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Short descriptions on key Old testament historical events in the times of Egypt, Moses, and the Judges

When the earliest written documents known from Mesopotamia were written. How would we trace the origin of writing in the ancient Near East

The earliest symbols were pressed into clay and there is a report of this symbology from as far back as 7000BC. The Obaid culture at Eridu and Uruk were probably where written text started. Written text started with cuniform which is a form of pictographic writing. Uruk level 3 and 4 have 500 to 600 tablets with this form of writing. Tablets have been found at Sumer as well. The sumarian king list is from about 2400BC. The Sumrian culture and therefore the writing seems to have originated from the Obaic culture depicted by the Uruk tablets.

 About 3240 tablets of similar script were found at Uruk, Jemdet Nasr, Tell Uqair, and Eshnunna from the Jemdet Nasr period.


Who was Sargon of Akkad? What did his daughter do that has helped us understand the theology of Mesopotamia?

A collection  of 30 temple hymns about Ziggurats was written by the daughter of Sargon of Akkad. Around 2300 BC. Sargon was an East Semitic ruler and while the hymns were written during the Ur III and Old Babylonian periods it’s believed they are from earlier times. These helped us understand the theology around Ziggurats and Holy Mountains.


The differences between the Ghassulian culture and the Early Bronze culture in Palestine

The Ghassulian culture was Chalcolithic and made beautiful objects of copper but did not add tin to it as occurred in the Early Bronze age.


Evidence for the existence of believers outside of Abraham’s family during the patriarchal age

Genesis mentions Seth and descendants so they must have been around. Genesis 20 and 21 mention Abimilech who is spoken to by God and appears to be a believer. Gen 14:18 indicates Melchizedek was a priest of God. Then in Gen 16:15 it mentions that the Sin of the Amorites was not full. This could mean that some of the Amorites still followed God.


Chedorlaomer’s invasion of Palestine. How Kenneth A. Kitchen used this event to help date the patriarchal age


Kenneth Kitchen described Chedorlaomer's invasion by arguing that Palestine was invaded by a group of four regional leaders and not by Babylonians. Kedorlaomer was leader of these regional leaders. Kitchen indicated this invasion was probably in the Isin Larsa period. There is a high , middle and low dating for this period which respectively would date this invasions as either 2060BC, after 2004BC, or after 1949BC. Kitchen indicated this was the political situation found in Genesis 14.


The role of Canaanites in the Nile delta during the 12th and 13th Dynasties.

The Tel el Dada on the Nile delta was a 12th Dynasty settlement with evidence of Canaanites. Baal worship was also found to  have occurred in the 13th Dynasty and this points to Canaanites in the delta.  This area would be the area where trade occurred at Byblos and formed the link with trade with Syria. The Canaanites probably worked in households and temple estates. Some Canaanites were brought in as captives. 


Evidence there that Joseph’s brothers held high political office in Egypt

Genesis 47:6 indicates they were put them in charge of Pharaohs livestock. This was a civil position in the politics of the time. It had some authority over others and was a middle management type role of the time.


The groups of Canaanites and Amorites who immigrated south into the Nile delta during the 13th Dynasty. How they become Egypt’s Hyksos rulers

 The Canaanites or Amorites who immigrates south formed a group in the Nile Delta who later took power as the Hyksos rulers. They originally settled there for trade reasons and due to the fertility of the region. Byblos was a key trade city. The 13th Dynasty Pharaohs were weak and so the Hyksos (a confederation of people from Palestine and Syria) found they could take power confining the Egyptians between themselves and the Egyptians Southern enemies the Nubians with which the Hyksos allied themselves. The Hyksos rules from Tell el Daba region and they comprised mainly of Canaanites. They apparently had advantages sucha as horse drawn chariots, body armour and other military advances that gave them an advantage over the Egyptians.

Why the Egypt’s 18th Dynasty rulers both feared and hated the Hyksos and the Israelites

They did not like how the Hyksos had paid lip service to their religions and occupied their land in the past centuaries. They tried to destroy everything that suggested Hyksos presence. They were worried that the Hyksos would re-occupy the land and take it away from them again. They were also worried that the Israelites would join the Hyksos in this activity. The Egyptians were also worried about the size of the Israelite community. The community was large and particularly useful as slaves. The Egyptians didn’t want to loose their slaves.


Moses’ childhood, the relationship he might have had with Hatshepsut. Why this may be a likely explanation for Moses’ childhood

 I believe Hapshepsut may have been Moses stepmother as Moses showed statesmanship that could not have been gained from the life as a slave. Hapshepsut was one of the only two women Pharoahs. The biblical records of Moses are that of a master statesman with deep knowledge of multiple subjects and the society of his time.

Moses born to Amram and Jochebed gets hidden in reeds on the Nile and rescued by a royal dignitary who asks his mother to help look after him. It has been suggested this was Hatshepsut, daughter of Thutmose I. This makes sense as she was know to have been a very headstrong women and it would have take that attribute to circumvent the pharaohs edict and bring a Hebrew boy into the court. It has also been suggested a minor wifes daughter could have been Moses’ saviour. Personally I don’t think a minor wife would have built  a man of Moses stature, or have commanded the authority he would have needed to later get the audiences with future Pharaoh’s that Moses so easily seemed to have achieved. The time Moses spent away in the wilderness fits with him avoiding Thutmose III after Hapshepsut had met her untimely end. It also fits with the use of references to Pharoh, rather that a specific Pharoh such as Thutmose II by Moses as this was something Hapshepsut instituted and which he would have assimilated.


What was happening in Egypt during the 40 years that Moses hid in the Sinai as a Midianite shepherd.

