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How long was the sojourn in Egypt?Deborah Hurn updated 10 months, 3 weeks ago 8 Members · 110 Posts
MemberJanuary 1, 2021 at 2:36 pm
In 2019, I published a peer-reviewed journal article in the NEASB by the title of Determining the Precise Length of the Israelite Sojourn in Egypt. This is the most thorough treatment of the topic yet published. In the article, I demonstrate why the attempts of James Hoffmeier (late exodus view) and David Rohl (radical historical/chronological reconstructionism view) to revive the 215-year-sojourn theory simply have no credible foundation whatsoever (though we certainly love them as people and appreciate the good they have done). The sojourn in Egypt lasted 430 years to the very day (Exod 12:40-41, with a correct resolution of the textual variant in 12:40). So while there is always room for healthy discussion, this dispute is one of those that can be deemed as resolvable with 100% certainty (though, of course, many dispute are less than 100% certain in their resolution). My 2019 article is downloadable for free from my academia.edu webpage.
MemberJanuary 3, 2021 at 11:49 am
Doug, I have read your article but didn’t have time to write a ‘custom’ comment on it. I wrote letters on this topic to the editor of an obscure magazine back in 2001, but now when I look for them online the links seems to be broken (404). Lucky I saved the pdfs. I can’t see if we can upload files here, so here is the text of it. It is a much different approach… the pre-academic stage of my life… so it is just my own reasoning and maths, no refs.
By putting the first call to Abram in Ur back to when he was 55 yrs old with 20 yrs in Haran until his father Terah died, I can account for both the 400 and 430 yrs in all texts. Yes, I accept the LXX and SP variants with their “Canaan” and “Goshen”… this makes sense to me on many counts, not least the “four generations” (as per Gen 15:16) from Levi to Moses. I will try to paste the text of these letters below, not sure how the tables will come out.
MemberJanuary 3, 2021 at 12:06 pm
The text of my letter to the editor, June 2001. It looks like the tables will not copy over. If anyone has any tips for copying tables into forums like this let me know. I am now not so sure that the figures for the ages and number of children of the patriarchs are 100% reliable (the implausible population figures for the exodus and wanderings indicate that numbers are prone to corruption) but I think the idea for accommodating the two time-spans (400 and 430 years) for the sojourn as they appear in both OT and NT is sound.
The 430 years of Galatians 3:17
I recently completed a short article on the above subject, and am pleased to see that X [correspondent] has come to the same conclusion regarding the length of the Israelite captivity in Egypt [ref]. The following are a few extra thoughts to add to his conclusions.
The 430 years are usually calculated from when Abraham was seventy-five years of age (Gen. 12:4), for it is argued that the promise of the land as a possession to his singular seed did not occur until Abraham was already in Canaan (Gal. 3:16,17; Gen. 12:7). Nevertheless, there is some disagreement about which of the promises Paul refers to when he cites the words, “And to thy seed” (Gal. 3:16). Some are confident that the first reference to a singular seed occurs in the promise given to Abraham after the sacrifice of Isaac: “and thy seed shall possess the gate of his enemies; and in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed” (Gen. 22:17,18). This promise, however, was given quite late in Abraham’s life, when he was nearly 120 years old. To begin the 430-year countdown to the giving of the Law at that point leaves insufficient time for the various stages set out in the tables below.
The only recorded promise that contains the exact words, “and to thy seed”, was given after Lot separated from Abraham: “for all the land which thou seest, to thee will I give it, and to thy seed for ever. And I will make thy seed as the dust of the earth: so that if a man can number the dust of the earth, then shall thy seed also be numbered” (13:15,16). However, this passage generally speaks of a plural seed, with emphasis on the great number of Abraham’s future descendants. From both Paul’s words in Galatians 3:16,17 and Stephen’s in Acts 7:2-7 it is reasonable to conclude that a promise of the singular seed was made very early in Abraham’s pilgrimage, indeed right at the first, even though this aspect is not so clearly detailed in the first recorded promise (Gen. 12:1-3).
Table 1 gives the usual breakdown of the 430 years. However, the 115-year gap between the death of Jacob and the birth of Aaron seems a little too long when the overlapping generations within it are considered. Kohath, having entered Egypt with his grandfather Jacob (Gen. 46:11), must have been at the very least eighteen years old when Jacob died seventeen years later. Indeed, Kohath had a younger brother, Merari, who also entered Egypt with Jacob, so it is unlikely that Kohath was himself still a baby at the time. Kohath lived for 133 years (Ex. 6:18).
This means, according to Table 1, that Kohath died the year that his grandson Aaron was born (1 + 17 + 115 = 133), or some years earlier if he was more than one year old when Jacob entered Egypt. In those days of longevity, it would be unusual for a grandson not to know his grandfather. Furthermore, in surmising how old Kohath was when Jacob went down into Egypt, we note that Kohath’s father Levi had eight younger brothers who all took children into Egypt, the youngest, Benjamin, having ten sons at the time. This confirms that Levi’s own three sons were probably not among the youngest of the fifty grandchildren of Jacob who entered Egypt, and that Kohath was almost certainly older than one year at the time.
Table 2 resolves the above, and simultaneously accounts for both the 430 years of Galatians 3:17 and the 400 years of Genesis 15:13. The sojourn in Egypt is thereby reduced to 195 years.
Levi would have gone down into Egypt at about the age of forty-nine, being about nine years older than Joseph, who, according to Genesis 41:46,47 and 45:6, was approaching forty at the time (30 + 7 + 2). This calculation is based upon the detail that the first eleven sons of Jacob were all born during the fourteen years from Jacob’s two marriages to his departure from Haran (30:25; 31:41). On the basis of the revised calculation that Israel was 195 years in Egypt, Kohath, the second child of Levi, could have been about eight years old when he entered Egypt. Since he lived to 133 (Ex. 6:18), it can then be calculated that he died about seventy years before the Exodus (195 + 8 = 203 – 133 = 70), at which point Aaron would thus have been about thirteen, since he was eighty-three at the Exodus (Ex. 7:7). Amram lived to 137 years (6:20), and, if Kohath begat Amram at about the age of forty, following on from the above calculation, Amram would have died about twenty-five years before the Exodus. Thus the known life-spans fit more comfortably into an Egyptian period of 195 years.
MemberJanuary 3, 2021 at 12:09 pm
Here is Table 1, but deformatted 🙁
Table 1 The usual calculation of the 430 years
Abram enters Canaan at 75 (Gen. 12:4), dies at 175 (25:7), Isaac 75 (21:5)… 100 yrs
Jacob then 15 (from 25:26), enters Egypt at 130 (47:9)… 115 yrs
Jacob dies at 147 (47:28)… 17 yrs… 17 yrs
115-year gap to make up 430 years… 115 yrs… 115 yrs
Aaron born 83 years before the Exodus (7:7)… 83 yrs… 83 yrs
Totals… 430 yrs… 215 yrs
MemberJanuary 3, 2021 at 12:11 pm
Here is Table 2, also deformatted 🙁
Table 2 Revised calculation of the 430 years
Abram called in Ur at age 55 (Acts 7:2-7), goes to Haran
Abraham leaves Haran at age 75 (Gen. 12:4)… 20 yrs
Covenant with Abraham at age 85 (ch. 15, 16:3) 10 yrs. (400 years remain, 15:13)… 10 yrs… (400 years remain, 15:13)
Abraham dies at 175 (25:7), Isaac 75 (21:5)… 90 yrs
Jacob then 15 (from 25:26), enters Egypt at 130 (47:9)… 115 yrs
Jacob dies at 147 (47:28)… 17 yrs… 17 yrs
95-year gap to make up the 430 years 95 yrs… 95 yrs… 95 yrs
Aaron born 83 years before the Exodus (Ex. 7:7)… 83 yrs… 83 yrs
Totals… 430 yrs… 195 yrs
MemberJanuary 3, 2021 at 12:34 pm
And then there is this follow-up letter from Oct 2001. Again, this is 20 yrs ago before my tertiary study, so I would not frame my argument quite so confidently or ‘religiously’, but I think some of the points are still sound.
The sojourn of Israel in Egypt
Y [correspondent] makes a vigorous case for a 430-year sojourn of Israel in Egypt (Aug. 2001, p. 323), concerning which I would like to make the following comments.
The proposal that the 430 years of Exodus 12:40,41 includes the patriarchal sojournings is difficult to avoid in the light of Galatians 3:16,17. The ‘age of promise’ [I since found out this term appears in Keefe, E. “The Duration of Israel’s Sojourn in Egypt.” M.Th, Grand Rapids Baptist Theological Seminary, 1980.] began with the promises to Abraham (Gen. 12:1-3), and the ‘age of law’ began with Moses and the Exodus. By beginning the 430 years with the last promise to Jacob instead, Y [correspondent] implies that the years in Egypt are to be considered as some kind of unassigned hiatus between these ages. As the ‘age of law’ was succeeded by the ‘age of grace’ in Christ without any such interval, it makes better sense to reckon the 430 years from Abraham’s calling in Ur until his seed were put under law by Moses. By this means also, the remaining 400 years after the covenant was given to Abraham at age eighty-five can be seamlessly and accurately accounted for (15:13).1
The additional words “and in Chanaan”, as they appear in the Septuagint translation and the Samaritan Pentateuch (Ex. 12:40), at the very least represent to us the understanding of the scholars at the time, and this position is not necessarily excluded by the majority rendition of the verse. In regard to the Jewish scholars who produced the Septuagint in Alexandria in about 300 B.C., theirs would have to be one of the earliest learned ‘opinions’ available.
Only if missing links are supplied elsewhere in Scripture can we say that the case for an incomplete genealogy is proven. There can be no reasonable doubt that the Levi-Kohath-Amram-Moses genealogy is continuous and not selective. This direct sequence is provided in Exodus 6:16-20, Numbers 26:57-59 and twice in Chronicles with particular clarity (1 Chron. 6:1-3; 23:6, 12,13). In none of these is there an indication that Amram was a remote ancestor of Moses; indeed, with the naming of his wife, Jochebed, and the words “and she bare unto Amram Aaron and Moses, and Miriam their sister”, the conclusion on this matter is inescapable (Num. 26:59).
In seeking to harmonise all passages of Scripture relevant to any issue, the preferred solution is that which does not minimise or deny a majority of texts…. In this case there is adequate justification in Galatians 3:16,17 to include the patriarchal era within the 430 years of Exodus 12:40,41, thereby doing no violence to the established genealogies.
Over a period of many decades, the generations of various lines from Jacob did not, of course, remain synchronised, owing to early and late begettals.2 Hence, Gershom, the fifth from Jacob through Levi (Jacob-Levi-Kohath-Amram- Moses-Gershom), and Bezaleel, the seventh from Jacob through Judah (Jacob-Judah-Pharez- Hezron-Caleb-Hur-Uri-Bezaleel), were both in the generation of the Exodus. In regard to the number of generations since the nation entered Egypt, however, Gershom was only the third after Kohath, and Bezaleel but the fourth after Hezron, as one might expect from the four generations of Genesis 15:16, both Kohath and Hezron having entered Egypt as children (Gen. 46:11,12).
The list of descendants of Ephraim in Chronicles is demonstrably damaged and cannot be used for the purpose of a generation tally (1 Chron. 7:20-27). Shuthelah, Bered, Tahath, Eladah and Zabad are introduced in the text as though they were successive generations from Ephraim, with the names Shuthelah and Tahath appearing twice.3 It soon becomes apparent that they could not have been, for Ezer and Elead, the last names in the sequence, were clearly original sons and not descendants in the seventh generation from Ephraim. They were slain by men of Gath,4 and Ephraim, having mourned them, promptly begot another son, Beriah, in their stead. There follows another list of names, most of them suffixed by the same word bno (‘his son’), terminating in Joshua, the leader of the conquest of Canaan. The passage is altogether confusing, and it takes some thought to decide what may be meant.5
From the list of families (clans) of Israel at the Jordan, it is established that Shuthelah, Bered (or Becher) and Tahath (or Tahan) were brothers, original sons of Ephraim (Num. 26:35-37). As to the other names, it is very uncertain which generation(s) they belong to. The final sequence Ammihud-Elishama-Nun-Joshua is mostly verified elsewhere in Scripture (Num. 1:10; 13:8), and can be accepted as consecutive. The names between Beriah and Ammihud are, however, unattested elsewhere, and may be no more than brothers of Ammihud, as warranted by the use of the term ‘his son’ earlier in the same genealogy.
Thus the sequence from Ephraim to Joshua may be reduced from nine generations to five: Ephraim – Beriah -Ammihud- Elishama -Nun – Joshua. Bearing in mind that it was known in these times to beget a first son at any age from fifteen to eighty, these generations are reasonably aligned with the sequence Kohath-Amram- Moses-Gershom. Elishama, Ephraim’s tribal chief at the time of the Exodus, was probably around Moses’ age. Both Nun and Joshua would fall between Moses’ and Gershom’s ages, Joshua being a young man at the Exodus and Gershom apparently still a child (Ex. 4:20).
I have not here addressed the objections in regard to the numbers involved in the Exodus. This is a very large and complicated subject, which needs separate treatment (see p. 402). I find Y’s strongest point to be in the matter of definition, when he points out that the term ‘sons of Israel’, bene yisrael (Ex. 12:40), could not include the founders of the nation, Abraham, Isaac (and Jacob). I find this objection, though pertinent, not strong enough in itself to overthrow all the other indicators as outlined in earlier correspondence and above. I surmise that the term ‘sons of Israel’ was used of the ‘nation of promise’ in general, and distinguished them from the Arabian tribes in a way that the terms ‘sons of Abraham’, ‘sons of Isaac’ or even ‘Hebrews’ could not. In the same way, we often speak broadly of the history of ‘the Jews’, by which term, technically, all tribes but Judah should have been excluded.
1. See letter and tables, June 2001.
2. At the time of the Exodus, for example, Aaron (83) had at least one grandchild (Ex. 6:25), whereas Moses (80) had but a young family (4:20). The age of paternity seems to have been widely variable in ancient times, for Benjamin entered Egypt with his ten sons (or eight sons and two grandsons, cf. Num. 26:40) at about the age of thirty-three (Gen. 46:21; cf. 30:25; 31:41; 35:16-18). [not sure about that now!]
3. “And the sons of Ephraim; Shuthelah, and Bered his son, and Tahath his son, and Eladah his son”, etc.
4. It is a curiosity that sons of Ephraim, born and bred in Egypt, were killed by men of Gath when they went to Philistia to steal cattle. This indicates a time when the Hebrews in Goshen were still able to come and go, and must have been before the pharaoh arose “which knew not Joseph”.
5. A daughter, Sherah, is also listed (v. 24), and to her is attributed the building of Beth-horon, a town in Ephraim’s inheritance. This, of course, could only have been after the conquest, and yet the genealogy is still leading up to Joshua, son of Nun.
MemberJanuary 5, 2021 at 3:06 am
In support of the idea that Abram was first called aged 55 yrs in Ur of the Chaldees are details in the patriarchal history:
Gen 11:27-32 JPS Now these are the generations of Terah. Terah begot Abram, Nahor, and Haran; and Haran begot Lot. (28) And Haran died in the presence of his father Terah in the land of his nativity, in Ur of the Chaldees. (29) And Abram and Nahor took them wives: the name of Abram’s wife was Sarai; and the name of Nahor’s wife, Milcah, the daughter of Haran, the father of Milcah, and the father of Iscah. (30) And Sarai was barren; she had no child. (31) And Terah took Abram his son, and Lot the son of Haran, his son’s son, and Sarai his daughter-in-law, his son Abram’s wife; and they went forth with them from Ur of the Chaldees, to go into the land of Canaan; and they came unto Haran, and dwelt there. (32) And the days of Terah were two hundred and five years; and Terah died in Haran.
Act 7:2-4 NRSV And Stephen replied: “Brothers and fathers, listen to me. The God of glory appeared to our ancestor Abraham when he was in Mesopotamia, before he lived in Haran, (3) and said to him, ‘Leave your country and your relatives and go to the land that I will show you.’ (4) Then he left the country of the Chaldeans and settled in Haran. After his father died, God had him move from there to this country in which you are now living.
So, Abram’s father Terah took Abram his son and Lot his grandson and left Ur for Canaan. Right from the beginning in Ur, therefore, there was a divine calling to migrate to Canaan (cf. Gen 15:7). Reading between the lines, it seems that when the family arrived in Haran, Terah didn’t want to go further, so they dwelt there until he died. Perhaps the initial calling was to both Terah and Abram in Ur, but Terah lost momentum/faith. When he died in Haran, Abram was then free to continue on and obey the calling. Nahor, however, did not continue on to Canaan, and his descendants in Haran later supplied wives to Abram’s son Isaac and grandson Jacob.
Note that Abram and Lot had gained possessions and persons in Haran:
Gen 12:5 NRSV Abram took his wife Sarai and his brother’s son Lot, and all the possessions that they had gathered, and the persons whom they had acquired in Haran; and they set forth to go to the land of Canaan.
This takes time. These proposed 20 years in Haran anticipate (echo) Jacob’s 20 years in Haran when he fled from Esau and over that time acquired 4 wives, 11 sons, and a lot of livestock. From these texts combined, I think it is eminently reasonable to suppose that the extended family spent 20 years in Haran.
Thus, the 30-year difference between the 430 years from the first calling in Ur of the Chaldees (involving both Terah and Abram) and the 400 years (involving only Abram) in Canaan thus consists of 20 yrs “dwelling” in Haran and another 10 years “dwelling” in Canaan until Abram received the second promise (the covenant) at age 85 (Gen 15; 16:3). This seems to be a very simple solution for what has become a difficult problem. Surely I am not the only one to have suggested this.
MemberJanuary 8, 2021 at 8:01 pm
“Now the sojourning of the children of Israel”…
Does this imply the the children of Jacob and not Abraham himself or Issac? –You you know since God named Jacob Israel, (and Abram Abraham).
Did the bible mean to convey the idea “The sojourning of the children of Israel AND THEIR ANCESTORS”?
