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Exodus, History or Hoax?

Updated on January 23, 2016
lawrence01 profile image

Loving God and loving mankind is an important part of who I am, in these hubs we explore what it's like to really follow Jesus.

Me and my big mouth!

That's really the only way to describe the genesis of this hub! Sometimes in the heat of a discussion you say something and the others in the discussion say simply "Prove it!" and here we are, well that's what happened here!

But seriously though, there's a lot of discussion here on HP about whether the Bible is accurate or whether it's a later 'creation' re-telling folk tales and legends seeking to explain how the Jewish people came into being, sooner or later we get onto the idea of whether the Exodus from Egypt complete with plagues and drowning of Pharoah's Army could really have happened, could it?

Straight away there's going to be some who say "Absolutely" and some who say "No way sunshine!" then there'll be the majority who just say "No idea" (and frankly not too worried about it either way) and you know what, that's OK! But me and my big mouth (actually it was pounding the keys on my phone but the result was the same) said "Yes and I think I know where the evidence is!"

When the folks I'd emailed picked themselves up off the floor (they'd laughed so hard, and I am writing this in good humor!) they said "Prove it" so here we are!

A little about my sources

Before we go any further I'll explain the sources that I've used for this hub.

I've used a few sources that I said I'd specify for people to be able to find them if they choose to do so and they are as follows

"Ancient Israel in Egypt and the Exodus" a free ebook from the Biblical Archaeology Society (2012)

This book has articles by James Hoffmeier, Manfred Baitek and Herschel Schanks, all prominent Egyptologists or archaeologists in their fields

"Atlas of Military History" (for information about the Battle of Kadesh on the Orontes) Paragon Press 2013

Along with various websites that I'll put the links to.


The way of Horus

A Map of 'The way of Horus" strategic Military defences that the Egyptians built in ancient times to defend against invaders from the East
A Map of 'The way of Horus" strategic Military defences that the Egyptians built in ancient times to defend against invaders from the East | Source

Is there any evidence?

To answer the question directly there's no direct evidence for any of the story of the Exodus, there are no bricks with "Moses was 'ere" written on them!!! Plain and simple.

A couple of possible explanations that James Hoffmeier (head of the Archaelogical excavations in NW Sinai) tells us

  1. There is none because they were never there! Simple, to the point and what a lot of folks believe. That the Israelites as a whole were never in Egypt, or if they were they were a lot fewer and never had much of an impact
  2. That what we're asking archaeology to deliver is a bit unrealistic. We're asking it to tell us about one specific people and the events surrounding those people when all archaeology can do is tell us what the living conditions were like for people at the time and can't really differentiate from the Canaanite and the Hebrew!

So, it can't tell us directly, but what can it tell us?

Instead we can look at some of the more indirect evidence and see if that 'stacks up' with what the Bible tells us, it tells us a lot! and in my view the circumstancial evidence points to a real event, but then again I would say that

What Life was like

One of the main reasons for saying the events never took place, or that they were a later invention possibly even a literary one was that there's no record in the Egyptian sources of the events taking place, true there's no record of the events of the Exodus in Egyptian records, but there are no records (also) of the Egyptian Army ever suffering even one defeat in it's whole three thousand years of the Pharoahs and we know that happened!

1275 BC Pharoah Ramases the second (Ramses the Great and thought to be the Pharoah of the Biblical account by many) marched out to face the Hittites at Kadesh on the Orontes, one of the biggest battles in the Ancient world with 20,000 and Chariots from Egypt facing a similar sized force from the Hittites. Ramses tells us it was a great victory, the Hittite sources tell us the Egyptians were almost routed and it was a humiliating defeat! This is just one of qute a few times when the Egyptians were 'creative' with the facts.

As for mention of the Israelites, well it depends on whom you talk to as it turns out if you look in the right places they are mentioned, but who or what the Egyptians mean might require some thinking about.

'Habiru'

One phrase that keeps cropping up at various places is 'The Habiru' or 'Apiru' that may (or may not) link to the Israelites of the Old Testament. Stop and think for a minute, the first time that phrase is used in the Bible (Hebrew) it's Potiphar's wife accusing Joseph of trying to rape her! "That Hebrew slave you brought home" might not be a reference to his family but the fact that to her he's a miscreant lowlife who just refused her advances!

The word describes a Western Semitic people and is actually found not just in Ancient Egyptian Hieropglyphics but also in Ancient Akkadian cunieform (there they were Mercenaries and soldiers of fortune as well as the criminal element!) and generally used of people you didn't want to 'meet on a dark night' Shepherds working out in the fields and guarding their flocks the way Jacob and his sons did would fit that bill quite well (they massacred whole cities in one place in Genesis)

In ancient Egypt to be a 'Habiru' was to be a 'lowlife' living on the edges of society and ekking out a living by whatever means they could! If that's the case then there are many thousands of references to them going back right to the 12th dynasty (circa 1,900 BC)

But surely not all the Habiru references are to the Israelites right? My point is that they could be being referred to or they may not be, we can't rule it out!

When the Israelites arrived in Egypt Genesis tells us they were a class of people that the Egyptians hated, they were shepherds and the Bible makes a point of telling us that Egyptians hated Shepherds and the like! So do some of the inscriptions we have from the 12th dynasty

As I'm writing this I wonder if part of the picture (and this is totally my thinking here so feel free to throw it out) is that the Children of Israel (incidentally Josephus actually says they were the Hyksos A Western Semitic people) who took power around 1,800 BC and were driven out around 1,490 BC formed the nucleus of a society that became the slaves and builders who later took on the name of 'Apiru' and became a nation by adopting all the 'waifs and strays' that came their way, they still maintained their identity as a 'family' much as a minority or other discriminated against group does, what do you think?

