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2011-07-14

Exodus 2:3-4 says that when she could hide the boy no longer, the mother made an ark out of bulrushes, although a more accurate translation would probably be a “basket out of papyrus” considering the plants available near the delta region. The basket is sealed with pitch, the child is placed in the basket, and they’re both pushed down the river. This is kind of ironic, since this is exactly what Pharaoh decreed (sans the basket, of course).

You mythology buffs may recognize this story, because it’s very similar to the Neo-Assyrian account of the origin of Sargon of Akkad. Sargon, was an Akkadian emperor who lived from 2270 to 2215 BCE. Much later, around 650 BCE, an account of his childhood was produced in Neo-Assyrian writings which tell the tale of Sargon being birthed in secret, placed into a basket made of reeds and sealed with pitch, and sent down a river. He is found by a water drawer and she raises him as her son. This sounds too close for coincidence.

But this begs the question, which story came first? Well, it’s difficult to say for certain. We only have very rough dates for the authorship of each source. Exodus wasn’t cemented until around 450 BCE, but it uses the Jahwist source for most of the information about Moses’ origin, and the Jahwist source was probably written and altered from 900 BCE until 450 BCE. Of course, even if we knew the exact day that each source was written, it still wouldn’t matter. Remember that ancient narratives usually existed for many years as oral stories long before the pen met paper. We many never know who copied from whom, or if they are both copying from an earlier text that has been lost.

 

Comments

Ladyofthemasque writes:

 

TAG, I C WHUT U DID THAR!

...Considering we all know from "Dogma" that Alannis = God...

XDD

Baughbe writes:

 

An ark of bulrushes or a basket of papyrus? Hmmm, well how about a little mixing and go for a basket of bull?

TBman256 writes:

 

problem pharoh? u mad?

Larqua writes:

 

Isn't it ironic, doncha think. It's like raaaaain, on your wedding day.

So on so forth.

Please tell me that wasn't a reference to that song, O_o


Anyway, yeaah, this story has a LOT of other ones that it corresponds to, one could probably argue it is similar to the perseus myth, although he was supposedly in the sea with his mother instead of a river.

Ray writes:

 

"The basket is sealed with and pitch, the child is placed the basket"

Is it me, or is there at least one spelling/grammar error there, TAG?

TheAlmightyGuru writes:

 

Fixed!

Ray writes:

 

Perhaps I'm mistaken in whether or not that's a mistake, but you still have "the child is placed the basket" in there.

TheAlmightyGuru writes:

 

Ok, the fix is now fixed!

NightFairy writes:

 

In times like these I wonder if both stories are really seperate but similar. Like when your a kid and you find out you can go in circles on the ground by "walking sideways" and then you realize everyone else already thought of that.

 

Oh the irony!