Demetrius the Chronographer

225 BC

Introduction:

  1. Demetrius believed that Mt. Sinai was in Arabia. He lived and worked in Alexandria, which meant he had access to the largest library in the world.
  2. Demetrius located Mt. Sinai in the city of Madyan (al Bad) in northwestern Arabia. This information comes from Eusebius in his work: Preaparatio Evangelica 9:29.1-3

From Eusebius Preaparatio Evangelica 9:29.1-3

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Fragment one

1So much says Polyhistor; to which he adds, after other (sentences), saying;

But not long after, God commanded Abraham to offer his son Isaac as a whole burnt offering to him. And when he led his son up to the mountain, he heaped up a pyre, and placed Isaac on it. But when he was about to sacrifice him, he was prevented by an angel, who provided him with a ram for the offering. And Abraham took his son down from the pyre and offered the ram.

Fragment two

1Let us return again to Polyhistor:

Demetrius Concerning Jacob, from the Same Writing of Polyhistor.

Demetrius says that Jacob was (77) years old when he fled to Haran in Mesopotamia, having been sent away by his parents on account of the secret enmity of Esau towards his brother (which was due to the fact that his father had blessed him thinking that he was Esau), and in order that he might acquire a wife there.

2Jacob, then, set out for Haran in Mesopotamia, having left his father Isaac, who was 137 years of age, while he was himself 77 years old.

3Then after spending 7 years there, he married two daughters of Laban, his maternal uncle, Leah and Rachel, when he was 84 years old. In seven more years, 12 children were born to him. In the 10th month of the 8th year, Reuben (was born); and in the 8th month of the 9th year, Simeon; and in the 6th month of the 10th year, Levi; and in the 4th month of the 11th year, Judah. And since Rachel did not bear, she became envious of her sister, and gave her own handmaid (Bilhah to Jacob as a concubine, who bore Dan in the 4th month of the 11th year, and in the 2nd month of the 12th year, Naptali. And Leah gave her own handmaid) Zilpah to Jacob to concubine, at the same time as Bilhah conceived Naptali, in the 5th month of the 11th year, and he begot a son in the 2nd month of the same year by begot another son, whom Leah named Asher.

4And in return for the mandrake apples which Reubel brought to Rachel, Leah again conceived, as did her handmaid Zilpah at the same time, in the 3rd month of the 12th year, and bore a son in the 12th month of the same year, and gave him the name Issachar.

5And again Leah bore another son in the 10th month of the 13th year, whose name was Zebulun; and in the 8th month of the 14th year, the same Leah bore a (daughter) named (Dinah). And at the same time as Leah (conceived) a daughter, Dinah, Rachel also conceived in her womb, and in the 8th month of the 14th year she bore a son, who was named Joseph, so that in the 7 years spent with Laban, 12 children were born.

6But when Jacob wanted to return to his father in Canaan, at Laban's request he stayed six more years, so that in all he stayed for twenty years with Laban in Haran.

7And while he was going to Canaan, an angel of the Lord wrestled with him, and touched the hollow of Jacob's thigh, and he became numb and went lame; on account of this the tendon of the thigh of cattle is not eaten. And the angel said to him that fom that time on he would no longer be called Jacob, but Israel.

8And he came to (Salem, a city) of the land of Canaan, having with him his children, Reuben, 12 years and 2 months old; Simeon, 11 years and 4 months; Levi, 10 years and 6 months; Judah, 9 years and 8 months; (Dan 9 years and 8 months;) Naptali, 8 years and 10 months; Gad, 8 years and 10 months; Asher, 8 years; Issachar, 8 years; Zebulon, 7 years and 2 months; Dinah, 6 years and 4 months; Joseph, 6 years and 4 months old.

9Now Israel lived beside Hamor for 10 years, and Israel's daughter, Dinah, was defiled by Shechem the son of Hamor, when she was 16 years and 4 months old.

And Israel's son Simeon, at 21 years and 4 months, and Levi, at 20 years and 6 months of age, rushed out and slew both Hamor and his son Shechem, and all their males, because of the defilement of Dinah; and Jacob was 107 years old at the time.

10To resume, when he had come to Luz (which is) Bethel, God said that he was no longer to be called Jacob, but Israel. From that place he came to Chaphratha, and after that to Ephrath, which is Bethlehem, and there he fathered Benjamin; and Rachel died after giving birth to Benjamin, and Jacob lived with her for 23 years.

11From there, Jacob came to Mamre, (which is) Hebron, to his father, Isaac, Joseph was then 17 years old, and he was sold into Egypt, and remained in prison 13 years, so that he was then 30 years old. And Jacob was 120 years of age, one year before Isaac's death at 180 years of age.

12And Joseph, having interpreted the king's dreams, governed Egypt for 7 years, in which time he married Aseneth, daughter of Pentephres the priest of Heliopolis, and begot Manasseh and Ephraim, and 2 years of famine followed.

