MESSIAH: HIS FIRST COMING SCHEDULED
THE NATIONAL PERIOD: (2513 A.H. TO 3023 A.H.)
ISRAEL'S BONDAGE IN EGYPT AND THE EXODUS
I. BACKGROUND OF THE EGYPTIAN BONDAGE
THE physical features of any country in the
past have largely determined the course of the history of its people. The
natural barriers surrounding a land prevented communication between it and
neighboring nations and at the same time protected it largely from molestation
by other peoples. In modern times, however, the situation has changed because
distance and natural barriers have been largely removed by modern inventions.
Egypt's isolation from neighboring peoples by the peculiarities of the land
enabled her to build up a civilization the like of which was not possible in
any other environment. She was but a ribbon of green on both sides of the Nile
extending from the Mediterranean southward to Ethiopia. She was hemmed in on
the east, the south and the west by deserts which were all but impassable. But
in this way she was protected from invasion.
Only on the northeast was she vulnerable. The comparatively short strip of
territory from the Bitter Lakes northward to the Mediterranean constituted the
open door through which the Asiatics, especially in times of famine, would
come to the borders of the fertile delta and look over the boundary with
anxious eyes. Experience taught the Pharaohs to build a line of fortifications
to protect the country from these invaders. Nevertheless, as time went on, and
as the Asiatics pressed upon Egypt because of economic conditions, there
trickled into the delta a constant flow of these natives.
Finally, however, they came in hordes, pressed across the border, established
themselves at different places, and gradually pushed the native Egyptian
rulers up the Nile valley. They eventually seized control of the country and
imposed a different type of civilization upon the people. These newcomers are
known in history as the Hyksos, or Shepherd Kings. They established capitals
at Tanis, Avaris, and Bubastis. A live issue among the Egyptologists is the
question of the length of the Hyksos domination in the Valley of the Nile.
There are two groups of historians: one advocating the longer chronology,
which sets the arrival of these foreigners in the country as early as 2700 and
extends their occupation to 1580 B.C.E.; the other dates their advent around
1700 and their expulsion at 1580 B.C.E. There are
also some who take a middle course and place their coming around 2200 B.C.E.
Among the advocates of the longer chronology is the able and renowned Sir
Since there is such a variation among these experts, one cannot afford to be
too assertive with reference to Egypt's chronology. These divergencies of
opinion show that the evidence is insufficient to justify dogmatism. In favor
of the longer chronology, however, are the statements of Josephus with
reference to the length of the Hyksos domination. We must, in view of the
paucity of evidence, seek for further light.
Prior to the advent of the Hyksos and during the eleventh, twelfth, thirteenth
and fourteenth dynasties, there was what is known as the middle kingdom.
During the days of the illustrious twelfth dynasty, Egypt enjoyed her golden
age. This was an era of national improvement and development-a period of which
the Egyptians might well be proud. But during the reigns of the thirteenth and
fourteenth dynasties there was a rapid decline, which made possible the
conquest of the Hyksos in the reigns of the fifteenth and sixteenth dynasties.
If we accept the calculation of Sir Flinders Petrie and assume the correctness
of the longer chronology, we can easily understand the ready reception which
Joseph, an Asiatic, received in Egypt. We can also comprehend more clearly the
welcome accorded Abraham when he and Sarah (Gen. 13) entered the country.
Furthermore, we can appreciate the courtesies and favors that were extended to
Jacob upon his arrival. The Hebrews were a Semitic people. The reigning house
of Egypt at that time being Asiatics would naturally favor their
fellow-tribesmen. The Scriptural narrative, therefore, becomes very luminous
in the light of the historical facts.
As the conquest of Egypt by the Hyksos was a gradual process and development,
so was their expulsion. The seventeenth dynasty instituted a revolt against
the foreigners, and the eighteenth drove them out and reestablished the
ancient Theban line. This was accomplished by the destruction of the fortress
at Avaris, at which time the Hyksos fled toward Canaan and met their final
defeat at Sharuhen about 1580 B.C.E.
As just stated, the revival of the new kingdom under the leadership of the
Theban sovereigns began in the seventeenth dynasty and extended through the
twenty-first. With the expulsion of the Hyksos the government reverted to the
ancient capital at Thebes in
the south. The stately splendor of the city of the eleventh dynasty was
restored, and Thebes once more blossomed into its ancient prosperity and
glory. This was accomplished especially under the famous eighteenth and
nineteenth dynasties. During the period from 1580 to 1198 B.C.E., Egypt
reached the zenith of her power and glory. There was an outburst of
nationalism and progress such as the country had never experienced. This
occurred during the reigns of Thothmes III, Amenhotep III, and Rameses II.
During this era the spirit of nationalism ran so very high that every trace of
the hated Hyksos domination was destroyed. This fact accounts for the little
evidence which we have of their presence in the country.
Especially, under Thothmes III of the eighteenth dynasty, Egypt, which had
previously been contented with her own domains, began to reach out and to
extend her boundaries and trade into Palestine and Syria. This spirit of
foreign aggression was challenged by the Hittites at the battle of Kadesh on
the Orontes. In the treaty which was signed at the conclusion of this bloody
conflict, the northern boundary of Egyptian influence was to be coincident
with the northern frontier of Canaan, which was, in turn, to be the southern
limit of the Hittite kingdom. It is quite likely that Egypt's sovereignty over
Canaan was confined largely to the Canaanite strongholds in the plains of
Philistia and Esdraelon. This conclusion seems to be borne out by later
events. Rameses II, although a powerful monarch, experienced great difficulty
in maintaining his sovereignty in Canaan. During the reigns of the twentieth
and twenty-first dynasties the influence and power of Egypt waned
considerably, and finally she lost her prestige in the land. It was during the
period of these dynasties that the Hebrew monarchy arose under David and
Solomon. There was a rapid decline and disintegration of Egypt during the era
from the twenty-second dynasty to the thirty-first. Egypt was experiencing the
twilight of her ancient glory.
II. THE BONDAGE
This rapid survey of the course and trend of Egyptian history forms the
background of our Biblical story. It is only as we are able to know and to
appreciate the events of the times that we can understand the political
changes that took place in Israel, since the welfare of Canaan was so very
closely allied with the fortunes of Egypt.
