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Journal of Creation (formerly TJ) 3(1):109–121
April 1988

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Journal of Creation 3:109–121
April 1988

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The Times of the Judges—The Archaeology:

(b) Settlement and Apostasy

by Dr A.J.M. Osgood

The basic chronology of the Times of the Judges, has been presented previously.1 The point was made there that, after the conquest of Canaan by the Israelites—during the years 1406–1401 BC, a small indeterminate period of time elapsed until all of Joshua’s generation had died (the elders that outlived Joshua). Following this there was a period of increasing apostasy by the nation to idolatry (Judges 2:10–13).

In seeking to correlate this narrative to the archaeological record, I have concluded that the Middle Bronze I culture (Albright’s MB I) was, in fact, the wandering, invading and settling Israelites.2

Now we would expect at least two variations of expression of the Israelite settlement, as well as individual local variation in culture, brought about as result of the tribal basis of the nation. These two major variations would be: (a) the Israelites settled in many areas ethnically distinct, and (b) in other locations the nation of Israel mingled with the unconquered Canaanite culture.

This latter example occurs especially in the northern part of the land, around the cities of Megiddo to Beth Shean, and isolated cities to the north (Judges 1).

There would therefore be that which would show MB I with admixture of Early Bronze III (EB III) elements and that which would show pure MB I elements. Here MB I is the culture referred to as intermediate Early Bronze-Middle Bronze (Kenyon) and more recently as EB IV (Dever).

In fact, what we find first of all is a local variation of cultural expression, which has been described as ‘families’ by both Amira3 and Dever,4 the former into A, B, and C in Palestine, the latter into J, CH, S, N, and NC in Palestine, TR, in Trans Jordan. Second, an additional factor appears in Amiram’s C group (Dever’s NC group), that is, left over elements of the EB III culture, producing syncretic culture in just those areas where national compromise took place (in the scriptural record)—called by many EB IV in the Beth Shean—Megiddo line.5

That a compromise between MB I and EB III can be reasoned archaeologically is apparent when we see Amiram’s statement concerning her ‘C’ or Megiddo group:

‘The decoration of the Megiddo Group shows something like a return’ to the red s and even to painted decoration. It may well be that this ‘return’ is due to some surviving traditions of earlier periods.”6 (emphasis ours)

This becomes even more intriguing when it is realised that this is stated of a cultural group whose tombs, in which the pottery was found, are called ‘a more developed type than those which yielded pottery of the Southern and Northern groups.’7

In her chronological evaluation Amiram clarifies her thoughts by saying:

“Groups A and B are closely related to each other, a kind of relationship which is probably more ‘horizontal’ than ‘vertical’ i.e. a relationship that may point to pottery traditions of kindred tribes which came from the same general cultural area, rather than generic relationship.”8

In other words, she sees the A and B groups (Southern and Northern groups) as being contemporary, with a possible tribal relationship, a model certainly consistent with the biblical description of the Israelite occupation of Canaan.

Furthermore, of group C (Megiddo—Beth Shean), the group corresponding geographically to the major Israelite/Canaanite compromise, of which previously Amiram had speculated a return to the earlier bronze tradition in some measure, she says:

“Group C is preponderantly close to the pottery of the following period, the MB IIA; this kind of affinity is more ‘vertical’ than ‘horizontal’. Group C should be considered the direct predecessor of the MB II and a link between MB I and MB II”.9

So group C is MB I with features suggesting a ‘return’ to EB III but related to and predecessor of MB IIA. The biblical model here fits comfortably. The Megiddo—Beth Shean area was a compromise, but one which eventuated late in the MB I settlement—a precursor of the wider compromise of Israelite culture when they more generally accepted Canaanite influence.

“And they took their daughters to be their wives, and gave their daughters to their sons; and they served their gods” (Judges 3:6).

The early compromise in Meggido—Beth Shean area was archeologically MB I and EB III to produce a culture which has been termed by some EB IV (Palestine), a subtle trap in interpreting the Palestinian record archaeologically without solid reference to the biblical record. This EB IV of Palestine, or Amiram’s group C MB I should not be confused with the Trans Jordan EB IV (Dever’s EB IV A and B) with its red slip tradition, found south of Wadi Zerqa (or River Jabbok of Scripture), that is, the traditional original home of the Moabite people (and possibly the Ammonites of Judges 11:13).

