Exodus 1250 BC

Joshua Chapter 10 (NIV translation):

12 On the day the Lord gave the Amorites over to Israel, Joshua said to the Lord in the presence of Israel:

“Sun, stand still over Gibeon,
and you, moon, over the Valley of Aijalon.”
13 So the sun stood still,
and the moon stopped,
till the nation avenged itself on its enemies,

as it is written in the Book of Jashar.

The sun stopped in the middle of the sky and delayed going down about a full day. 14 There has never been a day like it before or since, a day when the Lord listened to a human being. Surely the Lord was fighting for Israel!

First, Hezi Yitzhak and his team, then Colin Humphreys, a physicist, and Graeme Waddington, have proposed that an annular solar eclipse on October 30th, 1207 BC, as the candidate astronomical event behind the poetic description of the Sun and Moon doing strange things at Joshua’s command at the battle for Gibeon.

If this date holds water, then c.1250 BC is the date of the Exodus. Yet the Bible (1 Kings 6:1) implies that the Exodus was 480 years prior to King Solomon’s 4th Year, conventionally dated to c. 967 BC, which puts the Exodus in 1447 BC. So how did the Bible get off-set by 240 years?

M. Christine Tetley, an Australasian researcher, has suggested the following explanation:

Curiously, 1 Kings 6:1 indicates that there were 480 years from the time that the Israelites came out of the land of Egypt to the time that the foundations of the temple were laid in Solomon’s fourth year, which was 1018. But 480 years before, in 1498 BCE, Jacob and his family entered Egypt. The Hebrew text uses the words “from the land of Mizraim” (Egypt) מארץ־מצרים where “from” is simply מ. Alternatively, “entered” is ב , thus בארץ. Obviously, the two Hebrew letters appear similar and a mistake in copying was presumably made; for some unknown reason it was allowed to remain in subsequent texts. Unfortunately, it had consequences for the chronology.

The error in 1 Kings 6:1 has been compounded by Exodus 12:40 as given in the Hebrew text, which states that the people of Israel had lived in Egypt 430 years. The Greek text, however, attributes the 430 years to the time that the Israelites lived in Egypt and in Canaan. Thus, as noted above, there were 215 years from Abraham’s entrance to Canaan in 1713 BCE until Jacob and his family entered Egypt in 1498. Another 215 years later, the exodus from Egypt occurred in 1283 BCE. The Greek text is correct and the Hebrew text has omitted the fact that the 430 years included the Patriarchal Period; that is, the “and in Canaan” period.

The dates computed above are based on Tetley’s own reconstruction of the reigns of the Kings of Israel and Judah, which has the Kingdom being divided in 981 BC, after the death of Solomon. Tetley’s reconstruction inserts additional years into the reigns of various kings, to ‘correct’ their mutual synchronisms but what if there’s an alternative? My own examination of the data corrects the unattested Interrgna in the reigns of Uzziah and Jeroboam II by simply reducing their regnal periods and mutual synchronisms by 10 years each. This collapses the Interregna. A final adjustment is the synchronism between Hoshea and Ahaz, which could be placed at the end of Hoshea’s reign rather than the start, as is commonly done.

This places the beginning of the Divided Kingdom at 948 BC, the 4th year of Solomon at 985 BC and the Exodus at 1250 BC. With the entry into Canann at 1210 BC, the Battle for Gibeon is easily datable to 1207 BC. Thus Abraham was born in 1755 BC, which would thus push the Flood back to c.2,927 BC. Of course the ages between the generations are seemingly as impossibly large as the lifespans of the Patriarchs. I’m loath to place much confidence in the numbers recorded, as their original notation is utterly obscured by translation from Sumerian (?) or Akkadian, then into Hebrew and Greek.

One Reply to “Exodus 1250 BC”

  1. [This replies to a comment that linked back to here: The Exodus Debunked: Concluding Matters. For whatever reason the comment has vanished, yet the webpage is worth a browse…]

    Your webpage is interesting, but you make some rather historically unjustified leaps of inference from the Elephantine Papyri about the Nubian Temple and the nature of the Jewish community there. I suspect, based on the references to Samaritan groups, that it was likely the syncretistic Judaism that the Redactor (likely Ezra) was trying to extirpate from their religious heritage. I have no issues with the Documentary Hypothesis (DH), since Richard Elliot Friedmann (and others) have defended its basic case ably, without reference to Wellhausen’s antiquated Hegelian philosophical underpinning. Modern day Evangelical critics of the DH lack any meaningful understanding of the textual evidence that makes the composite nature of the Hexateuch blatantly obvious to an unbiased researcher. As for the theological implications, the Bible IMO has always been a human, historical document, which tracks the response of humans to their concept(s) of the Divine. What Hashem makes of it, I am unsure, but a deity that relents is utterly unlike the referent of late Platonism and philosophical theism. My personal theology owes more to Hegel, James, Jung, Barth, Campbell, Kung and Ellul’s works than mainstream theology. I look forward to the eventual rehabilitation of Anat-Yahu, as a rebalancing of an overly masculinised theomorphic image.

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