Testing the Factuality of the Conquest of Ai Narrative in the Book of Joshua: Part Three

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Excerpt The problem addressed in this article is the arbitration among the three alternative views of the conquest of Ai narrative summarized in Part One. This is accomplished by testing the correspondence between the narrative in question and the material time-space context it purports to represent. Part Three... Continue reading

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THE BIBLICAL TIMELINE

 

Material facts of all kinds, including artifacts from an archaeological locus, are devoid of inherent meaning and therefore indeterminate or not self-determinative. Meaning is ascribed to them solely by a narrative representation of a determinative kind [Oller (1996: 216); Oller & Collins (2000); Collins & Oller (2000)]. Thus, archaeological research should always operate within the framework of a determinative narrative; in other words, a TNR. In the case of archaeological research of the Bronze Age Canaanite cultures in Palestine, and because of the paucity of epigraphic or historiographic material unearthed from these cultures, the Bible assumes the role of the primary source of historical data. There simply is no other source of comparable scope, coherence, and integrity.

 

The Contribution of the Biblical Timeline to the Criterial Screen

 

A necessary component of the criterial screen is the establishment of the temporal location of the conquest of Ai according to the biblical narrative. The conquest of Ai, as recorded in chapters 7 and 8 of Joshua, would have occurred near the beginning of the Conquest, the chronology of which is determined in relationship to the date of the Exodus. As discussed in Briggs (2007: 64-72 & 83-85), the selection of the date for the Exodus is the object of intense debate, much of which is precipitated by archaeological findings. However, for determining the temporal location of the conquest of Ai we must insist on allowing the Bible to speak for itself and prevent the confounding of biblical data by archaeological data. This is true because the parameters of the criterial screen must be in strict accord with the biblical text.

 

Biblical Date for the Exodus

 

The three principal passages that provide a basis for deriving a biblical date for the Exodus are as follows: (a) 1 Kings 6:1; (b) the letter from Jephthah to the king of Ammon summarized in Judges 11:26; and, (c) the genealogy of Heman in 1 Chronicles 6:33-43. These three passages consistently point to an Exodus date in the range of 1470-1406 BC – that is, in the 15th century BC and within the time frame of the 18th dynasty of Egypt. The chronological data dispersed throughout the books of Judges and 1 & 2 Samuel is a fourth source, but is not weighted significantly. A fifth source for deriving the biblical date for the Exodus is based upon the correspondence between the historical narrative in the Book of Exodus and Egyptian history; in particular, the history of the 18th dynasty. The key events in Exodus which must be reflected in the history of the 18th dynasty are as follows: (a) the Pharaoh of the Oppression died during Moses’ sojourn in Midian according to Exodus 7:6; (b) the firstborn son of the Pharaoh of the Exodus – presumably the heir to the throne – died as a consequence of the tenth plague; (c) the Pharaoh of the Exodus himself died with his entire army when he pursued Israel through the Sea of Reeds according to Exodus 14:6-28, Psalm 106:9-12, and Psalm 136:15; and, (d) the ten plagues combined with the Sea of Reeds episode severely impacted lower Egypt economically and militarily. Steven Collins has carefully analyzed the historical synchronisms between the account in the Book of Exodus vis-a-vis the profiles of the pharaohs of the 18th and 19th dynasties in Egypt [Collins (2002)]. He demonstrates the substantial correlation that exists if Tuthmosis IV is identified as the Pharaoh of the Exodus. Collins’ historical synchronisms analysis is sufficiently compelling that I embrace 1406 BC as the biblical date for the Exodus, which corresponds to the end of the reign of Tuthmosis IV. This date agrees very well with the date derived from the Septuagint rendering of 1 Kings 6:1 – to wit, the Exodus occurred 440 years prior to the 4th year of Solomon’s reign.

