exodus from egypt






The Exodus from Egypt is the Founding story of the Judahites and later the Jewish people. As such it sets the tone for later events. Including the ties to the Family God YHW and a gradually unfolding account stretching back to the beginnings of humanity. Based on contemporary information available in the 7th to 5th Centuries BCE. For well over two thousand years the Torah and associated texts, together with the Bible, published in many languages, has been the foundation for European civilization. The story is worth knowing for what it can tell us about ourselves, the world around us and our connection to divinity and morality. Although now under attack by rigorous scientific methodology the story still has ties to contemporary society. In particular life events, births, deaths and marriages. In addition morality and social behavior have foundations in the Bible and Torah.

The story of the Exodus from Egypt goes back to the Middle Bronze Age. The phrase, “Now there arose up a new King over Egypt, which knew not Joseph,” Exodus 1:8, is a conflation of two events separated in time and space. Clearly there were two entirely separate events.

The First Exodus of the Josephite (Israelite) tribes, based at Avaris, together with the Hyksos (Heqa Khasawet), rulers of foreign lands, 1535-1530 BCE. First to Shechem where the body of Joseph was buried. Then across the Jordan, after King Ahmose destroyed Shechem. The Israelites stayed around the Arnon Valley, in the Trans Jordan area, for almost 300 years, as described by Jephthah the Judge, of the tribe of Manasseh.. About 1240 Joshua the Ephraimite led the Israelites across the Jordan to the Hills of Ephraim. The Israelites were within the polity of Shechem at this time.

Then the later Second Exodus of the Judahite tribes led by Moses, from Goshen on the Pelusiac Nile, after the death of Ramesses II in 1213 BCE, and quite clearly stated in Exodus 2:23. At the time of Ramesses death Moses was a fugitive in Madyan, Arabia. After about fifteen years in Madyan the Judahite tribes came to Kadesh Barnea, in the Negev. The five tribes separated at this juncture, about 1195. The Judahites to the Shephelah and later to Hebron. The Simeonites to Hormah and later to Beer Sheba. The Reubenites and Gadites to the Trans Jordan and the Madaba Plain, led by Moses the Levite. The tribe of the Levites, the priests of YHW, were divided between the four tribes.

This ties in with the 430 years, mentioned in Exodus 12:41, as the time the Israelites stayed in Egypt 1640-1210 BCE. Counting from the time Joseph came to Avaris, in Egypt. The extended length of time in Egypt, after the story of the Israelites was subsumed into that of the Judahites, in the 6th Century BCE.

The much later story of the Combined Exodus under Moses the Levite was a matter of political expedience, from the time of the Babylonian Captivity and the 6th Century BCE. The editors found it expedient to include improbable numbers and events. Such as the death of all the First Born of Egypt, 600,000 in this Exodus and miracles of parting of the waters, drowning of Pharaoh’s army and the feeding of the host with manna. This story was written down by Judahite scribes seven hundred years after the events they described. The Judahite scribes misconstrued descriptions and words of the scrolls, they had to work on. Some of these scrolls may have been damaged during transport and storage. The language used on the scrolls, used for copying, were not those of contemporary society. Political motives were high on the agenda of the scribes who redacted the story. Read on and you will see for yourself why mistakes, accidental or deliberate, were made.

The date for this Combined Exodus is put at 1447 BCE. Based on the building of Solomon’s Temple 480 years after the Exodus. I Kings 6:1. This is a borrowing from the First Exodus and the attempt to enter Canaan by the Israelites during the reign of Thutmose III. The Israelites (Shasu YHW) were forced back across the Jordan. D. Redford.Campaigns of Thutmose III 2003. https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.1086/524158. This was a most inopportune time for entry into Canaan. The date is during the reign of Thutmose the Conqueror. See Thutmose III and the Shasu below.


Thutmose III  The Conqueror 1479-1425 BCE

From Temple at Deir el-Bahri

Luxor Museum

The Combined Exodus story became necessary to protect Judean values and ideals from the threat of foreign values and religions. In particular the Founding Myths, described in Genesis, were developed during this period, the Babylonian Captivity, to provide a strong foundation for Judaism. The Founding Fathers of the Judahites, Abraham and Isaac, were added to the beginning of the Israelite story. These Father figures derive from the time of the Judahites at Hebron. Not from the Israelites at Padan Aram.

An attempt to stitch the two unrelated stories together has been made. Even in the time of the first Isaiah, Jacob not Abraham or Isaac, was accepted as the Patriarch of the Israelites. The separation of the Tribes following the attack on Joseph, by the five sons of Leah, the later Judahites, was erased from the Combined Exodus story. Or perhaps there was never any connection between the Israelites and Judahites, in Egypt.

In Red, First Exodus. Exodus of Israelites from Avaris to Shechem then Madaba Plains Jordan 1530-1240.

Then to Hills of Ephraim and Polity of Shechem. 1240 BCE

Leadership of Joshua the Ephraimite

In Blue, Second Exodus. Exodus of Judahites from Goshen to Gulf of Aqaba, Madyan 1210 -1195.

Then to Canaan and Jordan. Negev, Shephelah and North East to Jordan 1195 BCE

Leadership of Moses the Levite

References for most of this story can be found in the Bible or on line. Particularly Wikipedia and the references quoted there are a good starting point. Some key references have been quoted in the text. This is not intended as a scholarly article but for general interest and discussion. I would encourage all those with an interest to search the available voluminous information for themselves.

Make up your own mind. Was there a First and a Second Exodus OR a Combined Exodus OR Any Exodus at all, as some Archaeologists and Revisionists are now saying

This article may be listed under Hermeneutics, an interpretation of the Bible, based on current knowledge, and the historical development of the story of the Exodus. Much of the early Bible has been supplemented and altered by later hands. The story of Joseph is now presented as a Wisdom Novella. However the basic story is almost certainly true. The Vizierate of Joseph at Avaris, the presentation of a chariot by the Hyksos King and the gifts given to Joseph ring true. Both the Hyksos rulers and Joseph had Amorite backgrounds, with shared values and ideas. Joseph did NOT serve under any native Egyptian King, their language and values were poles apart. The time frame for Joseph is clearly defined by the above details.

The dates used are the standard Egyptian Archaeology Scheme which for Upper Egypt has been shown to be supported by Radiocarbon dating. Bronk Ramsey (2010). Radiocarbon-based Chronology for Dynastic Egypt. Science 328.. https://www.science.org/doi/abs/10.1126/science.1189395.. The Radiocarbon dates for areas near the Thera eruption (within 1000 km) including the Egyptian Delta and Avaris are 100 years too early.

King Kamose (1556-1551) at Thebes, and King Apepi of the Hyksos (1585-1546), were contemporaries. Kamose stelae at Karnak. W. Kutschera et al (2013). Chronology of Tell el-Daba. radiocarbon 54 (3-40 407 -422). https://repository.arizona.edu/handle/10150/654967. F. Hoflmayer et al (2016). New Evidence for Middle Bronze Age Chronology and Synchronisms in the Levant BASOR 375 https://www.journals.uchicago.edu/doi/abs/10.5615/bullamerschoorie.375.0053 See also King Seqenenre Tao, father of Kamose, and his contact with Apepi. A.Gardiner. Egyptian Late Stories. Journal of Egyptian Archaeology  V. 40. Also see Goedicke (1986). https://www.abebooks.com/first-edition/Quarrel-Apophis-Seqenenrec-GOEDICKE-Hans-Siclen/30985593126/bd

For the Middle East and the Levant the Middle Chronology is supported by recent Radiocarbon and Tree Ring dates. Making most events 64 years earlier than those of the Short Chronology. For example the beginning of the Old Babylonian period is 1894 BCE, under King Sumu-Abum. S.W. Manning et al Integrated-Tree-Ring-Radiocarbon- High-Resolution Timeframe to Resolve Earlier 2nd Millenium BCE Mesopotamian Chronology. PLOS One July 13 2016. https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0157144.

I have emphasised time as well as space in this story. We all move in four dimensions not three. Diachronics or development over time is important in both Archaeology and Philology

I have used the following Chronology for the Middle Bronze Age (All Dates BCE);

MB I (IB) 2200-1900

MB IIA (MB I) 1900-1750

MB IIB (MB II early) 1750-1650

MB IIC (MB II late) 1650-1540

In brackets from Oxford Handbook of the Archaeology of the Levant 2014. IB Intermediate Bronze Age. Also MB I and EB IV in various Chronological schemes.

The time divide of MB IIA and IIB has been taken as 1750 BCE. The end of the reign of Hammurabi at Babylon. The foundation of the Lower City at Hazor. The nascent Dynasty 14 in Lower Egypt, with Maaibre Sheshi as an early ruler, slightly later than 1750 BCE..

Chronology for Israel and Judah/



The original division of the Amorites is indicated in their names. The Banu-Yamina “Sons of the Right,” heading West and the Banu-Simaal. ” Sons of the Left,” heading East. This division was before 2000 BCE. The Amorites original home was on the Upper Euphrates River Valley.

Ur Dynasty III ended about 2004 BCE under Ibbi-Sin (2027-2004), the last King of the Dynasty. The Amorites attcked Ur from about 2011 onward. This was the Year of the Amorites according to the Records of Ur. The Elamites ended this Dynasty in 2004.

Ibbi-Sin Last Ruler of Ur Dynasty III

Attack by Amorites in 2011 BCE

Metropolitan Museum NYC

Fortified Cities with pillared gates were a feature of MBA cities in the Levant. A.A. Burke (2008). Walled Up To Heaven. Evolution of MBA Fortification Strategies in the Levant.


The Remarkable Arched Gates at Tel Dan


Part of MBA Fortification at Tel Dan

Ancient Name, Laish or Leshem, meaning Jewel

Wikimedia Commons

At Ebla the Third Kingdom was Amorite, Mardikh III, 2000-1600, in the Archaeological records.

Many Levantine coastal cities were fortified with a stone glacis during the MBIIB/MBIIC periods. Such as at Byblos and Beirut, using sandstone blocks. A Governor of Byblos, Yantin-Hamu was a contemporary of Zimri-Lim of Mari (1775-1761). An earlier Governor or Count (Hat-ya) of Byblos, Shemou-Abi was a contemporary of Amenemhat III of Egypt. These were Amorite Governors.


Levantine Coast Major Cities

Middle Bronze Age 2000-1540 BCE

Bible Maps 005


Scimitar Sword from Royal Tomb I at Byblos

Tomb of Abi-Shemou Middle Bronze IIA 1800 BCE

Became Popular in Egypt as the Khopesh

Beirut Museum

Middle Bronze Age Tells of Syria including

Tell eth-Thadeyn (Shadai)

DAI Damascus A. Ahrens

At Babylon the Old Babylonian Kingdom was established by the Amorite Sumu-Abum (1897-1883). A descendant, Hammurabi (1792-1750) extended Babylonian rule over a large area of Mesopotamia and Syria. This Empire survived until 1595. Ammi-Ditana (1683-1646) and Ammi-Saduqa (1646-1626) were contemporaries of the Hyksos King Khyan at Avaris in Egypt. The Hittite King Mursilis I destroyed Babylon in 1595.


Apogee of Amorite Power

Hammurabi of Babylon Before the God Shamash

Portion of Law Code of Hammurabi in Cuneiform


The Middle Bronze Age was  a time of Prosperity, many Palaces were built by the Amorite rulers. Alalakh and Qatna in Syria and Kabri in Canaan are examples. Minoan artisans, from Crete, were employed to paint colorful frescoes on the walls and floors of these palaces. The 6000 square metre Palace at Kabri in Galilee, with a large winestore, is typical of the standard of the time. Cline E. and A. Yaser-Landau. Aegeans in Israel. Minoan Frescoes at Tel Kabri. BAR July 2013. https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/00934690.2015.1103628


Minoan Fresco from Avaris

Similar to those from Kabri in Galilee

Bietak M., N. Marinatos and C. Palyvou

Taureador Scenes in Tell El-Dab’a and Knossos 2007

Apotheosis of Minos (genitive case mehn(s)os) the Sun King Consort of the Great Goddess

Proto Indo-European or Mycenaean Mehns Moon or Month

Leaping the Moon Bull The Minotaur. Tanist for Minos

Allegory of the Apotheosis of the Sun King

LM IB 1480-1430


At Mari on the Right bank of the Euphrates River the Amorite king Zimri-Lim (1776-1756) had a great Palace decorated with wall murals. And with courtyards, throne rooms, rooms for scribes and store rooms for records in cuneiform on clay tablets. A great archive of over 25,000 tablets recording economic, judicial and administrative transactions. There were also letters with Akkadian, Amorite and Hurrian names. Included are Amorite names with echoes of Old Testament personal names, from the Patriarchal age. The tablets date from Mari City III. 1820-1756 BCE. A. Malamat (1998). Mari and the Bible.  Sasson J. (1995). From the Mari Archives.


Mari and its Province Shadai 1770 BCE

Shadai at Confluence of Balikh and Euphrates Rivers

Atta-aram syria. Near East Topography

The town of Shadai, at the confluence of the Balikh and Euphrates Rivers, was in the territory of Mari at this time. It was one of the Four Provinces of Mari. The ancestors of Isra’el, Abram, Nahor and Milcah. were living at Shadai at this time. Zimri-Lim was their ruler. They were part of the Banu-Yamina. Zimri-Lim and Mari were of the Banu-Simaal. Liverani M. (2003) The Ancient Near East.


Mural From the Palace of Zimri-Lim at Mari

Mission Archeologique Francaise de Mari

Louvre Museum Paris

Zimri-Lim returned to Mari after the death of Shamsi-Addu of Assyria (1809-1776). Zimri-Lim had been a fugitive at Halab in the Kingdom of Yamhad. and married Shibtu a daughter of Yarim-Lim, King of Yamhad. About 1771 BCE Zimri-Lim attacked the Banu-Yamina of Shadai (Tuttul). Shadai became part of the Kingdom of Mari. The City of Mari was destroyed by Hammurabi of Babylon about 1756. Both Zimri-Lim and his wife Queen Shibtu were killed. Shadai became part of the Babylonian Empire, until 1595. King Hammurabi of Babylon died about 1750 BCE. This time was also when the Lower City of Hazor in Canaan was established. Making 1750 a good marker for separating MB IIA and MB IIB periods.


Ishtar. Great Lady or Queen of Heaven

Consort of El of Ugarit

Temple of Ishtar Mari. MB IIA Period

Aleppo Museum


During the Middle Bronze Age, IIA and IIB, 2000-1650 BCE City States controlled by Princes were in power. Many of the towns were fortified. It was a relatively peaceful period. In the Execration Texts of Egypt of Senwosret III there is evidence of a possible incursion, predominantly against Shechem, during the MB IIA period.


Middle Bronze Age Canaan 2000-1540 BCE

Age of Fortified City States

T=Tell. Archaeological site


There was a gradual deterioration in stability of Canaan, during the MB IIC period, 1650-1550. There is evidence of Hurrian infiltration from the North. Shechem (Birashena), Hebron (Intu), Hazor (Hanuta), Gezer and Shiloh had Hurrian rulers. This was around the time the Hyksos were advancing and starting their rule at Avaris in Lower Egypt.

In the MB IIC to Late Bronze Age, LB II, there was a marked decline in urbanisation. Around 60-65% of sites were abandoned. Na’aman N (1994) Levant 26.

King Thutmose III of Egypt invaded Canaan in 1457, this was the beginning of Egyptian hegemony, 1450-1130 BCE. Egyptian Governors were appointed over territories, including Governors at Beth-Shean and Jerusalem. The local rulers were considered mayors of their respective domains, by the Egyptians. Although they considered themselves Princes.

In the Amarna period c. 1350, many of the Cities had Hurrian rulers. Such as Megiddo, Taanach even Jerusalem (Abdi-Heba). Southern Canaan and the Coastal Levant still had Semitic rulers, Hazor, Shechem and Byblos included. There were City affiliations, often Hurrian against Semitic but more often based on territorial claims. One such affiliation was Shechem, Gezer and Pihilu against Megiddo, Taanach and Acco. The Israelites probably became embroiled in one of these affiliations when Shechem attacked Hazor.

The Old Hittite Kingdom under Hattusili I (1650-1620) and his grandson Mursili I (1620-1590) may have forced the Hurrians South, from their homeland, during the period 1630-1590. Hattusili captured and destroyed Alalakh, in the Kingdom of Yamhad in North Syria about 1626. Hattusili was wounded during an attack on Halab the Capital of Yamhad. He died of his wounds. King Mursili destroyed Halab and the kingdom of Yamhad about 1600. Mursili then went on to destroy Babylon and the Old Babylonian Empire 1595, in a lightning raid.

hattusili 1

Hittite Pressure on the Hurrians 17th Century BCE

Hurrians moved to Syria and Canaan




The name Khyan, King of the Hyksos, suggests he was an Amorite, Hayanu, from North Syria. Ryholt K. (1997) Political Situation in Egypt During Second Intermediate Period. His connections may be via the Amorite Kingdom of Yamhad and either King Irkabtum (1675-1660), King Hammurabi II (1660-1650) or King Yarim-Lim III (1650-1625). The Kings based at Halab when these Kings were called Great Kings. The Temple to Adda, the Storm God, on the Citadel of Halab has a Middle Bronze Age date. As stated by Yarim-Lim I, Great King of Yamhad, Hadad (Adda) was the God of the State. Sin the Semitic Moon God was the God of his heart. Yarim-Lim was an ally of Zimri-Lim of Mari. Van der Toorn K (2017). Family Religion in Babylonia, Syria and Israel.

Connections with Qatna (Tell Mishrife) are also suggested by recent finds of Dynasty 12 objet d’arte, including the Sphinx of Queen Sobeknefru. These objects may have reached Qatna via Avaris. The trade routes of Qatna included, Byblos on the Mediterranean, Mari on the Euphrates River and Damascus. The Hyksos were well placed to take advantage of this trade. Ahrens A. (2011). Hyksos Connection? In J. Mynarova. Egypt and the Near East. Prague 2011.

Khyan may have had connections with Halab, Qatna and Shaddai. He may have known Laban, Jacob and Joseph prior to becoming ruler of the Hyksos.

Citadel of Aleppo Syria. Ancient Halab

Kingdom of Yamhad

Frederic Soltan/Sygma/Corbis 1993


Temple of Haddad, the Storm God. Aleppo Citadel 14th Century

Lawler A. Temple of the Storm God

Archaeology 62.6. 2009 After Kohlmeyer.

From the time of Abba-El I (1750-1720) a significant population of Hurrians was established in Yamhad. Many Hurrian names are included in the documents of Alalakh Level VII 1735-1640 BCE. Wiseman D. (1953) The Alalakh Tablets. Review in J. Lines (1955) Amer. j. of Archaeology 59.4.  Oliva J. (2005). New Collations and Remarks on Alalakh VII Tablets. J. Near Eastern studies 64.1 p1-22. 


Seal of Abba-El I King of Yamhad Before the God Haddad

Attar-Aram Syria

King Abba-El I extended his rule to Alalakh and gave this City to his brother Yarim-Lim (1735-1690). Hurrians migrated to Alalakh and this City was probably the origin point for the migration of the Hyksos to Egypt. Casana J. Alalakh and the Archaeological Landscape of Mukish. BASOR 353 Feb, 2009.

Photographs from Antakya Archaeological Museum
Photographs from Antakya Archaeological Museum

Yarim-Lim of Alalakh

Tell Atchana Expedition


The Hurrians occupied territory to the North of Yamhad and Babylonia, particularly in the Khabur River Valley. Agriculture was already practised here in Neolithic times. A vast river plain stretched to the Black Sea. In the Anti-Taurus Mountains Copper and Silver were mined. The history of the Hurrians stretched back to Naram-Sin of Akkad. They were under the control of the Assyrians during the Old Assyrian Empire. The town of Urkesh was controlled by Mari during the reign of Shamsi-Addad I (1809-1776 BCE).


Territory of the Hurrians. Khabur and Upper Euphrates River Valleys

Jolie at Catalan. Wiki.

Further to the North was the territory of Isuwa or Horse Land. Horses were probably brought here from beyond the Caspian Sea. Horses became part of the culture of the Hurrians. They may have been the first to have horse drawn chariots in the 18th Century. However at Ur, in the Pre-Dynastic period, there are depictions of primitive chariots, 800 years before those of the Hurrians, however with onagers not horses, pulling the chariots.

During the reign of Abba-El of Yamhad the Hurrians started to move South. Hurrian gods, Teshub and Hebat, appear in Halab and Alalakh documents. This southward move provided the impetus for the movement of the Hyksos toward Egypt, starting about 1670 BCE. Hurrian names such as Ewr=uzzi and Ismeeni are found in the Alalakh VII tablets. N. Na’aman (1976). a New look at the Chronology of Alalakh Level VII. Anatolian Studies. 26 , 129-143.  N.Na’aman (1979). Chronology of Alalakh VII Once Again. Anatolian Sudies 29, 103-113.


In Egypt Dynasty 14 was in power at Avaris in the Eastern Delta from 1715-1645. This Syro-Canaanite Dynasty had warrior rulers who already had scimitar swords in their armoury. King Aazehre Nehesy probably founded this Dynasty 14. King Maaibre-Sheshi was another well attested King of Dynasty 14, c. 1740-1715. Sheshi may have married the Nubian Princess Tati (Ryholt). Their son may have been Nehesy, “the Nubian.” The rulers of Dynasty 14 were contemporary with the Egyptian rulers of Dynasty 13, at Itj-Tawy, in the Faiyum.  Ryholt K (1997). Political Situation in Egypt During the Second Intermediate Period. In addition Abishemou II of Byblos, 1720-1710, buried in Royal Tomb IX, was a contemporary of Nehesy. King Neferhotep I ( c.1740-1729) was a contemporary of Yantin-Ilu of Byblos. K. Kopetsky. Some remarks on the Relation Between Egypt and the Levant, A & L 2016.

There is still confusion regarding the Chronology of Dynasties 13 and 14 and the sequence of Contemporary Princes or Counts of Byblos. The total period of Dynasty 13 appears to be 1800 BCE , Sekemre Sobekhotep I, to 1650. Perhaps finishing with Merneferre Ay 1702-1669, according to Ryholt. Later Memphite Kings are puppets of Dynasties 14 and 15, the Syro-Canaanites based at Avaris, in the Eastern Delta. The Group III seals may be associated with Dynasty 14, Including Sekhaenre Yakbmu and Nubwoserre Ya’amu.


Syro-Canaanite Dynasty 14.

Territorial Area Lower Delta Region

Iry-Hor Wikipedia. After Ryholt. 

Continued raids into Egypt had by 1650, forced the native Egyptian Dynasty 13 from their Capital at Itj-Tawy in Middle Egypt, South to Thebes. A later King at Itj-tawy was Merhotepre-Ini, 1672-1670. With perhaps several later Kings with short reigns, of 2-3 years, and ephemeral control from Itj-Tawy, down to 1660 BCE. Mersekhemre Neferhotep II may be the last King, of Dynasty 13. A statue of him is in the Cairo Museum. Itj-Tawy had been the Capital of both the Great Dynasty 12, 1991-1802 and of Dynasty 13, 1802-1660.  A new Dynasty 16 commenced at Thebes. Northern Kings listed after this time were Memphite Kings and puppets of the Syro-Canaanite rulers of Dynasty 14 and 15.

Warrior Burial at Avaris Dynasty 14    1700 BCE

Donkey and Servant Burials Found plus Weapons

Area A/II Stratum F Tomb Nr 5

Bietak. Avaris Brit. Mus. Press 1996

A power vacuum now existed in Middle Egypt. The signs for the movement of the Hyksos into Egypt were propitious.  The Year 1670 saw the movement of the Amorite-Hurrians from the Kingdom of Yamhad. The Kings Niqmi-Epuh (1700-1675), then Irkabtum (1675-1650) at Halab and Ammitakum (1690-1650) at Alalakh may have seen the movement of infantry and horse drawn chariot warriors, from their towns. The number of these chariots was small, at this time. perhaps only twenty or even less. The chariots still primitive and not highly mobile.


Hyksos chariot. Heavy and with fixed axle at this time.

Hurrian-Yamhad type


The Hyksos moved South West to Byblos (Ancient Gebal), an already ancient City, on the coast of the Mediterranean Sea. The Princes of Byblos were hereditary, Abishemou II (1735-1700), then his sons, Yapa-Shemouabi (1700-1690) and Akera (1690-1670). The Hyksos besieged the walls of Byblos and captured the town, about 1670 BCE. They appeared to have stayed there for some time. A glacis against the buttressed wall of Byblos was built by the Hyksos. Akay (Egel/Egliya) (1670-1650) may have been the Hyksos ruler during their time at Byblos. Montet P. (1964) Kemi XVII. Levantine rule at Byblos was revived by Tyre in the 16th Century BCE.

Ancient Gebal ( Byblos)

on the Shores of the Mediterranean Sea

Probable Hyksos Site 1670-1650

Temple of the Obelisks at Gebal

Middle Bronze IIA – IIB 1900-1650 BCE


To native Egyptians the epithets, Aamu or Asiatics and People of Retenu, people from Syria-Canaan, were used. Candelora D..(2017). Defining the Hyksos. JARCE, 53,203-221.


Hyksos Glacis against the Buttressed Wall of Gebal (Byblos)

Ab Langereis

The Hyksos moved slowly down the coast, probably now with Hyanu (Khyan) as leader. Some of the Hyksos may have taken ship from the Harbour at Byblos, with mariners of Byblos navigating the way, to the Pelusiac Nile in the Eastern Delta. Byblos already had a thousand years of maritime trade with Egypt, stretching back to the Pyramid Age.

The last ruler of the 14th Dynasty Meruserre Yakub-Har was replaced by Seuserrenre Khyan. The Hyksos Dynasty 15 was in control of the Delta region of Egypt. Avaris was their Capital.

It is probable that Isra’el and his family moved to Egypt in the second wave of Hyksos migration. After Khyan was firmly in power at Avaris, about 1645. Joseph may have gone to Avaris first. Then his family from Shadai, after Joseph (YSF) became vizier of the Hyksos about 1630. Joseph, meaning “YAH increases in power, piety and influence”, was not Joseph’s original Amorite name, which is now lost. The name change was after YAH was adopted by Joseph and his family. Isra’el changed the Family God to YHW and this name was adopted by the Israelites as their Family God. After the arrival in Egypt and after the marriage of Joseph to Asenath c. 1630 BCE.

The Canaanites (Judahites) of Goshen were still later arrivals, c. 1620-1615 BCE. They were probably forced into the Delta region during a time of famine in Canaan. The Vizier Joseph would have been involved in their relocation at Goshen. This was later changed to a family reunion, in the Judahite version of the story.


Canaanites Coming to Egypt

From the Tomb of Khnumhotep II

Ibscha Nebmaatre.jp After Lepsius


Scarab of Meruserre Yakub-Har

Last King of Dynasty 14  c.1650 BCE

British Museum EA 40741


Political Situation in Egypt at the Time of the Amorites

Dynasty 12 and 13 Itj-Tawy 1991-1650 BCE

Dynasty 14 Syro-Canaanite Avaris 1715-1645

Dynasty 15 Hyksos Avaris 1645-1540

Dynasty 16 Thebes  1650-1590

Dynasty 17 Thebes 1585-1551

Wikimedia Commons


Avaris has now been identified and its Archaeology described by the Austrian Archaeological Institute (OAI) under Manfred Bietak (Director 1966-2009) and now under the Direction of Irene Forstner-Muller (2009- ) in a great and continuing investigation. Bietak M. Tell-el-Daba-History, 2008-2013. There are several articles written by the Directors of OAI on line. The archaeological site is Tell el-Dab’a on the ancient Pelusiac Nile.


Avaris on and Goshen near the Pelusiac Nile

Bietak and Forstner-Muller Topography of New Kindom Avaris

Avaris was a City dating back to the Egyptian 12th Dynasty or even earlier. Situated on the Eastern or Pelusiac branch of the Nile River. The Syro-Canaanites had infiltrated Egypt from the middle of the 12th Dynasty. At Avaris the 14th Dynasty of Syro-Canaanite warriors established rule from about 1715 BCE. The first ruler probably Aazehre Nehesy. The King Maaibre Sheshi was probably a 14th Dynasty King, either just before or just after Nehesy. Many scarabs of his have been found, including 8 at Tell el-Ajjul. Now identified with Petrie’s Stratum III.

Warrior burials have been found in Stratum F at Area A/I, at Avaris. Bronze daggers, battle axes and in some cases servant and donkey burials have been found. The 14th Dynasty was in control at Avaris 1715-1645 BCE. Raids South by the warriors of this Dynasty resulted in in the instability of Middle Egypt. Pressure on the native Dynasty 13 at Itj-Tawy resulted in the demise of this Dynasty, about 1650 BCE. A move South to Thebes (Waset) and Dynasty 16 was the result.


Apart from his origins with the Amorites of Yamhad King Khyan had connections with the Hittites at Hattusas, the Minoans at Knossos and probably the Babylonians. The North West lustral basin at the Palace of Knossos was destroyed near the end of the Middle Minoan IIIB periiod. about 1600 BCE, by a volcanic eruption. An alabaster lid with the cartouche of Khyan was found in a corner of this lustral basin. Nearby pottery of the MM IIIB period was found. The MM IIIB period is dated 1650-1600 BCE, giving support for the Chronology of Khyan. Tartaron T. (2007). Aegean Prehistory as World Archaeology. Journal of Archaeological Research. 16(2) 83-161. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/226805794_Aegean_Prehistory_as_World_Archaeology_Recent_Trends_in_the_Archaeology_of_Bronze_Age_Greece


Alabaster Lid From Knossos MM IIIB

Cartouche of Khyan on the Lid

Heraklion Museum Crete L 263


Sphinx of King Khyan

Probable Founder of Hyksos Dynasty 15

British Museum  EA 987

Seals of both King Khyan and the 13th Dynasty King Khaneperre Sobekhotep IV have been found at Edfu. However Sobekhotep probably ruled at Itj-Tawy from 1732-1720. The discovery of both Kings seals together is serendipitous. Seals are long lasting. King Merneferre Ay (1695-1672) and Merhotepre Ini (1672-1670) were among the last rulers of Dynasty 13. Certainly by 1650 Dynasty 13 had come to an end. Forstner-Muller I and N, Moller (2013). The Hyksos Ruler Khyan and the Early Second Intermediate Period in Egypt.  Forstner-Muller I. and C. Reali. King Khyan and Avaris ibid. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/327190400_King_Khyan_and_Avaris_Some_Considerations_Concerning_Khyan_Seal_Impressions_from_Area_RIII_at_Tell_el-Daba_in_Forstner_Muller_I_Moeller_N_Eds_The_Hyksos_Ruler_Khyan_and_the_Early_Second_Intermediate_Period. These authors have identified Khyan seals from E1 strata at Tell el-Daba, indicating a date back to the beginning of the Hyksos period for this King

At Gebelein in Middle Egypt a black granite block has been found with the name of Khyan. Probably from the nearby Temple of Hathor. In addition a lintel with the name Apepi was found. Indicating the likely sequence in the rule of these two Hyksos Kings. Both Iunu ( Heliopolis) and Ankh-Tawy (Memphis) became part of the Hyksos territory The fort of Tjaru in Southern Canaan was a Hyksos strong hold.