The Trans Jordan EB IV B and C of red slip tradition is to be seen as contemporary with MB I (non-red slip) Trans Jordan and Palestine, whereas EB IV Palestine (MB I Group C) should be seen as the last phase of MB I in the Megiddo—Beth Shean area. EB III and MB I are equivalent to EB IV (MB I Group C).

Moreover the origins of the two are different. EB IV (red slip) Trans Jordan is the indigenous Moabite culture, whereas EB IV (MB I Group C) Palestine is syncretic (Israelite and Canaanite) giving an appearance of a return to part of the previous culture (see Figures 1 and 2).

Figure 1

Figure 1. Diagram depicting the arrangement of the EB IV—MB I cultures in Palestine and Trans Jordan.

As the nation apostasised from the worship of God, turning to idolatry, the Scriptures tell us (Judges 3:5–11) that they were soon confronted with a northern foe, conquered and occupied. The foe was Aram-Naharaim (or Syria-Naharaim) under its shadowy but obviously capable ruler Chushan Rishathaim; a name unknown to this date in the archaeological records (see Figure 3).

The Khabur basin and Chushan

Israel’s first captivity under Aram-Naharaim should be accepted as simple history, which would leave open the possibility of verification by archaeological evidence. Chushan-Rishathaim is here taken to be a real historical character and the biblical narrative to be simple history.

We are told of Chushan that he ruled over Israel for eight years and from his yoke the land was liberated by Caleb’s nephew Othniel.

Figure 2

Figure 2. Map showing the geographic location and distribution of Amiram’s and Dever’s ‘family’ groupings.

Unknown are:

(1) Chushan’s method of rule over vassal Israel;

(2) Aram-Naharaim’s degree of cultural influence on Israel; and

(3) The details of the fate of Chushan after the liberation.

We are only told that:

“—the children of Israel served Chushan Rishathaim eight years” (Judges 3:8).

And of the liberation:

“The Spirit of the Lord came upon him, and he judged Israel. He went out to war, and the Lord delivered Chushan-Rishathaim king of Mesopotamia into his hand; and his hand prevailed over Chushan-Rishathaim” (Judges 3:10).
“So the land had rest for forty years. Then Othniel the son of Kenaz died” (Judges 3:11).

Thus we are dealing with a new phase—a total of eight years. What archaeological confirmation do we have?

The revised chronology here espoused provides for MB I to be identified as the wandering, conquering and settling Israelites. It follows that if our chronology is correct, the next period archaeologically that is, MB IIA (MB I Kenyon), should reflect consistency with the biblical narrative of Chushan-Rishathaim.

Figure 3

Figure 3. Map showing the location of Syria-Naharaim and the Khabur Basin, and the direction of Chushan-Rishathaim’s attack on Palestine.

It is therefore with some interest that I read Amiram’s earlier conclusions about the pottery of MB IIA (especially knowing that she holds the accepted chronology of the Holy Land, and not the chronology here espoused).

Amiram first recognises the distinctiveness of the characteristics of MB IIA;

“A close analysis of MB IIA and B-C pottery shows many differences between the two periods, but a definite continuity of form and decoration can undoubtedly be observed.”10

What then are the particular differences?

“Plate 35 has been arranged with the intention of illustrating certain features of the MB IIA pottery which can be traced back to their origin through Byblos an Qatna to the Khabur region. The ultimate origins of the Khabur Ware are beyond the scope of this work. This chapter follows up a suggestion of Albright’s, made many years ago, concerning the affinity between MB IIA pottery and the Khabur Ware.”11

Amiram then, as Albright, asserts a connection between the Khabur basin and the M IIA pottery of Palestine—the same areas affected by the biblical narrative of Chushan-Rishathaim. Is this imagined? Or coincidental? To be sure, this connection has been disputed—most particularly by Jonathan Tubb.12 However, in analysing his objections, we discover that he was criticising the hypothesis of a cultural sequence from one area to the other, and this definitely cannot be demonstrated. In fact, it is contradicted. Understandably Tubb then rejects such a cultural connection (see Figure 4).

Figure 4

Figure 4. Diagram depicting two views on the relationship between the Khabur ware and the MB IIA of Palestine.