Hapshepsut probably died unnaturally about three years after Moses killed the Egyptian and fled from Egypt. Thutmose III who in theory had been the ruler, but had not been allowed to by Hapshepsut, who ruled for Thutmose III for most of Moses adult lifetime. Thutmose and Hapshepsut took the throne in 1497BC. Thutmose died just before Moses came back out the wilderness and AmenhotepII took control of Egypt.


Why Thutmose III invaded Palestine and Syria so often!

There were a number of reasons:

  • To ensure security and control trade.
  • To get tributes.
  • To ensure they treated Egyptians with respect.
  • To ensure they swore allegiance to no-one else
  • To ensure they didn’t fortify their cities against the Egyptian army.


Some of the evidence that Israel’s Exodus from Egypt occurred during the 18th Dynasty. There are two main dates proposed for the Exodus. The first is an 18th dynasty exodus that occurs just after the death of Thutmose III in the 18th dynasty and the second is just after Ramses the great in the 19th Dynasty.

The 18th Dynasty date:

Fits the biblical chronology timeline:

a. 1 King 6:1 states

“In the four hundred and eightietha year after the Israelites had come out of Egypt, in the fourth year of Solomon’s reign over Israel, in the month of Ziv, the second month, he began to build the temple of the Lord.” [1]

And since the temple is proposed to have been built around 966BC it gives the exodus time around 1445BC.

b. Judges 11:26 states;

“For three hundred years Israel occupied Heshbon, Aroer, the surrounding settlements and all the towns along the Arnon.”[2]

Dating exodus at 1350BC or before.

c. Exodus 4:19 states

“Now the Lord had said to Moses in Midian, “Go back to Egypt, for all the men who wanted to kill you are dead.”[3]

Showing that a pharaoh had died that had wanted Moses dead. This indicates the Pharaoh had been there when Moses had killed the Egyptian and so had been around for 40 years. Since only Thutmose and Ramses reigned that long it makes it one of them.

The 18th Dynasty date also fits archeological evidence.

  1. Jericho that was destroyed by Joshua (marching around it until the walls came down) wouldn’t have been there to destroy in Joshuas lifetime if it was a 19th dynasty timeline.
  2. The Gibeonites made a sneaky treaty with Joshua in Joshua 9, but no late bronze age city has been found at the site.
  3. Joshua gave Caleb Hebron

“Then Joshua blessed Caleb son of Jephunneh and gave him Hebron as his inheritance. [4]

But Hebron has no evidence of occupation in 1300BC and so was not there during the 19th Dynasty.


The differences between the two invasions of Palestine by Amenhotep II. 

Before the Exodus AmenhotepII captures about 800 captives on his campaign, after the Exodus there is a need for more and in this campaign he claims to have captured about 89 600 men. I guess he needed slaves!


The evidence for literacy in the Mosaic age. The implications of this for the origin of a written Scripture

The bible itself indicates literacy:

Gen 41:42 shows Joseph was given Pharaohs signet ring.

Exo 31:18 and 34:28 showed the ten commandments and Moses writing them.

Deut 24:1 talks of a written certificate of divorce.

Num 21:14 talks of the Book of wars.

Deut 6:9 Commands the Israelites to write commands on their doorposts and gates.

This showed almost every family had literacy

It this much literacy was evident and since it can be shown that writing was in place from about 3500BC, it hardly seems likely that important cultural texts would not have been preserved in written form.


Some of the Egyptian parallels to the creation account in Genesis.  

Moses mimic’d Egyptian creation accounts in many ways a few of these are:

  1. In Gen 1:1 claiming that God created the heavens and the Earth instead of the Heliopolis Gods, Geb and Nut (earth and sky) being born of Shu and Tefnut (air and moisture). Moses showed God create a real earth and it wasn’tg created by the birth of God’s.
  2. In Gen 1:2 the Earth is formless and void ( a good description of protoplasmic space that astronomers currently view as the pre-earth scenario ) and this refuted the Hermopolis claim that God Amun brooding over the waters and moving them caused the first land to rise from them. Amun was identified with wind. It also refusted  another eqyptian belief that Geb was lord of the watery mass and lived in the sky.
  3. In Gen 1:3 God says let there be light. The Hermopolis Egyptian gods Ptah and Atum created things with wishes and words. Moses made sure people know it was God and not Egyptian idols that did this work.
  4. In Gen 1:5 Moses states creation concludes with evening and morning of “one” day. That creation continued for six “days” and God rested on the seventh. Hermopolis cosmology and Moses creation had similarities

·         day 1: Moses: day and night created, Egyptian: the deep was created,

·         day 2: Moses:  Separates waters, Egyptian: Gods breath moves over the deep

·         day 3: Moses: Creates land and vegetation, Egyptian: Creates light

·         day 4: Moses: Creates lights, Egyptian: Creates land.

they are however different.

  1. Gen 1:26 Moses claimed God made man in his own image. The Eqyptians had a wisdom text written before Abraham explained that every man was formed from a god’s body and was the image of the god. Moses was making sure that the Israelites knew God created them not an Egyptian god.
Why the book of Leviticus forbid eating pigs and require that the right shoulder of animal sacrifices be given to the priests. 

To ensure that the worship of Baal would not continue as to do this was part of Baal worship.


The structure of the book of Numbers should be understood.

It’s a relatively uncoordinated collection of writings put together to fill a scroll. The documents included census’, duties of priests, Israel’s history of the wilderness, itinerary and a list of commands. This is too varied a group of topics to have together without a common thread or religious story line.


Why did God chose to provide water for Israel in a miraculous way!