Seal of King Khyan of the Hyksos

Wikipedia The Hyksos

Flinders Petrie. A History of Egypt From the Earliest Times

King Khyan probably had a long reign c.1645-1605, based on the number of artefacts associated with this King. Seal impressions from Avaris suggest a E2/E1 stratigraphy. This indicates a date about 1620  by the Bietak chronology. The Palace on Harbour 2 Area F/II was probably commenced late in Khyan’s reign. Scarabs of Khyan have been found at this site. However scarabs have a long life and may be from earlier than this Palace. The Syrian weather God Baal-Zaphon may have been one of the major gods of the Hyksos. Later changed to the syncretic Seth-Baal to placate the Egyptians.


Harbours at Avaris. Harbour 1 for Trade Ships.

Harbour 2 for the Royal Palace

Bietak and Forstner-Muller. Providing a Map of Avaris


The Palace on Harbour 2.

Probably Commenced during Reign of Khyan

The Palace is based on a Syrian design.

Ebla and Mari are examples

Bietak and Forstner-Muller. Providing a Map of Avaris


The Ring of King Khyan

Perhaps the Ring given to Joseph (Genesis 41:42)

British Museum 37664

The Hyksos tried to legitimise their rule, in Egypt by adopting Egyptian gods. Seth-Baal, a combination of Egyptian Seth and Semitic Baal was adopted. The Hyksos Kings used Egyptian names. The Hyksos were probably Amorites with added technological advances from the Hurrians. The period 1700-1650 was a critical time for the appearance of the Hyksos as a political force. This was the time period associated with YSR-El and his family.


Rach’el was the wife of Isra’el the Patriarch and daughter of Laban, (perhaps originally labu’- or labw-, meaning lion) at Padan-Aram, on the border of the Kingdom of Yamhad. Harran was a border town between the Amorite Kingdom of Yamhad and the Hurrians. Harran was in the fertile crescent with rainfall over 10″ per year (>25mm). However Isra’el (Amorite YSR-El) worshipped El Shadai, suggesting his family lived closer to Shadai than Harran. The connection to Harran is probably a late 6th Century addition, during the Babylonian exile.

Joseph is not an Amorite name. The original name is lost, however it would have the ending -el. Joseph meaning, “YAH increases in power, piety and influence,” was adopted after Joseph married Asenath in Egypt. YAH, later YHW, was the Family God of Isra-el. The names used in the Story of Joseph are not the original ones but from Egypt of the 6th Century BCE. Adopted during the redaction of the Torah. Redford D.


Laban and later his nephew Isra’el had farms on the Balikh River. The Balikh River is a 105 Km long River in North Syria. Mathys T. (2001), A GIS Analysis of Bronze Age Settlement Pattern….. in Jazira Region of Syria. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/254256196_A_GIS_COMPARATIVE_ANALYSIS_OF_BRONZE_ AGE_SETTLEMENT_PATTERNS_AND_THE_CONTEMPORARY_PHYSICAL_LANDSCAPE_IN_THE_JAZIRA_ REGION_OF_SYRIA.  Probably the family of Isra’el lived within the town of Shadai and their farms were a little way out, on the banks of the Balikh River. The family of Laban, including his sister Rebekah, mother of Isra’el, would have had Amorite connections at this time. This was via the Amorite wife of Bethuel, father of Laban and Rebekah. In addition the wives of Laban would have been Amorite as well. There were five generations back to Terah, having an association with Padan-Aram. The family of Isra’el would have attended the Temple of El, within the town of Shadai.

YSR-El is a Theophoric name describing attributes of El, not of the person Isra’el. It may have meant be upright or truthful before El. Huffmon 1965.. It is obviously an ancient name associated with the Amorite God El-Shadai. As I have said Isra’el was the original name of the Patriarch of the Israelites. Later, and in Egypt, changed to Yah-akov and in a composite form when the God Yah was adopted..

The connection of Abraham and Ur of the Chaldees is a 6th Century BCE addition. Probably arising during the Babylonian Captivity and King Nabonidus (556-539 BCE). This Babylonian King had connections to both Ur of the Chaldees and Harran in North Syria. King Nabonidus reconstructed Temples to Sin at both these sites. The scribes of Judah used these facts to add their Patriarch to the Combined Exodus story. There is no connection between Abraham and Isaac of the Judahites and Jacob/Israel of the Israelites, except in a late literary sense and during the time the Torah redactions were underway. There is no mention of Abraham or Isaac in the writings of the early prophets, of the 8th Century BCE. See Isaiah for example.

The First Exodus from Avaris in Egypt indicates the Amorites, sons of Rachel; Ephraim, Manasseh, Benjamin plus Dan and Naphthali, sons of Rachel’s maid Bilhah were the tribes originally from Shadai. Ephraim and Manasseh sons of Joseph became important during the time of the Vizier Joseph. In addition Asher, Issachar and Zebulun, mentioned as associated with Leah, in the Bible,were probably Canaanites, from Avaris, who tagged along with the Josephite tribes during the First Exodus.

The Canaanite tribes of Leah; Reuben, Simeon, Levi and Judah together with Gad, son of Zilpah the maid of Leah, stayed at Goshen and were the tribes of the Second Exodus, under Moses the Levite. All of the above indicate Rachel and Leah had no connection at all. The later story of sisterhood is a Judahite invention used in the Combined Exodus story of the 7th and 6th Centuries, BCE. Genesis 30: 1-24.

Abram and Sarai were Amorite, village based, sheep herders. They moved around North Syria in the rain fall belt of 4″ (10mm) to 10″ (25mm). Abram ‘s territory was probably along the Balikh River, from Shadai to Harran, in the North. Amorite Abram’s name change to Judahite Abraham is described in the presence of El-Shadai, the Amorite God. Torah Bereishit (Genesis) 17:5. Abram may have been a brother of Nahor as described in Genesis, but not from Ur of the Chaldees. The connection with Ur of the Chaldees is a 6th Century addition, during the Judahite Captivity in Babylon. 

There was probably another conflation of two unrelated stories, one from 18th Century Padan Aram, the other from the Judean Hills, Hebron, and the 10th or 11th Century. The name conversion from Abram to Abraham and Sarai to Sarah was near Kadesh, in the  Negev, in what was probably seen as a symbolic act, by the Judahite scribes. 

The story of Abraham may be a Foundation Myth of the Judahites, from the 10th or 11th Century. The connection with Hebron indicates the strong YHWist tradition of Abraham, probably before the move to Jerusalem and in the period of the Judahites at Hebron. Isaac is part of the story of Abraham not Abram. In Genesis 24:32-67, Isaac at Hebron married Rebekah from Padan Aram, a long distance arrangement, involving another anachronistic camel journey and obviously a 6th Century addition. However this may be based on an Amorite story of Yitzhaq and Rebekah from Padan Aram, the 18th Century and the God El Shadai. E. Knudsen (1999). Amorite Names and Old Testament Onomastics. Scandinavian Journal of the Old Testament 13, .Ebbe Egede Knudsen (1999) Amorite names and old testament onomastics, Scandinavian Journal of the Old Testament, 13:2, 202-224, DOI: 10.1080/09018329908585155

The Mari Archives of King Zimri Lim include Akkadian, Amorite and Hurrian personal names. Many Amorite names have associations with Old Testament names from the Pre-Patriarchal and Patriarchal periods. Shadai was a Province of Mari during the time of Zimri-Lim and this would have included Nahor and Abram.

Abram from Padan Aram with the God El Shadai and Abraham from Hebron with the God YHW. Temple of Soleb Sudan, Torah Shemot (Exodus) 3:13-15, Torah Shemot (Exodus) 6;2-3. Appears as YHWH.


Balikh (Jallab) River North Syria

Multiple Branches and more Water in the Bronze Age

Leiden University

In the Deuteronomist version Laban is “arami” of Aramaic descent. An anachronistic identification dating from the 6th Century. Deuteronomy 26:5. Now translated as Syrian instead of Aramean..


Political Situation in North Syria under the Amorites

of Yamhad

Shadai near the home of Isra’el,

Isra’el and Rach’el 1660 BCE

Near_East_Topographic_ Map_Blank.SVG Semhur

Leah was the first and elder wife of Isra’el. Rach’el was impulsive and showed a degree of condescension toward Leah. This is exemplified by the story of the boy Reuben bringing mandrakes to his mother Leah but seeing the flowers appropriated by Rach’el. Genesis 30: 14-15. Rach’el’s mother was probably several steps above the mother of Leah in social status. Leah and Rach’el were half-sisters.  The condescension of Rach’el was to be continued by her son Joseph, toward the sons of Leah. The gulf between the children of Leah and of Rach’el was to reverberate down the centuries and to have consequences of a totally unforeseen nature.

Rachel’s name Rach-el may indicate the origin from Hebrew Rach, meaning young or immature. Indicating “the lamb of El or God,” as the original meaning of Rachel.

Leah may have originally been the matriarch of the Judahites from Canaan. Rachel matriarch of the Amorite Israelites from North Syria. Much later in the 7th or 6th Century BCE these two separate streams were combined. Leah and Rachel became sisters, with a common background, in the Combined Exodus story. Note Leah the Judahite is the senior sister to Rachel the Amorite, Israelite.


On the North bank of the Euphrates River, near the confluence with the Balikh River, down river from Harran, was the Amorite town or District of Shadai, of the Middle Bronze Age, 2000-1600 BCE. Known as Tuttul in Sumerian and now Tell eth-Thadeyn or the Tell of Two Breasts. In Hebrew SHaD means breast with added ai, my breast(s). Shadai may be a district of Tuttul with the temple of El, confined to a specific district, as found at Ugarit and Mari. It is too much of a coincidence if there is not a topographical congruence of Tuttul, Sumerian for breasts, and Shadai, Amorite for breasts, and both in North Syria. The modern site is Tell Bi’a in Raqqa province, Syria. Now being destroyed by treasure seekers and by ISIS.

In addition by the 17th Century BCE Sumerian was no longer in use, except in Southern Mesopotamia. The Third Dynasty of Ur, 2112-2004 BCE, saw the last efflorescence of Sumerian Culture and Language. Under the Old Babylonian Kingdom the Akkadian script was in use and the Amorite language. The Sumerian name Tuttul was no longer used in the 17th and 18th Centuries. The Amorites were dominant, and the Amorite name Shadai, in use for the city, at the confluence of the Euphrates and Balikh Rivers.

Sumerian Tuttul had a long history. A Palace of the Shakkanaku period (2250-1900 BCE) has been excavated. Akkermans P. and C. Schwartz. Archaeology of Syria 2003. The period after the reign of Naram Sin of Akkad (2252-2218) corresponds to the time of increasing aridity. The end of The Old Kingdom of Egypt and decline of Akkad. There was a clear cultural transition, between 2200-2000 BCE and the commencement of Middle Bronze Age IIA. The Amorites were in power at Shadai. Symposium of The Oriental Institute, University of Chicago 2014.

In the Mari Archives El/Il, ‘Il/’El, El-i-Dagan, Ila, ‘lah, El/AN are all found as names of God. The Ugarit Epics also mention El.  H. Huffmon. Amorite Personal Names in the Mari Texts. 1965. 

In the Ebla archives of North Syria dating from the Early Bronze Age c. 2300 BCE both El and Yah appear in the names used. mika’el and mika’ya, for who is like El and who is like Yah. ish-ma-il and ish-ma-ya are also found, for El hears and Yah hears. Indicating the very ancient origins of the Western Semitic Creator God and the Moon God. J. BennerThe Archives of Ebla and the Bible. 

The syncretic nature of the Israelite god is exemplified by the Tomb of Ben-ia TT343, probably an Israelite, the son of IA(W), who appears to have had a father El-tau-na-na with the God El, signifying his connection to the Creator God. Benia was a supervisor of Construction in 15th Century BCE Egypt. See Osirisnet TT343. https://www.osirisnet.net/tombes/nobles/benia/e_benia_01.htm



Originally El-Shadai was probably a Fertility God, the God of the breast (shadayim) or nurture, and womb (rahem) or fertility, as found in the blessing of Isra’el for his son Joseph. ” El-Shadai will bless you with the blessings of the Heavens above, Blessings of the Deep below, Blessings of Breast (Shadayim) and Womb (Rahem).” Torah Genesis 49:25. Nurture and Nature in that order. Creation and fertility are closely linked.

El is mentioned as the Father of Baal at Ugarit in the Levant, in the Late Bronze Age. With a Temple to Baal and another to Dagon, God of Fertility and cereal crops. In addition El was associated with Asherah, the Queen of Heaven. known as rbt atrt, Great Lady, at Ugarit. Worship of Asherah was to continue in Israel and Judah until the Babylonian Captivity. Pillar base statues, pertaining to Asherah, have been found in Israel and Judah.

The Banu-Yamina (Tribe of Benjamin) were established at Shadai in the time of the Amorite Kings of Mari (1830-1761). This tribe were probably the ancestors of the later Israelites, with El-Shadai as their God.

 Fertility equated with prosperity, at a time, when population growth was critical for survival of a population. Annual population growth was 0.04%. In some years, in the presence of highly infectious disease epidemics, famine and war there may have been negative population growth. Mortality in adulthood was often in the early thirties, death from infectious disease was highIn particular survival of infants was always problematic, disease and violence were both a probability. Twenty six percent of infants died before the age of one. Child mortality before puberty was forty seven percent. And these are conservative estimates. The figures agree with those for Contemporary Hunter-Gatherer Societies and those for our Primate cousins and Civilisations down to the 19th Century CE.

There were specific demons associated with the perils of childbirth. Lamashtu in Akkadian and Lilith in Hebrew and Jewish tradition. The Akkadian verses on Lamashtu are graphic;

” She touches the bellies of women in labor——– She pulls out the pregnant women’s babies.”

W. Emrys (2018). Transformations of a Goddess. Lillake, Lamashtu. Lilith.

During the Babylonian exile, proximity to Mesopotamian influence may have influenced the Judeans to accept many of the local beliefs on childbirth.

The high mortality is a demonstration of the Environment of Evolutionary Adaptedness (EEA), Darwinian Survival of the Fittest in action. Stressors of genetic abnormalities, trauma, abnormal anatomy and physiology, malnutrition and infectious disease. Adaptation Energy to Stressors is now an active area in Theoretical Biology with mathematical models described. Adaptation Energy may be overcome by multiple stressors and the animal dies. Volk A. and J. Atkinson (2013). Evolution and Human Behavior 34.3 https://www.researchgate.net/publication/256641936_Infant_and_child_death_in_the_human_environment_of_evolutionary_adaptation. Gorban A. et al. 2016. Adaptation Energy in Animals. J.Theor. Biol. (2016). Sep.21; 405:127-139. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26801872/

The El of Shadai was the God of the Patriarch Isra’el  (YSR, be upright or truthful before El). Huffmon H. (1965). Amorite Personal Names in the Mari Texts., and probably associated with the family of his Amorite ancestors, including Abram and Nahor (See above). El-Shadai is the God of Genesis and also the Western Semitic Creator God, associated with prosperity, fertility and nurture. Torah. Genesis (Bereishit) 28:3, 35:11. Mendenhall G. Ancient Israel Faith and History 2001.  D. Biale. The God with Breasts. El Shadai in the Bible. UCP 1982.

The common denominator of fertility indicates the connection of El-Shadai with Nanna, Sumerian God of the Moon and Sin or Su’en, the Akkadian God of the Moon, with a centre of worship at Harran. These Gods were connected with fertility by the horned crescent Moon as a bull and fertility of sacred cows. See The Herds of Nanna and  the magical text A Cow of Sin. Oracc.museum.upenn.edu/amgg/listofdeities/nannasuen/ The God Nanna is recorded as bringing the First Fruits to Enlil at Nippur in the Sumerian Myth of Nanna coming to Nippur. The Festival of First Fruits of Spring still used in Jewish religion. Now the Festival of Shavuot.

In addition the monthly Moon Cycle mirrored the menstrual cycle. Another connection with fertility.

On Crete the Cave of Eileithyia was dedicated to the Goddess of Childbirth dating back to Neolithic times (4000 BCE). Certainly in use during the Late Minoan Period 1650-1430 BCE. A clear connection to fertility and survival of humanity.


King Ur Nammu King of Ur Dynasty III

With horned crescent Moon. Sumerian God Nanna

Akkadian Su’en or Sin


Ziggurat or Sacred Mountain of Nanna at Ur

Built by Kings Ur Nammu  2112-2095

and Shulgi 2095-2047


At Harran, in the Middle Bronze Age (1894-1595), Sin was the supreme God. The ” House of Rejoicing,” E-hul-hul was the center of worship. At Ur in Southern Mesopotamia there was another center for worship of Nanna/Sin , the E-kis-nu-gal, during Ur Dynasty III (2112-2004) and later as Akkadian Sin. At Harran the temple of Su’en originated in the the time of Naram Sin of Akkad (2254-2218). In the 18th and 17th centuries Harran was in Hurrian territory rather than Amorite Yamhad.

In the Septuagint translation of the Hebrew original, into Greek, Shadai or El Shadai is translated as God or My God or Almighty God. The meaning having been lost by that time, about 270 BCE.


Birthplace of Joseph on the Balikh River

near Shadai  c.1660 BCE

Shadai. Home of El Shadai. God of Isra’el

Genesis 30: 22-24


The story of Joseph is now seen as a Wisdom Novella. Attempts have been made to tie it to Egyptian cultural values and mores. Even to the Saite period of 664-525. However the Hyksos were from Syria, not Egypt. You should not expect to find purely Egyptian values, in this story. Undoubtedly the story we have now has many anachronisms and indicates a 6th to 5th Century BCE origin. Only a few relics of the original story survive. Joseph as an Amorite from El-Shadai, however with the original Amorite name now lost. And his recognition by the Hyksos King as his Vizier, with appropriate gifts, including a chariot, a gold chain and the ring from the King’s finger.

The Patriarch’s name Jacob, or Ya’acov in Hebrew, also indicates a name change. The Amorite YSR-El to Yah-akov after the move from Shadai to Avaris, in Egypt. Akov means uneven ground in Hebrew. A change from the God El to YAH or I’AH. The same as had happened with Joseph’s name. Much later akov was changed to akev or heel, a rounded shape, and the story of Jacob holding Esau’s heel at the time of birth. Probably changed during the 6th Century BCE redactions of the Torah. Hebrewversity.com.

Joseph’s connection to Jacob is also suspect. I have attempted a reconstruction based on the available evidence. The 6th Century BCE Judahite author has done an amazing job in concocting a story with talent, treachery, deceit, danger, romance, family and ambition. Redford. The Story of Joseph. In, Egypt, Canaan and Israel.

El Shadai is mentioned 48 times in the Bible, often translated as Almighty. In the Covenant between Israel/Jacob and his God, El of Shadai, the relationship is specifically delineated. ” Thus he named him Isra-el. And God said to him ” I am El Shadai, be fertile and increase.” Genesis 35:11. Although this is made out to be a new covenant it is in fact a renewal. The Hebrew for two breasts is Shadaim. For my breasts Shadai. The Arabic toponym for the site at the confluence of the Euphrates and Balikh Rivers is Tell eth-Thadeyn, the Tell of Two Breasts. This is the original home of the Family of Isra’el, ” be upright or truthful before God.” Huffmon H. (1965). YSR, In Amorite Personal Names in the Mari Texts.

The connection between Isra’el and Joseph is most clearly defined in Genesis 48.8 to 48:21 (Torah). Here Isra’el/Jacob blesses the sons of Joseph, Ephraim and Manasseh. This is the only place where a specific connection between the children of Joseph and their grandfather is made. This was the time when Jacob placed his hands on the heads of Ephraim and Manasseh.

All the other blessings are Judahite additions from the 6th Century. Isra’el/Jacob was staying with Joseph the Vizier at the time he died and probably long before that as well. The Judahites did not come to Egypt until after the death of Jacob. Only the Israelites came from Shadai, with the Patriarch Isra’el. This was in the second wave of Hyksos migrations and after Joseph was made Vizier of the Hyksos at Avaris, about 1630 BCE. The elderly Isra’el/Jacob probably stayed with Joseph for the rest of his life.


Joseph was witness to the hasty decision to leave Padan-Aram, the ancestral home East of the Euphrates River, by his father Isra’el (Amorite Ysr’el). Joseph was witness to the theft of the family heirloom idol from her father’s house by Rachel, another impulsive act. Followed by the burial of the idol at Shechem. The final step in the separation of Isra’el’s family from their cousins at Padan-Aram. Joseph was witness to the confrontation between Isra’el and Laban, brother of Rebekah, when Rachel hid the stolen idol under her skirt. Joseph was witness to the hasty retreat from Shechem after Simeon and Levi killed Hamor and Shechem in revenge for the rape of their sister Dinah. Joseph was witness to the death of his mother Rach’el, near Beth-lehem, after she gave birth to Benjamin,  Joseph’s only full brother.

Joseph continued to show condescension, even conceited behaviour, toward his half-brothers and boasted of his superiority. Isra’el his father had loved Rachel and continued to favour Joseph, including the gift of the famous coat of many colours.


The coat of many colors. Similar to one worn by Joseph

Ibscha.jpg Author Nebmaatre. After Lepsius

When Joseph visited his five half-brothers, Reuben, Simeon, Levi, Judah and Gad at  Dothan north of Shechem, where the brothers were tending their livestock their jealousy of Joseph was so great the brothers determined to kill Joseph. They stripped him of his coat and threw him down an empty well and left him there. Joseph’s shouts attracted passing Midianites who sold him to a caravan of Ishmaelites heading for Avaris in Egypt. Joseph was seventeen years old, the time 1643-1640 BCE. The half-brothers of Joseph smeared the coat of many colours with the blood of a goat and took it to their father Isra’el, saying Joseph had been slain by a wild beast. Genesis 37:31-36

Joseph coming to Egypt as a slave 

OR Hyksos migrant c.1640 BCE

From Dothan North of Shechem to Avaris Egypt

Near East. Biblos.com/FreeBibleImages.org

This action was to lead to a defining division of the tribes of Isra’el. Confirmed at Avaris, eighteen years later, when Joseph the Vizier of the Hyksos separated the five conspirators, the later Judahite tribes and gave them grazing land at Goshen. While the Josephite tribes were welcomed into the Hyksos City of Avaris (Hawara).

All of the information regarding relationships of the Israelites may be false. Rather there may not have been associations of tribes, in particular during the time at Avaris. The Israelites at Avaris and Judahites at Goshen may not have had any association during their time in Egypt. The Judahites may have simply taken over the Israelite story during the redaction period of their Torah, in the 7th and 6th Centuries BCE, after the Israelites were deported to Assyria. However the Benjaminites of Israel, survived the Holocaust of the Assyrians and then the Babylonians. So their memory of events may have been used in the much later Combined Exodus story.


Joseph was sold to Potiphar the Captain of the Hyksos King’s guard, or the King’s Chief Steward, Torah Genesis 39:1, by the Ishmaelites 1645-1640 BCE. He was to remain a servant for about 13 years. Joseph probably received an education, including reading, writing and basic math. Joseph was clever and came to the attention of the King. There is a possibility of prior association at Padan Aram via Laban and Isra’el, perhaps at Shadai. Joseph became Vizier, Egyptian tjaty, of the Hyksos, Genesis 1:46, probably during the reign of King Khyan (c.1645 -1605), when he was 30 years of age, about 1630. “And the King said unto Joseph, See, I have set thee over all Egypt. And the King took off the ring from his hand and put it on Joseph’s hand, and arrayed him in vestures of fine linen and put a gold chain around his neck.” Genesis 41:41-42.

Joseph, whose Amorite name is unknown, may have been appointed as Overseer of Sealed Things, imy-r-htmt, rather than using the Egyptian terminology of Vizier. Shirley JJ (2013). In, Ancient Egyptian Administration.

It is probable that the above is a Judahite fiction from the Combined Exodus story. However the story would have been based on Israelite records stored at Jerusalem, during the United Monarchy period. Israel, and his children, sons of Rachel, Joseph and Benjamin together with their half brothers, Dan and Naphthali, sons of Bilhah, Rachel’s maid servant, came to Egypt with the Hyksos, from Shadai in North Syria. Later Joseph’s sons, Manasseh and Ephraim, were to be prominent in the Josephite tribes. The Judahite story of Leah and her sons were added to the story of Isra’el during the 7th and 6th Centuries BCE.

The use of the chariot was introduced into Egypt by the Hyksos probably via the Amorites of Yamhad and their northerly neighbours the Hurrians. This is specifically mentioned in relation to Joseph, Genesis 41:43, “And he made him ride in the second chariot he had.” Chariots still obviously a rarity at this time, about 1630 BCE. The story rings true. Both King Khyan and his Vizier Joseph were Amorites, language was not a barrier. Joseph was probably Vizier at Avaris from about 1630-1590 BCE.

In addition to the horse and chariot the Hyksos introduced the scimitar sword or Khopesh and the more powerful composite bow into Egypt.


The Scimitar Sword or Khopesh

Cairo Museum. Tutankhamun


The Recurved and Powerful Composite Bow

Ramesses II

The Hyksos King gave Asenath, a daughter of the priest Poti-pherah, in marriage to his Vizier Joseph, Genesis 41:45. Poti-pherah, Priest of the Canaanite Moon God Yarikh, intermediary of the State God Sutekh-Baal, based at Iunu, or perhaps from Avaris. See Avaris Temples below. The Moon God known as I’ah or Yah in Egypt but Yarikh in Canaan. Shown in Egyptian hieroglyphs.

i               a               hh             i’h

Gardiner. Egyptian Hieroglyphs; M17 reed.(i), G1 vulture (a), V28 wick (hh) eternal, N11 (i’h) waxing Moon

Hart. G (1986). Dictionary of Egyptian Gods and Goddesses

I’ah or Yah the Moon God of Egypt.

God of Asenath Wife of Joseph the Vizier

Queen Iah was the Mother of King Mentuhotep II (2061-2010)

British Museum EA 12587

Joseph and Asenath had two sons, Manasseh and Ephraim, progenitors of two of the major Israelite tribes. This included Joshua the Ephraimite who led the Israelites into the Hills of Ephraim in the later 13th Century.

The Vizier was Superintendent of all the King’s works. In addition he was Supreme Judge, Prophet of Maat or Truth. Gardiner. Egypt of the Pharaohs. One of the first acts of the new Vizier was to install new grain silos to tide the population over poor crops. Grain silos are a feature of the Archaeology of Avaris. The Hyksos thrived during the time of Joseph as Vizier. Joseph lived to old age and saw his grandchildren growing up around him. Genesis 50:22-26. The 110 years mentioned there is an exaggeration, seventy to eighty years more likely and his life span about 1660-1590 BCE..

At the time of the Exodus of the Israelite tribes, from Avaris, about 1540, the embalmed body of Joseph was carried to Shechem and hastily buried there, on the land his father had purchased from Hamor of Shechem. Much later, a Tomb and Coffin were built, just East of Shechem. Joshua 24:32.

The Israelites were at Avaris for about 100 years, 1640 to 1540 BCE. That is the Banu-Yamina of Shadai came to Avaris about 1640, and this settlement included Joseph, the later Vizier of the Hyksos.

THE JUDAHITES COME TO AVARIS.                                                                     



Canaanites coming to Egypt

Ibscha.jp. Nebmaatre After Lepsius

About 1620-1615 the Judahites of Canaan came to Avaris seeking grain during a time of famine. There was already a long precedent for the Judahites going back to Abisha and his family about 1890 BCE. See Canaanites coming to Egypt above. Joseph presented the five conspirators, the later Judahite tribes, to the King. Genesis 47:2-6. “Joseph took his brothers, even five men, and presented them to the King.” Note Genesis is coy in identifying the five who came before the King, they are anonymous in this Judahite account. These five were Reuben, Simeon, Levi, Judah and Gad, the later tribes of Judah. Joseph the Vizier had the power and influence to ensure the Judahite tribes were assigned land at Goshen, East of the Pelusiac Nile with grazing for their herds and flocks. The Canaanite tribes of Asher, Issachar, Naphthali, Dan and Zebulun were allowed to settle in Avaris. In addition at least a part of the tribe of Reuben were allowed into Avaris, by the Vizier Joseph. These Canaanite tribes became part of the Kingdom of Israel in the 10th Century BCE.

There was NO RECONCILIATION with the conspirators , the sons of Leah, who had left Joseph to die in the well at Dothan. Why would he! Joseph had both justification for his action and the executive power to carry it through. The remaining tribes, the Josephites were welcomed into Avaris.. It is possible some of the tribe of Reuben were invited into Avaris. Reuben had been an unwilling participant in the assault on Joseph. Genesis 37:21-22. In the Song of Deborah the tribe of Reuben is mentioned, but none of the other Southern Judahite tribes. The action of Deborah was before the entry of the Judahites into Canaan. The Judahite tribes were still in Egypt, at Goshen, at this point in time.

It is probable that there was no connection between the Judahite and Israelite tribes, in Egypt. They may have entered Egypt as separate groups. One group allied to the Hyksos, from North Syria, the other from Canaan. One group based at the town of Avaris. The other at Goshen with their herds of cattle and sheep. Five of the Canaanite tribes were allowed into Avaris, by Joseph the Vizier. These tribes being Asher, Issachar and Zebulun, Naphthali and Dan. Although some of these names are probably from after the Israelites came to Canaan about 1240 BCE. The other five Canaanite tribes, Reuben, Simeon, Levi, Judah, and Gad were based at Goshen. And allowed to settle after negotiation with King Khyan and his Vizier. The Judahites stayed at Goshen from 1620-1210 BCE, or about 410 Years, together with the twenty years of the Israelites, making a total 430 years, in the Combined Exodus story.

