Commenters such as Creeper, IAMB, Mrs. A and Dan S (among others) have provided counterpoints to many points I have made concerning Darwinism (macroevolution) versus creationism. There have been some points I feel they have failed to address with any degree of success (such as statistical laws that show macroevolution to be a mathematical impossibility) and some areas where they have brought up some excellent questions. Today’s subject is one such area – Just when did this Noahic Flood take place, especially in the light of evidence for a very ancient Egyptian culture. Could a flood have wiped out everyone else and left Egypt high and dry? Are the Genesis geneologies inaccurate? Is it necessary, as some have said, to add in years to that chronology? I have acknowledged that some believed it would be necessary and there was strong evidence that some Middle Eastern peoples “skipped” people in their geneologies. (Even though it has been more common for geneologies to add people and years that did not exist).
I have addressed some of this, as have commenters such as Highboy, but I realized this was an area in which I had done little research and would require a bit of poking about. Thus, the following:
Manetho and Egyptian History: The original works are lost.
Manetho is the prime source used by those who study ancient Egypt geneologies.
“Despite Manetho’s importance for the study of the history of Ancient Egypt, nothing much is really known about the man himself. Even the exact meaning of his name has been a point of discussion among Egyptologists and although it is now generally agreed upon that the name “Manetho” comes from the Ancient Egyptian mniw-htr, which means “keeper of the horses”, the existence of such a name is not attested by Ancient Egyptian sources.
Manetho lived in Sebennytos, the capital of Egypt during the 30th Dynasty, and was a priest during the reigns of Ptolemy I and Ptolemy II. He is said to have been involved in the creation of the cult of Serapis – a god added to the Egyptian pantheon with both Hellenistic and Egyptian traits during the reign of Ptolemy I -, but this can not be confirmed.
Manetho owes his importance to the fact that he wrote the Aegyptiaca, a collection of three books about the history of Ancient Egypt, commissioned by Ptolemy II in his effort to bring together the Egyptian and Hellenistic cultures.”Ancient-Egypt.org
The same source reveals that – “Soon after the original composition, the Aegyptiaca was epitomised, probably by extracting a framework of kings to which clung the occasional historical statement. At the same time, however, the original work was being abused, commented and falsified for political and religious motives. It is not unlikely that at this time, new works about the history of Egypt were being written under Manetho’s name. Such works were often full of tendentious commentaries and anachronisms.
The classical authors who copied, commented or made references to the Aegyptiaca were thus confronted with different sources, all claiming to have been based on the original work. Josephus knew both the original Aegyptiaca or its epitome, and the fake Manethoan literature, but he was often unable to distinguish between them. Africanus knew and used the epitomised Aegyptiaca, while Eusebius quoted from Africanus and from a version of the Epitome altered by the Hellenistic Jews for religious purposes.”
So, whereas the Genesis material has been carefully copied and documented for over three thousand years, the original work of Manetho is not available and there is no certainty of the accuracy of the currently available references to his work. This doesn’t discount the available information but makes the researcher aware that total accuracy will not be found. Even before we delve too deeply into Manetho we know that it will be a source for approximate dates rather than a resource for certainty.
Manetho recorded The Tower of Babel and birth of Peleg as historical events!
“An interesting piece of information comes from Manetho, who recorded the history of Egypt in the third century BC. He wrote that the Tower of Babel occurred five years after the birth of Peleg. If this was so, then this would confirm that the migrations recorded in Genesis 10 occurred over a period of time, for the apparent leaders of many of these national groups would have been very young children when the confusion of languages occurred.” Larry Pierce.
Pierce makes a strong case for using the Bible with other ancient resources to better establish the beginning of Egypt:
” Four generations after Noah, Genesis 10:25 records the birth of Peleg (meaning division) ‘for in his days was the earth divided’. Some suggest the continents of the earth were divided at this time. However, this seems unlikely, as such a process would have had to occur within a very confined time period. The resultant geological violence would be overwhelmingly catastrophic—like another Noahic Flood all over again. Any continental separation thus likely occurred during the Flood.
