The book of Exodus is total B and S

by 5go 12 Replies latest watchtower bible

  • 5go

    Out of Egypt

    The two primary books of the Old Testament – Genesis and Exodus – refer to 'Pharaoh' 155 times. Curiously, not once in either book is Pharaoh identified by name – and yet, in fact, the references are to many different pharaohs, across many centuries. The anomaly is all the more telling in that the holy books are not lacking in naming numerous sundry and incidental character. For example, the grandmother, of the grandmother, of King Asa of Judah was Abishalom, should you be interested!(1 Kings 15.10). But this style of literature should be familiar to us all: "Once upon a time, in a land far away, was a bad king. And in the forest, David played ... "

    It's called a Fairy Tale.

    Let's remind ourselves of Israel's supposed early encounters with the diverse kings of Egypt –

    Egypt and the Patriarchs: palpable nonsense
    Pimping Patriarch!
    Abraham's wife Sarah – an irresistible beauty at 70
    An unnamed (possibly blind) pharaoh whisked this babe from the Levant into his harem – and rewarded Abraham with "sheep, oxen, asses, menservants, maidservants, she asses and camels."
    (Genesis 12.14,15)

    In the sacred history, the ‘father of the races’ Abraham is placed in Babylonia anachronistically re-labelled Chaldea - a term more appropriate to the empire of Nebuchadnezzar in the 600s BC. The character of Abraham alternates between bedouin pastoralist and landed grandee. Neither has the slightest claim to historical veracity.

    Abraham – and Unnamed Pharaoh No. 1
    To identify this pharaoh chose any date between 2300 BC - 1400 BC. Abraham's supposed existence hinges exclusively on biblical sources and working backwards from the supposed existence of Solomon, several centuries later.

    The Good Book informs us that there is a 10-year age gap between Abraham and his wife/half-sister Sarah (Genesis 17.17). Thus when the Patriarch gets God's call to leave Haran, Sarah is already a pensioner (he is 75, so she is 65) (Gen. 12.1) After wandering in Canaan, a spate of altar building and camping in the mountains, famine drives the old fellow and his missus down into Egypt (Gen 12.12).

    Abraham fears his wife's "great beauty" will get him killed so they concoct the ruse that "she's my sister." Sure enough, Sarah gets fast-tracked into the harem of 'Pharaoh' – but the duped king gets a nasty case of plague. Though the trick is unmasked, Abraham is allowed to leave – with Sarah and, it seems, with all his ill-gotten gains.

    The Patriarch, his Wives, his Egyptian Slave, and King Abimelech
    Tired of waiting for her god-promised pregnancy (she's now 75), Sarah encourages Abraham to impregnate his compliant slave Hagar (Gen. 16). The result is Ishmael (he who will father 12 'Arab' princes).
    13 years pass in the town of Hebron, during which time Abraham heads up a military force to rescue his nephew Lot, captured by 4 raiding kings (Gen. 14). The invaders are "utterly routed" near Damascus (and Abraham gets blessed by the mysterious priest/king Melchizedek).
    In contrast, when Abraham takes a "sojourn" in Gerar, the remarkable warrior/sage again fears Sarah's "great beauty" will get him killed. For a second time they employ the "she's my sister" ruse. King Abimelech takes Sarah into his harem and Abraham collects another bounty (Gen.20.1,18). Luckily the Philistine king gets a private message from God and sends the happy couple on their way.
    The 90 year old Sarah now gives birth to Isaac, gets Hagar and Ishmael thrown out the tent, and lives to the ripe old age of 127 (Genesis 23.2).
    Abraham, 137 at the time of Sarah's death, is still in the prime of life and takes Keturah as his new wife. She produces for him not one but six more children. The old goat does not himself check out until he is 175 years old. Umm.
    Isaac doesn't get to meet a pharaoh. Perhaps the trauma of ritual abuse when he was a boy made him a bit of a stay at home. His dad sends a servant out to get him a wife and when Isaac gets to the 'famine strikes Canaan' bit his fidelity to Yahweh causes him NOT to go down into Egypt – the exact opposite of his dad's behaviour. Believe it or not, Isaac and his wife Rebekah use the "she's my sister" trick on the hapless King Abimelech – in Genesis 26.1,14!

    Jacob, trickster son of Isaac, is the guy who fathers the ancestors of all 12 tribes. Amazingly, he also gets to wrestle with God himself! (Genesis 32.24) – hence his new name 'Isra'EL' ('El has conquered'). Jacob gets to Egypt as an old man. He meets a pharaoh – after his favourite son Joseph has made the big time. It seems unnamed Pharaoh No. 2 asks Jacob his age (a sprightly 130 – and he lives a further 17 years in 'Goshen'!) and receives a blessing in return.

