Monday, July 17, 2017

The Golden Sword of Marian Apocalypse (continued 2)


Image result for walls of jericho joshua
 



Part Ten: The Crashing Fall of Jericho

 


[Continued from: https://amaic1.blogspot.com.au/2017/07/by-damien-f.html]


by
 
Damien F. Mackey
 
 
 
 
When the trumpets sounded, the army shouted, and at the sound of the trumpet, when the men gave a loud shout, the wall collapsed; so everyone charged straight in, and they took the city. They devoted the city to the Lord and destroyed with the sword every living thing in it—men and women, young and old, cattle, sheep and donkeys”.
 
Joshua 6:20-21
 
 
 
Anakim Giants and a Jericho ‘Prostitute’
 
The sight of the giant Anakim in the land of Canaan would prove to be of sufficient a deterrent to prompt the spies of Israel to advise against entry into the Promised Land. 
The Book of Numbers, as we have previously read, refers to the “children of Anak” (יְלִדֵי הָעֲנָק, yelidei ha-anak) (13:22 and 28), or the “sons of Anak” (בְּנֵי עֲנָק, benei anak) (13:33), whilst Deuteronomy 1:28, 2:10-11, 2:21 and 9:2 will refer to the “Anakim” (עֲנָקִים).
Now, John A. Wilson has suggested that the Anakim may be related to the Iy-‘anaq geographic region named in Middle Kingdom Egyptian pottery bowls that had been inscribed with the names of enemies and then shattered as a kind of curse. (Ancient Near Eastern Texts Relating to the Old Testament. Ed. James B. Pritchard, p. 328. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1969): http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Devarim_(parsha
 
We left Israel in Transjordan, preparing for an invasion of the Promised Land led by Joshua.
In the famous account of the taking of Jericho, which we shall soon discuss archaeologically, two Israelite spies will be greatly aided by a harlot named Rahab (Joshua chapter 2).
Now, in Matthew the Evangelist’s Genealogy of Jesus the Messiah, we encounter this (1:5-6):
 
“… Salmon the father of Boaz, whose mother was Rahab,
Boaz the father of Obed, whose mother was Ruth,
Obed the father of Jesse,
and Jesse the father of King David. …”,
 
which is generally taken as indicating that King David, and Jesus the Messiah, were descended from Rahab the harlot of Jericho. She is listed among various so-called ‘enlightened pagans’, such as:
 
MELCHIZEDEK
RAHAB (in genealogy of David and Jesus)
RUTH
ACHIOR (in my Catholic Bible, Book of Judith)
JOB
The Magi,
 
most of whom, though, I would regard as being non-gentiles.
Melchizedek, I have already identified (following Jewish tradition) as Shem, the son of Noah, and superior even to Abram.
Rahab, obviously a Canaanite, will receive a good press in the New Testament for her “faith”. Both Paul (Hebrews 11:31) and James (2:25) will bestow praise upon her (like Jesus will in the case of the Centurion, Luke 7:1-10).
But she, for all that, was not, according to the following article by R. K. Phillips (“The Truth About Rahab”), the woman intended in Matthew’s genealogical list:
 
“Deuteronomy, the Book of God's Royal Law, Chapter 7, makes it very plain that when the Israelites cross the Jordan into Canaan:
 
a. they were to destroy the entire population of those lands and everything that lived, including the cattle, sheep and asses;
b. they were NOT to make marriages with any of those peoples themselves, nor allow their sons and daughters to marry any of the descendants of those peoples.
 
It is quite evident that the Israelites of that generation which finally crossed the Jordan did observe these commandments. After the initial set-back at Ai was sorted out, their unbroken success in conquering the land for the next 30 years was proof positive that not one man dared to disobey even the least of those commandments — for they suffered swift and fatal consequences every time they stepped out of line.
The Israelites had received the Law at Sinai and had said they would keep it — Exodus 24:3. Then they broke the Law by setting up a golden calf to worship, and for this rebellious act, some 3,000 men were summarily slain — Exodus 32:27-28.
This lesson lasted for 35 years or so until they came out of the Wilderness and camped in that part of the land of Moab which the Amorites had taken from the Moabites and which the Israelites had, in their turn, taken from the Amorites — "The Plains of Moab".
Here, on the advice of Balaam, the Moabites and Midianites sent the most beautiful of their young women to entice the Israelite men to commit idolatry and fornication with them. And for that flagrant breach of His Law, God ordered 1000 of the backsliding Israelites to be slain and their bodies shamefully hung (impaled or crucified) on stakes, and He caused a further 23,000 Israelites to die of plague. God then ordered the surviving Israelites to send out 12,000 armed men to slaughter all the men, women and male children of the Midianites. Numbers 31:1-20. (Note: the 24,000 of Israel — Numbers 25:9 — who are stated to have `died in the plague', included the 1000 who were hanged, but those who were hanged were not included in the 23,000 mentioned by Paul in 1 Corinthians 10:8 who `fell' in one day. The number 23,000 is 10 times 2300 which is the Biblical number for `cleansing the sanctuary' — of Israel — and 10 is the number of completion of an action before the commencement of a new order or cycle. The execution of this large number of the Israel people not only `cleansed' the nation of all idolatrous practices, but also provided a salutary example of what would happen if they failed to keep God's Laws and commandments in future.
Immediately after the capture of Jericho, God again inflicted sudden death on the Israelites when one soldier (Achan) disobeyed the instruction not to take anything for themselves from that city, for all the gold and silver found in Jericho was to go into the Lord's treasury. But Achan took some of the gold and silver that he found and hid it in his tent. Therefore God caused 36 of the Israel forces to be slain by the men of Ai in the next battle. When Joshua learned the reason for those deaths, he located the guilty soldier and, after his summary court-martial in front of all the people, the stolen goods were brought out and placed on the ground. Then, his whole family was assembled and the people stoned the man and his sons and daughters to death, slaughtered all his cattle, burnt his tent and all that he and his family had possessed, and covered the remains and the stolen goods with a mound of stones.
Threatened with swift and draconian punishment on this scale if even one of His people disobeyed the least of God's commands, it is unlikely that any male member of the Israel Forces would have dared to be so foolish as to marry an idolatrous Canaanite woman in open defiance of the Law of Deuteronomy 7:3-4, which expressly forbade such marriages. The fact that the Israelite armies suffered no more setbacks for the next 25 to 30 years is sufficient evidence in itself that no further transgressions of God's Law occurred during that period.
Who, then, was this female ancestor of our Lord — Rachab — who is stated, in Matthew 1:5, to have married Salmon the son of Naashon, a prince of the Royal line of Judah, some time either before or after the Israelites occupied the Promised Land?
Every Bible translator and commentator, without exception, associates her with, or directly identifies her as `Rahab the harlot' who was saved alive from the massacre of Jericho. But the foregoing evidence shows that after the debacle at the first battle for Ai, no Israelite had dared to disobey God by marrying a Canaanite or any other foreign woman for at least 30 years after crossing the Jordan. Furthermore, Leviticus 21:7,14, state that no priest of God's Tabernacle was to take a harlot for his wife, and verse 9 states that if even the daughter of a priest played the harlot, she was to be killed and burnt in the fire.
Therefore, in view of these severe strictures, it is beyond the bounds of possibility for Jesus, who was (ed. is) a Priest after the Order of Melchisedek, to be the descendant of that `Rahab' who was saved out of Jericho unless it could be proved that she was neither a harlot nor a Canaanitess by race. It has already been proved, by the evidence of Scripture itself, that Ruth — who is similarly claimed by all the churches and commentators to be a heathen Moabitess — was neither a heathen foreigner nor was she a Moabitess by race, but a true daughter of Israel who lived in that land of Moab which the Israelites had taken from the Amorites. That land was still called Moab even though it was occupied by the tribe of Reuben until they were taken into captivity several hundred years later — 1 Chronicles 5:8,16,18-26. What, then, has Scripture to say concerning Rahab of Jericho? Was she neither a harlot nor a Canaanitess as stated in Scripture?
Several attempts have been made:
 
a. to identify Rahab as an Israelite descendant of Sherah, the daughter of Ephraim, who went to Canaan about two centuries or so before the Exodus — 1 Chronicles 7:24 — and built the strongholds of Beth-horon and Uzzen-sherah some 25 miles west of Jericho
b. to clear her name of the term "harlot" by describing her as a `widow' or an `innkeeper' or as a `trader in flax'.
 
But the term `harlot' is not only used by Joshua in the Old Testament; it is used again both by Paul and James in the New Testament 1500 years later. Thus there had been ample opportunity since Joshua's day to clear her name from that obnoxious designation if there had been no justification for it. Paul in particular, as a learned disciple of Gamaliel, would most certainly have taken swift action to correct any mistaken slight on the ancestry of Israel kings. Moreover Joshua, himself, was a ninth generation descendant of Ephraim (1 Chronicles 7:24-27) and would have been related to Rahab if she was, in truth, a descendant of Ephraim's daughter Sherah.
Therefore not only would Joshua have given his two spies careful instructions for rescuing Rahab on the grounds of consanguinity but he would also have cleared her name of any undeserved accusations of being a harlot had they not been true. Neither would he have left her fate to a chance encounter with his two spies; nor have left it to her to extract a promise of safekeeping from them. She herself would have sent a direct appeal to her kinsman for safekeeping as well as bringing the fact of her own racial origin to the attention of the two spies.
On the contrary, she had no hesitation — Joshua 2:11 — in identifying herself as a Canaanite, and at the same time inadvertently fulfilling a prophecy made 40 years earlier — Exodus 15:16, where it is stated that "fear and dread" would fall upon the Canaanites and that "all the inhabitants of Canaan shall melt away". In Joshua 2:10, she states that we (the people of Canaan) heard how Jehovah dried up the waters of the Red Sea before you (the Israelites); and in verse 11 she says that when we heard these things "our hearts did melt…".
If Rahab and her family had been Israelites, she would never have included herself among those who heard and whose hearts had melted. She would have said that when they (the Canaanites) heard these things their hearts had melted. Furthermore, it should be noted that when she and her family were finally rescued from Jericho — as stated in Joshua 6:23 — they were "left outside the camp of Israel". This statement once again emphasizes the fact that they were members of a foreign race whose presence within the camp of Israel would have polluted it in God's sight and brought God's swift punishment upon the Israel forces — Deuteronomy 23:14 — quite apart from the risk of sudden death to themselves or to any unauthorised persons who unwittingly ventured close to the Tabernacle (Numbers 1:51).
It is therefore established beyond question, by the record of Scripture itself, that Rahab was a Canaanite by race. Hence it must also be accepted, on the same authority, that she was indeed a harlot. In fact it was because of the dissolute and diseased condition of both the people of Canaan and their animals, that God ordered the Israel armies to slaughter every living thing in the cities they captures (Joshua 6:21) men, women, children and animals, and then burn their cities to the ground in order to cleanse the area by fire.
This fact alone — quite apart from the Laws forbidding marriage with members of other races — makes it unthinkable that either Salmon, a prince of the Royal line of Judah, would even have considered a marriage with such a woman, or that his comrades in arms would have allowed him to do so when they themselves would, most likely, be the very ones to suffer sudden destruction by God for condoning such a deliberate transgression of God's commands.
Joshua 6:25 states that Rahab was given land in the midst of Israel in return for risking her own life by hiding the two spies that were sent to Jericho. Josephus in his "Antiquities of the Jews", Book 5 chapter 1, sections 2 and 7, records the same story but neither he nor Joshua make any reference to a marriage taking place between Rahab and Salmon. That deafening silence is itself the strongest proof that no such marriage did take place. Nor did it take place in fact, because — as the Scripture record shows — the Israelite armies suffered no further setbacks through breaking God's Laws for at least 30 years.
However, let us assume for a moment that Salmon did marry Rahab the harlot within a year or so of the fall of Jericho, and that Boaz was born a year or so after that. If such were the case, then Boaz would have been about 115 years old when he married Ruth! On the other hand, if we assume that Rahab was about 30 years of age when Jericho fell, and that Salmon did not marry her till 30 years or more later, then not only would Rahab have been at least 60 years of age and no longer able to bear children, but Boaz, even if born 30 years after the fall of Jericho, would still have been 85 years of age when he married Ruth.
Furthermore, it is impossible to believe that Naomi would have urged Ruth, her attractive young daughter-in-law, to seek marriage with a kinsman so aged that he would be incapable of begetting children. Thus all the evidence confirms the fact that Salmon did not marry Rahab the Canaanite harlot. In fact, the Bible states, in plain writing, that Salmon married a different woman altogether. A woman with a different name, and without any distinguishing appellation, obnoxious or otherwise, attached to her name. It is the religious translators and commentators who have made the mistake in translation and identified Salmon's wife as the harlot of Jericho.
But the most surprising fact is that the harlot's name is NOT Rahab after all, for there is NO woman with the name of Rahab in the whole of the Bible! In the Hebrew text of the Old Testament, Rahab is a poetic or metaphorical name applied on three occasions to the land of Egypt, with the meaning of being `haughty' or `proud', (see Psalms 87:4, 89:10 and Isaiah 51:9). But these three passages have nothing to do with Joshua, Jericho, or the harlot who lived there. The same Hebrew word `rahab' is, in fact, quite correctly translated in the Authorized version as `proud' in Job 9:13 and 26:12, but in Isaiah 30:7 it is incorrectly translated as `strength'. This verse reads — in the Hebrew text — "Egypt's help is vain and worthless therefore I have called her Rahab sitting still" — (or `Egypt the motionless').
The harlot's name is `Rakhab' (English pronunciation: `Raackharb') A different Hebrew word to `Rahab', with a totally different meaning of "to widen" or "to make broad". It is not spelt with the Hebrew letter `He' as in Rahab, but with the letter `khet' (which has a hard gutteral aspirated sound like the `ch' in `loch' or in the German `macht'.
The Greek alphabet, however, has no equivalent letters corresponding to either `he' or `khet'. Hence, in the Septuagint version of the Book of Joshua, the harlot's name is spelt `Ra'ab' in all passages where it occurs. And exactly the same spelling is used in the New Testament in the Greek text of Hebrews 11:31 and of James 2:25 — but NOT in Matthew 1:5. Furthermore, her name is always coupled with the designation `harlot' either directly or by association with this designation in the same context in which her name appears.
If Salmon's wife was indeed `Rakhab' the harlot, why is it then that, in the Greek text of Matthew 1:5, it is spelt `Raxab' and not Ra'ab as it is in Hebrews 11:31 and James 2:25 and in every passage of the Greek text of the Septuagint where the harlot's name appears? And why is it that Raxab's name in Matthew 1:5 is not coupled with the term `harlot'? This is the first and only occurrence of this name in the New Testament.
Therefore IF Raxab was in actual fact the harlot of Jericho, then it is even more necessary to identify her here as the harlot than it is in Hebrews 11:31 and James 2:25. It should be noted that the letter `x' in Raxab's name is the Greek letter `chi' which has the hard `ch' sound as in the English `chord' or `Christ'. Therefore the English pronunciation of the Greek name `Raxab' in Matthew 1:5 should be `Rachab' — with a short second `a' as in cab — NOT `Rahab' and NOT `Raackharb'.
This is not just another way of spelling or of pronouncing `Rahab' or `Rakhab' either in Greek or in Hebrew. `Rachab' is a different name altogether in the `original' Greek. Therefore it cannot refer to Ra'ab the harlot, it can only refer to a different woman. Now it has been shown time and time again that God never uses two different words, or two different names in the same verse or context to refer to the same thing or person. The different words or names are always put there to draw our attention to the fact that He is referring to different things or persons. [Not sure if this last statement is sustainable — IoG]
But Matthew 1:5, Hebrews 11:31 and James 2:25 cannot be classified as being `in the same context'. Therefore more positive methods have been used in these passages to identify the person concerned precisely and exactly, and to distinguish between one person and another. Thus in Hebrews 11:31 and James 2:25, the reader is told explicitly that these passages refer to Ra'ab the harlot of Jericho:
 
a. by stating her name,
b. by repeating her designation of a harlot,
c. by mentioning the action which she took to help the two spies. These are all positive marks of identification.
 
On the other hand in Matthew 1:5 Rachab the wife of Salmon is clearly distinguished from ANY identification or association in any way with the harlot of Jericho:
 
1. by the different spelling of her name in the `original' Greek,
2. by the different pronunciation of her name,
3. by the absence of any offensive designation attached to her name,
4. by the absence of any reference to Jericho or any activity that took place there.  
 
Nor is the absence of any such additional information about Rachab designed to `cover up' possible unfavourable personal references to individual members of Israel's Royal Line and of the human ancestors of Jesus in this genealogy. The Bible does not shrink from stating unsavoury `incidents' in the lives of any of Israel's famous people. This is demonstrated in the very next verse (Matthew 1:6) by the cutting reference to Bathsheba — not by recording her name, but by bringing her name to mind only through her degrading act of adultery with King David. Again, there is the story of Judah's seduction by Tamar as told in Genesis 38:11-30.
Thus the whole evidence of Scripture is that Salmon's wife was NOT the harlot of Jericho, and in the absence of any other conflicting information concerning her, then the conclusion must be that her ancestry was as impeccable as that of her husband”.
 
Robin Ngo, though, offers a different suggestion in “Rahab the Harlot?” (Bible History Daily): http://www.biblicalarchaeology.org/daily/people-cultures-in-the-bible/people-in-the-bible/rahab-the-harlot/ there suggesting that the woman from Jericho may have been a landlady rather than a prostitute:
 
“So what do we know about Rahab the harlot? Was she a Biblical prostitute? The Biblical text identifies her as a zônāh, a prostitute (Joshua 2:1), but she seems more like a landlady. Indeed, the first-century C.E. historian Josephus reports that she kept an inn. The consonants that comprise the word “prostitute” in Hebrew are znh, which are the same consonants that comprise the Hebrew word for a female who gives food and provisions. The text doesn’t describe Rahab’s profession negatively, as one might expect from a description of Biblical prostitutes. The lifestyle of Rahab in the Bible continues to elude us. Whether we remember her as Rahab the harlot or innkeeper, she was a Biblical heroine”.
 
Archaeology of Jericho  
 
Joshua 2:15 informs us that: “[Rahab] let [the spies] down by a rope through the window, for the house she lived in was part of the city wall”.
And professor Anati has told that this was a distinctive feature of the Early Bronze III [EB III] city of Jericho (Tell es-Sultan) which the Joshuan forces (Middle Bronze I) would capture.
 
Dr. Rudolph Cohen, too, has written of “the EBIII destruction of Jericho and Ai” at the time (The Mysterious MBI People, BAR 9:04, Jul-Aug 1983):
 
“In the central and northern parts of Israel, the EBIII urban culture flourished. The MBI invaders in the south overwhelmed this urban Canaanite civilization and destroyed their cities but thereafter persisted in a semi-nomadic way of life. This bears a striking similarity to the tradition of Joshua’s devastating campaign against the Canaanite centers in central Palestine and his ban on rebuilding some of them (e.g., Joshua 8-28). Both Jericho and Ai were fortified cities at the end of the Early Bronze Age. According to the Biblical account, they were both destroyed by the Israelites; God specifically instructed that these cities should not be rebuilt. Interestingly enough, after the EBIII destruction of Jericho and Ai, both cities lay in ruins for hundreds of years.”.
 
It all seems clear enough.
The Middle Bronze I Israelites conquered much of Early Bronze III Canaanite Palestine.
However, anyone who has ever seriously attempted to align the biblical record with the archaeology of Palestine can be guaranteed of one sure ‘outcome’ at least: a sore head.
I, and certain fellow correspondents at least, can vouch for it.
The task has been made far more complex by conventional mis-datings and wrong identifying.
This is explained in the following piece, “Is Bryant Wood's chronology of Jericho valid?”: http://www.biblicalchronologist.org/answers/bryantwood.php
 

“The Problem to be Solved

 
In Joshua chapter 6, the Bible records the defeat of the city of Jericho by the children of Israel, led by Joshua. Traditional biblical chronology places this event ca. 1407 B.C.
The archaeological remains at Tell-es-Sultan correspond to the biblical Jericho. This is undisputed by mainstream scholarship, whether conservative or liberal.
John Garstang conducted excavations at Jericho from 1930 to 1936. He found a destruction layer corresponding to the termination of City IV, and dated it to ca. 1400 B.C. This worked out well for traditional biblical chronology.
However, in the 1950's, Kathleen Kenyon conducted further excavations at Jericho and concluded that the destruction of Garstang's City IV should be dated ca. 1550 B.C., not ca. 1400 B.C. In fact, Kenyon found no evidence at all of occupation of Jericho ca. 1407 B.C.
….
Clearly traditional biblical chronology is in conflict with the chronology of Jericho held by the consensus of modern archaeologists. The termination of the walled city (City IV) ca. 1550 B.C. is the chronologically closest candidate to the traditional biblical date for the destruction of Jericho by Joshua, but it is still about 150 years from the traditional biblical dates according to the scholarly consensus. Clearly the destruction of City IV Jericho and the destruction of Jericho by Joshua cannot be the same event if they are separated by 150 years. …”.
 
The biblically-related conclusions from conventional archaeology seem to miss every time.
 
  • Abraham is wrongly assigned to the Middle Bronze I nomadic phase – which actually pertains to nomadic Israel instead.
  • The nomadic Israelites are assigned to the Late Bronze era – which is the era of the Kingdom of Israel (Saul, David, Solomon).
  • David and Solomon are wrongly assigned to the Iron Age.   
 
