* RSR's List of Historical Evidence for the Exodus: Bob Enyart and Fred Williams present a new Real Science Radio series in their popular and fun List Shows format, this one on the historical evidence for Israel's sojourn in and their exodus from the land of Egypt. RSR previously interviewed filmmaker Timothy Mahoney on his fabulous Patterns of Evidence: The Exodus, available at our KGOV Store and at patternsofevidence.com. Bob and Fred also use the work of Brad Sparks who organized a recent scholarly Exodus Conference at the University of California, San Diego. (Here's Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6, Part 7, Part 8, and a Bonus: the astounding genetic mummy evidence!)
* List of Evidence for the Exodus: This list is no substitute for the work of Mahoney and Sparks so we highly recommend the Patterns of Evidence: The Exodus film and Sparks' paper (and others) in Israel's Exodus in Transdisciplinary Perspective. And in our own RSR style, we have supplemented materials from Mahoney and Sparks with other generally available information.
- The Hebrews gave the word "Pharaoh" to the world: The etymology of the word Pharaoh looks back to the term for the palace of Egypt's king. Chilperic Edwards, one of the first scholars to translate the Code of Hammurabi, stated regarding the non-Egyptian origin of the title of their monarch: "Pharaoh was the name given by Hebrew writers to the king of Egypt." Most Egyptologists reject the historical basis for the Exodus, discounting any significant role for Abraham's descendants in Egypt. Yet language itself, one of the greatest of world treasures, is perhaps our most important historical monument. Thus, Israel's role in Egypt can be rediscovered by recognizing that the Jews gave to the world the Hebrew word Pharaoh, a word that eventually attained to common usage even by the ancient Egyptians themselves. For more regarding the title Pharaoh being Jewish while the name Moses is Egyptian, see rsr.org/pharaoh.
The next item in this list is hardest to understand,
but understanding it enables consideration of much of the rest.
- Exodus didn't happen in the 13th century BC: Great! Almost everyone agrees, from all secular Egyptologists who reject the Exodus outright to many biblical literalists, these agree that the Exodus did not happen in the 13th century BC or, for that matter, at any time in Egypt's New Kingdom period. Tim Mahoney's Patterns of Evidence film highlights the primary argument used by archaeologists, like Norma Franklin and Israel Finkelstein, to dismiss the evidence for any Israelite presence in ancient Egypt. Dennis Prager has given his assessment of their argument and here's Bob Enyart's summary: "The Exodus never happened, but when it never happened was in the 13th century BC." In fact, 1270 BC is the exact date that many say that the Exodus didn't happen! This non-sequitur concludes then that "Israel's origin" arises from "Palestine from approximately 1300 to 1000 BC." Why? Because of the date of an Exodus which never happened. However, if the Exodus occurred earlier, closer to 1500 BC, even if it left behind the mountain of evidence documented in Mahoney's film and elsewhere, the "13th-century argument" (aka the Ramesses Exodus Theory) prejudices experts and excludes much hard evidence even from consideration.
* Archaeologists conflate the name of "Ramses" with the date of building: Exodus 1:11 says that the Jews "built for Pharaoh supply cities, Pithom and Ramses", which may have housed public granaries. Secular Egyptologists are conflating the naming of this city with the date of the first construction at that location. This argues for consideration of Mahoney's work because it is by this conflation that evidence of the Hebrews in centuries before Ramses II, who built Pi-Ramsees, is systematically rejected. (Pithom and Ramses may be the storage facilities of Pi-Ramses.) To illustrate such an error, consider the Google search for: when was New York City founded...
* New York City wasn't New York City until later: NYC wasn't "named" "New York" until 1664. "York" is a British name and when the Dutch founded the settlement in 1624 in the region they called "New Netherland", they soon constructed "Fort Amsterdam" and named the island "New Amsterdam". Four decades later the King of England granted the land to the "Duke of York" and it became New York. Google's date for the city's founding, consistent with countless other references, is considered valid even though "New York City" did not exist in 1624. (Istanbul was founded centuries before Christ as Byzantium, yet it's most common name was Constantinople from 330 A.D. until 1922.) It is so common that we often don't even think of it as anachronistic to use the current name for something even when referencing a time before that name came into use. Jesus and the New Testament writers attributed the Pentateuch, the first five books of Scripture, to Moses (Acts 15:1 w Gen. 17; Mark 12:26, etc.) When writing Genesis, years after those events had occurred, naturally, Moses sometimes referred to God as YHWH, even though those events occurred long before he learned God's name in Exodus. In the same way, Genesis mentions the land of Ramses.
* An ancient city known to be built by Semites was absorbed into Ramses: Significant excavation has been accomplished at a Semite city called Avaris. What was found is presented in the Exodus film Patterns of Evidence and summarized in the bullets just below. It is therefore of interest, as reported even by Wikipedia, that, "Avaris was absorbed into the new city of Pi-Ramesses constructed by Ramesses II (1279–1213 BC)..." Thus there is a known Semite association with the building of the early settlement beneath Ramesses. This relatively new information could explain the "Ramesses" anachronism and therefore should caution archaeologists against dismissing all patterns of evidence for the Exodus excavated at that location simply on the claim that such evidence belongs to a date prior to Pharaoh Ramses II.
- Avaris in Goshen in Egypt's Nile delta was home to Semite population: Excavating the 15th-century BC Avaris, from beneath the southern sector of the 13th-century city of Ramses, Egyptologist Manfred Bietak has uncovered a large city, built on more than 600 acres, with residents who were Semites. (Bietak believes these Semites could not have been Israelites because the Exodus did not happen in the 13th-century BC.)
- Houses in Avaris were of foreign design: A significant percentage of the residences in Avaris were unlike Egyptian dwellings and distinctly built like the houses of northern Syria. The ground beneath some of these houses was used to bury their dead, which was a practice from Ur of the Chaldees, the place of Abraham's birth.
- Avaris became a major city of foreigners: Through thirty years of fieldwork in Egypt's delta and uncovering one of the largest cities in the ancient world, Bietak estimates the population of the "huge town" of Avaris as between 25 and 30 thousand foreigners, "people who originated from Canaan Syria-Palestine". He adds, "Obviously, this town enjoyed something like a special status, like a free zone, something like that." Egyptologists have also noted that the prosperous Semitic residents of Avaris themselves owned no slaves. (Remember that Hebrews are one of the Semite people groups as the term anti-Semite sadly reminds us.)
- Pharaoh’s support for the foreigners of Avaris: The Semite residents of Avaris (today, Tell El-Dab'a) likely immigrated under the protection of the Egyptian crown. For during a period of three or four generations they thrived in the midst of powerful Egypt, which would have required the support of Pharaoh. Interpreting the artifacts they left behind, Bietak, who is professor emeritus of Egyptology at the University of Vienna, says, "Originally they may have come here... with the blessing of the Egyptian crown." (Genesis 47: "Then Pharaoh spoke to Joseph... “The land of Egypt is before you. Have your father and brothers dwell in the best of the land...")
- Twenty Semite settlements in Goshen: Dr. John Bimson of the UK's Trinity College estimates that in addition to Avaris, there are more than 20 partially excavated settlements of Semites, lighter-colored people from north of Egypt, including from the land of Canaan, that exist in Egypt’s northeastern Nile Delta region. The Middle Kingdom dating of Avaris may show it to be the first established of these second millennium B.C. cities, all of which are within the land called Goshen. (Genesis 47: "Israel dwelt in the land of Egypt, in the country of Goshen… and grew and multiplied exceedingly.") [Get Patterns!]
- The Hebrews likely gave the word "Goshen" to Egypt: Like the word Pharaoh, another word that appears to have come from the Jews is the Hebrew word Goshen, which refers to a fertile region of the Nile delta. At least by the time of Egypt's 26th dynasty (664 - 525 B.C.), Egyptians themselves called this area Gesem, which is the Septuagint’s Greek translation of Goshen. This word seems to "only [have] meaning through Hebrew, as if it were a word meaningful only to the Hebrews who settled there". The Septuagint translation suggests the meaning "'cultivated'—comparing the Arabic root j-š-m, 'to labor.'" That the Jews gave to the world the word Pharaoh (and possibly Goshen) is dwarfed by the Exodus account itself (see below) giving to the world some of its other most iconic symbols and concepts. For none of these, the Ten Commandments, the most recognizable medical symbol of the serpent and the staff, and the principle that even government leaders are not above the law, would have any foundation in history if the Exodus were not historical. So consider then how great the historical significance if it turned out also that even the Egyptian name Ramses originated with the Hebrews.
