Bezalel and Kothar-wa-Ḫasis

Kothar-wa-Khasis, Kothar, Kathar-Wa-Hasis, Kothar-u-Khasis, Kathar-Wa-Hassis, Kusorhasisu | They were here and might return | Scoop.it

 by

Damien F. Mackey  

 

 

“Reading Exodus’ description of Bezalel from a somewhat more historical-critical orientation than that of his predecessors, the early Jewish 20th century scholar Umberto (Rabbi Moshe David) Cassuto, in his commentary to the Book of Exodus, emphasized the similarities between Bezalel’s attributes and descriptions of the Ugaritic, artisan deity Kothar-wa-Ḫasis”.

 

 

Introduction

 

The Ras Shamra (Ugarit) series of tablets has been wrongly dated by historians and chronologists to c. 1550-1200 BC, which is some 500-600 years earlier than the series ought to have been dated. This is a situation common also to the El Amarna [EA] archive, dated to the 1400’s BC instead of to the 800’s BC, approximately. Dr. I. Velikovsky had discussed the chronological anomalies in both cases, in his Ages in Chaos, 1952 and Oedipus and Akhnaton, 1960.

In relation to the Old Testament, we have EA’s pharaoh, Akhnaton, thought to have pre-dated King David by some centuries, and hence the conclusion must be that his Sun Hymn, so like Psalm 104 in many places, must have been the inspiration for the biblical text.

And so we read, for instance (http://www.dubiousdisciple.com/2013/04/psalm-104-the-great-hymn-to-the-aten-2.html):

 

Today’s topic comes from Douglas A. Knight and Amy Jill Levine’s excellent book, The Meaning of the Bible.

On the wall of a 14th century BCE tomb in Egypt archaeologists found a beautiful hymn to the god Aten. The Aten’s claim to fame is that he is sole God of a monotheistic [sic] belief espoused by Pharaoh Akhenaten (1352-1336) in an era when most Egyptians believed in many gods.

What’s curious about the Great Hymn to the Aten is that it closely mirrors Psalm 104 in our Bible as a song of praise to the creator, though written hundreds of years before any of the Bible [sic]. Psalm 104, of course, is addressed not to the Aten but to YHWH, the god of the Hebrews. Here are some parallels highlighted by Knight and Levine’s book:

 

O Sole God beside whom there is none! – to Aten

O YHWH my God you are very great. – to YHWH

 

How many are your deeds … You made the earth as you wished, you alone, All peoples, herds, and flocks. – to Aten

O YHWH, how manifold are your works! In wisdom you have made them all; the earth is full of your creatures. to YHWH

 

When you set in western lightland, Earth is in darkness as if in death – to Aten

You make darkness, and it is night, when all the animals of the forest come creeping out. – to YHWH

 

Every lion comes from its den – to Aten

The young lions roar for their prey .. when the sun rises, they withdraw, and lie down in their dens. – to YHWH

 

When you have dawned they live, When you set they die; – to Aten

When you hide your face, they are dismayed; when you take away their breath, they die – to YHWH

 

You set every man in his place, You supply their needs; Everyone has his food. – to Aten

These all look to you to give them their food in due season. – to YHWH

 

The entire land sets out to work – to Aten People go out to their work and to their labor until the evening – to YHWH

 

The fish in the river dart before you, Your rays are in the midst of the sea. – to Aten

Yonder is the sea, great and wide, creeping things innumerable are there – to YHWH

 

Birds fly from their nests, Their wings greeting your ka – to Aten

By the streams the birds of the air have their habitation; they sing among the branches – to YHWH

 

He makes waves on the mountain like the sea, To drench their fields and their towns. – to Aten

You make springs gush forth in the valleys; they flow between the hills … The trees of YHWH are watered abundantly – to YHWH

[End of quote]

 

This is quite the common view.

Revisionists, however, view it entirely the other way around – that King David had, in fact, pre-dated Akhnaton and EA by more than a century, and so could not have been influenced in his religious ideas by the curious pharaoh. Rather, it was Israel that was culturally influencing the nations of that time.

 

Ugarit (Ras Shamra)

 

 

The same sort of artificial “Dark Age” archaeological gap that the likes of Peter James et al. had discerned in the conventional Hittite history (Centuries of Darkness, 1990), Dr. Velikovsky had already – four decades earlier – shown to have been the case with the Ugarit-Cyprus connection. And so we read (https://www.varchive.org/schorr/ugarit.htm):

 

In the published volume of Ages in Chaos, Velikovsky made a strong case for challenging Ugarit’s conventional dates.1 He pointed out many 500-year problems in the literary texts uncovered at the site, and shows the difficulty relating to vaulted Cypriote tombs constructed in the style of those from Ugarit but set 500 years later. For those who have not read or were not already convinced by the material presented by Velikovsky for Ras Shamra-Ugarit, perhaps a couple of additional problems will suffice.

Let us again look at the vaulted tombs of Cyprus. Velikovsky has already mentioned some of these, especially the 7th-century example from Trachonas. The island of Cyprus has an “astonishing” number of these tombs2 which divide neatly into two series: those assigned to 1550-1200 B.C., and those beginning in 950 B.C. And continuing for some time.3 The first group of vaulted tombs (at Enkomi) corresponds closely in date and style to the Ugaritic tombs, and the type is thought to have come from Syria to Cyprus.4 The second group of Cypriote tombs corresponds to both the Ugaritic and earlier Cypriote examples, but a 250-year gap separates the inception of the second group from the end of the Bronze Age tombs. More important than the 250-year period when no tombs were built in Syria or Cyprus to connect the later tombs to the earlier ones, is the fact that the earliest tombs of each group (i.e., those of 1550 and 950 B.C.), separated by 600 years, are most similar.5

The Cypriote vaulted tombs from 950-600 B.C. seem to undergo the same development as the Enkomi and Ugaritic tombs with 600 years separating the corresponding phases. It has been postulated that the later tombs somehow copied the earlier Cypriote or Syrian ones, but the tombs presumably copied must have been buried and invisible for some 600 years.6

Similar tombs are found in Jerusalem, Asia Minor, and Urartu of the 9th-7th centuries, and again it is thought that they originated in 9th-7th-century Syro-Phoenicia.7 But the only tombs of this type in that region, notably the ones from Ugarit, are placed centuries earlier.

Leaving behind the regions bordering Syro-Phoenicia, we shall travel briefly to an actual Punic colony. In the 9th or 8th century B.C.,8 a group of Phoenicians sailed to North Africa and founded Carthage. One of the oldest archaeological discoveries from the site is a late 8th-century B.C. built tomb “closely related” to the Ugaritic tombs in architectural plan. 9 It is a “faithful miniature rendering” of the Syrian tombs both in design and, apparently, in arrangements for religious rites.10 It would hardly be surprising for 8th-century Phoenician colonists to bring over a current tomb type and burial customs from their motherland. The only similar tomb type and burial customs that their motherland can produce, however, are put 500 years earlier. By the accepted scheme, the colonists’ ancestors would have been very familiar with these matters, but by the 8th century B.C., the Ugaritic tombs must have been buried over, invisible, and forgotten. 11

How did these tombs of Ugarit serve as models for Cypriots, Israelites, Urartians, Anatolian peoples, and Phoenician colonists, if contemporaneity is denied, and they went out of use and were thus forgotten 500-600 years earlier?

The final items we will examine from Ugarit are a gold bowl and a gold plate, both beautifully decorated. Stratigraphically, they belong shortly before the destruction of the city during the Amarna period, and are thus assigned a date somewhere between 1450-1365 B.C.12 Stylistically, as well, they belong to the Mitannian-Amarna period and show scenes reminiscent of late 18th Dynasty Egypt, notably the time of King Tutankhamen. 13 Both stratigraphically and stylistically, then, a late 18th Dynasty date is necessitated. Since Velikovsky lowers that date by over 500 years, how are the gold bowls affected?

These two pieces are called “remarkable antecedents of the use of the frieze of animals on metal bowls” of Phoenician workmanship, firmly dated to the 9th-7th centuries B.C.14 What is more “remarkable” than the Ugaritic examples’ manufacture and burial over 500 years before the “later” series began, is the subject matter of the two items. Extraordinary conservatism was attributed to the Phoenicians, since the later group faithfully reproduced similar scenes and arrangement of the decoration,15 after a lapse of 500 years.

The chariot scene on the 14th-century gold plate is compared to similar scenes of the 9th-century Neo-Hittites and of the Assyrian King Assurnasirpal II (883-859 B.C.).16 The elongated gallop of the horse is seen to be quite similar to depictions on Assyrian reliefs, but Assyrian influence “is chronologically impossible, all the Assyrian monuments presently known where horses are depicted at gallop being about half a millennium later than our plate” (174). The gold bowl (Fig. 7) with its combination of Aegean, Egyptian, Mesopotamian, and Levantine motifs is “an excellent example of Phoenician syncretism, half a millennium before Phoenicians in the proper sense are known”.17

Surely, it was thought, these golden objects, remarkably foreshadowing by 500 years similar metal bowls and similar scenes, “may be claimed as ancestors of the series of ‘Phoenician’ bowls of the ninth-seventh centuries B.C.”18 How can they be ancestors if they were buried and unseen for 500 years before the later series began, and the art was lost over those 500 years?

