The Patriarchal Period includes Bible history from the flood. God revealed His Law to Moses and Israel at Sinai. “Patriarch” means “Father.” The Patriarchal Period is the history of the ancient fathers of all mankind after the Flood until the Law was given to Moses on Sinai. In Lesson 11 we saw that the Flood is dated between 3179 B.C. (Greek Septuagint) and 2429 B.C. (Hebrew text with Cainan added). In Lesson 12 we saw that Abraham left Ur in 1876 B.C. and entered Canaan in 1871 B.C. In lesson 14 we will see that Israel entered Egypt in 1656 B.C. and left Egypt in 1446 B.C., the same year when Moses received the Law on Sinai. The Patriarchal Period dates from either 3179 or 2429 B.C. until 1446 B.C., when God gave His Law at Sinai. Critical scholars claim that no historical or archaeological evidence supports Biblical history for this period of time. This lesson presents new discoveries that confirm Biblical history from the Flood to and including the time of Abraham.
To present evidences that will strengthen the faith of each student in the historicity
of the patriarchal period of the Bible and to equip each student.
LESSON OBJECTIVES: You will . . .
- Examine evidences which verify the table of nations in Genesis 10.
- Learn of ancient documents & archaeological findings that testify to the truthfulness of the Biblical stories of the Tower of Babel, the confusion of tongues and the origin and scattering of the nations.
- Consider the possibility that the earth divided into continents after the flood.
- Contemplate significant astronomical and historical evidences that confirm the Bible history of the life of Abraham and his descendants in Canaan.
EVIDENCE FOR THE TABLE OF NATIONS AND CITIES IN GENESIS 10
- Genesis 10 is The Largest List of Nations Given in Ancient Literature
All nations of the world descended from Noah’s 3 sons, 15 grandsons and 37 great grandsons. These 58 descendants plus 26 others, total 84 of Noah’s lineage that gave origin to 84 ancient nations after the flood: see Table 13-A.
- Historical Evidence for The Validity of These Ancient Peoples
- The names of 39 of these 84 descendants of Noah (46%) are found in the Assyrian Records or in various ancient records of the Ancient Near Eastern Texts.
- The references to these sources, plus other Bible references are listed in Table 13-A.
- Ancient Cities and Countries
- Genesis 10 also lists 21 cities and countries.
- Seventeen of twenty-one of these cities and countries listed in ancient historical sources outside the Bible have been found : 81%. See Table 13-B.
Conclusion: Moses’ record of nations that originated after the flood are the most accurate and detailed found among other ancient documents.
EVIDENCE FOR TOWER OF BABEL, CONFUSION OF TONGUES AND ORIGIN OF NATIONS
- God’s Command in Genesis 9:1
God commanded Noah’s sons, “Be fruitful and increase in number and fill the earth.” [emphasis added.] God wanted men to have a missionary spirit and carry His knowledge to the ends of the world so that his entire earth would be inhabited and filled with His knowledge.
- Man’s Disobedience
- In Genesis 11:1-5 men disobeyed God’s will and did not “fill the earth,” but rather settled in land of Shinar (in Babylon), had the same language, and built a city and tower that reached the heavens so that they would not be scattered over the earth.
- Possibly, the Tower of Babel was an astrological tower from which man could worship the stars and chart their own destiny rather than trust in the God who made the stars.
- God’s Punishment of Sinful Man
- Genesis 11:7-9 says God stopped the building of the tower, confused their languages and scattered them over the earth, giving origin to different languages and nations.
- Ancient records of the Kings List of Kish tells of a “golden age” when all lived in harmony and spoke a common language.[i]
- Hallo/Simpson, professors of history at Yale University say, “As in the Biblical tale of the ‘confusion of tongues,’ this stage seems to be pictured as the immediate sequel to the Deluge.[ii]
- Some scholars identify this tower as a ziggurat built at Ur by Ur-Nammu about 2070 B.C.[iii]
- Nabopollasar and Nebuchadnezzar, kings of Babylon in the 7th and 6th centuries B.C., claim to have rebuilt the ziggurat Babili (ziggurat or Tower of Babel).[iv]
- The Esagil Tablet and Herodotus describe the tower as restored by these two Babylonian kings as being 300 feet X 300 feet at the base and 300 feet high.[v]
DIVISION OF THE EARTH IN THE DAYS OF PELEG
- Genesis 10:25 – “Two sons were born to Eber: one was named Peleg [division], because in his time the earth was divided.”