I believe it was a miracle. How the water got locked in the rock and for how long it flowed is not detailed but there is nothing strange about cracking a rock and getting water. All that is needed is a permeable rock with a very non-permeable exterior and a means to collect water from moisture higher up (like from clouds or condensation of steam). If it was volcanic (it did have fire), there is no reason not to believe it couldn’t have steam vents with subsequent condensation forming trapped water layers.


Why the date of the book of Deuteronomy is a very important question in contemporary theological debates

Because of the treaty form of the book and the linkage to the Documentary hypothesis.

The issues related to dating the events in Joshua’s life 

Num 11:28 indicaes Joshua had been with Moses since his youth. Joshua is first mentioned as a young warrior in Exo 17:9. He was involved with Moses in the fight against the Amelkites. Joshua was one of the spies at Jericho. Moses left the books of law for Joshua to read and probably Joshua ended the writing of the last book of Moses that mentions Moses death.  Joshua 24:29 and Judges 2:8 indicates Joshua himself died at an age of 110.This was probably around 1375BC.

The key issue in dating Joshua’s life is the conquest of Palestine.


What was unusual about Pharaoh Akhnaton’s rule at Tell el-Amarna.

Akhnaton tried to bring in Egyptian monotheism and during his reign the Armarna letters were received. These letters described a series of struggles with Habirou in Palestine.


What was happening in Palestine while Akhnaton reigned at Amarna

Habirou were invading the city states  of Palestine.


The city of Beth-Shean, and its purpose

 The Egyptians built it to protect the trade routes.

James Hoffmeier comparison of the structure of Joshua 1-6 to the annals of Thutmose III

He suggested they were similar in that both did the following

  1. received a divine order to conquer Palestine
  2. wanted information before going in
  3. marched into the land
  4. set up camp and prepared for war
  5. established a siege
  6. defeated the seiged city

From my perspective this is hardly a comparison. It is a normal series of events of warfare of the time where a city was to be taken. Hardly enough to conclude that Joshua and the annals of Thutmose were using the same method of describing their campaigns.


The evidence for when the book of Joshua was written. 

The whole book couldn’t have been written by Joshua as it describes his death. Therefore someone else must have finished it. The text also doesn’t say Joshua wrote the book. It could have been written at the time or have been written as the author wrote about Joshua’s history. Such as statements like Joshua 8:28 “So Joshua burned Ai and made it a permanent heap of ruins, a desolate place to this day.[5] There are many others like this.

Joshua 24:26 “And Joshua recorded these things in the Book of the Law of God.”[6]

can however be used to argue that Joshua wrote the book.

Joshua 11:21 is often used to indicate that the book was written after Judah and Israel separated in Rehoboams time but this is not conclusive as there had always be differences between Judah and Israel.


The argument Zechariah Kallai made from the geographical phrase “From Dan to Beersheba” and how I explain the use of the name Dan in Deuteronomy 34:1

In Deut 34:1 it says

“There the Lord showed him the whole land—from Gilead to Dan,”[7]

This would have meant that the tribes would have had to have received their land for this to occur (or that Moses and Joshua had discussed what they would receive). Since Moses didn’t write the last part of the books attributed to him as they mention his death. This piece of Deuteronomy was obviously written later, probably by Joshua. Dan would receive inheritance in Jos 19:40-46.


According to Richmond Hess, how the non-Israelite personal names in the books of Joshua and Judges provided evidence for the historical accuracy of the book

He looked at the names in the books and similar names in the near east. Most were west semitic (eg.Rahab). The  ruler in Lakish was named Japhia. Joshua 10:3, and the name appeared in the Armana letters twice, once as a ruler on Gezer. The third name appears Joshua 11:1 as Jabin king of Hazor. This also appears in the Armana letters and also in the Mari texts naming a ruler at Hazor. The name Adoni-Zedek appeared as the two halves in the Armana letters. Hess explains that it is unlikely that a late redactor would have used names that appear only in Syria and Palestine during the 1st and 2nd Millenium BC. The Hurion names Hess mentioned are particular important as they only occur in this timeframe.


The problems involved in tracing the chronology of the book of Judges

It is difficult to correlate judges with historical events in the near east as the chronology is not strictly followed.. It is easier to see it as a structured literal document beginning with events in Judah and ending with events in Dan. Defending a 19th centaury exodus would mean many of the judges would be contemporaries which the book doesn’t seem to indicated.


 The rise of the Hittite empire during the period of Israel’s Judges.

The Hittites destroyed the Mittani kingdom during Akhenaton’s reign taking north Syria and west Mesopotamia thereby limiting Egypt’s control of Palestine until Horemheb’s time. It is believed Horemheb established a treaty with the Hittites.


What I think Pharaoh Merneptah meant when he recorded that “Israel’s seed was not”

The stela of Pharaoh Merneptah indicates in passing that “Israel is laid waste, its seed is not.” or “Israel is wasted, bare of seed". There can be two interpretations of “seed” either as grain, or the people. Since the stela is about victory in a campaign it’s more likely it is referring to people. Joshua and Judges don’t mention this occasion however.


The problems that Sean Warner raised for dating the book of Judges.

Sean Warner countered Glueck’s argument that no Israelite pottery was found before 19th Dynasty by pointing out that he had misunderstood the pottery. Glueck but the end of his life admitted this.


The role did George Mendenhall suggest the ‘covenant’ played in the formation of Israel

Mendenhall suggested a sociological solution to the conquest. He indicated the Israelites were always there and it was a revolt against those that oppressed them in the city states that gave them the land.