Read for yourself (Hoffmeier's work mostly referenced in this article)

Life as a slave

Slaves making mud bricks. Tomb of Rekhimire the Vizier of Thutmose 3rd and Mayor of Thebes (circa 1,500 BC) note the guy on the lower right, the overseer with a big stick to hit slackers with! The slaves were the 'Apiru' or lowlifes
Slaves making mud bricks. Tomb of Rekhimire the Vizier of Thutmose 3rd and Mayor of Thebes (circa 1,500 BC) note the guy on the lower right, the overseer with a big stick to hit slackers with! The slaves were the 'Apiru' or lowlifes | Source

Where were they?

Another problem is that the ancient cities mentioned in Exodus up until recently hadn't been identified. But in the last few years Archaeologists believe they have identified both the store cities of Exodus chapter one.

If you look at pretty much any book on the history of Ancient Egypt and the archaeology that's been done there about 90 to 95% of the book will talk about the finds made in upper Egypt with only 5-10% of any given book dealing with the Nile Delta and almost nothing about the Sinai area. Hoffmeier says that the main reason for this is in the Delta you have a the high water table there and the fact that any digs also have to contend with flooding of the site pushing up costs so they have to set up drainage systems before they can even begin.

Up in Upper Egypt (from Cairo as far as Aswan) you don't have to contend with a high water table thus reducing costs and the 'costs to rewards' ratio is much higher.

Having said that some digs have been performed in and around the Delta at significant sites and some sites that are no longer in the flow of the Nile but were in ancient times, a couple of these are sites like Tel El Dab'a (ancient Avaris, Capitol of the Hyksos dynasties) Carried out by Manfred Baitak (Vienna University started around 2000 and still ongoing) and Qantir about 20 miles from Tel el Dab'a both of these sites have been shown to have been important centers right back as far as the 12th dynasty of Egypt (circa 1,900 BC) but according to the archaeologists digging at the sites because of the humidity no Papyri have ever been found at the sites where Papyri are regularly found at sites in upper Egypt.

According to archaeologists no inscriptions humiliating a Pharoah have also ever been found (usually where a Pharoah was deposed or as in the case of Akhenaten who was regarded as a heretic) he was simply removed from the record and his face was defaced in the inscriptions) so most Egyptologists say it's unlikely they'll ever find a record of the Exodus in Egyptian records (and if they did they'd probably be highly skeptical as it just doesn't fit the pattern!).

Exodus 1 verse 11 says that the Israelites were put to work building the 'supply cities' of Pithom and Ramses. Hoffmeier and Baitek are confident that they have identified these two ciies as the following

Qantir was Pithom

Tel el Dab'a was Raamses

Both of these cities ruins are situated on the firnges of the modern Delta about half way between the modern cities of Port Suez and Port Said. They're on a tributary of the Nile that dried up around 1,000 BC near the Great Bittler lakes

There is a lot agreement between Egyptologists that these are the cities of Exodus chapter one, and the discussion has shifted more to when it happened and how big it was rather than if it happened at all!

Some of the 'Bible minimalists' have said that the narrative is a later writing (possibly around the 9th Century BC) due to the fact they use the name of a Pharoah not yet born if you stay with the traditional dates (Raamses II was around 1303 BC to 1213 BC) and was thought to have founded Pi Raamses but the record shows that the city is much older than he is! Could it be that he took over the ruins and decided to rebuild? but the key according to Hoffmeier is that the river dried up around 1,000 BC and by the time the minimalists say the city was deserted had been for a hundred or so years! The only conclusion is that whatever happened took place before then, Hoffmeier suggests that those who take the time of Raamses II would run across the problem that at that time (Mid to late Bronze age) you'd have the problem that the cities of Israel were mostly unforitified at the time where in the Early Bronze age those ame cities were fortified like the Bible says the Israelites encountered (but that may be for other hubs! :-)

This is amazing (and all by co-incidence when the Bible says?) A MUST WATCH!!

Possible location of Goshen

show route and directions
A markerQantir, Egypt -
Qanteir, Markaz Fakous, Ash Sharqia Governorate, Egypt
get directions

Possible location of the 'Store city' Pithom

B markerGreat Bittler Lakes, Egypt -
Great Bitter Lake, Egypt
get directions

Great Bitter Lake. Now part of the network that makes up the Suez Canal. This may actually be the 'Sea' that was parted (not the 'Red' sea)

Interesting views

Not all the historians agree on the date of the Exodus. Some say that it was around the time of Raamses II (So did Cecil B De Mille!) Others put it earlier but one that I found that was quite amusing from Araham Malamat (Head of the Israeli Antiquities Authority until his demise in 2010) said in an artilce called 'Let my people go and go and go and go' that there were a series of 'Exodi' and the record we have is of the biggest one around 1,400 BC.

Further evidence of the authenticity of the Exodus account Hoffmeier points out is 'The way of Horus' a series of fortifications built along he northern part of the Sinai stretching from the store cities of Pi Raamses and Pithom upto almost as far as Kadesh Barnea in what is now Israel, at the time the Mediterranean sea formed more of a bay and went about twenty miles further south than it does today creating much more of a bottleneck that if the Israelites followed the directions in the Bible to the letter they would have been stuck between the second and third fortress and the Med to the North and a marsh sea to the south (sea of reeds, don't knock it God drowned and entire army there!) The key is that some of the fortresses along the way of Horus have actually been identified and Pi Hahiroth and Migdol have been identified as the second and third fortresses with a distance of about five miles in between them, Migdol was actually on an Island in the 'reed sea' thus it's entirely possible that this really did happen!