What Tubb, however, does not do is pay attention to the biblical model envisioned by the Chushan story, which describes a brief but vital contact by conquest of Israel by the forces of Aram-Naharaim. He cannot do this meaningfully because his absolute chronology does not allow such a connection with the Israelite story in the days of the Judges. This also would overthrow accepted thinking and would mean a simple recognition of the Judges accounts as valid and simple historical records, and not just tribal narratives as the ‘documentary hypothesis’ demands, in current thinking. That there was such contact the Bible asserts. That there were, in Palestine, in MB IIA (MB I Kenyon), signs of Khabur influence at the same period that Khabur Ware was in vogue in Aram-Naharaim is confirmed by Patty Gerstenblith.

“…the appearance of both ‘Habur’ ware store jars and ‘Habur’-type decorations marks the beginning of MB I period in the Levant … we see that the ‘Habur’ store jars appear in quantity at Chagar Bazar, just before the end of MB I period in the Levant … That it may have been present there at an earlier date and is only missing at those sites excavated in northern Mesopotamia is perhaps shown by its presence in quantity at the Baghouz cemetery, which probably corresponds more closely to the Levant MB I than do the northern Mesopotamian sites, which seem to postdate the MB I period.”13 (emphasis ours) (Note: MB I Kenyon = MB IIA Albright)

In other words, here in Palestine in the boundaries of ancient Israel is just the cultural influence evident which we would expect from the biblical narrative, taken at face value. The culture of the Khabur basin (Aram-Naharaim) is seen and at no other period. Its appearance then in Palestine first corresponds to the initial appearance of this ware in the Khabur region.

Some would call it coincidental and feel it was not significant, but its presence, identified by those who have no stakes in the biblical chronology here espoused, and following the new invasive MB I culture, would seem to give poignant testimony to, at the minimum, a sequence of events which corresponds to the biblical sequence (MB I Albright). The MBIIA period in Palestine testifies to a regional influence which increases the fit of the revised chronology, here presented, to the simple scriptural narrative.

The only historical narrative which, at such an early period, can tie Khabur influence to the geography of ancient Israel, is the biblical narrative of Chushan-Rishathaim found in the book of Judges.

This then is suggested by the author of this paper to be the explanation of Khabur ware in Palestine in MB IIA (MB I Kenyon): The conquest of the apostatizing Israelite nation by the forces of Aram Naharaim under the able leadership of Chushan Rishathaim for a period of occupation of eight years; the Khabur wares themselves most likely being vessels brought in by the conquerors with stores, most particularly wine, and later adopted for a long time by the native population as a useful item of storage and perhaps trade.
Then influence of this culture would proceed until a new dominant culture arose—and this was to happen as we shall see, from a southern direction. Hence the rebuilt cities after Chushan’s influence had gone would still reflect the Khabur ware influence, perhaps for a series of levels until the new influence was felt. All these levels would be described as MB IIA.

The end of MB I (Albright), and the beginning of MB IIA, would date to 1368 BC and the influence would last until the end of the ‘rest’ following Othniel’s deliverance, which makes a total of 48 years, that is, until 1320 BC. Thus:

  • MB HA: 1368–1320 BC
  • Chushan’s hegemony over Israel: 1368–1360 BC
  • The forty year rest: 1359–1320 BC

The Israelites would almost certainly have begun to build fortifications after their deliverance (that is, during MB IIA), their days of open settlement being now over as the reality of war, conquest and vulnerability came home to them. So the encampments of the MB I now gave way to walled fortresses, soon to be strengthened by even more bitter experiences which lay ahead.

We now date the levels thus:

  • MB I Palestine and Trans Jordan: 1406–1369 BC
  • EB IV Trans Jordan: contemporary with MB I
  • EB IV Palestine: latter part of MB I up to 1369 BC
  • MB IIA: 1368–1320 BC

During the MB I of Palestine the Israelites would have had little defensive posture following their glorious defeat of the Canaanite nations, and one could expect little fear of coming defeat, hence little pressure for fortifications and ease of conquest for an aggressor.

As Prag has said:

“ … that the statistics are not totally in favour of defensive sites, leads one firmly to the view that defence played a relatively unimportant part in EB.MB settlements.”14 (EB.MB is here Kenyon’s term for MB I (Albright).

Mesopotamia under the microscope

The question of the Khabur ware period becomes even more intriguing when we turn to the Mesopotamian scene (see Figure 5).

