Brother AACOOLDRE : The Exodus based on Ahmose expelling the Hyksos


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Jul 26, 2001
The Exodus Based on Ahmose Expelling the Hyksos

Jacobovici associated the Exodus with the Hyksos Expulsion and dated the event to ca. 1500 BCE(B.C.E.=Before the Common Era, an alternate scholarly designation for B.C.=Before Christ). Jacobovici was apparently aware that some scholars dated the Exodus to circa 1446 BCE on the basis of 1 Kings 6:1 chronology. He was also aware that the Hyksos Expulsion associated with Pharaoh Ahmose I was a mid 16th century BCE event and that almost 100 years separated the Hyksos expulsion from the 1446 BCE Exodus date, and that because of this discrepancy, some scholars had rejected the Exodus as being a Hyksos Expulsion.

What Jacobovici _was not aware of_ was that the Catholic scholar Eusebius as preserved by Jerome fixed the Exodus at circa 1512 B.C., just 12 years earlier than Jacobovici's circa 1500 B.C. Exodus date (cf. below).

Jacobovici was also apparently _unaware_ that a number of scholars had come to the conclusion that the 1446 BCE date preserved in 1 Kings 6:1 appeared to be CONTRADICTED by internal data preserved in the books of Joshua, Judges, 1st and 2d Samuel and Kings (as well as Acts 13:16-22). When this data was factored in with Solomon's 4th year (circa 966 BCE when the Jerusalem Temple was begun to be built), it yielded an Exodus falling in the reign of Ahmose I. This data better aligns the Hyksos Expulsion with the Exodus than Jacobovici's 1500 BCE Exodus date which was simply _his attempt_ to bring the 1446 BCE Exodus "somewhat closer in time" to Ahmose I and the Hyksos Expulsion.

My below article notes that a number of scholars, Josephus (79 AD?), Jack (1925), De Vries (1962), Hoffmeier (1996), Kitchen (2003) and Goldstein (2006) and "others" have observed that 1 Kings 6:1's statement that 480 years elapsed from the Exodus and the 4th year of Solomon's reign appears to be CONTRADICTED by the internal chonological evidence of the Bible, suggesting almost 600 years elapsed not 480 years. I have noted that when this data is added to Solomon's 4th year reckoned by some as ca. 966/967 BCE, the Exodus falls in the reign of Pharaoh Ahmose I who expelled the Hyksos.

Please be advised that I _now_ understand that a "conflation and fusion" exists of events appearing in the Bible's Exodus narratives: Sites like Arad and Ai which were destroyed in the 3rd millennium BCE, the Hyksos expulsion of 1540-1530 BCE, Ramesside Era events in the Sinai and Arabah, and places existing only in Late Iron II, 640-562 BCE. Mainstream scholarship understands Israel's settling of the Hill Country is Iron I, ca. 1230-1130 BCE based on archaeological findings. Why then does the Bible's chronology have an Exodus "hundreds of years" earlier?

The answer is very surprising and has been preserved for almost 2000 years in the writings of an Egyptian priest/historian called Manetho. He wrote a history of Egypt in the 3rd century BCE for his Hellenistic Greek overlord Ptolemy II. He noted that TWO EXPULSIONS occurred in Egypt's history of Asiatics. The first was of the Hyksos of the mid 16th century and then another in the Ramesside era. He understood that the Hyksos fled to and settled at Jerusalem, but that 592 or 612 years later (Josephus' two reckonings) "their descendants" reinvaded Egypt, resettling at the town they had been expelled from earlier called Avaris. After 13 years of "lording it" over the eastern delta, the Ramessides expelled the Hyksos' descendants a SECOND TIME, and they eventually again settled at Jerusalem. The Jewish historian Josephus (1st century CE) was adamant that the 16th century expulsion was the Exodus based on _his calculations_ of the Bible's chronology and furious that Manetho had said the Exodus was preserved in a Ramesside expulsion! Modern archaeology has established the Israelite settlement of the Canaanite Hill Country from Galilee to the Negev as portrayed in the Bible, was in Ramesside times. Please click here for my article on Manetho vs. Josephus on the dating of the Exodus. If Manetho is correct, that Avaris was resettled by Canaanites in Ramesside times, and expelled again in that era, perhaps this answers the "great mystery" as to why the pottery of the IRON IA settlements is _Canaanite_ in appearance and _not_ Egyptian? The answer: 13 years was apparently too short a period of time for the "reinvading" Canaanite descendants of the Hyksos to adopt Egyptian potting techniques. They probably cast their Canaanite pots in Egypt and still were casting them in the "Canaanite manner" when they settled AGAIN near Jerusalem in the Hill Country. Not until Egypt abandoned Canaan circa 1130 BCE under Ramesses VI was the land wide-open for conquest by Philistines and Israelites. The "original" article, below, will remain intact with some minor revisions and updates, but is _superceded_ by the above observations of Josephus and Manetho.

