Dating the Exodus
(Josephus' Hyksos Expulsion vs. Manetho's Ramesside Expulsion)

Walter Reinhold Warttig Mattfeld y d e la Torre, M.A. Ed.

31 May 2004

Revisions through 15 December 2009

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The below are "slightly edited" postings to several lists regarding the dating of the Exodus as preserved by the Jewish Historian Flavius Josephus in the 1st century CE (AD). Josephus quotes at some length, from the 3rd century BCE Egyptian historian Manetho, who wrote a History of Egypt in Greek for his Ptolemaic overlords, evidence of the antiquity of his people from Egyptian records. Josephus took issue with Manetho's claim that the Exodus occured in Ramesside times, a king called "Sethos/Ramesses" and his father "Amenophis" being held responsible for expelling some leperous quarrymen from Avaris. Josephus, however, approved of Manetho's preservation of an earlier expulsion in Hyksos times, and thought this was the biblical Exodus, primarily because of the biblical chronology. Please click here for more information on Manetho, Avaris (biblical Rameses of Exodus 12:37), and the Exodus.

So, for nearly 2000 years two "extra-biblical" identifications for the Exodus existed to bedevil scholars, Josephus' Hyksos expulsion vs. Manetho's Ramesside expulsion. What sayeth archaeology? Most Liberal scholars understand that the Bible's Exodus date of 1446 BCE and Conquest of 1406 BCE (1 Kings 6:1) favored by many Conservatie Protestant scholars to be archaeologically unsubstaniated.

The Bible suggests Joshua successfully seized the "Hill Country" of Canaan from Galilee to the Negev. Extensive on-foot archaeological surveys of this area by professionaly trained archaeologists under the aegis of the Israeli Department of Antiquities carried out field surveys collecting pottery shards from the top soil at hundreds of sites (1970's through the 1980's), and the collated and published results showed a "near-void" of sedentary and non-sedentary peoples in this area in the Late Bronze Age (ca. 1540-1200 BCE) which would include the Protestant Conservatives' Israelite Conquest of ca. 1406 BCE. However, this area in Ramesside Iron I (1230-1100 BCE) EXPLODED with over 300+ stone farms, hamlets and villages as compared to the preceding Late Bronze Age period. It would appear that Manetho's Ramesside Exodus has been _vindicated_ by the findings of archaeology. The problem? The pottery in these sites was not Egyptian, it was Canaanite in form. The solution? Manetho had stated that the Hyksos' descendants had "reinvaded the Delta" and resettled at Avaris which had been reoccupied in Ramesside times. They lorded it over the Egyptians for 13 years before being expelled. It just might be that the 13 years in Egypt was too brief a time for the Hyksos' descendants to abandon their Canaanite pottery styles and adopt Egyptian forms. Thus, perhaps upon their expulsion and resettlement in Canaan, they were still casting their pots in a Canaanite manner rather than Egyptian? This anomaly, Iron I villages full of Canaanite pots rather than Egyptian would then also "appear to align" with Manetho's statements about a Ramesside expulsion being the Hebrews' Exodus (please scroll down to the "19 June 2005 Update" at the end of this article for more details).

My conclusion from reading Manetho's account (_if_ Manetho is correctly relaying Egyptian events) is that TWO EXODUSES occurred, one in Hyksos times and the other in Ramesside times, and that these came to be fused into ONE via oral traditions by Late Iron II times when I understand the Primary History, Genesis-Kings to have been composed ca. 562 BCE in the Exile.

I understand that the fusing "mechanism" is preserved in the Bible. We are told that Israel did not obey God, _she intermarried with the Jebusites of Jerusalem_ and worshipped their gods.

According to Manetho BOTH expulsions from Egypt, Hyksos and Ramesside ended up AT JERUSALEM. So, it is my proposal that two Late Bronze Age expulsions from Egypt, ending at Jerusalem, came to passed on in oral traditions by the Jerusalemite-Jebusite-Canaanite Mothers to their Iron IA Israelite/Judahite sons. Many scholars have noted the Bible appears to be a product of the priests located at Jerusalem, and according to Manetho this city is where both Exoduses came to a conclusion.

My earlier articles posted at this website noted that the Bible's chronology appeared to be preserving a Hyksos Expulsion, but the details of the Exodus in the Bible appeared to be Ramesside. I eventually concluded that both must have been fused together into one Exodus at some point in time.

It was only recently, 28 May 2004, that I "re-read" Manetho, and realized that he had noted TWO Expulsions from Avaris to Jerusalem.  Here, for me, was the _missing_  "golden key" explaining why the Bible's Exodus is date "so early" (1 Kings 6:1), yet possessing Ramesside details.

One of the "first" problems to be faced in setting a date for the Exodus is that the Bible exists today in several CONTRADICTING recensions which provide "different dates" for the creation of the world and the Exodus. One often sees the date of 1445 BC for the Exodus at many Protestant Evangelical Websites. This date is based on the chronology developed in the 17th century AD by Archbishop James Ussher of Ireland, which later in the 18th century appears in the margins of numerous King James Version Bibles (the KJV began printing in 1611 AD). Ussher calculated Creation at 4004 BC.

The Catholic Bible is a recension of the Septuaginta believed to have been compiled at Alexandria Egypt in Greek for Jews by Jews in the 3rd century BC. Catholic scholars fix creation at 5199 BC instead of 4004 BC. Why? Because the Septuagint gives different ages for the pre-Flood patriachs which are in CONTRADICTION to ages preserved in the King James Bible.

The data preserved in modern Jewish text the TANAKH also called the Massoretic Text has creation calculated at 3740 BC.

Professor Steibing on three different and _CONTRADICTING_ dates for God's creation of the world found in the book of Genesis as calculated by Jewish, Catholic and Protestant scholars:

"Most scholars [prior to the 19th century AD] agreed that the world was only about six thousand years old, though there was considerable disagreement over the exact date of the creation. Jewish rabbinical calculations from the Hebrew Massoretic Text showed that the world began 3,740 years before the Christian Era. Roman Catholic tradition, based on the Latin Vulgate translation of the Bible, placed the creation in 5199 B.C. And most English-speaking Protestants accepted the seventeenth-century Archbishop James Ussher's calculation of the time of creation, 4004 B.C. Ussher's dates were placed in the margins of early eighteenth-century editions of the King James version of the Bible, making them seem even more authoritive." (p. 32. "The Discovery of Prehistory." William H. Steibing Jr. Uncovering the Past. New York & Oxford. Oxford University Press. 1994 [1993 Prometheus Books])

Thus Protestant Christian Evangelicals set the Exodus at circa 1445 BC using Ussher's chronology, the Roman Catholics set the Exodus at circa 1512 BC and the Jewish TANAKH's data which appears in the Jewish work called Seder 'Olam Rabbah calculates the Exodus at 1312 BC. For the 1512 BC Exodus date cf. page 190; for 1312 BC cf. p. 111 in Jack Finegan. Handbook of Biblical Chronology.  Peabody, Massachusetts. Hendrickson Publishers, Inc. 1964, 1998 Revised Edition. ISBN 1-56563-143-9).

The Roman Catholic Exodus date of 1512 BC falls in the reign of Pharaoh Tuthmoses II (reigned circa 1518-1504 BC); The Protestant Evangelicals' Exodus date from the King James Version of 1445 BC falls in the reign of Pharaoh Amenhotep II (reigned ca. 1453-1419 BC); the Jewish Seder 'Olam Rabah's Exodus date of ca. 1312 BC falls in the reign of Pharaoh Horemhab (reigned ca. 1321-1293 BC), he being succeeded by Ramesses I (reigned ca. 1293-1291 BC). Note all Pharaonic reigns are from Peter A. Clayton. Chronicle of the Pharaohs, The Reign-by-reign Record of the Rulers and Dynasties of Ancient Egypt. London. Thames & Hudson. 1994. ISBN 0-500-05074-0.

In addition to all of the above some scholars, Josephus (79 AD), Jack (1925), De Vries (1962), Hoffmeier (1996), Kitchen (2003) and Goldstein (2006) have observed that 1 Kings 6:1's statement that 480 years elapsed from the Exodus and the 4th year of Solomon's reign appears to be CONTRADICTED by the internal chonological evidence of the Bible, suggesting almost 600 years elapsed not 480 years. I have noted that when this data is added to Solomon's 4th year reckoned by some as ca. 966/967 BCE, the Exodus falls in the reign of Pharaoh Ahmose I who expelled the Hyksos, suggesting that chronological data from the books of Judges and Kings appears to align the Exodus with the Hyksos Expulsion of the mid-sixteenth century BCE. Please click here for the details.

Another "problem" related to the Exodus is that Manetho's account _contradicts_ the biblical portrayal of events. He understands the Exodus was a Ramesside event, but he has no knowledge of an Egyptian army chasing after Israel in the wilderness and being destroyed in a body of water. He understands the Egyptian army confronted the Hebrews _within_ Egypt's borders at a fortified town called Avaris. Avaris was a port, it had access to the Mediterranean Sea via the Pelusiasic branch of the Nile. It had a harbor for ships to dock at. Manetho has the surrounded Hebrews surrendering at Avaris and being allowed to return to Canaan where they eventually settle at Jerusalem.

So, the big $64,000 question becomes "Who is right? Manetho or the Bible?" Or are both wrong? Both have an Egyptian army confronting Hebrews at a body of water with no escape possible. Manetho's body of water is the Pelusiasic Nile and its canals feeding the harbor and fields versus the Bible's Yam Suph and God performing a miracle, opening a way through the sea for his people to pass through, then destroying the pursuing Egyptian army with returning waters. Is it possble that Manetho is correct? Did the Hebrews "recast" the confrontation at Avaris' river-canal and harbor as at a location three days march from Egypt's borders in the wilderness? Is Avaris' river-harbor-canal what is behind Pi-ha-hiroth "the mouth of the canal"? Is biblical Migdol near Pi-ha-hiroth the "fortress" of Avaris (migdol is Semitic for a fort) the Hebrews were holed up in according to Manetho? Is Baal-Zaphon "the lord of the north" the Egyptian god Seth, "the lord of Avaris"? For Manetho the Hebrew Exodus was a "victory" for Egypt at Avaris whereas the Bible has Egypt "defeated" by the Hebrew God.

Please scroll down for the "modified and expanded" posts:

28 May 2004

I have been doing research on the Exodus for over 30 years, and am well aware of _all_ the conflicting proposals, Conservative and Liberal. The problem? No period has the archaeological support, as noted by Professors William G. Dever, Israel Finkelstein, Burton MacDonald, etc.

Putting aside for the moment, _the lack of archaeological evidence_, I have of late (the past 24 hours) been "playing with, what is for me, "a new brain-child" or "idea." That the biblical account is a fusion of two events preserved in the writings of the 1st century CE (AD) Jewish Historian
Flavius Josephus.

As most on this list are aware (that is to say, those who have studied the Exodus and its dating problems), Josephus argued that the Exodus was recalling the mid 16th century BCE Hyksos Expulsion as presented by the 3rd century BCE Egyptian historian Manetho in his History of Egypt, written in Greek for his Ptolemaic overlords.

What is NOT so well known is that Josephus in citing Manetho's work, notes with great displeasure, that Manetho does NOT associate the Exodus with the Hyksos Expulsion! Instead, Manetho claims the Exodus was in the days of the Ramessides!

I have been carefully "re-reading" Josephus' quotations from Manetho regarding the Ramesside Exodus which so incensed the Jewish scholar for "clues."

It is _my_ conclusion, after having studied Josephus' account of Manetho and having studied archaeology findings and having read innumerable Exodus dating proposals, that _TWO EXODUS EVENTS_ are being recalled in the Bible. The "first" is the mid 16th century BCE Hyksos Expulsion and the "second" is the Ramesside expulsion "narrated" by Manetho!

My query to the audience- have other scholars made this proposal? If so, could someone direct me to a published presentation, either on the Internet or Book or Periodical?

Regards, Walter

Walter Reinhold Warttig Mattfeld y de la Torre, M.A. Ed.

28 May 2004

My recent re-reading of Manetho _of the past 24 hrs._ has me suspecting that his "Amenophis and son Ramesses" is none other than Seti I and Ramesses II, co-reigning together. And they, according to Manetho, expel the "Leperous Quarrymen of Avaris and their Asiatic brethren" who invaded Egypt from south Canaan (Jerusalem), the Jerusalemites being invited to invade Egypt by Osar-Seph (Manetho's name for Moses).

What strikes me is certain parallels in Manetho's account with motifs found in the Hebrew Bible.

