The Biblical Date for the Exodus is 1446 BC: A Response to James Hoffmeier

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Excerpt The date of the Biblical Exodus-Conquest is clear. 1 Kgs 6:1 and 1 Chr 6:33–37 converge on a date of 1446 BC for the exodus and the Jubilees data and Judges 11:26 independently converge on a date of 1406 BC for the beginning of the conquest. The 1406 BC date is further confirmed by archaeological data from Jericho, Ai (Kh. el-Maqatir) and Hazor... Continue reading

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In his introductory remarks in his response to my article critiquing the 13th century dating of the Biblical Exodus,1 James Hoffmeier states, “It seemed trivial [in his book Israel in Egypt] to be preoccupied with when the exodus occurred while the real issue being debated is whether it happened at all!” (emphasis in the original).2 This statement seems to imply that scholars should not be wasting their time debating the date of the exodus since there are weightier issues to deal with. I would strongly disagree with this point of view. If we are looking in the wrong century for evidence to support the Biblical account of the exodus, clearly we will not find any evidence! As Hoffmeier himself correctly stated, “if this chronological scenario [a 13th-century exodus-conquest] is wrong, then archaeologists should not expect to find cities destroyed in Canaan as the Biblical materials report.”[3] Thus, determining when the exodus occurred is a necessary first step in researching the Biblical exodus-conquest.

Hoffmeier’s introduction of LXX chronological data in his section “WHAT IS THE BIBLICAL DATE OF THE EXODUS” is irrelevant to his defense of a 13th century date since, although the LXX data differ from the MT at some points, the LXX certainly does not support a 13th century exodus date.[4] As pointed out in my original article, the key chronological data for determining the date of the exodus are 1 Kgs 6:1, Judg 11:26 and 1 Chr 6:33–37. Judg 11:26 and 1 Chr 6:33–37 are the same in both the MT and LXX, while, as Hoffmeier points out, 1 Kgs 6:1 is 440 years in the LXX rather than the 480 years of the MT. If one chooses to utilize the LXX reading of 1 Kgs 6:1, the exodus still falls in the 15th century BC, not the 13th century.[5]

With regard to my quote of Carl Rasmussen,[6] Hoffmeier has missed the point. He is correct in saying that scholars who have abandoned the 13th century date have embraced a non-historic interpretation of the exodus-conquest narrative. I nowhere implied that “scholars are moving to the early date.”[7] My point is, and here we must speak of evidence for the conquest, that scholars have abandoned the 13th century model because it is clear that the archaeological evidence does not support a 13th century model.[8] The 15th century model, on the other hand, has not been given adequate consideration because of the perceived disparity between archaeological finds and the Biblical narrative at Jericho and Ai, which I have addressed elsewhere.[9]

I. USE OF THE NAME RAMESES IN EXOD 1:11

Hoffmeier refers to Exod 1:11 as “a foundational text” as, indeed, the 13th-century model hangs on this one verse of the Hebrew Bible. The mention of the Israelites building the city of Rameses places the exodus in the 13th century and makes Rameses II the most likely candidate for the Pharaoh of the exodus according to the adherents of this model.[10] Proponents of the 15th-century model, on the other hand, believe that the name Rameses in Exod 1:11 is an editorial updating of an earlier name that went out of use.[11] Hoffmeier argues that when editorial updating of a placename occurs in the Hebrew Bible, the earlier name is given, followed by an editorial gloss stating the later name. Since that is not the case with the name Rameses, no editorial updating has occurred and therefore it must be a contemporary name.[12]

Hoffmeier states, “typically both the earlier name and the later name occur together.”[13] That is not the case. When a later name is editorially inserted into a passage that is chronologically earlier than the time of the name change, the editor simply replaced the earlier name with the later name in the majority of cases. A number of examples where the time of the name change can be reasonably ascertained are listed in Table 1 below. It is seen that the number of name replacements far outweigh the cases where the earlier and later names occur together, 26 to 8.