Previously, we read this about the unfortunate search for the Exodus in the Late Bronze Era:
 
“… Fr. Anthony Axe, Bible lecturer at Jerusalem’s École Biblique …, has claimed that a massive Exodus that led to the drowning of Pharaoh’s army would have reverberated politically and economically throughout the entire region. And, considering that artefacts from as far back as the late Stone Age have turned up in the Sinai, Fr Axe finds it perplexing that - as he thinks - no evidence of the Israelites’ passage has been found. Indeed Fr Axe is right in saying that an event such as the Exodus would have had widespread political and economic ramifications; but because he has been conditioned to thinking according to the Sothic-based time scale, Fr. Axe is unable to see the wood for the trees, so to speak. For, contrary to the conventional view, the Egyptian chronicles do give abundant testimony to a time of catastrophe reminiscent of the Exodus, and archaeology does clearly attest the presence of an invasive people sojourning for a time in the Sinai/Negev deserts.
And the reason why the Israeli archaeologists of the 60’s-80’s “... didn’t find a single piece of evidence backing the Israelites’ supposed 40-year sojourn in the desert”, as M. Broshi, curator emeritus of the Dead Sea Scrolls, claims … is because they were always expecting to find such “evidence” in a New Kingdom context. The error of looking to the New Kingdom for the Exodus scenario has already been pointed out by Anati …
Dr. Cohen, Deputy Director of the Israeli Antiquities Authority, when asked which Egyptian dynasty he considered to be contemporaneous with the Exodus events, nominated the Middle Kingdom's 12th dynasty …”.
But now, thanks to the painstaking efforts and research of the likes of Drs. Donovan Courville (The Exodus Problem and its Ramifications, 1971), Rudolph Cohen, and mostly John Osgood, some clear signposts amidst all of the oft-sifted rubble can now, I believe, be identified.
Thus, in the case of the stratigraphy of Jericho, for instance:
 
From Canaanites to Abraham: “PNA [Pottery Neolithic A] appears to be from the north and may indicate a Hittite influence (Genesis 15:20 and 25:9), or the same may be speculated of Proto-Urban Jericho (equivalent to Chalcolithic - see North8) who had rock cut tombs”.
He has suggested that the first level at Jericho, the Natufian level, must have been Canaanite, and possibly Hivite: 
Wikipedia: “The Hivites were one group of descendants of Canaan, son of Ham, according to the Table of Nations in Genesis 10 (esp. 10:17)”.
Osgood’s next level at Jericho he thinks could have been Hittite (rock-cut tombs). 
Wikipedia: "In Genesis 23:2, towards the end of Abraham's life, he was staying in Hebron, on lands belonging to the "children of Heth", and from them he obtained a plot of land with a cave to bury his wife Sarah. One of them (Ephron) is labeled "the Hittite", several times. This deal is mentioned three more times (with almost the same words), upon the deaths of Abraham, Jacob, and Joseph".
Then we get to the Neolithic phase that Osgood has connected with Ghassul, which is Abram’s era. Abram as a contemporary of Late Chalcolithic En-geddi and Ghassul IV is now one of the clear archaeologically-based signposts.
 
Joshuan Phase:
Drs. Courville and Osgood, both largely ignored, have nonetheless been able to demonstrate that a true pattern for the Joshuan Conquest, archaeologically, must be one that recognises the nomadic Israelite conquerors, the Middle Bronze I (MBI) people, as those who conquered the Early Bronze III (EBIII) cities of Palestine, such as Jericho and Ai.
 
The popular model for revisionists today, however, as espoused by the likes of David Rohl, arguing instead for a Middle Bronze Jericho at the time of Joshua, ends up throwing right out of kilter the biblico-historical correspondences.
Ronald P. Long (MA) writes as follows when reviewing Dr. Courville’s historical revision set (http://www.asa3.org/ASA/BookReviews1949-1989/12-73.html):
 
“Analysis of the archaeology directed Courville … to the fact that Israel entered the Promised Land at the close of Early Bronze III …. Widespread destruction of Canaanite population centers, especially Jericho and Ai, occurred at this time.
All acknowledge the parallelism between the end of the Old Kingdom (specifically Dynasty VI) and the end of Early Bronze III. It is at this juncture in Egyptian affairs that Courville rediscovered that the Exodus happened.
The contemporaneity of the Exodus with the end of Early Bronze III and the end of the Old Kingdom has chronological ramifications which alter to a considerable degree the historic structure of the ancient world. Locating the Exodus in the fifteenth century B.C. gives chronological orientation to Early Bronze and the Old Kingdom. Courville brings the beginnings of Early Bronze and Dynasty I down to the post-Flood era towards the end of the third millennium B.C. This development confronts us with the realization that the accepted Manethonian dynastic scheme, of placing one dynasty after another while not admitting the existence of contemporary dynasties, is fallacious. Within the framework of Biblical chronology Courville concludes that the Old and Middle Kingdoms of Egypt were roughly equivalent in time - that this period was brought to climax and swift collapse with the intervention of God in the Exodus. These discoveries also made known the fact that Dynasty VIII and the Second Intermediate periods were contemporary in Egypt and mirrored the ruinous conditions following the Exodus as the Hyksos invaders filled the void left by the departed children of Israel. Velikovsky over two decades ago drew similar conclusions regarding the Second Intermediate. It has been recognized that the Papyrus Ipuwer is the Egyptian version of what happened”.
 
Dr. Osgood, I find, brings a clear perspective to biblico-historical archaeology that is often quite lacking in the efforts of other revisionists.
On Jericho, he writes (“The Times of the Judges - The Archaeology: (a) Exodus to Conquest”) http://creation.com/the-times-of-the-judges-mdash-the-archaeology-exodus-to-conquest
 
“Let us look at the biblical narrative of the Conquest and follow it step by step, looking at what cities have been excavated to see the consistency with the biblical narrative both historically and geographically.
 

 

JERICHO

 
The first conquest of Joshua in Palestine was Jericho. Garstang originally identified the destruction period of Jericho’s Canaanite city as the end of Late Bronze Age.
However Kathleen Kenyon in her monumental excavation of Jericho has identified the destruction level which Garstang uncovered as the end of the Early Bronze Age III. Of this, she says that it came with “catastrophic completeness”28 This was succeeded by a temporary occupation by the MB I people (Kenyon’s Early Bronze—Middle Bronze). She says: “It is thus probable that there was a phase of occupation of the tell in which there were no solid structures. That there was such a camping phase would fit the evidence from the tombs of the nomadic and tribal organization of the newcomers.”29 (See also Kenyon 30,31)
 
Such a description matches exactly what we would expect of some of the Israelite host camping on the site after its destruction, until they were finally settled elsewhere.
 
Jericho at the end EB III is the logical place to see Joshua’s conquest. The same holds true for Ai, Joshua’s next battle zone (Joshua chapters 7 and 8)”.
 
Regarding my earlier comment, that “anyone who has ever seriously attempted to align the biblical record with the archaeology of Palestine can be guaranteed of one sure ‘outcome’ at least: a sore head”, I may have been my own worst enemy in this case.
Though convinced that EB III was basically the era for the Conquest by the MB I Israelites, I had come to consider - following rigorous criticism of this model by professor W. Stiebing - that this was only half of the story, and that, with the Old and Middle kingdoms of Egypt now to be regarded as, in part, contemporaneous, the Early Bronze level needed, correspondingly (as I thought), to be aligned with the Middle Bronze level.
And so I wrote an elaborate article attempting to combine the two.  
 
Recently, I have re-discovered an exchange on this very subject that I had had with Dr. Osgood back in 1988, in which he satisfactorily answers my queries.
Here follows that exchange (http://creation.com/techlets):
 
“Some comments and queries from Damien F. Mackey
of The University of Sydney.
 
I have just finished reading your excellent Journal of Creation, vol.2, 1986, and I decided to send you some material and some contacts which should be of special help to you. I am very taken with your re-arrangement of stratigraphy and your new model for the Stone Age. I had been convinced that Bimson’s MBA = Conquest was the correct one, but lately half of the revisionists overseas have been developing a new scheme of EB III = Conquest, and they too, like Bimson, come up with some very telling arguments. All revisionists of course reject the conventional placing of the Conquest in Late Bronze.
I note that your references in your revised history include Velikovsky, Courville, Dr Taylor and Bimson (one book only). I wonder if you are aware of the tremendous amount of research that is going on overseas—and has been for about a decade—on the revision. Scholars from all over the world have been examining, analysing and revising Velikovsky’s work in minute detail and have corrected many mistakes and have brought the revision to a greater perfection. Unfortunately in your excellent work you have not tackled the major criticisms which have been levelled at the revised stratigraphies of Conquest = EBA, or MBA. Some of these difficulties I hope to point out in the course of this letter. I think that your articles would have been much more encouraging had you tackled and overcome these apparent anomalies.
I should like to put before you the following queries, not by way of criticism, but for my own enlightenment:
 
Jericho
The Bible says that there was no city at Jericho between the Conquest and the reign of Ahab. I think in your scheme that you would run into the strongly fortified MB II city filling what should be an empty period.
 
Hazor
Hazor was burned to the ground, yet there is no evidence of destruction by burning of this city at the end of EBA.
 
Megiddo
The Bible says that the Israelites were unable to take this city, yet EBA shows evidence of devastation and a hiatus.
 
Ai and Bethel
I strongly recommend that you read D. Livingston’s ‘Location of biblical Bethel and Ai reconsidered’, Westminster Theological Journal, 33 (1970), pp.20–44), if you have not already done so. Livingston uses biblical data to show that the conventional location of Ai (and consequently Bethel) at Et-Tell contradicts biblical evidence. Ai must be re-located. My supervisor, who is not necessarily a fan of Velikovsky … has been to Et Tell and believes that Livingston is right in saying that this is not biblical Ai.
 
I think too that Shechem might be a problem in your scheme of things. From the Bible it would seem that Shechem was a small settlement at the time of Abraham, but a city at the time of Jacob. It seems to me that according to your scheme Shechem would be the same size in Jacob’s time as in Abraham’s. Correct me if I am wrong. Also Prof. Stiebing, who has criticised at various times the schemes of all revisionists (see Biblical Archaeological Review, July/August 1985, pp.53–69), raises the problem of the absence of LBA remains at Samaria as regards the EBA Conquest Reconstruction.
 
Dr John Osgood responds
 
Thank you for your comments. I will endeavour to answer the queries you raise.
 
Jericho:- You point out that by my revision I would be confronted with a strongly fortified city at Jericho during MB II, and of course you are correct. This, however, is not such a problem as it would at first seem.
For while the Bible makes it clear that the old EB III city of Jericho (destroyed by Joshua in my scheme) was not rebuilt until the days of Ahab, 1 Kings 16:34 (beginning of Iron I in my revision), it does make it clear that a fortress city, with a palace, capable of stationing 10,000 troops was built somewhere associated with the site of old Jericho, ‘the city of palm trees’, by Eglon, king of Moab; who in turn was driven out by Ehud ben Cera, no comment being made about the fate of the city so built (see Judges 3:12–30, and Deuteronomy 34:3 and 2 Chronicles 28:15). This is the end of MB IIA—beginning of MB IIB by my scheme, and is detailed in ‘Times of the Judges’, part 2(b) (this volume).
One can assume that some repopulation by Israelites took place in this strong city, and it is certain that there was a place of habitation at Jericho during David’s reign (see 2 Samuel 10:5) MB IIC/LB I by this scheme.
The MB II city of Jericho fits these characteristics exactly. Moreover, Eglon assumed power with the help of Amalek. The equation Amalek = Hyksos of Egypt I fully accept, as suggested by Velikovsky and Courville, and I have detailed this in my papers in Journal of Creation, vol. 1 (1984) and this volume. It is certain that this MB II city was heavily associated with Hyksos artifacts, as one would expect under such circumstances.
 
Regarding the destruction of Hazor,—there are no findings at the end of EB III Hazor that are inconsistent with the Israelite conquest. It is true that no destruction by burning has been found, but a brief consideration of the likely historical scenario and the excavation details should dispel any insurmountable problem.
First, the EB III strata were deep, the uppermost being stratum XIX, found only on the Tell and not on the Plateau. Consequently the chance of getting a fully representative area of any size was small, so arguing from the silence has difficulties.
Second, the biblical record only tells of burning, not of any other type of malice committed against the superstructure. The Israelites would have camped over a wide area of the Plateau and not necessarily the Tell to any great extent, so the amount of deposit available for encapsulating in time is totally speculative and most likely small considering the size of the Plateau available for habitation.
Assuming the correctness of my identification of the MB I people (Albright nomenclature) with the conquering Israelites, then it is clear that their habitation through MB II and LBA also included the Plateau. It is highly likely therefore that the density of people on the Tell may have been as scanty as the number of MB I artifacts testify. Furthermore the elements (rain, etc.) may well have taken their toll over a significant period of time.
It is clear, however, that the population of Hazor EB III disappeared from the Tell. I find, therefore, no difficulties whatsoever in accepting the end of EB III Hazor as being consistent with the biblical record of the Israelite conquest.
 
Megiddo. This city rather than contradicting the EB III conquest, confirms the details of scripture in a remarkable way.
The excavators of Megiddo originally identified stratum XVI as the last of the EB III and this was totally destroyed. However, subsequent study has confirmed that stratum XV, originally dated by the excavators to MB IIA also belonged to the EB III (Encyclopaedia of Archaeological Excavations in the Holy Land III, p.837), so that the destruction of stratum XVI dates to a time during the EB III and not at the end. I suggest that Jabin may well be a candidate for that destruction in the course of his taking control of Megiddo. (I believe the Khirbet Kerah ware should be understood against the background of Jabin’s hegemony.)
Moreover, Megiddo is distinguished by the absence of a clear stratum dating to the MB I. Stratum XII is MB IIB. The intervening strata (XIII–XIV) show admixture of more than one type of culture. In my papers in Journal of Creation, vol. 2 (1986) and this volume I have attempted to show that the pottery culture represented from Megiddo during these periods, which is Amiram’s family C, shows features of EB III and MB I–II giving a late culture called by some EB IV which I have insisted is a syncretic culture that represents the compromised Israelite culture with Canaanite admixture described in Judges 1.
I believe Megiddo confirms the biblical details. The Bible indicates that Megiddo became a compromise culture. The excavations at Megiddo confirm elements of a new culture, MB I, and yet the continuation of the EB III traditions in some respects, e.g. the continuation of the use of the EB III sacred precinct (Encyclopaedia III, p.841 and signs suggestive of a return to pottery traditions of earlier periods (Amiram, Ancient Pottery of the Holy Land, p. 81; also Oren, Bulletin of the American Schools of Oriental Research, 210].
 
Ai and Bethel are a different situation altogether, and I do not believe we can be assured of a solution at this point in time. I have not seen a copy of Livingston’s paper as yet, but certain other details are worth mentioning.
W. Ross in Palestine Exploration Quarterly (1941), p.22–27 reasoned, I believe correctly, that the Bethel of Jeroboam must be Shechem, since it alone fills the requirements. The Bethel of Jacob, and of Joshua-Luz, was found on the border of Benjamin, so it is this Bethel around which our argument must revolve. The question is whether Beiten is this Bethel and hence Et Tell is Ai, or whether we look for another.
Another location may be needed, but it does not particularly affect the revised chronology I have presented.
Beiten did appear to have some EB occupation, but the findings were not up to the expectation of the Judges 1 narrative. Major occupation with the MB I culture began and continued thereafter. It is Et Tell, however, which I feel should have some comment.
If the MB I people were the Israelites, then Et Tell in isolation would fit the narrative extremely well. It shows termination of occupation at the end of EB III, and no reoccupation until Iron II (perhaps Aiath in Isaiah 10:28; see also the exiles in Ezra 2:28). Its topography fits the story of Joshua, with a northern Wadi a small distance away enabling Joshua to draw the people out of the city, and a close western slope near the city where the ambush could hide, yet quickly enter the city as needed. I am not entirely convinced with the arguments I have seen rejecting it on either excavation details or topography, although I sense that geographical argument may carry more weight. In any case, those who have rejected it on excavation grounds have done so on the basis of an end of LB conquest, which is here rejected.
 
Whatever may be the truth of the identities of Ai and Bethel, at this point in time it does not materially affect the chronology here espoused.
 
Shechem: This is no problem to the revised chronology presented here, since the passage concerning Abraham and Shechem, viz. Genesis 12:6, does not indicate that a city of any consequence was then present there. On the other hand, Jacob’s contact makes it clear that there was a significant city present later (Genesis 33 and 34), but only one which was able to be overwhelmed by a small party of Jacob’s sons who took it by surprise.
I would date any evidence of civilisation at these times to the late Chalcolithic in Abraham’s case, and to EB I in Jacob’s case, the latter being the most significant.
The Bible is silent about Shechem until the Israelite conquest, after which it is apparent that it developed a significant population until the destruction of the city in the days of Abimelech. If the scriptural silence is significant, then no evidence of occupation would be present after EB I until MB I and no significant building would occur until the MB IIC.
Shechem was rebuilt by Jeroboam I, and continued thereafter until the Assyrian captivity. Moreover, Shechem was almost certainly the Bethel of Jeroboam, during the divided kingdom. So I would expect heavy activity during the majority of LB and all of Iron I.
This is precisely the findings at Shechem, with the exception that the earliest periods have not had sufficient area excavated to give precise details about the Chalcolithic and EB I. No buildings have yet been brought to light from these periods, but these periods are clearly represented at Shechem.
MB IIC at Shechem was a major destruction, so almost certainly it was the city of Abimelech. The population’s allegiance to Hamor and Shechem could easily be explained by a return of descendants of the Shechem captives taken by Jacob’s son, now returned after the Exodus nostalgically to Shechem, rather than by a continuation of the population through intervening periods (see Judges 9:28, Genesis 34).
For Jeroboam’s city and after, the numerous LB and Iron I strata are a sufficient testimony (see Biblical Archaeology, XX,XXVL and XXXII).
 
Samaria again is better explained by this revised chronology. Cultural periods must show blurring into one another depending on conditions. On my revision the Omri Dynasty would occupy a LB II/Iron I position, with more likely emphasis on Iron in view of the newness of the building at Samaria, whereas in Judah at the same time, which did not have the turbulent politics of the northern kingdom, we may expect some carry over from the LB II.
Hence, by my revision I would expect a beginning of Samaria to be dated to the beginning of the Iron I period, with the first buildings being dated to both Omri and Ahab. Absence of LBA remains at Samaria therefore do not trouble me.
I believe that the nexus Ahab/Jehoshaphat defines the turnabout to the early Iron I period, and that the frequent casemate walls found throughout this part of the Iron I are to be seen against the building activities of these two kings, especially those found throughout Judah (see 2 Chronicles 17:12—storage cities), particularly in the Negev.
 
They are not Solomon’s cities as so frequently assumed.





Part Eleven: Joshua’s Miracle of the Sun
 

The sun stopped in the middle of the sky and delayed going down about a full day. There has never been a day like it before or since, a day when the Lord listened to a human being. Surely the Lord was fighting for Israel!”.

Joshua 10:13-14


Joshua a New Moses
 

Those who would take Mosaïc authorship of the Pentateuch so literally as to include every single word therein must logically run into difficulty with the account in Deuteronomy 34:1-8 of the death and burial of Moses himself.

Most unlikely that Moses could have written that!

In this series I have argued for Moses as the editor, only, of the Book of Genesis, but as substantially the author of the rest of the Pentateuch - with due allowance for later additions and editorial comments (e.g, perhaps, Samuel, Solomon, Ezra).

 

Deuteronomy 34:1-8 tells of the earthly departure of Moses:

 

“Then Moses climbed Mount Nebo from the plains of Moab to the top of Pisgah, across from Jericho. There the Lord showed him the whole land—from Gilead to Dan, all of Naphtali, the territory of Ephraim and Manasseh, all the land of Judah as far as the Mediterranean Sea, the Negev and the whole region from the Valley of Jericho, the City of Palms, as far as Zoar. Then the Lord said to him, ‘This is the land I promised on oath to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob when I said, ‘I will give it to your descendants.’ I have let you see it with your eyes, but you will not cross over into it’.

And Moses the servant of the Lord died there in Moab, as the Lord had said. He buried him in Moab, in the valley opposite Beth Peor, but to this day no one knows where his grave is. Moses was a hundred and twenty years old when he died, yet his eyes were not weak nor his strength gone. The Israelites grieved for Moses in the plains of Moab thirty days, until the time of weeping and mourning was over”.

 

The Apostle Jude will, when later recalling this episode, refer to a “disputing” between the archangel Michael and the Devil over the body of Moses (Jude 1:7-10):

 

“In a similar way, Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding towns gave themselves up to sexual immorality and perversion. They serve as an example of those who suffer the punishment of eternal fire.

In the very same way, on the strength of their dreams these ungodly people pollute their own bodies, reject authority and heap abuse on celestial beings. But even the archangel Michael, when he was disputing with the devil about the body of Moses, did not himself dare to condemn him for slander but said, ‘The Lord rebuke you!’ Yet these people slander whatever they do not understand, and the very things they do understand by instinct—as irrational animals do—will destroy them”.

 

Joshua arose in the place of Moses (Joshua 1:1, 5): “… the Lord said to Joshua son of Nun, As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you’.”

 

Although Jesus is, as we have discussed, the only One who properly fulfils Deuteronomy 18:15, “a Prophet like [Moses]”, He speaking with God face to face, Joshua, of similar name to Jesus, is the historically immediate fulfilment of that verse, and likewise of v. 18: ‘I will raise them up a Prophet from among their brethren, like unto thee, and will put my words in his mouth; and he shall speak unto them all that I shall command him’.

After the death of Moses, the Lord told Joshua (1:7-8):

 

‘Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the Law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go. Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful’.

 

Joshua, like Moses, will send out spies (Joshua 2:1); will cross the water dry shod (3:15-17); will appoint twelve men, one from each tribe (4:4); and will meet an angel who will order him to remove his sandals. We read about this last when the Israelites come to the region of Jericho (5:13-15): “Now when Joshua was near Jericho, he looked up and saw a man standing in front of him with a drawn sword in his hand. Joshua went up to him and asked, ‘Are you for us or for our enemies?’ ‘Neither’, he replied, ‘but as commander of the army of the Lord I have now come’. Then Joshua fell facedown to the ground in reverence, and asked him, ‘What message does my Lord have for his servant?’ The commander of the Lord’s army replied, ‘Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy’. And Joshua did so”.

 

After the Israelites had captured the city of Jericho, we read (6:24-25):

 

“Then they burned the whole city and everything in it, but they put the silver and gold and the articles of bronze and iron into the treasury of the Lord’s house. But Joshua spared Rahab the prostitute, with her family and all who belonged to her, because she hid the men Joshua had sent as spies to Jericho—and she lives among the Israelites to this day”.

 

Joshua then makes what will turn out to be a long-range (about half a millennium) prophecy concerning the destroyed city (v. 26): “At that time Joshua pronounced this solemn oath: ‘Cursed before the Lord is the one who undertakes to rebuild this city, Jericho:

 

At the cost of his firstborn son

he will lay its foundations;

at the cost of his youngest

he will set up its gates’.”

 



We learn of the fulfilment of this prophecy in the time of king Ahab of Israel (Israel and Judah now being divided into two kingdoms) (I Kings 16:34): “In [Ahab’s] days did Hiel the Bethelite build Jericho: he laid the foundation thereof in Abiram his firstborn, and set up the gates thereof in his youngest son Segub, according to the word of the LORD, which he spoke by Joshua the son of Nun”.

As to who was this mysterious “Hiel the Bethelite”, that we shall learn when we arrive at the period of the Divided Kingdom, in the mid-C9th BC.

 

The Sun Stands Still

 

While the Israelites were stationed at Gilgal, the Amorite king of Jerusalem, Adonizedek - hearing that Israel had made a peace treaty with the strategically important town of Gibeon - formed a strong coalition of local kings to resist the Israelites by firstly attacking Gibeon (Joshua 10:3-5):

 

“So Adoni-Zedek king of Jerusalem appealed to Hoham king of Hebron, Piram king of Jarmuth, Japhia king of Lachish and Debir king of Eglon. ‘Come up and help me attack Gibeon’, he said, ‘because it has made peace with Joshua and the Israelites’. Then the five kings of the Amorites—the kings of Jerusalem, Hebron, Jarmuth, Lachish and Eglon—joined forces. They moved up with all their troops and took up positions against Gibeon and attacked it”.

