The Exodus 2

20 Jun

The Exodus


A few years ago I got wind of a new documentary being filmed about the Exodus. I was told that it had been in production for about 7 years and many top scholars would be involved but no release date had been set.

After some searching of their website, it turned out that the film was not based upon archaeological evidence or anything new that may have been turned up. It was based upon Ron Wyatt material and a book by the Caldwells (the worst book ever written).

In other words there was nothing scholarly about this movie or even factual. But this is what the Exodus does. It stirs up controversy and draws all sorts of characters out of the wood work who think they have a new twist to the event or are presenting something new.

No one is hiding any evidence relating to the Exodus. There is no smoking gun in the wings waiting to be revealed which would disprove the Bible and there has been no new artifacts or manuscripts supporting or contradicting the Exodus.

Everything anyone has in relation to that event everyone else already knows about. If there was something new, everyone would have heard about it as soon as it was discovered. Many people think that the number of Israelites leaving Egypt was exaggerated because there is no evidence remaining to prove that that many people spent 40 years in the desert.

When they say that I like to quote from James Hoffmeier’s book, Ancient Israel in Sinai:

“Finkelstein  and Perevolotsky, who were engaged in considerable survey work in the Negev and Sinai, argue for only negligible evidence…They further observe that ‘nomadic societies do not establish permanent houses, and the constant migration permits them to move only minimal belongings. Moreover, their limited resources do not facilitate the creation of a flourishing material culture that could leave rich archaeological finds.’ They acknowledge, however, that nomadic people do leave such evidence of their presence as cemeteries, desert kites, cult places and rock drawings. But for the most part, they speak of the ‘nomadic lifestyle’ as ‘archaeologically invisible,’ one that does not leave an archaeological footprint. (pg. 150)

I also like to quote Kenneth Kitchen who wrote in his book On The Reliability of the Old Testament, the following words:

As for no clues in Sinai, it is silly to expect to find traces of everybody who ever passed through the various routes in that peninsula…This absence does not disprove the regular Egyptian visitation into Sinai…therefore, the absence of possible Hebrew campsites is likewise meaningless. What is more, from Sinai, the Hebrews expected to be in Canaan in a year, not forty years. They had no need to lug tons of heavy pottery around with them…if leatherwork or skins would do. (pg. 467)

Evidence is a tricky thing and there is no guarantee that the unbelieving world would accept any evidence for biblical events if presented to them.

#1. The Southern Sinai Exodus Route in Ecological Perspective By Aviram Perevolotsky and Israel Finkelstein

Tradition locates quite precisely in southern Sinai a number of places associated with the Israelites’ history: the burning bush where Moses heard God’s call (Exodus 3:2–4), identified with a raspberry plant growing in the yard of St. Catherine’s Monastery; Horeb, where the prophet Elijah found refuge (1 Kings 19:8), identified with Jebel Sufsafeh next to Jebel Musa; the hill where the Israelites worshipped the golden calf, with Nebi Haroun one kilometer west of St. Catherine’s; and, above all, Mt. Sinai, with Jebel Musa, which rises in all its glory above St. Catherine’s Monastery

During the latter part of the 19th and the beginning of the 20th centuries—in what we might call the pre-archaeological-research age—two principal theories developed concerning the route of the Exodus journey through Sinai. These theories were developed by scholars who traveled in Sinai and who based their conclusions both on Biblical textual evidence and on geographical evidence garnered during their journeys.

Some of these scholars argued for a southern route and others for a northern one. The proponents of the “northern theory” identified some of the sites mentioned in the Bible with places in northern Sinai and maintained that the children of Israel wandered in the expanses of that part of the peninsula. These scholars proposed to identify the Red Sea with one of the lagoons of the Mediterranean coast (for example, Sabḥat Bardawil) and Mt. Sinai with one of the limestone ridges of northern Sinai (for example, Jebel Hellal). According to this theory, seasonal grain crops grown on the vast plains of Wadi el-Arish supplied the Israelites with food during their wanderings.