A. The King Who Knew Not Joseph
In Exodus 1:8 we are told that there arose, "a new king over Egypt, who knew
not Joseph." Who was this king? Does this passage refer to a single monarch or
to a dynasty? In the light of the history at which we have just glanced, the
probability is that it refers to the reestablishing of a native dynasty over
Egypt after the expulsion of the hated Hyksos. This position will become more
apparent as we investigate the data more fully. Since Egypt hated with a
vengeance everything that pertained to the Hyksos Rulers, and since the
Hebrews were Asiatics and had enjoyed great favors under these Shepherd Kings,
it was natural that, when the latter were expelled, the Hebrews likewise
should be hated by the native Egyptians. This position is further confirmed by
the Biblical record concerning the attitude toward the Israelites taken by the
king who knew not Joseph and the measures which he took to check their
increase, or, if not, to reduce their numbers. Egypt had experienced many
reverses at the hands of the Hyksos. When, therefore, the native dynasty was
restored, the officials would naturally fear that, should there be another
invasion of Asiatics, the Hebrews, being of kindred tribes, would rise up in
rebellion and assist in the overthrow of the native princes. In order to
forestall such possibility, the repressive and cruel measures adopted, as
recorded in Exodus 1, were enforced. Hence at the reestablishment of the
Theban line a campaign of anti-Semitism was launched and the Hebrews, who had
enjoyed such favor prior to this time, became the objects of hatred and scorn.
They were deprived of their citizenship and were thrown into bondage and
At this point the question arises as to the length of this bondage. According
to the general conception it lasted for 400 years. This is gathered from a
misunderstanding of Genesis 15: 13, 14: "And he said unto Abram, Know of a
surety that thy seed shall be sojourners in a land that is not theirs, and
shall serve them; and they shall afflict them four hundred years; 14 and also
that nation, whom they shall serve, will I judge; and afterward shall they
come out with great substance." This passage has been misinterpreted because
of a lack of attention to the wording of verse 13. Martin Anstey correctly
puts it in the following form:
Know of a surety that
A. thy seed shall be a stranger in a land that is not theirs,
B. and shall serve them;
B. and they shall afflict them;
A. four hundred years.
This verse as analyzed is in accordance with the normal structure of Hebrew
poetry and is an introversion; that is, the fourth line supplements and
completes the thought of the first, whereas the second and third are
complementary. Lines one and four, therefore, make the prediction that
Abraham's seed would be in a strange land which was not their own for four
hundred years. Lines two and three, however, speak of their serving a foreign
power which would afflict them. According to verses 14 and 15 the Hebrew
people would come out of this slavery in the fourth generation. Verse 13
simply informs us that Abraham's seed would be strangers in a land that was
not theirs for four hundred years and that they would be under foreign
domination where they would be afflicted. But the following verse informs us
that in the fourth generation they would come forth out of that bondage.
The first thing that one must note is that this prediction, when spoken to
Abraham, referred to his seed, who was, as we learn from Genesis 21:12, Isaac.
Ishmael was the elder son of Abraham by Hagar, the Egyptian. It was not God's
will that he should be reckoned as the seed of Abraham. Hence the Lord
performed a biological miracle which made possible the birth of Isaac. When he
was born, Ishmael was the seed and was legally so considered, until the time
when Isaac was weaned. On this occasion Ishmael, with his mother, was cast
out, and Isaac became the recognized legal heir.
From the date of the weaning of Isaac, therefore, the four hundred years of
sojourning of Abraham's seed are to be reckoned. As we have already seen,
Isaac was born in the year 2108 A.H. According to Dr. Anstey the Hebrew women
weaned their children between the ages of three and five. If we assume the
maximum date for the weaning of Isaac, which fact would be most likely since
he was the child of promise and his mother would want to do everything for him
that she could, we would put his being weaned in the year 2113 A.H. If this
supposition be correct, then the seed of Abraham-Isaac and his
descendants-would be sojourners in a land which was not theirs politically. If
we accept 2113 as the beginning of this four hundred year period, the terminal
date would be the year 2513 A.H.
Isaac lived sixty years and begat Jacob. Hence the latter's birth year was
2168 A.H. Jacob was 130 years of age when he appeared before Pharoah. The
years of the wanderings of Isaac and Jacob, the seed of Abraham, in Canaan,
therefore, were 190
years. Jacob, with his family, went to Egypt in the year 2298 A.H. Since the
four hundred years conclude with 2513, and since Isaac and Jacob were
sojourners in the land of Canaan until 2298 A.H., their seed were in Egypt
during the time from 2298 to 2513 A.H., which is 215 years. This conclusion is
in perfect accord with Dr. Anstey's statement relative to the testimony of
Josephus and the Samaritan and Greek versions: "Josephus and the translators
of the Samaritan and Greek versions give the duration of the sojourn as 215
years, which is evidently a compromise between the shorter and the longer
periods suggested by the earlier writings."
This period is in harmony with the statement that in the fourth generation
Israel would come forth from Egyptian bondage. In Exodus 6: 16-20 we see the
ancestral line of Moses, who led Israel from bondage. The great law-giver was
the fourth in the line of Levi whose lineage consisted of Levi, Kohath, Amram,
and Moses. Levi went with his father down into Egypt, and his great grandson
Moses led Israel out of bondage. We have already seen that Jacob married Leah
and Rachel in the year 2252 A.H. The following year Reuben was born. Next was
Simeon, and in the following year Levi was born. These facts may be gleaned
from a close study of Genesis 29:30, 31. Levi's birth year was 2255 A.H.
Should we assume that he was 60 years old, as was Isaac when Jacob was born,
the birth year of Kohath would be 2315 A.H. Upon the same assumption the birth
year of his son Amram would be 2375 A.H. Accepting the same reasoning, we
would say that the birth year of Moses would be 2435 A.H. He was 80 years of
age when he led Israel out of bondage. This would be 2515 A.H. Thus upon the
reasonable assumption that each in this line was approximately 60 years of age
when his first son was born, we come to a time within two years of the actual
date of the Exodus. This fact corroborates the position that Israel was in
Egyptian bondage only 215 years.
