About the Exodus

a fascinating email about the Red Sea crossing -- 8/16

There are always a number of questions about the Exodus of the Israelites from ancient Egypt. Here are two of them regarding two different articles: Amenhotep II and the Historicity of the Exodus Pharaoh and A New Chronology which Barry has been asked about in two separate emails.

Amenhotep II and the Historicity of the Exodus Pharaoh

Thanks for the link, which is appreciated. Unfortunately, there are a number of problems with both the dating and the Pharaoh of the Exodus here. First, the author is using the Masoretic text which originated at the Council of Jamnia about 100 AD. This was not the text used by Christ, the Apostles nor by the Ante-Nicene Fathers. The preferred text was the same as the Alexandrian Septuagint. This gives a significantly longer chronology back to Adam and allows for all the Egyptian Dynasties to be accounted for basically in the dates currently accepted by most archaeologists. The Masoretic text for the Old Testament, which all our modern Bibles have, does not allow that to happen. As a result, generations of Christian archaeologists have spent their lives trying to re-date Egyptian dynasties in order to bring them into conformity with the Masoretic text. This is entirely unnecessary if the Septuagint (LXX) text is used.

Secondly, mention is made of the fact that Pharaoh Sheshonq I is actually mentioned in our Bibles as Shishak. This again is an artifact of the Masoretic text. The LXX actually states that this pharaoh is Shushaqkim. Shishak is a shortening of this title to Shushaq. This was the Horus name for Ramesses III. Since this is fixed as being the name of the pharaoh who invaded Israel on the death of Solomon, all Biblical-Egyptological chronologies need to take note of this fact. The current authors do not do that. So the exodus event in Egyptian history needs re-evaluation.

Third. much is made of the fact that 1Kings 6:1 gives us accurate information. There is an unfortunate aspect to this. That time-listing actually drops over 100 years from the record of Israelite history in the time of the Judges when Israel was under the control of foreign kings and out of fellowship with God. The early church recognised this and it is actually hinted at in Stephen's speech to the Sanhedrin in Acts 7. This passage has posed a problem for those who ignore what has been called the "Omission Principle" whereby years out of fellowship with God are omitted from the record. When these things are factored in, a much earlier date for the exodus is obtained.

Fourth, the date which results from the study in the URL gives a date for the entry into Canaan under Joshua which disagrees with most of the archaeological data. As a result, many Christian archaeologists try to find "problems" with the archaeology that has been done by "unbelievers".

Fifth, the use of Jubilee cycles has been shown to be notoriously unreliable. The Talmud and its suggestions for these cycles was written after the Babylonian captivity and they were making guesses based on tradition.

Finally, Josephus actually gives us information about the Exodus as does Artapanus, the Egyptian historian. The story is actually amazing. Moses had been the Commander in charge of the Egyptian military, and had led an expedition south and extended Egypt's territory 200 miles into Nubia. This was a unique event, and the troops sought to make him pharaoh instead of Khaneferre (Sobekhotep IV) who had married Merris (the daughter of Pharaoh Palmonothes who rescued him from the river).
For this reason, Khaneferre sought an excuse to get rid of Moses, so that when Moses killed the Egyptian, Pharaoh had an excuse, and Moses went into exile.

The Exodus was then in the reign of Dudimose II (Djedneferre), and what followed immediately was the 2nd Intermediate Period in Egyptian history when the Asian Hyksos marched into Egypt and took the country "without a single battle" as Manetho records. The escaping Israelites also met these "Hyksos", and the Bible calls them the Amalekites. The date of the Exodus then becomes 1603 BC from all these considersations, not 1440 BC or thereabouts as these other authors suggest. Furthermore, we have the history of Egypt to agree with that since the Ipuwer Papyrus tells of the 10 plagues suffered by Egypr just before the Hyksos came in.



Years B.C. (BCE)
Pharaohs/ Events
2067- 2047

Mentuhotpe I (Thebes only)
begins 11th Dynasty


The Middle Kingdom
begins when Mentuhotpe united all Egypt under his control

Mentuhotpe I (united kingdom until his death)
Joseph made Prime Minister at age 30 by Pharaoh Mentuhotpe I
Israel enters Egypt
Mentuhotep II 
Israel (Jacob) dies; Joseph could not approach Pharaoh to bury Jacob --Genesis 50:4
Mentuhotep III

Twelth Dynasty begins

Amenemhet I usurps Throne – strongly anti-Semitic – oppression starts; oppression continues for about 400 years, as prophesied

Joseph dies
sometime after 1783
13th Dynasty Starts
Moses born during the reign of Pharaoh Palmonothes whose daughter Merris rescued Moses (Prince Mousos)
about 1650
Moses commander for Pharaoh Khaneferre  (Sobekhotep IV)  whom Merris had married 
Moses exiled from Egypt
during Moses' exile

Sobekhotep V (Kha’hotepre)
Aya (Merneferre)
Mentuemzaf (Djed’ankhre)
Dudimose II (Djedneferre)

Exodus in time of Dudimose II (Djedneferre) 
1603 - 1532

Second Intermediate Period Begins

Hyksos invade, take over, no battle

A New Chronology

it is certainly true that the Septuagint currently appears to give the time of 430 years as the total time of the Children of Israel in both Canaan and Egypt. We will deal with the reason for this shortly. However, the implication is that this time is counted from the time of the entry of Abram into the Canaan unto the Exodus. This leaves about 215 years for the sojourn in Egypt, and many chronologists have accepted that as a fact uncritically. However, the debate is ongoing and has basically been fueled by the LXX as the link you gave makes plain. 