Many Liberal scholars understand that the sudden appearance of 300+ Iron IA villages in the Hill Country of Canaan from Galilee to Arad is Israel settling the land under Joshua- and I agree. This is a Ramesside era event, which aligns "somewhat" with Israel having built Ramesses in the eastern delta before her Exodus.

In the biblical account, once in the wilderness, Moses orders all the lepers to be expelled from the camp (Nu 5:2), and he also becomes a leper, but is healed by God (Ex 4:6). Manetho relates that Amenophis (whom I believe is Seti I) gathered together all the Lepers of Egypt and sent them to work in the stone quarries. Later they request to be relocated to an abandoned site called Avaris (modern day Tell ed-Daba?). He allows their settlement there. I note that nearby is Pi-Ramesses (modern day Qantir?), which is Ramesses of the Bible, according to some scholars. So, Israel "dwelling apart from the Egyptians" in the biblical account, and building Ramesses may recall Seti's forcing leperous peoples (Egyptian and Foreigners?) to separate from the Egyptian people and work the quarries as corvee laborers or slaves and build his many monumental temples. Perhaps Seti, co-reigning with his son, Ramesses II, named the city Pi-Ramesses in honor of his father Ramesses I (he named his son Ramesses II in honor of his father why not the town too?)?

In Manetho's account, the ungrateful leper-quarrymen of Avaris under their leader Osar-Seph (Moses) invite their kinsmen in south Canaan (Jerusalem) to invade Egypt and liberate them from their Egyptian oppressors. They do so, and Amenophis (Seti I) and his 5 year old son Ramesses retire with their army to a 13 year exile near Ethiopia. Then Amenophis returns with his son,Ramesses and they expell the leperous quarrymen and their South Canaanite brethren.

Osar-seph (Moses) in inviting the Jerusalemites to invade Egypt, offered to guide them to Avaris and help reclaim the city which had _belonged to their ancestors_, apparently referring to the Hyksos Expulsion of 1560/1530 BCE.

This explains for me why the Bible preserves chronologically the Hyksos expulsion of the mid 16th century BCE as the Exodus, but speaks of the Exodus as occuring after the building of Ramesses (cf. "below," Kenneth A. Kitchen & James K. Hoffmeir's note that the elapsing time from the Exodus to Solomon's 4th year was almost 600 years, NOT 480 years, 966 BCE + 600 = 1566 BCE).

That is to say, I suspect that two different events are fused together in the Bible.

Some scholars have thought that the Amenophis who expelled the leperous quarrymen of Avaris is one of the warrior Amenhoteps (I, II or III), because Amenophis _is_ the Greek rendering of Egyptian Amenhotep.

Why do I think Seti I is Manetho's "Amenophis" and not Amenhotep I, II or III ? The _CLUE_ is that Manetho states that 1) Amenophis named his son Ramesses/Rampes "after his father", this suggests for me Ramesses II being named after his grandfather, Ramesses I. 2) When Amenophis expells the Leperous Quarrymen of Avaris it is with his 18 year old son Rameses/Rampes at his side (his son being 5 years old when he retired to near Ethiopia 13 years earlier), suggesting co-rulership, and Ramesses II in inscriptions refers to his _co-rule_ with his father. 3) Seti I and Ramesses were famed for the plethora of monuments and temples and palaces erected in their reigns and the stone quarries of Egypt were "kept busy" under their reigns, this aligns for me with Manetho's comments about leperous quarrymen being settled at Avaris, probably to use the site as a work camp while they built Pi-Rameses under the joint reign of Seti I/Rameses (Ramesside incriptions mention Apiru work gangs hauling quarry blocks to erect Pylons, perhaps Apiru=Abiru=Hebrews?). 4) The 13 year withdrawal of Seti and Ramesses -if correctly recalled by Manetho- would explain why Israel leaves Egypt with the plunder of the Egyptians, Manetho claiming that the south Canaanites and quarrymen are plundering Egypt for 13 years when they are expelled.

Now for the BIG MYSTERY, why is Seti I being called Amenophis (Amenhotep)? Clayton noted that Seti I wanted to restore Egypt to her former glory in the days of Amenhotep III (Greek Amenophis). I suspect that Seti "may have" been likened to a "reborn Amenhotep" in his restoring Egypt's power and glory- I can't prove this- its only a guess or hunch.

What of Manetho's notion of an invasion of Egypt in Seti I's days, if Seti is "Amenophis"? Seti does state he led several campaigns to put down _rebellions_ and he even captured Kadesh on the Orontes. Was there an "internal revolt" of quarrymen at Avaris and an invasion from south Canaan? Nothing has survived in official annals (papyri and stone monuments), only Manetho's account of Amenophis and son Ramesses expelling lepers from Avaris by Pi-Ramesses and Egypt, who were plundering her and the Exodus story of lepers in the wilderness with Egyptian gold (Ex 12:35-36), being expelled from the Israelite camp by Moses (Nu 5:2).

I have wondered about Manetho's Osar-Seph, whom he calims is Moses, and formerly a priest at Heliopolis. Osar of course is Greek Osiris, Egyptian wsr, meaning "strong, mighty, powerful", it appears in Ramesses II's tites as User-Maat-Re Setep-enre, "the justice of Re is powerful, chosen of Re." Could Osar-Seph [user-seph] then mean "powerful is Seph"? If so, who is Seph? The Exodus notes that Moses' God is a "firey" God, and he also sends plague upon Egypt and upon his own people in the Wilderness. I wonder, could Osar-Seph be the Syrian-Canaanite plague god, Resheph/Reshef? The problem of couse is the missing Re- as rsp means in Semitic "burning", an appropriate epithet for the Hebrew God that is described as firey, and a sender of plague. Of interest is that the Hyksos assimilated their god Baal-Hadad or Baal-Saphon with the Egyptian god Set/Seth. The 400 year anniversary stela set up to honor Seth by the Ramessides, shows him in Asiatic warrior garb usually reserved for the Canaanite fire, plague and war god, Resheph/Reshef. Could Osar-Seph-Moses, be the adorer of "mighty Resheph," god of plague, fire, and war, associations that the Bible makes with Yahweh-Elohim?

If Amenophis and son Ramesses/Rampses is Seti I and Ramesses, and if Manetho is "correct" in dating the Hebrew expulsion or Exodus to the Ramesside era, then the Bible's mention of Ramesses being built by a people who dwelt apart from the Egyptians, and who had lepers dwelling amongst them, begins to make some sense.

Of course, we have a problem. To what degree did Manetho know of Hebrew traditions about lepers in the Wilderness of Sinai camp and a leperous Moses, and their leaving a place in Egypt called Rameses and then work these motifs into the "Amenophis/Ramesses" expulsion of the leperous quarrymen? The embalmed body of Ramesses V has smallpox lesions on the body, noticeable on the face particularly- were smallpox epidemics afflicting the Ramesside era? Did Seti and Ramesses "isolate" all the "scabby-lepers" ("scabby-lepers" is Manetho's terminology which might reflect smallpox scabs?) as an act of self-preservation, to quarries, away from the Egyptian populace, and then later expell them as a hygiene effort?

I am not attempting to claim the Exodus happened as portrayed in the Bible -I regard that account as fictional- but I am trying to uncover "possible events" that came to be transformed into that event. If I am correct about Manetho arguing for a Ramesside Exodus and Josephus for a 16th century BCE Hyksos Exodus, then the "dance, round and round the mulberry bush" has been going on with scholars for over 2000 years! If the events are a _FUSION_ perhaps the end of the dance is in sight?

Regards, Walter
Walter Reinhold Warttig Mattfeld y de la Torre, M.A. Ed.

The above data from Manetho's account is taken from the following source : W.G. Waddell. Manetho. Loeb Classical Library. 1930. Reprint.1980. Harvard University Press. Cambridge, Massachusetts)

30 May 2004

Below is some info I have put together from Josephus' citations of Manetho and my humble attempt to come to grips with Manetho's statements and see if there is any verification or support for a Ramesside Exodus as he claimed.

As noted in earlier posts I do acknowledge two Exoduses being fused here and garbled, the Hyksos expulsion of the mid 16th century BCE and the late 13th early 12th century settlement of Canaan in Iron IA, of the Ramesside era. Below are some transcribed notes from Josephus which are germane to the arguments which follow, identifying Manetho's Amenophis with Seti I and his son,co-ruling with him, Rameses II:

The Source:

W.G. Waddell. Manetho. Loeb Classical Library. 1930, reprint 1980. Harvard University Press. Cambridge, Massachusetts.

18th Dynasty :

14. Armesis, for 5 years.

15. Ramesses, for 1 year.

16. Amenophath (Amenoph), for 19 years.

Total, 263 years (18th Dynasty. p. 113. Waddell)

12. Armais (Danaus) for 5 years, banished from Egypt, fleeing brother
Aegyptus, settles at Argos, Greece.

13. Ramesses, also called Aegyptus, for 68 years.

14. Ammenophis, for 40 years.

Total, 348 years (18th Dynasty. p. 117. Waddell)

12. Armais, also called Danaus, for 5 years, banished from Egypt, flees
brother Egyptus to Argos, Greece.

13. Ramesses, also called Aegyptus, for 68 years.

14. Amenophis, for 40 years.

Total for the 18th dynasty, 348 years ( 18th Dynasty. p. 119. Waddell)

Amenophis'... 5 year old son Sethos, also called Ramesses after his
grandfather...(p. 12. Waddell)

19th Dynasty (from Syncellus) :

1. Sethos, for 51 years

2. Rapsaces, for 61 (66) years

3. Ammenephthes, for20 years

4.Ramesses, for 60 years

5. Ammenemnes, for 5 years

6. Thuoris (Homer's Polybus, wife is Alcandra, Troy falls), for 7 years

Total 209 years (19th Dynasty. p. 149. Waddell)

1. Sethos, 55 years

2. Rampses, 66 yrs.

3. Ammenephthis, 40 yrs

4. Ammenemes 26 yrs

5. Thuoris (Polybus, wife Alcandra, Troy falls), 7 yrs

Total 194 yrs (19th Dynasty. p. 151. Waddell)

Armenian Version of Eusebius

1. Sethos 55 yrs

2. Rampses 66 yrs

3. Amenephthis 8 yrs

4. Ammenemes 26 yrs

5.Thuoris (Polybus, Troy falls), 7 yrs

Total 194 yrs (19th Dynasty. pp. 151,153. Waddell)

Dynasty 18 (Peter A. Clayton. Chronicle of the Pharaohs, the Reign-by-Reign Record of the Rulers and Dynasties of Ancient Egypt. 1994. London. Thames & Hudson)) :

Amen-hotep III, 1386-1349 BCE (37 yr reign)

Amen-hotep IV (Akh-en-aten), Nefer-kheperu-re, 1350-1334 BCE (16 yr reign)

Smenkh-ka-re (Ankh-kheperu-re), 1336-1334 BCE (2 yr reign)

Tut-ankh-amun (Heqa-iunu-shema) Neb-kheperu-re, 1334-1325 BCE (9 yr reign)

Ay (it-netjer) Kheper-kheperu-re, 1325-1321 BCE (4 yr reign)

Hor-em-heb (mery-amun) Djeser-kheperu-re Setep-en-re, 1321-1293 BCE (28 yr

Dynasty 19 (Clayton) :

Ra-messes I Men-pehty-re, 1293-1291 BCE (2 yr reign)

Seti I (mery-en-ptah) Men-maat-re, 1291-1278 BCE (13 yr reign)

Ra-messes II (mery-amun) User-maat-re Setep-en-re, 1279-1212 BCE (67 yr

Mer-ne-ptah, (hetep-her-maat) Ba-en-re-mery-netjeru, 1212-1202 BCE (10 yr

Amen-messes (heqa-waset), Men-mi-re-Setep-en-Re, 1202-1199 BCE (3 yr reign)

Seti II (mer-en-ptah) User-kheperu-re-setep-en-re, 1199-1193 BCE (6 yr

Siptah (mer-en-ptah), Akh-en-re-setep-en-re, 1193-1187 BCE (6 yr reign)

Queen Twosret (setep-en-mut), Sitre-mery-amub, 1187-1185 BCE (2 yr reign)

Dynasty 20 (Clayton) :

