The Exodus | Did it Happen? | A Historical Look

(27 Minute Read)
John 5:46
"For had ye believed Moses, ye would have believed me, for he wrote of me."
There are some questions that people think will never be answered. Did a man named Moses really write parts of the old testament? Well, if he didn't then either a writer of the New Testament or Jesus was lying. In fact, most scholars do not believe that the old testament is historically accurate. We live in a world and time where the Bible is not taken seriously. Is Exodus really just a story? Or is it an account of actual history? We have an awesome and intellectually satisfying case for you. This case was brought to our attention by Timothy Mahoney who has been investigating this issue for years. Timothy is the founder of Patterns of Evidence. His ministry has produced professional archaeological documentaries, with one of his most recent being Exodus. In preparation for this article, we studied his last two films in a detailed manner and are glad to announce that he and David Rohl have presented the most compelling case for the old testament to date. Are you ready to be shocked?
The Standard View
Most scholars do not think Moses could have physically written the first books of the Bible, however John 5:46 says something entirely different. In fact, some say the Bible wasn't even around at the time of Moses. 
William Dever is an American archaeologist, who is known for specializing in the history of Israel. He stated in the documentary Patterns of Evidence: The Moses Controversy that he does not "see Moses as the founder of the Israelite religion, and most scholars don't today". Donald Redford is a Canadian archaeologist who is also very popular. He is known most for his books, including one of his most popular Egypt, Canaan, and Israel in Ancient Times. In the same documentary, Donald states Exodus "does not reflect almost anything to do with the original incident". Furthermore in another interview, former university professor Douglas Knight also does not believe Moses wrote the bible. He even states, "I think it (the old testament) was a product of a lot of other people.. later than his time". 
The common theme so far is that these repulateable scholars do not agree that Moses did write the bible. In fact, they were all bible believing Christians growing up. After their research, they found the stories of the bible to not be compatible with historical evidence. You have to wonder, is there really no evidence if these guys stopped believing after becoming known as "experts"? 
On a happy note, not all scholars hold the view that Moses did not write Exodus. Peter Gentry is a expert in the ancient near east, working in 12 different languages and he specifically specializes in greek. Peter spent about 17 years at the university of Toronto.. ironically, in the same department that Donald Redford taught. Peter states that he thinks that Moses authored the first five books of the Bible and in the time period he lived. His argument is that most scholars have not investigated the evidence themselves, and go off passed down knowledge from their professors. He says this is the reason they are not aware of the latest advancements that point towards the Bible being accurate. 
Did Moses Have The Ability To Write Exodus?
One major reason why most scholars believe Moses did not write Exodus is because they believe there was no form of writing like Hebrew in existence at the time of the Exodus. Why is a language like Hebrew important you may ask? Because it incorporates the alphabet which is much more simple and useful (easier to read and learn) than hieroglyphics. In order to be able to convey a message in a readable manner using very few letters would be very important in the time of Moses. In his journey to prove it would have been possible for Moses to write the Torah (or the Old Testament) Timothy decided he needed to prove three terms including:
  • The writing would need to be like Hebrew, as that was the language of the early Israelites.
  • Available resources in the region of Egypt.
  • The time of the writing would have to be around the Exodus timeline.

His argument is that a pattern of evidence that all fits together is much stronger than a single coincidence. In order to prove Moses was capable of writing, he acknowledges he would need to find a sequence of data that all fits like a puzzle.

Before diving deeper into this let's discuss one other argument first. This argument is that we have no original documents. So, what are the oldest near complete documents we have and how close are these to the timeline of Moses? The Dead Sea Scrolls are Jewish-Hebrew manuscripts found in the Qumran Caves in the Judaean Desert, on the northern shore of the Dead Sea. They represent (Included, or referenced to) all books from the old testament and they date to around 200 BC.

The common scholarly accepted date of the writings of Exodus is from the 4-5th century BC during the persian period. Most believe the Bible does not qualify as an eyewitness account, however Professor Duane Garrett belives Moses did write parts of the Bible. He says that he agrees that most of the secular side of the community is not open to anything like the Bible being historical, but he personally knows other believers like him that hold the same or similar views.