What Abraham Malamat suggested about the period of Israel’s Judges by the texts from Mari

Abraham Malamat said there is a tendancy to discredit the biblical description of the monarchy. He pointed out that the institutions are of a tribal culture rather than a monarchy and used the Mari texts to describe these cultures saying they shared similar roots.. He pointed out terms used at Mari are also used in the bible. He notes that both in Mari and bible texts the land is not sold outside the family. He notes that some West semitic descriptions of words occur in the Mari texts and in the bible and do not appear elsewhere.  


 Alan Hauser's arguement against the positions of Noth, Mendenhall, and Gottwald

He spoke about unity and diversity of early Israel and that the discussion on Judges. He pointed out namy want to see organizational unity in Israel during the period of the judges. He indicates that there was two beliefs. The first was by Noth who believed Israel was a loose confederation of tribal groups working with each other due to shared religious traditions and practices. The second was by Mendenhall who suggested Israel began aas an alliance of groups trying to shake off the Canaanite oppression. Hauser argued that both were incorrect and that this structure was not in place. The judges were leaders, some were military and some were not. They all rose as a result of a crisis but did not give unity to the nation and that Israel was disorganized. He suggested there wasn’t a broadly based religious authority. He considered to be a loose confederation bound by the worship of Yahweh but that they didn’t have political or religious alignment. I don’t agree with this view.


How Daniel Block suggested that the book of Judges should be understood

Block points out that the traditional liberal critical understanding of the sources behind the book of Judges is that they are the same as those of the Pentateuch. He selects Moore for critique. Moore argued the J and E sources were completely different. The example used to illustrate these is Gideon. Block said this was an old fashioned approach and that Noth was now the more prominent liberal critical proponent. Noth believes the book was compiled from a variety of sources. To illustrate this Block suggested Heffers approach. This approach suggested two sets of stories, some about Gideon and second group about Abimilech. Block argued these were contentious approaches. Block suggested others paint Gideons strengths and weaknesses as part of the purpose behind the book of judges which was to support the need for a monarchy in Israel and oppose Ephraim in the north. He however was against the proposal the book was a type of political allegory and pointed out it was written to show how much Israel had been influences by Canaanite religious practices during the time of the judges and a call to return to the Mosaic covenant. He explains how Israel slowly degenerated through time of the judges.


Why  K. van der Toorn suggested that Samson was forced to grind grain after he was captured

This occurred when Samson was a prisoner. He pointed out this was a common fate of a prisoner during the period.


According to Christian E. Haurer Jr., Saul’s has a specific strategy in fighting the Philistines

He noted the battle at Mt Gilboa was a pivotal point. It was disastrous result to Saul’s strategy that was to

a. Secure Israels center,

b. Secure Judean South,

c. Secure the Far North.

He took the hill country to achieve a. The philistines then attacked and hoped Sauls army would run and they would regain the highlands. It didn’t work and the central territory became secure. Saul then tried to attack the south. David at this time was not with Saul and appeared to be against Saul. Saul’s campaigns in Judah were small scale attacks. He the started the third stage (c) . He wanted to break the philistine control of the northern band of land. He lost the battle and was killed.


Brian Peckham's explaination of  the origin of the kingdom of David and Saul

He argued that northern Canaanites had kept up ties with Philistines and Israel until 2nd ½ of 11th century BC when the Philistines started to expand their territory. Israel then formed together under Saul as an answer to this expansion. Then David defeated the Amalekites which Saul had failed to do. Peckham believes the northern tribes held Sauls failure in this regard against him and turned to David demanding he also defeat the Philistines which he did. This gave him consolidated power over Israel.  


Benedikt Otzen 's description of the extent of David’s reign

David empire 1000BC when the opposing powers were quite weak. He indicated the extent of the region ruled by David was Palestine, East Jordan states, Arimean states, Syrian hinterland up to the Euphrates river. He suggested that how he controlled the regions differed depending on the region. He also suggested David used the philistines as a buffer zone to protect Israel from the Egyptians. Roger Dalman suggests this last point is probably wrong as it does not fit the historical situation.

Van der Toorn and Houtman noted several explanations for why David brought the ark of the covenant to Jerusalem. What were these explanations?

Van der Toorn and Houtman noted considerable opinion indicated that David’s moving of the Ark was a wise move of statesmanship linking the tribes of Israel and Judah to Jerusalem by making the city the political and religious center of the time. They disagreed saying that the ark could not be presupposed to be the central religious article of the time, since was only one of many. However, since the bible indicates it was the central object of worship, and I believe the bible has more likelihood of being correct since it contains written information provided by those closer to David’s time than modern scholars who are working on suppositions, my belief is that the bibles record is more correct and the ark was the central religious object of David’s time and could have been used to unify the tribes.


Duane L. Christensen’s description of the structure of the book of Psalms? How does this structure reflect how the book was written?

Psalms according to Christensen were not all written by David. Christensen wrote approximately half and the rest were written by others. They were not written in one time period but over a long time period and some were written before David’s time and some after. Psalm 137 is a good example as it needed to have been written during the exile which was long after David had died. The structure is five books, Book 1 being psalms 1 to 41, Book 2 psalms 42 to 72, book three psalms 73 to 89, book four 90 to 106 and the last book having psalms 107 to 150. This was said to resemble the Pentateuch.

Christensen said the structure was complex and that only half the psalms credited to David were actually written by David.


 Horace Hummels understanding of the authorship of the Song of Songs?  

Horace Hummel argued against the late authorship based on Aramaic words by indicating that Ugaritic texts had already shown many of the phrases and literary expressions were present in David’s day and so it was more likely to be a Northern Galilean Dialect. He supported this by indicting the girl mentioned was from the North.