- Some Refer this “Division” to the Dispersion of the People after the Tower of Babel Was Built
- Others Believe this Division Refers to the Splitting of the Continents after Men and Animals Had Dispersed in All Directions over the Earth
- Many scientists believe in “Pangaea,” the theory that all of the continents were once connected and have been gradually separating from each other over millions of years.[vi]
- Annual measurements indicate the continents are still floating apart.
- If the flood cracked the tectonic plate upon which the continents are now sliding, the continents could have broken apart in the days of Peleg.
- The rate of separation could have been rapid in the beginning and then gradually slowed down as is now noted by scientists.
- This theory explains how different animals and humans were separated on different continents, e.g. why kangaroos are found only in Australia.
- Our Biblical Chronology for Peleg Give Him the Following Optional Dates: See Table 11-B
- Hebrew Bible: 2197 – 1958 B.C.
- Greek Bible: 2697 – 2458 B.C.
EVIDENCE FOR BIBLE HISTORY OF ABRAHAM
- Abraham in Ur and Haran
- Abraham was 70 years old in 1876 B.C., when God commanded him to leave Ur to go to Canaan (Genesis 12:1-3; 15:13-21; Galatians 3:17; 1 Kings 6:1).
- The city of Ur is frequently mentioned in ancient literature. It appears over 40 times in the Ancient Near Eastern Texts.
- Abraham stayed in Haran for 5 years before entering Canaan at age 75 in 1872 B.C. (Genesis 11:31-12:5). The city of Haran (Harran) is listed 10 times in Ancient Near Eastern Texts.
- Abraham in Canaan During the Time of Kedorlaomer and Amraphel
- Abraham entered Canaan in 1872 B.C. (Acts 7:4).
- Abraham was 86 when Ishmael was born in 1861 B.C. (Genesis 16:18).
- About 15 years before Ishmael was born (c. 1876 B.C.), the kings of Sodom, Gomorrah and the other cities of the Valley of Siddim had been conquered by Kedorlaomer, king of Elam and remained subject to him for 12 years.
- In Kedorlaomer’s 13th year (c. 1863 B.C.), the kings of the valley rebelled against him (Genesis 14:1-4).
- In his 14th year (c. 1862 B.C.), Kedorlaomer joined Amraphel, king of Shinar (in Babylon), Arioch, king of Ellasar and Tidal, king of Goiim, to attack Canaanite kings in the Valley of Sidim (Genesis 14:5-18).
- Kedorlaomer’s coalition of kings defeated the kings of the valley and carried off much spoil and people, including Lot, Abraham’s nephew.
- Abraham led an army of 318 men and surprised them at night, routing their armies and returning to Canaan with the spoil and prisoners.
- Historical Confirmation that Abraham Was a Contemporary of Kedor, Arioch, Amraphel and Tidal in Genesis 14
- The kingdom of Elam, over which Kedorlaomer later ruled, overthrew the third dynasty of Ur about 2006 B.C.[vii]
- For 250 years no single power ruled Mesopotamia. Rather, city and state kings, such as listed in Genesis 14, ruled during the 19th century, which is the time of Abraham.[viii]
- Kudur-Marbuk, king of Elam, was reigning in the early 1800’s. His name is amazing close to Kedorlaomer, which may mean Kedor, the Elamite.[ix]
- Another king who was a contemporary of Kudur-marbuk (Kedorlaomer) was Hamurapi, “the man of Babylon.” [x]Hamurapi has the same consonants, and sounds the same when aspirated, as Amraphel, king of Shinar (in Babylon), who was an ally of Kedorlaomer, in Abraham’s time.