Tiny Scrolls

In 1979, southwest of the old city of Jerusalem archaeologist uncovered two tiny scrolls made of silver. They fit into an ancient amulet which was hung around the neck of a person. Once carefully unrolled as they were super fragile, the scroll revealed paleo-hebrew writing. This inscription included a passage from the book of Numbers. Coincidentally, it was the famous message that Moses gave to the priest (Numbers 6:24-26). The wording matches exactly with what is found in modern Bibles, testifying to its accuracy. After being historically tested via linguistic mechanisms, these scrolls were found to be from the late 700 to early 600 BC time period. The scrolls are known as KH1 and KH2, and were found in a cave at the site Ketef Hinnom. What is special is that this little piece of silver holds the earliest known preserved mention of YHWH (God's Holy Name). This dating allows us to confidently debunk the original writing date of the 4-5th century. Because original documents do degrade over time, these 6-7th century BC scrolls provide confidence that God or "YHWH" was worshiped well before these time periods. Perhaps we can prove this by looking further back in time and seeing if the archaeological evidence matches with what the Bible says? Before we discuss that though, we need to understand if and how Moses was able to write. 

Were People Illiterate?

Another argument raised by modern scholars is that while writing was possible at the time, the majority of people were illiterate. This means the audience would have been small, and that stories passed down from generation to generation was the common practice of the time. Storytelling is not effective by word of mouth however as the story is bound to majorly change. Timothy found that as he read the book of Deuteronomy widespread literacy of the Israelites was present at the time as Moses told the heads of Israelite households to write the laws on the doorpost and their gates so they can teach them to their children (Deuteronomy 6:9). 

The Alphabet is Needed

Brian Rickett from the MIKRA Research Laboratory says "This is an extremely well written complex document that reflects the mastery of the language, remarkable uniformity from beginning to end, it reflects sufisticaltion, elegance, artistry, all the things you might look for in a piece of world class literature.. the Torah itself has it."  Due to the complexity of the Torah, Timothy also realized he would need to prove the complexity of the alphabet was available at the time as hieroglyphics are much more difficult to learn and understand (Over 1000 symbols).

Well, short story short in 1905 the first proto-sinaitic inscriptions were found in Canaan by Hilda and Flinders Petrie and were dated between the 17th-15th century BC. Later, in 1999 similar etchings named the Wadi el-Hol inscriptions were found in Egypt by John and Deborah Darnell and were dated to about the the 19th-18th century BC. Amazingly we can now say that this finding does match the language being in Egypt, and before the time of the Exodus. However, does this language classify as an alphabet and is it a form of writing like Hebrew? 

What better person to go to than Sir Alan Henderson Gardiner? He was an egyptologist and is often regarded to as one of the premier Egyptologists of the early and mid-20th century.. possibly due to being a student of the famous egyptologist Kurt Heinrich Sethe in Berlin. Gardiner stated:

"The case for the alphabetic character of the unknown script is overwhelming.. The meanings of these names, translated as Semitic words, are plain and plausible in seventeen cases." - The Egyptian Origin of the Semitic Alphabet

Now that we have established the alphabet was available before Moses, was it like hebrew? If it was hebrew it would match these three terms:

  • Match the look of Hebrew.
  • It would be readable like Hebrew.
  • The alphabet history should match the history of the early Israelites.

Now, does it match the look of Hebrew? The present common scholarly accepted model of language evolution is that proto-sinaitic evolved into phoenician, then this evolved into old hebrew and many other branches of a similar alphabetical style. However, when observing the chart below you start to see that there is not really a difference between phoenician and old hebrew.

 As you can see, the difference can merely be a small altercation in penmanship. This means that phoenician may have evolved with old hebrew from a unknown common ancestor of the two and of course this would include the other branches. Even if this is not true, the writing styles are so similar that we can say if phoenician is descended from proto-sinaitic, then old hebrew gets a free pass as the two languages are nearly identical. However, there is historical evidence to suggest the opposite of what the standard view of linguistic evolution is saying.

