Apion (Josephus against Apion) 45 AD

Introduction:

  1. Apion was a Egyptian who hated the Jews and invented lies and misrepresentations to belittle the Jewish people.
  2. We have no writings from Apion, except those sections Josephus quotes and refutes.
  3. Josephus exposes Apion's fictitious version of the exodus.
  4. Apion, the satanic liar, is the only one in history we could find before 300 AD, who said that Mt. Sinai was located in the Sinai Peninsula. However Apion clearly considered this region to NOT be part of Arabia.
  5. Apion hated the Jewish people and all we know of his views are through the eyes of how Josephus refuted him.
  6. Some use Josephus' dialogue with Apion as proof that Mt. Sinai is located near the traditional location of Mt. Musa in the modern Sinai Peninsula. Note that it was Apion who said this, not Josephus. The entire section called, "Against Apion" is a rebuttal of Apions false teachings about how the Jews got to the promised land and were actually of Egyptian origin.
  7. Everything Apion says about the exodus is untrue. Every single fact and detail is a fabricated lie.

A. Josephus exposes both errors and contradictions in the various writings of Apion:

  1. Apion taught that Jews were originally Egyptians.
  2. Apion taught that it took only 6 days for the 120,000 Jews to travel from Egypt to the promised land.
  3. Apion taught that the Jews had a disease called "buboes" when they left Egypt and that is why they rested on the Sabbath on the seventh day.
  4. Josephus points out Apion's contradiction in timing: First Apion says they made the exodus in 6 days. Second Apion says they spent 40 days at the foot of Mt. Sinai. Josephus mockingly points out this glaring contradiction in the time chronology.

B. Josephus quotes Apion as saying: "Moses went up to a mountain that lay between Egypt and Arabia, which was called Sinai, and was concealed there forty days, and that when he came down from thence he gave laws to the Jews."

  1. In Apion's 6 day exodus, perhaps he meant they traveled for six days, but in the midst, they had a 40 day layover. More than likely, Apion was just carelessly throwing out misinformation to confuse with little regard for consistency.
  2. But since a central part of Apion's teaching is a 6 day exodus, the mountain would not be Mt. Musa, but somewhere further north along the "way of the Philistines". They simply did not have the time to travel down to Mt. Musa then over to the promised land.
  3. For Apion to suggest a 6 day exodus, shows us that such would be possible. When liars create a scenario, the basic details must be reasonable, otherwise they will be rejected immediately as false. So we accept Apion's testimony that the trip from Egypt to the promised land can be done in 6 days. It is 330 km from Goshen to Jerusalem. This means Apion believed it reasonable for 120,000 sick Jews to travel 55 km per day.
  4. Apion actually hurts those who attempt to make Paul's statement of Mt. Sinai being in Arabia. (Gal 4:25) We also noticed that Apion did not believe the traditional location of Mt. Sinai (ie. Mt. Musa or somewhere north) as being in Arabia. Apion said, "a mountain that lay between Egypt and Arabia". Between Egypt and Arabia, not in Arabia.
  5. So contrary to what Paul taught, Apion said Mt. Sinai was not in Arabia.

C. Here is the text from Josephus of Apion:

  1. "As for the number of those that were expelled out of Egypt, he [Apion] hath contrived to have the very same number with Lysimaehus, and says they were a hundred and ten thousand. He then assigns a certain wonderful and plausible occasion for the name of Sabbath; for he says that "when the Jews had traveled a six days' journey, they had buboes in their groins; and that on this account it was that they rested on the seventh day, as having got safely to that country which is now called Judea; that then they preserved the language of the Egyptians, and called that day the Sabbath, for that malady of buboes on their groin was named Sabbatosis by the Egyptians." And would not a man now laugh at this fellow's trifling, or rather hate his impudence in writing thus? We must, it seems, take it for granted that all these hundred and ten thousand men must have these buboes. But, for certain, if those men had been blind and lame, and had all sorts of distempers upon them, as Apion says they had, they could not have gone one single day's journey; but if they had been all able to travel over a large desert, and, besides that, to fight and conquer those that opposed them, they had not all of them had buboes on their groins after the sixth day was over; for no such distemper comes naturally and of necessity upon those that travel; but still, when there are many ten thousands in a camp together, they constantly march a settled space [in a day]. Nor is it at all probable that such a thing should happen by chance; this would be prodigiously absurd to be supposed. However, our admirable author Apion hath before told us that "they came to Judea in six days' time;" and again, that "Moses went up to a mountain that lay between Egypt and Arabia, which was called Sinai, and was concealed there forty days, and that when he came down from thence he gave laws to the Jews." But, then, how was it possible for them to tarry forty days in a desert place where there was no water, and at the same time to pass all over the country between that and Judea in the six days? And as for this grammatical translation of the word Sabbath, it either contains an instance of his great impudence or gross ignorance; for the words Sabbo and Sabbath are widely different from one another; for the word Sabbath in the Jewish language denotes rest from all sorts of work; but the word Sabbo, as he affirms, denotes among the Egyptians the malady of a bubo in the groin. 3. This is that novel account which the Egyptian Apion gives us concerning the Jews' departure out of Egypt, and is no better than a contrivance of his own. But why should we wonder at the lies he tells about our forefathers ..." (Josephus, Against Apion 2-3)

Conclusion:

  1. In Apions fabricated Exodus account, he places Mount Sinai in the Sinai Peninsula. However this would not give any help to those who accept the choice of Constantines mother, Queen Helina at Mt. Musa, in 325 AD. Apion's location of Mt. Sinai would be somewhere north of a line due east of the northern tip of the Gulf of Suez.
  2. Apion rules out Mt. Sinai located at Mt. Musa.
  3. Apion says that his location of Mt. Sinai, in the Sinai Peninsula, is NOT IN ARABIA.
  4. Apion says there were only 120,000 Jews in the exodus. The Bible records about 600,000 men over age 20, which would make the total number about 2.5 million Jews. Since Apion is trying to downplay and mock Jewish history, this number is certainly LOWER than the accepted number among Jews at the time. This is very bad news for those who believe the total number of the exodus Jews was between 5000 and 35,000 in number. Click here for a detailed study of the number of Jews in the exodus.

 

By Steve Rudd: Contact the author for comments, input or corrections.

 

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