Set-nakhte (merer-amun-re) User-khau-re-Setep-en-re, 1185-1182 BCE

Ra-messes III (heqa-iunu) User-maat-re Mery-amun, 1182-1151 BCE

Ra-messes IV (heqa-maat-re) 1151-1145 BCE

Ra-messes V User-maat-re, 1145-1141 BCE

Ra-messes VI Neb-maat-re-Mery-amun, 1141-1133 BCE

Ra-messes VII User-maat-re Mery-amun Setep-en-re, 1133-1126 BCE

Ra-messes VIII User-maat-re Akh-en-amun, 1133-1126 BCE

Ra-messes IX Nefer-kha-re Setep-en-re 1126-1108 BCE

Ra-messes X Kheper-maat-re, 1108-1098 BCE

Ra-messes XI Men-maat-re Setep-en-ptah, 1098-1070 BCE

Josephus refutes Manetho's claim that the Exodus was under a king called Sethos/Ramesses and his father Amenophis, claiming the Exodus was much earlier when the Hyksos shepherds were expelled to found Jerusalem under Pharaoh Tuthmosis:

"After citing a king Amenophis, a fictious person...Manetho attaches to him
certain legends, having doubtless forgotten that according to his own
chronicle the exodus of the Shepherds to Jerusalem took place 518 years
earlier. For Tethmois was king when they set out; and according to Manetho,
the intervening reigns thereafter occupied 393 years down to the two
brothers Sethos and Hermaeus, the former of whom, he says, took the new name
of Egyptus, the latter that of Danaus. Sethos drove out Hermaeus and reigned
59 years; then Rampses, the elder of his sons, for 66 years. Thus, after
admitting that so many years had elapsed since our forefathers left Egypt,
Manetho now interpolates this intruding Amenophis." (p. 121. Waddell)

Waddell notes various proposals for Manetho's Amenophis and 5 year old son Ramesses also called Sethos, and 'the polluted' Egyptians who have settled at Avaris and invited the Jerusalemites to invade Egypt and reclaim their ancestral home:

"This namesake [Amenophis son of Paapis], then replied that he would be able
to see the gods if he cleansed the whole land of lepers and other polluted
persons. The king was delighted, and assembled all those in Egypt whose
bodies were wasted by disease: they numbered 80,000 persons. These he cast
into stone-quarries to the east of the Nikle, there to work segregated from
the rest of the Egyptians. Among them, Manetho adds, there were some learned
priests, who had been attacked by leprosy. Then this wise seer ...added a
prediction that certain allies would join the polluted people and would take
possession of Egypt for 13 years..." (pp.123-125. Waddell)

"...king Amenophis is at one time Merneptah, son of Ramesses II; at another
time, Amenophis IV (Akhnaten), some 200 years earlier. The doings of the
polluted, the persecution of the gods, and the slaughter of the holy
animals, clearly portray the fury of Akhnaten and his followers against
Egyptian religion...For a theory about the identity of 'the polluted' (they
are the troops of Sethos I, sent to Tanis by his father Ramesses I during
the ascendancy of Horemhab) see P. Montet, "La Stele de l'An 400 Retrouvee,"
in Kemi, iii. 1935, pp. 191-215." (p. 123. note 1. Waddell)

"...Amenophis...As for his five-year-old son Sethos, also called Ramesses
after his grandfather Rapses, he sent him safely away to his friend. He then
crossed the Nile with as many as 300,000 of the bravest warriors of Egypt,
and met the enemy. But, instead of joining battle...he made a hasty retreat
to Memphis..." (p. 129. Waddell)

All who have studied Manetho and the various recensions have noted garbled and confusing statements about lengths of reigns and sequences of the reigns of the Pharaohs. But they also have recognized in the garbled information, bits and pieces of real history being preserved. The task is to winnow the chaff (misinformation) from the historical kernels, using the surviving records of Egypt (papyri and monuments carved in stone).

Manetho's Armais has been identified by some scholars as being Pharaoh Horemhab:

"...Armesis (Armais) is probably Haremhab: Ramesses, vizier of Haremhab and
afterwards Ramesses I..." (p. 113. Note 2. Waddell)

The 18th Dynasty (see above) has Armesis (Horemhab?) reigning 5 years (p.113 Waddell) followed by Ramesses I for 1 year, THEN _AMENOPHATH (Amenoph) for 19 years (p. 113. Waddell).

This suggests for me, that AMENOPHATH is none other than Seti I, who follows to the throne after his father, Ramesses I, who is given a reign of 2 years according to Clayton instead of 1 year according to Manetho.

This aligns somewhat with Josephus citing Manetho, that Amenophis' 18 year-old son Rameses (also called Sethos) is the grandson of Ramesses/Rhapses (p. 129 Waddell), who joins him in expelling the Leperous Quarrymen of Avaris and the Jerusalemite invaders who have despoiled Egypt for 13 years.

The problems?

If Seti I is Manetho's Amenophis (18th Dynasty ruler number 16. Amenophath (Amenoph), for 19 years. p. 113 Waddell, following number 15 Ramesses, for 1year), then Manetho is associating the Exodus with the beginnings of the19th Dynasty, and claiming that Seti I and son Ramesses II are behind the expulsion of the polluted Egyptians and Quarrymen of Avaris and their south Canaanite allies from Jerusalem.

Some scholars claim an Exodus in the days of a Pharaoh Thutmoses. Why? Apparently they accept Josephus' citing Manetho that the Exodus was under a Tethmosis (p. 121. Waddell's Manetho). Some also apparently accept the biblical statement of 1 Kings 6:1 that 480 years elapsed from the Exodus to Solomon's 4th year and building of the temple in Jerusalem, Solomon's 4th year as ca. 966 BCE giving an Exodus ca, 1446 BCE.

The problem? Clayton dates Tuthmosis III, 1504-1450 BCE (p.104), and Amenhotep II, 1453-1419 BCE (cf. Peter A. Clayton. Chronicle of the Pharaohs. London. Thames & Hudson. 1994). But there does exist disagreement amongst Egyptologists on the dating of the reigns (the so-called high-middle-low chronology) so, Thuthmoses II can be dated 1501-1447 BCE (cf. p. 599. James Henry Breasted. A History of Egypt. 1912. New York. Scribner's & Sons). However Aling, a noted conservative Christian scholar, opts for a 1446 BCE Exodus in the days of Amenhotep II, whom he dates ca. 1453-1415 BCE (p. 97. "The Exodus." Charles F. Aling. Egypt and Bible History from the earliest times to 1000 BC. 1981. Baker Book House. Grand Rapids, Michigan).

Do Egyptian annals mention _ANY_ of "the players" that appear in the Pentateuch,the first five books of the Bible allegedly written by Moses ca. 1446 BCE? That is to say, do we find on the monuments or papyri of Egypt, ca. 1446 BCE, ANY mention of Moab, Seir, Edom, the Philistines all of whom appear in the Exodus account? The answer is NO.

What about the Ramesside era, favored by Manetho, he having a Sethos/Ramesses expelling Leperous Quarrymen? The Anastasi VI papyrus from the days of Merneptah mention nomads from EDOM seeking to enter Egypt to water their flocks. Ramesses II mentions raiding the tent camps of the Seirites to plunder them of their cattle. Ramesside inscriptions also mention Moab and allegedly DIBON, a town in Moab according to the Egyptologist, Kenneth A. Kitchen. Ramesses III ca. 1175 BCE mentions the Pelest (Egyptian prst) understood to be the PHILISTINES invading Egypt in his reign and settling them in cities bound in his name and their Aegean pottery appears in his reign in what we call Philista.

Archaeologists have discovered the Hill Country of Canaan where Israel settles is almost void of settlement in the Late Bronze Age (ca. 1560-1200 BCE), when the Exodus is believed to have ocurred (ca. 1446 BCE, cf. 1 Kings 6:1), but in Iron IA suddenly 300+ stone villages appear out of nowhere, with a population approaching 20,000+ and Hazor is destroyed and burned along with Megiddo and Lachish- all these places are mentioned in Joshua's account. From these Iron IA villages Israel in Iron II evolves into the Monarchy of Saul, David and Solomon.

It would appear that the _attestation_ from Egyptian records, papyri, and monuments supports a Ramesside Exodus event as espoused 2000 years ago by the much maligned Manetho!

Regards, Walter

Walter Reinhold Warttig Mattfeld y de la Torre, M.A. Ed.

31 May 2004

We are told Judah captured Jerusalem and set it on fire, then attacked Hebron and the Negeb.

Judges 1:8-10 RSV

"And the men of Judah fought against Jerusalem, and took it, and smote it with the edge of the sword, and set the city on fire. And afterward the men of Judah went down to fight against the Canaanites who dwelt in the hill country, in the Negeb and in the lowland. And Judah went against the Canaanites who dwelt in Hebron..."

Joshua 6:24) RSV

"And they burned the city [Jericho] with fire and all within it..."

Joshua 11:13 RSV

"But none of the cities that stood on mounds did Israel burn, except Hazor
only; that Joshua burned."

The first generation after the Conquest, remained apart from the Canaanites, but we are told following generations intermarried with them and came to worship their gods :

Judges 2:6-13 RSV

"When Joshua dismissed the people, the people of Israel went each to his
inheritance to take possession of the land. And the people served the LORD
all the days of Joshua, and all the days of the elders who outlived Joshua,
who had seen all the great work which the LORD had done for Israel...And all
that generation also were gathered to their fathers; and there arose another
generation after them, who did not know the LORD or the work which he had
done for Israel. And the people of Israel did what was evil in the sight of
the LORD and served the Baals; and they forsook the LORD, the God of their
fathers, who brought them out of the land of Egypt; they went after other
gods, from among the gods of the peoples who were around them, and bowed
down to them; and they provoked the LORD to anger. They forsook the LORD,
and served the Baals and the Ashtaroth."

The Bible explained that God "left the Jebusites" to test whether or not Israel would be faithful to him (Judges 3:1).The Bible states that Israel (that is Judah) "failed" God's testing and _intermarried with the Jebusites_, the descendants of the Late Bronze Age Canaanite inhabitants of Jerusalem:

Judges 3:5 RSV

"So the people of Israel dwelt among the Canaanites, the Hittites, the
Amorites, the Perizzites, the Hivites; and the _JEBUSITES_; and they took
their daughters to themselves for wives, and their own daughters they gave
to their sons; and they served their gods. And the people of Israel did what
was evil in the sight of the LORD, forgetting the LORD their God, and
serving the Baals and the Asheroth."

If Manetho has correctly preserved from Egyptian records two Exoduses from Egypt, the first being the Hyksos Expulsion of the mid-sixteenth century BCE and the second of the Ramesside era, the late 13th Dynasty under
Seti I/Amenophis and his co-reigning son Sethos/Ramesses II, then perhaps the the Bible provides the "mechanism" whereby the the two Exoduses came fused into one. That is to say, we are told by Manetho that _both_ expulsions had the people headed for the same place, JERUSALEM. Perhaps the Late Bronze Age traditions of two Exoduses from Egypt (Hyksos and Ramesside) were passed on by Jerusalemite-Jebusite-Canaanite mothers to their Israelite/Judahite sons, and by late Iron II times these two Late Bronze Age events were fused into one?

Some scholars understand that the Bible as we have it today was compiled AT JERUSALEM and it is AT JERUSALEM that two Late Bronze Age Exodus expulsions come to a conclusion according to Manetho.

I have argued in earlier posts to this list that perhaps the invasion of Hill Country of Canaan from Galilee to the Negev may be of Arameans driven from their marginal pasture lands by famine and war, they capturing first Transjordan then Canaan's Hill Country. If this proposal is correct, then two Late Bronze Age Exoduses, (if correctly preserved by Manetho?) from Egypt were fused with an Iron IA invasion from Aram (North Syria) via intermarriages with the Late Bronze Canaanite descendants of Jerusalem (the Jebusites) and by Late Iron II the fusion had been accomplished in oral traditions.

All of the above is of course _pure speculation_. Only an "extensive petrographic analysis of the clays" found in the small portable cooking pots of the many Iron IA villages of Hill Country Canaan (from Galilee to Tel Masos by Arad) and of Transjordan will settle the mystery if these people came from Egypt via the Sinai, Negev and Arabah and Transjordan, or if they came from Syria. The technology, petrographic analysis exists and has been used in the study of Philistine pottery now it needs to be applied to the Iron IA Hill Country and Transjordan cooking pots (invaders _need to eat_ and they would bring their portable clay cooking pots with them- the Iron IA villages _do have_ clay cooking pots).