If metal bowls reproduced similar scenes in similar arrangements for 500 years, that would indeed be “extraordinary conservatism.” That 9th-7th-century Phoenicians should imitate so closely 14th-century bowls they never saw, after a 500-year gap, is merely “extraordinary.”

When their date is reduced by half a millennium, these bowls fit beautifully into the later series. If one keeps high dates for the Mitannians and the 18th Egyptian Dynasty, then this is yet another mystery to add to our list.

References

 

  1. Velikovsky, Ages in Chaos, pp. 179-222.
  2. Westholm, “Built Tombs in Cyprus,” Opuscula Archaeologica II (1941), p. 30.
  3. , pp. 32-51.
  4. , p. 57.
  5. , pp. 52-53. See also A. Westholm, “Amathus,” in E. Gjerstad, et al.. The Swedish Cyprus Expedition (henceforth SCE) II (Stockholm: 1935), p. 140, and E. Sjöqvist, “Enkomi” SCE I (Stockholm: 1934), pp. 570-73.
  6. Gjerstad, SCE IV.2 (Stockholm: 1948), p. 239; V. Karageorghis, Excavations in the Necropolis of Salamis I (Salamis, vol. 3) [Nicosia: 1967], p. 123.
  7. Ussishkin, “The Necropolis from the Time of the Kingdom of Judah at Silwan, Jerusalem,” The Biblical Archaeologist 33 (1970): 45-46.
  8. The foundation date was disputed in antiquity. Most ancient estimates fell within the range of 846-7 51 B.C. Of particular interest for our purposes is the fact that a number of ancient authors stated that Carthage was founded before the Trojan War.
  9. C. and C. Picard, The Life and Death of Carthage, trans. from the French by D. Collon (London: 1968), p. 47.
  10. , p. 52, and see C. Picard, “Installations Cultuelles Retrouveés au Tophet de Salammbo,” Rivista degli Studi Orientali 42 (1967): 189-99.
  11. Picard, “Installations,” sees close relations between the Ras Shamra and Carthage tombs but recognizes the chronological difficulty. His suggestion, pp. 197-98, that this tomb type came from Cyprus does not help matters. The Carthaginian settlers were primarily Syro-Phoenicians, not Cypriots. Besides, he seems not to realize that the type did not survive in Cyprus from Bronze Age times (contra, p. 197). Like the Carthaginian example, it “came back” after a mysterious chronological gap. Even if we make the Carthage example depend on Cyprus, not Syria, we are still left with the puzzle of how and why the Cypriots copied, yet did not copy, the 600-year extinct tombs of Ras Shamra or Enkomi.
  12. F. A. Schaeffer, Ugaritica II (Paris: 1949), pp. 5, 47. See H. Frankfort, The Art and Architecture of the Ancient Orient (Baltimore: 1963), p. 150 for their assignment to the Mitannian period, p. 140 for his dates for that period; D. E. Strong, Greek and Roman Gold and Silver Plate (Glasgow: 1966), p. 53.
  13. Frankfort, Art and Architecture, 150.
  14. Dikaios, “Fifteen Iron Age Vases,” Report of the Department of Antiquities of Cyprus, 1937-1939 (Nicosia: 1951): 137. 1 72. Schaeffer, Ugaritica II, p. 47.
  15. Vieyra, Hittite Art, pp. 45-46.
  16. Schaeffer, Ugaritica II, 22-23: “Une influence de ce coté est chronologique-ment impossible, tous les monuments assyriens actuellement connus où figurent des chevaux au galop étant postérieurs de près d’un demi-millénaire à notre patère.”
  17. Frankfort, Art and Architecture, 150.
  18. Strong, Gold and Silver Plate, 53.

[End of quote]

 

 

The conventional upside-down chronology for Ugarit has, as with EA, led to the inevitable – but wrong – conclusion that the pagan culture had influenced the supposedly later biblical writings.

The following is a typical example of this mind-set (https://www.britannica.com/place/Ugarit):

 

Ras Shamra texts and the Bible

 

Many texts discovered at Ugarit, including the “Legend of Keret,” the “Aqhat Epic” (or “Legend of Danel”), the “Myth of Baal-Aliyan,” and the “Death of Baal,” reveal an Old Canaanite mythology. A tablet names the Ugaritic pantheon with Babylonian equivalents; El, Asherah of the Sea, and Baal were the main deities. These texts not only constitute a literature of high standing and great originality but also have an important bearing on biblical studies. It is now evident that the patriarchal stories in the Hebrew Bible were not merely transmitted orally but were based on written documents of Canaanite origin, the discovery of which at Ugarit has led to a new appraisal of the Hebrew Bible.

 

[End of quote]

 

For a complete reversal of this view, though, see my:

 

Identity of the ‘Daniel’ in Ezekiel 14 and 28

 

https://www.academia.edu/29786004/Identity_of_the_Daniel_in_Ezekiel_14_and_28

 

With this new, revised, approach in mind, there may well be need further to re-assess Cassuto’s interpretation – following upon his most helpful comparisons between Bezalel and Ugaritic Kothar-wa-Ḫasis – of “the biblical material as a critique of Canaanite legends and polytheism.[15]”. Rather, I suggest, the Canaanite legends ought to be viewed as later, corrupt, polytheistic versions of the sublime Hebrew originals.

Baal Bronze figurine, 14th-12th centuries, Ras Shamra (ancient Ugarit)

 

Rabbi Jeremy S. Morrison discusses Cassuto’s paralleling of Bezalel and Kothar-wa-Ḫasis in the following terrific article: http://thetorah.com/bezalel-and-the-impotence-of-foreign-deities/

 

Bezalel Ben Uri and the Impotence of Foreign Deities

 

Introduction – Bezalel’s Special Attributes

 

In this week’s parasha, Vayakhel, we encounter one of the Torah’s most enigmatic characters: Bezalel, the artisan and architect who oversees the building of the Tabernacle.  Our portion describes Bezalel as filled with divine spirit (ruach elohim), and endowed with wisdom (chochmah), discernment or technical know-how (tevunah) and with knowledge of every kind of work (u’v’da’at u’vchol melachah).[1]  The product that Bezalel makes further highlights his special characteristics.  As the constructor of the Tabernacle, a dwelling place for Yhwh, Bezalel builds a house that is unique from all other human-built houses.   Scholars stress the superlative nature of the Book of Exodus’s description of him: Bezalel has “the gift of originality” and he possesses “all the requisite qualities [of wisdom, discernment and knowledge] in supernatural measure.”[2]

There is indeed something “supernatural” about Bezalel, and the unique and surpassing description of this character provokes compelling questions: Who is Bezalel? Why does Exodus describe him in this manner?  And what is his relationship with God?

 

Human Creativity in the Bible

Biblical Creative Tensions

Within the Bible, creativity is frequently a realm in which God is in conflict with humans. In biblical texts, humans are denied originality [sic]. Knowledge that is generated independently by the human mind, and not installed there by God, “must be at best wrong, at worst possibly antagonistic to God.”[3] The Bible also expresses suspicion regarding human artisanship, particularly metalworking, which often leads to the construction of idols. [4] Bezalel, designated as both a metal worker (Exod. 36:32) and as a thinker “of thoughts or plans” (Exod. 36:35) would seem to embody the “creative tensions” that concern the writers of the Bible.  And yet, the description of Bezalel in Vayakhel is not infused with tension; rather, he is presented as an elevated, masterful artisan, skilled in a variety of creative processes, and capable of instructing others.[5]

 

Yhwh’s Relationship with Bezalel

 

The absence of tension between God and this particular artisan highlights the special character of their relationship, which is further indicated by the opening verse of the description.  As Moses states (35:30) to the Israelites: “See, Yhwh has called by name Bezalel, the son of Uri.”

The description of Bezalel in this week’s portion is a repetition of a previous depiction of Bezalel given by God to Moses. There (Exodus 31: 1- 5), the first person account lends a greater sense of intimacy to the relationship between Yhwh and Bezalel.  God declares to Moses (Exod. 31:2), “I have called, by name, Bezalel.” God “calls” someone “by name” in only two other verses in the Bible: when God proclaims God’s own name (in Exod. 33:19) and also when God “calls” Israel “by name” (Isa. 43:1). In each of these contexts, the phrase indicates a distinctive relationship with the individual (Bezalel) or the people (Israel) that God is calling.

