Archaeology & the Exodus

Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by Bismarck, Jun 19, 2007.

  1. Bismarck

    Bismarck
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    Archaeology & the Exodus
    Extremely Rough Draft Short-on-Time version


    1250 BCE — Joshua leads Israel into Canaan

    There is strong archaeological evidence for the Conquest of Canaan. There is evidence of destruction and fire at numerous sites around Canaan all dating to around the same time. The archaeological evidence is consistent with the main thrust of the Book of Joshua. There are some details that are not, and it is these that secular scholars harp upon endlessly in their war against Scripture.

    These "destruction layers" at archaeological sites around Canaan begin appearing, suddenly and frequently, at layers (in the archaeological excavations) that correspond to 1250 BCE, and continue to appear at layers that correspond to 1200 BCE.

    Thus, Joshua and the Israelite tribes must have begun their conquest of Canaan in 1250 BCE.


    1295 BCE — Moses leads Israel out of Egypt (the Exodus)

    If Israel entered Canaan in 1250 BCE (as archaeology says), and if Israel spent 40 years in the Desert Wilderness before entering Canaan (as the Bible says), then Israel must have dwelt in the Desert Wilderness from about 1290 - 1250 BCE.

    To this we may need to add some time to account for the Israelite tribes reaching the Desert Wilderness from Egypt, and for their journey from there to Canaan. Thus, the Exodus must have occurred some time around 1295-1290 BCE.

    In 1295 BCE, the last Pharaoh of Dynasty XVIII (18) died. The new Pharaoh, Rameses I, was the first Pharaoh of Dynasty XIX (19). Rameses I reigned briefly for less than 2 years, when his son Seti I immediately began attacking Shasu Bedouins in Canaan. These Shasu bedouins worshipped the god Joh or Yaw, and seem to correspond with the tribes of Midian (cf. Jethro and his daughter Zipporah) who worshipped YHWH.

    Thus, the Exodus occurred in about 1295 BCE and is associated with the transition from Dynasty XVIII to XIX. Indeed, this is precisely the testimony of Manetho, who places the Israelite Exodus at exactly this time.


    1350 - 1320 BCE — Joseph, Akhenaten, and the Amarna Period

    Dynasty XVIII is most famous for its monotheistic Pharaoh Akhenaten. He worshipped the sun-god Aten, and composed hymns in Aten's honor. The famous Great Hymn to the Aten shows remarkable parallels to Psalm 104, with which it is frequently compared. And the very word Aten is related to the Hebrew Adonai meaning "Lord" and referring to YHWH-God. Finally, Akhenaten was allied with the Apiru people in Canaan, who are thought to be the Biblical Hebrews. Akhenaten's monotheistic reforms were opposed by the ancient Priesthoods, who drove Akhenaten from power and ultimately toppled Dynasty XVIII altogether.

    Moreover, Akhenaten's immediate predecessors had a powerful Asiatic court official named Yuya. He married into Egyptian nobility, and was related to succeeding Pharaohs like Akhenaten. His name shows clear signs of being foreign and non-Egyptian, as do his facial features seen on his surviving mummy. Yuya, whose name is also spelled Yaa or Ya, and his Asiatic heritage seem to connect to the Bedoiun Shasu who worshipped Yah. Ahmed Osman, in his groundbreaking book Stranger in the Valley of the Kings, assembles strong evidence that Yuya is none other than the Patriarch Joseph (Yu-seph, with Yu-ya as a pet form). Yuya thrived around 1380 BCE.

    Finally, it is precisely at this time that Egyptian Pharaohs began to be interested in dreams and Dream Interpretation, a central theme of the story of Joseph. For example, Tothmoses II erected his famous Dream Stela between the paws of the Sphynx describing a dream in which the sun-god promised him the throne.

    We have tied Moses and the Exodus to 1295 BCE at the transition between Dynasty XVIII, whose Pharaoh Akhenaten instituted monotheism, and Dynasty XIX which brought back the old gods and their ancient priesthoods. And we have further linked the monotheistic Dynasty XVIII to dream interpretation and a powerful Semitic courtier named Yuya, whom we have identified as the Patriarch Joseph. Also, towards the end of Dynasty XVIII, Egypt was beset by a deadly plague, reminiscent of the 10 Plagues of the Exodus account.

    Indeed, the Bible says that the Israelites spent 4 generations — about 80 years — in Egypt. Since we have placed the Exodus at 1295 BCE, we should expect to see Joseph arriving in Egypt around 1375 BCE, which is just when the amazing courtier Yuya appears in the archaeological record.


    Sources:

    Osman, Ahmed. Stranger in the Valley of the Kings.
    Dever, William. Who were the early Israelites, and Where did they come from?
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_Hymn_to_the_Aten
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yuya
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Akhenaten
    http://ggreenberg.tripod.com/writings/w-osar-exod.htm
     
    #1 Bismarck, Jun 19, 2007
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 19, 2007
  2. Pastor Larry

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    The dates are off. Israel spent four hundred years in Egypt, not 80. They left around 1445BC.
     