- The Hebrews gave the Ten Commandments to the world: Reported anciently as engraved on stone and more recently engraved on the walls of the U.S. Supreme Court and of the United Nations building, the incomparable Ten Commandments first appear in The Exodus. As a gauge of their influence, if you Google "ten commandments" in double quotes (to make the searches more accurate), Google indicates that more than 11 million web pages reference the Ten Commandments! That's more web pages than those that mention the "United States Code", "Maastricht Treaty" (or the "Treaty on European Union", which contains Europe's laws), the "Law of India", the "Constitution of the People’s Republic of China", and "Sharia Law". Combined. Just as Moses is revered in the Hebrew and Christian Bibles (and even in the Koran), the Decalogue has unparalleled influence and if not for the Exodus, the world would never have known them.
- The Hebrews gave the word "alphabet" to the world: The first two letters of the Hebrew alphabet are called Aleph and Beit. Secularists have argued that the Hebrew tribe was one insignificant tribe among ten thousand in the ancient world. Yet the Jews also gave to the world not only the international word alphabet but the concept of an alphabet itself. For the first time, a scholarly text published in 2017, The World's Oldest Alphabet: Hebrew As the Language of the Proto-consonantal Script by Douglas Petrovich translates all of a set of Egyptian inscription stones. Petrovich evaluates the evidence and argues that the Hebrews in Egypt brought mankind from the age of pictographs to the efficiency of phonics when they devised the world's first alphabet.
New! - The Hebrews gave the world the most popular medical symbol: American Right To Life's articles The Oath, a Serpent, and a Staff and The Hippocratic Oath and Abortion lay out the history of the medical symbol of the serpent on a staff. The secular world dates this symbol to the time of Hippocrates. However, as recorded by the Hebrews more than a thousand years earlier, the LORD said to Moses, 'Make a fiery serpent, and set it on a pole; and it shall be that everyone who is bitten, when he looks at it, shall live.' So Moses made a bronze serpent, and put it on a pole; and so it was, if a serpent had bitten anyone, when he looked at the bronze serpent, he lived." (Numbers 21:8-9.) If the timeframes were reversed however and Hippocrates predated Moses, no one could doubt that secular archaeologists would insist that the Bible copied the pre-existing symbol for medicine from the Greeks. But since the actual timeframes give precedence for this symbol by more than a thousand years to Israel's Exodus, secular historians deny the evident source of the snake and staff symbol for the restoration of physical health.
- The Semite graves differed from Egyptian burials: Bietak reports that the Semite burials at Avaris could be distinguished from that of the Egyptians, in part because of the orientation of the bodies in the graves and by the Canaanite-style pottery and weapons found and partly because the deceased were buried beneath their own homes.
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- These Semites were shepherds: Although it was known that Bietak does not accept the historicity of the Exodus, nonetheless, filmmaker Mahoney asked Manfred, "Could these foreigners have been the early Israelites?" And though Bietak rejects this (largely because he believes the Exodus did not happen in the 12th century), his first reaction is telling. "We have some evidence of sheepherders, we find again and again in this area, pits with goats and sheep, so we know sheepherders..." (Genesis 46: “Joseph said... “I will go up and tell Pharaoh... ‘My brothers and those of my father’s house, who were in the land of Canaan, have come to me. And the men are shepherds...”) So the list of evidence for the early Israelite presence in Egypt includes the excavated evidence of sheepherders tending their flocks in the vicinity of the Semite city of Avaris. Yet Bietak defends his stance saying, "According to my opinion, the settlement of the proto-Israelites in Canaan only happened from the 12th century onwards [i.e., the claimed date of the Exodus] and the city of Avaris was settled a couple centuries too early." [Get Patterns!]
- Palace in Avaris built for a Semite: While the many homes of Avaris were built Syrian-style, one dwelling place however boasted Egyptian architecture, a palace with a façade. However, though of Egyptian architecture, this palace was constructed for a man who was a foreigner! The complex included audience chambers, a robing room (for the dressing of officials), a courtyard, and a portico colonnade with 12 pillars.
- The Semite’s palace had twelve tombs: In the garden of the palace, archaeologists discovered twelve tombs, evidently of twelve important persons. (Gen. 49: “All these are the twelve tribes of Israel...” the patriarchs of which were Joseph and his eleven brothers.) Their interment, consistent with the graves of Avaris, was unlike Egyptian burial practices.
- Avaris’ palace stood over a flattened house: The Semite’s palace was atop of the structure that previously had been built at that location, a non-Egyptian Syrian-styled house. "So [the nation of] Israel dwelt in the land of Egypt, in the country of Goshen; and they had possessions there and grew and multiplied exceedingly. And Jacob lived in the land of Egypt seventeen years. When the time drew near that [Jacob would] die, he called his son Joseph and said to him, '...Please do not bury me in Egypt, but let me lie with my fathers; you shall carry me out of Egypt and bury me [in the Cave of Machpelah] in their burial place.'" Apparently, no grave was found for the previous wealthy Semitic resident [Jacob?] who had lived on that prime plot of land in Goshen, but only the tombs for his twelve sons, represented by the twelve pillars of the palace.
- The Semitic ruler had a pyramid-shaped tomb: Throughout Egypt and its long history, with a single exception, pyramid-styled structures were the domain of royalty. The lone known exception of a pyramid burial for someone other than a Pharaoh or a Queen was for the Semite who lived in the palace at Avaris who was not a king but was given a king's burial. For standing apart from eleven graves of noteworthy men, each grave lying beneath individual memorial chapels, was a twelfth, a tomb built like a pyramid, yet to honor a foreigner. For this deceased official was adorned with a throw stick which in Egyptian culture was used to identify a foreigner.
- Statue of Semite inside the pyramid tomb: Tomb robbers undoubtedly thought they had taken everything of value from this official’s grave. But they left behind the broken fragments of a statue that remains unique in all of Egypt's known history. Reconstruction shows that the official had pale yellow skin and red hair, representing someone from one of the nations to the north. The larger-than-life seated figure rose to twice the height of a person, also unique for anyone other than royalty. The majesty of it demonstrated the unparalleled importance of the man buried there. Further, and most importantly, this particular northerner was adorned with a striped coat of multiple colors. (Gen. 37: "...when Joseph came to his brethren, they stripped him out of his coat, his coat of many colors..." Incidentally, "the brothers pulled Joseph up and lifted him out of the pit, and sold him to the Ishmaelites for twenty shekels of silver. And they took Joseph to Egypt.") Dr. Charles Aling, professor emeritus of Northwestern College and visiting professor in Oxford at the Liberty University Oxford Study Program served as assistant field director on expeditions in Egypt's Luxor including in the Valley of the Kings. Aling holds to a traditional Exodus date of around 1450 B.C. and says that this Syro-Palestinian Egyptian official is either "Joseph, or it's someone that had a career remarkably the same as Joseph had."
- Details – Accurate incidentals like the 20-shekel price of a slave: Much modern scholarship rejects Moses as the author and prefers an extremely late date for the writing of the Book of Exodus, in the 7th century BC and even later, and likewise for the Book of Genesis. The author of course would not have access to modern libraries nor to Internet search tools. Thus, minor historical details in the text that place the Exodus in Egypt's older, Middle Kingdom provide additional evidence for authenticity and Mosaic authorship. For example, regarding that "twenty shekels of silver" (Gen. 37:28), modern archaeology reports this exact price for the purchase of slaves as known from specific documents and as reinforced even in the Code of Hammurabi. (Centuries before Joseph, the average price of a slave was ten shekels. And of course, this "minor detail" in no way implies that slavery was a minor issue; in fact, it has been a horrific crime against humanity.) So, if Exodus hadn't been written until 900 years after the Bible's internal dating of the life of Moses, then how would a superstitious 7th century BC Israelite know the price of a slave from 900 years earlier?