Proponents of the “southern theory” argued that the children of Israel crossed the remote and majestic region of southern Sinai on their way to the Promised Land. These scholars identified the encampments mentioned in the Bible with places in that region. Naturally, many of these scholars identified Mt. Sinai with Jebel Musa, rising high above St. Catherine’s Monastery, in the midst of the rugged granite massif.

In recent years archaeological research in the Sinai peninsula has burgeoned as never before. Intensive surveys and excavations have been carried out in all regions of the peninsula, and what was once a remote and mysterious wilderness has become, archaeologically speaking, well known and relatively well understood.†

All this archaeological activity, however, has contributed almost nothing to our understanding of the Exodus. This is true despite the fact that the Bible describes the wanderings of the Israelites at great length and even provides us with a long list of place-names where the children of Israel encamped during their wanderings (Numbers 33). But, so far, no remains from the Late Bronze Age (15th–13th centuries B.C.—the period in which these events were supposed to have taken place) or even from the subsequent Iron Age I have been found anywhere in the whole Sinai peninsula, except for archaeological evidence of Egyptian activity on Sinai’s northern coastal strip. Accordingly, no progress has been made in locating the Israelite encampments, in identifying their route, or in fixing the site of Mt. Sinai.

BAR 11:04 (July/Aug 1985). 1985 (H. Shanks, Ed.). Biblical Archaeology Society.

#2. Let My People Go and Go and Go and Go By Abraham Malamat

Nothing in the archaeological record of Egypt directly substantiates the Biblical story of the Exodus. Yet a considerable body of Egyptian material provides such close analogies to the Biblical account that it may, in part, serve as indirect proof for the Israelite episode.

No other event figures so prominently in the Biblical tradition as one of the foundations of Israelite faith. The Bible refers to the Exodus from Egypt more often than it does to any other event in Israel’s past—in the historical narratives, in the prophets and even in the psalms.

Is the Exodus story merely the product of later, primarily theological, contemplation, or was it a historic event? To decide, we must first recognize that the Exodus story is a folktale. This does not automatically deprive it of all historicity, but it does require us to focus not on the elements of folklore and artifice in the account, but on what Goethe called die grossen Züge, “the broad sweep of affairs.” Does the Israelites’ sojourn in Egypt, their enslavement there in what the Bible terms beth avadim, the house of bondage (a very apt coinage characterizing totalitarian regimes throughout history), their exit and flight from Egypt into the Sinai desert and, finally, their takeover of Canaan hold a kernel of historical truth, or are these events merely figments of the imagination of later scribes?

The lack of direct Egyptian evidence for any of these events does not prove that they didn’t happen. Egyptian sources could have been indifferent to the Exodus and the takeover of Canaan merely because these events did not shake the foundations of the political and military scene of the day. The events were central, however, to Israel’s turbulent history.

In the past, the debate over the Exodus often focused on when it could have happened. Much of this debate, unfortunately, ignored what I call the “telescoping process”—the compression of a chain of historical events into a simplified and brief account of Biblical historiography—especially of Israel’s proto-history. Complex events were compressed into a severely curtailed time span by later editors viewing the events in retrospect. The Bible presents a relatively brief, streamlined account of the Exodus, a “punctual” event, as opposed to a “durative” event, which could conceivably involve two or more exoduses or even a steady flow of Israelites from Egypt over hundreds of years.

If the Exodus was a durative event, as seems likely, the search for a specific date for it is futile, since it might have happened anywhere from the 15th to the 12th centuries B.C. Even so, there must have been a peak period when the most Israelites left Egypt—we will call this the Moses movement—that can be dated more exactly. To identify when this punctual peak, the climactic stage within the durative event, happened, we must survey the history of Egypt in the context of the contemporaneous regional history.