    Joseph and Unnamed Pharaoh No. 2: the "Sojourn"
    Chose any date between 1900 BC - 1500 BC for this pharaoh – there's no evidence that Joseph ever existed either.

    Abraham got to meet the great king of Egypt by having a real babe as a wife; Joseph (his great grandson) got to meet Pharaoh by being a real babe himself.

    It seems that the wife of Potiphar, captain of the imperial guard (who had bought Joseph), got the hots for the young man – but he was having none of it. Thrown into prison on a false charge (Genesis 39) he made a name for himself by "dream interpretation." This, it seems, is enough to get him catapulted before the god/king himself.

    Once again, an Egyptian monarch is shown to be amazingly credulous. On the strength of a 14-year forecast of 'good' and 'bad' harvests the inexperienced, foreign pastoralist is made Grand Vizier and given command of the world's most important agricultural economy. Fat chance.

    But this – would you believe – is the foundation stone of the Hebrew presence in Egypt. Joseph's reorganised agronomy saves Egypt and a grateful Pharaoh sends carts to bring Joseph's clan to Egypt:

    "all the souls of the house of Jacob, which came into Egypt, were three score and ten." (Genesis 45 - 47)

    A handful of Hebrews take up residence in Egypt, multiply prodigiously, and – in the familiar story – are first enslaved then set free. 70 persons arrive and multiply with a phenomenal, rabbit-like, fecundity to reach 3 million in 215 years – an average of 66 children per female! (430 years is often quoted but in the original version of the story – as reiterated in the Septuagint and by Josephus – half of that time was spent in Canaan.)

    Whoa! Philistine king can't resist 90 year old babe from Hebron
    Sarah – still a cracker in her 90s
    Abraham repeats his "she's my sister" scam on King Abimelech. This time he collects "sheep, cattle, menservants, maidservants ... a thousand pieces of silver."
    (Genesis 20.1,18)

    Isaac – childhood trauma?

    A rare photograph ofJacob wrestling with God (Genesis 32.24). He names the site 'Peni 'El' (face to face with God!)

    Hollywood keeps the fantasy current

    As nomads, the migratory pattern of the Hebrews might take them into the Nile Delta. Egyptian forces repeatedly passed through Palestine to fight wars further north. Any culture the Jews did not copy from the Babylonians they took instead from the Egyptians. Tellingly,the huge corpus of Egyptian records contains no reference at all to Israelites, the Oppression, the Exodus or Moses.

    The hapiru were, after all, merely bandits on the Canaanite frontier.

    The closest we get to ‘Israelites in bondage’ is some evidence for Canaanite cities in the Nile Delta. These almost certainly were established by that alliance of tribes known as the ‘Sea People’ that successfully invaded Egypt in the 13th and 12th century BC. In effect, the Jews, bit-players in a history over many centuries, ‘talked up’ their own ancestral origins by associating themselves with the major empires and events around them. Probably their fanciful tale of the fall of Jericho and other Canaanite cities is a recasting of the invasion of the coastal plain from the north by the Philistines (unlike themselves, users of iron weapons).

    Egypt and "Moses"– Fantasy on steroids
    Image of 'Moses' (yes, with horns!)
    Horned god – ubiquitous in Egypt
    Horned cap – mark of an Assyrian king's divinity

    Real Ramesses II (no horns)
    "There had been a need, on the part of 19th century scholars, to 'find' the Bible in Egypt. They identified Ramesses II as Pharaoh of the Oppression simply because they assumed an historical link between Pi-Ramesse (Ramesses' delta residence) and the store-city of Raamses (mentioned in the book of Exodus) ...
    The link between Ramesses II and the Israelite Bondage was an illusion without any real archaeological foundation."

    – Rohl (A Test of Time, p138)

    Golden Calf?

    No – Apis Bull, from the cult centre of Memphis-Saqqara. The cult reached its zenith towards the end of pharaonic history.

    The hero of the Exodus has an Egyptian not a Hebrew name (as in Thut’moses, Ah’moses, etc). No contemporary non-biblical source mentions Moses and the lack of any external reference in the biblical story makes it impossible to connect the life of the superhero with the known history of other cultures.

    Baby Moses and Unnamed Pharaoh No. 3: the "Ethnic Cleanser"
    Chose any date between 1500 BC - 1200 BC for this pharaoh. We are not told the name of the pharaoh – but the Hebrew midwives are 'Shiphrah' and 'Puah'!