- The empty tomb: Tomb robbers take precious metals and artefacts of value but they wouldn’t waste time digging up the bones. However, when this pyramid tomb was excavated, unlike in the hundreds of other Semitic graves excavated so far, the archaeologists found that the bones were missing. Unlike tomb raiders, those who treat the body with respect will move the bones, and they will do it with reverence. (Gen. 50: “Then Joseph took an oath from the children of Israel, saying, “...you shall carry up my bones from here.” Exodus 12: “And Moses took the bones of Joseph with him, for he had placed the children of Israel under solemn oath, saying, ‘God will surely visit you, and you shall carry up my bones from here with you.’” Also, Joseph is a type of Christ. Their signs began with the turning of water into blood and water into wine and ended with the death of the firstborn. And each had been betrayed by their own to become the deliverer of his people, and both left behind an empty tomb.) [Get Patterns!]
- 4th-century Jewish text references Joseph’s final tomb in Shechem: The various related biblical references conclude in Joshua 24, “The bones of Joseph, which the children of Israel had brought up out of Egypt, they buried at Shechem...” An extra-biblical text written between 400 and 450 A.D. by a Jewish author references Joseph’s burial site in Shechem among three plots of land in Canaan purchased long ago by the Jews. And still today there remains a funeral monument claimed to be built at the location of Joseph’s final resting site, a mere thousand feet northwest of the deep well hewn out of solid rock known for at least 2,000 years as Jacob’s Well. [However, Muslims dismantled part of and then burned the tomb on Oct. 17, 2015.]
- A Pharaoh’s pyramid built by the Waterway of Joseph: Atypically, one pharaoh, Amenemhat III, son of Senusret III, is depicted with his ears turned outward, as though he were listening to the cries of his people. This pharaoh built his pyramid right next to an ancient canal, still used for irrigation to this day, called the Waterway of Joseph. Today, the entrance to Amenemhat’s pyramid is 20 feet below water, flooded by the waters of this canal, the main route of which passes within 100 feet of the structure. This pharaoh lived toward the end of 12th Dynasty and presided over the “highest level of material prosperity” in Egypt’s Middle Kingdom.
- Semitic slaves suddenly appear, in Amenemhat’s reign: A time of oppression began with the reign of Amenemhat III or during a possible coregency between him and his father, reported to be “the approximate time that Asiatic [Western Asiatic, i.e., Semitic] slaves appeared in Egypt. (Gen. 41: “So all countries came to Joseph in Egypt to buy grain, because the famine was severe in all lands.” Gen. 47: “Then Joseph said to the people, “Indeed I have bought you and your land this day for Pharaoh.” Because the famine affected Canaan also, Egypt may also have purchased Semites in trade for grain.)
- The Waterway of Joseph: For thousands of years this canal has been named for Joseph, in Arabic called Bahr Yussef. During the same period as the early settlement at Avaris, a natural offshoot of the Nile was extended and deepened to 16 feet and over nine miles long to divert at that time half the water of the Nile to significantly increase the fertile area that could be cultivated with its waters. (Gen. 41: “Pharaoh had a dream; and behold, he stood by the [Nile] river. Suddenly there came up out of the river seven cows, fine looking and fat… Then behold, seven other cows came up after them out of the river, ugly and gaunt, and stood by the other cows on the bank of the river.” Thus Joseph may not only have advised Pharaoh to store the grain of seven years of plenty, but he may have actually increased the bountiful harvest by building this Bahr Yussef.) Irrigation efforts were always local affairs and canals were easily destroyed by the annual inundation, leaving the Waterway of Joseph as ancient Egypt's greatest canal. [Get Patterns!]
- Egypt’s "Nomes" then absorbed under Pharaoh: Until the time of Avaris, Egypt has been divided into Nomes, with regional leaders of great power. Suddenly, at the time of the settling of Avaris, these regional powers, about 20 nomes each in Upper and Lower Egypt, disappeared and were absorbed under Pharaoh’s control. (Gen. 47 "Then Joseph bought all the land of Egypt for Pharaoh... because the famine was severe upon them. So the land became Pharaoh’s.") Egyptologists though refuse to even consider such strong parallels with the Exodus. Their bias against the Bible's historicity satisfies many archaeologists with the circular argument suggested by Mahoney in Patterns: "Ramesses was Egypt's greatest builder king. ... If experts say there's no evidence during the time of Ramesses, why do they think that he's the Pharaoh of the Exodus?" Why? Because looking in the wrong century for evidence of the Exodus, and finding none, easily confirms their bias.
- The time when Egypt's wealth consolidated: Because they reject the Exodus, the nation's historians have offered no explanation for Egypt's vast consolidation of wealth into the crown. Unique in their long history and suddenly, the riches of upper and lower Egypt belonged to Pharaoh. Archaeologist Bryant Wood, Ph.D. in Syro-Palestinian archaeology and awarded National Endowment for the Humanities and the National Science Foundation grants supervised an excavation at Tell el-Maskhuta, Egypt; etc. As a specialist in ancient Canaanite pottery (who gave us a stunning interview on the excavation of Jericho) Dr. Wood holds to a traditional (biblical) date for the Exodus and points out that Joseph's economic policies account well for Pharaoh's historic concentration of wealth and power.
- Population explosion at Avaris: In the early second millennium B.C. a virgin land in Egypt's Nile delta region is settled by Semites in a handful of houses yet in just a few generations their numbers explode to where Avaris becomes one of the largest cities of the ancient world. (Exodus 1: "But the children of Israel were fruitful and increased abundantly, multiplied and grew exceedingly mighty; and the land was filled with them.")
- Details – Building materials include bricks made with straw: Plenty of minor details, like the price of a slave and the use of chariots, corroborated by archaeologists add to the "coincidences" showing consistency with the biblical account. For example, Egyptologists report that straw-reinforced clay bricks appear commonly in construction through Egypt’s history. (Exodus 5: “So the same day Pharaoh commanded the taskmasters of the people and their officers, saying, “You shall no longer give the people straw to make brick as before. Let them go and gather straw for themselves. And you shall lay on them the quota of bricks...”) Further, as Hershel Shanks notes, that the Jews in Israel did not build with mud bricks but with stones, thus adding another aspect to the consistency between Exodus and archaeology. Consider also the value of such incidental information. Historians and linguists reading about King Arthur from the 12th century's Geoffrey of Monmouth may or may not accept the historicity of Arthur but from the incidental details in Geoffrey's account, they can conclude that it indeed was written 900 years ago.
- Avaris' population suddenly becomes as poor as slaves: The prosperous population became poor. Bodies buried later at Avaris show distress, as from malnutrition. Their skeletons show "Harris lines", visible in X-rays or by breaking the bones and looking at their cross-sections. These form in the longer bones of the body in response to trauma such as from malnutrition, and especially among young people. (Exodus 1: "Now there arose a new king over Egypt, who did not know Joseph. And he said to his people, 'Look, the people of the children of Israel are more and mightier than we…' Therefore they set taskmasters over them to afflict them with their burdens. … So the Egyptians made the children of Israel serve with rigor. And they made their lives bitter with hard bondage—in mortar, in brick...") [Get Patterns!]
* Prior to Israel's sojourn, sophistication in the land of Canaan: If we look in archaeology backward from the Bible's timeframe for the Exodus back to the time of Israel's patriarchs, is there evidence of sophisticated civilization in the land of Canaan to match the biblical record? Genesis describes the domestic use of animals even back in Abraham's day, about which archaeology strongly attests to the domestication of camels. Likewise, artists can find abstractions (like predestination, about which the Jerusalem Post illustrated an article with our own BEL artwork) challenging to depict. Yet from nearly thirty-eight hundred years ago, back in the time of Israel's patriarchs and before their sojourn in Egypt, men crafted artwork to depict intangibles, including that of "thoughtfulness"! For other examples see rsr.org/genius-of-ancient-man.
