On October 30, 1207, BC, an astronomical event took place which according to scientists, could affect the chronology of the ancient world in more ways than we have ever imagined.
Researchers from the University of Cambridge have managed to combine a passage from the Bible and an ancient Egyptian text in order to determine the date of what is believed to have been the oldest recorded solar eclipse in history, according to a study published in the journal Astronomy & Geophysics.
In the new study, scientists specified dates when certain Egyptian pharaohs ruled, and in particular, experts focused on the reign of Ramses the Great. –
If the remaining scientific community accepts their new study, it could lead to a readjustment in the calculations of Egyptologists, hence rewriting the history of ancient Egypt.
If we take a quick look at the Old Testament, the book of Joshua tells us that, after He guided the people of Israel to Canaan, a region of the ancient Middle East that is present-day Israel and Palestine, Joshua spoke to the Lord in the presence of Israel:
“Sun, stand still over Gibeon, and you, moon, over the Valley of Aijalon. 13 So the sun stood still, and the moon stopped, till the nation avenged itself on its enemies, as it is written in the Book of Jashar.” The sun stopped in the middle of the sky and delayed going down about a full day.14 There has never been a day like it before or since, a day when the Lord listened to a human being. Surely the Lord was fighting for Israel!
Professor Colin Humphreys from the University of Cambridge’s Department of Materials Science & Metallurgy said in a statement: “If these words are describing a real observation, then a major astronomical event was taking place – the puzzle for us to figure out is what the text means.”
Usually, “translations into modern English” interpret that “the Sun and the Moon stopped moving” but, according to the original Hebrew text, “we determined that an alternative meaning” could be that the Sun and the Moon “stopped shining,” explains Humphreys.
The event may have been a solar eclipse – when the Moon finds itself on the path between the Earth and the Sun – an interpretation supported by the fact that the Hebrew word interpreted “stay still” has the same root as a Babylonian term that appears in ancient astronomical texts to describe eclipses.
Other proof that the Israelites were in Canaan between 1500 and 1050 BC appears in a written ancient Egyptian manuscript of Pharaoh Merneptah, son of Ramses the Great.
That slab of granite, which is stored in the Egyptian Museum in Cairo, indicates that it was carved during the fifth year of the reign and mentions a campaign in Canaan in which Merneptah defeated the people of Israel.
According to scientists, the only annular solar eclipse visible from Canaan between 1500 and 1050 BC happened on October 30, 1207, BC.
If this is confirmed, not only would it become the oldest known recorded event, but it would allow scholars to date the reigns of Ramses the Great and his son Merneptah with an almost unprecedented accuracy.
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