The exodus never happened

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Expand view Topic review: The exodus never happened

Re: The exodus never happened

Post by jimwalton » Tue Oct 20, 2015 3:38 am

Did you ever see the "Bad Lipreading" of the Hunger Games? SOOOO funny.

Right at the end she goes, "You are the devil," and her sister responds in a "devil" voice, "No! NO!" So funny. Have you seen it? Well, if you gave me my 666th vote, then I guess I'm the antichrist!!

As far as the date of the writing of Exodus, here's what I have from my research:

1. The oldest extant manuscripts are the Dead Sea Scrolls (none complete). According to the accepted analysis of handwriting, some of those were made in the 2nd c. BC and one in the mid-3rd c. BC (4QExod-Lev). That is unlikely to be the first copy of the text, so the age of the Exodus should be set well before 250 BC.

2. The earliest known fragment of Exodus in Greek was copied about 100 BC (LXX 805, a Dead Sea Scroll manuscript containing Ex. 28.4-7), but there are copies of other books of the Pentateuch that are dated to the 2nd c. BC, and it is unlikely that they circulated without Exodus. The Greek manuscript witness leads us to the same conclusion as the Hebrew, to a date before the 2nd c. BC for the composition of Exodus.

3. The spelling and grammar are from much later than the 13th c. BC, but the age of the present form doesn’t determine the age of its contents. Modernizing old works was not uncommon in the ancient Near East.

4. The absence of Aramaic, Persian, or Greek influence in grammar and vocabulary or the sort visible in the books that are dated by obvious criteria after the Babylonian Exile (6th c. BC) makes it likely that the Exodus text is earlier than 6th c. BC.

5. The historical details in Exodus indicate that it accurately preserves information from the times it describes: The Late Bronze Age, or about a thousand years earlier than the oldest surviving manuscripts of Exodus. It's reasonable to believe that some of this information had changed or would no longer have been known during the exile, so there is credible reason to believe an early source of this information.

6. The Bible early and consistently mentions the Book of the Law (starting at Josh. 1.8), as if at least a body of work was written rather than merely passed on orally from its historical context of roughly 1300 BC.

7. Are there anachronisms in Exodus? No. To argue for a later date involves assuming that all the necessary information was accessible at that later time, including the fact that the city of Ra’amses had been the Delta capital before Tanis, although by then Ra’amses had long ceased to exist.

a. The name of the pharaoh is not mentioned. But it was normal for people in Egypt to refer simply to “the pharaoh” in the New Kingdom period, when the Exodus presumably occurred.

b. The place names Ra’amses and Pithom in Egypt accord with the late Bronze Age (16th-11th c. BC) when there was extensive construction in the Nile Delta. The city of Ra’amses was a royal city in the Delta during the period of the Exodus, but was replaced by Tanis (Biblical Zoan) in the middle of the 12th c. BC. The other Exodus store city, Pithom, may be located at Tell-el-Retabeh, or, less likely, Tell el-Mashkuta. At Tell er-Retabeh, building blocks have been found bearing the cartouche of Ramesses II (1279-1213 BC), thus confirming a Late Bronze occupation, so Tell er-Retabeh could well be Pi-Atum (Biblical Pithom). Tell el-Mashkuta also appears to have been occupied at this time, but it may be Succoth rather than Pithom.

c. The desert Tabernacle is described as a portable prefabricated shrine. The structure has close Egyptian parallels in the 2nd millennium BC. The Ark of the Covenant may be compared with the portable clothes chest found in the tomb of King Tut (1336-1327 BC). There is no reason to believe that such an artifact could not be manufactured by the Israelites.

d. Worship of a single deity, not acknowledging any others, had been the policy of the “heretic” pharaoh Akhenaten in the 14th c. BC. That the Israelites adopted his doctrine seems unlikely, centered as it was on the figure of the king. Still, the appearance of Akhenaten’s revolutionary cults warns us against assuming that another form of monotheism could not appear in the next century.