The romantic story of the reunification of the Judahites and Israelites, in the time of Joseph, is a literary invention of the Judahites during the 6th Century BCE redactions of the Torah.

There was probably initial continual contact between the Canaanites at Avaris and those at Goshen. However over eighty years this contact became tenuous, at best. The two groups, including the Amorites, only brought together, in a literary sense, during the 7th and 6th Century redactions, of the Torah, after the disappearance of the Israelite tribes, in the 8th Century.

According to Genesis 46:26 sixty six people came into Egypt as the eleven tribes plus the family of Joseph total 70. The sons of the five Judahite tribes totalled 23.  Total at Goshen about 90 men, women and children. At Avaris about 120 men, women and children. Based on the 29 males listed from the four Josephite tribes plus three Canaanite tribes admitted into Avaris. However the above figures do not include servants, cowherds and shepherds and their families. The numbers may be double those given in the Bible.

The Judahite tribes already had mixed ancestry, as did the Josephite tribes. Servants, cowherds and shepherds with their families. were a part of each tribe.


The pastoral Judahite tribes, the sons of Leah, the descendants of Reuben, Simeon, Levi, Judah and Gad (son of Zilpah), with sheep, cattle, goats and donkeys would have moved around Goshen as conditions changed. Large areas of Goshen had lakes which may have flooded during the Nile inundation. Wild life was abundant with crocodiles, hippopotamus, fish, birds, antelope and gazelle. The area had an enormous drainage system. The Judahites had tents of hides which were readily portable as conditions changed.. During the period 1620 to 1210 the Judahites would have prospered  on the fertile plains of Goshen. However with bare feet and the ever present danger of the Bilharzia or Schistosome worm, life may have been short for many people. Infant mortality was high and the average life span about 30 years. The general level of health was poor.

It is probable that contact between the Canaanites at Goshen and those at Avaris was maintained for some time after their arrival in Egypt. The Canaanites of Avaris probably introduced the concept of YHW to their brethren at Goshen after Ya’acov and Joseph had introduced the Family God, after 1620 BCE

A memorable event during this sojourn in Goshen was the eruption of the volcano on Thera c.1540-1535 BCE. A folk memory of this event was used in the Combined Exodus. Fiery hail and darkness for 3 days confirm the presence of the Judahites in the Nile Delta at the time of the volcanic eruption.


Dynasty 13 at Itj-Tawy in the Faiyum of Middle Egypt ended about 1670. A new Dynasty 16 began at Thebes. Egyptian Waset, City of the Sceptre. Also known as Niwt-‘imn, City of Amun, the God of Waset. Sixteen rulers are mentioned by Ryholt, but many of these were probably short lived reigns of 1-2 years.  Sewadjenre Nebiryrau I reigned for 26 years, 1627-1601, and was the longest reign of Dynasty 16 at Thebes. Rulers from Memphis (Ankh-Tawy) were puppets of the Syro-Canaanite Dynasty 14 and the Hyksos Dynasty 15 and not rulers in their own right.

At Abydos, just North of Thebes, a rival Dynasty to the 16th Dynasty appeared, 1650-1600. This Dynasty was conquered by the Hyksos, under Sakir-Har, as they moved South to attack  the Theban 16th dynasty..

In the period 1590-1585 the Hyksos conquered Thebes ending the 16th Dynasty, 1670-1590. Probably during the reign of Sakir-Har, (Sikru-Haddu). This was a brief, 5 year interim period. Ending when Awoserre Apepi was appointed King and commencing a new regime. Prior to this Nubians of Kush had attempted to capture Thebes and had already  advanced North, past Aswan.

Dynasty 17 commenced at Thebes with Sekhemre-Wakhaw Rahotep then Sekhemre-Wadjkhaw Sobekemsaf I (1585-1577) as the first Kings. Ending with three kings who contested control of Egypt with the Hyksos. These were Senakhtenre Ahmose, Seqenenre Tao (1560-1556) and Wadjkheperre Kamose (1556-1551).


The Josephite tribes shared both language and culture with the Hyksos rulers. Both spoke a North West Semitic Amorite dialect. They would have had little problem settling at the city of Avaris. Avaris became a great walled city of 250 hectares or 2.5 square kilometres,  in the time of King Apepi.. See Bietak. Avaris. Sackler Foundation Lecture 1995. 

After Khyan three short lived Kings ruled Avaris (c.1605-1585). According to the Memphite List of Priests they were Ibi (Re—mae Ibi), on the Turin Canon. Aken ( Akenenre Apepi I ) and Sharek (Sakir-Har), a stone lintel with his name found at Avaris).

At Avaris the 39 year reign of Awoserre Apepi commenced, (Possibly Apepi II c.1585-1546). In year 33 of Apepi the great mathematical Rhind Papyrus was written or more likely copied from a 12th Dynasty original. Apepi came under increasing pressure from the native 17th Dynasty at Thebes. .In particularly Seqenenre Tao and his son Wadjhkeperre Kamose pursued armed conflict against the Hyksos King.   Kamose stelae at Karnak.


Gold diadem from Avaris. Probably Hyksos period

Metropolitan Museum 68.136.1

The Josephites would have participated in the lucrative trade available at the port of Avaris, probably Harbour 1, with ships from the Levantine coast, Cyprus and Crete. Olive oil, wine, honey and incense carried in Tell el-Yahudiya jars would have been rewarding. In addition trade in gold, silver, faience, turquoise and bronze weapons flourished in this period, “all the good products of Retenu,” as King Kamose said rather wistfully on his stelae at Karnak. Donkey caravans from Retenu were regular visitors to Avaris.

Rachel’s sons, Joseph and Benjamin, would have prospered during the Hyksos period, 1645-1540 BCE. The two sons of Joseph, Manasseh and Ephraim and the ten sons of Benjamin probably became wealthy merchants during this period. The sons of Leah, the Canaanites at Avaris, would also have prospered during this period.


Dagger of King Kamose  17th Dynasty 1556-1551

Kamose attacked the Hyksos King Apepi

Royal Library of Belgium. Brussels


At Tell Qaramel in North Syria round towers dating back to the Proto-Neolithic era have been found, perhaps 10,650 BCE. See R. Mazumonski. Pre and Proto History in the North East Levant. Were they early observation towers for the Moon God. At Jericho the Tower of Jericho dates from Pre Pottery Neolithic A about 8000 BCE. This tower is 8.5 metres tall,with a 9 metre base tapering to 7 metres at the top. This too was probably a Moon observation tower tied to the early agricultural cycle at that period. Agriculture commenced here in the Late Natufian period about 11500 years ago. The towers probably served a double purpose as watchtowers for sightings of enemies and for nocturnal observations of lunar cycles. The seeming proximity, soft light and visible changes all adding to the comfort and safety offered by the Moon God in a world of uncertainty and danger.

Steemit 2018

Effect on soil moisture levels during phases of Lunar Cycle

Not directly on plant sap levels

To this day movement of soil moisture and moon phases are used in agriculture. After the Full Moon moisture levels in the soil sink to deeper levels suitable for root crops. In the Second Quarter Moonlight assists with leaf growth. Annuals produce above ground seeds inside the fruit. Beans, peas and melons are planted before the Full Moon when soil moisture peaks.. In the Fourth Quarter Moon light and gravity weaken, a time of waiting. During the New Moon gravity draws moisture up, suitable for leaf crops.

The Moon’s gravity is 1/300,000 that of the Earth, at the Earth’s surface. The effect of lunar gravity on plants is negligible. The Sun’s gravity 1/6000 that of Earth, however there are additive effects when Sun and Moon are aligned. Tidal force is calculated using the cube of the distance.

T = 2GMm/r3 R

Where R is the radius of Earth. r distance. G the Gravitational constant. M mass of Sun.or Moon. m mass of Earth. T = tidal force in Newtons. The factor r of prime importance in calculating the Tidal Force

The Moon has 2.2 times the Tidal Force of the Sun, because of its proximity to Earth. It is the difference in distance between the far or inertial side and near or gravitational side that causes the tidal force. The effect on plants is associated with moisture levels in the soil, not directly on sap rise. The ENTIRE planet experiences the gravitational force. In addition phototropism has effects on gene activity in plants and leaf growth.. Note; Tides are associated with lunar gravity. Spring tides associated with the Full Moon and New Moon, when lunar and solar gravity are in line. Neap tides with the first and third quarters of the Moon.


Moon phases and Agriculture

Farmer’s Almanac

The Sumerian Liturgy of Dynasty III at Ur mentions Sin the Moon God, ” Watchman of the temple…guard of the temple…….who gathers the oxen and brings home the sheep. And, protector of agriculture… a field of abundant grain give. A canal of plump fish give.” The Moon God was God of the New Light. Indicating the importance of the Moon God in the Bronze Age who appears as a visible and physical intermediary between man and the gods, in this case via the Temple (Ekur) of Enlil at Ur. .Langdon. The Babylonian Liturgies. Liturgy and Prayer to the Moon God for the Flocks and harvests.

Major sites for worship of Sin the Semitic Moon God were at Ur in the South and Harran in the North. Harran was close to the farms of Isra’el and Laban, on the Bialikh River.

The Moon God had a long history in Canaan. Beit Yarikh (Yerach in Hebrew) also called Khirbet Kerak, on the south west coast of the Sea of Galilee has a history going back to the Chalcolithic period. This city grew to a massive 60-75 acres, it was the largest site in Canaan in the Early Bronze Age. During the Early Bronze II period 3050-2650 BCE, a great crescent of stones (Jethro Cairn) 150 metres long by 7 metres high was  erected about 13 km from Beit Yarikh. Probably to mark the territory of the Moon God. Until the Middle Bronze IIA period (2000-1900) there was a thriving community.


Tell Beit Yarikh

                                       on the banks of the Sea of Galilee                                      

Next to the outlet of the Jordan river

Tel Bet Yerah Project  Archaeological Institute of America


The Great Crescent of Stones 15 km from Tell Beit Yarikh.

150 metres long and 14000 cubic metres.

The Jethro (Shu’ayb) Cairn. Early Bronze II period

3050-2650 BCE

There was almost certainly an East facing temple with an observation tower or perhaps two towers. The cycle of the seasons and connection to Mother Earth were based on the lunar month. A month beginning at the first sighting of a new waxing crescent Moon and in turn connected to the First Fruits of the barley, signalling Spring. The end of Autumn coincide with the Autumn Equinox and the Full Moon, the Harvest Moon. Sacred time and the continuing cycle of the agricultural year were very important for man and his connection to Earth’s cycles.

At Byblos (Gebal), in Lebanon, there is a Temple Tower, next to the Great Residence, and dating from the Early Bronze Age. This too would have been an observation tower for the lunar cycle, connected to the cycle of agriculture during the year. Note the connection between Temples and Towers.


New horned crescent Moon about 15 hours old.

Signature of a new lunar month after appearance

of New Moon


Full Moon and Autumn Equinox. Signs for Harvest time

F. Schopf

During the MB II period the cult of the Moon God was dispersed through Canaan. East facing Migdol (tower) temples at Hazor, Shechem. Pella in Jordan and recently found Temple P at Jericho, indicate spread of the Moon God cult during the MB II-MB III periods (1800-1540) The towers may have been watch towers and fortresses but their major function was as nocturnal observation posts for the resident priests of Yarikh. In particular observation of the rising of the Moon and the waxing and waning crescent Moons were important in connecting people with time and the whole cycle of the Earth’s seasons. Agricultural cycles were the very life blood of the people. Sighting of a new crescent Moon was the signature of a new month. The horizontal crescent Moon was THE symbol of Yarikh. Note the popularity of the crescent Moon cult coincided with the burgeoning  power of the Hyksos. We City dwellers are now completely divorced from Nature’s cycles. However during the Bronze Age they were the very life blood of survival.

In Egypt the Coffin Texts 154-160, are spells for the the phases of the Moon and the Lunar Eclipse. They date from the MB IIA (MBI ) period. Priskin. Ancient Egyptian Book of the Moon. Later incorporated into the Egyptian Book of the Dead or the Book of Coming Forth by Day.



    Canaanite Temple II and Temple III at Avaris.

Note; Observation Tower attached to Temple II

Area A/II stratum F-E/3. Continued use E/2 and E/1

 Contemporary with Vizier Joseph

and the Josephite tribes at Avaris

M. Bietak. Avaris. Sakler Foundation Lecture 1995

In Area A/II in the Eastern Town, South of Harbor I, at Avaris a Temple Complex has been found . Dedicated to a cosmic deity, painted blue. Temple III stratum F-E/3 and nearby Temple II stratum E/3 (1680-1650) with a tower, 5 x 4.5 metres, probably for Moon (I’ah) observations by the priests of I’ah or Yah. Note these towers are associated with temples and have a clear religious function. Although this is not to say they also functioned as watch towers.

Palace and attached Temple at Alalakh Syria

Amorites of Yamhad. Probable origin of Hyksos

Bietak M. Spiritual Roots of the Elite Hyksos 2019

After Woolley C. L. 1953

Temple III at Tell el-Dab’a is of the broad-room type and similar to those from Aleppo, Ebla and Alalakh. Indicating the connection of the Hyksos elite to their North Syrian ancestors. Bietak M. (2019). Spiritual Roots of the Hyksos Elite.

I’ah acted as a conspicuous and comforting intermediary between the priests of the temple and Seth-Baal, the God of the temple. Again the tower probably served a double purpose as a  watchtower, facing North West toward the Pelusiac Nile, although about 700 metres from the River F1. A view to the East would have been possible. There would be no impediment, given the flat terrain of the area.. Temple II contemporary with the Vizier Joseph and the Josephite tribes at Avaris. Poti-pherah the Priest, the father of Asenath and father in-law of Joseph may have been based at Avaris rather than Iunu (On). Genesis 41:45, Genesis 41:50. Particularly as the King of the Hyksos, based at Avaris, gave Asenath to Joseph in marriage and installed Joseph as Vizier at Avaris. The time fits perfectly with the Temple Complex at Avaris. Poti-pherah probably lived in the House of the Priest near Temple II. He would have made observations of Moon phases from the Tower adjoining Temple II. These observations used for the time of planting and harvesting. The life blood of the Hyksos community.

King of the 17th Dynasty at Waset (Thebes) Senakhtenre Ah-mose and the founder of the 18th Dynasty  Nebpehtire Ah-mose,  born of I’ah, or I’ah is born, indicate the popularity of the Moon God in the early 16th Century, under the Ahmosid Kings of Egypt.


Idol and stele of the Moon God from Hazor Area C.

Late Bronze Age



When the Amorite, Isra’el the Patriarch came to Egypt he was upset to find the division of his family. Asenath, and probably Joseph, worshipped I’ah, rather than El. The concept of YHWaW did not arise in a vacuum, Asenath had already introduced the Moon God I’ah into the family of Joseph. Isra’el determined to try and repair the rift by introducing a Family God YHWaW as a binding force for his family. As a clear signal of his intention the Patriarch, with given name Isra’el (YSR-El), “be upright or be truthful before El”, changed his name to Yah-akov. Akov meaning curved or rolling, referring to uneven ground. Much later, during the redaction phase of the 6th Century BCE, referring to the curved heel and akev. pealim.com>dict>5302-akov/. and pealim.com>dict>5309-akev/

Note the name reversal from that in Genesis. In Genesis Jacob (Yah-akov) then later Isra’el is used. Isra’el is the Amorite name used before he came to Egypt. It was late in life and in Egypt, when the connection to the Family God YHW    10-yodh  heletter    vav-hebrew-letter     was made. I’ah or Yah had become very popular in 17th and 16th Century Egypt, as indicated in the names used by Egyptian Kings.

The El of the town of Shadai, was the God of Isra’el and his family at Padan-Aram and still the God of his family at Avaris. El was the Western Semitic Creator God. The God Iah was already popular in Egypt. Cross cultural connection may have led to the syncretic YHW-El. Followed by a long process leading to monotheism. Still changing during the early Rabbinic period.

It is possible that the Vizier Joseph introduced the concept of YHW supported by his father. Jacob was already old when he arrived in Egypt and may have died within 10 years of his arrival. Joseph was an authority figure with a high level of ability and high standing in the Hyksos Community. Both the Israelites at Avaris and the Judahites at Avaris would have recognised his authority when coupled with the word of the Israelite Patriarch. Their father. Isra’el the Patriarch of all his Family was the recognised Founder of the worship of YHW the Family God. It was Isra ‘el’s imprimatur that ensured YHW became the God of all his Family. The Judahites at Avaris and later the Judahites at Goshen would have recognised the origin of YHW with the Patriarch Jacob.

It is likely that the Josephite tribes accepted YHW-El after Joseph married Asenath. She was the daughter of Potipherah, the Priest of Iah. Orignally Iah or Yah but changed to YHW to ensure the Josephites/Israelites were separated from the rest of the Hyksos. This change may have been instigated by Isra’el when he arrived at Avaris.


The original division of the Judahites was probably based on a decision as to whether the tribes remained as pastoralists or became town dwellers. A stark choice was probably presented to them when they came to Avaris. It was then that the five tribes were presented to the King, by Joseph the Vizier. They remained as pastoralists, sheep herders and cow herders at Goshen. It is also possible that the Judahites, at Goshen, did not accept YHW until much later. The acceptance of YHW-El by the Judahites, based at Avaris, was part of the condition of entry into Avaris imposed by the Vizier, Joseph. That is the tribes of Reuben (part), Dan, Zebulun, Issachar, Naphthali and Asher. The later Canaanite component of the Kingdom of Israel.

Contact between the Judahites at Avaris and those at Goshen probably continued for at least a generation c. 1620-1590 or a little longer. During this time the Judahites of Goshen also accepted YHW-El as their God. Probably to ensure they remained on friendly terms with the family of the Hyksos Vizier. The concept of YHW was later to be re-enforced by the Prophet of YHW, Moses. It is likely there was no connection between Jacob and the Judahites. Jacob probably died within ten years of his arrival in Egypt and before the Judahites arrived.


Isra’el, the Patriarch of his Family, would have been confined to Joseph’s palace for most of his time in Egypt. He is recorded as blessing his grandchildren, Ephraim and Manasseh on his death bed. Genesis 48:17-20, probably at the Palace of the King and his Vizier, Joseph. The palace on Harbour 2 at area F/II is dated to phase D/3 (1600-1560) and may have had an area of 18000 square metres. Scarabs of King Khyan have been found at the Palace site. Possibly this Palace belongs to the early Hyksos period, when Joseph was Vizier c.1630-1590, Joseph may have supervised construction of this Palace. See Forstner-Muller. auaris.at. Area F/II 2013

YHWaW (YHW) means “YH is eternal Great,” or more generally, “God is Great.” The “w” is found in Ancient Egyptian, G43 in Gardiner’s list of hieroglyphs, also in Coptic and meaning GREAT. See Crum Coptic English Dictionary p. 518, w = o great.  V4, Wa, the lassoo sign means endure, probably together meaning enduring or everlasting greatness. Y is the double reed sign (M17) and H the sign for a shelter (O4). The hieroglyphs of YHW are different to those of Egyptian I’ah and this may have been deliberate to ensure the God of the Israelites was separate from any other God. Alternately it may have been a mistake. Ryholt has shown the Hyksos did not understand the Egyptian hieroglyphs they used.

Originally Joseph may have adopted YAH as his God. His father changed this to YHW to ensure the separation of his family from the rest of the Hyksos.

At the temple of Soleb built by Amenhotep III (1392-1353) the name YHW is inscribed in hieroglyphs describing the Shasu-YHW See the pictorial below. YHW the Family God, has been the fundamental focus and uniting force for the Israelites, Judahites, Judeans and Jews down the ages. The origins of YHW are important in understanding the later history, stemming from the Patriarch of his family, Isra’el.

The original Hebrew for the Family God was the triconsonontal   heletter  vav-hebrew-letter   heletter or H-W-H, “to be.” And later H-Y-H.  YHWH is replaced by Hashem (The name) or Adonai ( My Lord)  in current Judaism. Wikipedia Tetragrammaton.

Hosea the Prophet of Israel confirms the connection of the Israelites to their God while in Egypt, ” yet I am the Lord thy God from the land of Egypt,” Hosea 13:4. Hosea had a career beginning in the latter part of the reign of Jeroboam II (792-753), the Assyrian destruction of the kingdom of Israel 734-722 and perhaps dying during the Assyrian siege of Jerusalem in 701 and the time of King Hezekiah of Judah.


YHW was a syncretic God  The Family God of Israel tied to El Shadai the Western Semitic Creator God, from Shadai, in the territory of Padan Aram.  Isra’el the Patriarch had already raised stone cairns to El near Shechem, “El-e-lo-he-Israel,” El is the God of Isra’el. Genesis 33:20.. The Oneness of God is a fundamental tenet of Judaism expressed in the Shema;

” Hear O Israel the Lord thy God, the Lord is One”

YHW-El was the God of Israel just as the Hyksos worshipped the syncretic Seth, Sutekh-Baal during this period. YHW is the correct form of the Family God. In the 5th Century BCE the Jews at Elephantine in Egypt were still using YHW not the Tetragrammaton. See Elephantine Papyri. The Passover Papyrus of 419 BCE describes the proscription against eating leaven but not specifically the name Pesach. The papyrus came from Hananiah the priest of the Temple at Jerusalem and specifically mentions twilight of the 14th of Nisan and end of the Festival on the 21st of Nisan.

In the first alphabetic script, Proto-Sinaitic or Proto-Canaanite in Canaan, YHW may be;


w                h                 y

The march to monotheism was long and complex. King Hezekiah, King Josiah, the Prophets, in particular Hosea, Jeremiah, the First and Second Isaiah and the Babylonian Captivity all refined the concept of the Family God YHW.


The Proto-Sinaitic and Proto-Canaanite alphabets were the precursors of Canaanite, Paleo-Hebrew and Old-Phoenician. Late 12th Dynasty Egypt, during the reign of Amenemhat III (1844-1797), examples have been found at the Turquoise mines of Serabit el-Khadem in the Sinai, adapted from Egyptian Hieroglyphs by Canaanite miners. Each sign had a single acrophonic value. For example bayt  bayt  or house was the “b” of the later alphabet. The Sinai alphabetic script used Middle Egyptian hieroglyphs (1991-1783 BCE), contemporary with Egyptian hieroglyphics at the Turquoise mines. Goldwasser 2015. From the Iconic to the Linear. Records of major events were kept on papyrus and later parchment, using the alphabetic script, unfortunately all have long perished. The alphabetic script was already in use 200 years before the Vizierate of Joseph.

There is evidence the alphabetic script arose in Canaan after the Battle of Megiddo in 1457 when definite Egyptian hegemony over Canaan was established. The date a terminus post quem, perhaps. Adaptation of hieroglyphs to the Canaanite language and use of the acrophonic principle may date from this period. Naveh J. 1987 Early History of the Alphabet.

sinai 345small

Sphinx of Serabit el-Khadem

Proto-Sinaitic and Egyptian Hieroglyphs

Proto-Sinaitic. Beloved of Baalat


Hieroglyphs to Proto-Sinaitic Alphabet

From Serabit el-Khadem Sinai

Goldwasser. How the Alphabet was born from Hieroglyphs

The alphabetic script was later used for Greek, Aramaic and Arabic. See Goldwasser. How the Alphabet was born from Hieroglyphs 2010.  Also Wikipedia. Proto-Sinaitic Script.


Khebeded Brother of the Ruler of Retenu (Canaan)

Shown astride a donkey

From a stele at Serabit el-Khadem Sinai Turquoise Mine

Period Amenemhat III   1844-1797 BCE

Goldwasser 2010

The Alphabet may have arisen from the Middle Bronze Age syllabary of Byblos (Gubla).  See Dunand. Byblia Grammata 1945, Mendenhall. Syllabic Inscriptions from Byblos 1985, Colless. Origin of the Alphabet. Antiguo Oriente 2014. An earlier origin for the alphabetic script has been postulated from Byblos using  Coastal Early Semitic by Mendenhall 1985. Another proposal, also from Byblos, is the adaptation of Old Kingdom Hieratic script. This may originate from 5th Dynasty Egypt, about 2400 BCE. Hoch 1990. These proposals have limited acceptance.


Lachish Ewer with Proto-Canaanite Script and Animals

Mattan An Offering to my Lady ‘Elat

Fosse Temple III. 1220 BCE   LH IIB

Sass B. 1988

Recently an alphabetic script from Deir ‘Alla, in Jordan, near the confluence of the Zerqa (Jabbok) and Jordan Rivers has been identified as a Canaanite variant. Dated from the Late Bronze Age (1185-1140). Faience vessels of Queen Twosret, 1191-1189 confirms the 12th Century Date. The tablets were found in a destruction layer probably from 1150-1140 BCE. De Vreeze M. (2021). The Enigmatic Tablets from LBA Deir ‘Alla. Friends of ASOR. Jan. 2021 IX.1

Alphabetic Script of Deir ‘Alla 12th Century BCE

De Vreeze M. 2021. Friends of ASOR Jan. 2021 IX.1


Sarcophagus of King Ahiram of Byblos 1000 OR 850 BCE

Phoenician Alphabetic Script already in use

The Phoenicians


King Ahiram Of Byblos Enthroned.  Tomb V

Ninth or Tenth Century BCE

OR could be God Mot, God of Death.

Petitioners bringing meal Offerings and libations

Dunand P.  Byblos et l’Egypte

The 10th Century (c. 1000 BCE) sarcophagus of King Ahiram of Gebal (Byblos) has a 38 word inscription in Old Phoenician. The Phoenician script was already in use before 1000 BCE.  Probably Paleo-Hebrew was also in use by this date. However there is now a move to redate this inscription to 850 BCE. Lehmann R. (2005).  Die Inschrift des Ahirome-Sarcophags und Die Schachtinschrift Des Grabes V in Jbeil.  This would make the inscription contemporary to King Ahab of Israel and not the United Kingdom period of David and Solomon. The Northern Israelites were in contact with the Phoenicians. King Solomon of Judah was in contact with King Hiram of Tyre c.967-950 BCE, when he asked for assistance to build the Temple at Jerusalem and his Palace.


Yehimilk Prince of Byblos before Hathor or Baalat Gebal

Seven Line Inscription of Yehimilk of Byblos in Phoenician Script

Late Tenth Century. Yehimilk Father of Abibaal c. 930 BCE

Dunand M. (1930) Nouv. Inscr. Phenecienne Archaique RB 39

Phoenician inscriptions of rulers of Byblos, Abibaal on the base of a statue of Sheshonq (943-922) and Elibaal on the statue of Osorkon I (922-887) have been found. However these are now claimed to be archaizing deceptions. Actually from the time of Ahab and down to the time of Jeroboam II (850-750 BCE), by Sass B (2005). The Alphabet at the Turn of the Millenium. Journal Institute of Archaeology. Tel Aviv University. Occas. Publication 4.

Although restricted in use there were inscriptions recording events, probably much of it on fragile parchment and destroyed during the massive Assyrian and Babylonian invasions. In addition the earlier invasions by Sheshonq of Egypt and Hazael of Damascus would have destroyed a large part of the infrastructure of Israel and Judah. The Torah may have information first recorded using the Western Semitic Alphabetic script of the Bronze Age. Particularly from the Northern Israelites, recorded prior to the Assyrian invasion. The Benjaminites, originally part of Israel, may have kept records dating back to the First exodus or more likely had oral traditions of this time. Some of this information later used by the Judahites prior to and after  the Babylonian destruction of Jerusalem. The Judahite scribes had well over 140 years, beginning with the deportation of King Jehoiachin and the elite in 597. This deportation included the scribes, of Jerusalem. The material available included Israelite material from the United Monarchy period and earlier. Revisions or redactions were continued until and even after the Persians conquered Babylon.. The Sefer Torah was written on parchment, originally in many parts and of diverse origin. Later as a single parchment scroll for all 5 Books of the Torah or Law. Probably from the 5th Century BCE, and introduced at Jerusalem by the Scribe Ezra, who had recently returned  from Babylon, about 445 BCE.

In the words of Frank Moore Cross. “The invention of the Proto-Canaanite alphabet was an act of stunning innovation, a simplification of writing which must be called one of the great intellectual achievements of the ancient world . . . With the creation of the alphabet came the first opportunity for the democratisation of culture . . . literacy spread like wild-fire and a new epoch of cultural history began.” However the spread of the alphabetic script was slow. It appears that only in the ninth or even eighth Century BCE did it become popular with wide spread use.



In 1553 BCE King Wadjkheperre Kamose (1556-1551), launched an attack, down the Nile in a flotilla of ships, against the Hyksos and probably reached the walls of Avaris. However he was unable to breach the 10 metre high walls of the City. He did capture a number of trading ships in the Harbour and seized, gold, lapis lazuli, silver, turquoise, bronze axes, oil, incense, honey, willow box wood and cedar. Kamose then returned to Thebes and the next year waged war against Nubia, his enemy in the South. Kamose died prematurely in the following year. Kamose stelae at Karnak. The Josephites, later Israelites, would have witnessed this attack, from the walls of Avaris.

Earlier still a quarrel between King Seqenere and Apepi has been recorded, Goedicke H (1986) The Quarrel between Seqenenre and Apophis. At this stage Apepi was in a strong position.


Recent work by Peter Lacovara has confirmed the site at Deir el-Ballas as the Palace of the Late Seventeenth Dynasty. P. Lacovara.(2018) The 2017 Season at Deir el-Ballas. Ancient Egypt Archaeology Fund. Available on line. A lintel. found at the local village has the name of Seqenenre Tao, the father of both Kamose and Ahmose. Indicating a date around 1560 BCE for this site. Seqenenre Tao may have had a longer reign than that currently assigned to him. The site may have had an even earlier Palace with a brick having a cartouche of King Djehuti.

Deir el-Ballas is about 48 km (30 miles) North of Thebes on the West bank of the Nile River. The Kamose Stela mentions Per-djed-ken. This was probably the assembly area for the Theban Fleet and the attack by Kamose against Avaris about 1553 BCE. The assembly is mentioned on ostraca from this area. The Palace is built of large mud bricks. Internal decoration included faience tiles and paintings of men with battle axes.