One of the "first" problems to be faced is that the Bible exists today in several CONTRADICTING recensions which provide "different dates" for the creation of the world and the Exodus. One often sees the date of 1445 BC for the Exodus at many Protestant Evangelical Websites. This date is based on the chronology developed in the 17th century AD by Archbishop James Ussher of Ireland, which later in the 18th century appears in the margins of numerous King James Version Bibles (the KJV began printing in 1611 AD). Ussher calculated Creation at 4004 BC.

The Catholic Bible is, in part, a recension of the Septuaginta believed to have been compiled at Alexandria Egypt in Greek for Jews by Jews in the 3rd century BC. Catholic scholars fix creation at 5199 BC instead of 4004 BC. Why? Because the Septuagint gives different ages for the pre-flood patriarchs which are in CONTRADICTION to ages preserved in the King James Bible which is derived from a Massoretic Text. Please click here to see the difference in ages for the pre-flood patriarchs as preserved in the Septuaginta versus to Massoretic Texts.

The data preserved in modern Jewish text the TANAKH also called the Massoretic Text has creation calculated at 3760 or 3740 B.C. in theRabbinical Seder 'Olam Rabbah (for 3760 B.C. cf. p. 111. table 54. Jack Finegan. Handbook of Biblical Chronology. Peabody, Massachusetts. Hendrickson Publishers. Revised edition. 1998. for 3740 B.C. cf. below Steibing)

Professor Steibing on three different and _CONTRADICTING_ dates for God's creation of the world in the book of Genesis as calculated by various Jewish, Catholic and Protestant scholars:

"Most scholars agreed that the world was only about six thousand years old, though there was considerable disagreement over the exact date of the creation. Jewish rabbinical calculations from the Hebrew Massoretic Text showed that the world began 3,740 years before the Christian Era. Roman Catholic tradition, based on the Latin Vulgate translation of the Bible, placed the creation in 5199 B.C. And most English-speaking Protestants accepted the seventeenth-century Archbishop James Ussher's calculation of the time of creation, 4004 B.C. Ussher's dates were placed in the margins of early eighteenth-century editions of the King James version of the Bible, making them seem even more authoritive."

(p. 32. "The Discovery of Prehistory." William H. Steibing Jr. Uncovering the Past. New York & Oxford. Oxford University Press. 1994 [1993 Prometheus Books])

Thus Protestant Christian Evangelicals set the Exodus at circa 1445 BC using Ussher's chronology, the Roman Catholics set the Exodus at circa 1512 BC and the Jewish TANAKH's data which appears in the Rabbinical work called Seder 'Olam Rabbah calculates the Exodus at 1312 BC. For the 1512 BC Exodus date cf. page 190; for 1312 BC cf. p. 111 in Jack Finegan. Handbook of Biblical Chronology: Principles of Time Reckoning in the Ancient World and Problems of Chronology in the Bible. Peabody, Massachusetts. Hendrickson Publishers, Inc. 1964, 1998 Revised Edition. ISBN 1-56563-143-9).