Obviously, everyone has a theory about Pentateuchal authorship. The Bible itself claims that Moses is the writer (Josh. 8.31; 23.6; 1 Ki. 2.3; 2 Ki. 14.6; Mt. 8.4; 19.7; Mk .7.10, and many others). Jesus affirmed repeatedly that Moses was the author. Dr. John Walton, in "The Lost World of Scripture," says: "Though the authorship of the Pentateuch by Moses cannot be verified, it is clear that he was considered the authority behind the Torah that we have. His words, teachings, and actions can be considered to be represented with accuracy in the biblical text. As the leader of the people, 'Moses was generating information…that would be considered important enough to preserve in written documents. Some undoubtedly would have been recorded in his time and under his supervision. Others may well have been produced by later generations after some time of oral transmission. It matters neither how much material is in each category nor which portions are which; the authority derives from Moses and he is inseparable from the material.' Even if Moses didn’t actually write it, there is no verified reason to doubt that the material is his, even if it was not written down until much later."

I believe that parts of Exodus (particularly the law) were written down in the time of Moses. Other parts of Exodus were carried on in oral transmission and written later, but still early. There is no way to know when the work was written as we know it, since papyrus doesn't last that long. But I find plenty of reason to believe that Exodus is an early work.

For instance, Brevard Childs, in his commentary on Exodus, is talking about the "Book of the Covenant" (generally speaking, Ex. 21-23). He says, "During the era of form criticism, this text was originally assigned to J, while others attempted to assign it to E. Since then, a growing consensus has emerged that the Book of the Covenant is an older collection of laws that are independent of and preceding the usual critical sources.
"The 'Book' shows many signs of redactional activity. Still, a case can be made for seeing an integral connection between the Book of the Covenant and the Mosaic office of the covenant mediator. The laws are permeated with covenant theology and God's revelation. All of these indicate a historical setting for this section prior to the rise of the monarchy. It is evident that some of the material stems from a very early period that may reach back into the wilderness period. Many of the prohibitions are unconnected with a settled agricultural life, though the festival calendar et al. clearly point to the period after the conquest.
"The differences between these laws and the parallel Babylonian laws are often considerable. The stamp of Hebrew national law is everywhere."

Walton, Matthews & Chavalas also believe that at least the Book of the Covenant is reliably before the monarchy (pre-1000 BC), and possibly more.

I go for an early date.

Re: The exodus never happened

Post by Can't Tell You » Fri Jul 24, 2015 10:27 am

I think it’s safe to say that you’ve done your homework. I sent an email to and they said; “The Hebrew word for thousand is "elef," and it means - 1,000. A related word, "aluf" means general.” So if the exodus account is to have any seed of history your points make sense as a sort of hagiography. Don’t forget to add Samson’s killing of a thousand with a sheep’s jawbone to your list there. I haven’t done much research on it lately but, what’s your take on when exodus was written?

Re: The exodus never happened

Post by jimwalton » Thu Jul 23, 2015 9:32 am

In Moses, the word for "thousand" was vocalized "elep" but was written "lp" (Gn. 20.16). (Vowel points were not added to the text until much much later.) But a similar word vocalized "alup" (meaning clan, or troop, or chief) was also written "lp" (Gn. 36.15; Judges 6.15). If the numbers shown in Numbers 1.24-45 were intended to use "alup" (lp) instead of "elep" (lp), then the "fighting men" numbers would look like this:

Reuben: instead of a population of 46,500, we have 46 clans with 500 fighting men.
Simeon: instead of a population of 59,300, we have 59 clans with 300 fighting men.

In the one scenario we have 603,000 soldiers in a nation of about 2.5 million people; in the other we have 5,550 soldiers in 603 clans, a nation of about 25,000.

Now, let's look at what makes sense.

1. With only 5,550 soldiers, they would certainly have had reason to fear the Egyptian army, as the Bible says (Ex. 14.10). With a fighting force of 603,000, it would have been no contest. The Egyptian army at this time is speculated to be between 15-20,000.

2. The total population of Egypt at the is calculated to be somewhere between 1.6 million - 5 million people at the time, including slaves. It's unreasonable to think that Israel alone was 2.5 million.