MemberJanuary 8, 2021 at 8:20 pm
James, up the thread I have this para:
“I find Y’s [correspondent’s] strongest point to be in the matter of definition, when he points out that the term ‘sons of Israel’, bene yisrael (Ex. 12:40), could not include the founders of the nation, Abraham, Isaac (and Jacob). I find this objection, though pertinent, not strong enough in itself to overthrow all the other indicators as outlined in earlier correspondence and above. I surmise that the term ‘sons of Israel’ was used of the ‘nation of promise’ in general, and distinguished them from the Arabian tribes in a way that the terms ‘sons of Abraham’, ‘sons of Isaac’ or even ‘Hebrews’ could not. In the same way, we often speak broadly of the history of ‘the Jews’, by which term, technically, all tribes but Judah should have been excluded.”
MemberJanuary 9, 2021 at 10:25 am
But still only the descendants of Jacob from the line of Abraham, not including Esau and not including the Ishmaelites? –being that Jacob was named Israel after departing from his uncle’s dominance in Syria; thus I suppose referring to a history of the eventual nation of Israel (not necessarily the state).
Well one things for sure, the whole earth is still suffering from the confusion of Babylon.
MemberJanuary 9, 2021 at 10:38 am
Yes, I think that’s the point… the line that went from Abraham through Isaac to Jacob who was later called Israel. That line does not include Ishmael, Abraham’s son to Hagar, nor the six sons of Keturah, including Midian. Nor does it include Esau, Jacob’s twin. It is hard to think of how else to define that specific line other than bene-yisrael.
MemberApril 13, 2021 at 6:22 pm
You nailed it, Deborah. Here is how I worded the same point in one of my papers:
The choice of the words “children of Israel” is required because Abraham had seven sons who left Canaan and went East, leaving Egyptian territory. Isaac had two sons, of which one named Esau went East, leaving Egyptian territory.
Jacob, given the name “Israel,” was the first of Abraham’s descendants of whom it could be said that all of his descendants endured the sojourn under Misraim until the Exodus.
Thus using the same sense as the author of Hebrews which states that Levi paid tithes to Melchizedek while in the loins of his great-grandfather Abraham, so also, the children of Israel began their sojourn under Misraim in the loins of Abraham on the day he crossed the Euphrates River into Canaan, on the 15th of Nisan, 1921 BC.
The third duration of 450 years given in Acts 13 proves this.
Acts 13:19-20 is usually translated as follows:
“And when He had destroyed seven nations in the land of Canaan, He distributed their land to them by allotment. After that He gave them judges for about four hundred and fifty years, until Samuel the prophet.”
However, in the Greek original text there were no periods. And the word order is different. The Greek word order is as follows:
“And having destroyed nations seven in the land of Canaan he gave as an inheritance of the land of them during years four hundred and fifty and after these things he gave them judges until Samuel the prophet”
It is evident from the context that the 450 years refers to the previous block of events, not the following one. It counts from the “choosing of the fathers” at the weaning of Isaac to the division of the land by Joshua.
Four centuries from Isaac to the Exodus, plus 40 years of wandering in the wilderness, plus 10 years of Joshua’s conquest and division of the land, gives 450 years from the choosing of the fathers until the fulfillment of the land promise, as per Joshua 21:43:
“So the Lord gave to Israel all the land of which He had sworn to give to their fathers, and they took possession of it and dwelt in it.”
MemberApril 13, 2021 at 6:35 pm
“15th of Nisan, 1921 BC.” Really? Where in the world is that stated? That would be pretty hard to state with confidence unless you knew which year the intercalation cycle started. And the one that the modern Jewish calendar uses is not the one used before 300AD – which is not even recognized by the majority of historicists.
Also, be very careful basing anything on different word order of Greek. Koine Greek is not a true dialect. It is “translation” Greek from the Aramaic originals.
MemberApril 13, 2021 at 6:39 pm
1921 BC is Ussher’s date for Abraham’s entry into Canaan. However, the same chronology can be proved from the Egyptian side as well. If you want to see an overview of a view of Egyptian history that agrees with Ussher to the year, see this paper:
MemberApril 13, 2021 at 6:50 pm
Ok. You are aware that Ussher’s dates have been shown to be incorrect in places? I have worked out the timeline myself – using Biblical time cues, NASA lunar and eclipse tables, Jubilee year cycles and a long out of print calendrical document from 1000AD. The date according to that research is 1867 BC – quite a bit different. And there is no way to known the exact day of the week. Like I said, you would have to know the correct intercalation cycle for that year – and Ussher for sure did not figure that out.
MemberApril 13, 2021 at 7:06 pm
Floyd Nolan Jones corrected two mistakes by Ussher. But the two mistakes cancelled each other out.
“That would be pretty hard to state with confidence unless you knew which year the intercalation cycle started”
I don’t need to know the year that the intercalation cycle started, because Exodus 12:40-41 tells me the sojourn lasted 430 years and they left on the same day of the lunar year, Nisan 15, that their forefather had entered “the land of Misraim.” Galatians 3 tells me the forefather who preceded the law by 430 years was Abraham. The Philistines were children of Misraim too, and they controlled Canaan when Abraham arrived there. He also appears to have entered Egypt the same year that he crossed the Euphrates into Canaan. So the “same day” could refer to either his crossing the Euphrates, or his passage into lower Egypt. But either way, the date referred to was Nisan 15.
Abraham went down to Egypt because of famine, helped the Egyptians, was persecuted by the taking of his wife, God sent plagues on the king, and Abraham was sent out with many gifts. His descendants repeated that pattern. But Abraham’s time in Canaan was also under the rule of Misraim’s sons. The four centuries of persecution began in the year of Isaac’s weaning at age 5. Not only did Ishmael mock Isaac, but the Philistines stopped up Abraham’s wells, and he was forced to make a covenant under Abimelech the Philistine.
The land of Misraim was bigger than what we today call “Egypt”. It included the Levant and Libya. That is why the Septuagint translated Exodus 12:41 as the land of “Egypt and Canaan”. Misraim’s land included both Egypt and Canaan from the time of Abraham down to the Exodus.
MemberApril 13, 2021 at 7:14 pm
That’s a great review of the story. But that really has no bearing on historical dating. And intercalation cycle is essential if one wants to anchor this to an actual historical date. Nisan 15 means absolutely nothing. It could have been sometime in March or April – that’s a 60 day window. And again, anything based on Ussher is really not worth discussing.
MemberApril 13, 2021 at 7:27 pm
“And again, anything based on Ussher is really not worth discussing.”
Thanks for disclosing your bias. The argument is not based on Ussher. It agrees with Ussher and can be proved using Egyptian data alone, or Biblical data alone. The two agree with each other and with Ussher, with the exception of his date for the Dispersion, which was 57 years too early.
The point at question was the length of the sojourn based on internal biblical data. You can toss the 1921 date for Abram’s entry into Egypt if you dislike Ussher. But, with all due respect to Dr. Petrovich’s exegesis, the two passages Exodus 12 and Galatians 3 do not allow the long sojourn. Petrovich’s 2019 paper overlooked the fact that Misraim included the Philistines, under whom Abraham was persecuted beginning in the 5th year of Isaac’s life, 400 years before the Exodus. The 430 years date from the first covenant with Abram when he was 75 years old and crossed the Euphrates into Canaan which was ruled by the sons of Misraim, and went down into Egypt, which was also ruled by a different tribe of the sons of Misraim.
MemberApril 14, 2021 at 12:13 am
Interesting re the period of the Judges, Ken. I would be interested in anything you have written on that. I accept that the period of the Judges lasted only four generations, Salmon>Boaz>Jesse>David (as did the Egyptian Sojourn, Levi>Kohath>Amram>Moses), and that the number of years has to be reinterpreted as you have done here. Some of the judges were possibly contemporaries, judging/leading different sections of the Land. Samuel, for example, had a ‘circuit’ (1 Sam 7:16-17). And in his old age he made his sons judges over Israel, which requires that they had regional authority, not universal.
MemberApril 14, 2021 at 9:23 am
I would be happy to share the manuscript of my book, Chronological Framework of Ancient History with you for your review if you are interested. It has seven chapters that work out the chronology of Egypt. It confirms the same major dates as Ussher: 975 for death of Solomon, 1491 Exodus, 1921 entry of Abram into Egypt, 2348 Flood. Please send me a PM.
The paper on Hatshepsut linked below shows that her expedition to Punt occurred in the same year as Solomon’s visit from the Queen of Sheba. It is a single chapter in my book, after the Egyptian chronology was already worked out. It is offered as an overview of our entire chronology of Egypt, as well as a proof that our Egyptian chronology confirms the Ussher-Jones chronology of the Bible.
The section of our book on the period of the Judges makes the case that this period from 1491 to 1063 was the Hyksos/Amalekite domination in Egypt and partially the allied Guti/Arab domination in Akkad/Babylonia. (The Guti domination lasted only about half as long, however.) We have three witnesses that confirm the length of the Hyksos domination was 427 years from the Exodus to the defeat of Khamudi in the 18th year of Ahmose I, and it was 511 and 518 to two final defeats of the Hyksos in Palestine. We date those last two Hyksos defeats as the campaigns of Thutmose III against Megiddo in his 23rd and 30th years.
The first campaign against Megiddo was done under alliance to Solomon about five years before his death, and allowed Solomon to build the walls of Megiddo, which, along with Gezer, was one of the two holdouts of the Canaanites and Amalekites which were never conquered until Solomon’s time. Solomon used Egyptian muscle to conquer both cities.
The year 30 campaign of Thutmose III after Solomon’s death took Megiddo back, and exterminated the last Amalekites in the mountains of Ephraim, installing Jeroboam as his vassal over northern Israel. His campaign in year 31 took the treasure from Jerusalem/Kadesh, and placed Rehoboam under tribute as a vassal.
The Egyptian data confirms the short chronology of Judges to the year. And it does this at multiple points: Saul’s defeat of Apophis, Thutmose I’s campaign to Syria with David against Hadadezer, Hatshepsut’s expedition to Punt matching Solomon’s reception of the Queen of Sheba, Thutmose III’s campaigns to break up Israel into four kingdoms, and Amenhotep’s Ethiopian vizier, Zerah in the failed campaign of his 9th year.
Of course, this is basically Velikovsky’s framework, which Rohl disagrees with. In chronology circles it seems like everybody has a book. Ours attempts to be comprehensive, but the more you study the more you realize how much you don’t know. I have the greatest respect for David Rohl and Douglass Petrovich. I believe that on many points they are correct, but on some important points they’ve gone into the weeds. And the same could probably be said of me.
David Rohl does not believe the Genesis Flood was global. I think this failure to have a bookend for Post-flood history leads his Egyptian chronology to some erroneous conclusions.
Our approach to the chronology of the ancient world was to study the chroniclers for evidence of duration to the Flood and the Tower of Babel. We found a sufficient number of these to pinpoint Babel as being founded in 2233 BC and the Dispersion in 2191 BC. Misraim/Menes became king over the Egyptians in 2191 BC, but did not found his first city until 2188 BC. There are multiple proofs of these dates. Once you have the edges of the jigsaw puzzle then it becomes much easier to put solve the placement of Manetho’s dynasties inside these dates. The paper that I’ve linked to for the Queen of Sheba has some nice charts which make it easier to understand what I’m talking about.
MemberApril 14, 2021 at 12:03 pm
Although I have a book, it deals with dates within the Biblical prophecies that are time based. I did have to do my own world timeline based on Biblical dates in order to fit things into historical context. My timeline is not published. My timeline used only timing found in the Bible (Hebrew/Aramaic only). After researching the history of the Septuagint, I found that can not be relied on for accurate dates and so is excluded. Also, I did not pin things on human derived historical dates – as those constantly change based on new archaeological discoveries and ever shifting scholar bias. Of course, it’s valuable to check the current scholarship to see possible matching dates but I always expect things not to match and it becomes very evident why upon digging into their methods.
It’s also very interesting to study the many timelines published throughout the years. But again, investigating their particular bias and methods, the majority can be outright dismissed very easily. Most have a very anti-semetic bias surprisingly and timing found in the Bible is pushed to the side whenever archaeological “evidence” is used. A lot of times that “evidence” proves flawed over the subsequent years and decades (can you say “Ussher”).
However, each person’s effort is valuable and it’s no small task to gather so many research points and attempt to assemble them into a cohesive whole. But not a single attempt can stand the test of being internally consistent. Of course, I humbly submit that my attempt does meet that test. What are these tests?
1. All dates use timing found exclusively in the Biblical text and are based on plain reading of the text (ie. no allegorical or special definition of terms (“years” mean actual years)). “Biblical text” means Masoretic text and Aramaic Peshitta for various reasons which can not be sufficiently described in this comment.
2. God instituted a time tracking method in the Bible. This is the Sabbatical year and Jubilee year cycle. Israel/Judah did not follow this system for the majority of their existence – hence the Babylonian exile let the Land rest to make up for the missing years (and it wasn’t 70 years as is commonly stated). There are no temple records existing (or publically available) that show when these years were. But there are time cues in the Bible (and within Josephus’ writings) where these can be determined. With absolute certainty, the beginning of a cycle was the year of the Exodus. Almost certain was the dedication of the first temple (since Solomon waited a certain number of years to dedicate the temple after it was built – why did he wait?). If one determines these historical pins, one can extrapolate back to the year of Creation. If that also was Year 1 of the Sabbatical cycle, that’s a very good corroboration that the timeline is correct. My timeline matches this. No other timeline I have come across even deals with this topic.
3. All dates must be accurate to the specific day of the week where given. The Exodus narrative gives specific dates for when certain Sabbaths occurred and these are tied to month dates. So it can be determined what day of the week certain events occurred. Any year proposed where these dates could have happened must match this specific calendar day order. All proposed years of the Exodus that I have seen do not match this day order. And in addition, the calendar day order must use the correct intercalation cycle that was in use at that time – which year it was tied to. Basing dates using the modern Jewish calendar intercalation cycle gives incorrect dates. I have verified this based on a long out of print translation (1848) of a text written in 1000AD which described the various intercalation cycles used through out the Jewish history. This was based on scroll information existing then but lost to history. Not only that, but the Jewish intercalation cycle is lunar/solar based and is tied to the particular behaviour of wheat grown in the region. This can also be used to determine the proper year to tie the cycle to. With these 2 data points, I have determined the correct intercalation method. This leads to the proper year of the Exodus. And then the proper year of Creation. And to my surprise and elation, the proposed year of Creation had the day order in the proper place where Nisan 1 occurred on a Thursday – the first full day of the sun/moon and the start of the calendar. Again, not a single timeline I’ve seen deals with this subject and proof. My timeline does meet this proof.
So with at least these 3 proofs, a timeline can be shown to be internally consistent.
As a special note: the fact that the intercalation cycle has been tied to an incorrect year seems like such a small change. However, I’m convinced the dark forces purposely changed this so that history is confused and shrouded and many prophecies are not crystal clear. When this is corrected, almost every timing question is solved.
MemberApril 14, 2021 at 12:42 pm
I would need to read your book or papers to comment in detail, Ron. My first question would be about your assumption #3. That days of the week have to match the month. Eugene Faulstich constructed a chronology using the same assumption that the Roman week we use today was the creation week used by the Hebrews.
I believe that assumption is in error. All of the ancient cultures, Hebrews, Babylon, Assyrians, and Romans originally used lunar weeks. This system was reset on every new moon.
So a given lunar month would begin with the new moon day, the first of the month. The Sabbaths would fall on the 8th, 15th, 22nd, and 29th days of the lunar month. The last “weekend” was either 2 or 3 days depending on sighting of the new moon.
Under this system the feast days always fell on the proper days of the week. The passover lamb slaughter on the 14th was always the 6th day, and the Feast of First Fruits on the 15th was always the Sabbath. Pentecost always fell on the 1st day. Trumpets always fell on the New Moon.
Three references by Philo indicate this calendar was still in use during the first century.
After the Temple was destroyed the Romans switched from an eight day market week, to the repeating seven day week we currently observe. This is what led to the Quartodeciman Heresy in the fourth century. The Quartodecimans said the Apostle John had taught them to observe the remembrance of the Crucifixion on the 14th of the lunar month of Nisan. Under the old Hebrew lunar Sabbath, the first day of the third week always fell on the 16th day of the lunar month.
But under the repeating Roman seven day week, the 14th could fall on any day of the week. The bishop of Rome decreed that Easter had to be observed so that Resurrection Day was on Sunday. The Quartodecimans refused to change, so they were decreed heretics, and Nestorius the Bishop of Constantinople persecuted them. (Later Nestorius was also declared a heretic for completely different reasons.)
Back calculating the 7 day Roman week against lunar dates in Scripture will result in error.
Proof of this is found in the Exodus. They departed Egypt on Nisan 15 which was a Sabbath. But they observed the Sabbath on the 22nd of the second month. The remaining 14 or 15 days of Nisan, added to the 22 days of the second month result in either 36 or 37 days between Sabbaths. That does not work under the Roman week. But, it works perfectly for the lunar sabbath.
The Tabernacle was dedicated on the 1st day of the First Month of the second year. (Exodus 40:2) And the first sacrifices were made on the 8th day (Sabbath) of the first month. (Leviticus 9:1) This requires that the 15th day of the second year was the Sabbath. But the 15th day of the first year (the day they left Egypt) was also the Sabbath. 12 lunar months of 29.5 days is 354 days, which is not divisible by seven. Therefore it cannot fit the Roman week. But 12 lunar months, is 48 lunar weeks, plus 12 new moon days, plus 6 extra new moon days for the 30 days months. (48 x 7) + 12 + 6 = 354 days. Perfect fit.
MemberApril 14, 2021 at 12:50 pm
I have worked out all the dates you refer to several years ago. I’m confident there are no problems with a 7 day week. And specifically with a lunar/solar year system that was in use.
MemberApril 14, 2021 at 1:25 pm
Just rereading your timeline about the Exodus and it hit me where I see your error. It is very common for those who are not familiar with Jewish feast days. Yes, Jewish feast days are termed “Sabbaths”. But they are not a Sabbath connected with the 7th day of the week. This is explicitly separated in Lev 23:3 and 4. Feast days can occur on any day of the week (however, the modern Jewish calendar has rules about moving these around).
