Exodus: The History Behind the Story

Prof. Israel Knohl The Elephantine Stele and the Great Harris Papyrus both describe Pharaoh Setnakhte’s war against the Levantine usurper Irsu in 1186 B.C.E. Reading these accounts together with Manetho’s story of the war against Osarseph offers us a possible historical context for what eventually became the Bible’s story of the exodus of Israel from …

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Jewish Worship, Pagan Symbols

Ein Harod is a spring that rises in the valley of Jezreel at the foot of Mt. Gilboa. Gideon gathered his men there to sort out the good soldiers from the bad ones (Judges 7). From the pool, the spring makes its weary and meandering way east down the valley for some 18 km, passing …

The Shema‘ Yisrael

The Shema‘ Yisrael from Deuteronomy 6:4 (“Hear O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one”) is Judaism’s holiest confession. Today, we understand the passage as a monotheistic declaration. However, in the Second Temple period, the Shema‘ Yisrael text in Deuteronomy would have been read “Hear, O Israel! The Lord is our God, the Lord alone.” The Shema‘ Yisrael was originally …

How Bad Was the Babylonian Exile?

Biblical Archaeology Society Staff   •  09/22/2016 “By the rivers of Babylon, there we sat, sat and wept, as we thought of Zion.” —Psalm 137:1 [JPS] The Babylonian Exile that resulted from King Nebuchadnezzar’s sixth-century B.C.E. capture of Jerusalem has traditionally been portrayed with the Judahites lamenting their circumstances. But the textual remains left by …