Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

I have argued in the past that MB1 (or EB4) Jericho and the northern Transjordan pottery represents the pottery of the Israelites at the time of the Conquest.  Here are some quotes from leading archaeologists:

“Though the practice of single burials is so characteristic, the burial customs in other respects show many variations, and these variations are probably to be explained as evidence of a TRIBAL organisation, each group maintaining its own burial customs.” (Kenyon, 137.)

“[T]he most satisfactory explanation seems to be that the difference in burial customs is due to a TRIBAL organization.” (Kenyon, 141.)

“The concentrated cemeteries may represent tribal burial grounds….The very noticeable differences between the possessions and burial practices of all the groups described shows that though there were broad similarities there was no uniform culture in any way comparable with that of the preceding and succeeding periods, and that the groups remained separated and TRIBAL in organization.” (Kenyon, 158.)

The following are the tribes that Kenyon was able to discern:

  • Dagger-type
  • Pottery-type
  • Square
  • Shaft-type
  • Outsize-type
  • Bead-type

William Dever’s archaeological investigations of this period have increased the number of discernible tribes to seven. “Following repeated typological analyses, Dever proposed a regional subdivision of the pottery distributions on both sides of the Jordan River into SEVEN groups….” (Ben-Tor, article by Ram Gophna, 144.)

The latest Italian excavators at Jericho have brought the number of different ethnic or social groups (i.e. tribes) up to 13.  Recall that there were 12 tribes of Israel.  The Joseph tribe is usually divided into half-tribes, making the total number of tribes 13.  Three of the tribes settled in the northern Transjordan prior to the Conquest, and all of the tribes settled in distinct geographic regions:

“Actually, one wonders if further exploration of the necropolis may add new groups, as it seems to be the case judging from some tomb assemblages from Jericho studied in recent years.  For instance, Gaetano Palumbo identified at least 13 TOMB GROUPS, comparing burials, sex, social status and tomb fittings.  He isolated the indicators of a stratified society, as well as the coexistence of different “ethnic” (I would prefer “social”) groups….”  (Nigro, L, “Tel es-Sultan in the Early Bronze Age IV (2300-2000 BC).  Settlement vs Necropolis – A Stratigraphic Periodization”, in Contributi e Materiali de Archeologia Orientale IX, 2003, p. 136; emphasis added.)

“This scholar [Palumbo] also proposed the identification of some NEW CERAMIC FAMILIES in Transjordan, highlighting the strong regionalism of the EBIV culture….”  (Nigro, L, CMAO IX, 2003, footnote 83, p. 136; emphasis added.)

New Essays

Posted: April 23, 2017 in Housekeeping, Uncategorized

Greetings all.  I’ve written a few more essays that can be found at  The web address is:


New Book Reviews

Posted: February 1, 2016 in Uncategorized

I have several new book reviews under the Book Reviews section of Pages.  The latest is of Ted Stewart’s Solving the Exodus Mystery, wherein I take issue with Stewart’s chronology.  See also my review of David Rohl’s new book Exodus: Myth or History? wherein I do the same.

Grim Reaper Paradox

Posted: August 21, 2014 in Uncategorized

Analysis of Koons’ Grim Reaper, Blog Version

A New Birth of Freedom

Posted: July 4, 2011 in Uncategorized

Excellent article on America’s founding document.


Obamacare & Violence

Posted: March 26, 2010 in Uncategorized

There are many who are complaining about Obamacare, and some who are counseling violence of some sort in response.   Nevertheless, as Lincoln said after the firing on Fort Sumter: “[B]allots are the rightful and peaceful successors of bullets; and that when ballots have fairly and constitutionally decided, there can be no successful appeal back to bullets; that there can be no successful appeal except to ballots themselves, at succeeding elections.”  (“Message to Congress,” July 4, 1861.)

As long as we have representative government, no one can rightfully appeal to violence.  Many of us were warning of the dangers of electing Democrats back in 2006 and Obama in 2008.  Some of us hoped Obama would take a middle road and be more like Bill Clinton than Jimmy Carter.  This hope has been dashed.  The results were predictable: a year after the socialists took control of Congress, the economy began to falter, and even now, after the first year of  the Obama presidency, we are still mired in the Great Recession. 

Obama seems determined to turn this country to the left, away from Reagan.  All the gains of the Reagan and post-Reagan years are being wiped out.  Instead we have trillions of dollars of debt, new social programs we can’t afford, and a feckless foreign policy.  And lurking in the shadows of the economy is mass inflation, waiting for the banks to start lending again.

Many libertarians hated George Bush and Republicans.  As John J. Miller said as far back as 2002: “Libertarians are now serving, in effect, as Democratic Party operatives.”  (NYT, 11/16/2002.)  Now that libertarians have gotten what they wanted, they’re suddenly whining about the resulting socialism and tyranny.  Duh!