On the other hand, if the fourth generation was counted from Jacob to Moses,
evidently the lineage came through Levi and Jochebed, the mother of Moses.
(See Num. 26:57-59.) In either instance, the Genesis statement is correct that
Israel would come out of Egyptian bondage in the fourth generation.
As seen, the Hebrews were in Egyptian bondage 215 years. In the first part of
their sojourn they enjoyed imperial favor. Later they were reduced to a state
of slavery when there arose "a new king over Egypt who knew not Joseph," and
who, as we
have assumed, was one of the kings of the ancient Theban line coming into
Since it is generally admitted that the bondage took place under either the
eighteenth or nineteenth dynasties, let us assume that it was under the former
and see how the facts presented in the Scriptures tally with those of profane
history. In making this supposition I am simply following the line of
reasoning that is often pursued in such subjects as geometry. A certain
proposition is accepted as being true. On that basis the reasoning is founded.
If, when the problem is completed, the result is found to accord with known
and established facts, we assert that the supposition was correct. Let us now
assume that the Exodus occurred under the eighteenth dynasty. We will study
all the facts that are presented in the sacred record bearing upon this
question. Reasoning logically we will endeavor to ascertain whether or not the
Scriptural data accord with the known facts of history. If we find that they
do, then we may be certain that our assumed premise is correct.
As has already been learned, during the middle kingdom (dynasties 11, 12, 13,
and 14) the Asiatics filtered across the border into Egypt, coming in
ever-increasing numbers. Archaeology proves this position. For instance, a
wave of Asiatic nomads passed over Syria and Palestine, leaving traces of
their conquests and civilization. Finally, they entered Egypt, subduing first
the delta and later pushing their way onward into upper Egypt. Soon they
became masters of the country. As has been noted, there is a dispute as to the
length of the Hyksos domination of Egypt. If we accept the longer chronology,
they were in power when Abraham entered the country (Gen. 13) and were still
in control when Joseph was sold into slavery, and when Jacob went there later.
Being of the same stock, the Hyksos would welcome their Semitic
fellow-tribesmen. Racial ties account for the ready reception accorded them.
We are not told how long after the death of Joseph it was until there arose "a
new king over Egypt who knew not Joseph" (Exodus 1:11). This statement can
mean nothing but that this new king was hostile toward the Hebrew people and
refused to recognize the great benefits that had come to his people through
the services rendered by Joseph. This interpretation is in accordance with the
facts of the context. It was by the effort of the seventeenth and eighteenth
dynasties that these foreigners were expelled from the country. The latter
dynasty was the one which
completed the restoration of the old Theban line. The antipathy toward the
hated Hyksos was so very great that, when they were expelled from the land, an
effort was made to obliterate, throughout the country, every trace or vestige
of this despised rule. The world today would know little of it if it were not
for the meager references found in profane writings. Since their memory was
blotted from the national consciousness, and since the Israelites were their
kinsmen, it is only reasonable to suppose that in the destruction of the
evidences of the Hyksos, all traces of Israel's being in Egypt were likewise
According to the common chronology the Hyksos were expelled in 1580 B.C.E., or
thereabout. The statement concerning the new king over Egypt who knew not
Joseph, in the light of the facts just presented, evidently refers to the
first king of the native house which assumed control of affairs. According to
Sir Flinders Petrie in his article entitled Ancient Egypt, which is found in A
Revision of History, the eighteenth dynasty consisted of the following kings:
Aohmes 1................................1573-1560 B.C.
Amenhotep 1............................ 1560-1539 B.C.
Thothmes 1..............................1539-1514 B.C.
Thothmes 11.............................1514-1501 B.C.
Thothmes 111............................1501-1447 B.C.
Amenhotep II............................1447-1423 B.C.
Thothmes IV............................ 1423-1413 B.C.
Amenhotep III...........................1413-1377 B.C.
Akhenaten ..............................1377-1361 B.C.
Thothmes I was the father of Princess Hatshepsut, who wielded a great power in
Egypt, not only during her father's reign, but also during those of Thothmes
II and Thothmes III. Both her mother and her father were of royal lineage. She
was of unusual native ability. These facts we gather from the Egyptian
B. The Pharaoh of the Oppression
In the light of these historical facts let us study the Biblical data relative
to Moses. In Deuteronomy 31:2 we are told that at the time of his death he was
120 years of age. Since Israel's wanderings in the wilderness lasted 40 years,
he was 80 at the time of the Exodus. How old was he when he fled from Pharaoh
to the land of Midian? The book of Exodus is not clear on this point.
According to a certain rabbinical tradition, he was twenty; according to
others he was forty. Accepting the latter supposition as correct we would say
that his stay in the land of Midian was forty years.
This statement is in accordance with that by Stephen before the Sanhedrin,
which declares that he was well-nigh forty years of age at that time (Acts
Upon the assumption that Thothmes III was the Pharaoh of the Oppression and
that the Exodus occurred immediately after his death and in the reign of his
successor, Amenophis II (Amenhotep), and upon the further presumption that the
Exodus occurred in 1447 B.C.E., we see that Moses was absent from Egypt during
the last 40 of the 54 years of the reign of Thothmes III. In this case Moses
fled from Egypt about the 14th year of the reign of Thothmes III, which is
dated, according to common chronology, in 1487 B.C.E. According to the
Egyptian records the Princess Hatshepshut, who had assisted her father,
Thothmes I, during the latter portion of his reign and had wielded
considerable influence during the reign of his successor, Thothmes II, died
about the 14th year of the reign of Thothmes III. That fact would place her
death about 1487 B.C.E.
It is a well known fact that Thothmes III hated Hatshepsut with a venom and
rejoiced at her death. He endeavored to erase every trace of her memory from
the Egyptian records. Upon the further assumption that she was the daughter of
Pharaoh, who drew Moses from the waters of the Nile and adopted him as her
son, we can see how it was that upon her death Moses was forced to flee from
the country-he had lost his royal patron, who was in disfavor with the
These facts are in perfect harmony with the statement found in Exodus 2:23:
"And it came to pass in the course of those many days, that the king of Egypt
died: and the children of Israel sighed by reason of the bondage, and they
cried, and their cry came up to God by reason of the bondage."