- Later graves in Avaris filled with bodies of infants and younger people: Early death became common in the once prosperous major city. "Then the king of Egypt spoke to the [leaders of the] Hebrew midwives, of whom the name of one was Shiphrah and the name of the other Puah; and he said, “When you do the duties of a midwife for the Hebrew women, and see them on the birthstools, if it is a son, then you shall kill him; but if it is a daughter, then she shall live." (Exodus 1:15-16). Manfred Bietak's team, writing in their "dig reports" of the burial sites of Avaris, refer to what they characterize as an extremely high mortality of newborns, and that is in addition to the already high 25% infant mortality rate typical of a cemetery from this time and place in history. Gender-related differences are not obvious in infant's bones (at least, not to archaeologists), so no gender information is available. However, tragically, fifty percent of the children buried in Avaris who were age ten and younger were infants who died in the first three months of life! [This human tragedy reminds us of the Planned Parenthood viral undercover videos about which RSR produced our own 2-minute video.]
- More females than males survived this period: While the "extraordinary" death rate of children could be due to an epidemic, those who lived longer, to their new life expectancy of between 32 and 34 years of age, who were later buried were disproportionately female, 60%, as compared to the 40% of males. Recall first that the Bible indicates that many years passed during the time of Pharaoh's genocidal command (Exodus 1:20), and secondly, remember the civil disobedience of the leaders of the Hebrew midwives who "feared God, and did not do as the king of Egypt commanded them" (Exodus 1:17). Thus, while the Bible speaks of the basic human decency of Shiphrah and Puah, the forensic evidence indicates that Pharaoh was able to call upon others who complied with his murderous decree. (The viral videos of the sale of fetal body parts is reminiscent of this, and recall that RSR produced our own 2-minute YouTube video, Worst abortion video yet: Intact living fetus.)
- Ancient Egyptian document of the period lists 70 names of Semitic slaves: The Brooklyn papyrus lists the names of approximately 100 domestic servants, 70% of whom had Semitic names, a number of which are familiar from the Bible, including the names of two of the tribes of Israel, Isaachar and Ashar, and there is Shiphra (the same name as one of the leaders of the Hebrew midwives), and the many others. These Hebrew slaves are named in a papyrus not from the 19th Dynasty and the time of Ramses II and the New Kingdom but from the 13th Dynasty and the Middle Kingdom!
- Ancient Egypt's Hebrew slave names are primarily female: Most of the named Hebrew slaves were women, which is consistent with the evidence in the graves of Avaris. As we are emphasizing, archaeologists like Norma Franklin are guilty of selection bias as they immediately dismiss all such evidence from consideration because it does not come from the 1200s B.C. which is when they believe the Exodus did not occur. These particular Hebrews, however, slaved in Egypt centuries before the famed builder Ramesses II, the pharaoh whom virtually everyone (except for Hollywood) agrees did not see any exodus. [Get Patterns!]
- The uniqueness of this rapid expanse of Egypt's Semitic population: The evidence for the Exodus listed here comes not from the 19th Dynasty but from much earlier, from the only period of time in Egypt's history when the evidence documents a large number of Semitic people. Even though enslaved, these Semites nonetheless experienced enormous population growth, astounding developments which happened only once in all of Egypt's history. And these people lived in the land of Goshen in the Nile delta. In rejecting the historicity of the Exodus, Egyptologists maintain that all such discoveries are at most mere coincidences with the biblical account. Extremely strong apologetics exist for the biblical accounts of the creation, the global flood, the resurrection, and countless other details of sacred history. However, until the film work of Mahoney and Sparks review of the literature and parallels drawn by scholars (see below), Christians have had far less extra-biblical corroboration for the Exodus than we have had for other major events recorded in the Bible. Now, powerful apologetic evidence for the Exodus is becoming more widely available.
- The Semites suddenly depart Avaris and elsewhere: The once thriving city of Avaris quickly disappears from history, and is eventually buried, literally, by the building of another city, Ramses. For another example, 120 miles south of Avaris, another similar town has been excavated, Kahun. Archaeologists found there a walled and guarded settlement which supported a large Semitic population, yet with evidence of enslavement. The inhabitants there too seemed to have disappeared overnight. According to professor and Egyptologist Rosalie David of the University of Manchester, the town’s abandonment was sudden and unpremeditated. "Their goods were found in the streets and houses of Kahun, exactly where they were left, before being buried by the sands of the desert."
- The departing Semites left behind skeletons of newborns: The discovery at Kahun found that the desert sands had buried the city yet many of its houses were still standing up to roof height. Their 3500-year-old walls, however, fell in the 1880s as they were excavated. The dig also uncovered, as reported by Wikipedia, "wooden boxes buried beneath the floors of many of the houses. When opened they were found to contain the skeletons of infants, sometimes two or three in a box, and aged only a few months at death." (“When you... see them on the birthstools, if it is a son, then you shall kill him...", Exodus 1:15-16).
- The 12th-Dynasty Semites of Kahun were slaves: Referencing scholarly sources, Wikipedia also states, "Other records show that there were a large number of Semitic slaves in Egypt during the 12th Dynasty. It is interesting that some of the villas were constructed of layers of mudbrick separated by layers of reed matting, a technique used in Mesopotamia. Furthermore, burial beneath the living quarters of a house was a custom noted at Ur [birthplace of Abram/Abraham]. It is possible that the workers who were so carefully guarded by the village wall and separated from the overseers by an equally strong wall were Semitic (Asiatic [which could mean Hebrew) slaves not trusted by their overseers."
- Exodus plagues were historically correct to challenge Pharaoh: Ancient Egyptian culture considered Pharaoh divine with control over some of the major features of life such as the Sun and the Nile River. According to Egyptologist Dr. James Hoffmeier of Chicago's Trinity International University, the author who recorded the plagues of the Exodus was knowledgeable about Egypt's pantheon and chronicled the God of the Hebrews going to war "against all the gods of Egypt" (Ex. 12:12).
As prelude, Aaron's rod consumed the magicians' conjured serpents, beasts that could be seen as representative of Apep (worshipped from predynastic times beginning in about 4000 BC), the serpent god and embodiment of evil (reminiscent of the serpent in Eden).
The first plague's water turned to blood overwhelmed the Nile god Hapi (often depicted as pouring water from a jug; see Ex. 7:19-20; worshipped from around 2350 BC in the Fifth Dynasty).
The second plague's epidemic of frogs mocked Heqet, the frog goddess of fertility (worshipped from around 2800 BC in the Second Dynasty) and alone is described as entering even Pharaoh's bedroom and onto his bed, Ex. 8:3.
The third plague's lice rose from the ground, the domain of the Earth god Geb (father of snakes, reminiscent of Gen. 3:14, and worshipped from around 2600 in the Third Dynasty). Herodotus in 440 BC wrote, "In other countries the priests have long hair, in Egypt their heads are shaven... The priests shave their whole body every other day, that no lice or other impure thing may adhere to them when they are engaged in the service of the gods."
The fourth plague's flies vastly outnumbered the bizarrely popular dung beetle (scarabs), creatures that rolled their balls of refuse across the ground ostensibly as Khepri, a humanoid figure with the face of a scarab (worshipped from around 2300 BC in the Sixth Dynasty) rolled the Sun across the sky. The Egyptians knew that scarab young sprung from buried dung. If they also knew that flies spring from unburied dung, they might blame their bug god for not doing its job and allowing the flies to multiply. (See rsr.org/dung-beetles for their ability to navigate by the Milky Way!)
The fifth plague's decimation of livestock insulted Osiris who was embodied as the bull god (including the calf, etc., and worshipped from at least about 2,500 BC in the Fourth Dynasty) of death and resurrection, along with Isis, queen of the gods (worshipped from ~2475 BC in the Fifth Dynasty) who often wore cow's horns on her head.