The Lone Historian

Eupolemus is the earliest known Jewish historian (some would argue it would be Moses) clocking in at about 150 BC. His work is preserved today in only 5-6 fragments in Eusebius of Caesarea's praeparatio evangelica. Some of the preserved passages are considered genuine, and some are not as interpolation does occur in some historical documents over time. However, one text that is usually regarded to as genuine has some very interesting notes to point out. 

"Moses was the first wise man, and the first that imparted grammar to the Jews, the Phoenicians received it from the Jews, and the Greeks from the Phoenicians." - Eupolemus

This statement is incredible. Why would he lie about this, would there even be a possible motive one could consider? This is probably why this section is considered genuine by most scholars. Eusebius is considered special as he added information from historians and philosophers not recorded elsewhere. Now, is it readable like hebrew? The short answer is "maybe". As time goes on symbols change, but usually in a calculated order. For example the hieroglyph A28 turned into the letter Heh in proto-sinaitic, then this letter turned into He in proto-canaanite. This is merely simplifying the hirograph into a stick figure, then removing the head and legs as the symbol is meant to stand for "showing praise". The only parts needed for this are the arms and the neck, hence the backwards "E" shape. You can see how languages evolve over time as people discover easier and quicker ways to display the same message. Let's look at one more example for the meaning of "head". In hieroglyph form the symbol is D1 then in proto-sinaitic lettering this symbol is converted to Resh, furthermore this letter is simplified into proto-canaanite Resh , and again into phoenician Res .. and again into paleo or "old hebrew" Paleo Hebrew Letter Resh.svg. If you would like to see the full evolution chart please click HERE and scroll to the bottom of the linked page.

It is also important to point out that after the proto-sinaitic alphabet leaves Egypt and disappears, it reappears in a slightly different form described as proto-canaanite in Canaan. Did you notice that? The language moved from Egypt to Canaan just like the Israelites in the Bible. Furthermore, they are found in Canaan several hundreds of years before evolving to what we see in Phoenicia. It seems like Eupolemus is backed by this statement. Now, let's go back to Flinders Petrie and go to a quote after he found this ancient writing form:

"Here we have the result, at a date some five centuries before the oldest Phoenician writing that is known... It finally disproves the hypothesis that the early Israelites, who came through this region into Egypt and passed back again, could not have used writing." 

The script and earliest hebrew like alphabet arose in Egypt, where the Bible places the israelites. Alan Gardiner even went on record and stated:

"It has been universally recognized that so simple, and therefore so perfect, an instrument for the visible recording of language could not conceivably have resulted from one spontaneous effort of genius." -The Egyptian Origin of the Semitic Alphabet

It is now commonly accepted that proto-sinaitic is the first alphabet. (Click HERE for source.) Therefore, the view that the Phoenicians created the alphabet has been dismissed, if this was true Moses could have not been able to write until the new kingdom. In fact, Phoenician, Hebrew, and other Canaan dialects were almost indistinguishable before the 11th century BC.

The Time of The Exodus

But wait, did we even discuss the time of the Exodus? When was it, how do we know, and what do major scholars believe? Most major scholars believe the Exodus was around the time of Ramesses II (13th-12th century BC). Pharaoh Ramesses II was Egypts greatest builder king. One question that is often asked is if the great monuments were built by the sweat of God's chosen people? Most experts agree there is no evidence for the Exodus around the time of Ramesses II, so why do they think this was the time of the Exodus? Well first we need to discuss the types of kingdoms. Throughout Egypts history there was the old kingdom (2575 BC to 2150 BC), middle kingdom (1975 BC to 1640 BC), and the new kingdom (1550-1070 BC). Most scholars believe the Exodus had to happen in the new kingdom due to this one verse in the Bible: 

"Therefore they did set over them taskmasters to afflict them with their burdens. And they built for Pharaoh treasure cities, Pithom and Raamses." - Exodus 1:11

