When did belief in an exodus from Egypt emerge?

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Anat
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When did belief in an exodus from Egypt emerge?

Post by Anat » Fri May 08, 2015 7:38 am

When did the people of Israel and/or Judah develop a belief that they originated from a group that came out of Egypt, miraculously saved by divine powers?

There are some mentions of such a belief in the prophetic works - for instance Jeremiah 2:6 "Neither said they: 'Where is the LORD that brought us up out of the land of Egypt; that led us through the wilderness, through a land of deserts and of pits, through a land of drought and of the shadow of death, through a land that no man passed through, and where no man dwelt?' " Or Amos 9:7 "Are ye not as the children of the Ethiopians unto Me, O children of Israel? saith the LORD. Have not I brought up Israel out of the land of Egypt, and the Philistines from Caphtor, and Aram from Kir? " However I wouldn't know how to date the specific verses.

The mentions of Passover celebration - in Josiah's time in 2 Kings 23 or Hezekiah's time in 2 Chronicles 30 - when were they composed?

Does The Song of the Sea (Exodus 15:1-18) help at all? Supposedly it is one of the older bits of text in the Pentateuch - is there evidence in its language or anything else that it is older than the narrative parts of Exodus?

andrewcriddle
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Re: When did belief in an exodus from Egypt emerge?

Post by andrewcriddle » Fri May 08, 2015 11:31 pm

See also Hosea 11:1
When Israel was a child, I loved him, and out of Egypt I called my son.
Andrew Criddle

semiopen
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Re: When did belief in an exodus from Egypt emerge?

Post by semiopen » Sat May 09, 2015 5:08 am

The Song of the Sea is not clearly about splitting the Sea.
Pharaoh's chariots and his army He has cast into the sea; (Exo 15:4 TNK)
It seems most likely that the Israelite crossing a split sea was added later. This is consistent with the further Midrashic interpretation that there was actually a twelve lane highway when the sea split. That is, you start with something and that becomes more and more embellished.

Similarly the number of plagues seems to have been adjusted

Yahwist and Priestly Versions of the Plagues: 7 vs. 10 http://www.clt.astate.edu/wnarey/Religi ... lagues.htm
The Yahwist narrative supplied eight plagues. The plagues of gnats and boils were added to the original series by the Priestly editor who was responsible for the final edition.
Granted - Eight looks a little different than seven.

Dating Prophetic Texts By Sweeney, Marvin A. | Hebrew Studies Journal, Annual 2007

discussed at - http://ancienthebrewpoetry.typepad.com/ ... phe-1.html

which concentrates on the evidence that Isaiah 10:5-12:6 is from the time of Josiah, which seems at least reasonable.

In his article, Sweeney points out that Isaiah 12:1-6 has lines from the song -
Behold the God who gives me triumph! I am confident, unafraid; For Yah the LORD is my strength and might, And He has been my deliverance." (Isa 12:2 TNK)
הִנֵּ֙ה אֵ֧ל יְשׁוּעָתִ֛י אֶבְטַ֖ח וְלֹ֣א אֶפְחָ֑ד כִּֽי־עָזִּ֤י וְזִמְרָת֙ יָ֣הּ יְהוָ֔ה וַֽיְהִי־לִ֖י לִֽישׁוּעָֽה׃
(Isa 12:2 WTT)
The LORD is my strength and might; He is become my deliverance. This is my God and I will enshrine Him; The God of my father, and I will exalt Him.
(Exo 15:2 TNK)
עָזִּ֤י וְזִמְרָת֙ יָ֔הּ וַֽיְהִי־לִ֖י לִֽישׁוּעָ֑ה זֶ֤ה אֵלִי֙ וְאַנְוֵ֔הוּ אֱלֹהֵ֥י אָבִ֖י וַאֲרֹמְמֶֽנְהוּ׃
(Exo 15:2 WTT)

עָזִּ֤י וְזִמְרָת֙ יָ֔הּ׃ looks like what he means along with ישׁוּעָ֑ה , etc.