What arguments did Horace Hummel raise for the date and authorship of the book of Ecclesiastes? 

Ecclesiastes 1:1 indicates that the author was both King and Author, and this fits King Solomon. Hummel indicated that the argument that the Hebrew of Ecclesiastes was closer in form to that of late Hebrew than early Hebrew was undermined by the Ugaritic texts which when investigated indicate this was possible.


How did R. N. Whybray suggest that quotations can be identified in the book of Ecclesiastes? 

He assumes that Ecclesiastes was written long after the wisdom material found in Proverbs chapters 10 to 29. Roger Dalman noted that Whybray raised questions such as; were authors of  Proverbs and Ecclesiastes similarly part of the wisdom writers, was the writer of Ecclesiastes opposed to Proverbs 10 to 29, why did some verses in Ecclesiastes contradict other verses in the same book, did the author have doubts about his own beliefs, was he quoting over proverbs to refute them, were the contradictory verses added by later writers?  Whybray said it was difficult to find out when the older proverbs were quoted and whether the authors were making up or alternatively quoting common proverbs and gave four criteria to help with this. These were:

1.                  If the writer was quoting a previous proverb it’s likely that firstly the verse would express a complete thought,

2.                  The form of the verse should resemble the form of the proverbs,

3.                  The verses theme should be the same as those found in proverbs, and it should also be inconsistent with the theme of Ecclesiastes as a whole, and

4.                  The language of the verse in Ecclesiastes should not have characteristics of the later Hebrew of Ecclesiastes.

He used this to identify Ecclesiastes verses 2:14, 4:5, 4:6, 7:5, 7:6, 9;17, 10:2, 10:12. These referred to the wise man and the fool. He thought this meant they were probably quoting older wisdom texts. The author didn’t refute these older wisdom texts and supported them with the later quotes.


How did Frank Spina believe that the author of Ecclesiastes evaluated the values of the royal court? Do you agree or disagree with him?

Spina believed the royal court valued work, wealth, status and power and that Ecclesiastes was written to counter this. I disagree as I believe it was God’s way of communicating the focus that everyone should be placing on life events with respect to His laws and that no matter what we do, He is supreme. I believe there is value in his opinion but only when sub-ordinate to the larger intent of the work.


H. J. Katzenstein suggested that Tyre was hostile to Israel before David’s time, but that Tyre formed an alliance with David and Solomon. Why does Katzenstein suggest that Tyre formed an alliance with Israel? 

According to Katzenstein, David defeating the Philistines thereby assisted Tyre which had been continually oppressed by Philistines. David fought the Philistines on land and the King of Tyre greed to fight them on the sea. The King of Tyre wanted David to control the trade routes which they wanted to use and established trade to support this agreement. Solomon capitalized on this by establishing a commercial treaty to trade cedars and building skill for silver and agricultural products.


Why does Katzenstein suggest that Tyre helped David and Solomon build the great buildings in Jerusalem that were constructed during their reigns? 

As mentioned in the answer to the previous question Solomon established a commercial treaty to trade cedars and building skill for silver and agricultural products based on his fathers control of the trade routes and treaty to fight the philistines.



11.4 How is the “J” source understood in the liberal critical world?

The J source was understood in the liberal critical world to be the “Jehovah” source of the Documentary Hypothesis and a source behind the old testaments texts. This was considered to have been written in the time of David and Solomon. Liberal critical scholars to varying degree consider it to not be of historical, value and some consider it to have been written to support David’s political social and economic ends.


In what two ways did Coote and Ord claim that king David issued laws? How did this belief influence their skepticism about the historical accuracy of the Biblical text?

They claimed that David issued laws in his own name and in the name of Moses.  Those issued in Moses name were given more weight. They however believed Moses was a fictional character introduced to assist David influence others. They believed the J text was not historically valid and was constructed to justify David’s position and rule.


What is the difference between an accession year and a non-accession year dating system? How could this difference affect how the length of a king’s reign would be described?

Accession year is the year the king comes into power. The difference between an accession dating system and a non accession dating system is the difference on determining the 1st year of reign as the year they come to power, or the start in the first New Year after they came into power. This has impact on dates of up to two years if the different systems are used. This is how it can affect the calculation of the length of a king’s reign.


How does the date used for the new year affect the way that the length of a king’s reign was described?

Dates could start the New Year in the spring or fall, and depending on the aspect described in the previous answer could impact the start of the 1st year of the king’s reign.


What is a co-regency and how do co-regencies affect the way that kings; reigns were described?

A  co-regency is when two kings reign together and complicates date calculations as the overlap period is often not explained, rather the information is more likely to include the length of the reign.



King Asa’s conflict with the Egyptians. Why was Asa able to rule for so long? 

Asa combated the Ethipoia Army led by Zerah the Cushite-from Ethipoia region of Egypt which had significantly larger forces than Asa’s. They fought Egyptians in the Valley of Zephathah near Mareshah in the South and got them out of Palestine. This introduced stability in the region. Asa had a considerable army of trained men who were experienced, but his core strength was that he trusted and had faith in Yahweh.


Why did Asa send all of his gold and silver to king Ben-Hadad of Syria? Was this a wise decision?  

King Baasha started to fortify Israel cities and Asa realized he needed to combat him before he got too strong. He attacked and after capturing the palace gold and silver sent it to Ben-Hadad to get him to break off his alliance with Baasha. It worked and he reduced the threat to Judah.


Why did Katzenstein suggest that Omri of Israel wanted to form an alliance with Ethbaal, the king of Tyre?