Conclusion

There's a lot more I could write here but I'm forcing myself to stop as I think the basic points have been covered. Have I demonstrated that the Exodus really happened, probably not sufficiently for a lot of folks!

Have we seen that it could have happened, I think you'll agree with me and say yes!

Is there any evidence for it, the answer to that is also yes, but evidence for the possibility or even the event doesn't mean that it necessarily happened and in the way that it's recorded!

Is there evidence for it? Yes!

Is there proof that it happened the way the Bible said, that depends on how you read the text!

To me it did. and to me it's also important that it did, why? Because I'm one of those who don't like 'fairy tales'. That might sound harsh, but it's true and the truth is that probably none of us like to hear that stories we'd taken from childhood to be true to be told that they're not true! (No, I've never tried to prove Santa Claus as I never really believed in him).

Watch the National Geographic video about some of the events described in the Exodus and some natural explanations for the phenomena! Then remember they happened 'on cue'

I hope that this hub has made you 'stop and think' about what you've thought about the book of Exodus, I'll be honest at first I really thought I'd bitten off more than I could chew but as I've gotten into it I've really enjoyed the research and writing the hub, I hope you enjoy the hub as much as I've enjoyed writing it.

I'd love to hear from you, leave a comment below.

Lawrence


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    • lawrence01 profile image
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      Lawrence Hebb 13 months ago from Hamilton, New Zealand

      Bill

      Fair comment about what you said here. I've been on the hub you mentioned and left a few comments/challenges pointing them to hubs like this one and my hubs about the flood showing them that the 'traditional' objections people come out with to the Bible's account are now untenable as science has shown them to be wrong!

      Some of the skeptics are prepared to think these things through, but not all!

      We can only present the evidence, we can't force people to accept it!

      Sorry for any offence I caused.

      Lawrence

    • profile image

      Wild Bill 14 months ago

      lawrence01,

      Don't worry about approving this one because I am writing it for only you to read.

      You said that some of the Hubbers I got banned (temporarily) are your friends and you don't want to include my comment because it is causing issues, but now those same people that I talked about are making fun of your answer on The Creation Conundrum right now.

      I know that every once in awhile I come off sounding like a bad guy, but I can assure you that I am not. Austin constantly calls me a troll, but if you look on that Hub and on Atheist Boogeymen - Part 2: Joseph Stalin, you can see that Paladin and I were clearly having a civil debate, but she was chasing me around, trying to instigate an argument with me, yet I ignored her. This is the same person that calls me a troll and a stalker and has created forums just about me. I find it a bit ironic that she talks more about me than I do of her, yet she considers me the troll.

      Think what you will about me, but if I were in your shoes, I wouldn't consider that other lot as friends.

    • lawrence01 profile image
      Author

      Lawrence Hebb 14 months ago from Hamilton, New Zealand

      Folks

      I just want to apologize for a comment I approved recently that's caused some issues.

      After a little thought I've taken the comment down as I dont think it was very 'uplifting' and also taken down my reply as the reply made no real sense without the first comment.

      As I said I do apologize for allowing the comment in the first place.

      Paladin, I've not approved you most recent comment as I wasn't sure you'd want it here without the offending comment you were to, if you do then let me know as I'm happy to approve it as think it was a pretty balanced reply.

      Lawrence

    • lawrence01 profile image
      Author

      Lawrence Hebb 16 months ago from Hamilton, New Zealand

      As I said there's a project to finish but maybe I'll try and squeeze it in as this is one of the most 'hotly debated' parts of the Bible (I'm one of those for whom the Historical accuracy is important).

      Lawrence

    • Tamarajo profile image

      Tamarajo 16 months ago

      Sounds interesting. Looking forward to the update.

    • lawrence01 profile image
      Author

      Lawrence Hebb 16 months ago from Hamilton, New Zealand

      Tamarajo

      Thanks for the visit. Actually this hub probably needs a bit of an update as the last few days a couple of the sites that I susbscribe to have posted some new information about what's been found in both Egypt and Israel that gives even more evidence of the Exodus.

      Archaeologists now think that the Exodus account is pretty much accurate to what went on but with a 'Theological explanation' of the events and probably happened around 1,300 BC (around the time of Raamses ll) but the update might have to wait until I've finished my present project (the Novel series I've been serializing)

      Blessings

      Lawrence

    • Tamarajo profile image

      Tamarajo 16 months ago

      I liked the comment in the video too about not being able to prove the event but having evidence of its possibility.

      I appreciate your presentation of the evidences. Well reasoned and presented.

      God bless

    • lawrence01 profile image
      Author

      Lawrence Hebb 16 months ago from Hamilton, New Zealand

      Paledin and Oz

      I want to thank you both for the visits and for the debate that's going on here, I've allowed the comments to 'stand' but they did kind of concern me somewhat as they did seem to be straying 'off topic'

      I do try to address the issues raised by the discussions and while we don't always agree on the outcome I do hope that we can have good and open debate on the issues.

      Personally I do enjoy the debates that I've engaged in recently with both the 'skeptic' cum atheist and the believer.

      One thing I realized a long time ago is if I was to talk to two atheists or two Christians I'd get at least three ways they understand their faith or lack of faith!

      Truth is we're all different, and I'm glad it's that way as a world full of people just like me would be boring!