3. The land of Goshen could never support a population of 2.5 million.

4. Israel crossed the Sea of Reeds in one night (Ex. 14.42). That's nowhere near possible if there are 2.5 million people with all their carts, belongings, elderly, children, livestock, etc.

5. The path to Sinai is rugged, and in many places so narrow that only a few people abreast could pass. This would create a line over 100 miles long if there were 2.6 million people.

6. Water from the rock (Ex. 17) would need to make a large lake for 2.5 million people to get adequate water.

7. Numbers 3.43 says there were 22, 273 firstborn males. this means each father had 54 sons, plus an equivalent of daughters. That makes no sense at all. It makes more sense that the number of males in the average Israelite family was 8-9, consistent with the concern of the Egyptians that the Israelites had multiplied greatly (Ex. 1.7).

8. All the adults over the age of 20 (except Joshua and Caleb) are said to have died in the wilderness because they rejected the report of the spies and God (Num. 14.22-23). Wandering after Kadesh-Barnea (where they rejected the report) was not more than 150 miles. Since they buried their dead in shallow graves (and did not cremate), 1.3 million graves would make Sinai look like Arlington National Cemetery.

9. Crossing the Jordan River would pose the same problems as crossing the Sea of Reeds.

10. Jericho is only 4 miles from the Jordan River. That's not even enough space for 2.5 million campers. Not possible.

11. Ancient Jericho was only 10 acres—about 650’ on each side. The entire population of 2.5 million could not have marched around it 7 times on the 7th day (Josh. 6.5).

12. The total Canaanite population, made up of city-states) was less than 1 million. 2.6 million people could easily have conquered them.

13. Remember that Israel couldn’t occupy the land all at once because they weren’t enough of them (Ex. 23.29-30; Dt. 4.37-38; 7.7). This is pure nonsense if there were 2.5 million Israelites.

The new number also can help to explain the paucity of graves in the wilderness. It also helps us understand the fear from the report of the spies.

Bottom line: Nothing about a nation of 2.5 million makes sense. Everything about a nation of 25,000 makes sense.

> This stance puts you at odds with both sides

Yeah, I know. But I don't care what people think. Ya gotta go for the truth, not for a position. I know the atheists mock and scorn, but I'd say they haven't studied it and haven't thought it through, as I obviously have. Ditto for the conservative evangelicals. I'd say they haven't studied it or thought it through either.

> every translation I’ve run across has said 600,000

Yep, because that's what how the Masoretic Text translated 'lp. If I'm remembering right, they're the ones who invented the vowel pointing system for Hebrew. So they may have inadvertently changed the word, and it's been translated that way ever since.

Re: The exodus never happened

Post by Nameless » Thu Jul 23, 2015 9:31 am

I’m glad you’re still enjoying the conversation as am I, I have to agree with you that the more conservative numbers and explanations are more likely if it’s to be considered true at all. Your position reminds me of the Historical Jesus stance that some of us take where divine occurrences are removed. This stance puts you at odds with both sides of the coin, with the Atheist denying its historicity and the evangelicals calling you a blasphemer. But if someone’s going to try and make it more probable, I’d say you’re in the right area, despite our grumblings on lack of evidence.

I’ve seen this position taken before, and I’d think it would have more traction if it weren’t that every translation I’ve run across has said 600,000. This is the Hebrew epic, so blowing it way of proportion is not surprising; it also doesn’t really help its case in regards to its historicity. I’m currently looking in to the use of the Hebrew word for "thousand," and as far as basic google translate, they seem to be completely different words. The Mechanical translation of the Hebrew bible also uses the word "thousand". No one seems to want to change it.

Re: The exodus never happened

Post by jimwalton » Sun Jul 19, 2015 5:04 pm

I'm not annoyed at all. I enjoy a good discussion. You seem to be understanding my position reasonably well. For that I credit your honest attempts to understand (kudos to you), and your continued questioning to make sure you're hearing me right (kudos to you, again).