    In this unlikely episode, a pharaoh who "does not know" Joseph is alarmed by the explosive growth of the Hebrews and decides "hard labour" will keep them in check (Exodus 1.8,14). Frustrated that this does not work (we are talking Hebrew virility here) he issues an order that all the new born male infants of the Hebrews should be drowned. One is saved in an ark made of bulrushes daubed with slime. Amazingly, none other than the daughter of Pharaoh himself finds the infant mariner and adopts him as her own. But in true pantomime fashion his own mother is hired to nurse him.

    The idea of "threatened child becomes great figure" is commonplace: it was told of Sargon the Great, Heracles, Romulus & Remus, etc. It is, of course, reworked in the story of Jesus.

    Call me Mother!
    Isis-Thermuthis,a goddess of fertility and the harvest. (Alexandria, 1st century BC)
    In the Moses story, we have a foretaste of the Jesus fantasy itself.
    According to Josephus (Antiquities of the Jews - II.9) pharaoh's daughter is named 'Thermuthis' – a name which she happens to share with a manifestation of Isis – which would make Moses the Horus figure.
    Irenaeus (but not the Christian Bible) reiterates Josephus' other startling claim: that God gave the polytheistic Egyptians counsel to make Moses Generalissimo. Our youthful hero "cheerfully" accepted, rallied the Egyptians and defeated the Ethiopians who had overrun the entire country. His victory included vanquishing a "multitude of serpents" with the "Ibes" bird. What a coincidence! In Egyptian mythology, the evil Seth, in the guise of a snake had bitten the infant Horus. He had been saved by Thoth – the Ibis headed god!
    In true fairy tale manner, the Ethiopian princess saw Moses from the city wall, fell immediately in love, and brokered peace for marriage. And they all lived happily ever after. Well, not quite ...

    Prince Mosesand Unnamed Pharaoh No. 4: the "Oppression"

    The youthful Moses becomes a murderer and fugitive from justice (Exodus 2.11,15).

    Moses flees to Arabia where he marries the daughter of a Midianite priest and lives as a shepherd. His father-in-law is 'Reuel' (Exodus 2.18) or 'Jethro' (Exodus 3.1, 4.18) or 'Hobab' (Judges 4.11) – take your pick.

    After 40 years in Midian, Moses returns to Egypt to make his famous demand of pharaoh to "let go" (Exodus 5.1) the people he has lived without for 80 years (Exodus 7.7).

    Patriarch Moses and Unnamed Pharaoh No. 5: the "Exodus"

    This pharaoh is the hard-man opponent of Moses (well, he can't help it – God himself hardened his heart – Exodus 4.21;7.3 etc.). The whole pageant would collapse if he had been a softy like pharaohs 1 and 2! Ten plagues later and Egypt loses its labour force and its army (Exodus 5). Moses, an octogenarian, now begins 40 years of wandering.

    Salt crystals in the mummy of Merenptah favoured him as the drowned 'Pharaoh of the Exodus' – until it was realised all mummies showed evidence of these embalming salts!

    Oddly enough, Egypt reached new heights of imperial splendour and prosperity during the New Kingdom (18th - 19th dynasties). Tutmosis III campaigned beyond the Euphrates and reached the Fourth Cataract on the Nile; Rameses II halted the advance of the Hittites in Syria and built more temples and monuments than anyone.

    Perhaps those Hebrews hadn't pulled their weight after all!

    Though the colourful story of the Hebrew Exodus from Egypt is known to everyone the legend itselfisa complete fantasy, a re-write of a story learned in Babylon. In Exodus, Yahweh creates a people, not the cosmos:

    ‘Instead of splitting the carcass of a sea-monster to create the world, as Marduk did, Yahweh divided the Sea of Reeds to let his people escape from Pharaoh and the pursuing army. Instead of slaying the demonic hordes, like Marduk, Yahweh drowned the Egyptians.’
    (K. Armstrong, A History of Jerusalem, p31)

    In the fantasy 'history' (chapter 1 of the Book of Numbers) 603,550 'males of military age' fled Egypt at the time of the Exodus, which implies a refugee army of at least two million – more than the total population of Egypt itself! And this multitude supposedly wandered the wilderness for forty years, contriving to leave not a trace of their passing for posterity.

    Records one historian:

    "Despite the mass of contemporary records that have been unearthed in Egypt, not one historical reference to the presence of the Israelites has yet been found there. Not a single mention of Joseph, the Pharaoh's 'Grand Vizier'. Not a word about Moses, or the spectacular flight from Egypt and the destruction of the pursuing Egyptian army."
    Magnus Magnusson (The Archaeology of the Bible Lands - BC, p43)

    Not that Egypt had no impact on the people who were to emerge as Jews in the sixth century. Jewish theology is permeated with ideas which had prevailed in Egypt for millennia.For example, that most hallowed of Jewish festivals, the Passover, was borrowed from an Egyptian celebration of the Spring Equinox, of the passing of the sun from south to north of the equator. Passover, the most important feast of the Jewish calendar, is celebrated at the first full moon after the Vernal Equinox, typically occurring on March 21, though it can fall a day earlier or later.

