Bible 110 Old Testament Tribal Considerations A.


Bible 110 Old Testament

Background to the Exodus

Tribal Considerations

A. Each of the 12 tribes has a history all its own. We can talk of tribes of

Israel only when they settle in Palestine.






Dan Ephraim







Tribes of Levi disappears. Joseph divides into Ephraim and Manarseh. Gad takes the place of Levi.

B. Assumption that the six Leah tribes had a relationship of some kind. Leah

Amphictyony (grouping of tribes). Perhaps a confederacy of tribes gathered around Sheehem. Tribal movement continues. Reuben goes across Jordan;

Judah moves south; Simeon disappears; Issachar and Zebulon settle and establish in the hill country of Palestine.

C. When Judah moved south, he and Simeon may have joined with other southern tribes (e.g. Kenites, Calebites, Othnielites, Yehamilites) to form another

Amphictyony around Hebron. Concubine tribes not intimate with Leah tribes:

Gad trans-Jordan; Asher weak; Dan may be Philistine grouping which migrated north of Sea of Galilee. Naphtali was unknown. Benjamin crossed Jordan, settled near Jericho.

Joseph’s tribes were in Egypt eventually. They went into hill country with the conquest. Joseph and Benjamin fill vacuum left by Leah tribes. Later tradition has all these tribes in Egypt. Ephraim, Manasseh, Benjamin appear to


Bible 110 Old Testament hold core of OT Exodus tradition. Other southern tribes not eyewitness to

Exodus? Tribes in north don’t know Exodus? Joseph tribes enter Egypt after

1720 BC when Semites dynasty overthrows native Egyptians. They stay under

Semite (Hyksos) rulers until 1550 when native dynasty overthrows Hyksos.

Bondage period is 200-250 years. Exodus runs 1250-1200?

Time of Exodus

A. Older view – Exodus occurred ca 1440 BC 1Kings 6:1 Solomon began to build Temple in his 4 th year, 480 years after Israelites left Egypt. Is this accurate? If you push back the time of Israelite servitude 430 years, this would put them coming into Egypt earlier than Abraham. Chronology may not be very strict. Are all generations included or are some left out? Do some overlap?

B. Tell-el-Amarna letters discuss activity of an armed, warlike group called

“Aperru.” Are they the Hebrews? If so, this might push the date of Exodus back to nearly 1440 BC. But to identify Aperru with Hebrew is simplistic.

C. Later date; Exodus 1:11; Israelites built cities of Pithom and Ramses.

These cities are almost certainly identified with Pharaoh Ramses II (1290-1224

BC). In 1220 Pharaoh Merneptah records attack on peoples in Canaan, among whom he mentions Israel.

Kenite Hypothesis

Has to do with use of the Yahweh (YHWH) for God. The name is found in

Gen 4:26; Exodus 6 (YHWH is new name for God given to Moses). Are there two traditions? Gen 4, or J material, is southern (Kenites are southern). Moses was acquainted with the God of the fathers. When he fled Egypt to Midian

(Jethro was Kenite), it was here that he learned the name Yahweh. Hypothesis is that this was the Kenite name for God. Jethro was a Kenite priest.

Exodus 18 – Moses returns from Egypt to tell Jethro of all the great things

God has done. Jethro says that now he knows Yahweh to be greater than all other gods. He personally worshipped Yahweh all along. Now he sees Yahweh in a new light as greater than all the other gods. Moses learned Yahweh’s name


Bible 110 Old Testament while in Jethro’s camp; he learned the Lord’s deliverance redemption, and covenant later on his own. Jethro may have given Moses instruction in the

Yahweh priestly tradition.