Is there any evidence for the Exodus story in the Bible

stevevw

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Hi, this topic came up in another thread so I decided to make a thread to discuss whether there is any evidence for the Israelite's exodus from Egypt and into the promised land Israel. It can be any evidence such as archeological, textual or circumstantial.
 
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Hi, this topic came up in another thread so I decided to make a thread to discuss whether there is any evidence for the Israelite's exodus from Egypt and into the promised land Israel. It can be any evidence such as archeological, textual or circumstantial.

In a word no. The logistics, limited geographical area in question and other issues make it nothing that can have scientific evidence. You believe it or not.
 
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Jonaitis

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Hi, this topic came up in another thread so I decided to make a thread to discuss whether there is any evidence for the Israelite's exodus from Egypt and into the promised land Israel. It can be any evidence such as archeological, textual or circumstantial.

Well, biblical archaeology is very scarce, if not non-existent in relation to the biblical narrative, before the 10th century BCE.

The Merneptah Stele (c. 1208 BCE) represents the earliest textual reference to Israel and the only reference from ancient Egypt.

Here is Line 26-28 from the stele:
The princes are prostrate, saying, "Peace!"
Not one is raising his head among the Nine Bows.
Now that Tehenu (Libya) has come to ruin,
Hatti is pacified;
Canaan has been plundered into every sort of woe:
Ashkelon has been overcome;
Gezer has been captured;
Yano'am is made non-existent.
Israel is laid waste and his seed is not;
Hurru is become a widow because of Egypt.
This kind of presents a few problems. All these entities fell under Egyptian rule at this time, but when did this ever happen in biblical literature? During the time of Exodus, Joshua or Judges? Why is this event absent in all of those books? Why was Israel mentioned so briefly, as though they were not as significant of a people as we understood them at that time?
 
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Hans Blaster

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Well, biblical archaeology is very scarce, if not non-existent in relation to the biblical narrative, before the 10th century BCE.

The Merneptah Stele (c. 1208 BCE) represents the earliest textual reference to Israel and the only reference from ancient Egypt.

Here is Line 26-28 from the stele:

This kind of presents a few problems. All these entities fell under Egyptian rule at this time, but when did this ever happen in biblical literature? During the time of Exodus, Joshua or Judges? Why is this event absent in all of those books? Why was Israel mentioned so briefly, as though they were not as significant of a people as we understood them at that time?

It would seem that the various authors and editors of the text exaggerated the geographic extent and power of the earlier phases of Israel, projecting the greatest extent of the kingdoms of Israel and Judah backward to times when that wasn't justified. It was not the first time the historical past of a nation was exaggerated nor was it the last. From what I remember, the evidence now shows the earliest phases of the Israelite culture (and likely polity) confined to the Judean Hills (near Jerusalem) in the early iron age.
 
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stevevw

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In a word no. The logistics, limited geographical area in question and other issues make it nothing that can have scientific evidence. You believe it or not.
I am not sure what you mean. Are you saying that its impossible to ever find the evidence.
 
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Jonaitis

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I am not sure what you mean. Are you saying that its impossible to ever find the evidence.

If you are really curious to find something, I recommend doing some research into the Hyksos. There have also been many Moses-like figures written throughout antiquity, which could help you find an answer.
 
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I am not sure what you mean. Are you saying that its impossible to ever find the evidence.

If by evidence you mean evidence of Exodus as described in the Bible then yes. As likely to find fossilized kangaroo remains on middle east from where they must have emigrated to Australia after offloading form the Ark.

Ever wonder why there aren't any ?
 
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stevevw

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If by evidence you mean evidence of Exodus as described in the Bible then yes. As likely to find fossilized kangaroo remains on middle east from where they must have emigrated to Australia after offloading form the Ark.

Ever wonder why there aren't any ?
I am not sure. As far as I have read the Israelite's were in Egypt and they ended up in Israel so they must have got their somehow.
 
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stevevw

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If you are really curious to find something, I recommend doing some research into the Hyksos. There have also been many Moses-like figures written throughout antiquity, which could help you find an answer.
Yes I have read some articles about the Hyksos. I think Flavius Josephus claimed they were the Hebrews.
 
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Jonaitis

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Yes I have read some articles about the Hyksos. I think Flavius Josephus claimed they were the Hebrews.

I believe the story was influenced by them, but whether they were Hebrews I am uncertain about. Moses shares similarities to many figures in history, including Sargon of Akkad. However, I am profoundly fascinated that, even if it were a story, the strong Christological connections are unparalleled. Moses and Joshua, if you think about it, are allusions to Christ's first and second coming. I find this the most important aspect of these stories, even if they never happened.

Moses, living in the another country, shepherding a flock on the mountain of God, is commissioned to go down and visit the children of Israel to rescue them from their enslavers in order to bring them into a land flowing with milk and honey, but wanders in the wilderness for a whole lifetime of a generation. Similarly, Christ, commissioned by the Father in heaven, comes to earth to rescue the children of man from the enslavement of sin to bring them into the Kingdom of God, but leads each believer through the "wilderness" of this world.

Joshua, commissioned to bring the next generation into the promised land by conquering and judging the pagan nations with the sword, giving the children of Israel a land that was not formerly theirs, with houses they did not built, and vineyards they did not plant. Similarly, Christ, commissioned by the Father to return to raise up the new glorified generation, to conquer and judge the nations, giving His people to inherit the earth that they did not earn by their own works.