So, while Nisan 15 was a Sabbath(First day of Unleavened Bread), it does not necessarily mean it was on Saturday. The beginning of the month was tied to the observation of the New Moon – even though that very first month, God initiated the start of the year without that system in place. Passover always takes place on the Full Moon. This obviously is not tied to any particular day of the week. So with all the time cues in Exodus, the Passover must have occurred on a Wednesday with the start of the month/year on a Thursday.
Btw, this is exactly why that particular day order is so significant. That specific day order only happens sporadically. I discovered that day order happened during the Exodus, during Creation week, during Jesus Christ’s birth year, year of death/resurrection and very likely His second coming.
MemberApril 16, 2021 at 3:51 pm
With the Roman week, sometimes the Sabbath would fall on the 14th, making it impossible to prepare for the 15th. Also, it would result in the Feast of Pentecost falling on various days of the week, rather than always falling on the first day of the week. With the lunar Sabbath the 15th was ALWAYS a Sabbath, and Pentecost was ALWAYS the first day of the 8th week.
MemberApril 16, 2021 at 5:35 pm
I’m not sure what you point is. Sure. What you say is true. That doesn’t invalidate anything that I wrote or the whole system that was in use. By the time of the Jewish calendar reform in 300 AD, they had instituted all sorts of rules to shift the Sabbaths around. However, there is no evidence this was in place during the Old Testament period. And there is no mention of these exceptions in the Pentateuch. So again, not sure what you are trying to say.
MemberApril 18, 2021 at 7:20 pm
The reason there is no mention of exceptions in the Pentateuch is that they were using the Lunar Sabbath, so there was no need for exceptions. That is the point.
MemberApril 18, 2021 at 8:08 pm
Again, no idea what you are arguing against. I’ve stated the Israelite calendar was luni-solar from the beginning of this discussion. You’re the one that brought up the supposed error of 7 day week. Whatever, guy, not interested in talking in circles with you.
MemberJanuary 3, 2021 at 5:12 pm
Deb, I can state confidently that your take on the Galatians 3 passage does not do justice to the text exegetically. My 2019 article should point you in the right direction, which also will impact your chronological mistakes significantly. Cheers!
MemberJanuary 9, 2021 at 7:04 pm
– One thing for sure. Pictures help. The Patterns of Evidence Wall (sample below) was so helpful during the series. <div>
– Pure text is as abstract as advanced mathematics plastered on the board, without the benefit of a correlating physics question, some vectors and pics.
– This I promise; right or wrong, accompanying visuals tremendously help convey the idea thus lending the assignment of credibility and belief.
MemberJanuary 1, 2021 at 10:51 pm
Hi Doug. We met at ASOR 2018. Can we access your article or are you going to review it here? My question is how you account for the 4 generations from the eisodus to the exodus (i.e. from Levi to Moses).
Gen 15:13-16 NRSV Then the LORD said to Abram, “Know this for certain, that your offspring shall be aliens in a land that is not theirs, and shall be slaves there, and they shall be oppressed for four hundred years; (14) but I will bring judgment on the nation that they serve, and afterward they shall come out with great possessions. (15) As for yourself, you shall go to your ancestors in peace; you shall be buried in a good old age. (16) And they shall come back here in the fourth generation; for the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet complete.”
MemberJanuary 1, 2021 at 11:03 pm
oh oops, didn’t see the last line re your article on your academia page… will have a look
MemberJanuary 1, 2021 at 11:59 pm
Hello, Deb. Thanks for your question about the alleged problem of the “four generations.” If you found my article, you will know that I treat this at some length. I discuss how taking dor as a human “generation” in Gen 15:16 is not the only translational option. I will let the article take over from there, as far as a better way of translating the Hebrew term.
I will add that the singular CRUX PASSAGE for determining the length of the sojourn is Exod 12:40-41, the reasons for which I discuss in the article. Going to any other passage “to solve the question” simply represents nothing but flawed and misinformed application of sound hermeneutics. I’m not saying you are or are not guilty of this. I am simply stating the fact. I even use this passage/issue in the hermeneutics class I teach to show how to interpret the text and solve dilemmas in the proper way.
Hoping this helps,
MemberJanuary 2, 2021 at 10:39 pm
I think this brings out a lot of great points, it doesn’t go for long
MemberJanuary 2, 2021 at 10:57 pm
Brad, actually, this video–which I have seen before and know about as having made its rounds among non-professionals–is highly flawed. It, of course, is a popular promotion of the short sojourn view. As I stated in an earlier post, you really need to read my 2019 NEASB article to get into the issues more deeply. While I simply do not have time at present to pick apart the narrator’s arguments, I especially will draw your attention to the hack-job that is done on the Galatians passage, which is not by any stretch the crux passage that solves the issue. If you are too busy to read my entire article, or find it too technical, please at least read the treatment of the Galatians text offered by a trained exegete in biblical languages. I know: it’s tough to shed a view when we get locked in, but if you are open to learning, I think my article will put you on the right path.
MemberJanuary 2, 2021 at 10:59 pm
Moral of the story: 1 guy + 1 video camera + 1 excellent video editor can do a lot of damage.
MemberJanuary 3, 2021 at 7:57 am
Brad, here is another point. If it makes you (and/or anyone else, for that matter) feel too bogged down to dig deeply into the details of the text of the appropriate biblical passages in the original languages, as you can find in my article, let’s just talk about a few of the problems that a short sojourn has on a practical, grassroots, historical level.
Crack open my 1st book, on Hebrew as the language of the proto-consonantal script. No matter what the naysayers may nay-say, there is irrefutable evidence there that the first Hebrew inscription dates to 1840 BC (Sinai 377). Just so that we don’t leave poor old Sinai 377 standing outside in the winter’s cold alone, there are also more inscriptions from this early time in ancient history: Wadi el-Hol 1 (1834 BC), Wadi el-Hol 2 (1834 BC), the Lahun Bilingual Ostracon (1831 BC), and Sinai 376 (1772 BC).
If suave-video-guy is right about a sojourn in Egypt of 215 years, and we use the conventional date of 967 BC as the year of the beginning of construction of the Temple of He-who-is under Solomon’s rule, and we take the number 479+ years between that event and the exodus as literal and correct (and we should), that means Jacob and his family moved from Canaan to Egypt in 1661 BC. Hmmmmmmm. Notice the monumental problem? That means we have conclusive attestation to Hebrews in Egypt from 111-179 before the Hebrews actually arrived.
Next, as my 2nd book is going to demonstrate persuasively to anyone not already locked into another view for life, Joseph can be identified conclusively–as found in various Middle Egyptian inscriptions that are datable with confidence–as living and serving in Egypt during the 19th century BC. The same is true for Jacob, Ephraim, Manasseh, and Manasseh’s obscure son, Skekem (Josh 17:2). Notice the big problem here? The Israelites are in Egypt way too soon.
Finally, the Ezbet Rushdi Stele, the earliest record of Israelites in Egypt, demonstrates that Joseph, Jacob, and Jacob’s household are living at Avaris (biblical Raamses) in 1873 BC, which is fully datable using the high chronology view of Egyptian history, given that the stele dates itself to Year 5 of Sesostris III (whom my book conclusively proves to be the famine pharaoh). Notice the problem here? We have Israelites in Egypt exactly 212 years before the Israelites arrived (according to the erroneous short sojourn view). Yet if we use the proper numbering of 430 years for the sojourn in Egypt, Jacob would have moved to Egypt in 1876 BC, which is just 2-3 years earlier than the dating of the Ezbet Rushdi Stele. Bingo!
So, if you are a “just give me the practical stuff” kind of guy, there is your stuff. The short sojourn view is utterly unsustainable when thrown into the washing machine for the spin cycle. It needs to go away forever and ever. All the best in your journey of learning!
MemberApril 16, 2021 at 3:53 pm
Dr. Petrovich, with all due respect, your assumption that you have an accurate chronology of Egypt separate from the Bible is based on a few Sothic dating points, which are very thin ice to stand upon.
MemberApril 16, 2021 at 7:21 pm
Ken, with all due respect to you, I’m not sure you know enough about Egyptology or the issues involved to make such a confident assertion as this. Please tell me what are your credentials in the field, as well as the scholars under whom you studied. When I know a bit more about what you know, perhaps I will say more.
MemberApril 16, 2021 at 7:29 pm
Under whom did you write your dissertation, and what courses were part of your comp exams?
MemberApril 16, 2021 at 8:29 pm
Doug, leaving aside the fact that your response to Ken (about PhD and comps) is rude and inappropriate, I will just point out some logic here. Academic qualifications do not bestow truth on an individual’s opinion. If that were the case we would not have scholarly debates in every field. And, as Kuhn points out, the nature of scientific revolution would not be such a bloody and apparently random affair. Amateur enthusiasts and maverick scholars and practitioners operating outside their fields have revolutionised many controversies. These days an amateur can more easily become widely read on a problem and may have more time, greater interest, and a better mind for the task than a practitioner in a field who has to teach students, mark papers, see patients, and run departments. If qualifications made you ‘right’, for example, then you would not be insisting on 430 yrs sojourn in Egypt 🙂
MemberApril 16, 2021 at 10:40 pm
Argumentum ad verecundiam is a logical Fallacy, Dr. Petrovich, as you know perfectly well. I do not argue from credentials, nor do I offer my credentials as a defense. You as a “professional” may safely assume that I know nothing about Egypt whatsoever, and we can argue from there.
I find your work on the origins of Hebrew to be paradigm-shattering and wonderful. And I would agree with your placement of Joseph in the 12th dynasty, although I think Senusret I as Joseph’s Pharaoh is a stronger case than Senusret III due to an inscription from an official in his reign that mentions that nobody went hungry during the years of famine.
Ironically, the 215 year “suave video guy,” Nathan Hoffman, cites you in his defense of the Septuagint chronogeneology numbers.
At any rate, the primary weakness of your argument on this subject is that Abraham took a vassal covenant oath to Abimelech the Philistine, descendant of Misraim, in the same year that Isaac was weaned. The land ruled by the tribes of Misraim in Abraham’s day included Palestine. The Septuagint translation of “Egypt and Canaan” was converting the archaic geography of Abraham’s day to the Greek geography of the third century where the Delta was called Egypt and Palestine was called Canaan.
MemberApril 16, 2021 at 8:13 pm
One more question. Given the fact that there is only one passage in the Bible that offers a specific timeframe going back from the exodus to Jacob’s entry into Egypt, I easily could complain about the choice made by God as the divine co-author (assuming you have a high view of biblical inerrancy to agree), and I could say, “Well, God, this chronological peg you’ve offered stands on very thin ice.”
Personally, I would call such a move extremely arrogant. If God wants to found an extremely important datum on merely ONE passage in the entire Bible (and Galatians 3 simply does not count, so please do not even think of going there), then that’s his jolly prerogative. So the question for you is this: assuming for the sake of argument that “a few Sothic dating points” are all that holds together an accurate Egyptian chronology for Egyptian dynasties 12 AND 18, then how is it not equally arrogant to claim this is dubious, unreliable, or on thin ice?
And yes, I can see right through the snail oil you are attempting to squirt on me.
MemberApril 16, 2021 at 9:35 pm
Wow, Doug. Extremely arrogant? Snail oil? Squirt? Can we have some moderation in language here, please?
Your approach to scripture that privileges one text or datum above all others is methodologically flawed. What is to stop someone from choosing an apparently contrary text and making that the ‘peg’ of their argument? You call God to your side, to your opinion. I don’t know any ‘real’ academics who do that.
If you are going to flick off all challenges to a single number in scripture (whether the 400/430 years for the sojourn or the 480 years for the period from Exodus to ~Monarchy), an appeal to ‘God on my side’ won’t save your argument if there are significant contradictions in chronology.
What about the large numbers of the Hebrew Bible regarding the population of the exodus? There are three totals in Exodus 12:37 and Numbers 1 and 26 which are all about 600k, yet other considerations from both text and history indicate that the travel and sustenance of his amount of people and their livestock is logistically impossible. I can’t recall what your position is on this matter, but are you consistent? What about the known discrepancies between numbers in Kings and Chronicles? You can’t take your stand on both.
MemberApril 16, 2021 at 11:08 pm
I easily could complain about the choice made by God as the divine co-author (assuming you have a high view of biblical inerrancy to agree), and I could say, “Well, God, this chronological peg you’ve offered stands on very thin ice.”
The difference is that I was questioning your reliance on the secular chronology of the 12th dynasty to tell me how to properly interpret scripture about the length of the sojourn. Therefore if you were to make the complaint above, it would not be equivalent at all.
Finally, the Ezbet Rushdi Stele, the earliest record of Israelites in Egypt, demonstrates that Joseph, Jacob, and Jacob’s household are living at Avaris (biblical Raamses) in 1873 BC, which is fully datable using the high chronology view of Egyptian history, given that the stele dates itself to Year 5 of Sesostris III
Unlike your argument here, I generally avoid arguing from Egyptian or Assyrian chronology to Biblical chronology, because my presupposition is that the Scripture is divinely inspired and inerrant in the original autographs. I believe that correct exegesis is the key to Biblical chronology. There are only seven or eight passages in scripture that require interpretation to build a chronology from Cyrus back to Adam. Whereas the chronology of the 12th Dynasty of Egypt is based on so much scholarly speculation that even the conventional scholars have three different chronologies for the period in question, noting that you referenced the “high chronology.”
Your exegetical approach to the question was strong. Leaning on the chronology of the 12th dynasty of Egypt is weak.
Going back to your exegetical approach – your 2019 paper neglected to address the fact that Abimelech was from Misraim, and Abraham was forced into a covenant with Abimelech in the year that Isaac was weaned. The evidence that it was not completely voluntary and that Abraham was the vassal is that Abraham was the one who supplied the sacrificial animals to Abimelech. (Genesis 21)
Unlike others here, I’m not offended, and I don’t mind if you are rude to me. I choose to defend my arguments using logic and rhetoric rather than credentials. If my arguments are invalid I welcome your critique.
MemberApril 24, 2021 at 7:43 pm
I can see right through the snail oil you are attempting to squirt on me.
I do not understand this metaphor. Is “squirting snail oil” a Canadian thing, or maybe a Russian thing? Snail oil is used for skin complexion products today. I have not found any ancient references to it. You have a healthy complexion, Dr. Petrovich. There is no evident need for snail oil.
MemberApril 22, 2021 at 12:15 pm
Petrovich’s work on the origin of Hebrew in the 12th Dynasty is probably one of the most important advances in Biblical archaeology this century. That being said, I think that his chronology would be substantially improved by recognizing the famine occurred under Senusret I, not Senusret III. His preference for Senusret III seems to be based on using Thiele’s date for the Exodus in 1446 and then counting back 400 years to 1846, and finding which 12th Dynasty ruler in the conventional chronology fits. It would make more sense to make historical comparisons to match the details of which 12th Dynasty ruler made Joseph his vizier.
The name Senusret on the Ezbet Rushdi stele does not include the Horus name, which means this stele could date from year 5 of Senusret I, II, or III. The question is why Rushdi attributed this stele to Senusret III rather than either of his predecessors.
If this stele is indeed what Petrovich thinks it is, then for a number of reasons, year 5 of Senusret I is a better fit.
1. Amenemhat I was assassinated, resulting in an investigation. This is partly recorded in the story of Sinhue. Joseph was thrown into prison with the baker and the butler (cupbearer). The fact that the two food providers to Pharaoh were investigated, and one, the cupbearer, was vindicated, suggests that Joseph was in prison with the suspects of attempted assassination by poison. Therefore, Joseph would have been raised to the viziership in the second year of Senusret I, as argued by Ted Stewart.
2. One of the officials of Senusret I named Ameni, (Courville, p. 134) states in his tomb: “No one was unhappy in my days, not even in the years of famine, for I had tilled all the fields in the nome of Mah, up to its southern and northern frontiers. Thus I prolonged the life of its inhabitants and preserved the food which it produces. No hungry man was in it. I distributed equally to the widow as to the married woman. I did not prefer the great to the humble in all that I gave away.” [Emphasis added to the four criteria of the Biblical record.]
3. An Egyptian record states that Lake Moeris was connected to the Nile River, via the canal, in year 9 of Senusret I. (Stewart, p. 124)
4. Since Amenemhat I was assassinated, it would make sense that his son Senusret I would build a temple in his memory. That temple is where this stele was discovered. If Joseph’s dream-reading ability was discovered through the investigation into the assassination of Amenemhat, it would also make sense for Joseph to be involved in building the memorial temple for him.
Petrovich assumes (minute 53) that Sa-Sobek of the Ezbet Rushdi stele later became Sobek-Emhat who was buried next to the temple of Senusret III. However, Sobek, the crocodile god of the Nile, was an extremely common name root in the 12th and 13th dynasties. There is no evidence to directly equate Sa-Sobek of the Ezbet Rushdi stele as the same person as Sobek-Emhat, other than assumption.
Down identified Amenemhat IV as possibly being Moses. His tomb was left unfinished. This fits the known facts fairly well, because Sobeknefrue his “sister” ruled four years after his disappearance, and then the 12th dynasty died without an heir. This suggests that Sobeknefrue had no other children, which would fit the Bible’s adopted mother of Moses, who was barren. If Amenemhat IV was Moses, then the Exodus occurred 40 years after his disappearance. He disappeared four years before the 12th Dynasty ended with no heir.
Stela Cairo 205 reads “Year 10 of Senusret I = Year 30 of Amenemhat I.” (Stewart, p. 80) Therefore Senusret’s sole-rex started in Amenemhat’s Year 20.
The Turin Canon gives 213 years for the length of the 12th dynasty. If we count back from the death of Sobeknefrue, and add 34 years (40-6), and then subtract the sole-reign of Amenemhat I (10) and the first eleven years of Senusret I, we get about 216 years from the arrival of Jacob in the second year of the famine in the eleventh year of Senusret I until the Exodus, 34 full years after the death of Sobeknefrue. This fairly closely matches the 215 year short-sojourn in Egypt, found by Ussher and Jones.