Table 1.  Examples of Editorial Practice in the Proleptic[14] Use of Placenames in the Hebrew Bible

 

Later Name

Later Name Replacing Earlier Name

Earlier Name plus Later Name

 

 

 

Bethel[15]

Gen 12:8 (2); 13:3 (2) = 4

0

 

 

 

Dan[16]

Gen 14:14; Deut 34:1= 2

0

 

 

 

Hebron[17]

Gen 13:18; 23:19; 37:14; Num 13:22 (2); Josh 10:3, 5, 23, 36, 39; 11:21; 12:10; 14:13; 21:13; Judg 1:20 = 15

(Kiriath Arba) Gen 23:2; 35:27; Josh 14:15; 15:13, 54; 20:7; 21:11; Judg 1:10 = 8

 

 

 

Hormah[18]

Num 14:45; Deut 1:44; Josh 12:14; 15:30: 19:4 = 5

0

 

A close reading of the context of Exod 1:11 makes it clear that the 13th-century model is incompatible with the Biblical narrative. Hoffmeier believes that Hebrew slaves were involved in the construction of the new capital of Rameses II beginning ca. 1270 BC.[19] Using the 12 generation concept for the 480 years of 1 Kgs 6:1, he places the exodus just three years later in 1267 BC.[20] It is not feasible to fit the events of Exod 1:11–12:36 in a three-year timespan. Following the building of Pithom and Rameses the Israelites experienced a growth in population: “the more they were oppressed, the more they multiplied and spread” (Exod 1:12), which had to have taken place over a considerable period of time. This was followed by an escalation of the oppression (Exod 1:13–14). Next, the king decreed that male Hebrew babies should be put to death (Exod 1:15–19). When the midwives ignored the order, “the people increased and became even more numerous” (Exod 1:20), again indicating a long passage of time. Exod 2 then relates the birth of Moses during the time of the ban on male babies. At age 40 (Acts 7:23), Moses fled to Midian where he stayed for a “long period” (Exod 2:23), during which time “the king of Egypt died” (Exod 2:23) and those seeking Moses’ life died (Exod 4:19). After Moses’ return from Midian, the exodus occurred when Moses was 80 years old (Exod 7:7).

If one wishes to follow the 13th-century model and argue that the Israelites built a city prior to the construction of Rameses II’s capital, then the proponents of the model will have to admit that the name Rameses is used proleptically in Exod 1:11, since the building of the store cities in Exod 1:11 had to have occurred over a century prior to the beginning of the construction of Rameses II’s delta capital.[21] The name Rameses also occurs in a timeframe long before the reign of Rameses II in Gen 47:11, as Hoffmeier acknowledges.[22] It was coined in ca. 1270 BC and clearly was used proleptically in Gen 47:11 and Exod 1:11. Rameses can be added to the names Bethel, Dan and Hormah as another example of a case in which the redactor did not include the earlier name.[23]

The other option for the 13th century theory would be to change the order of events in Exod 1–12 so that the construction of the store cities would occur just prior to the exodus. Doing this, however, would destroy the logical progression of the Exod 1:11–12:36 narrative.

Hoffmeier also objects to the use of the name Rameses on the basis that, “it makes no sense to contemporize the toponym to one with such a brief history [ca. 1270–1120 BC] and then to retain it for centuries when it would have been incomprehensible.”[24] Since Rameses was the last name used for the site, it only makes sense that that is the name that would be retained in the Hebrew Bible. There are a number of examples of toponyms being retained in the Biblical text long after the places ceased to exist.[25]

Hoffmeier questions why the Biblical text was not updated with the name Zoan/Tanis, the capital of the delta from ca. 1070 BC to the Roman period. [26] The short answer is that Zoan/Tanis was not located at the site where the Israelites lived, but 19 km. to the north-northeast. Comparing the name Rameses in Exodus and Numbers with Zoan in Ps 78 is like mixing apples and oranges. The references in Exod 1:11; 12:37; Num 33:3 and 5 are contemporary references specific to the place where the Israelites lived, later called Rameses. Ps 78, on the other hand is a retrospective view of events that transpired in the vicinity of, but not at, the location where the Israelites once lived. The sea crossing (Ps 78:12–13) most likely took place at Lake Ballah, 40 km. east.[27] The plagues (Ps 78:42–51), which bypassed the Israelites, were directed at Egyptians throughout the land (Exod 7:14–12:30). Thus, Ps 78 employs the term śidēh sōn in vv. 12 and 43 to indicate the general area of the eastern delta,[28] an appropriate usage at the time the psalm was written.

