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.
To begin, the first thing we will do is find out when the exodus took place. Now, Scholarly research has shown that the reign of king Solomon began in 970 BC. Let us now read a passage from 1 Kings.
[1 Kings 6:1] Solomon began to build the temple for the Lord in the four hundred eightieth year after the Israelites came out of the land of Egypt, in the fourth year of his reign over Israel, in the second month, in the month of Ziv.
Thus, according to 1 Kings 6:1, the fourth year of the reign of Solomon (which would be 966 BC) came 480 years after the Israelite’s came out of the land of Egypt. So, when did the Exodus begin? We merely add 480 years to 966 BC (966 BC was again, the fourth year of Solomon’s reign), and we get a date for the start of the exodus at 1446 BC. There are some out there who think the number of 480 years in 1 Kings 6:1 is not literal and merely represents twelve generations of forty years each, forty years being a representation of a length of a generation — however this proposition has been entirely rebutted, as would be expected of such a random assertion. Another point to make is that the phrase four hundred and eightieth year in 1 Kings 6:1 is ordinal, not cardinal (480th year, not 480 years), which shatters any attempt to interpret it as a representation of twelve generations rather than a precise counting of years, and therefore we can know for sure that 1 Kings 6:1 establishes the exodus as occurring 1446 BC, which would be 480 years before the fourth year of the reign of Solomon. The next passage to look at is in the Book of Judges;
[Judges 11:26] While Israel lived 300 years in Heshbon and its villages, in Aroer and its villages, and in all the cities that are on the banks of the Arnon, why didn’t you take them back at that time?
Now, Judges 11-12:7 took place at the time of Jephthah, who was one of the judges in the Book of Judges over Israel, and under him, the Ammonites were defeated. Dating the time of the judges is not an easy task, but Jephthah is generally thought to have lived somewhere around 1100 BC. Generally, it can be assured that it was at least somewhere between 1130 BC – 1070 BC. Now, according to Judges 11:26, the conquest of Joshua began 300 years prior to Jephthah’s judging, meaning Joshua’s conquest, according to Judges 11:26, started around 1430 BC – 1370 BC. Now, the exodus would have started at least over 40 years prior to Joshua’s conquest, because the Hebrews wandered throughout the Sinai for forty years after the exodus according to the exodus account. Setting the date another 40 years back, we get a date of the start of the exodus, according to Judges 11:26, between 1470 BC – 1410 BC, comfortably over the 1446 BC dating we got from 1 Kings 6:1. The third passage we will use to date the exodus is 1 Chronicles 6:33-37.
[1 Chronicles 6:33-37] Here are the men who served, together with their sons: From the Kohathites: Heman, the musician, the son of Joel, the son of Samuel, the son of Elkanah, the son of Jeroham, the son of Eliel, the son of Toah, the son of Zuph, the son of Elkanah, the son of Mahath, the son of Amasai, the son of Elkanah, the son of Joel, the son of Azariah, the son of Zephaniah, the son of Tahath, the son of Assir, the son of Ebiasaph, the son of Korah,
In 1 Chronicles 6:33-37, we are given 18 generations from Korah in the time of Moses to Heman in the time of David, meaning Moses and David were separated by 18 generations. Thus, this would be 19 generations between Moses and Solomon (because Solomon was David’s son). One generation usually lasts about 25 years. Assuming 25 years per generation, for 19 generations, we get 475 years between Solomon and Moses. Assuming, let’s say, a 40 year range to ensure accuracy, we’ll estimate 455-495 years for these 19 generations to pass by. So according to 1 Chronicles 6:33-37, Solomon and Moses are separated by about 455-495 years, in which is almost exactly the same as the 480 year difference we are given between Solomon to Moses in 1 Kings 6:1. 1 Chronicles 6:33-37 would put the exodus perhaps anywhere between 1480 BC – 1440 BC. The final passage we will be using as a dating method for the exodus is Ezekiel 40:1.
[Ezekiel 40:1] In the twenty-fifth year of our exile, at the beginning of the year, on the tenth day of the month in the fourteenth year after Jerusalem had been captured, on that very day the Lord’s hand was on me, and He brought me there.