Figure 5

Figure 5. Map showing the geographic location of the main competing cultures/cities (combatants) during the Early MB I Period of the Levant (MB I Kenyon)

A Synchronism Archaeologically

Just prior to the Khabur surge and dominance, we are in the period of Mari’s zenith under Zimri-Lim. It was during his early reign that a letter was written concerning the shipment of a significant quantity of tin to the Palestinian city of Hazor (among others)—no doubt to be used for bronze, and some of that most certainly for weapons.15

The king named was IBNI-ADAD, or the same as JABIN-HADAD, a name that brings to mind the king of Hazor JABIN (Joshua 11:1). He certainly would have an urgent desire for bronze and hence tin as he heard the news of the approaching Israelite conquests. Moreover, Jabin and Zimri-Lim fit archaeologically with the time surrounding the establishment of the MB I civilisation of Palestine, here identified with the Israelite conquerors. Though nothing is proved, the fit is excellent for such an identification.

An Association Ethnically

Zimri-Lim of Mari was defeated by Hammurabi of Babylon, a powerful and renowned Amorite king. This was the time of Amorite strength in the Middle East, a fact which rests well with the biblical narrative, a time of ‘famous kings’ of the Amorites further west—OG of Bashan and SIHON, king of Heshbon. This is only circumstantial, but intriguing nonetheless.

A Time Lapse Fit

Having conquered Mari in his 32nd year, Hammurabi reigned another ten years, and was then succeeded by his son Samsu-Iluna, who reigned 37 years and was succeeded by his son Abi-Eshuh. But before Abi-Eshuh reigned, the middle Euphrates and Aram–Naharaim were lost. This was the time of the surge of Khabur ware in the Khabur basin.

“Samsu–iluna maintained some control to the northwest, but the middle Euphrates was certainly lost to Babylon by the time of his son Abi-Eshuh … ”16

Moreover, the time of Zimri-Lim’s reign was preceded by the undoubtedly greater figure of Shamsi-Adad of Assyria, and it was in the ‘early phase’ of the mound of Chagar Bazar in the Khabur Basin that Mallowan uncovered tablets of the time of Shamsi-Adad. This level was most likely destroyed by Zimri-Lim, leaving the Early Intermediate or perhaps the Intermediate phase to the time of independence from the Amorite kingdom of Babylon; and here the Khabur ware was found to be in good supply.17

Figure 6

Figure 6. Diagram setting out the suggested chronological reconciliation of the ‘Khabur’ Period and associated events with the chronology of the Judges Period in Israel.

This was independent Aram-Naharaim aspiring to greatness, and it corresponds to approximately 50 years after the letter describing shipment to Jabin (Ibni) of Hazor, an interval which corresponds in time closely to the interval from Joshua’s conquest until the conquest of Israel by Chushan-Rishathaim.

The time cannot be ascertained exactly but the above figure would be close. The circumstantial evidence for the correctness of the revised chronology here espoused is, however, increased by these ‘coincidences’ (see Figure 6).

Suggested Chronology of the ‘Khabur’ Period and Associates

From the above chronological reconciliation it can be seen that the time of Zhimri-Lim’s shipment to Hazor (suggested before Joshua attack) until the Khabur conquest of Palestine by the Bible’s Chushan-Rishathaim (suggested as the power behind the Khabur domination) is completely compatible with the known Mesopotamian relationships surrounding MB I (Kenyon).

We may thus redate these events:

1. Death of Zimri-Lim around 1400 BC
2. Death of Hammurabi ten years later 1390 BC
3. Reign of Samsu-Iluna approximately 1390–1353 BC
4. Shipment to Jabin before 1406 BC
5. Start of Khabur ware in Palestine 1368 BC
6. Reign of Zimri-Lim approximately 1418–1400 BC
7. Death of Shamsi-Adad approximately 1421 BC

A new alignment begins

The land of Israel rested in peace and freedom from oppression for a period of 40 years—here equated with the MB IIA period, or the last portion of it (Judges 3:11). Again they apostasised into idolatry, and soon a new spectre appeared on the horizon. A strong king of Moab began a conquest of Israel which brought him into control of at least the strategic central portion of the land. Eglon of Moab now rebuilt on the ruins of Jericho, ‘the city of palms’, a fortress capable of stationing 10,000 troops, and a palace (Judges 3:12-30).

This apparently was not a rebuilding of the old city which had been cursed by Joshua, later rebuilt by Hiel the Bethelite (1 Kings 16:34), but it was, nonetheless, the same site geographically.

