"Patterns of Evidence: Exodus"

Richard Stanley

Well-Known Member
Looks like we may have to get those.

This might be another case of "be careful what you ask for", in regards to present delight of the faithful.

Richard Stanley

Well-Known Member
Rohl lowers dates by up to 350 years while moving the Exodus back in the other direction to the 13th Dynasty around the time of the Hyksos. If one then allows for the two Exodus theory advanced by Ralph Ellis, then Rohl's chronology places Akhenaton et al around the time of David and Solomon. It is well understood that Amarna was quickly and peacefully abandoned by the royal court and everyone else.

This revision also drops the important Late Bronze Age collapse and the Trojan War closer to the time of Homer. As discussed in the link, this has implications for Hittite chronology, and indeed, Troy is now considered to have been part of the Hittite sphere of influence, if not actual Hittites, partly based upon the common use of the Luwian language. Rome claims descent from Troy.

Rejecting the Revised Chronology of Immanuel Velikovsky and the Glasgow Chronology presented at the Society for Interdisciplinary Studies's 1978 "Ages in Chaos" conference, the New Chronology lowers the Egyptian dates (established within the traditional chronology) by up to 350 years at points prior to the universally accepted fixed date of 664 BC for the sacking of Thebes by Ashurbanipal.
Rohl's redating is based on criticism of three of the four arguments which he considers are the original foundations of the conventional chronology for the Egyptian New Kingdom:

  • He asserts that the identification of "Shishaq [Shishak], King of Egypt" (1 Kings 14:25f; 2 Chronicles 12:2-9) with Shoshenq I, first proposed by Jean-François Champollion, is based on incorrect conclusions. Rohl argues instead that Shishaq should be identified with Ramesses II (probably pronounced Riamashisha), which would move the date of Ramesses' reign forward some 300 years.
  • Rohl also asserts that the record in the Ebers papyrus of the rising of Sirius in the ninth regnal year of Amenhotep I, which is used in conventional chronology to fix that year to either 1542 BC or 1517 BC, has been misread, and instead should be understood as evidence for a reform in the Egyptian calendar. This negative view of Papyrus Ebers is exemplified in a statement by Professor Jürgen von Beckerath who is of the opinion that "The calendar on the verso of the Ebers Medical Papyrus is by now so disputed that we must ask ourselves whether we really possess a sure basis for the chronology of this period of Egyptian history which is, after all, of the greatest importance for fixing the sequence of historical events, as well as for neighbouring countries".[8] Professor Wolfgang Helck concludes that "We therefore think it is safer to start from the regnal dates rather than from interpretations of real or supposed Sirius (Sothic) or New Moon dates".[9]
  • Papyrus Leiden I.350, which dates to the 52nd year of Ramesses II, records a lunar observation which places that year of Ramesses' reign in one of 1278, 1253, 1228 or 1203 BC within the date-range of the conventional chronology. Having questioned the value of the Ebers Papyrus, Rohl argues that, since the lunar cycle repeats itself every twenty-five years, it is only useful for fine tuning a chronology and could equally apply to dates 300 years later as in the New Chronology.
One of Rohl's methods is the use of archaeo-astronomy, which he employs to fix the date of a near-sunset solar eclipse during the reign of Amenhotep IV and observed from the city of Ugarit. Based on calculations, using computer astronomy programs, Rohl asserts that the only time when this eclipse could have occurred during the whole second millennium BC was on 9 May 1012 BC. This is approximately 350 years later than the conventional dates for Amenhotep IV (Akhenaton) (1353-1334 BC).

Rohl identifies Labaya, a local ruler in Canaan whose activities are documented in the Amarna Letters, with King Saul, and identifies King David with Dadua ("Tadua"), also mentioned in Amarna Letter EA256. Saul and Labaya share the same demise - "both die in battle - against a coalition of city states from the coastal plain - on or near Mount Gilboa, both as a result of betrayal."[5] Both also have a surviving son whose name translates as "Man of Baal."

The New Chronology places King Solomon at the end of the wealthy Late Bronze Age, rather than in the relatively impoverished Early Iron Age. Rohl and other New Chronology researchers contend that this fits better with the Old Testament description of Solomon's wealth.[5]

Furthermore, Rohl shifts the Israelite Sojourn, Exodus and Conquest from the end of the Late Bronze Age to the latter part of the Middle Bronze Age (from the Egyptian 19th Dynasty to the 13th Dynasty and Hyksos period). Rohl claims that this solves many of the problems associated with the historicity issue of the biblical narratives. He makes use of the archaeological reports from Tell ed-Daba (ancient Avaris), in the Egyptian eastern delta, which show that a large Semitic-speaking population lived there during the 13th Dynasty. These people were culturally similar to the population of Middle-Bronze-Age (MB IIA) Canaan. Rohl identifies these Semites as the people upon whom the biblical tradition of the Israelite Sojourn in Egypt was subsequently based.