Let's look at the numbers. The traditional number of 600,000 fighting men (from MT translation in book of Numbers) puts the total population at 2.5 million or so, an outrageously impractical and impossible understanding. It's unlikely that the numbers should be read that way. Here's my case: The Hebrew word translated "thousands" can also be translated "troop," in which case there would be 600 **troops**, not 600 **thousand** men 20 or older. (Interesting that the NIV speaks of "divisions" in Ex. 12.41.) (This makes far better sense of the numbers recorded in Numbers 1.20, 45.) The population of Egypt at the time was somewhere between 1.6-5 million, including slaves. The Egyptian army was no more that 20,000. If Israel was 2.6 million people, with a fighting force of 600,000, there would have been no need to be afraid of the Egyptians! They could have swarmed over them like flies. Besides, the Land of Goshen couldn't possibly support a population so large. Israel could not have crossed the Red Sea in one night if there were 2.6 million of them. Nor could the wilderness sustain them, nor could there be enough water to sustain them. Etc. The numbers need to be logically reconsidered. A more reasonable estimation of the population is about 25,000 people. If we translate "thousand" as "clan," we turn up with much more sensible numbers, yielding a fighting force of about 5,550 men, which would be reason to fear the Egyptian army. That also helps to explain the paucity of graves in the Sinai, and the fear from the report of the spies. This understanding is being supported by more and more scholars and commoners alike, but we can't change the Masoretic Text.

Does that help? For me, I put it all together the way I've been talking, and the event actually makes sense (though we still have no positive evidence).

One more thing. I was reading today in Ex. 3.22 and come to re-discover that the Israelites seem to have been living in the cities among the Egyptians, and possibly even in the Egyptians' own homes. That could be another possible reason that we find no settlement of Israelite slaves. Who knows, but it's another possibility.

Re: The exodus never happened

Post by Nameless » Sun Jul 19, 2015 4:54 pm

My apologies for the constant rehashing, I’m not trying to be difficult I’m just trying to make sure I understand your position as best I can, and unfortunately that can get a little annoying. Among theologians there does not seem to be a consensus on the details of the exodus story. Your count of the Israelites seems to be around 25,000 people more or less, which is on the smaller side of the population count, 2.5 million is the number on the larger side I think. The route, the date, who was pharaoh, the details pertaining to the plagues and many other details seem to vary to one degree or another, and I can see your position as somewhat probable if I understand it right. The smaller group of Israelites followed by natural occurrences for the plagues thus causing chaos in Egypt. Then giving a slave population an opportunity to get out and then entering Canaan with smaller campaigns in order to settle in the hill country. This “interpretation” makes the story more likely than a “literal interpretation” of exodus and Jeremiah that we see constantly. It’s also important to note, that’s how history was written back in those days for the most part, the writers weren’t trying to deceive—maybe they just wanted to tell a good story, but this way of looking at it is so incredibly rare.

Re: The exodus never happened

Post by jimwalton » Sat Jul 18, 2015 9:46 am

My source for Finkelstein was his book, "The Archaeology of the Israelite Settlement." In it he described the nearly 300 new settlements in (mostly) the Central Hill-Country that appeared in Iron Age I (1200-1000 BC).

Pottery. "Israel Enters Canaan: Following the Pottery Trail" (Bib. Arch. Review, Sept/Oct 1991, pp. 35) by Adam Zertal. Studying the area of Manasseh (Central west bank of Jordan River and westward to Mediterranean).

A. p. 37: Three indentations decorate the handles of Israelite Iron Age I pottery, distinguishing them from their otherwise identical Canaanite parallels. This style of decoration appears suddenly in the 13th and 12th centuries. On p. 39ff. he also charts out pottery differences that came with the Israelite conquest era.

B. Iron Age I characterized by collared-rim pits, 70" high, holds 10-15 gallons (almost 30% of total pottery inventory). Then this type of pot went out of use and disappeared, quite suddenly. This coincides with Israelites needing to transport water from the Canaanite lowlands to the water-deprived hill country, but during the period of the United Monarchy, had conquered the land below and didn't need this transportation any more, consistent with the Biblical record.