 

Now it will be in the course of Israel’s battle with this Amorite coalition of kings that there would occur the famous Joshuan miracle of the sun.

We read about it in Joshua 10:6-13:

 

“The Gibeonites then sent word to Joshua in the camp at Gilgal: ‘Do not abandon your servants. Come up to us quickly and save us! Help us, because all the Amorite kings from the hill country have joined forces against us’.

So Joshua marched up from Gilgal with his entire army, including all the best fighting men. The Lord said to Joshua, ‘Do not be afraid of them; I have given them into your hand. Not one of them will be able to withstand you’.

After an all-night march from Gilgal, Joshua took them by surprise. The Lord threw them into confusion before Israel, so Joshua and the Israelites defeated them completely at Gibeon. Israel pursued them along the road going up to Beth Horon and cut them down all the way to Azekah and Makkedah. As they fled before Israel on the road down from Beth Horon to Azekah, the Lord hurled large hailstones down on them, and more of them died from the hail than were killed by the swords of the Israelites.

On the day the Lord gave the Amorites over to Israel, Joshua said to the Lord in the presence of Israel:

 

‘Sun, stand still over Gibeon,

and you, moon, over the Valley of Aijalon’.

So the sun stood still,

and the moon stopped,

till the nation avenged itself on its enemies,

 

as it is written in the Book of Jashar.

The sun stopped in the middle of the sky and delayed going down about a full day. There has never been a day like it before or since, a day when the Lord listened to a human being. Surely the Lord was fighting for Israel!”

 

There has never been a day like it before or since …”. This is what I have written about it, likening it to the Miracle of the Sun at Fatima, in Portugal, on October 13, 1917:

 

“Whatever really happened on this particular [Joshuan] occasion - and the suggestions about how to explain this colourful biblical account are manifold - Catholics, in particular, know of a modern-day Miracle of the Sun that was far greater than the Joshuan one, it being foretold months in advance of its actual occurrence on the 13th of October, 1917, and witnessed by tens of thousands, including hardened atheists.

Miracles, according to Saint Thomas Aquinas, cannot be ascribed to anything other than God. A miracle, he wrote, is “an event that happens outside the ordinary processes of the whole of created nature” (Summa Theologiae, Ia, 110. 4). The Fatima phenomenon of 1917, estimated to have been witnessed by 70,000-100,000 people, was certainly a miracle fitting Aquinas’s description. The vision of it was limited almost entirely to the local Fatima region, and it did not in any way affect the usual motions of the observed heavenly bodies”.

 

Let is briefly re-visit the description of the Fatima Solar Miracle as told by an eye-witness:

 

“…. And suddenly, as the crowd looked upwards, the clouds opened and exposed the blue sky with the sun at its zenith. But this sun did not dazzle. The people could look directly at it. It was like a shining silver plate. Then the sun trembled. It made some abrupt movements. It began to spin like a wheel of fire. Great shafts of coloured light flared out from its centre in all directions, colouring in a most fantastic manner the clouds, trees, rocks, earth, and even the clothes and faces of the people gathered there, in alternating splashes of red, yellow, green, blue and violet – the full spectrum of rainbow colours.

After about five minutes the sun stopped revolving in this fashion. A moment later, it resumed a second time its incredible motion, throwing out its light and colour like a huge display of fireworks. And once more, after a few minutes, the sun stopped its prodigious dance.

After a short time, and for the third time, it resumed its spinning and fantastic colours. The crowd gazed spellbound. Then came the awful climax. The sun seemed to be falling from the sky. Zig-zagging from side to side, it plunged down towards the crowd below, sending out a heat increasingly intense, and causing the spectators to believe that this was indeed the end of the world.

 

People stood wild-eyed, or sank to their knees in the mud, as the sun rushed towards them. A desperate cry went up from the crowd, begging God, or the Blessed Virgin Mary, for mercy, asking pardon for their sins. The sun halted, stopping short in its precipitous fall, and then it climbed back to its place in the sky, where it regained its normal brilliance.

Then the dazed people, who had just experienced the wonder of the age – or what Cardinal Laraana would later call “the greatest Divine intervention since the time of Our Lord” (Soul, Sep-Oct, 1990, p. 6) – found that another miracle had occurred. This apocalyptic scene, full of majesty and terror, had ended with a delicate gift, which showed the motherly tenderness of the Immaculate Heart of Mary for her children. Their sodden clothes were dry and comfortable, without a trace of mud and rain. …”.

 

For those present that day -

 

“And there has never been a day like it before or since …” (Joshua 10:14)

 

- the Sun appeared to do what it does not normally do, and, moreover, “the people could look directly at it”.

Since God, who provided us with Nature and the Cosmos, both heralded, and then performed, this terrifying event, might it not offer clues for us when attempting to make sense, too, of the Joshuan miracle of the sun that the Lord also performed?

Did Joshua and his men really observe a miraculous intervention by God that, as in the case of Fatima, did not in any way affect the cosmological order, nor was seen elsewhere in the world?

A miraculous provision of extra light to the advantage of the fighting Israelites by the God who created light (Genesis 1:3)?

Recall the Fatima miracle again, with its wonderful abundance of light: “Great shafts of coloured light flared out from its centre in all directions, colouring in a most fantastic manner the clouds, trees, rocks, earth, and even the clothes and faces of the people gathered there …. it resumed a second time its incredible motion, throwing out its light and colour like a huge display of fireworks”.

Whilst the extra light on the Joshuan occasion had enabled the Israelites to complete their victory, the light and “a heat increasingly intense” at Fatima served the more benign purpose of drying the sodden crowd.

If this is the explanation, then biblical enthusiasts may be wasting their time looking for ancient records of a long day in China, or Peru, or wherever. Or from supposed evidence from NASA, or other quasi-scientific theories (http://www.thechristianexpositor.org/page432.html):

 

“Some adopt the position that God stopped the entire solar system. They make Joshua's day 23 hours and 20 minutes. The other 40 minutes are said to be found in 2 Kings 20:8-11, where the sun went ten degrees backward for a sign to Hezekiah that his life would be extended.  Alternately, it has been suggested that prolonged light resulted from (1) the slowing of the earth's rotation so that one day is missing in the earth's astronomical calendar; or (2) the temporary tilting of the earth's axis.4  Some adopt the position that God blacked out the sun rather than continued its shining by appealing to a particular translation, e.g., The Berkeley Version translates it, "O Sun, wait in Gibeon", and in the American Standard Version the marginal reading is, “Sun, be silent”.”

 

Others ponder whether or not the Joshuan text is evidence needed to support Geocentrism.

(I have already noted that I favour an earth-centred universe - though not based on Joshua 10).

 

“Never forget the works of the Lord”

Psalm 77:7 (Douay)

This was a constant theme throughout the Old Testament, especially regarding those great “works” that the Lord had done on behalf of Israel in delivering that nation from its oppression in Egypt.

Unfortunately, the people forgot very quickly.

Indeed, Moses apparently found it far easier to take Israel out of the heart of Egypt, than to take Egypt out of the hearts of the Israelites (e.g., Exodus 14:11).

 

Psalm 105:21-25 (Douay) recalls the ingratitude of Israel:

 

“They forgot God, who saved them, who had done great things in Egypt, Wondrous works in the land of Cham [Ham]: terrible things in the Red Sea. And he said that he would destroy them: had not Moses his chosen stood before him in the breach: To turn away his wrath, lest he should destroy them. And they set at nought the desirable land. They believed not his word, And they murmured in their tents: they hearkened not to the voice of the Lord”.

 

John-Henry Westen has called attention to a very interesting and current celestial phenomenon that may perhaps be of special significance in this 100th anniversary of Fatima (1917-2017). https://www.lifesitenews.com/blogs/a-great-sign-said-to-appear-in-the-heavens-as-the-year-of-mercy-closes

 

A great sign said to appear in the heavens as the year of Mercy closes


 

Last year Patrick Archbold at the Remnant wrote a fascinating article which details celestial events beginning on the close of the year of mercy today. The following are the pertinent parts of his article published in October 2015.

 

On November 20, 2016, an astronomical event begins that will last nine and a half months, culminating in startling concurrence with the vision of Revelation 12.

"And a great sign appeared in heaven: A woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars: And being with child, she cried travailing in birth, and was in pain to be delivered.”

The author of Revelation clearly indicates that this vision is one of a sign in heaven or in the sky.

While I am not an astronomer, all my research indicates that this astronomical event, in all its particulars, is unique in the history of man.

On November 20, 2016, Jupiter (the King planet) enters into the body (womb) of the constellation Virgo (the virgin).   Jupiter, due its retrograde motion, will spend the next 9 ½ months within the womb of Virgo. This length of time corresponds with gestation period of a normal late-term baby.

After 9 ½ months, Jupiter exits out of the womb of Virgo. Upon Jupiter’s exit (birth), on September 23, 2017, we see the constellation Virgo with the sun rise directly behind it (the woman clothed with the sun). At the feet of Virgo, we find the moon. And upon her head we find a crown of twelve stars, formed by the usual nine stars of the constellation Leo with the addition of the planets Mercury, Venus, and Mars.

That is a truly remarkable and, as far as I can determine, unique series of event with a startling degree of concurrence with the vision of Revelation 12.

So what does it mean, if anything? The obvious and truthful answer is that we simply do not know. That said, we are not entirely without possible context.

It just so happens that these events transpire during the 100th anniversary of the apparitions of “the woman clothed in the sun,” Our Lady at Fatima in 1917. The culmination of these astronomical events occurs just 3 weeks before the 100th anniversary of the great miracle of Fatima, in which the sun “danced” (another heavenly sign), an event that was witnessed by many thousands.

In the almost century that has followed that great event, we have seen Our Lady’s warnings come true with startling precision. People did not cease offending God and we have seen terrible wars, nations annihilated, and Russia spread her errors throughout the world and, if we are honest, even into the Church itself. And yet, we still await the fulfillment of her promises, the triumph of Her Immaculate Heart, and a period of peace to be granted to the world. …”.

 

Certainly, some biblical commentators have argued for Divine messages written in the stars, based on texts such as Psalm 18:2-5 (Douay): “The heavens shew forth the glory of God, and the firmament declareth the work of his hands. Day to day uttereth speech, and night to night sheweth knowledge. There are no speeches nor languages, where their voices are not heard. Their sound hath gone forth into all the earth: and their words unto the ends of the world”.

The question that must be asked, though, is have we moderns interpreted the constellations according to the Divine meaning of them, or according to pagan mythology, which distorts? (See goddess Athene example below).

 

The Judges and the Prophets of Israel were forever calling the lapsed people back to a remembrance of the wonders worked by God; for example, the prophet Habakkuk, he being one who had not forgotten the works of the Lord, and who greatly desired further manifestations of them. And so he prayed (Habakkuk 3:1-10):

 

A prayer of Habakkuk the prophet. On shigionoth.

 

‘LORD, I have heard of your fame;
I stand in awe of your deeds, LORD.
Repeat them in our day,
in our time make them known;
in wrath remember mercy.


God came from Teman,
the Holy One from Mount Paran’.

 

[We have found that the true Mount Sinai, Har Karkom, was situated near to the “Paran” desert]

The prophet Habakkuk continued with his prayer:

 

‘His glory covered the heavens
and his praise filled the earth.


His splendor was like the sunrise;
rays flashed from his hand,
where his power was hidden.


Plague went before him;
pestilence followed his steps.
He stood, and shook the earth;
he looked, and made the nations tremble.


The ancient mountains crumbled
and the age-old hills collapsed—
but he marches on forever.


I saw the tents of Cushan in distress,
the dwellings of Midian in anguish.
Were you angry with the rivers, LORD?
Was your wrath against the streams?


Did you rage against the sea
when you rode your horses
and your chariots to victory?


You uncovered your bow,
you called for many arrows.
You split the earth with rivers;
the mountains saw you and writhed.
Torrents of water swept by;
the deep roared
and lifted its waves on high.

 

Habakkuk, though, despite his admitted ‘great literary talent’, amongst other attributes of his, can fail to capture the imagination of some, it seems. Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen told of this amusing incident regarding the so-called “minor” prophet, Habakkuk, that occurred in 1970 (https://www.k-state.edu/landon/speakers/fulton-sheen/transcript.html):

 

“We have 19 minutes [in this lecture] to go through the other two. I want to tell you that 19 minutes is going to seem long, because my talks always seem longer than they are. I know of a Biblical lecturer who had as his subject the 12 minor prophets. After one hour and 45 minutes, he had finished three. He had a dim sense that maybe the audience was getting tired and perhaps he should introduce the next one with some degree of histrionics.

He said, “And now ... and now ... Where shall I place Habakkuk?”

Someone got up in the back and said, “He can take my seat”.”

 

Moving on to Habakkuk 3:11-14, we find in it a clear reference to the Joshuan miracle:

 

‘Sun and moon stood still in the heavens
at the glint of your flying arrows,
at the lightning of your flashing spear.
In wrath you strode through the earth
and in anger you threshed the nations.
You came out to deliver your people,
to save your anointed one.


You crushed the leader of the land of wickedness,
you stripped him from head to foot.
With his own spear you pierced his head
when his warriors stormed out to scatter us,
gloating as though about to devour
the wretched who were in hiding.

 

The following links together the two texts: http://www.refuteit.com/joshua-sun-stopped.html

 

“The Book of Habakkuk gives a few more details of the Joshua battle:

“The sun and moon stood still in the sky, at the light of your arrows as they went, at the shinning of your glittering spear. You marched through the land in wrath. You threshed the nations in anger. You went forth for the salvation of your people, for the salvation of your anointed. You crushed the head of the land of wickedness. You stripped them head to foot. Selah. You pierced the head of the land of the warriors with their own spears. They came as whirlwind to scatter me, gloating as if to devour the wretched in secret.” Habakkuk 3:11-14 WEB

The details from Habakkuk and the Book of Joshua do line up:

 

1. “All five kings of the Amorites joined together to make war with Gibeon” (Joshua 10:1-5) Habakkuk: “They came as whirlwind to scatter me, gloating as if to devour the wretched in secret.”

2. “Yahweh said to Joshua, ‘Don’t fear them, for I have delivered them into your hands. Not a man of them will stand before you’.” (Joshua 10:8) Habakkuk: “You went forth for the salvation of your people, for the salvation of your anointed.”

3. “The sun stood still, and the moon stayed, until the nation had avenged themselves of their enemies.” (Joshua 10:13) Habakkuk: “The sun and moon stood still in the sky, at the light of your arrows as they went, at the shinning of your glittering spear.”

4. “Yahweh confused them before Israel, and he killed them with a great slaughter at Gibeon, and he chased them by the way of the ascent of Beth Horon, and struck them to Azekah and Makkedah. It happened as they fled from Israel, while they were at the descent of Beth Horon, that Yahweh cast down great stones from the sky on them to Azekah, and they died. There were more who died from hailstones than who the children of Israel killed with swords.” (Joshua 10:10-11) Habakkuk: “At the light of your arrows as they went, at the shinning of your glittering spear. You marched through the land in wrath. You threshed the nations in anger… You crushed the head of the land of wickedness. You stripped them head to foot.”

 

The greatest part of this battle was fought by Yahweh, who destroyed more of the enemy than Joshua’s army. Yahweh himself caused light to occur on the battlefield: “The sun and moon stood still in the sky, at the light of your arrows as they went, at the shinning of your glittering spear.” (Habakkuk 3:11)

This shows that besides the light of the sun and the reflection of the light from the moon, there may have been even more light from a lightning storm and a hail storm, “There were more who died from hailstones than who the children of Israel killed with swords” (Joshua 10:11)”.

 

Not surprisingly, this miraculous incident of great historical significance was picked up later and included in, for instance, Greek mythology. The fictitious Greek king, Agamemnon, appears in Homer’s The Iliad, in at least one notable instance, like Joshua, praying for the Sun not to set so that Agamemnon might be victorious. “Zeus, most glorious, most great, the one of the dark clouds, that dwellest in the heaven, grant that the sun set not, neither darkness come upon us, until I have cast down in headlong ruin the hall of Priam … burned with consuming fire”. (Illiad II:412-415)

 

Greco-Roman mythology, Greco-Roman philosophy – I have already in this series provided various examples of appropriations of Hebrew history and wisdom by these pagan nations. And Agamemnon’s is not the only case in which The Iliad has borrowed from colourful biblical events. The famous stand-off between Agamemnon and Achilles reminds me (at least) of the hostile encounter in the Book of Judith (chapter 5) between the bombastic “Holofernes” and his subordinate, “Achior” (a name not unlike Achilles).

And I have in other articles provided abundant evidence for borrowings from the books of Tobit and Job in Homer’s The Odyssey.

Yet we constantly read statements such as: “Western civilization begins with the two greatest books of the ancient world, the Iliad and the Odyssey by the Greek poet Homer”.


The crucial Hebrew inspiration behind all of this usually goes completely unacknowledged.

 

Again, the goddess Athene, in The Odyssey, has taken over the rôle originally occupied by the angel Raphael in the Book of Tobit. This is just one of the examples I have given of Homeric appropriation of Tobit (and Job):

 

“The prayers of Tobit and Sarah, on the one hand, and of Odysseus and Penelope, on the other, were heard. Almighty God appointed the angel Raphael to assist the former two. And Zeus (supreme god of the Greeks) appointed the goddess Athene to assist the latter two.

With Odysseus still languishing as Calypso’s captive, and the suitors at play back at his home, “the almighty Father” sent Athene to Ithaca. “… she bound under her feet her lovely sandals of untarnished gold, which carried her with the speed of the wind …. Thus she flashed down from the heights of Olympus. On reaching Ithaca she took her stand on the threshhold of the court in front of Odysseus’ house; and to look like a visitor she assumed the appearance of a Taphian chieftain named Mentes, a bronze spear in hand (The Odyssey, I, 27-28).

The reader will quickly be able to pick up the similarities between this text and this relevant part of the Book of Tobit: “The prayer of [Tobit and Sarah] was heard in the presence of the glory of the great God. And Raphael was sent (Tobit 3:16, 17)”. “Then Tobias … found a beautiful young man, standing girded, as it were ready to walk. And not knowing that he was an angel of God, he saluted him …. ‘I am Azarias, the son of the great Ananias’” (5:5, 6, 18).

 

The Lord had promised Joshua (1:5): ‘No one will be able to stand against you all the days of your life. As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you’.

Joshua was everywhere victorious because the Lord was with him, dwelling, so to speak, in the Ark of the Covenant as in a Tabernacle.

It was because of the Ark, more than the efforts of Joshua and the Israelites, that Jericho was delivered to them (6:6-7, 20):

 

“So Joshua son of Nun called the priests and said to them, ‘Take up the ark of the covenant of the Lord and have seven priests carry trumpets in front of it’. And he ordered the army, ‘Advance! March around the city, with an armed guard going ahead of the ark of the Lord’. When the trumpets sounded, the army shouted, and at the sound of the trumpet, when the men gave a loud shout, the wall collapsed; so everyone charged straight in, and they took the city”.

 

Contents of the Ark

 

“… the New Ark of the Covenant is the Immaculate Woman Mary”, according to the following:


 

“The Old Testament Ark was said to contain three things: the stone tablets of the Ten Commandments carved by the finger of God, the priestly rod of Moses’ brother Aaron, and the heavenly manna that sustained Israel in post-Egyptian wandering.

While the old Ark is acacia wood wrapped in gold, the New Ark of the Covenant is the Immaculate Woman Mary. Since being overshadowed by the Holy Spirit, her womb became the dwelling place of God on Earth until the birth of Christ. As the New Testament is a perfection and fulfillment of the Old, so too is Christ’s Incarnation in the Virgin Mary a perfection of the Old Ark of the Covenant. The contents of the New Ark perfect the contents of the Old Ark insofar as Christ the Lord takes upon himself the roles of the former objects: Word of God, Bread of Life, and Eternal Priest.

 


Old [and] New Contents


 

The Word of God in the Stone Tablets 4** The Word of God Incarnate**

And he took the [tablets of the] covenant and put it into the ark, and put the poles on the ark, and set the mercy seat above on the ark;

Christ’s perfection of the Tablets of the Covenant or more commonly called the Tablets of the Ten Commandments is multifaceted. The most complete perfection is the overall understanding … the primary “Word of God” is not Scripture, but Christ. Christ is the Living Word, the Logos.5

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. […] And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, full of grace and truth.

Moreover, the Tablets of the Covenant represented the old convenant and its laws. Christ comes and perfects those laws, most notably during his Sermon on the Mount.6 Changing the Laws requires the proper authority, and to change divine laws requires divine authority. Christ, as the Logos, the Second Person of the Trinity, obviously had the divine authority and he demonstrated it both as the Eternal King in the lineage of King David and as the Eternal Priest in the lineage of Melchizedek.7

 

Manna, the Life-giving bread of Heaven Jesus Christ, the “Bread of Life”

It is fitting that the Book of Hebrews, which has at its core the goal to demonstrate the relationship between the Old Testament and the New Testament - especially in articulating Christ as our High Priest - would highlight the contents of the Old Ark.8

Behind the second curtain stood a tent called the Holy of Holies, having the golden altar of incense and the ark of the covenant covered on all sides with gold, which contained a golden urn holding the manna, and Aaron’s rod that budded, and the tables of the covenant.

Concerning the Old Ark and manna, Christ our Lord is the perfect “Bread of Life.” In the Gospel of John, Christ gives his famous “Eucharistic Discourse.” The entire latter half of the chapter is an in depth discussion on the Eucharist and Christ’s body and blood as the life giving sacrament.9

I am the living bread which came down from heaven; if any one eats of this bread, he will live for ever; and the bread which I shall give for the life of the world is my flesh. […] So Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of man and drink his blood, you have no life in you; he who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. For my flesh is food indeed, and my blood is drink indeed. He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him.

Christ’s “Eucharistic Discourse” paves the way for the Institution of the Eucharist at the Last Supper. In speaking to his disciples, Christ says the following:10

Now as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and blessed, and broke it, and gave it to the disciples and said, “Take, eat; this is my body.”

Biblically, it is very clear that the manna of the OT is perfected by the Bread of Life, Jesus Christ, which is for us today the source and summit of the Catholic life, the Sacrament of the Eucharist.

 

Aaron’s Rod, the Sign of the Ancestral Priesthood Christ, the Eternal Priest in the Order of Melchizedek

As in the aforesaid Hebrew’s verse, Aaron’s rod was placed within the Ark of the Covenant. The rod of Aaron was a sign of the priesthood. The book of Hebrews takes up as a main focus the eternal priesthood of Christ Jesus.11

So also Christ did no exalt himself to be made a high priest, but was appointed by him who said to him,

You are my Son, today I have begotten you; As he says also in another place,

“You are a priest for ever, according to the order of Melchizedek.”