  3. Scarlett O.

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    Shucks, I was really enjoying what I was reading until I came to this sentence....

    Indeed, it does not. Pastor Larry is correct. It was 400 years.....well, actually 430 years according to Exodus 12:40-41.
     
  4. Bismarck

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    Then YHWH said to Abram, "Know for certain that your offspring will be sojourners in a land that is not theirs and will be servants there, and they will be afflicted for four hundred years. But I will bring judgment on the nation that they serve, and afterward they shall come out with great possessions. As for yourself, you shall go to your fathers in peace; you shall be buried in a good old age. And they shall come back here in the fourth generation, for the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet complete."
    Genesis 15:13-16


    Yes, Scripture says "400 years" (Gen 15:13).

    But Scripture also says "4 Generations" (Gen 15:16).

    In fact, it also says "430 years" (Ex 12:40), although this number may refer to Israel's journeys, not just there enthrallment in Egypt.

    The argument I am making is based on archaeology over total Scriptural innerrancy. I am taking the "4 generations" literally, and using a normal generation length of 20 years, which is backed up by the 4 generations of time between Yuya (Joseph) c. 1380 BCE and the Exodus (Moses) c. 1295 BCE. I am arguing that the "main thrust" of the Biblical story is correct, while "details" like the exact number of years have been inflated.

    Archaeology supports the main thrust of the Biblical account.
    Archaeology does not support details, like "430".
    I am accepting the main thrust of the Bible as well as archaeology, and tossing out the details.


    That doesn't make me right...
    but it is, at least, logically consistent.
     
    #4 Bismarck, Jun 19, 2007
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 19, 2007
  5. Allan

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    Please show Archeologically where a generation is considered 16 years?

    Fact: YOU CAN'T! It isn't even remotely a time frame presumed Archeologically.

    A generation is NOT 16 years. WHere did you get that from? Is that todays version of a generation?
    What do I mean by Todays version?
    This becomes plain with simple trip to the dictionary, where the length of a generation is defined as "the average interval of time between the birth of parents and the birth of their offspring." These days no one would wait till age 40 to begin having children, but in Biblical times that was sometimes the case. And of course the key to the definition lies in the word average, so we know we're dealing with generalities here.

    However, back to your misunderstanding of the 400 years and 4 generations.
    We see in the passage in Genesis the Lord tells Abraham his descendants would spend 400 years in Egypt as slaves before coming out with great wealth. (Now YOU have an issue with God and His statement) And then the portion which states "in the 4th generation your descendants will come back here (Canaan) for the sin of the Amorites has not yet reached its full measure" (Gen. 15:13-16). We see these passages appears to equate 400 years with 4 generations, making a generation 100 years long, but careful study reveals this is not the case. The numbers 400 and 4 refer to two different things. True, the Israelites were in Egypt for about 400 years, but after they left, the generation that finally crossed the Jordan with Joshua was the 4th from Moses.

    Biblically speaking the 'average' generation spanned about 40 years or so.

    Any questions?
     
  6. Bismarck

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    Priestly generations average 16 years. This can be shown from the Berlin Geneology:

    http://www.kent.net/DisplacedDynasties/The_Berlin_Genealogy_A_econd_Look.html


    ...and also from the fact that, according to Josephus, there were 85 high priests of Israel down to the fall of Jerusalem in 70 CE. 85 x 16 = 1360 years; 1360 years before 70 CE = 1290 BCE = time of Exodus... it all works out.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_High_Priests_of_Israel


    But here is an excellent discussion that also reconciles the 4 generations w/ 400 years! The 400 years includes the "soujourning" of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, who were all "strangers in Canaan". Then, late in the game, Israel was oppressed by Egypt and returned to Canaan in the 4th generation. IOW, if (as archaeology shows) Joshua entered Canaan in 1250 BCE, then the 400 years of soujourning before that would point to about 1650 BCE for the time of Abraham. Indeed, this is right around the time of the Thera or Santorini Eruption that is linked with the destructions of Soddom & Gemorrah (!). It all works out (!).

    http://independencebaptist.org/6,000 Year Old Earth/Notes/note_03.htm
     
  7. Bismarck

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    Self explanatory.

    According to me, Mount Sinai happened in about 1295 BCE. Thus, accepting full Scriptural innerrancy with this interpretation, Genesis 12:1-4 happened in about 1725 BCE. Now I have to run all the numbers to see if this works out...

    http://independencebaptist.org/6,000 Year Old Earth/Notes/note_03.htm
     
  8. Bismarck

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    Abram was seventy-five years old when he departed from Haran. (Gen 12:4)

    ¿ Abram was 75 in about 1650 BCE ?

    Abram was eighty-six years old when Hagar bore Ishmael to Abram. (Gen 16:16)

    ¿ Abram was 85 in about 1640 BCE ?

    Abraham is 99 years old when he intercedes for Soddom & Gemorrah (Gen 17-18)

    ¿ Abram was 100 in about 1625 BCE ?

