The 12 Commandments

The Two Commandments

Matthew 22:34-40

34But when the Pharisees heard that He had silenced the Sadducees, they gathered together. 35Then one of them, a lawyer, asked Him a question, testing Him, and saying, 36″Teacher, which is the great commandment in the law?” 37Jesus said to him, “‘You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ 38This is the first and great commandment. 39And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.” Matt. 22:34-40

This exchange between Jesus and a lawyer took place during the busy and intense last week before the crucifixion. Various groups of enemies arrayed themselves against Jesus, coming to Him with their challenges and trick questions. He perfectly responded to each one. And His purpose remained, to prepare people for the kingdom, by exposing sin, urging repentance and inviting all to obey God.

In this situation the question was, “which is the great commandment in the law?” This reflects the understanding that they (the Jews) were under law to God, specifically the law of Moses. God had given the nation a comprehensive body of law to govern them, not only spiritually but in their civil existence as a preparatory nation in God’s overall plan. In giving that law, God had said: “Now therefore, if you will indeed obey My voice and keep My covenant, then you shall be a special treasure to Me above all people; for all the earth is Mine. And you shall be to Me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation,” (Ex. 19:5,6). Based on that law God gave to the Israelites, the question posed by the lawyer is, “which is the great commandment?”

Jesus responded, not just by picking out two commandments at random. He cited one commandment that pertains directly to man in relationship with His God: “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.” He said, “This is the first and great commandment.” This statement by the Lord identifies a priority that deserves our recognition today. First, get right with God. And don’t miss the totality of this: “Love your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.” This is the total man loving the total God. God didn’t hold back in giving to us; we shouldn’t hold back in giving to Him. Hendriksen said, “God’s whole-hearted love must not be answered in a half-hearted manner.”

From Pulpit Commentary: “The love of God is the first of all the command-ments. We must not be contented with our spiritual state unless we are sincerely and earnestly striving to obey it. The measure of that love is the measure of the whole heart and soul and mind: the heart, the centre of our being; the soul, the seat of the affections and desires; the mind, the home of thought and reason. The love of God must dwell in all these parts of our complex nature, filling the whole man with its gracious sanctifying influence; we must try to love him with the whole strength of all our highest faculties. Such love, the first duty of the Christian, is also the source of his sweetest, holiest joy. There is no earthly joy like that which flows from the love of those dearest to us; and as the love of God is of all forms of love beyond comparison the highest, so the joy which streams from that love is of all joys unutterably the deepest and the most blessed. It is the foretaste of heaven, for the joy of heaven is to love God perfectly, and to know and feel the great love of God. Peter says that those who love him now ‘rejoice in him with joy unspeakable and full of glory.’ And if that be true of those who now see him not save by faith, what must be the entrancing gladness of those who see him face to face, as he is, in his kingdom?”

But there was another command: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” This is “like” the first in that love is enjoined (with all that biblical love expresses in attitude and action). This is to be directed to “your neighbor.” This expression is not narrow (the people across the street), but comprehensive of all your fellow human begins (see Lk. 10:25-37 & Gal. 6:10). This means, once we are right with God, that fellowship with God and acceptance of His authority provides a way for us to serve our fellow man in the highest sense. Loving God is first. Once that is settled and because of that, we are equipped to engage ourselves in the best service to others. God first, then others.

It is futile to attempt to serve mankind absent faithfulness to God. “If someone says, ‘I love God,’ and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen, how can he love God whom he has not seen? And this commandment we have from Him: that he who loves God must love his brother also.” (1 Jno. 4:20-21).

“On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets,” (verse 40). Everything God obligated His people to do, as recorded in the Old Testament, was an extension of either loving God or loving man. There are really two things God requires: (1) to respond proper to Him, and (2) to respond properly to others. Some will ask, where is self in this? Loving God as you should (with all that means) will generate a healthy self-concept. And when that love for God prompts appropriate service to your fellowman, you will be loving your neighbor “as yourself.”

God is God, and man is man, so it behooves us to love God and make this our highest priority; out of this love for God, that must develop this healthy and active love for people — everything else relates to these two basics.