Some identifications:

  • Labaya, a ruler in the Amarna Letters, with King Saul.
  • King David with Dadua in Amarna Letter EA256.
  • Mutbaal, writer of the letter, is identified with Ishbaal (aka Ishbosheth). The two names have exactly the same meaning: "Man of Baal." Following the death of his father (Labaya/Saul), Mutbaal/Ishbaal moved his center to Transjordan.
  • "The Sons of Labaya," in the Amarna Letters (EA 250), with Mutbaal/Ishbaal and David/Dadua, the latter being the son-in-law of Labaya/Shaul.
  • Yishuya, also mentioned in EA256, is identified with Jesse (Ishai in Hebrew), father of David.
  • Nefertiti with Neferneferuaten and with Smenkhkare.
  • Horemheb is identified with the Pharaoh who destroyed Gezer and later gave it to Solomon, together with one of his daughters as a wife. When Horemhab took Gezer he was not yet the ruler, but was acting under Tutankhamun. However, he became Pharaoh not long after, and Tutankhamun died too young to have left any marriageable daughters.

Jerry Russell

Staff member
I watched the video last night, which is mainly focused on the Biblical events from Joseph's entry into Egypt, until the Exodus. It doesn't mention anything about most of the identifications above for Saul, David, Ishbaal, Jesse, Nefertiti, Horemheb, Solomon, or Shishak, nor does it mention any of the archaeo-astronomy. All of that relates to a later period of time... perhaps filmmaker Timothy Mahoney is planning a sequel. The documentary had excellent production values, and looked expensive.

Evidence discussed in the film included:

Discovery of an extensive home or palace at Avaris with 12 tombs in a courtyard, one of which was a pyramid tomb containing a statue wearing a multi-colored coat and mushroom hairdo. See:



An event in which power was transferred from regional districts to the central government, perhaps corresponding to the famine of Joseph's time. This was said to have occurred during the reign of Amenemhat (I think this is referring to Amenenhat III). There was also an enormous canal-building project during this Pharaoh's time, known as Mer-Wer or Bahr Yussef.

An apparently anachronistic reference to Israel in a statue pedestal, see:


David Rohl appears many times in the film, at one point discussing a cemetery filled with many infants, which he believes is evidence of the killing of the first born which was the last plague of Egypt prior to the Exodus, per the biblical story.

It is claimed that all these events lead up to the well-known destruction event which brought down the walls of Jericho and destroyed many other cities in Canaan. Rohl and Mahoney argue that this event was, in fact, the invasion of Canaan by Joshua. An artifact is discussed naming one of the royal victims of the rampage in one city, I don't remember which one.

Rohl and Mahoney indicate that all this happened at the onset of the period of Hyksos rule in Egypt, rather than at its ending; that is, the period of the 14th or 15th dynasty, conventional dates c. 1800 to 1650 BC, rather than the reign of Amose I who kicked the Hyksos out of Egypt, conventionally dated to approx. 1540 BC. So it seems to be a completely different theory of the Exodus from either of Ellis's two exodi.

Richard Stanley

Well-Known Member
Here he discusses the possibility of two exodi, but still this is not exactly what I was getting to. I am referring to the implication, not put forward by Rohl (but rather implied), that there could be two events, one of which is based upon Akhenaton being pushed down to the time of Saul and David.

According to the Torah (the Five Books of Moses), the Israelite stay in Egypt was 430 years (Exodus 12:40). According to the Talmud, the ancient Rabbinic text, it was only 215 years (Pirkei Rabbi Elieser, c.48). Based on the lifespans of the Israelite generations that came into and left Egypt, the 215 years make more sense. But another way to look at it is that there were two groups that left Egypt during the Biblical Exodus – one after being in Egypt for 430 years, and the other after being there for 215 years.

Do history and archeology argue “for” or “against” the idea that there were two groups that left Egypt during the Biblical Exodus? Unquestionably, they argue for. Around the year 1,500 BCE, a Canaanite group that scholars call “Hyksos” and that ancient Egyptians called “Amo” left Egypt in a mass exodus. Scholars call this the “Hyksos Expulsion”. At around the same time, the Bible tells us (in the Hebrew original) that the “Amo Israel” i.e., the Israelites, followed Moses to the Promised Land.