The "old timers" on this list may recall that several years ago I posted my findings that a careful study of the chronologies preserved in the Old and New Testaments caused me to realize that the Bible had preserved a mid-sixteenth Hyksos expulsion for the Exodus, and I attempted to argue this was in fact the Exodus. But, with the passage of time and more study I came to realize the evidence for a Ramesside Exodus as argued by Kitchen and Albright was too compelling and could not be ignored. I eventually concluded that the two events must have been _fused together_. It was ONLY just two days ago that a "re-read" of Manetho caused me to realize that he had
posited two expulsions, Hyksos and Ramesside and that he had provided the details from his understanding of the Egyptian records. If Manetho iscorrect and if I am correct then "the strange early dating" of the Exodus to the Hyksos period by the bible's chronology is at last resolved and reconciled with the Ramesside details. Cf. the following url for my earlier article arguing for a Hyksos Exodus incorporating the chronologies of the Bible, which has not been updated yet with my recent findings (

Professor Hoffmeier discusses the history of the various Exodus dates (he has excavated in Egypt and is currently excavating in the NW Sinai at New Kingdom sites near Pelusium). He argues for an Exodus in Ramesside times and agrees pretty much with his older colleague, Kenneth A. Kitchen, who is now recently retired.


"...James Jack [The Date of the Exodus in the Light of External
Evidence. Edinburgh. T & T Clark. 1925], who argued for a mid-
fifteenth-century date based on biblical data and what he believed to
be corroborating Egyptian evidence. Based on the Masoretic text of 1
Kings 6:1, which dates the departure from Egypt at 480 years before
Solomon's 4th regnal year, Jack concluded that 1445 BC was the Exodus
date since Solomon's accession date, 970 BC, 970 BC, could be
securely fixed (his 4th year being 966/7), thanks to synchronisms
between biblical and Assyrian texts." (p. 124. James K. Hoffmeier.
Israel in Egypt, The Evidence for the Authenticity of the Exodus Tradition.
Oxford University Press. New York. 1996)

"How then is the 480 year figure treated by scholars who reject it as
a literal number? Petrie suggested that thfe number might have
resulted from tallying up the duration of the Israelite kings from
Saul back to Joshua. However, as Jack showed, if all the periods are
added together, such as the 40 years in Sinai, the lengths of the
Judges, and periods of peace between judges, plus the length of
David's reign, the total is 534 years. On top of this figure, the
duration of Joshua's leadership in Canaan and the length of saul's
kingship, which are not preserved, bring the total close to 600
years." (p. 125.Hoffmeier)

"Another solution, which is widely held by biblical scholars, is to
regard the 480 figure as a number that symbolizes 12 x 40 with 40
representing a generation. With a generation being closer to 25
years, 12 x 25 gives 300 years; when added to Solomon's 4th year, the
Exodus falls within the reign of Ramesses II around 1267. The
reference to the store-city of Ramesses in Exodus 1:11 is viewed as
additional support for placing the oppression in Egypt's 19th
Dynasty. Furthermore, the 13th century dating squared nicely with the
so-called "archaeological date" (ca. 1230-1220 BC) of the Conquest of
the Albright-Wright school. The archaeological evidence of the
settlement of Israel in Canaan, according to Isreal Finkelstein,
dates to the late 13th century or early 12th. Finkelstein's
conclusions do not necessarily contradict an exodus in the Ramesside
period." (p. 125.Hoffmeier)

"It is clear that after over a century of academic inquiry into the date of the
exodus, we are no closer to a solution today...If there is a
prevailing view among historians, biblical scholars and archaeologists,
an exodus in the Ramesside era (1279-1213 BC) is still favored."
(p. 126. Hoffmeier)

Professor Kenneth A. Kitchen, another Egyptologist who has written on dating the Exodus in several books and articles notes the problems in accepting at face value 480 years elapsing from the Exodus to Solomon's 4th year
(1 Kings 6:1):

"The Exodus: Time and Place. 1. Date. Much disputed for a century or
more..."The lazy man's solution" is simply to cite the 480 years
ostensibly given in 1 Kings 6:1 from the Exodus to the 4th year of
Solomon (ca. 966 BC) and so to set the Exodus at ca. 1446 BC.
However, this too simple solution is ruled out by the combined weight
of all the other biblical data plus additional information from
external data. So the interval from the Exodus comes out not at 480
years but as over 553 years (by three unknown amounts), if we trouble
to go carefully through all the known biblical figures for this
period. It s evident that the 480 years cannot cover fully the 553 +
X years. At best, it could be a selection from them, or else it is a
schematic figure (12 X 40 years, or similar). But again, on other
evidence to be considered, a date of ca. 1519 BC (966+553) and
earlier is even less realistic for the Exodus. In Exodus 1:11, the
Hebrews are building Ramesses, whence also they are said to have set
out on the Exodus (Ex 12:37); "the land of Rameses" (Gen 47:11) is a
reflex of the same name and place. This place is Pi-Ramesses, the
east-delta city built by Ramesses II (1279-1213 BC). Thus the end of
the oppression and the start of the Exodus could not precede the
accession of this king at the earliest, i.e., not before 1279 BC on
our presnt knowledge of Egyptian chronology. That is only a little
more than 300 years before Solomon, not 480 or 553. In Ancient Near
Eastern terms, the solution is quite straightforward. There were most
probably consideraable overlaps between contemporary groups of judges
in Israel during the settlement period, hence 533 + X years totals up
all the years of such people, years which in reality were partly
overlapping and fitted within an absolute period of 300 years or so."
(p. 702. Vol.2. Kenneth A. Kitchen. "Exodus, The." David Noel
Freedman, editor. The Anchor BIble Dictionary. 1992. New York.
Doubleday-Anchor. 6 Vols.)

In a later work, Kitchen mentions possibly 591/596 years elapsing between the Exodus and Solomon's 4th year (I note that 967 + 591/596 =  1558/1563 BCE for the Exodus, aligning it with the mid-16th century BCE Hyksos Expulsion):

"This possibility becomes in effect a certainty if one goes through the date lines between the Exodus and the fourth year of Solomon, the year he began to build his temple, "in the 480th year" since the Exodus (1 Kings 6:1), we are told. Thus, if that year fell circa 967 (cf. dates in chapters 2 and 4 above), a literal adding up would set the Exodus in 1447. But if we take the trouble to actually tote up all the individual figures known from Exodus to Kings in that period, they do NOT add up to 480 years. But rather to 544+x+y+z years, where x= unknown length by Joshua and the elders (minimum, 5/10 years?), y= rule by Samuel above his stated 20 years (possibly zero), and z= the full reign of Saul (minimum, [3]2 years). The total comes to between 35 and 42 years at least, bringing the 554 years to a minimal 591/596 years. This is certainly not identical with the 480 years of 1 Kings 6:1." (pp. 202-203. Kenneth Andrew Kitchen. On the Reliability of the Old Testament. 2003. Grand Rapids, Michigan. William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company)

As one can see from the above statements made by these two Egyptologists "possessing a keen interest in correlating the Exodus with Egyptian events," although they acknowledged that almost 600 years elapsed according to the bible's internal chronology, reckoned by adding up the total reign years of the various judges, (600 + 966 = 1566 BCE and the Hyksos Expulsion), they _rejected_ the bible's chronology, and opted for a Ramesside Exodus.

My most recent posts have been to show that BOTH Josephus and Manetho were "_right_and_wrong_" the Exodus in the Bible is for me a fusion of the Hyksos Expulsion of the 16th century BCE, the biblical chronology preserving this event (Hoffmeier's nearly 600 years elapsing) and the Bible's preserving Ramesside details like the mention of Rameses, Edom, Moab, Seir , names which appear no earlier than the 13th century BCE in Ramesside documents and monuments.

Regards, Walter

Walter Reinhold Warttig Mattfeld y de la Torre, M.A. Ed.


Update 01 June 2004

The Papyrus Harris I was composed under the authority of Ramesses III, narrating his deeds and that of his father Sethnakht, who brought an end to the anarchy in Egypt under an Asiatic called Irsu.

The source for the "below"  transcription of the Harris Papyrus I can be found at the following url :

"The text of the complete Papyrus Harris may be found in Breasted's, 'Records of Egypt', Vol. IV, pages 87-206; Sec. 151-412.

"Former Anarchy

Hear ye, that I may inform you of my benefactions which I did while I was king of the people. The land of Egypt was overthrown from without, and every man was (thrown out) of his right; they had no chief mouth for many years formerly until other times. The land of Egypt was in the hands of chiefs and of rulers of towns; one slew his neighbor, great and small. Other times having come after it, with empty years, Yarsu, a certain Syrian (H-rw) was with them as chief. He set the whole land tributary before him together; he united his companions and plundered their possessions. They made the gods like men, and no offerings were presented in the temples.

The Rule of Setnakht

But when the gods inclined themselves to peace, to set the land (in) its right according to its accustomed manner, they established their son, who came forth from their limbs, to be Ruler, L.H.P., [Life, Health, Prosperity] of every land, upon their great throne, (even) Userkhare-Setepnere-Meriamon, L.H.P., Son of Re, Setnakht-Mererre-Meriamon, L.H.P. He was Khepri-Set, when he is enraged; he set in order the entire land of Egypt; he cleansed the great throne of Egypt; he was Ruler, L.H.P., of the Two Lands, on the throne of Atum. He gave ready faces, which had been turned away. Every man knew his brother who had been walled in. He established the temples in possession of divine offerings, to offer to the gods (psd-t) according to their customary stipulations.

The Rise of Ramses III and Death of Setnakht

He appointed me to be hereditary prince in the place of Keb, I was the great chief mouth of the lands of Egypt, and commander of the whole land united in one. He went to rest in his horizon, like the gods; there was done for him that which was done for Osiris; he was rowed in his king's-barge upon the river, and rested in his eternal house west of Thebes.

War with Northern Asiatics

I extended all the boundaries of Egypt; I overthrew those who invaded them from their lands. I slew the Denyen  in their isles, The Thekel and the Peleset were made ashes. The Sherden and the Weshesh of the sea, they were made as those that exist not, taken captive at one time, brought as captives to Egypt, like the sand of the shore. I settled them in strongholds, bound in my name. Numerous were their classes like hundred-thousands. I taxed them all, in clothing and grain from the storehouses and granaries each year.

Accession of Ramses III

Then my father Amon-Re, lord of gods, Re-Atum, and Ptah, beautiful of face, crowned me as Lord of the Two Lands on the throne of him who begat me; I received the office of my father with joy; the land rested and rejoiced in possession of peace, being joyful at seeing me as ruler, L.H.P., of the Two Lands, like Horus when he was called to rule the Two Lands on the throne of Osiris. I was crowned with the etef-crown bearing the ureaus; I assumed the double-plumed diadem, like Tatenen. I sat upon the throne of Hrakhte. I was glad in the regalia, like Atum."
(end of transcription from <> )

My interest here is that Manetho claimed that all people residing in Egypt, apparently Egyptian and foreign, who were deemed leperous, were consigned to service in the stone quarries east of the Nile, but were later settled at Avaris by a Pharaoh Amenophis and son Sethos/Ramesses. Later, they rebelled and invited Asiatics from Jerusalem to invade and co-rule Egypt with them. Manetho tells us that Sethos/Ramesses at the age of 18 accompanied his father Amenophis in expelling the inhabitants of Avaris who fled to Jerusalem, after having earlier plundered the land and its temples for 13 years.

The description of anarchy in Egypt under the Asiatic Irsu in the above Harris Papyrus I, seems to mirror to some degree Manetho's account of "rebelling  Egyptians" accompanied by "invading Asiatics," seizing control of Egypt for a space of 13 years.

If this event _is_ what is behind Manetho's expulsion of Asiatics from Avaris, then the expulsion of the Asiatics would be circa 1185 BCE, the first year of Sethnakhte (1185-1182 BCE, I am using Peter A. Clayton's Egyptian Chronology here). Adding 13 years to the beginning of Setnakhte's reign ca. 1185 BCE, would give ca. 1198-1185 BCE for Asiatics to be in some kind of control or influence over Egypt. The Asiatic control/influence of Egypt would appear to embrace the reigns of Seti II (1199-1193 BCE), Siptah (1193-1187 BCE) and Queen Twosret (1187-1185 BCE).

Egyptian records reveal that there was an Asiatic "vizier" called Beya, who served under Seti II through Twosret, as noted by Abraham Malamat. He noted that some scholars have proposed that Irsu is Beya, and that this individual is linked by others to Moses of the Bible. That is to say, the biblical account of Asiatics (Israelites) despoiling the Egyptians of their possessions and jewelry (Ex 12:35-36), and then being expelled in an Exodus, is recalling Setnakhte's ending Asiatic influence over Egypt.

Exodus 6:1 RSV

"But the LORD said the Moses, "Now you shall see what I will do to Pharaoh; for with a strong hand he will send them out, yea, with a strong hand he will drive them out of his land."