Ezekiel 40:1 records the 17th jubilee. But how do we know Ezekiel 40:1 represents a jubilee at all? The phrase “at the beginning of the year” in this verse, translates to Rosh Hashanah in the Hebrew, which was a phrase used to represent the very beginning of the New Year. If you focus on the details of this verse, however, you’ll realize that the verse says it is “on the tenth day of the month”. One may ask, how it can be the beginning of the year if it is on the tenth of the month rather than the first? An Old Testament Scholar, Rodger C. Young explains in a paper (pg. 271) that the only time such an event occurs on the Jewish calendar is when it is the year of the jubilee, meaning that Ezekiel 40:1 represents a jubilee year. So, exactly what year was Ezekiel 40:1 representing? Another hint in the verse is when the verse says “on the tenth day of the month in the fourteenth year after Jerusalem had been captured.” Ezekiel 40:1 represented the year that would come fourteen years after the capture of Jerusalem. Scholars generally contest either a dating of 587 BC, or 586 BC, but in the same paper, Rodger C. Young establishes based on Ezekiel 40:1 that Jerusalem must have been captured in 587 BC.
So, if Ezekiel 40:1 represents fourteen years after 587 BC, 587 BC being the first year, we realize 574 BC is the fourteenth year that Ezekiel 40:1 represents. Now that we know this, we understand Ezekiel 40:1 represents both the year 574 BC and the 17th jubilee. One Jubilee is 49 years, and so 17 Jubilees would span 833 years (17 x 49). If we go back 833 years from 574 BC, starting at 574 BC for the first year, it is evident that the counting of the jubilees begun at 1406 BC. Rodger C. Young concludes;
But when we combine this with the Seder ‘Olam’s (and the Talmud’s) statement that Ezekiel’s Jubilee was the seventeenth Jubilee, then the fact that this gives 1406 as not just the start of a cycle, but the start of the very fast cycle, in agreement with the date of 1406 for Israel’s entry into the land as measured by an independent method, then it logically follows that the counting really did begin in 1406, and the Levitical priests were faithfully measuring the Sabbatical and Jubilee years over all the time that Israel was in its land. (pg. 276)
So, as the Israelite’s started counting their jubilees at their entry into the holy land from the exodus in 1406 BC, we can simply go 40 years back from 1406 BC to get the date of when the exodus started, and behold, we arrive to find the exodus started at 1446 BC. Thus, we have utilized four independent dating methods to quantify when the exodus began, from 1 Kings 6:1, Judges 11:26, 1 Chronicles 6:33-37 and Ezekiel 40:1, and we have unanimously come to the same time in history about when the exodus began. The fact that four independent dating methods for the beginning of the exodus bring us to the same time period in regards to when the exodus began shows that the exodus was a true historical event, for coincidences do not simply add up like this.
An important area of research to look at when determining the historicity of the exodus is Joshua’s conquest of Canaan, said to commence almost immediately after the Israelite’s entered the Jordan (1406 BC). We have extraordinary historical attestation to the annihilation of Canaanite cities dating to and right after the 1400’s BC when Joshua’s conquest was to take place. Some think that we would expect to see the complete destruction of Canaanite cities around 1400 BC, but unfortunately for these people, this is not what the Biblical text says happened. In his book Kingdom and Priests: A History of Old Testament Israel, Eugene H. Merrill, an Old Testament scholar explains in the following statement:
Signs of major devastation in the period from 1400 to 1375 would be an acute embarrassment to the traditional view because the Biblical witness is univocal that Israel was commanded to annihilate the Canaanite populations, but to spare the cities and towns in which they lived. And the record explicitly testifies that this mandate was faithfully carried out. The only exceptions were Jericho, Ai, and Hazor. (pg. 90)
In other words, the Exodus narrative only says that the cities Jericho, Ai and Hazor underwent destruction, whilst other Canaanite cities themselves were spared though they had their populations annihilated. And in fact, this is exactly what we see — the only Canaanite cities during the time of Joshua that were actually destroyed align perfectly with the Exodus narrative. In perfect alignment with the Biblical record, the only cities that underwent destruction in the time of Joshua were Jericho, Ai, and Hazor. Let’s discuss all three of them, starting with Jericho.
