This blew me away"The distant between Egypt and the promise land"

by jam 56 Replies latest watchtower bible

  • Leolaia

    The biblical story (actually there are several versions of the story in the OT) is legendary but also it likely draws on semi-historical elements. The same is the case with the late Mesopotamian legends of Semiramis and the late Egyptian legends of Sesostris and Osarsiph (both of which likely influenced Jewish traditions about Moses); these three legendary figures are loosely based on historical figures. The biblical story likely draws on a range of originally independent and heterogenous traditions and combines them into a single national epic; the biblical story has connections with the Hyksos expulsion at the beginning of the 18th Dynasty, the Typhonic myth dating much earlier to the Middle Kingdom but popular later on as well (= the plagues story), the situation involving Asiatics in Egypt during the 19th Dynasty, the Egyptian Osarsiph legend which was inspired by the historical Akhenaten in the 18th Dynasty, and the upheaval and collapse of Egyptian hegemony that occurred in the 20th Dynasty (at the end of the LBA). Many traditions are thus telescoped and elaborated in a single epic story; the story of Nimrod in Genesis similarly draws on several figures widely separated in time and space. The legend of Semiramis is ultimately based on a historical figure, the Assyrian Queen Shammuramat of the 9th century BC, but attributes to her deeds actually done by the Babylonian king Nebuchadnezzar II in the 6th century BC. All of this is typical of legends (compare, for example, Arthurian legend).

    For some of my own thoughts and speculations on this see:

  • Leolaia

    From one of those threads:

    First of all, there wasn't any such thing as a "Jewish people" before the Babylonian exile. There were Judahites, but perhaps "Israelites" is a better term. Second, there was not a single time when Asiatics ancestral to later Israel came to Egypt. There were population movements back and forth for centuries. The biblical notion of the entire nation of Israel being descended from a single family had a unifying political objective, but it isn't history. The swelling population of Semites in Egypt during the New Kingdom was not due to a single family growing to a whole nation but because of successive deportations of captives from military campaigns in Canaan to Egypt, as well as normal immigration during the time when Canaan was an Egyptian province -- leading to a significant population of Egyptian-born Asiatics. The Hyksos came to Egypt in the 18th and 17 centuries BC, and these people after being expelled from Egypt contributed to the population of Canaan. The Semites living in Lower Egypt during the 13th and 12th centuries BC (including those descended from exiles taken by Ramesses II and Merneptah) who left Egypt during the political turmoil of the 20th Dynasty also likely contributed to the population of early Israel. There are no early records of an "exodus" along grand biblical lines, although later writers associated Manetho's description of two major exoduses from Egypt (the expulsion of the Hyksos at the outset of the 18th Dynasty and the expulsion of "defiled" priests in the 19th or 20th Dynasty) with the Israelite exodus. Many records exist of Semites taken captive into Egypt, although these are not of Jews or Israelites per se -- with the exception of the Israelites exiled by Merneptah. These were taken captive in 1206 BC when the people of Israel was already present in the highlands. The literary and historical evidence persuades me that if there was a historical basis of the exodus (other than the older Hyksos traditions), it occurred in the twelfth century BC when Israel was already in place in the highlands....

    The main thing is that the biblical story assembles traditions from different tribes into a single, linear narrative -- such that the whole nation participates in the saga of exodus and conquest, with the descent of all the tribes (or rather sons of Jacob) into Egypt occurring at the same time, the escape from captivity occuring all at the same time (therefore requiring improbable numbers of Israelites wandering in the wilderness), and conquest of all the cities of Canaan occurring in one fell swoop (as it is presented in Joshua). And this is why no one will never find evidence for one single catastrophic exodus from Egypt in history and archaeology, or evidence of a single devastating "conquest" of Canaan. In the case of the latter, there is no doubt that the various cities mentioned in Joshua were destroyed at different times in the fifteenth to the twelfth centuries BC. And the biblical data itself contains countless discontinuities and details that betray the independent origin of traditions outside the "canonical" narrative. So what we have in the OT is a conflation of reminiscences of events spanning over several hundred years across a dozen or more tribal groups compressed into a single epic story. It is natural for this to be case, as simplification is a basic process in folklore and oral tradition.

  • the-illuminator81

    If you put one million people behind eachother in a line, and you count 30cm of space for each person (and that's close! belly-to-bottom close), you have a line of 300km. If you put 3 million people in a line, it's 900km. Distance from Cairo to border of Israel (I used google maps) is only 300km. So I guess when the Israelites were traveling, it was a very very broad line if they wanted to prevent sticking their noses into the promised land before the 40 years were over.

    Let's say that the israelites were very slowly and only traveled 10km a day, they would've made it in 30 days, not 40 years.

    Let's say that each Israelite family (only two children, a man and a wife, making 2.4 million israelites) have a tent to spend the night in. A tiny tent, measuring only 2 by 2 meters. And there was no space between the tents. The camp site would be 2,400 square kilometers in size (926 square miles, or 593 acres), measuring about 48 kilometers on each side. And that's not taking in account possessions, livestock, servants, families with more children than two. Almost as large as Rhode Island (1,214 square miles).