The sixth plague's boils came as ash, thrown into the air, caused boils on man and beast, disrespecting Heka and Isis. (Heka was worshiped in the predynastic period with inscriptions dating from around 3100 BC and Isis from around 2400 BC in the Fifth Dynasty.) Heka was the father and Isis the patroness of magic, and as magic merged with the healing arts, ironically, the magicians were unable to heal themselves of the boils. Thus "the magicians could not stand before Moses because of the boils, for the boils were on the magicians" too (Ex. 9:11).
The seventh plague's hail overcame Nut (worshipped from about 2000 BC), one of the nine primary Egyptian gods of the Ennead, goddess of the sky, and the other Ennead sky gods, Isis and Set being doubly derided, with him the god of storms and foreigners (worshipped from about 3100 BC in the First Dynasty), both of whom were to protect the crops also. But "the hail struck throughout the whole land of Egypt, all that was in the field... the hail struck every herb of the field and broke every tree" (Ex. 9:25). And by this plague, Yahweh taunted the god of grain, Neper (first worshipped in the Middle Kingdom, 2055-1650 BC), who was known as the god of barley, "for the barley was in the head" (Ex. 9:31, ready to be harvested when destroyed by the hail).
The eighth plague's locusts exposed again the impotence of Neper and of Egypt's other crop and harvest gods when "the land was darkened" by the locust swarms, "and they ate every herb of the land and all the fruit of the trees which the hail had left" (Ex. 10:15). Thus Neper and Nepit, god and goddess of grain, and Renenutet (worshipped in the Pyramid Texts so from perhaps as early as around 2350 BC at the end of the Fifth Dynasty), snake of nourishment and goddess of harvest ("I will make... the plants... flourish, bending under their fruit"), and the Ennead Geb (worshipped from about 2650 BC in the Third Dynasty), god of the Earth and crops, all of whom were defeated.
The ninth plague's darkness eclipsed the greatest of Egypt's idols, Ra the Sun god (worshipped from around 2900 BC in the Second Dynasty; worshipped as Ar in ancient Armenia; and see our debate with an alleged descendant of Ra). The three days of darkness which "may even be felt" extinguished also Khepri, and Atum, worshiped at Heliopolis, the very city of the Sun.
The tenth plague's finality, with its death of all the firstborns, exposed pharaoh as a fraud, for he was supposedly the divine protector of Egypt, the personification of the gods of the sun and of resurrection. These and other observations lead many to recognize the Exodus as one of the most extraordinary dramas in the history of the world, a record fitting the Creator. And in the reporting of the tenth plague, the God of the Hebrews makes it explicit that He was warring "against all the gods of Egypt" (Ex. 12:12).
- Many bodies not buried, but thrown atop each other in pits: Egyptologist Manfred Bietak has also uncovered the remains of many people buried quickly, believing that they may have died perhaps in a plague where rapid burial was necessitated. David Rohl says that this may be evidence of the tenth plague and its death of the firstborn.
- At the time of the rapid burials, Semites quickly depart: Rohl argues that the sudden departure of the population in the Semitic town of Kahun 120 miles to the south of Avarice, and from Avarice itself, is evidence of a general exodus of all the Semites rapidly "packing up" and leaving Goshen, afterwhich the evidence shows that Avarice itself fell into ruin.
- The accepted chronology of Egypt distorts its neighbors' timelines: The history of the surrounding cultures require the insertion of long periods of time for no other reason than to get them to match up with Egypt's accepted chronology. Yet the experts who find no evidence for the Exodus while looking in the wrong century dismiss those who attempt to revise Egypt's timeline instead of the timelines of the neighboring contemporaneous cultures. Another archaeologist who apparently rejects the Exodus, Kent Weeks, Ph.D. in Egyptology from Yale University, acknowledges nonetheless that, "Correlations between Egyptian chronology and that of other cultures in the ancient Near East is even more confusing." Egypt's "accepted" chronology requires the insertion of unexpected gaps into the local records of surrounding cultures, into the histories of Cyprus, Troy, Nubia, Greece, Syria, Phoenicia, and the Hittites, all to match the dating of something called Egypt's third dark period. So Mahoney's film argues that shifting Egypt's history appears able to align the timelines of Egypt, their surrounding nations, and the Bible.
- Egypt's uncertain chronology is used to discredit the Scriptures: Biased experts argue that Egypt's historical timeline, even though it manifests serious problems with many other Mediterranean histories, shows the biblical record to be little more than mythological. However, even Isaac Newton, the world's greatest scientist who wrote more about the Bible and history than he did about math and physics, four centuries ago saw the true chronology of the world as based on the biblical timeline. In our own century, Prof. Weeks, again, who rediscovered the tomb (KV5) of Ramesses II in the Valley of the Kings, said to Tim Mahoney, "Ramesses II as the Pharaoh of the Exodus? How can we prove that? Chronology doesn’t really help." What? How can that be? Well, as Weeks added, understating his case, "The chronology of Egypt is still a bit ambiguous."
- Ancient Egyptian Priest Manetho recalls God smiting Egypt: David Rohl, English Egyptologist and winner of a prestigious history research scholarship awarded by the University of London, argues that Egypt's accepted timeline needs to be shifted and, though an agnostic, points to a catastrophic collapse in Egypt's history as a culmination of much evidence to support the historicity of the Exodus. After spending his whole life researching the Middle East, Rohl tells Mahoney, "One of the great moments in Egyptian history is the collapse of Egyptian civilization when these foreigners invade. These Hyksos rulers destroy the land and Egyptian native rule is completely suppressed. Egypt is on its knees. That's what we see in this period, and it only happens once in a thousand years of Egypt's history. If we can link this to a very famous tradition told to us by an Egyptian priest called Manetho, he wrote a history of Egypt in the 3rd century BC, we end up with a story like this. 'In the reign of a king called Didymos [also Tutimaeus, Tutimaios, Timaios, Dedumos], one of the last kings of the 13th dynasty, God smote the Egyptians.' And God here is singular. You’d expect to see 'gods' smote, but you don't." [Get Patterns!] Josephus reports that these foreigners "easily conquered [Egypt]", as Rohl relates, "without striking a blow." (Note: Manetho's account is preserved for us by an rsr.org/armenian translation of Eusebius.)
- How many volumes to list mainstream timeline inconsistencies: Of course critics challenge the dating of various particulars in this List of Evidence for the Exodus. But, what if every single one of the recognized dilemmas and inconsistencies in mainstream Egyptian chronology were listed, one after another? A book of how many pages would that require? Or a set of how many volumes? Oxford Egyptologist Sir Alan H. Gardiner once wrote, "Egyptian history is merely a collection of rags and tatters." Mahoney's Egyptologists too admit there is enormous uncertainty. So when leveling criticism at the above, the defender of the status quo might want to object with humility. For the more errors that are embedded in the mainstream literature the more difficult it so for others who come along to correctly reinterpret evidence and reassign dates. So the Bimsons, and Rohls, and Alings, and Billingtons, and Woods, and Sparks, and Mahoneys of the world face a daunting task prone to error along the way.
- The Israelites and the city of Ramses: At this point consider again the argument against all this evidence for the Exodus. Rohl believes that many Egyptologists have been misdirected by the verse in Exodus discussed above which led them to look for evidence in the wrong time period. The Israelites "built for Pharaoh supply cities, Pithom and Raamses" (Exodus 1:11) which, again, may have housed public granaries. Excavations have led to the Ramses Exodus Theory which, by this verse, would put Moses and his Pharaoh at about 1250 BC. However, this is easily an anachronism, as described above, New York City is said to have been founded forty years before it got its name. Genesis uses both the names YHWH and Rameses anachronistically, and again, Avaris was absorbed into the new city of Pi-Ramesses. Thus, the city built by Semites (the Hebrews) became the city of Ramses, explaining the anachronism at Ex. 1:11 and also perhaps Gen. 47:11. Real Science Radio therefore calls on Stephen Gabriel Rosenberg and other skeptical Egyptologists to retract their systematic argument against possible Israelite evidence solely because it is dated prior to Ramses II.
