed to be the one clarifying the comments.
i am so sorry.
but please read the comments just the same and would you kindly send me your reply, at your most convenient time?
thank you very much.
in GOD's name,
effie

effie maddara - 8/16/2012 4:59:44 PM

10/3/2012 6:32 PM #

Can someone please explain, simply, but more so than just a "yes it is", the importance of pinning down 18/19th dynasty dates within a small fractional margin of error?  I'm just not sure how a few years one way or another has any earth-shattering significance over history that is so far removed.

matt - 10/3/2012 6:32:43 PM

10/8/2012 9:58 AM #

Matt, the simple answer is that without proper and exact synchronization of events in the ancient world, you lose percentage points in the likelihood that you can pinpoint or tie together those events with any certainty. In 500 years, if someone is studying military history and comes across the name of an Italian general who fought in a "World War," and the researcher wants to know more about this general and how he affected this WW, don't you think it would be critical for him to know whether this general's career dates to 1917 or 1941? It's only a measly 24 years of difference, but it changes EVERYTHING for the researcher's study. The same is true with ancient history. If you screw up by 24 years in ancient times, you may mis-date, mis-attribute, or mis-synchronize events and their proper relationships to one another. So my question to you is this: why is this dynamic any less earth-shattering in a time so far removed than it is in our present day? I'm not so sure that our modern history is inherently any more important than theirs.

Douglas Petrovich - 10/8/2012 9:58:50 AM

10/8/2012 10:36 AM #

Dear Effie,

I wanted to allow some time for Dr. Shea to respond to your request, which he has not done. In light of this, I want to mention that my article entitled, "Amenhotep II and the Historicity of the Exodus Pharaoh," is also posted on ABR's website, and you are welcome to quote from it. This article is the most extensive work ever done on the exodus-pharaoh, and it corrects Dr. Shea's wrongly attributed "Two Amenhotep II's" theory, which is based on the erroneous supposition that the exodus-pharaoh died in the Re(e)d Sea. My article explains why this is a wrong interpretation of Scripture. There is much more to the article than this, but you are welcome to quote from it. The article originally was published in The Master's Seminary Journal, so it would be best to quote from there. The PDF file for the original article is available online.

Moses never was prepared to serve as pharaoh. This is another notion that we have dreamed up, to be frank. Prince of Egypt or no prince of Egypt, he never was in line for the throne, nor would he have been. However, you are absolutely correct that he was trained in diplomacy, and most importantly, he was trained in writing (undoubtedly fluent in both Middle Egyptian and Late Egyptian), which probably means that he knew Phoenician as well, since the Pentateuch is based more on Phoenician script than Egyptian.

Whether Moses was trained in warfare or not certainly is a debatable issue. He absolutely could have been trained in it, given his position in the royal court. However, he grew up mainly under the leadership of Hatshepsut, who did not engage much in warfare (eg. her Punt expedition). Soon after Moses fled from Egypt, Thutmose III took over as sole regent, and he initiated Asiatic imperialism that was unparalleled in Egypt's history, as he campaigned as far as the Euphrates. Moses was in Midian during this time, and he returned to Egypt only after Thutmose III had died. So for me, most likely Moses was not trained in warfare, but not much if he had been.

Hoping this helps,

Doug Petrovich, PhD Candidate
University of Toronto

Douglas Petrovich - 10/8/2012 10:36:21 AM

Research RSS Feed

AddThis Feed Button

Recent Articles

Jesus spent much time on and around the Sea of Galilee with His fishermen-disciples. These disciples,...
For many years, Jericho has been a "problem" in Biblical archaeology since scholars claimed that there...
For many years, Jericho has been a "problem" in Biblical archaeology since scholars claimed that there...
Psalm 119 is an anonymous Psalm which stands alone between two separate groupings of chapters. After...
Associates for Biblical Research
  • PO Box 144, Akron, PA 17501
  • Phone: +1 717-859-3443 | Fax: +1 717-859-3393
  • Toll Free: 1-800-430-0008
Friend ABR on Facebook.com Join us on Twitter Join us on Twitter