The Roman Catholic Exodus date of 1512 BC falls in the reign of Pharaoh Tuthmoses II (reigned circa 1518-1504 BC); The Protestant Evangelicals' Exodus date from the King James Version of 1445 BC falls in the reign of Pharaoh Amenhotep II (reigned ca. 1453-1419 BC); the Rabbinical Seder 'Olam Rabah's Exodus date of ca. 1312 BC falls in the reign of Pharaoh Horemhab (reigned ca. 1321-1293 BC), he being succeeded by Ramesses I (reigned ca. 1293-1291 BC). Note all Pharaonic reigns are from Peter A. Clayton. Chronicle of the Pharaohs, The Reign-by-reign Record of the Rulers and Dynasties of Ancient Egypt. London. Thames & Hudson. 1994. ISBN 0-500-05074-0.

Anyone who has studied the chronology issues and problems arising in Biblical as well as Egyptological studies is well aware that a consensus does _not_ exist for any "hard dates" in regards to when the Exodus occured (if it occured) or just when the Hyksos Expulsion happened. For the Exodus we have two major proposals 1445 BCE (based on statements made in 1 Kings 6:1) favored by many Conservative Protestant Scholars, and 1250 BCE championed by numerous Liberals. There are other dates, but they have far fewer adherents.

In 1985 R. Krauss argued that the 9th year of Amenhotep I, noting a rising of the Sothis star, if viewed from Aswan (ancient Elephantine) would indicate that the 18th Dynasty was founded ca. 1539 BCE (Sothis und Monddaten, HAB 20. Hildesheim). Other Scholars have argued the viewing might have been from Thebes, which was then the capital (cf. Vol. 2. p. 329, K. A. Kitchen, "Egypt, History of (Chronology)." David Noel Freedman, Editor. The Anchor Bible Dictionary. New York. Doubleday. 1992). In favor of Aswan, is that the Sothis is associated with predictions of Nile floods, and Aswan has Nilometers to predict the degree of flooding in the Delta. Those favoring a Thebean sighting of Sothis, argue for 1550 BCE being the founding date of the 18th Dynasty.

Some have associated the foundation date of the New Dynasty with the expulsion of the Hyksos from the Delta. Before 1985 (when Krauss made his proposal) earlier dates for the 18th Dynasty's founding were in favor, 1580 or 1570 BCE. Now, 1550 or 1540/39 BCE appear in scholarly articles as founding dates alongside 1570 BCE (its all rather confusing).

Manfred Bietak, the excavator of Tell el-Daba (believed to be the Hyksos capital called Avaris in Egypt), has suggested the city came to end ca. 1530 BCE (emphasis mine):

"An enormous increase in Cypriot pottery...can be observed in strata D/3-2 (ca. 1600-1530 BC)." (p. 85. Manfred Bietak. Avaris, The Capital of the Hyksos, Recent Excavations at Tell el-Dab`a. London. British Museum Press. 1996. ISBN 0-7141-0968-1 pbk).

This date is favored by William G. Dever (emphasis mine):

"Tell el-Dab`a was, in fact the Hyksos capital of Avaris, destroyed ca. 1530 BCE with the expulsion of the Hyksos at the beginning of the 18th Dynasty." (p.71, William G. Dever. "Is There Any Archaeological Evidence For The Exodus?" Ernest S. Frerichs & Leonard H. Lesko. Editors. Exodus, The Egyptian Evidence. Winona Lake, Indiana. Eisenbrauns. 1997. ISBN 1-57506-025-6. hdbk).