    Many scholars have seen a link between the sun-worshipping monotheism of Akhenaten and the Yahweh-worshipping monotheism of the Jews. Conceivably, expelled priests of the Aten started the whole thing off. A nomadic people required a portable god. Though they contrived to make a virtue of their technical inability to make idols,none the less, their sacred texts anthropomorphised the deity – a human representation of the pharaoh's sun.

    So humanoid was their god that initially they provided him with a mobile home, the so-called ‘Ark of the Covenant.' This itself was originally an Egyptian idea. Paraded about as a lethal protector of the tribe and a throne for their god, it somewhat lost its importance when Philistines sacked the settlement of Shiloh and carried away the Ark as a trophy. It was not replaced. Though nominally ‘invisible’ (and now homeless!),Yahweh acquired a most man-like countenance.

    Biblical 'Pharaohs'– Unknown to the Egyptians!
    Shishak? Hophra?

    Despite the omission of pharaonic names in Genesis, Exodus and most other biblical books, in a few places pharaohs are indeed named. This should have made it possible to synchronize the real history of Egypt with some part of the purported "history" of the Jews recorded in the Bible.

    Unfortunately there is a small problem: the Bible's 'Pharaohs' are unknown in all of the vast corpus of Egyptian history.

    Thus, 1 Kings (11.40) introduces the character "Shishak"; 2 Kings (17.4) brings on "So" ; and Jeremiah (44.30) gives us "Hophra." The anomaly has given rise to 200 years of "name that pharaoh." With many centuries, 30-odd dynasties, and dozens of monarchs to choose from the possibilities are endless.

    Jeroboam's "refuge" in Egypt:
    Pharaoh 'Shishak' delivers God's punishment on Judah (1000 - 800 BC)

    In the last days of Solomon, a labourer, promoted to overseer, called Jeroboam "lifts up his hand" against the monarch and has to flee to Egypt and the protection of Shishak (who of course has an open-house for renegade Jewish labourers) (1 Kings 11). Solomon dies, Jeroboam becomes king of 10 northern tribes (what a star!) and Solomon's legitimate heir Rehoboam is left with just 2 tribes in the south. Jeroboam's accommodating monarch Shishak plunders the Temple in Jerusalem, controlled by his rival, and conquers the whole of Judah. We never hear of Shishak again.

    Nothing is known in Egypt of 'Shishak' but inscriptions of Pharaoh Shoshenk I (22nd dynasty) record his attack upon Jerusalem – so Shoshenk has traditionally been identified as the biblical 'Shishak.'

    Hoshea of Samaria challenges the King of Assyria:
    "Pharaoh So" to the rescue (800 -700 BC)
    "And the king of Assyria found conspiracy in Hoshea: for he had sent messengers to So king of Egypt, and brought no present to the king of Assyria, as he had done year by year: therefore the king of Assyria shut him up, and bound him in prison." (2 Kings 17.4)

    An obvious candidate for So is Shoshenk – but he's already identified with Shishak! Thutmose III has a temple relief showing conquered cities of Judaea – perhaps we should make Thutmose 'Shishak' so that 'So' can be Shoshenk?!

    Egyptian civil war written into the story:
    Pharaoh 'Hophra' gets on the wrong side of the Lord
    "Thus saith the LORD; Behold, I will give Pharaoh Hophra king of Egypt into the hand of his enemies, and into the hand of them that seek his life; as I gave Zedekiah king of Judah into the hand of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, his enemy, and that sought his life." Jeremiah 44:30

    With the 'clue' of Nebuchadnezzar (605 - 561 BC) and an obvious fate, chief suspect is the grandson of Pharaoh Neckau who reigned from 589 to 570 BC. This pharaoh died in a rebellion led by his general and son-in-law Ahmose. Unfortunately, this pharaoh is actually called Apries (Herodotus ii.169) and on his monuments as Uah`ab`ra (Wahibre). Perhaps the Pharaoh used the name 'Hophra' when he sent letters to the Jews ...?!

    The biblical author was using the literary device of a royal murder to put an instructive 'prophesy' into the mouth of 'Jeremiah.' His oracle of woe was directed at recalcitrant Jews, many of whom lived in Egypt and were susceptible to Egyptian religious practices.