Hoffmeier then points out, “none of the geographical terms found in Exodus 1:11 and the route of the Exodus are known in Egyptian sources prior to the 13th century.”[29] This is an argument from silence, a practice demurred by Hoffmeier himself.[30] We have very few surviving documents prior to the 13th century that relate to the geography of the delta.

II. THE 480 YEARS OF 1 KGS 6:1 AND THE NUMBERS GAME

The second major premise of the 13th century model is that the 480 years of 1 Kgs 6:1 is, in reality, “a symbolic number that derives from 12 X 40, 40 years being a symbolic number for a generation.”[31] Hoffmeier does not comment on the fact that 1 Chr 6:33–37 indicates that there were 19 generations from the time of Moses to the time of Solomon, not 12.[32] Hoffmeier’s treatment of the 40 years as a generation is even more problematic. As he himself demonstrated by his partial list of the occurrences of 40 years in the Hebrew Bible, which I provided in full,[33] the use of the number is always associated with an elapsed period of time in the history of Israel and never as a generation. Moreover, Hoffmeier makes no comment on Cassuto’s study which demonstrates that the 480 years in 1 Kgs 6:1 should be understood as a precise, not a symbolic, number.[34]

III. DID PHARAOH SURVIVE THE REED SEA?

Hoffmeier doubts that the Pharaoh of the exodus died in the Reed Sea.[35] A review of the pertinent texts, however, suggests otherwise. In Exod 14:18 the Lord told Moses that He would “gain glory through Pharaoh, his chariots and his horsemen.” Then, after the Israelites had crossed the sea, “The Egyptians pursued them, and all Pharaoh’s horses and chariots and horsemen followed them into the sea” (Exod 14:23). When Moses stretched out his hand over the sea, it returned to its place “and the Lord swept (ar, ‘shake off’) them into the sea” (Exod 14:27). Ps 136:15 uses the same language, but explicitly includes Pharaoh: the Lord “brought Israel through the midst of it…but swept (ar, ‘shake off’) Pharaoh and his army into the yam sûp.” The Egyptians were then engulfed in the returning waters such that “the entire army of Pharaoh” perished, “not one of them survived” (Exod 14:28; cf. Ps 105:11). A clear sequence is presented:

1. the waters are parted

2. the Israelites cross on dry land

3. the Egyptian army charges into the sea in pursuit of the Israelites

4. while in the midst of the sea the Egyptians, including Pharaoh, are thrown from their chariots as the waters returned

5. the entire army is engulfed by the returning waters

It is highly unlikely that Pharaoh, the one the Lord would gain glory through, after being thrown from his chariot, somehow miraculously escaped the massive inundation of the returning waters of the yam sûp. A straightforward reading of the Biblical texts implies that all of the pursuing Egyptians, including the king himself, drowned in the yam sûp.

IV. LACK OF A REFERENCE TO ISRAEL IN EGYPTIAN RECORDS

Hoffmeier believes that the lack of Egyptian references to Israel being in Canaan prior to Merenptah “is problematic for the early date exodus and conquest.”[36] This is another argument from silence. During the 18th Dynasty, Egypt was primarily interested in controlling the trade routes and fertile agricultural areas of the lowlands of Canaan and had little interest in the highlands, other than to maintain the peace.[37] The Israelites, on the other hand, settled in the highlands and the cities they could not conquer, with the exception of Jerusalem, were precisely in the lowlands where Egypt maintained a presence.[38] Since the Israelites did not venture into the lowlands, and the Egyptians did not campaign in the highlands, the two entities had no contact and thus no mention by one of the other.[39] Aharoni summarized the situation as follows:

The internal regions of the country are all missing from his [Tuthmosis III’s] topographical texts, e.g. the Shephelah, the Negeb, the hill country of Judah and Ephraim, Lower Galilee, the southern Jordan Valley, Gilead and southern Transjordan. Egyptian expeditions did not pass through these regions which seem to have had little importance for them.[40]