Professor Malamat:

"The sequence and chronology of the last rulers of the 19th Dynasty is now believed to be as follows: Seti II (1203-1197 BCE), during whose reign several of the papyri Anastasi were composed, was followed by his son Siptah (1197-1192 BCE), after whose death Queen Tausert (1192-1190 BCE), the widow of Seti II and regent during the reign of Siptah, ascended the throne. Then, in the aftermath of bitter internal struggles, the future Pharaoh Sethnakht (1190-188 BCE) became the founder of the 20th Dynasty.

It is within this period, especially during the later part, that we should place the Syrian-Palestinian usurpation of Egypt as described in Papyrus Harris 1, which portrays the desolate conditions prior to the reign of Ramesses III. The leader of the Asiatic intruders was someone called Irsu. For our purpose, it does not matter whether we have here a personal name or an Egyptian phrase meaning "he made himself," as held by many Egyptologists. At any rate, the papyrus contains the determinative `3mw, designating a Semitic Syrian or a Semitic Palestinian. On the assumption that we have here a personal name, various identifications have been suggested. Some connection with the Asiatics of the Elephantine Stele is not altogether implausible and certainly seems intriquing.

The common contemporary, albeit doubtful, belief identifies Irsu with Beya, a prominent Egyptian official who was active from the reign of Seti II until Tausert, being a possibly Semitic name and known in modern parlance as the "king maker." Should this identification prove true, than a recently discovered letter (in Akkadian) sent by Beya to the last ruler of Ugarit may enable us to date the Semitic usurpation of Egypt more precisely, i.e., about 1195-1190 BCE. Furthermore, there are now a few scholars who boldly maintain that Beya/Irsu is in fact the biblical Moses, bringing us back to the very subject of our paper. But such an assumption is hardly supported by any documentation, and so it remains highly speculative."  (pp. 24-25. Abraham Malamat. "The Exodus: Egyptian Analogies." pp. 15-26, in: Ernest S. Frerichs & Leonard H. Lesko, editors. Exodus, the Egyptian Evidence. 1997. Eisenbrauns. Winona Lake, Indiana).

Malamat cites the scholarship for Irsu/Beya being possibly Moses:

"On (Irsu-) Beya, see most recently (and there the earlier literature) M. Yon. In The Crisis Years: The 12th Century BCE. Editors: W. A. Ward & M. Sharp Joukowsky (Dubuque, Iowa. 1992) pp.119 ff; C. Maderna-Sieben. "Der historische Abschnitt des Papyrus Harris I." Gottinger Miszellen 123 (1991), pp. 57-90, especially p. 87 (the equation of Isru-Beya, suggested first, hesitantly, by C. Cerny and Gardiner, became here already "sicherlich" ["a surety"]). (p. 26. Note 20. Malamat. 1997)

If Manetho's garbled (?) account of  a "Sethos/Ramesses," son of Amenophis and grandson of Ramesses (his name sake) is recalling Sethnakhte and son Ramesses III, then Manetho's Moses or Osar-Seph would appear to be Irsu/Beya.

Of interest is that i-r-s-u if reversed to u-s-r-i, it resembles somewhat u-s-a-r (Osar-Seph), but I realize this is "stretching it a bit"!

The biblical Exodus account mentions Joshua destroying and burning Hazor AFTER the Exodus (Joshua 11:13).

The Israeli archaeologist Moshe Dothan stated that in his excavation at Hazor, which preceeded those of Yigael Yadin, he found two Philistine sherds. Dothan understands the Philistines settled in Canaan circa 1175 BCE, so if he has correctly identified the sherds and if he has the right date for the Philistine settlement, then it would appear that Hazor was destroyed sometime AFTER 1175 BCE, that is, 10 years or more AFTER Sethnakhte had "removed" Asiatics from control/influence over Egypt. Also of interest is that the biblical account understands that the Philistines were in Canaan when Hazor was destroyed by Joshua, as he mentions that Israel had not yet conquered the lands of the Philistines (Joshua 3:1-3), this statement appears to "align" somewhat with Dothan's findings at Hazor, that is to say a presence of Philistines in the land at the time of Hazor's demise by Israel.

Trude Dothan, a specialist in Philistine archaeology noted that her husband Moshe had found Philistine sherds at Hazor (apparently she had seen the sherds and agreed that they were Philistine?):

"The rise of Hazor's importance and its international trading connections throughout the Middle and Late Bronze Ages were clear from the many fragments of imported Cypriot and Mycenaean pottery found there. But Moshe also found two characteristic Philistine sherds. True, two sherds out of hundreds were not much, but their very presence was provocative: Hazor was, after all, 165 miles from the core of Philistine settlement." (p. 96. Trude Dothan & Moshe Dothan. People of the Sea, the Search for the Philistines. 1992. New York. Macmillan Publishing Company)

Moshe Dothan on his finding of the sherds:

"Just how far north their [the Philistine's] influence extended became clear to me soon after, when I was called out on another emergency excavation, at Hazor, sometime before Trude was to join Yigael Yadin's major dig there. It was there, as already noted, that we found two Philistine sherds." (p. 105. "Along the Trade Routes." Trude Dothan & Moshe Dothan. People of the Sea, the Search for the Philistines. 1992. New York. Macmillan Publishing Company)

Amon Ben-Tor, in charge of Hazor excavations, has found not a single Philistine sherd at Hazor and thus doubts that they destroyed Hazor (apparently Ben-Tor, Rabinovich and Silberman are unaware of Moshe Dothan's finds?):

"As for the Sea Peoples, Ben-Tor notes that not a single sherd of their distinctive decorated pottery has been found in the city..."

(Abraham Rabinovich & Neil Asher Silberman. "The Burning of Hazor." Archaeology. vol. 51. no. 3. May/June 1998)

09 June 2004 Update :

According to Manetho there were TWO expulsions of Asiatics from Egypt, the first being the Hyksos, later determined by archaeologists to have occurred in  the mid-16th century BCE and the second being a Ramesside event under a kng called "Amenophis" (Greek for Amenhotep) and his son who is called by Manetho "Sethos/Ramesses." To the degree that a number of scholars understand that Manetho's 18th Dynasty king Armais is probably Pharaoh Horemhab, and Manetho has Ramesses following Armais, it appears to me that a Ramesside expulsion is being implied.

Manetho was quite clear that both expulsions were from ONE location called Avaris. Do archaeological findings substantiate _in any way_ Manetho's account which is considered by some to be "somewhat garbled"  -NO pharaoh called "Amenhotep" being known in Ramesside times from existing ancient monuments or papyri? That is to say, is there any evidence of Avaris, associated today with Tell ed-Daba, being occupied in Hyksos times and then being abandoned following the Hyksos expulsion? The answer is yes. Is there any evidence that Avaris (Tell ed-Daba) was occupied in Ramesside times, permitting a "possible" Ramesside expulsion as noted by Manetho? The answer is again, yes.

The following quote is from a url on the Internet regarding Avaris (Tell el-Daba):

"Evidence of New Kingdom occupation of the site is also seen in building activity by Horemheb and the Ramesside kings. The Delta residence of Rameses II was at Pi-Ramesses (now known to be a little to the north at Qantir), but the settlement area eventually spread across Tell el-Dab'a and a large temple probably dedicated to the god Seth was built in the centre of the area. The modern village of Tell el-Daba is situated about 6 kilometers to the north of Faqus in the north-eastern Delta. The site is on the east bank of a Nile tributary."

(Egyptian Monuments, Tell el-Daba<>)

Professor Bietak, who is in charge of the on-going excavations revealing a "Ramesside" Tell ed-Daba/Avaris:

"The region of Avaris was also involved in another important chapter of ancient Egyptian history. The royal residence of Piramesse, which is being studied at present in close co-operation with the Pelizaeus-Museum, Hildesheim, is located to the north of Tell el-Daba at Qantir. In the immediate vicinity of this famous residence of Ramesses II, excavations directed by Edgar Pusch have uncovered barracks for charioteers, stables of royal dimensions and military workshops of the 19th Dynasty. Avaris was still in existence at this time. In keeping with its maritime traditions it was the harbour of Piramesse, and it continued to house the god Seth, who had retained his Asiatic image up to the Ramesside period. The 19th Dynasty probably originated here. The god Seth, who is the personification of the continuum, again became a dynastic god, 'the father of the fathers' of the 19th Dynasty. The area became once more the capital of Egypt, not only for reasons of sentiment connected with the origin of the dynasty, but because of its enormous strategic importance for international policy." (pp. 82-83. Manfred Bietak. Avaris, the Capital of the Hyksos, Recent Excavations at Tell el-Daba. 1996. The British Museum Press. London)

Manetho claims the expulsion site was Avaris, while Josephus, following the biblical account, avers that the Hebrew Exodus was from a location called Rameses. Who's right? I suspect that both are right. The above Internet quote notes that in Ramesside times Tell ed-Daba was reoccupied and that nearby Qantir, which is understood to be the site of Pi-Ramesses, grew in size and came to absorb Tell ed-Daba. That is to say Avaris/Daba became a part of Pi-Ramesses rather like a modern suburb. So it is my understanding that Manetho and Josephus are both correct. Manetho has preserved the ancient 16th century BCE name of the site, and the Bible has correctly understood that the site's name was Rameses (after 13th century BCE Pi-Ramesses).

We are also informed that the Hebrews dwelt in the land of Goshen. Perhaps this name is preserved today at Faqus which lies just 6 kilometers south of Tell ed-Daba? Could "Fa-" recall ancient Egyptian "Pi-" as in Pi-Ramesses, that is to say, did the ancient Egyptians know Goshen as Pi-Qus or Pa-Qus?

According to Manetho the Ramessides expelled "scabby-lepers" who had rebelled and who had invited in formerly expelled Asiatics from Jerusalem. Manetho also related that an oracle had told Pharaoh that he should expell all the polluted peoples in Egypt. The embalmed body of Ramesses V (reigned ca. 1145-1141 BCE) has small-pox pustules. Could Manetho's sources be recalling a small-pox epidemic in Ramesside Egypt and the "expulsion" of lepers is of people suspected to have small-pox? If the Pharaohs first gathered together all the diseased to one location, Avaris, and then later expelled them as a hygenic precaution to stem the further outbreak of the epidemic, is this what the Bible transformed into the Angel of Death that strikes down Egyptians of all ranks from the Royal House (Ramesses V dying of small pox) to the humblest field worker?

Clayton on Ramesses V's Smallpox:

"Ramesses V's mummy was found in the tomb of Amenhotep II (KV 35)...Lesions on the face suggest that the king suffered from smallpox." (p. 167. Peter A. Clayton. Chronicle of the Pharaohs, the Reign-by-Reigm Record of the Rulers and Dynasties of Ancient Egypt. London. Thames & Hudson. 1994)

The biblical account speaks of a "plague" being sent by Yahweh-Elohim. Manetho speaks of an outbreak of leprosy, a type of skin disease. By today's medical standards Small Pox is not reckoned as Leprosy, but ancient man may not have been so sophisticated in his diagnosis, and thus _any disease of the skin_ may have been lumped under the umbrella of "Leprosy."

Manetho claimed that the Asiatic descendants of the formerly expelled Hyksos re-invaded Egypt from Jerusalem, and re-settled at Avaris. If, _IF_ he is right, then it is of some importance to ask who was the god worshipped by the Hyksos of the 16th century BCE and their Jerusalemite descendants in the 13th century BCE.

Archaeologists have found a cylinder seal at Tell ed-Daba showing the North Syrian weather-god, Baal Hadad or Baal-Saphon, standing over two mountains near the sea. A boat is shown, he has a bull accompanying him, and a serpent beneath the mountains. In Syrian myths Baal defeats the serpent of the Sea, called Lotan. He also defeats his brother, Yam ("Sea") for dominion of the earth. So he had power over the unruly sea and was prayed to for deliverance from sea storms. In Ugaritic myths he takes on the form of a Bull and mounts his sister Anat, who is transformed into a lusty Heifer and impregnates her. She bears him a bull-calf. Storm clouds in Ugaritic imagery were called "Hadad's Calves."

The Hyksos assimilated their storm god to the Egyptian god Seth. Seth is famed as a warrior, so is Baal. Dark storm clouds with thunder and lightning were associated with Baal and Seth. I "suspect" that Yahweh-Elohim of the Exodus is none-other than Seth/Baal, the Weather-god.