In an interview via the documentary Patterns of Evidence: The Exodus the Director General of Antiquities in Luxor (One of Egypts most popular archaeological sites) Mansour Boraik reaffirms that there is no documented evidence in the ground for the Exodus around the time of Ramesses II. In order to prove the Bible correct, we would need evidence to show that the group the Israelites were apart of was once in Egypt, this group is also referred to as the semites (a member of any of the peoples who speak or spoke a Semitic language, including in particular the Jews and Arabs). The problem is that there is no evidence to suggest the semites were in the city built by Ramesses II. However there has been new archaeological discoveries made that match the description of the Bible in Tell El Daba - Avaris. Do you want to know the kicker? This location is near the city of Ramesses. Professor Manfred Bietak of the University of Vienna is an egyptologist that has been digging in Egypts delta for over 30 years at the site of Avaris. Avaris lies directly below the southern sector of the city of Ramesses. Because Avaris is also older, it was buried below.

He has unearthed a huge town with a size of 250 hectares (About 618 acres of land), The population is estimated to have been around the size of 25,000-30,000 individuals. Manfred goes on to say that "these are people who originated from Canaan, Syria-Palestine.. originally they may have come here as subjects of the Egyptian crown, or with the blessing of the Egyptian crown." He further states: "Obviously the town enjoyed something like a special status, like a free zone, something like that." Ironically, this sounds just like what the Bible says! Pharaoh gave his blessing by allowing the early Israelites to freely settle in the best part of Egypt. Once there, they and their flocks prospered and multiplied greatly. When asked if these people could have been the early Israelites he said: "We have some evidence of shepherds, We find again and again in this area pits with goats and sheep." Stunningly he concluded with: "But to connect this with the proto-israelites is a very weak affair." When asked why these could not have been the proto-israelites he responded: "According to my opinion the settlement of the proto-israelites in Canaan only happened from the 12th century BC onwards." In plain terms he was saying the physical evidence of the people was centuries too early to be connected with the Exodus. But what if we could make a case to show the Exodus was earlier? First, let's do some background discussing of the events that we must be able to explain historically in some sense. In the Bible it starts with the arrival of Abraham in the land of Canaan. He makes a covenant with God, which is why God promised his descendants will be numerous like the stars. However, they will fall into slavery in a country that is not their own, but God will judge the nation and they will come out with great possessions and return to Canaan as God has promised this land to his bloodline. Eventually Abraham's descendants do go into Egypt, they multiply, God passes judgement, they are delivered from slavery, and the conquest of the promised land Canaan goes underway. According to the bible the events of the Exodus were not a historical accident, but divinely made known before they occured. 

So, is there evidence for these events? Even if we must look in an earlier time frame - maybe around the time of Avaris? The first descendant of Abraham to arrive in Egypt was his great grandson Joseph (the son of Jacob), Joseph's brothers had sold him as a slave and he was brought to Egypt, then in an amazing turn of events he rises to becoming the highest official in Egypt and saves the country from famine and enables his father and entire family to settle in the best part of the land. In another surprising turn of events, David Rohl an agnostic egyptologist who wrote the book "Exodus-Myth or History?" actually believes there is evidence for the Biblical Exodus. His argument is that the wording in the bible that names Ramesses is an anachronism (something added to the text later). He believes this was meant to help others in the future around the time of Ramesses to understand where the events took place by saying "Hey, this is where the event took place.. it's known as Ramesses today." He states: "The people of the Bible would have known where Ramesses was, and where therefore their ancestors actually built the city." This idea is actually supported by the fact that in Genesis Ramesses was mentioned hundred of years before him or his city existed:

"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." - Genesis 47:11

This was most likely added later to describe the land in which Joseph's family settled (Avaris). So if the name Rameses in Genesis does not refer to the time of Ramesses the 2nd, why should the book of Exodus be any different? The city of Avaris is found under the city of Ramesses, so this would make sense. Furthermore, this would move the accurate time of the Biblical Exodus to the middle kingdom, and not the late kingdom like previously thought as geological layers below are considered older.