 

Timeline of the Wilderness Journey

 

According to Numbers 33:3, the Israelites set forth from Egypt on the 15th day of the 1st month, which would have been the morning after the first Passover celebration. According to Exodus 19:1, the Israelites arrived at the base of Mt. Sinai on the 15th day of the 3rd month, which would have been exactly 2 months after leaving Egypt. From Exodus 40:17, they received the law and directions for constructing the tabernacle through Moses, and they completed the construction of the tabernacle by the end of the 1st year. According to Exodus 40:17, the tabernacle was actually erected in the 1st month of the 2nd year. From Numbers 10:11, the tribes of Israel broke camp and departed from Mt. Sinai exactly 13 months and 5 days after their departure from Egypt. Based upon available chronological data in the Book of Numbers, the date of the Israelites’ arrival at Kadesh Barnea is placed in the 15th month after their departure from Egypt. The estimate of 2 months for the duration of their trip from Mt. Sinai to Kadesh Barnea is partially based on the fact that, according to Numbers 11:20ff, the people received the miraculous visitation of quail to satisfy their hunger for meat over a period of 1 month.

 

The Kadesh Barnea Episode

 

The Kadesh Barnea episode is recorded in the 13th and 14th chapters of Numbers. While encamped at Kadesh Barnea, Moses dispatched the twelve spies to survey the land, the spies returned with their report, and the people responded to the report by refusing to trust the promise of Yahweh that he would give them victory over the tribes of the Canaanites. The apostasy of the people at Kadesh Barnea precipitated the period of wilderness wanderings, which, according to Deuteronomy 2:14, consumed 38 years. By the end of the 38 years, the entire generation which had experienced the Exodus from Egypt had died except for two men; namely, Caleb and Joshua. Chronologically, the key event in the Kadesh Barnea episode is the promise given to Caleb, which is stated in Numbers 14:24. According to this promise, he would survive the 38 years of wandering in the wilderness and would enter the land of Canaan. Allowing 2 months for completion of the spies’ reconnoitering mission, the timing of the promise to Caleb is placed in the 17th month after the Exodus.

 

Timeline of the Wilderness Wanderings

 

From Exodus 7:7, Moses was 80 years old at the time of the Exodus, and from Deuteronomy 34:7, he was 120 years old when he died while the Israelites were encamped on the plains of Moab opposite Jericho.

 

Another data point is derived from Exodus 16:35, where the period of the people’s dependence on manna is stated to be 40 years. According to Joshua 5:10-11, the Israelites observed Passover after having crossed the Jordan and just prior to the attack on Jericho. This Passover was precisely 40 years after the one observed the evening before the Exodus. According to Joshua 5:12, the daily provision of manna ceased at the same time. Thus, the period of time from the Exodus until the people were encamped at Gilgal nearby Jericho and ready to initiate the Conquest is determined to be precisely 40 years. Accordingly, the date I embrace for the beginning of the Conquest is 1366 BC, which lies in the first half of the LB IIA archaeological period according to Table 1.

 

Timeline of the Conquest

 

In Joshua 14:10, Caleb states that 45 years had elapsed from the time of Yahweh’s promise to him at Kadesh Barnea to the conclusion of the Conquest. Based on the estimate above that the promise to Caleb was delivered in the 17th month after the Exodus, the end of the Conquest would have occurred approximately 46½ years after the Exodus. Therefore, the duration of the Conquest was 6½ years. To be precise, the Conquest was initiated in the spring of 1366 BC, and it was completed in the fall of 1360 BC. Accordingly, the entire Conquest occurred in the first half of the LB IIA archaeological period. However, because of a 30-year bias in the ceramic dating uncertainty combined with the fact that the fortress of Ai was a small and remote military outpost, a destruction that actually occurred in the first half of LB IIA would appear archaeologically to have occurred toward the end of LB I. 9

 

Implications of the Biblical Timeline

 