Hoffmeier discounts Manfred Görg’s suggestion that the name Israel is possibly inscribed on a Berlin column base fragment that pre-dates Merneptah.[41] Here is Görg’s response to Hoffmeier’s critique:

RESPONSE TO PROF. HOFFEIER’S OBJECTIONS

BY MANFRED GÖRG

Professor Emeritus, Katholisch-Theologische

Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München

As Prof. Hoffmeier correctly notes[42] I “provisionally” suggested the third name of the topographical list on the “Berlin-fragment” No. 21687 (besides Ashkelon and Canaan) may be connected (not simply identified!) with “Israel.” But Hoffmeier seems to have misunderstood some of my observations and comments, so I would like to repeat some of my explanations here.[43]

1. The questionable toponym appears together with Ashkelon and Canaan. Both these toponyms are mentioned together with Israel exclusively in the Stela of Merneptah.

2. My interpretation of the fragmentary toponym reads ’I-sch-(r)-jl which corresponds to Hebrew Jaschar El: “Perfect (is) God” or the like. This kind of designation means to my mind possibly an earlier form of the later “Israel” presumably in an archaic feature.

3. For the various ways to understand a hieroglyphic “Alef” in one and the same name, see e.g. the transliteration of the Kassite king’s name Kurigalzu in hieroglyphs: K3(!)-r-!f3(!)z.

4. The suggested earlier form of “Israel” can be compared with similar personal names from cuneiform sources. Not all Biblical names have preserved their original pronunciation. Even the Biblical pronunciation of “Mose” is not the original one, if we accept an Egyptian origin!

5. My commentary has no relationship to questions about the date of the so-called “exodus.” Concerning the name “Israel,” recall the naming of Jacob in the Biblical tradition. According to Gen 32:29 Jacob is named “Israel” (with a “modernized” explanation).

More about the history of the famous name will be given in a forthcoming contribution within the series Egypt and Old Testament, Wiesbaden, Germany.

V. THE PROBLEM OF HAZOR

Hazor provides the only possible evidence for an Israelite conquest of Canaan in the late 13th century. Accordingly, adherents of the 13th century model assign the ca. 1320 BC destruction to Joshua, whereas supporters of the 15th century model assign it to Deborah and Barak (Judg 4). Hoffmeier is incorrect to say that Hazor was “demolished by a much smaller force [than that of Joshua] from the tribes of Naphtali and Zebulon (Judg 4:6 & 10) under Deborah and Barak.”[44] Judg 5:14–18 indicates that Ephraim, Benjamin, Makir (Manasseh), Zebulon, Issachar and Naphtali, six northern hill country tribes, participated in the war against Jabin king of Hazor.[45] Furthermore, Hoffmeier denies that there was any military action against Hazor itself by Deborah and Barak, as the battle described in Judg 4 took place at the Kishon River some 35 mi. south-southwest of Hazor.[46] The victory at the Kishon River resulted in Jabin being “subdued” (Judg 4:23). Following this, the “Israelites grew stronger and stronger against Jabin” until they “destroyed him” (Judg 4:24). The destruction of Jabin implies the destruction of his capital city Hazor.

These are minor points, however, compared to the major issue facing the 13th century model which Hoffmeier does not address. That is, if the 1320 BC destruction at Hazor is assigned to Joshua, where is the city that the Jabin of Judg 4 ruled, since Hazor was not rebuilt until the time of Solomon?[47]

VI. KITCHEN AND COVENANT

Hoffmeier claims that I charged Kitchen with “manipulating the evidence” and then goes on to discuss Kitchen’s extensive research on ANE covenants, treaties and law codes, implying that I was criticizing this body of work. This was not the case. What I said was that Kitchen “manipulated the Biblical data,”[48] which I stand by. I have the highest regard for Kitchen’s work on the ANE materials and used his results as presented in On the Reliability of the Old Testament[49] in my critique.

