MemberJune 7, 2021 at 10:14 pm
It is important to pay very close attention to the geographical details of the text, both explicit and implied. Goshen is not up NE in the Nile Delta at Tel ed-Daba. It is at the end of the nomads’ route into Egypt, the Way of Shur, which comes directly from the east through Beersheba and Kadesh across the middle of the Northern Sinai (not the Med Sea coast) and enters Egypt along the full length of the Wadi Tumilat. Wadi Tumilat is the only lateral (east-flowing) distributary of the Nile Delta. It terminates in Lake Timsah (‘crocodile’) in the Suez Isthmus. Crocodiles could only have got out to the Suez Isthmus if there was a waterway for the full 60 km from the Delta (the ancient Pelusiac branch) all the way there. There is no geographical or hydrological justification for extending Goshen any further than the Wadi Tumilat valley.
Wadi Tumilat and its surrounding pasturelands were the whole of the Land of Goshen. This can be established from the biblical descriptions in Genesis and Exodus. It is a long thin E-W strip of green that can be clearly seen in satellite images, a convenient corridor into Egypt proper, and occupied throughout human history by Semitic pastoralists who came and went from the border of Egypt to fatten and rest their flocks. They could also trade wool and meat into Egypt for grain and produce and luxury goods. This is all well known to archaeologists and Egyptologists. As Tim covered in the Red Sea Miracle documentaries, Manfred Bietak, the excavator of Avaris, has recently shifted his focus back to the Wadi Tumilat as Goshen, observing that there were overflow lakes along the length of Wadi Tumilat, and that this lake region is referred to as “Gesem” in ancient papyrus records. This is where the Hebrew dwelled for the four generations from Jacob to Moses. They were not elsewhere in the Delta or in Upper Egypt.
MemberJune 8, 2021 at 8:20 pm
Hence, the path of the exodus was directly eastward along the length of Wadi Tumilat towards the Suez Isthmus. Note that the supply-city of Pithom does not feature in the exodus itinerary, only Rameses. Pithom, therefore, was not in the direct line of travel along Wadi Tumilat. As supply cities, both Rameses and Pithom were likely to be at the Delta (west) end of the wadi where they were defensible. They were probably warehouse and customs facilities for trade in food and goods coming in and out of Egypt via Wadi Tumilat. It makes no sense for the Egyptians to store goods out along the wadi where they might be plundered. So both cities were close to the ancient Pelusiac branch of the Nile (silted up since Classical times), with Rameses at the western end of the Wadi Tumilat close to the royal precinct and Pithom possibly further SW where Wadi Tumilat branches off from the Pelusiac and swings eastward. There are a few suitable tels in this area. Goshen was a busy place, populated by nomads, constantly traversed by traders, and controlled by Egyptian troops and border officials.
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