Amazing Exodus Evidence – Part 2

jerichoThe evidence for the Exodus story is plentiful when looking in the right places. It affirms faith, even to the point of reinforcing miracles. As with many archaeological finds, these can be disputed but not necessarily disproved. Openness to pieces of evidence speaking for themselves, rather than fitting predetermined timelines sees remarkable matches to biblical accounts.

Faith should not ultimately rest on such findings, but resolving people’s intellectual inquiries and scepticism can mark vital milestones on the pathway to faith. This surely warrants an objective look at the facts connected with a story which ironically provides an Old Testament foreshadowing of the Christian life.

(As shown elsewhere, Egypt symbolises a world of sin from which a Moses-like deliverer, Jesus, saves people from the plague of eternal death with his blood – the blood of the lamb applied to the ‘doorpost’ of the heart  – before engaging in the Red Sea and Jordan River crossings, symbolising baptism in water and the Spirit, to separate us from the old life and have us enter the ‘Promised Land’).

The Egyptian priest Manetho is largely responsible for the traditional chronology of Egypt which is partially preserved in the important and respected history of Josephus. Doubt has been cast over Manetho’s timeline due to some ill-defined periods of rule. This makes the whole exercise of placing ancient Egyptian findings quite difficult and this problem contributes to confusion over their timing and any link to associated historical events.

Interestingly, though, Manetho gives a possible Exodus marker to help us. He attributes the known but puzzling invasion of the Hyksos people (probably a group of Canaanites) as an act of God at this time. Their rule of Egypt was a takeover made “without striking a blow” and was likely only if the existing Egyptian army had already been wiped out (perhaps as part of the same act of God at roughly the same time), as in Exodus 14:27-28. (Those who explain this away by looking for a “reed sea” crossing as an unlikely play on words have to explain the drowning of an army in shallow water and those who look for a crossing on the Eastern arm of the Red Sea miss vital geographical clues from the sequence of Scripture that make this implausible).

Also, known archaeological evidence for settlement in Israel and the defeat of cities such as Jericho in around 1400 B.C. (with walls and ramparts falling and subsequently destroyed by fire as in Joshua 6:24 – see attached photo) allows the Exodus story to be located at approximately the date of 1446 B.C. given in the Bible.

Finally, the Ipuwer Papyrus also notes a rare Egyptian account of the plagues of Exodus 7-12 (failures were seldom recorded). These include some fairly specific Bible-matching detail, even alluding to the plunder of the Egyptians who surrendered their gold and silver (Exodus 12:35-36). In relation to the death of the firstborn, it states: “He who places his brother in the ground is everywhere,” and, “Groaning is throughout the land, mingled with lamentations.” This matches with the findings of hastily buried corpses around Avaris, possibly in response to the tenth plague (Exodus 12).

Of course, any problems with specific dating of these accounts leads sceptics to become more entrenched in their denials. They allege bias, but also hold bias. Perhaps everyone does, but there is no denying the fact that evidence exists which matches the Biblical account, with each new find helping build a collective case for the reliability of the Bible. As with other periods of history, the Bible’s pages are again shown to be trustworthy, even to the point of attesting to miracles that many are so desperate not to believe, lest they have to give an account of their lives!

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