The first man to date the destruction of Jericho was John Garstang, placing the violent crushing of this city at about 1400 BC. After Garstang had concluded that this was the date of the destruction of Jericho, Palestinian archaeology underwent major advancement and seeing his work was critiqued, he asked a woman named Kathleen Kenyon to re-examine his work and update his findings. After she did so, she ended up seeing that the destruction must be re-dated to 1550 BC, which ended up being accepted by the academic community during her time. This initially posed a problem to the biblical account. Fortunately, decades later an archaeologist named Bryant G. Wood examined her publications, and utilizing new information on top of even newer technology, he concluded that the destruction of Jericho should be dated back to 1400 BC in coordination with Garstang’s initial dating of the destruction of Jericho. Excavations earlier lead by John Garstang had found four royal scarabs that post-date 1550 BC in the site of Jericho, including a scarab from the reign of Hatshepsut (c. 1506-1488 BC) a scarab and a seal from the reign of Thutmose III (c. 1506-1452 BC), and two scarabs from the reign of Amenhotep III (c. 1408-1369 BC). This would imply continual occupation of the site of Jericho up until about c. 1400 BC.
Radiometric dates at the site of Jericho have often yielded a destruction date of 1550 BC, which mainly contributed to Kenyon’s dating of Jericho’s destruction during this time. However, it has recently been revealed that radiometric dates have an offset of about 150 years on average before 1400 BC. Applying a 150-year offset to the radiometric dates of Jericho’s destruction of 1550 BC, we arrive almost too coincidentally at a corrected date of 1400 BC. The archaeological evidence indicates a destruction of Jericho during 1400 BC, at the end of the Late Bronze Age I Period.
Now that we’ve discussed all that, let’s discuss the city Ai. Recent excavations have shown to be very promising. Take a look at the biblical city of Ai.
The city of Ai (modern day Khirbet el-Maqatir) perfectly establishes Joshua’s conquest. Excavations in Khirbet el-Maqatir reveal many finds, including a fortress and scarab that date to the Late Bronze Age I that conclusively date the destruction of Ai to about 1400 BC, perfectly paralleling the time of the conquest.
As for Hazor, Hazor contains two destruction layers — one in the 15th century BC and 13th century BC. Coincidentally, if the exodus dates to 1446 BC then the following Biblical narrative would necessitate Hazor be destroyed twice, once under Joshua in the late 15th century BC in Joshua 11 and the second time under Deborah and Barak in the 13th century BC in Judges 4. Therefore, the evidence conclusively establishes that archaeology abundantly testifies to the confirmation of the account of Joshua’s conquest, and exactly when it happened, thereby providing great validity for the Exodus account.
Now, some extraordinary findings have been recently made. Originally, it had been assumed that the Merneptah Stele is the earliest reference in archaeology to Israel, dating back astonishingly early to 1200 BC. But it gets better. In 2001 and 2010, two publications were made that found a reference to the existence of Israel as early as 1350 BC on an ancient topographical relief known as the Berlin Statue Pedestal Relief 21687, located in the Berlin Museum. The first paper was written by Manfred Gorg, and second paper was also written by Manfred Gorg along with Christopher Theis and Peter van der Veen. Both papers established a reading of the ancient Berlin Pedestal most likely read an archaic form of the name Israel, making it an astonishingly early reference to the Israelite nation. In further confirmation of this reading, a 2012 paper published a 3D laser scanning of the Berlin Pedestal Relief that reaffirmed the reading of the two previous papers, further conclusively showing that Israel is in fact referenced in the Berlin Pedestal Reliefestablishing the earliest recording of the nation of Israel in history. Now, why is this important? According to the Exodus, the Hebrews left Egypt and entered into the promised land (Israel) in 1406 BC. This means that almost immediately after the nation of Israel is established, according to the Exodus, the first reference to the nation appears in the archaeological record. The chronology of the Exodus is confirmed by such findings.