    At the slow rate the Israelites must've traveled (10km a day) it would have taken 5 days to travel from one side of the campsite to the other side of the campsite. Now if you lived in the middle of the camp, and you had to take a dump, you would have to travel 48 kilometers roundtrip to take a dump. So taking a dump would've taken almost 5 days, 2.4 days to reach the edge of the camp, and 2.4 days back.

    No wonder it took 40 years, they lost so much time going to the toilet!

    Now let's say that the Israelites have all set up their tens, spent 5 days taking a shit and now they want to sit down and eat. An average person consumes 2500 kilocalories a day. Let's say the manna was very efficient, as good as sugar, and contained 400 calories per 100 gram. That means that a total amount of 625 grams of manna was consumed by each person. To feed 2.4 million israelites, it had to rain 1.5 million kilos or 3 million pounds of manna EVERY DAY. Now let's say all of those 3 million pounds pass the human digestive tract and becomes shit. For the total of 40 years, an amount of 43.8 BILLION pounds of shit have been crapped out by the Israelites. I'm starting to wonder why the Sinai isn't a brown desert. And because it took 5 days to take a dump, the turds would've been over 6 pounds each. Now those are large turds. Why haven't we found any? And remember, we are still not talking about livestock, and they have to crap too.

    It takes about 4 ton of manure to fertilize an acre. 43.8 billion pounds translates to 20 million tons. So in those 40 years, the Israelites crapped enough to fertilize 5 million acres of farmland. The Sinai desert is about 15 million acres large, so the Israelites converted about a third of the desert to well-fertilized farmland.

    We all know why Moses couldn't enter the promised land, because he was arrogant when springing water from rocks. An average person should drink about 2 liters of water each day. So the river that Moses generated would have had a flow rate of at least 4.8 million liters of water a day (that's 1.2 million gallons). That's a lot of piss too! There are 86,400 seconds in each day, that boils down to 55 liters per second. I wonder if that sudden large uptake of water in the Sinai desert caused any climate change, plants sprouting etc. etc. In the total of 40 years, 70 billion liters of water were consumed by the Israelites. That must've had some effect that we could still be seeing today.

  • Aussie Oz
    Aussie Oz

    Maybe they were constipated for 40 years...

    Maybe the manna had that magic quality of blocking up the bowels?

    no shit!


  • Jim_TX

    ...maybe the 'manna' was their shit.

    "Be careful son, don't step in the manna."

    If it was, maybe it would make a lot more sense. Their god was feeding them a lot of... manna.

  • FlyingHighNow

    When you are walking, dragging everything you own, 200 miles is worse than 2000 in a car or bus.

  • designs

    'Just remember, keep the Mediterranean Sea on your left and keep walking north' Moses

  • streets76

    All this nonsense was made up before listeners had the math and logic skills to say, "Hold up, WTF?"

    Which reminds me of JWs today. They're the modern day Israelites.... wandering around in a desert waiting for the promised land...except they never get there. They'll die never having received entry. <-- good point

  • DagothUr

    If, for the sake of the discussion, we admit the Exodus was a true historical fact, then I doubt the Jews were in such a bad strategic context. If they indeed left Egypt, that was because the Pharaoh feared them in some manner, not because of the plagues. Maybe they were indeed numerous and rioting already. I also think that Moses - if he was real - had at least some basic military knowledge, if he was not quite an experienced strategist. Now, the story of the dividing of the waters of the Red Sea is obviously bullshit. A more plausible scenario could be that the Jews expected a cavalry-charriots attack from behind and they organized an ambush somewhere on the top of a narrow passage or a valley, where egyptian fast-moving forces would lose the advantage of speed and arrows. After the Egyptian force failed to see the danger (perhaps they were too hasty to scout ahead), they tried to cross the narrow valley, but were trapped inside and butchered. In a metaphorical sense, the Jews drowned them in arrows and thrown rocks, like the Red Sea. Also, the pillar of fire that lead the Jews could have been just a big torch carried by the vanguard so that the long row of people could follow without getting lost during the night. Like a beacon. Perhaps the Jews fooled the Egyptians with a false beacon and drew them into the trap. All these could have happened if the Exodus is a historical fact. But every supernatural intervention in the Book of Exodus, in this context, is nothing more than superstition and make-believe. If you convince a mob that their leader is God's chosen, they will follow him anywhere, to the death. There is nothing supernatural here. If Exodus was real, many numbers and facts were heavily hyperbolised and exaggerated in such a way that the fact itself becomes unrecognizable.

  • Band on the Run
    Band on the Run

    It is conceivable that Egypt removed mentions of the exodus but the garbage trail would still exist. Forty years should yield some very interesting stories. The tale has great value when you don't believe it in literal terms.

    The Epic of Gilgamesh which I read only a few weeks ago almost spooked me. It is much older than the Hebrew account. Not only is there a great flood but some of the details are identical to Genesis or, rather, Genesis is in accord with Gilgamesh. Besides historical account, Gilgamesh is truly a great work of literature. No one knew it existed for centuries. Someone helping with translation stumbled upon it by accident.

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