Assisting him in this conquest naturally was Moab’s old sister nation Ammon. This is quite easy to accept. However, surprisingly, also in the raiding force was AMALEK (Judges 3:13).

Now geographically Amalek was in the western Negev (see Genesis) 14:17, Numbers 13:29, Numbers 14:25, 1 Samuel 15:7, 27:8). The related Edomites were between Moab and Amalek, so the alliance does seem a little unusual (see Figure 7).

Figure 7

Figure 7. Map showing the regions/peoples of the Moabite alliance.

However, Amalek has a number of enigmatic statements made about it in the Scriptures (Numbers 24:20). Balaam says of Amalek that it was then ‘the first of the nations’ (first = Hebrew reshith—foremost). This is a truly incredible statement on first glance, but the same concept is supported by Balaam’s other comment about Agag, the Amalekite king. He said that Israel’s kingdom would be higher than Agag, and his kingdom exalted. In other words, the whole idea being conveyed was that Agag occupied a position of immense power (Numbers 24:7).

The implication of these statements is that Amalek was a power to be reckoned with, no longer just a fledgling nation, as before. It is with this in mind that the recent assertions of Velikovsky18 and Courville19 need to be perused. They were united in identifying Amalek with the ‘AMU’( = Hyksos) overlords of Egypt during the Second Intermediate period of that nation. Such an assertion would give weight to statements of scripture that imply an Amalekite nation was the foremost of the nations in Moses’ day. It would also bring meaning into Eglon’s call for help to Amalek for the subjugation of Israel. In fact, it would almost be a necessity for Moab to obtain Amalek’s blessing on her conquest of Israel in order to bear rule over what Amalek (the Hyksos rulers of Egypt) would regard as their sphere of rule. Eglon then would be a vassal ruler of the Amalekite/Hyksos over a subjugated Israel.

It is of interest to note that from this point in Israel’s history as the scriptures record it, Amalek is on the scene more consistently than any other nation in attack against Israel for the next 300 years, first assisting Eglon, then in association with Midian (Judges 6:3), and then in the days of King Saul and David (1 Samuel 15 and 1 Samuel 30).

Such an interval of time adds to the circumstantial weight of the identification of Amalek with the Amu, and the Hyksos, and this author accepts fully at least this part of the theses of Velikovsky18 and Courville19 (This is not, however, a blanket endorsement of other areas of their work.) Hereafter in this work I will assume the identification of Amalekite/Hyksos to be valid, although further discussion on this point will undoubtedly ensue. Taking the above premises, we would expect to find an MB IIB city at Jericho, of larger proportions than the old city (identified as EB III), evidence of a palace, and evidence of Hyksos rule. Furthermore, if we were able to differentiate Moabite culture from Israelite, we would also expect some evidence of Moabite culture in the MB IIB city.

Jericho MB IIB—A new fortress arises

Jericho was definitely rebuilt along different lines in the MB II period—larger than it was before. A regional similarity was also apparent as Garstang says:

“This is indeed fairly clear, because the site lay more or less derelict thereafter for some time, perhaps a century, and when finally the city revived it is found to have been entirely replanned and reconstructed upon fresh lines, with a new and improved defensive system; while an entirely new culture, that of the Middle Bronze Age, replaced the old. Moreover the change was general, and it affected in similar fashion all the great cities on the highlands above the Jordan valley, Jericho nearest surviving neighbours; while many early settlements in and near the southern end of the Rift never revived at all”20 (emphasis ours)

Garstang continues:

“It was during this period that Jericho, under the Hyksos regime attained its greatest extension and the height of its prosperity. The protected area was now about nine acres, which was nearly the size of contemporary Jerusalem.”21

Jericho gave evidence of being a premium city at this time. It was most important to have a palace in the heart of the city—and that a most prominent one. Here in the revised chronology we suggest that this palace was, in fact, that of the Moabite King Eglon, vice regent to his Hyksos/Amalekite overlords of Egypt and the Negev.