The subject of Christ as the Eternal Priest is exhausted by the book of Hebrews, and it speaks directly to the argument of how Christ’s priesthood could have perfected the ancestral lineage of the Old Testament priesthood - especially since Christ was not born into that lineage. The author highlights the High Priest Melchizedek, and the legitimacy of Christ’s eternal priesthood being rooted in the Order of Melchizedek.

….

…. Joy Before the Ark


 

King David and the Ark Elizabeth and the New Ark

One intriguing aspect of Hebrew literature is the fact it does not give unnecessary details. Understanding this facet can illuminate certain passages, especially when one notes that the Hebrews were not concerned with many of the attributes the modern western mind expects of stories and history. Along this note, the Catholic tradition observes several OT passages and NT passages that utilize the same details and phrases. The Early Church fathers were quick to extract many of these comparisons, especially in the more broad sense of parallel ideas, e.g., St. Augustine seeing the Creation in Genesis allegorically as the new birth of a Christian soul from “formless and void” to the abundant earth. Other comparisons are more nuanced and exist on noticing exact repetitions of words or phrases within similar circumstances. One such detailed pericope contains the story of when King David received the Ark of the Covenant.12

And David arose and went with all the people who were with him from Ba’ale-judah, to bring up from there the ark of God, which is called by the name of the LORD of hosts who sits enthroned on the cherubim.

The passage then recounts the unfortunate story of Uzzah, the man who amongst the merriment put his hand on the Ark after an oxen stumbled. Uzzah was smitten by God, and David became afraid. However, Scripture records the detail of how much time David spent waiting after the death of Uzzah, and that time was three months.

And David was afraid of the LORD that day; and he said, “How can the ark of the LORD come to me?” So David was not willing to take the ark of the LORD into the city of David; but David took it aside to the house of O’bed-e’dom the Gittite. […] So David went and brought up the ark of God from the house of O’bed-e’dom to the city of David with rejoicing; and when those who bore the ark of the LORD had gone six paces, he sacrificed an ox and a fatling. And David danced before the LORD with all his might; and David was girded with a linen ephod. So David and all the house of Israel brought up the ark of the LORD with shouting, and with the sound of the horn. As the ark of the LORD came into the city of David, Michal the daughter of Saul looked out of the window, and saw King David leaping and dancing before the LORD; and she despised him in her heart.

In the Gospel of Luke, the evangelist records the story of when Mary went to visit Elizabeth. The passage utilizes some of the exact phrasing from the pericope in I Samuel, and even replaces the term “ark” with “mother of my Lord” when Elizabeth asks why Mary has come to her, as David did with the Ark.13 The similar language in both selections have been emboldened.

In those days Mary arose and went with haste into the hill country, to a city of Judah, and she entered the house of Zechari’ah and greeted Elizabeth. And when Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, the babe leaped in her womb; and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit and she exclaimed with a loud cry, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb! And why is this granted me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? For behold, when the voice of your greeting came to my ears, the babe in my womb leaped for joy. And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what was spoken to her from the Lord.

After Mary delivers her famous Magnificat, the passage ends telling the reader how much time has elapsed.

And Mary remained with her about three months, and returned to her home.

The similarities between these two passages demand attention. Both begin with the same phrase “arose and went,” both dwelt in the hill country of Judah, David speaks of his unworthiness before the Old Ark as Elizabeth does before the New Ark (even replacing the work ark with “mother of my Lord”), David dances and leaps before the presence of the Lord and John the Baptist leaps in joy within Elizabeth’s womb (often seen as Christ’s presence anointing John to be a prophet), and both remain the same amount of time: three months.14 While comments on Mary as the New Ark abound in Early Church literature, the following quote by Ambrose is especially insightful.

“The prophet David danced before the Ark.  Now what else should we say the Ark was but holy Mary?  The Ark bore within it the tables of the Testament, but Mary bore the Heir of the same Testament itself.  The former contained in it the Law, the latter the Gospel.  The one had the voice of God, the other His Word.  The Ark, indeed, was radiant within and without with the glitter of gold, but holy Mary shone within and without with the splendor of virginity.  The one was adorned with earthly gold, the other with heavenly” (Serm. xlii. 6, Int. Opp., S. Ambrosii) (Blessed Virgin, p. 77). St. Ambrose …”.

 

Chronology of Joshua

 

For this, we return again to Dr. John Osgood’s “The Times of the Judges - The Archaeology: (a) Exodus to Conquest” (pp. 144-145):

 

“Having accepted I Kings 6:1 as a record of actual elapsed time and the 450 years of Acts 13:20 as an occurrence prior to the times of the Judges, we are now able to begin to piece together the internal arrangements and arrive at final, though somewhat surprising, conclusions”.

 

[Mackey’s comment: Most of this will be looked at when we come into the Judges period]. Osgood continues:

 

“Period A - Joshua and Judges 1-3:7

 

Period A begins with the death of Moses which is described in Deuteronomy 34. In Joshua 1:2 God speaks to Joshua, Arise, go over this Jordan thou and all this people unto the land which I do give to them. The first part of period A is the actual conquest of the land …. The length of this period is deduced from statements made by Caleb. In Joshua 14:7 Caleb recalls that he was 40 years old when he was sent to spy out the land, while in verse 10 he states that he is now 85 years old at the date of speaking, which was immediately after the Conquest. In the Book of Numbers, from chapter 10 onward, we find that the spies were sent into the land of Canaan in the early part of the second year after they came out of the land of Egypt. It was 40 years from the time they left Egypt until the time they crossed the Jordan, so by simple subtraction we find that a period of 6 years is occupied in conquering the land ….

However, there is a second phase of period A that is often overlooked. Judges 2:7 says,

And the people served the Lord all the days of Joshua and all the days of the elders that outlived Joshua.

The same phrase is found in Joshua 24:31.

The elders that outlived Joshua.

Tow of these elders appear to be Caleb and Eleazer the High Priest. In Judges 1 we are told that the events of the chapter begin after the death of Joshua but we see Caleb in battle with Judah against the Canaanites. Similarly, in Joshua 24:33 after the record of Joshua’s death we read,

And Eleazer the son of Aaron died.

Now we do not know how long this period is, yet it could have been of considerable length. Joshua 23:1 reports,

It came to pass a long time after that the Lord had given rest unto Israel from all their enemies round about, that Joshua waxed old and stricken in age.

This attests an event preceding Joshua’s death. Note that the Scripture claims this period was ‘a long time’. In Judges 2 we are told that the first rebellion occurs after Joshua and all the elders have died. Thus the servitude under Chushan-Rishathaim (the beginning of period B) does not occur until after Joshua and all the elders died.

….

As to how long ‘a long time’ is we cannot set an exact figure, but it is instructive to look at the life of Joshua to estimate at least a part of that period.

….

We first meet this man in Exodus 17:9 where Joshua is already a commander of the army. In Exodus 24:13 he is spoken of as Moses’ minister. In Exodus 33:11 he is at that time described as a ‘young man’.

Now as far as I am aware, the oldest age in the Bible at which  a man is described as young is at the age of 41 years. In 2 Chronicles 12:13 Rehoboam comes to the throne at the age of 41. In 2 Chronicles 13:7 Abijah his son describes Rehoboam at that age as being ‘young and tenderhearted’.

Although it is beyond proof with Joshua, such as age would fit the facts.

 

  1. He is described as a young man.
  2. He is supreme commander of the army.

 

This indicates a man of considerable experience.

Now he is described as a young man in the first year of the Exodus and we then see him as described in the Book of Joshua some 40 years later, so at that time he would have been about 80 years of age or less if our previous reasoning is correct. Joshua 24:29 tells us that Joshua the son of Nun, a servant of the Lord, died being 110 years old, so Joshua’s life during the events of the Book of Joshua was a possible 30 years.

Buy as the time span of period A extends to ‘the elders that outlived Joshua’ plus time of increasing apostasy following this (as mentioned in Judges 2:6-7), then we are postulating a time span in excess of 30 years for period A, although it is impossible to ascertain the exact time covered”.

 

Because the age of 110 (attained by both Joseph and Joshua) became legendary amongst the ancient Egyptians, critics can suggest that the Old Testament artificially ascribed it to Joseph.

My suggestion has been, instead, that it was due to Joseph - as the sage in Egypt, Ptahhotep, who is said to have attained to 110 years of age - that 110 came to be regarded by the Egyptians as the ideal age at death.




Part Twelve: The Colourful Judges


(i): Oppressed by Cushan-Rishathaim


 


The Israelites did evil in the eyes of the Lord; they forgot the Lord their God and served the Baals and the Asherahs. The anger of the Lord burned against Israel so that he sold them into the hands of Cushan-Rishathaim king of Aram Naharaim, to whom the Israelites were subject for eight years. But when they cried out to the Lord, he raised up for them a deliverer, Othniel son of Kenaz, Caleb’s younger brother, who saved them. The Spirit of the Lord came on him, so that he became Israel’s judge and went to war. The Lord gave Cushan-Rishathaim king of Aram into the hands of Othniel, who overpowered him. So the land had peace for forty years, until Othniel son of Kenaz died”.


Judges 3:7-11


 


Balaam’s Bedlam, Amalekites and Philistines


 


Since the time when Abram defeated the powerful coalition of four eastern kings (Genesis 14), now approximately half a millennium ago, we have been unable to suggest any further biblico-historical (or archaeological) connections with the eastern end of the Fertile Crescent.


We have been focussed entirely upon Palestine and Egypt at the western end.


As far as I am aware, no significant revisionist progress has been made so far to cover this lack.


D. Hickman had, in “The Dating of Hammurabi (Proc. 3rd Seminar of Catastrophism and Ancient History), referred to the mention in Joshua 7:21 of ‘a cloak from Shinar’, relating to when Joshua’s forces, having conquered Jericho, had now begun to fight against the city of Ai. Hickman, taking “Shinar” in its conventional sense of indicating Babylonia (which is how the verse is often translated, anyway), had suggested that this may have corresponded with the time of the Ur III dynasty.


If, however, Ur III had followed on from the dynasty of Akkad as according to the text books, its would have been too early for the era of Joshua, given that I have the dynasty of Akkad as partly contemporaneous with Abram.


 


Nor does the Bible appear to supply us, during this Moses-Joshua period, with the names of any kings or dynasties from the land of Shinar (NE Syria) to Mesopotamia.


 


Balaam may be the closest that we come to this.


He is the seer at the time of Moses for whom Balak king of Moab sent to curse the swarming Israelites. Numbers 22:4: “‘This horde is going to lick up everything around us, as an ox licks up the grass of the field’, said Balak”.


Balaam son of Beor”, we are told, “was at Pethor, near the Euphrates River, in his native land” (v. 5). Balaam’s “Pethor” has been identified with Pitru, on the west bank of the Euphrates, a few miles south of the important Carchemish. 


According to vv. 5-6, “Balak said:


 


‘A people has come out of Egypt; they cover the face of the land and have settled next to me. Now come and put a curse on these people, because they are too powerful for me. Perhaps then I will be able to defeat them and drive them out of the land. For I know that whoever you bless is blessed, and whoever you curse is cursed’.


 


Now, there may be some extra-biblical literary evidence for Balaam.


Bryant Wood has written, “Is there any evidence to prove the existence of the prophet, Balaam?”: http://www.christiananswers.net/q-abr/abr-a014.html


 


“In an unprecedented discovery, an ancient text found at Deir Alla, Jordan, in 1967 tells about the activities of a prophet named Balaam. Could this be the Balaam of the Old Testament?


The text makes it clear that it is. Three times in the first four lines he is referred to as “Balaam son of Beor,” exactly as in the Bible. This represents the first Old Testament prophet to be dug up in Bible lands—not his tomb or his skeleton, but a text about him. The text also represents the first prophecy of any scope from the ancient West Semitic world to be found outside the Old Testament, and the first extra-Biblical example of a prophet proclaiming doom to his own people.


Balaam was not an Israelite. He was hired by Balak, king of Moab, to curse the Israelites. They were camped on the east side of the Jordan river, about to make their historic entry into the promised land. Through God's intervention, Balaam was obliged to bless the Israelites rather than curse them (Num 22-24).


Afterwards, Balaam seems to have been the cause of the Israelites' sin in Numbers 25 when they took Moabite and Midianite women and worshipped the Moabite god Baal-peor (Num 31:16).


Balaam was eventually killed when Moses sent the Israelites against the Midianites (Num 31). He is further condemned in Scripture in 2 Peter 2:15 (he loved the wages of unrighteousness), Jude 11 (ungodly men ran greedily after the error of Balaam for reward) and Revelation 2:14 (he taught Balak to cast a stumbling block before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed to idols, and to commit fornication).


The remarkable text found at Deir Alla consists of 119 fragments of plaster inscribed with black and red ink. It was among the rubble of a building destroyed in an earthquake. It seems to have been one long column with at least 50 lines, displayed on a plastered wall. According to the excavators' dating, the disaster was most likely the severe earthquake which occurred in the time of King Uzziah (Azariah) and the prophet Amos in about 760 BC (Amos 1:1; Zec 14:5). The lower part of the text shows signs of wear, indicating that it had been on the wall for some time prior to the earthquake.


Written in Aramaic, the text begins with the title “Warnings from the Book of Balaam the son of Beor. He was a seer of the gods.” It is in red ink, as are other portions of the text where emphasis is desired. The reference to the “Book of Balaam” indicates that the text was part of a pre-existing document and therefore the original date of the material is much earlier than the plaster text itself. Balaam goes on to relate a vision concerning impending judgment from the gods, and enters into a dispute with his listeners.


There are a number of similarities between the text and the account of Balaam in the book of Numbers. To begin with, the events described in Numbers 22-24 took place in the same general area where the text was found. At the time of the Numbers 22-24 incident, the Israelites were camped on the Plains of Moab, across the Jordan river from Jericho. Deir Alla is located about 25 miles north of this area, where the Jabbok river flows into the Jordan valley. Balaam was from Pethor, near “the river” (Num 22:5), in “Aram” (Num 23:7; Dt 23:4).


The reference to Aram has led most scholars to conclude that Balaam was from northern Syria, in the vicinity of the Euphrates river. That does not fit well with the Biblical account, however, since Balaam's home seems to have been close to where the Israelites were camped (Num 22:1-22; 31:7-8).


In view of Balaam being revered at Deir Alla, one would expect that Deir Alla was his home. This is exactly what William Shea has proposed, based on his reading of the name Pethor in an inscribed clay tablet found at Deir Alla (1989:108-11). In this case, the river of Numbers 22:5 would be the Jabbok river and the naharaim (two rivers) of Deuteronomy 23:4 would be the Jabbok and Jordan rivers.


With regard to the references to Aram, Shea suggests that the original place name was Adam, with the “d” being miscopied as “r,” since the two letters are nearly identical in ancient Hebrew. Adam was a town about eight miles southwest of Deir Alla, on the east bank of the Jordan river, where the Jabbok meets the Jordan.


Balaam evidently was well known as a “cursing prophet,” for Balak specifically summoned Balaam for the purpose of cursing Israel (Num 22:6). Much of the Deir Alla text was given to curses uttered by the prophet. The term “shadday-gods” is used on two occasions in the text. Shadday is one of the names for God in the Old Testament, used mainly in the book of Job. Since the account of Job is set in Transjordan (Job 1:1-3), it seems that Shadday was a name used for deity in this region. Balaam used the name twice in his blessing speeches where it is translated “Almighty” (Num 24:4, 16).


The Deir Alla text presents a problem to those who dismiss the Biblical account of the Exodus, Wilderness Wanderings and Conquest as legendary, as is the trend in scholarship today. It is clear that Balaam was a real person who operated on the east side of the Jordan river. He was known as a cursing prophet and continued to be revered hundreds of years after his death. His persona as revealed in the Deir Alla text precisely matches that of the Balaam of Numbers 22-24. If Balaam was a real person, what about Balak, Moses, Joshua and all of the other persons named in the Biblical narrative? They must have been real as well, and the events described authentic”.


 


Balaam is also famous for having a talking donkey (vv. 21-30), an ancient story whose marvel has been picked up, but altered, in later mythologies. The Egyptian tale of Bata, for instance, has talking oxen, and animals are made to talk even in the Book of the Dead. The Prophet Mohammed is said to have ridden a donkey, Ya`fūr, and, according to an account of it this donkey spoke first to Mohammed, telling him that it had formerly been owned by a Jew.


 


An angel (“The Messenger of the Lord’), who had been steering Balaam’s donkey, will finally appear to Balaam (Numbers 22:31-33): “Then the Lord let Balaam see the Messenger of the Lord who was standing in the road with his sword drawn. So Balaam knelt, bowing with his face touching the ground”. The angel will spare the life of the repentant Balaam, but will insist that the latter say to the king of Moab only what the angel instructs him to say (vv. 34-35): “Balaam said to the Messenger of the Lord, ‘I’ve sinned. I didn’t know you were standing there in the road to stop me. If you still think this trip is evil, I’ll go back’.


The Messenger of the Lord said to Balaam, ‘Go with the men, but say only what I tell you’. So Balaam went with Balak’s princes”.


 


In Balaam’s final messages, which, too, are focussed primarily upon the region of Palestine-(Egypt), we do get mention at least of “Assyria” (אַשּׁוּר), which is in Mesopotamia.


Thus Balaam proclaims (Numbers 24:15-24):


 


‘This is the message of Balaam, son of Beor.
This is the message of the man whose eyesight is clear.
This is the message of the one who hears God’s words,
    receives knowledge from the Most High,
        has a vision from the Almighty,
            and falls into a trance with his eyes open:
I see someone who is not here now.
    I look at someone who is not nearby.
        A star will come from Jacob.
        A scepter will rise from Israel.
            He will crush the heads of the Moabites
                and destroy all the people of Sheth.
Edom will be conquered,
        and Seir, his enemy, will be conquered.
            So Israel will become wealthy.
He will rule from Jacob
    and destroy whoever is left in their cities.”


 


Then Balaam saw the Amalekites and delivered this message:


 


“Amalek was first among the nations,
    but in the end it will be destroyed.”


 


Then he saw the Kenites and delivered this message:


 


“You have a permanent place to live.
Your nest is built in a rock.
But it is destined to be burned, you descendants of Cain,
        when Assyria takes you as prisoners of war.”


 


He delivered this message:


 


“Oh no! Who will live when God decides to do this?
Ships will come from the shores of Kittim [כִּתִּים].
    They will conquer Assyria and Eber.
        But they, too, will be totally destroyed’.


 


Dr. Immanuel Velikovsky, who would put forward the novel thesis in his Ages in Chaos I (1952) that the Hyksos (Aamu) people who invaded Egypt were – in a chronologically revised scenario – the biblical Amalekites with whom the Moses-led Israelites had had to contend, would latch on to Balaam’s references to “Agag” (24:7) and “Amalek” as pertaining to the Hyksos ruler Apophis:


 


“The name of the king Agog [Agag] is the only Amalekite name that the Scriptures have preserved. Besides the king Agog mentioned in the Book of Numbers there was another Amalekite king Agog, their last king, who reigned some 400 years later and was a contemporary with Saul.


In the history of Egypt the most frequently mentioned name of the Hyksos kings is Apop [or Apophis]. One of the first and most prominent of the Hyksos rulers was Apop; their last king of the Hyksos was also Apop [Apophis].


The early Hebrew written signs as they are preserved on the stele of Mesha show a striking resemblance between the letters g (gimel) and p (pei)…similar to the written number 7; the size of the angle between the two oblique lines constitutes the only difference…”.


 


Aamu was the contemporary term used to distinguish the people of Avaris, the Hyksos capital in Egypt, from Egyptians. Egyptologists conventionally translate aamu as "asiatics" The Jewish historian, Josephus, in his Contra Apionem, claims that Manetho was the first to use the Greek term, Hyksos, incorrectly translated as "shepherd-kings". Contemporary Egyptians during the Hyksos invasion designated them as hikau khausut, which meant "rulers of foreign countries", a term that originally only referred to the ruling caste of the invaders. However, today the term Hyksos has come to refer to the whole of these people who ruled Egypt during the Second Intermediate Period of Egypt's ancient history, and had to be driven out of the land by the last ruler of the 17th Dynasty and the earliest ruler of Egypt's New Kingdom.




 


Velikovsky’s identification of the Hyksos as the Amalekites has been a popular one amongst revisionists, despite their disagreements over other aspects of his revision. We have found that Dr. John Osgood, for instance, firmly accepts this aspect of Velikovsky’s thesis.


I, too, early in the peace, had tended to fall right in line with Dr. Velikovsky’s identification of the Hyksos with the Amalekites. It seemed to be one area of his Ages in Chaos about which revisionists of varying persuasions had generally concurred. However, I, in the course of writing my university thesis: A Revised History of the Era of King Hezekiah of Judah and its Background (AMAIC_Final_Thesis_2009.pdf) had begun to wonder if the Amalekites, a desert tribe, could actually suffice to represent, by themselves, the mighty Hyksos power. I simply give here my musings on the subject, taken from Volume One, Chapter 2 of my thesis (without references), beginning on p. 43:


 


“[David] Rohl has proposed an alliance between these ‘Indo-Europeans’ and the Hurrians: ….


 


These foreign settlers were Indo-Europeans – in other words speakers of an Indo-European language rather than Semites. They came from the north, landing near the city of Ugarit before setting off on their march south towards Egypt, their fleet moving down the coast in support of the land army. During the first stage of this military migration, the largest tribal group of the Caphtorim confederacy – the Pelasts (known in the later Greek literature as Pelasgoi from an original Pelastoi) – had allied themselves with another group of migrants from the Zagros mountains known as the Hurrians.


In later years the Egyptians would refer to Syria as Hurri-land (or Kharu) after the new settlers in the region, whereas the Bible calls the allies of the Philistines ‘Horites’. In the Classical period, the Greeks knew them as the Kares (Carians).


 


Velikovsky too had, in a detailed discussion, argued for an identification of the enigmatic Hurrians with the Carians. ….


Rohl continues:


 


Together the two allies from the north virtually took over the territories which the Israelites (who were still contained within the hill country) had failed to occupy. They massacred the indigenous ethnic population known in the biblical text as the Avvim and even came to rule over the Aamu/Amalekites of the Egyptian delta. These élite Indo-European rulers founded both the ‘Greater Hyksos’ Dynasty at Avaris and the kingdom of Mitanni beyond the Euphrates river. The latter would be a powerful political and military force in the region during the Late Bronze I period when they at first became the principal enemy and then subsequently (during LB II-A) the main political ally of the Egyptian 18th-Dynasty pharaohs.


 


Rohl has raised here a series of thought-provoking points. His view that the Hurrians were the ‘founders of the kingdom of Mitanni’ seems to concur with the testimony of both Grimal and van de Mieroop, who refer to Mitanni as a “Hurrian” entity.


….