David Rohl has stated that Manfred Bietak is a world renowned egyptologist but he is wrong on this issue. On the topic he stated: "so when a huge population of semitic speaking people, with semitic culture living in Avaris for several hundred years and then at the end of the period they all leave and depart with their belongings and depart from the city... whatever Manfred said... that to me sounds an awful like the Israelites." He says at the end of the 12th dynasty of Egypt (1800 BC) we see a Syrian house appear, this type (style) of house is found in north Syria, the land where Abraham came from, it's even the exact same style of house you'd expect Jacob to build for himself in Egypt.

The culture that turns up in Egypt at the end of the 12th dynasty seems to have come from North Syria originally.  Amazingly after this Syrian house was gone, an egyptian palace was constructed above it. However, the occupant was not Egyptian. This palace had courtyards, colonnades, audience chambers, and a robing room. David goes on to claim that it "obviously belonged to some high official of state.. who was very, very important to that state, because when someone gets a place like this given to them, it means they've been honored for what they've done for the state."

Furthermore, behind the palace the archaeologist found 12 main graves with memorial chapels on top of them. There was a portico of 12 pillars, and 12 graves. Why is this number significant? Well Jacob had 12 sons, and there were also 12 tribes of Israel. One of the tombs was very special as it was a pyramid tomb. At the time this was insane as only pharaohs and queens had these types of tombs. However, the person in the tomb was not a king even though he was honored with a kings burial. Inside the chapel of the tomb was a large statue, and the man it was etched after had red hair, pale yellow skin (how egyptians depict northerners), a throw stick across his shoulder, a unique symbol of office made for this asiatic official living in the land of Goshen, and on the back of the shoulder we see remains of paint that resemble colored stripes from a multicolored coat.

"Now Israel loved Joseph more than all his children, because he was the son of his old age: and he made him a coat of many colours" - Genesis 37:3

Charles Aling is an egyptologist of the university of northwestern who also agrees with David. He says that the hairstyle, the stick on his shoulder, and his face color all indicate that this would have been a syro-palestinian. 

"Either it is Joseph, or it is somebody that had a career remarkably the same as Joseph did." - Charles Aling

Manfred Bietak's report detailing the palace is HERE. Tell el-Dab'a is an archaeological site in the Nile delta region of Egypt where Avaris, the capital city of the Hyksos, once stood. The report on the statue believed to be Joseph is HERE.

Back to the Bible, with God's help Joseph would be able to save Egypt of a calamity. Seven years of plenty would be followed by seven years of famine. Pharaoh puts Joseph in charge of preparing for the famine and makes him second in command over the entire country. He managed to achieve this by foretelling the dreams of Pharaoh which related to the Nile, these dreams used symbolism for the fourteen years to come. It hinted at both the years of plenty, and the years of famine. It just so happens that there is a canal that connects the Nile to the Fayum basin, which is a large lake area which is named Bahr Yusef - which means "The waterway of Joseph". This name goes back thousands of years as far as we can tell, David states.

The construction of this canal is dated to the same time of the early settlement of Avaris. Joseph could have ordered this to have been made, so the water would drain into the Fayum basin. The Bible says that Joseph prepared by storing wheat and making bread, then only Egypt had bread. Everyone would have to buy from him, and even sold their cattle, land, and some even sold themselves. When the seven years ended, Pharoah ended up owning all of Egypt. Egyptologist Dr. Bryant Wood, during this time he says Egypt was divided up into something like districts scattered around. The leaders of these districts all had wealth and power, and suddenly we get to a point in egyptian history where all the wealth becomes concentrated with the Pharaoh. This confirms the biblical account. Evidence for this is attested to by Grimal, Nicolas in his book A History of Ancient Egypt as he describes mining, and building projects. Amenemhat III is widely considered to have ruled at the height of the middle kingdom, as the Nile had high inundation levels while he lived. Barbara Bell's published paper on the climate in the middle kingdom supports the claim that Amenemhat III's rule was the most prosperous time of Egypt in all of the middle kingdom. David believes this falls in the middle kingdom, between the co-reign of Senuseret III, and his son Amenemhat III. It is also worthy to note that an inscription of the name YHWH was found in a temple built by Amenemhat III dated to around 1400 BC. This inscription is the first documented inscription of the name YHWH and refers to nomadic followers. Amenemhat III is often depicted with "worry lines" and his ears are turned out so he can listen to the concerns of the people. He is not depicted in the usual "bland way" you see in all the other past and future Pharaoh statues.