The meaning of Bezalel ben Uri’s name –“In the shadow of El, the son of my light”–lends credence to the notion of a special relationship between God and Bezalel. Furthermore, Moses’/God’s declaration (Exod. 35:30/Exod. 31:2) that God has “filled” Bezalel with the “breath/wind/spirit of God” (ruach elohim) places this artisan in a select category of biblical personages upon whom the “spirit/breath/wind of God” comes, including, Joseph, Saul, Ezekiel and Daniel.[6]

The description in Vayakhel, when taken together with the meaning of the name Bezalel, suggests, as Mark S. Smith has written, “an unusual intimacy between God and this otherwise shadowy figure.”[7]

 

Explaining Bezalel’s Unique Abilities

 

Since the early centuries of the Common Era, commentators have noted Bezalel’s unique qualities and have raised questions as to his identity.  This is clearly reflected, for example, in the later exegetical collection of midrashic collection on the book of Exodus, Shemot Rabbah (40:2), describes Bezalel as having been chosen by God at the beginning of time.[8]

 

Removing the Supernatural Description

 

Perhaps out of concern that the superlative nature of the description in Exodus was motivating comparisons between Bezalel and Greco-Roman gods, Josephus, in his Antiquities (1st Century, CE), took pains to recast Bezalel’s commissioning by God and removes God’s calling (kara) of Bezalel:

“[Moses] appointed construction supervisors for the works…their names…were these: Basaelos, son of Ouri of the tribe of Ioudas, grandson of Mariamme the sister of the general and Elibazos, son of Isamachos, of the tribe of Dan (Antiquities 3.104-5).”[9]

Whereas in the Bible, God chooses the architects for the building, in the Antiquities (3.104) Moses selects the architects “in accordance with the instruction of God,” thereby transforming Bezalel from a uniquely gifted craftsman to a humanly chosen member of a team of architects.[10] Perhaps he did so out of concern that the superlative nature of the description in Exodus motivated comparisons between Bezalel and Greco-Roman gods.[11]

 

Bezalel the Master Sage

 

The medieval commentator, Abraham ibn Ezra (1089–1164) (Exod. 31:3), notes that Bezalel, had great skill, knew all sorts of hidden mysteries…and understood mathematics, biology, physics, and metaphysics far beyond anyone else of his generation.[12]

According to ibn Ezra, Bezalal was simply a master scholar.

 

Bezalel the Ancestor of Artisans

 

The Protestant 20th Century German scholar Martin Noth, in A History of Pentateuchal Traditions, explains the illustrious description of Bezalel by positing that Bezalel was an ancestor of a distinguished family living during the Second Temple Period.[13] Similarly, Ronald E. Clements suggests that Bezalel and Oholiab are ancestors of artisan guilds.[14]

 

The Israelite Kothar

 

Reading Exodus’ description of Bezalel from a somewhat more historical-critical orientation than that of his predecessors, the early Jewish 20th century scholar Umberto (Rabbi Moshe David) Cassuto, in his commentary to the Book of Exodus, emphasized the similarities between Bezalel’s attributes and descriptions of the Ugaritic, artisan deity Kothar-wa-Ḫasis. In the Ba(al and Anat cycle, Yamm (the god of the sea) commissions Kothar-wa-Ḫasis to build him a palace. When Ba(al and Anat defeat Yamm, however, Kothar-wa-Ḫasis ends up building the palace for Ba(al. Cassuto sees Bezalal as an alternative to Kothar-wa-Ḫasis, and he interprets the biblical material as a critique of Canaanite legends and polytheism.[15]

The parallels between Bezalel and Kothar wa-Ḫasis should not be taken lightly.  Scholars have observed striking similarities between the portrayal of Bezalel and the descriptions of this Ugaritic deity, which are found in the Ugaritic creation myth, the Ba(al and Anat Cycle.[16]  Like Bezalel, Kothar–wa-Ḫasis’s skill set encompasses all crafts and he, like, Bezalel, builds a house for a deity, the Canaanite god of creation, Ba(al – Hadad.

Additionally, epithets for Kothar-wa-Ḫasis are analogous to elements of the description of Bezalel.[17] The Ugaritic deity is known as the “Wise One” (ss) (corresponding to chochmah); Kothar wa-Hasis is called “the deft one” (Ugaritic: rš yd) a name that corresponds to Bezalel’s being able to carve or craft (cheresh) stone, wood, or metal.

….

[1] For the complete description of Bezalel in this week’s portion see Ex. 35:30 – 35.

[2] See Benno Jacob, The Second Book of the Bible: Exodus (trans. W.Jacob; Hoboken, NJ: Ktav, 1997), 842; and W. Propp, Exodus 19-40: A New Translation with Introduction and Commentary (The Anchor Bible; New York, Doubleday, 2006), 488.

[3] See Michael Carasik, Theologies of the Mind in Biblical Israel (New York: Peter Lang, 2006), p. 221.

[4] This orientation towards human thinking and creativity is summarized in the Priestly statement: “The Lord saw… how every plan devised by [man’s] mind nothing but evil all the time (Gen. 6:5).” For other examples of the Bible’s pejorative orientation towards human creativity, see Isa. 65:2; Jer. 4:14; Jer. 18:12; Psa. 94:11; and Prov. 19:21.

[5] See Exod. 35:34.

[6] firstshould be rewritten to match the text}}Other biblical characters who experience God’s ruach include: Joseph (Gen. 41:38), Balaam (Num. 24:2), Saul (1 Sam. 10:10; 11:6; 16:5), Ezekiel (Ezek. 11:24), Daniel (5:11,14) and Zechariah (2 Chron. 24:20).

[7] See M. Smith, Kothar wa-asis, the Ugaritic Craftsman God (Dissertation; Yale University, 1985), 100.

[8]  ומה עשה הקדוש ברוך הוא הביא לו ספרו של אדם הראשון והראה לו כל הדורות שהן עתידין לעמוד מבראשית עד תחיית המתים, דור ודור ומלכיו, דור ודור ומנהיגיו, דור ודור ונביאיו, אמר לו כל אחד ואחד התקנתיו מאותה שעה, וכן בצלאל מאותה שעה התקנתיו, הוי ראה קראתי בשם בצלאל.

[9] See Flavius Josephus: Translation and Commentary: Judean Antiquities 1–4, tr. L. Feldman, ed. S. Mason (Leiden: E. J. Brill, 1999), 257–8.

[10] See Steven Fine, “‘See, I Have Called by the Renowned Name of Bezalel, Son of Uri…’: Josephus’ Portrayal of the Biblical ‘Architect’ ,”  In The Temple of Jerusalem: From Moses to the Messiah: in honor of Professor Louis H. Feldman, edited by Steven (Leiden: Brill, 2011), p. 29 – 30.

[11] See Fine, p. 30.

[12]  והנה בצלאל היה מלא כל חכמה בחשבון, ומדות, וערכים, ומלאכת שמים וחכמת התולדת, וסוד הנשמה. והיה לו יתרון על כל אנשי דורו,

[13] See Martin Noth, A History of Pentateuchal Traditions (trans. Bernhard W. Anderson; Englewood Cliffs: New Jersey, 1972), 188.,

[14] See Ronald E. Clements, Exodus: The Cambridge Bible Commentary (Cambridge: Cambridge University, 1972), 199.

[15] See Umberto Cassuto, A Commentary on the Book of Exodus (trans. I Abrahams; Jerusalem: Magnes Press, 1974), 402.

[16] See KTU 1.1 III; KTU 1.2 IV; KTU 1.4 V-VIII.

[17] See Smith, Kothar wa-asis, 51-100.

….

Joshua’s Miracle of the Sun: Appropriated in ‘The Iliad’

Image result for agamemnon 

by

Damien F. Mackey

  

The fictitious Greek king, Agamemnon, appears in Homer’s The Iliad, in at least one notable instance, like Joshua, praying for the Sun not to set so that Agamemnon might be victorious.

 

“Zeus, most glorious, most great, the one of the dark clouds, that dwellest in the heaven, grant that the sun set not, neither darkness come upon us, until I have cast down in headlong ruin the hall of Priam … burned with consuming fire”. (Illiad II:412-415)

 

This is not the only instance in which The Iliad has borrowed from colourful biblical events. See e.g. my:

Judith the Jewess and “Helen” the Hellene

https://www.academia.edu/24417162/Judith_the_Jewess_and_Helen_the_Hellene

Moreover, the famous standoff between Agamemnon and Achilles, also in The Iliad, reminds me of the hostile encounter in the Book of Judith (chapter 5) between the bombastic “Holofernes” and his subordinate, “Achior” (a name not unlike Achilles).

And I have previously provided abundant evidence for the use of the books of Tobit and Job in Homer’s The Odyssey.

Yet we constantly read statements such as: “Western civilization begins with the two greatest books of the ancient world, the Iliad and the Odyssey by the Greek poet Homer”.

https://www.memoriapress.com/curriculum/classical-studies/iliad-odyssey-complete-set/

The crucial Hebrew inspiration behind all of this usually goes completely unacknowledged.