According to Grimal, for instance: … “Mitanni is the name of the Hurrian civilization which was contemporary with the Kassites in Babylonia”. Van de Mieroop tells that the “rulers of Mittani, the Hurrian state in northern Syria, bore Indo-European names and their charioteers were designated with the word mariyannu, a term that might include the Vedic word for “young man”.” …. Van de Mieroop has also attempted to explain here the connection between the Hurrians and the ‘Indo-Europeans’:


 


These [Hurrian] immigrants probably brought some cultural elements we usually associate with Indo-Europeans, even if Hurrian itself is not an Indo-European language. Later Hurrians honored the Indian gods Mitra, Varuna, and the divine pair Nasatya [and Indra]. There has been much speculation as to whether the Hurrians themselves were subjected to an Indo-European military upper-class: later rulers of Mittani, the Hurrian state in northern Syria bore Indo-European names …. The evidence is inconclusive as to the character of the military class, however, and it seems best to regard its members as men with a special training for warfare.


 


Perhaps it may be time to reconsider an earlier view that the new bichrome ware pottery that we have been discussing was Hurrian in origin. …. The Philistines would then be a part of the Hurrian polity. I should also like to see reconsidered the equation between the Hurrians and the Habiru (or Hapiru), referred to e.g. in the [El Amarna] letters, given that I shall be arguing, in Chapter 4 (pp. 109-111), that Philistines were among the Habiru (Egyptian `PR.W) ‘rebels’ of EA. The Tikunani Prism, conventionally dated to c. 1550 BC, lists the names of 438 Habiru soldiers or servants of king Tunip-Teššub of Tikunani, a small citystate in central Mesopotamia. The majority of these names are typically Hurrian…..


Rohl has also, above, made the fascinating suggestion that these foreigners were the founders of the ‘Greater Hyksos’ Dynasty, though apparently continuing to preserve the Velikovskian connection between (at least the broader) Hyksos/Amu and the Amalekites. But, given the view of Courville and Bimson, that the incursion of the ‘Indo-Europeans’ coincided approximately with the Exodus/Conquest – rather than Rohl’s estimation of its coincidence with a later biblical period – is it not now logical to consider the entire Hyksos invasion of Egypt, from its very beginning, as being the overflow of this new people into Palestine and Egypt? According to Keller: … ““… rulers of foreign lands”. That is the meaning of the name Hyksos”. What better description for this new people? Moreover, Keller quotes Manetho in regard to the Hyksos as follows: “Unexpectedly from the regions of the East, came men of unknown race. Confident of victory they marched against our land. By force they took it, easily, without a single battle”. Likewise, Ramses III will later refer to the confident attitude of the ‘Sea Peoples’: …. “Their hearts were high and their confidence in themselves was supreme: ‘Our plans will succeed’.” According to Keller: …. “The reliefs at Medinet Habu indicate … the faces of the Biblical Philistines. … The tall slim figures are about a head higher than the Egyptians”. (See Figure 2, p. 50).


In the case of this second wave of ‘Indo-Europeans’ though, at the time of Ramses III, the attempted invasion was not successful; even though this people too had come fully confident of victory.


Manetho would not likely perhaps have referred to the indigenous Amalekites as “men of unknown race”; but he might well have said this of the first wave of ‘Indo-Europeans’. It is quite possible, however, that the Amalekites had allied themselves to this formidable host of invaders and had thereby become partners in the conquest of Egypt; just as indigenous Philistines would no doubt later have been caught up in the relentless southward movement of the ‘Sea Peoples’. Indeed one finds, late in the reign of Saul, Philistines and Amalekites apparently acting as allies against Israel (1 Samuel 30 and 31; 2 Samuel 1:1-16).


 


Rohl has provided archaeological evidence – for approximately the same era of MB (towards the end of MB II B) in which Bimson had dated the beginning of Hyksos rule (MB II C) – for the appearance of the new pottery type at ancient Avaris in Egypt. It makes sense, then, to connect the Hyksos – at least in part – with the first wave of ‘Indo-European’ invaders. …. Bimson has grappled with trying to distinguish between what might have been archaeological evidence for the Philistines and evidence for the Hyksos, though in actual fact it may be fruitless to try to discern a clear distinction in this case. Thus he writes: ….


 


Finds at Tell el-Ajjul, in the Philistine plain, about 5 miles SW of Gaza, present a particularly interesting situation. As I have shown elsewhere, the “Palace I” city (City III) at Tell el-Ajjul was destroyed at the end of the MBA, the following phase of occupation (City II) belonging to LB I …. There is some uncertainty as to exactly when bichrome ware first appeared at Tell el-Ajjul. Fragments have been found in the courtyard area of Palace I, but some writers suggest that this area remained in use into the period of Palace II, and that the bichrome ware should therefore be regarded as intrusive in the Palace I level ….


 


It seems feasible to suggest that the invading Philistines were responsible for the destruction of City III, though it is also possible that its destruction was the work of Amalekites occupying the Negeb (where we find them settled a short while after the Exodus; cf. Num. 13:29); in view of Velikovsky’s identification of the biblical Amalekites with the Hyksos … the Amalekite occupation of the Negeb could plausibly be dated, like the Hyksos invasion of Egypt, to roughly the time of the Exodus …. But if our arguments have been correct thus far, the evidence of the bichrome ware favours the Philistines as the newcomers to the site, and as the builders of City II”.


 


A correspondent has asked:


 


“So what do you think happened to ruined, leaderless, denuded Egypt immediately after the Exodus? Surely opportunistic ‘neighbours’ would have quickly worked out there was an opening for looting and an easier life… There is no biblical note of any population migrating N-S through Canaan/Sinai into Egypt while the Israelites were in the Sinai-Negev. When did this happen? (the Hurrians etc) In biblical times or not?”


 


….


Continuing on with sections from my university thesis on the subject (Volume One, Chapter 2, pp. 32-43) I wrote, beginning with a quote from Dr. D. Courville:


 


The Philistines in Early Scripture


 


According to the table of nations as given in Genesis 10, the Philistines are the descendants of Philistim in the line of Casluhim, son of Mizraim, ancestor of the Egyptians. Since the Philistines are stated to have come from Caphtor, which is undoubtedly correctly identified as Crete, they would certainly be closely related to the Caphtorims, who are also of the line of Mizraim and who, from their name, also must have settled in Crete (Caphtor) and have given the island its ancient name.


Courville is here following the general view that ‘Caphtor’ refers to Crete. Bimson has noted, though, that this view has its critics: ….


 


According to Jeremiah 47:4 and Amos 9:7, the original home of the Philistines was the island of Caphtor (hence their designation as Caphtorim). Caphtor of the scriptures, along with Keftiu of Egyptian sources, is usually identified with Crete, though this view has not been without its critics. For example, J. C. GREENFIELD comments: “… There is no evidence for a Philistine occupation of Crete, nor do the facts about the Philistines, known from archaeological and literary sources, betray any relationship between them and Crete”. …. Greenfield suggests that perhaps Caphtor was a term used very broadly for the Aegean area.


 


Bimson himself, at least in 1978, preferred Velikovsky’s view … that Caphtor was Cyprus:


… “It also seems that Keftiu of Egyptian sources is Cyprus, in spite of the many claims that it is Crete, based on a misinterpretation of the literary and pictorial evidence”. Certainly Cyprus was an island of great geographical importance in relation to southern Anatolia and Phoenicia. However, I think that the standard view, that Caphtor was Crete, is the correct one, and that one can in fact trace an archaeological trail for the Philistines right back to Crete.


Courville continues:


 


Scripture records the presence of the Philistines in the territory just to the south of Palestine from the time of Abraham. At this time, they may not have comprised a vast population, but neither were they an insignificant people, since they had a king over them (Abimelech) and his people (armies) are referred to as a host. At the time of the Exodus, the Philistines continued to occupy this same territory, as evidenced by the routing of the escaping Israelites to avoid passing through Philistine territory, though this was the more direct route.


 


Courville continues on, to a consideration of:


 


The Philistines in Scripture for the Post-Exodus Period


 


The Philistines appear as a fully settled and organized people in the area south of Palestine at the time of the conquest under Joshua. At that time, the people were ruled by five lords or kings, each ruling over a city state. They also appear among the oppressors of Israel during the period of the Judges; the earliest mention is at the time of Shamgar.


 


This Shamgar, according to Bright, “was not even an Israelite”. And Bright refers to various sources in regard to “this enigmatic figure”, whose name, he says, “appears to be Hurrian”….. Bright has also suggested here a possible connection between the biblical Sisera (of the same approximate era of the Judges as Shamgar) and “Aegean elements” related to the Sea Peoples.


“Even at this time”, Courville continues, “the Philistines were evidently not a vast population, since the slaughter of 600 of them is represented as a significant victory”. He then proceeds on to discuss the Philistines in relation to Israel’s monarchy, including the reign of Hezekiah: ….


 


After an interval of somewhat less than 300 years, the Philistines had become sufficiently powerful to dominate the Israelites, at least locally. From this time on through the era of the monarchy, we find periodic mention of the Philistines, who continue to occupy territory on the southern border of Israel; at times they are even within Israelite territory. That their power was intermittently broken is indicated by the stated results of the wars with the Israelites at the time of Samuel, at the time of David, in the reign of Uzziah, and in the reign of Hezekiah.


 


Just because the Bible tends to speak of the Philistines in connection with localized areas, though, does not mean that their geography was thus limited. This brings me to the introduction of a principle of biblical interpretation that will become important throughout this thesis. Liel has expressed it as follows, though not in terms of geography: …. “Remember–the Bible is a didactic history. Its goal is to teach ideas, not political science”. The biblical writers were not interested in writing a history or geography of the Philistines, or of the rulers of Mitanni, or of the Egyptians. They were essentially concerned with Israel, and any ‘accidental’ information with which they might have provided us concerning elements foreign to Israel would depend entirely upon the degree to which these elements impacted upon Israel itself. So, just because most of our biblical information about the Philistines pertains to their activity along the southern coast, close to the kingdom of Judah, does not mean that the historical Philistines themselves were in fact largely confined to that particular region.


 


Courville now proceeds to tell of the Philistine occupation of parts of northern Israel at the time of Saul. This will lead him to important archaeological considerations further on:


 


Pertinent to the problems to be dealt with is the appearance of the Philistines along the northern coastal region of Israel in the area of Megiddo and Beth Shan at the time of Saul, as well as in their more commonly recognized home in the south. To have maintained their presence in territories thus far separated suggests that they controlled the coast between these territories, either by land or by sea or both.


 


And, during the neo-Assyrian era:


 


The Philistines continued to occupy the territory in the south into the reign of Ahaz .… Since the Assyrians already were harassing the southern kingdom of Judah also, the Philistines would appear to have been competing with the Assyrians for the diminishing Israelite territory. Such a situation could be expected to be a source of difficulty between the Assyrians and the Philistines. It is apparent from the inscriptions of Tiglathpileser of Assyria and of his successor, Sargon, that untoward relations did exist at this time between these two peoples.


 


Having summarised the biblical account of the Philistines, Courville now proceeds to introduce the somewhat different history of this people as held by the historians: ….


 


Current Views on the Origin of the Philistines in Palestine


 


While Scripture indicates the presence of the Philistines in Palestine from the time of Abraham, this concept is generally rejected by archaeologists. This latter view is based on the absence of recognized archaeological evidence for such occupation prior to the incident of the invasion of Egypt by the Sea Peoples in the reign of Rameses III (c. 1200 B.C. by current views), or possibly a few years earlier in the reign of Merneptah. This invasion was a failure and the remnants of the abortive attempt were thrown back on Palestine and Syria.


These invaders, known as the Sea Peoples, represented a mixture of races who had origins in the islands of the Mediterranean, including Cyprus, Crete, and the islands of the Aegean Sea near Greece. However, some of the names indicate a possible origin in Greece or in southwest Asia Minor. The inscription of Rameses III mentions peoples by the names Palusathu (generally identified with the Philistines), the Shakalaha, the Sherdanu, the Zakkaru, the Ashwaka (thought by some to refer to the Achaeans of Greece), and the Danaus (whom Gordon would identify with the Danites of the tribe of Dan on the basis of Judges 5:17, but whom most scholars take to be one of the several peoples related culturally to the Philistines). The Egyptian list provides the names of ten different peoples who comprised the invaders.


 


Courville is here referring to the vast literary and pictorial account of this land and sea invasion as recorded by Ramses III on his mortuary temple at Medinet Habu. Scholars can vary quite considerably in their attempts to identify each of these peoples (even to transliterate their names), and as to the degree to which they managed to discomfort Egypt. Lloyd has high praise for the painstaking study of them by Sandars: ….


 


During Ramesses’ land- and sea-battles with the Peoples of the Sea, many prisoners were taken, and on the walls of Medinet Habu his sculptors not only listed their supposed countries of origin but depicted in relief their national dress and other peculiarities. The information thus provided has been studied with great care, notably by N. K. Sandars in a book which is a small masterpiece of patient scholarship.


 


Sandars herself, speaking of Merenptah’s time, has written thus of the ‘Sea Peoples’, including the important Libyans: ….


 


With the Libyans, and their neighbours the Meshwesh, came a number of northern allies: the Sherden or Shardana and the Lukka, already well known; also three new names, Ekwesh (Egyptian ´Ikwš), Teresh (Trš) and Shekelesh (Škrš).


… The name Sherden-Shardana has, since it was first recognized, been connected with Sardinia … It has also, rather less convincingly, been linked with Sardis. That the Shardana wore horned helmets is one of the few sartorial certainties in the complicated history of Egypt’s friends and attackers. … Horned helmets were alien to the Aegean … but they were indigenous in Mesopotamia, Anatolia and the Levant. … The Lukka, who also joined the Libyan invaders, had been allies of the Hittites at the battle of Kadesh. We have met them already as pirates from south-western Anatolia. … Also among the Libyan allies are the Ekwesh, not heard of before this time …. They have been connected with the Ahhiyawa of the Hittite texts … and so with the Homeric Achaeans; if so, it is rather surprising that, as Indo-Europeans, they were circumcised. … A Hittite text … refers to Taru-(u)i-ša (Taruisha), which may be the same as the Teresh …. The Hittites located their Taruisha in northern Assuwa near the Troad, but they have also been placed not far from the land that was later Lydia … and from where, according to Herodotus, the Tyrrhenians migrated to central Italy. This would link the Teresh-Taruisha-Tyrsenoi with the Etruscans. …The Hittite texts appear to be silent concerning the Shekelesh …. But just as the Shardana are linked with Sardinia, and the Teresh with the Etruscans, so the Shekelesh have for a long time been identified with the inhabitants of south-eastern Sicily.


 


Trigger, Kemp et al. argue a relatively feeble Egyptian response to these incoming hordes: ….


 


During the reign of Ramesses III … the political and ethnic structure of Syria, Palestine and Anatolia was drastically altered as the result of a mysterious population movement, that of the ‘Sea-Peoples’, who surged along the eastern Mediterranean and had to be repulsed at the seaward and eastern frontiers of Egypt itself. At the same time, perhaps not coincidentally, Libyan pressure … reached a climax in two abortive invasions of the western Delta. To a degree, these developments were uncontrollable; neither the Hittites nor any other state in the region had been able to resist the ‘Sea-Peoples’ …. But it is significant that Egyptian reaction was comparatively weak.


 


According to Brewer and Teeter, the invasion altered the balance of power in the region: …. “The “People of the Sea” ultimately changed the entire balance of power in the Near East, sweeping away the Hittites and setting the stage for Assyria to step into the void as the new dominant power in the Near East”.


Courville now turns to the all-important consideration of a distinctive pottery type introduced by this new mix of peoples: ….


 


On the basis of the appearance of a new type of pottery in the area occupied by the Philistines following the attempted invasion, and in the absence of any earlier recognized evidence of the Philistines in Palestine, the new occupants are identified with the Philistines of Scripture in the time of the late judges. This view, of necessity, must reject the earlier references to the Philistines in Scripture. Wright would explain this discrepancy by assuming that a later writer was bringing the account up to date in terms of the later occupation.


 


…. Another example [of modernizing Scripture] is the mention of the Philistines as living along the southern coast of Palestine … but we now know that the settlement of the Philistines did not occur until five or six hundred years later … Later Hebrews were simply bringing the stories up to date, and what modern teller of tales does not do the same?


 


Courville proceeds to challenge the standard archaeological view on the Philistines: ….


 


The New Pottery appearing in the Territory


of the Philistines is not of Cretan Origin


 


The archaeology of Crete … yields most damaging evidence for the view that these invaders and their culture came from Crete; hence it becomes necessary to refer to one phase of Cretan history. Using the popularly accepted dates, the following facts are to be noted. The dates by the proposed revision will be five to six hundred years later. The sea power and culture of Crete reached its zenith in the period dated c. 1500-1400 B.C. During this century, Crete represented the major sea power of the ancient world, and produced some of the most beautiful and elaborately decorated pottery known anciently. About 1400 B.C. Crete was the victim of an overwhelming catastrophe from which neither its power nor its culture ever recovered … The evidence indicates that the same culture survived the catastrophe but underwent a steep decline, so that by 1200 B.C. the power and culture of Crete was at its nadir, the residual culture being but a crude remnant of its predecessors. If the Sea Peoples who invaded Egypt at this time came from Crete under these conditions, then how could they suddenly be in full possession of a high level of pottery culture as indicated by the appearance of this new pottery type in southern Palestine? This new pottery is stated to be on a higher level than that used by the occupants prior to this (as compared to the pottery in the level below it) …. The anachronism that results from supposing that this pottery had a Cretan origin was recognized by Baikie who commented:


 


… But the remaining tribes [mentioned in the Egyptian inscriptions] are in all probability Cretans, fragments of the old Minoan Empire which had collapsed two centuries before, and was now gradually becoming disintegrated … There remain the Pulosathu, who are, almost beyond question, the Philistines, so well known to us from their connection with the rise of the Hebrew monarchy. The Hebrew tradition brought the Philistines from Kaphtor, and Kaphtor is plainly nothing else than the Egyptian Kefti, or Keftiu. In the Philistines, then, we have the last organized remnant of the old Minoan sea-power. Thrown back from the frontier of Egypt by the victory of Rameses III, they established themselves on the maritime plain of Palestine …. But all the same the Philistine was an anachronism, a survival from an older world.


 


An examination of the new pottery that appeared in Philistia at the time of this attempted invasion of Egypt, and comparison of it with that used in Crete at this time, and prior to this for two centuries, provides no basis for presuming that this new pottery is of Cretan origin. ….


 


Courville next proceeds to argue that: ….


 


This New Pottery in Philistia Is of Aegean Origin


 


A comparison of this pottery with that of the Aegean area for this and the preceding era leaves no room for doubt on this point. While this pottery found its way to Cyprus and even to the mainland to the north, its origin may be placed unequivocally to the Aegean Islands and the immediate area. Miss Kenyon commented thus on this pottery:


 


There is, however, one class of archaeological material which may reasonably be associated with the newcomers. This is a type of pottery entirely new to Palestine [sic], decorated with elaborate patterns. The most characteristic elements in the decoration are metopes enclosing stylized birds, very often with back-turned head, friezes of spirals, and groups of interlocking semicircles. The form of the vessels and the elements in the decoration all have their origins in the Late Helladic ceramic art of the Aegean. ….


 


“But if the pottery is of Aegean origin, and not Cretan”, Courville continues, “then it is most inconsistent to identify the pottery as Philistine on the basis of the Scriptural statements to the effect that the Philistines came from Crete”. “And if it is not Philistine, then what basis is there for presuming”, he asks, “that this pottery provides any evidence at all that this is the date for the first appearance of the Philistines in Palestine?”: ….


 


To be sure, it remains possible, though not demonstrated, that this pottery is Philistine of Aegean origin. But if shelter is to be taken under this possibility, then consistency would require that not only the early Scriptural references be rejected, but also the later references which so clearly portray a Cretan origin of the Philistines. It is to be noted that Miss Kenyon recognized the insecurity of the proposed identification of this pottery as Philistine.


It cannot of course be accepted without question that this pottery is necessarily associated with the Philistines, but the evidence does seem to be strongly in favour of this ascription.


 


Courville will eventually trace back this distinctive pottery type to the earliest phase of Cretan archaeology, in support of the biblical view that the immigrant Philistines were of Cretan origin. More on that later.


 


I think we need to recognize, with Rohl, that the coming of the Sea Peoples was “a secondary wave of migrants”, following on from an earlier influx of ‘Indo-Europeans’.


With that in mind, whilst Caphtor would still stand – as it does conventionally – for Crete, Cyprus may later have become prominent as a base and stepping-stone for these peoples during the second invasion. Here is Rohl’s account, with a corresponding stratigraphy (he juxtaposes here OC – Old Chronology dates – against his NC – New Chronology dates): ….


 


… who were these Philistines and where did they come from?


Of course, in the conventional chronological scheme, the Philistines appear in Philistia not during the Middle Bronze Age but at the beginning of the Iron Age (OC – c. 1200 BC).


They are identified with a group called the Peleset who attack Egypt by land and sea in the 8th year of Pharaoh Ramesses III (OC – 1177 BC, NC – 856 BC).


These Iron Age invaders are indeed Philistines – but they are not the first ‘Sea Peoples’ to arrive in the region. In the New Chronology the original incursion of Indo-European peoples from the Aegean occurs towards the end of the Middle Bronze Age (NC – c. 1350 BC). The Peleset of Ramesses III’s time are a secondary wave of migrants moving into the Levant (to dwell alongside their ancestral Philistine kin) during the period of collapse of the Mycenaean Bronze Age city states of Greece. This collapse was triggered by the long and debilitating campaign of the Trojan war (NC – c. 872-863 BC) and the subsequent Dorian invasion (NC – c. 820 BC) which ousted the Mycenaean élites onto the islands of the eastern Mediterranean and into the Levant itself. But these events are hundreds of years in the future as the original Philistine migrants arrive on the Canaanite coast during the Hyksos period.


 


I had earlier referred to the person of Shamgar, during the period of the Judges, and had noted Bright’s indication that his name, at least, might be Hurrian. Now Rohl has dated the arrival of the first wave of ‘Indo-Europeans’ precisely to this very same time of the Judges, conveniently, according to his New Chronology, in 1300 BC: ….


 


During the judgeship of EHUD only one minor external conflict occurred in this long period of internal squabbling amongst the tribes. Shamgar, son of Anath, came up against a raiding party of Philistines (Hebrew Pelishtim) in the Shephelah hills which border the coastal plain. As had happened with the Edomites and the Moabites, here too the Israelites managed to push this new enemy back from their territory. But behind this apparently insignificant biblical story – which occupies just one line in the book of Judges [Judges 3:31] – is a momentous event in the history of the ancient Near East. This first mention of the Philistine soldiers heralds the arrival of a new Indo-European-speaking political force in the region.


The year of Shamgar’s run-in with these strange foreigners from a far-off land was 1300 BC. In Egyptian terms, this places the Philistine ‘arrival’ on the biblical stage right in the middle of the Hyksos period – a little over a century after the invasion of the eastern Delta by King Sheshi (in c. 1409 BC) and the subsequent demise of the remnant native 13th Dynasty.