A Revised 12th Dynasty Chronology
In this reconstruction:
Sesostris I / Senusret I was Moeris, the pharaoh of Joseph, who began the canal projects to irrigate Egypt and capture the flood waters in the lake at Fayum. (The canal project to Fayum continued all the way until Amenemhat IV, the last male ruler of the dynasty.) According to Ginzberg, Sesostris I died at the age of 177, about 32 years after he made Joseph vizier.
Joseph continued as vizier for Amenemhat II and Sesostris II, and was probably the author of the wisdom literature of Ptah Hotep.
Sesostris III was born after Joseph died, so he was the Pharaoh “who knew not Joseph” and he made the decree to slay the firstborn in the year he came back from his conquest of the Levant, 86 years before the Exodus. The Legends of the Jews mentions that the Pharaoh of the Oppression held council about the growing strength of the Hebrews 130 years after Jacob entered Egypt, (Ginzberg, Legends of the Jews, Vol. II, §21) and after that council, the Oppression lasted 86 years until the Exodus. (Ginzberg, Vol. II, §28)
Amenemhat III was also a Pharaoh of the Oppression but apparently halted the policy of killing babies when his daughter adopted baby Moses. His daughter Sobeknefrue was married to Kenephres, according to Artapanus, who can probably be identified as Ka-nefer-re Sobek-hotep of Dynasty 13. She was barren and adopted Moses.
Sobeknefrue, daughter of Amenemhat III, reigned a little less than twelve years total, eight of which were co-reign with her “son” Amenemhat IV.
Amenemhat IV was Moses, who co-reigned with Sobeknefrue the first eight years of her reign before he fled Egypt.
In this reconstruction, which obviously contradicts the conventional chronology of Egypt, I have Dynasties 5-6 reigning in Memphis in parallel to 11-12 reigning in Thebes, though they had a court at Zoan in the Delta. Pepi II became the high king over Egypt from the death of Sobeknefrue, and he died shortly before God called Moses to return to Egypt. So his son, Merenre II, ended up being the Pharaoh killed in the Red Sea, while Concharis / Ka-ankh-ra Sobekhotep, of the 13th dynasty was also killed, possibly in the night of the angel of death, in his 5th year, according to the Book of Sothis.
Unas of Dynasty 5 Also Mentioned the Famine
Counting back from Merenre II about 215 years comes to Unas, the last king of Dynasty 5 in Memphis, who also recorded a 7 year famine in his reign. This also helps to confirm that Dynasties 5-6 of Memphis were parallel to 11-12 in Thebes, and they both experienced and noted the same seven year famine.
It also fits with Abraham
Counting back from the death of Merenre II by 430 years brings us to the 5th year of Khufu, who would be one of three kings in Egypt when Abram visited there.
Dynasties 3-8 all ruled in Memphis consecutively, with a three year civil war between Dynasties 4 and 5.
Manetho states the 6th dynasty lasted 203 years (Waddell, pp. 55, 57) thus ending in 1479 BC, twelve years after the death of Merenre II.
According to the Turin Canon, the 5th Dynasty lasted 141 years. And the 4th dynasty lasted 100 years before the War of Usurpation, which lasted two years.
Summing these, and subtracting the twelve years of Nitocris, we find that Khufu’s reign began 435 years before the death of Merenre II in the Exodus, which puts Abraham’s visit to Egypt in the fourth year of Khufu’s reign. And that also puts the accession of Khufu in the same year as Chedorlaomer’s first campaign, which may have reached Egypt. Thus the 430 years of the “sojourn of the children of Israel in Misrayim” matches up in both the Bible and the Egyptian record.
Four Paths for Old and Middle Kingdoms
Darrell K. White and I argue that the Old and Middle Kingdom of Egypt was one period from 2191 to 1491 BC, where Misraim’s sons built five cities in Egypt, each of which had its own dynasty. The Monarchy began in 2191 BC with the Dispersion, but the founding of Thebes and Thinis were in 2188 BC, and Memphis was founded 28 years after the Dispersion in the year of the War of Unification depicted on the Narmer Palette.
Thinis – Dynasties 1-2
Dynasties 1 reigned in Thinis for 263 years, and using Eratosthenes’ 224 year duration for Dynasty 2, it would have ended after the last year of Joseph’s famine in 1702/1701. Since a famine is attributed to the reign of Beby, the last king of Dynasty 2, this appears to be the same famine as that of Joseph. (Courville, Vol. 1, pp. 135-137, 203, 205)
Memphis – Dynasties 3-8
Dynasties 3-6 reigned in Memphis, which was built in the 28th year of Menes/Misraim. The father of the 3rd Dynasty is generally accepted as Khasekhemwy, or Sekhem-Ka. Courville identifies Khasekhemwy as the same person as Kenkenes of the first dynasty. (Courville, Vol. 1, pp. 166-182) This places the start of the 3rd dynasty in Memphis at or near the end of his reign of 31 years in Thinis in about 2036 BC.
Dynasties 7-8, also at Memphis, were after the Exodus during the Amalekite period.
Herakleopolis – Dynasties 9-10
Dynasties 9 reigned in Herakleopolis from 2188 for 408 years until its defeat by Thebes, at the start of Dynasty 11 in 1780. Dynasty 10 continued in Herakleopolis under Theban rule for another 204 years until the return of Sesostris III from his Levant campaign. Sesostris III is known to have “reorganized” Egypt, and it appears he ended this dynasty in the same year he decreed the slaughter of the infants, which was 1577 BC, 86 years before the Exodus.
<b style=”font-family: inherit; font-size: inherit;”>Thebes – Dynasties 11-12
Dynasties 11-12 reigned originally in Thebes, but ended about 34 years before the Exodus. Dynasty 12 began 213 + 34 + 1491 = 1738 BC. Dynasty 11 lasted 43 years from the defeat of Dynasty 9 at Herakleopolis until Amenemhat I usurped the throne starting Dynasty 12. Thus 1738 + 43 = ~1781 for the beginning of Dynasty 11.
<b style=”font-family: inherit; font-size: inherit;”>Dynasty 13 as the viziers in Thebes
Manetho states the 13th Dynasty had 60 kings who ruled from Thebes for 453 years. (Verbrugghe, p. 138) We have a strong synchronism between Kenephres of Dynasty 13, and Sobekneferu of Dynasty 12, which allows us to place Dynasty 13 accurately.
The Sothis King List places the end of Dynasty 12 about 34 years before the Exodus in 1526/1525 BC. It also specifies that the start of Queen Sobekneferu’s (Ramesse Iubasse) co-reign started 39 years (Waddell, p. 237) before that in 1565/1564 BC.
As Courville has shown, her reign probably started with her marriage to Kha-nefer-re Sobekhotep of Dyn. 13, the stepfather of Moses. (Courville, Vol. 1, p. 221.) It is stated that the Kings of Thebes in Dyn. 13 maintained an official residence in Thebes and Bubastis, near Zoan – the 12th dynasty Egyptian Capital, for 153 years and after that only at Bubastis. (Hoeh, Volume 1, Chapter Four, p. 18.)
Kha-nefer-re, now spending his time at the capital with the Queen, apologizes that although born in Thebes, he no longer has time to spend in Thebes. 153 years before the first year of Sobekneferu in 1565/1564 BC is 1717/1716 BC. Thus the start of dynasty 13 can be placed shortly after the start of Sesostris I’s sole-reign in the very same year that Joseph became vizier.
Courville argued that Joseph is found in Dynasty 13 as Yufni, whom he identifies as Mentuhotep, the vizier of Senusret I.
“According to the usual rules, Joseph would appear as Yusef (just as Smith, transliterated into German would usually be Schmidt, rather than Shmitt or Schmitt)… The initial Y offers no problem. Many eastern languages give the sound of Y to names which appear in the Bible as beginning with J. I also discovered that the order of the hieroglyphs in Egyptian names is not necessarily fixed in the transliteration. For example, the name Useraten is also rendered as Senwosert by a rearrangement of the hierglyphs… Hence, the rendering Yunef may be just as correct as Yufni.
“Then I observed that when the ancients transliterated Egyptian names, they sometimes interchanged the sounds “n” and “s”. For instance, the name “Sesostris” is also rendered “Sesonchis”, and the name “Unas” is also rendered “Uses.”
“Putting all this together, the Y in Yufni represents the J in Joseph; uf represents “eph” in a different position; and “n” represents “s”. Yufni is indeed Joseph spelled by Egyptians.” (Courville, 1977)
This suggests that Joseph was in fact the first “king” of Dynasty 13. The survival of Dynasty 13 for three centuries into the Hyksos Era might be explained by the fact that this “dynasty” was a dynasty of vizier-administrators who kept Egypt running for their Hyksos overlords.
A plethora of facts support Joseph as the vizier of Sesostris I, but all the facts cannot fit unless we realize that Egypt was ruled by five different city-dynasties in the period from Abraham to Moses. This requires discarding the conventional chronology of Egypt, which cannot have the Old and Middle Kingdoms contemporary with each other.
Having Joseph as the vizier of Sesostris I of Dynasty 12, but Merenre II as the 6th Dynasty Pharaoh who died in the Exodus 215 years later is utterly impossible in the conventional chronology, which has the 6th dynasty preceding the 12th dynasty by many centuries.
This chronology has some similarities to those of Courville, Stewart, Down, and Velikovsky, but places all the Old and Middle Kingdom dynasties in parallel from the Dispersion in 2191 BC down to the Exodus in 1491 BC.
MemberApril 22, 2021 at 1:09 pm
Correction to the post above: I confused the name of the village of Ezbet Rushdi with the archaeologist who excavated it, which was Shehata Adam.
MemberJanuary 5, 2021 at 10:29 am
This animation is terrific, Brad, makes the mathematical limitations very simple to understand. But where it tries to peg the 400 yrs to Ishmael mistreating Isaac is too far-fetched. Both Ishmael and Isaac were Abraham’s seed, so this incident cannot be what is meant. As in other posts in this thread, I take the 430 yrs back to Abram and Terah’s first calling in Ur when Abram was 55, and take the 400 yrs back to the Genesis 15 promise and covenant to Abram in Canaan when he was 85 (30 yrs after he left Ur).
MemberApril 16, 2021 at 11:23 pm
Deborah, there were three things that happened when Isaac was weaned, in Genesis 21. He was mocked by the son of the Egyptian handmaid, which by itself is only symbolic. But the same year the Philistines stopped up Abraham’s wells and then he was forced into a covenant with Abimelech as the subordinate. Abimelech being a descendant of Misraim, this means that Abraham was made a subject of Misraim and the persecution began in the year Isaac was weaned.
The case can be made that the crossing of the Euphrates was a different year than Abram’s descent into Egypt. However, given we are told in Galatians 3 that it was 430 years from Abraham’s covenant to the giving of the law, we must conclude that one of Abraham’s covenants was 430 years before the Exodus. And given that there were to be 4 centuries of persecution, 30 years before Isaac’s weaning leads to Abram’s first covenant with God when he was 75.
The sojourn under Misraim could be counted from when Abram entered Canaan, as it was under Philistine rule, or it could count from his descent into Egypt. But these appear to have occurred a few months apart at most.
MemberApril 17, 2021 at 1:15 am
The case can be made that the crossing of the Euphrates was a different year than Abram’s descent into Egypt.
Can you explain this a bit more, please Ken. Is this a reference to my proposal above, or something else? I don’t think I referred to Abram’s descent into Egypt in relation to the 430 yrs. Is that a factor?
MemberApril 17, 2021 at 10:19 am
The two passages, Exodus 12 and Galations 3, give different sets of endpoints for the 430 years.
Exodus 12 refers to departing the Land of Misrayim “in the very same day.” This implies the sojourn began on the 15th of the month of Abib 430 years earlier. That fact that “they went out of Misrayim” though they were not yet out of Egyptian territory, suggests to me that he is measuring it by authority.
Galatians 3 specifically refers to the promised seed, and quotes Genesis 12:7, “to your seed I will give this land.” That promise was made after he crossed the Euphrates into Canaan, but before he went into Misrayim a few verses later. The other endpoint of Galations 3 was the giving of the law on Mt. Sinai, which appears to have been 91 days after the Exodus.
Therefore the Exodus 12 sojourn happened within the Galatians 3 time from the promise to the law. Abraham crossed the Euphrates weeks if not months before he went down into Egypt. The law was given three months after the Israelites departed from Egypt.
Deborah, If you push the 430 years back to the calling of Terah, then it compresses the Egyptian portion of the sojourn to even less than 215 years. This is because we know that Abraham was 100, when Isaac was born, Isaac was 60 when Jacob was born, and that Jacob was 130 when he entered Egypt. So, Jacob’s entry into Egypt was 25+60+130 = 215 years after Abram crossed the Euphrates. If you take the 430 back another 20 years for Terah then it breaks Galatians 3, because that was to the “seed” land promise made when Abraham was in the land. It would also force the sojourn in Egypt proper to be less than 215 years.
Neither the 4 centuries of affliction (Genesis 15) nor the 430 year sojourn were spent entirely under the rule of Misrayim. Rather, Moses counted the sojourn as having begun with Abram coming under Egyptian authority until the Israelites left Egyptian authority. In between, Abraham was free of Egyptian power for at least two decades until he came under the lordship of Abimelech. Jacob left Canaan and went to Haran for at least 14 years, and probably closer to thirty years, though Isaac was still living under the Philistine authority while Jacob was away.
The afflictions that Isaac suffered under the Philistines are documented in Genesis 21 and 26. After Jacob returned to Canaan his daughter was raped, and then Joseph was sold into Egypt, with the entire family going down to Egypt 11 years later. And for that matter, even the time in Egypt was not 100% affliction. In Joseph’s lifetime the Israelites enjoyed 80 years of prosperity in Egypt. It was after his death that the worst affliction began.
MemberApril 17, 2021 at 11:03 am
Ken, can only do a partial reply now. I gather you have read from the top of the thread, so saw my case for taking the 430 yrs back to Ur. I could not post an image into this thread, but here is the link to the chart for how I add up those 430 yrs, showing also where the 400 yrs fall. https://historicalfaithsociety.com/members/deborah-brian-hurn/photos/ Yes, it brings the Egyptian Sojourn to 195 yrs, 20 fewer than the usual 215 yrs calculation, and makes Abram to be 55 yrs old at the time of his first calling. But this idea very neatly and painlessly takes care of the discrepancy between the 430 yrs and the 400 yrs. Both are right.
Regarding the time-frame for the journey from Egypt to Sinai:
The exodus narrative indicates that Israel left Rameses in Goshen on the 15th day of the first month (Ex 12:18, 31, 51) and arrived in the Wilderness of Sinai on the 1st day of the third month (“that very day” is not the 15th but the ‘same day’ the month started, 19:1). This is about 6 weeks. The time between Passover and the giving of the Law at Sinai is generally accepted to be 7 weeks or 50 days. This is not really negotiable for a number of reasons I could find for you if you want. One reason is that we see this pattern echoed between Jesus’ crucifixion at Passover and the coming of the Spirit on Pentecost (meaning ’50th’), although that is a Christian reference. There are a few events recorded between Israel’s arrival at Sinai and the giving of the Law, so the 6 weeks becomes 7 weeks in all from leaving Rameses in Goshen to the day of the giving of the Law.
MemberJanuary 3, 2021 at 7:15 pm
Doug, you choose Ex 12:40-42 in the MT as your “crux” passage. Are you using this term in its common meaning? https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crux_(literary) “A crux is a textual passage that is corrupted to the point that it is difficult or impossible to interpret and resolve.” But you write: “the crux passage: the foundational text to which the other passages relate secondarily.” Hence, you take the 430 years of Ex 12:40 as the ‘fact’ to which all other texts must agree:
Exo 12:40-41 JPS Now the time that the children of Israel dwelt in Egypt was four hundred and thirty years. (41) And it came to pass at the end of four hundred and thirty years, even the selfsame day it came to pass, that all the host of the LORD went out from the land of Egypt.
In choosing Ex 12:40, however, you are choosing the very text that has an alternative in the LXX and SP (also supported by rabbinic sources)… “and the land of Canaan”.
Exo 12:40-41 Brenton LXX And the sojourning of the children of Israel, while they sojourned in the land of Egypt and the land of Chanaan, was four hundred and thirty years. (41) And it came to pass after the four hundred and thirty years, all the forces of the Lord came forth out of the land of Egypt by night.
The choosing of one biblical datum to which all other data must submit is a hermeneutical approach prone to error. It assumes that the biblical texts are in discord. Of course, an expositor then elevates the text most favorable to his/her own view and discounts the texts that might challenge that view. I have found it more productive and reliable to hold all texts with any bearing on a subject in holistic consideration. The best solution is often the view that makes the best sense of all data at once.
An approach that sets texts against each other (is there a proper literary term for this?) is also prone to loss of perspective. The global context for the 430 years and the 4 generations would be how chronologies and genealogies work throughout the Bible. Sometimes the passage that appears to be definitive and unambiguous turns out to be neither when all things are considered.
MemberJanuary 3, 2021 at 7:47 pm
Deb, my hope is that if I were to offer a course on the solution to the length of the sojourn, you would attend, and we would talk a lot about proper hermeneutics. And by the way, you still have not shown me that you have read my article, or at least nothing close to reading it in full. If you had, you would not be suggesting that I chose a text that is most favorable to my view. Until you read my article in full, and let me know that you have done so, we are wasting each other’s time here. You need to deal with the scholarship, not gloss over it.