 

 

Joshua’s Miracle of the Sun

 Image result for joshua 10 sun stand still

by

Damien F. Mackey

   

“Then Joshua spoke to the Lord in the day when the Lord delivered up the Amorites before the sons of Israel, and he said in the sight of Israel, ‘O sun, stand still at Gibeon, And O moon in the valley of Aijalon’.  So the sun stood still, and the moon stopped, Until the nation avenged themselves of their enemies. Is it not written in the book of Jashar? And the sun stopped in the middle of the sky, and did not hasten to go down for about a whole day. And there was no day like that before it or after it, when the Lord listened to the voice of a man; for the Lord fought for Israel”.

Joshua 10:12-14

 

 

Introduction

Whatever really happened on this particular occasion – and the suggestions about how to explain this colourful biblical account are manifold – Catholics, in particular, know of a modern-day Miracle of the Sun that was far greater than the Joshuan one, it being foretold months in advance of its actual occurrence on the 13th of October, 1917, and witnessed by tens of thousands, including hardened atheists:

The Great Solar Miracle: Fatima October 13, 1917

https://www.academia.edu/8754527/The_Great_Solar_Miracle_Fatima_October_13_1917

 

Miracles, according to Saint Thomas Aquinas, cannot be ascribed to anything other than God. A miracle, he wrote, is “an event that happens outside the ordinary processes of the whole of created nature” (Summa Theologiae, Ia, 110. 4). The Fatima phenomenon of 1917, estimated to have been witnessed by 70,000-100,000 people, was certainly a miracle fitting Aquinas’s description. The vision of it was limited almost entirely to the local Fatima region, and it did not in any way affect the usual motions of the observed heavenly bodies.

Let is briefly re-visit my description of the Fatima Solar Miracle in the above article:

 

…. And suddenly, as the crowd looked upwards, the clouds opened and exposed the blue sky with the sun at its zenith. But this sun did not dazzle. The people could look directly at it. It was like a shining silver plate. Then the sun trembled. It made some abrupt movements. It began to spin like a wheel of fire. Great shafts of coloured light flared out from its centre in all directions, colouring in a most fantastic manner the clouds, trees, rocks, earth, and even the clothes and faces of the people gathered there, in alternating splashes of red, yellow, green, blue and violet – the full spectrum of rainbow colours.

After about five minutes the sun stopped revolving in this fashion. A moment later, it resumed a second time its incredible motion, throwing out its light and colour like a huge display of fireworks. And once more, after a few minutes, the sun stopped its prodigious dance.

After a short time, and for the third time, it resumed its spinning and fantastic colours. The crowd gazed spellbound. Then came the awful climax. The sun seemed to be falling from the sky. Zig-zagging from side to side, it plunged down towards the crowd below, sending out a heat increasingly intense, and causing the spectators to believe that this was indeed the end of the world.

People stood wild-eyed, or sank to their knees in the mud, as the sun rushed towards them. A desperate cry went up from the crowd, begging God, or the Blessed Virgin Mary, for mercy, asking pardon for their sins. The sun halted, stopping short in its precipitous fall, and then it climbed back to its place in the sky, where it regained its normal brilliance.

Then the dazed people, who had just experienced the wonder of the age – or what Cardinal Laraana would later call “the greatest Divine intervention since the time of Our Lord” (Soul, Sep-Oct, 1990, p. 6) – found that another miracle had occurred. This apocalyptic scene, full of majesty and terror, had ended with a delicate gift, which showed the motherly tenderness of the Immaculate Heart of Mary for her children. Their sodden clothes were dry and comfortable, without a trace of mud and rain. ….

[End of quote]

 

For those present that day –

 

“And there has never been a day like it before or since …” (Joshua 10:14)

 

– the Sun appeared to do what it does not normally do, and, moreover, “the people could look directly at it”.

Since God, who provided us with Nature and the Cosmos, both heralded, and then performed, this terrifying event, might it not offer clues for us when attempting to make sense, too, of the Joshuan miracle of the sun that He also performed?

Did Joshua and his men really observe a miraculous intervention by God that, as in the case of Fatima, did not in any way affect the cosmological order, nor was seen elsewhere in the world?

A miraculous provision of extra light to the advantage of the fighting Israelites by the God who created light (Genesis 1:3).

 

Recall the Fatima miracle again, with its wonderful abundance of light: “Great shafts of coloured light flared out from its centre in all directions, colouring in a most fantastic manner the clouds, trees, rocks, earth, and even the clothes and faces of the people gathered there …. it resumed a second time its incredible motion, throwing out its light and colour like a huge display of fireworks”.

Whilst the extra light on the Joshuan occasion had enabled the Israelites to complete their victory, the light and “a heat increasingly intense” at Fatima served the more benign purpose of drying the sodden crowd.

 

If this is the explanation, then biblical enthusiasts may be wasting their time looking for ancient records of a long day in China, or Peru, or wherever. Or from supposed evidence from NASA, or other quasi-scientific theories (http://www.thechristianexpositor.org/page432.html):

 

Some adopt the position that God stopped the entire solar system. They make Joshua’s day 23 hours and 20 minutes. The other 40 minutes are said to be found in 2 Kings 20:8-11, where the sun went ten degrees backward for a sign to Hezekiah that his life would be extended.  Alternately, it has been suggested that prolonged light resulted from (1) the slowing of the earth’s rotation so that one day is missing in the earth’s astronomical calendar; or (2) the temporary tilting of the earth’s axis.4  Some adopt the position that God blacked out the sun rather than continued its shining by appealing to a particular translation, e.g., The Berkeley Version translates it, “O Sun, wait in Gibeon”, and in the American Standard Version the marginal reading is, “Sun, be silent.”

[End of quote]

 

Or whether or not the Joshuan text is evidence needed to support Geocentrism.

The “Hyksos” as Amalekites

 Image result for david and amalek

 by

 Damien F. Mackey

  

Dr. I. Velikovsky’s identification of the Hyksos conquerors of Egypt with the biblical Amalekites has been widely accepted by revisionists – even those who have since rejected his Ages in Chaos.

 

David Rohl, whose own biblico-historical revision is some centuries apart from Velikovsky’s, had nonetheless accepted the latter’s identification of the Hyksos conquerors of Egypt with the Amalekites of the Book of Exodus (Pharaohs and Kings: A Biblical Quest, 1997).

Debbie Hurn, in 2003, wrote a solid article in support of this Velikovskian thesis. I thoroughly recommend that one reads her insightful article written for Testimony Magazine. It is found at: http://www.testimony-magazine.org/back/dec2003/hurn.pdf

 

 The Amalekites

2.Were they the Hyksos?*

 

Dr. John Osgood, too, has mounted a strong case for the Amalekites to have been the Hyksos, an archaeologically-based argument with the assistance of maps – as he provided also in the case of the wandering Exodus Israelites as the Middle Bronze I people (from which this one naturally flows): http://creation.com/the-time-of-the-judges-the-archaeology-b-settlement-and-apostasy

 

The Times of the Judges—The Archaeology:

(b) Settlement and Apostasy

 

….

A new alignment begins

The land of Israel rested in peace and freedom from oppression for a period of 40 years—here equated with the MB IIA period, or the last portion of it (Judges 3:11). Again they apostasised [sic] into idolatry, and soon a new spectre appeared on the horizon. A strong king of Moab began a conquest of Israel which brought him into control of at least the strategic central portion of the land. Eglon of Moab now rebuilt on the ruins of Jericho, ‘the city of palms’, a fortress capable of stationing 10,000 troops, and a palace (Judges 3:12-30).

This apparently was not a rebuilding of the old city which had been cursed by Joshua, later rebuilt by Hiel the Bethelite (1 Kings 16:34), but it was, nonetheless, the same site geographically.

Assisting him in this conquest naturally was Moab’s old sister nation Ammon. This is quite easy to accept. However, surprisingly, also in the raiding force was AMALEK (Judges 3:13).

Now geographically Amalek was in the western Negev (see Genesis) 14:17, Numbers 13:29, Numbers 14:25, 1 Samuel 15:7, 27:8). The related Edomites were between Moab and Amalek, so the alliance does seem a little unusual (see Figure 7).

 

Figure 7. Map showing the regions/peoples of the Moabite alliance.

 

However, Amalek has a number of enigmatic statements made about it in the Scriptures (Numbers 24:20). Balaam says of Amalek that it was then ‘the first of the nations’ (first = Hebrew reshith—foremost). This is a truly incredible statement on first glance, but the same concept is supported by Balaam’s other comment about Agag, the Amalekite king. He said that Israel’s kingdom would be higher than Agag, and his kingdom exalted. In other words, the whole idea being conveyed was that Agag occupied a position of immense power (Numbers 24:7).