By Warren E. Berkley
From Expository Files 13.2; February 2006

BS”D KNOW YOUR BIBLE: Daniel Chapters 2-3

BS”D KNOW YOUR BIBLE: Daniel Chapters 2-3
Study Notes by Avraham ben Yaakov


Although the dream of Nebuchadnezzar is dated in our text as having taken place in “the second year of the reign (MALCHUS, kingship) of Nebuchadnezzar…” (v 1), Rashi (ad loc.) points out that this cannot be taken literally since Daniel was not yet in Bablyon. What the text means is that this was in the second year after the destruction of the Temple, for then Nebuchadnezzar attained the height of temporal, unholy MALCHUS when he displayed his brazen arrogance in entering into the Sanctuary of the King of the Universe.

After his dream, “his spirit was troubled”, VATITH-PA’EM RUHO. Nebuchadnezzar’s dream is compared to Pharaoh’s dream of the seven cows and seven ears of corn, except that in Pharaoh’s case, it says VATI-PA’EM RUHO (Gen. 41:8), whereas in the case of Nebuchadnezzar the grammatical form of the Hebrew verb is the “doubled” HITPA’EL – VATITH-PA’EM implying double trouble, because on waking up, Pharaoh forgot the interpretation but did remember the dream, whereas Nebuchadnezzar forgot both the interpretation AND THE DREAM ITSELF.

Metzudas David on verse 2 explains that the HARTOUMIM that Nebuchadnezzar summoned to tell him what he had dreamed and what it meant were experts in natural sciences and psychological explanations of dreams while the ASHAPHIM were medical doctors who understood how bodily changes are reflected in the pulse, urine etc. The MECHASHPHIM were astrologers who used the positions of planets etc. in interpreting various phenomena including dreams, while the KASDIM were experts in the constellations and could understand a person’s destiny by knowing the hour at which he was born. Rashi (on Daniel 1:20) says the HARTOUMIM used to use human bones for divination.

In response to Nebuchadnezzar’s outlandish demand to be told the very dream that he himself had forgotten, the KASDIM, who had the reputation for being the most deeply immersed in the occult arts as well as the cruellest, switched into speaking Aramaic – the lingua franca of Mesopotamia and Syria – so that everyone present should be able to understand and see how ridiculous the king’s demand was in order to shame him into backtracking. Much of the rest of the book of Daniel is written in the same courtly Aramaic, with its very stately cadences and a style somewhat more ornate than the classic chiseled simplicity of biblical Hebrew.

The KASDIM explained to the king that he was asking for something far too weighty “and there is no one else (AHARAN) who can tell the king except the gods, whose dwelling is not with flesh” (v 11). The Midrash states that (by reading the letter HET of AHARAN as a HEH) the KASDIM were saying that “there is no AHARON” – i.e. the only person who could have told the king his dream would have been AHARON the High Priest – i.e. the High Priest of the destroyed Temple in Jerusalem, who could have consulted the URIM VE-THUMIM. Nebuchadnezzar was enraged because those same KASDIM had advised him to destroy the Temple, and this is why he now ordered them all to be killed (Rashi on v 11).

The decree extended to all the wise men in Babylon, including Daniel and his companions Hananiyah, Misha’el and Azariah, but through the power of their sanctity and prayer and Daniel’s exalted holiness, God revealed the secret of the dream to him. Like Joseph when he explained to Pharaoh the meaning of his dream, Daniel emphasized to Nebuchadnezzar that God alone had the power to reveal the dream and its meaning to him – as if Daniel himself were a mere channel (v 27): Daniel’s whole purpose was to SANCTIFY THE NAME OF GOD.

With the collapse of the Davidic kingdom of holiness as a temporal world power, the MALCHUS had fallen to the KELIPOS (“husks”), of which – after Pharaoh king of Egypt – Nebuchadnezzar was the golden HEAD. Thus in the second year after the destruction of the Holy Temple in Jerusalem, Nebuchadnezzar in his dream envisaged HIMSELF and all that would come after him until the end of time as the unholy MALCHUS worked its way through to the end of its internal logic, leading eventually to its own destruction by the MALCHUS of MASHIACH (the stone that smashes the statue).

We are blessed to have very great rabbinic commentators on the book of Daniel. Besides Rashi and Metzudas David, the standard classical commentators, we also have the outstanding commentary of RABENU SA’ADIA GAON (892-942, Egypt and Israel) and that of R. Avraham IBN EZRA, both of which provide crucial insights into the meaning of the imagery in Daniel’s visions.

