Sabbath 22/5/30/120

Dear Friends

The Sons of Kohath and Ephraim in the Wilderness.

The Bible lists four generations for the sons of Kohath but the possibility is that a fifth did exist and most Bible commentaries now canvas that and more options. Let us look at another reference that throws some interesting light on to the generations of Israel in Egypt and their placement and sojourning and some clues as to their possible identities over the early period until the enslavement. Their enslavement coincided with the end of the Hyksos rule as we will see in further work.

The Sons of Ephraim.

The notion that there were only four generations in Egypt comes from the extraordinary longevity and late birth of the sons of Kohath.

Ephraim was not the same in his lineages. We see that Ephraim had a number of sons while ostensibly Israel was in Egypt, most of whom were killed by the inhabitants of Gath. These were Shuthelah and Bered his son and Tahath his son and Zabad his son and Shuthelah his son and Ezer and Elead and the men of Gath natives of the land killed them because they came down to take their cattle away (1Chronicles 7:20:21). Now Ephraim was the son of Joseph born in Egypt yet his sons down to his great great grandsons were alive and living in the area of Gath of the Philistines in Canaan.

Joseph was in Egypt when Ephraim was born yet Ephraim seems to also be listed as being in Canaan here when his sons and grandsons and great great grandsons were in Canaan near Gath of Philistia. This text is a reasonably clear proof that the sons of Joseph were indeed part of, or allied with, the Shepherd Kings of the Hyksos that had access to both the Nile Delta under the Hyksos and also to Canaan and Philistia. There can be no doubt from the text that the sons of Ephraim were active in animal husbandry in Canaan near Gath during the first and second century of the occupation of Egypt and his daughter helped found a city.

Verse 22 goes on to say: And their father Ephraim mourned many days and his brothers came to comfort him. In verse 23 it goes on to say: And he went in to his wife. And she conceived and bore a son and called his name Beriah because his house was in evil. 24 And his daughter was Sherah: and she built Beth Horon the lower and upper and Uzzen-Sherah.

Note the term “brothers” here when we only have a record of Manasseh. It may be generic and mean cousins also. Beth-Horon and Uzzen-Sherah were cities in Ephraim. Beth-Horon was near Benjamin. Thus they had staked out their claim before the occupation proper after the Exodus.

The texts clearly show that the sons of Joseph had not only power in Egypt but they also grazed these lands. Verses 25 ff says: And Rephah was his son. Also Resheph and Telah his son and Tahan his son. Laadan his son Ammihud his son, Elishama his son, Non his son; Jehoshua his son (1 Chron. 7:25-27).

Thus at the end of his great age Ephraim sired his next lineage. Yehoshua, or Jehoshua as per the Interlinear Bible, was the tenth from Ephraim and there were nine generations from Beriah son of Ephraim to Joshua son of Non or Nun who was born in the year 1512 BCE. Beriah son of Ephraim was born some time after his brother and his progeny down to his great great great great nephew were born and killed by the natives of Gath. Even if we assume Ephraim’s progeny were very fruitful as it states and we allow 20 years for a generation Ephraim was up to some 120 years old when Beriah was born. On the same basis Joshua was sired some 160 years after the birth of Beriah. We can reduce it by assuming they got married earlier than 20 years of age (say 16 or 18) but it does not reduce the timeframe a great deal (48 years maximum). The time frame is well in excess of 200 years.

The time frame is that Joseph had his sons Manasseh and then Ephraim before the famine commenced in Egypt (Gen. 41:52). Thus Ephraim was born before 1730 BCE (or 1690- 1682 on a reduced time frame). If he married at 20 years of age the lineage dates would be as follows:
Shuthelah and Bered b. 1712 BCE; Tahath 1692; Zabad 1672; Shuthelah 1652; Ezer and Elead 1632-1631;
1632 Ephraim’s family exterminated by the Gathites of Philistia.

1632 Ephraim has Beriah; Sherah b.ca1631-3;

1612 b. Rephah his son. Also Resheph and Telah his son;
1592 Tahan his son.
1572 Laadan his son Ammihud his son,
1552 Elishama his son,
1532 Non his son;
1512 BCE Jehoshua his son

The dating assumes 20 years but can be reduced by two to four years for each generation if we take the lesser figure.

The other possibility is that there are some brothers but the wording does not seem to allow for that and the fact is that one assumption for the wording is that Ammihud is the brother of Laadan but that may not be the case which then adds another generation.

We know that Joshua was born in 1512 from the record of his death at the distribution of the inheritance on entry to Canaan.
Another part of this puzzle of the Hyksos is that one of the greatest of the Pastoralists of the East was Job the son of Issachar who went into Egypt but obviously came out and from the record he was friends of and working in conjunction with the sons of Esau, the Edomites or Temanites.
From the Bible record it is difficult to escape the conclusion that the Shepherd kings of the Hyksos were in fact the sons of Israel, and the sons of Edom together with the sons of Keturah and Lot.

They were not the enemies of Egypt but worked in conjunction with them in Goshen and acted as stewards to the Pharaohs operating from further up the Nile. They introduced a number of military concepts to Egypt including the chariot, armour and the earthen square redoubt. Most scholars are at pains today to deny that the Hyksos were the sons of Abraham but they were a Semitic people and the Bible is absolutely clear that sons of Israel were in pastoral pursuits from Gath to Arabia. The possibility also exists that the Amorites were a part of this coalition or force.

The Egyptians of later times produced diatribes against the Hyksos. Manetho deeply entrenched the false idea that they were oppressive occupiers but we now know that they coexisted quite peacefully.

There will be a series of articles on the time frames and the possibilities of the generations.

Wade Cox
Coordinator General