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8 Temple. Adding this 480 to the 973 above, we get 1453 B.C. as roughly the date of the Exodus. The various chronological items making up this period may be found tabulated in Father Deimel's Chronologia (p. 97). In the Hebrew text they total to 534 years (588 in the Septuagint), with an uncertain addition to be made for the government of Josue, Samgar (possibly), Samuel and Saul. In order to reconcile this high figure with the 480 given above, it has been suggested that the 114 years in all spent under foreign domination are not to be counted separately, but as already comprised under the years assigned to the judges. This view is by no means free from difficulty; yet it leaves us with the very plausible equation 420 + Josue, (Samgar), Samuel, and Saul=480, and it therefore appears wisest to adopt it as a working hypothesis.
We now proceed to work back from the Exodus to the incident of Genesis xiv., when we find the system we have adopted confirmed by a striking synchronism. Taking the 430 years of Exodus xii. 40 with the Massoretic text (i.e., the traditional rabbinical text), and the great mass of authorities to refer to the sojourning in Egypt only, we must add a little under 215 years to the 1453 years already obtained to arrive, as desired, at Genesis xiv. The 215 years are obtained as follows: Abraham migrated into Canaan at 75 (Genesis xii. 4), and Isaac was born to him when 100 (Genesis xxi. 5), and Jacob descends into Egypt 190 years later (Genesis xxv. 26; xlvii. 9): hence the total sojourn in Canaan is 100-75 +190=215 years. We take a little under 215 years, because the incident of Genesis xiv. takes place a little after the arrival into Canaan recorded in Genesis xii.; if we call it 210 years, then these 210 years + the 430 years in Egypt of Exodus xii. 40 +1453 B.C. as the date of the Exodus give 2093 B.C. as the date of Genesis xiv. And this result confirms the rest of the scheme, inasmuch as the date thus reached falls within the period during which Hammurabi, King of Babylon, was probably reigning. According to many, Hammurabi is the Amraphel of Genesis xiv. 1; this identification, and that of Amraphel's allies, is worked out at length by Dr. Pinches1; and Dr. Sayce has lately declared that 'only a German with German ideas of historical evidence would dispute
1 Old Testament, etc., pp. 208-233.
Proceedings of the Society of Biblical Archaeology, vol. xl. p. 92, May,
Dr. Pinches' discovery of the names of Chedor-laomer and his allies in Babylonian literature. . . They have been reproduced by the Biblical writer with singular exactitude.' Dr. King, too, in his History of Babylon (pp. 159-160), remarks that though we have as yet found no trace in secular sources of such a confederation under the leadership of Elam, the Hebrew record represents a state of affairs in Western Asia which was not impossible during the earlier half of Hammurabi's reign.' Dr. King gives 2123-2081 B.C. for Hammurabi's reign, and Father Deimel, in his Chronologia, gives 2132-2089 B.C.; it will be observed that on these reckonings 2093 B.C. falls into the later half of Hammurabi's reign, but, as has been said, all these dates are merely approximate, and the substantial agreement in the date unquestionably lends strength to the whole scheme here outlined.
Another possible interpretation of Exodus xii. 40, however, should here be noted. The Samaritan Pentateuch and the Septuagint insert Canaan in this verse alongside of Egypt, making the 430 years cover the sojourn in both, and we should naturally suppose that St. Paul, in Galatians iii. 17, was following the Septuagint computation. The total stay in Canaan, as has been explained above, amounts to 215 years, so that with this reading only the other 215 years would be left for the stay in Egypt. And the case for this shorter period in Egypt, it might well be claimed, is much strengthened by the statement in Genesis xv. 16, that it is the fourth generation that is to come out of Egypt, a statement itself borne out by the actual enumeration of generations. We get Levi Caath Amram Moses (Exodus vi. 16-20); Levi Caath Isaar Core (Exodus vi. 16-21; Numbers xvi. 1); Levi Caath Oziel Mizael (Exodus vi. 16-22; Leviticus x. 4); Ruben Phallu Eliab Dathan (Numbers xxvi. 5-9); and, moreover, Josue's generation appears to be reckoned as the fifth (e.g., Josue vii. 1; cf. Genesis xxxviii. 30). But against these considerations, and against the tempting hypothesis of a shorter stay in Egypt, stands the very serious and even decisive objection, that we should have to abandon the identification of Amraphel with Hammurabi. It appears wisest to accept this objection as fatal, because of the great difficulty of placing the incident of Genesis xiv. with anything like probability any later in history. On the supposition of the longer Egyptian stay, a generation' in Genesis xv. 16 may be taken with
Father Hetzenauer 1 to be capable of meaning a century or more like the Latin' saeculum; whether, however, in the light of what has been said, that be the more natural meaning, is another question. We have here a reproduction on a smaller scale of the difficulties arising out of the ages assigned to the patriarchs, already touched upon in the I. E. RECORD, and hardly worth re-opening here; whatever solution we adopt, the 430 years in Egypt are best respected. As for the interpretation of Galatians iii. 17, the best of several suggestions seems to be, that it should be taken to mean just what it says, and no more; the interval was at least that, and St. Paul was not concerned to discover, or at all events to say whether it was more. With the Greek version alone accessible to his readers, to have given the longer interval deduced from the Hebrew text might have been to lay himself open to a cavilling
The above is a conservative scheme of chronology, in that it may be said to follow the most obvious indications of the sacred text, and to be that which Catholics in the main follow; nevertheless, it does not find much favour outside the Church, where the general tendency is to put the Exodus more than two hundred years later, on grounds little discussed hitherto by Catholics. Mere exegetical tradition, as is clear from the Providentissimus Deus itself, and as was pointed out in connexion with the Flood,3 must not be mistaken for strictly dogmatic tradition; the former may be at fault in such a matter as mere chronology, which does not directly involve faith or morals. It is necessary to review the chief objections to the above scheme, therefore, not as difficulties against a dogma which must at all costs be upheld, but with a view to ascertaining whether prudence and sound scholarship require that, while safeguarding biblical inerrancy, we should cast about for some other interpretation of the biblical figures, which would bring them better into line with modern discoveries. Not to keep the reader waiting for his answer, it may be said at once that to the present writer there does not seem to be any really sufficient call for a drastic change in the chronology here in question, that is to say, it still appears best to place the Exodus about the middle of the fifteenth century.