      I've seen that there are some great hubs here both for and against faith that we can learn from, let's use those hubs to debate and think and draw our own conclusions and yes I do believe that God will guide us in the way we think, he just won't force us to think any particular way, so lets discuss by all means, but lets not try to force our way of thinking on others!

      Sorry that this sounds a bit of a rant and as far as I've seen neither of you have 'gagged' anyone on your hubs (either of you) but I think I needed to say it.

      As for me and this hub, I think this hub while it doesn't categorically say the Bible's account is 100% accurate (that wasn't really the goal, though I admit it would have been a great outcome from my point of view) the point of the hub was that it is possible and there is evidence for the Israelites being in Egypt when the Bible says they were, that there is evidence that supports the possibility and probability of the Exodus.

      In the video the Archaeologists say that they (most of them) see the Biblical account as being a 'compilation' of various 'Exodii' (It's a Greek word so I'm using that ending) but the passover referring to an original event.

      the video also has a very good scientific explanation of eight of the ten plagues as logical outworkings of the repercussions of the first plague.

      I'll admit that someone like me sees that (watch the video and you'll see what I mean) the hand of God is at work but others will probably say "Let me think about it" while another group will simply say "Natural explanation to one event that someone later wove a story into"

      As I said, that's my take on it.

      Lawrence

    • Paladin_ profile image

      Paladin_ 16 months ago from Michigan, USA

      You're right, Oz. This is not the place for this discussion (my apologies to Lawrence). However, you may recall that YOU are the one who initiated it, with your blanket accusations regarding atheists. My comments were simply a response to yours.

      And, no, I haven't "gagged" debate on my hubs. I've simply banned YOU, because whenever someone criticizes you, you go running and crying to the HubPages moderators, and comments and hubs get flagged. So I finally decided I'd had enough of dealing with your childish antics!

      If it became clear you were genuinely interested in a discussion or debate, and not just starting some pointless fight, I'd be more than happy to engage you.

    • Oztinato profile image

      Oztinato 16 months ago from Australia

      Paladin

      this might be a better place to discuss your views related to the current topic.

      https://hubpages.com/religion-philosophy/The-Illum...

    • Oztinato profile image

      Oztinato 16 months ago from Australia

      Paladin

      it's not ethical to clutter up Lawrence's hub with a debate that logically needs to be undertaken on one's own hub elsewhere. As you have gagged debate on your own hubs it has become impossible to debate ethically or logically with you. I don't gag debate on my hubs as that would be unethical and illogical.

    • Paladin_ profile image

      Paladin_ 16 months ago from Michigan, USA

      Oz, your opening line of your last comments reveals the fundamental flaw in your reasoning. You begin...

      "listening to certain things is how a great many atheists have become believers..."

      That may be true, but not necessarily in the way you mean. Yes, listening to CERTAIN things -- to the exclusion of certain other things -- can convince anyone of a particular idea or ideology, even an atheist. It's when they listen to, and honestly consider, EVERY thing, that they ultimately come to the rational conclusion.

      As for Lawrence, we atheists engage with him because he -- unlike others who share your belief -- seems to be actually interested in genuine discussions, to both learn and teach, not just engaging in fights or debates. I believe he actually cares about what's true (though, again, I believe he's reached erroneous conclusions).

      As for your cynicism, that's quite regrettable. You must be a real hoot at parties!

    • Oztinato profile image

      Oztinato 16 months ago from Australia

      Paladin

      listening to certain things is how a great many atheists have become believers. The inner voice of compassion and commonsense, the inner faith that reaches beyond stereotypes of religion, inner and outer experiences of the miraculous, proper holistic historical views etc.

      The Bible itself seen in isolation from all other religious scriptures is itself often cherry picked by atheist and believer alike as the sole battlefield for debate. It isn't. It can't be seen in isolation in any serious analysis of religion in the same way one single fact in the Bible or archaeology can't be solely seen in isolation. The use of grammar and metaphor typical of ancient bygone eras for example have been used out of rational context to serve bogus arguments re the existence of JC without any reference to actual holistic views of history. This is a whole new level of cherry picking raised to an art.

      Finally, attempts to gag debate or to limit it to one fact or one scripture only debunk the author's stated intentions.

      The average atheist clique clings to the one off 'religious sympathizer friend' for self interest in the same way a racist clique clings to a 'token black'.

    • lawrence01 profile image
      Author

      Lawrence Hebb 16 months ago from Hamilton, New Zealand

      Oz and Paladin

      Sorry it's taken me a bit of a while to reply, my phone doesn't cope so well with hubs that have more than a few comments at the moment so I'm having to come here later at night and try and catch up.

      I think both sides have tended to 'cherry pick' at times as I've seen both sides try to manufacture the evidence, this hub was an attempt to have a serious look at what evidence was there.

      Most of what I write about in this hub is stuff that's only come to light in the last few years and probably a result of the Camp David accord that Jimmy Carter got Egypt and Israel to sign, that opened the door for exploration in the Sinai that uncovered the new material.

      I think you've both made the point that when we're tied to an ideological position (whether it's that God is real or not real) then we do tend to see things through that lens, for me researching this hub strengthened what I believe as I saw that whiel there was no sign saying "Moses was 'ere" the archaeologists mostly were saying that there was a ring of truth to the story!

    • Paladin_ profile image

      Paladin_ 16 months ago from Michigan, USA

      Actually, it's been my experience (and the experience of a great many others, I'd wager) that it's commonly the atheist who examines the archaeological evidence (or any other evidence, for that matter) in the broadest possible context. It's the reason we're atheists! If the evidence pointed the other way, we'd be believers!

