Science and The Bible
The Exodus Part 2
Knowing that the Israelites
were not in Egypt for 400 years,it becomes necessary to rethink the
dating of the events surrounding the Exodus.Historians have used the
Biblical passages,pertaining to Ramesses as a guideline.They have
placed his reign in the 13th century b.c.,and so the Exodus.It has
been popular opinion that Ramesses the Great was also a great
builder,and therefore he must have been the Ramesses of the Bible.Any
later Ramesses would place the Exodus,much too late.Since first
releasing their theory, however,it has been discovered that not only
was Ramesses not the only prolific builder of that era,He also had
the habit of chiseling out predecessors names on monuments,and
replacing them with his own.He had given himself credit for many
building projects,that had been completed,sometimes centuries
The city that the Bible refers to as Pi-Ramesses,according to Archaeologists,was in existence even before Abraham saw Egypt.Known as Aviris,it was used as a refugee city for Bedouins,who also gave the area it's name.Later called Geshem Arabias,(Arabian District),it was earlier known as Kesem,or as the Isrealites called it,Goshen.The area was taken over by the Hyksos,and Aviris was used as their capitol city.They rebuilt much of the city,but according to one Egyptian Queen,let the shrines go to ruin.They were most likely there when Joseph was carried to Egypt,possibly to the city of Aviris.The Bible made a point to show that Potifer was an Egyptian.as if the point needed to be made.When the Hyksos were ousted in 1550 b.c.,the Pharaoh that did not know Joseph was an Egyptian ruler of Upper Egypt,known as Ahmose.
Ahmose also took the same God name as Ramesses,that is Re and Amon.His name could have just as easily been pronounced Re-Amesses.Since He was King around the time Moses would have been born,he was most likely one who placed the Isrealites in forced labor.He also rebuilt much of the city,destroyed in the battle,and added onto it.It would have been referred to by Per-Ra-Ahmoses,or the city of Ra-Ahmoses.The Hebrew word Pi comes from the Egyptian word per,which according to different translations can mean either city or big house.It was common practice to rename a capital city after the last Pharoah who had completed renovations on it.It would not have been necessary for Ramesses the Great to have built a city to have his name attached to it,especially since He was as archaeologists have, dubed him, “the great chiseler”.In many cases,the actual name of a King,or the name most used,was not the one that history gives us.The names Re-Ahmose,and Ramesses(Re-Ahmesses)are interchangeable,and could have very well been spelled the same by Egyptians.History books give us only the spelling that Archaeologists have decided is correctional is not to say they are wrong,only that they normally have only one interpretation.The name Thutmosses,for instance,has been written by Egyptians and ancient historians has Tutimouse,Thomesses,Thom,Thutimaous,which gives skeptics the opportunity to make the claim that they are different kings.
Placing the birth of Moses around 1550.b.c. would not be consistent with history,but it would be with the Bible.According to Exodus he was eighty when he left Egypt,placing it around 1470,over 200 years earlier than,we have been led to believe.It would also place Abraham entering Canaan around 1900 b.c. which is close to historical dating. History has also told us that there is no historical evidence to support an Exodus date earlier that the 13th century b.c.,but,if we look at events without a preset notion,we can find that evidence.One of them came from across the Mediterranean Sea,in the Greek Isles.It was in the form of a volcano,from the island of Thera,now known as Santorini.Archologists have estimated the eruption rose as high as 70 miles,which would have been felt,and seen 500 miles away in the Nile delta of Egypt.The dating for the eruption has been controversial,but by the majority has been set at 1458 b.c.It has also been shown from interviews and close study that a volcanic eruption can cause many of the effects described in the Biblical plagues.In most cases,prior to the eruption,insects as well as animals will swarm.There have been cases of attacks on humans
At the time of the eruption,rivers and lakes have been known to churn and turn blood red.An eruption of the magnitude of Thera,would have shaken the ground as far away as Egypt.Another result of an eruption is the drifting ash cloud,which can block out the sun for days.Witnesses have told of thunder and lightening inside the clouds,as well as falling ash,blistering humans and animals alike.At night the hot cinders can produce an ominous glow.From the direction we are told the cloud drifted,it would have been carried over the eastern edge of the Nile Delta,sparing much of the area.One phenomenon of an eruption,especially if it collapses,as archaeologists know Thera did,is the tsunami.As it falls in on itself,it creates waves that,as they build up,they pull water away from the shore.Witnesses have told of seeing the foundations of the earth,as the water was being pulled out.Sometimes the bottom of oceans and seas can be seen for miles from the coast.It’s as if the water disappeared.Water can be pulled for miles up river.In some cases the water has been pulled from shore so quickly,people have been able to gather fish from dry land.As the wave nears shore it gathers speed and strength,slamming into land with enough force to carry ships several miles.The tsunami created by the Thera eruption was estimated to have been 600 feet high,when it reached the coast of Asia Minor.It is likely that that same tsunami hit near the Red Sea, at the time the Pharaoh's army was struggling to free their chariots from the mud.