Palace of King Ahmose at Deir el-Ballas

North of Thebes

Ancient – Egypt- online.com

Another text on the Ahmose Tempest Stela mentions the Residence of Sedjefa-tawy. This may be the name of the North Palace. The Palatial area is within the district of Dendera. The Palace is built above a 5 metre casemate platform and has an area of over 45,000 square metres. Private houses, a workmen’s village, mortuary temples and administration buildings are found near the Palace. To the South is an observation tower with views along the Nile. ancientegyptarchaeologyfund.com/deir -el-Ballas-full-history/. Ahmose may have been born here and stayed here as King 1551-1540, before the attack on Avaris and then the expedition into Canaan. In addition the Ahmose Tempest Stela indicates the major storm here, indicating a likely date for the Volcanic Eruption of Thera. 1540-1530 BCE.

The Northern Palace of King Ahmose at Deir el-Ballas

Proceedings of Conf. on Palaces in Ancient Egypt 2013


P. Lacovara. Deir el-Ballas

Northern Palace of King Ahmose at Deir el-Ballas

F. Weatherhead and A. Boyce in The Egyptian Empire Strikes Back

Current World Archaeology 84

Bronze Dagger with Ivory Handle

Deir el-Ballas. Hearst Museum of Anthropology 6-17311


About 1545 the sixteen year old King Ahmose (1551-1526), “born of I’ah, or child of the Moon,” from I’ah the Moon God and mesu, born of, Founder of the 18th Dynasty at w/s,t or waset, (Thebes), City of the Sceptre, determined to reconquer Lower Egypt from the Hyksos. Ahmose was nswt, king and hm, majesty. The title Pharaoh, per-ah or Great House, did not come into use until much later, at least until Thutmose III and perhaps not until Merneptah. The death of King Apepi of the Hyksos in 1546 would have spurred Ahmose on. The Radiocarbon dates for Ahmose are 1570-1544 (95% probability). However the start date is based on measurement for Thutmose III commencing 1498 and this is 19 years earlier than the accepted date of 1479 BCE. Bronk Ramsey (2010). Hence the date 1551 for commencing the reign of Ahmose.

Ahmose was about ten years old when he became King and may have relied on his mother, Queen Ah-hotep, to protect Egypt against the Hyksos for the first years of his reign. The archaeological dates of the reign of King Ahmose agree fairly well with the Radiocarbon dates, 1566-1552 (68%) and 1570-1544 (95%). Already his brother Kamose and father Seqenenre Tao had started the task of retaking the territory of the Hyksos. Ahmose was about seven when his father died, apparently after a violent conflict with the Hyksos.

Usekh Collar of Queen Ah-hotep

Egypt-Museum.com JE 4725A

The earliest date for the Campaign against the Hyksos is 1545, when Ahmose was  sixteen years old. The first priority was to re-equip the army with up to date weaponry. The Composite bow with goat horn and tendon giving far greater accuracy, power and range than the previous bow. Horse drawn chariots, although strictly limited in number. Body armour with metal discs sewn onto leather jackets. A better dagger and an axe with a longer thinner, straighter blade for piercing armour.

Probing campaigns into Hyksos territory 1540-1536 were followed by the capture of Heliopolis and Tjaru, modern Tell Heboua, on the Horus Road, into Canaan 1535, The back of the Rhind Mathematical Papyrus states; Regnal Year 11, second month of Shemu (April to August) Iunu (Heliopolis)was entered. First month of Akhet (August to December), day 23 this Southern Prince broke into Tjaru.. These actions sealed the Hyksos off from Canaan. The campaign to take and destroy Avaris followed, . Regnal year 11 probably refers to Khamudi’s, reign 1546-1535. So Heliopolis was taken in the Season of Shemu, or Harvest, May 1535. And the Fortress of Tjaru on 8 September 1535, Avaris was probably captured late in the Season of Peret or Cultivation, December to April 1534, most likely between January and February 1534. The modern dates using the Gregorian Calendar.

The Campaign to take Avaris was intermittent, not continuous. Replenishment of supplies and periods of recuperation for the army were required. There was a period of 4 months between the taking of Heliopolis, in May and Tjaru in September and probably a similar break between the capture of Tjaru and of Avaris, that is September 1535 to January- February 1534. A total campaign of 8 months and possibly up to 12 months.

Just before the definitive campaign against the Hyksos, Queen Tetisheri, the grandmother of Ahmose, died c.1541.

Apepi of the Hyksos had built 9 metre or 30 foot high fortification walls with buttresses and watch towers in reaction to the attacks of Seqenenre and Kamose. There is a record of Hyksos women jeering at the Egyptians from these walls.

Citadel Of Avaris Area H. Late Hyksos Period

Sacco A, (2013) Rulers of Foreign Lands.

Ancient Warfare 7.1 Riccio Espin.

The back of the Rhind Mathematical Papyrus records; Regnal Year 11, 1540 for Ahmose or 1535 if the reference is to Khamudi of the Hyksos.Most likely the reference is to Khamudi and written by a scribe at Avaris. The second month of Shemu, that is May (Harvest Season, April to August*) – Heliopolis was entered. First month of Akhet, (Inundation or Akhet, August to December*) day 23, that is September 8 – this Southern Prince broke into Tjaru. Day 25- it was heard that Tjaru had been entered. Regnal Year 11, First month of Akhet. the Birthday of Seth – a roar was emitted by the Majesty of this god. In fact the Birthday of Seth was the 3rd day of the 5 day Epagomenal Days prior to the New Year on I Akhet Day 1. That is August 12. The Birthday of Isis, on this day the sky poured rain. Day 4 of the Epagomenal days is August 13. D. Redford. Egypt, Canaan and Israel.

The five epagomenal days are for Osiris, Horus, Seth, Isis and Nephthys, bringing the calendar up from 12 x 30 Days to 365 days.

*The dates based on III Shemu 19 on July 4 1500 BCE. Schaefer B. (2000). Heliacal Rise of Sirius and Ancient Egyptian Chronology. Journal for History of Astronomy. XXXI Pt.2, 149-155.

There is still doubt around the King referred to on this papyrus. If it refers to Khamudi (1546-1535) then the year 11 is 1535. King Ahmose broke into Heliopolis and captured Tjaru in the year 1535. See Wikipedia King Ahmose.

Note the time between the taking of Heliopolis in May 1535 and capture of Tjaru on September 8 may have been a time when Ahmose returned to his base at Deir el-Ballas. The Tempest Stela of Ahmose probably refers to this time, when the Eruption of Thera caused darkness, heavy rain and floods on and after August 12 1535 BCE..

The D2 phase at Avaris has Cypriote Proto-White Slip Pottery indicating a date 1560-1530 and probably no earlier than this time. It is likely that Memphis may have remained physically independent from the Hyksos. Although political control was exerted from Avaris. Strata VIe to VIa at Kom Rabi’a do not indicate a major Hyksos presence. Cordoba J. et al (2008). Avaris and Memphis in the SIP. Proceedings of the 5th International Congress on Archaeology of the Ancient Near East. Memphis may have had a name change from Ankh-tawy to Men-nefer, enduring and beautiful, under King Ahmose.

In a large scale campaign King Ahmose captured Avaris probably late in the season of Cultivation or peret (December to April). That is January to March 1539 for Ahmose year 11 or 1534 if Khamudi is the King mentioned on the Rhind Papyrus..That is 4-6 months after the eruption of Thera. Ahmose pursued the Hyksos into Canaan, to the Hyksos stronghold at Sharuhen, Tell el-Ajjul, near Gaza. Along the way of the pursuit some of the Egyptian chariots strayed off the Way of Horus and fell into the Ballah Lakes (Yam Suph or Sea of Reeds). This episode later used by the Judahites in the Combined Exodus and the drowning of Pharaoh’s army in the Yam Adom or Red Sea. Exodus 14:16-31. See also the Haggadah p.106 Setz Ed. where yam suph has been retained. Note yam suph is a freshwater lake. Yam adom seawater and a branch of the Indian Ocean.

Hyperbole was a common theme in the Combined Exodus story, to boost morale during the Babylonian Captivity. This story was written 700 years after the Second Exodus of the Judahites, And a 1000 years after the First Exodus of the Israelites. In addition it was written 200 years after the disappearance of the Israelites. The Israelites no longer had a voice to present their own story.

Date of the Thera Eruption

Can the roar of Seth be identified with the volcanic eruption of Thera. The eruption of Krakatau in Indonesia was heard in Perth, Australia 3110 km or 1930 miles away. It was also heard in Mauritius, 4800 km away or 3000 miles away. Santorini is only 887 km or 550 miles from Cairo. Much closer than either of the Krakatau aural witnesses. In addition the eruption of Thera (60 cubic kilometres) was much larger than that of Krakatau (21cubic kilometres). Without doubt the noise of the Thera eruption was heard in Lower Egypt and in Upper Egypt as well..

Was the rain from the sky associated with the circling ash and dust from this major plinian volcanic eruption. The eruption circled the Earth for several days with associated storms, darkness and cooling of the atmosphere. The Thera eruption may have been on August 12 1535 BCE, if Year 11 of King Khamudi is referred to on the back of the Rhind Mathematical Papyrus.

The year 1535-1534, beginning in May 1535, may have been an Annus Mirabilis for the Egyptians, The taking of Avaris, Pursuit of the Hyksos into Canaan and the Volcanic Eruption of Thera. This year marked the end of Asiatic power in Lower Egypt and the end of the 15th dynasty. The beginning of the New Kingdom (1551-1077) and Dynasty 18.

Note the beginning of the Egyptian Year was tied to the appearance of Sirius, the Dog Star, just before sunrise, marking the beginning of Inundation. The Heliacal Rising of Sirius , Egyptian Sopdet. The Season of Akhet, New Year, August 15. The days of birth of the gods, five in number were at the end of the 12 x 30 day months of the Egyptian Calendar.. Making a total of 365 days in a year. Technically 5 epagomenal days, added in, prior to the New Year..

Stela of Queen Tetisheri

Mortuary Temple of Ahmose at Abydos 1540 BCE

Mohamed Abo El-Yazid


Following the capture of Avaris King Ahmose pursued the Hyksos into Asia. First the three year siege against the Hyksos fortress of Sharuhen, 1534-1531. This was followed by pursuit of the Hyksos into Canaan, to Kedem, near modern Haifa, followed by destruction of Shechem and Jericho 1532-1531. The campaign of Ahmose into Asia was a punitive one, not a conquest or for territorial gain. The Army of Ahmose withdrew to Egypt after the punishment of the Hyksos.

Was the interregnum between the preliminary campaign against the Hyksos 1535 and that of the Final Avaris campaign 1534, the time of the Thera Volcanic Eruption. That is Year 11 of Khamudi and while Ahmose was based at Deir el-Ballas. This would fit with the information on the Ahmose Stela and that on the back of the Rhind papyrus.

Spring of Kedem near modern Haifa

Limit of Ahmose Campaign in Asia 1536 or 1531 BCE

Campaigns against Nubia followed 1531-1529, known as Khent-hen-nefer. Continuous campaigning and disease had sapped Ahmose’s vigour, There may have been a regency with his son and heir, Amenhotep I and his wife Ahmose Nefertari, 1529-1526.

Princess Ahmose Meritamun

Daughter of King Ahmose. Later Queen of Egypt

Sarcophagus. Egyptian Museum Cairo

The Josephite tribes included in this First Exodus were the descendants of Joseph and Benjamin.  Bilhah’s sons Dan and Naphthali and the three tribes of the Canaanites, Asher, Issachar and Zebulun, who had been allowed to settle in Avaris. Part of the tribe of Reuben were probably also included. The first destination was Shechem, but only for a short time before the Egyptians attacked the town. These tribes became the Northern Kingdom of Israel, in the 10th Century BCE, in the Early Iron IIA period..

It appears likely that the last King of the Hyksos died at Avaris in 1535. The action of King Ahmose brought the Middle Bronze Age IIC to an end. A new era and Dynasty 18 had commenced. The Late Bronze Age 1540-1200 BCE. Hosea the Prophet Of Israel confirms this Exodus, ” When Israel was a child, then I loved him, and called my son out of Egypt.” Hosea 11:1

Chronology of Events for King Ahmose


Probably commenced after the death of Queen Tetisheri. Grandmother of Ahmose, in 1541.

Pyramid and Mortuary Temple of Ahmose at Abydos

Pyramid of Queen Tetisheri

Commons Wikimedia.org

Pyramid and Mortuary Temple Complex of Ahmose at Abydos

Commons Wikimedia.org


The numbers on The First Exodus were small. Population growth estimated at 1 percent per generation of 25 years (Annual population growth of 0.04 percent). Infant mortality at twenty seven percent and pre-pubertal mortality forty six percent. That is natural population growth of 4% in the 100 years at Avaris. This gives a total of about 130 people for the First Exodus of the Israelites at Avaris. However with servants this number could be 50-100 percent higher. Volk A. and J. Atkinson 2013. Infant and Child Death in Human Environment of Evolutionary Adaptation. Evolution And Human Behavior 34.3

Mortality Rates for Infants and Children in Ancient Cultures

Infant Rate 27 Percent   Child Rate 46 Percent

M. Roser 2018. Our World in Data  Oxford University


Probably just before the Exodus of Hyksos and Israelites, the massive pyroclastic eruption of the volcano of Thera on modern Santorini led to darkness and falling tephra in the Delta region of Egypt, including Avaris. This was toward the middle of the Minoan LM IA period (1600-1500 BCE), based on correlation with pottery from Aegean Islands, including Crete, and the mature LM IA pottery associated with the volcanic eruption, probably 1560-1530 BCE. Perhaps August 12 1535 if Khamudi is the King, as. indicated by the information on the Rhind Papyrus. This correlates with the D2 to D1 strata at Avaris, from near the end of the reign of King Ahmose,  around 1560-1530 BCE, based on pumice from a workshop, and probably collected and stored over a lengthy period.  Although the excavator of Avaris has dated this pumice to the time of Thutmose III (1479-1425).

The Volcanic Eruption of Thera ejected over 60 cubic Kilometres of rock debris as ash, dust, gas and tephra into the atmosphere. Anyone who has been to Santorini will have witnessed the effect of this massive eruption. The central area of the island has completely disappeared leaving a large crater. The resulting atmospheric disturbance affected weather patterns around the world, i.e. cooling, darkness, seeding of clouds, rain, thunder and lightning. The areas within 1000 km would have definitely noticed the effects of this major eruption. In particular areas East of Thera, because of the prevailing Westerly winds.


The Massive Volcanic Eruption of Thera (Santorini)

During the Reign of King Ahmose 1551-1526 BCE

Science Photo Library

The Judahites were still at Goshen (1620-1210 BCE) at this time and would have witnessed the darkened sky and falling tephra. Two of the Plagues, fiery hail and darkness for three days are probably based on a folk memory of this highly memorable event. Exodus 9:24, ” So there was hail and fire mingled with the hail, very grevious, such as there was none like it in all the land of Egypt since it became a Nation. Exodus 10:22, mentions, “the thick darkness in Egypt for three days.” Goshen is 850 km South East of the volcano at Thera and within range of falling Tephra and the thick darkness caused by high levels of dust and gas in the atmosphere, specifically in the troposphere and stratosphere. Fine pumice can travel hundreds even thousands of kilometres after a volcanic eruption. Oregon State University. Stratosphere-troposphere coupling has been recently shown to have major effects on weather patterns. How Volcanoes Affect Climate ACAR 2020.

In addition the Ahmose Tempest Stela mentions darkness in the West and a great storm from this period. Foster K et al. (1996). Texts, Storms and the Thera eruption. J. Near Eastern Studies. 55(1) 1-14. Ritner R. and N. Moeller (2014) The Ahmose Tempest Stela. J. Near Eastern  Studies. 73.1.  This storm was either in the period 1551-1540 or 1535-1526. Before or after the major campaigns of King Ahmose. Probably August 1535 if the information on the Rhind Papyrus is used.


Tempest Stela of Ahmose from Karnak

Ritner R. and Moeller J. Near Eastern Studies 73.1

Note Dendera, probably the Northern Palace at Deir el Ballas, where King Ahmose was at this time, is 1350 km South East of the volcano of Thera. The massive volcanic eruption would have had major effects on local weather events, including darkness and heavy rain for a period of days, as described, on the stela. This event was obviously a very rare and frightening event. Not just an unusual weather event, as some people have said, to explain this phenomenon away. Note also this weather phenomenon came from the West NOT the East and the Red Sea region.


Volcanic Eruption of Thera. Ash spread to Egyptian delta

Judahites at Goshen witnessed the after effects

Radiocarbon Date 1628 BCE

Archaeological Date 1560-1530 BCE

Possibly 1535 BCE


The date for the Thera eruption is still controversial. However recent discovery of wiggles in the Calibration Curve for Radiocarbon dating may resolve the current, almost 100 year difference between Archaeology and Radiocarbon dating. There is evidence of pronounced Solar Cycles in the Plateau region of the Calibration Curve ICCP17 in the area of most interest, 1560-1530 BCE. Pearson C. et al. (2018). Annual Radiocarbon Record Indicates 16th Century Date For Thera Eruption. Science Advances. Vol. 4 No. 8. 15 August 2018. A definite answer may come from further single year dating. Using single year dating of tree rings associated with the time frame of this event. C. Pearson. Personal Comm. A new Calibration Curve IntCal20 is in the process of refining dates, for this period. Bronk Ramsey (2020).

Fantuzzi T. (2019). A Reassessment of the Debate on LM IA and Interlinked Chronologies. Ph.D. Thesis. Venezia, Has emphasised Radiocarbon Dates should be reported as a range not a probability. Quantum/Contingency Calibration is suggested because of the multiple pathways involved in Radiocarbon Dating. The period in question, 1580-1530 BCE, is coincident with a flattened part of the Calibration Curve. Small errors can lead to large errors in interpretation. Present indications are for a date in the middle 16th Century for the Volcanic Eruption of Thera, during the Minoan LM IA period. The Period variously dated as 1600-1500 (Palmer, Furumark), 1550-1500 (Hutchinson) and 1580-1510 (Ventris, Chadwick). Note all these dates for LM IA are in the 16th Century, none in the 17th Century. A more recent Chronology has dates 1600-1480 BCE. Tartaron T. (2007) Aegean Prehistory as World Archaeology. J. Arch. Res. 16(2) 83-161

Eruption of Mt. Spurr Alaska and Global Effect

It would be nice and tie a lot of loose ends together, if the Dendrochronology/14C dating was during the reign of Ahmose. Tying Archaeology and Dendrochronology/14C dates together.



  King Nebpehtire Ahmose founder of the 18th Dynasty.

Conqueror of the Hyksos

First Exodus of Josephites (Israelites) 1535-30

Painting on Limestone Slab. Manchester Museum 3303


Ceremonial Axe of Ahmose with his Cartouche

From the Tomb of Ah-hotep, his mother, at Luxor

Shows the King killing a Hyksos enemy

and the King as a Griffin

symbol of Montu the God of War

Cairo Museum


            Lake Ballah, The Sea of Reeds, Yam Suph.

             Much more extensive at the time of the Exodus

                        New evidence from Egypt and Location of Exodus Sea Crossing


After a three year siege at Sharuhen (Tell el-Ajjul) on the Gaza strip, King Ahmose pursued the Hyksos as far as Kedem, probably the spring of Ein Kedem, just South of modern Haifa. As recorded in the Tomb of Ahmose-Nefertari, wife of King Ahmose.

Sharuhen just South of Gaza was a stronghold of the Hyksos. Pumice from Thera has been found from Horizon 5, end of Middle Bronze c. 1550, but not from Horizon 6. giving  a well defined date for the Thera eruption, Fischer P. 2000. Swedish Archaeology in Jordan, Palestine and Cyprus . See Fischer P. (2009). The Chronology of Tell el-Ajjul, Gaza: stratigraphy, Thera, pumice and radiocarbon dating. In Proceedings of a Conference on the Thera Eruption. Univ. Ahus Denmark. In addition see, Wiener M. (2001). White Slip I of Tell El ‘Daba and Thera

Cypriot White Slip I Pottery

British Museum 1898.1201.163 Maroni Cyprus

Two destruction zones recognised at Tell el-Ajjul in Horizon 5 with ash and fallen bricks. Trace element analysis by Neutron Activation Analysis indicates the pumice is from the Thera eruption.Twenty three pieces of Cypriot White Slip I Pottery were found in this horizon and none from Horizon 6. Dated 1550-1400 BCE. Levantine Ceramics Project 2017. In addition the White Slip I Pottery has been recognised as Proto or Early White Slip I by P. Astrom, indicating a date close to 1550 BCE. Fine pumice can travel hundreds even thousands of Kilometres. Oregon State University. Volcano World. Pumice would have arrived at Tell el-Ajjul within hours of the eruption of Thera. And in Horizon 5B as found by Fischer.

Pumice from Tell El-Ajjul Horizon 5B 1560-1530 BCE

Fischer P. (2009) The Chronology of Tell el-Ajjul,Gaza:

This date is confirmed by the Radiocarbon Date for Horizon 5 of about 1550 BCE. Fischer dates Horizon 5B to 1560-1530 and Horizon 5A to 1530-1500 BCE. The date for Horizon 5B is indicative of the date of the Thera Eruption. According to Fischer, late SIP to Early 18th Dynasty. A date coincident with the reign of Ahmose I. This was not a process over years but days only. The Pressure Velocity was 1086 km/hour, for the Krakatau eruption .Simkin T and R. Fiske. Krakatau 1883. Thera is 989 Km North West of Gaza. The Pressure wave from Thera would have reached Tell el-Ajjul in less than one hour with associated gas, dust and tephra following not long after. Dust from the Krakatau eruption circled the Earth for 3.5 days. Krakatau was a 20 cubic Kilometre eruption. While Thera may have been 60 cubic Kilometres and caused major disruption to world weather patterns, such as those seen at Dendera by Ahmose.


Gold jewellery from Sharuhen  MB IIC

Syrian Hyksos style

British Museum

After the pursuit the Egyptians turned back to take and destroy Shechem and Jericho, where separately the Josephites at Shechem and some of the Hyksos at Jericho, had taken shelter. Archaeology records destruction of both these cities about 1540-1530 BCE, probably 1531, based on the 1534 date for the capture of Avaris followed by the 3 year siege at Sharuhen


            The First Exodus

Campaign of Ahmose against Hyksos and Josephite tribes.



Shechem (Tell Balata) had a long history for the Josephite tribes. Isra’el the Patriarch had purchased grazing land there. Shechem a 6 Ha town had strong walls and two gates. One on the North-West side toward the route leading West between Mounts Gerizim and Ebal. the other facing East and toward the plain where Isra’el the Patriarch had purchased grazing land.


    Shechem. Note historical connections to the Israelites (Josephites)

Tomb of Joseph and the Well of Jacob. Both East of the town

                           Shechem III. Stratigraphy and Architecture

of Shechem/Tell Balatah

G. Wright Vol.2  Illustrations. ASOR 2002

The embalmed body of Joseph was transported to Shechem and buried there by the  Josephite tribes. Alternately the Bones of Joseph may have been carried around for 300 years until the entry into Canaan in about 1235, under Joshua. They were then buried at Shechem. The burial spot of Joseph is mentioned in Itinerarum Burdigalense of the Pilgrim of Bordeaux (333 CE), before the Muslim period. ” Beyond this (Mount Gerizim) at the foot of the Mountain is a place called Sichem. Here is a Tomb in which Joseph is laid in the parcel of land which Jacob his father gave him.” The site was revered by the Samaritans, successors of the Israelites in the area. It is possible the current site is not where Joseph was originally buried but nearer Jacob’s well. The Samaritans are said to have covered the original site to prevent Christians from removing Joseph’s bones. Pummer. The Samaritans p.12.


Joseph’s Tomb near Shechem

Meier Rotter

The major feature at Shechem was a Migdol Temple facing South East. The two towers were observation towers for the priests of the Temple. Used for observation of the new crescent Moon, the new lunar month and the cycle of the Earths seasons..Although they may have served a double purpose as watch towers as well, although with restricted space for refuge.The towers were a maximum 7 x 8.5 metres with a stair well and parapets the available space on the tower roof was restricted to 19-25 square metres, standing room on both towers for 120-150 people. Only space for 5-8% of the population of a 6 Ha town perhaps with a population of 3000 – 3500, or about 500 per Hectare.(Kennedy 2013).


Temple and twin towers for observation of the lunar cycle at Shechem

View of North West Gate and Temple area

After  Baloghe Balogh

Shechem had strong walls in the Middle Bronze Age but they were not able to hold back the army of King Ahmose. There is clear evidence of destruction at Shechem, Tell Balata Stratum XV, MB IIC or MB III in the general chronology, about 1535-1530. Entry into Shechem was via the East Gate. Evidence of use of a battering ram to break through this gate. Wright G. Ernest. 1965. Shechem. Biography of a Biblical City. Also see Taha and van der Kooij. Tell Balata Archaeological Park Project.


Plaque of Cloaked Figure with Proto-Canaanite Script

Shechem North West Gate  MB IIB-IIC 1750-1540 BCE

Bohl F. Die Sichem Plakette 1938


A great and ancient town with a history dating back to the end of the Stone Age (Epipalaeolithic 13,000 years ago). Jericho was in  the Jordan Valley and may have been a source for at least some of the Hyksos who came to Egypt. Although the town may have been called Ariha, fragrance or divine spirit in the MB I period. L. Nigro.The Built Tombs on the Spring Hill and the Palace of the Lords of Jericho cDMR RHc in the Middle Bronze Age. The name may have changed to Beit Yarikh during the MB II/MBIII periods. after the demise of the settlement on the Sea of Galilee. Garstang has described the MB II-III Palace, his Hyksos Palace, at an area near the Spring (Area G). The built tombs on the Spring Hill such as Kenyon’s HAR and the built tombs of the Hyksos at Avaris such as F/I-o/20 indicate the likely cultural connections in the Middle Bronze Age.


Bronze studded belts from Jericho and Avaris

Kenyon. Warrior Tomb J3 Jericho

Bietak. Tomb F/I-o/19 Gr.8 Tell el Daba

A bronze studded belt at Jericho has an almost exact replica at Avaris. That at Jericho from the Warrior Tomb J3 MB 1B/MB IIA and that from Avaris Warrior tomb F/I-0/19 stratum d/2 1820-1780. BCE. These are Proto-Hyksos connections..


The “Hyksos” Palace at Jericho.

The Migdol Temple P is about 60 metres South-West

Tell es-Sultan/Jericho 2015  lasapienzatojericho.it

In addition a nearby Migdol Temple at Area P has been discovered recently (2015) by the La Sapienza University of Rome and the Palestinian MOTA DACH. The temple dates from  Middle Bronze IIB/IIC or Sultan IVb-c from 1750-1540. This temple was rectangular with thick walls and faces South East. The tower probably functioned as an observatory for the new crescent Moon and the new lunar month. All tied to the ancient cycle of agriculture, beginning in Neolithic times, as well as a watch tower for enemy sightings. The connection with Yarikh the Moon God supports the origin of the name Jericho during this period.


Middle Bronze Age Palace (G)

and Migdol Temple (P) at Jericho

Lasapienzatojericho.it results 2016

Two seals of Khamudi last King of the Hyksos (1546-1535) have been found at Jericho. Possibly King Khamudi may have died during the siege of Jericho. Seals of Khamudi, Israel Museum 33.1256 and Berlin Alte Mus. 370/73. T.he Italian Palestinian expedition to Tell Es-Sultan at stratum IVC, Middle Bronze Age III, shows clear evidence of destruction. To quote the investigators, ” a violent destruction brought to a sudden end Jericho period IVC around 1550 BCE or some years later… the city was so badly shattered that it was abandoned for several centuries and the inhabitants moved to another part of the Jericho oasis.” See, lasapienzatojericho.it/Results 201997-2000/res_sulIVC.htm

Radiocarbon dates for the destruction of Jericho are 1601-1566 and 1561 -1524 on short lived cereal. See Bruins and Van der Veen . Tell Es-Sultan: Radiocarbon dating of short lived cereals and multi year charcoal from Jericho.1995. The dates agree fairly well with the time of King Ahmose (1551-1526).


Attack of Egyptians against Shechem and Jericho

Israelites become Shasu-YHWaW and

the Hyksos Shasu in Trans Jordan


Between 1540 and 1535 King Ahmose captured Avaris, besieged and captured the fortress of Sharuhen and pursued the Hyksos as far as Kedem. Then he besieged and destroyed Shechem forcing the Israelites into the Trans Jordan as Shasu-YHW. The Israelites fled to the Jabbok River Valley directly across the Jordan River from Shechem using the Sukkot ford. The Jabbok River had a prior association with the early Israelites, Genesis 32:22. However this reference is far more likely to have come from the Jordan settlement period of 1535-1235 than the much earlier patriarchal time of Israel. King Ahmose then besieged and destroyed Jericho forcing the Hyksos there into the Trans Jordan as Shasu. In addition King Khamudi, last King of the Hyksos, may have died at Jericho c.1535.


Both the Josephite tribes at Shechem, they probably called themselves Israelites at this time, and the Hyksos at Jericho were forced into the Trans Jordan by the Egyptians. As recorded by Amenhotep III (1392-1353) the Shasu YHWaW (YHW) were nomadic tribes in his time. The temple at Soleb records this. In addition there is a record at Amarah West in the Sudan from the time of Ramesses II. For Soleb see Schiff Giorgini. For the Cartouche of the Shasu of  YHW See J. Leclant. Le Tetragrammaton r lepoque d’Amenophis III. Near Eastern Studies Wiesbaden 1991. For Amara West. See P. Spencer. Amara West Egypt Exploration Society 30 January 2002. Note there is no h after the quail (w) on this cartouche. The W is for great in Egyptian. Referring to the Shasu of YHW or YaH the great.


Gardiner Hieroglyphs; N16 land (t’a), M8 pool with lotus (s’a), M23 Sedge (sw), G43 quail (w), M17A two reeds (i,y).

O4 shelter (h). V4 lasso (wa), G43 quail (w) great

Land of the Shasu great rulers, YH everlasting great. Note YHWaW changed to YHW. YH is Great.= God is Great.

For w=great. See Crum Dictionary of Coptic to English p.518.

Land of the Shasu of YHWaW from the Temple of Amenhotep III

at Soleb Sudan

http://www.bible.ca/land of the Shasu of YHWaW

In addition a statue base Berlin 21687 may support this, with the name Ia-sr-il.  See P. van der Veen, C. Thiess and M. Gorg. Israel in Canaan before Pharaoh Merneptah. A fresh look at Berlin Pedestal Relief 21687. J. of Anc. Egyptian Interconnections. 2.4:15-25. 2010. This fragment also mentions Ashkelon and Canaan and has archaic elements perhaps from the time of Thutmose III and the Israelite incursion into Canaan c.1440.