All the commentators are agreed that the golden head of the statue is Nebuchadnezzar while the silver chest and arms are the empires of Medea and Persia that followed (as we will read later on in Daniel, Ezra and Nehemiah and also in Esther). All are agreed that the bronze belly and thighs allude to the Greek empire that started with the conquests of Alexander of Macedon. R. Sa’adia Gaon states that some commentators identified the iron legs exclusively with Aram (=Edom, Rome), but he takes issue with this as it leaves no room for the empire of Ishmael. He himself endorses the view that the fourth kingdom is divided between Aram (iron) and Ishmael (clay). As to their being “iron mixed with miry clay, they shall mingle themselves with the seed of men”: this signifies that Jewish seed will be mixed in with these peoples as will the seed of many other peoples living with them – except that they will not be truly attached to one another just as iron and clay don’t hold together.

[We can see aspects of this end-of-time prediction in today’s kind-of alliance between Britain-U.S.A. and Saudi Arabia etc. The degree of intermingling of Jewish seed in many nations can be gauged from today’s rates of intermarriage and assimilation.]

All the commentators are agreed that the stone that smashes the statue (v 34-5) – which Daniel explains as the MALCHUS that will never ever be destroyed – is the MALCHUS of Melech HaMashiach that we are awaiting soon in our times.

On hearing Daniel tell him his dream and its meaning, both of which Nebuchadnezzar knew but had forgotten, the king fell down to worship him like a god – but Daniel refused to be treated as a god and did not accept the king’s gifts, because Daniel knew that God exacts retribution not only from idol worshippers but also from the gods they worship (Bereishis Rabbah 96).


Having heard Daniel’s interpretation of his dream – that the empires of the nations would be destroyed while the kingdom of Israel would endure – Nebuchadnezzar was determined to make Israel stumble and find a way to destroy them, and this was why he immediately built his golden idol (R. Sa’adiah Gaon). ARI explains that the idol was SIXTY CUBITS HIGH corresponding to the six main Sefiros of Chessed-Gevurah-Tiferes-Netzach-Hod-Yesod, each of which is composed of all ten Sefiros (6 x 10=60). Nebuchadnezzar sought to turn the Kindness of Zeir Anpin into severe Judgment (Sefer HaLikutim, Daniel).

It is said that he chose to erect his idol in the Valley of Doura (v 1) because this was where Adam’s buttocks were formed. R. Saadia Gaon states that the Valley was full of the bones of Israelite exiles from the tribe of Ephraim who had been slain by the KASDIM, and the king wanted to frighten all his subjects into submission. In revenge for Nebuchadnezzar’s brazen arrogance, God commanded Ezekiel to bring the dry bones back to life in this same Valley of Doura (Sanhedrin 92b).

It seems as if Nebuchadnezzar wanted to establish a new world religion, which would explain why he brought together such an huge array of officials and representatives of so many different lands (v 2). For the jubilant inauguration of his idol he assembled an enormous symphony orchestra: the list of the many different kinds of instruments includes many that had formerly been played in the Temple in Jerusalem.

The Chaldean slanderers who denounced Daniel’s three companions, Hananiya (Shadrakh), Misha’el (Meishakh) and Azaria (Abad-nego), to Nebuchadnezzar were jealous of the fact that at Daniel’s request they had been appointed to supervise all the royal ministers (Daniel 2:49).

When Nebuchadnezzar threatened the three with burning in his furnace and arrogantly asked them, “Which god will save you from my hands?” (v 15), they replied without hesitation that the God they served had the power to save them, and that even if He did not – for they did not rely on their own merits or on miracles – they would still not worship Nebuchadnezzar’s idol. In other words they were ready to sacrifice themselves even without being saved.

In the words of the Midrash, the three companions told Nebuchadnezzar: “When it comes to all the various taxes you impose on us you are king, but if you are telling us to worship idols, you and a dog are just the same and you are no king” (Yalkut Shimoni). It was this that enraged the king (v 19) causing him to have the furnace stoked sevenfold… The fourth figure that Nebuchadnezzar saw walking unscathed through the fire was the angel Gabriel, “who was following after the three companions like a student after his teacher, to teach you that the Tzaddikim are greater than the ministering angels! When Nebuchadnezzar saw the angel Gabriel, he immediately recognized him and all his limbs quaked and trembled. He said, This is the angel I saw in Sennacherib’s war, and he appeared like a river of fire that burned up his entire camp” (Yalkut Shimoni).

