Of all the pharaohs who ruled Egypt over the course of ancient history, only one had the dubious honor of facing Moses in a contest to see whose God was greater. We may not know exactly which pharaoh he was, but he most certainly was not Ramesses II. Such is filmmaker Timothy Mahoney’s conclusion in his astounding documentary, Patterns of Evidence: Exodus. Mahoney presents a compelling case for reconsidering the accepted timeline of ancient Egyptian history. He bases his case on considerable evidence that Israel’s presence in Egypt, the Exodus, and the conquest of Canaan actually happened two or three hundred years earlier than has been supposed.
For centuries we have assumed that Raamses II was the Pharaoh of the Exodus because of this verse:
So they appointed taskmasters over them to afflict them with hard labor. And they built for Pharaoh storage cities, Pithom and Raamses. (Exodus 1:11 NASB)
Indeed there was a city named Raamses (or Ramesses) in Goshen, the region of Egypt where the Hebrews lived, but it was not known by that name in the days when the Hebrews lived there. Underneath the ruins of Raamses are the ruins of an even older city called Avaris. The archaeological evidence indicates that a Semitic people lived there, that they were at one point prosperous and powerful, that they became enslaved, and that they left quite suddenly. However, until now no one has seriously considered that these were the Hebrews simply because the evidence at Avaris does not fit the accepted Egyptian chronology. Yet if we were to adjust that chronology a bit based not only on the discoveries at Avaris, but also on discoveries elsewhere in Egypt, as well as in Canaanite cities such as Jericho, evidence of the Exodus would abound. Furthermore, such a chronological adjustment would resolve numerous gaps and mysteries in the chronologies of other ancient civilizations. Mahoney has done a fine job gathering and presenting his evidence. No doubt there will be many questions and much debate on his conclusions, but his presentation merits serious review and investigation.
It is probably no coincidence that Patterns of Evidence appeared just as the Torah cycle is working through the Exodus story. Although not as visually stunning as Mahoney’s cinematography, AlephBeta Academy’s video offerings impart considerable understanding of God’s workings among the people of Egypt and Israel. It may surprise Christian viewers to learn that Judaism embraces the doctrine of free will, and that the account of the Ten Plagues reveals the workings of free will in the context of God’s ultimate sovereignty. Watch these two videos as Rabbi David Fohrman explains these profound concepts in a very Jewish way.
© Albert J. McCarn and The Barking Fox Blog, 2014-2015. Permission to use and/or duplicate original material on The Barking Fox Blog is granted, provided that full and clear credit is given to Albert J. McCarn and The Barking Fox Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.
It has been more than 500 years since Christopher Columbus mistakenly identified the indigenous peoples of the Americas as “Indians”, and yet that name has remained the popular collective label for the many hundreds of nations more accurately identified by their own names, such as Arawak, Pequot, Lakota, Yaqui, Quechua, and Navajo. Many of these nations have ceased to exist, the victims of disease, war, enslavement, and cultural genocide. Others have come into existence as dispersed and diminished peoples have merged to make new nations. Still others have persisted in their identity to this day, enduring beyond hope as distinct peoples. All of those things describe the Seminole Nation, which now resides in the states of Oklahoma and Florida. The Seminoles did not become a distinct people until late in the 18th century, when remnants of the Muskogee (Creek) and other peoples of Florida and what is now Georgia and Alabama combined to form a new nation. The Spanish called them cimarrones, meaning runaways, or free people. This term referred to the fact that the tribe included many escaped slaves, both African and Native American, who had joined with others from broken, scattered tribes. In the Muskogee tongue, cimarrones became semulon-e, and eventually Seminole.
This people who originally were not a people soon developed a strong sense of national identity which compelled them to resist all efforts to conquer them. They fought against the Spanish, the English, the Creeks, and, inevitably, the Americans. Three bitter wars from 1817 to 1858 left the Seminole Nation broken and divided, but still unconquered. Most of the surviving Seminoles were removed by the United States government to Oklahoma, but a remnant remained in the swamps of southwestern Florida, where they remain to this day. The Florida Seminoles are unique among Native American peoples in that they alone have never signed a treaty of peace with the United States. Those who were removed to Oklahoma may have agreed to peace with the U.S., but they maintained a fierce independence in their new land. Efforts to integrate them into the Creek Nation of Oklahoma met with determined resistance. In time the Seminole remnant in Oklahoma reestablished their tribal identity, and today exist as a separate and distinct nation.
It may come as a surprise, but the greatest story in the Bible is about a nation created from a people who were not a people. The tale begins with the account of Joseph and his brothers, but the story as yet has no ending.