The difficulty here is that Kitchen did not clearly define his methodology in comparing the Biblical and ANE materials. Hoffmeier points out that Kitchen emphasizes that the Biblical materials are not the actual covenant documents, but “describe the giving of the covenant and its renewals.”[50] Kitchen made a similar point in On the Reliability of the Old Testament when he said, “We do not possess an official copy or formal text of the actual covenant itself, but only presentations on the enactment of that covenant” (emphasis in the original).[51] Does this mean that it is necessary only to compare elements, in which case format is unimportant? Kitchen provides no ground rules. His methodology lacks controls and scientific rigor. It is clear that Kitchen does place a great deal of emphasis on the format of the Biblical material, making such statements as, “The Sinai documents have an indubitable fourteenth/thirteenth century format.”[52]

Based on the presentation in On the Reliability of the Old Testament, it appears that Kitchen is attempting to demonstrate that the format of the Biblical covenant material matches the format of 1400–1200 BC ANE covenant texts.[53] A perusal of Kitchen’s Table 21[54] readily confirms that he rearranged the Biblical texts to line up with the format of his Phase V (1400–1200) ANE treaties and covenants, with the exception of the order of blessings and curses. The Biblical materials are much more complex and varied, as I demonstrated in Tables 2–5 of my article,[55] and cannot be forced into a rigid format.

What is more, Kitchen selected only those Biblical components which matched his Phase V ANE format, ignoring such things as oaths and epilogues which do not occur in Phase V, but in earlier ANE texts. If, as Hoffmeier seems to suggest, Kitchen’s extensive work on ANE treaties, covenants and law codes gives him license to select and arrange the Biblical texts in any way he wishes, then he is free to construct any format he desires.

VII. CONCLUSION

Hoffmeier promised much but delivered little. He stated that in his book Israel in Egypt he demonstrated that “the Egyptian archaeological evidence and the Biblical data converged at the 13th century date” for the exodus.[56] He also said, “there is solid Biblical and archaeological evidence to support this date.”[57] Such evidence was neither presented nor cited in his article. Instead, Hoffmeier attempted to negate a number of my criticisms of the 13th century model rather than producing strong evidence in support of the theory. Furthermore, he resorted to non-scientific stratagems[58] such as appealing to the opinions of esteemed authority figures and like-minded colleagues,[59] and arguments from silence.

What is more telling than what Hoffmeier commented on is what he did not comment on. He provided no answer to Cassuto’s analysis demonstrating that the 480 years of 1 Kgs 6:1 should be taken as a scientifically precise number,[60] the fact that 1 Chr 6:33–37 demonstrates that there were 19 generations between Moses and Solomon not 12, the Jubilees data from the Talmud which places the beginning of the conquest at 1406 BC,[61] the lack of archaeological data to support a conquest date of ca. 1230 BC at Jericho and Ai (Kh. el-Maqatir), and the lack of a place for Jabin king of Hazor in Judg 4 to live.[62]

The date of the Biblical exodus-conquest is clear. 1 Kgs 6:1 and 1 Chr 6:33–37 converge on a date of 1446 BC for the exodus and the Jubilees data and Judg 11:26 independently converge on a date of 1406 BC for the beginning of the conquest. The 1406 BC date is further confirmed by archaeological data from Jericho, Ai (Kh. el-Maqatir) and Hazor.

In the end, Hoffmeier’s response has served to reinforce my earlier conclusion that “there is no valid evidence, Biblical or extra-Biblical, to sustain it.”[63] The theory is a scholarly construct popularized by William F. Albright in the mid-20th century. It is not supported by Biblical or extra-Biblical texts and has lost its presumed archaeological underpinnings, thus has no place in contemporary Biblical scholarship.

Recommended Resources for Further Study

     
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Footnotes:

[1]The Rise and Fall of the 13th-Century Exodus-Conquest Theory,” JETS 48: 475–89.

[2] “What is the Biblical Date for the Exodus? A Response to Bryant Wood,” JETS 50 (2007): 225–247.

[3] Israel in Egypt (New York: Oxford University, 1997) 34.

[4] On the length of the sojourn (Exod 12:40—LXX 215 years vs. MT 430 years) see Paul J. Ray, Jr., “The Duration of the Israelite Sojourn in Egypt,” Bible and Spade 17 (2004): 33–44, a revised and updated version of idem, “The Duration of the Israelite Sojourn in Egypt,” AUSS 24 (1986): 231–48; on the chronology of the Judges period, see Paul J. Ray, Jr., in Beyond the Jordan: Studies in Honor of W. Harold Mare (ed. Glenn A. Carnagey, Sr.; Eugene OR: Wipf & Stock, 2005) 93–104.