The Pharaoh from whose face Moses fled died after "the course of those many
days." The use of the words, "the course of those many days," implies a rather
long time. The last 40 years of the reign of Thothmes III satisfies the
natural, normal meaning of this phrase. When we look at the list of the kings
of the eighteenth dynasty and the years of their reign, we see that Thothmes
III is the only one concerning whom such a statement could be made. The
evidence unmistakably points to him as the Pharaoh of the oppression.
According to the commonly accepted chronology this monarch mounted the throne
in 1501 and died in 1447 B.C.E. During the
lifetime of Hatshepsut Moses enjoyed royal favor. Since she died in 1487 B.C.E.,
and since, according to our assumption, the Exodus occurred in 1447 B.C.E.,
Moses was in exile from Egypt during the last 40 years of the reign of
Thothmes III. Being 40 years of age in 1487 when he fled from Egypt, he was,
of necessity, born in 1527 B.C.E. Since he was eighty years old at the Exodus,
this momentous event occurred in 1447 B.C.E.--shortly after the death of
III. THE EXODUS
A. The Pharaoh of the Exodus
In presuming that Thothmes III was the Pharaoh of the Oppression, we have
assumed that the Exodus occurred in the reign of his successor, Amenhotep.II
(1447-1423 B.C.E.). One gathers from the Biblical record that it occurred soon
after the death of the King whose long reign is mentioned in Exodus 2:23. If
Thothmes III was the Pharaoh of the oppression, Amenhotep II was undoubtedly
the Pharaoh of the Exodus, which occurred shortly after his accession to the
throne. Since the entrance into Canaan occurred forty years later, we must
date this latter event around 1407 B.C.E. How does this supposition tally with
known facts? The excavations carried on by Professor Garstang and Sir Charles
Marston at Jericho have brought the long-desired evidence to light-evidence,
the authenticity and genuineness of which cannot be doubted.
Professor Garstang, after careful digging and thorough investigation, decided
that the earliest occupation of ancient Jericho was from 2500 to 2100 B.C.E;
Superimposed upon this primitive city was a second that belonged to the middle
bronze age, which fact is attested by the pottery of that period. A third one,
according to the evidence of an Egyptian scarab of the thirteenth dynasty, was
coexistent with the Hyksos domination of the land. According to the evidence,
this city was destroyed and its ramparts dismantled at the close of the Hyksos
period. This devastation was probably wrought by the avenging Pharaohs when
they expelled the foreigners from Egypt and drove them northward. The fourth
city, superimposed upon the ruins of the forn1er, belonged to the late bronze
age (1600-1200 B.C.E.). This is the one which was standing at the time of the
Exodus and Israel's entrance into Canaan.
It is true that there is evidence of a later occupation which Prfessor
Garstang dates around 900 B.C.E., and which he identifies as the ruins of the
city which Hiel the Bethelite attempted to build. The account is found in I
Kings 16: 34: "In his days did Hiel the Bethelite build Jericho: he laid the
foundation thereof with the loss of Abiram his first-born, and set up the
gates thereof with the loss of his youngest son Segub, according to the word
of Jehovah which he spake by Joshua the son of Nun." Five centuries
approximately elapsed between the destruction of the city of the middle bronze
age and this latter one, the ruins of which belonged to the time of Ahab, king
The discoveries of Professor Garstang and Sir Charles Marston are so very
conclusive that I wish to give the reader the benefit of Sir Charles'
"The early part of each of the succeeding years of 1930, 1931, 1932, and 1933
found Professor Garstang, with some hundred and more workers, engaged in
digging into these sand-covered ruins. It will be seen that the results
obtained carry consequences and conclusions of far-reaching importance. It is
not usual for archaeological work to tell a complete story. As a general rule
the information gleaned is too fragmentary to be appreciated by the general
public. Many more excavations in other places are needed to piece the
fragments together. But here in the mounds of ancient Jericho the evidence was
"The examination of potsherds dug out of the debris of the city was on a much
more extensive and systematic scale than on the preliminary expedition of
1929. So great was the importance of verifying the date of the destruction
that in 1930, Professor Garstang and his wife cleaned and examined no fewer
than sixty thousand fragments from the strata of the burned city. At the
expedition in the following year (1931) another forty thousand fragments were
treated in a similar manner. They all attested to the same date, that of the
middle of the late Bronze Age (1400 B.C.) before the infiltration of the
"In the preceding chapter reference has been made to the very generally
accepted belief that the Exodus had taken place more than two centuries later
than the date supplied by the potsherds. It is not easy for authorities on any
subject to change their views on important questions; and rather than do so in
the present instance, the system of pottery dating, at least so far as Jericho
was concerned, was called in question.
"It was fortunate, therefore, that in the course of the 1931 expedition
another discovery was made which enabled the excavators to check the date of
the potsherds taken from the debris of the burnt city. Professor Garstang then
succeeded in finding the necropolis, or cemetery, where the inhabitants of
Jericho had buried their dead from the earliest times. The site lay between
the city mounds and the western hills, in the neighborhood of a small valley
that leads down to the north end of the ruins. Covered over and concealed by
the sand of the plain, the tombs had escaped the notice of countless
generations of plunderers and their contents lay intact.
"In 1932 they yielded a rich hoard of fifteen hundred unbroken pottery vessels
of all periods of the Bronze Ages. Mingled with them were bronze
weapons and trinkets, such as bead necklaces of carnelian, shell, and bone and
a number of bone flutes. There was also a human headed vase of a quite uncanny
character. But far more important than all, was the presence in some of the
richer tombs of scarabs inscribed with the royal cartouche of the reigning
Pharaoh. These scarabs, eighty in all, served to date the pottery in their
particular tombs, which in turn could be compared with the broken ones found
in the burnt city.