Nebuchadnezzar’s recognition of the saving power of HaShem was a great SANCTIFICATION OF HIS NAME during the very exile of Israel – and as we see from vv 31ff, Nebuchadnezzar wrote a letter to all the people’s of his empire praising the supreme God. A number of the beautiful Aramaic phrases from this letter are woven into the Shabbos table song KAH RIBON found in most Siddurs and collections of Shabbos Zemiros.


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The Bible BC Before Chapters – Rightly Dividing the Word

The Hebrew Scriptures were not always divided into chapters and verses; in fact it is not even of Jewish origin (Ginsburg, 1966). The chapter divisions that we are familiar with, according to Moore (1893) date back to “the Latin Bible in the thirteenth century ” (p. 73).  Stephen Langton, the Archbishop of Canterbury (c. 1150 – July 9, 1228) is the one credited with devising the “chapter” system that has come down to us in our modern editions of the Bible. These chapter divisions are quite familiar and even helpful to students of Scripture, but do they assist the student in rightly dividing the word? They reflect at times a random break in the texts, often in places that interrupt the designed flow of narrative. So while they provide a common way of marking passages facilitating ease of reference, do they help us or hurt us in our understanding of Scripture? Is there a better method of dividing the texts than the system credited to Archbishop Langton? The answer is yes.

Ancient Hebrew Bible manuscripts followed a system preserved by the Massoretes, a school of rabbinic scribes of the 6th through the 10th centuries. When Jacob ben Chayim published his Rabbinic Bible (1524-25) he used the Christian chapters contained in R. Nathan’s Hebrew Concordance. Late in the publication of his work he discovered a list of the more ancient Massoretic divisions, but since he had come upon it as the work went to press, he had to publish it separately. In his introduction, he informs the reader that had he found it sooner he would have used it instead of the Christian chapters (Ginsburg, 1966). He says, “I have published it separately so that it may not be lost in Israel.” What were those ancient divisions?

The ancient divisions of the texts referred to by Jacob ben Chayim are known as sedarim. The sedarim according to early sources mark a very ancient division of the texts. A “seder” was read and taught every Sabbath and according to this ancient practice the Torah would be read through in approximately three to three and one half years. This “triennial cycle” was used in “Palestine” (Meg. 29b) whereas in Babylon the Jews read through the entire Torah in one year.

We possess several sources and lists of these sedarim. The precise number for these sedarim vary from 141 to 175. The Leningrad Codex for example marks 167 sedarim in the Torah. Since this is the oldest “complete” copy of the Hebrew Bible, I prefer this list but I have carefully made note of sedarim from other lists and manuscripts. Each of these would be the start of a weekly Torah portion. I am listing them here with the familiar chapter and verse location so that you can mark them in your Bible.

Genesis – 45 Sedarim
1.1; 2.4; 3.22; 5.1; 6.9; 8.1; 8.15; 9.18; 11.1; 12.1; 14.1; 15.1; 16.1; 17.1; 18.1; 19.1; 20.1; 21.1; 22.1; 24.1; 24.42; 25.1; 25.19; 27.1; 27.28; 28.10; 29.31; 30.22; 31.3; 32.4; 33.18; 35.9; 37.1; 38.1; 39.1; 40.1; 41.1; 41.38; 42.18; 43.14; 44.18; 46.28; 48.1; 49.1; 49.27

Exodus – 33 Sedarim
1.1; 2.1; 3.1; 4.18; 6.2; 7.8; 8.16; 10.1; 11.1; 12.29; 13.1; 14.15; 16.4; 16.28; 18.1; 19.6; 21.1; 22.24; 23.20; 25.1; 26.1; 26.31; 27.20; 29.1; 30.1; 31.1; 32.15; 34.1; 34.27; 35.30; 37.1; 38.21; 39.33

Leviticus – 25 Sedarim
1.1; 4.1; 5.1; 6.12; 8.1; 10.8; 11.1; 12.1; 13.29; 14.1; 14.33; 15.1; 15.25; 17.1; 18.1; 19.1; 19.23; 21.1; 22.17; 23.9; 24.1; 25.14; 25.35; 26.3; 27.2

Numbers – 33 Sedarim
1.1; 2.1; 3.1; 4.17; 5.11; 6.1; 6.22; 7.48; 8.1; 10.1; 11.16; 11.23; 13.1; 14.11; 15.1; 16.1; 17.16; 19.1; 20.14; 22.2; 23.10; 25.1; 25.10; 26.52; 27.15; 28.26; 30.2; 31.1; 31.25; 32.1; 33.1; 34.1; 35.9