“In the heart of the City, on a peak of ground overlooking the spring, rose a royal palace, the most elaborate dwelling uncovered upon the site. The main block, which was square, crowned the highest part of the knoll, and it was surrounded at groundfloor level by a sort of roofed ambulatory, in which would be half-cellar store-rooms, offices, stables, etc., much as in the arcaded basements of many houses of the East to-day.”22

Certainly the description of this palace fits the details of Judges 3:13 and 20–26, but Garstang continues:

“The very proportions and solidarity of the palace building show that the ruler of Jericho at this period had attained both wealth and power; and the contents of the extensive store-rooms committed to his care seem to explain the source of his increased prestige.”23

Moreover, it was during this period that Hyksos power was evident and strong, the many scarabs with the red crown of Lower Egypt pointed out by Kenyon24 testifying to the hegemony of Jericho.

Garstang continues with his details of the Ruler of Jericho at this time:

He became in fact the chief of an important unit in the Hyksos organization. Associated with him as guardian of the Hyksos stores or ‘treasury’ was a resident official, whose title ‘Scribe of the Vezir’ appears upon scarab-signets and jar-sealings recovered from the store-rooms; the names of two persons who held this office were Senb. ef and Se. Ankh, both characteristic of this period.”25

We emphasise our belief that this ruler was, in fact, Eglon of Moab.

It appears that although Eglon’s presence was removed from Jericho, some sort of Israelite presence persisted at the site, as witnessed by its occupation in the days of David’s reign (2 Samuel 10:5).

A new influence

A new influence now affected Palestine, producing the MB IIB culture (Albright nomenclature). The Khabur influence had come briefly and then gone, not being the sort of influence that one attributes to an ethnic movement of people, but eminently in the style of a conquest introduction. The main item of that influence was, in fact, a storage jar which would be suitable for grain or wine.

The new culture was a continuation of the main body of cultural tradition, but gone was the Khabur influence, and a new pottery tradition came, known as the Tell el-Yahudiyeh ware.

“A close analysis of MB IIA and B–C pottery shows many differences between the two periods, but a definite continuity of form and decoration can undoubtedly be observed.”26

The Tell el-Yahudiyeh pottery was not totally new to the MB IIB but was present already to a small extent in the MB I. However, its popularity peaked in MB IIB then continued into MB IIC, finally to leave a remnant in the LB I (Late Bronze I).27

This ware appears to have been produced in Palestine, some exported to Cyprus, Egypt and north into Phoenicia, but its centre was in Palestine (assumed by current thinking to be CANAANITE, but by this revised chronology it would almost certainly be Israelite).28

Despite the difference that is generally assumed between MB I and the MB IIA–C pottery, it is not inconceivable that the Tell el-Yahudiyeh decorations on the juglets which form the distinctive feature, were ultimately conceived from the very features already inherent in the MB I; viz, incisions and ‘notches’ in the MB I pottery made by a comb or fork,29 and ‘punctured decoration’ and ‘designs delineated by grooves’ also reminiscent of the use of comb or fork, in MB IIB Tell el-Yahudiyeh ware.30 Considering the general features of the MB I to MB IIA–C sequence, there is every reason to believe that what we are seeing was the ongoing development of the early Israelite pottery tradition.

Moreover, the pottery of MB I Palestine shows at least some affinity with the late 12th Dynasty of Egypt, which is of course, what we would expect if the MB I to MB IIA to MB IIB–C sequence is postulated as Israelite. As Kenyon says:

“As a result, the royal tombs at Byblos can be closely dated by Egyptian objects. In tombs of the period of Amenemhet III and IV (second half 19th–beginning 18th centuries BC) there appears pottery which is very close to this new pottery in Palestine. Moreover, on a number of other sites in coastal Syria we find the same kind of pottery, and it is clear that part at least of the new population of Palestine must have come from this area.”31 (emphasis ours)

From the point of discussion of the new influence in Palestine in the MB IIB, the most significant features are those which point to a significant Hyksos influence in the land; and this is considerable.

As Amiram has said:

“The correspondence of MB IIB to the Hyksos Dynasties in Egypt is also established with a fair measure of certainty and is generally accepted.”32

With this statement I would make no objection, only with the question of who the Hyksos were would we differ. It follows that if the chronology here espoused is the correct view, then the generally held view on Hyksos origins must fall and be replaced by one which conforms to the scriptural details—the Hyksos would be the biblical Amalekites, found in the area of the Negev, mainly in the west, south of the Wadi Besor, then extending their influence into Egypt. Much that has been called Hyksos in Palestine would in fact be Israelite, but showing evidence of Amalekite hegemony, by scarabs and similar artifacts. Such intricacies of interpretation do not come freely with the sole use of archaeological evidence, but demands a basic framework of hypothesis against which to evaluate the findings. This the biblical record provides.