    No Abraham
    "So anachronistic and inconsistent ... are the profuse legends that have gathered round the figures of the patriarchs that it cannot even be stated for certain that they ever existed at all ...
    In any case, the existences and traditions of these patriarchs seem to have been originally quite separate from one another and unrelated."
    M. Grant (The History of Ancient Israel, p30)

    Pious Echo?
    Hammurabi ...
    Abi-Ur-Hamm ...

    Hammurabi I gave the world one of its earliest law codes.

    Hyksos in Palestine & Egypt
    – 1700-1600 BC (15th - 16th dynasties)

    For a time, rival monarchies ruled Egypt as Hyksos control spread out from Avaris in the delta. Theban propaganda decried the Hyksos as 'Asiatics' and 'foreigners' though they were probably indigenous 'northerners.'
    They introduced superior bronze weapons, the composite bow, the horse and chariots and took Memphis in 1674 BC.
    Ahmose (1550 - 1525 BC) reasserted Theban supremacy and inaugurated the Empire of the New Kingdom.

    No Trace of Moses
    'Neither Moses, nor an enslaved Israel nor the event of this Exodus are recorded in any known ancient records outside the Bible ...
    Although its climate has preserved the tiniest traces of ancient bedouin encampments and the sparse 5000-year-old villages of mine workers there is not a single trace of Moses or the Israelites.'
    John Romer (Testament, pp57/8)

    Prototype for 'Moses': Akhenaten (1352 - 1336 BC).
    Sun-worshipping priest/king and religious fanatic. Knew God personally.

    Egyptian Empire
    1500 -1300 BC (19th dynasty). Still no Israelites
    Tutmosis III (1479 - 1425 BC) campaigned beyond the Euphrates and reached the Fourth Cataract on the Nile.
    Amenhotep III (1390 - 1352 BC) ruled Egypt at a time when it was the richest country in the world. The Amarna letters reveal his extensive diplomacy.
    Rameses II (1279 - 1212) halted the advance of the Hittites in Syria and built more temples and monuments than anyone.

    No Israelites in Bondage – despite Hollywood's best efforts
  • 5go

    The Myth of the Jewish ‘Race’

    "Thus saith the Lord God unto Jerusalem; Thy birth and thy nativity is of the land of Canaan; thy father was an Amorite, and thy mother an Hittite." – Ezekiel, 16.17.

    Race is a sensitive subject. To use the word almost invites the charge of racism. Yet to understand the rise of Christianity one must come to terms the people who were its original authors – the Jews.

    The Jews claim themselves to be a race – but are they?
    The earliest reference yet found to this singular people is on a statue from the Syrian city of Alalakh, dated to about 1550 BC. The inscription refers to hapiru warriors in the land of Kin’anu – a presence confirmed by clay tablets from Akhenaten’s capital of Amarna, referring to marauders in the hill country of Palestine. The famous stele of Pharaoh Merneptah dated to 1207 BC records 'Israel is laid waste, his seed is not’. 'Israel' here is a reference to a people, not a territory.

    The weight of evidence suggests these original ‘Hebrews’ coalesced during the bronze age from successive migrations, some from the periphery of the Nile delta (in Egyptian, ‘Peru or apiru meant a labourer) but most from across the Jordan and Euphrates rivers. In their own semitic tongue, habiru meant ‘beyond’, suggesting an origin elsewhere. In Babylonian script khabiru referred to a class of slaves. As a people, therefore, the Hebrews combined Mesopotamian and Egyptian stock, almost certainly drawn from the lowest social order, conceivably including runaway slaves. One migration, at least, brought with it a mountain/sky god – Yahweh – destined for higher things.

    Settlement in Canaan

    As barbarous newcomers to what was the land of Canaan, these semites (speakers of a tongue common to Syrians, Arabs and Mesopotamians) took up migratory occupation of the less fertile hill-country of the interior. Neither their limited sub-culture – an illiterate donkey nomadism; nor their social organisation – patriarchal and authoritarian – distinguished them from other tent-dwelling pastoralists. These early, polytheistic, Hebrews scratched an existence in an unpromising land on the fringes of the major civilisations, occasionally moving with their animals into the Nile delta in times of draught.

    It seems as if they were joined, over time,by outcasts or refugees from the more sophisticated Canaanite (Phoenician) coastal cities. ‘Israel emerged peacefully and gradually from within Canaanite society ‘ concluded Karen Armstrong, the noted religious scholar. (A History of Jerusalem, p23]

    The Canaanite migrants brought with them cultic practices and images of their traditional gods. A major Canaanite god was El, and the phrase ‘El has conquered’ gives us the word Isra’el. The Canaanite god El had a ghostly presence in a host of Jewish heroes: Dan-i-El; Ezek-i-El; Sam-u-El, Ish-ma-El, El-i-jah, El-o-him, etc.

