Evidence for an Egyptian Presence In Early PalestineEgyptian Artifacts Salvaged from Robbed Tomb in Israel

by fulltimestudent 33 Replies latest social current

  • jhine



  • jhine

    I had not heard of the amarna letters but a brief google uncovered some interesting sites . It seems that in fact a good case can be made that these letters actually back up the book of Joshua in particular .

    I cannot get the link to work but it is easy to find a lot of sites showing how far from contradicting the Bible the tablets do the opposite .


  • fulltimestudent
    Crazyguy14 hours agoDon't forget the armana letters,

    Thnx for posting about the Armana letters, Crazyguy. I'd forgotten about them. I wouldn't worry about the spelling 'Amana' brings the topic up anyway. And, of course, all renderings into English are mere attempts to reproduce the original language sounds into English.

    The letters, as you say, very eloquently establish the Egyptian dominion in Palestine, and its reasonable to ask, why the bible never mentions that?


    Half banana13 hours agoThe story of the Exodus from Egypt was not a historical reality but a metaphor of their collective desire to be freed from the influence of their Egyptian overlords.

    I would agree that the Exodus story must indicate have a psychological foundation. But I'd ask a question, about the time period. Who were the inhabitants of Palestine at this point of time? Were they so well organised that they thought of themselves as a 'national group?' Or, were they a series of loosely connected tribes, without a collective image of themselves? Another aspect must be the relationship between the Egyptians and local individuals. May I illustrate, the books of Maccabees are said to express a collective desire to be "Jewish' in a period of "Hellenisation." And, yet there is clear evidence, that the elites who ruled in that brief period of independent rule, all have showed evidence of "Hellenisation." So did some individuals in the era of Egyptian domination, become "Egyptianised?" If so, how did that play out with other 'locals?.

    Another thing I think about is this, when was the book of Exodus written and by whom? I think we can discard the idea that it was written by Moses, if for no other reason than the fact that its seems mythical, since there is no evidence of physical exodus from Egypt on the scale described in the Bible. So who wrote it, and when? Some think it was written during the Babylonian captivity, by a member of the exiled elite.


    jhine: I had not heard of the amarna letters but a brief google uncovered some interesting sites . It seems that in fact a good case can be made that these letters actually back up the book of Joshua in particular .
    I cannot get the link to work but it is easy to find a lot of sites showing how far from contradicting the Bible the tablets do the opposite .

    Jan, I also googled and found that this was one of the better web-sites:


    It seems to be cared for by a U.S. educational facility that calls itself 'The West Semitic Research Project.'

    I do not doubt that when it comes to the book of Joshua that there can be a kernel of reality behind the probably mythical activities of the heroic Joshua. But it's the same problem as the historical Jesus, to separate the historical Jesus from the mythical image is difficult.

    Another web-site ( http://www.newworldencyclopedia.org/entry/Amarna_letters ), when you start to dig a little, illustrates another difficulty. The site is accused of being a front for the Unification Church, which many would see as Korean Christian cult ...

    Nonetheless, while I see no real problem with this statement (as an example).

    And this is a good time to note that the argument over who the Habiru has gone to and for quite a while.

    The Amarna letters also deal to a great extent with relations between Egyptian rulers and their vassal kings in the cities of Canaan. Of particular interest for biblical scholars is the fact that the letters revealed the first mention of a Near Eastern group known as the Habiru (also called "Apiru" and "Hapiru"), whose possible connection with the Hebrews has been much debated. These particular letters complain about attacks by armed groups of Habiru who attacked cities and were sometimes willing to fight on any side of the local wars in exchange for equipment, provisions, and quarters.
    David storms Jerusalem: was he the last and greatest of the Habiru chiefs?

    The Habiru appear to be active on a broad area including Syria, Phoenicia, and to the south as far as Jerusalem. When the el-Amarna archives were translated, some scholars eagerly equated these Habiru with the biblical Hebrews. Besides the similarity in names, the description of the Habiru attacking cities in Canaan seemed to parallel the biblical account of the conquest of that land by Hebrews under Joshua and later Israelite leaders.
    A Letter from King Abdu-Heba of Jerusalem (EA 286) shows how this Canaanite king sought the aid of his Egyptian overlords against the dreaded Habiru.
    To the king, my Lord, thus speaks Abdu-Heba, your servant. At the feet of the king, my Lord, seven times and seven times I prostrate myself... Oh king, my Lord, there are no garrison troops here!... May the king direct his attention to the archers, and may the king, my Lord, send troops of archers... The Hapiru sack the territories of the king. If there are archers (here) this year, all the territories of the king will remain (intact); but if there are no archers, the territories of the king, my Lord, will be lost! To the king, my Lord thus writes Abdu-Heba, your servant. He conveys eloquent words to the king, my Lord. All the territories of the king, my Lord, are lost.
    Other letters speak of the Habiru joining forces with other cities to attack a king who seeks aid from his Egyptian allies.
    Many scholars believe that the Hapiru were a component of the later peoples who inhabited the kingdoms of Judah and Israel. Noted Israeli archaeologist Israel Finkelstein, for example, holds that the stories of Joshua's conquest of Canaan represent a legendary account based in part on stories passed on by Habiru raiders who attacked Canaanite towns, much as described in the above letter of the king of Jerusalem.[5] Indeed, the Book of Judges describes how the Israelites attempted but failed to take that very city after succeeding in gaining control of surrounding territories. Finkelstein also suggests that the future King David, described by the Bible as a leader of a roving band of outlaw Judahites during the time of of King Saul, was the last and greatest of the Habiru bandit leaders. Eventually he succeeded it conquering the important towns of bron and Jerusalem and later extended his rule to other territories as well.