1 Comment. in Librum Genesis, ad loc.
* See I. E. RECORD, Fifth Series, vol. vii. pp. 209 et seq.
There are some difficulties in the way to warn us against too round and intolerant an assertion of our own position; they impose caution, but not the complete abandonment of ancient landmarks.
In the first place there are the Egyptian campaigns in Syria. It is said that on the scheme of chronology already explained the Israelites should actually be in Palestine, and that there is no mention of an encounter in either the
Egyptian or Hebrew records. In general it may be answered that a good deal depends upon a right understanding of the period of the judges; it was a time of disintegration, and of slow and difficult penetration after the brilliant success of Josue. It was one thing to overrun the Promised Land, another to settle in it and take permanent possession of it. The Book of Josue shows us the land assigned to the tribes; the Book of Judges their partial failure to secure it.
To come to particulars. Two Egyptian invaders of Palestine have to be reckoned with, Rameses II and Rameses III. For the date of Rameses II, Prof. Flinders Petrie, in his History of Egypt (vol. iii. p. 28), gives 1300-1234 B.C.; Prof. Sayce, in his Egypt of the Hebrews (p. 316), gives 1348-1281 B.C. Rameses II undertook Syrian campaigns in his first, second, and fourth years, and it was the last of these that roused the Hittite confederacy in the north to more or less successful resistance. 'Notwithstanding the pompous boasts of Ramessu, the Egyptians had to. remain content with Palestine, and did not possess more than had been easily acquired in the beginning of his reign."1 'The result of the war was a drawn game.'2 These remarks of Prof. Petrie's apply to Rameses' fourth year. It was in his twenty-first year that his celebrated treaty with the Hittites was ratified, and there seems no reason to doubt that Palestine was at this time in the Egyptian sphere.
Of the latter part of the reign there are no records, except a few trivial papyri and ostraka. . . . Thus we have no details of the greater part of this reign, and can only say that there do not seem to have been any wars for over fifty years. While the credit of the earlier wars lasted, Egypt was probably untroubled; but as those who had fought died off, Egypt gradually weakened, and her enemies strengthened. The old age of a long reign is always perilous for a fighting state; and Ramessu, living to 85, could not have undertaken fighting for long before he died. Early in the next reign we find that the Libyans were not only pillaging
1 Petrie, History, vol. iii. p. 47.
2 Ibid. p. 55.
but settling in the country, and it was thought much for the Egyptians to triumph over even the southern towns of Palestine. It seems, then, that a long period of gradual decline occupied the greater part of this much-boasted reign.1
Having thus reduced the argument on its Egyptian side to something like its true proportion, let us do the same for the Hebrew evidence. The Israelites are said to have spent forty years in the desert (e.g., Numbers xxxii. 13), so that the date 1453 B.C. for the Exodus would give us 1413 B.C. as the date when Josue assumed the leadership: how long he held it, we are not told. Othoniel and Aod take 120 years together;-if, on principles explained above, we take no notice of 26 years of foreign domination, but on the other hand allow 30 years for Josue, then by 1263 B.C. there have been but two judges in Israel, and we are told practically nothing of their rule. On Prof. Petrie's reckoning, Rameses II's reign is already more than half over, and on Prof. Sayce's reckoning, it has been quite over some years. If we consider the character of the later part of Rameses' reign, and also how little we are told of the two judges in question, the silence of the records does not seem so wonderful.
Still, as regards the Egyptian monuments of this time, we may ask, is their silence so complete? Under Rameses II's son and successor, Merenptah, we have a mention of Israel that seems to wreck the whole argument from silence. There is question of deliverance from a league of tribes, and among other boasts the Pharaoh declares that the people of Israel is laid waste-their crops are not, Kharu (Palestine) has become as a widow by Egypt.' Prof. Petrie remarks that the name of the people of Israel here is very surprising in every way; it is the only instance of the name Israel on any monument, and it is four centuries before any mention of the race in cuneiform; it is clearly outside of our literary information, which has led to the belief that there were no Israelites in Palestine between the going into Egypt and the entry at Jericho. . . . The only likely conclusion is that there were others of the tribe left behind, or immediately returning, at the time of the famine.' It has seemed best to quote a good deal of the context, for fear of seeming to misrepresent the learned Egyptologist. It will be seen that, unable to surrender his conviction of
1 Ibid. pp. 71, 72.