Biblical Backgrounds -- By: Edwin M. Yamauchi

Journal: Westminster Theological Journal
Volume: WTJ 36:1 (Fall 1973)
Article: Biblical Backgrounds
Author: Edwin M. Yamauchi

Biblical Backgrounds

Edwin M. Yamauchi

A Review Article

Jack P. Léwis: Historical Backgrounds of Bible History. Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1971. 199. Paper, $3.95; cloth, $5.95.

Professor Jack P. Lewis, professor of Bible at Harding College, Graduate School of Religion, has provided us with an exceedingly useful compendium of material on historical figures mentioned in the Bible. These include 4 Egyptian kings, 8 Assyrian personages, 4 Aramaeans and a Moabite, 5 Neo-Babylonian rulers, 15 men of Israel and Judah, 10 figures from the Persian period, and 16 men from the New Testament era.

As befits a scholar who has two earned doctorates from Harvard, Professor Lewis’s work is characterized by accuracy, thoroughness, and restraint. He has missed very few of the pertinent references. Inasmuch as the text represents lectures presented in 1969, there are, of course, additional materials to be noted. As there are few points where we would disagree with his assessment, the following notes are given more as a supplement than as a critique.

1. Shishak. Instead of the lower date of 935-914 B.C. favored by Albright (p. 18), most Egyptologists would prefer to date Shishak’s reign to 945-924 B.C. Recent excavations at Gezer have yielded evidence of Shishak’s raid in the area of the Solomonic gate and in Field III, where the destruction was so thorough that casemates were never reopened. Lewis’s discussion of Montet’s excavations at Tanis is somewhat confused, no doubt because of the excavator’s own revisions in interpreting the evidence. The sarcophagus found by Montet at Tanis is now attributed by him to a Shishak II, probably the grandson of the biblical Shishak. To the references given by Lewis, I would add the following (given in chronological order): J. Breasted, Ancient Records of Egypt (1927), IV, 344–61; A. Blackman, “The Stela of Shoshenk, Great Chief of the Meshwesh,” Journal of Egyptian Archaeology (hereafter abbreviated


JEA), 27 (1941), 83–95; P. Elgood, The Later Dynasties of Egypt (1951); R. Caminos, “Gebel es-Silsilah no. 100, ” JEA, 38 (1951), 46–49; S. Yeivin, “Topographic and Ethnic Notes III,” JEA, 48 (1962), 75–80; G. Wainwright, “The Meshwesh,” JEA, 48 (1962), 89–99; Y. Aharoni, The Land of the Bible (1967), pp. 283-90; P. Montet, Egypt and the Bible (1968).

2. Tiglath-pileser III. Lewis does not indicate the complex problems involved in arranging the annals and reliefs of Tiglath-pileser, nor their bearing on chronological issues of the Old Testament. His refer...

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