Biblical Archaeology Review 9:4, July/August 1983

The Mysterious MBI People

Does the Exodus tradition in the Bible preserve the memory of their entry into Canaan?

By Rudolph Cohen

One of the most obscure periods in the history of Palestine is the Middle Bronze I period (commonly referred to as MBI) which extended from about 2200 B.C. to about 2000 B.C. Who were the MBI people? We really don’t know. On the basis of my research, I would suggest that they were a people who migrated slowly, from the south or southwest, into the Central Negev of Palestine. I would further suggest that the dim, historical memory of their journey powerfully influenced the Biblical author who described Israel’s entry into Canaan. In fact, these MBI people may be the Israelites whose famous journey from Egypt to Canaan is called the Exodus.

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