Berlin Pedestal Relief with Askelon, Canaan and probably Israel

Hieroglyphs above mention submission

Van der Veen, Theis and Gorg 2010


Reconstruction of right relief as Israel (Ia-sr-il)

Van der Veen 2010


The Israelites in the Trans Jordan were principally mixed farmers along the Jabbok River Valley (Nahr-az  Zarqa) which had a 3900 square Km collection area and stretched for 65 km. This River valley supported a large population.  There were already small mixed farms in the area with barley, wheat and legumes plus animal husbandry. There is at least one Bronze Age settlement Tulul edh-Dhahab. A tower like building dates 1300-1000 by 14C. Pola T Dortmund TU 2006 ,evidence of activity in this River valley. Perhaps this is ancient Penuel, although not from the the time of Jacob. At Tell Abu al-Kharaz in the East Jordan River valley a settlement was re-established in MB IIC about 1600 and continued into the Late Bronze Age. P. Fischer ADAJ 2014. The Archaeology of Jordan is progressing, numerous settlements from the Early Bronze Age onward have now been identified.

Clark D. et al. 2014. Madaba Plains Project. Excavation has revealed Four Room houses from the Late Bronze Age/ Iron Age I c.1230-1150 at Tall al -‘Umayri. Collar rim jars and idols have been found. A Temple with a Cultic Niche, altar and Ceremonial objects also have been found. The Temple dates from the late Bronze Age, perhaps 1400-1350 BCE. This Tall has material extending from the Early Bronze Age, Middle and Late Bronze Ages. It is possible the inhabitants, during the Late Bronze Age and Early Iron Age, were Shasu/Hyksos from Jericho. At this time all areas, both East and West of the Jordan River, should be considered a single entity.. Note four room houses are also a feature of dwellings at Avaris during the Hyksos period. The Shasu/Hyksos from Jericho were probably the population in occupation of the Madaba Plain and they would have worshipped Sutekh-Baal at Tall Umayri. Both the fugitive Hyksos and the Ephraimites were part of the Hyksos population at Avaris. Did the Ephraimites maintain their building knowledge from Avaris in the Trans-Jordan. 


Four room Hyksos dwellings at Avaris

Upper left and lower right of Temple Complex

Tell El-Daba Area A/II Stratum F-E3

Bietak M. Tell el Daba 1966-1980


Four Room House from Tall al-‘Umayri Jordan

Late Bronze – Early Iron Age. Possibly Hyksos/Shasu from Jericho



Cult objects from Temple Cultic Niche at Umayri

Late Bronze Age.

Possibly Shasu/Hyksos cult objects associated with

worship of Sutekh/Baal



Habiru activity would have enriched the Shasu-YHW. Animal husbandry and agriculture were established along the river and upland areas by the Israelites. Wheat, barley and legumes, perhaps even grape vines grown along the fertile banks of the River Jabbok. The Archaeology of the Jabbok River requires exploration. At some stage the Israelites may have moved South to the Madaba Plains/Arnon River valley, as described by Jephthah. Perhaps this move South was necessary to avoid the Egyptians at Beth Shean, to ensure a safe passage of the Israelites across the Jordan River. It was only much later, in the time Of King Merneptah, that the Egyptians responded to the Israelite movement in Canaan. See the Madaba Plain above.


Jabbok (Zarqa) River in Jordan

Home of the Israelites for 300 years 1540-1240



Arnon River (Mujib) in Jordan

Israelites may have moved here prior to Jordan crossing

to avoid Egyptians based at Beth Shean


The El-Amarna (EA) letters from about 1355-1335, between the King of Egypt and the rulers of the Canaanite towns describe the political situation as the Egyptian hold on Canaan weakened. Amenophis IV or Akhenaten (1353-1336) was a weak Egyptian ruler. In particular Labaya of Shechem was troublesome, although he tried to justify himself in EA 254. The rulers of Megiddo, Biridiya (EA 244), Jerusalem, Abdi-heba (EA 287) and Gezer, Milkillu (EA 242) all complained to the Egyptian King, probably Amenhotep IV or Akhenaten. Labaya hired Habiru or nomadic mercenaries. In EA 289 Abdi-Heba of Jerusalem mentions Labaya and Shechem, “should we do as Labaya who gave Shechem to the enemy (Habiru).” Undoubtedly many of these would have been Shasu and Shasu-YHW from Trans Jordan. The connection between Habiru and Hebrew is definite. However Habiru is not specific to the Israelites but a broad term for nomadic mercenary soldiers.


Shasu at Per Kanaan.

From Karnak. Seti I (1290-1279)

memphis.edu/hypostyle/tour_hall/seti_scenes.php (Karnak)

A base for the Habiru was at Late Bronze Age Pihilim (Pella) and from there raids to various towns were made including Tyre, as recorded by Rib-addi of Gubla and Abil Milki of Tyre. EA 255 and EA 256 mention Mut-bahlu, the son of Labaya of Shechem as ruler of Pihilim in the mid 14th Century. Gezer was allied with Shechem in the 14th Century. The Habiru were at Shechem in the time of Labaya, EA 289. It is possible these Habiru included Shasu-YHW, who continued their dominance at Shechem until the time of Joshua. The Israelites were welcomed into Shechem.

At Byblos (Gebal) the ruler, Rib-Hadda complained of Habiru activity in EA75. The time about 1350, during the reign of Akhenaten of Egypt. The neighbouring State of Amurru was implicated. The ruler Abdi-Ashirta became an apiru, a rebel against his lawful sovereign.


Habiru as mercenaries. Probably many from the ranks of the Shasu



Pella Jordan. Khirbhet Fahl

Bronze Age Migdol Temple and palace

Pella Jordan. Sydney University 2015


The Israelite tribes were in the Trans Jordan for 300 years, 1535-1235. There is literary confirmation of this. Jephthah the Judge from the tribe of Manasseh, mentions this time period in Judges 11:26, “ while Israel dwelt in Heshbon and her towns and in Aroer and her towns and in all the cities that be along the coasts of Arnon, three hundred years.” Jephthah probably lived during the third generation of Israelite settlement in Canaan and would have had direct evidence of the entry into Canaan by his Grand Parents. The original number of Israelites at Avaris was only about 120 however after ninety years the numbers would have been 130, based on the high infant and pre-pubertal mortality, prevalent at the time. They were city dwellers protected at least from some of the dangers faced by the Judahites at Goshen. The Trans Jordan had a Mediterranean climate with trees and grassland. In particular with a good water supply the population thrived. With mercenary Habiru activity to supplement their income, natural population growth and accretion from the local people, over the 300 years in the Jabbok River Valley the population could have expanded from 130 to 170 with twelve generations of population growth, although with high infant and child mortality rates. Annual population growth in ancient times was 0.1 percent (Volk and Atkinson 2013). The population numbers, the expertise in mixed farming and the textual confirmation all tie in well with the entry into Canaan under Joshua the Ephraimite about 1235. And the establishment of small mixed farms in Canaan. See the figures below for Manasseh and Ephraim.

At Tell Deir Alla, perhaps Biblical Sukkot, bronze smelting dated back to  LB I, the 16th Century. The town was destroyed about 1200. A pot identified with Queen Twosret found at the destruction level. After this the area was occupied by a semi-nomadic people.       H. Franken Excavations at Deir Alla 1969.

The alternate options for Iron I population growth are the Lowland to Highland movement where Canaanites left the declining Bronze Age areas to establish small farming villages, favored by Dever. Or the pastoral nomads who decided to establish small farms, favored by Finkelstein.


1 Kings 6:1 states that King Solomon began to build the Temple at Jerusalem 480 years after the Exodus from Egypt. This would make the Exodus in 1447 slap bang in the middle of the campaigns of the great Egyptian conqueror Thutmose III (1479-1425). In fact in 1447 Thutmose was far away on his campaign 8 against the Mittani over the Euphrates River. This would have been an opportune time for the Shasu to cross into Canaan from the Trans Jordan which could be seen as a continuation of the Exodus from Egypt. However on campaign 14 in his 39th year or 1440 Thutmose proclaimed his victory over the Shasu and there is no reason to think this did not include a victory over the Shasu-YHW. The Shasu were forced to flee over the Jordan again. See D.Redford. The Campaigns of Thutmose III in Syria and Canaan (2003)

Syrians bringing Tribute to Pharaoh

Tomb of Rekhmire TT 100 1440 BCE

G. Hoskins 1835

Thutmose III in his First Campaign defeated a coalition of Canaanite forces at Megiddo in 1457. Archaeology has confirmed this conquest at Megiddo IX. Egyptian rule over Canaan was to continue until 1130 BCE. Egyptian Commissioners (rabishu) were appointed over major Canaanite Cities. They were situated in Egyptian garrison Cities. For a time Jerusalem was one of these. Local Mayors (haty-a) had day to day control over Canaanite City States. The local Canaanite rulers considered themselves as Kings, under the watchful eye of their Father, Pharaoh. Occasionally Capital Punishment was handed out to recalcitrant Mayors. Abdi-Ashirta of Amurru and Labaya of Shechem are two examples.


About 1240-1230 BCE the Israelites, numbering possibly 180 crossed the Jordan River led by Joshua, Yeshua in Hebrew, the Ephraimite, a direct descendant of Joseph  At a time when the aged Ramesses II had only weak control over Northern Canaan. They passed the towns of Gilgal and Bethel and the nearby ruins of Jericho and Ai along the way. The later scribes could not resist adding heroic details on how Jericho and Ai had been taken during the Combined Exodus. Jericho had been destroyed by King Ahmose about 1531 and if Tell-El is Ai this town was destroyed about 2400 BCE, long before Joshua. The Israelites moved past Shiloh to the Hills of Ephraim. There is specific mention of Bethel and its surrender to Joshua.


Entry of the Israelites into Canaan led by Joshua the Ephraimite c.1240-1230

Heartland in the Hills of Ephraim


There was no wholesale conquest of Canaan, save only Hazor, about 15 km North of the Sea of Galilee. Judges 4 describes how Deborah and Barak led the tribes of Zebulun and Issachar against the army of Hazor and their victory. This victory is celebrated in the Song of Deborah, without mention of Judahites, Simeonites, Gadites or Levites. Judges 5. The tribe of Reuben is mentioned because at least a part of this tribe had been admitted to Avaris by Joseph the Vizier.

This victory was the signal for a general assault of Hazor by the Israelites, under Joshua. ” And Joshua at that time turned back and took Hazor……But as for the cities that stood on their mounds, Israel burned none of them, save Hazor only; that did Joshua burn.” Joshua 11:10, Joshua 11:13.  All the other cities mentioned in Joshua are later additions by the Deuteronomist Editors during the time of King Josiah.and later.

Shechem and its polity were a part of, if not leaders, in this attack on Hazor. Gezer in the 14th Century was an ally of Shechem EA 250. The attack on Hazor may have been instigated by the Polity of Shechem. Israel was obligated to participate as a condition imposed by Shechem, during the settlement of Israel, in the territory of  the Shechem City State.

Lead Amulet from MT Ebal near Shechem. ‘Cursed by YHW

Possibly from around 1200 BCE. In Paleo-Hebrew script.

Z. Koenisgsberg. May 2022

Joshua 12 mentions thirty one kings of Canaan during the time of Joshua. This reflects the political situation during the Late Bronze Age. However the hegemony of Egypt is not mentioned. And this was the realpolitik of the period.


Deborah and Barak defeat Canaanites near Mount Tabor

Joshua leads Israelites against Hazor and destroyed the city

Shechem and its polity played a major role

Later distribution of Israelite tribes in Canaan


Excavations by Ben Tor and Zuckerman, See Tel Hazor Excavation Reports and ASOR blog. Ceremonial Precinct in the Upper City of Hazor, showed destruction of Hazor Stratum XIII Upper City and 1a Lower City..Myceaean pottery of LH IIIA2 (1370-1300) and LH IIIB1 (1300-1240), but not LH IIIB2 (1240-1190). This is confirmation of the likely date for this sole Israelite conquest. Shechem and its polity probably played a major part in the destruction of Hazor.. In fact the Israelites, rather than being leaders, were probably followers of the Shechem Polity in the attack on Hazor. The recent find of a worship table with the name Rahotep a priest of Ramesses II from stratum XIII supports the date.


Hazor palace or temple. Upper City Stratum XIII. 

Ben Tor and Zukerman  NEA 2012

Joshua and the Israelites are recorded as making a Covenant with YHW at Shechem. toward the end of Joshua’s life. Joshua 24


The historical connection with Shechem was critical in the settlement of the Israelites in Canaan. Shechem and its people provided the technical support and materials to establish the Israelites in the late 13th Century. In any group of people there always some with the genius and drive to learn and adapt. Farms near Shechem would have provided the Israelites with employment and training required to stand alone. The Israelites had no tradition in art and this is evident in the settlements they built near Shechem. Abimelech may have desroyed Iron Age IA Shechem about 1150.  Abimelech’s family were probably descendants of the Habiru and Shasu-YHW at Shechem from the time of Labaya.  Judges 9.

Two diagnostic features of early Israelite settlement are the pillar courtyard house, and the collar rim storage jar. Shiloh (Khirbet Seilun) was probably one of the first Israelite settlements in Canaan ( Iron Age I). Pillared cult centres and collar rim storage jars have been found. Buildings were built against walls of the Bronze Age Canaanite period. Storage silos for wheat and barley were found (Finkelstein 1981-1984). Shiloh was destroyed by the Philistines of Aphek about 1050. The sons of the Prophet Eli from Shiloh were killed at the battle of Eben-Ezer.

Izbet Sartah, ancient Eben-Ezer, is at the extreme western edge of the foot hills of the Hills of Ephraim. This site was part of the expansion of the Israelites from Shechem and the Hills of Ephraim further East. Stratum III may be an early encampment from before 1200.With an area of about 2 hectares or 5 acres and a population of 50-100. Stratum II had an area of 4 hectares or 10 acres and a population of 100-200. This farming village of the 11th Century had typical Israelite pillar courtyard houses and silos. the central house had 43 silos surrounding it.


Izbet-Sartah Ostracon with Paleo-Hebrew Inscription

Early Iron IIA 920-883 BCE (Finkelstein) 

G. Arbini. Intro. Allepigrafia Semitica 2006

One silo contained an ostracon with a Paleo-Hebrew (Proto-Canaanite) script.dating from before the destruction of Eben-Ezer by the Philistines about 1050 and definite evidence of Israelite occupation. The villages or mishpaha were clusters of family related pillared, courtyard houses.(betab).


Izbet Sartah ancient Eben-Ezer

Eleventh century Israelite pillar house

Cabanes et al. J. Arch. Sc 39. 2012


Two storey Israelite pillar house

Livestock below

Harvard Semitic Museum


The 300 years in the Trans Jordan were a period of growth for the Israelites. Mercenary activity as Habiru, accumulation of livestock and accretion of other groups in the Trans Jordan would have seen marked population growth.

Figures for the number of sites in major territories of Manasseh and Ephraim. Finkelstein and Na’aman 1994, From Nomadism to Monarchy. are;

Manasseh          Late Bronze Age 22            Iron Age I 96

                                                                            Population 2000

                                                                            (11th Century)

Ephraim             Late Bronze Age  6             Iron Age I 122

                                                                            Population 9650

                                                                            (11th Century)

There was a population explosion between the 13th and 11th Centuries specifically in the Hill areas, the majority as small villages and based on extended families or bet’ab and.the clan or village, mishpaha.and the tribe or shebet. Stager. Archaeology of the Family. 1985. These figures tie in well with the population expansion during the 300 years at the Jabbok River in Jordan. The 216 villages of the central region of Manasseh and Ephraim were predominantly Canaanite. However the initial settlement was by the Israelites beginning after the crossing of the Jordan, led by Joshua the Ephraimite.

Not all these villages would have been established in the initial movement into Canaan. The incoming Israelite tribes formed the nucleus for the later colonisation of the Hill country by Canaanites from the Lowlands, many of them forced to move by the Philistines from 1170 on. The connection of Joshua to Shechem,  is mentioned in Joshua 24:25. In addition both Joshua and Eleazar, son of Aaron, were buried on Mount Ephraim.

In particular after the departure of the Egyptians from Canaan during the reigns of Ramesses IV to Ramesses VI, 1155-1137 BCE. The Israelites became free to expand into the surrounding territory using Shechem as a base. 

Finkelstein I. and E. Piasetzky (2009) Radiocarbon Dated Destruction Layers. Oxford Journal of Archaeology 28. 255-274,  have revised the Iron Age downward;

Late Bronze Age III                     1200-1130

Early Iron I                                   1130-1000

Late Iron I                                     1000-950

Iron Age IIA                                    950-800

Iron Age IIB                                    800-720

The tribal (shebet) organization of the Israelites was important, the minor tribes such as Dan, Naphthali, Asher, Zebulun and Issachar pushed to the periphery of settlement by the tribes of Joseph, son of Rachel. The tribe of Benjamin eventually had a border with the incoming Judahites and were absorbed into their territory, during the 11th Century, after a conflict. It is of course possible that all three processes, initial late 13th Century influx of Israelites from the Trans Jordan, movement of Canaanites from the Lowlands to the Hills in the 12th Century and pastoral nomads becoming farm folk during the period 1230-1130.were all part of the expansion process..


The presence of the Israelites in Canaan is confirmed by the Merneptah Victory Stela of King Merneptah (1213-1203) who mentions the punishment of Israel, about 1208. Israel as a people not a country and not as Shasu-YHW. Note this was before the southern Judahites had entered Canaan and probably before the Lowland people were forced into the Hills. “Ashkelon is taken and Gezer seized, Yanoam made as though it had never been. Israel is desolated and has no seed, Khor (Syria-Canaan) is become a widow for To-meri (Egypt).” At the time of this attack the Judahite tribes, under Moses, were at Madyan in Arabia. They were to remain there during the period 1210-1195 BCE. The mention of “seed” has been interpreted as destruction of grain, prt, by the army of Merneptah. The tribes of Israel were situated in the Hills of Ephraim at this time, and as agriculturalists. They had been there since around 1240 BCE. Hasel M.G. (1994). Israel in the Merneptah Stela. BASOR 296. 45-61.


Campaign Of Merneptah against Ashkelon  1208 BCE

From Temple of Amun. Karnak. After Lepsius

Merneptah Stele

Merneptah victory stela mentions punishment of Israel

Egyptian Museum Cairo JE 31408

Gideon was threshing wheat beside his father’s wine press.at Ophrah in the territory of Manasseh. Judges 6:11, in the 11th Century.  The expansion of the Israelites into Canaan was a slow process over centuries. Megiddo became Israelite during the Ir IIA period either under King Solomon or King Ahab (Finkelstein). Jericho was rebuilt by Hiel of Bethel during the reign of King Ahab (873-852). I Kings 16:34. The tribe of Dan was forced to look for new territory, under pressure from the Philistines during the Iron IB period, 1150-1000 BCE.. A reconnaissance of Canaanite Leshem, near Mount Hermon, Judges 18: 1-2, was the prelude to an attack and capture of this most northerly town by the Danites. Judges 8:27.

The coalition of 5 Kings defeated by Joshua, Joshua 10, were all from cities of Judah and not an Israelite conquest under Joshua. See the Combined Exodus below.


Highland farms continued to expand in number in the 12th Century, after the the late 13th Century entry of the Israelites into Canaan. In the Lowlands Bronze Age cities and farms lost their central control and went into decline. In addition the Philistines, the displaced Achaean warrior class of the Aegean, had entered the Lowland areas after their defeat by Ramesses III in 1178. See Dothan. The Philistines. There was no delay in the invasion process, after the repulse from Egypt, southern areas such as Sharuhen and Gaza were first.The Egyptian garrisons such as that at Tell el-Farah South and A-289 in the North Sinai, along the Horus Way, were abandoned near the end of the reign of Seti II  (1203-1197), squatters and Mycenaean IIIC pottery appear not long after with Philistine Pottery I after 1175 on the Southern plain.. Philistine enclaves at Tell Qasile and the Tjeker at Dor indicate the extent of the Philistine movement along the coast, after 1170. Philistine infiltration was slow and more northerly and inland areas have Philistine 2 pottery after 1130 with the final departure of the Egyptians during the reigns of Ramesses IV and VI. At Gath or Tell es-Safi Philistine I pottery dates to 1270-1190 or Iron Age 1A. Asscher. Radiocarbon dating of Tell es-Safi 2015.


Egyptian garrison probably abandoned before 1190

Philistine squatters appear with Mycenaean Pottery

B. Wood. Assoc.Bibl. Res. July 12, 2010


Philistines entering Canaan with ox carts

Opposed by Egyptians

Temple of Medinet Habu. Ramesses III

1185-1155 BCE


Philistine pressure on the Lowlands in the 12th century

Bible History on Line

Numbers of erstwhile town dwellers and farmers fled from the Lowlands to the Hill Country. However there was no wholesale movement of Canaanites from the coastal towns to the highlands. The town dwellers simply exchanged masters from the Egyptians to the Philistines. As at Ashdod and Ekron, probably the first cities to accept the new rulers. The Israelites had already established a nucleus of small mixed farms in the late 13th Century and this now expanded as the Canaanite Lowland farmers moved in and adapted to the Israelite farming and building techniques.


Philistine temple at Tel Qasile Strata XII – X at mouth of Yarkon River

Iron Age I – IIA  12th to early 10th Century

Israel.Min Foreign.Affairs. Tel Qasile Arch. site 8   2003

The tribe of Dan illustrates the situation in 12th and 11th Century Canaan. The Danites settled in the area just North of Philistia. Pressure from the Philistines forced them to look for a new home. Judges 18:1-2. A site far to the North near Mount Hermon, called Laish or Leshem was attacked, probably about 1050 BCE. Judges 8:27. This city became the new home for the Danites, in the Iron IB period, 1150-1000 BCE. Stratum VI of Tel Dan. Archaeological support is provided by Collared Rim Pottery found at Tel Dan, not found at other sites in Northern Galilee. . See Tel Dan Excavation Reports. A. Biran 1966-1995 and D. Ilan. 2005 -Renewed Excavation at Tel Dan.

Movement of the Tribe of Dan to Laish, North Galilee

Iron Age IB, Stratum VI-V at Tel Dan 1150-1000 BCE

Wikimedia Commons with a modification

The agrarian reform was started by the Israelites from the Trans Jordan. However this was continued and vastly expanded by the Canaanite Lowland farmers, displaced from their towns during the twelfth century. In the 11th Century there were 12,000 farms in the areas of Ephraim and Manasseh alone.



Egyptian Empire under Ramesses II


The pastoral Judahites remained undisturbed on their grazing land at Goshen 1620-1290, until the 19th Dynasty. Seti I (1290-1279) had a Summer Palace on the Pelusiac Nile near the site of the future Pi-Ramesses, built by his son. From 1290-1210 the Judahites came under the direct rule of the Egyptians. Commencing under Seti I. The Judahite numbers at Goshen were about 130 during the Egyptian 19th Dynasty. Again infant mortality and pre-pubertal mortality accounted for about 46% of the total population.


Goshen on the Pelusiac Nile where the pastoral Judahites lived


After Ferrell Jenkins

The Archaeology of Pi-Ramesse (Qantir) has a  long association with Edgar Pusch of the Pelizaeus Museum, Hildesheim and now with Henning Franzmeier sponsored by UCL Qatar. See, Franzmeier and Pusch. The Reconstruction of Pi-Ramesse 2016.

The five tribes of the Judahites, descendants of Reuben, Simeon, Levi, Judah and Gad moved around the area of Goshen as conditions changed. They prospered with sheep, goats, cattle and donkeys in good numbers. They lived in tents made of hide which suited their nomadic lifestyle.


Tent similar to those used by the Judahite tribes in Goshen

Bedouin tent. Old Pictures.com

Under Ramesses II (1279-1213) the City of Ramesses, Pi-Ramesses Anakhtu, House of Ramesses the Victorious, was built as a new Capital to counter the perceived threat of the Hittites to the North. In particular after the Battle of Kadesh in 1274 work on the Palace and City of Pi-Ramesses would have accelerated. Originally Pi-Ramesses was begun as a Summer Palace for Seti I. The palace was sumptuous with faience tiles and gold dust added to the floors.See Franzmeier Qantir-Pi-Ramesse and UCL Qatar.and E. Pusch. Erforschung der Ramesse stadt.


Ramesses II as warrior. Attacking a town in Canaan



Ramesses II King of Egypt    1279-1213

Second Exodus of Judahites after his Death

Turin Museum

Pabasa the scribe described Pi-Ramesses, ” I arrived at the House of Ramesses, beloved of Amun and I found it extremely prosperous… life in the Residence is pleasant. Its fields abound with all good produce. Its canals are filled with fish and its marshlands with birds. Its plains are abundant with green pastures.. from the cultivated fields come fruit with the taste of honey, its granaries are filled with barley and wheat.”


The City of Pi-Ramesses on the Pelusiac Nile. Note the canals K1 and K2

M. Bietak and I. Forstner-Muller.

Topography of New Kingdom Avaris and



Part of the Palace of Ramesses II revealed by magnetometry

E.Pusch. Erforschung der Ramesse stadt




Pi-Ramesses with Harbor and Temple-Palace Complex

H.Franzmeier  and E. Pusch. Pi-Ramesse 2016


Reconstruction of Temple and Palace Area of Pi-Ramesses

H. Franzmeier  and E. Pusch, Pi-Ramesse 2016

The Judahites were a convenient source of labour. Fit and able males were conscripted to work at Pi-Ramesses. In particular on the canals K1 and K2 and using the excavated mud nixed with straw to make mud bricks. Exodus 1:14. Women, children and aged males would have stayed at Goshen under fairly strict supervision. Ramesses had an army based at Pi-Ramesses to enforce his wishes. “Therefore they set task masters over them to afflict them with heavy burdens. They built for Pharaoh store cities, Pithom and Raamses.” Exodus 1:11.


Faience tile from Pi-Ramesses. Fish and lotus


The Northern Temple at Pi-Ramesses

H. Franzmeier  and E.Pusch. Pi-Ramesse 2016

Pi-Ramesses had industrial centres for bronze smelting and glass works. Stabling for 500 horses were just over the Canal K2, a short distance from the Palace. Pi-Ramesses had an area of about 15 square kilometres


Statue of Ramesses in situ at the City of Ramesses

Pi-Ramesses had about 60 statues of King Ramesses. The graven image became anathema to the Judahites. Statues and slavery became synonymous.


Tile from the dais of the throne of Ramesses II.

Supplication to the King

H. Winlock. Faience Tiles from an Egyptian Palace. Bull Met.Mus.of Art.pdf


Moses with an Egyptian theophoric name perhaps Ah-mose ” born of I’ah or child of the Moon,” from I’ah, the Moon God and “mesu,” born of. And his name may have been simply Mose ,ms, in Egyptian. However his name could equally have been Ra-mose, Ptah-mose or Thut-mose, born of Ra, Ptah or Thoth. He was raised in the Palace of Ramesses or one of the villas on the banks of the Pelusiac Nile by a daughter of Ramesses. “And the daughter of Pharaoh came down to wash herself at the river, and her maidens walked along by the river’s side, and when she saw the ark among the reeds, she sent her maids to fetch it.” Exodus 2:5.

King Ramesses was in his mid fifties when Moses was born, 1250/1245 BCE There was no reason why Moses would have known the King, except from a distance. King Ramesses would have been close to eighty when Moses fled from Egypt to Madyan. The stories of the confrontation between Pharaoh and Moses are 6th Century tales, from the Combined Exodus and the Judahite-centric story of the Exodus from Egypt.


Moses in a basket found by the Egyptian Princess 

on the bank of the Pelusiac Nile River c. 1250-1245

Moses’s sister Miriam also there

Sh’mot – Torah In Haiku

The baby Moses was found on the banks of the Pelusiac Nile, where the Villas of the elite were situated. There was only one witness, his older sister Miriam, who followed the basket with the baby down the Nile.. Possibly Princess Henuttawy, Mistress of the Two Lands, younger daughter of Ramesses and Queen Nefertari, was the Egyptian Princess involved, and about the right age. Henuttawy was the seventh daughter of King Ramesses. Or possibly Princess Nejemmut, ninth daughter of Ramesses, probably born about 1275, and also the right age to have been involved in this incident of about 1250 BCE.

The Egyptian name Mose (ms) was used during the reign of Ramesses II. See A. Gardiner.The Inscription of Mose. Untersuchungen zur Geschichte und Altertumskunde Agyptens. ed K. Sethe Vol IV.

Princess Nebettawy 5th daughter of Ramesses II

Sister of Henuttawy 7th daughter

Moses may have been raised in the household of

Princess Henuttawy or Princess Nedjemmut

After Prisse d’Avennes QV 60

His older sister Miriam and his mother Jochebed, as wet nurse, maintained his contact with his natural relatives, the Levite tribe at Goshen.. Exodus 2: 1-10. Moses was educated at Pi-Ramesses and would have received an Egyptian education plus a more surreptitious education from his Judahite relatives. He would have been witness to the enforced labour of his relatives and probably as a young man would have responded when an overseer beat a Judahite. Exodus 2:11-12. The ensuing death of the overseer led to the flight of Moses from Egypt along the trade route leading to Madyan in Arabia, probably about 1225 BCE. The theophoric Egyptian name was replaced by Mose = Moses. The derivation of his name from Hebrew masheh, to draw out, has no bearing on his name. Moses and King Ramesses were born over fifty years apart, Ramesses 1304/1302 and Moses 1250/1245, there was only distant contact between them. Definitely no confrontation. Moses life span was about 1250-1180 BCE.


jabel el Lawz

Jabal Al-Lawz or Jabal Musa. Mount Horeb.

The Mountain of Moses in Arabia


Exodus 2:15-25  has the story of Moses at Madyan in Arabia, his marriage to Zipporah daughter of Jethro and their two sons, Gershom and Eliezer. This story includes Moses discovery of the Mountain of God, Mount Horeb, while he was tending his flocks. This discovery was while Moses was in exile from Egypt and in Madyan, Arabia. Exodus 3:1. Moses did not return to Egypt until after the death of Ramesses II in 1213. “And it came to pass in process of time that the king of Egypt died.” Exodus 2:23.

The body of Ramesses was taken up River to Thebes for burial in the Valley of the Kings (KV7), King Merneptah and his Court would have gone with him. The 70 day mourning period followed. Pi-Ramesses was almost abandoned at that time. When Moses returned from Madyan the Judahite tribes were no longer under the close supervision that Ramesses had enforced. The King who died was certainly Ramesses II. The next King, Merneptah built his own Palace at Memphis. His visits to Avaris few and far between. The construction of his Palace would have occupied him for several years, after the death of Ramesses.