"As the opening of tombs proceeded, it was found that the later dated ones
were farther away from the city. Special attention was therefore paid to them
in order to find the latest interments. In due course a number of tombs were
opened that proved to belong to the century 1500-1400 B.C. and included the
royal tombs of the period; there were found a succession of eighty scarabs
bearing the cartouches of the eighteenth dynasty Pharaohs. In one was
unearthed scarabs bearing the joint names Princess Hatshepsut and Thothmes III
(1501-1487 B.C.) and in another two royal seals of Amenhotep III (1413-1377
B.C.). As the series of dated scarabs all come to an end with the two royal
seals of Amenhotep III, there is evidence, quite independent of the pottery,
that the city also ceased to exist during that period. For the two centuries
that followed there were no interments; the very distinctive pottery and
decoration of the time of Akhenaten and Tutankhamen was not represented at
all. Thus everything pointed to the reign of Amenhotep III (1413-1377 B.C.) as
marking the period when Jericho fell. Efforts to obtain an even closer
approximation are made in a later chapter."
B. The Correct Date of the Exodus
According to the evidence of the pottery and scarabs found in the latest tombs
at Jericho, the fall of this city could not have been before the reign of
Amenhotep III (1413-1377 B.C.). The presence of the scarabs of this monarch,
found in the royal tombs, which were intact when opened by Garstang, proved
that the city had not fallen at the time of his mounting the throne. There was
sufficient time after his accession to power, which was in 1413, for his
scarabs to become current in Palestine and to be interred with the remains of
some of the royal house of Jericho. Since there were none of any Egyptian
monarchs after this one, and since the distinctive pottery and the decorations
of the time of Akhenaten and TutAnkh-Amen are entirely wanting, we are to
conclude that Jericho fell before the reign of either of these two latter
kings of the eighteenth dynasty. On this point Sir Charles Marston argues very
"The scarab evidence seems extremely hard to dispute-if Jericho was destroyed
say half a century earlier, how came Amenhotep III scarabs in the tombs? If
two centuries later, what has become of all later scarabs? Unless further
evidence should come to light, the reign of Amenhotep III (1413-1377 B.C.)
constitutes a reliable basis from which to calculate the date of the Exodus.
Since we know that after the Exodus, Israel wandered forty years in the
wilderness before the capture of Jericho, we have on1y to add forty to both
the beginning and end of Amenhotep's reign to obtain a correct interval of
time within which the Exodus should have taken place."
Since we know that the capture of Jericho fell within the reign of Amenhotep
III (1413-1377), if we go back forty years from these two dates, we shall have
the period within which the Exodus must have occurred. This reckoning points
to the period, 1453-1417, as the one in which that mighty migration took
place. Since it occurred after the death of a monarch, who reigned a very long
time as indicated in Exodus 2:23, we are driven by cold facts and logic to
conclude that it occurred after the death of Thothmes III in 1447 B.C.E.
We started out with the assumption that the year 1447 was the date of the
Exodus. Having examined the facts as presented by Egyptian history and
compared them with the date as given in the Scriptures, and having found that
there are perfect harmony and unanimity of the testimony, we must conclude
that our supposition was correct. Hence I am of the firm conviction that the
Pharaoh of the Oppression was Thothmes III and the Pharaoh of the Exodus was
his son and successor, Amenhotep II. It was during the early years of the
reign of the latter that Moses led Israel out of bondage into the wilderness.
C. The Birthday of Israel
All nations look back to the distant past for the origin of their nationality.
This tendency we see especially among the nations of antiquity. The Hebrew
race is no exception to this rule. In contrast with the various kingdoms of
the world, whose origins are more or less in darkness and obscurity, Israel
can point to a definite historic fact as the day upon which she was born.
When Jacob was invited by Joseph to come with his family into Egypt and there
to be sustained by him, the Lord commanded him to go saying, "I am God, the
God of thy father: fear not to go down into Egypt; for I will there make of.
thee a great nation: I will go down with thee into Egypt; and I will also
surely bring thee up again: and Joseph shall put his hand upon thine eyes"
(Gen. 46:3, 4). Israel went down into Egypt seventy strong, and during a
period of 215 years developed into a mighty nation. At the time of the Exodus
there were 600,000 men capable of bearing arms. To be exact there were 603,555
(Num. 2:33). As has already been seen when Israel first went into Egypt, she
enjoyed the favor of the reigning house. Under such advantageous conditions
naturally there was a rapid increase of the people. When, however, the
persecution began, which was designed to reduce the population,
God in a signal way blessed his people and caused them to increase the more
rapidly. The Lord always puts His blessing upon all persecutions that are
aimed at His faithful children and converts them into blessings. Hence during
the period of Egyptian persecution Israel was blessed and greatly increased in
At the appointed time the birth pains came upon Egypt, and Israel as a nation
was born, which event, as we have already seen, occurred in the year 1447
B.C.E. of the chronological system which is generally accepted.
The Lord, with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm, brought His Chosen
People out of the degrading bondage into which they had been thrown by the
imperious Pharaohs. Not until after the Lord had sent ten distinct judgments
upon Egypt and her gods, did Pharaoh consent for them to leave the country.
After permitting them to go, he attempted to bring them back and lost his
hosts in the Red Sea. N ever in the history of the world did the Almighty, who
always, in a secret and unobserved manner, works all things according to the
good pleasure of His will, come out in the open, break through the so-called
natural order, and intervene in behalf of anyone or any people as He did in
the case of the Chosen Race. When Israel was safe on the eastern shores of the
Red Sea, she looked back and saw the carcasses of her enemies floating upon
the water. Realizing that their overthrow was a judgment from God and a
victory in her behalf, she sang with Miriam and Moses the hymn of deliverance
(Ex. 15:1-18). That day was one of rejoicing-praise to God, who alone can
deliver and meet the needs of His people.
As we have already seen, if we accept the year 2113 A.H. as the date of the
weaning of Isaac and his being pronounced the seed of Abraham, and then add
the 400 years during which the chosen seed should be under foreign domination
(Gen. 15:12-21), we arrive at the year 2513 as the date of the Exodus, the
birth of Israel. This calculation is confirmed by the statement of that Hebrew
of Hebrews, the apostle Paul, in his declaration that the law was given 430
years after the promise was made to Abraham (Gal. 3:17).
The tenth stroke of judgment which fell upon Egypt was the destruction of the
first born of all families of the land. According to previous instructions,
the Israelites had proclaimed and observed their Passover, sprinkling the
blood upon the doorposts and lintels. By so doing they had protected
themselves from the
death angel, which passed over Egypt that night. They ate this first Passover
on the 14th of the first month. (Read Exodus 12 and 13.) It was not because of
any merit or goodness on their part that their first-born were saved from the
destruction wrought by the death angel. But it was simply because they by
faith screened themselves behind that blood which had been appointed by the
Lord to protect them. Of course, as we shall see later, this blood was not in
and of itself efficacious, but owed its significance to its typical character.