In accordance with our analytical method for deriving the criterial screen for the conquest of Ai narrative, the biblical timeline is postulated to be true from the Exodus until the beginning of the Conquest. This establishes the archaeological context for the conquest of Ai narrative as lying near the end of the LB I according to the reasoning process summarized above. The conquest of Ai narrative is then subjected to a detailed analysis based upon the TNR formalism, and, in particular, upon empirical correspondence as manifested in the criterial screen. If it turns out that all of the criterial screen parameters are satisfied, then the narrative is determined to be factual. As a byproduct of this determination, the biblical timeline would be confirmed. We could then move forward or backward along the biblical timeline to consider other narratives where a similar analytical approach could be applied. On the other hand, if the conquest of Ai narrative should be confirmed as nonfactual, then at least that portion of the Bible should be regarded as either a remarkable, erroneous conception or worse: a deliberately and maliciously fabricated myth which is tantamount to a lie. Furthermore, the credibility of other portions of the Bible that rely upon the conquest of Ai narrative would be called into serious question.

 

DERIVATION OF THE CRITERIAL SCREEN

 

The criterial screen derived from exegesis of the conquest of Ai narrative is the tool for evaluating the empirical correspondence between the narrative and the material time-space context it purports to describe. In fact, the criterial screen is the desired end-product of the exegesis of the text. Table 3 defines each parameter of the criterial screen, including a symbolic definition of the associated probability and the principal passage in the text from which it is derived. The following paragraphs summarize the derivation of each of the fourteen criterial screen parameters from the biblical text. 10

 

Predicate Criterial Screen

 

The first three parameters of the criterial screen in Table 3 form a predicate criterial screen. These particular parameters constitute the minimum set that is capable of discriminating between viable and nonviable sites for Joshua’s Ai. Even though the predicate screen consists of only three parameters, it is sufficiently explicit that only one of the three candidate sites for Joshua’s Ai survive its application. That single site is then subjected to the still more demanding requirements of the remaining eleven parameters of the criterial screen.

 

Explanation of the Criterial Screen

 

The following paragraphs describe the derivation of each of the parameters of the criterial screen listed in Table 3.

 

Site located in the Benjamin hill country and destroyed in the first half of LB IIA. This first parameter is of primary importance, for it culls out from further consideration all candidate sites for Joshua’s Ai that are not properly located in space and time according to the biblical text. Spatially, Joshua’s Ai was situated in the Benjamin hill country of Israel. (Refer to Figure 1 in Part Two for a more precise definition of the portion of the Benjamin hill country indicated by the biblical text and the results of past research.) Temporally, Joshua’s Ai was occupied during LB I and destroyed in the first half of LB IIA. On account of the 30-year bias in ceramic dating uncertainty and the fact that Joshua’s Ai was a small and remote military outpost, a destruction in the first half of LB IIA would appear archaeologically as having occurred toward the end of the previous period, LB I.

Table 3. Criterial Screen for the Conquest of Ai Narrative

 

Small site with area less than 7 acres. According to Joshua 7:2-3, the fortress of Ai appeared to be so small that the spies recommended that only a contingent of 2E or 3E would be sufficient to take it. In accordance with Joshua 10:2, the area of Ai was smaller than that of Gibeon. Analysis of the area of Gibeon at the time of Joshua summarized above and detailed in Briggs (2007: 117-118) is based upon available data in Broshi & Gophna (1986: 82) and Finkelstein & Magen (1993) and yields the estimate of 11 ±4 acres; to wit, its area lay between a minimum value of 7 acres and a maximum value of 15 acres. Accordingly, I interpret the requirement that the area of the fortress of Ai be less than that of Gibeon to mean that the maximum value for the area of the fortress of Ai must be less than the minimum value for the area of Gibeon; namely, 7 acres.

 

Fortified site with wall and gate. There is no specific and direct biblical statement that Ai was fortified. However, a number of statements in the text of Joshua 7 and 8 present conclusive evidence that it was indeed fortified. In particular, the lines of evidence supporting fortification are as follows:

 

a. In Joshua 7:5, the flight of the Israelites after the first battle of Ai is described as having started from before or in front of the gate of the fortress. The existence of a gate implies that of a wall as well.

