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Exodus Decoded
Posted: 27 May 2010 08:15 PM   [ Ignore ]
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A while back I was made aware of a documentary that claimed to have

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Posted: 27 May 2010 08:15 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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The transcript begins with Jacobovici narrating.

In the last scenes of a very famous movie, the lost Ark of the Covenant

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Posted: 27 May 2010 08:17 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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Incredibly, the Ahmose stele is covered in hieroglyphic inscriptions that mirror the Biblical tale.

Actually, it is covered in hieroglyphics that don’t have any real similarity to the Biblical tale at all.

The Tempest Stele of Ahmose (to distinguish it from the other steles of Ahmose) describes the great god Amun (Ahmose’s personal patron deity) and the other gods being unhappy with the disrepair that their temples had fallen into.  And so they cause a flood, in order to express their disapproval.  There is lots of rain and darkness.  The flood gets beyond the gods’ control, however, and ends up causing lots of destruction and death (for the Egyptians, as with many people of the time, the gods were basically just as fallible as people are; the main difference between men and gods was that the latter lived longer and had more influence on nature).  Ahmose floated around in a boat surveying the damage to the temples and things.  When the flooding ended, he got to work rebuilding the damage.

In the Biblical tale, a Hebrew who had been raised as royalty by the pharaoh learns of his true identity and runs away.  He is charged by God to return and lead the Hebrews out of Egypt.  He goes back and confronts the pharaoh.  There are plagues of water turning to blood, of frogs, of lice or mosquitoes or something similar (translations differ), of flies, of livestock dying, of boils, of hail and fire, of locusts, of darkness, and of the death of every firstborn male.  The pharaoh lets the Israelites go, then follows after them.  Moses parts the sea and the Israelites cross; when the Egyptians start to follow, the sea closes on them.

So the three similarities in the stories are that there was a big storm (after the temples fell into disrepair according to the stele, and during the seventh plague—the one of hail—according to the Bible), that there is some period of darkness in each (during a storm according to the stele, and for three days during the ninth plague according to the Bible), and that there were people drowned in each (during the river’s flooding of the city according to the stele, and in the middle of a sea according to the Bible).  So not only is the similarity incredibly minor and generic, it is also applied to totally different scenarios in each.  There is exactly as much similarity between Exodus and the stele as there is between Exodus and The Perfect Storm.  Does that mean that the story of Exodus and the book or movie The Perfect Storm describe the same event?  And the differences between the text of the stele and the story of Exodus are extreme and irreconcilable.

There’s also the possibility that the story on the stele is largely metaphorical, too.  There were examples through the period of the Hyksos’ rule of Egypt of Egyptians comparing the Hyksos and their rule to a

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Posted: 27 May 2010 08:17 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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Today it lies abandoned in the basement of the Cairo Museum, and all our attempts to get access to it were unsuccessful.  So using Chevalier’s published description, we reconstructed the stele and got one of the world’s leading Egyptologists to comment on it.

PROF. DONALD REDFORD, PENNSYLVANIA STATE UNIVERSITY:

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Posted: 27 May 2010 08:18 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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And now that we know who he is, maybe it’s time that we met him.

This is the Cairo Museum, home to some of the most famous mummies ever unearthed.  We came here in search of pharaoh Ahmose, the man who we believe is the pharaoh of the Exodus.  At first, we couldn’t locate him, but we did locate his father Seqenenre Tao II.  If we are right, this is one of the pharaohs who oppressed the Israelites.

Later on, Jacobovici makes the claim that the Hyksos were really the Israelites.  Now, seeing as how Seqenenre Tao II was not the pharaoh of Egypt but was rather the pharaoh of Thebes, and that Thebes was a sort of vassal state to Hyksos-ruled Egypt (and we know all of this from various records and official correspondences and the like, so it’s not just a guess), how exactly does it follow that Seqenenre Tao II oppressed the Israelites?

According to most scholars, his skull had been crushed by enemy axes.  Perhaps those enemies were Israelites smashing his mummy as they left on the Exodus.