Nevertheless it was necessary for them to screen themselves behind it in order
to be spared the stroke of judgment.
On the night of the 15th of Nisan Israel began her long trek toward the
Promised Land (Num. 33:3, 4). At the command of the Lord as she stood upon the
western bank of the Red Sea, she looked to God in faith for deliverance. He
did not disappoint her, but opened up a way for her to pass through the Sea.
Her enemies attempted to do so but were drowned. This was a great deliverance.
This 15th day of the first month of the year 2513 A.H. is properly and
accurately called the birthday of the Jewish nation. The Hebrew people have
always looked back upon it as the real beginning of their history. The
psalmists and prophets likewise considered it with this same significance.
The Prophet Jeremiah showed us that that past deliverance was only typical of
one which will be far greater and more glorious. Read his glowing description
of it, for it will eclipse in every way the former one:
"Behold, the days come, saith Jehovah, that I wilt raise unto David a
righteous Branch, and he shalt reign as king and deal wisely, and shall
execute justice and righteousness in the land. 6 In his days Judah shall be
saved, and Israel shall dwell safely; and this is his name whereby he shall be
called: Jehovah our righteousness. 7 Therefore, behold, the days come, saith
Jehovah, that they shalt no more say, As Jehovah liveth, who brought up the
children of Israel out of the land of Egypt; 8 but, As Jehovah liveth, who
brought up and who led the seed of the house of Israel out of the north
country, and from all the countries whither I had driven them. And they shall
dwell in their own land" (Jer. 23:5-8).
D. An Examination of Contending Theories Concerning the Date of the Exodus
Although we have established beyond a reasonable doubt that the Exodus
occurred in the reign of Amenhotep II of the eighteenth dynasty, the
investigation would be incomplete without a candid examination of the
principal theories advocated by the leading scholars.
1. THE EXODUS A PHASE OF THE HYKSOS RETREAT
According to the position generally held the Hyksos were expelled from Egypt
by the native dynasty about 1580 B.C.E. Hall, in his ancient history of the
Near East, speaks of the Biblical story as a censored account of this
expulsion which was appropriated by Israel. This theory does not allow
sufficient time tor Israel to remain in Egypt. Furthermore, it lengthens the
time between the Exodus and the fourth year of Solomon far beyond the limits
allowed by the Biblical data. For these two reasons alone it is out of the
2. THE EXODUS A PHASE OF THE REVOLUTION UNDER AMENHOTEP IV ABOUT 1366 B.C.E.
Those taking the position stated in the
caption of this section believe that Moses got his monotheistic ideas from the
movement inaugurated by Amenhotep IV, Akhenaten the heretic king, and that he
led the children of Israel out of Egypt at the time when this monarch's reign
collapsed. This theory places the Exodus about 80 years too late. Hence it
lengthens the time of Israel's sojourn in Egypt by 80 years and cuts off the
same amount from the time of the Exodus to the fourth year of Solomon. It,
like the first one, goes counter to the Biblical data. Therefore it is
3. THE EXODUS A PHASE OF THE REVOLT UNDER MERNEPTAH 1220 B.C.E.
Those holding the theory that Israel left Egypt at the time of the revolt
against Merneptah believe that Rameses II of the nineteenth dynasty was the
Pharaoh of the Oppression and his son, Merneptah, the Pharaoh of the Exodus.
This position is based upon a special interpretation of the following
"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. 12 And Joseph nourished his father, and his brethren, and all
his father's household, with bread, according to their families" (Gen.
"Therefore they did set over them taskmasters to afflict them with their
burdens. And they built for Pharaoh store-cities, Pithom and Raamses" (Ex.
"And the children of Israel journeyed from Rameses to Succoth, about six
hundred thousand on foot that were men, besides children" (Ex. 12:37). It is
necessary for us to examine these passages most critically and candidly in
order to ascertain the facts. As we have seen,
Joseph was sold into Egypt in the year 2276 A.H. Jacob with his family went
into Egypt in 2298 A.H. The year 2298 in the Anno Homonis system is equal to
1827 B.C.E. According to the Biblical facts as we have already seen, this date
was 215 years prior to the Exodus. Nevertheless Moses tells us in Gen. 47:11
that Joseph located his father and his brethren in the land of Rameses, which
was Goshen. The question arising at this place is, when was the term Rameses
applied to this territory and by whom, or on account of whom was this name
given to it? Those advocating the theory under consideration insist that
Genesis 47 was written after this designation had been given to this section
of the land. They also contend that the name Rameses was derived from Rameses
II of the nineteenth dynasty. Upon these two hypotheses as a basis the
argument is made that the Exodus occurred after the reign of Rameses II, and
that the record was written after his day. Therefore, in the opinion of these
scholars, the Exodus occurred after the reign of Rameses II.
Before accepting this theory one must be satisfied that the two hypotheses
upon which it is built are absolutely correct. As we have already seen, Moses
himself by inspiration wrote the last fourteen chapters of Genesis and
doubtless did so about the time of the Exodus, or after it occurred. In the
Genesis passage he was speaking of the settlement of Israel in Egypt, which
occurred 215 years prior to the Exodus. In his day, that is in Moses' time,
Goshen was known as the land of Rameses. The fact that it was called by this
name cannot be doubted. It may not have had this title when Jacob was settled
there, but it certainly had it at the time of the Exodus because we are told
in Exodus 12:37 that the children of Israel journeyed from Rameses to Succoth.
No one who is willing to let facts speak for themselves can question for a
moment this position; namely, that Goshen was, in the days of Moses, called
the land of Rameses. The next question arising in this investigation is why,
by whom, or in honor of whom was this name given to this special section of
the country? The advocates of the theory under discussion insist that it was
given this appellation by the great Rameses II of the nineteenth dynasty. The
reason for this position is that these scholars do not know of any king of
Egypt by this name prior to the nineteenth dynasty. Is this course of
reasoning logical and the inference a necessary one? By no means. It is the
upon silence, which, as is well known by all logicians, is the most precarious
type of reasoning. One cannot afford to build a theory upon such a premise.
