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Author Topic: Scientist examines Israel’s Exodus  (Read 1022 times)
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« on: April 08, 2006, 06:09:39 PM »

Hillel: Book’s writer obviously knew Egypt

 ABC-TV anticipates the Jewish Passover with a lavish new two-part miniseries, “The Ten Commandments,” which dramatizes Moses’ story from birth through Mount Sinai.

For thousands of years, Jews have commemorated the liberation from Egypt led by Moses, fulfilling the Bible’s command: “You shall observe this as an institution for all time, for you and for your descendants.”

ABC’s version on Monday and Tuesday closely follows the Bible’s Book of Exodus, regarding which there’s perennial debate. The latest example is a chapter in “The Natural History of the Bible: An Environmental Exploration of the Hebrew Scriptures” (Columbia University Press) by Daniel Hillel, professor emeritus of environmental science at the University of Massachusetts.

The Bible is the earliest effort to “describe a people’s history as a continuous progression of events,” Hillel writes, and the Exodus is pivotal for that story.

This scientist is a middle-of-the-roader, neither accepting everything as literally true nor dismissing Exodus as a fable. Historical proof or disproof “is not easy, and perhaps not possible, to resolve entirely,” he says, since archaeological finds are chancy, much has been wiped away and the lack of remains doesn’t confirm anything.

There’s no hard proof of Israel’s sojourn in Egypt and escape. But Hillel figures if the accounts “were entirely contrived, they could hardly have had such lasting power” and “there appears to be a believable core of authenticity.”

He considers it unlikely that “a nation would ascribe to itself so humble and humiliating a national beginning as slavery, unless it had some basis in truth.” There are no surviving Egyptian accounts; perhaps the event seemed unimportant, or too embarrassing.
Hillel thinks “whoever wrote the story of the Israelites in Egypt must have known the country very well, either must have lived there or must have received the information from others who had. The background is believable, the names seem authentic and the entire atmosphere and sense of place appear genuine.”

For instance: Nomadic farmers indeed entered Egypt’s eastern Nile delta during severe droughts in their traditional grazing grounds. Egyptian records back to the 18th century B.C. tell of numerous “Asiatic” slaves. One inscription specifies that a group named Israel lived in Canaan around the time of the Exodus.

Credible biblical themes include:

    * centralized authority under the pharaoh.
    * drought contingency planning.
    * grain storage.
    * emergency food distribution.
    * sharecropping.
    * taxation.
    * independent priesthood.
    * visiting nomads with high birthrates and resulting resentment.
    * slavery.
    * grand public works projects.

Then there’s brick-making. To this day, he says, Egyptians make bricks by kneading clay with straw, pressing it into molds and baking it in the sun or ovens (Exodus 5:10-19).

Turning directly to his specialty of ecology, Hillel says the biblical author obviously knew about Egypt’s “mostly regular but occasionally anomalous water supply.”

The Nile was both a source of drinking water and a waste disposal system, raising constant danger of pollution and especially during times of low flow. That could produce massive fish kills, proliferation of frogs that thrive in stagnant water and scourges of insects — just  like the Exodus “plagues.”

Then, too, the freak hail storms and eerie darkness (an eclipse of the sun? a dust storm?) were natural phenomena in Egypt that would have left a lasting impression, he thinks.

Even the parting of the Red Sea — better translated the “reed sea,” which he assumes was a marsh — might have referred to a natural occurrence. Those who escaped could hide in the delta’s reeds while heavily laden troops with chariots got bogged down in the mud and mire. And the pillar of cloud could have been one of the familiar dust devils that reach considerable heights in the region’s deserts.


Like normal these non-secular scientist have to come up with answers to situations that they can understand.


Joh 9:4  I must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day: the night cometh, when no man can work.
« Reply #1 on: April 13, 2006, 12:13:20 PM »

Good post my friend.

There is actually a lot of archaeological evidence which corroborates the exodus, but main stream archaeology has kept it off record.

I have a nasty habit of lending out books and other source material, and never seeing them again!
I am going to make an effort to get some material back from a friend at the church I used to attend here in town, as well as a video tape I have of two men who went to Egypt and Saudi Arabia and uncovered irrefutable proof that the exodus did take place when and where the Bible states it did.

There are loads of inscriptions in rock along the path that was taken, as well as astonishing artifacts and evidence on the actual mountain where Moses spoke to God while the mass of followers built pagan alters at the base of the mountain. The mountain top is literally scorched black from being burnt. There is a huge rock at the base of the mountain with Egyptian calfs inscribed into the rock. There is a huge split rock which stands upright, and you can clearly see evidence of a massive rush of water which had flowed out from that spot, and a huge dry lake bed on the desert floor below.

There are many examples such as this, and I will do my best to get the material back so I can share the findings with you.

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« Reply #2 on: April 13, 2006, 12:34:42 PM »

That would be great. I would love to see it.


Joh 9:4  I must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day: the night cometh, when no man can work.
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