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.
Moving forwards, we shall now look at the amazing convergence of the Exodus narrative and Egyptian archaeology. Now, before the exodus, or before 1446 BC, 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 1460 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. The amazing thing is that this inscription is dated to c. 1460 BC (reign of Thutmose III), which parallels the Biblical account of the exodus in which we know the Israelite’s were foreign slaves to the Egyptians just prior to 1446 BC. In other words, we know that the Egyptians had foreign slaves in the exact time that we are told in the Book of Exodus that the Israelite’s were slaves to the Egyptians.
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.
Now, assuming the date of the exodus is 1446 BC, the pharaoh of the time of the exodus would be Amenhotep II. This is where the Egyptian record continues to confirm with the narrative of the Book of Exodus in the Old Testament. Amenhotep II was the pharaoh of the exodus, yes? May I ask the question, which pharaoh came after Amenhotep II? It was Thutmose IV. There is yet another Egyptian record known as the Dream Stele, and according to the Dream Stele, Thutmose IV, the heir of Amenhotep II, was not the legal heir to the throne of the pharaoh. This is precisely because Amenhotep II’s eldest son would have died in the tenth plague according to the exodus.
[Exodus 11:1-8] The Lord said to Moses, “I will bring one more plague on Pharaoh and on Egypt. After that, he will let you go from here. When he lets you go, he will drive you out of here. Now announce to the people that both men and women should ask their neighbors for silver and gold jewelry.” The Lord gave the people favor in the sight of the Egyptians. And the man Moses was highly regarded in the land of Egypt by Pharaoh’s officials and the people. So Moses said, “This is what Yahweh says: ‘About midnight I will go throughout Egypt, and every firstborn male in the land of Egypt will die, from the firstborn of Pharaoh who sits on his throne to the firstborn of the servant girl who is behind the millstones, as well as every firstborn of the livestock. Then there will be a great cry of anguish through all the land of Egypt such as never was before, or ever will be again. But against all the Israelites, whether man or beast, not even a dog will snarl, so that you may know that Yahweh makes a distinction between Egypt and Israel. All these officials of yours will come down to me and bow before me, saying: Leave, you and all the people who follow you. After that, I will leave.’” And he left Pharaoh’s presence in fierce anger.
As we can see, the Biblical account records that pharaoh’s son died during the exodus, and the Egyptian account readily confirms this Biblical fact as a historical fact. Another striking parallel between history and the Bible that affirms its reality and the reality of the exodus.
Now, one of the first few pharaoh’s after the exodus took place was pharaoh Akhenaten, who reigned from around 1353 BC to 1336 BC.
Now according to the Amarna Letters, which we’ve discussed before, very shocking information is revealed to us. Akhenaten actually converted to monotheism (the belief that there is one God), and even tried to convert all of Egypt to monotheism (giving him the title of the ‘Heretical King’ after his death). Before him, all of the Egyptian pharaohs and peoples were polytheistic, believing in many gods, although the Israelite’s only believed in one true God. Right after the exodus takes place and as the God of Israel defends the monotheistic Hebrews against the army of pharaoh, we note that one of the first few pharaoh’s to reign thereafter shockingly converts to monotheism. This perhaps indicates Akhenaten realizing that his false gods were inferior to the one true God of Israel. The crushing defeat of Egypt could have influenced the theology of Akhenaten, causing him to convert to monotheism.
Now, there is a claim that there is absolutely no archaeological evidence of a mass exodus of people during the time in which the exodus had supposedly taken place or that the Egyptian army as recorded in Exodus 14:26-28 was utterly destroyed. Contrary to these claims, recent findings of archaeology show this is absolutely not true.