 

b. An unfortified location would not have a “front” face. The fact that Joshua 8:11 describes the residual attack force under Joshua’s command as “arriving in front of the city” is only reasonable if the Israelites acquired a position that was before or in face-to-face opposition to the principal wall face and gate of the fortress of Ai.

 

c. The divinely mandated ruse is not reasonable unless it was necessary for the Israelites to trick the Canaanites to leave the fortress open. If the site of Ai was unfortified, the overwhelming Israelite offensive force (5,730 versus a Canaanite defensive force estimated to be 750, or a 7.6-to-1 numerical advantage) could have entered it with impunity from any direction without employing a feigned retreat and ambush strategy.

 

The result of applying the predicate criterial screen. If S is the set of all sites in Israel, without regard to geographic location or period of occupation, then the parameters of the predicate criterial screen progressively narrow the set of candidate sites for Joshua’s Ai. As a result of completing the application of the first parameter, the set of potentially viable candidates is reduced to S1 , the sites in the Benjamin hill country that were occupied during LB I and destroyed in the first half of LB IIA. Application of the second parameter narrows the set of candidates further to S2 , those members of S1 that are smaller than 7 acres. Application of the third parameter narrows the set of candidates still further to S3 , those members of S2 that were fortified with wall and gate. In fact, as is demonstrated in the next section, S3 is populated by just one site. The function of the 4th through the 14th parameters of the criterial screen is to confirm the correct identification of that one site as Joshua’s Ai. For purposes of calculating a number of the probabilities P4 through P14 associated with the remaining 11 criterial screen parameters, the candidate sites for Joshua’s Ai are treated as a representative microcosm of the set of all fortified Benjamin hill country sites occupied during the time of Joshua.

 

Gate facing north to northeast. According to Joshua 8:11, the residual attack force “arrived in front of the city, and camped on the north side of Ai.” Thus, the principal gate of the fortress, or perhaps the only gate, was in the north or northeast face of the wall.

 

High ridge north of the fortress within 2 kilometers and intervening shallow valley within 1 kilometer. According to Joshua 8:11, most of the 22E residual attack force was encamped north of the fortress in a location which was hidden from the view of the men of Ai. Joshua 8:11 further states that there was an intervening valley between this camp and the fortress. Hence, the Israelite camp must have been located on a high ridge, probably forested, which lay north of Ai.11 Moreover, Joshua and his immediate subordinates would have required an elevated location close to the fortress of Ai from which to direct the battle. The value of 2 kilometers is set for the threshold of proximity of the high ridge relative to the fortress. Ridges that were more distant than this could not satisfy all of the biblical requirements. Furthermore, according to Joshua 8:13, Joshua made his camp and “spent the night in the midst of the valley,” probably taking with him a small detachment of men from the residual attack force. Thus, from Joshua 8:11-13, two separate but related aspects of the topography north of Ai are derived. First, there must have been a high ridge north of the fortress, and then there must have been an intervening valley where Joshua and his men spent the night. The fact that the valley in question was shallow is indicated by Joshua 8:14, which states that the king of Ai was able to observe all of Joshua’s movements and the place where he and his men set up camp. The value of 1 kilometer is set for the threshold of proximity of the valley relative to the fortress.

 

Ambush hiding place approximately southwest of the fortress within 3 kilometers. While the Canaanites were fixated on Joshua’s visual presentation of the detachment from the residual attack force on the north side of the fortress,12 it was essential that the 30E primary ambush force of Joshua 8:3-9 remain hidden from view. The topography surrounding the site of Ai had to be such that the primary ambush force could not be seen from either Ai or Bethel, the neighboring Canaanite city to the west. Based upon the combination of mildly contradictory directional indicators provided in the text (“behind” Ai, to the west of Ai, and “between” Ai and Bethel), it is concluded that the place of ambush was approximately southwest of the fortress.13 A proximity factor of 3 kilometers is selected because Joshua instructed the primary ambush force to acquire a position that was not far from the fortress according to Joshua 8:4.