David believes that this is an indication that Egypt was experiencing serious problems. He even built his pyramid right next to the waterway of Joseph. The crazy thing is that if we go back to the pyramid tomb... it was found empty.. why?

Then Joseph said to his brothers, “I am about to die, but God will surely visit you and bring you up from this land to the land He promised on oath to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.” And Joseph made the sons of Israel take an oath and said, “God will surely attend to you, and then you must carry my bones up from this place.” So Joseph died at the age of 110. And they embalmed his body and placed it in a coffin in Egypt." - Genesis 50:24-25

Did you catch it? Joseph made them take an oath to remove his bones from the tomb and bring them to the promised land with them. Could it have been a grave robber? David says no, why would anyone take the bones? They are not of any value. Furthermore the only time in Egypts history that depicts semities as having a large population is also in the middle Kingdom. In the Bible there comes a time, when Joseph is long and gone. A new pharaoh arises that does not remember Joseph and decides to enslave the people due to the population growing quickly, as it was seen as a threat. Contrary to popular belief, the Bible does not state the slaves were moving huge stones. They were instructed to make bricks out of mud and straw. According to God's word at the time of the birth of Moses, Pharaoh ordered the execution of male babies due to the population continuing to rise despite them being in slavery. It just so happens that a large amount of infant bones are found in the same time period as well. 

From this report published by The University College London (which you can find HERE), it is concluded that:

  • Most were non-egyptian.
  • Very high infant mortality rate.
  • For all, average age of death is 19.
  • Average age of death for women is 30.
  • Average age of death for man is 34.

The report in which UCL is referencing states "It resulted that the inhabitants of Avaris must have suffered to an extremely high degree from deficiency disease and states caused by periodical scarcity of food, attacks by parasites and infectious diseases." Was it caused by parasites and infection? or possibly could it have been from slavery and the orders to kill infant babies? This would coincide with the bones being deficient of nutrients. 

The Brooklyn Papyrus 

This is a middle kingdom papyrus documenting a high amount of semitic names, which is housed today at the Brooklyn Museum, they have an article on it HERE. These names account for some named in the bible, and are clearly Israelite in origin. This is from the 18th-17th century BC, and the late 12th to early 13th dynasty perfectly fitting the timelines coming before. This is an actual text documenting slaves at the time. Combining this with the archaeological evidence the case only grows stronger. The slave list is also mostly female, matching the evidence of a high amount of infant boys being killed from the Avaris dig site. Many also argue that if there was no real event behind passover, then why does it still take place or why did it ever start? Furthermore when relating to Exodus, most scholars go forward and say that there is no documented evidence to support a catastrophic plague series in Egypt like the Bible clearly states.. although they ignore a possible candidate. The admonitions of Ipuwer (a name common of the middle kingdom, and uses grammar common in the middle kingdom) is a papyrus document describing great catastrophe (Click HERE to read the full document in English). Notable similarities include (color coded):

Ipuwer Papyrus: Indeed, the river is blood, yet men drink of it. Men shrink from human beings and thirst after water.

Exodus 7:17-19: behold, with the staff that is in my hand I will strike the water that is in the Nile, and it shall turn into blood. The fish in the Nile shall die, and the Nile will stink, and the Egyptians will grow weary of drinking water from the Nile.”

Ipuwer Papyrus: Indeed, everywhere barley has perished and men are stripped of clothes, spice, and oil; everyone says: "There is none." The storehouse is empty and its keeper is stretched on the ground; a happy state of affairs!

Exodus 9:31: And the flax and the barley was smitten: for the barley was in the ear, and the flax was bolled.

Ipuwer Papyrus: Behold, he who had no shade is now the possessor of shade, while the erstwhile possessors of shade are now in the full blast of the storm. 

Exodus 9:24: So there was hail, and fire mingled with the hail, very grievous, such as there was none like it in all the land of Egypt since it became a nation.

Ipuwer Papyrus: Indeed, men are few, and he who places his brother in the ground is everywhere.