In the 13th century B.C., the Egyptians fought the famous battle of Kadesh against the Hittites, the other superpower of the day. The battle site, Kadesh-on-the-Orontes (to be distinguished from Kadesh-Barnea, where the Israelites camped in the Sinai), lies about 70 miles north of Damascus, in modern Lebanon. Descriptions of this battle have survived in both Egyptian and Hittite records. The Hittite account explicitly states that the battle was a fiasco for the Egyptians, although this is not as clear in the Egyptian records. Even before the battle, which we can now date rather securely to 1273 B.C., give or take a few years, Egyptian hegemony was suffering a decline, especially in Canaan, where local rulers had erupted in revolt. In the wake of the battle of Kadesh, such a situation could well have facilitated, in a broad manner of speaking, an Israelite exodus. For some time I set the punctual peak, the Moses movement, at this time, as did other scholars.

BAR 24:01 (Jan/Feb 1998). 1998 (H. Shanks, Ed.). Biblical Archaeology Society.

#3. A Critique of Professor Goedicke’s Exodus Theories By Charles R. Krahmalkov

Few subjects in the study of ancient history are more intriguing than Israel’s exodus from Egypt and in particular the episode of the drowning of Pharaoh’s army in the Red Sea. What so confounds the intellect is the elusiveness of the event, which loomed so large in the historical and religious consciousness of ancient Israel yet cannot be confirmed by an extra-Biblical source.

A new solution to this 3,000-year-old riddle is now proposed by Professor Goedicke. His view is that the deep waters which drowned the Pharaonic army was a huge tidal-like wave (a tsunami) that swept in from the Mediterranean over Lake Menzaleh in northern Egypt in the spring of 1477 B.C. This catastrophe, Professor Goedicke believes, is described in an inscription of Queen Hatshepsut: “the directive of the father of fathers (Nun, the primeval water), who came one day unexpectedly.”

According to Professor Goedicke’s reconstruction, a group of immigrant Asiatics, whom he identifies with the Israelites, were en route to their ancestral home in Palestine when the huge wave struck. Having taken refuge for military reasons on high ground at the desert’s edge, the Israelites escaped while their Egyptian pursuers drowned in the waters which covered the plain below.

Professor Goedicke’s reconstruction is a fascinating combination of the Biblical account and Hatshepsut’s famous account of her expulsion of the Asiatics. The individual accounts, however, are not themselves similar.

The Egyptian text on which Professor Goedicke relies speaks only in the vaguest terms of Asiatic immigrants who, having disregarded the tasks assigned to them, had their historic privileges annulled by the queen and were allowed to depart from Egypt. Israel is not explicitly mentioned in the inscription, nor is there any reference to pursuit by the Egyptians.

More significant is the fact that the Egyptian narrative, if it does refer to a huge tidal-like wave, tells us that “the earth swallowed up their [i.e., the Asiatics’] footsteps”; that is, the departing immigrants were the victims of the disaster. In the Hebrew account, it is the opposite.

Both the scholar and informed reader must ask whether the Biblical Exodus narratives and the Egyptian account are in fact directly related or whether Professor Goedicke has created an illusion of similarity between the two, contaminating both. Can the Egyptian account, even with substantial interpretation, be reconciled with the descriptions of the Exodus in the Bible?

BAR 07:05 (Sep/Oct 1981). 1981 (H. Shanks, Ed.). Biblical Archaeology Society.

#4. How Reliable Is Exodus? By Alan R. Millard

Recent attacks on the historicity of the Exodus raise the question of whether or not a text prepared long after the event is likely to be historically accurate. For it is undoubtedly true that the text of Exodus was prepared centuries after the events it describes. The Exodus would have occurred, in archaeological terms, in the Late Bronze Age (13th century B.C.). According to the Biblical chronology, the Exodus occurred before the establishment of the Israelite monarchy in about 1000 B.C. The existing Exodus text, however, was hardly prepared before that time.