My 1/10/16 email to you discusses a Bible's Greatest Secrets documentary episode on Joseph, which includes Rohl. They discussed the 'Joseph' estate and the statue, and that the statue had light skin and red hair. They discussed wall murals depicting other Semitic people wearing coats of many colors. And the canal.

In any case, we are now dealing with a 'Canaanite' group - whom according to the Biblical narrative admits to maintaining multiple gods as well as acknowledging the existence of such even when only paying obeisance to the One.

Now one has to ask just when the Late Bronze Age collapse really occurred in relation to all the above. This referring to such things as the similarity of literary styles that emerged in Homeric Greek and biblical.

One also has to wonder if archaeologists have been encouraged, via the university peer system, to brush such things as this under the rug? Because getting closer to the real story will illuminate some uncomfortable things?

Here's a British Israel site that claims that the Brits are indeed some of the original Hebrews, among other things. If there is anything to these claims, for one thing, it seems rather hard to claim that the twelve tribes are the literal descendants of one man, unless perhaps, the maids (assistant mothers) of Leah and Rachel were of completely different ethnicity.

The Hyksos in Egyptian Mythology were associated with the figure of Set or Seth 28
The Egyptians considered the god Seth to be essentially a negative figure connected with the desert and with waste places. In Scripture SETH (Genesis 5:3) was born in the likeness of Adam the first man and from him was descended Noah and all of humanity. Even so, in Hebrew tradition SETH could be considered a specifically HEBREW ancestor (see Yehudah Halevi, HaKuzari) due to the idea that the Hebrews were inheritors of a God-given birthright. The Hebrews saw themselves as obligated to remain as close as possible to the original master plan entailed in the creation of man. Therefore, they were the true inheritors of Adam the first man as transmitted to Seth whereas the rest of humanity due to idolatry had diverged from the primary path.
The Egyptians equated Seth with the Phoenician Baal especially under the aspect of Baal Zephon 29 and ultimately identified with the god Saturn.
"Zephon" (Tsaphon) in Hebrew (i.e. in the name "Baal Zephon") connotes "hidden". The Greeks rendered this name Typhon 30 just as they called the city of Tsur (Zur) "Tyre". The Roman name for Typhon was "Saturn" which also means "hidden" and is derived from the Hebrew root "Sater" - i.e. to hide.
The Israelites in later Greek and Roman mythological terms were also to be equated somehow with Saturn as were the Celts of Britain.
The Egyptians called Seth the "Bull of Retenu" 31 meaning the Bull of Canaan. Seth was considered to be the only god of the Hyksos.
According to Plutarch ("Isis and Osiris", ch.73) Seth was identical with Typhon and he says that the Egyptians used to burn men alive calling them Typhon's followers This equation was confirmed by Diodorus Siculus (1;88;5) who said that every year red bulls were sacrificed by the Egyptians,
"Because it is thought that this was the colour of Typhon..Men, also, if they were of the same colour, as Typhon were sacrificed, they say, in ancient times".

Egyptian colored wall illustrations show that a proportion of the western Semites (including the HEBREWS) were blonde and red haired. This was also the case concerning the population of Canaan (sometimes referred to as "Amorite") at the time when the Israelites were the dominant element there 32.
Hebrew slaves had been portrayed (on wall illustrations still extant today) working for their Egyptian taskmasters and some of those depicted are blonde 33.


Jerry Russell

Staff member
Rohl's new chronology is summarized here:


Rohl says here that Jacob and Joseph's "Asiatic settlement of Avaris" was founded at the time of Amenemhat III, a twelfth dynasty ruler whose reign is conventionally dated to 1860-1814 BC, but Rohl dates him to 1678-1634 BC.

He goes on to say that Moses was adopted into the household of Khaneferre Sobekhotep IV of the late 13th dynasty. The Wikipedia article on the 13th dynasty lists 55 kings who reigned over a period of "approximately 1803 BC until approximately 1649 BC, i.e. for 154 years." The pharaoh of the Exodus is said to be Dudimose (II?), who Rohl believes was another late 13th dynasty ruler.

According to Wiki, there was a 14th dynasty which was contemporary with the 13th dynasty. Manfred Bietak (another archaeologist featured in the Mahoney video) argues that the 14th dynasty emerged after Sobekhotep IV. At any rate, I have the impression that this 14th dynasty can be identified with Rohl's "Asiatic settlement" headquartered in Avaris.

Both the 13th and the 14th dynasties abruptly ended because of the Hyksos invasion, conventionally dated to 1650. This invasion established the 15th dynasty, which ruled from Avaris for about a hundred years until the Hyksos were driven out by Ahmose, conventional date 1540.