    Trusting every word would be like trusting every word in the WT publications.

    But then the whole point of being a sceptic, is to always doubt the truth of anything we read.

  • SimonSays

    Good information.

    The Tell El-Amarna Letters by Percy Handcock published in 1920. It describes the findings. However it is no new light, Perhaps this discoveries were accumulated by the travels in the Kings road that passed through many kingdoms by the Egyptians that controlled much of the northwestern province. This however does not exclude the exodus as archeology has since then found Egyptian chariot wheel frames in the ocean floor in the red sea.

  • HowTheBibleWasCreated
    Oh they were indeed in Egypt...after the Babylonian Exile.... before that it was just traders and priests... no mass exodus...
  • Crazyguy
    What people don't think about is if there was an exodus it would be like a group escaping Washington DC and ending up in New York City. Its still the same government. Egypt ruled all the areas none today as Israel all the way up to the northern border of what's call Lebanon today. So they escaped Egypt to end up in Egypt.
  • fulltimestudent
    SimonSays4 hours ago

    Good information. ... This however does not exclude the exodus as archeology has since then found Egyptian chariot wheel frames in the ocean floor in the red sea.

    Interesting point SS. Say do you know in which Museum those chariot wheels are displayed? I bet there are some long queues to see them.

  • Crazyguy

    Chariot wheels could of ended up in the red sea for a lot of reasons. The Egyptians transported most of their goods up and down the Nile river and also used the red sea. These could of been lost over board during a storm or accident etc.

    Something else to consider, the oldest books of the bible are part of the Greek Septuagint and in these scriptures the scribes call it the REED sea not the RED sea. The Reed sea is a area in the delta area at the far north and where the Nile dumps into the Mediterranean

  • fulltimestudent
    HowTheBibleWasCreatedan hour agoOh they were indeed in Egypt...after the Babylonian Exile.... before that it was just traders and priests... no mass exodus...
    That's also another interesting connection between the Jews and Egypt, HTBWC.

    You're referring to Jeremiah 42> where Yahweh is depicted warning some Jews (elite???) not to flee to Egypt, and if they did he would make sure they would die there.(e.g Jer. 44:27) So there seem to have been some Jews who were pro-Babylonian and some who were pro-Egyptian.

    And, its only a couple of hundred years after the Jewish elites return from Babylon (as subjects of the Iranians) that Alexander the Great conquers the whole area and the Jews become subjects of the Macedonian Empire.. ... and amazingly, not long AFTER that and the death of Alexander, that the Jews become subjects of the Macedonian Ptolemies who made Egypt the keystone of their empire.

    Yahweh never had the power to keep his people free did he? And the Jews could never break their connection with Egypt.
  • fulltimestudent

    Interesting viewpoint, in a guest OP in the modern Israeli newspaper Haaretz:

    Were Jews ever really slaves in Egypt, or is Passover a myth?

    Where is the real proof - archeological evidence, state records and primary sources?
    By Josh Mintz / Jewish World blogger Mar. 26, 2012 | 8:11 PM | 243

    Here's a question for you: what do actor Charlton Heston, DreamWorks animation studios and Former Prime Minister Menachem Begin all have in common? Well, they've all, at one time or another, perpetuated the myth that the Jews built the pyramids. And it is a myth, make no mistake. Even if we take the earliest possible date for Jewish slavery that the Bible suggests, the Jews were enslaved in Egypt a good three hundred years after the 1750 B.C. completion date of the pyramids. That is, of course, if they were ever slaves in Egypt at all.
    .... yet we so rarely examine our own misconceptions about the nature of our history with the Egyptian nation.

    We tend, ... to overlook the fact that one of the biggest events of the Jewish calendar is predicated upon reminding the next generation every year of how the Egyptians were our cruel slave-masters, in a bondage that likely never happened.

    The reality is that there is no evidence whatsoever that the Jews were ever enslaved in Egypt. Yes, there's the story contained within the bible itself, but that's not a remotely historically admissible source. I'm talking about real proof; archeological evidence, state records and primary sources. Of these, nothing exists.

    It is hard to believe that 600,000 families (which would mean about two million people) crossed the entire Sinai without leaving one shard of pottery (the archeologist's best friend) with Hebrew writing on it. It is remarkable that Egyptian records make no mention of the sudden migration of what would have been nearly a quarter of their population, nor has any evidence been found for any of the expected effects of such an exodus; such as economic downturn or labor shortages. Furthermore, there is no evidence in Israel that shows a sudden influx of people from another culture at that time. No rapid departure from traditional pottery has been seen, no record or story of a surge in population.

    In fact, there's absolutely no more evidence to suggest that the story is true ...

    Reference: http://www.haaretz.com/jewish-world/the-jewish-thinker/were-jews-ever-really-slaves-in-egypt-or-is-passover-a-myth-1.420844

    And, look at what the fact that this whole story is a myth, does to the narrative about the memorial that the witnesses celebrated a few days ago (and some other churches celebrate more frequently). It's all based on an event that never happened.

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