      No, it's the person who's committed to an ideological or theological position who must cherry-pick evidence or outright manufacture it out of thin air. Indeed, when one believes something that is unsupported by the available evidence, it is the ONLY way to maintain such belief!

      This is why many of us atheists here on HubPages appreciate Lawrence's approach to his hubs. Yes, we believe he's wrong on the central issues of God's existence and the legitimacy of the Bible. But he's careful to acknowledge (as he did in this hub) that even when there's "evidence" for the Bible's stories, it's sketchy and unconvincing to anyone who will examine it with a critical eye.

      And, most importantly -- unlike certain others of his faith -- he's demonstrated time and time again that he's willing to actually LISTEN to others' arguments and even change his own opinion. It's how a great many of us former believers actually became atheists!

    • Oztinato profile image

      Oztinato 16 months ago from Australia

      Lawrence

      the holistic view is forgotten by the average garden variety atheist crtic. University standard historical analysis always takes the entire picture into consideration after looking at all the individual pieces of archaeological evidence. A cynic merely takes one isolated piece of archaeological evidence and bases an entire hub/thesis on it. Example the way JC is linked to other older symbols. A proper view of this is that the grammar and metaphors of ancient spuritual language has to be based on then current forms of expression just as Shakespeare had to use current expressions.

    • lawrence01 profile image
      Author

      Lawrence Hebb 16 months ago from Hamilton, New Zealand

      Oz

      So true. There's a story about a Medieval King in England (Possibly Henry the second) who once asked his archbishop of Canterbury to prove God exists.

      The archbishop leaned in and said four words, "Your Majesty, the Jew!"

      His argument was that no one could endure the things that the Jews have endured for just a 'pipe dream' God had to be real to give them the strength to endure the things they have gene through in history.

      Today we can add to the list that against the odds after nearly two thousand years the Jews are living back in the land God promised to them nearly five thousand years ago! They came back just as he promised they would 2,600 years ago!

      Thanks for the visit.

      Lawrence

    • Oztinato profile image

      Oztinato 16 months ago from Australia

      Historical phenomena that have lasting impact are impossible to hide. The survival of the ancient Hebrews in the midst of a brutal geographic and cultural area is in itself miraculous. Todays barbarism in that region pales in comparison to the animalistic barbarism of B.C. Yet "the Jews" survived and prospered. The theme of miraculous survival is real in the historical sense. I have seen the miraculous in my short life and don't doubt such events can take place. In the case of "the Jews" the proof is their very survival and then a fresh branching off into Christianity occuring via one special Jewish young man.

    • lawrence01 profile image
      Author

      Lawrence Hebb 16 months ago from Hamilton, New Zealand

      Headly

      I think every civilization does that to some degree! As the saying goes 'History is written by the victors'

      Another classic example, though it's not Egyptian is Sennacherib's siege of Jerusalem on display in the British museum, his face is blacked out almost as if they tried to erase the episode because he didn't capture the city!

      Thanks for the visit

      Lawrence

    • HeadlyvonNoggin profile image

      Jeremy Christian 16 months ago from Texas

      It's evident that the Egyptians tended to not record history accurately if it painted them in a negative light.

    • lawrence01 profile image
      Author

      Lawrence Hebb 16 months ago from Hamilton, New Zealand

      Robert

      One such is Raamses battle at Carcemesh on the Orontes 1275 BC). According to Egyptian sources it was a great success, but according to Hittite records they almost totally wiped the Egyptians out! Archaeology and surviving inscriptions from the area indicate the Hittite record as closer to the truth.

      There are other inscriptions in the Berlin museum that some archaeologists think place Israel East of the Jordan around 1400 BC but the inscription is damaged so categoric evidence isn't there.

      What can be said (and what the National Geographic says) is between 1800-1400 BC Israel was in Egypt and the evidence even from Egypt supports this, but by 1200 BC they're in Canaan and thriving! How they got there seems to be close to the Bible story!

      Lawrence

    • Robert Sacchi profile image

      Robert Sacchi 16 months ago

      Are there unofficial Egyptian histories that mention defeats and other misfortunes?

    • lawrence01 profile image
      Author

      Lawrence Hebb 17 months ago from Hamilton, New Zealand

      Robert

      Glad you enjoyed it.

      Lawrence

    • Robert Sacchi profile image

      Robert Sacchi 17 months ago

      Thank you. It is a very interesting read.

    • lawrence01 profile image
      Author

      Lawrence Hebb 18 months ago from Hamilton, New Zealand

      Deb

      Some of those things we'll end up saying "Maybe they could have, maybe not quite the way we think, but we'll just never know!"

      I found this one interesting because I ended up with three possible scenarios where things could have happened that fit what the Bible says yet at three different times in history, one of them you can attribute to continents shifting (the lava flow landbridge fits that scenario and the Mountains of Northern Saudi Arabia are volcanic).

      Blessings

      Lawrence

    • aviannovice profile image

      Deb Hirt 18 months ago from Stillwater, OK

      So much has happened since the dawn of time, including the fact that entire continents have shifted. I believe more research can and will be done so those interested can learn even more.

    • lawrence01 profile image
      Author

      Lawrence Hebb 18 months ago from Hamilton, New Zealand

      Paladin

      I agree with your sentiments entirely! As a believer I also agree with what you say about 'religion'. Mindless acceptance of a belief is harmful, we can all learn from each other and I've learned a lot from the folks willing to challenge my beliefs.

      Lawrence

    • lawrence01 profile image
      Author

      Lawrence Hebb 18 months ago from Hamilton, New Zealand

      Linda

      I think the 'pot' was already stirred as it were, what I've tried to do is rise to the challenge of presenting the evidence and let people think about the issue.