 

The implication of these statements is that Amalek was a power to be reckoned with, no longer just a fledgling nation, as before. It is with this in mind that the … assertions of Velikovsky18 and Courville19 need to be perused. They were united in identifying Amalek with the ‘AMU’ ( = Hyksos) overlords of Egypt during the Second Intermediate period of that nation. Such an assertion would give weight to statements of scripture that imply an Amalekite nation was the foremost of the nations in Moses’ day. It would also bring meaning into Eglon’s call for help to Amalek for the subjugation of Israel. In fact, it would almost be a necessity for Moab to obtain Amalek’s blessing on her conquest of Israel in order to bear rule over what Amalek (the Hyksos rulers of Egypt) would regard as their sphere of rule. Eglon then would be a vassal ruler of the Amalekite/Hyksos over a subjugated Israel.

 

It is of interest to note that from this point in Israel’s history as the scriptures record it, Amalek is on the scene more consistently than any other nation in attack against Israel for the next 300 years, first assisting Eglon, then in association with Midian (Judges 6:3), and then in the days of King Saul and David (1 Samuel 15 and 1 Samuel 30).

Such an interval of time adds to the circumstantial weight of the identification of Amalek with the Amu, and the Hyksos, and this author accepts fully at least this part of the theses of Velikovsky18 and Courville19 (This is not, however, a blanket endorsement of other areas of their work.) Hereafter in this work I will assume the identification of Amalekite/Hyksos to be valid, although further discussion on this point will undoubtedly ensue. Taking the above premises, we would expect to find an MB IIB city at Jericho, of larger proportions than the old city (identified as EB III), evidence of a palace, and evidence of Hyksos rule. Furthermore, if we were able to differentiate Moabite culture from Israelite, we would also expect some evidence of Moabite culture in the MB IIB city.

 

Jericho MB IIB—A new fortress arises

 

Jericho was definitely rebuilt along different lines in the MB II period—larger than it was before. A regional similarity was also apparent as Garstang says:

 

“This is indeed fairly clear, because the site lay more or less derelict thereafter for some time, perhaps a century, and when finally the city revived it is found to have been entirely replanned and reconstructed upon fresh lines, with a new and improved defensive system; while an entirely new culture, that of the Middle Bronze Age, replaced the old. Moreover the change was general, and it affected in similar fashion all the great cities on the highlands above the Jordan valley, Jericho nearest surviving neighbours; while many early settlements in and near the southern end of the Rift never revived at all”20 (emphasis ours)

 

Garstang continues:

 

“It was during this period that Jericho, under the Hyksos regime attained its greatest extension and the height of its prosperity. The protected area was now about nine acres, which was nearly the size of contemporary Jerusalem.”21

 

Jericho gave evidence of being a premium city at this time. It was most important to have a palace in the heart of the city—and that a most prominent one. Here in the revised chronology we suggest that this palace was, in fact, that of the Moabite King Eglon, vice regent to his Hyksos/Amalekite overlords of Egypt and the Negev.

 

“In the heart of the City, on a peak of ground overlooking the spring, rose a royal palace, the most elaborate dwelling uncovered upon the site. The main block, which was square, crowned the highest part of the knoll, and it was surrounded at groundfloor level by a sort of roofed ambulatory, in which would be half-cellar store-rooms, offices, stables, etc., much as in the arcaded basements of many houses of the East to-day.”22

 

Certainly the description of this palace fits the details of Judges 3:13 and 20–26, but Garstang continues:

 

“The very proportions and solidarity of the palace building show that the ruler of Jericho at this period had attained both wealth and power; and the contents of the extensive store-rooms committed to his care seem to explain the source of his increased prestige.”23

 

Moreover, it was during this period that Hyksos power was evident and strong, the many scarabs with the red crown of Lower Egypt pointed out by Kenyon24 testifying to the hegemony of Jericho.

Garstang continues with his details of the Ruler of Jericho at this time:

 

He became in fact the chief of an important unit in the Hyksos organization. Associated with him as guardian of the Hyksos stores or ‘treasury’ was a resident official, whose title ‘Scribe of the Vezir’ appears upon scarab-signets and jar-sealings recovered from the store-rooms; the names of two persons who held this office were Senb. ef and Se. Ankh, both characteristic of this period.”25

 

We emphasise our belief that this ruler was, in fact, Eglon of Moab.

It appears that although Eglon’s presence was removed from Jericho, some sort of Israelite presence persisted at the site, as witnessed by its occupation in the days of David’s reign (2 Samuel 10:5).

A new influence

 

A new influence now affected Palestine, producing the MB IIB culture (Albright nomenclature). The Khabur influence [of Cushan-Rishathaim] had come briefly and then gone, not being the sort of influence that one attributes to an ethnic movement of people, but eminently in the style of a conquest introduction. The main item of that influence was, in fact, a storage jar which would be suitable for grain or wine.

The new culture was a continuation of the main body of cultural tradition, but gone was the Khabur influence, and a new pottery tradition came, known as the Tell el-Yahudiyeh ware.

 

“A close analysis of MB IIA and B–C pottery shows many differences between the two periods, but a definite continuity of form and decoration can undoubtedly be observed.”26

 

The Tell el-Yahudiyeh pottery was not totally new to the MB IIB but was present already to a small extent in the MB I. However, its popularity peaked in MB IIB then continued into MB IIC, finally to leave a remnant in the LB I (Late Bronze I).27

 

This ware appears to have been produced in Palestine, some exported to Cyprus, Egypt and north into Phoenicia, but its centre was in Palestine (assumed by current thinking to be CANAANITE, but by this revised chronology it would almost certainly be Israelite).28

Despite the difference that is generally assumed between MB I and the MB IIA–C pottery, it is not inconceivable that the Tell el-Yahudiyeh decorations on the juglets which form the distinctive feature, were ultimately conceived from the very features already inherent in the MB I; viz, incisions and ‘notches’ in the MB I pottery made by a comb or fork,29 and ‘punctured decoration’ and ‘designs delineated by grooves’ also reminiscent of the use of comb or fork, in MB IIB Tell el-Yahudiyeh ware.30 Considering the general features of the MB I to MB IIA–C sequence, there is every reason to believe that what we are seeing was the ongoing development of the early Israelite pottery tradition.

Moreover, the pottery of MB I Palestine shows at least some affinity with the late 12th Dynasty of Egypt, which is of course, what we would expect if the MB I to MB IIA to MB IIB–C sequence is postulated as Israelite. As Kenyon says:

 

“As a result, the royal tombs at Byblos can be closely dated by Egyptian objects. In tombs of the period of Amenemhet III and IV (second half 19th–beginning 18th centuries BC) there appears pottery which is very close to this new pottery in Palestine. Moreover, on a number of other sites in coastal Syria we find the same kind of pottery, and it is clear that part at least of the new population of Palestine must have come from this area.”31 (emphasis ours)

 

From the point of discussion of the new influence in Palestine in the MB IIB, the most significant features are those which point to a significant Hyksos influence in the land; and this is considerable.

As Amiram has said:

 

“The correspondence of MB IIB to the Hyksos Dynasties in Egypt is also established with a fair measure of certainty and is generally accepted.”32

 

With this statement I would make no objection, only with the question of who the Hyksos were would we differ. It follows that if the chronology here espoused is the correct view, then the generally held view on Hyksos origins must fall and be replaced by one which conforms to the scriptural details—the Hyksos would be the biblical Amalekites, found in the area of the Negev, mainly in the west, south of the Wadi Besor, then extending their influence into Egypt. Much that has been called Hyksos in Palestine would in fact be Israelite, but showing evidence of Amalekite hegemony, by scarabs and similar artifacts. Such intricacies of interpretation do not come freely with the sole use of archaeological evidence, but demands a basic framework of hypothesis against which to evaluate the findings. This the biblical record provides.

 

The major change of influence in Palestine in the MB IIB–C period was to the Hyksos influence. This influence was found, to judge by the scarab evidence, mainly in the area of Palestine south of the Carmel Ridge, a geographic fact worthy of note.

In my earlier discussion on the details of the servitude under the Midianites and Amalekites and their subsequent deliverance under Gideon,33 particular attention was paid to the evidence that this servitude was confined to Israel south of the Carmel Ridge. As soon as the northern deliverance from Jabin’s yoke had been completed, the Midianites and Amalekites moved over the Carmel range to fill the political vacuum, but were quickly defeated by Gideon.

 

Likewise, it was pointed out that the song of Deborah testified to a presence of Amalek in some sort of controlling influence in the area of Ephraim during the time of Jabin’s rule in the north. The later part of this period, however, was seen to be contemporary with the Midianite/Amalekite rule in the south (see Figure 8).

Figure 8. Map showing the expected distribution of Amalekite artifacts in Palestine compared with the actual distribution of Hyksos scarabs.

 

Also, it was reasoned that Eglon’s (Moab) rule was with the influence of Amalek.