The major change of influence in Palestine in the MB IIB–C period was to the Hyksos influence. This influence was found, to judge by the scarab evidence, mainly in the area of Palestine south of the Carmel Ridge, a geographic fact worthy of note.

In my earlier discussion on the details of the servitude under the Midianites and Amalekites and their subsequent deliverance under Gideon,33 particular attention was paid to the evidence that this servitude was confined to Israel south of the Carmel Ridge. As soon as the northern deliverance from Jabin’s yoke had been completed, the Midianites and Amalekites moved over the Carmel range to fill the political vacuum, but were quickly defeated by Gideon.

Likewise, it was pointed out that the song of Deborah testified to a presence of Amalek in some sort of controlling influence in the area of Ephraim during the time of Jabin’s rule in the north. The later part of this period, however, was seen to be contemporary with the Midianite/Amalekite rule in the south (see Figure 8).

Figure 8

Figure 8. Map showing the expected distribution of Amalekite artifacts in Palestine compared with the actual distribution of Hyksos scarabs.

Also, it was reasoned that Eglon’s (Moab) rule was with the influence of Amalek.

Thus I am suggesting that the Amalekites of the Bible must be seen to be the same as the Hyksos who ruled over Egypt.

When all the above reasoning is brought together, it becomes apparent that the distribution of the Hyksos artifacts (as here defined by the scrabs) occupied exactly this distribution geographically, and no other. And as this period in the biblical record Eglon and onward corresponds most particularly to the MB IIB–C period on my revised Archaeological Table, the possible correctness of the revised chronology is upheld.

“Most interesting is the fact that Hyksos royal-name scarabs and sealings have not been discovered at sites in the Galilee, the Huleh Valley, Lebanon, or Syria.”34

And again:

“Only one Hyksos royal-name scarab and but a handful of contemporary private name-and-title scarabs have been found north of the Carmel Ridge.”35

Weinstein then argues that the principal centres of Hyksos power in Palestine were in the southern and inland regions south of the plain of Esdraelon. He concludes that the Hyksos were in fact simply southern and inland Palestinian princes.

Against the revised chronology here presented it becomes apparent that the Hyksos were in fact the Amalekites of the southern and western portion of Palestine, viz, the Negev, and that during the MB IIB–C period of Palestine they not only controlled Lower Egypt, but extended their influence up to the Carmel Ridge with the help of firstly Moab under Eglon, who ruled from Jericho on their behalf, and then Midian who helped Amalek to check the rising tide of north Canaanite influence and power under Jabin.

As for the names and order of the Hyksos kings of the 15th and 16th Dynasties who were so involved, their details are in great confusion still. The whole question of the Hyksos is a confused question, with hardly any authority agreeing with the next on details of even the place of the individual kings in the scheme of the period. We need, however, to remind ourselves of the fate of the Amalekite nation, Exodus 17:14 records that God said He would “blot out the remembrance of Amalek from under heaven.”

Today only the Bible and documents that remember Amalek from that source (including Arabian documents) remind us of the existence of this Edomite—descended (Genesis 36:12), Negev/Sinai-dwelling nation (Numbers 13:29) which rose to a pinnacle of power—‘the foremost of the nations’ (literal translation of Numbers 24:20)—and for centuries harassed Israel (Judges). Gone is their name outside of this source; gone is the clarity of details, like a whisp of steam that may not have been. But the remembrance of another name—the ‘Amu’—the Hyksos kings—has replaced the geography, the power, the time and the destiny of what the biblical Amalekites claimed.


The foregoing discussion has continued on from ‘The Times of the Judges—the Archaeology: (a) Exodus to Conquest’ where the Israelite nation of the Exodus was identified with MB I of Negev, MB I of Palestine and MB I or EB IVC of Trans Jordan north of Wadi Mujib (the Arnon River).

This paper, ‘(b) Settlement and Apostasy’, has sought to correlate the MB I (Albright) to MB IIA to MB IIB (to MB IIC) sequence broadly with the early days of the Judges. In doing so two broad correlations have been tied in:

(1) An influence during MB IIA with the Khabur region of Aram (Syria) identified as the days of the biblical Chushan-Rishathaim. Archaeologically this was the influence of a resurgent independent Khabur basin free from the hegemony of Assyria, Mari and Babylon; and

(2) A further influence for a prolonged period with a southern people—the biblical Amalekites/archaeological Hyksos kings/Amu, ruling over a subdued and broken Egypt and periodically bringing Palestine south of the Carmel ridge under their domination and hegemony.