- Moving Egypt's timeline reveals the pattern of evidence for the Exodus: As Mahoney's Exodus film depicts, shifting Egypt's timeline then presents a pattern of evidence, the arrival of the Semites in Egypt (Avaris), their great multiplication (Avaris population, 20 Semite cities), enslavement (grave evidence, slave names), judgment on the land (the end of the Middle Kingdom, the "dark period", Ipuwer papyrus, etc.), and the Exodus (sudden departure), followed by the Israelite's conquest of Canaan (e.g., see rsr.org/jericho).
- Israel's biblical history presents them as slaves and failures: Genesis, Exodus, and virtually the entire Old Testament presents the Israelites first as slaves and then, throughout their history, as wicked. Even the patriarchs and heroes were in many ways despicable. This is noticed not to condemn them but to recognize the "flavor of realism" in the Hebrew Scriptures, and the unvarnished hard truth with which it presents "God's chosen people". Abraham and Isaac were willing to give away their wives to save their own skin; Jacob robbed his brother of his birthright; Joseph, for all his greatness, turned the free people of Egypt into slaves; even King David was an adulterer and a murderer. The Hebrew Scriptures severely condemns the priests, and sometimes even the "prophets", and the kings of Israel and Judah, and the twelve tribes themselves, were in almost constant rebellion against God, worshiping a golden calf immediately upon being delivered by the Living God. If they made all this up, you would expect them to present themselves as worthy of God's deliverance. But then they even gripe against Him in the wilderness and say they want to go back to Egypt. Who would write that, if it weren't true? So virtually the entire generation saved from bondage in Egypt dies in unbelief in the wilderness (Numbers 32:13; Hebrews 3:16-19). Eventually, the Hebrew Scriptures shows them even sacrificing their own children burning them as offerings to the false god Molech. If a people were to remember a fictitious account of their history, one would think that it would be more complimentary than that of the Exodus.
- The Exodus is missing from temple walls and pharaohs' tombs: Of course. Even leading Egyptologists who reject the historicity of Moses admit with Kent Weeks, who established the Theban Mapping Project, and with Mansour Boraik, director general of antiquities at Luxor, that if the Exodus had happened, no official inscriptions would have been written. Likewise, when asked, another Egyptologist opponent of an historical Exodus, Maarten Raven, put it this way, "Even if the Exodus happened, don't ask the Egyptians to write about it."
- Plagues are recorded in an ancient Egyptian document: Mainstream archaeologists claim that plagues of biblical proportion would have left their mark on Egypt's history, but that no such mark exists. So filmmaker Mahoney asked renowned expert Maarten Raven, curator of the Leiden Museum, about the Ipuwer Papyrus (details below) which his facility holds. Why does Raven reject it as a description of the plagues of the Exodus? Of course, Raven, who does not believe the Exodus ever happened, believes that when it did not happen was in the 13th century B.C. In Ipuwer's obviously unofficial account he addresses his majesty, the king, and poetically describes calamities reminiscent of the biblical plagues and their aftermath. Ipuwer writes, "Behold, Egypt is fallen to the pouring of water; and he who poured water on the ground, seizes the mighty in misery. ... The river is blood. ... Gone is the barley of abundance. ... The nobles hunger… poor men have become owners of wealth..." His account is much briefer than Moses' account in chapters 4 to 12 of the Exodus. Yet he is obsessed with one particular happening. Forty times Ipuwer repeats the uncanny observation that Egypt's servants now possess its wealth! Yet he gives no hint of any violent slave uprising. And only once does he identify the perpetrator of the nation's devastation, uncanny again, as Ipuwer attributes the national catastrophe to the one "who poured water on the ground." Peculiar, no? [Get Patterns!] And for more details on Ipuwer and from many other ancient Egyptian documents see below for Brad Spark's literature review.
- Moses recorded that 40 years after the plagues Egypt was still reeling: If anything like the account of Exodus occurred to an empire, it would have collapsed. ("Now it came to pass in the fortieth year... that Moses spoke to the children of Israel of... [God's] acts which He did in the midst of Egypt, to Pharaoh king of Egypt, and to all his land... and how the Lord has destroyed them to this day", Deut. 1:3; 11:3-4.) Thus history does record a great dark period in Egypt after the traditional date of the Exodus.
- Bible backdates Exodus to 480 years before the Temple: Mahoney observed that, "if people look for evidence in the wrong period of history, they won't find any." Thus historians should note the Hebrew Scriptures' very specific chronological placement of the Exodus. "And it came to pass in the four hundred and eightieth year after the children of Israel had come out of the land of Egypt, in the fourth year of Solomon’s reign over Israel, in the month of Ziv, which is the second month, that he began to build the house of the Lord" (I Kings 6:1). From the most widely accepted date of the beginning of Solomon's reign is 970 B.C. So this passage dates the Exodus in 1446 B.C., consistent with overall biblical history and in contradiction to those who came along 3,000 years later who don't believe the Exodus occurred at all and who place its non-occurrence in about 1270 B.C.
- "Israel" inscribed on the 1210 B.C. Merneptah Stele: By the secular chronology and their Ramses date for when the Exodus didn't happen, a mention of "Israel" as an established nation in ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs, twice written, first in 1360 B.C. and again in 1210 B.C., would be impossible. For if Israel's own Scriptures were meant to portray the nation as beginning after a 1270 B.C. exodus, and then after the 40 years of wandering in the wilderness, and after the many decades of success and failure in trying to conquer Canaan, even the latter of two well-known inscriptions would have been written too early in history. Mahoney's film presents Rohl reading the hieroglyphs on the Merneptah Stele, which was carved shortly after the death of Ramesses. The stele's recognition of Israel already in the land of Canaan as a significant power further argues against the late 12-century BC New Kingdom date for the Exodus. So Rohl argues that this stele should help free archaeologists from their antiquated belief that the Exodus, which they believe never occurred, must have not occurred in the time of Ramesses. [Get Patterns!]
- "Israel" Inscribed on the pedestal of a 1360 B.C. Egyptian statue: In Germany, the public can view what appears to be the broken pedestal of an ancient Egyptian statue, housed in the Egyptian Museum of Berlin. The pedestal is dated to an even earlier period, to about 150 years before the Merneptah Stele, or 1360 B.C. Clyde E. Billington, PhD in history from the University of Iowa, reports that each of three "name rings" on the "Berlin Pedestal" records a people group defeated by Pharaoh in the region of Samaria. Ashkelon, Canaan, and the third, though partly broken away, reads "Israel" according to strong arguments recently published by Egyptologists and Biblical scholars. Incidentally, Ludwig Borchardt, the German Egyptologist known for his excavations at Tell el-Amarna where he discovered the famous bust of Nefertiti, queen of Akhenaten, is the one who acquired the "Berlin Pedestal" from an Egyptian merchant in 1913.
- The conquest of Canaan: Timothy Mahoney's groundbreaking film, which brought to a mass audience archaeological evidence known mostly only to scholars, ends by presenting archaeological evidence for the Israelite conquest of Canaan in the biblical timeline. The ruins of the fortified cities described in the Bible that fell to Joshua and the Israelites have been identified and excavated by archaeologists. Again though, the mainstream scholars claim that these cities, destroyed in a short-period of time they admit, nonetheless, fell in a historical period that does not fit the biblical timeline of the Exodus, Moses, and the military general Joshua. RSR's List of Evidence for the Exodus will not include that evidence, falling outside of Israel's sojourn in Egypt and the Exodus itself. However, whereas the strongest argument the secularists have against Joshua is their claims about the evidence in the ruins of Jericho, consider two things. First, the ruins of Jericho are there! Of course, because of a knee-jerk reaction against almost anything recorded in the Bible, many skeptics would wish that no ruins of this ancient city had ever been identified. But there they are. Secondly, we point those interested in the overwhelming archaeological evidence affirming Joshua's account to rsr.org/jericho, our interview with Bryant Wood, the world's most popular authority on the astounding ruins of one of the ancient world's greatest cities.
