patterns of evidence: exodus (synopsis of the film) 2015 jan 26
Patterns of Evidence: Exodus was a wonderfully- done film, very interesting and engaging. It is going to be replayed in theaters in just a day or two, and if you get a chance to go see it, do so! Difficult concepts and contradictions were simply visualized and explained so that it is easy to follow for non- historians.
Concerning the Ramesses problem: I just have to clarify: whatever pharaoh enslaved the Hebrews, was not the pharaoh who refused to let God’s people go. Scripture makes it clear that Moses was not sent back to Egypt until after the death of the pharaoh who enslaved the Israelites (Exo 2:23). If it was Ramesses, the Egyptian records are confused as to how many subsequent rulers there were after his reign, before the end of the dynasty. If it was Ramesses, it was a later pharaoh in the dynasty, not Ramesses the Great, who refused to let the people go.
Now I completely concur that the evidence for the Exodus, for all six markers of Israelite history that the film investigated, are found in abundance as the film discusses. Archaeological finds do not come out of the ground with date tags attached, LOL. The internal evidence of Scripture is that the plagues, the death of the firstborn, the Exodus, the parting of the Red Sea, and the covenant made with Israel at Mt. Sinai occurred in 1491 BC, and a date very close to this is proposed for these events in this film.
But here is my problem. Simply eliminating Ramesses as the pharaoh of the Exodus period and moving the date of the Exodus several centuries to an earlier Egyptian dynasty does not absolve the Scriptural support for Ramesses in Exo 1:11, and does not address the broader message of Scripture. Consider this:
Historians and archaeologists are in agreement that Ramesses the Great was the greatest pharaoh of Ancient Egypt, in terms of military prowess, wealth, and real temporal power. Secular historians record that the Ramesses dynasty was unable to retain its might, and died out. As a result Egypt was thrown into a period of chaos from which it took hundreds of years to recover. But even then, Egypt never reclaimed its former glory. The reign of Ramesses the Great was its peak.
Now, let’s look at the big picture of the book of Exodus. The real history of Exodus and the deliverance of the children of Israel from Egypt is a prophetic type of God’s people at present and their deliverance from the kingdom of darkness into the kingdom of heaven. Egypt is a type and foreshadow. As such, God’s people were enslaved by the most powerful kingdom of this world, whose king refused to acknowledge God or His claim on His people. Pharaoh was so powerful and secure in his own might, that he mocked at God, just as the ruler of the kingdoms of this present world also does.
God poured out judgment onto pharaoh’s kingdom, educating him in who YHVH is in the process (Exo 5:2). He is the King of kings and Lord of lords, and the gods of Egypt bowed their knee before Him. He delivered His people with mighty power and an outstretched arm. The greatest kingdom of the ancient world was completely shattered, the greatest king of that greatest kingdom was completely humbled before Him. We know this essential history will repeat itself when Jesus returns as the King of kings and Lord of lords. This biblical logic is consistent with the history of Egypt in which its greatest dynasty — the Ramesses dynasty — is shattered so completely, that it takes Egypt hundreds of years to recover, and then never to the point of its former glory.
The other option is to place the Exodus in an earlier dynasty (as this film suggests). In that scenario, Moses brings the children of Israel out under a pharaoh no one has ever heard of, and God so completely shatters Egypt, as a type of the kingdom of darkness, that it soon recovers, and a few dynasties later produces Ramesses the Great, acknowledged by all as the greatest pharaoh Egypt ever produced, of the greatest height of kingdom Egypt ever attained. To me, that logic does not fit the big picture history of Exodus and the prophetic themes of the entire Scripture.
This problem was not mentioned in the film, and perhaps has not even occurred to anyone else.
My question and simple solution:
What if it is the standard Egyptian chronology that is wrong? What if the assertion that Ramesses belongs to the New Kingdom in 1250 BC is what is in error? Why is Ramesses not placed in his proper time in 1400s BC? What if the evidential history of the surrounding nations including Egypt were synced to biblical chronology as a foundation, instead of to Egyptian chronology as a foundation? The source of Egyptian chronology is Manetho, who is accepted without question. What if there is an error in Manetho? This is precisely the assertion that Jacob Bryant makes in his Ancient Mythology, with extensive proof from the histories and writings from the ancient world that have come down to us. What if we threw out Manetho, not Ramasses, in order to better sync the history of the ancient world?
I would like to type out and post here Jacob Bryant’s theses exposing the problems with Manetho’s chronology … watch this space …