Thus I am suggesting that the Amalekites of the Bible must be seen to be the same as the Hyksos who ruled over Egypt.

 

When all the above reasoning is brought together, it becomes apparent that the distribution of the Hyksos artifacts (as here defined by the scrabs [sic]) occupied exactly this distribution geographically, and no other. And as this period in the biblical record Eglon and onward corresponds most particularly to the MB IIB–C period on my revised Archaeological Table, the possible correctness of the revised chronology is upheld.

 

“Most interesting is the fact that Hyksos royal-name scarabs and sealings have not been discovered at sites in the Galilee, the Huleh Valley, Lebanon, or Syria.”34

 

And again:

 

“Only one Hyksos royal-name scarab and but a handful of contemporary private name-and-title scarabs have been found north of the Carmel Ridge.”35

 

Weinstein then argues that the principal centres of Hyksos power in Palestine were in the southern and inland regions south of the plain of Esdraelon. He concludes that the Hyksos were in fact simply southern and inland Palestinian princes.

 

Against the revised chronology here presented it becomes apparent that the Hyksos were in fact the Amalekites of the southern and western portion of Palestine, viz, the Negev, and that during the MB IIB–C period of Palestine they not only controlled Lower Egypt, but extended their influence up to the Carmel Ridge with the help of firstly Moab under Eglon, who ruled from Jericho on their behalf, and then Midian who helped Amalek to check the rising tide of north Canaanite influence and power under Jabin.

 

As for the names and order of the Hyksos kings of the 15th and 16th Dynasties who were so involved, their details are in great confusion still. The whole question of the Hyksos is a confused question, with hardly any authority agreeing with the next on details of even the place of the individual kings in the scheme of the period. We need, however, to remind ourselves of the fate of the Amalekite nation, Exodus 17:14 records that God said He would “blot out the remembrance of Amalek from under heaven.”

 

Today only the Bible and documents that remember Amalek from that source (including Arabian documents) remind us of the existence of this Edomite—descended (Genesis 36:12), Negev/Sinai-dwelling nation (Numbers 13:29) which rose to a pinnacle of power—‘the foremost of the nations’ (literal translation of Numbers 24:20)—and for centuries harassed Israel (Judges). Gone is their name outside of this source; gone is the clarity of details, like a whisp of steam that may not have been. But the remembrance of another name—the ‘Amu’—the Hyksos kings—has replaced the geography, the power, the time and the destiny of what the biblical Amalekites claimed.

 

King Cushan-Rishathaim. Part Two: Half a Millennium before Hammurabi

Image result for othniel

 by

 Damien F. Mackey

  

Mention of “Jabin of Hazor” in one of the Mari letters has led even some astute revisionists, such as Drs. Courville and Osgood, seeking more solid ground for the Hammurabic era, to bind Hammurabi and his contemporary, Zimri-Lim, to the era of Joshua and his foe, Jabin of Hazor.

  

Introduction

 

Dr. Courville, writing his important two-volume set, The Exodus Problem and its Ramifications (1971), was concerned about establishing an ancient history/archaeology that properly accorded with the biblical data. He, realising that uncertainty about the proper date for Hammurabi, the famous king of Babylon, had left that monarch, as Courville wrote, “floating about in a liquid chronology of Chaldea”, had set about to establish some sort of biblico-historical anchor for Hammurabi. (The great King of Babylon, gradually shifted down the centuries by historians, was then dated to the C18th BC).

Courville’s choice of an anchor for Hammurabi and his contemporary, Zimri-Lim of Mari, was one “Jabin of Hazor”, who figures in the correspondence of Zimri-Lim. Courville identified this Jabin with the King Jabin of Hazor at the time of Joshua, thereby pinning kings Hammurabi and Zimri-Lim to the C15th BC. Other revisionists have followed him in this, including the perceptive Dr. John Osgood, in his generally brilliant archaeological revision:

The Times of the Judges—The Archaeology:

(b) Settlement and Apostasy

(http://creation.com/the-time-of-the-judges-the-archaeology-b-settlement-and-apostasy)

 

Whilst Dr. Osgood probably does this better than anyone else, he has unfortunately (I believe) attempted to fuse two biblico-historical eras that were, in fact, separated the one from the other by about half a millennium.

Dr. Osgood, who will most convincingly in this article establish a precise archaeological phase (Khabur ware period) for the enigmatic:

King Cushan-Rishathaim

https://www.academia.edu/17177942/King_Cushan-Rishathaim

 

of the early Judges period (3:8-10):

 

The anger of the Lord burned against Israel so that he sold them into the hands of Cushan-Rishathaim king of Aram Naharaim, to whom the Israelites were subject for eight years. But when they cried out to the Lord, he raised up for them a deliverer, Othniel son of Kenaz, Caleb’s younger brother, who saved them. The Spirit of the Lord came on him, so that he became Israel’s judge and went to war. The Lord gave Cushan-Rishathaim king of Aram into the hands of Othniel, who overpowered him.

 

will, however, on the flimsiest of evidence, date Zimri-Lim (and so Hammurabi) to “just prior to” this biblical incident. Dr. Osgood wrote:

 

The question of the Khabur ware period becomes even more intriguing when we turn to the Mesopotamian scene ….

 

A Synchronism Archaeologically

 

Just prior to the Khabur surge and dominance, we are in the period of Mari’s zenith under Zimri-Lim. It was during his early reign that a letter was written concerning the shipment of a significant quantity of tin to the Palestinian city of Hazor (among others)—no doubt to be used for bronze, and some of that most certainly for weapons.15

 

The king named was IBNI-ADAD, or the same as JABIN-HADAD, a name that brings to mind the king of Hazor JABIN (Joshua 11:1). He certainly would have an urgent desire for bronze and hence tin as he heard the news of the approaching Israelite conquests. Moreover, Jabin and Zimri-Lim fit archaeologically with the time surrounding the establishment of the MB I civilisation of Palestine, here identified with the Israelite conquerors. Though nothing is proved, the fit is excellent for such an identification.

 

[End of quote]

 

Unfortunately for both Courville and Osgood, and those who have followed them on this, the name “Jabin” was used by various rulers of Hazor down through the centuries.

We read, for instance, at (http://www.bible.ca/archeology/bible-archeology-ibni-addad-yabni-haddad-qishon-jabin-king-of-hazor-joshua-deborah-barak-1700bc.htm):

 

Five different references to Jabin of Hazor

 

Archeology now has uncovered a total of three different references to Jabin, in addition to the two Bible references to Jabin of Joshua (1406 BC) and Deborah (1200 BC). This proves the Bible was right all along and that “Jabin” is a dynastic name for a series of kings rather than the one time use of a single king. Two 18-17th century inscriptions have been found at Mari and Hazor with the name Jabin. A third is on the names list of Ramesses II at the Amon Temple at Karnak 1279-1212 BC.

 

  1. The Accadian tablet from Mari reads: “Ibni-Addad king of Hazor.” (18th century BC)
  2. The Old Babylonian tablet letter from Hazor is actually addressed “To Ibni”. (18-17th century BC)
  3. The Ramseese II namelist at Karnak reads: “Qishon of Jabin”

 

Drs. Courville and Osgood have picked out quite the wrong Jabin of Hazor for the alignment with Zimri-Lim, and hence for the establishment of a rock-solid historical synchronism for Hammurabi. The correct era for Hammurabi and Zimri-Lim is clearly the time of King Solomon, as eventually pioneered by Dean Hickman (1986), and now flourishing with abundant synchronisms. See my:

Hammurabi and Zimri-Lim as Contemporaries of Solomon

 

https://www.academia.edu/18306131/Hammurabi_and_Zimri-Lim_as_Contemporaries_of_Solomon

 

Dr. Osgood’s view that “Jabin and Zimri-Lim fit archaeologically with the time surrounding the establishment of the MB I civilisation of Palestine, here identified with the Israelite conquerors”, whilst correctly identifying the Israelites archaeologically with the MB I people, is only because the conventional historians have incorrectly dated Zimri-Lim to the C18th BC, which is wrongly identified as the MB I phase.

 

However, he is wise enough to add to this that “…nothing is proved …”.

 

 

Merenptah’s Stele – Egyptian Victory

 Image result for 19th dynasty egypt warfare

 by

 Damien F. Mackey

  

Only Martin Sieff, amongst the revisionists, had envisaged this as being

an Egyptian victory achieved by Merenptah himself.

 

 

To recall what I wrote previously:

 

– According to Courville, as we have seen, the stele’s inscription pertains to the Assyrian deportation of Samaria in c. 722/721 BC.

Velikovsky would later look to connect it with the deportation of the Jews to Babylon after the sack of Jerusalem by Nebuchednezzar II [Ramses II and His Time, pp. 189-196]. Though Bimson has estimated Velikovsky’s date for the 5th Year of Merenptah at “no earlier than 564 BC … 23 years after the fall of Jerusalem” [‘An Eighth Century Date for Merenptah’, p. 57].