- The Books of Moses teach that no king is above the law: Common to the world's ancient pagan empires, their king stood above the law. Yet Moses records God commanding that even the king must obey the law. Ironically, many conservatives have attributed to pagan Solon of Athens the first pronouncement of this truth that even government leaders are not above the law. However, 1,000 years before Solon, the fifth book of Moses taught of a king that: "when he sits on the throne of his kingdom, that he shall write for himself a copy of this law... [which included Do not murder, Do not steal, and Do not commit perjury, 5:17-20] and he shall read it all the days of his life, that he may learn to fear the Lord his God and be careful to observe all the words of this law and these statutes, that his heart may not be lifted above his brethren, that he may not turn aside from the commandment" (Deuteronomy 17:18-20). So the skeptic has to claim that this central truth for civilization, that no one is above the law, just coincidentally appears in this irrelevant and mythological text about Moses.
- Details – The Egyptians use of chariots: The first reference known to historians of the use of chariots dates to about 1800 BC from Mesopotamia. The author of Genesis and Exodus reports that the Egyptian officials and its army used chariots and archaeologists have documented that the chariot became the supreme military "weapon" beginning in 1700 BC. So, as claimed by various modern scholars, if Exodus hadn't been written until 900 years after the Bible's own dating of the life of Moses, then how would a 7th century BC Israelite know that chariots were in use that far back in history, by both governing officials and the military? Such corroborated details, multiplied throughout Genesis and Exodus, help to document the authenticity of the text and authorship.
- Details - The oldest evidence of horses in Egypt comes from Avaris: At the time of the first documented monetary crisis, "when the money failed in the land of Egypt and in the land of Canaan, all the Egyptians came to Joseph... So they brought their livestock to Joseph, and Joseph gave them bread in exchange for the horses, the flocks, the cattle" (Gen. 47). In a minor coincidence, according to Horses in Ancient Egypt, a brief article from University College London, "Horses were introduced into Egypt [from the North, of course] during the Second Intermediate Period (about 1700-1550 BC). The earliest remains of horses are a few bones from Avaris and the skeleton of a horse found at Buhen." (The fortress at Buhen, incidentally, was built by Senusret III, the king mentioned above.)
- Ancient Egyptian literature parallels the Exodus: "Discussions of Exodus Parallels in the Egyptology Literature" begins on p. 259 of Springer's 2015 text, Israel's Exodus in Transdisciplinary Perspective, as follows:
Some 30 ancient Egyptian texts with Exodus "parallels" or Exodus-like content have been identified by 56 Egyptologists, archaeologists, and Semiticists from 1844 to date in the professional literature. Additional texts are identified in the present study for a total of more than 90 Egyptian texts containing Exodus parallels.
Genesis predicted Israel's enslavement in a foreign land and, "the nation whom they serve I will judge; afterward they shall come out with great possessions" (Gen. 15:14). Moses recorded the departure of the Jews from Egypt. The New Testament writers and even Jesus Christ affirmed various particulars (John 6:49-51). Timothy Mahoney interviewed key Egyptologists and others to discuss the long-noticed parallels (including often by the famed linguists who first translated the hieroglyphics) between Egyptian literature and the Exodus, including the Ipuwer Papyrus, the Berlin Fragment, the Brooklyn Papyrus, the Merneptah Stele, and the Amarna Letters. Evidence from Egyptian literature was presented by Brad C. Sparks at the scholarly 2013 Exodus Conference at the University of California San Diego documenting ancient Egyptian writings which parallel details of the Exodus, highlighting especially the parallels immediately noted by the scholars who translated the hieroglyphics and first published these significant historical records. This evidence will make up the second half of RSR's List of Evidence for the Exodus, which will continue here...
- The Ipuwer Papyrus highlights: First, consider a few of his observations...
Ipuwer: "Behold, Egypt is fallen to the pouring of water; and he who poured water [mocking the Nile god Hapi] on the ground, seizes the mighty in misery. ... The river is blood."
Exodus: "...you shall take water from the river and pour it on the dry land. The water which you take from the river will become blood" (Ex. 4:9). "And all the waters that were in the river were turned to blood" (Ex. 7:20).
Ipuwer: "Gone is the barley of abundance. Food supplies are running short. The nobles hunger…"
Exodus: When the hail struck, "the barley was in the head" (Ex. 9:31) and the locusts "ate every herb of the land and all the fruit of the trees which the hail had left" (Ex. 10:15)
The number one commitment of secular archaeologists and historians is to undermine the authority of Scripture. Tremendous disagreement on other matters is professionally tolerated. But affirming the Bible carries a hefty price. Thus most scholars will systematically date biblical texts, including the Exodus, to much later periods. Simultaneously they are eager to assume an early date for any extra-biblical corroboration, such as with the Ipuwer text, to obscure any possible connection between the two. Thus while it is widely admitted that the papyrus itself was penned after the time of Moses (if he even existed at all, according to some), they claim that Ipuwer composed the original long before any possible date for the Exodus. However, the similarities are far too unique and stunning for them to be unrelated.
Ipuwer: continues, "Behold, plague sweeps the land. Blood is everywhere, with no shortage of the dead. He who buries his brother in the dead is everywhere. Woe is me. Wailing is throughout the land."
Exodus: "There will be loud wailing throughout Egypt" (Ex. 11:6)
- Ipuwer Papyrus rejection: Here's an observation from Ipuwer that scholars quote as a reason to reject its historicity even though it is another astounding parallel to the Exodus. "Indeed, poor men have become owners of wealth, and he who could not make sandals for himself is now a possessor of riches." Dr. Chris Heard appeals to two scholars, an S. Luria and Egyptologist Miriam Lichtheim (ironically, both named after people whose existence they deny) both of whom reject the Exodus and of course any connection then with Ipuwer.
"The unhistorical character of the whole genre [Ipuwer, etc.] was recognized by S. Luria in an article that did not receive the attention it deserved... he pointed out the fictional, mythological-messianic nature of these works and the fixed clichés through which the theme of 'social chaos' was expressed. … Luria also made the telling point that 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 having become rich, of wearing fine clothes, and generally of disposing of all that once belonged to their masters. In sum, the Admonitions of Ipuwer has not only no bearing whatever on the long past First Intermediate Period, it also does not derive from any other [i.e., Mosaic] historical situation."
Thus reads the desperation of skepticism. Ipuwer's words describe the exceedingly unique development recorded by Moses. "Now the children of Israel had done according to the word of Moses, and they had asked from the Egyptians articles of silver, articles of gold, and clothing. And the Lord had given the people favor in the sight of the Egyptians, so that they granted them what they requested. Thus they plundered the Egyptians" (Exodus 12:35-36). Yet this is the kind of argument that the skeptics claim is definitive, whereas it seems better characterized as an example of "the big lie" when remarkable evidence in favor of, is said to be evidence against, a proposition. By the way, who is that S. Luria? The Jewish author of that referenced article was published in 1929 in a German journal (Klio) hiding his Hebrew name Solomon under that initial. A 1914 graduate of Petersburg University, Solomon Lur’e then taught in Leningrad University’s History Department. Simultaneously brilliant yet naive, this scholar enamored with Charles Darwin was caught up with the widespread preoccupation of using the methods of natural law investigation to turn history into a science. And who is that Chris Heard? RSR co-host Bob Enyart's life briefly intersected with that of this Pepperdine University associate professor (see video) when Bob spoke there against theistic evolution. Like most Christians who reject a young earth, Prof. Heard rejects the historicity of the six literal days of creation, the global flood, the Exodus, and undoubtedly many other accounts presented in the Bible as historical.
- Ipuwer Excerpts: RSR expects in 2018 to post an extended list of excerpts online documenting the 40 references we've mentioned on air to his theme that the servants have taken the riches of the nation!
- The subsequent historical context: The University of Copenhagen's famed secular professor Niels Peter Lemche wrote that the Genesis and Exodus accounts are "a fiction written around the middle of the first millennium" and even, "Similarly, the David of the Bible, David the king, is not a historical figure."