Or perhaps, seeing as how the axe hitting him in the head combined with the spear stabbing him in the throat were what actually killed him rather than something that happened to his mummy, maybe a slightly more realistic supposition would be that he died in one of the many battles he was fighting against the Hyksos.  Just a thought. . .

We continued on our search for Ahmose.  It was hard to locate him, because he had been sort of misfiled.  But we did locate one of his two wives under some debris in one of the museum’s workshops.  According to our calculations, this somewhat discarded glass coffin contains the mummy of a woman whose husband contended with Moses and hardened his heart to God Himself.

Well, technically God hardened the pharaoh’s heart to God Himself.  According to the Bible.

At last we located pharaoh Ahmose.  Here is the man who confronted Moses.  Could it be that Ahmose’s father remembered the Israelite prince he grew up with, and when he gave his son his Egyptian name Ahmose,

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Posted: 27 May 2010 08:18 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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No-one has ever been allowed to film at Avaris.  To get there, we needed the cooperation of the Egyptian authorities.  They’re concerned that in the volatile Middle East the discovery of Biblical artefacts will somehow strengthen modern Israel’s claims in the area.  As a result, the Exodus is a touchy subject in Egypt today.  So we didn’t mention Moses, and we stressed that we were interested in pharaoh Ahmose and the Hyksos he drove out of Egypt.  After months of negotiations, we’re finally given permits to shoot at Avaris.

The Egyptians aren’t actually touchy about it.  Most Egyptians are either not religious (in which case they don’t care about Exodus) or else are Muslim (in which case they’d be delighted by evidence showing that the Book of Exodus was true).  The Egyptians are touchy, however, about people wandering around with cameras.  Then there’s the matter that Avaris is a big and important archaeological site; not only is having tourists and people with cameras wander through it something that would cause problems, but also most archaeologists don’t really like having stuff about their sites published until the archaeologists themselves have the information all neatly wrapped up and ready to publish for themselves.

This is Avaris, a walled city dominated by palaces.  3500 years ago it was surrounded by branches of the Nile.  Avaris was discovered by professor Manfred Bietak of the University of Vienna.

No, by Labib Habachi.  Bietak was about one year old when Habachi went there, did some excavating, and said,

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Posted: 27 May 2010 08:19 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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If the Hyksos Expulsion and the Biblical Exodus are really one and the same event, then perhaps we can find the long sought-after proof of the Biblical Exodus during the Hyksos period.

But most scholars say the Hyksos and the Israelites cannot be equated because the Hyksos left Egypt hundreds of years before Moses was born.  These scholars also say that the chronology of ancient Egypt cannot be tampered with.

PROF. WILLIAM DEVER, UNIVERSITY OF ARIZONA:

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Posted: 27 May 2010 08:19 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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But some scholars are now breaking with that consensus.

PROF. JOHN BIMSON, TRINITY COLLEGE:

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Posted: 27 May 2010 08:20 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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400 kilometers south of Avaris is the tomb at Beni Hasan.  It dates to 1700 BCE.

The tombs at Beni Hasan.  Plural.  It’s an entire cemetery, with at least 39 individual tombs dating from the 21st to the 17th Centuries BCE.

Because no-one has looked for evidence of the Exodus in this period, the tomb has never been linked to the Biblical story.  And yet there is a perfectly preserved wall painting here that records an ancient migration into Egypt from the area of modern Israel.  As in the Bible, the scene involves bearded Semites riding donkeys and bringing their families and their flocks into Egypt.  Like the Biblical Israelites, they are wearing multicoloured tunics.  The hieroglyphic inscription on this wall calls these people the Amo, God’s people.

What he shows there is the tomb of Khnumhotep II, a tomb at Beni Hasan from the 19th Century BCE, not from the end of the 18th Century BCE as Jacobovici states.  And the pictures on the walls are a biography of Khnumhotep’s life. . .with incredibly detailed descriptions of what the scenes are depicting.  The

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Posted: 27 May 2010 08:20 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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PROF. MANFRED BIETAK:

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Posted: 27 May 2010 08:21 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
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Now that we’ve found hard evidence for the arrival of the Israelites in Egypt and their rise to power,

The evidence brought up by Jacobovici so far:

1)  One single artefact from Ahmose I’s reign, the Tempest Stele,  mentions a storm and flood, and the Bible mentions a storm and flood.  The storm and flood happen in different ways in each text, though, and the texts are totally different in all other ways.  So it must be the same story.

