Historical evidence for Moses and the Exodus

Discussion in 'Sacred Scripture' started by Scottish Knight, Dec 31, 2012.

  1. Scottish Knight

    Scottish Knight Well-Known Member

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    I've been reading the book "A test of time" by the archeologist, David Rohl who presents the archeological evidence for these biblical events. I found this useful summary of the information online (easie than me retyping all the chapter :p ) I think this should maKe those people who thinK these stories have no basis in hIstory to thinK again:

    Moses and The Israelites
    One of the most troubling problems for biblical archaeologists was the lack of archaeological evidence for Moses and the Israelites in Egypt. Prior to the Exodus, there were hundreds of thousands of Israelites in Egypt, yet little or no evidence of their existence has been found, even though the sojourn is recorded as lasting for centuries in the Scriptures!

    The biblical chronology dates the birth of Moses to around 1527 BC. In the new chronology of Egypt, the pharaoh on the throne of Egypt was Neferhotep I of the 13th Dynasty.
    The early Christian historian Eusebius in his work Evangelicae Preparationis' quotes from a book Peri Ioudaion' (Concerning the Jews) by the Jewish historian Artapanus. This work of Artapanus has not survived down to the present but is also quoted in Clement's Stromata'. Artapanus, writing in the 3rd century BC, had access to ancient records in Egyptian temples and perhaps even the famous Alexandrian library of Ptolemy I.
    Artapanus writes that a pharaoh named Palmanothes was persecuting the Israelites. His daughter Merris adopted a Hebrew child who grew up to be called prince Mousos. Merris married a pharaoh Khenephres. Prince Mousos grew up to administer the land on behalf of this pharaoh. He led a military campaign against the Ethiopians who were invading Egypt; however, upon his return, Khenephres grew jealous of his popularity. Mousos then fled to Arabia to return when Khenephres died and lead the Israelites to freedom. It may be only a Mosaic story with similarities to the biblical account, yet the only pharaoh with the name Khenephres was Sobekhotep IV, who took the name Khaneferre at his coronation. He reigned soon after Neferhotep I of the 13th Dynasty, as mentioned above, the pharaoh in power at Moses' birth!
    Josephus in his Antiquities of the Jews', with access to very old manuscripts and writing in AD 93, also mentioned Moses' Ethiopian or Ku[bless and do not curse][bless and do not curse][bless and do not curse][bless and do not curse]e war. Here, Moses led an Egyptian army down the Nile valley, past the Third Cataract, deep into Kush (modern Ethiopia). In the British Museum is a stela (page 261, fig. 289) which tells of a 13th Dynasty pharaoh undertaking a campaign south into the region of Kush. That pharaoh is none other than Khaneferre, the step-father of Moses according to Artapanus. He is the only 13th Dynasty pharaoh who is recorded as having campaigned into Upper Nubia or Ethiopia. At Kerma on the Nile an official Egyptian building was found, outside of which was discovered a statue of Khaneferre, so dating this building to the 13th Dynasty. This is many hundreds of kilometres south of the known boundaries of 13th Dynasty Egypt and may have been a governor's residence'. It would have been built to secure Egyptian interests in the area after the military victory of the Egyptians led by Moses, as this was the only Ku[bless and do not curse][bless and do not curse][bless and do not curse][bless and do not curse]e war at that time with Egypt. As Moses was a prince of Egypt and was 40 years old according to the Bible when he fled to Arabia, he could certainly have led this military operation - an Israelite leading an Egyptian army to war! If this part of Josephus' account is true then it adds weight to the rest of his account of the life of Moses and also gives us some firmer evidence of the existence of this charismatic leader!
     
  2. Scottish Knight

    Scottish Knight Well-Known Member

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    Avaris
    Excavations have been continuing for over 30 years near the Egyptian village of Tell ed-Daba. Here in the Nile Delta region, a large Middle Bronze Age settlement has been uncovered. This is the region of Goshen and the excavation is at the location of the biblical city of Raamses or Pi-Ramesse, the city of Ramesses II (Exodus 1:11). Settlement here spans a period from the 12th to the 20th Dynasties of Egypt. The ancient city at its peak covered an area of ten square kilometres, making it one of the largest cities of the ancient world. It existed for 800 years before being abandoned, when its stones was used to build Tanis.

