The Date Of The Exodus And The Chronology Of Judges -- By: Harold M. Wiener

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 074:296 (Oct 1917)
Article: The Date Of The Exodus And The Chronology Of Judges
Author: Harold M. Wiener


The Date Of The Exodus And The Chronology Of Judges

Harold M. Wiener

In the Bibliotheca Sacra for July, 1916, I showed that the Exodus from Egypt took place in the second year of the Pharaoh Merneptah. I had hoped to postpone any detailed discussion of the chronology of the Judges till after the appearance of the larger Cambridge Septuagint1 ; but, in the course of a sympathetic notice in the Gereformeerd Theologisch Tijdschrift (vol. 17. pp. 396^01), Dr. G. Ch. Aalders has urged certain arguments against my view which can be sufficiently answered on our present materials. I therefore think it best to proceed at once to a further consideration of the chronological difficulties, leaving any necessary corrections to be made if and when we have further materials.

Dr. Aalders points out that there are three main views: viz. (1) that Thothmes III. was the Pharaoh of the oppression, and his son Amenhotep II. the Pharaoh of the Exodus; (2) that Rameses II. and Merneptah were the rulers in question; and (3) that the event took place circa 1130 B.C. The last, which is the view of Eerdmans, he dismisses sum-

marily on account of the chronological difficulties. Against the present writer’s contention that the Exodus took place in the second year of Merneptah, Aalders urges, mainly, the 480 years of 1 Kings 6:1. It is true that I dealt with this very shortly in the earlier article, because I knew that the weight of modern opinion favored the schematic character of the number, and, consequently, thought that more detailed discussion could be left till fresh textual materials were available for the whole period. Aalders makes two other points. He says that Ex. 14:6 shows that the Pharaoh himself commanded the pursuit, and he infers that he was drowned in the Red Sea. This is certainly not true of Merneptah. Lastly, he says that in the Amarna letters the Habiri generally lack the determinative for place, but that it is given to them once. From this he argues that its absence in the passage relating to Israel in the Israel stele does not necessarily prove that the people had no territory.

We may clear the ground by dealing with this third point first. As I am neither an Assyriologist nor an Egyptologist I cannot pretend to an opinion as to whether the omission of the place determinative in letters written in one language of which I am ignorant would or would not justify its omission in an inscription composed in another language of which I am equally ignorant. It is easy to conceive that the one instance in the Amarna letters may be...

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