The answer advanced is that we do not know of any other Rameses and we must
accept him as the one by whom or in whose honor this name was given to the
territory. This is not a necessary inference at all. Those acquainted with the
history of Biblical criticism realize how precarious and dangerous the
argument from silence is. For instance, the advanced scholarship of the world
formerly scoffed at the mention of Sargon as the king of Assyria, of whom we
read in Isaiah 20:1. They ridiculed the record, saying that this passage was
simply imaginary since they had not been able to find any king by that name
who reigned in Assyria. Finally his palace was unearthed at Khorsabad about 13
miles northeast of old Nineveh. His inscriptions were found and deciphered.
These facts forced the critics to abandon their position and to admit that
Isaiah was correct in referring to Sargon. Since we do not have a complete
story of Egypt, as one will see if he will compare the deductions made by the
outstanding Egyptologists, we must be very slow in hastening to accept a
position which goes counter to the Scriptures, because in every instance where
it has been possible to test the Biblical data by archaeological facts (not
theories) the Bible has been found to be true.
Specialists are not united with reference to the various dynasties that
reigned in Egypt. Some contend that certain houses were contemporaneous,
whereas others insist that they were successive. In view of the fragmentary
character of our data relative to Egypt, it is preposterous for any scholar to
build an hypothesis upon such meager evidence-to advance a theory which goes
counter to the Biblical records. Archaeology may at any time uncover new facts
which will discredit and throw into the discard the hypotheses that are
founded upon hasty and faulty deductions. Therefore, since both the Genesis
and the Exodus passages show clearly that the land of Goshen was known by the
name of Rameses in the days of Moses, we shall accept the evidence at its face
value and reject any theory that attempts to disjoint these passages and to
throw the date of the Exodus at a time contrary to the unanimous testimony of
all the Biblical writers. For these reasons, I therefore conclude that these
passages do not in the least degree favor the date of the Exodus as occurring
after the reign of Rameses II.
The next passage which demands attention is Exodus 1 : 11 and which states
that they (the Israelites) built for Pharaoh store
cities, Pithom and Raamses. Rameses II of the nineteenth dynasty, who reigned
for 67 years (1292-1225 B.C.), is claimed by many to have been the Pharaoh of
the Oppression who required Israel to build the cities of Pithom and Raamses.
As proof of this position, our attention is called to a statement on the stele
of Rameses II found at Beth-Shean (Beisan) by the expedition of the University
of Pennsylvania. On this stele Rameses boasts of his victories in the north
and in the Hauran. Those favoring the present position call our attention to a
statement which, "if correctly rendered, says that he built the city of Ramses
(Raamses) with Semitic laborers-impliedly with Israelite slave labor." Let us
note the fact that the writer quoted is not positive that the inscription was
read correctly, because he says that, "if correctly rendered," it declares
that Rameses built this city with Semitic slave labor.
Let us assume for the sake of argument that Rameses II of the nineteenth
dynasty recorded on this stele his having built the cities, Pithom and Raamses,
with forced Semitic labor. We will take the claim at its face value. Are we
then forced to believe that he is the one of whom Moses spoke in Exodus 1:11?
We have already seen that the testimony of Moses in Genesis and Exodus was
that Goshen was called the land of Rameses at the time of the Exodus, 1447
B.C.E.--at least 155 years before Rameses II came to the throne. It is not
unreasonable to believe that store-cities were built in this region about this
time with Hebrew labor. In fact, the "new king over Egypt, who knew not
Joseph,"-whether he was Thothmes III or some other king of the eighteenth
dynasty-could have been the one who built the cities of Pithom and Raamses and
who gave them their name. During the course of the 155 years which elapsed
between the death of Thothmes III and the accession of Rameses II many things
could have occurred to these cities which necessitated their being repaired on
a very large scale, or even torn down and rebuilt. This supposition is not a
far-fetched one, but is in harmony with the wrecks of time. Therefore Rameses
II sometimes during his long reign of 67 years could have remodeled and
rebuilt these cities or could have torn them down and built them anew. In
doing this he could correctly state on the stele of Beth-Shean that he built
these cities with forced Semitic labor. Therefore, since such a supposition is
entirely within the realm of reality, we must accept such possibilities
instead of trying to force
one special interpretation upon the data which contradicts other positive and
As is well known, Rameses II was a great builder, erecting temples and statues
of himself throughout the length and breadth of the land. When I was in Egypt
in 1937 I saw different statues erected by this boastful monarch. Furthermore
it is a well known fact that he magnified his achievements and glorified
himself at the expense of others, claiming to have done that which was
accomplished by them. In view of his dealing carelessly with the truth, one
cannot put too much credence in any statement that he might have made.
When we look, therefore, at the Biblical passages bearing upon this subject
and examine all the data which we have, we see that the Scriptures referred to
and here examined are far from justifying anyone's placing the date of the
Exodus during the reign of Merneptah, the son and successor of Rameses II of
the nineteenth dynasty.
Negative evidence which militates against this position is found in the
Merneptah Stele, which was discovered by Petrie in 1896 in "the mortuary
temple of Amenhotep III at Thebes." This inscription as it appears in
Breasted's Ancient Records, Egypt, volume 3, page 264ff, is quoted by Barton
in Archaeology and the Bible as follows:
The kings are overthrown, saying 'salaam!'
Not one holds up his head among the nine bows.
Wasted is Tehenu,
Kheta is pacified,
Plundered is the Canaan with every evil,
Carried off is Askelon,
Seized upon is Gezer,
Yenoam is made as a thing not existing.
Israel is desolated, his seed is not;
Palestine has become a widow for Egypt.
All lands are united, they are pacified;
Everyone that is turbulent is bound by King Merneptah,
who gives life like Ra every day.
This reference to Israel is the only one appearing upon any of the Egyptian
monuments. Its importance is readily conceded by all who realize its bearing
upon the date of the Exodus. Let us note what Merneptah has to say in regard
to his military operations in Palestine. He starts out by declaring that "The
kings are overthrown, saying: 'salaam!'" None, he asserts, holds up his head.