 


Whilst it is perhaps arguable that the Old Testament, with its aforementioned emphasis upon pedagogy rather than having any particular concern for recounting the history of foreign nations, could relegate to “just one line”, in only one of its books, an event as momentous as the incursion of the ‘Indo-Europeans’ into the ancient Near East, I would nevertheless instead embrace the view of Courville … and Bimson (see below) that there was an actual biblical tradition associated with the arrival of these foreign masses.


And, according to such tradition, this significant event pertains to a period somewhat earlier than the one that Rohl thinks he has pinpointed to the time of Ehud and Shamgar, in the era of the Judges. Here I take up Bimson’s account of this biblical tradition: ….


 


There is a tradition preserved in Joshua 13:2-3 and Judges 3:3 that the Philistines were established in Canaan by the end of the Conquest, and that the Israelites had been unable to oust them from the coastal plain …. There is also an indication that the main Philistine influx had not occurred very much prior to the Conquest. As we shall see below, the Philistines are the people referred to as “the Caphtorim, who came from Caphtor” in Deuteronomy 2:23 … where it is said that a people called the Avvim originally occupied the region around Gaza, and that the Caphtorim “destroyed them and settled in their stead”. Josh. 13:2-3 mentions Philistines and Avvim together as peoples whom the Israelites had failed to dislodge from southern Canaan. This suggests that the Philistines had not completely replaced the Avvim by the end of Joshua’s life. I would suggest, in fact, that the war referred to in Ex. 13:17, which was apparently taking place in “the land of the Philstines” at the time of the Exodus, was the war of the Avvim against the newly arrived Philistines.


 


As conventionally viewed, the end of MB II C coincides with the expulsion of the Hyksos from Egypt. Bimson however, in his efforts to provide a revised stratigraphy for the revision of history, has synchronised MB II C instead with the start of Hyksos rule. He will argue here in some detail that the building and refortifying of cities at this time was the work of the Avvim against the invading Philistines, with some of the new settlements, however, likely having been built by the Philistines themselves.


Rohl, basically following Bimson, has identified certain MB pottery as Philistine, and representing his first wave of ‘Indo-Europeans’. And he will link it to a similar form of pottery belonging, later, to the Sea Peoples – the second wave: ….


 


Towards the end of the Middle Bronze II-B era a new kind of pottery begins to appear in the Levant – particularly on the coastal plain and at Tell ed-Daba (ancient Avaris) in Egypt. This ‘bichrome ware’ is finely decorated pottery with designs painted in black and red on a beige slip (background). The designs include metopes (rectangular boxes) running around the shoulder of the vessel, within which stylized birds and geometric designs are placed.


The basic principles of such decoration are witnessed once more, three hundred years later, when the so-called ‘Philistine ware’ proper appears in the archaeological record at the beginning of the Iron Age (around the time of Ramesses III). This later pottery is Aegean in origin and is regarded as being a rather degraded development from Mycenaean Bronze Age ceramics. Given that the earlier bichrome ware of the late MB II-B/LB I is very similar in terms of its decoration to the Iron Age ‘Philistine ware’, you should not be surprised to learn that the clay from which many of the earliest bichrome pots were made comes from Cyprus, thus confirming the Mediterranean connection to the culture which introduced it into the Levant and Egypt. It seems that the first generation of bichrome ceramics was made in Cyprus and brought by newcomers to the southern Levant who then began to produce these distinctive vessels from local clays found in their newly adopted lands.


It thus appears that there were two major waves of ‘Indo-European’ migrations, connected the one to the other by this distinctive form of pottery: the first wave being coincident in my revision with the early Conquest and the Hyksos invasion of Egypt, and the second wave occurring early in the reign of Ramses III …. The prophet Amos even seems to synchronise for us the first wave against a biblical era (9:7): ‘Did I not bring up Israel from the land of Egypt, and the Philistines from Caphtor …?’ It remains to be seen if we can also find a biblical resonance for the upheaval that was the second wave: the ‘Sea Peoples’.


…. Bimson will, in his joint discussion of the Exodus and the arrival of the Philistines, the first wave, propose that plague had been a significant factor in both movements of peoples in this case.


Let us follow Bimson’s discussion, centring upon Cyprus, in which he believes “we find some interesting correlations emerging”: ….


 


Bichrome pottery began to be manufactured on Cyprus at the beginning of the period known as Late Cypriot I (abbreviated to LC I) …. Since, as we have seen, it occurs on the mainland at some sites before the end of Palestine’s MB II C period, it is clear that the transition from the latest Middle Cypriot period (MC III) to LC I occurred some while before the end of MB II C on the mainland. In terms of the scheme proposed here, we may tentatively place the beginning of LC I roughly at the time of the Exodus, the end of MB II C marking the Conquest …. This means that the first Late Bronze period on Cyprus, LC I A, was at least partially contemporary with the time the Israelites spent in the wilderness.


This synchronism is significant. A number of writers have noted that LC I was a period of considerable unrest of some kind. A striking feature of the first part of the period is the occurrence of mass burials, which are without precedent in the Early and Middle Cypriot periods. The reason for their sudden appearance


throughout the length of the island is much debated …., plague and warfare being the two most favoured explanations. Against the view that the people thus buried were killed in battle are the facts, pointed out by SCHAEFFER …, that no wounds are evident on the skeletons, and that the grave-goods do not suggest that the graves are those of warriors. Schaeffer therefore prefers to view many of these burials as the result of plague.


 


Here Bimson makes mention of Velikovsky’s highly controversial view that the earth had suffered catastrophes at the time of the Exodus and Conquest due to “the effects of a close approach of the proto-planet Venus”, before adding:


 


But even without the global catastrophe theory, the mass burials would still provide support for our synchronisms of early LC I with the time of the Israelites’ wilderness journeys. There is ample evidence from the Old Testament that this was a time when plague was rife on the mainland. Apart from the fact that Egypt was affected by plague shortly before the Exodus (Ex. 9:8-12), the Israelites themselves were hit by plague no less than five times between the Exodus and the start of the Conquest (cf. Ex. 32:55; Num. 11:33; 14:37; 16:46-50; 25:9). I have referred elsewhere to KENYON’S conclusion that plague affected the inhabitants of Jericho shortly before the end of the MB II C city, and have noted the possibility that this outbreak should be linked with the plague mentioned in Num. 25:9 …. Thus if we follow Schaeffer, and see Cyprus suffering the effects of plague at the start of LC I, it is logical to synchronise this time with the period when the mainland was similarly afflicted ….


However we interpret the mass burials, there is no doubt that on Cyprus at the start of LC I, “abnormal conditions had begun to affect the pattern of contemporary life” ….


One important result of those abnormal conditions was the abandonment of several previously important centres at the eastern end of the island …. In the light of the arguments presented above, that the Philistines arrived in Canaan from Cyprus in MB II C, it would be logical to identify them specifically with the people who were abandoning the island’s eastern centres in LC I …”.


 


We shall be considering this Middle Bronze II (MB II) stratigraphy further on.


 


Who was Cushan-Rishathaim?


 


This particular oppressor of Israel has proven to be quite elusive as to his geography and his historical identification.


The Jewish Virtual Library article on this subject will question the very historicity of the story (https://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/judaica/ejud_0002_0005_0_04773.html):


 


“CUSHAN-RISHATHAIM (Heb. כּוּשַׁן רִשְׁעָתַיִם), the first oppressor of Israel in the period of the Judges (Judg. 3:8–10). Israel was subject to Cushan-Rishathaim, the king of Aram-Naharaim, for eight years, before being rescued by the first “judge,” *Othniel son of Kenaz. The second element, Rishathaim (“double wickedness”), is presumably not the original name, but serves as a pejorative which rhymes with Naharaim. The combination Aram-Naharaim is not a genuine one for the period of the Judges, since at that time the Arameans were not yet an important ethnic element in Mesopotamia. In the view of some scholars, the story lacks historical basis and is the invention of an author who wished to produce a judge from Judah, and raise the total number of judges to twelve. …”.


 


Far more positive about this is Dr. John Osgood, who – though he has not attempted to identify the ruler personally – will (as we are soon going to read) propose a most compelling archaeological phase for him. Dr. Osgood has assigned Cushan-Rishathaim to his Judges Period B (“The Times of the Judges”, p. 145):


 


“Period B commences in the third chapter of the Book of Judges. It begins with the rebellion of Israel against God after which we are told that the Lord sold them into the hand of Chushan-Rishathaim, King of Aram-Naharaim (= Mesopotamia) for a period of 8 years. At the end of 8 years he raised up Othniel, son of Kenaz, Caleb’s younger brother, to deliver the land, resulting, we are told, in the land resting from oppression for forty years (verse 11). Observing Othniel’s position and relationship to Caleb, it would appear that his 8 year period most probably followed shortly after the death of Joshua and the elders that outlived him.


Judges 1:15 states that Othniel lived in the south land (Negev) and Chushan-Rishathaim attacked from Syria-Naharaim. From this observation we can conclude that in delivering Israel from Chushan, Othniel drove him out of the entire land from south to north and not just from a small portion …. In other words, Chushan held the total land of Israel in captivity. We may thus conclude that it was unlikely that any other ruler held any other portion of the land in captivity, contemporaneously”.


 


Dean Hickman would, for his part, propose that the mighty Sargon of Akkad was the biblical Cushan-Rishathaim.


Sargon, though, belongs in my scheme way back as an early contemporary of Abram.


 


Following on from Josephus’s testimony in Antiquities that Cushan-Rishathaim was in fact a king of Assyria (he gives him the name of Chusarthus), some have gone looking for him in Mesopotamia. Hickman, again, has also (and more positively this time, I think) proposed for the enigmatic Cushan-rishathaim an historical identification with the similarly rather obscure Enshag-kushanna, considered to have belonged to the Uruk II dynasty.


Wikipedia tells this about the latter monarch (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Enshakushanna):


 


“Enshakushanna (or En-shag-kush-ana, Enukduanna, En-Shakansha-Ana) was a king of Uruk in the later 3rd millennium BC who is named on the Sumerian king list, which states his reign to have been 60 years. He conquered Hamazi, Akkad, Kish, and Nippur, claiming hegemony over all of Sumer. He adopted the Sumerian title en ki-en-gi lugal kalam-ma en ki in Sumerian means god of the Apsû,[1][2] which may be translated as “lord of Sumer and king of all the land” (or possibly as “en of the region of Uruk and lugal of the region of Ur[3]), and could correspond to the later title lugal ki-en-gi ki-uri “King of Sumer and Akkad” that eventually came to signify kingship over Babylonia as a whole. …”.


 


Apparently king Enshag-kushanna’s sway extended at least from Akkad to Sumer.


 


The ‘Cushan’ (var. ‘kushan’) element in the names is an obvious fit.


And Hickman explains how the name elements, enshag and rishathaim, can also perhaps be correlated (op. cit., n. 58): “The element –rishathaim is also present in Enshag-kushanna in a disguised form: En- may be interpreted as Ru- (Robert L. Biggs, BA, Spring 1980, p. 78) and -shag- or -sag- may be “reshtum” (Alfonso Archi, BA, Fall 1980, pp. 201, 205-206) …”.


 


The eight-years of dominance of Syro-Palestine by a king of Aram-Naharaim (perhaps including Assyria) ought to be a very singular event able to be fully identified in the archaeological record – just as was the invasion of the four kings at the time of Abram clearly identifiable, especially in the hands of a competent guide like Dr. Osgood. This is what he has to say about what he believes to be the clear archaeological traces of king Cushan-Rishathaim (“The Times of the Judges—The Archaeology: (b) Settlement and Apostasy:):


 


“As the nation [apostatised] from the worship of God, turning to idolatry, the Scriptures tell us (Judges 3:5–11) that they were soon confronted with a northern foe, conquered and occupied. The foe was Aram-Naharaim (or Syria-Naharaim) under its shadowy but obviously capable ruler Chushan Rishathaim; a name unknown to this date in the archaeological records ….


 


The Khabur basin and Chushan



 


Israel’s first captivity under Aram-Naharaim should be accepted as simple history, which would leave open the possibility of verification by archaeological evidence. Chushan-Rishathaim is here taken to be a real historical character and the biblical narrative to be simple history.


We are told of Chushan that he ruled over Israel for eight years and from his yoke the land was liberated by Caleb’s nephew Othniel.


…. we are dealing with a new phase—a total of eight years. What archaeological confirmation do we have?


The revised chronology here espoused provides for MB I to be identified as the wandering, conquering and settling Israelites. It follows that if our chronology is correct, the next period archaeologically that is, MB IIA (MB I Kenyon), should reflect consistency with the biblical narrative of Chushan-Rishathaim.


….


It is therefore with some interest that I read Amiram’s earlier conclusions about the pottery of MB IIA (especially knowing that she holds the accepted chronology of the Holy Land, and not the chronology here espoused).


Amiram first recognises the distinctiveness of the characteristics of MB IIA:


 


“A close analysis of MB IIA and B-C pottery shows many differences between the two periods, but a definite continuity of form and decoration can undoubtedly be observed.”10


 


What then are the particular differences?


 


“Plate 35 has been arranged with the intention of illustrating certain features of the MB IIA pottery which can be traced back to their origin through Byblos and Qatna to the Khabur region. The ultimate origins of the Khabur Ware are beyond the scope of this work. This chapter follows up a suggestion of Albright’s, made many years ago, concerning the affinity between MB IIA pottery and the Khabur Ware.”11


 


Amiram then, as Albright, asserts a connection between the Khabur basin and the M IIA pottery of Palestine—the same areas affected by the biblical narrative of Chushan-Rishathaim. Is this imagined? Or coincidental? To be sure, this connection has been disputed—most particularly by Jonathan Tubb.12 However, in analysing his objections, we discover that he was criticising the hypothesis of a cultural sequence from one area to the other, and this definitely cannot be demonstrated. In fact, it is contradicted. Understandably Tubb then rejects such a cultural connection …. What Tubb, however, does not do is pay attention to the biblical model envisioned by the Chushan story, which describes a brief but vital contact by conquest of Israel by the forces of Aram-Naharaim. He cannot do this meaningfully because his absolute chronology does not allow such a connection with the Israelite story in the days of the Judges. This also would overthrow accepted thinking and would mean a simple recognition of the Judges accounts as valid and simple historical records, and not just tribal narratives as the ‘documentary hypothesis’ demands, in current thinking. That there was such contact the Bible asserts. That there were, in Palestine, in MB IIA (MB I Kenyon), signs of Khabur influence at the same period that Khabur Ware was in vogue in Aram-Naharaim is confirmed by Patty Gerstenblith.


 


“…the appearance of both ‘Habur’ ware store jars and ‘Habur’-type decorations marks the beginning of MB I period in the Levant … we see that the ‘Habur’ store jars appear in quantity at Chagar Bazar, just before the end of MB I period in the Levant … That it may have been present there at an earlier date and is only missing at those sites excavated in northern Mesopotamia is perhaps shown by its presence in quantity at the Baghouz cemetery, which probably corresponds more closely to the Levant MB I than do the northern Mesopotamian sites, which seem to postdate the MB I period.”13 …. (Note: MB I Kenyon = MB IIA Albright)


 


In other words, here in Palestine in the boundaries of ancient Israel is just the cultural influence evident which we would expect from the biblical narrative, taken at face value. The culture of the Khabur basin (Aram-Naharaim) is seen and at no other period. Its appearance then in Palestine first corresponds to the initial appearance of this ware in the Khabur region.


Some would call it coincidental and feel it was not significant, but its presence, identified by those who have no stakes in the biblical chronology here espoused, and following the new invasive MB I culture, would seem to give poignant testimony to, at the minimum, a sequence of events which corresponds to the biblical sequence (MB I Albright). The MBIIA period in Palestine testifies to a regional influence which increases the fit of the revised chronology, here presented, to the simple scriptural narrative.


The only historical narrative which, at such an early period, can tie Khabur influence to the geography of ancient Israel, is the biblical narrative of Chushan-Rishathaim found in the book of Judges.


This then is suggested by the author of this paper to be the explanation of Khabur ware in Palestine in MB IIA (MB I Kenyon): The conquest of the apostatizing Israelite nation by the forces of Aram Naharaim under the able leadership of Chushan Rishathaim for a period of occupation of eight years; the Khabur wares themselves most likely being vessels brought in by the conquerors with stores, most particularly wine, and later adopted for a long time by the native population as a useful item of storage and perhaps trade. Then influence of this culture would proceed until a new dominant culture arose—and this was to happen as we shall see, from a southern direction. Hence the rebuilt cities after Chushan’s influence had gone would still reflect the Khabur ware influence, perhaps for a series of levels until the new influence was felt. All these levels would be described as MB IIA. …”.


 


If, however, Cushan-Rishathaim had also ruled Assyria, then we would expect the archaeology to indicate that.


Would this, then, rule out the relevance of the Khabur ware?


No, because apparently its spatial distribution was somewhat more extensive than Dr. Osgood has estimated. For thus we read in Alessio Palmisano’s Abstract for his article, “Diachronic and Spatial Distribution of Khabur Ware in the Early Second Millennium BC”: https://openarchaeologydata.metajnl.com/articles/10.5334/4f8d6ed49bd54/


 


“The dataset provides the diachronic and spatial distribution of Khabur ware in upper Mesopotamia and central Anatolia in the early second millennium BC (ca. 1900-1750 BC) [sic] by evaluating the ceramic evidence coming from excavated archaeological sites. Khabur ware is wheel-made pottery with monochrome geometric painted decoration in red, brown or black, which owes its name to the archaeologist Max Mallowan after that great quantities of it were found by him at the site of Chagar Bazar, in the Upper Khabur valley. Nevertheless, the data yielded from the archaeological excavations show that this pottery is not just confined in the Khabur basin, but spreads in northern Iraq, Syria and in a few sites in Iran and Turkey. This kind of pottery can be studied and analysed as fossil guide for detecting possible political and economic dynamics that caused its spread in Upper Mesopotamia and Central Anatolia in the Middle Bronze Age”.




Part Twelve: The Colourful Judges


(ii): Ehud, king Eglon and Jericho


 


Again the Israelites cried out to the Lord, and he gave them a deliverer—Ehud, a left-handed man, the son of Gera the Benjamite. The Israelites sent him with tribute to Eglon king of Moab. Now Ehud had made a double-edged sword about a cubit long, which he strapped to his right thigh under his clothing. He presented the tribute to Eglon king of Moab, who was a very fat man”.


Judges 3:15-17


  


The narrative about Ehud and his assassination of the oppressive Eglon king of Moab, in Judges 3:12-30, is extremely graphic and gives the impression of being told by an eye-witness.


 


We shall encounter a similarly graphic and detailed biblical incident later, in the shattering fall of Queen Jezebel, as witnessed by General Jehu.


 


Before we discuss Ehud and Eglon, though, we need to recapitulate a bit on - and also add to - our chronological considerations.


 


From Exodus to King Solomon


 


As far as biblical chronology goes in this series, I have been basically following P. Mauro’s The Wonders of the Bible Chronology, at least down to the Exodus (he dates this at 1533 BC).


However, I have made it clear that this is only meant to be something of a point of reference, as I expect biblical chronological systems in general to fall flat as we come down later to the Persian-Greek periods of biblical history and the severe revisions then, I think, required.


Dr. John Osgood, whose biblically-conscious stratigraphical reconstructions for the period from Abram to the Judges I have found to be quite indispensable, has proposed the significantly later (than Mauro) date of 1446 BC for the Exodus.   


Mauro and Osgood also differ substantially as to their respective interpretations of the span of the 480 years of I Kings 6:1. Dr. Osgood takes the 480 literally (as did Bishop Ussher). Mauro, who rightly considers this text to have presented: “Great difficulty to chronologists …”, and who ends up with 594 years for this period, will offer the following explanation of it (p. 41):


 


“The 480 Years of I Kings 6:1:


….


The total of years taken in detail, from the Exodus to the 4th year of Solomon, is 594, an excess of 114 years over the statement of I Kings 6:1. This raises one of the most difficult chronological problems of the Bible. Some chronologists … reject the statement of I Kings 6:1 as an interpolation, because manifestly contradicted by the detailed chronology of the scriptures. But Bishop Ussher (whose dates are incorporated in the margin of some editions of the Bible) adopts it without qualification, naming the length of the period in question 480 years, instead of 594. To bring this about, he abridges the period from the entrance into the land to the reign of Saul, by taking off some years at one place and some at another. For example, he changes the rest by Ehud from “fourscore years” (Judg. 3:30) to 20, and so on. Manifestly this affects, to the extent of 114 years, every previous date expressed in terms “B. C.”, and all subsequent dates expressed in terms “ An. Hom.” or “A. M.”


Dr. Anstey, however, calls attention to the striking fact that the discrepancy – 114 years – is exactly the measure of the six servitudes and the one usurpation which interrupt the period of God’s government of His people through the Judges; and Dr. Anstey suggests that the 480 years are put down as the measure of the Theocracy (God’s rule over His people), and that the years when God gave over the rule of His people to their enemies are not reckoned in the statement of I kings 6:1. This we accept as the best available explanation of the difficulty. But, in any case, the detailed chronology, derived by putting together the several statements of Scripture, must be maintained”.


 


Though I am more inclined to follow Dr. Osgood’s literalism in this case, I think that the Anstey-Mauro ‘Theocratic’ argument may be a legitimate approach to biblical interpretation. After all, Matthew the Evangelist will omit from his Genealogy of Jesus the Messiah (Matthew 1:1-17) some major Judaean kings (e.g., Jehoash and Amaziah), yet will still declare (v. 17): “Thus there were fourteen generations in all from Abraham to David, fourteen from David to the exile to Babylon …”.


This is not the way that one would reckon according to our literal Western logic-mathematics.


Yet Matthew and his “generations” need to be read according to his, and not our, context.


I have previously written on this:


 


Question: What does Saint Matthew have to say about Our Lord’s Genealogy?


A merely superficial reading of this text (Matthew 1:6-17) will not suffice to unravel its profound meaning.


According to Monsignor John McCarthy, in his Introduction to “The Historical Meaning of the Forty-two Generations in Matthew 1:17” (http://www.rtforum.org/lt/lt13.html):


 


“For those who study deeply into the Gospel text, Matthew’s prologue, contained in his first two chapters, is one of the most masterful pieces of writing ever presented to human eyes. The genealogy with which this prologue begins displays its full share of wondrous artistry, but so subtle is its turn that many commentators have failed to grasp the logic that it implies. …”.


 


Deep study is indeed required to grasp the logic of it all, because it appears that Matthew has, within his neat triple arrangement of “fourteen generations” (1:17):


 


“Thus there were fourteen generations in all from Abraham to David,


fourteen from David to the exile to Babylon,


and fourteen from the exile to the Messiah”.


 


completely dumped four kings of Judah whose history is written in Kings and Chronicles.