Exodus 11: 4-6: Then Moses said, “Thus says the Lord‘About midnight I will go out into the midst of Egypt; and all the firstborn in the land of Egypt shall die, from the firstborn of Pharaoh who sits on his throne, even to the firstborn of the female servant who is behind the handmill, and all the firstborn of the animals. 

Ipuwer Papyrus: pestilence is throughout the land, blood is everywhere, death is not lacking, and the mummy-cloth speaks even before one comes near it. 
Indeed, many dead are buried in the river; the stream is a sepulcher and the place of embalmment has become a stream. 

Exodus 11:6: And there shall be a great cry throughout all the land of Egypt, such as there was none like it, nor shall be like it any more.

The late egyptologist Miriam Lichtheim stated:

"The description of chaos in the admonitions is inherently contradictory, hence, historically impossible. On the one hand, the land is said to suffer from total want; on the other hand the poor are described as becoming rich, of wearing fine clothes, and generally of disposing of all that once belonged to their masters." 

However let's make another connection between the papyrus and the Bible..

Ipuwer Papyrus: Indeed, gold and lapis lazuli, silver and turquoise, carnelian and amethyst, Ibhet-stone and [. . .] are strung on the necks of maidservants.

Exodus 25:3-4: "And this is the offering which ye shall take of them; gold, and silver, and brass, and blue, and purple, and scarlet, and fine linen, and goats' hair,.." 

The Lord gave the Israelites favor in the sight of the egyptians so they gave them whatever they asked for, this is a completely logical connection that dismisses any supposed contradiction. 

The Merneptah Stele is a 1200 BC inscription by the ancient Egyptian Pharaoh Merneptah discovered by Flinders Petrie. This tablet like inscription lists all the nations that have been conquered, and it just so happens that this is written on it:

"...The Canaan has been plundered into every sort of woe:
Ashkelon has been overcome;
Gezer has been captured;
Yano'am is made non-existent.
Israel is laid waste and his seed is not;..."

This was written shortly after the death of Pharaoh Ramesses II, meaning this data does not add up IF the Exodus supposedly had to occur during this time period. Why? Because Israel (already existing in Canaan) is mentioned as a established political power, much too quickly after the Exodus that didn't happen happened.. or as most secular authors say. Remember, the Bible clearly says the Israelites didn't even begin to conquer Canaan until 40 years after the Exodus. Another piece of archeological evidence that corresponds with this is the early 1900's find of the Berlin Pedestal (Study linked HERE in English) which is a granite slab depicting the defeated enemies of Pharaoh in the region of Canaan.

This dates back to around 1360 BC putting the nail in the coffin of the late date theory of the Exodus. In this period, Ramesses II would not have been the Pharaoh, as he lived from 1304-1213 BC. From Ramesses II to the Pharaoh after him there was a great stability of the Egyptian empire at the time making the Exodus either a made up story, or a historical event pinned in the wrong time. 

What if the Bible gave a date that also disproves the Ramesses II date? Well.. let's see:

1 Kings 6:1

 "And it came to pass in the four hundred and eightieth year after the children of Israel were come out of the land of Egypt, in the fourth year of Solomon's reign over Israel, in the month Zif, which is the second month, that he began to build the house of the LORD."

Wow, what an accurate date.. So, when did Solomon start to reign? The popular view amongst biblical scholars is that Solomon reigned from the year 970-931 BC. So, 966 + 480 = 1446 BC, very close to the middle kingdom of Egypt. Now that we have established the Exodus definitely did not happen DURING the time of Ramesses II (1304-1214 BC) , what happened afterwards? Well, we would expect to see Joshua's conquest of Jericho. In the archeological dig we would expect to find huge walls that are crumbled and burnt from the ensuing flames that followed. This is what the famed archeologist Kathleen Kenyon wrote from her excavations at Jericho:

"The destruction was complete. Walls and floors were blackened or reddened by fire, and every room was filled with fallen bricks, timbers, and household utensils; in most rooms the fallen debris was heavily burnt, but the collapse of the walls of the eastern rooms seems to have taken place before they were affected by the fire." -  Excavations at Jericho, 3:370.