Bietak posits that Avaris fell in Ahmose's 15th or 18th year as he has the city falling 1530 BCE, he evidently dates Ahmose's first regnal year as circa 1548 or 1545 BCE:

"...Ahmose. He had conquered Avaris most probably after the fifteenth or even eighteenth year of his reign." (p. 81. Bietak, citing in footnote 144, Franke, 1988, p. 264. Manfred Bietak. Avaris, The Capital of the Hyksos, Recent Excavations at Tell el-Dab`a. London. British Museum Press. 1996. ISBN 0-7141-0968-1 pbk)

Kenneth Kitchen and James Hoffmeier favor Ahmose's reign as ca. 1550-1525 BCE (placing the end of the Hyksos dynasty as either 1550 or 1540 BCE), Krauss prefers 1539-1514 BCE for Ahmoses' reign (cf. Vol. 2. p. 329, K.A. Kitchen, "Egypt, History of (Chronology)." David Noel Freedman, Editor. The Anchor Bible Dictionary. New York. Doubleday. 1992).

Of interest here is that Goldstein's reading of chronological data preserved in Judges and Kings leads him to conclude the Exodus is being dated either circa 1447 BCE or circa 1528 BCE; I note Kitchen's lowest date for Ahmose I is 1525 BCE while Krauss' lowest date for Ahmose I is 1514 BCE. Worth noting though, is that Goldstein _never_ makes the observation that 1528 BCE falls within the reign Ahmose I who expelled the Hyksos, in fact, he does not attempt to identify what Pharaoh this date aligns with because his major focus is in refuting the notion of an Exodus ca. 1312 BCE as preserved in the Rabbinical Seder Olam Rabbah..

Goldstein (emphasis mine):

"However, things are not so simple. For in fact, beside the summary figure of 480 years from the Exodus to the building of the Jerusalem Temple--which equals 476 years from the Exodus to the enthronement of Solomon-- the Bible provides more detailed chronological data for the same period. The bulk of these data comes from the book of Judges, which lists the alternating periods of alien domination over Israel and independent rule by Israelite judges, with the total length of these periods adding up to at least 410 years. The period bridging between the Exodus and the commencement of the era of the Judges (with the death of Joshua the son of Nun) comprises 40 years of the Israelites' wanderings in the desert prior to the arrival to the eastern bank of the Jordan river (Exodus 16:35, Numbers 14:33-34, 32:13, Deuteronomy 1:3, 2:7, 8:2-4, 29:4) and the leadership of Joshua, which must have lasted at least 5 years. The period bridging the end of the era of the Judges (as described in the book of Judges) and the enthronement of Solomon comprises 40 years of the leadership of Eli (1 Samuel 4:18), 20 years of the people following the Lord under Samuel (1 Samuel 7:2), 2 years of Saul's reign (1 Samuel 13:1), and 40 years of David's reign (2 Samuel 5:4). So, according to these detailed chronological data, the period from the Exodus to the enthronement of Solomon must have spanned at least 40+5+40+20+2+40= 557 years, which would place the Exodus c. 1528 BCE. Thus, there is a discrepancy of 81 years between the two biblical dates for the Exodus, and the later of these dates (1447 BCE) is 135 years earlier than the rabbinic date for the Exodus, based on Seder Olam Rabbah (1312 BCE). These discrepancies should be always kept in mind...the chronological scheme presented in the Bible itself... points to the date of c. 1447 BCE or c. 1528 BCE for the Exodus."

(David Goldstein."Of Pharaohs and Dates: Critical Remarks on the Dating and Historicity of the Exodus From Egypt."published 24 July 2006.

Another complication is disagreement about Solomon's fourth year, when the Temple was begun (1 Kings 6:1 claiming 480 years elapsed from the Exodus to the Temple's founding). Two dates are currently favored for the start of Solomon's reign, 970 or 960 BCE, his reign ending 930 or 920 BCE:

"...chronological notes in the biblical sources, lead scholars to assume the beginning of Solomon's reign around 970-960 and its end around 930-920 BC."

(Vol. 6, p. 105, Tomoo Ishida, "Solomon." David Noel Freedman, Editor. The Anchor Bible Dictionary. New York. Doubleday. 1992)

Utilizing these currently popular dates, Solomon's fourth year is either 966 or 956 BCE.