Turning his glance westward toward Lybia he tells us that it is
wasted. Looking northward he states that the Hittites are pacified. But he
does not tell how this has been brought about. Next he views the land of
Palestine, claiming that Canaan is plundered. He is thinking especially about
the maritime coast as we see from his reference to Askelon. Then he speaks of
Gezer which was farther north in the district between the maritime plain and
the mountains. In his thinking he passes still farther northward to Yenoam,
which was located in the Jordan valley immediately south of the Sea of
Galilee. Following this reference He speaks of Israel, which is desolate. He
concludes his survey by stating that "Kharu" (South Palestine) has become a
widow for Egypt. Thus in this description he goes up the maritime corridor as
far as Esdraelon and eastward to the Jordan valley; thence southward to
southern Palestine. In doing so he locates Israel as dwelling in the central
portion of the country at the time of his invasion. This is where the
Scriptures place her at the time. This incidental reference to her being
located in the land at that date is fatal to the position that the Exodus
occurred during the reign of Merneptah.
When all the facts are weighed and properly evaluated, one comes to the
irresistible conclusion that Israel came forth from Egypt during the first
part of the reign of Amenhotep II. This thesis is supported by all the
E. The Reason for Dating the Exodus in 1447 B.C.E.
In I Kings 6:1 we read the following statement: "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, the fourth year of Solomon's reign over Israel, in the
month Siv, which is the second month, that he began to build the house of
Jehovah." This passage is generally understood to mean that 480 years after
Israel left Egypt, Solomon began the erection of his temple at Jerusalem.
Chronologers usually attempt to locate the fourth year of his reign and, going
backward 480 years, set the date of the Exodus. According to some historians
he ascended the throne of Israel in the year 970 B.C.E. But according to Sir
Flinders Petrie, he came to power in 960 B.C.E. Upon the assumption that his
first year was 970, his fourth year would be 967. If we add 480 years to this
date we get 1447 B.C.E. as the date of the Exodus. On the other hand, if we
accept Petrie's estimate of 960, his fourth year would be 957, and the date of
the Exodus would, in this case, be 1437 B.C.E.
Inasmuch as the entrance into Canaan was 40 years later, we place the fall of
Jericho in either the year 1407 or 1397 B.C,E. Since the scarabs of
AmenhotepIII were found in the tombs at Jericho, there is perfect harmony of
all the data. Sir Charles Marston favors the 1397 date as the probable time
for Jericho's fall, since it would give ample time for the scarabs of
Amenhotep III to find their way to Jericho and would also synchronize more
perfectly with the Tell el-Amarna letters.
In this section as in former ones, we have been thinking of historical facts
in terms of the generally accepted chronology. With chronology, as with many
other systems of thought and calculations, it is necessary that one express
himself in terms of current and popular usage. We most frequently are forced
to take things as they are and not as they should be. Since the evidence of
archeology and the calculations expressed in terms of the accepted chronology
harmonize, we who believe in the infallibility of the Scriptures, hail this
synchronization of all the historical data with great enthusiasm and joy. We
see in it additional positive proof of the inerrancy of the Word of God.
Facts-stubborn, hard realities-always coincide and are in perfect accord with
all other facts. Truth always harmonizes when all of the facts are known.
As we shall see in this investigation, there were exactly 594 years from the
date of the Exodus to the fourth year of Solomon. I am here giving the result
of the calculations that are based upon numerous passages of Scripture which
we shall study in chapters V to VIII. But for the present I ask the kind
indulgence of the reader to accept my assertions as true and then continue his
study with an open mind. The result will be that he will see definitely and
unmistakably that this calculation is correct.
Assuming, therefore, the correctness of this statement, one will ask, "Why
does the writer of Kings state that from the Exodus to the fourth year of
Solomon, when he began building the temple, there were 480 years, whereas the
calculations based upon other statements of the Scriptures prove conclusively
that there were 594 years?" At first glance the thoughtful person shakes his
head and declares that there is a mistake somewhere. There is nothing wrong
with the Scriptural records, but the difficulties lie in our lack of a full
understanding of the Biblical statements. How could the period from the Exodus
to the fourth year of Solomon be 480 years and at the same time 594? In order
to answer this question, I
wish to call attention to this fact; namely, that there is a certain period of
time, as we shall see later, the length of which was actually 497;
nevertheless the sacred writer spoke of it as being 490 years. There was an
excess of 7 years. How can this be true? The key which unlocks the door for
the solution of the problem is the statement, "that God's clock stops when
Israel is out of fellowship with Him." This quotation immediately suggests the
idea of theocratic years-the years during which Israel was ruled by the Lord.
The correlative idea is that there was a time or era during which she was out
of fellowship with Him. When we study the record and see that during 114 of
these 594 years intervening between the Exodus and the fourth year of Solomon,
Israel was out of fellowship with Him, we instantly recognize that there were
480 years during which she was by divine grace reckoned as being in full
accord with her Maker. By subtracting the 114 years from the total number, we
have 480 years. Since the writer is giving the record of Israel and placing
upon it the correct philosophy of history, we must conclude that the 480 years
mentioned by the writer of Kings are theocratic. The sacred historian was
simply counting the years during which she was in fellowship with the Lord.
Therefore, to calculate the chronology by adding 480 years to the 967 or 957
B.C.E. is erroneous. Any system built thereupon likewise produces only error.
The further we go in this investigation of Biblical dating, the more evident
it will become that grave errors were made by those who developed the
generally accepted scheme. These earnest scholars sought diligently to unravel
the chronological thread which runs throughout the Scriptures. They did some
very excellent work, but at the same time they made many faulty deductions.
Whenever they came to a difficult problem, they, as a rule, either discredited
the text, emended it, or claimed that it was only an approximation. These
three methods will be seen in this investigation to be misleading and very
fallacious. In this connection may I assert that God was sufficiently able to
express Himself so as to be understood? Furthermore, He was honest, saying
what He meant and meaning what He said. Whenever there is a seeming
discrepancy, the difficulty is with man's understanding and not with the
Since we can not rely upon the current chronological system, in which we are
accustomed to think, we shall be forced to speak in terms of the inerrant
Biblical data. In this system of reckoning we say that the Exodus occurred in
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