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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?

  • Douglas Petrovich

    January 4, 2021 at 11:14 am

    There is another crucial point that needs to be made here, and one that simply cannot be overlooked or taken lightly. Before getting to that point, first I will say that it is vital to understand that Exod 12:40-41 is the crux passage for solving this dilemma. My article, which is of the proper length that it should be, goes into all of the reasons why it should be taken as the crux passage, but I will point out 1 or 2 highlights.

    This is the one and only passage in the entire Bible, bar none, that was written explicitly to answer the question as to just how long the Israelites resided in Egypt (not Egypt AND Canaan!). It was written by a first-hand witness at the very time that the 430-year period ended. That witness was under inspiration and not subject to fallibility. That witness was historical, physical, real Moses (per future biblical writers who attested to Mosaic authorship, including Jesus Christ). Moses’s historicity is confirmed by the discovery of the Moses Inscription, known to Egyptology as Sinai 361 (see my 2016 book, The World’s Oldest Alphabet for the complete publication).

    This first-hand witness named Moses just watched the clock stop ticking on the time the Israelites were residing in a foreign land. Since Hebrew writing, written first in the proto-consonantal Hebrew script, was in existence since at least 1842 BC (see my book), the Israelites undoubtedly were keeping a written (non-inspired) record of the time that had elapsed since Jacob crossed into Egypt. This is why Moses had the confidence and certainly to write that the sojourn lasted “430 years to the very day.”

    Now to the point that simply cannot be swept under a rug, no matter how hard someone wants to try or chooses to resist: If you do not take Moses’s word from Exod 12:40-41 as authoritative for defining the period of the sojourn in Egypt, you choose not to trust Moses. And if your view of Bibliology (a course that I teach) is where mine is, you also believe in what theologians call dual authorship, meaning that there is divine and human authorship working at the same time . . . somehow. What this means is that you also do not trust God (on this issue, and that’s all that I am alluding to), whether you like to hear that or not, assuming you subscribe to divine co-authorship.

    Your only chance of getting out of this straight jacket is that you solve the textual variant in Exod 12:40 in such a way that you end up with 430 years for the sojourn in Egypt + some undefinable period of time in Canaan before Jacob’s move to Egypt. My article proves that this textual variant most certainly is spurious. Genesis 15 can’t help you. Galatians 3 can’t help you. They simply were NOT written to answer the question of the length of the sojourn in Egypt. And if you try to overturn the proper verdict in Exod 12 by finding an out through counting various patriarchal lifespans and “proving” that 430 years in Egypt does not work, as the suave-video-guy did, you are choosing nothing more than saying your Sherlock-Holmes sleuth-work out-trumps (no political reference here) Mosaic and divine authorship in Exod 12.

    Do I speak all of this as one who has authority? Yes, I do. Unapologetically. Because I have put in a lifetime of hard labor to reach certainty on this issue (not all issues; I’m just referring to this one). If there is one verse you would hear me quote to my students more than any other verse, it’s probably James 3:1, so please do not think that I have anything less than fear and awe of God as I await the future moment when he judges me as to how carefully I handled the word of truth. I take this more seriously than you can ever imagine.