Richard Lepsius.

Letters from Egypt, Ethiopia, and the peninsula of Sinai online

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round and sacred number.

The 33|rd years also of the Egyptian generations, accord-
ing to Herodotus (ii. 142), was rather a subdivision of the
century than a calculation of the real succession of genera-
tions. The longest series, from which we could obtain a
mean number, are the series of kings. But we can obtain no
scale even from them. The kings of Judah only reigned on
an average nineteen years, those of Israel only twelve years.
Successions of reigns are, however, always shorter than
generations, and in J udah seven out of twenty kings were
killed, or expelled ; in Israel, fully half out of twenty. We
shall therefore approach much nearer the truth if we adopt
the Greek acceptation^ of thirty years for a generation, in
which we only follow most of the modern scholars.

Admitting this, ten or eleven generations would amount
to 300 or 330 years, and if we place Solomon about the year
1000, the genealogies would lead us to 1300 or 1330 years
before Christ, which most perfectly agrees with our earlier
results, since, according to Manetho, we believe we ought to
place MenepJithes 132Sā€” 1309. The Ballinical date of the
Exodus is B.C. 1314, exactly between 1300 and 1330, upon
which of course no more importance is to be laid than is
allowable by the indeterminate factors of the calculation. At
any rate the whole discussion leads to this, that i\\e genealogies,
the only trustworthy although less exact chronological thread
of those Hebrew times, speak as decidedly against the calcu-
lation hitherto adopted of 4S0 years, as in favour of our
calculation of, about, 300 years. This agreement appears to
me of the greatest importance in judgmg both the Eg}-ptian
as well as the Jewish history.

But if, finally, we look at the numbers in the Book of
Judges, we have already seen that, according to the usual

; According to Eratosthenes, Apollodor, Diodor. &c.: see Larcher,
Herod, torn. vii. p. 51, 53, 68, 395, 397.


modt' of reckoning, they arc by no means found to agreo
immediately with any other chronological acceptation ; still
the dironological character of many separate numbers cannot
be misitaken, and we may at least expect that, from our point
of view also, a simple solution nuist present itself, ^vhich
would release the statements of numbers in the Book of
Judges from the contradictions in which, as hitherto inter-
preted, they have stood ^^-ith the ^lanethonic chronology.

Buusen^ gives us a survey of this period. He compares
the " Time of Foreign Rule and Anarchy" with the " Time
of the Judges and of Peace." For the former he puts
3 J* -f 111 years, for the latter, including the monarchical
time to the building of the Temple, 4 x -f 4-i2 years. He consi-
ders the first, less historical than the last (p. 212), and supposes
tliat the number 4S0 is perhaps formed out of the latter 412.
At all events, he believes we must start from this number.
But I should prefer an entirely different combination, which
promises to lead sooner to a result. If we place the un-
certain and round numbers upon one side, and the remain-
ing on the other side, we shall obtain the following survey* :

' Arq. i. p. 209ā€”214. (Tr. vol. i. p. 1G6ā€” 171.)

- Two points may, poriiaps, strike the reader in the survey of the
tlirfirent statements of numbers given here from the Book of Judges,
u\xm which I will subjoin what follows in explanation. I have placc

Online LibraryRichard LepsiusLetters from Egypt, Ethiopia, and the peninsula of Sinai → online text (page 41 of 54)