Those familiar with the sequence of the kings of Judah as recorded in Kings and Chronicles will be struck by the fact that Matthew 1 is missing these: Ahaziah; Joash (Jehoash); and Amaziah, three virtually successive kings - Matthew understandably omits the usurping Queen Athaliah before Joash - and later, Jehoiakim. Four in all!


What is going on here?


Was Saint Matthew the Evangelist mathematically deficient, somewhat like the schoolboy whose ‘sum of all fears’ is actually the fear of all sums?


Even a mathematical dope, however, can probably manage to ‘doctor’ basic figures in order to arrive at a pre-determined number!


Monsignor McCarthy, when discussing Fr. Raymond Brown’s attempted resolution of this textual difficulty, begins by asking the same question:


 


“Could Matthew count? Raymond Brown, reading Matthew's genealogy from the viewpoint of a modern reader, does not plainly see fourteen generations in each of the three sets of names, but by using ingenuity he can “salvage Matthew's reputation as a mathematician”. He cautions, for one thing, that we should not expect too much logic in Matthew’s reasoning, since omissions are frequently made in tribal genealogies “for reasons that do not seem logical to the Western scientific mind” (pp. 82-84). …”.


 


On the face of things - or, as Monsignor McCarthy puts it, “reading Matthew's genealogy from the viewpoint of a modern reader” - what Saint Matthew may seem to have done would be like, say, a horse owner whose nag had come fourth in the Melbourne Cup, who later decided to re-write the story by completely ignoring any reference to the first three winners (trifecta), so that his horse now came in ‘first’.


We however, believing the Scriptures to be inspired by the Holy Spirit, cannot simply leave it at that: a supposed problem of the sacred writer’s own making. Though this is apparently where the more liberally-minded commentators are prepared to leave matters in the case of a scriptural difficulty that it is beyond their wisdom to solve; thereby, as Monsignor McCarthy writes with reference to Fr. Brown, leaving things “in a very precarious state”.


Rightly, therefore, does Monsignor McCarthy proceed to suggest:


 


“Brown's reasoning leaves a big problem. In the light of the deficiencies that he sees in Matthew's counting, how can one seriously believe that Matthew really shows by his 3 x 14 pattern that “God planned from the beginning and with precision the Messiah's origins” …? What kind of precision is this? And what could the number fourteen seriously mean in the message of Matthew? Brown believes that for Matthew fourteen was, indeed, “the magic number” …, but he cannot surmise what that number was supposed to mean. He knows of no special symbolism attached to the number fourteen, and, therefore, he cannot grasp at all the point that Matthew is trying to make. So, rather than “salvage” Matthew's reputation as a theologian, Brown leaves Matthew's theology of 3 x 14 generations in a very precarious state”.


 


Monsignor McCarthy will seek to determine what Matthew himself is saying. Thus:


 


“Let us look at the plain message of the text of Mt 1:17”. Contrary to what Fr. Brown had imagined: “Matthew is not plainly saying that there were fourteen immediate biological generations in each period. In fact, when in his opening verse Matthew speaks of Jesus as “Son of David, son of Abraham”, he is setting up a definition of terms which enlarges the notion of a generation”.


 


The Evangelist’s ways are not our ways - not how we might operate in a modern context. Accordingly, Monsignor McCarthy will allow Matthew to speak for himself:


 


Just as Matthew can use the word ‘son’ to mean any descendant in the direct line, so can he use the word ‘begot’ to mean any ancestor in the direct line. Therefore, he does not err in saying in the second set of names that “Joram [Jehoram] begot Oziah [Uzziah]” (Mt 1:8), even though there were three immediate biological generations in between. Matthew is saying that there were fourteen undisqualified generations in each period of time, and his point has force as long as there is a discernible reason for omitting some of the immediate generations in keeping with the purpose of his writing”.


 


This brings us to that exceedingly interesting matter of the “discernible reason for omitting some of the immediate generations”. For, how to justify bundling out of a genealogical list two such mighty Judaean kings as Jehoash and Amaziah? Between them they occupied the throne of Jerusalem for about three quarters of a century! Well, say some liberals, Matthew was using faulty king lists. No, say some conservatives, those omitted kings of Judah were very evil, and that is why Matthew had chosen to ignore them. But, can that really be the case?


2 Kings 12:2: “Jehoash did what was right in the eyes of the Lord all the years Jehoiada the priest instructed him”.


2 Kings 14:3: “[Amaziah] did what was right in the eyes of the Lord, but not as his father David had done. In everything he followed the example of his father Joash”.


Why, then, does Matthew’s Genealogy include the likes of Jehoram (Joram), and Ahaz (Achaz), for instance, about whom Kings and Chronicles have nothing whatsoever favourable to say?


2 Chronicles 21:6 “[Jehoram] followed the ways of the kings of Israel, as Ahab’s family had done, because his wife was Ahab’s daughter. So he did what the Lord considered evil”.


2 Kings 16:2-4 “Unlike David his father, [Ahaz] did not do what was right in the eyes of the Lord his God. He followed the ways of the kings of Israel and even sacrificed his son in the fire, engaging in the detestable practices of the nations the Lord had driven out before the Israelites”.


Monsignor McCarthy, wisely basing himself upon the Fathers, seems to have come up with a plausible explanation for why these particular kings were omitted from the genealogy, and why the name of the wicked Jehoram, for instance, was genealogically preserved:


 


“Regarding the second set of “fourteen” generations, we read that “Joram begot Oziah” (Mt 1:18). But we know that Joram was actually the great-great-grandfather of Oziah, because Oziah is another name for Azariah (cf. 2 Chr 26:1; 2 Kg [4 Kg] 14:21), and in 1 Chr 3:11-12 we read: “and Joram begot Ochoziah, from whom sprang Joas, and his son Amasiah begot Azariah”. Hence, Matthew omits the generations of Ochoziah, Joas, and Amasiah from his list, and the judgments given in the Old Testament upon these people may tell us why.


St. Jerome 3 sees a reason in the fact that Joram married Athalia, the daughter of Jezebel of Sidon, who drew him deeper and deeper into the practices of idolatry, and that the three generations of sons succeeding him continued in the worship of idols. In the very first of the Ten Commandments given by God through Moses on Mount Sinai it was stated: “Thou shalt not have foreign gods before me. ... Thou shalt not adore or serve them. I am the Lord thy God, powerful and jealous, visiting the iniquity of fathers upon their children unto the third and fourth generation of those that hate me, and showing mercy unto thousands to those that love me and keep my commandments” (Ex 20:3-6). Now Solomon was a sinner and an idolater (1 Kg f3 Kg] 11: 7-8), but he had a good man for his father and was therefore not punished in his own generation (1 Kg [3 Kg] 11:12).


St. Augustine 4 points out that the same was true of Joram, who had Josaphat for his father, and therefore did not have his name removed from Matthew's genealogy (cf. 2 Chr 21:7).


St. John Chrysostom 5 adds the further reason that the Lord had ordered the house of Ahab to be extirpated from the face of the earth (2 Kg [4 Kg] 9:8), and the three kings eliminated by Matthew were, as descendants of Athalia, of the seed of Ahab. Jehu eradicated the worship of Baal from Israel, but he did not forsake the golden calves in Bethel and Dan. Nevertheless, the Lord said to him: “Because you have diligently performed what was right and pleasing in my eyes and have done to the house of Ahab in keeping with everything that was in my heart, your children shall sit upon the throne of Israel unto the fourth generation” (2 Kg [4 Kg] 10:28-31). So it is interesting to note that while these generations of Jehu were inserted into the royal lineage of Israel, the three generations of Ahab were taken out of the genealogy of Jesus by the judgment of God through the inspired pen of St. Matthew”.


 


The Jericho Level of King Eglon


 


Dr. Osgood, continuing on with what he has classified as his Period B for the Judges (which also includes Othniel and the oppressive king Cushan-Rishathaim as already discussed), writes (“The Times of the Judges”, p. 145):


 


“Judges 3:12 tells us that the children of Israel rebelled again. God strengthened the hand of Eglon, King of Moab, and they served Moab for 18 years. (Eglon was also associated with AMMON and AMALEK. It is worth bearing in mind that two other authors (Velikovsky and Courville) identify Amalek with the HYKSOS Rulers of Egypt). The indications are that the centre of the conquest was around Jericho (Deuteronomy 34:3) and its neighbouring territory and not the whole land, but it clearly would include much of the Transjordan …”.


 


We need to note that, as we continue with Dr. Osgood’s article (pp. 145-146), he is not guilty of Mauro’s criticism of Bishop Ussher that the latter “… changes the rest by Ehud from “fourscore years” (Judg. 3:30) to 20…”:


 


“At the end of this period God raised up Ehud who slew the Moabites (Judges 3:29-30). This resulted in the land having rest for four-score (eighty) years.


Period B covers a total of 146 years …. This period is assumed to have followed immediately after period A by virtue of Othniel’s relationship to Caleb, but definitely not overlapping, for the narrative allows for no such overlap”.


 


Dr. Osgood, though now moving on into his Period C, looks to include Shamgar still in his Period B (pp. 146-147):


 


“The description of the ‘rest’, the following disobedience, and the oppression also suggests that this oppression followed immediately after this 80 years rest. There is no doubt that the children of Israel were beginning to turn away from God prior to the death of Ehud. Between the time of his death and the end of the 80 years rest was the period where Shamgar, the son of Anath, judged Israel. This period under Shamgar, son of Anath, appears to have been an unstable period owing to the spiritual drift of Israel at the close of Ehud’s judgeship. Judges 5:6 says: In the days of Shamgar, son of Anath, in the days of Jael, the highways were unoccupied and the travellers walked through byways”.


 


Judges 3:31, however, does appear to state quite clearly that Shamgar came after (וְאַחֲרָיו) Ehud: “And after him was Shamgar the son of Anath, who smote of the Philistines six hundred men with an ox-goad; and he also saved Israel”. And that is the view taken in the interesting article, “The Chronology of Judges solved!”, whose “Indivisible Units of Chronology” do differ somewhat from Dr. Osgood’s Periods (A to H): http://www.bible.ca/archeology/bible-archeology-exodus-route-date-chronology-of-judges.htm


 


1.      The unit [Unit 1] consists of periods of oppression and peace that are mutually exclusive. In other words, you cannot overlap a times of war and times of peace. While it is possible that in this first Unit, the times of war and peace are in different regions of Israel, we consider this unlikely given the natural reading of the text. It is also unnecessary.


2.      You have 8 years of oppression, followed by 40 years when the "land had rest", followed by 18 years of oppression, followed by 80 years when the "land had rest". There simply is no way to shorten this time by overlapping periods of oppression and peace within the unit.


3.      But a secondary factor comes into play within unit 1. It says "after Ehud died came both Shamgar and Deborah". We know therefore, that both Shamgar and Deborah judged within the same period of chronological time side by side, and it is quite interesting that no dates are given for Shamgar. All we know is that Shamgar followed Ehud, as did Deborah who judged 40 years. So we can rightly ignore Shamgar in terms of the chronology since we know he judged during the same "post Ehud" period as Deborah, for whom we know the specific dates of her judgeship.


 


So far in our history we have encountered many incidents of people turning away from God, or hardening their hearts, most notably – in the latter case – the Pharaoh of the Exodus.


I introduce this point here because I heard in today’s sermon by a Dominican priest that it can read like God was deliberately hardening the heart of the Pharaoh for the sake of Israel.


So I shall do what the priest did, and quote from Origen, a scholarly Greek Father (c. 200 AD) http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/04123.htm


 


“But, to establish the point more clearly, it will not be superfluous to employ another illustration, as if, e.g., one were to say that it is the sun which hardens and liquefies, although liquefying and hardening are things of an opposite nature. Now it is not incorrect to say that the sun, by one and the same power of its heat, melts wax indeed, but dries up and hardens mud: not that its power operates one way upon mud, and in another way upon wax; but that the qualities of mud and wax are different, although according to nature they are one thing, both being from the earth. In this way, then, one and the same working upon the part of God, which was administered by Moses in signs and wonders, made manifest the hardness of Pharaoh, which he had conceived in the intensity of his wickedness but exhibited the obedience of those other Egyptians who were intermingled with the Israelites, and who are recorded to have quitted Egypt at the same time with the Hebrews. With respect to the statement that the heart of Pharaoh was subdued by degrees, so that on one occasion he said, Go not far away; you shall go a three days' journey, but leave your wives, and your children, and your cattle, and as regards any other statements, according to which he appears to yield gradually to the signs and wonders, what else is shown, save that the power of the signs and miracles was making some impression on him, but not so much as it ought to have done? For if the hardening were of such a nature as many take it to be, he would not indeed have given way even in a few instances. But I think there is no absurdity in explaining the tropical or figurative nature of that language employed in speaking of hardening, according to common usage. For those masters who are remarkable for kindness to their slaves, are frequently accustomed to say to the latter, when, through much patience and indulgence on their part, they have become insolent and worthless: It is I that have made you what you are; I have spoiled you; it is my endurance that has made you good for nothing: I am to blame for your perverse and wicked habits, because I do not have you immediately punished for every delinquency according to your deserts. For we must first attend to the tropical or figurative meaning of the language, and so come to see the force of the expression, and not find fault with the word, whose inner meaning we do not ascertain. Finally, the Apostle Paul, evidently treating of such, says to him who remained in his sins: Despise the riches of His goodness, and forbearance, and long-suffering; not knowing that the goodness of God leads you to repentance? But, after your hardness and impenitent heart, treasurest up unto yourself wrath on the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God. Such are the words of the apostle to him who is in his sins. Let us apply these very expressions to Pharaoh, and see if they also are not spoken of him with propriety, since, according to his hardness and impenitent heart, he treasured and stored up for himself wrath on the day of wrath, inasmuch as his hardness could never have been declared and manifested, unless signs and wonders of such number and magnificence had been performed”.


 


Now, what of Eglon’s Jericho? Judges 3:12-14 introduces us to the foreign intruder, Eglon, and his adopted place of residence in Israel:


 


“Again the Israelites did evil in the eyes of the Lord, and because they did this evil the Lord gave Eglon king of Moab power over Israel. Getting the Ammonites and Amalekites to join him, Eglon came and attacked Israel, and they took possession of the City of Palms. The Israelites were subject to Eglon king of Moab for eighteen years”.


 


The “City of Palms” is Jericho (see below).


Judges 3:20 will inform us that Eglon had a “palace” there.


 


Considering that Joshua (6:26) had boldly foretold a future re-building of the city of Jericho that would have to await the time of the reign of king Ahab (as we have already discussed – and will do so further when we arrive at that far-distant era), the presence of a palace at the site of Jericho (Tell es-Sultan) has been something of a source of difficulty for me in terms of the archaeological sequences at the site. But Drs. John Osgood and Bryant Wood seem to have the proper measure of the situation, as I have more recently noted:


 


“The popular [revisionist] model today, as espoused by … David Rohl … arguing instead for a Middle Bronze Jericho at the time of Joshua, ends up throwing right out of kilter the biblico-historical correspondences. [This] is apparent from the part of Dr. Bryant Wood’s critique (“David Rohl's Revised Egyptian Chronology: A View From Palestine”), in which Bryant has well pointed out that Rohl’s revised Jericho stratigraphical sequence “completely misses Eglon's occupation of Jericho”: http://www.biblearchaeology.org/post/2007/05/23/David-Rohls-Revised-Egyptian-Chronology-A-View-From-Palestine.aspx


 


“In his book Pharaohs and Kings: A Biblical Quest (1995a; it was first published in England as A Test of Time: The Bible - From Myth to History [1995b]), David Rohl purports to have produced a better correlation between the findings of archaeology and the Bible by revising Egyptian chronology. ….


The Middle Building at Jericho


 


Concerning occupation at Jericho following the Conquest, Rohl makes the following statement:


... the next time we hear mention of Jericho after Joshua's destruction of the town is during the reign of David (313).


This is simply incorrect. The next mention of Jericho following Joshua's destruction is in Judges 3 where we are told that Eglon, king of Moab, took possession of the "City of Palms" and built a palace there. The City of Palms, of course, is none other than Jericho (Dt 34:3; 2 Chr 28:15). Rohl makes a connection between the LB IIA "Middle Building" at Jericho, excavated by John Garstang in 1933, and David's seclusion of the Israelite delegation at Jericho recorded in 2 Samuel 10:5.


The Bible does not tell us what, if anything, was at Jericho in David's day. Garstang's Middle Building, on the other hand, exactly fits the description of Eglon's palace in Judges 3 using conventional chronology (Garstang 1941a; 1941b; 1948: 175-80). It was an isolated palatial structure with no corresponding town. There was evidence of wealth (expensive imported pottery), and administrative activities (an inscribed clay tablet). The Middle Building was constructed toward the end of the 14th century B.C. by conventional chronology, which matches the time period of the Judges 3 account according to Biblical chronology. It was occupied for only a short period of time and then abandoned, paralleling the Biblical description of an 18 year oppression by Eglon and the subsequent rout of the Moabites by Ehud and the Israelites.


….


The "Middle Building" was excavated in 1933 by John Garstang on Jericho's southeastern slope. A palace like structure (28 x 47 ft.), it was an isolated building with evidence of wealth and administrative activity. It date and finds fit very well with Moabite king Eglon's palace (Judges 3:12-25). Rohl completely misses Eglon's occupation of Jericho in his reconstruction and tries to relate the Middle Building to the time of David”.


 


Eglon of Moab


 


Once again it will be Dr. John Osgood who first properly sorted out the Jericho sequence. Regarding Eglon of Moab’s occupation, Osgood has written (“The Times of the Judges -The Archaeology: (b) Settlement and Apostasy”):


 


“A new alignment begins



 


The land of Israel rested in peace and freedom from oppression for a period of 40 years—here equated with the MB IIA period, or the last portion of it (Judges 3:11).


Again they apostasised into idolatry, and soon a new spectre appeared on the horizon. A strong king of Moab began a conquest of Israel which brought him into control of at least the strategic central portion of the land. Eglon of Moab now rebuilt on the ruins of Jericho, ‘the city of palms’, a fortress capable of stationing 10,000 troops, and a palace (Judges 3:12-30).


 


This apparently was not a rebuilding of the old city which had been cursed by Joshua, later rebuilt by Hiel the Bethelite (1 Kings 16:34), but it was, nonetheless, the same site geographically.


Assisting him in this conquest naturally was Moab’s old sister nation Ammon. This is quite easy to accept. However, surprisingly, also in the raiding force was AMALEK (Judges 3:13). Now geographically Amalek was in the western Negev (see Genesis) 14:17, Numbers 13:29, Numbers 14:25, 1 Samuel 15:7, 27:8). The related Edomites were between Moab and Amalek, so the alliance does seem a little unusual ….


….


However, Amalek has a number of enigmatic statements made about it in the Scriptures (Numbers 24:20). Balaam says of Amalek that it was then ‘the first of the nations’ (first = Hebrew reshith—foremost). This is a truly incredible statement on first glance, but the same concept is supported by Balaam’s other comment about Agag, the Amalekite king. He said that Israel’s kingdom would be higher than Agag, and his kingdom exalted. In other words, the whole idea being conveyed was that Agag occupied a position of immense power (Numbers 24:7).


The implication of these statements is that Amalek was a power to be reckoned with, no longer just a fledgling nation, as before. It is with this in mind that the recent assertions of Velikovsky18 and Courville19 need to be perused. They were united in identifying Amalek with the ‘AMU’( = Hyksos) overlords of Egypt during the Second Intermediate period of that nation. Such an assertion would give weight to statements of scripture that imply an Amalekite nation was the foremost of the nations in Moses’ day. It would also bring meaning into Eglon’s call for help to Amalek for the subjugation of Israel. In fact, it would almost be a necessity for Moab to obtain Amalek’s blessing on her conquest of Israel in order to bear rule over what Amalek (the Hyksos rulers of Egypt) would regard as their sphere of rule. Eglon then would be a vassal ruler of the Amalekite/Hyksos over a subjugated Israel.


It is of interest to note that from this point in Israel’s history as the scriptures record it, Amalek is on the scene more consistently than any other nation in attack against Israel for the next 300 years, first assisting Eglon, then in association with Midian (Judges 6:3), and then in the days of King Saul and David (1 Samuel 15 and 1 Samuel 30).


Such an interval of time adds to the circumstantial weight of the identification of Amalek with the Amu, and the Hyksos, and this author accepts fully at least this part of the theses of Velikovsky18 and Courville19 (This is not, however, a blanket endorsement of other areas of their work.) Hereafter in this work I will assume the identification of Amalekite/Hyksos to be valid, although further discussion on this point will undoubtedly ensue. Taking the above premises, we would expect to find an MB IIB city at Jericho, of larger proportions than the old city (identified as EB III), evidence of a palace, and evidence of Hyksos rule. Furthermore, if we were able to differentiate Moabite culture from Israelite, we would also expect some evidence of Moabite culture in the MB IIB city.


 


Jericho MB IIB—A new fortress arises



 


Jericho was definitely rebuilt along different lines in the MB II period—larger than it was before. A regional similarity was also apparent as Garstang says:


 


This is indeed fairly clear, because the site lay more or less derelict thereafter for some time, perhaps a century, and when finally the city revived it is found to have been entirely replanned and reconstructed upon fresh lines, with a new and improved defensive system; while an entirely new culture, that of the Middle Bronze Age, replaced the old. Moreover the change was general, and it affected in similar fashion all the great cities on the highlands above the Jordan valley, Jericho nearest surviving neighbours; while many early settlements in and near the southern end of the Rift never revived at all” ….


 


 Garstang continues: It was during this period that Jericho, under the Hyksos regime attained its greatest extension and the height of its prosperity. The protected area was now about nine acres, which was nearly the size of contemporary Jerusalem.” ….


Jericho gave evidence of being a premium city at this time. It was most important to have a palace in the heart of the city—and that a most prominent one. Here in the revised chronology we suggest that this palace was, in fact, that of the Moabite King Eglon, vice regent to his Hyksos/Amalekite overlords of Egypt and the Negev.


 


In the heart of the City, on a peak of ground overlooking the spring, rose a royal palace, the most elaborate dwelling uncovered upon the site. The main block, which was square, crowned the highest part of the knoll, and it was surrounded at groundfloor level by a sort of roofed ambulatory, in which would be half-cellar store-rooms, offices, stables, etc., much as in the arcaded basements of many houses of the East to-day.” ….


 


Certainly the description of this palace fits the details of Judges 3:13 and 20–26, but Garstang continues: “The very proportions and solidarity of the palace building show that the ruler of Jericho at this period had attained both wealth and power; and the contents of the extensive store-rooms committed to his care seem to explain the source of his increased prestige.” ….


Moreover, it was during this period that Hyksos power was evident and strong, the many scarabs with the red crown of Lower Egypt pointed out by Kenyon … testifying to the hegemony of Jericho.