    God-inspired names were common throughout the west-Semitic language region. Other Canaanite gods included Baal (a storm god) – also honoured in a host of Hebrew names, Asherah (a fertility goddess, consort of El), Shalem (a Syrian sun god – later to be honoured in the name Jeru’salem ), Milcom, Chemosh, etc. Ru’shalimum is mentioned in records of the Pharaoh Sesostris III (1872 - 1847 BC) – the settlement actually pre-existent long before the tribe of Hebrews made it their own. The site then appears to have been unoccupied for three hundred years until the Jebusites (otherwise known as Kereti or Peleti – Cretans or Philistines) arrived.

    Blood Sacrifice

    Influenced by these Canaanite cults, but devoid of artistic or metal working skills of their own, the early Hebrews adopted a way of honouring their god of choice by genital mutilation. This sometime practice of the Egyptian priesthood became, for the ‘Jews’, a tribal obligation, part of the male regenerative organ offered as a blood sacrifice to the ‘jealous’ god Yahweh. Other gods were worshipped but Yahweh demanded precedence.

    Circumcision – a Healthy Option? Don't You Believe It!

    For generations, millions of babies were routinely circumcised without anaesthetic – sometimes using a sharpened stone. Even today infant deaths result from this barbarous mutilation.

    The unkindest cut.

    Thus though the Hebrews were not a race, the males at least acquired a distinctiveness from other Semitic tribesmen who did not practice circumcision. Women, regarded as mere chattels, were spared this mutilation.

    In this period of proto-Judaism, polygamous males acted as ‘priests’ for their extended families and kinship groups and exercised absolute authority over wives and children. At some point in the tenth century BC the Hebrews were completely overwhelmed by the more advanced Philistines, moving down from the north. Armed with iron weapons and deploying chariots the Philistines scattered the primitive Hebrew nomads into the hill country and a few austere places in the Jordan River valley.

    The various Hebrew clans had no single warlord but were led by tribal elders and shamans. The backward Hebrews remained under the sway of their shamanic ‘judges’ to a much later date than neighbouring peoples. Theirs was a harsh culture of ‘scapegoat’ sacrifice and collective and inherited guilt (‘eye for an eye’ vengeance). As marginalised pastoralists they were acutely xenophobic and demonized the city dwellers and farmers. With the ebb and flow of empires over centuries, and the endless movement of peoples, we might have expected this marginal tribe to have passed into history, along with countless other peoples, assimilated into a greater multitude.

    Sacred History

    But we have a story, a tale of tribal fidelity – with frequent, and instructive, lapses – to a protector god Yahweh, who had chosen this ‘people’ as his very own. For them, he has a divine purpose. In particular, their migration into Canaan is given an heroic re-interpretation. No longer do we have piecemeal migration over centuries but a single glorious conquest by a cohesive people. The ‘idolatrous’ city dwellers (of ‘Jericho’, etc.) get their comeuppance and the whole land is promised to the Jews in perpetuity. They have, it would seem, arrived as a single group from Egypt, released from slavery by divine intervention.

    The extraordinary thing about this ‘history’ - complete with verbatim dialogue between man and god - is that it was not written until more than a thousand years after the supposed events.

    Records one historian,

    ’The first millennium of Jewish history as presented in the Bible has no empirical foundation whatsoever.’
    (Cantor, The Sacred Chain, p 51)

    The impressive race history, tracing the Jews (the people of Judah), back through Hebrews in Canaan and Israelites in Egypt, to a noble ancestor called Abraham (father, it seems, of all the races, including Greeks and Arabs!), and the whole melodramatic story of the Exodus, was concocted at a much later date, after the tribal leadership of these Judaean tribesmen had been taken into exile and had learned the rudiments of civilization from their Babylonian captors. This was not at the dawn of time but in the seventh century BC, when Greece was already a civilization and Carthage had a maritime empire.

    Earliest Jewish writings:
    9th century
    There was no written Hebrew before the 9th century BC. At that time, the Hebrews adapted the Phoenician script.
    Phoenician Alphabet (alternates)

    The original Hebrew/Canaanite occupants of Palestine did pass into history. Many, including the so-called ‘lost tribes’ of Israel (those living in northern Palestine) were assimilated by Assyrian conquerors during the eighth century.