The alliance was to counteract the growing power of Damascus.  Ethbaal was powerful and influential on sea routes. The trade and sea routes were therefore controlled and made money for Ethbaal at Tyre, and for Ahab son of Omri.


How did Ahab’s marriage alliance with Tyre end up harming Israel’s relationship with God?

He married Jezebel whose father was a Priest of Astarte and a Baal worshiper. Jezeebel was powerful and almost ran the kingdom with Ahab. She was not a co-regent but acted like one. Israel moved away from God into Baal worship as a result of her influence.


Why did David Nichols suggest that the Assyrians were more interested in controlling Syria and Israel than in controlling Judah? How did Assyria conduct its foreign policy whenever they were strong enough to influence events in Syria and Palestine? 

According to Nichols the Assyrians believed that Israel and Syria had more to offer economically regarding trade than Judah as they controlled the trade routes. They followed a policy of terror and economic control over their vassals. Increasing land area meant more people to terrorize and therefore and increase in potential wealth for them.



How did Yigail Yadin suggest that Ahab was able to defeat the attacks of Ben-Hadad of Syria?

Yadin suggested the word used for booths was incorrectly translated and should have been a reference to the City of Succoth where Ben-Hadad was drinking when he heard that Ahab had defeated some of his chariots. He sent out younger men with instructions to capture Ahab alive and this was his undoing as this was not possible and Ahab succeeded in winning the battle.


Why did Jehoram of Judah marry Athaliah, and how did this marriage affect Judah’s faith? Describe the impact of Athaliah Jezebel on the history of Palestine in Ahab’s day.

Athaliah was daughter of Jezebel of Tyre, and brought with her the Baal worship to Judah. A great many Baal worshipers were supported by her. The upper class adopted Baal worship and so Yahweh worshippers were persecuted. As Jezebels daughter she was part of the family group that indirectly controlled Judah, Israel and had links back to Tyre.


How did Joash (or Jehoash) rise to power? How did this childhood in the temple lead to revival in Judah? What happened after the high priest died? How did Joash die?

When Athaliah realized that Ahaziah had been killed and she was in control of Judah she attempted to wipe out David’s line by killing all the males relatives that could reign. She failed since Jehoseba hid Joash as a baby in God’s temple where his uncle Jehobiaba who was a priest could keep him safe. Since Athaliah didn’t worship Yahweh, this mean’t he was relatively safe. When he was seven he was proclaimed king and when Athaliah tried to intervene she was killed. Joash followed Yahweh at the direction of his uncle the priest and until his uncle died was a supporter of the true God. However when Hazael threatened to attack Jerusalem, he stripped the temple of gold and sacred objects sending them to Hazael to appease him. In this way he turned against God! This brought God’s judgment against Israel.  Joash died being murdered by his own officials.


Why was Uzziah’s reign the golden age of Judah and Israel?

Uzziah was fortunate that Assyria and Syria were otherwise occupied and so he was able to build his army and extend the empire. Military he was able to beat the Philistine’s and Amorites and economically his extended realm meant that he could control the trade routes in the north and gain from them economically.


What were the problems in Judah and Israel during these golden years?

While these were wealthy years, the wealth was in the hands of the rich. The poor remained poor and were abused by the rich who’s pride was evidenced by Uzziah himself. Uzziah thought he was better than the priests and got leprosy by trying to take do some of their duties in the temple. The prophets warned the kings of Israel and Judah to not oppress the poor but they didn’t listen at that time.


What happened in Israel after Jeroboam II died? Describe the steps by which Israel was carried away into captivity. What happened in Judah during Ahaz’ reign?  

After Jeroboam died, Zechariah his son took the throne, reigning for only six months. Shallum killed him ruling for a month before Menahem took the throne. The Assyrian King Tiglath-Pileser III started to invade but was paid off by Menahem.  Tiglath Pileser, or “Pul” according 2 Ki 15,  later took some of the Israelites into exile. This involved three tribes that included Reubenites.  Later while Pekah was reigning (he had followed Pekahiah who had killed Manehem) Tiglath-Pileser III again took into Isrealites into exile. This was because Pekah and the King of Aram, Resin, had tried to invade Ahaz in Judah who called for help from Tiglath-Pileser III. He paid ofr the help by pillaging the temple of its treasures.  Tiglath-Pileser III captured Damascus from Rezin who he executed. He deported the Arameans to Kir. When Tiglath-Pileser III died, his son Shalmaneser V took over reigning in Assyria.  Ahaz of Judah, Hoshea of Israel, the King of Egypt and the Babylonians revolted and refused to pay Shalmaneser V the tributes they had paid to his father. This proved to be a big mistake. He besieged Samaria. While he probably died during that time, Sargon II most likely his son, took over the siege. Sargon II won, captured Samaria and probably took the rich and powerful into exile in Mesopotamia. He also settled Gentiles in the land diluting the bloodlines.


Arguments Mark Rooker offered both for and against the literary unity of the book of Isaiah?

Rooker explained that generally the liberal critical scholars believed that Isaiah 40 to 66 was written during or after the exile. He explained their four arguments are;

 1. They describe Israel as ruined and deserted and the temple destroyed,

 2. That there is a differences in language and style to Isaiah 1 to 39,

 3. That Isaiah 40 to 66  has advanced theological ideas not spelled out in Isaiah 1-39,

 4. That the name Cyrus appears in the book so it must have been written after the time of Cyrus the Great.

He points out that Evangelicals reject this and say it was written in 8th centaury BC. He suggests proof in that Isaiah 40 to 66:

 1. Condemns widespread idolatry.

 2. Uses names and geography from Palestine and not Babylon.

He also suggests that

 3. The author of such a book wouldn’t be forgotten

4. The New Testament in quoting verses says they come from Isaiah.

He used Diachronic Analysis that looks at linguistic contrast and linguistic distribution.