This phrase also appears in
The LORD is my strength and might; He has become my deliverance. (Psa 118:14 TNK)
Sweeney acknowledges Isaiah 12:1-6 as generally considered post-exilic despite the review's suggestion that everything is from Josiah.

It seems that elements were present for a long time, but the event didn't get it's final form until second temple times.

outhouse
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Re: When did belief in an exodus from Egypt emerge?

Post by outhouse » Sat May 09, 2015 11:54 am

Anat wrote:When did the people of Israel and/or Judah develop a belief that they originated from a group that came out of Egypt, miraculously saved by divine powers?
The concept evolved into its current form. There is no one date that can be attributed.


As monotheism evolved the story took shape to build loyalty to Yahweh, yet there may have been old oral traditions that fed into the narrative.

Anat
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Re: When did belief in an exodus from Egypt emerge?

Post by Anat » Sat May 09, 2015 3:01 pm

Thanks for the responses.

To outhouse: Obviously there won't be a definite date, but I was hoping for evidence that would allow to narrow the scope down a bit. Also evidence for when specific beliefs emerged. Such as a belief in Egyptian origin (with no additional details required) such as reflected in Amos 9:7 and when other elements were added to the story.

To Andrew: Thanks for the additional mention.

To semiopen:

I think the closest thing to a 'splitting of the sea' in Exodus 15:1-18 is verse 8: "And with the blast of Thy nostrils the waters were piled up--the floods stood upright as a heap; the deeps were congealed in the heart of the sea. " - but this could be a description of a tidal wave.

I agree, without the exodus narrative, what the Song of the Sea appears to be describing is the drowning of an army of Egyptian chariots, though there is also the mention of fire in verse 7: "...Thou sendest forth Thy wrath, it consumeth them as stubble." and an earthquake or mudslide in verse 12: "Thou stretchedst out Thy right hand--the earth swallowed them."

There is no mention in the song where the escaping party was nor where they were headed. For all we can tell, the author may have intended to describe a battle scene near a coast where the chasing party was caught by a tidal wave following an earthquake.

Thanks for the Isaiah connection. The similarity in language is very convincing. So now the question is the dating of that bit of Isaiah.

semiopen
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Re: When did belief in an exodus from Egypt emerge?

Post by semiopen » Sun May 10, 2015 4:16 am

I tend to take the latest possible dates with decent academic support on general principles. Of course, everybody wants to be a free thinker until the rent comes due.

I read the Song of the Sea comment about the split not being mentioned somewhere but forget where exactly... think it was a documentary hypothesis guy.

The Old Testament: A Literary History by Konrad Shmid - http://www.amazon.com/Old-Testament-Lit ... +testament

points out that Isaiah 36-39 parallels 2 Kings 18-20 (with the exception of 2 Kings 18:14-16)
14 King Hezekiah sent this message to the king of Assyria at Lachish: "I have done wrong; withdraw from me; and I shall bear whatever you impose on me." So the king of Assyria imposed upon King Hezekiah of Judah a payment of three hundred talents of silver and thirty talents of gold.
15 Hezekiah gave him all the silver that was on hand in the House of the LORD and in the treasuries of the palace.
16 At that time Hezekiah cut down the doors and the doorposts of the Temple of the LORD, which King Hezekiah had overlaid with gold, and gave them to the king of Assyria.TNK
Dr Shmid states (p115)
...some elements in the presentation betray the fact that these narratives apparently also rework experiences from the time after 597 B.C.E. and project them back into the situation of the siege of Jerusalem under Hezekiah...
He gives several good reasons for this:

1. 2 Kings 18:13-19 does not agree with the annals of Sennacherib, specifically the tribute before the seige.
2. Reference to Pharoah Tirhakah is 11 years too early
But the king of Assyria learned that King Tirhakah of Nubia had come out to fight him; so he again sent messengers to Hezekiah, saying, (2Ki 19:9 TNK)
3. Sennacherib's murder is about 20 years too early in 2 Kings 29:36-37
36 So King Sennacherib of Assyria broke camp and retreated, and stayed in Nineveh.
37 While he was worshiping in the temple of his god Nisroch, his sons Adrammelech and Sarezer struck him down with the sword. They fled to the land of Ararat, and his son Esarhaddon succeeded him as king. TNK
He then cites Christof Hardmeier, who relates these events to the Babylonian siege of Jerusalem in 597 BCE, who suggests 588 BCE as a reasonable date of writing, but wonder if that is an earliest possible date.

I tend to reject natural event explanations out of hand, but they are interesting. I don't think there is a single hard example of people remembering an actual event many, many years after the fact.
The words of Amos, a sheepbreeder from Tekoa, who prophesied concerning Israel in the reigns of Kings Uzziah of Judah and Jeroboam son of Joash of Israel, two years before the earthquake. (Amo 1:1 TNK)
Is probably the closest we get.

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Tenorikuma
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Re: When did belief in an exodus from Egypt emerge?

Post by Tenorikuma » Tue May 12, 2015 12:42 am

The exodus story contains two different accounts of the sea crossing — the Deuteronomistic one and the Priestly one. In the former (probably the older one), Yahweh is physically present on the Israelites' behalf, protecting them with a pillar of cloud/fire and throwing the Egyptians into the sea. In the latter, the waters part to create a dry corridor for the Israelites.

The Song of the Sea represents the former tradition.

Hosea most likely represents an earlier view of Jewish origins in Egypt that knows nothing of enslavement, plagues, etc.

https://isthatinthebible.wordpress.com/ ... -of-egypt/

semiopen
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Re: When did belief in an exodus from Egypt emerge?

Post by semiopen » Tue May 12, 2015 7:12 am

Great link... wondering if you are the author.

The idea that the Israelites were originally the ones being punished by the plagues is new to me.

Anat
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Re: When did belief in an exodus from Egypt emerge?

Post by Anat » Tue May 12, 2015 8:09 am

Thank you very much for that reference, Tenorikuma. There is much to work on.

Anat
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Re: When did belief in an exodus from Egypt emerge?

Post by Anat » Sun May 24, 2015 9:13 am

Via Paul Davidson (from the site linked by Tenorikuma) I learned of several series of lectures by Thomas Römer, which can be found at http://www.college-de-france.fr/site/en-thomas-romer/

Among these are currently 16 hours about the story of the Exodus. So far I have watched the first 3. According to these, the depiction of oppression of the Israelites in Egypt has the following in its background: The terminology is Akkadian and is based on the language used by Assyrians to describe their corvee system. Then there was the quarrying of Pi-Ramesses and the transfer of its monuments to other parts of Egypt (predominantly to Tanis) by the Pharaohs of the Twenty-first Dynasty after the 11 century BCE abandonment of Pi-Ramesses due to changes in the course of the Nile, and finally Necho II's failed project of building a canal from the Nile to the Red Sea, in the context of which the city Per-Temu Tjeku (Pithom) was founded. This gives the 6th century as the earliest date for the first written version of the Exodus story.

Römer sees Pharaoh's fear in Exodus 1:10 of a war in which the Israelites join Egypt's enemies as a later addition, referring to the colony of Jewish mercenaries who had been stationed in Elephantine by the Persians, and specifically to Cambyses II's campaign against Egypt.

The tale about the midwives (who in a previous version were probably Egyptian) and their subversion of Pharaoh's attempt at genocide is a Priestly addition, intended to add an introduction to Moses' birth story.

The original birth story was even more similar to Sargon's, as it lacked the intervention of Moses' sister and Moses being nursed by his biological mother. This segment was added by the Priestly author to give Moses a more dual Israelite/Egyptian identity.

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