The Bible speaks of a 400 year oppression of Hebrews in Egypt. Of interest is that a stela was found erected by Ramesses II, celebrating the 400th anniversary of the god Seth. Ramesses father bore the name Seti, after this god. I "suspect" that the 400th anniversary of Seth's power celebrated by the Ramessides has become the 400 years of Hebrew oppression in Goshen (Ge 15:13). According to the above Internet quote, a temple to Seth was built in Tell ed-Daba when it became a part of Pi-Ramesses. Perhaps the local Asiatic laborers, witnessing the rise of this temple and honoring of Seth, came to see the festivities as an "inversion," that is to say, Seth's power and that of the Ramessides is at the expense of the "leperous" quarrymen, who have been segregated from Egyptian society because of their illnesses and forced to be laborers in building Pi-Ramesses, which has expanded, making Avaris a suburb?

Of interest is that Seth on the 400 year anniversary stele dedicated by Ramesses II is portrayed in Asiatic costume usually associated with the North Syrian war god Reshef/Reshep. Some scholars understand that his name comes from rsp meaning "burning," as he is associated also with the burning fever or plague that kills men. I suspect that Seth has been assimilated not only to Baal-Saphon-Hadad but also to Reshep, and that Yahweh-Elohim in the biblical account has assimilated all these gods. Yahweh is a dark thundercloud that descends upon Mount Sinai like Baal-Hadad, he has mastery over the sea like Baal-Sephon, he has a Golden Calf dedicated to him by Jeroboam recalling Ugaritic stormclouds being called Hadad's Calves (young bronze bulls with a gold leaf covering dedicated to Baal have been found in Phoenicia and Ugarit), and he has power of plague over his enemies like Reshep. Seth rides the solar bark of Re the sun-god, and stands at the prow the boat with a mighty spear to smile the evil serpent Apep of the celestial Nile, who seeks to devour Re and the righteous dead who accompany him. Baal Saphon defeats the serpent of the sea Lotan in Ugaritic myths and Yahweh defeats the sea serpent Leviathan. On scarabs Seth appears spearing a great serpent, someytime he has wings, sometimes not; on other scarabs the serpent is speared by a winged Reshep, who also appears sometimes without wings. In biblical texts Yahweh's wings are metaphorically alluded to.

In the biblical account Israel after leaving Egypt heads for Mount Sinai in the southern Sinai according to tradition. Does archaeology in any way substantiate Egyptian gods being honored in the southern Sinai, a god like the Hyksos' Seth? Is there any evidence of 16th century BCE Hyksos in the southern Sinai? Is there any evidence of 13th century BCE Ramesside Egyptians and Asiatics honoring bovine gods in the southern Sinai? The answer is yes to all of the preceeding questions.

Bietak on Baal-Saphon as Seth being honored on the 400 year Ramesside stela:

"Within the northern wing of the palace, a haematite cylinder seal was found. It bears one of the oldest representations  of the northern Syrian weather-god portrayed as a protector of sailors and as overlord of the sea, which is represented by the snake, Yam, on a pedestal; behind the god is his companion the weather-bull...This seal is an important discovery, as it shows that Baal Zephon, the northern Syrian weather-god, was established in Egypt as early as the first half of the 18th century BC. Within the community of Canaanite settlers he was probably the most important local deity and understandably he was soon identified with his Egyptian counterpart, the god Sutekh or Seth, who was also a weather-god. Thus we can explain why Seth, the ancient god of Ombos in Upper Egypt and of the desert, was established at Avaris in the Delta and secured a cultic place there which endured for over 400 years to the end of the Ramesside period." (pp. 26-29. Bietak)

I would hazard a "guess" here, that the Bible's notion of Yahweh "opening a path in the sea" and "saving his people,"  may be an "allusion" to Baal Saphon as possessing power over the unruly sea and being invoked by the Hykos as a type of "saviour-god" who _protects them in sea-crossings, "to and _FROM Egypt_," to ports in Canaan, Phoenicia and North Syria (Ugarit). In the later Iron II (9th-6th century BCE) "re-working" of this Hyksos concept, the the going "forth from Egypt" from the port of Avaris to Levantine ports, has been _transferred_ to Yam Suph, "the sea of Reeds," Professor Kitchen and Hoffmeier's Lake Timsah or Ballah, to the east of the Delta.

Scripture speaks of a "return to Egypt via the sea" to be sold as slaves but no-one will buy Israel. God saying I would not return you via the way you escaped. Could this verse be recalling the Hyksos expulsion via ships to Levantine ports, like Gaza and Tell el Ajjul ?

De 28:68 RSV

"And the LORD will bring you back in ships to Egypt, a journey which I promised that you should never make again; and there you shall offer yourselves for sale to your enemies as male and female slaves, but no man will buy you."

If I am correct in assuming that the Primary History, Genesis-Kings was written ca. 562 BCE in the Exile, what event is the narrator alluding to? Were Isarelites sold as slaves by the Edomites ca. 587 BCE and shipped out to Egypt via Phoenician ports?

Jerusalem's Canaanite origins, God being portrayed as taking pity on the cast-off child and adopting it for his own daughter:

Ezekiel 16:3, 8 RSV

"Thus says the Lord God to Jerusalem: Your origin and your birth are of the land of the Canaanites; your father was an Amorite and your mother a Hittite... I plighted my troth to you and entered into a covenant with you...and you became mine."

Professor Redford suggested that the Hyksos expulsion was being recalled in the Bible. Professor Hoffmeier disagreed, arguing the event was Ramesside, not Hyksos. If I am correct in proposing that two events are being fused together, then both scholars have made worthwhile observations and contributions.

A number of scholars have suggested that a form of monotheism appears in Egypt as Atenism, the worship of the sun by Amenhotep IV (Akhenaten). How did Late Bronze Age Canaanites, descendants of Manetho's expelled Hyksos come to be exposed to monotheism as Jebusites? The 14th century BCE Armana Letters from the Egyptain appointed Canaanite mayor of Jerusalem mention that he is alone in holding the city against Apiru in the Hill Country. Could monotheism have been introduced to Jerusalem via a loyal Egyptian appointed mayor? Did these monotheistic notions later come to be fused by the Late Bronze Age Canaanites to an Iron II Yahweh of the Arameans in David's time?

Did Goshen and Avaris come to be called "the land of Rameses" because the returning Ramesside era Jerusalemites (according to Manetho) entered a land under Ramesside control, only to be expelled again after a brief rule of 13 years?

If Israel's being saved by Yahweh in the crossing of Yam Suph is an allusion to Baal Saphon as a saviour god of Hyksos mariners, by what mechanism did the Sea wind up as being enroute to the Southern Sinai instead of via the Mediterranean?

According to Bietak, a number of  scholars have suggested that Avaris was a trade city or port, that not only traded with the Mediterranean sea ports, but it also served as a "staging ground" for overland expeditions via donkey caravans to the Turquoise and Copper mines of the Southern Sinai.

"Tell el-Yehudiya ware seems to have originated in northern Palestine and the area around Byblos, where the oldest specimens of this pottery have been found. This ware was imported into Tell el-Daba from the early 13th Dynasty onwards..." (p. 55. Bietak)

"According to Kees, the site gained in importance as a result of Egyptian mining expeditions to Sinai and of trade with the Levant." (p. 10. Bietak)

"What exactly was the role of these Asiatic settlers in the north-eastern Delta? Military service in this corner of Egypt was surely only one of their functions. We have evidence of specialised Asiatic settlements around Middle Kingdom royal residence Itj-t3wy from texts in the Illahun archives, especially from the reign of Amenemhat III, but we do not know very much about the nature of these settlements and we must therefore, look elsewhere for help in answering the question. Inscriptions on stelae placed in front of the temple of Hathor near the turquoise mines at Serabit el-Khadim in Sinai tell us of the employment of Retenu Asiatics in mining expeditions, again mostly from the reign of Amenemhat III. There are four different representations of the brother of the prince of Retenu, who was a participant in those expeditions. Retenu, a place name not normally associated with the Sinai, is understood to be a very general term for the region of Syria-Palestine during the Middle Kingdom. We think it not unlikely that such mining expeditions were organised from the north0eastern Nile Delta, quite possibly from the settlement of Tell el-Daba, its pivotal role reflected in its ancient name Hwt-Imn-m-h3t-m3-hrw-nt-R3-w3ty. A hwt is a planned royal foundation as opposed to a general settlement. The settlement's name can be rendered as "the (royal) settlement (of) Amenemhat (I), justified, of Rowaty (the door of the two roads)." Its role as "the door of the two roads" would explain at least a part of the function of this settlement during the late 12th Dynasty.

An obelisk-shaped stela found at Serabit el-Khadim depicts three Asiatic warriors equipped with axes, most probably duckbill-axes. They have distinctive mushroom-shaped coiffures and Semitic names. Moreover, there is evidence that in addition to such humble soldiers the high-ranking Egyptian functionaires who led such expeditions during the late 12th Dynasty were also of Aiatic descent. In the sanctuary of Serabit el-Khadim, a stela and an offering table of a 'royal deputy chief steward' with the Egyptian name 'Imeny' were found. He was not ashamed to record his Asiatic descent nor to have himself depicted on one section of the lintel with an Asiatic beard. This indicates that people of Asiatic origin enjoyed royal confidence during this period. As we shall see, we also have evidence from Tell el-Daba of the presence of high Asiatic functionaires who were obviously in the service of the Egyptian crown.

The nature of the settlement in the late 12th Dynasty and its rapid expansion during the 13th Dynasty cannot be explained in purely military terms, as its inhabitants clearly lived together with their families in civilian fashion. Representations of ships in petroglyphs together with the evidence of the stelae at Serabit el-Khadim reveal that the Sinai mining expeditions were mixed land and sea operations." (pp.14-19. Bietak)

To the degree that ships may have been used to cross the Red Sea (Gulf of Suez), could this have been recalled as Yahweh providing "a path in the sea" for Israel enroute to the southern Sinai? That is to say, an alternate scnario is that of miners from Avaris crossing the Sea via boats as late as Ramesside times, a Ramesside seaport at being found at el-Merkha just west of Serabit el Khadim and its mines?

Professor Mumford has noted that Tell el Yehudiyeh ware which was popular in Hyksos Avaris (it originating in Byblos), has been found in the southern Sinai near Serabit el Khadim, suggesting some kind of presence there in Hyksos times. Perhaps the biblical narratives are recalling these mining expeditions? The presence of this ware would seem to support Bietak's notion that Avaris was a staging area for Sinai mining expeditions.

Mumford :

"Ahmose then initiated the New Kingdom 'empire,' in the northern Sinai and in Syria-Palestine, and renewed Egyptian turquoise mining and copper smelting in the southern Sinai." (Vol.3, p.289, Gregory D. Mumford, "Sinai." Donald B. Redford. Editor. The Oxford Encyclopedia of Ancient Egypt. 3 vols. 2001)

"During the Second Intermediate Period and early 18th dynasty, West Asian (Hyksos?) Activity in the southern Sinai may be attested through the presence of some sherds of Tell el-Yehudiyya ware and some Hyksos-style scarab seals at Serabit el-Khadim. In addition, Mughara, Wadi Nasb and Serabit el-Khadim have perhaps 35 undeciphered Proto-Sinatic inscriptions, including one stela that depicts an Egyptian mummiform deity (Ptah)." (Vol.3, p.289, Mumford. "Sinai.")

"New Kingdom activity concentrated at Wadi Nasb and Serabit el-Khadim, in contrast to Mughara, which yielded one inscription dated to Queen Hatshepsut and Thuthmose III...Wadi Nasb contained a copper mine...and an inscription of Ramesses II....The plateau at Serabit el-Khadim yielded twenty turquoise mines with two inscriptions of Thuthmose IV...The plateau also yielded a small shrine of Ptah (with three stelae dedicated to Hathor)...New Kingdom expeditions repaired and embellished the Middle Kingdom shrines of Hathor ("Lady of Turquoise") and Sopdu ("Lord of the East")...Many votives bore the cartouches of most New Kingdom rulers from Ahmose through Ramesses VI...From the 19th dynasty to the 20th, expeditions initiated copper mining and smelting at Wadi Reqeita (in southeastern Sinai) and in the southern Arabah. The Arabah contained a rock inscription at Timna, from the time of Ramesses II and one from Ramesses III at site 582, as well as a Hathor shrine at site 200, which provided votives with the cartouches of Sety I, Ramesses II, Merneptah, Sety II, Queen Tawosret and Ramesses III, IV and V. Late in the 20th dynasty (in the time of Ramesses VII to XI) and in the 21st to 25th dynasty, evidence of Egyptian activity disappeared from the southern Sinai, and declined in the northern Sinai, which retained settlement at Retabeh, at some sites in northwestern Sinai, and at 30 Iron Age sites between Wadi el-Arish and Wadi Ghazzeh." (Vol.3, p.289-290, Gregory D. Mumford, "Sinai.")