The traditional interpretation, which seems more reasonable, relates this verse to the division of people/nations at the Tower of Babel event in Genesis 11. (Just like the English ‘earth’ can have a variety of meanings, the Hebrew erets can also mean nation(s)—thus erets Yisrael, the land (nation, people) of Israel.) According to the biblical chronology as deduced by Archbishop Ussher, the Flood occurred in 2349–2348 BC, and Peleg was born in 2247 BC about a hundred years later. Do ancient writers shed any light on when this happened? The answer is a resounding yes.
The year was 331 BC. After Alexander the Great had defeated Darius at Gaugmela near Arbela, he journeyed to Babylon. Here he received 1903 years of astronomical observations from the Chaldeans, which they claimed dated back to the founding of Babylon. If this was so, then that would place the founding of Babylon in 2234 BC, or about thirteen years after the birth of Peleg. This was recorded in the sixth book of De Caelo (‘About the heavens’) by Simplicius, a Latin writer in the 6th century AD. Porphyry (an anti-Christian Greek philosopher, c. 234–305 AD) also deduced the same number.
The Byzantine chronicler Constantinus Manasses (d. 1187) wrote that the Egyptian state lasted 1663 years. If correct, then counting backward from the time that Cambyses, king of Persia, conquered Egypt in 526 BC, gives us the year of 2188 BC for the founding of Egypt, about 60 years after the birth of Peleg. About this time Mizraim, the son of Ham, led his colony into Egypt. Hence the Hebrew word for Egypt is Mizraim4 (or sometimes ‘the land of Ham’ e.g. Psalm 105:23,27).”
Dr. Clifford Wilson suggests that there is evidence that Moses got his geneologies not from word-of-mouth and inspiration of God but from written records: New Conditions After The Flood
“After the Flood, atmospheric and climatic conditions apparently changed, and the potential life-span of all created beings was dramatically reduced. Archaeologists such as Professor Samuel N. Kramer have pointed to the record outside the Bible of the dispersion that took place at the time of the building of the Tower of Babel. Eminent Professor William Foxwell Albright wrote about the astonishing accuracy of the ‘Table of Nations’ in Genesis chapter 10. The fragmentary ‘Epic of Atrahasis’—including both creation and the Flood—has caused some scholars to acknowledge that Genesis chapters 1 to 11 were written as literal history. That history starts at Genesis chapter 1—and the term ‘mythical’; (even used in a philosophical sense) should not be applied to the Bible record.
Records Written Before Moses
Another interesting point is that those early Genesis records were in written form even before the time of Moses (he collated them). Way back in 1948 P.J. Wiseman had his book published, New Discoveries in Babylonia About Genesis. His son, Professor Donald J. Wiseman, retired Professor of Assyriology a London University, recently updated his father’s work in Clues to Creation in Genesis, supporting the basic theories of his late father.
The early records were written on clay tablets, divided by the literary device of a colophon at the end of each tablet—indicated by the words, ‘These are the generations of…’.”
It is Egyptian Chronologies which require adjustment.
“By the traditional chronology of Egyptian history the 18th dynasty ruled from about 1550 to 1320 BC. According to Bible chronology the Exodus occurred about 1446 BC. But there is no evidence from 18th dynasty Egyptian records of a major disaster such as would have resulted from the 10 devastating plagues that fell on Egypt, or of the destruction of the Egyptian army during this period. Nor is there archaeological evidence for an invasion of Palestine under Joshua during this period.
The solution to this problem is a recognition that the chronology of Egypt needs to be reduced by centuries, bringing the 12th dynasty down to the time of Moses and the Exodus. When this is done there is found abundant evidence for the presence of large numbers of Semitic slaves at the time of Moses, the devastation of Egypt and the sudden departure of these slaves.
A reduction of the chronology of Egypt would also be reflected in the interpretation of the archaeological ages in Israel. There is little evidence for an invasion of Palestine at the end of the Late Bronze Period. But at the end of the Early Bronze Period there is evidence of Jericho’s fallen walls and the arrival of a new people with a new culture who should be identified as the invading Israelites under Joshua.” – Archaeologist David Down.