So we are looking at not just two possible Exodus events, but three.

First: the "Asiatic settlement of Avaris", that is, the Egyptian 14th dynasty and their people, were driven out (or destroyed?) by the invasion of the Hyksos. This is the event Rohl identifies with the biblical Exodus.

Second: The Hyksos themselves were driven out by resurgent Egyptians from the upper (southern) part of the Nile basin. This is the event that Simcha Jacobovici and Ralph Ellis say was the Exodus.

Third: Akhenaten's followers left Amarna after the collapse of his experiment with monotheism. Ellis thinks this was a second Exodus.

The fall of Jericho is estimated to have happened circa 1550 BC, which tends to favor the idea that the Hyksos rather than the 14th dynasty "Asiatics" were responsible. But this is a stratigraphic & carbon estimate, which could easily be off a few years.

I earlier wrote:

Rohl and Mahoney indicate that all this happened at the onset of the period of Hyksos rule in Egypt, rather than at its ending; that is, the period of the 14th or 15th dynasty, conventional dates c. 1800 to 1650 BC, rather than the reign of Amose I who kicked the Hyksos out of Egypt, conventionally dated to approx. 1540 BC. So it seems to be a completely different theory of the Exodus from either of Ellis's two exodi.​

Which should have said:

Rohl and Mahoney indicate that all this happened at the onset of the period of Hyksos rule in Egypt, rather than at its ending; that is, at the end of the 13th & 14th dynasties and the beginning of the 15th, conventionally dated to 1650 BC -- rather than the reign of Amose I who kicked the Hyksos out of Egypt, conventionally dated to approx. 1540 BC. So it seems to be a completely different theory of the Exodus from either of Ellis's two exodi.​

Jerry Russell

Staff member
Sweeney also puts the Exodus and conquest of Canaan just before the start of the 15th (Hyksos) dynasty -- although he claims that the 15th was preceded directly by the 5th dynasty, and that the 7th thru 11th and 13th thru 17th dynasties were all contemporary with the 15th. Also, he equates the 15th dynasty directly with the 6th. He thinks Joseph was way back in the 3rd dynasty.


Richard Stanley

Well-Known Member

This is based on David Rohl's revised dating, placing the Exodus and Conquest into the Middle Bronze Age. It seems to have the religious folk quite delirious, but I wonder how this doesn't make the 'Exodosians' both Hyksos and likely polytheistic?

This yet leaves open the scenario of Ralph Ellis' of the dual Exodus. First the Hyksos, then much later the Atenists.
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Richard Stanley

Well-Known Member

In fact, we do not find an undisputed instance of the name YHWH until the ninth century BCE in The Moabite Stele now housed in the Louvre in Paris.

This late occurrence is odd because the Bible says that Yahweh was the name that began to be used during Adam’s generation (Genesis 4:26) and was used by the Patriarchs (see Genesis 12:7-9, in contradiction to the statement in Exodus 6:3).

But then the Bible says that the Hebrews did not know him by YHWH until Moses time. So which one is it?

Jerry Russell

Staff member
According to the Documentary Hypothesis (as described in Richard E. Friedman's "The Bible with Sources Revealed"), the Torah is composed of source works by four different authors known as J, E, P and D. Friedman believes that J and E were written during the period of the divided kingdom (922 BC to 722 BC according to orthodox chronology) while he suspects that P was composed under Hezekiel (715-687 BC) and D under Josiah (640-609 BC). He does not venture a guess as to when the final redaction occurred, but argues on linguistic and stylistic grounds that the extant fragments do indeed stem from the original sources.

This seems very plausible to me, and it's consistent with the archaeological finding that worship of YHWH dates back to about the 9th century BC. That is, at least we can be reasonably confident that the core elements of the Torah are pre-Exilic. The extreme skepticism of Thompson & Lemche seems unwarranted in this regard. On the other hand, the sources are pretty clearly literary creations when it comes to events such as Exodus or the period of the Patriarchs, which occurred hundreds of years earlier (if at all). Even the account of the Judges should probably be considered as much legendary as historical.

Furthermore, one can only speculate as to what might have been lost on the cutting floor. But, Friedman argues, the biases of the sources can be discerned. He feels confident that J is from the southern kingdom of Judah, while E is from the kingdom of Israel. And, J is convinced that YHWH was known by that name right from the beginning (hence the name given to the author, the Jahwist) while E (the Elohist) insists on calling God by the name El up until YHWH reveals himself to Moses.

Richard Stanley

Well-Known Member
I was merely pointing out the internal Bible contradiction, and not intending you to lay out the DH. But it's always good to remember.