 

Suitable location for the feigned retreat maneuver north or northeast of the fortress within 3 kilometers. According to Joshua 8:14ff, the Israelite force deployed frontally against the north-facing wall and gate of the fortress allowed itself to be driven back as in the first battle of Ai, and it feigned retreat toward an “appointed place before the desert plain;” that is, a location which commanded a view of the Jordan valley to the east.14 The location was such that once the men of Ai had been drawn into pursuit of the Israelites, they would have been prevented from quick return to their fortress, thus opening a significant window of opportunity for the primary ambush force to penetrate the fortress and set a fire. Accordingly, the topography to the north and northeast of Ai would have been characterized by an expanse suitable for maneuvering armies, a view of the Jordan valley, and a natural barrier obstructing the rapid return of the Canaanites to their unprotected fortress. A proximity factor of 3 kilometers is selected for this parameter since the location in question could not be so far to the east as to obscure Joshua’s raised weapon signal in accordance with Joshua 8:18.

 

Egress route with descent and shebarim within 3 kilometers. According to Joshua 7:5, in the first battle of Ai the Canaanites chased the fleeing Israelites as far as a specific location or landmark designated ‘the Shebârîym’, a term which is unique to this passage. Based upon available lexical data, this term denotes a prominent feature characterized by broken or jointed rock, quarrying, or possibly a ruin. To simplify nomenclature, the specific landmark spoken of in Joshua 7:5 is denoted ‘the Shebarim’ without diacritical marks, and candidate features observable in the region that may correspond to this specific one are denoted ‘shebarim’ or ‘shebarim formations’. According to Joshua 7:5, the features of a descent and the Shebarim were present along the egress route traversed by the Israelites in the first battle of Ai described in Joshua 7:4ff. Since these features characterized the route along which the men of Ai pursued the fleeing Israelites, they would necessarily have to exist within a short distance of Ai. A proximity factor of 3 kilometers is therefore selected. 15

 

Trafficable routes to location. According to Joshua 8:3, Joshua and the entire army of Israel left the camp at Gilgal near Jericho and marched to a staging encampment close to the fortress of Ai. According to Joshua 8:9, the 30E primary ambush force initiated a nighttime march toward their assigned place of ambush close to and southwest of the fortress. In fact, they probably completed their ingress under cover of darkness to minimize observability from actual or potential enemy positions. The next morning, according to Joshua 8:10-11, Joshua led the residual attack force along a different route to a point north of the fortress, a march that was completed in a single day. Thus, there needed to be a well-defined, trafficable route, such as an existing road or a wadi network, to support each of these three marches. 16

 

Viable engagement scenarios. The battle strategy described in the conquest of Ai narrative must be viable with respect to the geographical and topographical context of the site of Joshua’s Ai as well as with respect to the military technology possessed by the Israelite army. 17 The key elements of the strategy are the feigned retreat maneuver, Joshua’s raised weapon signal, the role of the secondary ambush force of Joshua 8:12, and the primary ambush force assault described in Joshua 8:14-17. While the biblical text is unusually detailed, certain aspects of the engagement are not specifically addressed. This can be overcome by formulating an engagement scenario model that effectively interpolates the missing detail between the data points supplied by the text. It is essential that the engagement scenario model be realizable in its topographical context, given times, distances, available lines-of-sight, degree of forestation, etc. In particular, there must have been a viable means for Joshua’s raised weapon signal to be relayed to the 30E primary ambush force, and the ambush force must have been able to quickly penetrate the unprotected fortress once the signal was delivered. A key aspect of the Israelite’s military technology was the fact that they were neither trained nor equipped for siege warfare. In other respects, their military technology and strategy would have been a derivative of that manifested in the campaign of Tuthmosis III against Megiddo, ca. 1479 BC.

