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Home Forums Existence of the Israelites in Egypt How long was the sojourn in Egypt? Reply To: How long was the sojourn in Egypt?

  • Deborah Hurn

    January 3, 2021 at 7:15 pm

    Doug, you choose Ex 12:40-42 in the MT as your “crux” passage. Are you using this term in its common meaning? crux is a textual passage that is corrupted to the point that it is difficult or impossible to interpret and resolve.” But you write: “the crux passage: the foundational text to which the other passages relate secondarily.” Hence, you take the 430 years of Ex 12:40 as the ‘fact’ to which all other texts must agree:

    Exo 12:40-41 JPS Now the time that the children of Israel dwelt in Egypt was four hundred and thirty years. (41) And it came to pass at the end of four hundred and thirty years, even the selfsame day it came to pass, that all the host of the LORD went out from the land of Egypt.

    In choosing Ex 12:40, however, you are choosing the very text that has an alternative in the LXX and SP (also supported by rabbinic sources)… “and the land of Canaan”.

    Exo 12:40-41 Brenton LXX And the sojourning of the children of Israel, while they sojourned in the land of Egypt and the land of Chanaan, was four hundred and thirty years. (41) And it came to pass after the four hundred and thirty years, all the forces of the Lord came forth out of the land of Egypt by night.

    The choosing of one biblical datum to which all other data must submit is a hermeneutical approach prone to error. It assumes that the biblical texts are in discord. Of course, an expositor then elevates the text most favorable to his/her own view and discounts the texts that might challenge that view. I have found it more productive and reliable to hold all texts with any bearing on a subject in holistic consideration. The best solution is often the view that makes the best sense of all data at once.

    An approach that sets texts against each other (is there a proper literary term for this?) is also prone to loss of perspective. The global context for the 430 years and the 4 generations would be how chronologies and genealogies work throughout the Bible. Sometimes the passage that appears to be definitive and unambiguous turns out to be neither when all things are considered.