Housing. I have an article from Biblical Archaeology Review, July/Aug 2002, by Volkmar Fritz. He argues that the settlement structures of the Israelites differ noticeably from the Canaanites. He discusses points of founded on new sites, mostly in peripheral areas of the central hill country and Negev, small settlements characterized by the Israelite 4-room house. He attributes the change to a new population element. Of course it's well recognized that the emergence of the 4-room house in Canaan during the Iron Age signaled settlement by a new group. Over 300 have been found. Also an article (also in BAR, same issue, pp. 33ff., by Shlomo Bunimovitz and Avraham Faust), making the same case.

Settlement. "Israel Enters Canaan: Following the Pottery Trail" (Bib. Arch. Review, Sept/Oct 1991, pp. 28ff.) by Adam Zertal. Studying the area of Manasseh (Central west bank of Jordan River and westward to Mediterranean). Found 116 sites from Middle Bronze IIB period, 39 sites in Late Bronze Age (1550-1200 BC), and 136 sites from Iron Age I. Conclusion: A group of people arrived and built. 43% of Middle & Late Bronze settlements concentrated near valley; only 19% of Iron Age 1 sites there. Conversely, only 19% of MB-LB sites farmed the mountainous soil, but 38% of Iron I settlements did. Conclusion: A different population was restricted to the hill country. This is exactly consistent with what the Bible says.

> There is no archaeological evidence of Abraham, Isaac, or Jacob

I'v conceded this, but also explained quite rationally that there is almost nothing we *could* find that would give solid evidence

> there is no evidence for Israelite slaves there is no evidence for the ten plagues, the exodus, the wandering in the desert...

I've conceded this, but your comment makes it seem as if you haven't read my last four posts. Everything that we *do* have corroborates the story:

- many slaves in Egypt
- many Asiatic Bedouins in Egypt
- Foreigners rising to power in Egypt
- storehouses being built
- etc. etc. etc.

As I said, we have no direct evidence of Israelite slaves in Egypt, but we have no direct evidence disproving the possibility. Every piece of positive evidence that we do have corroborates the possible legitimacy of the story.

> a military campaign to take the land that was promised to them by a God who is also lacking evidence

You're wrong here. We have distinct evidence that Hazor, Megiddo, and Lachish were burned in Iron Age I. We have distinct evidence of 300 new settlements in the hill country in Iron Age 1.

The ecological sense of the plagues. First of all, all ten pertain to the Egyptian religious system. But as far as ecological sense, let's take plague one, Nile to blood, for instance. The blood-red appearance of the water was due to reddish soil, as well as the flora and fungi that inhabit the water, was known to occur from time to time. Now, however, it took on a dramatic dimension. For not only did the chemical change kill the fish, but the putrefaction of the water made it undrinkable.

#2: Frogs were abundant in the Nile. This plague was just the hyper-abundance.

#3: Gnats were common there. Hyperabundance again.

That's what I mean.

> Sea of Reeds

I'm not claiming they only slogged through the swamp. I'm claiming they went that way (1) to avoid military installations, and (2) chariots have a harder time following in that kind of environment. There are many bodies of water in that region. I'm still claiming that they crossed a body of water, not just a swamp.

> I never hear my Christian friends see that famous clip from the different movies

That's funny, I say this ALL THE TIME. I have yet to see a movie about Bible things that's fairly accurate. "Noah" was a pure joke; "Exodus: Gods and Kings" was ludicrously awful.

Re: The exodus never happened

Post by Nameless » Sat Jul 18, 2015 8:39 am

Israel Finkelstein acknowledges the four possibilities of Israelite origins, small raiding parties, the peasant revolt theory, infiltrating nomads, or indigenous emerging Canaanites. He seems to put these options of the table. It’s important to note he’s also a does not consider the biblical account of the exodus to be history which I find interesting as he’s somewhat of an expert of archeology in that region. What are you sources for the distinctions of pottery and architecture I’d like to read up on it. I can see probability to a degree in these theories but I don’t see it as pointing towards the biblical account.