      Being a history lover I really enjoy these kind of articles as they are a bit of a challenge, my comment at the beginning was a bit 'tongue in cheek' but sometimes the debates can get pretty heated! I'd agree with Paladin's statement about diplomacy and Jodah's hub on the topic was in the back of my mind.

      One thing is some of the comments here have (I think) really enriched the debate and got people thinking, that's what it was all about.

      Glad you enjoyed it

      Lawrence

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      Paladin_ 18 months ago from Michigan, USA

      Indeed, it's amazing what sort of fruitful and engaging discussions one can have when people don't come into it with a belligerent chip on their shoulder and an obnoxious attitude!

      As an atheist and an anti-theist, I absolutely HATE religion, and despise what it does to people and cultures, but I find I almost always learn something when discussing these matters with more reasonable believers like Lawrence. I just have to practice my diplomacy skills! :-)

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      Linda Lum 18 months ago from Washington State, USA

      Lawrence - I am blown away by the amount of (obvious) time you have put into researching and constructing this hub (and I thought that the story of tarragon was exhausting!)

      You have certainly stirred up a great deal of debate with this one, and it's great that you have so many people talking and thinking. I thoroughly enjoy each of these historical looks at the Bible, but I will refrain from getting into the fray. I know what I believe in my heart.

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      Lawrence Hebb 19 months ago from Hamilton, New Zealand

      Bill

      Thank you for the visit and for the compliment.

      Lawrence

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      Lawrence Hebb 19 months ago from Hamilton, New Zealand

      Alan

      You've got some good points here, actually there's quite a bit about tolerance in the commands God gave, but it gets seriously overshadowed by the fact the actions were 180 degrees the opposite way.

      The OT teaches 'Treat the foriegner living among you as one of your own, after all you were once foriegners living in a strange land" but as you say, they're not so good at practicing that!

      As for the "Chosen people" I once heard of a Rabbi talking to God in the camps, the conversation went something like this. "Lord I know we're the chosen people, and I thank you for it" then he stopped and looked around, "But just once can you choose someone else?"

      It's been interesting some of the input that's come about the Exodus and your comment has a but of a ring of truth about it, thanks for the information.

      Lawrence

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      William Kovacic 19 months ago from Pleasant Gap, PA

      Another well researched hub on a tricky topic. You made good sense, and I believe you accomplished your task. Thank you!

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      Alan R Lancaster 19 months ago from Forest Gate, London E7, U K (ex-pat Yorkshire)

      'Ullo Lawrence, stirring things again?

      The problem with researching ancient 'history' is the lack of scientifically reliable sources. The OT 'telescopes' time like an over-used pair of field glasses, which leads to crises amongst adherents. The Exodus associated with 'Moses' is reckoned to have been around the time of earthquakes and volcanoes in the Eastern Med and Aegean. The frogs raining down was attributed to these amphibians being sucked up in a vortex and released hundreds of miles away. The era the ark was considered to have been built was when the sea flowed in past the straits of Gibraltar after the land bridge collapsed. This was the 'creation' of the Mediterranean Sea and Aegean, possibly also the Black Sea. Mount Ararat, thought to be where Noah's vessel grounded, is just one site researched.

      The likelihood is that the 'historians' of the time released the information on a 'need to know' basis (how MI5/MI6/CIA etc evaluate intelligence to be disseminated between Ministers and Media). Thought might have been put in that 'too much information confuses', so 'bare bones' was the order of the day, and stirred in with a dollop of legend to really muddy the waters.

      The Israelites don't have a good track record of getting on with their neighbours, 'chosen people' and all that jazz. It grates on those who think THEY should be the 'chosen'. Best to stay off the subject and concentrate on 'common factors', i.e. trade and environment. Modern Israelis could teach their neighbours about creating a better growing environment, and learn about tolerance. There's not much mention of that in the OT.

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      Lawrence Hebb 19 months ago from Hamilton, New Zealand

      Justhemessenger

      That was a bit of conjecture on my part, but the reason for me thinking that way is that the skeptics tell us that the Egyptian references to the 'apiru' appear (there are a lot of them) to suggest they were the 'undesirables' and slaves etc!

      The Hyksos were a foriegn group that invaded Egypt and took over for a while. My suggestionis like you say would show how the rapid growth took place.

      By the way I didn't touch on it in the hub (lack of room) but there is evidence this took place around 1,500 BC as we do have Egyptian inscriptions similar to the decree of Pharoah at the begginning of Exodus from around that time.

      Thanks for the visit

      Lawrence

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      James C Moore 19 months ago from The Great Midwest

      A part of this hub mentions a group of Hykos i.e. foreigners who became slaves and builders who grew into a nation by taking in all " waifs and strays" that came their way. This appears as a reference to Israel that agree with biblical reference. When Joseph's family arrived in Egypt they numbered about 70 people. Roughly 400 years later the " Israelites" numbered nearly 3/4 of one million people. This description alludes to the unprecedented rapid growth Israel experienced and how they must have brought it about without military conquest. It seems like a uniquely Hebrew reference.

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      Lawrence Hebb 19 months ago from Hamilton, New Zealand

      Headly

      Thanks for the visit and the 'heads up' with what you say. I haven't come across that before but you could be right, it all depends on the accuracy of the Egyptian records and whether we've understood them correctly!

      I'm honored you've asked me to read and comment on a few of your hubs, I was planning (before this one cropped up) to write something on Intelligent Design (What the argument is and isn't) so I'll certainly read those hubs

      Thanks for the visit and input

      Lawrence

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      TSAD 19 months ago from maybe (the guy or girl) next door

      Thank you for shinning the light on a great topic!