Moses was in Madyan as a shepherd between about 1225 and 1211-10. He knew every well, pasture and Mountain in Madyan. Madyan was in South Midian. This information was important for the survival of the Judahite tribes after the Second Exodus. “Now Moses kept the flock of Jethro, his father in-law, the priest of Midian: and he led the flock to the backside of the desert, and came to the Mountain of God, even to Horeb.” Exodus 3:1. Note Moses travelled through the desert to Mount Horeb, not from the desert. He was based at the Springs of Madyan before discovering Mount Horeb.


Moses the Levite was a natural choice as a leader for the Judahite Exodus along with his brother Aaron. The Judahites were uneducated shepherds and herders. Exodus 12:38 describes them as ‘ereb-rab or a mixed crowd. Moses knew exactly where to take the Judahite tribes.  Note there is NO Egyptian record of this Exodus. The date of this Exodus 1210 BCE, toward the end of the Late Bronze IIB period.

Isaiah the prophet of Judah in the 7th Century mentions the Exodus in Isaiah  63:11-12. “Where is he that brought them up out of the sea with the shepherd of his flock?” Isaiah also mentions the parting of the waters by God via the agency of Moses. The Second Isaiah prophesied during the Persian period of Cyrus. The Book of Isaiah includes Combined Exodus material from the 6th Century.

The Second Exodus was a leisurely affair with women, children, cattle, sheep and donkeys. King Merneptah built his own palace at Men-nefer with probably only occasional visits to Pi-Ramesses.


Palace of King Merneptah at Men-nefer with red granite sphinx

Penn. Museum

There was no pursuit and no confrontation with Pharaoh. No Passover of the Angel of Death , no Parting of the Red Sea and no destruction of the Egyptian Army by drowning. The plagues were all natural phenomena. The blood a red algal bloom common at  times of low  water flow and high temperatures. Two of the plagues associated with darkness for three days and thunder and hail may be folk memories of the Judahites in the Delta at the time of the volcanic eruption of Thera about 1530. There were no doors. The Judahites were living in tents and easily portable on the donkeys they had.

The number on the Exodus was about 130 plus an additional 20 from Per Atum (Pithom). Total 150 divided among 5 tribes, despite the more than 400 year at Goshen. Infant mortality was high. Population growth was low, about 0.1 percent per annum. The above figures do not include servants and herdsmen and their families. The total may be 50-100 percent higher, that is a number of 220 to 300. The original number of Judahites at Goshen was about 90. The 6th Century Judean scribes translated the archaic Hebrew term ‘elef as a thousand. In fact it describes a military unit of six to twenty men, i.e. there were 600 military units mentioned in Numbers 1 and 26. This figure was from much later than the Exodus period, and the six hundred is also a gross exaggeration. Mendenhall. Moses and the Exodus. 2001

Included in the chattels taken from Goshen and Pithom was a wooden chest with carrying poles. Later to become The Ark of the Covenant and said to contain the stone tablets of the Ten Commandments.

Ancient Egyptian Carry Box. In this case a Senet Box

From Avaris or Pithom. Heirloom Box, became The Ark.

13th Century BCE



Moses led Exodus from Goshen to Pithom 1211-1210 BCE

then South to Gulf of Aqaba (Yam Adom)

Note; NOT to the Sea of Reeds (Yam Suph)

Polish Slovak Expedition to Tell el – Retaba

Pithom was Per-Atum, the city of Atum, excavated by a Polish-Slovak team and called Tell el-Retaba. This site is along the Wadi Tumilat or Canal of the Pharaohs, with the West end beginning at Goshen. Some of the Judahites had been sent to work there, probably using their expertise in making mud bricks. Per-atum has been shown to have been a Hyksos settlement in the 15th Dynasty with a temple and twin migdol towers. Tell el-Retaba 2011. Hyksos, 18th and 19th Dynasty remains have been found. The 19th dynasty was the period of Ramesses II and the Judahites at Pithom.


The Judahites at Pithom joined the Second Exodus of Moses as they started the journey to leave Egypt. Another site, Tel el Maskhuta along Wadi Tumilat has no 19th Dynasty remains. Rzepka S. et al (2009) Tell el-Retaba 2007-2008. Egypt and The Levant 19 241-280.


Direct route to Madyan via Pithom, Ayun Musa,

near Ezion Geber (non-existent)

and East of the Gulf of Aqaba



The Judahites came to the wells of Moses (Ayun Musa). Note these wells were East of the Gulf of Suez. The Judahites did not cross the Gulf of Suez. The Judahites then travelled along the trade route to Madyan in Arabia. MADYAN, SOUTH MIDIAN. Moses took the Judahites directly to meet his father in-law at Madyan Exodus 18:1-5. There is a possibility Jethro ( Jothor according to Eusebius), may have been Shu’ayb mentioned in the Koran and based at Madyan probably modern Magna where a cave of Shu’ayb and wells of Moses are said to be.

Also see Demetrius the Chronographer, during the reign of Ptolemy IV (222-205 BCE) in Eusebius Preparatia Evangelica 9.29.1-3. Who states Mount Sinai was in Arabia and at Madyan. At present day Al-Bad. Long before Helena decided Sinai was in Egypt not Arabia. Demetrius had access to the scrolls of the Great Library of Alexandria, probably including Greek translations of Egyptian works, now lost.

The story written by the Judahite scribes was at least 600 years after the actual event, Midian was known, Madyan was not. Madyan or modern Magna is in Tabuk Province, on the shore of the Gulf of Aqaba. There are at least 12 wells around Magna. Protection of the livestock was the paramount concern of the Judahites providing meat, milk, wool and leather. Moses took his people directly to an area where he knew water and pastures were available. Note the Muslim Allah may derive from Amorite Ilah, the name for god in the Mari archives. The Judahites would not share the family God, YHW. Under Moses the Prophet the Oneness of YHW as the Family God of the Judahites, was clearly articulated, as a fundamental tenet of Judaism.


Madyan or Magna Arabia on Gulf of Aqaba

Opposite Mount Catherine in Sinai Egypt

Route to Al Bad and Jabal Al-Lawz (Mount Horeb)

Google Maps


Jabal \Maqla with black basalt top near Al Bad

Perhaps Mount Horeb of Moses


There was no crossing of the Red Sea (yam adom). There is no way women, children and the flocks and herds could have crossed the Red Sea. See Combined Exodus. This story was a borrowing from the First Exodus and the crossing of the Sea of Reeds (yam suph). The Red Sea is an arm of the Indian Ocean with no reeds. Sinai is visible from Madyan, across the Gulf of Aqaaba, the memory of this may have been used in the Combined Exodus story.

In addition not far away from Magna is Jabal al-Lawz or Jabal Musa. The Mountain of Moses, also called Mount Horeb, which had already been visited by Moses during his first time in Madyan Exodus 3:1-6. Exodus 3:12 is quite clear in affirming that Moses is to bring the Judahite tribes to THIS Mountain, that is Mt Horeb in Madyan, Arabia NOT Sinai in Egypt. Demetrius the Chronographer, about 225 BCE, states that Mt Sinai was in Madyan (Magna) in North West Arabia not Sinai Egypt. Eusebius Preparatio Evangelica 9:29.1-3. Demetrius had access to the Great Library of Alexandria and both Egyptian and Greek records. Much later Helena mother of Constantine decided Mt Sinai was in Egypt not Arabia (4th Century CE).


Tayeb Al-Ism. Valley of Moses

15 Km North of Bir Al-Sa’idani.  Magna or Madyan

and Springs of Moses

Florent Egal


Magna or Madyan Arabia. Bir Al-Sa’idani.

12 Springs of Moses. Close to the Gulf of Aqaba

Florent Egal


Madyan/Magna on the Gulf Of Aqaba

Sinai in the Distance. This Memory may have been used in

the Combined Exodus

Florent Egal

At Madyan Moses designated his tribe the Levites as priests of YHW. Aaron his brother was already High Priest. During the time in Madyan Moses the prophet of YHW made a new Covenant with the God of Israel reinforced by daily prayers and rituals to enhance ties to the National God YHW.

During his previous stay Moses had introduced the tribe of Jethro to the God is Great concept or “Allahu akbar” in Arabic. Amorite Ilah or God is the same as Arabic Allah. This phrase and the symbolism of the crescent Moon was passed down the generations by oral tradition to be incorporated in Islam under Mohammed the Prophet of Islam. THE symbol of Islam is the crescent Moon. Still found on the National Flags of many Islamic States, often as the waning crescent Moon. The date of Ramadan is still based on the appearance of the waxing crescent Moon. Jethro may be identical to Shu’ayb mentioned in the Qur’an 7:85, and associated with Midian.

Moses married a Kassite. Kshy. woman, late in life. The Kassites ruled Babylonia from 1595- 1219 BCE. The marriage may have taken place after destruction of the Kassite Kingdom and dispersal of the Kassites.. Numbers 12:1.

Moses the Levite’s major contribution was to change YHW from the Family God of Israel/Jacob and his Family, to a Spiritual Ethical Being, above Nature. This ideal suffered many changes but endured through a succession of enlightened individuals, called Prophets. The Covenant was a contract between the God of the Judahites and his people. This ideal probably only reached in the 6th Century BCE.


After about 15 years at Madyan (1210-1195) the Five Judahite tribes moved North to Kadesh Barnea in the Negev at a time when Egypt was embroiled in dynastic disputes including the execution of Chancellor Bay by the young  King Siptah (1197-1191) and the short lived reign of Queen Twosret (1191-1189).


Kadesh Barnea and the division of the five Judahite tribes


Kadesh Barnea, in the Negev desert, was only a staging post for the Judahites. The tribe of Levi was divided between the other four tribes to ensure worship of YHW was maintained. The Simeonites went to Hormah and there is a record of their presence dating from about 1195. The Judahites went to Hebron led by Caleb the Judahite. The nephew of Caleb called Othniel led the colonization of Debir. The Reubenites and Gadites together with Moses and Aaron went into the Trans Jordan at a time when there was still Mediterranean woodland and scrub in the area.

This division suggests a nominal 50 people for each of the 4 tribes. However this figure does not include servants and herdsmen and their families. Probably about 100 people for each of the tribes.


At Tel Masos or Hormah in the North Negev a scarab of Seti II (1203-1197) was found but not in situ, See the expedition of Aharon Kempinski. Tel Masos. penn.museum/documents/publications/expedition/PDFs/20-4/Kempinski. Stratum IIIB at Tel Masos revealed cooking pits and baking ovens around a group of wells. Bones of sheep, goats and cattle were found. Later in stratum IIIA four room buildings appear. In the early 11th Century the Simeonites moved to Beer Sheba. The 24 houses at Hormah suggest about four to six people per house. A total of 100-150 people. Also see Finkelstein I. (1995). Tel Masos Chiefdom. Mediterranean Archaeology 6.


Tel Masos or Hormah Stratum II.

Four room houses in defensive ring

Public buildings possibly used by Levites

Kempinski Tel Masos

The Judahites moved to Hebron or Khirbet Arba. Caleb the Judahite had already led a scouting expedition and reported to Moses “and surely the land flows with milk and honey and this is the fruit of it.” Numbers 13:22-27. At this time Hebron was in the area of Mediterranean woodland and scrub. Dates, grapes, pomegranates and figs were grown. Excavation at Tel Rumeida suggests there was only a small settlement during the LBA to Iron Age transition (1200-1100). There is no or very little evidence of settlement during the preceding Late Bronze Age (1550-1200). Debir or Khirbet Rahud is said to have been established by Othniel nephew of Caleb, there is no archaeological evidence of conquest.

As with the Israelites and the central role of the Hills of Ephraim, for the Judeans the major settlement area was in the Judean Hills. Names have a long history and the territory of Judah ranks among them. A survey revealed 17 or 18 settlements from the Iron Age I period compared with 7 in the Late Bronze Age, Finkelstein 1988, Archaeology of israelite Settlement. Finkelstein I and N. Na’aman 1994.. Probably only a population of 120 Judeans initially in the Judean Hills. The Judahite tribes formed the nucleus for the later Lowland Canaanites colonising the Judean Hills and the Shephelah.

As in the North the Philistine invasion of the Lowlands would have forced many Lowland farmers and urban dwellers into the Shephelah and the Judean Hills.The city of Lachish was destroyed after the time of Ramesses III, likely after the death of Ramesses VI in 1137. This is just one example of the source for population growth in the middle 12th Century.


Alphabetic Proto-Canaanite Inscription From Before 1130 BCE

Sass B. et al. BASOR 374 November 2015

Other Bronze Age Canaanite towns such as Ashkelon were attacked and the population forced to flee to the Highland areas. There was a population of 3000- 4500 by the 11th Century in the Judean Hills, with a farming area of about 15 to 20 hectares. Ofer 1994

The diversity in the origins of the Judeans is exemplified by the story of Ruth of Moab, grandmother of Jesse, mayor of Beth-lehem, the father of David King of the United Monarchy. Book of Ruth


Judean Highlands and the Shephelah

Heartland of the Judahites


Casemate walls were typical of Judean settlements at  Beer Sheba, Tell Beit Mirsim, Tell en-Nasbeh, Tell Beth-Shemesh and Khirbet Qeiyafa.  Kh.Qeiyafa in the valley of Elah was near where David is purported to have fought Goliath about 1025. Kh.Qeiyafa was probably ancient Sha’arayim  (Joshua 15:36) with casemate walls and two 4 chamber gates from the early 10th Century c.980.and the time of King David. Radiocarbon dates on Olive pits from the Iron Age IIA City are around 1000 BCE. Garfinkel et al. Radiocarbon 57.5 2015. The dates agree well with the time of King David the Judahite.

The site is now called Elah Fortress on the North bank of Nahal Elah. A suggestion is that the site is ancient Neta’im.


Judahite Khirbet Qeiyafa.

Chambered gate and casemate wall. Iron age IIA

Garfinkel. BAR June 23, 2013


Khirbet Qeiyafa cult room and Massebot

Bibl. Arch. Soc. 2012


Of the family of Moses the Levite, his sister Miriam died at Kadesh Barnea, his brother Aaron the High Priest near Mount Hor in Edom on the way north. Moses himself died near Mount Nebo in the territory of the Reubenites, just east of the North shore of the Dead Sea. probably less than 10 years later, in what is now Jordan. Micah the Prophet of Judah confirms the story. ” For I brought thee out of Egypt and redeemed thee out of the house of servants; and I sent before thee Moses, Aaron and Miriam.” Micah 6:4


Mount Nebo in Jordan looking West into Israel

Probably similar to the view Moses had



Under Moses, the Gadites and Reubenites entered the Trans Jordan. At Tall Al-Umayri, collar rim jars, four room houses and Masseboth have been found from the Early Iron I Age. They may indicate Hyksos/Shasu fugitives from Jericho. The entry of the Gadites and Reubenites signalled destruction of these settlements.

A  Pan Jordanian expansion of the Judahites in cis-Jordan and the Gadites-Reubenites in the trans- Jordan about 1150 may be associated with destruction of Tall al- ‘Umayri and the battle of Gibeon when the Judahites overwhelmed the Benjaminites. These events may indicate a Pan-Jordanian expansion of the Judahite tribes.  The inhabitants at Tall al-‘Umayri may be the last of the Shasu/Hyksos based in the Trans Jordan See web site MadabaPlainsProject.org. The tribe of Gad is mentioned on the Mesha of Moab Stele, as being in North Moab about 830 BCE.

About 1150-1100 contact between the expanding Judahites and neighbouring Benjaminites led to armed conflict. The territory of Benjamin was incorporated into Judah.  Judges 20,21. This action was to preserve the descendants of Rachel. They became a part of the continuing story of the Jewish people. King Saul the Benjaminite attempted to separate the Northern Israelites from the Judahites.. The tribe of Benjamin were Amorites (banu yamina) with a reference from Zimri-Lim at Mari from the 18th Century. Melanges Dussaud II, 988; ARM 3:38. The Benjaminites were originally based on the Upper Euphrates River.


Pan-Jordanian Expansion of Judahites and Gadites/Reubenites

From 1150 BCE Madaba Plain Trans Jordan

Later to South Bank of Jabbok River

Judahites absorb Benjaminites 1100

King David. Hebron to Jerusalem 1004 BCE




The division between Israelites and Judahites, beginning with Rachel and Leah was to continue until the mass deportation of the Israelites by the Assyrians, 722 BCE.

The conflict between Judahites and Benjaminites is reflected in the enmity between King Saul, a Benjaminite, and the Judahite David. Although some years (Early 11th Century), after the territorial expansion of the Judahites, which resulted in the incorporation of the Tribe of Benjamin into the Kingdom of Judah. The involving and colourful details of the continuing enmity between Benjaminites and hudahites are probably late additions by the Judahite scribes of the 6th and 7th Centuries, but reflect real conflicts between the Judahites and Benjaminites. I Samuel 19-30. This information supports the fundamental division between Israelites and Judahites stretching back to the time in Egypt or perhaps even more fundamental, evidence of no prior contact before arrival in Canaan.

Samuel (Amorite Shemu’el), the Prophet of YHW, ruled a Theocratic State until the call for a politically oriented State under a King. The original Decalogue or Ten Commandments, Exodus 20:1-17, may have arisen as an ethical prescription for correct behaviour,, during the Theocratic State period of 1200-1050 BCE. In about 1050 BCE the Philistines defeated the Judahites at the Battle of Ebenezer. The Shrine at Shiloh was destroyed and in addition the Ark of the Covenant was captured and taken to Ashdod to be placed in the temple of Dagon .

The Ark was probably of Egyptian origin, a simple wooden portable chest, with carrying poles. Probably from Goshen or Pithom and carried to Madyan. then Canaan by the Judahites. A symbol of YHW, the King of Judah. Later said to contain the tablets of the Ten Commandments. To be deposited in the Temple at Jerusalem.

The first King of Israel, Saul the Benjaminite c.1032-1011. Followed by Ishbaal. son of Saul. then David the Judahite. King Saul probably ruled from the Benjaminite heartland. The Archaeology of the Bethel-Gibeon plateau supports the story of Saul. About 30 casemate walled settlements from the Late Iron Age I, 1050-950 BCE, have been excavated. Most of these settlements were abandoned during Early Iron Age IIA, 950-870. It is significant that Gibeon is among the cities mentioned as having been attacked by the Egyptian King Sheshonq, r. 943-922, probably about 926. Finkelstein I. and Y. Magen 1993. Archaeological Survey of the Hill Country of Benjamin. Israel Antiquities Authority.

At the time David was a fugitive from King Saul his group were Hebrews or Habiru, A social designation for groups outside civilised society. Na’aman N. (1986). Habiru and Hebrews: A Transfer of a Social Term to The Literary Sphere. J. Near Eastern Studies 45

King Saul’s territory was to the North of Jerusalem and probably as far as the Jezreel Valley. An area east of the Jordan, Gilead, was included in the Kingdom of Israel during the rule of Saul. King Saul was killed battling the Philistines at Mount Gilboa about 1011 BCE.


Territory of King Saul the Benjaminite

Late Iron I  1030-1010 BCE

Judah contested with David the Judahite 1015-1010

After Finkelstein The Forgotten Kingdom


David the Judahite was a leading soldier in the army of King Saul until distrust and jealousy led to the irreparable split. David was born about 1041 BCE, in Beth-lehem, a son of Jesse the Mayor of the city. By 1011 David was King of Judah at Hebron. In 1004, at age thirty seven, King David was King at Jerusalem. The attack on Jerusalem was led by Joab, son of David’s older sister, Zeruiah. David was about forty when he met Bathsheba the Jebusite. David started out as a strong independent person, however later in life he lost control of his vicious brood. Murder and rape are all described. in II Samuel. Bathsheba became a pervasive influence by appointing Jebusites to top positions in the Kingdom’s administration. She ensured her son, Solomon, was appointed King after the death of David.

King David captured Jerusalem c. 1004,  and the defining move, from Hebron to Jerusalem as Capital was taken. David was born at Beth-lehem about 1041. He became King of Judah, at Hebron 1011, after the death of King Saul. A successful attack on Jerusalem in 1004 BCE led to this City becoming Capital of Judah and nominal Capital of Israel as well. As is evident from their past history dating back 650 years, there was a clear dichotomy between the Israelites in the North and the Southern Judahites. King David the Judahite and his son Solomon ruled a clearly divided Kingdom. The United Kingdom was united in name only. The concept of the United Kingdom originating from the time of King Josiah or even later during the Babylonian Captivity. 

After King David married Bathsheba (c. 1000 BCE) Jebusite influence is to be seen in the administration of the Kingdom. Zadok the Priest, II Samuel 8:16-18, and Nathan the Prophet, II Samuel 7:2, I Chronicles 17:1 appear. They are later to have a major influence in the selection of Bathsheba’s son Solomon as the next King. Conversely the position of the Judahites was weakened. Abiathar the Judahite priest was banished from Jerusalem early in the reign of Solomon. During the later years of King David ritual was to become a major part of Judahite religion. In a purge, Adonijah, eldest surviving son of King David and Joab, formerly leader of David’s army, and his nephew, were killed at the beginning of Solomon’s reign.

Israel was a State with a diverse population of Amorites, Hurrians and Canaanites. The Northern State did not accept rule by the Judahites. The Bible story is quite clear on this. The Royal cities of Megiddo, Hazor and Gezer mentioned in 1 Kings 9:15 were not major works of King Solomon but of later construction. Finkelstein has shown that the Megiddo works were of Omride and Jeroboam II date. Finkelstein. The Forgotten Kingdom. History and Archaeology of the Northern Kingdom. 2013.

Under King David a Census of his Kingdom was undertaken. The Israelites and Judahites were numbered separately. The Israelites with 800,00 valiant men and in Judah 500,000 valiant men. II Samuel 24:9. These figures would indicate total populations of 3.2 million in Israel and 2 million in Judah. These figures almost certainly an exaggeration and not from the time of King David. The details of King David’s activities are difficult to confirm, however the move to Jerusalem is highly probable. David was the Founder of the Kingdom of Judah. King David bought the threshing floor of Araunah the Jebusite, later the Temple Mount. The Family of David (byt dwd) is mentioned on the Tell Dan Fragment, probably of Hazael of Damascus (842-796). King Hiram of Tyre helped David build his “house” at Jerusalem, probably toward the end of his reign, 985-970.

David’s City was a continuation of the Canaanite city about 4 hectares or ten acres in area. Population no more than 2000 (500 per hectare). The Stepped Stone Structure probably supported a Palace or fortress in David’s time. The population density of Jerusalem at the end of the Second Temple period is quoted as two hundred thousand in a two square kilometre area or four hundred per acre. Lehmann C. (2007). Palestine History. The population during King David’s time may have been two thousand or two hundred per acre, certainly no more.

The most noteworthy events in David’s reign are his seven wives and the events associated with his children. His assassination of Uriah, husband of Bathsheba. David’s gradual move toward the Jebusites, particularly after his marriage to Bathsheba, about 1000 BCE. David did not protect Tamar, his daughter by Maacah, from his son Amnon. The brother of Tamar was Absalom, who not long after killed Amnon. David’s weakness led to the revolt of Absalom. Although David continued worship of YHW at Jerusalem the religion was weakened by the Jebusites, led by Nathan and Bathsheba.

David was the eponymous hero of the Kingdom of Judah and accepted as Founder of the Kingdom. This Kingdom was extant from 1011 to 586 BCE.

King Solomon (971-931) built the Temple to the Family God and his own Palace on the Temple Mount with assistance from Hiram of Tyre, who reigned from 980-947. Under King Solomon, Jeroboam the Ephraimite was appointed “ruler” of the tribes of Israel. I Kings 11:28.  This led to friction and Jeroboam was forced to flee to Egypt. King Solomon captured the Philistine settlement at the mouth of the Yarkon river (Tel Qasile) about 950. The Judahites continued in their cultural connection to the Phoenicians. In addition the Phoenicians provided a conduit from Egypt.

King Solomon was rich and served as a middleman for trade of copper from the mines of Edom, especially from the Timna Valley. At Khirbet en-Nahas in Jordan, copper production was reaching its peak in the period 950-900 BCE. Radiocarbon dates for the Timna Valley include the 10th Century. Erez Ben-Yosef et al (2012) A New Chronological Framework For Iron Age Production At Timna. BASOR 367. Indicating major Copper Production in the Iron Age IIA and IIB Periods (1000-722 BCE)

Timna Copper Mines in Ancient Edom

Near Eilat Israel

Slaves Hill at Timna

E Y-B and Central Timna Valley Project Tel Aviv University

At Faynan in Jordan, ancient Edom, there was also extensive Copper mining. Twenty five Carbon 14 dates from the Gatehouse and guard chambers indicate a 10th Century BCE date, Iron Age IIA, early IIB. T. Levy and M. Nazzar (2008) Recent Iron Age Archaeology in Faynun. ACOR Newsletter.

King Solomon may have had an association with Nedjekheperre Siamun, Pharaoh of Egypt (986-967). The daughter of Siamun may have been the Egyptian Princess who married Solomon. Solomon built a Palace for her on the Temple Mount. In addition Siamun gave Solomon Gezer as a wedding gift.

Sphinx of Siamun. Pharaoh of the 21st Dynasty

Perhaps Father in-Law of King Solomon

Louvre Museum


I Kings 4:1-19 mentions the twelve officers Solomon appointed to rule over Israel. Showing that Judah ruled over Israel during his reign. Cities mentioned include, Megiddo and Taanach ruled by Baana, son of Ahilud, Ramoth-Gilead by the son of Geber, and Beth-shean by Baanah. Tribal areas included Dor ( Manasseh) governed by the son of Abinadab, who had Taphath daughter of Solomon as his wife. Benjamin, governed by Shimei son of Elah. In Naphtali , Ahimaaz, of with Basmath, daughter of Solomon, as his wife. These officers may have been Jebusites rather than Judahites. The pervasive influence of Bathsheba the Jebusite was important during the early years of Solomon. Joab nephew of King David and Adonijah, eldest surviving son of David, were purged from Solomon’s court. Benaiah was in charge of the army. The temple ritual became important and followed contemporary court rites. These included the burnt offerings, ‘olah, grain offerings, minhah, well-being offerings, selamim, sin offering, hatta’t and guilt offerings,‘asham. ( G. Mendenhall. 2001. Ancient Israel’s Faith and History ). These are described in Leviticus 1-7. Canaanites. Phoenicians and Hebrews all used zebah, as the term for sacrifice.

It is probable that the Ritual Decalogue, Exodus 34:10-28 arose during Solomon’s reign. Perhaps at the instigation of Nathan the Prophet. Ritual commands to supersede the ethical commandments of the Theocratic State.

The City of Jerusalem expanded to an area of twelve hectares or thirty acres in Solomon’s time, when the Temple Mount was built on, with a Temple and the Palace of Solomon. The Temple of YHW similar to contemporary Phoenician Temples. The population may have grown slightly since his father’s time. However much of the Temple Mount area was taken up with the Temple and Palaces. The population may have increased from 2000 to 3000, certainly no more.


Temple of Solomon at Jerusalem

Construction 967-960 BCE

Built with Assistance Provided by King Hiram of Tyre

Destruction by Babylonians 586 BCE


King Solomon’s mother, Bathsheba, was a Jebusite. Her son, Solomon, favored the Jebusites. Abiathar the YHWist Priest was replaced by Zadok, another Jebusite. In addition Nathan, the Jebusite became Prophet. Benaiah, in charge of the soldiers replaced Joab. I Kings1:32-34. Ritual religion replaced ethical YHWist religion. The Temple of Solomon became the Center for Solomonic ritual. Priests and scribes supported this religion. Adonijah the oldest surviving son of David and Joab the nephew of David were executed. Connections with Hebron and the old YHWist religion based on ethics were lost. A new religion of ritual, of Priests, Scribes and Musicians was established, as described in Leviticus  and Psalms.

YHW was subverted to a Political role as an adjunct to Monarchy, in the Capital Cities at Jerusalem and Shomron. However in the villages YHW’s role as a Spiritual Ethical Being survived.

It is doubtful if there was ever a United Monarchy sensu stricto. Perhaps an association. Particularly if you consider their past history. With probably no political connection, prior to the entry into Canaan..


Jerusalem Capital of the Judahites  1004-586

Jerusalem in the Time Of King Solomon 970-930

The Temple of YHW built by Solomon 967-960

Leon Ritmeyer


Ophel Inscription From Jerusalem

Proto-Canaanite 10th Century

E. Mazar 2012


Sheshonq I (943-922). List of Conquered Cities 

during the Divided Monarchy

Bubastite Portal at Karnak

Olaf Tausch


To begin with King David was ruler of the Judahites only. After the the death of Ishbosheth he became ruler or perhaps nominal ruler of all the tribes of Israel. The move to Jerusalem from Hebron (1004) was crucial, Jerusalem was a much more central and defensible City. In addition Urusalim, the City of Shalem, did not have a prior association with YHW. The Jebusites simply changed masters when David arrived. During the United Monarchy, records of both Israel and Judah were centralised at Jerusalem and available to the scribes of Judah. These records were used much later to provide a National Identity for the Judahites when this became a necessity for the survival of the identity of the Judahites during the Babylonian Captivity. The Exodus became a symbol of freedom, of liberty from oppression.

In the 6th Century BCE King David became the hero of Judah, in the revised Book of Samuel. A greatly enlarged Kingdom and the composition of Psalms were attributed to David. Although as shown above he struggled to even control his unruly family. His major contribution was the move from Hebron to Jerusalem, as capital of Judah. And this was largely due to his nephew Joab. David was already about 37 years of age when the attack on Jerusalem was carried out.

Conversely for the Northern Israelites loss of their identity can be related directly to the loss of the records of their past. In particular those relating to Joseph the Vizier and the division of the tribes. And of Joshua the Ephraimite and the entry into Canaan from the Trans Jordan. After the Assyrian deportation and destruction of their remaining records, without a homeland and details of their past achievements the Israelites quickly lost their identity. They became  “the lost tribes of Israel.”

The scribes of the Judahites at Jerusalem were free to gradually fashion a Pro-Judahite story from the Records of the Israelites. The story of Joshua was subsumed into the story of Moses. Joseph became a relatively minor character and the Division of the Tribes no longer part of the Combined Story of all the Tribes of Israel. Or what is more likely the separate histories of Israelites and Judahites and only combined during the redaction of the Torah in the 6th Century BCE.