    But the ‘victors’, a Persian-sponsored priesthood who settled in Judaea in the 6th century BC, wrote a sacred history, known to the Jews as the Torah (or Pentateuch ) and to the Christians as the first 'five books' of the Old Testament. Together with the 'Prophets' and 'Wisdom' literature this voluminous text purports to be an account of the trials and tribulations of the Jews through the previous two millennia. Rather oddly, its detail and obvious accuracy peters out the closer it approaches the time when it was actually written. Joshua, supposedly on the rampage in the thirteenth century BC gets vast reportage, whereas several 7th century kings known to history are omitted.

    Indeed, the four hundred years between the last book of the Old Testament (the 5th century Malachi) and the first book of the New Testament echo in a biblical silence.

    No biblical text gives the conquest of Palestine by Alexander the Great (in 323 BC) a mention. Ptolemaic Egypt’s loss of her Palestinian provinces to Syria in 198 BC is unrecorded. 'Minor' personages like Julius Caesar and Pompey the Great are overlooked. And the books of Maccabees – which should tell us the ‘recent’ story of the successful Jewish rebellion against Greek rule in the second century BC – are so blatantly filled with error and incoherence that even biblical editors shunted them into the ‘Apocrypha’ or omitted them entirely.

    But of course we are not speaking of history but rather, of sacred testimony, designed to control, justify and inspire.

    Anyone can be factual. In the Bible we have a book with a purpose.

    "Lachish Letters" – Only first hand 'evidence' for the entire corpus of the Old Testament
    A Few Bits of Crockery
    "They have entered the land to lay waste ... strong is he who has come down. He lays waste."

    The Lachish Letters (British Museum) – a collection of 21 pottery shards or 'ostraca'.
    Found in the ruins of Tell ed-Duweir in the 1930s the fragments bear a few words of Hebrew relating to the fall of Judaean cities to the Babylonians in the 580s BC.
    The letters are from outposts of Lachish to the city's military commander (a man named Ya'osh) and represent field reports monitoring the situation as the armies of Nebuchadnezzar closed in.
    Some writers find confirmation of the biblical 'Jeremiah' in these scraps (Letter XVI to be precise) though the reference could equally well have been to a 'Urijah'.
    Jew Who?
    Asiatic traders, tomb of Beni Hassan, Middle Egypt. Jews – or not Jews?
    'About the year 1000 B.C. there was nothing distinctive about the Jews ethnically, linguistically, politically or economically.'
    N. Cantor (The Sacred Chain, p52)


    YHWH and his Asherah
    "It will come as an unpleasant shock to many that the God of Israel, YHWH, had a female consort and that the early Israelite religion adopted monotheism only in the waning period of the monarchy and not at Mount Sinai."

    Ha'aretz Magazine, October, 1999
    'Should you not possess whatyour god Chemoshgives you to possess? And should we not be the ones to possess everything that Yahweh our God has conquered for our benefit?'
    – Judges 11:24
    Lucky charm? Terracotta plaque of fertility goddess Astarte (Ashtoreth). Similar images have been found extensively in Palestine.

    Jews worship Tammuz
    'Then he brought me to the door of the gate of the LORD's house which was toward the north; and, behold, there sat women weeping for Tammuz.'
    – Ezekiel 8:14.
    The Babylonian god actually gives his name to the 4th month of the Jewish religious year.

    Jews Worship Anat-Bethel
    Jewish mercenaries, garrisoned at Elephantine on the upper Nile from the early 7th century BC, maintained their own Temple.
    As a "treasurer's report" records, the Judaean soldiers worshipped both Yahweh (Yahu) and his Canaanite girlfriend Anat, despite the prohibitions of Deuteronomy.

    Mrs God
    "At two sites, Kuntilet Ajrud in the southwestern part of the Negev hill region, and Khirbet el-Kom in the Judea piedmont, Hebrew inscriptions have been found that mention 'YHWH and his Asherah', 'YHWH Shomron and his Asherah', 'YHWH Teman and his Asherah'.
    These inscriptions, from the 8th century BCE, raise the possibility that monotheism, as a state religion, is actually an innovation of the period of the Kingdom of Judea, following the destruction of the Kingdom of Israel."
    – Ze'ev Herzog (Prof. Archaeology and Ancient Near Eastern Studies at Tel Aviv University)

    First mention of Israelites by their neighbours
    The Moabite Stele - Large slab of basalt that records King Mesha of Moab's defeat of Israel "which hath perished forever".
    – 9th century BC (Louvre, Paris)

    Back Projection ...
    "The Bible writers projected backwards into time the kind of political rivalry that was happening in their own day [6th c BC] in order to explain that rivalry and perhaps justify the Israelite position over current border disputes."
    Magnus Magnusson (The Archaeology of the Bible Lands - BC, p76)
  • snowbird

    Been there. Read that. Still, I believe.


