Baruch Halpern contributes a chapter to The Rise of Ancient Israel. He, however, does not see the Israelites as Dever’s migrants from Canaanite areas. He tries to fit an Egyptian background into his theory.
The chronology you would assume from the Bible is that Israel spent 400 years in Egypt. Then, toward the end of that time, were put to forced labor building mud brick structures for the Pharaoh in the Nile Delta. After that came the exodus and a generation later came the entrance into Canaan.
Halpern sees something historical behind the Biblical story, but it is like the something behind the stories of Homer about Greek origins. The stories, in both cases, are not meant to be historical. They are meant to foster nationalist and religious feelings. One major function of the tales is that they are children’s stories. They are stories that were told within the…
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