Linguistic contrast looks at linguistic forms at and after the exile and compares these forms with those they replaced before the exile.

Linguistic distribution investigates the distribution and frequency of these forms in Samuel, Kings and Chronicles.

Rooker looks at different spellings of David (early three letter and later, post exilic four letter spellings). He found the later spelling was absent other than 3 times in Kings and Samuel while it was the only spelling used in Chronicles and Qumran texts. He then points out the usage in Isaiah appears only with early short spelling.

He also does work to show grammatically that usage of Hebrew stems of words pre-dominant prior to the exile discussing actions and relationships are the same as those found in Isaiah.

His conclusion is that Hebrew changed at the time of exile and Isaiah 40 to 66 was written in the Hebrew used before the exile.


What did Umberto Cassuto believe was the relationship between the book of Hosea and the Pentateuch? 

He believed it incorporated 6 sections from the Pentateuch which were

1. Patriarchal narratives and genesis

2. Exodus,

3. 10 commandments,

4. Narratives in life of Moses,

5.  Deut 9:13-21,

6. Deut 33:1-43,

He studied these and said Hosea is historically accurate but these fragments were incorporated into later text. It seems strange he can go so far and still miss the fact that if it was all historically correct the same would apply.


What did W. Robert McFadden claim was the role of the prophet in Judah and Israel? Who do you either agree or disagree with his suggestion?

McFadden  believes prophets were forth tellers of God's will and not foretellers of the future and that while Micah said Jerusalem would be destroyed, it was not really destroyed by the Assyrians in Micah’s time.  He argues it does not matter if his prediction was true. All that is needed is to hear is Micah’s call for social justice.

This is the same type of distorted argument that I experienced amongst a few radical “Liberation Theologian”, in Africa who abused the bible to justify war for social reasons. McFadden’s belief that all that is needed is to hear is Micah’s call for social justice is not only untrue but it is very dangerous!


How did Katzenstein interpret Isaiah 14:8 and Isaiah 23:8? 

Isaiah 14:8 refers to logging as a tribute to Sargon according to Katzenstein. Isaiah speaks of Sargons death in saying

Even the pine trees and the cedars of Lebanon

exult over you and say,

“Now that you have been laid low,

no woodsman comes to cut us down.[1]


Katzenstein also points out that Tyre’s dominant trade situation due to not revolting against Sargon is referenced by Isaiah in Isaiah 23:8.


Contrast the policies of Hezekiah and his son Manasseh. How well did Manasseh’s foreign policy work? What were its implications for Judah’s relationship with God? 

Hezekiah pulled down the Baal worship sites and Manasseh built them up. His father resisted the Assyrians but he was their loyal vassal. Hezekiah followed the true God, Manasseh was followed Baal after forming a treaty with the king of Tyre. Manasseh took Judah away from God and probably was one of the main reasons for the exile occurring.



What kind of a person was Ashurbanipal of Assyria? What did this mean for Judah? What happened to Assyria after he died? 

Ashurbanipal was a brutal man but was also a scholar. He invaded Judah and took Manesseh as a prisoner, turning him into a vassal of Assyria. Manesseh was a political pragmatist and seemed to adopt some of the Assyrian practices. He abandoned God and was very cruel to his own people. He built alliances with the King of Tyre and supported Baal worship. In this way Ashurbanipal was able to negatively influence Judah.  After Ashurbanipal’s death the Assyrian empire fell apart.


What great changes occurred in the Near East between 612 BC and 609 BC?

The Scythians invaded a good portion of the near east.  They were so powerful that the Egyptians bribed them to leave Egypt alone. Around that time Josiah fought together with Ashur-uballit in 610BC. Ashur-uballit II of Assyria was conquered by the Babelonian King Nabopolassar’s alliance with the Medes, and the Assyrian empire was destroyed.



What kind of a person was Josiah? What happened during his reign? How did he die?

Josiah destroyed the cultic objects of Baal and restored the temple. During the restoration he found a book of law and after reading it took it to heart and followed Yahweh. He was a good king. The land turned back to God during his reign. He died in the war with Necho II of Egypt at Megiddo.


Why was Zedekiah’s reign a troubled time for Judah? Why did Zedekiah decide to rebel against Babylon?

Zedekiah was appointed by Nebuchadnezzar and when Jeremiah warned him that they would be given over to Babylon and that revolt would seal their doom he was ignored.

Zedekiah probably impressed by Egypt’s renewed military activity and the Babylonian armies temporary revolt joined the group to opposed Nebuchadnezzar in the 9th year of his reign. This was a mistake and while Egypt tried to help, it only allowed Jeremiah’s group to leave before Nebuchadnezzar returned taking Jerusalem in 586BC.


When did Horace Hummel claim that the book of Nahum was written? What evidence did he suggest for this?

He suggested between 663 and 612BC. He suggested it had to be between the fall of the Egypt capital of Thebes in 663BC and that of Nineveh in 612BC


How did Paul Ferguson use ancient Near Eastern texts to shed light on Nebuchadnezzar’s madness?

Fergusson noted there are parallels in the Gilgamesh Epic of Nebuchadnezzar boasting of greatness before being driven out and living like an animal. When Nebuchadnezzar recognized God, his sanity was restored. Fergusson points out similar incidents were also recorded in an earlier Sumerian account of man. There are also other examples of men being threatened with a judgment that reduces men to an animal like state. Ferguson indicted that the story reflected Nebuchadnezzar 's feelings and self concepts.


