No evidence of the Exodus from Egypt?
Why historians are terrified to recognize Israel’s past.
A while back I was reading an
article whereupon some archaeologists were interviewed about a part
of their findings in the Sinai desert. They were there to see if they could
uncover any shred of evidence to suggest that there had been a mass exodus of
Hebrews from Egypt which would have occurred approximately 3500 years ago. The
beginning of this exodus is chronicled in Exodus 12:31 after the angel of death
had struck down the first born of any who had not had their door frames painted
with the blood of a sacrificial lamb. This exodus of the Hebrews from Egypt
numbered approximately two million people and took forty years. (Numbers 14:33)
So, to place this tale in proper
context, a little more background as to the circumstances of why the Hebrews
were in Egypt to begin with is in order. To do that, we have to go back to the
book of Genesis. In Genesis 37, we have a brief family history and an account
of where everyone is living. Jacob, Isaac’s son, and Abraham’s grandson is
living in the land of Canaan (Modern-day Israel.) along with his two wives,
both daughters of a man named Laban. There were twelve sons in all born to
Jacob by these two wives, but the account makes it clear Jacob favored his
marriage—and the children born to his wife Rachel over that of his wife, Leah.
The oldest of the boys born to
Rachel was named Joseph. This account is rather long and is a quite well-known
story in Judeo-Christianity, so I am going to quickly skim over to the main
points. Joseph was a teen at a point in time when his older half-brothers began
to feel somewhat cheated. Their father clearly favored the younger boys and
when Joseph began to recount dreams whereupon his older brothers would one day
worship him, they had heard enough. They took him out with them to tend to
their flocks and intended to kill him. In the end, they decided to sell him to
some slave traders. They brought back his coat covered in lamb’s blood to
convince their father, Jacob that Joseph had been accidentally killed
by a wild animal.
With Joseph thought dead by Jacob,
there was no one to know where Joseph had gone—not even his brothers. Joseph
was subsequently sold to an Egyptian official named Potiphar and went to work
for him. This turned out to be rather fortunate for Joseph as Potiphar liked
Joseph and moved him into his opulent house with him and his wife.
This living arrangement worked out
well enough until Potiphar’s wife decided that she too liked Joseph and wanted
to sleep with him. Joseph, remembering the ways of God taught to him by his
father (lessons which were evidently lost on the older sons—especially Judah),
resisted her charms. Humiliated, Potiphar’s wife accused Joseph of attempted
rape. Potiphar immediately had Joseph thrown in prison.
There is no real accounting of the
duration of time Joseph spent in prison, but it was years. Soon a situation
arose whereupon a cupbearer and a baker wound up in prison with Joseph. Both
were troubled by dreams they had had and asked Joseph what they could mean.
Joseph accurately interpreted their dreams. Good news for the cup bearer, not
so good news for the baker. Joseph had asked that the baker remember him when
he was once again back in the Pharaoh’s service. Fat chance.
Two years elapsed after this
incident when the Pharaoh began to have dreams. Without anyone to answer these
confusing dreams, the Pharaoh was becoming disagreeable. Seeing an opportunity
to put him in good stead with the Pharaoh, the cup bearer suddenly recalled
Joseph in prison and explained to the Pharaoh that he might be of use. The
Pharaoh called for Joseph, explained his dreams and Joseph gave him the correct
The dreams which so bedeviled the
Pharaoh, regarded a coming drought which would affect the entire
region—including the land of Canaan. This drought would last for seven years
and unless steps were taken, famine would soon grip the land. So impressed was
the Pharaoh, he not only freed Joseph, but made him governor of all of Egypt.
In essence, Joseph went from convicted felon to the vice president in the blink
of an eye. (In modern times, it usually works in reverse.)
Joseph ordered the construction of
grain bins and that they be filled while they still had time to do so. (Seven
years according to Pharaoh’s dream.) This was done as directed and at the end
of seven years, the drought did indeed hit. The outlying lands suffered terribly,
and food soon became scarce. Without getting into the details, Joseph’s family
made their way to Egypt to buy grain, but after a weepy family reunion, were
invited to stay. Thus, Jacob’s family relocated to Egypt.
Fast forward about three hundred
years. The immediate families of Jacob are all dead and the Semitic Pharaoh,
most likely from The Hyksos people, who once ruled Egypt is overthrown. He
is replaced by a man not of Semitic lineage most likely named Ahmose I.
While the historical dates don't exactly line up with the traditional dates of
Moses' Exodus from Egypt, the other details in fact do.
Thus once the Hyksos king was defeated and Egypt returned to rule under the Egyptians, there was very little love shown towards their former Hyksos captors who were a Semitic people just as were the Hebrews who had come from the land of Canaan at Joseph's behest. Jacob’s family had multiplied to such an extent over the years in Egypt, this new Pharaoh was concerned he could face an insurrection along similar to what had occurred earlier. The Hebrews were then stripped of their rights, regarded as second-class citizens, and then eventually regarded as little more than slaves. This condition lasted a little over one hundred years. It was during this period that Moses was born.
Moses, as is well known in
Judeo-Christianity, was hidden in some reeds along the river after a decree
went out from this new Pharaoh to kill all the male babies born to the Hebrew
women. While Moses was set adrift in the river to hide him from the Pharaoh’s
guards, he was found by the Pharaoh’s daughter. The girl decided to raise the
baby as her own and asked Moses’ sister to find a suitable wet-nurse. Moses’
sister naturally called upon their mother. Thus, Moses was raised in Pharaoh’s
household, given all of the rights and privileges accorded such a position
while still being raised by his own mother. Moses grew up being schooled not in
Hebrew culture, but rather Egyptian. Consider at this point that most all
Moses’ family were just as immersed in Egyptian culture as well.
As a point of reference, I ask the
reader to regard their own genealogies. Where was your family line four hundred
years ago? I have spent approximately twenty years working on my family
genealogy. On my name’s sake side, Wilson, I have traced us back to Scotland
circa 1700. On my Paternal grandmother’s side, I’ve traced my lineage back to
1000 AD in Well, England. This would have been roughly the time of William the
On my maternal Grandmother’s side,
I’ve traced back as far as the late 18th Century in Dublin, Ireland.
In none of the above examples would I be familiar with the customs of my
forebears. It is a given I could not speak the language. Even English in 1000
AD would be nearly incomprehensible to us today; I do not know one word of Gallic.
I would be regarded in every respect as little more than a stranger to those
who lived there. While I have found relatives still residing in Ireland and In
Well, England, we do not know a thing about each other. I would remain a
stranger until I got to know them.
Consider this is the situation that
Moses and the Hebrews faced when they began the exodus. We tend to think these
were people all well acquainted with Hebrew customs and beliefs, but these were
people who had been raised as Egyptians. They knew extraordinarily little—if
anything at all—about their origins; they regarded themselves as Egyptian. It
was for this very reason that Moses had to learn about his people from Jethro
of Midian after he fled into the desert. (Exodus 2:21) Had Moses been raised as
a Hebrew and knew of their customs, there would have been little need to learn
anything from Jethro.
It is interesting that we have
movements in the world today which deny the German Holocaust happened, yet my 90-year-old
father was over in Germany shortly after Liberation and saw the devastation
Adolf Hitler brought to not only the Jews, but to the German people. Despite
the amount of eye-witness testimony, paper evidence in the form of records,
journals, etc., photographic evidence, and a wealth of forensic evidence, there
is a huge movement to assert the position the Holocaust never happened. This
would be news to my father who still talks about the “walking skeletons” he met
over in Germany. I’ll hasten to add that World War II ended just sixty-nine
Despite this recent historical
event, how many children in school today learn the details of this war? The
answer is very few. It is regarded as ancient history in our schools and thus,
is essentially given “lip service” with no factual information having been
The same people who would assert
that World War II is too far in our past to be necessary to be taught to our
children in school, are the exact same people who insist the Hebrews should
have retained all their forebears had told them four hundred years earlier. My
question: Do we regard the ancient Hebrews as more intelligent and responsible
that we should be today? The logic applied by these critics would certainly
lean in that direction.
Ask a typical person off the street
what was going on in the United States four hundred years ago. Ask them what the
culture was, what language was spoken and who was the world power in the year
1614. Very, very few can answer those questions. Sadly, many would not even
know the United States didn’t yet exist. But we expect a tribal people who had
been living away from their ancestral land to not only retain all knowledge of
that former time, but to have also retained all of the culture, language, and
Consider the plight of the native
American people. On my father’s side, my great-great grandmother was full
Mohegan Indian. The culture, language, and knowledge of her family is lost to
history. I know; I have looked. She was “bound out” as a child and wound up
working for my great-great grandfather in 1854. She tended to his wife and
family as Yellow Fever swept through and wound up killing all but my
Great-great grandfather and his eldest daughter from that first marriage. He
then took his servant girl, the Mohegan Indian, as his bride and they had seven
children together. My father remembers this woman just barely as she didn’t
pass on until 1928 when my father would have been barely five years old.
Regardless, nothing was passed down, and I know very little about her people
outside of what is printed about the Mohegan in general. To me, this is a waste
and personally, I would very much like to explore this part of my family tree.
My point in explaining all of this
is simple. For some mysterious reason, archaeologists hold ancient
people to a much higher standard than they do to contemporary people. If
we can decimate a people so thoroughly that though barely one hundred years
hence, there is nothing known, how is it we have any realistic expectation a
tribe enslaved under the aforementioned conditions should retain knowledge of
their forebears? It simply is not reasonable.
With the passing of elder Native
Americans of various tribes, the language they spoke is going with them. So
much of what a people is resides in their language. How they speak, what they
speak of, their thoughts as constructed orally; all are subtle nuances which do
not translate easily outside of the language. Moses spoke Egyptian as did the
other Hebrews. It is quite possible—probable, in fact—that they were bi-lingual
to a degree, but growing up in Pharaoh’s household as he did, Moses native
tongue had become Egyptian.
Moses also wrote in Egyptian. In the
year 1450 BC. This is from Colleen Manassa, curator of “Echoes of Egypt:
Conjuring the Land of the Pharaohs” and Associate Professor of Egyptology
at Yale University:
For day-to-day documents, ancient Egyptian scribes wrote in a cursive, abbreviated form of hieroglyphs called “hieratic,” the script used in this short letter. A small rectangular piece of papyrus cut from a longer scroll, this letter consists of a list of festival offerings that a woman, Hetep, gave to a man, Penre, apparently to settle a previous debt. The recto consists primarily of a list of loaves of bread, cuts of meat, and assorted vegetables, while the verso includes an unusual curse formula and oath: “No male robber (of the necropolis) shall violate it; no female robbers of the necropolis shall violate it. As Re endures, as Re endures, they will reach Paenre, consisting of what Hetep gives to you because she has given it to you before Re.” After being written, the letter was folded (the horizontal creases are still visible in the thin lines of missing fibers), and the address was written, which is why the name of the addressee is upside down relative to the text on the verso.
The above references some hieratic
writing on a scrap of papyrus dated to 1450 BC. This would make such writing
contemporary to the time of Moses and the Exodus. It would also have been the
type of writing he and the Egyptian Hebrews would have been most familiar
with—providing those Egyptians Hebrews were literate. Most were not as most had
no formal teaching, nor the benefit of education as had Moses. Thus, when the
exodus began, whatever pottery, writing or other signs of life in the Southern
Sinai which may have been found would be easily mistaken for Egyptian, rather
than the Canaanite artifacts they have so far expected to find.
So, what is the evidence to back up
my claims? Surprisingly, there is much evidence all about us, but it is
misunderstood and mislabeled. I will endeavor to expound upon the claims I’ve
thus far made to engage the reader to consider what has been either mistakenly
over-looked, or deliberately concealed by historians
and archaeologists. The troubling aspect of this conclusion is that
neither is acceptable. We expect that those who call themselves historians to
be absent a particular ideological agenda, but that is sadly not the case. I
will delve more into that later.
First it is important to understand
just what Biblical Archaeology is. As far as a “science” or practice,
it is relatively young; about 150 years old. The “father” of
Biblical Archaeology is William Foxwell Albright (1891 –
1971). Albright first came to prominence as one of the scholars who authenticated
the Dead Sea Scrolls in 1948. This provided a base upon which he began his true
life’s work which was to prove the events of the Bible pointed
to archaeological evidence we can see today. This is what became
known as Biblical Archaeology.
To be certain, this is a hot topic
issue with a host of differing opinions. Many of
younger archaeologists who were influenced by Albright’s
teachings have since concluded he is mostly in error with his findings. They
have approached the subject as secular archaeologists and thus
believe their findings are unbiased and are the only true accounting of
the facts. To this I ask the following questions:
Why is it reasonable to presume that a people separated by
time and space would retain the exact same characteristics of one another?
The Hebrews inhabited the land of Canaan (Abraham was buried in Machpelah
in modern-day Hebron, Israel) in the time of Abraham who had originally
come there from the land of Ur (Modern-day Southern Iraq.) Those who went to
Egypt were limited to Jacob’s family. The whole of the people of the land
of Canaan remained in Canaan.
- Approximately 470 years passed between Jacob’s arrival in Egypt and Joshua’s return to the land of Canaan. As has already been pointed out, Joshua and his people were more Egyptian than they were Canaanite in the vein and culture of Abraham. Why are archaeologists looking for Canaanite pottery and other like evidence in the Southern Sinai Peninsula rather than evidence of habitation of any kind?
are archaeologists insistent they should be able to locate
evidence of a language of these people not in existence at the time
of the exodus? Again, the earliest evidence of the Hebrew language dates
to 1000 BCE, four hundred years after the exodus occurred.
Unless and until
modern archaeology puts aside the secular agenda and answers these
questions fairly, their findings are as biased and “colored” as they
accuse Albright’s of being. Despite this, I can find volumes of information in
books and on the Internet which assert there is absolutely NO evidence of the
Biblical exodus. However, I can still find assertions that the Jewish King
David is a work of fiction despite verified archaeological evidence
to the contrary.
The evidence of King David is found
in the Tel Dan Inscription. This from Wikipedia:
The Tel Dan Stele is a broken stele (inscribed stone) discovered in 1993-94 during excavations at Tel Dan in northern Israel. It consists of several fragments making up part of a triumphal inscription in Aramaic, left most probably by Hazael of Aram-Damascus, an important regional figure in the late ninth-century BCE. Hazael (or more accurately, the unnamed king) boasts of his victories over the king of Israel and his ally the king of the "House of David" (bytdwd), the first time the name David had been found outside of the Bible.
The Tel Dan inscription generated
considerable debate and a flurry of articles, debating its age, authorship, and
even some accusations of forgery, "but it is now widely regarded (a) as
genuine and (b) as referring to the Davidic dynasty and the Aramaic kingdom of
Damascus." It is currently on display in the Israel Museum in Jerusalem.
secular archaeological agenda does no favors to any true student of
history. It is better to state that one has found no definitive evidence
thus far than to state with certainty no such evidence exists because the story
is a fabrication. Such is a position of supreme arrogance not worthy of one
calling themselves scholars.
However, I am not so naive as to
believe there are not egos warring in our hallowed halls of higher learning. My
mathematics teacher in college once told me that in higher institutions, one
either is published, or one is irrelevant. That is a shame because it goads
otherwise good people into producing ANYTHING in order to get noticed
and facts be damned.
While I may sound like someone with
an axe to grind, I assure you that such not entirely the case. The only “axe” I
desire to grind to a razor-sharp edge is that which will be used to cut through
the lies of ideology. The simple fact is that we don’t know all the truth of
the past, but when we allow our preconceived notions of what we believe the
past to have been to then lead us to false conclusions, we are primarily lying
to ourselves in these instances. Those who are familiar with my commentaries
are also familiar with the fact that I do not hold to traditional Christian
orthodoxy “just because that’s what I was taught.” No, quite the
contrary; I desire to learn truth, not dogma. I have taken that same sharpened
aforementioned axe to my own long held beliefs and cut them down like
over-ripened stalks of wheat. Where there is error, no truth exists regardless
the ideological desire.
As I have come to understand it, two
major errors have occurred on both sides of the ideological aisle:
Traditionalist of the Judeo-Christian belief regard the book of Genesis as the
inerrant Word of God and believe that as they comprehend it, it can be used as
a scientific treatise on the origin of the universe. The second error I have
found is that secularists hold to the belief that the book of Genesis is the
inerrant Word of God and believe that as they comprehend it, it can be used as
a scientific treatise on the origin of the universe. Because of these errors,
both sides expend tremendous amounts of effort and rhetoric to disprove one
another rather than simply letting the evidence speak for itself, be it pro or
con to their agenda.
I know of a woman who attained a
Decorate in Theology, though she claims to be an atheist. Her whole point was
to evidently prove that God does not exist, thus she authored her dissertation
on how Christianity is little more than a cult. Such a paper should have been
summarily dismissed, but it was vetted by a group of her peers who hold similar
beliefs, to wit: God is dead and any who believe otherwise are crazy. Again,
such an arrogant position has no place in academia, but such is the nature of
I raise this anecdote for one reason
only: These are the same minds we trust to provide us an unbiased, legitimate
conclusion as to the archeological truth of our origins. I can only imagine the
response this woman’s dissertation would have received had it been peer
reviewed by those who held no such bias against people of faith. Perhaps such a
work would have even been seen as intolerant and racist. Perhaps.
I have struggled to find papers
listing the artifacts uncovered in the Southern Sinai Peninsula which date to
the Eighteenth Dynasty under the rule of Thutmose III (1479 – 1425 BC)
attributed to the Egyptian Hebrews and the exodus. Thutmose III’s reign would
have coincided with Moses and the exodus. Thutmose and his army traveled widely
as a result of various military campaigns against the Phoenicians in Syria and
the Kadesh on the Orontes River which flows through Turkey, Lebanon, and Syria.
My guess is that I will never find such papers written on these discoveries,
for no archeologist is looking for them. Their presumption is that the
Hebrews in Egyptian captivity remained fully Hebrew and/or Canaanite in
culture, appearance and bearing. I cannot underscore enough how incongruent
this belief is with human nature. People adapt to their surroundings, and we
have an overwhelming wealth of information to bear that fact out.
My call to archeologists who may be reading this missive is to reassess your position; begin to look in areas with fresh eyes and without an agenda. I am certain you’ll make astounding discoveries once you let go of all agendas besides the truth.