 

Ceramic artifacts appropriate to a small highland fortress. Not only must the ceramic artifacts be diagnostic to LB I & IIA, but the kinds of wares represented must be appropriate to a small and remote military outpost, including large storage vessels and common wares for cooking and serving food. One would not expect to find exotic imported wares at the fortress of Ai. Moreover, the ceramic materials found at such an outpost would most likely be dominated by LB I materials. In particular, because of the durability of large storage jars, only vessels of this genre which are diagnostic to LB I would be expected at the site of Joshua’s Ai.

 

Object artifacts appropriate to a small highland fortress. In addition to the appropriate kinds of ceramic artifacts, one would expect to find objects that attest to a military location, such as gate post socket stones, sling stones, and possibly flint arrow and spear heads.

 

Convenient line-of-sight to Bethel. Since, according to Joshua 8:17, the fighting men of Bethel joined those of Ai in pursuing the Israelites, there must have been a means for the king of Ai to signal his counterpart at Bethel. The location of the fortress and the topography between it and Bethel would have allowed signal passing between the two locations.

 

Evidence of conflagration. According to Joshua 8:19, the 30E primary ambush force set a fire as soon as they had penetrated the fortress. Moreover, according to Joshua 8:2 & 28, the Israelites burned the entire fortress after they had removed “its spoil and its cattle,” making it a permanent heap of ruins. Therefore, evidence of a conflagration would be expected.

 

APPLICATION OF THE PREDICATE CRITERIAL SCREEN

 

Three candidate sites for Joshua’s Ai emerge from past research as follows: (a) the traditional site, et-Tell; (b) Kh. Nisya; and, (c) Kh. el-Maqatir. Depicted in Figure 1 is the portion of the Benjamin hill country of interest to this research (namely, the 16 square kilometer tract bounded by grid coordinate 144,000 on the south, 148,000 on the north, 171,000 on the west, and 175,000 on the east) and the location of the three candidate sites for Joshua’s Ai with respect to each other and the geographical and topographical features in the vicinity. 18 19 The predicate criterial screen consists of the first three parameters listed in Table 3, of which the first is of primary importance. These three parameters constitute the minimum set which suffices to cull out the non-viable candidates for Joshua’s Ai, leaving only a single, viable candidate.

 

Application of the Predicate Criterial Screen to et-Tell

 

While et-Tell is properly located in the Benjamin hill country, there is universal agreement among archaeologists that the site was not occupied during the LBA [Callaway (1993: 39-45)]; therefore, it fails to satisfy the first criterial screen parameter. Moreover, the area of the EBA city at et-Tell is 27.5 acres, which is nearly 4 times the screen value of 7 acres. Finally, while the EBA city at et-Tell was fortified, the only exposed gate structures are in the south or southeast sectors of the city, which contradicts the fourth parameter of the criterial screen in Table 3. Hence, the site of et-Tell satisfies, at best, only one out of three predicate criterial screen parameters, and therefore it is not a viable candidate for Joshua’s Ai.

 

Callaway’s hypothesis. Joseph Callaway postulates that the conquest of Ai described in chapters 7 and 8 of Joshua actually took place during IA I [Callaway (1968: 312-320)]. He identifies the small, unwalled IA village that was situated on the acropolis of et-Tell as the Ai of Joshua, the area of that site being approximately 3 acres and thus satisfying the second criterial screen parameter. While Prof. Callaway is free to speculate on a skirmish at the site of et-Tell which might have occurred during the IA, such does not correspond with the battle described in Joshua 7 and 8. Rather than taking liberties with the biblical text in an attempt to harmonize it with archaeological evidence, the present analysis is directed toward identifying a site that corresponds precisely with the biblical text as written.