- Shalmaneser Stela: Likewise, the discovery of the stela commissioned in 863 B.C. by the Assyrian king Shalmaneser led many to object to the text, as published by the British Museum which displays the stela, " I destroyed... 1,200 chariots, I,200 cavalry, 20,000 soldiers, of Hadad-ezerz...; 2,000 chariots, 10,000 soldiers of Ahab, the Israelite... 1,000 camels of Gindibu', the Arabian..." which by the way is also the first historical reference to the Arabs.
- Mesha Stele: After this stela was found and its "Ahab, king of Israel" translation so fiercely discounted (because it contradicted the skeptics), then was found the Mesha Stele commissioned by the king of Moab in 840 B.C. which states, as from 2 Kings, "Omri was king of Israel, and oppressed Moab" and regarding of one of the twelve tribes, "And the men of Gad dwelled in the country of Ataroth from ancient times, and the king of Israel fortified Ataroth", which also made many unhappy.
- Merneptah Stele: Then an Egyptologist discovered in Thebes the Merneptah Stele (see above; also widely known to as the "Israel Stela" because "a majority of scholars translate" it so), now in the Cairo Museum and dated 1208 B.C., which exaggerates, as is typical, a campaign of Ramesses II's son Merneptah with, "Israel is laid waste, his seed is no more", and speaks of victory over the Hittites, pa-Canaan, Ashkelon, Gezer, and Syria, with the words, "The princes are prostrate, saying, "Peace", with the word peace spelled out using phonetic glyphs not an Egyptian word but the Hebrew "Shalom"!
- Tel Dan Stele: And more recently was discovered the Tel Dan Stele commissioned most certainly sometime during the 842 B.C. to 796 B.C. reign of Hazael of Damascus, which mentions that his father, Ben-Hadad II, fought and died, and "Hadad made me king... I slew... thousands of horsemen... [I killed Jeho]ram son [of Ahab] king of Israel, and [I] killed [Ahaz]iahu son of [Jehoram kin]g of the House of David... their land... led over Is[rael] siege..."
- Berlin Pedestal: And later still, a statue pedestal carved with defeated foreigners and their fragmentary "name rings", one of which has been translated with much-supporting evidence to be "I-a-shra-i-l", testifying to Egypt's conflicts with Israel going back even further historically than Merneptah, likely to the mid-18th Dynasty.
- Temple of Amun's Seti Battle Scenes: In Karnak, around the engraved text of the Hittite Treaty with Ramses II, appear the battle scenes of Seti against pa-Canaan, and against Ashkelon showing them killing their own children for favor with their god (like the Moabites in 2 Kings 3). "Egyptologist Frank Yurco of the Oriental Institute of Chicago recognized the pattern of campaigns at Karnak as being identical to the Merneptah" stele, wrote David Rohl. This enabled the reconstruction of some missing material, a "sensational discovery, quickly accepted by the Egyptology community." Karnak therefore depicts Israelites in chariots fighting Seti I, the father of Ramesses II, which indicates, as do all these other substantive archaeological finds, that the skeptics like Prof. Lemche have no humility before God, and that Israel was long in the land, had a mature monarchy, and split into northern and southern kingdoms, all stated plainly in Scripture and now heavily attested through extra-biblical history.
- Genetic Evidence for the Exodus from Egyptian Mummies: Moses recorded for posterity the Out-of-Babel history of mankind's dispersion from the Middle East (Genesis 11, based on the Gen. 10 Table of Nations). The "scholarship" that rejects his accounts, including of the Exodus, supports the alternative dispersion model called Out-of-Africa. However, in 2017 in the journal Nature Communications a major genetics study of 90 mummies showed that the genome of ancient Egyptians (from 3400 to 2400 years ago, about the time of Joshua to Malachi) was heavily Middle Eastern (think Babel/Mesopotamia, Ararat/Anatolia, Canaan/Philistia). Only many centuries later was Egyptian DNA significantly infused by sub-Saharan genetic material. This discovery may help return scholarship to its roots, consistent with Moses, that, "The Mesopotamian Valley is the cradle of civilization." DNA doesn't lie. This major study of a thousand years of the Egyptian genome contradicts the historic framework of Moses' detractors yet confirms the prediction of biblical creationists, thus providing even more cross-disciplinary evidence for the Exodus!
- Revisiting the first and second points above: The stunning truth is that the Israelites gave to Egypt and to the whole world the word Pharaoh. Yet Egyptology, like science generally, progresses one funeral at a time, and such archaeology has a lot of inertia to overcome to set itself aright. To quote Huntington University's Canadian-Israeli filmmaker, Simcha Jacobovici, "If you misdate the Biblical Exodus i.e., if you put the Exodus into a historical context where it does not belong, then – by definition – you won’t find any archeological evidence for Joseph, or any other Biblical figure for that matter. And this is precisely what the majority of archeologists do when they date the Exodus. First, they say it didn’t happen. Then, they illogically date what didn’t happen to the 13th century BCE – 1270 BCE to be precise." Of course, Christians, many of us, know that the authority of Scripture resolves the matter. But for those yet without this knowledge, faith is properly responding to "the evidence" (Heb. 11:1). Yet as has happened to Joseph's statue, now hidden from public view, many worldwide, including secular and religious people in Egypt who have no desire to affirm ancient Israelites, will try to "suppress the truth" (Rom. 1:18). Because God has shown to all men the evidence of His existence which is "clearly seen... so that they are without excuse, because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God."
[This list is incomplete. If you'd like to see additional evidence, please check back throughout the summer of 2018. If you would like to help obtain resources for RSR's ongoing projects, please check out rsr.org/wish-list. Also, please feel free to email comments or other pieces of evidence for consideration to Bob@rsr.org.]
* The Making Of: Hear also the separate BEL interview of Tim Mahoney on The Making Of the Patterns of Evidence film.
* More Info on Archaeologists and Others of Note:
- Dr. Charles Aling, served as visiting professor in Oxford at the Liberty University Oxford Study Program and is professor emeritus of Northwestern College. He served as assistant field director on two archaeological expeditions in Egypt, one excavating a royal tomb in the Valley of the Kings and the other documenting inscriptions at the Karnak Temple in Luxor. Prof. emeritus Aling holds to a traditional Exodus date of around 1450 B.C.
- Dr. Bryant Wood, with undergrad and Masters degrees in mechanical engineering, Wood worked at the Knolls Atomic Power Laboratory in the design of nuclear reactors. Following his interests, he then earned a M.A. degree in Biblical History from the University of Michigan and a Ph.D. degree in Syro-Palestinian archaeology from the University of Toronto and served as visiting professor in the Department of Near Eastern Studies at the University of Toronto. His extensive archaeological field work includes serving as co-director of a survey of three reservoir areas in northern Jordan, 1978; area supervisor for the Wadi Tumilat Project excavation at Tell el-Maskhuta, Egypt, 1979, 1981, and 1983; volunteer at the Ben Gurion University of the Negev excavation at Haruvit in the northern Sinai, 1981; member of the Wadi Tumilat Project survey of the Wadi Tumilat, Egypt, 1983; field archaeologist for the Associates for Biblical Research excavation at Khirbet Nisya, Israel, 1985, 1987, 1990, 1991, 1993 and 1994; and Director of the Kh. el-Maqatir excavation, Israel, 1995 to present. Wood is a specialist in ancient Canaanite pottery, has been awarded grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the National Science Foundation for archaeological research, and gave a stunning interview to Real Science Radio on the excavation of Jericho! Dr. Wood also holds to a traditional date of the Exodus.
- Dr. Ryan T. Mullins, makes a rather matter-of-fact comment about the Exodus that is off the main topic of his 2016 Oxford University Press book, The End of the Timeless God (see kgov.com/time). About himself and other believers, this Cambridge Ph.D. writes that:
"...the Christian is committed to the claim that God acts in special ways in history. For instance, God brought about the exodus of the Israelites. This story involves God acting in special ways at specific times, and any Christian research program will need to be able to account for this epoch of history and many others like it."
- R. T. Mullins, p. 4
- Brad C. Sparks, see Sparks presentation at the scholarly 2013 Exodus Conference at the University of California San Diego documenting ancient Egyptian writings which parallel details of the Exodus, and that according to the scholars who translated the hieroglyphics and first published these significant historical records.