What kind of rulers were Nabonidus and Belshazzar? How did this contribute to the fall of Babylon?

The two rulers were incompetent. Nabonius in a self imposed exile in the Oasis of  Tayma did little, and Belshazzar was a party person, failing to spend sufficient time ruling the empire. As a result the people were happy when Babylon fell to the Persians and welcomed them in.


What kind of a policy did Cyrus establish for the treatment of exiled peoples? What did this mean for Judah? What decree did Cyrus publish in 538 BC? 

In 538 BC Cyrus issued a decree allowing Jews and other exiled groups to return home and gave them financial aid to rebuild temples. This edict allowed not only the Israelites to rebuild their temple but also allowed repair of temples at Urruk, Ur, and in Babylon. This enabled the exiles to return to Judah and start rebuilding the temple. When resistance developed the edict enabled this resistance to the re-building of the temple to be overcome. The temple was completed about 515BC.


How was Daniel’s prayer in Daniel 9 answered?

Daniel prayed for an end to the exile. This was answered both politically and theologically. Politically, the approval of the return from exile, and the counter to the resistance to the Israelites experienced on returning from exile, was enforced by the edict of Darius (mentioned in the previous questions answer). This edict is currently housed in a British museum. Theologically his prayer was answered by Haggai and Zechariah.


How does the history of Ahasuerus (or Xerxes) correspond to events recorded in the book of Esther?

Ahasuerus  (Xerxes) lived about 485–465 BC and was previously viceroy of Babylon where he was know to rarely dined with his guests. On an occasion of doing this he requested Vashti to dance for his guests. Vashti was known to be vindictive and manipulative. She apparently had on one occasion caused the mother of a girl who accepted a robe of hers from the king as a gift to be mutilated for the “offense”. Vashti refused to dance with his guests and was banished from his presence forever and in the search for a queen, Ester became his wife. Ester was probably from the name of the Babylonian god Ishtar, a goddess of love and fertility and war. It is reported Ahasuerus accumulated a huge army around this time. Ester was influential as was her uncle. Mordecai her uncle was probably one of four people named Mordecai that have been mentioned in texts from that era. Mordecai probably is a name coming from the Babylonian god Marduk,. The fact that Mordecai sat in the gate shows he was a high government official(as judges settling disputes sat at the gate).



Trace how the Samaritans opposed the rebuilding of Jerusalem. How may these tensions have been passed down all the way to the first century AD?

The Samaritans opposed the return from Babylon to build the temple but these were suppressed by Cyrus’s edit. Ezra noted the Samaritans appeal to both to Artaxerxes and then later to Darius to stop the work. The time between these was about eight years so there was continual opposition to the work, probably inflamed because the Samaritans offer of help initially had been rejected in those early stages. The opposition also went on after the completion of the temple.


Why were Nehemiah and Ezra sent to Palestine?

Nehemiah and Ezra were sent to Palestine to rebuild Jerusalem and the temple.


What evidence can be used to determine when the books of I/II Kings and I/II Chronicles were written?

The books needed to have been written after the exile to Assyria since 2 Kings 17:22&23 states:

“The Israelites persisted in all the sins of Jeroboam and did not turn away from them  until the Lord removed them from his presence, as he had warned through all his servants the prophets. So the people of Israel were taken from their homeland into exile in Assyria, and they are still there.”[2]

1 Chronicles 5:22 states:

“…And they occupied the land until the exile.[3]

also indicating the exile had occurred at the time of writing the book.

There are parts such as 2 Chr 5:9 that refer to text that had to have been written before the exile, but these are not arguments for a dating since quotes and incorporations of earlier writings could be included in the older text. Therefore these books had to have at least part of them written after the exile had occurred.


What sources were used in the writing of I/II Chronicles? 

It is not possible to say definitively who wrote the books and while there are various opinions, mine corresponds to that of William F Albright who indicated that Ezra was the source of the books and that he used numerous sources in compiling the books. I do however believe the books are of good historical value and that the events actually happened.


Summarize Marvin Sweeney’s discussion about how king Solomon was portrayed in I/IIKings. 

Sweeney commented on Noth’s theory that a post exilic author wrote a history to explain why Israel and Judah were carried of into captivity. He discussed that many consider two different potential authors, firstly an author who was an editor incorporating different sources and secondly, the author being Josiah or under Josiah’s direction, writing Kings to solidify his control and authenticate his position. It is also suggested these are two types of texts. The text from Josiah’s day that was pro-monarchy, and the one after the exile that was anti-monarchy. Sweeney expanded this by pointing out that there were two different views of Solomon. View one where he is described as marrying foreign women and importing idolatry into Israel, and view two where he is considered the wisest and most ideal of Israel’s rulers.

[1]The Holy Bible, Is 14:8.

[2]The Holy Bible 2 Ki 17:22-23

[3] The Holy Bible 1 Chr 5:22

a Hebrew; Septuagint four hundred and fortieth

[1]The Holy Bible : New International Version, 1 Ki 6:1.

[2]The Holy Bible : New International Version, Jdg 11:26.

[3]The Holy Bible : New International Version, Ex 4:19.

[4]The Holy Bible : New International Version, Jos 14:13.

[5]The Holy Bible : New International Version, Jos 8:28.

[6]The Holy Bible : New International Version, Jos 24:26.

[7]The Holy Bible : New International Version, Dt 34:1.



Dalman.Roger Old Testament History, Audio Series, Trinity College of the Bible and Theological seminary, 2005


Dalman.Roger Yahweh’s song, Trinity College of the Bible and Theological seminary, 2006


The Holy Bible : New International Version, Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1996, c1984.