I suspect that the biblical narratives are indeed recalling genuine events, but they have been "transformed" and garbled via centuries of oral tradition, from the 16th century Hyksos and the 13th Century Ramesside expulsions and on to the 6th century world of the Exile ca. 562 BCE (when I understand the Primary History was composed). Combined with the two explusions are mining expeditions in the southern Sinai, the Negev, and Arabah, as well as an invasion from Syria of Arameans in Iron IA.

CORRECTION of 26 Oct. 2004: Wadi Reqeita's copper deposits were NEVER exploited by the Egyptians. The evidence suggests they were used ONLY during the period of the Early Bronze I-II by peoples from the Negev near Early Bronze II Arad. Cf. the research by Beit-Arieh :

"The results of our survey show clearly that the production of copper in Sinai in the Protodynastic period was solely in the hands of an autochthonic and/or a Canaanite-orientated population, and was unaffected by an Egyptian presence during any phase of this period. In fact, the findings indicate that even during the later periods the Egyptians displayed no interest in south-Sinai generally, or in the copper deposits, specifically. As for the Late Bronze Age copper-production site in western Sinai around Wadi Baba and Bir Nasb (Petrie 1906:27), to my knowledge there is as yet no ceramic evidence to date it before the New Kingdom.

It appears that the earliest datable copper smelting which was found and studied by the Ophir Expedition in Southern Sinai was based on the mine at Wadi Riqita [Reqeita] in south-central Sinai. The associated population beside the local population was Canaanite-orientated, not Egyptian. No archaeological evidence of earlier copper production has yet been discovered in this area, although the suggestion that copper was already produced here at the end of the Chalcolithic-beginning of the Early Bronze I period (Ilan and Sebbane 1989: 148-153) cannot be discounted entirely." (p. 204. Itzhaq Beit-Arieh. Archaeology of Sinai, the Ophir Expedition. Tel Aviv, Israel. Tel Aviv University. ISBN 965-266-018-3. END OF 26 October 2004 UPDATE)

29 June 2004 Update:

Manetho's Osar-Siph NOT Moses but Akhenaten?

My research suggests that Manetho's garbled account of Amenophis and his "son" Seth-Ramesses expelling Asiatics may be fusing several personalities and events from Amenhotep III to Ramesses II, and that Akhenaten is behind the personas of Amenophis and the Asiatic rebel, Osar-Siph, a priest of Heliopolis.

Redford noted that the Ramessides admired Amenhotep III and portrayed their 19th Dynasty as a successor to him, erasing the memory of the Atenists, Pharaohs Akhenaten (Amenhotep IV) through Ay.  So a confused Manetho had before him bits and pieces of a "deliberately corrupted lineage" that he tried to make sense of. He apparently was "unaware" that Horemhab and his Ramesside successors had conspired to create a false lineage, eliminating the Atenists.

Because the Ramessides looked with favor on Amenhotep III (Greek Amenophis), and portrayed themselves as his successors or "sons" -the pharaohs frequently spoke of their successors as "their sons" in their monuments and annals-  Manetho erroneously made Seth-Ramesses "the "son" of Amenophis III. In reality Seth-Ramesses is two different pharaohs garbled together by Manetho (Sety I and Ramesses II). 

The 13 year retirement of Amenophis to Nubia is another confusion, recalling Amenhotep IV (Akhenaten) withdrawing for some 11 or 12 years to his newly built city of Akhet-Aten "Horizon of Aten." The source of the confusion for Manetho was probably that two pharaohs, Amenhotep III and IV bore the same name and succeeded each other, but due to the falsified Ramesside records, Manetho was unaware of the Atenist heretic.

Manetho does NOT mention Osar-Siph, (nor Amenophis) promulgating a belief in _one god_, which is strange, only that Osar-Siph was responsible for closing the temples and robbing them of their wealth. Akhenaten did close Egypt's temples, remove their gods, and diverted the temple revenues to support Atenist temples. So, Manetho's Osar-Siph is probably non-other than Akhenaten, and NOT Moses ! Why characterize Osar-Siph as an Asiatic ? Akhenaten's mother Tiye, wife of Amenhotep III, was the daughter of a "foreigner" called Yuya, so perhaps a tradition existed that Akhenaten possessed an Asiatic bloodline?

Osar-Siph is portrayed as an Asiatic priest of Heliopolis; according to Breasted Akenaten declared himself "High Priest" of the Aten, a titular borrowed from the priests of Re at Heliopolis, and he also claimed that Re  -who was pre-immenintly associated with Heliopolis- had revealed the Aten to him. Here, for me, is" the link" between Osar-Siph and Akhenaten.


"Under the name of Aton, then, Amenhotep IV introduced the worship of the supreme god, but he made no attempt to conceal the identity of his new deity with the old sun-god Re. Instructing his vizier in the new faith, he said to him, "The words of Re are before august father who taught me their essence...It was known in my heart, revealed to my face, I understood..." He thus attributes the new faith to Re as its source, and claims to have been himself the channel of its revelation. He [Akhenaten] immediately assumed the office of High Priest of his new god with the same title, "Great Seer," as that of the High Priest of Re at Heliopolis. But, however evident the Heliopolitan origin of the new state religion might be, it was not merely sun-worship; the Aton was employed in place of the old word for god (nuter) and the god is clearly distinguished from the material sun." (p.360. James Henry Breasted. A History of Egypt, From the Earliest Times to the Persian Conquest. New York. Charles Scribner's Sons. 1912)

Redford on Akhenaten's "links" with Heliopolis:

"Thebes had not been the only city to benefit from embellishments in the new style to the cult: Heliopolis had received a new sun-temple, "(Amenophis is) the Exalter of the Disc." and Memphis was the site of one of the newfangled shrines as well. Far away in Nubia a Gm-itn began to arise..." (p. 139. Donald B. Redford. Akhenaten the Heretic King. Princeton University Press. Princeton, New Jersey. 1984)

Professor Redford understood that the reign of Akhenaten and the Atenists who followed him had been successfully expunged from the Egyptian memorybanks, and that all that remained for Manetho to work with was garbled memories :
"All that lingered in the oral tradition of Egypt, the collective historical memory of the people, was a confused recollection of people afflicted with plague, expelled to the quarries, their temples closed, and subject to a renewed attempt by "foreign rulers" to get control of Egypt. Akhenaten and his family had become non-persons." (p. 231. Donald B. Redford. Akhenaten the Heretic King)

Redford does see a relationship between the Bible's Exodus and the Akhenaten interlude. He also understands that the Hyksos expulsion has been fused with the Amarna events.


"From what has been adduced to this point it is clear that the first half of Manetho's Osar-siph tradition (the "A" pattern) descends from an etiological tale bearing upon the Amarna period of Egyptian history. The story probably concluded with the 19th Dynasty kings Sety I (Merneptah) and his son Ramesses II finally putting an end to the Amarna interlude; thus it would conform to the revised king list of later Ramesside times, in which the four "Amarna reigns" are excised and their years added to Horemheb, so that the 19th Dynasty follows Amenhotep III immediately...The fate of the victims in the Osarsiph legend differs from that of the Hyksos. The latter were expelled through war, whereas the lepers were enslaved. It is from Osar-siph or its prototype that the "bondage" tradition of the Exodus originated." (p. 416. "Four Great Origins Traditions." Donald B. Redford. Egypt, Canan, and Israel in Ancient Times. Princeton University Press. Princeton, New Jersey. 1992)

Other scholars have also attempted to identify Moses with the Amarna period, understanding that Moses' "monotheism" is in some way, borrowed from, or indebted to, Atenism. Professor Assmann and earlier yet, the famed Jewish Psychologist Sigmund Freud, are representative of this group, Assman agrees with Redford that the Hyksos expulsion is being recalled in the biblical account and fused with Atenism:

Assman, an Egyptologist at Heidelberg University (Germany), remarks about Freud's understanding that the Exodus is a Hebrew INVERSION of the Hyksos Expulsion (Emphasis is mine):

"Freud's ingenious observation links up perfectly well with the relationship between the biblical account of the Exodus and what was to be considered the historical evidence for it. The historical evidence for a longer sojourn of Syro-Palestinian Semites in Egypt IS THE HYKSOS OCCUPATION, when the foreign invaders reigned as kings over Egypt, eventually to be expelled by an Egyptian dynasty. These events came by NARRATIVE INVERSION to be shaped into the story of slaves that were able to escape slavery and were elected by God to become a people and even have kings of their own." (p.150. Jan Assmann. Moses the Egyptian, The Memory of Egypt in Western Monotheism. Cambridge, Massachusetts. Harvard University Press. 1997)

Assmann on the Aten's influence on Judaism (Emphasis mine):

"Whereas the Heliopolitan priests worshiped the sun god as the highest god and creator of all, Akhenaten proclaimed him to be the ONE and ONLY god: 'YOU SOLE GOD BESIDE WHOM THERE IS NO OTHER.' There is only one possible conclusion to draw: If Moses was an Egyptian and if he communicated his religion to the Jews, IT MUST HAVE BEEN AKHENATEN'S the ATEN RELIGION." (p. 153. Jan Assmann. Moses the Egyptian, The Memory of Egypt in Western Monotheism. Cambridge, Massachusetts. Harvard University Press. 1997)

Manetho claims that Moses was originally called Osar-Siph, a priest at Heliopolis and that he later changed his name. Further it is alleged that Osar-Siph lead a rebellion against Egypt's authority. What is interesting here is the possible connections to Amarna events. According to Redford Osiris was a god who's worship was done away with by Akhenaten. To the degree that Moses is portrayed originally worshipping Osiris, there is a curious relationship with Osiris worshippers as enemies of Amenophis and his son Seti-Ramesses.

Redford on post-Amarna attempts to downplay the Aten has the sole god and associating his sundisc with other gods and Akenaten's "enmity" toward Osiris :

"Again and again the doctrine is stressed that the sun-disc is nought but the body or visible manifestation of a transcendent diety, be it Amun, Re, or Osiris...Osiris, the god damned to extinction by now linked with Re. "Thou (Osiris) hast arisen as Re in the horizon, his sun-disc is thy sun-disc, his form is thy form..." (p. 226. Redford. Akhenaten the Heretic King)

Amenophis wanted to "see" the gods. Could this be an allusion to Amenophis IV having a new vision "seeing" the gods as the Aten? Is the "rebellion" by Osar-Siph in reality an allusion to Akhenaten's "rebellion" against Egypt's polytheism and gods?

Are the 12 years at Akhetaten (Tell el Amarna) what is behind Amenophis' (Amenhotep IV, Akhenaten) 13 year retirement to the vicinity of Nubia (he did build an Aten temple in Nubia)? The "polluted and leperous" might refer to Atenists who were assembled at a quarry east of the Nile ? In this case Akhetaten is being recalled as a "quarry" under Horemhab and the Ramessides, it being dismantled and its stones being used in Ramesside construction at other locations? Because the Atenists disavowed the gods of Egypt they are characterized as "polluted and leperous," and disavowed by Egypt's gods?

Redford on Akhenaten's stay at Akhetaten, modern Tell el-Amarna:

"In the present case it seems clear that the devotees of Akhenaten's sun cult are the historical reality underlying the "lepers" and this is confirmed by the iconoclastic nature of the lepers' legislation and the figure of 13 years for the occupation, which corresponds to the period of occupation of Amarna." (footnote 106 obersves, 11 full years under Akhenaten, 2 under Tutankhamun. p. 415. Redford. Egypt, Canaan and Israel in Ancient Times)

Could the taking back of control of Egypt from the Asiatics by Amenophis and Seth-Ramesses be recalling the reconquest of the Asiatic empire under Horemhab and his Ramesside successors and putting down the Apiru confederation which had arisen under Akhenaten?  Additionally, Amenophis IV's (ineffectual) "attempts" to quell the Apiru uprisings might be recalled "favorably" and fused with the successful attempts under the Ramessides?

The "bottom-line" however, is to what degree does archaeology support Manetho's account? That is to say, what archaeological evidence exists from Avaris, identified today with Tell el-Dab`a, of an Asiatic re-occupation of the site in Amarna times and an expulsion and abandoment caused by Manetho's Seth-Ramesses son of Amenophis III (recalling Redford's observation that the 19th Dynasty portrays itself as the successor or "son of" Amenhotep III in king lists)?

