Most of what we know about early Israel is shown through the lens of monarchic time, in other words, the iron Age II. Since israel is mentioned on the Merneptah stele, the fundamental assumption underlying this book, is the suggestion that earliest Israel was a tribal group of people already located in Canaan during the thirteenth century B.C.E. Therefore, it is suggested that the origin of Israel must be looked for within tribal culture from the Late Bronze Age, at the latest. This book aims to identify clear indications of authentic tribal memories, that pre-date the Iron Age II.
1 Introduction. 1 2 The Confusing Numbers of the Old Testament. 38 3 Oral Traditions and the Biblical Narrative. 50 4 The Israel Stele. 66 5 Greek and Roman References. 77 6 Defining the Pre-Solomon Chronology. 85 7 Searching for Internal Consistency. 112 8 The Jubilee Cycle. 135 9 The Patriarchal Period. 149 10 The Thirteenth Century Date of the Exodus. 196 11 The Biblical Date of the Exodus 230 12 The Amarna Period 242 13 The Philistines 275 14 Summary and Conclusions 309 Bibliography 321
The emergence of Israel is shrouded in mist. The reasons for this can be found, at least partly, in the Bible itself, since it does not provide a clear-cut picture of the emergence of Israel in the land of Canaan. The book of Joshua tells a story about a sweeping conquest of a warlike gang, while the book of Judges presents much more a picture of a long process, possibly of a few centuries, of infiltration and co-existence and even mixed marriages between Israelites and Canaanites. It also contains a memory of their roots outside Canaan, coming from either Egypt, after the exodus, or from Northern Syria, while at the same time an indigenous origin from Canaan is suggested by the prophet Ezekiel. It now is becoming more and more clear that the picture of a sweeping military conquest of Canaan, as described in the book of Joshua, is to be understood with more nuance and should be considered to represent a much more complex historical settlement process, written many centuries after the events they describe. ×