The problem is that when God was personally speaking to Abram in Genesis 15:13, 14, he stated explicitly "Know certainly that your descendants will be strangers in a land that is not theirs, and will serve them, and they will afflict them 400 years. And also that nation whom they serve will I judge; afterwards they will come out with great possessions."

So point one is that it is Abram's descendants, not Abram himself, who are being spoken of here. That eliminates Abram in the land of Canaan. Second, these descendants will be servants and afflicted in that land. Abram was never a servant nor afflicted, nor were Isaac or Jacob. As a consequence it could not apply to their time in the land of Canaan before entry into Egypt. Third, there is a single nation in view here as it says "that nation". This can only be Egypt. Fourth, they are to be afflicted in Egypt 400 years and then come out. Thus there is a period of genuine affliction of 400 years which Abram, Isaac and Jacob never had. Therefore the affliction can only be in Egypt, not Canaan and that affliction lasted 400 years.

The fifth point is that the quoted verse in Exodus 12:40 is followed by something specific in verse 41. "And it came to pass at the end of 430 years, on the very same day, it came to pass that all the armies of the Lord went out of Egypt." The implication is that they had come into Egypt (not Canaan) exactly 430 years before. This meant there was 30 years under Joseph's administration and then the affliction began.

Some have questioned how the exact day was known. The day that Abram entered Canaan was not recorded by him, so it could not have been Abram's entry that is being referred to. However, the entry of the Children of Israel along with Jacob is specifically mentioned in Genesis 46 as a defining moment for both Jacob and the rest of his family. Jacob had an encounter with God the night before assuring him all was well to go into Egypt. That day of entry would have been recorded by Joseph and so be available to Moses.

Note also that Stephen, in his address to the Sanhedrin in Acts 7 states that Abram's descendants were to be oppressed 400 years in Egypt. So that much is plain if we compare Scripture with Scripture.  

Finally, the Septuagint quote is interesting in the Greek. The translation reads "And the sojourning of the Children of Israel which they sojourned in the land of Egypt and in the land of Canaan, was 430 years." That is fine until one looks at the Greek text where there is the chance of a scribal error involving just one letter. As we have received it, the passage reads "and IN the land of Canaan..." That word IN in Greek is EN. If that was not originally EN (in) but EX (out of, or out away from), it would read like this: "And the sojourning of the Children of Israel which they sojourned in the land of Egypt OUT AWAY FROM the land of Canaan was 430 years. If this single letter is corrected, all accounts are then in accord. I therefore suspect that a simple scribal error sometime after 300 BC has cause our Biblical archaeologists a lot of trouble!

I hope that is some help.


for full details, see the relevant section in Ancient Chronology and Scripture.


a fascinating email about the Red Sea crossing

Dear Mr. Setterfield:

I would very grateful to have your views on some thoughts I had about the Red Sea Crossing.

I have often wondered why God caused an east wind to blow to create the dry ground for the Israelites' Red Sea crossing. A strong east wind would have been a strong head wind for the Israelites, and would have made their crossing more difficult.

21 Then Moses stretched out his hand over the sea, and all that night the Lord drove the sea back with a strong east wind and turned it into dry land. The waters were divided, 22 and the Israelites went through the sea on dry ground, with a wall of water on their right and on their left. "

I have come to believe that the geography at Nuweiba in the Gulf of Aqaba and archeological evidence confirmed by several different investigators make this the likeliest crossing site.  Looking at map of the Gulf of Aqaba, if the wind from the east did not blow at the crossing site, but further south toward the mouth of the Gulf, it would not have been an impediment to the Israelites; and because of the way the Gulf is canted from northeast to southwest a strong east wind would act to push the water out of the Gulf. So my speculation is it lowered the water level sufficiently to expose the land bridge at Nuweiba between Egypt and Arabia.

A commentary I read a few years ago pointed out that the word regularly translated in English as "wall" in this verse might also be translated as "boundary". In other words the water was a boundary on the right and the left side of the land bridge, and not  high walls of water. 

response from Barry

Thank you for your very good thoughts. I find myself in basic agreement with what you have written. I have checked the words used for "wall" in the Hebrew and Greek and it is valid to translate those words as "boundary" because that is what a wall does - namely forms a boundary - and that is the basic verbal context. So it would make sense that the water was not "piled high" like a "wall" on either side of them, but formed a "boundary" on either side of the Nuweiba land bridge. 

For that to happen, water would have to be drained to the south-west from the gulf. The strong wind was obviously one agent in doing this. But I suspect that tectonic forces were also in action, temporarily lifting that part of gulf from the north. These forces may well have been associated with the Thera (Santorini) eruption going on further north again.

This scenario fits all the known facts rather well, so a huge thank you for that input. It has cleared up another aspect of that incredible event.