Whatever the actual reign dates for Kings Saul, Ishbaal, David and Solomon the total was close to 100 years. This time frame fits with the known total time period for these Iron IB/Iron IIA Age rulers c. 1030-930 BCE.

The only external information, for this period, is that of King Sheshonq Founder of Dynasty 22. He gives a list of Cities in Canaan. The information correlates with Shishak in the Bible. 1 Kings 11:40. I Kings  14:25. Jeroboam, King Of Israel, is said to have married Ano, sister in-law of Sheshonq. The Sheshonq invasion was 926-925 and towns either captured or destroyed included Beth-Shean and Rehov (Israel) in the North, Gibeon and perhaps Jerusalem in the Centre (Judah) and Arad in the Negev. Arad is critical in giving a Iron IIA date for this conquest. Mazar A. 2007. The Search for David and Solomon in The Quest for the Historical Israel. As rightly pointed out the massive number of Cities of Israel mentioned on the Bubastite Portal are an example of Political hyperbole and not to be considered a historical document. F. Hoflmayer and R. Gundacker. Sheshonq (Sishak) In Palestine. ANET Apr. 2021 IX No 4.2. For “Palestine” see Footnote below. The correct terminology for this period and for this topographical area is Judah and Israel. The Kingdoms ruled by Rehoboam and Jeroboam I, accepted by most scholars. The term Palestine is both anachronistic and politically incorrect.


After the death of Solomon in 931 his son, Rehoboam the Judahite (931- 914), and Jeroboam the Ephraimite (931-910), divided the Kingdom. Maintaining the 700 year old separation of the tribes,  dating back to Joseph the Vizier. Jeroboam I King of Israel with the Capital at Shechem, later moved to Shomron, and Rehoboam King of Judah with the Capital at Jerusalem. I Kings 12:1-32


Division of the United Kingdom of Israel.  931 BCE


The Kingdom of Israel dated the beginning of the Year from the First Fruits time in Spring the Month of Nisan, the Religious Year. The Kingdom of Judah, at least from the time of the Assyrians, from Harvest time the month of Tishrei, the Civil Year. See Thiele. Mysterious Numbers of the Hebrew Kings. King Jeroboam (931-910) placed golden calves at Dan and Bethel to counter the influence of Jerusalem and Judah. This was considered a great sin by the Judahite scribes. However it was politics in action for the Israelites and another indication of the fundamental division between the two nations.


Royal Palace of Israel at Shomron (Samaria)

King Ahab and Queen Yzbl (Jezebel) 874-852

Archaeology Illustrated

King Asa, is recorded as destroying an idol of his Grand Mother’s, Queen Maacah. Probably a Pillar Figure Statue of Asherah, Queen of Heaven or Great Lady. 1 Kings 15:13. Indicating the long path to monotheistic YHWist religion.

King Ahab of Israel, 874-852, married Yzebel (Jezebel) of Tyre and continued to live at Shomron. The marriage was a diplomatic arrangement between Omri of Israel and Ithobaal king of Tyre and Sidon. It was during the reign of Ahab that the Prophet Elijah attacked him for abandoning worship of YHW in favour of Baal, the god of Yzebel.

Ahab was a strong King despite what the later Judahite scribes were to say about him. Yzebel was killed by the usurper Jehu, after the death of Ahab and her son Jehoram in 842. This was at Jezreel the military City of Israel.

seal of jezebel

Seal of YZBL Queen of Israel

Her name in Paleo-Hebrew script

Israel Museum Jerusalem 224.88

There is specific mention of King Ahab and Israel on the Kurkh Monolith of Shalmaneser III and the Battle of Karkar in 853.


Kurkh Monolith

Shalmaneser III King of Assyria 859-824 BCE

Fought against King Ahab of Israel

at battle of Karkar 853 BCE


Israelites Bringing Tribute to Shalmaneser III of Assyria

Black Obelisk British Museum 118885

Osama S. M. Amin

During the reign of Hazael of Aram-Damascus (842-796) many towns in Israel and Judah suffered damage or were destroyed. Including Jezreel, Megiddo, Beth Shean and Gath. Much of the infra-structure was destroyed, including records of the past.


Tel Dan Stela Probably of Hazael of Aram Damascus

Recalls battle of Ramoth-Gilead 842 

Jehoram of Israel and Ahaziah

of the House of David (bytdvd) were both killed

Israel Museum . Oren Rozen


The Assyrians had a policy of mass deportation of conquered people. The Gadites and Reubenites in the Trans Jordan together with East Manasseh were deported by Tiglath Pileser III about 732. I Chronicles 5:26. The attack against Israel was instigated by Ahaz King of Judah. The Kingdoms of Judah and Israel had a long history of conflict, stretching back to the 12th Century and the conflict between Judahites and Benjaminites.. In fact back to about 1620, when Joseph the Vizier separated the Judahite tribes from the Josephite tribes. However there may have been no contact between the Israelites at Avaris and the Judahites at Goshen, while in Egypt. In 782 there was war between Amaziah of Judah and Jehoash of Israel. There was no love lost between the two Kingdoms. The assimilation of Israelite history into the Judahite one was a natural progression.


Seal of Shema servant of King Jeroboam II of Israel. From Megiddo.

Jeroboam Co-Regent 793-782. King of Israel 782-753

The other tribes of Israel, West of the Jordan, were deported in 722 by Sargon IIII Kings 18: 9-11. In addition all the historical records of Israel were destroyed, in a deliberate act by the Assyrians. The only records of the Israelite Monarchy saved were those taken to Jerusalem by fugitive Israelites. The Pre-Monarchy records of Israel were already at Jerusalem, taken there during the United Monarchy period. The Israelites lost their past history when their records were taken to Jerusalem for centralised storage. Without a record of their past the Israelites lost their identity completely once deported from their homeland. Later their story was assimilated into the Judahite history.

The tribe of Benjamin had already been assimilated into the Kingdom of Judah, probably early in the 11th Century. At least some of their records were retained by the Benjaminites. Details of the First Exodus, the sojourn in the Trans Jordan and the entry into Canaan, led by Joshua the Ephraimite, were used by the Judahites in their later redaction of their own Exodus..

It is a possibility that the Israelites near Gozan on the Khabur (Habor) River moved North to the Springs of Ra’s al-‘Ayn after the demise of the Assyrian Empire, in 609 BCE  In particular in the 4th Century the Karduchi inhabited this area of the Khabur River, in the time of Alexander the Great. The Israelites may be the precursors of the Kurds. Although there have been multiple changes in Ethnicity and Language since that time. The Kurds are regarded as West Iranian Indo-Europeans today.

In the Ninth Century CE Eldad ha-Dani claimed 4 of the lost tribes, Dan, Naphthali, Asher and Gad were living in the Upper Khabur River area (Sambatyon River). In addition that he had contact with the six remaining “lost” tribes. Eisenstein J.D. (1915) Otzar Midrashim 1.20.


Deportation of Trans Jordan Israelites by Assyrians 732 BCE

Deportation of Cis Jordan Israelites by Assyrians 722 BCE

Neo-Assyrian Empire Wikipedia 

joelholdsworth  en.wikipedia.org

In 701 Sennacherib of Assyria made a concerted effort to annihilate Judah but failed at the walls of Jerusalem. King Hezekiah was prepared and had made sure an adequate supply of water for Jerusalem was available by building a tunnel connecting the Spring of Gihon with the Pool of Siloam within the City. The Songs of Zion, such as  Psalm 46, “YHW of Hosts is with us. The God of Ya’acov is our refuge”. May have been composed after this victory. The forethought of King Hezekiah saved the Judahites from deportation and almost certain extinction. Hezekiah should be honoured as a saviour of the Jewish people.

It is possible that Shabaka the 25th Dynasty Nubian King of Egypt (705-690) saved Jerusalem by confronting Sennacherib. Prior to this Iamana King of Ashdod had fled to Egypt during the reign of the Assyrian King Sargon II (722-705) when Shebitku (714-705) was King of Egypt. Tang-i Var Inscription of Sargon II about 707. Herodotus. II, Ch. 14 mentions how Sethos High Priest of Ptah defeated the Assyrians with divine intervention. This may have been either Sibitku or Shabaka, more likely the latter in 701 BCE.

The Kings of Judah, Ahaz, Hezekiah and Manasseh alternately cooperated and defied the Assyrians. Finkelstein pointed out that cooperation with the Assyrians allowed trade to flourish in the Kingdom. King Ahaz of Judah (735-715) co-operated with the Assyrians  and paid tribute, saving Jerusalem from almost certain destruction. While both Aram-Damascus and Israel were destroyed. The prophet Isaiah was active during the time of Ahaz and Hezekiah. Isaiah had advised defiance, luckily the King did not agree.


Hezekiah’s Tunnel and the Pool of Siloam at Jerusalem



Sennacherib King of Assyria 705-681 BCE

Attempted conquest of Judah. Failed at Jerusalem 701


Seal impression of King Hezekiah unearthed in the Ophel excavations

Seal of King Hezekiah of Judah.  715-686 BCE

Belonging to Hezekiah son of Ahaz King of Judah c. 690

Amihai Mazar. Ophel Excavation. Jerusalem 2015



Based on the Second Exodus of the Judahites, the Combined Exodus of both Israelites and Judahites included elements from Canaanite culture, the First Exodus of the Israelites and some details from contemporary sources. This Combined Exodus was written by Judahite scribes using both written and traditional sources at a time when the Judeans very existence was threatened by the Babylonians. See D. Redford. Egypt, Canaan and Israel in Ancient Times. 1992. Finkelstein I. and N. Silberman. The Bible Unearthed 2001. The description of this Combined Exodus is based on the topography of the Saite Period, 26th Dynasty, 664-525 BCE. That is during the Babylonian Captivity and into the Persian Period. Both Judahites and Benjaminites may have played a role in the combined Exodus story. Whatever elements of the First Exodus available could be incorporated in the Combined Exodus.

The vassalage treaties of the Assyrians, such as that of Esarhaddon (681-669), were probably models for the relationship between the Family God YHW and the Judahites. The Yahwist Monarchy of Josiah (640-609) is a likely time for this formal contract. Exodus 13. and Levinson B. (2010). Esarhaddon Succession Treaty as Source for Canon Formulary in Deuteronomy 13:1. JAOS. 130.3. In the Canon, death is the punishment for turning against YHW. The supremacy of YHW is illustrated by the Plagues of Exodus, promulgated against Pharaoh. Severe punishment was the result of disobeying the word of YHW. Culminating in the Passover and Death of All the First Born of Egypt.


Babylon with Ishtar Gate and Ziggurat

during Babylonian Captivity

Under Nebuchadnezzar II  605-562


Babylon Ishtar Gateway

Ration Card of King Jehoiachin found here

Sumant Jaiswal Ishtar Gate Reconstruction

The available History of the Israelites, stored at Jerusalem during the United Monarchy, was incorporated into the History of the Judahites. The Combined Exodus was written  to provide a cohesive National Identity for the Judeans. This identity to provide a bulwark against enemies and loss of cultural identity. A stark example of what happened without a National Identity was the disappearance of The Israelite Tribes at the time of the Assyrian Holocaust. In addition the tribes of the Reubenites and Gadites, from the Trans Jordan, also disappeared from history during the Assyrian regime.

However the Benjaminites were still sources of information for the First Exodus. Whatever information they had could be incorporated into the Judahite Combined Exodus story of the 6th Century and later.

The confrontation between Pharaoh and Moses is a case in point. King Ramesses was born 1304-1302 and Moses between 1250-1245. When Moses fled from Egypt King Ramesses was over seventy. There was no direct contact between the two. Clearly Moses did not return from his exile until AFTER the death of Ramesses in 1213 BCE, probably in 1210 BCE..


King Jehoiachin (Jeconiah) c.597-560, and his scribes, continued the process of providing the Judeans with a National Identity after being exiled from Jerusalem by the Babylonians beginning in 597, and continuing after the bulk of the Judahites were exiled in 586 BCE. The process had been started under his grandfather King Josiah and even earlier when King Hezekiah introduced the story of Passover and the Angel of Death passing over the Egyptians..

Monotheism was still not dominant in Jerusalem in the 7th Century BCE. The Prophet Jeremiah was still castigating the women of Jerusalem for worshipping Asherah, the Queen of Heaven. Goddess of Prosperity, Fertility and Nurture. Jeremiah 44:17-21, in the time of King Jehoiakim, son of Josiah. 605 BCE.


Judahite Pillar Figure of Asherah

From Lachish 8th or 7th Century BCE

Metropolitan Museum NYC 34 126 53

Flight of the Prisioners

Exile from Jerusalem and Destruction of the Temple of Solomon 586 BCE

James Tissot. Flight of the Prisoners.



Babylonian Exile of Judeans 586-450 BCE

National Identity of Judeans Formulated


This process included not only the Exodus but the Foundation Stories of the Judahites under the Patriarchs Abraham and Isaac. The Founding Judahite Patriarchs became ancestors of the Israelite Patriarch Isra’el and the Vizier Joseph. Abraham was the older brother of Nahor of Padan-Aram, placing his History in the period 1800-1750 or the Middle Bronze IIA period (2000-1750). This is three Generations before Isra’el of Padan Aram. Nahor, Bethuel, Rebekah and Laban, and Isra’el are the generations of the Israelites of Padan-Aram, in North Syria. 

Nechadnezzar II King of Babylon 605-562 BCE

Captured Jerusalem 597 BCE

Destroyed Jerusalem after a Revolt 586 BCE

Baghdad Museum

In a burnt house on the East slope of Jerusalem fifty three seal impressions on clay bullae, that had sealed papyrus documents, have been found. Indicating the likely literacy level in the late seventh and early sixth centuries, This was the age of the Prophet Jeremiah and King Zedekiah.

Abraham and Isaac have connections with the Judean Hills and Hebron and the First Temple Period (950-600). With references to Chaldeans and Ur of the Chaldees as birthplace of Abraham and his brothers, Genesis 11:20, 11:31 and 15:7. Gerar near Beer-Sheba and the Philistine King Abimelech, Genesis 20:1 and 26:1. The Hittites, the Cave of Machphelah at Hebron bought by Abraham from Ephron the Hittite as a burial place for Sarah, Abraham’s wife. Genesis 23:1-20. Pottery sherds from the cave of Machphelah  are of First Temple date i.e. 967-586, not the Middle Bronze Age. Arnon. 1975. Camels as transport animals were not used until the 8th Century, only donkeys were used in the Bronze Age.

Genesis (Bereishit) was written to provide a cohesive and strong National Identity for the Judahites. To subsume the Israelite identity into the Judean one. Note Hebron is 850 kilometres from Padan-Aram. The connection is a tenuous one at best. The Judean Deuteromist scribes, of the Babylonian Captivity  added the Judahite Patriarchs, Abraham and Isaac, to the beginning of the Israelite story, of Nahor and Milcah, at Padan-Aram. Although in fact there is a 800 year gap between the two stories. The one of the 10th or 11th Century Century in the Judean Hills, and the other of the 18th Century BCE and in the Amorite territory of North Syria.

The story of Abram the Amorite and Abraham the Judahite is a conflation of two stories separated in space and time. Perhaps the similarity in names was used to connect the stories. Abraham may be a 6th Century creation based on Abram the Amorite. These stories may have originated from Amorite Padan Aram. See Joseph Son of Rachel above. Some of the names of the Patriarchal Age have origins in the Amorite Middle Bronze Age. The origin of the Judahites at Ur of the Chaldees was developed after the Judahite scribes became cognizant of the connection of Nabonidus, King of Babylon to Ur and his rebuilding of the Temple of Sin there. The mention of Ur clearly identifies the time with Nabonidus and The Babylonian Captivity when the Judahites were in Babylonia. Similarly at Harran in Syria, where the family of Nabonidus had lived. Nabonidus also rebuilt the Temple of Sin there, as well. Harran was made out to be where the family of Terah, from Ur settled, including Nahor and Abraham. The time Abraham was at Harran was short. Soon he is wandering down to Southern Canaan and the area around Hebron. There is no mention of Shadai in the story of Abraham. The connection with Nabonidus confirms the 6th Century BCE origin of the stories of the Judahite Patriarchs.

The Second Isaiah confirms Jacob as Patriarch of Israel. Abraham and Isaac are not mentioned. ” Yet now hear, O Jacob my servant; and Israel, whom I have chosen.” Isaiah 44:1. In addition the First Isaiah, in the time of King Hezekiah, also mentions Jacob as Patriarch of Israel , without mention of Abraham or Isaac. ” For the lord will have mercy on Jacob, and will yet chose Israel, and set them in their own land: and the strangers will be joined with them, and they shall cleave to the house of Jacob.”  Isaiah I (c. 760-701), had started prophesying in the time of King Uzziah (Sole reign 768-751, Shared reign with Jotham 751-739) Isaiah 14:1. These passages confirm that Jacob, not Abraham or Isaac, was the Patriarch of Israel. They were written before Abraham and Isaac were added to the Torah by the Judahite scribes. Jacob/Israel was the original Patriarch.

YSR is an Amorite name, in combination with El of Shadai, YSR-El is probably the Founding Father of the Israelites and perhaps father of Joseph and Grandfather  of Ephraim and Manasseh. The connection with the Judahites is less certain. The Judahites interpolated their own ancestors Abraham and Isaac before YSR-El to provide a strong foundation for their own ancestry, the connection is weak. A critical reading of the story shows many holes in the Judahite story. In particular any real connection between Hebron and North Syria.

In the Judahite version of Exodus Joseph welcomed his brothers , including the five conspirators who had left him to die in the well at Dothan. A most unlikely scenario, given their past history. This story to demonstrate the United Family of Isra’el. When in fact the past history showed major divisions over more than 1000 years, stretching back to Leah and Rachel. The Separation of the Tribes of Israel was instigated by Joseph the Vizier and carried through by him, as Vizier of the Hyksos at Avaris. This action resulted in the permanent separation of the Israelites from the Judahites, about 1625 BCE. Genesis 47:2-6.

In fact there may have been no connection between the Israelites and Judahites prior to their entry into Canaan. The Judahites adapted the story of the Israelites to their own Foundation stories after the deportation of the Israelites by the Assyrians, in 722 BCE.

Passover was introduced by King Hezekiah (715-686) as a rallying festival for his people at a time of mortal danger for the Judahites II Chronicles 30:1-5. The Assyrians had already destroyed the Northern Kingdom of Israel in 722 with mass deportations. The Festival of Passover may have begun as the 500th Anniversary of the Second Exodus about 710. The time was the 15th of Nisan and the Full Moon, of Spring. Nisan the first month of the Year in the Religious Calendar and beginning of Spring. Pacach (paw sakh), to hop, indicates the origins of Pesach (Passover) in the Spring Lamb Festival and of new lambs hopping around the meadows.

This together with the first Spring cereal barley crop and Shavuot, Festival of the First Fruits, or hag ha-Bikkurim, in the late Spring, were the origins of Passover. On the second Day of Pesach a sheaf of barley was presented, as an offering, at the Temple in Jerusalem. Passover was a rallying call to the Judahites at Jerusalem. In 701 Sennacherib of Assyria attacked Jerusalem, a plague decimated his army and led to the Assyrian withdrawal.


Mass deportation of the citizens of Lachish by the Assyrians


 The date of the Combined Exodus is problematic. Usually a date between the First and Second Exodus is chosen, based on the Exodus commencing 480 years before the start of Solomon’s temple. The date correlates with the entry into Canaan by the Israelites, about 1447 BCE, and their expulsion by Thutmose III in 1440, in his campaign 14. This is an adaptation from the First Exodus and the attempted entry into Canaan of the Israelites from the Trans Jordan during the reign of Thutmose III, the Conqueror. A most inopportune time for any movement into Canaan.


1.Water to blood. Red algal blooms are common in still water when combined with hot weather.

2.Frogs. May multiply under ideal conditions. Red algae may have forced frogs onto the land.

3,4 Biting insects and wild beasts. Natural phenomena associated with changed conditions, of natural prey and changes in vegetation and climate.

5,6 Livestock disease and boils. Seasonal diseases including rinderpest may be associated with diseases carried by biting insects.

7. Fiery hail. May be a Judahite folk memory of the great Thera eruption about 1535-1530 BCE.  Recent tree ring dates are 1600-1525 BCE. This pyroclastic explosion may have ejected 100 cubic kilometres of material. It was one of the most massive of recent volcanic eruptions.. The volcanic eruption was at the time when the Judahites were at Goshen in the Egyptian Eastern Delta. Tephra from the area has been collected in the Delta region, including from Tell el-Daba... J. Stanley and H.Sheng. Nature 320. 733-735 1986    (Tephra from Eastern Delta).  Pumice at Tel el-Ajjul has been identified from Thera by Neutron Activation Analysis. Dating from Horizon 5, by correlation with Cypriote and Canaanite pottery and Carbon 14 date, indicates early Egyptian 18th dynasty. about 1550 – 1530 BCE. Including Late Cypriot IA2. Tell el-Ajjul (Sharuhen) was the Hyksos Palace and Fortress at Gaza in Southern Canaan. Fischer. Chronology of Tel el-Ajjul. 1999-2000. 

At Avaris pumice has also been found at several sites dating from the end of the reign of Ahmose to before the reign of Thutmose III, 1530-1480. Most of this pumice from a workshop. The pumice may have been collected and stored for some time after the Thera eruption. M. Bietak. Avaris: Capital of the Hyksos 1995. A recent annual 14C analysis of tree rings has indicated a 16th Century date for the Thera Eruption. Pearson C. et al (2018) Annual Radiocarbon record indicates 16th century date for the Thera eruption Science Advances 15 August 2018. Both 1628 and 1510 are outside the statistical limits for the Thera eruption, based on this study.

8. Locusts. Plagues of locusts have been recorded, in Egypt for many centuries. A not uncommon event.

9. Darkness for 3 days. Probably also from the eruption of Thera. When a major eruption sent plumes of dust and volcanic ash into the atmosphere. This eruption could have darkened the sky for some time, in the Delta region of Egypt. See also 7. above.

10. Death of the First Born of Egypt. A misinterpretation by one of the later scribes, over 700 years after the event. Pharaoh was Egypt. The death of the First Born refers to the death of a child of Pharaoh. Probably the First Born Crown Prince, Amun-her-khepeshef, who died in year 26 of Ramesses II or 1253 BCE. Or of Crown Prince Ramesses who died in 1229. These deaths were during the major building phase at Pi-Ramesses. The conscripted Judahites were present, working at the City, and cognizant of events going on around them. This does NOT refer to the death of ALL the First Born of ALL Egypt. An illustration of the vassalage treaty between YHW and his people and the danger associated with ignoring YHW. Probably from the time of King Josiah. Probably originally as a Celebration of the 500th Anniversary, or Quincentenary of Passover, in 710 BCE, by King Hezekiah. However formalized into a treaty in the time of King Josiah.


Prince Amun-her-khepeshef and Goddess Hathor

First born son of Ramesses II.

Probable origin of Death of First Born

Tomb KV5 at Thebes  1254 BCE

Elements of ancient Canaanite customs were added. The magical protection of marking of door posts and lintels with blood of a sacrificed lamb was an apotropaic practise already long in use in Canaan. This became part of the Passover of the Angel of Death and Death of the First Born of Egypt

The very name Egypt suggests the late derivation of this story. Egypt from Greek Aigyptos in turn from Egyptian Hut-ka-Ptah, “the Mansion of the Soul of Ptah”, the name of  the ancient temple at Men-nefer (Memphis) when the Greeks were there from 565, under Amasis II. The Name Aigyptos was already mentioned by Homer and may have derived from contact with the Phoenicians who were active in the 8th Century, including visits to the Greek islands. There was contact between Judeans and Greeks at Tahpanhes after the arrival of the Judeans from 583 BCE onward, following the destruction of Jerusalem by the Babylonians in 586 BCE. The connection of the Greeks to Egypt is confirmed by the visit of Solon of Athens in 594, after he introduced democratic reforms at Athens..Greek mercenaries were in Egypt under Psamtik I (664-610).

The eating of unleavened bread was part of the ancient Canaanite Spring Festival. The Festival of Pesach was celebrated beginning on the 15th of Nisan, on the First Full Moon after the Spring Equinox. King Hezekiah centralised worship of YHW at Jerusalem. In the Combined Exodus story Matzah or unleavened bread is related to the hasty departure of the Israelites when they did not have time to wait for the bread to rise. The Judahite Exodus was a leisurely affair. Ramesses was dead, the Court of Ramesses travelled back to Thebes for the drawn out funeral. Pharaoh Merneptah went to Memphis, not Pi-Ramesses after the funeral.

Elements of both ancient  Canaanite rituals and the First Exodus of the Josephite tribes, including the hasty departure from Avaris and the problems the Egyptians had at the Sea of Reeds were added to the story. In the Combined Exodus version the Judahite tribes were pursued by an un-named Pharaoh and at the crossing of the Red Sea, after the Judahite tribes had crossed the parted waters of the Red Sea, the water closed over the pursuing Egyptians and they are drowned. Exodus 14. Also celebrated in the Song of Miriam. Exodus 15.

There is no Egyptian record of this large scale catastrophe. Probably wishful thinking by the Scribes of Judah, over 600 years after the Judahite Exodus. Midian rather than the original Madyan has been used as the place where the Judahite tribes stayed after leaving Egypt.

The continuity of the Exodus under Joshua the Ephraimite, a direct descendant of Joseph, from the Trans Jordan, after the death of Moses the Levite, was added to the Combined Exodus story, by the Judahite scribes. A clear attempt to combine two entirely different historical events. The Israelites departed from the Trans Jordan 1240-1235 BCE. Moses the Levite led the tribes of Reuben and Gad to the Trans Jordan, near Mount Nebo, about 1195. While the tribes of Judah and Simeon moved to the Judean Hills and the Shephelah. At least 40 years after the Israelites, under Joshua the Ephraimite, had crossed the Jordan, near the Aroer River, into North Canaan.

The episode at the Sea of Reeds (yam suph) of the Josephites was changed to the Red Sea (yam adom) and the dramatic division of the Sea by YHW via the agency of Moses the Prophet. This division would have allowed the Judahites to cross from Sinai Egypt to Madyan Arabia, by miraculous means. In addition the army of Ramesses was drowned in the Red Sea, although there is no evidence for this at all. The Red Sea is an arm of the Indian Ocean and has no reeds, it is salt water. The story was calculated to assure the Judahites of the protection and omnipotence of the Family God.

Sinai was added  for dramatic effect to demonstrate the power of YHW. Why would they go back toward Egypt and unknown territory. There are no trees or bushes on Mt Sinai and very little water, certainly insufficient for cattle or sheep. Moses prior experience and knowledge was of Madyan in Arabia NOT Sinai in Egypt. Also see Exodus 3:12 which explicitly states that Moses is to bring the Judahites to THIS Mountain, which was Mount Horeb in Madyan and NOT Mt Sinai in Egypt. The forty years in the wilderness of Sinai was adapted from the forty years between the entry of the Israelites into Canaan about 1235 and the the Entry of the Judahites about 1195.

The Israelite and Judahite entries into Canaan were totally unrelated events. Until the Judahite scribes of the 7th and 6th Centuries assimilated whatever information they had on the Israelite Exodus and entry into Canaan, into the Judahite story. The Israelite Patriarch of the 17th Century BCE was assimilated into the story of the Judahite Patriarchs of Hebron, probably from the 11th Century or the time of the United Monarchy in the 10th Century. Jacob the Amorite and Founder of the Israelites became the grandson of Abraham the Judahites, in this new Foundation myth of the Judahites. Note the Judahite Patriarchs Abraham and Isaac are not mentioned in the writings of the Israelite Prophets of the 8th Century.

Amos the Prophet of Israel states, “Also I brought you up from the land of Egypt and led you forty years through the wilderness.” Amos 2:10. Amos is said to have started his career about 762 during the reign of King Jeroboam II. There is no way the flocks and herds could have survived forty years in the desert, however the statement does not specify desert.. Protection of the livestock was a supreme concern for the Judahites. Large supplies of water were a necessity, particularly for cattle. Evidence from Hormah shows the livestock did survive the Exodus from Egypt to Canaan, large supplies of water were available.

Under the Yahwist King Josiah (642-609) a new Book, Deuteronomy, was discovered in the Temple. This was probably written by Shaphan the scribe using material provided by Hilkiah the High Priest.about 622. Again the Judahites were threatened this time both by the Egyptians under Necho and the Babylonians.. Over the next hundred years a new Deuteronomic heroic version of the Exodus was written, in a bid to rally the Judahites. King Jeconiah and his scribes would have played a leading part in the revised Judahite History, in the early years of the Babylonian captivity. “And he carried away all Jerusalem, and all the Princes.. even ten thousand captives, and all the craftsmen and smiths,” referring to King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon. Kings II 24:14.

In this story both Josephites and Judahites accompanied Moses the Levite on this Exodus of haste. Moses defied Pharaoh and the ten plagues were invoked to allow the Israelites to leave Egypt. Miracles including the parting of the Red Sea, drowning of the pursuing army of Ramesses II and the feeding of the multitudes of the Israelites in the desert with manna were added to the story. King Josiah was a staunch Yahwist, unification of the Judahites using the omnipotence of YHW fulfilled two agendas for him, both religious and political.

The 600,000 fleeing Israelites mentioned in Exodus 12:37 was 1000 fold greater than the actual number on the Judahite Exodus. The large numbers added to impress on the Judeans the omnipotence of YHW. Scribal hyperbole was encouraged during the times of crisis. The number came about from a misinterpretation by the scribes of the 6th Century and the Hebrew term ‘elef, originally a term to describe a military unit of 6 to 20 men and probably from the United Monarchy period. G. Mendenhall. Ancient Israel’s Faith and History. 2001.

The destruction of Jericho and Ai by Joshua the Ephraimite is a late addition. Both cities were in ruins long before Joshua. This story was added to demonstrate the might and power of the Family God at a time when the Babylonians were threatening the extinction of the Judahites. The stories are a rallying call to the Judahites.

The story of the defeat of the 5 Kings under Joshua, see Joshua 10, were all from cities of Judah. The city of Lachish stratum VI was destroyed after 1150 and a Cartouche of Ramesses III (1184-1153) beneath the destruction level supports the late date. See Ussishkin BAR 13:01 1987. This destruction was either by Philistines from nearby Gath or the Judahites from Hebron. The late date confirms this was not a conquest by Joshua the Ephraimite.