To recapitulate, prior to 1985, 1580 BCE or 1570 BCE were popular founding dates for the 18th Dynasty under Pharoah Ahmose I. Since the 1985 proposal by Krauss either 1550 or 1540/39 BCE seem to be favored-

My research has revealed that the sacred writings of the Jews and Early Christians preserve a date of 1540 BCE for the Exodus which just happens to match co-incidentally, the 1540 BCE currently held "alternate-end-date" of the Hyksos 15th Dynasty (the Hyksos Expulsion by Paharoh Ahmoses I) favored by Egyptologists Kenneth A. Kitchen and James K. Hoffmeier (cf. p. xviiii, "Chronological Charts." James K. Hoffmeier. Israel in Egypt, The Evidence for the Authenticity of the Exodus Tradition. New York. Oxford University Press. 1996. ISBN 0-19-513088-X pbk).

I note that Amihai Mazar seems to also favor a Hyksos expulsion ca. 1540 BCE (emphasis mine):

"It appears to me that a general division of the entire MBII period into three phases (A, B, C) is well documented on the basis of stratigraphy, pottery typology, and development of other artifacts...the third phase- MBIIC correlates with the Hyksos Fifteenth Dynasty (until 1540)."

(p.195, Amihai Mazar. Archaeology of the Land of the Bible, 10,000- 586 BCE. New York. Doubleday. 1990. ISBN 0-385-23970-X hdbk.)

We will now explore in greater depth the complexities and contradictions to be faced and overcome in establishing the date of the Exodus.

Hoffmeier, in reviewing a history of attempts to pinpoint the date of the Exodus, mentions the work of Jack (James W. Jack. The Date of the Exodus in the Light of External Evidence. Edinburgh, Scotland. T & T Clark. 1925):

"...James Jack argued for a mid-fifteenth century date based on biblical data and what he believed to corroborating Egyptian evidence. Based on the Masoretic text of 1 Kings 6:1, which dates the departure from Egypt at 480 years before Solomon's fourth regnal year, Jack concluded that 1445 B.C. was the Exodus date since Solomon's acession date, 970 BC could be securely fixed (his fourth year being 966/967), thanks to synchronisms between Biblical and Assyrian texts." (p.124, Hoffmeier)

Hoffmeier noted that the Septuagint (the Greek translation of the Hebrew Bible) gives 440 years instead of 480 years. (p.124. James K. Hoffmeier. Israel in Egypt, The Evidence for the Authenticity of the Exodus Tradition. New York. Oxford University Press. 1996. ISBN 0-19-513088-X pbk).

Hoffmeier also observed that Jack was aware that a careful reading of the Masoretic texts revealed an elapsed period exceeding 480 years (emphasis mine):

"However, as Jack showed, if all the periods are added together, such as the forty years in Sinai, the lengths of the Judges, and periods of peace between the Judges, plus the length of David's reign,the total is 534 years. On top of this figure, the duration of Joshua's leadership in Canaan and the length of Saul's kingship, which are not preserved, bring the total close to six hundred years."

(p.125. James K. Hoffmeier. Israel in Egypt, The Evidence for the Authenticity of the Exodus Tradition. New York. Oxford University Press. 1996. ISBN 0-19-513088-X pbk).

According to Professor Mariottini Professor Hoffmeier has suggested 630 or 650 years may have elapsed from the Exodus to Solomon's 4th year and the building of the Temple at Jerusalem. By adding these years to 966/967 B.C. (Solomon's 4th year) we arrive at an Exodus date of 1596 or 1616 B.C. when the Hyksos were in power in Egypt.

Mariottini (27 July 2007):

"Prof. Hoffmeier correctly points out that the dates found in the book of Joshua through 1 Kings do not add up to 480 years. Prof. Hoffmeier calculated the number of years for Joshua, the judges and the kings of Israel up to Solomon and the numbers added up to 630-650 years. Those who accept a 15th-century date for the Exodus, have to harmonize the text by presupposing overlaps in the years some of the judges ruled in Israel...Prof. Hoffmeier says that the biblical data would put the Exodus during the Hyksos’ occupation of Egypt."