I'm also wondering if that contradiction can be found in the Masoretic as well, or is this coming from the Septuagint?

In any case, it is my opinion that Judah was the easiest tribal area to 'convert', because of the fact that it was closest to Egypt, and that it was more sparely populated than the northern regions of 'Israel'. We'll never really know for sure how the process went, but this would mean that it would be easier to insert new J parallel stories, the doublets and triplets, into the new Judean polity, rather than doing this all at once in all of Canaan. As such, this is a form or slipstreaming. Later, when the redactions were done, both parallel versions were retained, possibly because they understood too many retained cultural memory of El being the chief god.

Now, with the story of Samson telling us that he killed the young lion, and later found its carcass filled with (Macca) bees and honey, might suggest what has happened, in line with the above.


Active Member
Nice documentary that one... saw it on Netflix... needs work though to get to Ralph Ellis' level... a sequel needed maybe?

Richard Stanley

Well-Known Member
Here is what Cyrus H. Gordon (and Rendsburg) stated about the Apiru, as regards to their frequent mention in the so-called Nuzu (or Nuzi) tablets found just before WWII. This city was just east of ancient Asshur, where the native speech of the citizens was Hurrian.

From pg. 110 of The Bible and the Ancient Near East:

Most of the archives, however, are private documents pertaining to personal and family affairs. Some tablets are about the 'Apiru who enter into servitude, not en masse like the Israelites in Egypt, but individually contract to remain enslaved for life in the house of some wealthy person in the community. Their goal was simply economic security, for being a permanent slave in a wealthy household guaranteed food, clothing, and shelter for life, whereas freedom was often precarious for the poor. These 'Apiru, however, show no trace of Hebrew names or Hebrew religion.

Much of the archives dealing with private affairs hinge on the institution of adoption. ...

This region mentioned is generally in the region of Haran and Urfa (Ur of the Chaldees in the Bible -- a trading outpost of the more southerly Ur).

As we have seen from our own textual analysis, and consistent with Gordon's own presentation of Abraham as a typical noble, oligarchic trading merchant, then Abraham (or whomever he represents) would indeed likely have such Apiru servant/slaves in their household, happily doing their bidding. Which could also include acting as mercenaries, even disguising the involvement of their sponsors.

If the Danoi and the Philistines were established in Canaan as imperial-sponsored colonists, then so could such as the Apiru, all acting as proxy agents in the common goal of displacing the untrustworthy Canaanite kings.

Asshur > Asher?

If there was a servile, non-ethnic underclass in such as Nuzu to the north, then there might just as easily have been such an underclass in Canaan that the kings were complaining to Amarna about. Especially in the context of the impending collapse of the Late Bronze Age civilizations. In all the collapses, at this time, the archaeological evidence just happens to point to a violent antipathy towards the ruling class by the underclasses. and as I have stated before, only the Egyptians survived intact. [added text]

Everything becomes much easier to resolve once one realizes that the entire 'Hebrew' construct, including the tribe of Judah, is a synthetic and political creation. For all of Gordon's great work, he was otherwise committed to trying to fully accept the narratives as is.
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Jerry Russell

Staff member
This website has more information about the Nuzi tablets:


They discuss that the Habiru slaves may have entered into slavery voluntarily, and perhaps bought themselves back out of the situation during better times. The article mentions (rather ambiguously) that there might have been other peoples of a lower status, whose slavery was more likely to be permanent.

If the Danoi and the Philistines were established in Canaan as imperial-sponsored colonists, then so could such as the Apiru, all acting as proxy agents in the common goal of displacing the untrustworthy Canaanite kings.

In the Amarna letters, I'm not sure whether the Canaanite kings are "untrustworthy". They generally promise solid loyalty to the Pharaoh, to the point of fawning obsequiousness. Some are accused of collaborating with the Habiru, or having sold out to them. But the accused vigorously defend their loyalty. If there's a problem with the Canaanite kings of the Amarna letters, it seems to be their ineffectiveness and lack of rapport with the people -- is that what you mean by 'untrustworthy'?

Everything becomes much easier to resolve once one realizes that the entire 'Hebrew' construct, including the tribe of Judah, is a synthetic and political creation.

Just because it's an artificial construct, doesn't mean it wasn't composed out of elements such as the Habiru, do you agree?

Do you think the Hyksos can also be equated with these Habiru? Josephus thought that the Hebrews were Hyksos, but Rudd and Waterhouse are arguing that the Hebrews are the Habiru. I've seen arguments that the Hyksos could not have disappeared after having been driven from Egypt by Ahmose. For historical continuity, does it follow that the Hyksos became the Habiru / Hebrews?