It is the intention of the author to show that this revised chronology increasingly matches the Bible’s history and the archaeological artifacts, thus pressuring a radical revision of the chronology of the ancient world in accordance with the literal historical record of the Scriptures as the true chronology of the ancient past.


  1. Osgood. A.J.M., 1984. The times of the judges—a chronology. Journal of Creation 1:141–158. Return to text.
  2. Osgood. A.J.M., 1986. The times of the judges—the archaeology: (a) exodus to conquest. Journal of Creation 2:56–76. Return to text.
  3. Amiram, R.B.K., 1969. Ancient Pottery of the Holy Land, Massada Press, Israel. pp.82, 191. Return to text.
  4. Dever, W., 1973. The EB IV—MB I horizon in Trans Jordan and Southern Palestine. Bulletin of the American Schools of Oriental Research, 210: 57. Return to text.
  5. Osgood, Ref.2, p.73. Return to text.
  6. Amiram, Ref.3, p.81. Return to text.
  7. Amirnm, Ref.3, p.81. Return to text.
  8. Amiram, Ref.3, p.82. Return to text.
  9. Amiram, Ref.3, p.83. Return to text.
  10. Amiram, Ref.3, p.90. Return to text.
  11. Amiram, Ref.3, p.113. Return to text.
  12. Tubb, Jonathan, 1974. The MB IIA period in Palestine: its relationship with Syria and its origin. Levant, XV: 49–62. Return to text.
  13. Gerstenblith, Patty, 1983. Levant at the Beginning of the Middle Bronze Age. American Schools of Oriental Research, Dissertation Series 5, Winona Lake, Indiana, p.62. Return to text.
  14. Prag. Kay, 1974. The Intermediate Early Bronze—Middle Bronze age: an interpretation of the evidence from Trans Jordan, Syria and Lebanon. Levant, VI: 75. Return to text.
  15. Malamat, A., 1971. Syro-Palestine destinations in a Mari tin inventory. Israel Exploration Journal, 21(1):3 1–30. Return to text.
  16. Oates, Joan. 1979. Babylon, Thames and Hudson, London, p.84 Return to text.
  17. Maflowan, M.E.L., 1947. Excavations at Brak and Chagar Bazar. IRAQ, IX: 83–84. Return to text.
  18. Velikovsky, Immanuel, 1952. Ages in Chaos, Abacus, London. Return to text.
  19. Courville, Donovan, 1971. The Exodus Problem, Volume 1. Challenge Books, Loma Linda, California. A popular summary of this and Velikovsky may be found in Taylor, CV., 1985. Rewriting Bible History, House of Tabor, Adelaide. Return to text.
  20. Garstang, J., and Garstang, J.B.E.. 1940. The Story of Jericho, Hodder and Stoughton, London. p.85. Return to text.
  21. Garstang and Garstang, Ref.20, p.93. Return to text
  22. Garstang and Garstang, Ref.20, p.94. Return to text
  23. Garstnng and Garstang, Ref.20. Return to text
  24. Kenyon, Kathleen. 1965. Jericho II British School of Archaeology in Jerusalem, London. Return to text.
  25. Garstang and Garstang, Ref.20, p.95. Return to text
  26. Amiram, Ref.3, p.90. Return to text.
  27. Amiram, Ref.3, p.120. Return to text.
  28. Amiram, Ref.3, p.120; and Amiram, Ruth BK., 1959. Tell el’yahudiyeh ware. Israel Exploration Journal, 7(2):96. Return to text.
  29. Amiram, Ref.3, p.80. Return to text.
  30. Amiram, Ref.3, p.119. Return to text.
  31. Kenyon, Kathleen, 1960. Archaeology in the Holy Land, Ernest Benn, London, p.64. Return to text.
  32. Amiram Ref.3, p.90. Return to text.
  33. Osgood, Ref.1. Return to text.
  34. Weinstein. James M., 1981. The Egyptian empire in Palestine: a reassessment. Bulletin of the American Schools of Oriental Research, 241: 8. Return to text.
  35. Weinstein, Ref.34, p.10. Return to text.

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