Abraham, God guided him to the land of Canaan,
now modern Israel. His descendants comprised the 12 tribes of Israel.
They migrated to Egypt, and were
in bondage, returning only 400 years later to settle Canaan, the land
promised to their forefathers. Then where
did they go?
14 account of Abraham defeating a coalition of kings from the east
fit so well with the geopolitical conditions of that, and only that, era?
Before that time, the region of Mesopotamia was closely governed by the
dynasties of Ur, and after that time,
the empires of Babylon and Assyria controlled the region.
the first half of the second millennium could kings of small city states
have roamed the countryside, as did die potentates Abraham encountered,
looking to expand their domains.
later Isaac, made a treaty with King Abimelech, and Jacob made a treaty
with Laban. "I have over 90 documents of ancient treaties and covenants
(agreements) to compare from 2600 B.C. down to 600 B.C." ... Kenneth Kitchen,
University of Liverpool, England told
Today Magazine, "and so there's no room for mistake
here." The treaties, Kitchen explains, take distinctive forms over the
centuries, with oaths and curses and stipulations being presented in different
orders and being given different emphases. The ones with Abimelech and
Laban fit precisely the structure of treaties from the middle of the second
millennium, but neither later nor earlier ones."
The names Yitzchak (Isaac), Ya'akov
(Jacob), Yoseph (Joseph), and Yishmael (Ishmael) all begin with something
linguists call the "Amorite imperfective." From studying lists of thousands
of names found from the third millennium and later, Kitchen shows that
55 percent of the names during the time of the Patriarchs begin with an
i / y sound, but already "by 1500 the whole thing drops to a tiny percentage
and never ceases dropping after that." Where, Kitchen asks, did did fiction
writers of the middle first millennium B.C. get these names if they were
composing their biblical novellas (a short novel) a thousand or more years
after the names had fallen from popular use?
the same question about Genesis 37:28, which states that Joseph was sold
by his brothers to slave traders for 20 silver shekels while on their way
to Egypt. Tracking the price of slaves sold from 2400 B.C. to 400 B.C.
Using extrabiblical sources, he finds that this amount matches exactly
tile going price in the eighteenth century B.C. Steady inflation had driven
it up to 30 shekels by the thirteenth century, which corresponds
to Exodus 21:32; 50 shekels in the eighth century, which corresponds to
2Kings 15:20), and to nearly 100 shekels soon after the exile from Egypt
in the sixth century.
It is worth
noting that the practice of using forced labor for building projects is
only documented for the period 1450 to 1200 B.C., the time most biblical
historians place the Israelites in Egypt. The realization that there were
others enslaved along with the Hebrews may explain who the "mixed multitude"
of Exodus 12:38 are who joined the freedom train. (for more on the Israelites
coming out of Egypt see the article 'Did The Exodus Never Happen', in September
7, 1998, Christianity Today Magazine)
David and Solomon reigns spanned from about 1000 B.C. to 920 B.C.
In 1993, excavations
at the ancient city of Dan (named after one
of the twelve tribes of ancient Israel) unearthed a stone slab dating
to 841 B.C. It contained the first ancient extrabiblical reference to the
"House Of David" (a phrase used more than 20 times in the Old Testament.
Discovered in two pieces the Tel Dan Stele stone slab is helping to muffle
those who say King David was a myth.
an ancient receipt (in stone) for three shekels donated to the "Temple
of Yawweh" gives us the oldest known reference outside the Bible to King
Solomon's temple. And, a seal with Solomon's name on it could very
well date to the 10th century B.C. when Solomon still lived. ...Journal
for the Study of the Old Testament.
a seven foot high stone slab, Pharaoh (King) Merneptah (son of Rameses
II, 1203 B.C.) boasted (prematurely) that "Israel is laid waste and
his seed is not." This was the first extrabiblical mention of Israel.