    The city of Pi-Ramesse or Raamses is, of course, famous because it was here that the early Israelites settled as they sojourned in Egypt and here also that they were enslaved. Raamses, however, was not the original name for the city built by the Israelites but as discussed earlier, was a later redaction. The city of Pi-Ramesse was indeed built by the 19th Dynasty ruler Ramesses II (the Great) but, below it, the Austrian team led by Manfred Bietak uncovered a much older city called Avaris which was the actual city built by the Israelites, long before any pharaoh Ramesses had ever reigned.
    Avaris was built on a series of sandy hillocks to avoid the annual floodwaters of the Nile. The people who lived in Avaris, however, were not Egyptian but Asiatic Palestinian or Syrian.
    The finds there included numerous pottery fragments of Palestinian origin. Several factors about the graves were particularly fascinating:-
    • 65% of the burials were of children under 18 months of age, the normal for this period being 20-30%. Could this be due to the killing of the male Israelite children by the Egyptians, recorded in Exodus 1:22?
    • A disproportionately high number of adult women as opposed to adult men are buried here, again pointing to the slaughter of male Israelite babies.
    • There are large numbers of long-haired Asiatic sheep buried which indicate these people to be shepherds.
    • Large numbers of weapons found in the male graves indicate the warlike nature of the people.
    The continuing archaeological discoveries here in the ancient city of Avaris mirror exactly the early Israelites revealed in the Old Testament. For two centuries no evidence was found for the Israelites when looking in the strata of the 19th Dynasty. Now that the chronologies have begun to be amended and the sojourn in Egypt placed in the 12th and 13th Dynasties, we have a wealth of archaeological evidence corroborating the biblical account.
    Before Moses, the Bible records that the Israelites were enslaved by their Egyptian hosts (Exodus 1:8-14). In the Brooklyn Museum (p.276, fig. 310) resides a papyrus scroll numbered Brooklyn 35:1446 which was acquired in the late 19th century by Charles Wilbour. This dates to the reign of Sobekhotep III, the predecessor of Neferhotep I and so the pharaoh who reigned one generation before Moses. This papyrus is a decree by the pharaoh for a transfer of slaves. Of the 95 names of slaves mentioned in the letter, 50% are Semitic in origin. What is more, it lists the names of these slaves in the original Semitic language and then adds the Egyptian name that each had been assigned, which is something the Bible records the Egyptians as doing, cf. Joseph's name given to him by pharaoh (Genesis 41:45). Some of the Semitic names are biblical and include:-
    • Menahem - a Menahem is recorded as the 16th king of Israel in 743-738 BC
    • Issachar and Asher - both Patriachs of Israel and sons of Jacob.
    • Shiprah - the name carried by one of the Israelite midwives who were instructed in Exodus 1:15-21 to kill Israelite newborn males.
    That 50% of the names are Israelite means that there must have been a very large group of them in the Egyptian Delta at that time, corroborating the testimony of Exodus 1:7 which alludes to how numerous the Israelites became. Also, the female slaves outnumber the male slaves on the papyrus by about 3 to 1, again hinting at the culling of male Hebrew children. There was no military campaign into Palestine in the 13th Dynasty to account for these large numbers of slaves.
    The Tenth Plague to be sent on Egypt just before the Exodus was the plague on the first-born, recorded in Exodus 12:29,30. At the end of stratum G/1 at Tell ed-Daba or the ancient city of Avaris (p.293), archaeologists found shallow burial pits into which the victims of some terrible disaster had been thrown. These death pits were not carefully organised internments; the bodies were simply thrown in on top of one another. Could these be the burial pits of the first-born Egyptians? What is more, immediately after this disaster, the remaining population left Avaris en masse; this fits perfectly with the Exodus of the Israelites following the final terrible plague.
    A completely new settlement of Avaris by a purely Asiatic people occurs approximately 50 years after the Exodus. These people are not Egyptianised' like their predecessors the Israelites who had resided in Egypt for many generations. These are identified in Egyptian history as Hyksos hordes from Arabia - the biblical Amalekites. They invaded Egypt at the end of the 13th Dynasty, ravaging the country, establishing their own rule and appointing their own king to reign in the north of the country. They received tribute and levy from the rest of the land, dominating Egypt for more than two centuries. Their barbarity is shown in Avaris where ritual burials of young women have been uncovered, evidence of a cruel religious rite. Also, these Hyksos invaders plundered the tombs of previous pharaohs, their tomb relics being found in the Hyksos graves.
    Although not directly confirming the biblical account, it does pose the question as to how these people were able to invade, settle and dominate the most powerful country on earth at that time. The Bible, of course, provides the answer as in Exodus 14:28 it records the complete destruction of Pharaoh's army as the waters closed in over them after Moses parted the sea. Egypt without an army would be completely open to invasion by the Hyksos hordes.
    The identity of the pharaoh of the Exodus is an interesting conundrum. The Bible dates the Exodus to 1447 BC. The new chronology suggests that the pharaoh at that time was Dudimose. A writer in Ptolemaic Egypt called Manetho records the invasion of the Hyksos hordes. He is quoted by Josephus as he writes:
    • "Tutimaos: In his reign, for what cause I know not, a blast of God smote us; and unexpectedly, from the regions of the East, invaders of obscure race marched in confidence of victory against our land (Egypt). By main force they easily seized it without striking a blow and having overpowered the rulers of the land, they then burned our cities ruthlessly, razed to the ground the temples of the gods and treated all our natives with cruel hostility, massacring some and leading into slavery the wives and children of others."
    Tutimaos is of course pharaoh Dudimose. The Hyksos invaders were confident of victory and could seize the land without striking a blow because Egypt's army had perished!
     
  3. Incense

    Incense Active Member

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    Scottish Knight, those were very interesting. I think it is a good evidence that the events in the Bible were not of the imagination of men (I do not think many doubted these but still). Thanks for taking the time to find those!
     
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  4. Old Christendom

    Old Christendom Well-Known Member

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    The word of God stands forever! He will not be mocked!
     
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  5. AnglicanAgnostic

    AnglicanAgnostic Active Member

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    Apparently our friend Rowan Williams has also pointed out that Moses is an Egyptian name from the same root as Raamses. Just another little nudge in the direction of authanticity. :think:
     
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  6. Incense

    Incense Active Member

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    The roots of the name Ramsesse is born of the god of the son Ra and the roots of the name Moses is to draw from or saved from the water...
     
  7. AnglicanAgnostic

    AnglicanAgnostic Active Member

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    Well I failed ancient Egyptian at university:p So let me just quote from Pg 64 of Rupert Shortt's "Rowan's Rule"

    "A recollection of Professor Ernest Nicholson, who marked Rowan's Old Testament papers, is typical of a broadly held view. It was then fashionable for scholars to dismiss the the Exodus narrative (especially the idea that Moses came out of Egypt) as a myth. In his finals scripts, Rowan sabotaged this theory with a simple but devastating observation: that "Moses" is an Egyptian , not a Hebrew name, and shares the same root as "Ramesis' "
     
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