In considering the accuracy of the Biblical account, we must treat the story in its context, as a product of the ancient Near East. The preservation of records over many generations is a standard feature of those societies. There are many examples of texts that claim to relate to times long past. Here I will explore only one such case.

In 1875 George Smith, the pioneer in the retrieval of Babylonian literature, published a story from two cuneiform tablets in the British Museum that had been found in the library of the Assyrian king Ashurbanipal at Nineveh.†

Ashurbanipal was the last great king of Assyria. He ruled from 668 to 627 B.C.

The cuneiform text tells of a baby born to a priestess who belonged to a class prohibited from bearing children. She hid him in a basket coated with pitch and placed the basket in the Euphrates River. Carried downstream, the basket was opened by a gardener, who took the child and raised him as his own. Favored by the goddess Ishtar, the boy advanced and eventually became the first known emperor, called Sargon, conquering places far and near.†

At the time Smith published the text, the only Sargon known as a powerful king was Sargon II, who ruled Assyria from 721 to 705 B.C. Some scholars suggested that the story was written to glorify him. Indeed, a few scholars still maintain this position.†

Later discoveries, however, have revealed two other Sargons: Sargon I, who ruled Assyria about 1920 B.C., and more importantly, the great monarch Sargon of Akkad, who ruled Babylonia from about 2340 to 2284 B.C. or from 2296 to 2240 B.C. (take your pick).

It is now clear that the cuneiform tablet that Smith published preserved traditions about Sargon of Akkad that were circulating a thousand years before the Nineveh texts were copied. Several epic poems surviving on tablets written about 1700 B.C. celebrate the achievements of Sargon of Akkad. At that time, Babylonian scribes who visited old temples made copies of monuments they saw in them. Some of these monuments were set up for Sargon of Akkad and related his conquests both in Babylonia and beyond. These scribes were thus copying texts written about 500 years earlier.

BAR 26:04 (July/Aug 2000). 2000 (H. Shanks, Ed.). Biblical Archaeology Society.

#5. Amenhotep II as Pharaoh of the Exodus By  William Shea

The Exodus Problem

The Biblical book of Exodus does not name the Pharaoh whom Moses encountered after his return from Sinai. This absence has provided the occasion for considerable controversy and speculation as to just who this Pharaoh was and when he ruled in Egypt. Three main views have been proposed: (1) that he belonged to the 18th Dynasty and ruled in the 15th century, (2) that he belonged to the 19th Dynasty and ruled in the 13th century, and (3) that there was no Exodus and thus no Pharaoh of the Exodus, but it was only a literary creation of later Israelites. The first view may be referred to as the early date for the Exodus, the second is the late date, and the third is the nonexistent Exodus.

Exodus Literature

Literature on the subject of the Exodus is extensive. In his Schweich Lectures for 1948, From Joseph to Joshua, literature from the 19th century to 1948 was covered by the excellent English bibliographer H. H. Rowley. He provided an exceptionally thorough list of studies in favor of dating the Exodus in the 13th century under the 19th Dynasty and in the 15th century under the 18th Dynasty. T. L. Thompson, in J. H. Hayes and J. M. Miller’s work Israelite and Judean History has updated this bibliography to 1977 (1977:149–50, 167–68, 180–81). The bibliographies in these sections are of more value than the discussions in the text, which adopts a very negative view on the historicity of the Exodus. A strong picture has been made for the 19th Dynasty as the background for the Exodus in the work of K. A. Kitchen, Pharaoh Triumphant (1982). More recently, a theologically sensitive, but historically minimalist, commentary on Exodus has been contributed to The New Interpreter’s Bible, by W. Brueggemann (1994:675–982).

The attitude of Old Testament theologians toward early Israelite history has varied. G. von Rad used the first major section of his Old Testament Theology to give a negative evaluation to the historicity of the Biblical account and that left him free to construct his theology unhampered by historical limitations (1962). G. Ernest Wright, on the other hand, held that theology must ultimately be rooted in history in his God Who Acts. Coming from the Albright school as he did, Wright firmly anchored his Exodus and Conquest in the 13th century. In his 13th century approach Wright was preceded by W. F. Albright in his The Archaeology of Palestine (1961:108–109) and paralleled by J. Bright’s History of Israel (1983).