- Tidal is a Hittite name used for the ruler of Turkey during the early 19th century B.C., when Abraham encountered Tidal, king of Goiim.[xi]
- The name of Arioch (Arriyuki) is found in the documents at Mari in Mesopotamia dated in the time of Zimri-Lin and his father, contemporaries with Hamurapi in the 19th century B.C.[xii]
- Cultural Confirmation That Abraham and Hammurabi Were Contemporary
- Hammurabi’s Law fits the cultural picture of Abraham’s wife Sarah and her handmaid Hagar, whom Sarah gave to Abraham as a surrogate wife to bear a child in Genesis 16, 21.[xiii]
- Old Testament patriarchs “show numerous apparent parallels to law and society of the Hurrian culture attested in northern Mesopotamia at that time: maids given to husbands as a surrogate wife; sanctity of marriage and condemnation of adultery.”[xiv]
- Isaac planned to give Esau an extra share of his inheritance because he was his firstborn. The Code of Hammurabi, contemporary with Abraham and Isaac also gives an extra share for the firstborn.
- One hundred years later in the early 17th century, Jacob gave his 12 sons equal shares of his inheritance with no extra share for Reuben, his firstborn son (Genesis 49). In the mid 17th century B.C. laws at Mari and Nuzi also give equal shares to all the children without giving an extra inheritance for the firstborn, fitting precisely the time of Jacob.[xv]
- The names of Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Judah in Hebrew all begin with prefixes that uniquely fit 16% of 6,000 names of the 19th and 18th centuries B.C. These names fit only 2% of the 1,860 names of the fifteenth through the thirteenth centuries B.C.[xvi]
- The price of slaves changed between Abraham and Moses as it changed in corresponding eastern history.[xvii]
- Akkad Empire (2371-2191 B.C.) slaves cost 10-15 silver shekels.
- 3rd Dynasty of Ur (2113-2006 B.C.), slaves cost only 10 shekels
- Laws of Hammurabi and Documents of Mari (19th century B.C.), price of slaves rose to 20 silver shekels. Joseph was sold for 20 silver shekels in the early 17th century B.C. (Genesis 37:28).
- Documents of Nuzi & Ugarit in 15th-13th centuries, price rose to 30 shekels. Moses’ Law (15th century), a slave was redeemed for 30 shekels of silver (Exodus 21:32).
- Conclusion: The changing Bible price for slaves matches the changing prices of eastern countries dated to the same time.
- Over-all conclusion: Hallo, Yale University historian: “The literary and archaeological evidence . . . stress the overall compatibility of the Biblical and extra-Biblical sources with respect to the general conditions of life, settlement, and movement in the area . . . .”[xviii]
- Astronomical Evidence That Hammurabi and Abraham Were Contemporaries
- We saw above that Abraham’s battle with Amraphel (Hammurabi) and Kedorlaomer (Kudur-Marbuk) occurred about 1862 B.C.
- The 1973 edition of the Cambridge Ancient History dated Hammurabi’s accession year in 1792 B.C., 70 years too late for the time of Abraham.[xix]
- However, the 1991 edition of the Cambridge Ancient History, 2nd Ed., now dates Hammurabi’s first year in 1848 B.C., 56 years earlier.[xx]
- The Venus Tablet of Amissaduqa gives months and dates of first and last visibility of Venus as a morning or evening star, and the length in days of its period of invisibility, for 21 consecutive years.[xxi]
- Ammisaduqa was a Babylonian King, who began his reign 148 years after Hammurabi began to reign.
- In 1982 Peter Huber of Harvard University restudied the Venus Tablet of Amissaduqa, using a highly sophisticated computer.[xxii]
- Former scholars gave 3 possible dates for Hammurabi. Huber showed the odds were 15 to 1 in favor of 1702 B.C. as Ammisadqua’s first year, fixing 1848 B.C. for Hammurabi’s first year.[xxiii]
- Hammurabi is the Amraphel That Encountered Abraham C. 1862 B.C.
