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The articles in this issue have been divided up into the following categories







Letter to the Editor
Jewish Chronicle


MORE THAN ONE MOSES? by Stephen Rosenberg (J.C. 8.12.2000)

Rameses II was not the Pharaoh of the Exodus, as is commonly and erroneously supposed. The Exodus took place in the reign of his son, Merneptah, in the first year of his reign, when a general amnesty was proclaimed as was customary, which allowed Moses to return to Egypt from his exile.

There is no difficulty in reconciling the biblical narrative with historical dates: "Now there arose up a new king over Egypt, which knew not Joseph" (Ex. Chapter I:8). That refers to Rameses I, the nationalist king who started the 19th Dynasty and who imposed the harsh labour regime on the Israelites. "And it came to pass in the course of those many days, that the king of Egypt died" (Ex. Chapter II:23). That refers to the death of Rameses II after his extraordinarily long reign.

The Exodus took place in 1236 BCE and can be said to be 430 years from when the migrant labour of Canaanites and Israelites came to Egypt in 1666 BCE. In 1659 the Hyksos rulers invaded and in 1550 they were driven out. These events refer only to their rulers – the labourers stayed on.

The repeated encounters between Moses and Merneptah shows that the new pharoah had a sympathetic ear to Moses’ demands to "let my people go" but was overuled by the powerful priesthood. The young king told Moses on departing to bless him also, Ex. XII: 32. The Egyptian army chased the fleeing Israelites when it was realised the amount of looting that took place.

As far as Jericho is concerned that was another place and another time.

Naim Dangoor

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