Although a volcanic eruption can explain most of the events of the plagues,it cannot explain the death of the first born.Other things can.One of them is sacrifice.Such a disastrous event would likely warrant sacrifice,to those who practiced it.The Hebrews would not,however,due to the destruction missing them.Even if it had,sacrifice had been outlawed by Abraham,centuries earlier.The use of the words first born,by the Hebrews,did not always indicate the eldest.It was,at times ,used for the heir,and the next in line for head of the family,or ruler.It was not always an infant or even the youngest.
The following are excerpts from a text written by an Egyptian eye witness to a disastor.Called the Ipuwer Papyrus after the author,it closely resembles the Biblical account of the event.
2:5-6 Plague is throughout the land. Blood is everywhere.
2:10 The river is blood.
2:10 Men shrink from tasting - human beings, and thirst after water
3:10-13 That is our water! That is our happiness! What shall we do in respect thereof? All is ruin.
2:10 Forsooth, gates, columns and walls are consumed by fire.
10:3-6 Lower Egypt weeps... The entire palace is without its revenues. To it belong [by right] wheat and barley, geese and fish
6:3 Forsooth, grain has perished on every side.
5:12 Forsooth, that has perished which was yesterday seen. The land is left over to its weariness like the cutting of flax.
5:5 All animals, their hearts weep. Cattle moan...
9:2-3 Behold, cattle are left to stray, and there is none to gather them together.
9:11 The land is without light
4:3 (5:6) Forsooth, the children of princes are dashed against the walls.
6:12 Forsooth, the children of princes are cast out in the streets.
6:3 The prison is ruined.
2:13 He who places his brother in the ground is everywhere.
3:14 It is groaning throughout the land, mingled with lamentations
7:1 Behold, the fire has mounted up on high. Its burning goes forth against the enemies of the land.
3:2 Gold and lapis lazuli, silver and malachite, carnelian and bronze... are fastened on the neck of female slaves.
The texts was given a date of around 1500 bce,placing it near the Exodus.Although it cannot be equated with the Exodus beyond a doubt,it does present evidence that Egypt suffered some great calamity,which critics have stated never happened.That alone would place doubt on the credibility of most critics.History also tells us that during that same period,Egypt suffered major crop damage,throwing the country into a famine.They also claim that much of the crop damage was caused by volcanic ash,which was up to a quarter inch thick in the Nile delta.
The practice of fastening jewels around the necks of slaves was common for wealthy Egyptians during a time they believed houses and palaces would be easy prey for looters.The Israelites considered the gold,silver and jewels as booty and payment for their slavery,which was a common assumption among nations at that time.The Scriptures covering the time in the wilderness, make references to an abundance of Gold and jewels,and Egyptian texts offer some idea of the lack of gold in Egypt,as much as 40 years later.It appears that the precious metals given to the slaves for safe keeping,was enough to affect the economy of Egypt for some time.Estimates of the gold alone have been placed at over one ton.The silver was around three and three quarter tons.The bronze weighed two and a half tons.The gold and silver alone has been estimated to have been over $1,000,000,which is only a small part of the riches taken out.Egypt was indeed spoiled.This is the only era Egyptian writers have ever noted as being economically distressed because of the loss of jewels and precious metals.It is,therefore,safe to say that it the Ipuwer Papyrus and the Biblical Exodus,were referring to the same event.Egypt has always had famines,which produced a loss of crops,but gold and silver was in abundance,and could always be counted on to boost the economy.The Amarna letters give some idea of the lack of gold and silver in Egypt at the time of the Israelite conquest of Canaan.They also show the reputation Egypt had for giving other nations gold and silver,as well as using them to pay for foreign products.The Bible has been translated to sound as if the Pharoah changed his mind about letting the slaves go,but it was more likely that the Egyptians were making an attempt to retrieve their gold.The Israelites,on the other hand,would not have known that,since their belief that ”to the victor go the spoils,”was common to all nations including Egypt.