MemberJanuary 3, 2021 at 8:08 pm
I did read your article. I found it about twice as long as it needed to be, sort of like the 430 yrs to the 215 (or 195) years 😉
You do seem to weight Ex 12:40 in the MT over other passages and considerations despite your use of the word ‘crux’, which you seem to use contrary to its common meaning (how did that get past peer review?). In my last semester of dissertation writing, I do not have time to debate your article point by point and I don’t think it would be interesting for others here if I did. In my experience, discussion forums don’t seem to work well when people are referred to external articles and links. They prefer direct personal engagement. I also offered some views and points (I copied some text right into the forum here) which you have not engaged with, so it seems we are squits 🙂
MemberJanuary 3, 2021 at 11:51 pm
I’m afraid I have reached an end with your unfounded accusations and salty sarcasm, Deb. I have seen profs report such PhD students to their advisors after being subjected to less disrespectful treatment. And it usually does not go well for the PhD student. Besides, I need to focus my limited time here on those who are teachable, and I do not see much hint of that in you. BTW, I have no idea why you keep badgering me on the meaning of “crux” when it is well understood by the rest of us that it’s basic meaning is exactly as I have used it: “the most important or serious part of a matter, problem, or argument” (citing the Cambridge online dictionary, since my hardback dictionary is at the office). So yes, the peer reviewers knew exactly what they were doing, just as I (as one who was taught hermeneutics well and who teaches it annually) know exactly what I am saying when I tell you that the concept of a crux passage is a valid one. Not every topic has a crux passage, but that reality does not invalidate the concept. I will end by saying the thing I think you should hear more than anything else from me on this thread: Whoever taught you hermeneutics, if you studied it formally, has done you a disservice. If I were you, I would start over under someone with better skills.
MemberJanuary 4, 2021 at 1:03 am
Doug, I have said nothing personal to/about you… but you have immediately made personal derogatory statements to/about me. I have addressed the issues, not the person, which is how such debates should proceed. I observed (not necessarily in this order) that, 1. your in-article definition of ‘crux’ is at odds with the common literary understanding (and is also at odds with your recently supplied Cambridge definition), 2. the idea of weighting one text above others is of doubtful value as it is subjective and adversarial (i.e. text against text), 3. I have found a holistic and harmonistic approach to the biblical data is more productive, 4. a local solution must comport with the global context, 5. I have read your article (though you claim I have not), 6. it is very long in proportion to the issue it addresses, 7. I don’t have the time for a point-by-point critique of it, 8. it is better to address an argument in-forum and not by external links and articles, 9. that I did at least try to do this by copying my own (2001) arguments into the thread, and 10. that you have shown no more engagement with my arguments that I have with yours, so we are ‘squits’ as things stand.
None of these comments amounts to “accusations” or “sarcasm”. FWIW (“I speak as fool”) I was 2015 dux of the Baptist Seminary where I did my BTheo(Hons) which included hermeneutics units of course. Your negative evaluation of my abilities and training is inappropriate and uncalled for. I have not made, nor would ever make, any comparable remarks about your training or abilities, nor would I surmise whether or not you should be in the academic position you presently hold. I would also point out that unlike the ‘resident’ scholars here, I am paying a considerable amount to be on this forum, and would like to be treated with respect.
MemberJanuary 4, 2021 at 1:10 am
Don’t feel bad about your replies, Deb Hurn. I’ve seen the same treatment of others by Mr. Petrovich on his Youtube videos. He is very defensive and always wants to be right. Many try to have a proper conversation but it always devolves into what you have experienced here. I will personally not seek any dialogue with him here.
MemberJanuary 3, 2021 at 5:35 pm
Tim Mahoney mentioned that eventually he would like for the HFS to offer classes to interested members. If this eventually happens, a class that I would want to offer is one on the length of the sojourn in Egypt. I can see that there are important foundational issues in the areas of hermeneutics, lower textual criticism (due to textual variants), and exegesis (due to issues with the text in the original languages) that are causing several of us to slip up and fall prey to the incorrect short sojourn view. A lot of time would be required to unravel the knots.
MemberJanuary 3, 2021 at 6:20 pm
I did not know there was such a contentious issue about short vs long sojourn. That there were even theories. It’s pretty simple to understand by reading the texts themselves. There’s much more contentious and tricky year dating to argue about (ie. the Divided Kingdom period, or the exact dates within the time of the Judges).
Even though I haven’t published it, I have worked out the entire Biblical history timeline. It definitely verifies a 430 time period. It all fits together like jigsaw pieces in an intricate pattern. Have to take the Bible as totally accurate though – something few accept these days. Have to assume a 6000 year old earth from Creation. Have to assume that the Exodus was Year 1 of the Sabbatical year cycle and also a Year of Jubilee. You can work out that the Exodus happened on a Wednesday in the middle of the first month. This was the same day order of the Creation week, Jesus’ birth and Jesus’ resurrection – and very likely Jesus’ second coming. This all leads to confirmation of exactly what year was Creation because that also was the Year 1 of Sabbatical year cycle and Year of Jubilee. If you know anything about how statistically improbable it is to have all those days of the week work out in the proper years, you will appreciate how this corroborates all the various timing referenced in the Bible. Oh, and by the way, yes, you have to figure out the proper intercalation method that the Jewish calendar had in use because the current modern method is off.
Anyway, all this to say is that you just need the Bible to confirm what it says within it.
MemberJanuary 4, 2021 at 10:44 am
Did you mean a Wednesday for Jesus’ crucifixion, Ron? He was raised on the first day of the week (i.e. Sunday). I agree re the Wednesday for the first Passover and the crucifixion but didn’t think of Jesus’ birthday. Would there be any biblical data for that? There are a lot of chronological markers for the weekday of the Passover and Holy Week, but not sure what there may be for the Nativity.
MemberJanuary 4, 2021 at 7:45 pm
Yes, I wrote “resurrection” in error. I meant “crucifixion”.
MemberJanuary 4, 2021 at 7:58 pm
There is one Biblical marker for the Nativity year – the 70 Weeks prophecy found in Daniel. The most famous (and accepted) timeline was put forward by Anderson (modified by Hoehner) and they point to the Triumphal Entry supposedly to the day. But this can be easily disproven – it gets very technical – but basically there is no evidence for a modified special year length as they require. Daniel and every single other prophet understood years in the common usage of the concept.
Everyone gets caught up in which of three decrees the 70 Weeks refer to. But they ALL fail to recognize and plainly read the passage – there was a 4th decree – one given by God Himself to rebuild Jerusalem. When you figure out that year, the entire passage comes together beautifully and elegantly – just like God always does. However, the one big caveat is – and what I’m still trying to discover – is there is no Biblical year date for when Nehemiah started rebuilding Jerusalem. Again, EVERYONE always assumes he did it in the same year as the decree of the king. That is impossible. Logistically there simply is not enough time for Nehemiah to begin at the decree, visit all the locations he did to gather supplies, build a caravan and gather the population together for a trek over hundreds of miles and get to Jerusalem by August 1 (or there abouts) as stated in Nehemiah. You have to read Josephus who gives the actual year date for when Nehemiah started rebuilding – and it was not the same year as the decree. I do not like using extra biblical material – but this is the only corroboration I have been able to find – and then which leads to the actual year of Christ’s birth.
All this is explained in much detail in my book dealing with this subject. There is too much to go into here.
MemberApril 14, 2021 at 10:03 am
Even though I haven’t published it, I have worked out the entire Biblical history timeline. It definitely verifies a 430 time period. It all fits together like jigsaw pieces in an intricate pattern.
Welcome to the club, Ron. Unfortunately, nearly every person who can say that has arrived at a different chronology.
There are seven chronological passages in the Bible where interpretive differences give different results, and sometimes there are more than two possible interpretations for the passage. The number of possibilities for each passage leads to 864 possible chronologies from the Masoretic Text alone. So far only 120 MT chronologies have been published, so perhaps yours is a step toward filling out the full 864 possibilities.
I look forward to the publication of your chronology!
MemberApril 18, 2021 at 10:06 am
You don’t need 864 possibilities as the Bible is internally consistent and only results in ONE possibility – the actually historical accurate one. If, like the majority of the conversation in this thread, want to bend and twist to flawed modern archaeology, that’s where the problem begins and ends. Like I mentioned, my timeline attempt is internally consistent in 3 major ways and as time progresses, archaeological discoveries bend to this timing – not the other way around.
MemberApril 18, 2021 at 5:33 pm
You don’t need 864 possibilities as the Bible is internally consistent and only results in ONE possibility – the actually historical accurate one.
You caught my meaning, Ron. This means you have two difficult tasks before you. First, you must prove that yours is the correct biblical exegesis on all seven passages. Having done that, you must prove that your reconstruction of ancient history is historically accurate.
Having devoted the past 15 years to this task, I can confirm that it is easier said than done.
MemberJanuary 4, 2021 at 11:14 am
There is another crucial point that needs to be made here, and one that simply cannot be overlooked or taken lightly. Before getting to that point, first I will say that it is vital to understand that Exod 12:40-41 is the crux passage for solving this dilemma. My article, which is of the proper length that it should be, goes into all of the reasons why it should be taken as the crux passage, but I will point out 1 or 2 highlights.
This is the one and only passage in the entire Bible, bar none, that was written explicitly to answer the question as to just how long the Israelites resided in Egypt (not Egypt AND Canaan!). It was written by a first-hand witness at the very time that the 430-year period ended. That witness was under inspiration and not subject to fallibility. That witness was historical, physical, real Moses (per future biblical writers who attested to Mosaic authorship, including Jesus Christ). Moses’s historicity is confirmed by the discovery of the Moses Inscription, known to Egyptology as Sinai 361 (see my 2016 book, The World’s Oldest Alphabet for the complete publication).
This first-hand witness named Moses just watched the clock stop ticking on the time the Israelites were residing in a foreign land. Since Hebrew writing, written first in the proto-consonantal Hebrew script, was in existence since at least 1842 BC (see my book), the Israelites undoubtedly were keeping a written (non-inspired) record of the time that had elapsed since Jacob crossed into Egypt. This is why Moses had the confidence and certainly to write that the sojourn lasted “430 years to the very day.”
Now to the point that simply cannot be swept under a rug, no matter how hard someone wants to try or chooses to resist: If you do not take Moses’s word from Exod 12:40-41 as authoritative for defining the period of the sojourn in Egypt, you choose not to trust Moses. And if your view of Bibliology (a course that I teach) is where mine is, you also believe in what theologians call dual authorship, meaning that there is divine and human authorship working at the same time . . . somehow. What this means is that you also do not trust God (on this issue, and that’s all that I am alluding to), whether you like to hear that or not, assuming you subscribe to divine co-authorship.
Your only chance of getting out of this straight jacket is that you solve the textual variant in Exod 12:40 in such a way that you end up with 430 years for the sojourn in Egypt + some undefinable period of time in Canaan before Jacob’s move to Egypt. My article proves that this textual variant most certainly is spurious. Genesis 15 can’t help you. Galatians 3 can’t help you. They simply were NOT written to answer the question of the length of the sojourn in Egypt. And if you try to overturn the proper verdict in Exod 12 by finding an out through counting various patriarchal lifespans and “proving” that 430 years in Egypt does not work, as the suave-video-guy did, you are choosing nothing more than saying your Sherlock-Holmes sleuth-work out-trumps (no political reference here) Mosaic and divine authorship in Exod 12.
Do I speak all of this as one who has authority? Yes, I do. Unapologetically. Because I have put in a lifetime of hard labor to reach certainty on this issue (not all issues; I’m just referring to this one). If there is one verse you would hear me quote to my students more than any other verse, it’s probably James 3:1, so please do not think that I have anything less than fear and awe of God as I await the future moment when he judges me as to how carefully I handled the word of truth. I take this more seriously than you can ever imagine.
MemberJanuary 4, 2021 at 9:35 pm
I’m tending toward believing the shorter time frame. It seems the Apostle Paul wrote the Galatians this.
“The promises were spoken to Abraham and to his seed. Scripture does not say “and to seeds,” meaning many people, but “and to your seed,” meaning one person, who is Christ.
What I mean is this: The law, introduced 430 years later, does not set aside the covenant previously established by God and thus do away with the promise.” (Gal. 3:16-17 NIV)
This indicates the time frame was from the making of the covenant to the the giving of the law.
Dr. Steven Collins (the excavator of Tall Al Hammam) in his book Discovering the City of Sodom has also ventured into the weeds of this discussion in Appendix A of the aforementioned book. He interprets Genesis 15 this way using brackets to clarify how he understands the verse.
Then Yahweh said to him, “Know for certain that your descendants will be strangers in a country not their own. [first, in Canaan], and they will be enslaved mistreated [second, in Egypt] four hundred years [total for Canaan and Egypt]. But I will punish the nation they serve as slaves [Egypt], and afterward they will come out with great possessions…. In the fourth generation your descendants will come back here [to Canaan from Egypt]….” Dr. Collins also goes on for several pages about a certain genealogy in 1 Chronicles 7:10-16 where Dr. Collins uses linguistic arguments that I can’t follow, to support his belief that Ephraim’s genealogy is way too long to be entirely sequential. So maybe we have a genealogy that is way too long if he is wrong in his interpretation. And yet other times perhaps proponents of a longer sojourn are more likely to see other shorter genealogies as being “telescoped.”
Discovering the City of Sodom is a good book by the way. He argues that Sodom is on the NORTH side of the Dead Sea. Points out the Hebrew word for the area which Lot went to describes how the area looked visibly. Tall Al Hammam was an impressive city. Destroyed by fire and blast with “trinitite” on one side of pottery fragments and what not. People blasted to pieces. The heat was from an incoming meteor that cooked the area briefly as hot as a nuclear explosion. As frequently is the case too (like Tunguska Siberia on the morning of 30 June 1908 which “flattened an estimated 80 million trees over an area of 2,150 km² of forest” … source Wikipedia for these well known details) meteor or tiny asteroids or comet fragments create an oversize affect as they enter the atmosphere streaming in perhaps at 70,000 mph. This creates incredible wind resistance and resultant heat and often shatters the incoming object and it often explodes in the atmosphere.
Question though: With all the contention over the Biblical text, what does the archaeology show about how long slaves were in Egypt? Avaris was excavated. Good evidence that it was started by people from Syria and one was rewarded with his own little pyramid and big statue and then after they became slaves for some number of years that I don’t know, the site of Avaris was abandoned for another number of years that I don’t know. it was suddenly abandoned along with some other slave sites. Did the archaeologist who did the digging and worked Avaris for decades have a sense of the time involved in this?
MemberJanuary 5, 2021 at 12:29 am
That rendition by Collins is helpful, Thomas. Could I please have the ref (year, page no) for that? The concept of “stranger” גֵּר ger is a strong theme of the Torah (e.g. Gen 23:4; Ex 2:22; Lev 19:34; Num 15:15-16; Deut 10:19). In a time of high migration, it must have been a constant challenge to share the land and resources. The point of the 430 and 400 years (the latter a subset of the former, not a contradiction or approximation) is that despite the divine promises to Abraham right from his call in Ur, they remained strangers in other lands for many generations… and worse, were even enslaved. I gather this is intended to be encouraging to us regarding God’s timeframes for his promises.
MemberJanuary 5, 2021 at 1:56 am
I didn’t actually think of that angle. Yes they were strangers in the land during the wanderings of the Patriarchs. Isaac could barely get a well built without others claiming the water was theirs. Jacob feared destruction, after what happened at the city of Shechem. Which as I look at the account seems interesting that the “honored” man who raped and wanted Dinah ended up being the same name given the city. In any case Jacob had bought some land there but then it appears couldn’t live in it because Levi and Simeon had made them obnoxious or disliked after the two brothers killed all the males in Shechem and then the rest of the brothers plundered the rest of the city taking everything in it. But back to your request. This book has a copyrite of 2013. and “First Howard Books trade paperback edition March 2016” I probably should have mentioned that the book Discovering the City of Sodom has 2 authors. Dr. Steven Collins and Dr. Latayne C. Scott. Dr. Scott has authored “more than a dozen books” and probably took part in authoring the book to help get it into shape. Ok, the quote spans pages 245-246. Appendix A The Generations of Jacob and the Four Hundred Years of Genesis 15 spans pages 245-250.
As for your observation about all this being encouraging. That requires some thinking on my part. I can note I suppose that God intervenes when he has a purpose even when people mess up a bit (sometimes anyways). He gave dreams to several people to protect the patriarchs. Abraham’s wife Sarah was returned after the leader who took her was warned in a dream. Jacob fled from Laban and God warned Laban in a dream to say nothing to Jacob good or bad. After the Shechem fiasco God put fear on all the people of the area so they would not attack Jacob and his family. And he crushed Egypt when it was time to deliver the Israelites from Egyptian slavery.
MemberJanuary 5, 2021 at 7:20 pm
I went through the trouble of finding your paper online. In it you wrote this. “The second consequent passage, Acts 13:17–20, does not include the number 430 for the time of the Egyptian so- journ, but it does state that three different events total about 450 years when added together: the sojourn, the forty years of wandering in the desert, and the conquest of the seven nations—which culminated in the parceling out of the promised land to the Israelite tribes. This period of roughly 450 years fits the long-sojourn view perfectly but effectually cripples the short-sojourn view.”
The scripture you are quoting says this.
17 The God of the people of Israel chose our ancestors; he made the people prosper during their stay in Egypt; with mighty power he led them out of that country;
18 for about forty years he endured their conduct in the wilderness;
19 and he overthrew seven nations in Canaan, giving their land to his people as their inheritance.
20 All this took about 450 years. “After this, God gave them judges until the time of Samuel the prophet. (Acts 13:17-20 NIV)
My understanding it that since the first part of the text is that “The God of the people of Israel chose our ancestors” that this includes God’s testing and covenant making with Abraham and the patriarchs in Canaan. How then do you just jump right in and write “This period of roughly 450 years fits the long-sojourn view perfectly but effectually cripples the short-sojourn view.”? No, it clearly supports it or at the least isn’t clear in ruling out the part about “God choose our ancestors:”
I understand your zeal for God and that you think your view must be the right one… but it appears to me that you didn’t deal honestly with this particular topic… or at least this particular scripture. You took a scripture that argues against your position and then made the over-the-top assertion that the 450 year period “effectually cripples the short-sojourn view.” Please explain.
And also, you seem to playfully toy with David’s Rohl new chronology as being radical. You don’t hold to his view. I’ve read David Rohl’s book a while back and seen some of the video sets that he has and that Patterns of Evidence sells. David Rohl’s chronology is supported and pegged by several instances of unduplicated astronomical data. By that I mean a record of new moons kept in Egypt fits David’s chronology and NOT others. Also a very rare Eclipse sequence was recorded in Babylon. An Eclipse exactly at evening (or it was morning) and then two weeks later exactly at its opposite. Though this is not super rare it occurred on one horizon to be followed by one on the other horizon. This pegs the Babylonian calendar to a scientifically datable event. David Rohl had to take about couple steps linking this to match it with his chronology. You really need to take a deeper dive into David Rohl’s chronology and the support for it.