Verily, archaeology gives fantastic insight and confirmation to the account of the exodus. Manfred Bietak, a highly respected scholar, excavated the ancient city of Avaris, a major city and military base of Egypt during the 18th Dynasty that had approximately 25,000 inhabitants. Bietak’s excavations revealed that the entire city of Avaris was abandoned at once. Indeed, in a paper titled Perunefer: the principal New Kingdom naval base, Bietak explains the following in a report regarding some geophysical investigations at Avaris;
Another important matter is the stratigraphy, which shows the abandonment of the site of Tell el Daba/Ezbet Helmy after the reign of Amenhotep II and its reactivation in the late Eighteenth Dynasty. (pg. 17)
Indeed, Bietak’s excavations at ancient Avaris (biblical city of Rameses, modern Tell el-Dab’a) reveals it was entirely abandoned at one point in history. Bietak says that this abandonment occurred after the reign of Amenhotep II (transition between Amenhotep II and Thutmose IV), but in a paper titled Toward Pinpointing the Timing of the Egyptian Abandonment of Avaris During the Middle of the 18th Dynasty by the scholar Douglas Petrovich, the abandonment of Avaris was subsequently shown to have happened during the reign of Amenhotep II himself, rather than during Amenhotep II’s transition with Thutmose IV (or even the actual reign of Thutmose IV). So, during the reign of Amenhotep II, the pharaoh of the exodus, tens of thousands of people abandon an entire major Egyptian city! Coincidentally, the Book of Exodus tells us that under the reign of the exodus-pharaoh, tens of thousands of Hebrews abandon Egypt. There are some people I’ve met who claim that this abandonment of Avaris was actually related to the Hyksos, but this is impossible, as the Hyksos had been removed from Egypt during the reign of Ahmose I (1550 BC), more than a century before the reign of the pharaoh Amenhotep II, which is when the abandonment of Avaris took place (1450-1440 BC?). The abandonment of Avaris during the reign of Amenhotep II establishes solid evidence for the historicity of the exodus from Egypt.
In fact, during the reign of Amenhotep II and thereafter, the Egyptian army suddenly transitioned from invading and conquering their dissenters, to making peace treaties. As recorded in the Amarna Letters, specifically El-Amarna Tablet 109;
Previously, at the mere sight of an Egyptian, the kings of Canaan would fl[ee before him, but] now the sons of ‘Abdi-Asirta make men from Egypt prowl [like do]gs.
Thus we see that the Egyptian army was once extraordinarily powerful having absolutely no rivals, even the kings of Canaan fleeing before the power of Egypt. Suddenly, at least by the 14th century BC, Egypt was greatly reduced, so that Canaan no longer feared Egypt. In fact, we can see this fact corroborated by the fact that Egypt suddenly started trying to create peace treaties following the height of their military glory rather than invading whomever it pleased under Amenhotep II’s reign. Douglas Petrovich, in the paper mentioned above, says the following statement;
Once the native Egyptians eradicated the foreign invaders who had dominated their landscape for a century, they quickly moved to rebuild the destroyed city and establish it as a storehouse, eventually to be utilized as a military garrison with weapon-making facilities. Peru-nefer/Avaris became the most vital cog in the unprecedented military campaigning under the reigns of Thutmose III and Amenhotep II. Yet during the height of Egypt’s enterprise and glory, her naval base was abandoned mysteriously, and her imperialistic machinery ground to a halt. Egypt suddenly sought to make treaties rather than seize what she desired. (pg. 21)
In other words, Egypt, during the height of its empire and imperialistic glory was suddenly diminished and it’s major naval base of Avaris is suddenly abandoned, and therefore Egypt could not continue invading what it wanted to conquer. This is corroborating confirmation of pharaoh’s army being heavily defeated during the event of the exodus.
[Exodus 14:26-28] Then the Lord said to Moses, “Stretch out your hand over the sea so that the waters may flow back over the Egyptians and their chariots and horsemen.” Moses stretched out his hand over the sea, and at daybreak the sea went back to its place. The Egyptians were fleeing toward it, and the Lord swept them into the sea. The water flowed back and covered the chariots and horsemen—the entire army of Pharaoh that had followed the Israelite’s into the sea. Not one of them survived.
Finally, 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, James 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 Moses does the exact same thing with God. In the Book of Exodus Moses writes the following;
[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, and this is being recognized at a greater and greater amount as time passes on. 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.