- Our Bible chronology shows Abraham entered Canaan in 1872 B.C. and that Ishmael was born in 1861 B.C., when Abraham was 86.
- The Bible dates the battle of Abraham with Amraphel and other kings before Ishmael’s birth, thus c. 1862 B.C., 14 years earlier than Hammurabi’s 1848 B.C. date, as king of Akkad and Babylon.
- Genesis 14:1 says Amraphel was king of Shinar, a territory where the city of Babylon was built in Genesis 11:1,8).
- Akkad was another territory of the ancient nation of Babylon[xxiv] and is often mentioned independently from the capital of Babylon.
- Amraphel (Hammurabi) did not likely reign over Akkad until 1848 B.C., when he became king of all of Babylon.
- Therefore, Hammurabi can still be Amraphel who was king of Shinar, a province of Babylon c. 1862 B.C., 14 years before he became king of all of Babylon and Akkad in 1848 B.C.
- Genesis 14:4 says Canaan had been subject to Chedorlaomer for 12 years before rebelling in his 13th year of reign. This proves Chedorlaomer was the chief of the coalition of kings that attacked Canaan and that Amraphel (Hammurabi) was an ally of Chedorlaomer, following Chedor’s lead, since he formerly dominated Canaan.
- Thus, the new astronomical date of Hammurabi makes him a contemporary with Abraham in 1862 B.C., confirming Genesis 14:1-10.
Critical scholars claim there is no evidence to support Bible history of the Patriarchal Age, but this
lesson has demonstrated that there is significant evidence confirming this period of Biblical history.
SELF EXAM FOR LESSON THIRTEEN
- What evidence is there for the validity of the list of nations given in Genesis 10? ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
- What are two possible explanations concerning the dividing of the earth in Peleg’s time?
- Give two cultural illustrations used to show that Abraham and Hammurabi were contemporaries.
- Hammurabi is said to be what biblical king? ___________________________________________
- How does this king relate to Abraham? ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
[i] Hallo, Ancient Near East, a History, Yale Univ., p.39, citing Samuel Noah Kramer, “The ‘Babel of Tongues’: a Sumerian Version.” Essays in Memory of E. a. Speiser, ed. Hallo, pp. 108-11.
[ii] Ibid., p. 39.
[iii] Jack Finegan, Light from the Ancient Past, Vol. I.49-50.
[iv] T. G. Pinches, “Babel, Tower of: Archaeological Evidences,” International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, Rev., I
[vi] “Pangaea,” New Encyclopedia Britannica, 1991 Rev., 9.112-113.
[vii] Cambridge Ancient History, I.2B.659, 998.
[viii] K. A. Kitchen, “The Patriarchal Age: Myth or History?” Biblical Archaeological Review, March/April, 1995, pp. 56.
[ix] William Hallo, Ancient Near East: a History, pp. 97-98.
[x] Kitchen, op. cit., p. 56.
[xiii] Cambridge Ancient History, 3rd Ed., 1973, II.1.206-207.
[xiv] Hallo, op. cit.,p.74.
[xv] Kitchen, op. cit., p. 92.
[xvi] Ibid., pp. 91-92.
[xvii] Cambridge Ancient History, 3rd Ed., 1973, II
[xviii] Hallo, op. cit., p. 75.
[xix] Cambridge Ancient History, II.1.820.
[xx] Ibid., III.2.280
[xxi] Ibid., II.2.279.
[xxii] Peter Huber, Astronomical Dating of Babylonia I And Ur III, Monographic Journals of the Near East, Occasional Papers, June, 1982.
[xxiii] Ibid., p. 4.
[xxiv] “Akkad” found frequently in the Ancient Near Eastern Texts, sometimes in contrast to the city of Babylon, and sometimes, including it. pp. 159, 161, 165, 178, 267, 271, 273, 274, 277, 289, 301-306,
308, 309, 313, 315, 316, 451, 523, 534, 535, 561, 564, 606, 626, 641.