Notes On The Exodus -- By: Harold M. Wiener

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 076:304 (Oct 1919)
Article: Notes On The Exodus
Author: Harold M. Wiener

Notes On The Exodus

Harold M. Wiener

London, England

Further research enables me to supplement “The Date of the Exodus” 1 with a few notes on the history of the period of the Exodus and the wanderings.

In Exodus 13:17 we read: “And it came to pass, when Pharaoh had let the people go, that God led them not by the way of the land of the Philistines, although that was near; for God said, Lest peradventure the people repent

when they see war, and they return to Egypt.” The expression “see war,” naturally interpreted, can only mean that war was in progress in Philistia.2 A good example of what the text does not say is provided by Driver’s note ad loc.: “Because the Philistines were a warlike and aggressive people it was feared that Israel might be alarmed at meeting them.” There is nothing about meeting or fighting them. The phrase used implies that military operations were actually pending at the time, — not that they would result if Israel took the road through Philistia and were refused peaceful passage. Now the Israel stele also refers to military operations of some sort in Philistia. “Carried off is Askalon “(DE, p. 457). These two references appear to me to relate to the same event and to supplement each other. The carrying off of Askalon was thus contemporaneous with the Exodus, and must be assigned to the same year, i.e. the second year of Merneptah. So we have independent evidence, from other sources, of at least three of the matters to which the final stanza of the triumphal hymn relates. There is an allusion to the treaty with the Hittites, a mention of a capture of Askalon, and a reference to Israel’s defeat by Amorites. These fall at different times, and exclude the theory that the stanza relates to a campaign, i.e. to a connected series of operations. It is rather a sort of omnibus clause relating to a number of miscellaneous incidents, which together ultimately helped to bring about the grand result of a general peace that was satisfactory to Egypt. This view is confirmed by another consideration. It has been thought that the phrase “binder of Gezer” in a titulary refers to a personal exploit of Merneptah’s. Whether this be so or not, its presence, taken in conjunction with the absence of any similar title relating to the other events mentioned in the stanza (the peace with the Hittites, the carrying off of

Askalon, etc.), shows that for some reason it was on a different footing f...

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