Such allusions are astounding, and I think that is how the apostles interpreted the Old Testament, understanding what they taught, but also what it preached concerning the Messiah.

If you do find anything, I would be happy to know.
 
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Jonaitis

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I am not sure. As far as I have read the Israelite's were in Egypt and they ended up in Israel so they must have got their somehow.

Yes, though it is hard to figure out how they could use 40 years for the journey. You kind of have to mix some kangoroo magic with the narrative so finding evidence of that is well....unlikely.
 
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stevevw

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Yes, though it is hard to figure out how they could use 40 years for the journey. You kind of have to mix some kangoroo magic with the narrative so finding evidence of that is well....unlikely.
Not sure what you mean by kangaroo magic. But there's no magic in the evidence that places the Israelite's in Egypt and then in Israel years later. They took that journey from point A to point B.

Being nomads it would be hard to find any evidence as nomads don't really leave much to find. They don't build or stay long enough anywhere to settle and leave any any trace except for perhaps some ornaments and that would be like looking for a needle in a haystack in a large area covered with sand.
 
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Hans Blaster

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Not sure what you mean by kangaroo magic. But there's no magic in the evidence that places the Israelite's in Egypt and then in Israel years later. They took that journey from point A to point B.

Being nomads it would be hard to find any evidence as nomads don't really leave much to find. They don't build or stay long enough anywhere to settle and leave any any trace except for perhaps some ornaments and that would be like looking for a needle in a haystack in a large area covered with sand.

1. Most of the Sinai is *NOT* covered by dunes and sand. Perhaps 10% (near the Med coast). My bible has a map (based on the text I assume) that shows most of the wandering was not in the dune covered part. (Mt. Sinai is definitely not in the coastal dunes.)

2. 40 years is roughly the population overturn time. With no population growth or loss (which is the claim in the text), there should be roughly the same number of births and deaths as the population size in that period. Where are the 1-2 million graves?

3. Archeologists know how to find nomadic sites.
 
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Hi, this topic came up in another thread so I decided to make a thread to discuss whether there is any evidence for the Israelite's exodus from Egypt and into the promised land Israel. It can be any evidence such as archeological, textual or circumstantial.
About the same as any other historical record.
 
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Jonaitis

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Not sure what you mean by kangaroo magic. But there's no magic in the evidence that places the Israelite's in Egypt and then in Israel years later. They took that journey from point A to point B.

Being nomads it would be hard to find any evidence as nomads don't really leave much to find. They don't build or stay long enough anywhere to settle and leave any any trace except for perhaps some ornaments and that would be like looking for a needle in a haystack in a large area covered with sand.
There seems to be more archeological evidence that they were natives of Canaan from the very beginning, and they seem to have later distanced themselves from their pagan neighbors during the exile when they encountered an early form of monotheism found in Persia (Zoroastrianism). YHWH and his personal interventions are depicted the most in biblical literature as a storm and war deity, which, if you think about it, was quite typical and characteristic of Near Eastern culture. Matter of fact, weather and war deities were often seen in many ancient cultures as leaders of a pantheon, so YHWH must have been a deity that Canaan reverently worshipped the most, and eventually was singled out as the true God.

Modern scholarship has found no difference in language or material culture between Iron Age Israel and their Canaanite neighbors. Although, the biblical account gives a reasonable argument for this by suggesting that Israel was often given to idol worship, but this may have been an argument on their part, again, to distance themselves from the Canaanites to the Persians, who were likely familiar with the cultures of the west. Persia was an advance culture of their day, even the Greeks recognized this.

Now, does this discredit God's existence? No. Does this discredit the written word? No. However, it gives us a glimpse of the ideas and pressing issues that were present during the writing of these books, and how they were woven into the stories to convey them. Exodus is an important events on many accounts, and while most Christians see the relation of the Exile with Exodus, it is rather the Exodus that is suppose to relate to the Exile, and to encourage the exiled tribal nation that their present circumstance is not the end, and presses them to hope.
 
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stevevw

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1. Most of the Sinai is *NOT* covered by dunes and sand. Perhaps 10% (near the Med coast). My bible has a map (based on the text I assume) that shows most of the wandering was not in the dune covered part. (Mt. Sinai is definitely not in the coastal dunes.)

2. 40 years is roughly the population overturn time. With no population growth or loss (which is the claim in the text), there should be roughly the same number of births and deaths as the population size in that period. Where are the 1-2 million graves?

3. Archeologists know how to find nomadic sites.
All I know is the Israelite's were in Egypt and there's some indirect evidence they were slaves as was just about every foreigner. They end up in the Promised land Israel. So they had to get there somehow. There is sporadic evidence which gives food for thought and there are different theories about what happened.

We don't know exactly what the circumstances were, which exact route was taken. But its like some other events in history that have scant or no evidence for it happening and yet we still accept them as happening. We can do forensic investigations to find the truth as with other events. Why there is more scrutiny and skepticism about the Exodus I don't know.

But at the very least we should reserve judgement and keep an open mind to the possibility. The problem I see is that we have two stories running parallel. The enslavement of the Israelite's and their journey to another land (Israel) and the establishment of a nation and the miraculous events.

Not being able to prove miraculous events doesn't mean the actual historical event didn't happen. People tend to throw the baby out with the bath water and reject everything. Yet the Bible has been right on many other occasions when no evidence is claimed.
 
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