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Was There A Recorded Exodus From Egypt?

Who Are The Hyksos?

From Wikipedia:

Most mainstream scholars do not accept the biblical Exodus account as history for a number of reasons. Most scholars agree that the Exodus stories were written centuries after the apparent setting of the stories.

A web search for “Did the Exodus really happen?” and you will reveal dozens of websites that say just what Wikipedia summed up.

Not only do modern scholars claim that the Exodus never happen, they also claim Moses did not write the book.


Its authorship has traditionally been ascribed to Moses. Modern scholars assign the Book to a later time than that of Moses, some holding it to be a composite work, its strata probably having been written between the 9th and 5th cents. BC. The date of the Exodus is also debated, but most schools of thought are “Exodus, the liberation of the people of Israel from slavery in Egypt in the 13th century b.c.e.” (Encyclopedia Britannica, “Exodus”).

Hopefully you caught the fact that while these scholars don’t believe the Exodus happened; these same people generally agree that it was in the 13th Century BC that it did not happen.

How is a “fictional” event dated?

Exodus 1:11

Therefore they did set over them taskmasters to afflict them with their burdens. And they built for Pharaoh treasure cities, Pithom and Rameses.

It’s the city Rameses that sets the date for these scholars, that city was built in the 13th century BC. That’s it, the entire reason for the 13th century dating.

In Genesis 47 we read the story of Joseph, and in verse 11 we find:

 And Joseph placed his father and his brethren, and gave them a possession in the land of Egypt, in the best of the land, in the land of Rameses, as Pharaoh had commanded.

The Israelites then live in Egypt for 430 years beginning with the time of Joseph.

Exodus 12:40

Now the sojourning of the children of Israel, who dwelt in Egypt, was four hundred and thirty years.

Problem is, the city of Rameses did not exist in the day of Joseph, nor did it exist 430 years after Joseph. So why is the author of Exodus referencing a city that did not exist in that day?

The author is using an anachronism.

An anachronism is a later, typically better-known name given to something from an earlier, lesser known time period. It is used quite frequently in history books, ancient and modern. For example, Julius Caesar conquering France; Gaul was its name at the time, but the anachronism “France” conveys more meaning to a modern audience.

At the time of Joseph the city was called Avaris, as it still was called 430 years later. As time passed, the Israelites could not relate to Avaris, a city whose name had been changed to Rameses.

The 13th century time line for the Exodus is off by about three centuries. No wonder modern scholars cannot find evidence for the Exodus, they are looking at the wrong period of time.

If we move the time period back to the 16th Century BC we do find evidence of a mass Exodus. It was known by the Egyptians as the Hyksos Expulsion, and it happen in the year 1580 BC. The Hyksos ruled Lower Egypt for 108 years.

Exodus 1:6-8 explains what happened.

6 And Joseph died, and all his brethren, and all that generation.

7 And the children of Israel were fruitful, and increased abundantly, and multiplied, and waxed exceeding mighty; and the land was filled with them.

8 Now there arose up a new king over Egypt, which knew not Joseph.

Between verses 6 and 7 there is a span of generations, and it doesn’t sound like they were slaves does it? That is because the Israelite were not slaves at the time. It was only when the “new king” which did not know Joseph came to power that they became slaves.

We know from Egyptian historians that this king was Ahmose.

Ahmose became the first king of the newly minted 18th Dynasty, which also ushered in a new period of Egyptian strength known as the New Kingdom (1540-1080 BC).

This was the king who did not know of Joseph. In fact, he was concerned about having any Asiatics (either Canaanites or Israelites) in his land, which led to his enslavement of them and his attempt to reduce their numbers by killing all the baby boys. Ahmose came to the throne around 1540 BC, and Moses was born a few years later, in 1525 BC, during the middle of the reign of Ahmose (see Ex 2:1-10).

Ahmose writes the story of the Exodus as expelling the people that Moses led. After all, since a pharaoh was considered a living god, they would not have wanted to admit they had been defeated by a more powerful God.

A third century Egyptian historian named Mantho says that after the Hyksos were expelled from Egypt, they wandered the desert before establishing the city of Jerusalem.

Sounds like our Israelites does it not?

For a more detailed explanation of all this watch the video The Exodus Decoded.