Bimson thought (at least as late as 1980) that Merenptah’s Stele had pre-dated the fall of Samaria by about a decade, to c. 734-733 BC; it being a reference rather to the earlier Assyrian deportations of Israel by Tiglath-pileser III. …. [Ibid. See also ‘John Bimson replies on the “Israel Stele”,’ pp. 59-61].

– Rohl has in turn dated the conquests described in the stele to those effected by Seti I and Ramses II, his candidate for the biblical ‘Shishak’, himself regarding the stele as being Merenptah’s merely basking in the glory of what these, his great predecessors, had achieved before him. […. A Test of Time, ch. 7, pp. 164-171].

[End of quote]

 

For Drs. Velikovsky, Courville and Bimson (back then), this Egyptian Stele was supposedly commemorating one or another Assyro-Babylonian triumph – a most unlikely scenario!

And Rohl, for his part, though regarding the document as being a commemoration of Egyptian victories, considered these to be triumphs pre-dating pharaoh Merenptah – victories by his predecessors, Seti I and Ramses II.

Only Martin Sieff, amongst the revisionists, had envisaged this as being an Egyptian victory achieved by Merenptah himself.

Thus I wrote:

 

– And Sieff … related Merenptah’s victory to what he called the “time of troubles in the northern kingdom of Israel after the death of Jeroboam II”.

 

Sieff’s realistic version, which is the one that I basically embraced in my postgraduate university thesis (Volume One, Chapter 11, pp. 300-305):

 

A Revised History of the Era of King Hezekiah of Judah

and its Background

 

AMAIC_Final_Thesis_2009.pdf

 

is dependent upon the biblical chronology of Martin Anstey – and taken up by Philip Mauro – that the reign of Jeroboam II in Israel was followed by a 22-year period of interregnum.

 

Patrick Clarke

 

Rohl’s revised chronology, according to which Ramses II was the biblical pharaoh “Shishak” at the time of king Rehoboam of Judah (I Kings 14:25), has recently been picked up by Creationist, Patrick Clarke in his article, “The Stele of Merneptah—assessment of the final ‘Israel’ strophe and its implications for chronology”: http://creation.com/images/pdfs/tj/j27_1/j27_1_57-64.pdf

 

It is clear that the Merneptah stele can be interpreted in line with the United and Divided Monarchy Periods of Israelite history. Furthermore, if it can be demonstrated that Merneptah’s father, Ramesses II, was in fact Shishak, many synchronisms previously held by both supporters of the CEC [conventional] and revisionists between the people of Israel and their neighbours collapse, and a whole new series of compelling synchronisms emerges. The reigns of Ramesses II and Merneptah are contemporaneous with the last few years of the United Monarchy and the first 75 years of the Divided Monarchy. A detailed analysis of the ‘Israel’ text indicates that far from being placed in the 1200s bc, Merneptah’s reign should be dated to 913–903 bc; a movement of three centuries. Consequently, Ramesses II would have reigned from 979–913 bc, in the Divided Monarchy Period. In my proposed revised chronology all the political, military, and economic factors detailed on the stele coincide with conditions in Israel. This was not the case three centuries earlier in the time of the Judges.

 

Whilst Clarke is correct in rejecting the conventional location of the Merenptah Stele to the approximate period of “the Judges”, his chronological re-setting of Ramses II and Merenptah has, in my opinion, dire consequences for the best efforts of the revision as explored by Drs. Velikovsky and Courville, and modified and enhanced by astute minds of the “Glasgow School” (including Martin Sieff). For, as Clarke goes on to write:

 

Once this historical re-alignment takes place, a number of synchronisms previously held to be true by some revisionists, albeit well-intentioned, are refuted. Some of these erroneous synchronisms are: Thutmose III/Shishak;31 Hatshepsut/Queen of Sheba;32 Amenhotep II/Zerah the Cushite; Israel’s King Ahab/Battle of Qarqar; Israel’s King Jehu/Shalmaneser III—the final two failed synchronisms in this list have serious implications for the less than reliable Assyrian chronology.33

 

No thank you. I myself shall stick with the, now manifold, synchronisms – as worked out by revisionists – between Egypt’s 18th dynasty and the United to Early Divided kingdom periods, especially the iron-cast synchronisms with El Amarna.

Patrick Clarke’s most useful contribution is, in my opinion, his expertise in Egyptian Hieroglyphics, which he has correctly noted has not been a strong suit amongst revisionists: “Knowledge of the Egyptian language and syllabic orthography is essential when assessing any Egyptian text, otherwise mistakes are inevitable”. Thus Clarke writes with regard to the Stele:

 

This reliance in Christian works on blind copying of old, outdated translations, which probably reflects the dearth of competent archeology and history specialists in the Christian community, is fraught with problems, as will be seen.

Knowledge of the Egyptian language and syllabic orthography is essential when assessing any Egyptian text, otherwise mistakes are inevitable. The majority of Egyptologists are in agreement regarding the entity ysry3l as Israel based on the syllabic orthography of the name and the context of the final poetic unit of the Merneptah stele. It is the chronological placement of Israel where scholars of the CEC and revisionist positions come into conflict.

 

 

Clarke is particularly scathing about professor Joseph Davidovits, whom he calls “A secularist”, regarding the latter’s unorthodox translation of the Victory Stele that we had looked at previously (see Clarke’s section on p. 62: “A secularist attempt to deny Israel is even mentioned on the stele”).

 

A suggested interpretation

 

—————————————

This interpretation – enabling for the preservation of those many synchronisms established by the revision between Egypt’s 18th dynasty and the United to early Divided Kingdom of Israel – presents a phase in the history of Israel when that kingdom was king-less and the land in turmoil. Egypt, still powerful, may have faced little opposition in invading the north.

—————————————-

 

Though it may yet be improved upon, I would at this stage consider that the solution (at least in part) to the interpretation of the 19th dynasty pharaonic Stele that I had offered in my postgraduate university thesis (Volume One, Chapter 11, pp. 300-305):

A Revised History of the Era of King Hezekiah of Judah

and its Background

 

AMAIC_Final_Thesis_2009.pdf

 

is still the one that I would favour, presuming that “Israel” really is mentioned in the document.

This interpretation – enabling for the preservation of those many synchronisms established by the revision between Egypt’s 18th dynasty and the United to early Divided Kingdom of Israel – presents a phase in the history of Israel when that kingdom was king-less and the land in turmoil. Egypt, still powerful, may have faced little opposition in invading the north.

Anyway, for what it is worth, this is what I then wrote:

 

We are now in the time of the prophets Amos and Hosea, contemporaries of Jeroboam II …. Hickman thinks that the prophet Amos was actually even referring to the violent death of Jeroboam II in one of his proclamations:866

 

The prophet Amos, a contemporary of … Jeroboam II, adds another perspective to the matter when Yahweh states: “I will rise against the house of Jeroboam with the sword” (7:9), a symbol of war. Amaziah, a priest of Bethel, interpreted this statement as predicting that “Jeroboam shall die by the sword, and Israel shall surely be led away captive out of their own land” (7:11).

 

…. King has suggested, however, that Amaziah had misrepresented Amos here:867 “By

taking Amos’ words out of context, Amaziah distorted them and accused Amos of conspiracy against the king’s person”.

Perhaps Amos had actually foretold the passing of the House of Jeroboam by violence.

….

 

My own preferred interpretation of the ‘Israel Stele’ – which accords quite well, at least

chronologically, with Sieff’s view – is that it represents the scene that greeted Merenptah’s army upon Egypt’s return to Israel after more than two decades of hiatus, and shorty after the death of Ramses II. The stele’s celebrated phrase, “Israel[‘s] … seed is no more”, could well be then, as Sieff had noted, a reference to Israel’s then state of kinglessness; a disaster that seems to have been foretold by the prophet Hosea, when he proclaimed: “For the Israelites shall remain many days without a king or prince …” (3:4; cf. 10:3).

…. Hosea seems to be referring in part to an Egyptian ‘captivity’ of Israel, when he exclaims: “… their officials shall fall by the sword because of the rage of their tongue. So much for their babbling in the land of Egypt” (7:16); but more especially: “They shall not remain in the land of the Lord, but Ephraim shall return to Egypt …” (9:3). “For even if they escape destruction, Egypt shall gather them, Moph [Memphis] shall bury them” (v. 6). Merenptah had in fact “increased the importance of Memphis”, according to Grimal.868 Also, as Sieff has written:869 “Hoshea [Hosea], who started to prophesy in Jeroboam II’s reign … predicted a time when “all would be carried into Egypt” as tribute [his ref. is to Hosea 12:1] …”.