“The biblical stories should thus be regarded as a national mythology with no more historical basis than the Homeric saga of Odysseus's travels or Virgil's saga of Aeneas's founding of Rome.” – Israel Finkelstein—

There is no archaeological evidence of Abraham, Isaac, or Jacob, there is no evidence for Israelite slaves, there is no evidence for the ten plagues, the exodus, the wondering in the dessert, or of a military campaign to take the land that was promised to them by a God who is also lacking evidence. What makes it remotely credible? Yet it’s propositioned as complete truth by those around me. I could respect an degree of uncertainty, but what I find is arrogance—not by you, though; you're quite civil.

> The plagues make perfect ecological sense in an Egyptian setting

Please elaborate on this if you would

As far as the “sea of reeds”, I’ve heard this before and here’s the thing: I never hear this used in everyday theology. I never hear my Christian friends see that famous clip from the different movies and say; "Hey! That’s not what happened!" Plus, it’s not that miraculous, really. A bunch of Israelites tromping though a swamp is not what I heard about in Sunday school.

Re: The exodus never happened

Post by jimwalton » Fri Jul 17, 2015 9:31 am

I think your inventory is close. We can quibble about details, but you're probably close.

Archaeologist Israel Finkelstein (and the larger body of archaeologists) begs to differ with your analysis of Israel's emergence. His research bears out that nearly 300 new settlements emerged in the central hill country of Canaan that were distinctly the arrival of a new population group. There is a distinct dissimilarity in domestic house construction, and obvious distinction in pottery, the sudden absence of imported wares, sites are unfortified, no public buildings are found, and their worship is also distinctly different. The worship of this new group was monotheistic and a radical departure from Canaanite worship, though some syncretism becomes known. Archaeologists, as well as the Biblical record, show a closer affinity between Israel and the Aramaeans of Syria, and not with the Canaanites or Amorites. So I actually think your half of the inventory doesn't hold up. But does mine?

There is no archaeological evidence of Abraham, Isaac, or Jacob. But I wouldn't expect there to be. Even if we found a shard or stele mentioning Abraham (or Isaac or Jacob), we'd say, "How do you know it's the BIBLICAL Abraham?" And we wouldn't know. So I don't expect that proof will ever come, because it's close to impossible, even under the best of circumstances. They were just a family group, not known by any name at the time. It's virtually impossible that they'll show up in any record.

Then, you're right, the Bible tells us they settled in Egypt. We don't know what they were called (probably not Israelites—they were just a family group); no documentation has survived from that part of Egypt from any era. The time span of 400 years is tricky: numbers in the Bible can be symbolic as much as they can be literal. We just don't know. Some estimates are that they were there 100 years, but that's not enough time (4 generations) for them to grow into a nation of 25,000. They don't need 400 years to grow to 25,000 either. But there are sensible things here. Egyptian history records the presence of many Bedouin groups in their country, we know of numerous famines in the region that brought Bedouins there, the politics of Egypt was accepting of a group like the Israelites, the Egyptians were known to have large groups of slaves, etc. All of the factors of the Bible fit the historical scene.

But now Moses shows up. "Moses" is from the Egyptian ms(w) meaning "to beget". It is a common element in names usually connected to a god’s name, so "Thutmosis" ("Thoth begets" or "Thoth is born") or "Rameses" ("Ra begets" or "Ra is born"). "Moses" could have been shortened name of something longer. It's similar to other Egyptian names such as Ahmose and Kamose. Moses may have had a longer name such as Mapmose or Irumose. So we haven't found "Moses," but maybe we have and we just don't know it. The Egyptians certainly didn't record hieroglyphs of their humiliation at his hands, or anything that would reflect negatively on the royals. That wasn't their style. They also had no reason to attach any importance to the Hebrews.

Conditions of crushing slavery are believable. We know that slaves made bricks and built Egyptian structures. In a surviving Egyptian document called Leiden Papyrus 348, orders are given to "distribute grain rations to the soldiers and to the 'Apiru who transport stones to the great pylon of Rames[s]es." This brings to mind Exodus 1:11, which says the Hebrews "built supply cities, Pithom and Rameses, for Pharaoh." It's viciously debated, but this could refer to the Israelites.