Furthermore your “crux” scripture that you’ve spent so much time pointing to… was for quite a while translated differently. Tim Mahoney’s book Patterns of Evidence – EXODUS points out how the King James Version words the verse. Well go ahead and read Bonus Chaper D: Four Hundred Years of Slavery? In Patterns of Evidence – Exodus.
“The original Hebrew wording of this verse actually contains two terms for the concept of living or dwelling or sojourning. The King James Version of the Bible reflects this reality:
Now the sojourning of the children of Israel, who dwelt in Egypt, was 430 years. (Ex. 12:40KJV)
One of my big faults is that I don’t do well with people who do intellectual hit and runs. People who make attacks (which I believe are wrong) and then don’t want to defend it. “I don’t like debate” they might say. While I’ll let things slide and I’m by no means a scholar like yourself. I’m going to push back. My hope is that you’ll perhaps adjust your style a bit and be more respectful (Paul taught people to be respectful) but also not just tolerate David Rohl’s or anyone else’s competing ideas but perhaps look into them. Now that I’ve given you a forceful reason to look into David Rohl’s new chronology I hope you will do so. Once or if you accept that chronology you won’t have the need to shred any scripture that doesn’t fully align with your viewpoint on chronology. Patterns of Evidence has besides David Rohl’s lectures a DVD set called THE TEST OF TIME. If you don’t look into that and still keep posting your comments in the very self-assured manner that you have been you’ll either keep participation in Discussions to a minimum or perhaps you’ll find you run into people like me here who will seek to challenge you to perform at a higher level.
God bless, and I’m intrigued by your other papers. But first I’ll need some evidence that you are honest and not full of misguided zeal like Job’s friends. Like Job praying for his friends though I’ll pray for you, because you’ve got great potential. You might do great things either with or without God. But it is much better to have meekness, humility and love. And I slip up too. We who participate in the public arena are a bit like goalies in Hockey. One goalie remarked, “How would you like it if every time you made a mistake a big red light went off and twenty thousand people booed”?
MemberJanuary 5, 2021 at 7:35 pm
I wanted to point out that appealing to eclipses that match historical dating is a very comforting and seemingly open and shut case. But I have looked into these types of evidences a lot through the years. First, those who give this as evidence are usually trying to find corroboration of their particular unique dates and say this is scientific proof. It is not. Second, they usually make significant mathematical date errors which disqualify their system. It is usually all traced to their misunderstanding of intercalation patterns of the ancient dating systems. They extrapolate that the intercalation pattern used in modern times was the exact same one used historically. This is false. The way the math works out with intercalation patterns, it can applied to one of 3 possible years. There is calendrical drift and if you don’t take account of this, your dating is off and you need to fudge the numbers. These people always fudge their numbers.
MemberJanuary 6, 2021 at 12:51 am
Hi Ron Bublitz, I’ve encountered what you are referring to as far as eclipses. An eclipse for example in the afternoon said to be visible at location A being reported by someone at location B who heard it second hand… it introduces all sorts of possible calculation errors. I’ve tried to look into one or two from ancient events. You run into stuff where computer calculations have a few eclipses 50 years apart or maybe even closer in time but just requires a shift in the viewers vantage point by a few miles. That is why the sequence referenced by David Rohl of a solar and lunar eclipse occurring exactly when the sun was rising and the sun was setting (I’m unsure of the order of all this) it eliminates a lot of time ambiguity and is exceptionally rare. So I’m still confident in that result though I haven’t yet tried to rerun or duplicate such a finding.
You said, “There is calendrical drift and if you don’t take account of this, your dating is off and you need to fudge the numbers. These people always fudge their numbers.” I’m just hoping David Rohl is smart enough to have figured out all the possible errors you are talking about here. I haven’t seen the astronomical dating he wrote about being specifically challenged. I’m not going to be the intermediary though. You can find all this stuff for yourself if you’d like.
MemberApril 16, 2021 at 4:43 pm
First, those who give this as evidence are usually trying to find corroboration of their particular unique dates and say this is scientific proof. It is not.
Right on, Ron. Eclipses are useful at best for clarifying a date by less than 50 years. They are useless for pinpointing which century an event </font>occurred<font face=”inherit”>. Most of the “absolute astronomical dating” for events prior to 747 BC is nothing but confirmation bias. In order to accurately calculate a date from astronomy you need accurate positions of the planets over several months. The best case of that in antiquity is an LBAT tablet from the 37th year of Nebuchadnezzar. There have been no finds of older observations with sufficient accuracy prior to that one.
MemberJanuary 5, 2021 at 7:49 pm
Thomas, just to clarify for readers that this is Doug’s paper you refer to. Maybe if we first mention the name of the person we are addressing that will help readers to make better sense of the arguments. I can see that replies to comments will soon build very complex threads.
MemberJanuary 6, 2021 at 1:18 am
Hi Deborah, thanks for the tip. I actually intended to have done a reply directly in the thread (at the top of the page where Doug posted first) and for some reason I hit the wrong reply button. The correct technical approach is to hold the cursor over the text you want to reply to and then wait for that little curved arrow to pop up in the top right corner of that particular (post/comment) text block that you are trying to reply to and click that. You obviously know that since you’ve done it. I’m just mentioning it because I messed up and maybe it might help others not to make the same mistake. I’m learning.
It is also always a spiritual battle to make posts and comments with pure motives. Scripture even warns about arguing about “endless genealogies.” Incidentally I also watched a couple video presentations you made. I’m not taking any position on Mount Sinai though I’d prefer it to be in Saudi Arabia. Yet, I found some aspects of your research intriguing. I should probably “connect” with you to discuss this further. But I’ll let you initiate the request if you’d like. But in the interest of the curiosity of readers I like your hydrological approach to understanding the various names of regions in the Bible. Also your placement of Khadesh is intriguing and for simplicity’s sake I’d like that to be true. But I’d have to wade through the Bible and see if Khadesh and Kadesh Barnea (I’m going from memory here) are the same. Your proposal about it being on the cusp or boundary of two different land regions is a delightful idea. But if I do hours of research I’d have just an opinion that could be wrong, so I’ll probably just skip all that for now.
MemberJanuary 6, 2021 at 2:01 am
Thomas, yes, Kadesh and Kadesh-barnea are the same place (the terms used interchangeably in the Bible). I haven’t relocated Kadesh, just to make that very clear. It is in the Ayn Qudayrat district, probably the main spring itself, though if the name is preserved at all it is at Ayn Qadays which is a much smaller water source in the same wadi-catchment.
Two narrated PPT videos (MP4) are on my academia page for anyone who might be interested. These were my talks for the ASOR 2020 and SBL 2020 conferences which were supposed to be in Boston but went to Zoom (because C19). The PPT on the geographic regions of the exodus and wanderings is a summary of my dissertation. The other PPT is a summary of the case for Har Karkom as Mount Sinai.
MemberJanuary 6, 2021 at 4:32 am
Thomas, fine to connect with me, but if you want to discuss the location and features of Mount Sinai and the wilderness itinerary, best to do it here on the HFS forums. That’s what the Patterns of Evidence and Historical Faith Society projects are about, after all.
MemberMarch 11, 2021 at 7:12 pm
Thomas, I’m afraid that when you make unwarranted personal attacks against my character, you have made me lose any interest in replying. Why do you show yourself to be guilty of the very things of which you accuse me? Personal attacks get you nowhere with me. And if you want to feel the freedom to judge me in the ways you have, such as having a lack of meekness and humility, perhaps you would be far wiser to consult a dozen or so people who know me first, then attacking my character. I can give you 10-20 names if you are interested. I have no trouble whatsoever “diving deeper,” but I have lots of trouble when you attempt public character humiliation. This is not the way to interact, whether face to face or hiding behind a keyboard.
MemberMarch 11, 2021 at 8:44 pm
My highest interest in interacting with you is in your personal development. You’ve got great potential for academic achievement and great breakthroughs.
Obviously somewhere I made a mis-step in our communications.
Please forgive me. Think of me more as that guy in Psalms that David or someone asked God “Let the righteous strike me it will be a kindness.” And I may not have nailed the translation.
If you like to discuss your or my character and various ways we could improve we have options available either public or private. If you don’t want suggestions on any topics of non historical and linguistic significance, I’ll certainly limit my remarks. Our remarks are all public record. I’ll only stand by what I wrote if I think it is inline with God’s word, his work or was meant to be helpful. If you accurately detected any pride or anything or judgmentalism on my part, then obviously I have to repent of that. And maybe I’m even wrong to standby words “meant to be helpful” maybe I was flawed in my analysis or maybe I was “meddling” or maybe I’ve yet to get some plank out of my own eye and I can’t see what I’m doing trying to remove a speck from your eye.
I appreciate your frank comments and I’ll still remain as helpful to you as I can be. Jesus had a great ability to limit his words to what people could handle. “I’ve much to say to you but you can’t handle it now, the Holy Spirit will reveal in to you later.” That is my butchered translation of the words of the Lord.
So sorry that I distressed you….
MemberMarch 12, 2021 at 1:23 am
It’s again Doug calling the kettle black. It should be obvious he has difficulties with MANY people – and it’s always their fault. Just show his errors and be done with it. His ego will not allow him to accept anything different and you are just wasting your time.
MemberApril 18, 2021 at 5:19 pm
The second consequent passage, Acts 13:17–20, does not include the number 430 for the time of the Egyptian so- journ, but it does state that three different events total about 450 years when added together: the sojourn, the forty years of wandering in the desert, and the conquest of the seven nations—which culminated in the parceling out of the promised land to the Israelite tribes.
The short-sojourn interpretation would slightly disagree with that summary. In context the 450 years is given from the “choosing of the fathers” until the division of the land. Ussher & Jones argue that the 400 years of affliction began with the weaning and choosing of Isaac over Ishmael, and the expulsion of Ishmael, in 1891 BC, which was 30 years after Abram’s first descent into Egypt in 1921 BC, which began the sojourn in Misrayim.
It could be wrong, but that is the position you are arguing against, Dr. Petrovich.
One could argue that the “choosing of the fathers” was the first covenant with Abram, or Isaac’s blessing of Jacob, or even Jacob’s blessing of his sons. But the choice of Isaac and banishment of Ishmael was the only case where the father himself deliberately and clearly choose one son over the other.
MemberApril 13, 2021 at 6:31 pm
Here is a draft of an unpublished paper I’ve written on this subject that respectfully disagrees with Dr. Petrovich.
Appendix – The Scriptural Durations
Dr. Floyd Nolan Jones commendably defended his interpretations of the scriptural durations in The Chronology of the Old Testament. Yet, there are a few of them for which we might improve on his arguments, while getting the same answers.
First consider the passages which give the Biblical durations:
* Genesis 5-8 give a total of 1656 yrs from Adam to the Flood
* Genesis 11 gives 352 years from Flood to the death of Terah
* Genesis 12 gives Abraham’s age as 75 when he entered Canaan and went down to Egypt
* Acts 7 – Abraham entered Canaan immediately after his father died.
* Exodus 12 – Sojourn of children of Israel in “Misr” was 430 years
* Genesis 15 – Abraham’s children will be afflicted 400 years
* 1 Kings 6:1 – Solomon began temple 480 years from Exodus, in his 4th year
* 1 Kings 11:42 Solomon reigned 40 years
* Ezekiel 4:5 390 years of Iniquity of Israel preceded the destruction of temple (586 bc)
* Judges 11:26 from year of crossing Jordan to Jepthah was 300 years
* Judges 12:7-13 to 13:1 From Jepthah to Sampson was 6 + 7 + 10 + 8 + 40 = 71 yrs
* Acts 13 450 year period often interpreted as from Division of land to Samuel
Of these passages, four are controversial:
430 years begins with Abraham or Jacob?
400 years suffering begins with Isaac or Jacob?
450 years defines the Judges or the time from Isaac to division of the land?
480 years from Exodus to Temple excludes years of oppression or is complete?
In two of the controversies the Bible gives both a total duration for the period as well as many short durations of rulers during that period. Choosing to sum up the short durations in a way that differs from the total duration for the period leads to errors.
Long versus Short Sojourn
Finnegan, Steinman, and Petrovich all interpret the sojourn in Egypt as beginning with Jacob’s entry in the second year of famine and ending with the Exodus. They interpret the sojourn of the “Children of Israel” in Exodus 12 defining this period as starting with Jacob, who was given the name “Israel” by God. Petrovich argues that the Hebrew text only allows the 430 years to be in Egypt, not “Egypt and Canaan” as stated in the Septuagint. However, Petrovich has missed the forest because of his focus on the trees.
Jones shows that the 430 years began with Abram’s visit to Egypt in 1921 BC. The 400 years of affliction began with Ishmael the son of the Egyptian Hagar mocking Isaac at his weaning at age five, 30 years after entering Canaan. The 450 years from the “choosing of the fathers” until the division of the land in Acts 13 also began with the weaning of Isaac.
In the same year as Isaac’s weaning Abraham began to suffer persecution by the Philistines stopping up his well, and he accepted a covenant from Abimelech to live under his rule in the land of the Philistines. (Genesis 21:22-32) In the Levant at this time period a covenant always defined a lord and a vassal. In this case Abimelech was the lord, and Abraham was the vassal.
As Petrovich rightly points out, the Hebrew of Exodus 12 does not have the word “Egypt”, it is the word “Misraim.” Misraim is the father of the Egyptian tribes as well as the Philistines. When Abraham entered Canaan it was ruled by Philistines under the control of the Egyptian Fourth Dynasty, and it remained under Egyptian control until the Exodus in 1491.
Therefore, Abraham was sojourning in the “land of Misraim” from the day he crossed the Euphrates and entered Canaan. There is also evidence that as late as the Neo-Assyrian Empire, parts of the Levant were still called “Musri” by the Assyrians.
Second, the choice of the words “children of Israel” is required because Abraham had seven sons who left Canaan and went East, leaving Egyptian territory. Isaac had two sons, of which one named Esau went East, leaving Egyptian territory.
The third duration of 450 years given in Acts 13 proves this.
Acts 13:19-20 is usually translated as follows:
The Egyptian Side of the Equation Agrees
We do not claim that Egyptian history dictates our interpretation of the Bible. But as we’ve shown in chapters 6-12, the Egyptian history perfectly agrees with the Ussher-Jones interpretation of the duration of the sojourn “in Egypt.”
Petrovich follows Stewart in saying that Joseph served under Sesostris I of the 12th Dynasty. However, we have very good data for the lengths of reigns and co-reigns of the 12th dynasty. The 12th Dynasty ended a few decades short of 215 years after Senusret I’s 11th year which was the second year of famine, when Jacob came down into Egypt. Petrovich, therefore, gives us a scenario where the Exodus would have occurred in the middle of the Hyksos period, two centuries after the end of Dynasty 12.
Historically, the most likely time of the Exodus was after the 12th Dynasty ended without an heir and Pepi II of the Sixth Dynasty had taken control over all of Egypt. Pepi died and his son, Merenre II lived for one year before being “killed by his enemies.” Dynasty 13, also co-reigning as the viziers, also had a pharaoh who died at this time. Ka-ankh-ra is listed as Concharis in the Book of Sothis, who died in his fifth year, which was seven hundred years from the accession of Menes, the first king of Egypt.
Our chronology finds that the Exodus occurred 40 years after the disappearance of Amenemhat IV of Dynasty 12 in Thebes, who was Moses. The kings reigning when the Exodus occurred were Merenre II of Dynasty 6 in Memphis and Koncharis (Ka-ankh-ra) of Dynasty 13.
Long versus Short Judges
Those who interpret the 450 years of Acts 13:20 as measuring from the Conquest until Samuel encounter the difficulty that the 480 years from the Exodus to the Temple cannot accommodate this. 40 years in the wilderness, and 42 years of David’s reign after Samuel’s death, plus 4 years to the temple, results in about 536 years total.
Rather than conclude the 450 years must not be intended to apply to this period, commentators came up with the theory that 480 obedient years omits 86 years of disobedience.
However, the 300 years to Jephthah do not allow for this theory, as Jephthah was only 71 years years before Sampson who reigned 20 years before Samuel, thus giving only 391 years from the Conquest until Samuel. This breaks the long judges chronology.
The only way to harmonize all the passages is to apply the 450 years to the time from Isaac to the division of the land.
In debating the 450 years duration with other scholars, we have seen them insist the 450 years must be taken literally, while in the same breath saying the 480 years only includes the years of obedience. There is no Scriptural warrant for the “years of obedience” argument. Yes, it does appear in one sense to triangulate, if you count the years of oppression to add up to 86 years. But it breaks the triangulations of the other durations we are given in Scripture.
The interpretation of Jones harmonizes both the 450 and the 480 years as being literal and accurate. This interpretation also harmonizes with extra-biblical data we have about Egypt during the same time period.
Again, we do not claim that Egyptian history dictates our interpretation of the Bible. But as we’ve shown in chapters 6-12, the Egyptian history perfectly agrees with the Ussher-Jones interpretation of the short chronology for the Judges.
Long Versus Short Divided Kingdom
After deciphering Akkadian in the late 19th century, scholars identified several synchronisms between Shalmaneser III of Assyria and Ahab and Jehu of Israel. The problem is that the dates of Shalmaneser are 44 years lower than the Bible’s dates for Ahab. Thiele assumed the Biblical data was in error and needed to be corrected. A Bible believer would assume the opposite.
The Assyrian king list has many inconsistencies and never warranted such absolute trust. Furthermore, Ezekiel 4:5 gives us the duration from Jeroboam’s idolatry (the sin of Israel) to the destruction of the Temple in 586 BC, as 390 years.
For the third time, we do not claim that Egyptian history dictates our interpretation of the Bible. But as we’ve shown in chapters 6-12, the Egyptian history for this period agrees with the Ussher-Jones interpretation of the long chronology for the Divided Kingdom, placing Solomon’s death in 975 BC.