She says the walls fell before the fire. The sequence that we have in the Bible matches again. Even the jars in stores in the city were still almost full with grain, and that's what you would expect as the Bible places this during spring, the grain harvest. The evidence seems to point that the siege was very quick, as the grain would have been eaten if the people inside had to stay fortified for months unlike what the bible says.. only 7 days. Jars of grain were found everywhere. This is also stated in the Digital Encyclopedia of Archaeologist which you can read by clicking HERE.

"Kathleen discovered pottery sherds, burned grains in jars, broken walls, destroyed towers, and much more which fed into her ultimate conclusion and discovery of Jericho." - DEA

The date of the destruction of the city is said to be around 1550 BC, while Jerico is largely accepted to have been destroyed around 1400 BC from biblical accounts. While the biblical accounts do fit, Kenyon concluded that the destruction was too early. David Rohl & John Bimson have suggested Kenyon came to a wrong date due to a faulty chronology of the middle bronze age. However carbon dating does seem to align with what Kenyon has stated, although it is unknown if factors such as fire could have interfered with the dating. Furthermore, Robert Hubbard has argued there can be evidence that shows support for a small settlement dating to 1400 BC. Possible alternatives could be simply due to the wood, or material used as being older than the actual house tested. In any sense, it is hard to say an exact date and we cannot rule out the evidence based on conventional dating as our case shows above.

Update: (3/10/2020) Please see this paper authored by Titus Kennedy for possible explanations to the carbon dating issue. He discusses many different results that yielded dates over 1550 and under 1400 thus making an exact date uncertain. Titus says: "Bienkowski, who thought the date of the destruction was approximately 150 years earlier than what this C-14 sample originally indicated, had argued that this sample was irrelevant because it came from a pit digging into an earlier stratum (Bienkowski 1990: 46). Yet, even if it clearly came from the Jericho IVc destruction layer in question, the currently given date range is so wide that the C-14 sample becomes essentially useless." He also argues that from using "ceramic chronology" a destruction date of 1400 BC can be established. (See pages 98-100)

Even after Jericho's destruction Joshua went on to to destroy Hazor. David Rohl says that there have been tablets found with the name "Jabin", which is also the name of the king Joshua killed. Ask yourself, does the evidence match up now if scholars have been wrong about the dates? Yes, everything starts to fall into place and makes sense after evidence has been presented to bring the Exodus date further back in time. It also turns out that if Egyptian chronology needs to be adjusted, so will other chronologies as some are based off Egypts. Rohl believes that due to a miscalculation of Egypt's dark age lengths it leads to wrong dates for Egyptian chronology. Mainly Egypts latest dark period, Rohl points out that it very possibly could be over extended and too long. He says if it was a little shorter Egypts history would move forwards in time by centuries correcting the biblical dates. Rohl continues and describes that nobody would want to go and start from the beginning to get Egypts history right. The bible timeline we discussed does not need to be moved, and if the dark age lengths are adjusted then egyptian timelines would match up with biblical one once again.. possibly as it did long ago. 


Patterns of Evidence has raised a substantial amount of evidence to show that the chronology of Exodus needs to be revised. When moving the Biblical timeline back in time, suddenly archeological evidence starts to appear. Moses did in fact have the ability to write the Bible, and there is stunning evidence for this. In the film they also offer a possible candidate for an inscription of the name Moses, however we did not include it here due to the "unsure" nature surrounding it. We encourage everyone to watch the latest documentaries by Patterns of Evidence if you would like to learn more about the subjects discussed here. Please also see the attached video below which shows stunning archaeological evidence for what could possibly be the real Mt. Sinai.

Thanks for reading our 6th edition of our Evidence For God series! Tune back every few weeks for new evidence.












Frank Strohschein

A lengthy and detailed exposition for a defense of ancient Israel origins. I ran out of brain before you got to Exodus. God bless you for taking the time to do this paper.

Mark m Moore

Good work. Nice to see most of the evidence put together in one place. I would use “justify” instead of “centered” on your paragraphs though….

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