Three more specialized works on the Exodus and its Egyptian background have appeared quite recently. A conference on the subject was held at Brown University in 1992 and its proceedings were published as Exodus: The Egyptian Evidence (Frerichs and Lesko 1997). Unfortunately, most of the studies published in this work adopt a negative evaluation of the historicity of Exodus. Two of the contributors to this conference, Dever and Weinstein, attacked the editor of Bible and Spade for his date of the destruction of Jericho to the Biblical time of Joshua, even though they offered no critique of his excellent and detailed studies of the pottery of Jericho (ibid. 69, 93–94). More positive, but more general, is J. D. Currid’s Ancient Egypt and the Old Testament (1997). This work does not deal in detail with the event of the Exodus, but provides much useful information on the Egyptian cultural, religious, and linguistic background for the event. Along the same line is J. K. Hoffmeier’s Israel in Egypt: The Evidence for the Authenticity of the Exodus Tradition (1997). This work includes primary archaeological evidence from surface survey work in the region of the northern lakes across the Isthmus of Suez.

Vol. 16: Bible and Spade (2003) Volume 16. 2003 (2) (41). Ephrata, PA: Associates for Biblical Research.

#6.  The Exodus Controversy By  Mario Seiglie

It seems that every year, especially around the spring Passover season when Jews and many Christians commemorate Israel’s deliverance from Egypt, newspapers and magazines publish articles questioning the validity of the Biblical account of the Exodus.

In 2001, for example, The Los Angeles Times ran a front-page story reporting that a liberal rabbi in the Los Angeles area caused quite a stir when he shocked his congregation by stating he had his doubts that the Exodus ever took place. “The truth is,” explained Rabbi David Wolpe,

that virtually every modern archaeologist who has investigated the story of the Exodus, with very few exceptions, agrees that the way the Bible describes the Exodus is not the way it happened, if it happened at all (Watanabe 2001).

Perhaps you have read such articles and wondered whether you can believe the Bible. After almost 200 years of archaeological research in Egypt and Israel, why do so many challenge the Exodus account? The stakes are not small, as the critics well know. If the narrative of the Exodus is not factual, then the trustworthiness of Biblical revelation is indeed seriously undermined. Therefore it is essential that our evaluation of the evidence be accurate and fair.

Christ Affirms the Exodus

First, let’s make sure we have a clear picture of the Biblical perspective. We find that Jesus Christ affirmed the Biblical account of the Exodus as true, and He based some of His teachings on it. Reminding His countrymen that God had miraculously provided food for them during 40 years in the wilderness, He said:

Your forefathers ate the manna in the desert, yet they died. But here is the bread that comes down from heaven, which a man may eat and not die. I am the living bread that came down from heaven (Jn 6:49—51).

Jesus staked His reputation, authority, and credibility on the Exodus account’s reliability—on His confidence that the Israelites actually did eat manna in the desert as the Scriptures describe. If this account were not true, then Jesus was wrong, and so are some of His teachings.

We should not be surprised, then, that some critics have focused so much attention on this fundamental event in the Bible. They try to discredit the story of the Exodus to undermine its historical validity.

Biblical historian Eugene Merrill describes the importance the Exodus has for the rest of the Bible:

The exodus is the most significant historical and theological event of the Old Testament because it marks God’s mightiest act in behalf of his people…To it the Book of Genesis provides an introduction and justification, and from it flows all subsequent Old Testament revelation…In the final analysis, the exodus served to typify that exodus achieved by Jesus Christ for people of faith, so that it is a meaningful event for the church as well as for Israel (1996:57–58).