  • 5go

    Been there. Read that. Still, I believe.


    Then you are a fool, sorry.

    There is no evidence outside of the bible that exodus ever happened.

  • snowbird

    Then you are a fool, sorry.

    I'm glad you softened that with a sorry. I beg to differ, however. Time will tell.


  • 5go
    Time will tell.

    3500 years later yeah It did!

  • JeffT

    There are other ways to read the Bible besides literally.

  • 5go
    There are other ways to read the Bible besides literally.

    There are no indications from the bible otherwise. In fact it is apologist that are the ones backed into a corner saying "well maybe it is not literal after all" not the bible.

  • JCanon
    The two primary books of the Old Testament – Genesis and Exodus – refer to 'Pharaoh' 155 times. Curiously, not once in either book is Pharaoh identified by name – and yet, in fact, the references are to many different pharaohs, across many centuries. The anomaly is all the more telling in that the holy books are not lacking in naming numerous sundry and incidental character. For example, the grandmother, of the grandmother, of King Asa of Judah was Abishalom, should you be interested!(1 Kings 15.10). But this style of literature should be familiar to us all: "Once upon a time, in a land far away, was a bad king. And in the forest, David played ...

    You have high hopes in this regard since the Bible is a book of true history. What you may not know, is that there is clear evidence the Bible specifically presents confounding chronology that requires close examination and coordination to fully understand. Thus the Bible doesn't pretend to be outsider-friendly in the least. Outsiders read it and get confused.

    In the meantime, if one does wish to critically compare Bible events and chronology from the book of Exodus, for instance, it does quite well. For instance, the fall of Jericho is dated by renown archaeologist Dame Kathleen Kenyon who dug up Jericho to a 25-year period between 1350-1325BCE. She was forced to do so because the last destructive layer of Jericho had cartouches of Amenhotep III in some of the tombs, so we know the Exodus had to have occurred during or after the reign of Amenhotep III.

    Kathleen Kenyon: Digging Up Jericho, Jericho and the Coming of the Israelites, page 262:

    "As concerns the date of the destruction of Jericho by the Israelites, all that can be said is that the latest Bronze Age occupation should, in my view, be dated to the third quarter of the fourteenth century B.C. This is a date which suits neither the school of scholars which would date the entry of the Israelites into Palestine to c. 1400 B.C. nor the school which prefers a date of c. 1260 B.C."

    Page 261 of her book, "Digging Up Jericho," in the Chapter called "Jericho And Coming Of The Israelites," she says:

    "It is a sad fact that of the town walls of the Late Bronze Age, within which period the attack by the Israelites must fall by any dating, not a trace remains."

    Per accurate Bible chronology, the Exodus occurs in 1386 BCE (19 jubilees, 931 years prior to the return from Babylon in 455BCE), which means the fall of Jericho dates to 1346 BCE, which falls within the archaeological period for the fall of Jericho. In addition to that, a historical reference to when Joseph came into Egypt is found in Manetho, which is dated to the 4th year of Apophis. It notes that Joseph was appointed vizier in the 17th of Apophis, which would begin the 7 years of plenty. This means that Jacob would have come into Egypt around the 24th of Apophis when the 7 years of famine had started. Jacob enters Egypt 215 years before the Exodus. So we can determine which pharaoh was ruling when the Exodus occurred and thus which pharaoh died in the Red Sea. If you use the standard timeline of the Dynasties, 215 years from the 24th of Apophis dates to the end of the rule of Amenhotep III. Thus Akhenaten's reign begins at the time of the Exodus. We all know that Akhenaten abandoned the false gods of Egypt and became a monotheist. That's plenty of evidence the Ten Plagues occurred for some of us!

    On the other hand, the Biblical naysayers will claim there was no Exodus and talk about what a great affect all these people leaving would have had on the economy or the culture. Well it did! The new pharaoh of Egypt became a Yawist monotheist! That's a great change! But, of course, as direct as that is, it's downplayed. So there is circumstantial evidence of the Exodus and the Ten Plagues available once you follow history and the Bible to match of the correct pharaoh with the Exodus. There was also some notable decrease in military support of the Canaanites during the reign of Akhenaten which could be attributed to the destruction of the primary chariot army in the Red Sea. So the supportive evidence is there if you look for it.

    But of course, I'm sure you'll claim there was no such country as Egypt or any such city as Jericho and the archaeologists are just lying, right? Places and cities mentioned as part of the Biblical fairy tale?

    Yeah, right...


  • passive suicide
    passive suicide

    Okay then everybody.......fools, and otherwise....... you all neeed ta go to have a beer, and watch......... you are debating rubbish. cheers, passive.

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