What follows is an excerpt from Down’s article in Journal of Creation (TJ) Archive > Volume 15 Issue 1
A proposed revision of Egyptian chronology
“It is true that there is no evidence for Moses, the ten plagues that fell upon Egypt or the exodus ‘at that time’. But there are a number of scholars who claim that a gross error in chronology has been made in calculating the dates of Egyptian history and that they should be reduced by centuries. Such a re-dating could bring the 12th dynasty down to the time of Moses, and there is plenty of circumstantial evidence in that dynasty to support the Biblical records.
One of the last kings of the 12th dynasty was Sesostris III. His statues depict him as a cruel tyrant quite capable of inflicting harsh slavery on his subjects. His son was Amenemhet III, who seems to have been an equally disagreeable character. He probably ruled for 46 years, and Moses would have been born near the beginning of his reign.
Amenemhet III may have had one son, known as Amenemhet IV, who was an enigmatic character who may have followed his father or may have been a co-regent with him. If the latter, Amenemhet IV could well have been Moses. Amenemhet IV mysteriously disappeared off the scene before the death of Amenemhet III.
Amenemhet III had a daughter whose name was Sobekneferu. It is known that she had no children. If she was the daughter of Pharaoh who came down to the river to bathe, it is easy to understand why she was there. It was not because she had no bathroom in her palace. She would have been down there taking a ceremonial ablution and praying to the river god Hapi, who was also the god of fertility. Having no children she would have needed such a god, and when she found the beautiful baby Moses there she would have considered it an answer to her prayers (Exodus 2:5—6).
But when Moses came of age he identified himself with the people of Israel and was obliged to flee from Egypt. This left a vacuum on the throne, and when Amenemhet III died there was no male successor. Sobekneferu ascended the throne and ruled for 8 years as a Pharaoh, but when she died the dynasty died and was succeeded by the 13th dynasty.
The Israelite slaves
For the past 15 years I have been promoting a revised chronology for Egypt. This results in identifying the Semitic slaves, who were employed in building the pyramids of the 12th dynasty at Kahun in the Faiyyum, as the Israelite slaves referred to in the book of Exodus. Fifteen years ago I was regarded as being out of touch with archaeological reality, but time has changed all that.
Of course, Dr Immanuel Velikovsky proposed the same revision before I did, and so did Dr Donoville Courville, but they were written off as irrelevant because they were not archaeologists. Since then, recognized archaeological scholars have joined the chorus of revision.
In 1991, Peter James published his book Centuries of Darkness, claiming that the chronology of Egypt should be reduced by 250 years. James was a reputable scholar, and his book carried a preface by Professor Colin Renfrew of Cambridge University recognizing that ‘a chronological revolution is on its way’ (p. XVI), claiming that ‘history will have to be rewritten’ (p. XIV). In 1995, David Rohl published A Test of Time, in which he claimed that the chronology of Egypt should be reduced by 350 years. All this meant that the end of the 12th dynasty of Egypt would be dated to the 15th century BC, which would be about the time of the Biblical Exodus, and the slaves known to have lived at Kahun and laboured on the building of the 12th dynasty pyramids were the Israelite slaves.
Professor Bryant Wood, from the Associates for Biblical Research, has also concluded that the Semitic slaves who lived at Kahun were indeed the Israelites. He reaches his conclusion from a different perspective but the end result is the same. He concludes that the period of 430 years mentioned in Exodus 12:40 was not the total period of time from Abraham to the Exodus, as seemingly implied in Galatians 3:17, but was the actual period of the Israelite presence in Egypt. This assumption would likewise place the Israelite slaves in the 12th dynasty
The evidence very well fits the Biblical record which says,
‘There arose a new king over Egypt who did not know Joseph. And he said to his people, “Look, the people of the children of Israel are more and mightier than we; come, let us deal wisely with them, lest they multiply and it happen in the event of war, that they join our enemies and fight against us, and so go up out of the land.” Therefore they set taskmasters over them to afflict them with their burdens’ (Exodus 1:8—11).