Many critics who doubt the historicity of the Exodus share a problem: over-reliance on what archaeology can prove. Archaeology is, in fact, a limited and imperfect area of study in which the interpretation of findings, as archaeologists readily admit, is more of an art than a hard science.

Vol. 16: Bible and Spade (2003) Volume 16. 2003 (2) (34). Ephrata, PA: Associates for Biblical Research.

#7. The Plagues And The Exodus By  David Livingston

The Exodus: Did it really happen? There is little, if any, archaeological evidence for it. Therefore, many non-evangelical scholars do not believe it occurred. Even if the Egyptians did obliterate evidence of the cataclysms, surely, these scholars say, we should find some evidence.

The best approach is to wait and see. An argument from silence will be destroyed with the first trace of evidence. And then there might be evidence when one looks for it at the proper time in history. If the Exodus occurred 150 years earlier than most scholars think it did (at the Biblical date of ca 1440 BC), there may be evidence for it not recognized as such. (See the Summer 1989 issue of Archaeology and Biblical Research for the article on the true pharaoh of the Exodus by Joseph Lomusio. He presents evidence for the Exodus at the Biblical date.)

In the June 1990 issue of Bible Review is an article by Ziony Zevit on “Three Ways to Look at the Ten Plagues.” Unfortunately, his conclusion undermines all that goes before and is typical of modern scholarship. He says,”… a historical kernel [but little more, Ed.] must underlie the Egyptian plague traditions preserved in the Bible… . The plague traditions, which were maintained orally by the Israelites until some

time after the establishment of the monarchy, continued to be reworked in the land of Israel” (p. 42). Obvious in these statements is his position that the narratives of the plagues and the Exodus were not written by Moses, but were handed down for hundreds of years by word of mouth, and finally written down (with all their errors and accretions) by scribes during the late monarchy — many hundreds of years after Moses. In his opinion, they could not possibly be authentic history.

Vol. 4: Bible and Spade (1991) Volume 4. 1991 (1) (5). Ephrata, PA: Associates for Biblical Research.

#8.  Moses, The Exodus And A Family Feud ByJoseph LoMusioa

Fixing an Exodus Date is Very Important

An attempt to fix a date for the Exodus of the Hebrew slaves from the land of Egypt remains an intriguing quest for many scholars and students of the Bible. The endeavor is frustrated significantly in that neither an exact date1 {related to our own century) nor any Pharaoh’s name is given in the scriptural text. From a Biblical perspective, Moses   maintains the position as the central character, however all would agree that the identity of one or two key Pharaohs could be essential in determining when the Exodus occurred.

Most scholars are in harmony that the Biblical narrative implies the last Pharaoh of the period of the oppression had a long reign. While the oppression of the Hebrews undoubtedly spanned the administrations of a number of rulers, the most oppressive period, leading up to the years just before the Exodus, was the result of a Pharaoh who ruled for many years…

…  The third chapter of Exodus then goes on to record God’s calling of Moses to leave the land of Midian, return to Egypt, confront the new Pharaoh, and orchestrate the exodus from bondage.

The sense of the narrative seems clear in showing that the Pharaoh who died was, in fact, the one who can be identified as the “Pharaoh of the Oppression,” and that his reign was for “many days” (yamim harabim). Furthermore, it should be logical to expect that his suc-

Those who believe that the Exodus occurred early in the thirteenth century B.C. (the Late Date), especially those who believe Merneptah to be the Pharaoh of the Exodus, are quick to point out that the 67 year reign of Rameses II certainly qualifies him as being the Pharaoh of the oppression. This fact, coupled with their conclusion that Rameses is the pharaoh of Exodus chapter one, who ordered the building of the store-cities, Pithom and Raamses, already being in the land of Canaan by the fourth or fifth year of Merneptah’s reign.

If, on the other hand, Rameses II is the Pharaoh of the Exodus, it would be expected that his predecessor and father, Seti I, was the Pharaoh of the oppression. But Seti I reigned for only about a dozen years, and in no way qualifies for a long reign. Such is one of the “catch-22” situations in which late date advocates find themselves.

A further problem is to try to align the birth and life of Moses within the context of a late date scenario. The Bible mentions that Moses was forty years old when he fled to Midian (Acts 7:23–29), and that he was eighty upon his return to Egypt and participation in the exodus (Exodus 7:7; Acts 7:30).

Vol. 2: Bible and Spade (1989) Volume 2. 1989 (3) (83). Ephrata, PA: Associates for Biblical Research.

#9. Is there evidence of the Exodus from Egypt? By Biblical Chronologist

A Long Reign

Before the account of the Exodus itself, the Bible tells of the enslavement of the Israelites and the first 80 years of the life of Moses. One remarkable feature of this story is apparent from the following sequence of events:

A new king comes to power in Egypt who “did not know Joseph.” (Exodus 1:8)

This king orders the death of all newborn Hebrew boys. (Exodus 1:22)

Moses is born into this regime. (Exodus 2:2)

Moses is adopted by the Pharaoh’s daughter. (Exodus 2:5)

Moses grows up, murders an Egyptian, and flees the country. (Exodus 2:12,15)

Moses marries Zipporah and they have a son. (Exodus 2:12,15)

Eventually, “in the course of those many days”, the king of Egypt dies. (Exodus 2:23)

God meets Moses and sends him to the new Pharaoh. (Exodus 3,4)

Moses is 80 years old when he stands before the new Pharaoh. (Exodus 7:7)

The Bible indicates that the same Pharaoh whose daughter adopted three-month-old Moses died when Moses was nearly 80 years old! This Pharaoh must have reigned for a very long time.

Pepy II

Only one pharaoh in the history of Egypt can meet this Biblical requirement—Pepy II. Pepy II is traditionally thought to have governed the country for ninety-four years… (Grimal, page 89.)

#10 Archaeological Evidence for the Exodus By Ask the Rabbi

Dear Rabbi,

Hi, I am attending a community college in Daytona Beach before I go to Berkeley, and I have a couple questions concerning the angle my humanities teacher takes. He states that there was no great Exodus out of Egypt for the Jews because archaeologists could not find trash in the desert enough for the “supposed” thousands of Jews migrating out from Egypt. He also states that the Jews were not slaves in Egypt. He admits to there being a small caste of Jews that were slaves, but not on the popular belief scale. I am the only Jew in class because he asked any Hebrew to raise their hand and mine was the only one that went up, so I stand alone when I ask him and question him. If you could give me any information about this I would feel better about the subject. These are only a few of the things my teacher has said that has made me anxious and on guard. Thank you.

Your teacher is mistaken on two counts.

First of all, he is simply ignorant of the overwhelming amount of historical evidence, archeological and otherwise, that there is for the Exodus. I’ll mention some of this evidence later.

Secondly, even if there were no archeological evidence to prove the Exodus, that would not necessarily disprove it. The only way to disprove something is either to find evidence against it, or to find a lack of evidence that should be present and for which there is no plausible explanation for its absence.

Now, an archeologist may say, “But I don’t believe in these miracles; I’m looking for evidence of a purely natural Exodus.”

In other words, the Jewish version of the Exodus is rejected at the outset; instead, evidence is sought for a different event, an event which we never said happened.

This is like saying: “If the Jews crossed the Red Sea, they must have had boats. If we don’t find these boats, it disproves their story.” But this won’t disprove our story; we never claimed we crossed the Red Sea in boats! So, too, our version of the Exodus does not imply necessarily that we would have littered the dessert with all sorts of artifacts.

As I said in the beginning, there is overwhelming historical evidence, archeological and otherwise, for the Exodus. For one, we have an unbroken historical record of these events. Our record is both a written record, recorded in our Torah, and an oral record passed on by word of mouth from parents to their children (like we do the night of Passover). See our “Historical Verification of the Torah”


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