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MemberJanuary 20, 2021 at 10:35 pm
It seems the pharaohs utilised the Hebrews in all their skills: shepherding (Gen 47:6), building (Ex 1:11), every kind of field labour (v. 14), and, it seems likely, in all the fine arts of palace and temple fittings and equipment:
Then Moses said to the Israelites: See, the LORD has called by name Bezalel son of Uri son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah; he has filled him with divine spirit, with skill, intelligence, and knowledge in every kind of craft, to devise artistic designs, to work in gold, silver, and bronze, in cutting stones for setting, and in carving wood, in every kind of craft. And he has inspired him to teach, both him and Oholiab son of Ahisamach, of the tribe of Dan. He has filled them with skill to do every kind of work done by an artisan or by a designer or by an embroiderer in blue, purple, and crimson yarns, and in fine linen, or by a weaver—by any sort of artisan or skilled designer. (Exo 35:30-35 NRSV)
But yes, by the time the older generation had died out and the younger generation had spent their entire lives as pastoral nomads, the Israelites would have lost all their urban-living skills. Thus, archaeologists have looked for evidence of an invasion of iconoclast pastoralists into Canaan at the end of the LBA (Late Bronze Age)—the exodus era according to the standard chronology—but there is none. This absence of support for the biblical stories has driven theories such as Israel emerging from within the Canaanite population, whether as a kind of ‘peasant revolt’ or a mass ‘invisible’ de-urbanisation followed by an increase in urbanisation in the IA I (Iron Age I). The latter proposal is hugely over-published for what amounts to speculation, ongoing.