[5] It is generally recognized that, for the most part, the MT is closer to the original Hebrew autographs than the text the LXX was translated from. See, recently, Peter J, Gentry, “The Septuagint and the Text of the Old Testament,” BBR 16 (2006): 193–218; Karen H. Jobes, “When God Spoke Greek: The Place of the Greek Bible in Evangelical Scholarship,” BBR 16 (2006): 219–36.

[6]Rise and Fall” 475.

[7] “Biblical Date” 226.

[8]Rise and Fall” 476–77.

[10] Hoffmeier, “Biblical Date” 231.

[11] Wood, “Rise and Fall” 479.

[12] Hoffmeier, “Biblical Date” 234.

[13] Ibid. 233.

[14] The term proleptic is defined here as follows. In a case where an earlier name X is changed to a later name Y, the later name Y is inserted by a later editor into a Biblical text where the earlier name X appears in a chronological context that is earlier than the time when the name X was changed to Y.

[15] The name Luz was changed to Bethel at Gen 28:19.

[16] The name Laish was changed to Dan at Judg 18:29 (cf. Josh 19:47).

[17] The name Kiriath Arba was changed to Hebron, but exactly when that change took place is not stated in the Hebrew Bible. For the purposes of this study it is assumed that the statement of Num 13:22 that “Hebron had been built seven years before Zoan in Egypt” indicates that the former site of Kiriath Arba was rebuilt and given the new name of Hebron seven years before the founding of Zoan. The metropolis of Zoan ( = Tanis) was founded in the 19th year of Rameses XI, ca. 1087 BC (Geoffrey Graham, “Tanis,” in The Oxford Encyclopedia of Ancient Egypt 3 [ed. Donald B. Redford; Oxford, England: Oxford University, 2001] 348), thus the new city of Hebron would have been built ca. 1094 BC, toward the end of the Judges period.

[18] The name Zephath was changed to Hormah at Judg 1:17.

[19] Ibid. 232. Hoffmeier will have to take up his charges that “Wood muddles Egyptian chronology by using the high chronology for the 18th Dynasty…and the low chronology for the 19th” and “The two systems ought not to be mixed” (“Biblical Date” xxx) with fellow Egyptologists Edward Wente and Charles Van Siclen III, as it was their chronology that I was using (“A Chronology of the New Kingdom,” in Studies in Honor of George R. Hughes January 12, 1977, Studies in Ancient Oriental Civilization 39 [ed. Janet H. Johnson and Edward F. Wente; Chicago: The Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago, 1977] 217–61).

[20] Ibid. 236.

[21] The context of Exod 1:11 points to the Hyksos period (Wood, “Ramesses to Shiloh” 257–58).

[22] “Biblical Date” 234 n. 53.

[23] Another example of a later name used in an earlier context without editorial comment is the appearance of Samaria in 1 Kgs 13:32 in the time of Jeroboam I. The city was not founded until the seventh year of Omri some 40 years later (1 Kgs 16:24).

[24] “Biblical Date” 234.

[25] E.g., Akkad, Sodom, Gomorrah, Zeboiim, Admah.

[26] “Biblical Date” 234.

[27] James K. Hoffmeier, Ancient Israel in Sinai (Oxford, England: Oxford University, 2005) 75–109.

[28] So, “country of Zoan” (NEB) and “region of Zoan” (NIV).

[29] “Biblical Date” 235.

[30] Israel in Egypt 34, 53.

[31] Hoffmeier, “Biblical Date” 236.

[32] Wood, “Rise and Fall” 486. Other genealogical lists for the period from Moses to Solomon are truncated. The genealogy of the high priests in 1 Chr 6:3–10, however, lists 14 generations from Aaron to Azariah, the high priest at the time of Solomon.

[33] Ibid. 484, 486 n. 45.

[34] Ibid. 486.

[35] “Biblical Date” 239.

[36] Ibid. 241.

[37] The ineffectiveness of chariot forces in the rugged terrain of the highlands also may have played a role in limiting Egyptian presence in the highlands (Baruch Halpern, “Gibeon: Israelite Diplomacy in the Conquest Era,” CBQ 37 [1975] 311.