2)  The Tempest Stele refers to multiple gods and a specific Egyptian god, while the Israelites in the Bible worshiped a single god.  Therefore, the god that had long been Ahmose’s patron god must have later been a different god that he didn’t know about and that was worshiped by the Israelites.

3)  The names of pharaoh Ahmose and of Moses don’t have much in common, phonetically, so Ahmose might have been named after Moses.

4)  The story of Egyptian Ahmose I of Thebes fighting a war against the ruling Hyksos and driving them out of Egypt is not much like the story of a bunch of Israelite slaves fleeing from their Egyptian oppressors, so it must be the same story.

5)  A professor who says that the Hyksos were not the Israelites and that the Hyksos Expulsion was not the Exodus says that the Exodus happened at least 55 years after the Hyksos Expulsion, therefore the Hyksos must have been the Israelites and the Hyksos Expulsion must have been the Exodus and they must both have happened at a time when the Hyksos Expulsion couldn’t have happened at when the professor says the Exodus didn’t happen.

6)  A tomb that isn’t from the time Jacobovici says it is from has pictures of events that are not of what Jacobovici says they are that don’t mention a specific word that Jacobovici has mistranslated, which means that the tomb doesn’t match the events at the start of a time period of a duration which Jacobovici has miscalculated.

7)  Royal seals with the name of a Hyksos king have been found in Avaris, just as they have been found all over north-east Africa.  Since part of the name on the seals is a name that is incredibly common all over the Middle East during that time period, it must be the seal of somebody who wasn’t a king and whose name is not actually on the seal but who was related to a guy whose name is similar but not quite the same as the name that is on the seal.

Hard evidence?  Also, let’s consider that Jacobovici considers the Hyksos and the Biblical Israelites to be the same people, even though it is absolutely known that the Hyksos were a people who took over Egypt and oppressed the Egyptians while the Bible states that the Israelites were enslaved by the Egyptians.

we went searching for archaeological proof of their downfall and the slavery that led to the Exodus.  In search of the evidence, we had to travel to a place called Serabit el-Khadem, 400 kilometers south of the Nile delta into the Sinai Desert.

Infobreak time!

Serabit el-Khadem is a mountain near the coast of the Sinai Peninsula, about halfway down the Gulf of Suez.  Back well before the time period we are dealing with here the place was a major mining center for the Egyptians.  They mined copper and turquoise, and often used Asiatic prisoners of war as slave labour.  They also built a rather massive temple to the Egyptian goddess Hathor on the site.

For thousands of years, Egyptians mined turquoise in this area.  Often they used slave labour.  The ancient turquoise mines are off the beaten tourist track.  The only ones who know their way in this area are the Bedouins who still live at the foot of the mines.  We got here, paid our respects to the local sheik, and recruited one of his sons to show us the way.

We learned of this place from old papers published in obscure journals.

Here he’s trying to make it sound as though the area is largely unknown and forgotten, and that nobody has bothered to publish anything about it for a long long time and that what was published is ignored.  This simply isn’t true, though.  For one thing, while it isn’t a major tourist site it is still a popular ones; the Bedouins there are actually subsidized by the government to act as tour-guides.

And you don’t need to look in

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Posted: 27 May 2010 08:22 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
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We came here to find proof of the slaves who Moses led to freedom.  But even if we found evidence for the presence of slaves, how could we be sure that they were Israelites?  The Bible provides us with two clues.  First, the followers of Moses did not use hieroglyphic writing like the Egyptians.

The Bible says absolutely nothing at all one way or another about how the followers of Moses wrote.  Perhaps there is some Talmudic tradition, but if so I’m not aware of it.

Rather, the Biblical tradition states that they used an early form of alphabetic writing.  Also, the Israelites did not worship Egyptian gods, but a single god that the Bible calls

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