The impression that one gets from reading Hosea is that Israel will go once again into captivity in Egypt, as it had of old. Merenptah, it seems, could truly write, upon his campaign arrival in Palestine:

 

Israel is laid waste – its seed is no more ….

 

The Old Testament tells us little in concrete, non prophetically-cast terms, about the 22-year interregnum period for Israel. Anstey, who had chronologically identified this interregnum period in Israelite history, attempted to fill it out somewhat despite the meagre details available:870

 

No account is given of the events which occurred in Israel during this interregnum which lasted 22 years. But the history indicates very plainly the straitened character of the times, and suggests a reason for the interregnum, for we are told

that the country was overrun by enemies, and the name of Israel was in danger of

being “blotted out from under heaven” (2 Kings 14 26. 27). Some mystery seems to

hang over this period. During the first part of it Assyrian history is also a blank.

 

According to Anstey this was also the time of the prophet Jonah’s intervention in Nineveh.

…. Here, nevertheless, is Anstey’s description of this troubled era:871

 

It is the time of the earthquake, two years before which Amos began to prophecy (Amos 1 1), an earthquake that was remembered even to the days of Zechariah, nearly 300 years later, the terror of which Zechariah uses as an image of the terror of the Day of Judgment. It was a time when the affliction of Israel was bitter, for there was not any shut up nor left in Israel (2 Kings 14 26). The author of the Companion Bible suggests that the words “shut up” are to be interpreted as meaning “protected”, like those shut up in a fortress, and the word “left” is a mistranslation. He derives the word so translated from the Hebrew word … azab, to fortify, not from the Hebrew word … ãzab, to leave, to forsake. The meaning then is “there was no fortress and no fortification”, or “no protection and no defence” against their foes. The bitterness of Israel’s affliction at this time may possibly be connected with the Civil War by which the Kingdom of Israel was torn asunder from the reign of Jeroboam II to the close of its history.

[End of quote]

 

The “earthquake” to which Anstey referred, that so dramatically heralded the prophetic

ministry of Amos, Courville had looked to connect with the cataclysmic Thera (Santorini) eruption, whose conventional alignment with the Amarna period (though now an earlier 18th dynasty phase seems to be favoured) Courville thought to have been based on no solid evidence.872 The catastrophe (whether or not it was also the Thera incident), would most definitely have added further to the chaos of these troubled times. ….

….

We have read that famine was also a problem in Syro-Palestine at the time of Merenptah.

….

 

 

This scenario, though, still needs to be properly co-ordinated with the reign, in Judah, of the very powerful king, Uzziah (or Azariah).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

New Archeological Discoveries About to Hit Overdrive

New Archeological Discoveries About to Hit Overdrive

The field of archaeology is about to experience a revolution. In the past few years new discoveries have included royal seals mentioning King Hezekiah of Judah, messages written by low level Israelite soldiers, and a new Egyptian pharaoh, who may have been part of a dynasty of rulers that was previously unknown to archaeologists. The exciting thing is that the discoveries are only going to get better. The amount and variety of undiscovered artifacts is simply staggering.

The secret things belong to the LORD our God, but the things that are revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may do all the words of this law. – Deuteronomy 29:29 (ESV)

While it is common to think that archaeologists have uncovered most of the remains from ancient Egypt and Canaan, that definitely is not the opinion of the experts who are involved in the search for hidden artifacts, tombs and even entire cities. In our ongoing investigation of biblical history, we have been surprised to hear how much material still lies waiting in the ground, waiting to be discovered. Scholar after scholar has informed us that we are just scratching the surface.
This new era of discovery may also impact the general attitude of mainstream academia which in recent decades has been widely skeptical about the early history found in the Bible. However, as more information pours in, it will be interesting to see how these new finds impact our understanding of the ancient world and its relation to the Bible. In fact, the rate of discovery is increasing rapidly as new technologies open up new possibilities never before dreamed of.

The archaeological site of Tel el-Dab’a where the Austrians have been digging for more than 30 years at the ancient city of Avaris.

The dig site of Tel el-Dab’a is a good example of the effort it takes to uncover just a fraction of a single location. This site is at the location of Rameses, which is mentioned in the Bible as the city the Israelites built during their bondage in Egypt. Avaris lies under (and is therefore older than) the city of Rameses, and the fact that it was populated mainly by Semitic herdsmen who begin the history of the city as free people living by permission of the Egyptian state uniquely fits the Exodus account of the Israelites early history.
Egyptologist Charles Aling commented on the history of excavations at this important ancient city of Avaris in one of the bonus features on the Collector’s Edition Box Set of Patterns of Evidence. When asked about how much of ancient Avaris had been uncovered, Aling said, “Avaris itself, this is one of the most massive sites in all of the ancient Near Eastern world. And they have excavated there 60 seasons now. (A season lasts about two or three months, they do two seasons a year usually). And Professor Bietak, the excavator, said that that accounts for about 3% of the total site.”
It seems amazing that after digging for more than 30 years, the Austrians have only uncovered about 3% of the city. What other clues will be found as the excavation continues? Dr. Aling also said, “With Egypt, there are huge gaps… We have large gaps in our information.” He stated that most of the surviving material from ancient Egypt remains to be found and guessed that we know about 10-15 % of what there is to be known.
Mansour Boraik, the Director General of Antiquities at Luxor also emphasized that new finds are made every day. He estimates that more than 60% of Egypt’s monuments remain buried underneath the surface.

When speaking about Avaris, Professor John Bimson from Trinity University in Bristol, England mentioned that many other Semitic sites from the Middle Bronze Age also exist in the area nearby. Bimson noted that, “If we go back to the 18th-19th centuries BC, we’ve got settlements of Semitic groups, or what the Egyptians called Asiatics. We don’t know exactly when they started arriving or exactly when these settlements stopped, because many of these sites have not been fully excavated yet. You’ve got a good many settlements, twenty or more, which would fit the land of Goshen where the Bible says the Israelites were settled.

There are more than 20 Semitic settlements in Egypt’s Nile Delta waiting to be explored.

“The Avaris site of course, no one knew how big that was until excavation began. There’s some hope to investigating with ground penetrating radar like they’re doing with the Rameside section of Avaris. Have you seen the plans they’ve produced of Rameses by ground penetration radar? They’re showing stables and things on a huge scale.
“If those other cities all turn out to be as big as Tell el-Dab’a, then it would take hundreds of years to fully investigate. So there could be a lot of stuff in the ground waiting to be discovered and to throw a lot more light on this period of Asiatic settlement.”
Hundreds of years of excavating just to unearth the Semitic sites in the Nile Delta, and those are just the ones we are currently aware of. Will these sites and what is revealed help establish the presence of the early Israelites in Egypt?

It is the glory of God to conceal things, but the glory of kings is to search things out. – Proverbs 25:2 (ESV)

Now consider the impact of another new technology. Over the last several years, Egyptologist Sarah Parcak of University of Alabama in Birmingham has used infrared satellite imaging to discover 17 lost pyramids in Egypt. She also claims to have found more than 1,000 tombs and 3,100 ancient settlements with this system. Her fascinating work is profiled in the BBC documentary, Egypt – What Lies Beneath.

An image of the ancient city of Tanis buried beneath sediment in the Nile Delta as seen in a typical satellite image (left) compared to the same area enhanced in an infrared image (right) showing a pattern of streets and houses

The buried city of Tanis revealed by satellite and using infrared technology

One of her most remarkable finds was the ancient city of Tanis that lay buried under the surface of the Delta to the northwest of Avaris. Parcak’s team used images from both NASA and commercial satellites along with an infrared technique that can differentiated between distinct materials existing beneath the surface. What emerged from the images was an ancient network of streets and houses, which are completely invisible from the ground.
“I couldn’t believe we could locate so many sites all over Egypt,” Dr. Parcak says in the film. “This hints at the possibilities of discoveries to come. I am excited for my generation and the generations to come. There is enough to be excavated for 50 generations.”
One of America’s top Egyptologists, Kent Weeks, spoke with filmmaker Timothy Mahoney at Karnak about the wealth of material still undiscovered:  He said “there is enough material, new material in Egypt that archaeologists will be kept busy digging for centuries.”
Kent Weeks speaking about the amount of information waiting to be unearthed or interpreted. Taken from the Patterns of Evidence: The Exodus Collector’s Edition Box Set.

The film Patterns of Evidence: The Exodus has been part of an effort that counters the claim that there is no physical evidence for the the Bible’s Exodus account. A flood of new discoveries may add to that process. What else is waiting to be pulled up from under the sands of time, and what mysteries and misunderstandings about the Bible might be solved in the years ahead. Imagine how exciting it would be to dig up something that no one has seen for thousands of years. Perhaps you or someone you know will be caught up in this quest for knowledge and will be part of making discoveries that will define how the world views history and the Bible for centuries to come.

….

Taken from: http://patternsofevidence.com/blog/2016/06/02/new-archeological-discoveries-about-to-hit-overdrive/