("The Date of the Exodus." 27 July 2007. Professor Claude Mariottini of Northern Baptist Seminary, Lombard, Illinois.

Gooder (2000) on _more_ than 553 years elapsing between the Exodus and Solomon's fourth year (which, if added to Solomon's 4th year would date the Exodus not later than 1519 B.C., it could have been earlier):

"The fourth year of Solomon's reign is commonly dated to around 966 B.C.E. This would place the Exodus 480 years earlier in 1446 B.C.E. For many years, this date was commonly accepted as correct and has been supported more recently by J.J. Bimson (1978). There are, however, numerous problems with a fifteenth-century date for the exodus and settlement. One of these is that, if the generations betwen the exodus and the fourth year of Solomon's reign are combined, the number of years reached is over 553, not 480. This raises questions about how the ancient biblical writers calculated dates and generations."

(p. 69. "Let My People Go..." Paula Gooder. The Pentateuch, A Story of Beginnings. Continuum International Publishing Group. 2000, reprint 2005)

Romer (1988) on the Hyksos expulsion being the only known "exodus" of Asiatics from Egypt in his discussion of the Hebrew Exodus and its possible attestation in extra-biblical records:

"Theban royal texts tell of their final victories over the northerners in the 1530's B.C....The victory inscriptions of these southern pharaohs tell us they threw these foreigners out of Egypt then pursued them to Canaan and beyond. And this is the only foreign mass-migration, an exodus from ancient Egypt, for which there is any evidence at all in the archaeological records."

(p. 48. John Romer. Testament: The Bible and History. New York. Henry Holt & Company. 1988)

Later scholars, like Jack, have noted that 1 Kings 6:1 states that 480 years elapsed from the Exodus to the fourth year of Solomon's reign and the building of the Temple. Some scholars date Solomon's fourth year to circa 966 BCE, by adding 480 years to this date and come up with an Exodus circa 1446 BCE. Kitchen has sounded a note of warning though about the above equation, pointing out, like Jack, that a period in excess of 553 years appears to be warranted instead of 480 years:

Kitchen (emphasis mine):

"The lazy man's solution is simply to cite the 480 years ostensibly given in 1 Kings 6:1 from the Exodus to the 4th year of Solomon (ca. 966 BC). However, this too simple solution is ruled out by the combined weight of all

the other biblical dadta plus additional information from external data. So the interval of time from the Exodus comes out not at 480 years but as over 553 years (BY THREE UNKNOWN AMOUNTS), if we trouble to go carefully through all the known biblical figures for this period. It is evident that the 480 years cannot cover fully the 553 years + X years. At the best, it could be a selection from them, or else it is a schematic figure (12 x 40 yrs., or similar)."

(p. 702. Vol. 2. K. A. Kitchen. "The Exodus." David Noel Freedman. Editor. The Anchor Bible Dictionary. New York. Doubleday. 1992)

Still later, Kitchen suggested that a period of 591/596 years elapsed between the Exodus and Solomon's 4th year according to chronologies preserved in the book of Judges, that is, when the different reigns are added up sequentially, but he favors that some of the reigns are concurrent not sequential (emphasis mine):

"This possibility becomes in effect a certainty if one goes through the date lines between the Exodus and the fourth year of Solomon, the year he began to build his temple, "in the 480th year" since the Exodus (1 Kings 6:1), we are told. Thus, if that year fell circa 967 (cf. dates in chapters 2 and 4 above), a literal adding up would set the Exodus in 1447. But if we take the trouble to actually tote up all the individual figures known from Exodus to Kings in that period, they do NOT add up to 480 years. But rather to 544+x+y+z years, where x= unknown length by Joshua and the elders (minimum, 5/10 years ?), y= rule by Samuel above his stated 20 years (possibly zero), and z= the full reign of Saul (minimum, [3]2 years). The total comes to between 35 and 42 years at least, bringing the 554 years to a minimal591/596 years. This is certainly not identical with the 480 years of 1 Kings 6:1."
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