[38] Josh 11:22; 13:2–5; 15:63; 16:10; 17:11–12, 16; Judg 1:18–21; 27–35.

[39] The allusions to “the hornet” in Exod 23:28; Deut 7:20 and Josh 24:12 are possibly oblique references to Egypt (Oded Borowski, “The Identity of the Biblical sirâ,” in The Word of the Lord Shall Go Forth: Essays in Honor of David Noel Freedman in Celebration of His Sixtieth Birthday [ed. Carol L. Meyers and Michael O’Connor; Winona Lake IN: Eisenbrauns, 1983] 315–19). Although Borowski relates the references to the campaign of Merenptah at the end of the 13th century, it could just as easily refer to Egyptian activity in the area in the 15th century.

[40] Yohanan Aharoni, The Land of the Bible: A Historical Geography (Philadelphia: Westminster, 1979) 165.

[41] “Biblical Date” 241.

[42] “Biblical Date” 241.

[43] Originally published in “Israel in Hieroglyphen,” BN 106 (2001) 21–27.

[44] Ibid. 244.

[45] The tribe of Dan had not yet migrated to the northern site of Dan (Judg 5:17; Wood, “Ramesses to Shiloh” 275–77).

[46] “Biblical Date” 244.

[47] Wood, “Rise and Fall” 487–88.

[48] Ibid. 480.

[49] Kenneth A. Kitchen, On the Reliability of the Old Testament (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2003) 283–89.

[50] “Biblical Date” 246.

[51] Reliability 283.

[52] Ibid. 289.

[53] Ibid. 283–89.

[54] Ibid. 284.

[55]Rise and Fall” 480–83.

[56] “Biblical Date” 247.

[57] Ibid. 247.

[58] Bryant G. Wood, “Archaeological Views: Let the Evidence Speak,” BARev 33.2 (2007); Michael D. Coogan, “Question Authority!” BARev 32.3 (2006) 24.

[59] “Biblical Date” 231.

[60]Rise and Fall” 486.

[61] Rodger C. Young, “When Did Solomon Die?” JETS 46 (2003) 599–603.

[62]Rise and Fall” 487. Another major problem for the 13th century theory is the lack of fortified cities in Canaan in the 13th century contrary to the report of the spies in Num13:28. In the 15th century (Late Bronze I period), on the other hand, there were many fortified cities in Canaan (David G. Hansen, “The Cities are Great and Walled Up To Heaven: Canaanite Fortifications in the Late Bronze I Period,” in Beyond the Jordan: Studies in Honor of W. Harold Mare [ed. Glenn A. Carnagey, Sr.; Eugene OR: Wipf & Stock, 2005] 79–92).

[63] Ibid 489.

 

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Comments Comment RSS

4/6/2009 3:00 AM #

what would we do without these scholastic hissy fits.  whenpeople are on the same side as wood, kitchen and hoffmeier seem to be [they all claim to be christian}, it is best to work things out together in a unified manner so that we do not look like a house divided.

i happen to agree with all three sides here and while wood is correct we should know approx. when the exods took place, we should also take care to make sure that it is accepted as taking place.

if no one accepts or believes that the exodus really happened, knowing when, means very little.

dr. david t. - 4/6/2009 3:00:03 AM

4/13/2009 11:52 AM #

Dear Mr. Lonnie Smith,

Thanks for your comments. The date of the Exodus that we propose is based on the internal data of the Bible. It is also verified and sustantiated by other extra-Biblical data that illuminates the Biblical chronology. A great article on chronology, for example, can be found here:

www.biblearchaeology.org/.../...OT-Chronology.aspx

You wrongly presuppose that:

"Let's not forget that the main purpose of Exodus, 1 Kings, and 1 Chronicles is to lend legitimacy to the semitic claim to the lands of Israel, NOT historical accuracy."

This is just patently false. The purpose of these books is to provide a progressive and infallible revelation of redemptive history, which God chose to unveil through the people of Israel, culminating in the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. Your claim that the books were written for the purpose you state has no basis in fact. Your statement is a straw man, which you construct to then claim the Bible is not real history.