 

Figure 1. Locations of the Three Candidate Sites For Joshua's Ai

 

Zevit’s hypothesis. Zevit (1985) postulates a battle scenario for the conquest of Ai as it might have played out at the site of et-Tell. Actually, there are a number of factors in the topography surrounding et-Tell which fail to correspond with the narrative of Joshua 8. In particular, there is no suitable hiding place for the 30E ambush force southwest of the site in accordance with Joshua 8:2-9. 20 While there is a high ridge to the north, the intervening valley is the Wadi el-Gayeh, which is deep and steep-walled at that point. Thus, the topography north of the site precludes the playing out of the battle scenario as described in Joshua 8:9-28.

 

ABR Editorial note: ABR does not endorse Mr. Brigg's view that the Exodus occurred in 1406, and the Conquest in 1366. We believe the biblical texts require a date of 1446 for the Exodus and 1406 for the beginning of the Conquest.


Endnotes:

9. In Briggs (2007: 120-122) the factors contributing to temporal uncertainty are analyzed, which leads to the conclusion that the uncertainty associated with ceramic dating of archaeological contexts of the Late Bronze Age has a mean value of 30 years and a standard deviation around the mean value of 30 years. The mean value represents a bias such that archaeological contexts will always appear to be more ancient than they truly are.

 

10. Refer to Briggs (2007: 87-114) for the detailed exegesis of the biblical text in support of the formulation of the criterial screen.

 

11. Refer to Briggs (2007: 109) for a discussion of the data in support of at least the high ridges in the Benjamin hill country being forested at the time of Joshua.

 

12. This detachment, denoted the ruse attack force, was probably 3E in size to emulate the attack force of Joshua 7. It is noteworthy that if the king of Ai had accurately assessed the magnitude of the threat to the north, he would have secured the fortress and forced the Israelites to engage in a prolonged siege, for which they were neither trained nor equipped. Thus, Joshua would have kept most of the residual attack force hidden from view.

 

13. Refer to Briggs (2007: 100-101) for detailed exegesis of the biblical text supporting the derivation of the 6th criterial screen parameter.

 

14. Refer to Briggs (2007: 105-106) for detailed exegesis of the biblical text concerning “the appointed place”.

 

15. Refer to Figures 9-11 in Briggs (2007) for illustrations of candidate shebarim formations; refer to Briggs (2007: 131-132) and the associated Figures 22-25 for postulated engagement scenarios for the first battle of Ai.

 

16. Refer to Briggs (2007: 133-137) and the associated Figures 23-31 for the postulated engagement scenario for the second battle of Ai.

 

17. Refer to Briggs (2007: 60-63) for a discussion of the ancient military technology pertinent to this research.

 

18. For additional detail concerning the candidate sites for Joshua’s Ai refer to Briggs (2007: 51-53).

 

19. For additional detail concerning the locations and topographical contexts of the three candidate sites for Joshua’s Ai, refer to Briggs (2007: 123-128) and the associated Figures 14-21.

 

20. For the detailed exegesis of the biblical text in regard to the location of the encampment of the primary ambush force, refer to Briggs (2007:100-101). The combination of directional indicators in the text require that this encampment be approximately southwest of the fortress of Ai. 

 

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Comments Comment RSS

3/27/2013 3:27 AM #

How can Briggs say that Maqatir is the Ai of Joshua when he places the conquest of Ai about 1360 BC (the middle of LB IIA), but there isn't any reported LB II pottery from Maqatir? According to Dr. Wood's pottery analysis that was in Critical Issues in Israelite History, the relevant pottery from Maqatir mostly resembles MB III and some early LB I forms, but not LB II. And, Maqatir is not isolated in the middle of nowhere, or in a region in which there is massive demonstrable material culture lag. Both Jericho and Shechem were fairly close, so to argue that Maqatir lagged in pottery styles 40 to 100 years is not plausible. Also, Briggs tries to make a comparison with Gibeon of the Late Bronze Age, but the Late Bronze Age site of Gibeon has not been found. No one knows the size of LB Gibeon, since so far only the LB tombs have been discovered. He instead uses the estimate for the Iron Age site size. This is an invalid comparison.

Mike R - 3/27/2013 3:27:55 AM

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