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      Lawrence Hebb 19 months ago from Hamilton, New Zealand

      Tsad

      I've just been reading the link you sent through and it's pretty interesting! I'd heard about the discrepancies before and issues with the chronology but didn't have information 'to hand' but I did read this week of the discovery of a Pharoah we knew nothing about which also shows problems with chronology!

      Thanks for the link.

      Lawrence

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      Oztinato 19 months ago from Australia

      Lawrence

      I always recommend Sigmund Freud's essay "Moses and Monotheism" re this topic. Essentially he says Genesis is often about archetypes of repeated very ancient events that will always be of use to later generations. For example we are seeing a huge exodus of people today from Syria. The exodus of large groups of humanity has been taking place since hominids left Africa.

      Has miraculous phenomena accompanied some of these mass migrations to favour a few? Absolutely. Why does God favour certain peoples? That wisdom can be beyond human understanding. How can we reconcile such seeming contradiction? By reading the Bible and other scriptures with both intelligence and childlike wisdom.

      The archeological evidence is very slim for events so distant. The preconfiguration or prophecy of events is more apparent when we compare the old and new testaments. The prophetic proof remains eternally fresh and is far beyond mere materialistic proofs. This can only be "missed" by those who haven't bothered to do Bible study or general scriptural study. Moses prefigures Christ. This assures us of the reality of Moses himself as a real person who led an exodus filled with miraculous phenomena.

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      Lawrence Hebb 19 months ago from Hamilton, New Zealand

      Bill

      True, at times the debate can get pretty 'unchristian'. I enjoy a good debate but as Eric says we often have the two burdens of proof.

      Did I achieve the first 'beyond reasonable doubt' even I don't think so! but the second 'is it feasable?' was achieved and that's what it was about.

      One of the comments of the National Geographic doco is revealing in that they say there is evidence of Israel in Egypt before 1,300 BC but by 1,210 BC they're in Canaan, how they got there is open to debate.

      Thanks for the visit and sorry for any 'consternation' the hub may have caused.

      Lawrence

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      Jeremy Christian 19 months ago from Texas

      Great stuff Lawrence. I've done similar research for the period described in the first 12 chapters of Genesis, and believe I have found it. One of the problems with the Exodus, if my findings are correct, is that it happened before recorded Egyptian history.

      Anyway, I never quite got up to the Exodus. When and if I do I think your hub will prove to be a good place to start.

      If you'd like to see what I've found I've written all about it in my "God created Evolution" hubs. I'd love to hear your thoughts.

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      Lawrence Hebb 19 months ago from Hamilton, New Zealand

      Tsad

      I don't think Bill was meaning you for a second! Having said that some of these debates can go that way. My comment about "My big mouth" was tongue in cheek

      This hub was a response to the statement I mentioned in the hub but the purpose of the hub is to act as a resource so that people can look at the evidence and at least see it is possible the story is true.

      Your comments about the 'discrepancies' between the historical and Biblical records have merit especially with regard to the Pharoahs.

      Over the last few years Egyptologists have realized some issues with the timeline of the dynasties (its too long, if you have them all chronologically its nearly five thousand years) so they've been working on a theory that some of the Pharoahs may have ruled simultaneously (like we see with the Hebrew Kings and later with the Roman Empire). The more we learn the more we realize what we don't know!

      Glad the hub made you think.

      Lawrence

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      TSAD 19 months ago from maybe (the guy or girl) next door

      Well that came out of left field. Who was vindictive? Or are you just being rhetorical? I do find it a stretch to believe teaching points can come from a Bible if it is not the truth. How does that work? The Israelites were never in Egypt but you can learn from their exodus? Learn what, that Moses was a good story teller?

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      Bill Holland 19 months ago from Olympia, WA

      I am always amazed by the amount of vindictiveness that is shown in discussions about the Bible. Why do people get that way? Downright nasty, some of them are. Did it happen? Didn't it happen? Prove this, prove that, you are wrong, I am right.....and the central teaching points are completely lost in the arguments.

      Sigh!

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      TSAD 19 months ago from maybe (the guy or girl) next door

      Thought provoking as usual Lawrence! Thank you for writing this Hub Page, it prompted me to examine the controversy like I never have, The crux of the "controversy" appears to hinge on the belief that traditional Egyptian chronology contradicts the Bible. I like what this author, Dr. Elizabeth Mitchell wrote as her conclusion after researching it.

      "Isaiah warned against going down to Egypt for help (Isaiah 31:1). This phrase has come to symbolize a warning not to go to the world for truth. God determines truth. Historians examine fragmentary clues and fill in the gaps based on their presuppositions. Those presuppositions may be biblical or traditional. Accepting traditional Egyptian chronology necessitates rejection of biblical truth. Accepting biblical chronology allows a reconstruction of ancient chronology on a foundation of truth. Viewing the evidence from a biblical framework makes the histories of Egypt and the Old Testament fit together like two sides of a zipper." You can read what she wrote about your hub page topic here: https://answersingenesis.org/archaeology/ancient-e...

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      Lawrence Hebb 19 months ago from Hamilton, New Zealand

      Paladin

      You're right about the 'inspiration' and being honest I think it was a good thing, I personally do believe in the account but rather than try to force the evidence I really liked what one of the archaeologists said on the National Geographic video and that was "Can I prove it? No, but I can show the evidence"

      In other words proof may be elusive, but evidence it may have happened and is plausable is there!