Considering the fact that we have three interpretations of the controversial Biblical passages that are internally consistent with the Bible, and the fact that we have three interpretations of the Egyptian data for those same time periods, and they both agree, suggests that Jones correctly solved the Bible chronology. The fact that our Egyptian chronology agrees so exactly with Ussher-Jones suggests that we have solved the Egyptian chronology problem correctly as well.
MemberApril 13, 2021 at 9:02 pm
There is one more observation that I should have added to that draft above.
The word “Egypt” is not in the Hebrew Bible, anywhere. The word translated thus is “Misraim.”
It was not until around the time of the Ethiopian 25th Dynasty that we are told one of the kings renamed the country Egypt after himself. Herodotus writing in the fifth century before Christ tells us that the Greeks considered Egypt to only be from Memphis north to the Sea, the Nile Delta. That is what we call “Lower Egypt.”
Canaan in Abraham’s day was ruled by Abimelech the Philistine, who was a descendant of Misraim. Egypt was also ruled by a different tribe of Misraim, and my research suggests there were separate dynasties of kings ruling in Thebes, Memphis, Herakleopolis, and Bubastis when Abraham arrived.
The Septuagint was translated 150 years after Herodotus wrote that the Greeks consider Egypt to only be the Delta. Since the Septuagint was written for the Greeks, it would be expected to use the Greek names for geography.
The reason the translators of the Septuagint put “Egypt and Canaan” in the place of the Hebrew “Misraim” is because they understood correctly that Abraham’s sojourn under Misraim began when the Philistines stopped up his wells, and Abimelech forced him into a vassal covenant. 1,600+ years later in third century BC Greek geography the “Misraim” of Abraham’s time was correctly described as “Canaan and Egypt.”
Bible translators do the same thing in our time. In your Bible you will find the word “Syria” in the OT. However, that word is not in the Hebrew. It says “Aram”. In the Greek and Roman times the province formerly called “Aram” by the Israelites and “Amurru” by the Egyptians and Assyrians, was called “Syria” by the Greeks and Romans, and still is to this very day.
Furthermore, the Levant was ruled by the kings of Thebes for most of the two millennia before Christ. After Joseph’s death Sesostris III conquered the Levant and set up a college of priests on the Euphrates River, which probably was the city known as Carchemish.
In the Exodus, the Egyptians lost control of the Levant. But Thutmose III of Dynasty 18 reconquered it. Several biblical scholars such as David Down agreed with Velikovsky that Thutmose III was the “Shishak” or “robber” who broke Solomonic Israel into four countries, Judah, Israel, Edom, and Moab, and put them all under him as vassals. He then conquered all the way to Carchemish.
Centuries later, Rameses II also conquered all the way to Carchemish, or at least he tried. Shoshenq I also conquered all the way into modern Syria, although I would date his campaign in the same year as Jeroboam II’s defeat of the Syrians.
The reason the Assyrians still referred to parts of Syria as “Musri” is that it was ruled in some form by Misraim for about 1200 of the previous 1500 years until the 25th dynasty gave the Delta the name “Egypt”.
MemberApril 17, 2021 at 6:02 pm
Sorry Ken, for getting a bit picky.
The reason the translators of the Septuagint put “Egypt and Canaan” in
the place of the Hebrew “Misraim” is because they understood correctly
that Abraham’s sojourn under Misraim began when the Philistines stopped
up his wells, and Abimelech forced him into a vassal covenant. 1,600+
years later in third century BC Greek geography the “Misraim” of
Abraham’s time was correctly described as “Canaan and Egypt.”
Genesis 26: 15, 18 Show that Abimelech or rather his servants stopped up the wells after the death of Abraham. Also remember, that God appeared to Abimelech and threatened him repeatedly in a dream. He and all his servants were greatly afraid. Abraham gave the animals to Abimelech as a witness or agreement that certain wells dug by Abraham were indeed Abraham’s. Yet Abraham at one point in a famine went to Egypt and perhaps that could have marked out a particular time, if you are looking for a time marker. I didn’t get all into specific date calculations.
I think I would have been rattled if I was Abimelek. To have God appear to me in a dream and threaten to kill me and everyone that belongs to me and to need the prayers of this prophet in order for me and my family to be healed, that is something that sticks with you, if not traumatically. Also he didn’t exactly trust Abraham since Abraham had (sort of) lied to him about Sarai his wife, nearly costing him and his whole family their lives. At least for me, I’m not seeing ‘vassal covenant” that you are talking about.
At that time Abimelek and Phicol the commander of his forces said to Abraham, "God is with you in everything you do.
23 Now swear to me here before God that you will not deal falsely with me or my children or my descendants. Show to me and the country where you now reside as a foreigner the same kindness I have shown to you."
(Gen. 21:22-23 NIV)
Scary though how powerful God is and how we as humans tend to fall so easily. Even the greatest kings of Judah almost regularly became filled with pride and sometimes were able to repent of their pride and sometimes they did not. Even righteous Josiah couldn’t keep from meddling in a war that God didn’t want him to get involved in and he died for it.
MemberApril 18, 2021 at 7:22 am
In the Levant at this time period a covenant always defined a lord and a vassal. In this case Abimelech was the lord, and Abraham was the vassal.
Ken, I don’t think this claim is supported by accounts of biblical covenants. You would need to demonstrate it from both biblical and extra-biblical sources. I agree the suzerain-vassal covenant is helpful in understanding the culture of the times, but it is unlikely to be the total picture of what went on. Jacob and Laban did not have such a covenant. It seems they never saw each other again, and Jacob was not liable to Laban for tribute nor Laban to Jacob for military support in case of attack as they would have been if they had a suzerain-vassal covenant. Nothing in the Abraham-Abimelech account suggests an unequal covenant. Like the Jacob-Laban covenant, this was an agreement to not attack each other, followed by a contract about ownership of the well. As Thomas notes, Abimelech seems scared of Abraham and is protecting himself from a wealthy pastoral-nomadic tribe that is a possible threat to his settled agricultural interests. This issue was a pressing problem of the times, the farmers vs the herders, squabbling over land and water resources. Abraham’s wealth and potential military ability is emphasised throughout all his transactions in these chapters. So I reject the suggestion that this was a suzerain-vassal treaty. If anything, it is Abimelech who feels afraid.
In the ANE cultural context, I understand there were all sorts of covenants, not just suzerain-vassal. We have to remember these are pre-legal times: no justice system, no penal system, no High Courts, no police force, no debt collectors, no credit scores, no centralised documentation, or any other official forces to make us keep our word. If you had to make a contract with someone you didn’t have much come-back if/when they reneged, other than with force and retribution which you had to be able to apply yourself with all due risk. So successful covenants relied on the honour of the parties involved; hence they were public affairs in the hope that peer-group pressure would later be applied by the parties called to witness. They also variously involved gifts, oaths, feasts, sacrifices, and the raising of monuments (gal-ed, masseboth), as in the examples of Abraham/YHWH (Gen 15), Abraham/Abimelech, Jacob/Laban (Gen 31), and Jacob/Esau (Gen 32). These ceremonies were necessary to develop some goodwill and solemnity around the occasion so it would be remembered as fair and therefore binding on the parties. All of this palaver is testimony to how insecure people felt regarding the agreements they made, as is evident in Abimelech’s speeches. The Abraham/Abimelech treaty seems much more similar to the Jacob/Laban treaty (which was a treaty of equals agreeing to not harm each other) than to any vassal agreements which applied more in the time of the Judges (Jdg 3:15), and Kings (2 Sam 8:2, 6 etc) between competing kingdoms.
So sorry, I think the idea will not ‘fly’ that the start of the 430 yrs is hidden in the technicalities of the Abimelech story.
MemberApril 18, 2021 at 9:44 am
Unless I’ve typed it incorrectly, you seem to have mistaken my position, Deborah.
My position is that the 430 years of promise began with the covenant God made with Abraham at age 75 right before he crossed the Euphrates in Genesis 12, and that the 430 years of sojourn began within the same year, on Nissan 15, when Abraham went into Lower Egypt because of the famine.
In Ussher’s model the 400 years of affliction began with Isaac’s weaning at age 5 which was the same year as the covenant with Abimelech.
Regarding the nature of the covenant of Abimelech, there are two elements that indicate it was either make this covenant or we will fight you.
1. Abraham brought the sacrificial animals.
2. “but that according to the kindness that I have done to you, you will do to me and to the land in which you have dwelt”
Abimelech is the king of this land, and he is requiring Abraham as an alien to be in covenant with him in order to live there.
To read more about the nature of covenants in this period please see Meredith Kline’s resources on this subject:
MemberApril 18, 2021 at 11:24 am
There is an earlier calling and promise that can be deduced from the detail that Terah, Abram’s father, was already en route from Ur to Canaan, but the family only got as far as Haran:
Gen 11:27-32 JPS Now these are the generations of Terah. Terah begot Abram, Nahor, and Haran; and Haran begot Lot. (28) And Haran died in the presence of his father Terah in the land of his nativity, in Ur of the Chaldees. (29) And Abram and Nahor took them wives: the name of Abram’s wife was Sarai; and the name of Nahor’s wife, Milcah, the daughter of Haran, the father of Milcah, and the father of Iscah. (30) And Sarai was barren; she had no child. (31) And <b style="font-family: inherit; font-size: inherit;">Terah took Abram his son, and Lot the son of Haran, his son’s son, and Sarai his daughter-in-law, his son Abram’s wife; and <b style="font-family: inherit; font-size: inherit;">they went forth with them <b style="font-family: inherit; font-size: inherit;">from Ur of the Chaldees, <b style="font-family: inherit; font-size: inherit;">to go into the land of Canaan; and they came unto Haran, and <b style="font-family: inherit; font-size: inherit;">dwelt there. (32) And the days of Terah were two hundred and five years; and Terah died in Haran.
Act 7:2-4 NRSV And Stephen replied: “Brothers and fathers, listen to me. The God of glory appeared to our ancestor <b style="font-size: 1rem;">Abraham when he was in Mesopotamia, <b style="font-size: 1rem;">before he lived in Haran, (3) and said to him, ‘Leave your country and your relatives and go to the land that I will show you.’ (4)<b style="font-size: 1rem;"> Then he left the country of the Chaldeans and settled in Haran. After his father died, <b style="font-size: 1rem;">God had him move from there to this country in which you are now living.
Right from the beginning in Ur, therefore, there was a divine calling to migrate to Canaan:
Gen 15:7 NRSV Then [God] said to [Abraham], "I am the LORD who brought you from Ur of the Chaldeans, to give you this land to possess."
Perhaps the initial calling was to both Terah and Abram in Ur, but Terah didn’t want to go further than Haran. When he died, Abram then fulfilled their calling. Nahor, Abram’s brother, however, did not continue on to Canaan, and his descendants in Haran later supplied wives to Abram’s son Isaac and grandson Jacob. This is a very tribal outlook, typical for the times, and explains why the calling was probably to the whole family, and to Terah as the patriarch at the time. Terah’s calling was Abram’s calling, also typical of the times when children “still in the loins” of their father (i.e. not yet born) were nonetheless participants in their father’s privilege and inheritors of their father’s obligations (Heb 7:5, 10).
Note that Abram and Lot had gained possessions and persons in Haran:
This takes time. These proposed 20 years in Haran anticipate (echo) Jacob’s 20 years in Haran when he fled from Esau and over that time acquired 4 wives, 11 sons, and a lot of livestock. From all these texts combined (above), I think it is entirely reasonable to suppose that the extended family spent 20 years in Haran and only Abram and Lot had the faith to continue on to Canaan.
Thus, the 30-year difference between the 430 years from the first calling in Ur of the Chaldees (involving both Terah and Abram) and the 400 years (involving only Abram) in Canaan thus consists of 20 yrs “dwelling” in Haran and another 10 years “dwelling” in Canaan until Abram received the second promise (the covenant) at age 85 (Gen 15; 16:3). This seems to be a very simple, coherent, and biblically supported solution for what seems to be unnecessarily confusing.
MemberApril 18, 2021 at 4:53 pm
Your alternative proposal is feasible, and I have nothing against it. However, it runs into one problem.
In Galatians 3:16, Saint Paul quotes Genesis 12:7 when talking about the “your seed” promise made 430 years before the giving of the law, mentioned in verse 17. This pinpoints Genesis 12:7 as the terminus a quo of the 430 years.
Genesis 12:7 is between the verses where Abraham crossed the Euphrates and verses where he went down to Egypt.
Therefore, the if Scripture is inerrant, then the 430 years must begin in the year of entry into Canaan, not 20 years before in Haran.
MemberApril 18, 2021 at 7:08 pm
I had some text on this problem in the OP, so will repost here. ‘Scuse the KJV, this was an old article:
The 430 years are usually calculated from when Abraham was seventy-five years of age (Gen. 12:4), for it is argued that the promise of the land as a possession to his singular seed did not occur until Abraham was already in Canaan (Gal. 3:16,17; Gen. 12:7). Nevertheless, there is some disagreement about which of the promises Paul refers to when he cites the words, “And to thy seed” (Gal. 3:16). Some are confident that the first reference to a singular seed occurs in the promise given to Abraham after the sacrifice of Isaac: “and thy seed shall possess the gate of his enemies; and in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed” (Gen. 22:17,18). This promise, however, was given quite late in Abraham’s life, when he was nearly 120 years old. To begin the 430-year countdown to the giving of the Law at that point leaves insufficient time for the various stages set out in the tables below. [that is the chart in my photos here. https://historicalfaithsociety.com/members/deborah-brian-hurn/photos/ ]
The only recorded promise that contains the exact words, “and to thy seed”, was given after Lot separated from Abraham: “for all the land which thou seest, to thee will I give it, and to thy seed for ever. And I will make thy seed as the dust of the earth: so that if a man can number the dust of the earth, then shall thy seed also be numbered” (13:15,16). However, this passage generally speaks of a plural seed, with emphasis on the great number of Abraham’s future descendants. From both Paul’s words in Galatians 3:16,17 and Stephen’s in Acts 7:2-7 it is reasonable to conclude that a promise of the singular seed was made very early in Abraham’s pilgrimage, indeed right at the first, even though this aspect is not so clearly detailed in the first recorded promise (Gen. 12:1-3).
MemberApril 18, 2021 at 7:22 pm
So… there is a range of references to seed, but Genesis 12:7 is the earliest one. That doesn’t help your position, Deborah.
MemberApril 18, 2021 at 7:45 pm
The point is that the reference to a singular ‘seed’ (as per Gal 3:16), “and to your seed”, matches the wording of a promise that appears *too late* in Abraham’s life for the 430 yrs to start, i.e. when he was around 120 yrs old (Gen 22:17-18). We only know it is singular in this passage because of the pronominal suffix “his”. The ‘number’ of the noun זֶרַע zer’a can otherwise only be determined by context. So in Gen 13:15-16, where there are no indications of singularity or plurality by pronouns, you have to look to the context, and there the promise is clearly talking of a multitudinous offspring (‘seed’) “as the stars of the heaven”. So in fact there is no perfect match for St. Paul’s reference to the singular seed as an anchor for the 430 yrs between promise and Law.
This does in fact help my proposal a lot. It means the door is open to interpret Genesis 11 in light of Stephen’s commentary in Act 7, and presume that the promise of a singular seed was made right at the start, to both Terah and Abram, in Ur of the Chaldees, when Abram was 55 yrs old. After Terah’s death, and some years after Abram had proven himself faithful to the calling by actually continuing on to Canaan, the promises are *reiterated* to Abram alone. This is consistent with the promises being reiterated also to Isaac (Gen 26:2-5) and to Jacob (Gen 35:9-12) after Abram’s death, and after they also had proven themselves to be faithful to the ‘family’ calling, originally given to Terah (although Abram was mature at the time and clearly participant).
MemberApril 24, 2021 at 7:35 am
Okay, Deborah… then how do you explain the correspondence of Exodus 12’s 430 years of sojourn in Misrayim, ending in the giving of the Law, AND, the Galatians 430 years of promise starting 20 years sooner? You have two choices:
a. The two 430’s cover the same period. In that case, how could Abram’s “sojourn in Misrayim” have begun in Ur of the Chaldees?
b. The two 430’s cover different periods, offset by 20 years. In that case, how could the giving of the law 430 years after the promise have occurred 20 years before the end of the “sojourn in Misrayim”?
MemberApril 24, 2021 at 8:37 am
Hi Ken. It’s all there ^^ up the thread, though it is getting to be a long one with several sub-threads. There is also a table that I had to link from my updates (in my profile ‘photos’), the only place on the forum where it is possible to upload images.
I find your question a bit confusing, you may need to phrase it differently. But the 430/400 years discrepancy seems simple to me. We know Abram took 20 yrs to get to Canaan from Ur because Terah and Nahor wanted to stay in Haran. When his father Terah died, Abram continued on to Canaan and left his brother Nahor in Haran. The Bible quotes are reproduced ^^ above. Stephen’s commentary on in Act 7 is important to identify Abram’s original calling and possibly also the original promise of a singular seed: “The God of glory appeared to our ancestor Abraham when he was in Mesopotamia, before he lived in Haran…”
Thus, the 430 years is the total time of the Age of Promise, from Abram’s first calling in Ur to the exodus and giving of the Law (these events only 7 weeks apart). The 400 yrs starts 30 years later, with the formal covenant with Abraham at age 85 (Gen 15:13) after he had been in the land of Canaan for 10 yrs (430-400=30=20+10). Both periods terminate at once with the giving of the Law which commenced the Age of Law. I don’t know how long that lasted… ballpark to the Age of Grace that starts with Jesus’ ministry would be about 1450 yrs if we accept biblical chronology. Maybe there is a nice sum or multiple to be discovered there.
It’s bad form to quote myself from ^^ up the thread, but there it says simply:
MemberApril 24, 2021 at 9:37 am
Thus, the 430 years is the total time of the Age of Promise, from Abram’s first calling in Ur to the exodus and giving of the Law (these events only 7 weeks apart). The 400 yrs starts 30 years later, with the formal covenant with Abraham at age 85 (Gen 15:13) after he had been in the land of Canaan for 10 yrs (430-400=30=20+10). Both periods terminate at once with the giving of the Law which commenced the Age of Law.