13But though Joseph had prospered for 9 years, he did not send for his father, because he was a shepherd, as were Joseph's brothers; and to the Egyptians it is disgraceful to be a shepherd. That this was the reason why he did not send for him, he himself had made clear, For when his relatives came, he told them that if they should be summoned by the king and asked what their occupation was, they should say that they were breeders of cattle.

14And they were at a loss as to why Joseph gave Benjamin at breakfast a portion 5 times as much as theirs, since he was not able to consume so much meat. He had done this because his father had had (six) sons by Leah, and two by his mother, Rachel; therefore, he set five portions before Benjamin, and he himself took one; accordingly they had (six) portions, as many as the sons of Leah received.

15Similarly, while he gave two garments to each, to Benjamin he gave five, and three hundred pieces of gold; and he sent (him) to his father likewise, so that his mother's house might be equal to the other.

16And they lived in the land of Canaan from the time when Abraham was chosen from among the gentiles and migrated to Canaan; Abraham for 25 years; Isaac 60 years; Jacob, 130 years. All the years in the land of Canaan were (thus) 215.

17And in the third year of the famine in Egypt, Jacob came into Egypt when he was 130 years old; Reuben, (44 years and 10 months); Simeon, 44 years; Levi, 43 years (and 2 months); Judah, 42 years, and (4) months; (Dan, 42 years and 4 months); Naphtali, 41 years and (6) months; Gad, 41 years and (6) months; Asher, 40 years and 8 months; (Issachar, 40 years and 8 months); Zebulun, (39 years and 10 months); Dinah, 39 years; and Benjamin, (22) years old.

18But Joseph (he says) was already there in Egypt, (at age) 39; and from Adam until Joseph's brothers came into Egypt there were 3624 years; and from the deluge until Jacob's coming into Egypt, 1360 years; and from the time when Abraham was chosen from among the gentiles and came from Haran into Canaan until Jacob and his family came into Egypt there were 215 years.

19But Jacob came into Haran to Laban when he was (77) years old, and begot Levi (....) And Levi lived on in Egypt for 17 years, from the time of his coming from Canaan into Egypt, so that he was 60 years old when he begot (Kohath). And in the same year in which (Kohath) was born, jacob died in Egypt, after he had blessed the sons of Joseph, when he himself was 147 years old, leaving Joseph at the age of 56 years. And Levi was 137 years old when he died. And when (Kohath) was 40 years old he begot Amram, who was 14 years old when Joseph died in Egypt at the age of 110; and (Kohath) was 133 years old when he died. Amram took as his wife his uncle's daughter Jochebed, and when he was 75 years old he begot Aaron (and Moses). But when he begot Moses, Amram was 136 years old when he died,.

Fragment three

1Demetruis described the slaying of the Egyptian and the quarrel with the man who disclosed the information about the one who die in the same way as the writer of the Sacred Book. He says, however, that Moses fled into Midian and there married Zipporah the daughter of Jethro, who was, as far as it may be conjectured from the names of those born from Keturah of the stock of Abrahan, a descendant of Jokshan, who was the son of Abraham by keturah. And from Jokshan was born Dedan, and from Dedan, Reuel, and from Reuel, Jothro and Hobab, and from Jethro, Zipporah, whom Moses married.

2The generations also agree, for Moses was seventh from Abraham, and Zipporah, sixth. For Isaac, from whom Moses descended, was already married when Abraham, at the age of 140 married Keturah, and begot by her a second son (Jokshan). But he begot Isaac when he was 100 years old, so that (Joksan), from whom Zipporah derived her descent, was born 42 years later.

3There is, therefore, no inconsistency in Moses and Zipporah having lived at the same time. And they lived in the city of Midian, which was named from one of the sons of Abraham. For it (i.e.Scripture) says that Abraham sent his sons to the East to settle there. And (it says that) for this reason also, Aaron and Miriam said at Hazeroth that Moses had married an Ethiopian woman.

Fragment four

1And again after a little.

From there they went for three days, as Demetrius himself says, and the Sacred Book agrees with him. Since he (i.e. Moses) found there not sweet but bitter water, when God said he should cast some wood into the fountain, the water became sweet. And from there they came to Elim, where they found 12 springs of water and 70 palm trees.

Fragment five

And after a short space;

Someone asked how the Israelites had weapons, since they came out unarmed. For they said that after they had gone out on a three-day journey, and made sacrifice, they would return again. It appears, therefore, that those who had not been drowned made use of the others arms.

Fragment six (Clement of Alexandria, Strom 1.141.If.)

But Demetrius says, in his (work) On the Kings of Judaea, that the tribe of Judah and (those of) Benjamin and Levi were not taken captive by Sennacherib, but from this captivity to the last (captivity), which Nebuchadnezzar effected out of Jerusalem, (there were) 128 years and 6 months. But from the time when the ten tribes of Samaria were taken captive to that of Ptolemy the 4th, there were 573 years and 9 months. But from the time (of the captivity) of Jerusalem (to Ptolemy the 4th), there were 338 years (and) 3 months.

 

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