    These are the days of the years of Abraham's life, 175 years. (Gen 25:7)

    ¿ Abram was 175 in about 1550 BCE ?

    Wow, this is really close!! Soddom & Gemorrah were destroyed by the Santorini/Thera eruption, in c. 1630 BCE... This works out (!!).


    EDIT: "400 years" of sojourning, combined with a 1250 BCE date for Joshua's return to Canaan, yields a start date of 1650 BCE
    EDIT: My argument here is fully consistent with the Genesis 15 account, with both the "400 years" of total sojourning, and "4 generations" of captivity in Egypt, as argued by the Independence Baptist website. However, it does not appear to be consistent with the contradictory statement of Ex 12:40 about "430" years.
     
    #8 Bismarck, Jun 19, 2007
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 20, 2007
  9. TC

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    I have read that in some places in the Bible a generation is one hundred years, so four generations = 400 years if this is correct. I will have to see if I can find that information again.
     
  10. Allan

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    I stated None of it can be proved Archeologically and you proved my point.

    Speculation, assumption, and twisting scripture have no basis in Archeological facts. You haven't given ONE shread of evidence where by "Archeologically" ANY generation historically was 16 years - more to the point and specifically an archeologically established biblical generation biblically.
     
  11. Pastor Larry

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    Archaeology is not an exact science. It is largely hypotheses built off of guess work. Questioning the accuracy of the Bible based on that is completely unacceptable.
     
  12. Allan

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    And with that limited understanding of Archeology, you can even say that using Archeology to prove the Bible is equally unaccaptable.

    True, there are portioin within the field of study where by it is hypothetical (object dating is a good example as well as dealing with a civilization which previously has not been know) but much is not. It uses other historical documents, evidences, finds, and many other hard fact items which establish much of its findings on fact and visible evidences.

    While I agree we should not rest scripture on Archeology alone as the absolute test of biblical verasity, we have found that Archeology has agreed with scripture in all points thus far. The only difference that is really made is the 'age' factor. Was the civilation (take your pick) 80,000 years ago or 4000? (and so on and so forth)
     
    #12 Allan, Jun 25, 2007
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 25, 2007
  13. Pastor Larry

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    You are correct. We should recognize that the Bible doesn't not depend on Archaeology for proof. Archaeology may confirm what the Bible says, but it is not apologetic in nature. Archaeology has far more limits than most people realize. Some people approach it with the attitude "If we could just find Noah's ark, (or Jericho, or Israel in Egypt, etc), then a revival would break out." That is simply faulty.
     
  14. Allan

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    To that I absolutely agree.

    But we should not discard its proofs as irrelavent either. I was simply addressing it as area in which we can bring a stronger and more apparent validity to the truth of the Holy Writ with and by producing those very things to which the Bible speaks.
     
  15. Pastor Larry

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    Does it actually prove anything? No ... That's my point. Archaeology is based on a set of assumptions and hypotheses. It "proves" something only if those assumptions are correct. So I don't think it is irrelevant. But it is not the panacea for biblical apologetics. The Bible has survived for centuries and made converts because of its inherent power ... all without archaeology. The power of God to salvation is the gospel, not the shovel.

    I disagree for the most part. This will be convincing only to those in whom the Spirit is working.

    Look at the OP and the dates just pulled out of thin air (that are virtually impossible in the biblical record. The reality is that archaeology cannot really distinguish between 1600 BC and 2000 BC without outside influence ... that has outside influence ... etc.
     
  16. J.D.

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    Every time the issue of archeology comes up, I think of the Mormons. In spite of the absolute zero archeological evidence to support their fairy tales about Moroni etc., they still cling tenaciously to them. Blind is blind, evidence or not.
     
  17. LadyEagle

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    Rats, I thought this thread was going to be about the chariot wheels found in the Gulf of Aqaba.....

    Anyway, who was the Pharoah, was it Ramses II (aka Ramses the Great)????
     
  18. TCGreek

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    Now, I can agree with you here a 100%:thumbs: Great response, Pastor Larry! I say the same thing to my church from time to time.

    These secondary sciences must be made to bow to what was once called the queen of the sciences: theology, the study of things related to God. Now in our time, the study of the sacred Scriptures.

    I agree with BB Warfield of Old Princeton, "When the Bible speaks, God speaks." We don't need Archaeology to prove anything. It may serve as a reporter of what it. That is fine with me.
     
  19. Allan

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    No one has said anything about Archeology making the bible true (that point was more for Pastor Larry). I was commenting that it brings validity (in the physical or tangable sense) to that which is already known by believers to be true. If archeology held there was never an Egypt and therefore no pharoah, it could be a point of great contention among believers but even worse a rallying point for its critics. But with that which Archeology has shown as accurate it brings greater demision and validity to the truth of Gods word.

    I agree 100% with Warfield and like how he put it.
    "...We don't need archeology to PROVE anything..." but when it does share it, because God has glorified Himself in revealing to the natural relm that His Word is Truth!
     
    #19 Allan, Jun 26, 2007
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 26, 2007

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