      By the way thanks for the challenge :-)

      Lawrence

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      John Hansen 19 months ago from Queensland Australia

      Thanks Lawrence, that does help and is very interesting.

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      Paladin_ 19 months ago from Michigan, USA

      Criminey! This hub doesn't even show up on your queue yet, and it has ten comments already (I had to find it through the link provided your latest activity). That's good traffic!

      Lawrence, I like how you began this hub with your tongue somewhat in cheek, and I suspect you're referring -- at least in part -- to some of our interactions at Catherine's hub. We certainly tend to keep each other on our toes!

      As for the hub's actual content, I respect the effort you've put forth on behalf of the exodus account -- especially when the evidence is so scant (compared to what should have remained, given the forty-year time period it supposedly encompasses).

      You approach is quite even-handed, as you seem to recognize that the best we can genuinely say about the exodus story is that it COULD have happened, but there's certainly no definitive, compelling evidence that it DID. It's simply a matter of making the Biblical story match up with what we actually know of the historical record archaeology provides.

      In the end, as you've observed, the evidence available simply isn't definitive enough to convince skeptics like me, but will satisfy those who already believe the story.

      Keep up the good work!

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      Lawrence Hebb 19 months ago from Hamilton, New Zealand

      John

      The three you mention all used names not relating to Egyptian deities, all the others including Raamses (patron 'god'was Ra the sun god) were relating to Egyptian gods.

      Its just a suggestion and I may be wrong.

      Hophra was the grandsin of Necho who was Nubian, their dynasty (25th) are known as 'The black Pharoahs' and didn't follow the practices of taking the names of deities. I've just checked out Taharka and he was the son of the founder of the dynasty and Jeremiah says he was from 'Kush' ancient Ethiopia. Hope this helps

      Lawrence

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      Lawrence Hebb 19 months ago from Hamilton, New Zealand

      John

      When Joseph arrives at court the ruler at the time is also only referred to as 'Pharoah'. Some have said this was Djoser one of the earliest rulers of Egypt or one of the Hyksos (the word means foriegners) rulers.

      The word 'Pharoah' does mean a ruler or 'King' but beyond that we don't know much.

      The record was written down sometime after the events, possibly by Moses or Joshua and may simply be they didn't know the name of the Pharoah, another possibility is the Pharoahs often had names relating to their patron 'gods' and the writer just didn't feel safe writing the names of Egypts idols when Yhwh had just judged them and found them 'wanting'

      Who really knows?

      Lawrence

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      John Hansen 19 months ago from Queensland Australia

      Several pharaohs from this time period are mentioned specifically by name in the Old Testament. They are Hophra, Necho, and Taharka, and the chronology of the biblical account concurs with the conventional dating of each of these kings’ known history.

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      John Hansen 19 months ago from Queensland Australia

      The only problem I have ever had with the validity of the story is with the Egyptian ruler at the time continually referred to as only "Pharoah" when in all other instances he has a name. Unless this was the very first Pharoah why wouldn't the name be known or referred to?

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      Lawrence Hebb 19 months ago from Hamilton, New Zealand

      Eric

      Glad it helped

      Lawrence

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      Eric Dierker 19 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      No matter what Lawrence this was good work and helped me to think. That is awesome in my book, with no evidence ;-)

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      Lawrence Hebb 19 months ago from Hamilton, New Zealand

      John

      As I said, it's me and my big mouth! Actually I'd researched most of this stuff before and being blessed with a 'selectively good memory' I knew where to look for it (I say 'selective as you can ask me about an event that took place 3,000 years ago and I probably can give you a good account, but ask me what the wife said five minutes ago and forget it! I may not have even registered she was talking to me! :-)

      The video is interesting as you have three scholars talking about the same narrative but giving three different explantations, all three of which are feasable in three different locations and at three different periods within that window of time!

      Glad you enjoyed it but I really am going to try not to get into the "Fine mess" again

      Blessings

      Lawrence

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      Lawrence Hebb 19 months ago from Hamilton, New Zealand

      Eric

      Thanks for the visit and for the pointers on the 'burden of proof'. Part of what I was getting at is the idea that there's 'no evidence' and that's what I wanted to address. I agree that the statement you make about the 'more probable than not' means we can make mistakes in saying whether some events happened.

      I wanted to take time to actually look at what the people 'digging in the sand' are saying and they seem to be saying that it's at least plausable if not certain.

      I guess I'm just one of those strage folks that once you challenge me I'll either come up with something or die trying!!

      I don't think I proved it conclusively, but hopefully we showed that there's evidence that it probably did even if not totally the way the Bible says!

      Glad you enjoyed the hub

      Lawrence

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      John Hansen 19 months ago from Queensland Australia

      I applaud your determination to take on this project of attempting to prove Exodus really occurred as written in the Bible, Lawrence. The amount of research involved is also commendable.

      To me you offered enough proof to confidently say "yes it may have happened." Like Eric, that's enough for me to believe that it did. Fascinating video too. Thanks for sharing.

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      Eric Dierker 19 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      There are different "burdens of Proof" in the law. The harshest being "beyond all reasonable doubt". Yet even with that high test we have made mistakes. A lower burden "more probable than not" has also yielded erroneous results. But the point is that they generally work, like 99% of the time or better. Because it could have happened. And because it is written that it happened. And that there is no "evidence" to the contrary wins a case of "more probable than not". Perhaps I do not believe it happened as written. But I look at your evidence and I conclude that it could have happened as written. And then I am a believer. So I know it happened.

      Awesome work here. I am afraid one has to care to read it, but that is true of all literature of proof.