Exodus 9:1 Then the LORD said unto Moses, Go in unto Pharaoh, and tell him, Thus says the LORD God of the Hebrews, Let my people go, that they may serve me.
If you have no knowledge of what is going on such as the eruption of the Island of Santorini and strange events are happening how do you explain it? Our God is more powerful than yours and is more powerful than your Gods. Remember in a previous article the misattributed changes in the level of the Nile is because some God is angry not because the highlands of Ethiopia are not receiving the usual rain from the monsoons? That is an explanation made in the video. Natural explanations attributed to the power of God by people who don’t have access to the types of information we have ready access to.
What is history? For one thing it is told by the winners. For a second definition it is told by those who can communicate with others. The story they tell determines how they are viewed. The tale told in the Old Testament is the version from the Hebrews because their writings have been handed down to us. We learn from their side that their God gave them the land of Canna and we believe that even though the archaeological evidence may show that they simply moved into the area and were assimilated by the people already there. To demonstrate how powerful this argument his think of the argument between the Jews and Palestinians each claiming they were given the land by God meaning “their God”. The same with the Exodus out of Egypt. There is a lack of evidence and a lack of manuscripts possibly because at the time they left (around 1440 B.C.E) writing was still in the pictograph stage because they had not yet been exposed to the Phoenicians new system of writing using an alphabet that represented sounds rather than picture representing ideas.
We tend to think now that this was a natural progression but instead is it just what happened? There are manuscripts that were written later that have been found but before then only fragments and traditions. Moses wrote the first 5 books? We have that tradition but no confirmation. How were the actual dimensions of the ark and of the temple recorded? We know that with the cuneiform tablets they were originally develop to record just that with numbers of bushels of wheat that were traded and identifying the merchants who traded them. These were discovered in a library that had caught fire and hardened in the flames to allow them to be interpreted in our time.
Manuscripts are much more fragile and will not survive the flames meaning that we are lucky to have access of the few we do. As well as the manuscripts we need to be able to interpret what they are referring to. What do the recorded measures actually mean and how are people counted. That seems simple until we realize that different cultures have different size requirements. Are they all accurate? In some cultures there is the concept of 100 and after that “many”. Were there 250,000 Jews who left Egypt or 600,000 people? Or were these just guesses? What author or scribe in the future was writing down the conversations between Moses and Pharaoh?
How these stories were passed orally and written down hundreds of years later gave rise to the theory 1) That Moses wrote the books or 2) The words were inspired by God. If you want a religion to survive in the tumult of nations a claim that God wrote them and granted special privileges to one tribe over another that is a pretty convincing argument to the people who are claiming it to be the truth (well it also helps if you can get Charlton Heston to play Moses in a movie).
Even when there are surviving manuscripts they are most likely small fragments with words in between missing and having to be guessed at. Another problem is the style in which they are written with consonants not used and a stylized writing style which then has to be translated into a coherent story. There is also the fact that writers then tried to make their side look good. That is one of the surprises in the Book of Kings where David is portrayed with all of his flaws.
The actual trek through the desert for all of those years by those numbers seems an unlikely trek. Where is the evidence? In an attempt to answer these James Cameron (Titanic, Avatar) has formed an alliance with archaeologist Simca Jacapovich to explain based on the evidence how all of this can be proved to have occurred. Remember this is one among many interpretations which I recommend as a look at history. Did it happen this way? I don’t know I wasn’t there.
Modern studies including satellite imaging can show us views that weren’t available earlier and the knowledge of Tectonic plates also add pieces to the puzzle. Remember the sun would not have stopped in the sky so that Joshua could win a battle and what is the explanation for the plagues of Exodus. Is there a natural explanation? Cameron and Jacobovici provide a convincing argument. The writters of Exodus tried to explain events that been handed down through the ages as best they could.