The Myth of an Exodus Exposed:
A. By the Bibles own chronology, the year of the Exodus fell during Egypt’s heyday under the 18 Dynasty during the imperium of the puissant Thutmosis III (1490-1436 BCE). It is simply impossible – as so many have said – that the Hebrew slaves attained liberation at the very apex of Egyptian power.
B. The absence of any recognizable Israelites in the Amarna letters, tablets which describe in detail the conditions in 14 century BCE Canaan (See William Moran, The Amarna Letters, John Hopkins Press, 1992).
C. Most scholars would place Israelite origins in the late 13 century BCE or the beginning of the Iron Age where we fine hundreds of new settlements in the hilly Israelite heartland (Israel Finkelstein, The Bible Unearthed: Archaeology’s New Vision of Ancient Israel and the Origin of Its Sacred ). From exactly the same period, Pharaoh Merneptah’s victory stele boasts of his “eradication” of a group called “Israel” (see Ancient near Eastern Texts Relating to the Old Testament, pp 376 -378).
D. A greater problem is that the new highland settlements in Canaan from the 13 – 12 centuries BCE show very little connection with Egyptian material culture. Similarly, the Hebrew language is a purely Canaanite dialect with only Egyptian borrowings of trade words such as found throughout the Near East (see Thomas Lambdin, Egyptian Loan Words in the Old Testament and Muchiki, Egyptian Proper Names and Loanwords in North-West Semitic). Much more Egyptian words and culture should be present in the highlands of Canaan if the Israelite did indeed spent 400 years living in Egypt and then resettled in Canaan.
E. Another problem is the Bible’s complete silence on the Egyptian forays into Syria-Palestine in the late 13 to early 12 centuries BCE under Merneptah and Ramses III. Had the Israelites completely forgotten these inconvenient facts?
F. Even if we re-date the Exodus in favor of a conquest in the early Iron Age, our problems still remain. All the cities the Bible cites as being present during the conquest of Canaan by the Israelites (Kadesh Barnea, Gibeon, Heshbon and Dibon along with the kingdoms of Moab and Edon) did not exist until well into the later Iron Age (William Dever, Who Were the Israelites and Where did They Come From?) The same problem is evident in Joshua’s purported conquest; virtually none of the cities he is said to have conquered shows any evidence of any occupation for the appropriate period. (Dever, 37-71).
G. While the Biblical Book of Exodus claims that the Israelites left Egypt at about 2 million strong (Numbers 1:46 gives a more precise total of 603,550. The 600,000, plus wives, children, the elderly, and the “mixed multitude” of non-Israelites would have numbered some 2 million people) and wondered in the Sinai Wilderness 40 years, archeologists have found no settlements or any other artifacts to support this story (William Dever, Recent Archaeological Discoveries and Biblical Research).
H. One excellent example is the series (now on Youtube) The Bible Unearthed 2. The Exodus. Those who accept the Biblical Exodus as a factual historical event will do themselves an educational favor to watch this video, especially the video’s 20 – 28 minute mark as the Exodus is discussed by one of the foremost experts in Egyptology, Donald B. Redford
Any Christian who wants to reject such facts MUST deal with William H. C. Propp’s 2 volume commentary on Exodus in “The Anchor Bible” series.
Propp’s final conclusion: The Exodus story is a Romantic myth based on fantasy (see: The Historicity of the Exodus from Egypt, vol. 2, pp. 735 -756).
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