Bietak has written an account of his findings at Tell el-Dab'a which he understands to be ancient Avaris, the problem is that no-where do I find mention of Ramesside dwellings or homes _in_ Avaris. Bietak does show a lintel from a temple dedicated to Seth which bears a cartouche of Horemhab (cf. figure 61, p. 77. Manfred Bietak. Avaris, the Capital of the Hyksos, Recent Excavations at Tell el-Dab'a. London. British Museum Press. 1996), which suggests somekind of a presence in post-Amarna times. He also mentions a massive mud-brick platform for the temple. Could this mud-brick platform recall Israel's making mud-bricks? He also claims that Tell el-Daba was occupied in Ramesside times and served as a port for nearby Pi-Ramesses (Qantir).


"The region of Avaris was also involved in another important chapter of ancient Egyptian history. The royal residence of Piramesse, which is being studied at present in close co-operation with the Pelizaeus-Museum, Hildesheim, is located to the north of Tell el-Dab'a at Qantir. In the immediate vicinty of this famous residence of Ramesses II, excavations directed by Edgar Pusch have uncovered barracks for charioteers, stables of royal dimensions and military workshops of the 19th Dynasty. Avaris was still in existence at this time. In keeping with its maritime traditions it was the harbour for Piramesse, and it continued to house the god Seth, who had retained his Asiatic heritage image up to the Ramesside period. The 19th Dynasty most probably originated here. The god Seth, who is the personification of the continuum, again became a dynastic god, 'the god of the fathers' of the 19th Dynasty. The area became once more the capital of Egypt, not only for reasons of sentiment connected with the origin of the dynasty, but because of its enormous strategic importance for international policy." (pp. 82-83. Manfred Bietak. Avaris the Capital of the Hyksos, Recent Excavations at Tell el-Dab'a. London. The British Museum Press. 1996)

Does archaeology support Manetho's notion that under the Ramessides Avaris was abandoned, the leperous quarrymen being expelled? Bietak noted that Tell el-Dab'a was indeed "abandoned" circa 1060 BCE, when the Pelusiac branch of the Nile began silting up. Attempts to dredge it failed and the Egyptians thereupon decided to move to Tanis located on another branch of the Nile which had access to the Mediterranean Sea.

At Tanis have been found Ramesside items, suspected to have been transferred from Pi-Ramesses (Qantir) and Avaris (Tell el-Daba), effectively making Qantir/Daba "a quarry" for Zoan.  Was the transformation of Qantir/Dab'a into a quarry for Zoan/Tanis recalled by Manetho as leperous-quarrymen of Avaris?

The Bible does speak of Moses confronting Pharaoh and his court in the "fields of Zoan" understood to be Tanis. Could this biblical account be recalling the moving of the court from Pi- Ramesses/Avaris to Zoan/Tanis?

One of items found at Tanis was a stele dedicated by Ramesses II to the god Seth, recalling 400 years of his power in the area. It has been suggested that perhaps this stela originally had been set up in the Seth temple found at Tell el-Dab'a. If this presumption is correct, perhaps the notion of Israel serving a 400 year bondage in Egypt and building Rameses, recalls a Ramesside celebration of Seth's power over Asiatics? If Israelite slaves made the mudbricks for the platfrom of Seth's temple at Tell el-Dab'a, surely they would have been aware of the occasion for the foundation of the temple, to honor 400 years of Seth's power in the eastern Delta, and perhaps recalling Hyksos era events, the Hyksos honoring Seth and assimilating him to their god, Baal Saphon, who in myths had defeated the great sea serpent Lotan (Perhaps Baal Saphon later becoming Yahweh who defeats the Leviathan?).

Of interest here, is that Bietak has determined that after the defeat of the Hyksos, there was an 18th Dynasty occupation in the form of a fortress and nearby houses. He has suggested that this occupation is attested from royal scarabs as late as the reign as Amenhotep II (p. 72). At the present, no occupation is documentable after Amenhotep II, was it abandoned in this pharoah's reign ? He ruled ca. 1453-1419 BCE, and 1 Kings 6:1 suggests for some scholars that the Exodus took place ca. 1446 BCE which falls in this ruler's reign. Is the Bible recalling an abandonment of Avaris under Amenhotep II? Also of interest is that Breasted has Amenhotep II ca. 1447 BCE launching a massive invasion, to put down rebellions in his Asiatic empire. The date, 1447 BCE is very close to 1446 BCE when the Exodus is understood to have occured according to some scholars.

Breasted noting Asiatic princes rebelling upon the death of the previous Pharaoh, Thuthmoses III:

"Leaving Egypt with his forces in April of his second year (1447 BC), Amenhotep [II] was in touch with the enemy in northern Palestine early in May and immediately fought an action at Shemesh-Edom against the princes of Lebanon." (p. 324. James Henry Breasted. A History of Egypt.  New York. Charles Scribner's Sons. 1912)

Bietak on a 18th Dynasty settlement at Tell el-Dab'a as late as Amenhotep II:

"To the east of the platform H/I, there was a middle-class settlement, which seems to have incorporated workshops. It reveals distinct stratigraphy...Within the settlement numerous scarabs have been found, among them a series of royal scarabs. Their relative position is consistent with the succession of the named pharaohs and covers the time from Ahmose to Amenhotep II...As it seems more persuasive now to date platform H/I and the frescoes to the beginning of the 18th Dynasty, and no longer to the Hyksos period, the beginning of this settlement should date after Ahmose. Because of recent agricultural leveling we do not know if the settlement continued beyond the time of Amenhotep II." (p. 72. Manfred Bietak. Avaris the Capital of the Hyksos, Recent Excavations at Tell el-Dab'a. London. The British Museum Press. 1996)

Professor Aling, a Conservative scholar, on dating the Exodus to the reign of Amenhotep II :

"Accepting the early date for the exodus (ca. 1446 BC) as best satisfying the scriptural and extrascriptural evidence, we find that this great event occurred in the early years of Pharaoh Amenhotep II (1453-1415 BC)."  (p. 97. "The Exodus, the People and the Events."Charles Aling. Egypt and Bible History, From Earliest Times to 1000 BC. Grand Rapids, Michigan. Baker Book House. 1981)

Professor Hoerth, another Conservative scholar, also identifies Amenhotep II as the Pharaoh of the Exodus :

"Moses was less than eager to accept the commission but finally, in the company of Aaron his older brother, he returned to Egypt. Amenhotep II succeeded Thutmose III to the throne and he, therefore, can be identified as the "pharaoh of the Exodus." (p. 161. "Joseph and Moses in Egypt." Alfred J. Hoerth. Archaeology and the Old Testament. Grand Rapids, Michigan. Baker Books.  1998)

Could the building of a city called Ramesses be an anachronism ? That is to say, the city of Avaris was built either in Hyksos times or under Ahmose I through Amenhotep II, then abandoned in the 15th century BCE ? Avaris being called Ramesses in the Bible is because Pi-Ramesses was nearby at Qantir and Avaris came to be a suburb, the final version of the story being crafted circa 562 BCE in the Exile ? The problem ? Biblical traditions have Moses confronting the Pharaonic court not at Rameses but at Zoan, which was not a Pharaonic capital until under Smendes ca. 1060 BCE. Clearly, the biblical account is "muddled" like Manetho.

If an Exodus is correctly being recalled under Amenhotep II, who are the settlers of Iron I Canaan and Transjordan, identified by many scholars with the Israelites ?  If the settlers are Arameans from northern Syria, then the "Late Bronze Age" Exodus preserved in the Bible is most likely a Canaanite tradition. The intermarriages which occurred later in Iron I between Arameans and Canaanites (cf. Judges 3:1-6) fused two origins stories, one from Egypt, the other from Transjordan, into one by Iron II times ?

Update 19 June 2005:

Rosen on the "absence" of an Israelite Late Bronze Age presence in the Negev:

"The virtual absence of remains from the Middle Bronze or Late Bronze Ages in this area [the Lower Negeb] and the rest of the Negeb contradict the 38 year Israelite settlement recounted in Exodus. Similar problems attend virtually all attempts to identify specific sites (especially Mt. Sinai) in the Central Negeb with places mentioned in Exodus." (Vol. 4. p.1064. Steven A. Rosen. "Negeb."David Noel Freedman. Editor. The Anchor Bible Dictionary. New York. Doubleday. 1992)

In addition to Rosen's above observation of an ABSENCE of a Late Bronze Age presence (1540-1200 BCE) of Israel in the Negev is that field surveys undertaken by the Israeli Department of Antiquities in the 1970's through 1980's FAILED to find a presence of Israel in the Hill Country of Canaan from the Galilee to the Negev in the same time period. That is to say, those scholars arguing for an Exodus circa 1446 BCE on the basis of 1 Kings 6:1 statement of 480 years elapsing from the Exodus to Solomon's 4th year have _no archaeological proof_ of Israel's presence in these areas. The Galilee to the Negev is pretty much DEVOID of any human occupation, sedentary or non-sedentary. If Israel settled in this area under Joshua circa 1400 BCE as maintained by some Conservative Bible scholars, where's the archaeological proof ?

This area  -Galilee to the Negev-  however, is extensively occupied beginning with Iron IA (circa 1230-1150 BCE). Seeking "archaeological proof" of the Bible's portrayal of Israel under Joshua, seizing and controling the Hill Country of Canaan from the Galilee to the Negev, most archaeologists understand this occured in Iron IA, as suddenly over 300+ villages and hamlets of stone appear in this region and in Moab too. 

Is there a "way out" for Conservative scholars ? Perhaps. They "might" argue that from 1400 to 1200 BCE Israel dwelt in tents which leave no traces of an occupation, and for unknown reasons, circa 1200 BCE, Israel began building hamlets and villages of stone. The problem ? Why would Israel wait almost 200 years before building villages ? 

Professor Finkelstein on the ABSENCE of an extensive Late Bronze Age presence in the Hill Country of Canaan from the Galilee to the Negev:

"However Late Bronze Age sites are virtually absent not only in my own southern Samaria survey, but also in the surveys which have been carried out in the Galilee (Frankel 1994; Gal 1992:56), in the the hill country north of Jerusalem (Finkelstein and Magen 1993) and in the Judaean hills (Ofer 1994). In all these regions, which were surveyed by different teams, hundreds of survey days have revealed very little evidence for sedentary sites of this period, and almost no evidence for non-sedentary activity." (p. 25. "The Archaeology of Nomads, Survey Methods." Israel Finkelstein. Living on the Fringe, the Archaeology and History of the Negev, Sinai and Neighboring Regions in the Bronze and Iron Ages. Sheffield, England. Sheffield Academic Press. 1995, 2001)

For a more detailed account of the "absence" of a Late Bronze Age presence in the lands allotted the Tribe of Benjamin please click here.

Stager found fault with Finkelstein's notion that Nomads wandering the periphery of Canaan settled down to become Israel in Iron I and become sedentary. His concern was that the archaeological data suggested a massive influx of peoples and he couldn't accept that such numbers could come from the impoverished Late Bronze Age Canaanite city-states or Nomads wandering about on Canaan's periphery.

Stager provides more details on the number of Late Bronze Age vs. Iron Age sites and the estimated populations:

"The Israeli archaeologist [Finkelstein] has adapted and updated Alt's nomadic hypothesis to explain the hundreds of new settlements that have been recorded in archaeological surveys. But it is difficult to believe that all of these new founded, early Iron I settlements emanated from a single source, namely, sheep-goat pastoralism. In symbiotic relations the pastoral component rarely exceeds 10 to 15 percent of the total population. Given the decline of sedentarists in Canaan throughout the Late Bronze Age, it seems unlikely that most of the Iron Age settlers came from indigenous pastoralist backgrounds." (p. 139. Lawrence E. Stager. "Forging An Identity, The Emergence of Ancient Israel." M.D. Coogan, editor. The Oxford History of the Biblical World. New York. 1998)

"In the nine areas surveyed, 88 Late bronze Age sites occupy a built-up area of more than 200 hectares (500 acres), for an estimated total population of about 50,000. In the same areas there are 678 Iron Age I settlements, each site being a hectare or less, for a total of about 600 hectares (nearly 1,500 acres), with an estimated 150,000 inhabitants...633 or 93% of these Iron Age I sites are new foundations, usually small, unwalled villages. Most of these new settlements are located in the highlands or plateaus on both sides of the Jordan river. Settlement is especially dense in the territories of Manesseh and Ephraim in the west and in Gilead and Moab in the east, both "frontiers" having been sparsely settled in the Late Bronze Age. This extra-ordinary increase in occupation during Iron I cannot be explained only by natural population growth of the few Late Bronze Age city-states in the region: there must have been a major influx of people into the highlands in the 12th and 11th centuries BCE." (p.134. Lawrence E. Stager. "Forging An Identity, The Emergence of Ancient Israel." M.D. Coogan, editor. The Oxford History of the Biblical World. New York. Oxford University Press. 1998)

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