The research presented on the pages of this website demonstrate the Bible's historical accuracy. There is no reason to NOT accept the Biblical testimony that the Exodus occurred according to the Bible's own internal chronological data. When one ignores the Biblical testimony of the event of the Exodus and demands further evidence MUST be presented, it is a non-scientific argument from silence. It is also a double standard, as other historical documents are not treated the same way.

From Dr. Bryant Wood:

The claim that there never was an Exodus from Egypt stems from the argument that Egyptian records do not speak of such an event. This is an argument from silence and is not based on reality. Surviving Egyptian records were, for the most part, propagandistic records carved in stone extolling the accomplishments of the Pharaohs. An event that demeaned Pharaoh would never be recorded. Writing was believed to be sacred, giving reality to the statements being recorded. If an event was not recorded, then it never happened. (See Gerald Wheeler, “Ancient Egypt’s Silence about the Exodus,” Andrews University Seminary Studies 40 [2002]: 257–64.)

Where would one expect to find these detailed Egyptian historical records that critics say do not record anything about the Exodus? The most likely place would be Rameses where the Israelites lived during the Sojourn (Gen. 47:11; Exod. 1:11) and where they left from (Exod. 12:37; Num. 33:3–5). Rameses has been excavated from the mid 1960s until the present by an Austrian expedition under the direction of Egyptologist Manfred Bietak. After more than 40 years of excavating, the Austrians have not found a single shred of a historical document from any time period, let alone detailed historical records from the time of the Exodus. The argument is fallacious.

www.biblearchaeology.org/.../From-the-Mailbag.aspx

Lastly, confidence only matters in one regard: we have complete confidence that God has revealed Himself in the pages of Scripture and everything that God has said in Scripture is absolutely accurate and comes with His full authority. The confidence you hold in your own fallen, fallible, flawed, and limited human theories about the Bible are mere folly. We do not place our confidence in the autonomous and fallacious theories of sinful men. We place our full confidence and trust in the one, only and true living God, Christ Jesus.

We pray that you will do the same.

Sincerely,

Henry B. Smith Jr.

ABR - 4/13/2009 11:52:19 AM

4/13/2009 12:27 PM #

I just love the false accuracy being provided by some "scholars" for the timing of the Exodus.  Based on what extra-biblical evidence?  The fact is, the 15th century BC is just as plausible as the 14th.  Let's not forget that the main purpose of Exodus, 1 Kings, and 1 Chronicles is to lend legitimacy to the semitic claim to the lands of Israel, NOT historical accuracy.

Just remember, confidence does not equal likelihood.

Lonnie Smith - 4/13/2009 12:27:28 PM

4/5/2010 5:15 PM #

My name is Mike Townley. I have been a Christian since 1995. This is perhaps controversial to talk about "spiritual warfare" in scholarly circles,but through the process of Christian growth and The LIVING GOD allowing His children to be attacked by the "enemy", He has shown me that the only place for a Christian to stand is SCRIPTURE. I congratulate ABR that they are reasoning from the scripture alone. We as Evangelicals are sometimes on a very narrow road . On one side we have to adhere to scripture as the Final authority in all matters,Faith,science history,etc; on the other side we can't be anti-intellectual and not use the scientific method as an addition to help us understand scripture .This balance usually brings criticism on both sides because Scripture and science are divided into their "camps" in academia. Scripture unfortunately usually gets re-interpreted because of our temporary "belief" in our own imperfect understanding of the data. I appreciate ABR for their stance of SOLA SCRIPTURA, that they are willing to use the Scripture first principle .(ISAIAH 40:8). If we stick to our guns we might not have every "answer" but we won't compromise the truth for some temporary conclusion that will usually be over-turned in a few years,or months, now in light of current technology. I have encountered much controversy from other Christians for being argumentative on "lesser issues", however if we don't stand up for the totality of Scripture we will give more and more ground to the enemies of Truth(John 14:6,17:17). Thank you ABR for being willing to sacrifice the acclamation of the "world" for the truth of the WORD. I struggle with myself daily to exercise II Corinthians 10:3-6.  We as Evangelicals need to be in this struggle.   Sincerely in Jesus, Mike T.

Mike Townley - 4/5/2010 5:15:07 PM

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