As the billboard said, “Bigger government, more spending, less freedom.  Miss me yet?”  Granted, Bush wasn’t perfect, but sometimes common sense tells us that a lesser evil is to be preferred to a greater evil.  But then again, when have purist libertarians ever allowed common sense to guide their politics?

You reap what you vote for.  If you wasted your vote with third-party candidates out of a hatred of Bush or the Republicans, you essentially voted for Obama. Or if you spent your time trashing Sarah Palin during the last election cycle, it is now useless to complain about who’s in charge.

There’s a price to pay for political stupidity — and many libertarians and “moderates” are paying that price — but to compound it with violence or threats of violence is sheer insanity.  Away with such Sumterism!  It is better to have Obama and all of his social-fascist programs than it is to countenance terrorism or worse.


The Red Sea

Posted: February 15, 2010 in Uncategorized

Depending on context, the Bible uses the term “Red Sea” (yam suf) to refer either to the western Red Sea (bordering Egypt, i.e., the Gulf of Suez), or to the eastern Red Sea (in the land of Edom, i.e., the Gulf of Aqaba).

In some cases, Hebrew suf refers to “reeds” as in Exodus 2:3ff., where the mother of Moses placed the ark in the reeds (suf) and where the daughter of Pharaoh found Moses.  Literally, the biblical term yam suf means “sea of reeds,” but that is an etymological translation, not an identification of the body of water in question.  Many believe suf is a loan word from Egyptian twf (meaning papyrus).

The term suf in yam suf simply refers to what may have been the origin of the name “Red Sea” not to its geographical location.  Some claim that the western Red Sea (Gulf of Suez) cannot be meant as the place of the Israelite crossing because reeds do not grow in salt water.  However, this is an illustration of what D. A. Carson called the root fallacy:

“One of the most enduring of errors, the root fallacy presupposes that every word actually has a meaning bound up with its shape or its components.  In this view, meaning is determined by etymology; that is, by the root or roots of a word.”  (Exegetical Fallacies, 1996, pp. 28ff.) 

For instance, our English word “nice” means pleasant or good, but its Latin root means “ignorant.”  (Idem.)  Thus, a translation cannot always be based on etymology, but has to be based on usage and context as well.  If that’s true of translation, it goes double for interpretation (e.g., location or identification).

So the literal or root meaning cannot in itself be used as a geographic indicator.  This is shown by Numbers 33:10, where the term “Red Sea” (yam suf) has reference to the eastern Red Sea, the salt-water Gulf of Aqaba.  It does not refer to a fresh-water lake of reeds.  In 1 Kings 9:26, Ezion Geber is located on the shore of the eastern Red Sea (yam suf) bordering the land of Edom, again the Gulf of Aqaba, not a fresh-water marsh.  (See also, Jer. 49:21.)

With respect to the Red Sea of the Israelite crossing, the Septuagint translates the term yam suf as “Red Sea” (eruthra thalasse).  This is not so much a literal translation of yam suf as it is an identification of it with the western Red Sea.  Thus, the Jews of the 3rd to the 1st century BC understood yam suf as referring to the traditional Red Sea (Gulf of Suez).  Note that eruthra thalassa is not a reference to reed-filled lake marshes since eruthra means “red” not “reeds.”

The New Testament writers also ascribed the Israelite crossing to the western Red Sea (Acts 7:36, Hebrews 11:29).  Here they also used eruthra thalassa (red sea) to translate the Hebrew yam suf (sea of reeds).  The authority of the New Testament seems decisive to me.

I think the reason translators want to translate yam suf as referring to a shallow lake or to northern marshes above the Gulf of Suez is simply because they are attempting to downplay the miraculous and provide a naturalistic explanation for the crossing.

I don’t think Christians have this option if they really believe in the biblical philosophy of history vis-à-vis a naturalistic, uniformitarian philosophy of history.

See for discussion, James K. Hoffmeier, Israel in Egypt, 1996, pp. 199ff; Nahum M. Sarna, Exploring Exodus, 1986, pp. 106ff; Colin J. Humphreys, The Miracles of Exodus, 2003, pp. 172ff.

For New Courville, a crossing at the Gulf of Suez is consistent with the MB1 Exodus theory since MB1 indicia have been found on both sides of the western Red Sea.   In our opinion, the best location for the Israelite crossing of the Red Sea is in the Gebel Atika area, where MB1 indicia have been found.  This area is on the Egyptian side of the Red Sea.  The Israelites would have entered the Sea at this point and journeyed to the other side, arriving perhaps at Ayun Musa, about 13 miles distance.  For more discussion, see our essay “Crossing the Red Sea”: