God guided the Israelite’s through the Exodus, where He defeated Pharaoh’s army at the Red Sea. This is indeed one of the greatest narratives found throughout the entirety of the Holy Bible, and contains some of God’s greatest signs, as when He allowed Moses to split open the Red Sea, allowing the Israelite’s to pass through the enormous water mass.
The Israelite’s were free from Pharaoh’s tyranny when they were being led by Moses, by God’s greatness.
It is, of course, unfortunate, however, that there exist a people who wish to deny the historicity of this great event, being at the heart of the Book of Exodus and one of the greatest acts of God in the entire Holy Bible. Indeed, there exists a charge against God’s words that the events within, such as the Exodus, are nothing more than historical fiction rather than events that have truly occurred in reality. Regarding these charges, we shall now respond to them, and show that exodus is not a mere fiction in the Holy Bible.
Not only do we have historical confirmation of these segments of the Exodus narrative, but the massive sites and regional locations in which would be required for such an extraordinary amount of Israelite’s to travel from Egypt are also attested to. This is an image of the Oasis of Hazeroth, which according to the Bible was one of the locations that the Israelite’s passed through during the exodus, abundantly recorded in various passages of the Pentateuch (five books of Moses).
There are various Biblical passages that mention the Oasis of Hazeroth. These include Numbers 11:35, Numbers 12:16 and Deuteronomy 1:1. This means the locations of where the Bible told us the Israelite’s went through during the exodus not only exist, but are capable of containing such an abundant amount of peoples. No one will question the humor that some people expect remains of extensive farming locations, numerous altars, amongst other things left by the Israelite’s during the exodus, even though it is virtually impossible for such things to survive (or exist in the first place) as a result of several hundred thousand Israelite’s living in a semi-nomadic lifestyle for a mere forty years, which would have much clues covered up by over 3,000 years of heavy erosion and the shifting and alternating desert sands. But before I continue, I’d like to address the massive number of Israelite’s that Exodus reports leaving Egypt.
Two censuses were supposed to have been taken of the Israelite men, the first recorded in Numbers 1:46/Exodus 38:26 and the second in Numbers 26:51, both of which found over 600,000 Israelite men alone. If we include women and children, the number would rise to perhaps 2-3 million people leaving Egypt, an impossibly large number that would have destroyed the Egyptian economy were so many slaves to escape (the entire population of Egypt at the time, including slaves, was about 3 million). Of course, population numbers in ancients texts, especially during wars and military campaigns, tend to be highly exaggerated anyways. The trend appears to be that historical events that are recorded usually have many of their figures embellished and exaggerated as time passes by. So, while the slaughter of the innocents by Herod the Great in the New Testament (Matthew 2:16-18) would have killed about a dozen or so kids considering how small the size of Bethlehem was at the time, Wikipedia compiles later texts that begin to bloat the numbers to 14,000 dead, then 64,000, then 144,000, etc. And yet, given Herod’s reign of tyranny and terror towards the end of his life due to his fears of being overthrown, scholars like Everett Ferguson have argued that this story is historically plausible (Backgrounds of Early Christianity, pg. 390). Herodotus records that over 300,000 Persians fought the Greeks in the Battle of Plataea in 479 BC (Histories, IX.32). In other words, it’s clear that historical events can have massively exaggerated numbers as time passes by in order to increase their literary magnificence.
But not only that, the Bible elsewhere is clearly aware that the number of Israelite’s was much smaller than the figures it gives. For example, we’re told in Numbers 3:39 and 3:46 that the total number of male firstborns over one month of age was about 20,000 — meaning that if the population was really 2 million, there was only 1 child for every 30 families, a ridiculous estimate. Moving forwards, Deuteronomy 7:7 writes “The Lord did not set his affection on you and choose you because you were more numerous than other peoples, for you were the fewest of all peoples.” In other words, God did not choose and save the Israelite people because they were large in number, but because they were the fewest of all the peoples! Exodus 23:29-30 also tells us that the Israelite’s were so few in number that God had to give them the promised land after their escape from Egypt portion by portion since there weren’t actually enough Israelite’s to occupy the entire region right away.
Exodus 23:29-30: I will not drive them out from before you in one year, or the land would become desolate and the wild animals would multiply against you. 30 Little by little I will drive them out from before you, until you have increased and possess the land.
Therefore, as the scholar Joshua Berman starkly points out, “despite the Bible’s apparent declaration that Israelite men numbered 600,000 when they left Egypt, a wealth of material in the Torah points to a number dramatically and perhaps even exponentially lower.” So, to conclude, we know that historical events can have vastly exaggerated population estimates as times goes by, and that the accounts in the Pentateuch themselves explicitly say that the actual number of Israelite’s was pretty small anyways.
Moving forwards, we shall now look at the amazing convergence of the Exodus narrative and Egyptian archaeology. Now, before the exodus, the Israelite’s were foreign slaves to the Egyptians, being forced to build cities for them, amongst other things.
Exodus 1:11: So the Egyptians assigned taskmasters over the Israelites to oppress them with forced labor. They built Pithom and Rameses as supply cities for Pharaoh.
This is the record of the Holy Bible. What about the Egyptian record? Now, the tomb of vizier Rekhmire, from the middle of the 15th century BC depicts foreign slaves with an inscription on it saying “making bricks for the workshop-storeplace of the Temple of Amun at Karnak in Thebes.” These are Egyptian inscriptions of foreign slaves in Egypt. It’s also known that many of the foreign slaves were also Semitic, which is obvious in the names recorded on the Brooklyn Papyrus, for example.
As is also noted by the inscription on the tomb of vizier Rekhmire, Egyptian slaves were engaged in brick-making. It is also known that Egyptian slaves were engaged in both construction work and fieldwork, and all of this is what the Hebrews are described to have been doing in the Book of Exodus. The very architect of Ramesside chronology himself, Kenneth Kitchen in a study titled From the Brickfields of Egypt, has also demonstrated that Egyptian brick-makers had to meet quotas for their brick production — a fact that is highly reminiscent of Exodus 5:4-19.
Furthermore, the Pentateuch (books of Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy), contain a vast knowledge regarding the customs, geography, and etymology of ancient Egypt. Joshua Berman states the following;” At best, we have a text—the Hebrew Bible—that exhibits a good grasp of a wide range of fairly standard aspects of ancient Egyptian realities.”
One thing to note is the usage of strictly Egyptian names in the Book of Exodus, that primarily and only existed in usage in Egypt in the mid-second millennium BC. As the renowned scholar, Richard Hess puts it,
Although many of these names remained in use later as well, some of them, such as Pinḥas, show an explicit connection with Egyptian personal names at the period in question, and a few, including Ḥevron (Exodus 6:18) and Puah (Exodus 1:15), are attested as personal names only in the mid-second millennium (that is, the 18th to the 13th centuries BCE). The use of other Egyptian words found in the early chapters of Exodus but nowhere else in the Bible similarly supports the view of a connection with Egypt in the same period. Such pieces of incidental information, which would not have been known to a later scribe, point to an antiquity and authenticity in the Exodus account that is difficult to explain otherwise.
Furthermore, the books of the Pentateuch exhibit great knowledge of the geography of Egypt. For example, Genesis 13:10 says “…the entire Jordan Valley as far as Zoar was well watered everywhere like the Lord’s garden and the land of Egypt…” Steven Collins, a specialist in the region of the Jordan Valley comments on this in his book Discovering the City of Sodom regarding the passage Genesis 13:10;
“Here, the well-watered kikkar is compared to (lower) Egypt and the Nile River, which flows northward, dividing into a series of channels in the Nile Delta as it empties into the Mediterranean Sea. The parallels are striking. Both the Nile and the Jordan empty into saline waters. And — on a much smaller scale — the Jordan, like the Nile, also has an alluvial “delta” through which it empties into the northern end of the Dead Sea. Additionally, in antiquity both rivers underwent an annual inundation due to rainfall and snowmelt far upstream. It seems that the writer of Genesis was familiar with the lower Nile area and viewed the Jordan as a ‘Nile in miniature.'” (pg. 117)
In other words, the author of the Pentateuch seems to be highly familiar with the land of Egypt and its geography, including the Nile River. Another fact in the account of the Exodus that confirms the authors specialized knowledge of geography and political state of ancient Egypt is Exodus 13:17, that tells us when the Israelite’s are leaving Egypt, they avoided the northern route in order to avoid military engagement. Joshua Berman also notes that the “…discovery of extensive Egyptian fortifications all along that route from the period in question confirms the accuracy of this observation.” This is consistent with Moses, who was “trained in all the wisdom of the Egyptians” (Acts 7:22) according to the Bible.
Even more evidence of the Pentateuch’s considerable knowledge of ancient Egypt’s customs and geography in the time of the Exodus remains plentiful. For example, you’ll notice in the entire Pentateuch, the name of the Egyptian pharaoh is never given, even though later biblical books like 1 and 2 Kings give the name of the pharaoh they describe (Shishak; 1 Kings 14:25, Necho; 2 Kings 23:29). If the Exodus account was invented, we would expect the Pentateuch to simply make up the name of the pharaoh. However, it seems that the author of Pentateuch employed an Egyptian type of writing custom that only existed in the 15th – 11th centuries BC in Egyptian literature, in which the name of Egypt’s king is never mentioned, rather he is simply referred to by the title of ‘pharaoh’.
Throughout ancient Egyptian literature in the second millennium BC, the power of the king of Egypt is portrayed in Egyptian texts as existing through pharaoh’s arm. In a paper titled The Arm of God Versus the Arm of Pharaoh in the Exodus Narratives by James Hoffmeier, one of the renowned scholars of our day, Hoffmeier quotes many of these Egyptian texts, including two relevant ones here which speak about Amenhotep II (pg. 381);
The accompanying inscription reads: ‘Amenhotep… who smites foreign rules of the far north, he is a god whose arm is great’. He is also called the ‘good god, strong of arm who achieves with his arms’ (pg. 381)
However, something important that James Hoffmeier points out is that Exodus does the exact same thing with God. In the Book of Exodus the following is written;
Exodus 13:14: “In the future, when your son asks you, ‘What does this mean?’ say to him, ‘By the strength of His hand the Lord brought us out of Egypt, out of the place of slavery.
Moses portrays God’s power by God’s arm (so to speak). This is indeed no coincidence. James Hoffmeier points out that Moses wrote in this kind of language as to show that Yahweh’s power is greater than the power of pharaoh, and therefore defeated pharaoh and his gods, and therefore the arm of Yahweh overpowered the arm of pharaoh. James Hoffmeier thus says;
“The drama of the exodus narratives in describing the struggle between God and Pharaoh’s arms is heightened when it is realized that the arm of the Egyptian king was thought to be infused with strength of the supreme god Amun, or the war gods Seth or Montu. The polemical and legitimizing value of these expressions, which appear to go hand in hand, would have had special significance for the reader or hearer of the exodus narratives. By extending his victorious arm, God showed his superiority over pharaoh and the gods of Egypt.” (pg. 387)
The evidence shows that the author of the Pentateuch is highly familiar with the customs, literature, and geography of Egypt of the second millennium BC, in the time of Moses, showing that the account of the Exodus is a highly, highly trustworthy source.
Indeed, there is great historical confirmation of the Exodus of the Holy Bible and the Book of Exodus in the Old Testament deriving from the historical record, indeed bearing much evidence in showing it is the truth of history, rather than anything else. But considering this was initially told to us by God in the first place, what else could we have expected?
It is evident that the narrative of the Bible is clearly and plainly historical fact. Hallelujah!
Jeremiah 10:10: But Yahweh is the true God; He is the living God and eternal King. The earthquakes at His wrath, and the nations cannot endure His rage.