Deuteronomy – 31 Sedarim
1.1; 2.1; 2.31; 3.23; 4.25; 4.41; 6.4; 7.12; 9.1; 10.1; 11.10; 12.20; 13.2; 14.1; 15.7; 16.18; 17.14; 18.14; 20.10; 21.10; 22.6; 23.10; 23.22; 24.19; 26.1; 28.1; 29.9; 30.11; 31.14; 32.1; 33.1

So based upon the divisions above, one would study Genesis 1.1 – 2.3 in the first week of the Torah cycle, 2.4 – 3.21 in the second week etc.

A careful look at the list of sedarim above will show that they often coincide with verse 1 in a “chapter,” but there are many examples where this is not the case.

Perhaps we should study our bibles according to the ancient divisions of texts recorded in the preserved notes and markings contained in the Hebrew texts. By doing so, would we not be rightly dividing the word of truth? By making people aware of this ancient system of sedarim we are doing our part to ensure that it is not lost in Israel!


Ginsburg, C.D. (1966). Introduction to the massoretico-critical edition of the Hebrew Bible. New York, NY: KTAV Publishing House .

Moore, G.F. (1893). The Vulgate chapters and numbered verses in the Hebrew Bible. Journal of Biblical Literature, 12(1), 73-78.

Why uphold Torah?

OJB Devarim 27
|26| Arur be he that
confirmeth not divrei haTorah
hazot by doing them. And kol
HaAm shall say, Omein.

This last curse, which condemns any and every transgression of the divine Law, shows that the individual cases mentioned in the preceding curses are only examples, and for the most part such as imply a secret transgression. The curses only are mentioned in this list, because it was the object of the Law to awaken a desire for the Messiah, who would take the curse away and bring the true blessing. We see here also that the office of the Law is that of proclaiming the divine curse and damnation, from which only He who became a curse for us is able to deliver all men.


[Ga 3:10]

|10| For as many as are
(seeking “YITZDAK IM
HASHEM”) by chukim of the
Torah are under a kelalah
(curse); for it has been written,
LA’ASOT OTAM (“Cursed is
everyone who does not
uphold, abide by all the words
of this Torah to do them, to
carry them out” DEVARIM
27:26; cf Ya 2:10).
|11| Now it is clear that not
one person is YITZDAK IM
HASHEM (“justified with G-d”)
by the Torah, because
YICHEYEH (“the righteous by
his faith will live” CHABAKUK
|12| But the Torah is not of
emunah, but the man
(“who does these things will
live” by them VAYIKRA 18:5).
|13| Moshiach redeemed us
from the kelalah (curse) of the
Torah, having become a
kelalah (curse) on behalf of us,
because it has been written,
(“Curse of G-d is on the
NEVELAH (body, corpse)
being hanged on the tree”
DEVARIM 21:23),
|14| In order that to the
Goyim the Bracha of Avraham
Avinu might come by
Moshiach Yehoshua, that the
havtachah (promise) of the
Ruach haKodesh we might
receive through emunah.
|15| Achim B’Moshiach, I
speak according to human
dimyon (analogy). Even a brit
(covenant) having been
confirmed by Bnei Adam no
one sets aside or adds to it.
|16| Now to Avraham Avinu
were spoken the havtachot
(promises) and to his ZERA
(“seed” BERESHIS 22:18). He
does not say
Ga 2, 3
(“and to your seeds”), as
concerning many, but as
concerning one, “and to the
ZERA of you”, and that ZERA
is Moshiach.
|17| And this I say: a brit
(covenant), which was
previously confirmed by
Hashem, cannot be annulled
so as to abolish the havtachah
(promise) by the Mattan Torah
–which was given arba me’ot
usheloshim shanah [four
hundred and thirty years later
SHEMOT 12:40]).
|18| For if the nachalah
(inheritance) is based on
Torah, it is no longer based on
havtachah (promise); but
Hashem has given the
nachalah to Avraham Avinu
by havtachah (promise).
|19| Why then the Mattan
Torah (Giving of the Torah)?
The Torah was added because
of peysha’im, until the ZERA
(Moshiach) should come to
whom the havtachah had
been made (BERESHIS
22:18). Now the Torah was
administered through
malachim (DEVARIM 33:2;
TEHILLIM 68:18) by the
hand of a metavech
|20| Now the metavech is not
for only one, but Elohim hu
echad (DEVARIM 6:4).
|21| Is the Torah, mimeila
(consequently, as a result),
against the havtachot
(promises) of Hashem? Chas
v’Shalom (G-d forbid!)! For if
Torah had been given that
had the ko’ach (power) to
affect hitkhadshut
(regeneration), then to be
(“justified with G-d”) would
indeed have been based on
chukim of the Torah.
|22| But the Kitvei HaKodesh
consigned all things under
HaChet (Sin) [Ro 3:9], that the
havtachah (promise)

