Israelite Settlement

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Israelite Settlement. OTST 510 Archaeology and the Bible Lesson 10 part 4. Israelites as pastoralists. - PowerPoint PPT Presentation


  • Israelite SettlementOTST 510Archaeology and the BibleLesson 10 part 4

  • Israelites as pastoralistsOne of the strange and challenging archaeological facts is the absence of evidence for Israelite settlement between 1400 and 1200 BC; this seems to lend credence to the idea that the Exodus/Conquest did not take place until around 1200 BC, although it could be argued that the Israelites lived as semi-nomadic pastoralists for the first 200 years in Canaan

  • Date of settlementIf 1 Kings 6:1 is used as the foundation for the Exodus/Conquest chronology, 480 years from the 4th year of Solomon (c. 970 BC) takes us to 1450 for the Exodus and 1410 for the beginning of the Conquest

  • Date of SettlementA date of c. 1410 for the initiation of the conquest is supported by Jdgs 11:26 which says that from the Conquest to the days of Jephthah was 300 yearsSince Jephthah judged Israel c. 1100 BC (he has to date before Saul), 300 + 1100 = 1400 BCthis lines up closely with 1 Kngs 6:1!

  • Merneptah SteleAn Egyptian monument known as the Merneptah Stele describes a battle of Pharaoh Merneptah against a people in Canaan called Israelthe first extra-biblical reference to Israelites!The stele dates to about 1207 BCECairo Museum

    Israel appears here

  • Israel in Egyptian hieroglyphics on Merneptah Stele

  • This picture of the Merneptah stele shows what the hieroglyphics on the second line from the bottom actually look likethe Egyptian is translated Israel is laid wastehis seed is not! (The use of the masculine pronoun indicates that the Egyptians understood Israels God to be male!). The text would suggest that the Egyptians wiped out the Israelites just prior to 1207 BC, although Egyptians were prone to hyperbole. This incident isnt even mentioned in the Bible.

  • Transliteration and Translation of Merneptah Stele

  • Pharaoh MerneptahSome scholars use this stele to date Israels arrival in Canaan to the 1200sHowever, it could just as easily be argued that Israel had already been established for sometime in Canaan before Merneptah fought them in 1207 BC

  • Merneptah SteleInterestingly, the stele suggests that the Israelites were not sedentarythis fits the archaeology evidence which suggests Israelites did not establish towns until after 1200 BC

  • Merneptahs Campaign Record at KarnakIt has recently been discovered that a pictorial version of Merneptahs stele appears on a wall in the Egyptian temple at Karnak in central EgyptWhile there is some controversy over aspects of the picture (nothing everything is labeled!), it appears that the Israelites are shown as Shasu-like semi-nomads at this time

  • Merneptah ReliefsCachette Court--Karnak

  • Plan of Merneptah ReliefsCachette Court--KarnakIsrael shown on wall as Shasu?

  • Plan of Merneptah Reliefs Cachette Court--Karnak

  • Plan of Merneptah ReliefsCachette Court--Karnak

  • Shasu = Israelites?

  • Earliest picture of Israelites?

  • Early Israelites were probably pastoralistsBased on the archaeological evidence, the Merneptah stele, and Karnak pictures, it appears that the early Israelites lived as semi-nomadic pastoralists in Canaan between 1400 and 1200 BC.

  • Thus, early Israelites were probably pastoralists as were the Patriarchs

  • Israelites Avoid Egyptian CorveeThere are a number of reasons why the Israelites may have chosen not to settle down for the first 200 years they were in Canaan (period of the early Judges), not least of which was the fact that Egypt dominated Canaan at this time and forced local men from the towns and villages to serve in the corvee (forced labor taxation); Israelites could have avoided this forced labor if they were semi-nomadic

  • Early Israelite settlementsAround 1200 B.C., the Israelites began establishing villages throughout the highlands of Canaan; in the archaeological record, the appearance of these settlements seems like an explosion (Egyptian power had declined in Canaan by this time).This was about the middle of the period of the JudgesIsrael was finally dominating and driving out the Canaanites

  • Settlement in Iron I PalestineNotice the jump in settlement in Palestine around 1200 BCThere is little settlement in the Late Bronze Age (1550-1200, suggesting that the Israelites were more nomadic earlier on


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