I probably did not word it clearly enough, causing you to miss my point here, Deborah.
Exodus 12:40-42 gives the end of the sojourn in the “Land of Misrayim” as occurring on “the very same day.” The very same day as what? The only choices I can see are, Abram entering Canaan (under Philistine rule), Abram entering Egypt, or Jacob entering Egypt.
The Galatians 3 passage gives different endpoints, also 430 years apart, those being the Promise, and the giving of the Law.
You argue for counting the promise from the call of Terah, 20 years before Abram crossed the Euphrates, and you count the 400 years of affliction from Abram’s entering Canaan. I understand that.
The problem with your reasoning is that Exodus 12:40-42 requires a 430 year sojourn “in Misrayim.” I do not see how Terah’s call in Ur Kasdim or Haran can be imagined to be “in Misrayim” in any sense. Do you have an argument for that?
MemberApril 24, 2021 at 9:57 am
OK, well by my understanding, Abram was called in Ur when Abram was 55 yrs old. He and his whole extended family got as far as Haran and stayed there for 20 yrs. Abram continued on to Canaan and was there for 10 yrs before he had the formal covenant of Gen 15 at age 85. By that stage, the 430 yrs were now only 400 yrs.
Ah, OK, I see now what your objection is: that he didn’t enter Canaan (or Egypt) until 20 yrs after leaving Ur? And so the count should start from there?
Ken: I do not see how Terah’s call in Ur Kasdim or Haran can be imagined to be “in Misrayim” in any sense. Do you have an argument for that?
OK, well, I would count the LXX/SP/Rabbinic 430 yrs “in Chanaan and in Egypt” from the day he left Ur. Not from the day he entered Canaan. Or Egypt. Not as precise as I would like. But the Bible doesn’t make a fuss about those travelling days and Abram probably didn’t remember them. But he/they would have remembered the date of the calling in Ur to go to Canaan, the promise of the seed and of greatness. If it was “the very day” of the exodus it would have been the first full moon after the Spring equinox, the festival of the moon-god Sin in Mesopotamia. Good time for a contrary vision, I guess.
Jos 24:2 NRSV And Joshua said to all the people, "Thus says the LORD, the God of Israel: Long ago your ancestors—Terah and his sons Abraham and Nahor—lived beyond the Euphrates and served other gods.
MemberApril 24, 2021 at 9:36 am
[edit: oops we cross-posted. I will read yours above and see if anything else is needed]
Regarding your first option and question, Ken:
a. The two 430’s cover the same period. In that case, how could Abram’s “sojourn in Misrayim” have begun in Ur of the Chaldees?
I would think you are aware that Ex 12:40 has an alternative version in the LXX and SP (also supported by rabbinic sources).
(Exo 12:40-41 Brenton LXX) And the sojourning of the children of Israel, while they sojourned in the land of Egypt and the land of Chanaan, was four hundred and thirty years. (41) And it came to pass after the four hundred and thirty years, all the forces of the Lord came forth out of the land of Egypt by night.
Regarding your second option and question:
b. The two 430’s cover different periods, offset by 20 years. In that case, how could the giving of the law 430 years after the promise have occurred 20 years before the end of the “sojourn in Misrayim”?
I am confused about the “20 years before the end of the ‘sojourn in Misrayim'”. I think my post immediately above this one addresses this issue, but I may be missing your meaning.
MemberApril 24, 2021 at 9:41 am
You still aren’t understanding me.
The 20 years in Haran prior to crossing the Euphrates cannot be said to be “in Misrayim” or “in Egypt and Canaan.” However, Exodus 12 requires at minimum the start and end point of the 430 must be in Canaan or Egypt. Your starting point in Haran results in a starting point that is not in either, but is counted “to the very same day” by Moses, for the 430 years in Misrayim.
MemberApril 24, 2021 at 10:08 am
Right, got it now, Ken. Well, the 430 yrs from a calling in Ur to go to Canaan to the exodus from Egypt is as good as I can come up with. In that it accounts smoothly for both the 430 and 400 yr periods and is supported by the sequence of events as relayed by Stephen in Acts 7, it is better than any other theory. It is also supported indirectly by the idea of an Age of Promise in which a long series of promises were given… to Abram, to Isaac, to Jacob, and then to Moses and the Israelites, in whom and to whom most of the promises were partially fulfilled. The still unfulfilled promise of the single ‘seed’, the Saviour, the subject of Stephen’s speech, must have been made right at the first, back in Ur.
MemberApril 18, 2021 at 11:04 am
Five kings fought four kings and one of the groups also defeated the Rephaites and some others. Genesis 14. Abraham sweeps in with a few local allies (friends of his) and his 300+ trained men on horseback and route the whole group, recovering everything. Plus God appears in a dream threatens to kill Abimelech if he didn’t immediately capitulate.
I’d consider it likely that God was on Abraham’s side. If I was one King, I don’t think I’d start putting pressure on Abraham for anything. Rather “Please be nice to me!” better fits the context in my understanding.
Gotta leave for work…
MemberApril 18, 2021 at 4:59 pm
Hi Thomas. Here is some food for thought.
Others will disagree, but using several ancient sources that place the Dispersion in 2191 BC, we can pinpoint the life of Gilgamesh using the Uruk King List and the First Dynasty of Egypt. He reigned from 2006 to 1938 BC and his life overlapped with Abraham’s first 28 years.
Gilgamesh took an army of 50 men with him to conquer Humbaba. Prior to him, Nimrod’s army was probably about 20 men.
Abraham’s 300 men were probably two hundred less in number to the forces of the five kings. At that time in history an army was about 100 men for each king.
It is also interesting that many centuries later, God reduced Gideon’s force to 300 men before He allowed him to attack the Midianite hordes. That was a nod to Abraham.
MemberApril 18, 2021 at 7:17 pm
I agree the armies of the early ANE were very small. Not sure about 20 men ?! but low hundreds is likely. So Abraham with his 300 men-at-arms was a force to be reckoned with and Abimelech had to mind his Ps and Qs.
This is part of the reason why I propose a total population at exodus of only 6000, the most likely “6-something” from the census figures of Num 1 and 26. The city tells of Jericho and Ai were only a few hectacres (I can find and cite the measurements and have done so before but I am not making a big point here). The estimated population of these tells *under attack or siege*, i.e. when everyone from the agricultural hamlets and pastures comes within the walls for temporary protection, is only about 1000-1500 people. Hazor somewhat more at 2000. Seriously, if the Israelite army was 600k men-at-arms, they wouldn’t even stop to conquer the cities, just move right into the land. There comes a point where the ‘inerrantists’ need to be a bit more pragmatic.
MemberApril 18, 2021 at 9:03 pm
Correction: To myself. I don’t know where I got the idea that the 318 trained men In Abraham’s household were all on horseback. I can’t find a horse mentioned in the bible before the mention of Egyptians giving/selling their horses to Pharaoh in exchange for food. Maybe night raid and I assumed it was so?
Remarkable I got this so wrong. I was certain I was right.
I had a few more thoughts on the Abraham Abimelek encounter.
I once read a certain President’s book (before he was he elected or before he assumed office) called the ART OF THE DEAL. And I don’t know or remember much about what he wrote about negotiation tactics.) But often people like to start their negotiation from a position of strength. God certainly did this appearing to Abimelek “You are as good as dead…Now return the man’s wife, for he is a prophet, and he will pray for you and you will live. But if you do not return her, you may be sure that you and all who belong to you will die.”
Then Abimelek brought sheep and cattle and male and female slaves and gave them to Abraham, and he returned Sarah his wife to him.
15 And Abimelek said, "My land is before you; live wherever you like."
16 To Sarah he said, "I am giving your brother a thousand shekels of silver. This is to cover the offense against you before all who are with you; you are completely vindicated."
17 Then Abraham prayed to God, and God healed Abimelek, his wife and his female slaves so they could have children again,
18 for the LORD had kept all the women in Abimelek's household from conceiving because of Abraham's wife Sarah.
(Gen. 20:14-18 NIV)
Typically people denigrate the position of their opponent in a negotiation.
“It’s no good, it’s no good!” says the buyer– then goes off and boasts about the purchase. (Prov. 20:14 NIV)
Abimelek talking to Abraham didn’t voice anything about Abraham’s condition that he could exploit nor did he explain why Abraham needed his help in any particular way. Instead,
23 Now swear to me here before God that you will not deal falsely with me or my children or my descendants. Show to me and the country where you now reside as a foreigner the same kindness I have shown to you." (Gen. 21:22-23 NIV)
Abimelek’s request to Abraham was for merely reciprocity of the kindness that Abimelek had already showed Abraham. Telling someone “God is with you in everything you do…” does not create uncertainty and fear and make someone feel the need to capitulate.
Think about how the Assyrian commanders talked to Hezekiah. They boasted about the strength of their forces, of their accomplishments and belittled Hezekiah’s connection to God, implying God was angry with Hezekiah for taking down the High Places to Yahweh. They boasted about what they could do for Hezekiah (give him horses) and how bad it would be for Jerusalem if they did not capitulate and they argued God couldn’t help the people of Jerusalem and neither could Egypt.
Now all the chronological stuff you (Ken, Ron, Deborah) are trying to figure out. My hat is off to all you people who have been working through all this. I half want to suggest whether (if need be) some of the prophesies about 400 years of oppression, living in foreign lands etc… could start from the birth of say Isaac (the date of descendants being in a foreign land) and continue through the wanderings in the desert. They were there in the wilderness, but still somewhat afflicted and still not in their own land.
I”m not offering any solutions to any chronological issues here. I’m just brainstorming about whether some end point could be moved rather than the starting point. I don’t even need the complexity of the situation (numbers) explained, I’m hardly even curious to understand all this. I’ve got so many papers and documents to read before I’ll feel free to have the background to start figuring these timelines out. Even then, I’d prefer my attention be elsewhere.
MemberJune 28, 2021 at 10:34 pm
Relevant to the discussion above regarding Terah and his three sons Haran, Nahor, and Abraham comes this new article proposing that Terru of Urkesh (named in cuneiform tablets in Mari) is Terah. Urkesh was a city in N Mesopotamia which, the author claims, is the same as Ur Kasdim (Chaldees).
The messages from Terru of Urkesh to King Zimri-Lim of Mari tell a story of persecution. This scenario is supported by other traditions written down by Classical historians telling how Terah’s family rejected idolatry and were hated by the local people for this cause and that they killed his son Haran. These possible additional details of Abraham’s story are intriguing. We may have wondered: “Was Abraham ‘somebody’ in Ur? Is there a bigger story that the Bible has glossed over?”
This story of the dramatic and troubled (re)emergence of monotheism (post-Babel) supports my proposal that the 430 years in “Canaan and in Egypt” (Exo 12:40-41 LXX; Gal 3:17) date from Terah and the call to his whole family to leave Ur Kasdim for Canaan. Terah travelled from Ur to Haran but instead of continuing on to the Land of Promise he and the family stayed in Haran for 20 years until his death. Abraham alone of his father and brothers then obeyed the original call (after receiving another call, Gen 12:1-5) and continued on to Canaan. There he sojourned for another 10 years until he received the covenant which now specifies 400 years (Gen 12:4; cf. 15:13). There really is no contradiction: the chronology works perfectly here, and what is more, it allows that only 4 generations passed in Egypt (Gen 15:16; Levi-Kohath-Amram-Moses). The 430 years is the Age of Promise, from the very first call to Terah and his sons to the giving of the Law to Moses.
MemberJune 28, 2021 at 10:59 pm
Zimri Lim can be shown by about 12 evidences to have been Rezon the son of Eliada who was a thorn in Solomon’s side for most of his reign. Thus, Terru of Urkesh may represent a memory of the name of Terah eight centuries later, but is very unlikely to have been Abram’s father Terah.
MemberJune 29, 2021 at 12:55 am
Ah well that’s too bad, Ken. Which chronology are you citing? Urkesh as a location still offers better logical and etymological sense than Ur in Sumeria which would make the migration to Canaan very far indeed. I presume the traditions as written down in Classical times still stand with their story of persecution for Terah’s family for taking a stance against idolatry. It seems monotheism by the 9th generation after Noah was exceedingly rare if not extinct. Abraham in his lifetime found spiritual fellowship only with Melchizedek in Salem (Gen 14:17-20). All the rest, Egyptians, Philistines, Hittites, Canaanites, were probably pagans.
MemberJune 29, 2021 at 8:15 am
Cyrus Gordon demonstrated from the Ebla tablets that Sanliurfa was the city known at the time as Ur Kasdim, quite close to Haran. Urkesh is in the Khabur Triangle area.
In the conventional chronology Zimri Lim was MBII and contemporary with Hammurabi around 1800 BC, who destroyed the kingdom of Mari after Zimri Lim had ruled about 23 years. Remember, Deborah, that chart you sent me? The late Middle Bronze II was the United Kingdom era of Israel.
Evidence that Zimri Lim was contemporary with Solomon includes the following:
1. David fought two campaigns against Hadadezer son of Rekob whose capital was Zobah, and who was king of the Syrians across the River. || Shamshi Adad the Amorite (Syrian) son of Irikabkab conquered the city of Ashur, but he built a new capital in the Khabur Triangle called Shobat-Enlil, which the Bible appears to call “Zobah”. One of his main enemies, which he fought in two of his eponym years, was the tribe which he called Ben Yaminah, which is to say Benjamin.
2. After David defeated Hadadezer, Toi of Hamath sent his son Jehoram with tribute. || Sumu Epuh was the first king of Yamhad whose son and successor was Yarim Lim. Sumu Epuh had been subjected to tribute by Shamshi Adad, but later got free of him.
3. Rezon son of Eliada, who fled from his master Hadadezer was king in Damascus and was a thorn in Solomon’s side || Zimri Lim the son of Yadun Lim fled from Shamshi Adad to Yarim Lim of Yamhad/Alleppo for about 15 years, after Shamshi Adad killed his father Yadun Lim and put his own son Yasmah Adad on the throne. Zimri Lim also fought against Ben Yaminah. Under his rule Mari attempted to subject Yamhad and Ben Yaminah to the South. While originally allied with Hammurabi, eventually Hammurabi conquered Mari and destroyed it. The kingdom of Qatna, which included Damascus, was allied with Zimri Lim against both Hamath and the kingdoms to the South.
4. Solomon in his twentieth year went up against “Hamath-Zobah” and defeated them. || The successor of Yarim Lim of Yamhad was his son Hammurabi I of Yamhad. The territory of Hammurabi I included both Yamhad/hamath and Shobat-Enlil which fell into his hands after the destruction of Mari. It seems likely that Solomon and Hammurabi were allied in the 20th year campaign to destroy Mari. Solomon probably placed Yamhad and Shobat-Enlil under the rule of the son of his ally Yarim Lim, whom some identify as Hiram of Tyre.
I propose that similar to the way the Assyrians called Israel “Bit Khumry” or House of Omri, because Omri was the first Israelite king they had diplomatic contact with, it seems likely that Shamshi Adad and Zimri Lim called Israel “Ben Yaminah” because the first king of Israel their predecessors had contact with was King Saul of Benjamin. Thus Ben Yaminah in the Mari texts probably means Israel, not merely the tribe of Benjamin.
The drama that unfolds in the Mari texts shows Shamshi Adad conquered Mari, killed the king, and put his own son on the throne. Zimri Lim, the heir fled to his cousin Yarim Lim in Yamhad and remained in exile until Shamshi Adad died. As soon as he died, he led a force and retook Mari. Then he built Mari into the richest kingdom in the Middle East, and had a palace with 251 rooms. However he turned the kingdom of Qatna against his former ally Yarim Lim, and also appears to have made Yarim Lim his vassal shortly before his demise.
Zimri Lim’s ally Hammurabi eventually turned against him and destroyed Mari. Zimri Lim dissappears from history at that point, and was probably dead.
In my study I suggest that Qatna or Kadana was Ka “the city” of Dan. In the Bible we see Kiriath Arba contracted to the name Hebron or Kabron. Other cities in the middle east with the prefix Ka- or Kar-, meaning city, include Karchamish, Kartan, Karkor, Karnaim, Ekallatum, etc.
Several of the Bible’s territorial descriptions of the promised land of Israel is that it stretched from the Great River (Euphrates) to the River of Egypt (wadi El Arish). The same descriptions give the northern border as being near the border of Hamath, the modern city of Homs, which I interpret as the same name as the kingdom of Yamhad, whose capital was Aleppo.
Qatna was the kingdom immediately south of Yamhad, which included Damascus and Tadmoor. The Bible informs us that Rezon son of Eliada controlled Damascus from which he sent raids against Solomon. Thus for the first part of Solomon’s reign the kingdom of Dan, or Qatna, was controlled by his enemy Rezon. The year 20 campaign brought Qatna back under Solomon’s control, and placed Hamath-Zobah or Yamhad to Shobat Enlil under the control of his vassal Hammurabi I of Yamhad.
This entire complex of people and events has numerous matching names, relationships, and actions to the Bible account of David and Solomon.
Yarim Lim of Yamhad = Jehoram of Hamath = Hiram of Tyre (the closest city he controlled to Jerusalem)
Iadun-Lim of Mari, father of Zimri Lim = El-iada father of Rezon/Hezion
Qatna = Ka Dan, the city of Dan
Ben Yaminah = Benjamin
Shamshi Adad of Shobat-Enlil = Hadad-ezer of Zobah
Iri-kabkab father of Shamshi-Adad = Rekob father of Hadadezer
Hamath-Zobah = Yamhad – Shobat-Enlil
I have yet to find Shobach commander of Shamshi-Adad’s forces in the Mari texts, but I’m still looking for him…
MemberJune 29, 2021 at 8:35 am
Ken, I see I should not have strayed into commenting on anything to do with Mesopotamia! “Stay in your own lane” is a good policy. I am reasonably familiar with the Egypt-Canaan/Israel parallels, but not how the eras relate to what was going on in Mesopotamia. I agree that MBA II is the United Kingdom (not “late” MBA II which is Divided)… but if so why do you have 1800 BC? Or are you just using standard dating?