An adopted son in the royal family is believable. Miraculous intervention is believable if God exists. The plagues make perfect ecological sense in an Egyptian setting. As far as their departure, the Bible specifies that they didn't go the northern route, a route that we now know was occupied by Egyptian fortresses (satellite photos and archaeologists confirm this). The Egyptians had tight border guards. Instead the Bible says they went through the wilderness, the right choice given what we know about Egyptian fortifications and military forces.

The crossing of the water, according to the Bible (Ex. 14.2, 9) was by the sea hear Pi Hahiroth, between Migdal and the sea, opposite Baal Zephon. It's not the Red Sea, but the Sea of Reeds. "Sea of Reeds" was a common term they used for bodies of water, since so many of their marshes were the home of papyrus reeds. The east side of the Nile Delta is rife with marshes and lakes. The Israelites most likely went to some area of the Wadi Tumult. The region is quite marshy (tough for a chariot to navigate through), with bodies of water impeding progress. It makes sense that the Israelites would egress there rather than by the fortresses. Basically, the Israelites departed from Rameses to the north of Wadi Tumilat and headed south after the last plague (see Ex 13:17–14:3). They came to Succoth in the Wadi Tumilat then headed east to Etham in the vicinity of Lake Timsah. Turning north, they were overtaken by the pursuing Egyptians at Pi Hahiroth, between Migdol and the sea and before Baal Zephon. It actually makes perfect sense.

The part about the parting of the sea takes a belief in a God who is both powerful and capable of intervention in the natural world, both of which are reasonable given the reasonableness of theism as a conviction, and the nature of a God who really exists.

Forty years as nomads? Riccioti, in his "The History of Israel," says: "The political situation was favorable for a break-through into Canaan. If the Exodus occurred under Rameses-Mernaptah, the settling of Israel in Transjordan about 40 years later approaches the time of Rameses III (1198-1167 BC). It is the time in which the sovereignty of Egypt, at grips with the “Peoples of the Sea”, was felt slightly or not at all in Canaan. To the north the Hittites were on the decline; the same waves of peoples which had pushed the Peoples of the Sea back to the eastern Mediterranean were now battering a breach in the Hittite Empire, which was destined to fall at the end of that century.
"Unchecked by a strong overlord, the little kings and local princes must have torn each other to pieces in their rivalries. The struggles were numerous. In Joshua 12 alone there are enumerated 31 kings (the territories of several of these kings were limited to a few square miles) who were overthrown by the victory of Israel."

In other words, the 40 years made perfect timing for a conquest.

I still find the Exodus narrative convincing, and I'm not so sure that Occam's razor is in your favor on this one.

Re: The exodus never happened

Post by Nameless » Fri Jul 17, 2015 8:32 am

Ha! O.k. ill concede that Egypt could not have been the birthplace of hip hop.

Allow me to take a quick inventory if I could

So what do we have here at the end of it all that we can somewhat agree on? We have the emergence of the Israelites it the hill country, this is fact and I agree. What are our positions?

My position is that the Israelites emerged from Canaanite root. Their early culture and settlements are said to resemble or be indistinguishable from regional Canaanites, aside from an absence of pig bones. The god they worshiped, at least on the surface, appears to have derived from the Canaanite pantheon. They had a little success in establishing a kingdom somewhat, which was repeatedly destroyed as time went by.

Your position (I’ll try not to strawman you): The Israelites settled in Egypt and were eventually enslaved, brutally for around 400 years and worked to build up the Egyptian kingdom, yet multiplied under crushing conditions before Moses, Pharaoh's adopted brother, with the help of a god, brought plague and destruction to the Egyptian kingdom, finally causing him to relent and let the slaves go, where (with the help of said god) they made a daring escape through the Red Sea before getting the ten commandments and making the ark of the covenant. They spend forty years as nomads before taking the land of Canaan by force and starting their own kingdom.

If this were a different religion, which one would you find more convincing if there both on equal ground? I have to go with Occam’s razor on this. My position, for starters, has fewer assumptions.