The miracles of the Exodus were introduced to confirm the vassalage of the Judahites to the all powerful Family Deity YHW. A common theme in the 7th Century BCE. The vassalage treaty of the Assyrian King Esarhaddon is a good example. Introduced at a time when the Judahites were in peril of being destroyed by the Assyrians and later the Babylonians.


The Combined Exodus was written after the deportation of the Israelites in 722 BCE. The Israelites were no longer present to tell their story. Their story was assimilated into the Combined Exodus.The story was written to unite the Judahites at a time when their very survival was threatened, during the Babylonian capture and destruction of Jerusalem (586) and the Babylonian Captivity that followed. Knowledge was transmitted orally, very few people could read, outside of the scribal class..

In 597 young King Jehoiachin and the prophet of Judah, Ezekiel along with 10,000, (although probably a much smaller number) other prominent citizens, that was the Court and scribes of King Jehoiachin, were deported from Jerusalem to Babylon. II Kings 24:14. After the revolt of 586 the citizens of Jerusalem were deported to Babylonia. In addition the Temple of Solomon was destroyed by King Nebuchadnezzar. The parchment scrolls available were taken to Babylon by the Judahite Scribes, to be transcribed and redacted during the 140 years at Babylon. These included Israelite scrolls stretching back to much earlier periods, before the United Monarchy, and transcribed many times, over the intervening centuries.

The famous Psalm  137 graphically describes the Babylonian Captivity, ” By the Rivers of Babylon-there we sat down and there we wept, when we remembered Zion.”

During the Exile the Prophets Jeremiah, Ezekiel, the Second Isaiah and Job were able to revise the concept of YHW as a Spiritual, Ethical God and wean the Judahites away from any political association. However later politics was again to be associated with YHW with disastrous results during the revolts against the Romans.

In the 6th Century the connection between Abraham the Judahite and Nahor the Amorite was made. Abraham of the 10th Century or later, and from the Judean Hills and his “younger brother” Nahor from the 18th Century Amorite Padan Aram. In addition the youngest brother of Abraham was Haran, father of Lot and Milcah. Genesis 11:28. The same Milcah who married her Uncle Nahor at Harran in Syria. Quite a coincidence! The origin of the tribes of Israel was fixed at Ur of the Chaldees, another anachronistic connection. Genesis 11:31.The tribes of Israel then moved far to the North, to the area around Harran where another site for worship of Sin existed.

In the 6th Century BCE improbable ages were given to the Patriarchs. When Joseph was in prison, Isaac was 180 years old and his son Jacob 130. The hyperbole used to ensure the Patriarchal Age had a strong, enduring Foundation. The Judahite Patriarchs Abraham , Isaac and Jacob became Founders of the Nation. Although Yaacov/Israel was originally an Amorite, from Shadai in North Syria. Joseph the Vizier of the Hyksos was also an Amorite and probably the son of Israel/Ya’acov.

During the Babylonian Captivity a strong Foundation story was developed to bind the tribes of Judah together, when the identity of the Judeans was under serious threat. The name Abram is Amorite and may indicate a conflation of two stories, the earlier one from Padan Aram of the 18th Century and the later story of Abraham the Judahite from the Judean Hills and the 10th Century. The Israelites have an association with Shadai not Harran. The God of Shadai was El -Shadai, the God of Harran, Sin or Su-en. The connection to Shadai had been lost in the intervening 1200 years between the actual events and the Combined Exodus Story of the 6th Century.

King Nabonidus of Babylon (556-539) may have stimulated this connection of two sites of worship of the god Sin by reintroducing worship of Sin, during his reign. Perhaps from the association of his mother as Priestess at Harran and his father as Governor.  Nabonidus rebuilt E-hul- hul, the Temple of Sin at Harran. He also rebuilt the temple of Sin at Ur. The Judahite scribes, during the Babylonian Captivity, would have realised the significance of the connection between Ur and Harran. This information was then used in the redaction of the Combined Exodus story and the origin of the Israelites at Ur, rather than Harran. In the process severing the direct connection of Isra’el the Patriarch  to the Amorites of North Syria.

The Judahite Patriarchs Abraham and Isaac had no Amorite connections and were associated with Hebron. Abram the Amorite came from Padan Aram. Abraham the Judahite and Abram the Amorite is a late connection during the Babylonian Captivity. Abram’s God El Shadai and Abraham’s God YHW indicates the clear, historical division between these two names, and the personalities, places and times behind them.. (See Joseph son of Rachel). There was a clear attempt to combine two stories. One Amorite from the 18th Century, including Abram, Sarai, Yitzhak and Rebekah and the God El Shadai to a much later Judahite story based at Hebron from the Temple period (950-600) and with a strong YHWist input.

The Second Isaiah, a contemporary of King Cyrus (559-530), is clear that Jacob is the ancestor of the Israelites, “Hear this, O house of Jacob, which are called by the name of Israel………”  Isaiah 48:1.

Head piece of Stele of Nabonidus

Waxing Moon, Sun and Venus

From Babylon

Jona Lendering British Museum 90837

There were precedents for redactions of ancient writings. The Akkadian Kings (2334-2154) had written their deeds on statues and tablets in Sumerian and Akkadian. During the Old Babylonian period (1800-1600), in particular in the time of Hammurabi and Samsu-iluna, these stories were copied by Babylonian scribes. Often with embellishments and involving heroic feats. This rewriting 500 to 700 years after the original events.


The earliest written version of the Exodus, according to the Documentary Hypothesis, seems to be the Elohist of the late 9th Century. Followed by  Deuteronomist 1 early 7th Century, Jahwist 7th Century then the Deuteronomist 2 late 6th Century, who probably wrote most of Deuteronomy. Then the Priestly writing of the late 6th Century. The Deuteronomist Historian late 6th Century. Finally the Redactionist who revised much of the Jahwist/Elohist, Priestly and Deuteronomist writings. The earliest written version of the Judahite Exodus was 400 years after the event. At least nine writers had a hand in the Final written version of the Torah, later translated into Greek as the Pentateuch.

The combined Deuteronomist (D1 + D2) seems to be the writer of Deuteronomy. The Priestly source Leviticus and the Deuteronomist Historian the Books of Joshua, Judges, Samuel and Kings. The Redactionist revised much of the earlier Elohist/Jahwist, Priestly and Deuteronomist writing. So the origins of the written Torah and later Pentateuch are complex and the composition spread over a long period.

The above information should be modified by evidence of the use of Old Phoenician and probably Paleo-Hebrew back to the 11th Century ( Ahiram Sarcophagus). Prior to this Proto-Canaanite and before that Proto-Sinaitic was in use dating back to the 12th Dynasty of Egypt c. 1830. The earliest information in the Hebrew Bible (Torah) may have its origins in the Bronze Age. In II Samuel 8:16-17 it is stated, Jehoshaphat son of Ahilud was recorder and Seraiah was the scribe. This was not long after King David had made Jerusalem his Capital. In addition KIng Hiram of Tyre communicated with King David regarding the building of a House for the King. II Samuel 5:11, probably some years later.

However most of the information in the Bible is of late date. Toward the end of the First Temple and King Josiah. And redacted during the Second Temple period. The Psalms are probably of Second Temple Date. Beginning with Haggai and Zechariah and the time of the Second Temple (516 BCE – 70 CE).

The Combined Exodus was already well entrenched when the translation from Hebrew to Greek was made, the Septuagint, about 270 BCE, at Alexandria. The Greek was translated into Latin and numerous other languages as time went by. At the time of the translation the Ptolemaic Dynasty controlled Judea.


Ezra (c.457) and Nehemiah (c.445) and a significant number of Judeans had returned to Judea from Babylon, after the Persian conquest of Babylon.. The Second Temple was already well established by 270. Rebuilt under Zerubabbel, Governor of the Achaemenid Yehud Medinata Province, 521-516 BCE. Grandson of King  Jehoiachin, and with encouragement from the prophets Haggai and Zechariah. Elements from Babylonian and Egyptian versions of the Torah were incorporated in the redactions. Much of the material was re-written after the Babylonian capture of Jerusalem in 586.

Ezra the Levite and Scribe returned to Jerusalem from Babylon in 457. He had relationships with Sraya, last High Priest of the First Temple and Joshua First High Priest of the Second Temple. When Nehemiah was appointed Governor of  Yehud Province, he instructed Ezra to read from the Torah to the assembled Judahites (sons of Leah) and Benjaminites (sons of Rachel). Ezra 10:9. This reading was probably from the First Torah scroll incorporating the Five Books of Moses about 445 BCE  Nehemiah 8:2. Prior to this the Books had been in redaction mode with separate Books and even versions, during the Babylonian exile. These inscriptions were on perishable parchment, only continuous copying by scribes could preserve these writings through the generations. This Torah was copied through the generations and is still the Law of Judaism in use today. Two and a half thousand years of copying to ensure no change is made in copying the Hebrew script.


From all the above it becomes clear that the Benjaminites were Amorites of the Banu-Yamina, the sons of the Right. Not only that, they were descendants of the Hyksos who came to Avaris, Egypt in the 17th century BCE. Later moving to the Trans Jordan, the Madaba Plain, during the attacks of King Ahmose. Then to North Israel led by Joshua the Ephraimite. The Josephite tribes at Avaris were introduced to the Moon God Iah, by Potipherah the Priest and Asenath his daughter. Asenath married Joseph the Vizier. Jacob (Israel) or Joseph probably changed Iah to YHW, to ensure the Josephites were distinct from the rest of the Hyksos.

The Judahites were Canaanites who came to Egypt some twenty years later than the Israelites and settled at Goshen, East of the Pelusiac Nile, during a famine in Canaan. The Vizier Joseph, with the agreement of King Khyan, gave the Judahites land at Goshen. The Judahites may have already worshipped I’ah and to ensure there were no compatibility problems with Joseph the Vizier adopted YHW as their God. Later the Judahites were conscripted to work on Ramesses II City, Pi-Ramesses, until the death of Ramesses. Moses the Levite led the Judahites into Madyan in Arabia, then later into Canaan.

It seems likely that the connection between Judahites and Benjaminites was a 7th and 6th Century literary invention to ensure unity and survival following the Babylonian destruction of Jerusalem and the Babylonian Captivity. This separation goes back to the Matriarchs, Leah of the Judahites in Canaan. And Rachel, Matriarch of the Israelites (Benjaminites) in North Syria. The Israelites came to Egypt with the Hyksos. The Judahites twenty years later and given land at Goshen by Joseph the Vizier, with the support and acquiescence of King Khyan.

The continued enmity between Judahites and Benjaminites is described in II Samuel 2: 31. During the time David was King at Hebron (1011-1004), three hundred and sixty of Abner the Benjaminite’s soldiers were killed by Joab the Judahite and his army.


Redaction of the Torah may be divided into three periods. The Late Monarchy from Josiah to Zedekiah, 630-587 BCE. The Babylonian Captivity 597-530 BCE and the Later Babylonian and Egyptian Period from King Cyrus to the Governor Nehemiah 530-445 BCE and later. In addition from the time of Jeremiah in Egypt 583 BCE to the Third Century, revisions and additions were  made, by the resident Judahites in Egypt.

The Nevi’im and Ketuvim, the stories of the Prophets and Later Writings became a part of the Tanakh, including the Torah.


Ezra the Scribe reads from the Torah,

the Five Books of Moses

To the Judahites and Benjaminites at Jerusalem 445 BCE


The five books of the Torah, the Pentateuch, are;

Bereishit-                      In the beginning. Genesis

Shemot –                      Names. Exodus

Vayikra –                       And he called. Leviticus

Bamidbar –                   In the desert. Numbers

Devarim –                     Words. Deuteronomy

In the Century between the Persian Freedom and the time of Ezra and Nehemiah many aspects of Judaism were formalised. Including observation of the Sabbath. the Religious Holidays such as Sukkot and Shavuot. Dietary Laws or Kashrut, Circumcision (Brith Millah),  already an ancient ritual. Avoidance of the Name of God, Torah Readings and the celebration of coming of age for boys, the Bar Mitzvah. Ezra and Nehemiah appear to be contemporary to the Persian, King Artaxerxes I (465-424 BCE).

The stories of the Patriarchs of the Judahites and of the Exodus were already a almost a Century old by the time Ezra read from the Torah. The Babylonian Captivity was an opportunity to ensure a strong foundation for the Judahite Nation had been consolidated.

The 150 Psalms probably began as part of the First Temple liturgy under King Josiah. Habakkuk the Levite, c. 612 BCE, was one of these, using text, melody and instrumentation. The Psalms were used for ceremonies celebrating YHW as the Lord of Israel, in the Second Temple period. The Korahites and Kohathites were musicians of the Temple. The Psalms continued to develop during the Babylonian Captivity and after the establishment of the Second Temple in 516 BCE. The story of King David as Psalmist probably originated about that time. The Second Temple with Haggai and Zechariah, as early supporters, probably expanded the liturgy. The Ezrahites, Psalms 88 and 89, were followers of Ezra, not from the time of David. The Psalms continued to develop in the 5th and 4th Centuries BCE The Psalms may have their origins in the music of Egypt. D. Redford. Egypt, Canaan and Israel.

Temple Musicians in Ancient Egypt

A. Erman. Life in Ancient Egypt

The later history of Judea, in the Second Temple period, included the revolt of the Maccabees against the rule of the Hellenizing Seleucid King Antiochus Epiphanes IV (175-164) and the development of the sects of the Pharisees, Sadducees and Essenes. Largely based along social lines. With the Pharisees aligned with the people and believing in the Oral Torah. While the Sadducees aligned with the upper classes and did not follow the oral Torah. The Essenes were a distinct group outside the Second Temple milieu. The Hasmonean Dynasty (167-37 BCE) was to survive until the coming of the Romans and advent of the Herodian Kings of Judea. The Pharisees were to survive the destruction of the Second Temple in 70 CE. Rabbinical Judaism developed from the Pharisees.

About 29 CE a Galilean, Yeshua av Nazareth, came to Jerusalem for Passover. He was horrified at the corruption he found at the Temple, in particular the need to change coins to Temple coins, at extortionate rates, for sacrifice at the Temple. A charge of blasphemy was directed at Yeshua by the priests of the Temple. The Prefect of Judea, Pontius Pilate (26-37 CE), to keep the peace, condemned Yeshua av Nazareth to be crucified. Much later as Jesus Christ, Jesus the Anointed, this Galilean was to become the founding figure of Christianity. In particular after the Emperor Constantine accepted Christianity as the religion of Rome, c 330 CE.

In the First Jewish-Roman War of 66-70 CE the Second Temple of Jerusalem was destroyed. The rescue of Rabbi Yohanan ben Zakkai and his establishment of a Centre for Talmudic studies at Yavneh was critical in saving Rabbinic Judaism from extinction. However by then the Diaspora was in full swing. Centers of learning in Babylon. Egypt and Mediterranean Europe had already developed. After the Second Jewish-Roman War of 132-135 CE led by Simon bar Kokhba, Judea ceased to exist as a political entity.


The Biblical story of the Exodus we have today was written to fulfil a political agenda of the 5th, 6th and 7th Century BCE when the very survival of the Judeans was threatened.. The details minus the miracles and outrageous numbers do have credence. Many changes have been made to the original story, additions, alterations and half hidden truths are there. These redactions took place over many centuries, see Isaiah for example. The purpose of these stories was to provide a National Identity for the Judeans and a bulwark against loss of cultural and religious identity. At a time when foreign influence, under the Assyrians and Babylonians, was high. There were already precedents for the rewriting of ancient records. The Old Babylonian redactions of the Akkadian records an example,

The crossing of the Red Sea, yam adom, was a borrowing from the First Exodus and the crossing of the Sea of Reeds. yam suph, the Ballah Lakes. The Haggadah has retained the reference to the Sea of Reeds. The editors must have missed this during their revision of the Combined Exodus. There are numerous editorial mistakes from the 6th Century. Such as the interpretation of ksy as Ethiopian instead of Kassite, as identification of the woman who married Moses, and the castigation of Moses by his sister Miriam.

The basic story is still in the Bible. The Judahite tribes did work at Pi-Ramesses on Pharaoh’s city, almost certainly as conscripts. They did journey to Madyan in Arabia where Moses, the Prophet of YHW, made a covenant between the Judahites and their God confirming their belief in the Family God YHW. The Exodus without the miracles is a believable story. The Judahites did return to Canaan and with the Canaanites forge an identity in the Judean Hills. The Reubenites and Gadites did reach the Trans Jordan and had an identity into the 8th Century, in the Trans Jordan.

The Israelite Exodus was part of the Hyksos expulsion from Egypt by King Ahmose, about 1540 BCE. Totally unrelated to the Judahite Exodus, after the death of Ramesses II in 1213. However some memories of the First Exodus were retained and incorporated into the story of the Combined Exodus found in the Pentateuch. This story finally written down some 600-700 years after the event of the Judahite Exodus.


The Haggadah tells the story of the Combined Exodus of Israelites and Judahites. The Festival of Pesach or Passover is celebrated with reading of the Haggadah and a meal replete with symbolism, to remind the Jewish people of their freedom from slavery. The Haggadah may have been written by Judah ha-Nasi about 200 CE as an instruction to the sons of Judea and using Exodus 13:8 as an inspiration. However there were many revisions up until the 13th Century CE by several Rabbis including Saadia Gaon.

The Seder (order) associated with the Haggadah is a Family Festival. The Festival reminds the Jewish people of their past history and in particular of their slavery at Pi-Ramesses. It is a reminder of their uniqueness and struggle for freedom. In the Haggadah some remnants of the original story, from the First Exodus of the Israelites remain, such as the mention of Yam Suph (Sea of Reeds) instead of the later amendment to Yam Adom (Red Sea) and the destruction of Pharaoh’s army.. Haggadah p.106 Seitz Ed.


To certain Exodus deniers The Exodus is the “Founding Myth” of the Jewish race and any information in the Hebrew Bible before the time of Rehoboam in 930 BCE of doubtful value. The Prophets of the 8th Century support the Exodus. In particular Hosea and Amos the Prophets of Israel support the origin of the Family God YHW in Egypt.

Undoubtedly Joseph was the Founding Father of the Northern Israelites. There is still a tomb at Shechem, although a recent structure, not from the time of the original burial. Joseph’s body was brought to Shechem by the retreating Israelites at the time of their Exodus. The Israelite story has been manipulated by the Judahites. They introduced the Combined Exodus under their Hero, Moses the Levite, to subsume the Israelite Exodus including the leadership of Joshua the Ephraimite, a direct descendant of Joseph, into their own story. The Judahites ensured the five conspirators who had attempted to murder Joseph were anonymous in the revised story. In addition any reference to the Separation of the Tribes was deleted from the Combined Exodus.

Of course there may have not been any connection at all between the Israelites and Judahites prior to entry into Canaan, and this may be the correct interpretation.

Joseph the Vizier of Avaris was a real person with a remarkable story of survival, courage and outstanding ability and versatility. The role of Joseph, in particular the separation of Josephites from the Judahites, was deleted in the Judahite version of history, to ensure their own heroes Abraham the Judahite and Moses the Levite were the major players.

Moses the Prophet was fundamental in introducing the Oneness of the Family God YHW. The syncretic God YHW-El was expunged from the Judahite religion under Moses the Levite. El the Amorite God was expunged from the religion of the Judahites under Moses. However worship of Asherah continued until the Babylonian captivity. The date of the Combined Exodus 480 years before the building of the Temple at Jerusalem, or 1447 BCE, is a borrowing from the attempted entry into Canaan by the Shasu-YHW. This was a short lived entry. Thutmose III expelled the Shasu in 1440, during his campaign 14..

In fact much of Mythology has a firm historical base. Homer wrote his Iliad and Odyssey over 500 years after the Late Bronze Age Mycenaean era, he described. Homer used the Phoenician alphabetic script, with the addition of some vowel signs in his work. Agamemnon of Mycenae, Menalaos of Sparta and Nestor of Pylos were Kings of their respective fiefs. Archaeology has shown there were Bronze Age settlements at these sites. The descriptions of the rulers have a firm basis in the Wanax, Lawagetas and Eqeta of the ruling aristocracy of the Mycenaean world. A connection with our story; this warrior class were the ancestors of the later Philistines. Even earlier Theseus of Athens stretches the Mythology back another 200 years to the time of the Moon King, or Minos of Crete and the High Priestess of the Moon Goddess, the Pasiphae. Oral transmission of memorable events is a vital part of Human Society.

In addition two of the Plagues of the Judahite Exodus are folk memories of their time at Goshen, in the Eastern Egyptian Delta. At the time of the eruption of Thera, 1540-1535 BCE. Fiery hail and Darkness for 3 days fit with the massive pyroclasic eruption of Thera.


The Alphabetic inscriptions found at the turquoise mines in the Sinai stretch back to the Egyptian 12th Dynasty. The “brother of the Prince of Canaan” was clearly cognisant of the importance of this new writing method, based on the acrophonic principle. See O. Goldwasser. How the Alphabet was born from Hieroglyphs. 2010.  However Mendenhall 1985, has identified the Byblos syllabary as using the acrophonic principle with connections to Phoenician dating back to Old Coastal Semitic. Or perhaps from Old Kingdom Hieratic from 2400 BCE. Hoch 1990.

The alphabetic script was one of the supreme innovations of the ancient world. Allowed spread of literacy and of knowledge to a great number of cultures.

A small number of Proto-Sinaitic or Proto-Canaanite inscriptions have been found in Canaan, dating from the 16th to 14th Centuries, either on pottery or tablets. However there was a continuity in use of the alphabet from the 18th Century down to the Paleo-Hebrew and Phoenician scripts of the 11th century or earlier. The Ahiram sarcophagus indicates the Phoenician and probably the Paleo-Hebrew Alphabetic Scripts were already in use in the 11th Century and probably for some years before into the 12th Century and beyond using the Proto-Canaanite script. However Hoch has now identified this sarcophagus as belonging to the period 850-750 BCE.

The records of the Israelites stored at Jerusalem during the United Monarchy were used later, during the Babylonian Captivity, to provide a Foundation story and Combined Exodus, with the Hero Moses the Levite. leading both Israelites and Judahites into the Promised Land. Probably the Israelite records were quietly altered during the copying process over the intervening centuries and particularly after the disappearance of the Israelites in 722, A Pro-Judahite story would have been the result.

The dichotomy between the Jewish people beginning with the matriarchs Leah and Rach’el is still evident today. The one traditional, following convention, conservative. The other creative, clever and adventurous. Somewhat tongue in cheek, but indicative of the two streams of Judean culture found today. The Book of Ezra indicates both the Judahites (the sons of Leah) and the Benjaminites (the sons of Rachel) attended the First Reading of the Five Books of Moses inscribed on the Torah Scroll in 445 BCE. Descendants of both Leah and Rach’el were present and continue to read the Torah to this day.

The historical derivation of The Exodus, two of them in fact, in no way affects the moral and spiritual values of Judaism. They are entirely separate and different issues and should remain so. The Exodus is a remarkable story going back 3700 years. The Exodus is a fascinating story standing on its own, and with a great supporting cast of outstanding characters. There are lessons to be learnt from the Exodus, worth preserving for future generations.

Whatever your spiritual and religious persuasion may be.


The First Exodus of the Josephite tribes from Avaris. The Amorites from Shadai in North Syria. Including Israel the Patriarch, Joseph, Benjamin. Plus Dan and Naphthali children of Bilhah, maid servant of Rachel the Matriarch of the Josephite tribes. Their God El Shadai. Part of the Hyksos move to Egypt about 1640. The Patriarch Israel and Matriarch Rachel. Their Children Joseph and Benjamin. Joseph as Vizier of the Hyksos. Adopted YHW as their God after Joseph married Asenath, daughter of Potipherah, the Priest of Iah. Children of Joseph , Ephraim and Manasseh. Five Canaanite tribes, Asher, Issachar, Naphthali, Dan and Zebulun allowed into Avaris by Joseph the Vizier. These tribes became part of the Josephite Exodus. Exodus of the Hyksos from Avaris after attack by King Ahmose 1535-1530. Exodus of haste and pursuit. Including mishap of Egyptian chariots falling into Lake Ballah. The major part of the Hyksos pursued to Kedem in present day Israel. The Hyksos continued their flight into Syria.

Josephites or Israelites became Shasu-YHW, first at Shechem, then on the Madaba Plain in the Trans Jordan, 1530-1240. Josephites crossed the Jordan led by Joshua the Ephraimite. a direct descendant of Joseph. Settled in Hills of Ephraim c. 1240 BCE, and gradually expanded North from there. Benjaminites absorbed into Judah, after 1100 BCE. Benjaminites survived later attacks by Assyrians. Canaanite tribes of Asher, Zebulun and Issachar part of First Exodus. The Bible indicates ties to Leah. The number of people on this Exodus was less than two hundred.

The tribes of Israel were deported to Assyria in 722 BCE. They became the Lost Tribes of Israel. Only the Tribe of Benjamin survived. The Benjaminites were absorbed into Judah about 1100 BCE. They were still a separate entity within Judah in the time of Ezra 445 BCE. The Benjaminites were part of the original Amorite Banu-Yamina, Sons of the Right. Their origin before 2000 BCE (MB I), and still a separate entity in the time of Ezra. Emphasizing the separate histories of Israel and Judah..

Second Exodus of the Judahite Tribes. Judahites from Canaan came to Egypt c. 1620. Matriarch Leah, mother of the Judahite tribes. Given land at Goshen by Joseph the Vizier with approval of King Khyan. Five of the Judahite tribes allowed to settle at Avaris. Adoption of YHW from Israelites. Five tribes settled with their sheep, goats and cattle at Goshen. Reuben, Simeon, Levi, Judah, sons of Leah. Plus Gad, son of Zilpah, maid servant of Leah. Around 1290 Egypt Dynasty 19 oppression by King Seti and Ramesses II begins. Judahites became conscripts at nearby City of Ramesses, Pi-Ramesses.

The concept of YHW was probably introduced to the Judahites at Goshen by their fellow Canaanites at Avaris. That is the tribes of Asher, Issachar, Naphthali, Dan and Zebulun, who visited their relatives at Goshen from time to time. After Ya’acov and Joseph had introduced the Family God YHW to the Israelites, some time after 1620 BCE.

Moses the Levite led leisurely Second Exodus to Madyan Arabia after the death of Ramesses II in 1213. Judahites at Madyan, Arabia 1210-1195. Then move to Canaan. Judahites in Negev, then Shephelah, move to Hebron. King David the Judahite led conquest of Jerusalem 1004. Jerusalem became Capital of Judah, until Babylonian destruction 586 BCE. Simeonites at Hormah then Beer Sheba. Gadites and Reubenites in Trans Jordan. Levites as Priests of YHW. Judahites at Jerusalem survived attack of the Assyrians.The number of people on this Exodus was less than two hundred.

Only the tribes of Judah and Benjamin survived the attacks of the Assyrians and Babylonians.

Combined Exodus. Abraham and Isaac, Patriarchs of the Judahites at Hebron. Added to the story, as ancestors of the Israelites and their Patriarch, Isra’el or Jacob. Probably added in the 6th Century, during the Babylonian Captivity. Most likely during the reign of Nabonidus of Babylon, (556-539) or later, who had clear connections to both Harran in North Syria and Ur of the Chaldees. A flimsy story of Abraham coming to Padan Aram in North Syria, from Ur, then leaving abruptly to travel far to the South and Hebron. Both Josephites and Judahites at Goshen after migrating from Canaan. Rachel and Leah sisters, both wives of Israel (Jacob).

Oppression and slavery by Ramesses II. Heroic contest between Moses and Ramesses II to allow Judahites to leave Egypt. Miracles of Passover, parting of the Red Sea, feeding host with manna in the desert. Judahites in the Sinai, 600,000 in number. Move to Trans Jordan under Moses the Levite. Continuation of Exodus by Joshua the Ephraimite. Crossing of the Jordan. Move to the Hills of Ephraim. Tribal land division. An attempt to combine two separate stories. One of the Israelites, the other of the Judahites.

A Judahite story of the 7th and 6th Centuries BCE, or later into the 5th Century, with grossly inflated numbers. Much of the story of the Israelites absorbed into the Combined Exodus. A clear attempt to combine two entirely different stories. Became the Founding myth of the Judahites. Necessary to protect Judahites from foreign cultural influence. Especially the Babylonians.

The conclusions I have drawn are not what I expected. They came out naturally as the story unfolded. As I said at the beginning, each reader needs to make up their own mind, based on the facts presented. I certainly do not expect everyone to reach the same conclusion. There are those who will reject any interpretation other than what is written in the Bible or in the Torah. There are others who reject any reference to Israelites or Judahites before the 9th Century. This was the time when the Semitic (Phoenician and Paleo-Hebrew) alphabets became more widely used. However the references to earlier times are there. The alphabet has a long history before the 9th Century, although much of the material has been lost.

Without doubt the Israelites and Judahites had separate backgrounds. Echoes of past conflicts are still retained in parts of the Bible. They shared the land for 500 years until the coming of the Assyrians and then the Babylonians. The available details of both Israelites and Judahites were grafted together by Judahite scribes in the 6th and 5th Centuries BCE. As I have said at the beginning, make up your own mind. Shalom.

Footnote. I abhor use of the name Palestine to describe Ancient Syria-Canaan. Palestine derives from Philistia. The use of this term for any period before the Emperor Hadrian is anachronistic and highly politicized. It was used by the Romans after the Bar Kokhba Revolt of 132-135 CE to expunge Judea from the Map. A clear Anti-Semitic action to erase the Jews of Judea and Judaism from History. Massive genocide of Judeans took place. Perhaps 580,000 Jews were killed (Cassius Dio. Roman History). The Roman reprisals could be called another Holocaust. The Temple of YHW at Jerusalem was replaced with a temple to Jupiter. Jerusalem became Aelia Capitolina. Judea became Syria-Palestina. The Torah was proscribed. Members of the Sanhedrin were tortured and killed, including Rabbi Akiva. The diaspora gathered pace after this War. Jerusalem was no longer capital of Judea. Judaism became apolitical after the Bar Kokhba revolt.

Perhaps the Egyptian Retjenu, of the Kamose stela, describing the origin of Apepi, is a better name for ancient Syria-Canaan.

Read about the Bar Kokhba revolt on Wikipedia yourself.

Palestine as a name for ancient Syria-Canaan, NEVER.

B. Kingsbury Osborn


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Kuhrt A. 1997. Ancient Near East 2 Vols

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