might be given by emunah
in Rebbe, Melech
HaMoshiach Yehoshua to the
|23| But before Emunah
came, we were being held in
custody, being confined and
guarded for the about-to-be-
revealed Emunah.
|24| This is the result: the
Torah functioned as our
omenet (governess) to lead us
to Moshiach, that by emunah
we might be YITZDAK IM
|25| But Emunah having
come, we are no longer under
an omenet (governess).
|26| For through emunah in
Rebbe, Melech HaMoshiach
Yehoshua, you are all yeladim
of Elohim.
|27| For as many as have had
a tevilah into Moshiach have
clothed yourselves with
|28| There is not Yehudi nor
Yevani (Greek), there is not
eved (servant) nor Ben Chorin
(freedman), there is not zachar
(male) nor nekevah (female),
for you are all echad in
Moshiach Yehoshua.
|29| And, if you belong to
Moshiach (YESHAYAH 53:10),
then you are of the ZERA of
Avraham Avinu, you are
yoreshim (heirs) according to
the havtachah (promise).

We need to get along

We need to get along and apply this command of HaShem. 

“For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek, for the same Lord over all is rich to all who call upon Him. 13 For “whoever calls on the name of YHWH shall be saved.” 14 How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher?” (Ro 10:12–14)

Yeshua is all—Yeshua absorbs in Himself all distinctions, being to all alike, everything that they need for justification, sanctification, and glorification (1Co 1:30; 3:21-23; Ga 2:20).

in all—who believe and are renewed, without distinction of person; the sole distinction now is, how much each draws from Yeshua. The unity of the divine life shared in by all believers, counterbalances all differences, even as great as that between the polished “Greek” and the rude “Scythian.” Yeshua Ha Meshiah imparts to the most uncivilized the only spring of sound, social and moral culture.

Ancient Israel in Egypt and the Exodus – Biblical Archaeology Society

Ancient Israel in Egypt and the Exodus

In this free eBook, learn about the Israelites in Egypt and the archaeological evidence for the Exodus.

The Exodus is one of the most dramatic events in the Hebrew Bible – the slavery of the Israelites in Egypt and their miraculous escape across the Red Sea. It is traditionally viewed as the single event that gave birth to the nation of Israel. What is the archaeological evidence for the Exodus, and for Israelites in Egypt?

The Biblical narrative of the Exodus is a fascinating account that can be supplemented by additional historical sources. This free eBook, taken from articles in Biblical Archaeology Review magazine, considers texts and archaeological evidence from the second millennium B.C.E. that describe Israel in Egypt and the Exodus.


Out of Egypt

In “Out of Egypt,” James K. Hoffmeier questions how likely is it that the Israelites were enslaved in Egypt. And if they were there, which way did they go when they left? Hoffmeier uses recent archaeological excavation data from Egypt to shed new light on the slavery of the Israelites in Egypt, the locations mentioned in Exodus and the route the Israelites took out of Egypt to the Promised Land.


Let my People Go and Go and Go and Go

Abraham Malamat’s article “Let my People Go and Go and Go and Go” questions the historicity of the Exodus. Malamat suggests that once we give up the search for a single, dramatic Exodus, the evidence for a more subtle image of ancient Israel in Egypt and the Exodus—one dispersed over time—will emerge.


When Did Ancient Israel Begin?

Finally, in “When Did Ancient Israel Begin?” Hershel Shanks takes a new look at the late-13th-century B.C.E. Merneptah Stele, which has long been considered the earliest reference to Israel outside of the Bible. But now three German scholars say they may have found another hieroglyphic inscription almost 200 years older naming “Israel.” This new archaeological evidence of the Israelites in Egypt suggests that the Bible may be more accurate than some thought.

This free eBook shares new archaeological evidence for the Israelites in Egypt, and reshapes understandings of the historicity of the Exodus.