Sir Flinders Petrie excavated the city of Kahun in the Faiyyum and Dr Rosalie David wrote a book about his excavations in which she said,
‘It is apparent that the Asiatics were present in the town in some numbers, and this may have reflected the situation elsewhere in Egypt … . Their exact homeland in Syria or Palestine cannot be determined … . The reason for their presence in Egypt remains unclear.’
Neither Rosalie David nor Flinders Petrie could identify these Semitic slaves with the Israelites because they held to the traditional chronology which placed the Biblical event centuries later than the 12th dynasty.
There was another interesting discovery Petrie made. ‘Larger wooden boxes, probably used originally to store clothing and other possessions, were discovered underneath the floors of many houses at Kahun. They contained babies, sometimes buried two or three to a box, and aged only a few months at death.’
There is a Biblical explanation for this. Pharaoh had ordered the Hebrew midwives, ‘When you do the duties of a midwife for the Hebrew women, and see them on the birth stools, if it is a son, then you shall kill him’ (Exodus1:16). The midwives ignored this command so ‘Pharaoh commanded all his people saying, “Every son who is born you shall cast into the river … ” ’ (verse 22). Many grieving mothers must have had their babies snatched from their arms and killed. They apparently buried them in boxes beneath the floors of their houses.
Another striking feature of Petrie’s discoveries was the fact that these slaves suddenly disappeared off the scene. Rosalie David wrote:
‘It is apparent that the completion of the king’s pyramid was not the reason why Kahun’s inhabitants eventually deserted the town, abandoning their tools and other possessions in the shops and houses.’
‘There are different opinions of how this first period of occupation at Kahun drew to a close … . The quantity, range and type of articles of everyday use which were left behind in the houses may indeed suggest that the departure was sudden and unpremeditated.’
The departure was sudden and unpremeditated! Nothing could better fit the Biblical record. ‘And it came to pass at the end of the four hundred and thirty years–on that very same day–it came to pass that all the armies of the LORD went out from the land of Egypt’ (Exodus 12:41).
The ten plagues on Egypt
Pharaoh had yielded to Moses’ demands to allow his slaves to leave because of the ten devastating plagues that fell on Egypt (Exodus 7—12). The waters of the sacred River Nile were turned to blood, herds and flocks were smitten with pestilence, lightning set combustible material on fire, hail flattened the crops and struck the fruit trees, and locusts blanketed the country and consumed what might have been left of plant life. The economy of Egypt would have been so shattered that there should be some record of such a national catastrophe–and there is.
In the Leiden Museum in Holland is a papyrus written in a later period, but most scholars recognize it as being a copy of a papyrus from an earlier dynasty. It could have been from the 13th dynasty describing the conditions that prevailed after the plagues had struck. It reads,
‘Nay, but the heart is violent. Plague stalks through the land and blood is everywhere … . Nay, but the river is blood. Does a man drink from it? As a human he rejects it. He thirsts for water … . Nay, but gates, columns and walls are consumed with fire … . Nay but men are few. He that lays his brother in the ground is everywhere … . Nay but the son of the high-born man is no longer to be recognized … . The stranger people from outside are come into Egypt … . Nay, but corn has perished everywhere. People are stripped of clothing, perfume and oil. Everyone says “there is no more”. The storehouse is bare … . It has come to this. The king has been taken away by poor men.’”
There is excellent evidence to suggest that the Biblical geneologies are accurate and it is the Egyptian dates that are incorrect. In addition, the Egyptian records indicate a flood, the Tower of Babel and a start for the empire after the birth of Peleg (one of the Bible Patriarchs). All of this is consistent with the creation scenario.
It is well known that writing began with the children of Israel. What is not often publicized is the occasional find of writings in the fossil record. One could suggest that it is probable men were writing long before the flood but such records were almost entirely wiped out along with other traces of culture by the incredibly dynamic and violent Flood. The Bible account is the only one we have concerning life before the Flood and the growth of civilization thereafter. It appears that Manetho does not present evidence to the contrary.