Garstang continues with his details of the Ruler of Jericho at this time:


 


He became in fact the chief of an important unit in the Hyksos organization. Associated with him as guardian of the Hyksos stores or ‘treasury’ was a resident official, whose title ‘Scribe of the Vezir’ appears upon scarab-signets and jar-sealings recovered from the store-rooms; the names of two persons who held this office were Senb. ef and Se. Ankh, both characteristic of this period.” ….


 


We emphasise our belief that this ruler was, in fact, Eglon of Moab.


It appears that although Eglon’s presence was removed from Jericho, some sort of Israelite presence persisted at the site, as witnessed by its occupation in the days of David’s reign (2 Samuel 10:5).


A new influence



 


A new influence now affected Palestine, producing the MB IIB culture (Albright nomenclature). The Khabur influence [Osgood had identified this culture with the incursion of Cushan-rishathaim, Judges 3:8] had come briefly and then gone, not being the sort of influence that one attributes to an ethnic movement of people, but eminently in the style of a conquest introduction. The main item of that influence was, in fact, a storage jar which would be suitable for grain or wine.


The new culture was a continuation of the main body of cultural tradition, but gone was the Khabur influence, and a new pottery tradition came, known as the Tell el-Yahudiyeh ware.


 


A close analysis of MB IIA and B–C pottery shows many differences between the two periods, but a definite continuity of form and decoration can undoubtedly be observed.” ….


 


The Tell el-Yahudiyeh pottery was not totally new to the MB IIB but was present already to a small extent in the MB I. However, its popularity peaked in MB IIB then continued into MB IIC, finally to leave a remnant in the LB I (Late Bronze I). ….


This ware appears to have been produced in Palestine, some exported to Cyprus, Egypt and north into Phoenicia, but its centre was in Palestine (assumed by current thinking to be CANAANITE, but by this revised chronology it would almost certainly be Israelite). ….


Despite the difference that is generally assumed between MB I and the MB IIA–C pottery, it is not inconceivable that the Tell el-Yahudiyeh decorations on the juglets which form the distinctive feature, were ultimately conceived from the very features already inherent in the MB I; viz, incisions and ‘notches’ in the MB I pottery made by a comb or fork,29 and ‘punctured decoration’ and ‘designs delineated by grooves’ also reminiscent of the use of comb or fork, in MB IIB Tell el-Yahudiyeh ware. ….


Considering the general features of the MB I to MB IIA–C sequence, there is every reason to believe that what we are seeing was the ongoing development of the early Israelite pottery tradition.


Moreover, the pottery of MB I Palestine shows at least some affinity with the late 12th Dynasty of Egypt, which is of course, what we would expect if the MB I to MB IIA to MB IIB–C sequence is postulated as Israelite. As Kenyon says:


 


As a result, the royal tombs at Byblos can be closely dated by Egyptian objects. In tombs of the period of Amenemhet III and IV (second half 19th–beginning 18th centuries BC) there appears pottery which is very close to this new pottery in Palestine. Moreover, on a number of other sites in coastal Syria we find the same kind of pottery, and it is clear that part at least of the new population of Palestine must have come from this area.”31 (emphasis ours)”


 


Dr. Osgood continues with his discussion of Eglon of Moab, as a governor on behalf of Amalek (= the Hyksos), ruling a Middle Bronze IIB Jericho:


 


“From the point of discussion of the new influence in Palestine in the MB IIB, the most significant features are those which point to a significant Hyksos influence in the land; and this is considerable.


As Amiram has said: “The correspondence of MB IIB to the Hyksos Dynasties in Egypt is also established with a fair measure of certainty and is generally accepted.”….


With this statement I would make no objection, only with the question of who the Hyksos were would we differ. It follows that if the chronology here espoused is the correct view, then the generally held view on Hyksos origins must fall and be replaced by one which conforms to the scriptural details—the Hyksos would be the biblical Amalekites, found in the area of the Negev, mainly in the west, south of the Wadi Besor, then extending their influence into Egypt. Much that has been called Hyksos in Palestine would in fact be Israelite, but showing evidence of Amalekite hegemony, by scarabs and similar artifacts. Such intricacies of interpretation do not come freely with the sole use of archaeological evidence, but demands a basic framework of hypothesis against which to evaluate the findings. This the biblical record provides.


The major change of influence in Palestine in the MB IIB–C period was to the Hyksos influence. This influence was found, to judge by the scarab evidence, mainly in the area of Palestine south of the Carmel Ridge, a geographic fact worthy of note.


In my earlier discussion on the details of the servitude under the Midianites and Amalekites and their subsequent deliverance under Gideon,33 particular attention was paid to the evidence that this servitude was confined to Israel south of the Carmel Ridge. As soon as the northern deliverance from Jabin’s yoke had been completed, the Midianites and Amalekites moved over the Carmel range to fill the political vacuum, but were quickly defeated by Gideon.


 


Likewise, it was pointed out that the song of Deborah testified to a presence of Amalek in some sort of controlling influence in the area of Ephraim during the time of Jabin’s rule in the north. The later part of this period, however, was seen to be contemporary with the Midianite/ Amalekite rule in the south ….


….


Also, it was reasoned that Eglon’s (Moab) rule was with the influence of Amalek.


Thus I am suggesting that the Amalekites of the Bible must be seen to be the same as the Hyksos who ruled over Egypt.


When all the above reasoning is brought together, it becomes apparent that the distribution of the Hyksos artifacts (as here defined by the scrabs) occupied exactly this distribution geographically, and no other. And as this period in the biblical record Eglon and onward corresponds most particularly to the MB IIB–C period on my revised Archaeological Table, the possible correctness of the revised chronology is upheld.


 


Most interesting is the fact that Hyksos royal-name scarabs and sealings have not been discovered at sites in the Galilee, the Huleh Valley, Lebanon, or Syria.”….


 


And again: “Only one Hyksos royal-name scarab and but a handful of contemporary private name-and-title scarabs have been found north of the Carmel Ridge.”….


Weinstein then argues that the principal centres of Hyksos power in Palestine were in the southern and inland regions south of the plain of Esdraelon. He concludes that the Hyksos were in fact simply southern and inland Palestinian princes.


Against the revised chronology here presented it becomes apparent that the Hyksos were in fact the Amalekites of the southern and western portion of Palestine, viz, the Negev, and that during the MB IIB–C period of Palestine they not only controlled Lower Egypt, but extended their influence up to the Carmel Ridge with the help of firstly Moab under Eglon, who ruled from Jericho on their behalf ….


As for the names and order of the Hyksos kings of the 15th and 16th Dynasties who were so involved, their details are in great confusion still. The whole question of the Hyksos is a confused question, with hardly any authority agreeing with the next on details of even the place of the individual kings in the scheme of the period. We need, however, to remind ourselves of the fate of the Amalekite nation, Exodus 17:14 records that God said He would “blot out the remembrance of Amalek from under heaven”.”


 


Book of Ruth


 


The Chronology of Judges solved!” article has located the story of Ruth to this same period: “The book of Ruth coincides with Ehud’s liberation of Eglon, king of Moab and the story of Benjamin's sodomy of Judges 19-21”.


 


Matthew the Evangelist has linked Ruth very close to Rahab, both as ancestresses of David  (1:5-6):


…. Salmon the father of Boaz, whose mother was Rahab,


Boaz the father of Obed, whose mother was Ruth,


Obed the father of Jesse,


and Jesse the father of King David.


 


For Deuteronomical reasons that we have already given about the foreign Rahab the prostitute (not the Rahab of Matthew’s Genealogy), Ruth of the Judges era could not plausibly have been ethnically a Moabitess (see e.g., Deuteronomy 23:3 and argument below by Richard Fix).


No more could Achior of the Book of Judith have been ethnically an Ammonite.


Ruth was geographically, only, a Moabitess.


Now here is some discrimination: Whilst Ruth, a woman, apparently gets away with her supposedly being a Moabitess, Achior (as we shall discuss later), a male, does not.


 


Richard Fix well explains the proper situation, in his article: “The Story of Ruth the Israelite!?http://www.israelofgod.org/ruth.htm


 


“Have you been taught that the Moabitess Ruth, the daughter-in-law of Naomi, was a Moabite? Yes, that is the question, it is neither intended as jocular nor facetious, although it may well be rhetorical.


Ruth 1:4 And they took them wives of the women of Moab; the name of the one was Orpah, and the name of the other Ruth: and they dwelled there about ten years.


In the first chapter of the book of Ruth it appears to be quite clear that Ruth and her sister Orpah were Moabite by descent or lineage.


Ruth 1:1 ¶ Now it came to pass in the days when the judges ruled, that there was a famine in the land. And a certain man of Bethlehemjudah went to sojourn in the country of Moab, he, and his wife, and his two sons.


Further, as we can see in the above verse, Naomi, with her husband and sons, went to sojourn “in the country of Moab.” Now, if we stop here, we got about as far into this matter as the traditional scholars, theologians, biblical historians, and the vast masses of people who look to the bible as the word of God. By stopping here we are doing what so many do with the bible and in bible study, we take what appears to be “obvious” and indisputable as fact, then either ignore or find it imperative to “explain away” the contradictions within scripture created by our newly created “fact.”


What contradictions are we referring to? Glad you asked. For just one (there are several):


Deut. 23:3 An Ammonite or Moabite shall not enter into the congregation of the LORD; even to their tenth generation shall they not enter into the congregation of the LORD for ever:


While “forever” in the Hebrew does not mean for the rest of eternity, it does mean so far into the future as to be impossible to “see” (or foresee from that vantage point). Thus, the expression, “even to their tenth generation” is not literally specific, but an idiom meaning that they can forget it, it won’t happen. So, the difficulty in justifying the two positions- (1) that Ruth was a Moabite by lineage, and (2) Naomi’s sons, as well as Boaz, would marry a Moabite and not only bring her into the “camp,” but in turn bring her into the line of David and Jesus (Yeshua), is in stark contrast with Deut. 23:3 and what a God-fearing Israelite would possibly do, especially when we consider what God had to say about such actions, not just in this time frame, but even in the time of Ezra. It then makes God look incompetent or extremely forgetful in His old age, or maybe God is just double-minded? Not to mention that this all transpires little more than a century after God declared His stand concerning this very matter to Israel in Deut. 23 above.


Or, is it possible, just asking mind you, is it possible that we may not yet have enough information to determine whether our “understanding” of Ruth’s heritage is biblically sound or correct? Should we not presume that in a circumstance wherein we find either, (1) our understanding is contradictory to some or all scripture, or (2) that it “appears” that the bible is contradicting itself, that we are the ones who are missing information necessary to eliminate such apparent contradictions? Let’s see if we can find out what is what- biblically.


You can do your own in-depth study, but just to present the minimum necessary to unravel this apparent contradiction let’s first begin by retracing the trail of Israel on their way out of the wilderness and into the Promised Land. We pick up the travels in Numbers 21.


Numbers 21:13 From thence they (Israel) removed, and pitched on the other side (north of) of Arnon (an east-west river), which is in the wilderness that cometh out of the coasts of the Amorites: for Arnon is the border of Moab, between Moab and the Amorites.


OK, note that Israel crossed the Arnon and left the nation of Moab behind them, thus now entering into the land of the Amorites. By the way, the Amorites are not Ammonites. Ammon and Moab are brother tribes or nations and related to Abraham, and thus Israel, through Lot, but Amorites were, at least generally speaking, Canaanite.


What happened next?


Numbers 21:21 ¶ And Israel sent messengers unto Sihon king of the Amorites, saying,


22 Let me pass through thy land: we will not turn into the fields, or into the vineyards; we will not drink of the waters of the well: but we will go along by the king’s high way, until we be past thy borders.


23 And Sihon would not suffer Israel to pass through his border: but Sihon gathered all his people together, and went out against Israel into the wilderness: and he came to Jahaz, and fought against Israel.


24 And Israel smote him with the edge of the sword, and possessed his land from Arnon unto Jabbok, even unto the children of Ammon (Ammonites were to the east of Amorites): for the border of the children of Ammon was strong.


25 And Israel took all these cities: and Israel dwelt in all the cities of the Amorites, in Heshbon, and in all the villages thereof.


26 For Heshbon was the city of Sihon the king of the Amorites, who had fought against the former king of Moab, and taken all his land out of his hand, even unto Arnon.


Now we see that Israel conquered and occupied the Amorite land from the river Jabbok (an east to west tributary of the Jordan and is north of the Dead Sea) and fully eastward to the border of the Ammonites, again, related to Moab.


So, for the land between the river Jordan and the Dead Sea on the west and the border of Ammon on the east, plus the land north of Arnon all the way to the river Jabbok, was now owned and operated by Israel and their to do with as they pleased.


Side note: It is vital to make notice that this describes the borders and nations at the time being discussed. Earlier in history the nation of Moab did “occupy” or possess land north of the Arnon- all the way to Jabbok, but they lost possession of that territory prior to the Israelites appearance and as such, Moab’s northern border was the Arnon when God told Israel to “by-pass” them (Moab). To further clarify what we have just covered we can read from Deut 2 below.


Deut. 2:34 And we took all his cities at that time, and utterly destroyed the men, and the women, and the little ones, of every city, we left none to remain:


35 Only the cattle we took for a prey unto ourselves, and the spoil of the cities which we took.


36 From Aroer, which is by the brink of the river of Arnon, and from the city that is by the river, even unto Gilead, there was not one city too strong for us: the LORD our God delivered all unto us:


37 Only unto the land of the children of Ammon thou camest not, nor unto any place of the river Jabbok, nor unto the cities in the mountains, nor unto whatsoever the LORD our God forbad us.


Just what did some Israelites think of this newly possessed land that was “east” of Jordan?


Numbers 32:1 ¶ Now the children of Reuben and the children of Gad had a very great multitude of cattle: and when they saw the land of Jazer, and the land of Gilead, that, behold, the place was a place for cattle;


2 The children of Gad and the children of Reuben came and spake unto Moses, and to Eleazar the priest, and unto the princes of the congregation, saying,


3 Ataroth, and Dibon, and Jazer, and Nimrah, and Heshbon, and Elealeh, and Shebam, and Nebo, and Beon,


4 Even the country which the LORD smote before the congregation of Israel, is a land for cattle, and thy servants have cattle:


5 Wherefore, said they, if we have found grace in thy sight, let this land be given unto thy servants for a possession, and bring us not over Jordan.


The short story is that Moses and God agreed to let Reuben and Gad and half of Manasseh possess the newly possessed lands east of Jordan so long as they helped the rest of Israel conquer the lands west of Jordan.


Joshua 13 also confirms for us that Reuben, Gad and the half tribe of Manasseh received for their inheritance this land east of Jordan. The half tribe of Manasseh possessed the land of Bashan, to the north of the land of the formerly Amorite land. This area also included the eastern shore of the Sea of Galilee and the east bank of the Jordan river northward to (at that time) the land of the Hittites.


But, where again did Israel cross the Jordan and enter into the land west? We all know the story of Jericho, but who recalls where it was, or what the area was called where Israel camped immediately prior to their siege of Jericho?


Numbers 33:48 And they departed from the mountains of Abarim, and pitched in the plains of Moab by Jordan near Jericho.


49 And they pitched by Jordan, from Bethjesimoth even unto Abelshittim in the plains of Moab.


50 ¶ And the LORD spake unto Moses in the plains of Moab by Jordan near Jericho, saying,


51 Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, When ye are passed over Jordan into the land of Canaan;


From this we can note that the “plains of Moab” are not in Moab! They may certainly have once been “in” Moab, but at the time of the entrance into the Promised land, the Moabites all lived well to the south, and their northern national border was the river Arnon, which the Israelites had already passed over to eventually arrive at the embarkation point in the “plains of Moab” for their march forward to Jericho.


We should also note that as a matter of course and history, 1 Chronicles 5 shows that this conquered and possessed land stayed in Reuben’s, Gad’s, and the half tribe of Manasseh’s control until Assyria took them away captive some 700 years later, Manasseh being in Bashan to the north of the Plains of Moab.


One might now ask, “So, what’s the big deal? This still does not prove Ruth was not a Moabite by race.” Well, not in itself, and not yet, but we do have more to consider as previously stated. There is still more to the story. Remember this?


Deut. 23:3 An Ammonite or Moabite shall not enter into the congregation of the LORD; even to their tenth generation shall they not enter into the congregation of the LORD for ever:


 


The Problems



 


  1. How could a law abiding Israelite, whether Mahlon or Boaz, legally marry a Moabite?


  1. How can we circumvent Deut 23:3 in order to accept the actions of Mahlon, Elimelech, Naomi, and later Boaz to let Ruth become a part of their family by law and bring her into Israel?


  1. The women of Israel welcomed Ruth into the “family” in Ruth 4:11 … The LORD make the woman that is come into thine house like Rachel and like Leah, which two did build the house of Israel: and do thou worthily in Ephratah, and be famous in Bethlehem:


  1. If Ruth was a Moabite by race, why would there be such attention to detail concerning the law of redemption by Naomi, Boaz, and the “near-kinsman” more near than Boaz? It would all have been performed in complete opposition to the very law being invoked to settle the issue being settled!


  1. Judah’s eldest two sons were slain by God, Er for his wickedness and Onan for his disrespect for the very law Boaz invokes to accomplish his goal to marry Ruth. Now Er and Onan were both from a Canaanite mother, the first wife of Judah. Point being, God slew Onan for not obeying a part of the very law that Mehlon and Boaz would likewise have been guilty of breaking had Ruth really been Moabite.


 



The Solutions





 


We should closely take notice that in Numbers 25 we see the direct result of breaking the law. Are we to believe that later on this law is “suspended” for Mahlon and then Boaz, which would also mean it was suspended for Naomi, her husband, and all who welcomed Ruth into Judah? Considering the death of 23,000 Israelites that resulted from their law breaking, might it be somewhat still in the memory and history of Naomi, her husband, her sons, and Boaz and even his near kin?


Therefore, let’s look a little closer at what is really stated in the book of Ruth.


Ruth 1:1 ¶ Now it came to pass in the days when the judges ruled, that there was a famine in the land. And a certain man of Bethlehemjudah went to sojourn in the country of Moab, he, and his wife, and his two sons.


First of all, the use of the word “country” must be understood both by definition and also by context. The Hebrew word translated to “country” here is one that simply means or refers to “the country” as in a rural area or field, not a “nation.” For one example we can look at:


1Sa 27:5 And David said unto Achish, If I have now found grace in thine eyes, let them give me a place in some town in the country <07704>, that I may dwell there: for why should thy servant dwell in the royal city with thee?


Notice that the “town” is “in” the country, as opposed to a major city in a metropolitan area. As a result of this we now have absolutely no reason to assume that “the country of Moab” was “the nation of Moab.” Nor do we have any reason to claim that the “plains of Moab” were “in” the nation of Moab, the location of which we previously addressed.


Next, we can note that the time period is one where-in Israel’s tribes were not yet unified into a Federalist single nation or kingship, but were independently ruled by judges, each with jurisdiction in their own tribe and not beyond or overlapping into other tribes.


Continuing, we see that Naomi’s husband was from Judah, and a town called Bethlehem. You may have heard of this town before? Thus, Naomi, her husband and her sons, were Israelites of the tribe of Judah, and in the land of Judah.


Putting this all together, with what we have so far, leaves us with Naomi and her family escaping the famine by traveling to a place identified as “the fields of Moab,” which then equates better to “the plains of Moab,” which were in Reubenite and Gadite possession and inheritance. Thus, Ruth, in the land of her nativity (Ruth 2:11), was either Reubenite or Gadite.


But Wait! There’s More!



 


One more “problem” to solve! Was Ruth and her sister a pagan worshipper, or a worshipper of the One True God?



 


A funny thing happened on the way to English from the Hebrew. We, in English, have a culture or cultural thinking that “god,” from the Hebrew word “elohiym,” must always refer to a deity of some sort, whether real or imagined (pagan, etc.). Thus, we can only perceive “elohiym” as either the God, or a “god” (as in false “god”). However, the facts are that “elohiym” can, and often is, used to identify a human being, too! Please do your own research on this if you wish. You may also peruse a number of the related articles on the Israel of God website (www.israelofgod.org) that relate to the use of “elohiym” in the bible.


What happens if we now put everything into the newly understood context- one that has no biblical contradictions and complies with the stated law of God?


Ruth 1:15 And she said, Behold, thy sister in law is gone back unto her people, and unto her gods: return thou after thy sister in law.


16 And Ruth said, Intreat me not to leave thee, or to return from following after thee: for whither thou goest, I will go; and where thou lodgest, I will lodge: thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God:


17 Where thou diest, will I die, and there will I be buried: the LORD do so to me, and more also, if ought but death part thee and me.


Now, finally, we can see that what the translators created in error is solved and resolved in truth. The references to “elohiym” in verses 15 and 16 are addressing their respective governments of the day, their “Judges”, who were known as “elohiym”. The “capitalization” of “G” in God in verse 16 is a translators doing, not the Hebrew’s.


The “her people” was either Reuben or Gad, and the “my people” was Judah. The “her gods” was simply the judges in Reuben or Gad, and the “thy God my God,” becomes “your judges my judges.” Now, the additional comment by Ruth in verse 17 makes even more sense as she invokes the name of the “G”od of Israel, Yahweh, something not likely by an alien, but totally expected from a law abiding Israelite”.


 


The great women of the Old Testament, such as Sarah, Judith (Catholic Bible), Esther and Ruth, are types of the Blessed Virgin Mary: for example, Judith, of the Immaculate Conception; Esther, of Our Lady of the Rosary at Fatima (emphasis on the 13th day).


I have already said something about this, and shall continue to do so.




 


“Ruth, the "Moabitess"


 


This humble and generous woman, who had the courage to leave her own country to follow the pious Naomi, her sister-in-law, ended, according to the designs of providence, by becoming the wife of Boaz, and therefore mother of Obed, the grandmother of King David, for which reason she is mentioned in the genealogy of Christ ….


 


She prefigures Mary in this, that Mary as a child was also consecrated to God and enclosed in the Temple, far from her home and from her parents. There she prepared to become, according to the inscrutable designs of God, Spouse of the Holy Spirit, in order to beget the Messiah, Redeemer of the human race.


 


Ruth is introduced to Boaz as a humble maiden, and hence was chosen by him as wife, thus becoming "the woman who prepares the way to the Messiah" …. Similarly, Mary concludes her conversation with the Angel Gabriel at the Annunciation by proclaiming herself "handmaid" of God, chosen by him to be the Spouse of the Holy Spirit and to cooperate in the work of the redemptive Incarnation of the Word of God.


 


Ruth is customarily depicted with sheaves of corn on her arm, as she gleans behind the reapers. In this as well she prefigures Our Lady, who gathers graces and prayers to assist the most desperate and needy. Fr. Mauri writes: "The Fathers of the Church agree in affirming that Ruth, who gleans the corn left behind by the reapers, is a figure of Mary who gathers to herself and brings to God the souls even of the most abandoned and desperate sinners" …”.