Community Discussions

Find answers, ask questions, and connect with our
community around the world.

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

  • Thomas Donlon

    April 18, 2021 at 9:03 pm

    Correction: To myself. I don’t know where I got the idea that the 318 trained men In Abraham’s household were all on horseback. I can’t find a horse mentioned in the bible before the mention of Egyptians giving/selling their horses to Pharaoh in exchange for food. Maybe night raid and I assumed it was so?

    Remarkable I got this so wrong. I was certain I was right.


    I had a few more thoughts on the Abraham Abimelek encounter.

    I once read a certain President’s book (before he was he elected or before he assumed office) called the ART OF THE DEAL. And I don’t know or remember much about what he wrote about negotiation tactics.) But often people like to start their negotiation from a position of strength. God certainly did this appearing to Abimelek “You are as good as dead…Now return the man’s wife, for he is a prophet, and he will pray for you and you will live. But if you do not return her, you may be sure that you and all who belong to you will die.”

    Abimelek complied.

    Then Abimelek brought sheep and cattle and male and female slaves and gave them to Abraham, and he returned Sarah his wife to him.
    15 And Abimelek said, "My land is before you; live wherever you like."
    16 To Sarah he said, "I am giving your brother a thousand shekels of silver. This is to cover the offense against you before all who are with you; you are completely vindicated."
    17 Then Abraham prayed to God, and God healed Abimelek, his wife and his female slaves so they could have children again,
    18 for the LORD had kept all the women in Abimelek's household from conceiving because of Abraham's wife Sarah.
    (Gen. 20:14-18 NIV)

    Typically people denigrate the position of their opponent in a negotiation.

    “It’s no good, it’s no good!” says the buyer– then goes off and boasts about the purchase. (Prov. 20:14 NIV)

    Abimelek talking to Abraham didn’t voice anything about Abraham’s condition that he could exploit nor did he explain why Abraham needed his help in any particular way. Instead,

    At that time Abimelek and Phicol the commander of his forces said to Abraham, "God is with you in everything you do.
    23 Now swear to me here before God that you will not deal falsely with me or my children or my descendants. Show to me and the country where you now reside as a foreigner the same kindness I have shown to you."
    (Gen. 21:22-23 NIV)

    Abimelek’s request to Abraham was for merely reciprocity of the kindness that Abimelek had already showed Abraham. Telling someone “God is with you in everything you do…” does not create uncertainty and fear and make someone feel the need to capitulate.

    Think about how the Assyrian commanders talked to Hezekiah. They boasted about the strength of their forces, of their accomplishments and belittled Hezekiah’s connection to God, implying God was angry with Hezekiah for taking down the High Places to Yahweh. They boasted about what they could do for Hezekiah (give him horses) and how bad it would be for Jerusalem if they did not capitulate and they argued God couldn’t help the people of Jerusalem and neither could Egypt.

    Now all the chronological stuff you (Ken, Ron, Deborah) are trying to figure out. My hat is off to all you people who have been working through all this. I half want to suggest whether (if need be) some of the prophesies about 400 years of oppression, living in foreign lands etc… could start from the birth of say Isaac (the date of descendants being in a foreign land) and continue through the wanderings in the desert. They were there in the wilderness, but still somewhat afflicted and still not in their own land.

    I”m not offering any solutions to any chronological issues here. I’m just brainstorming about whether some end point could be moved rather than the starting point. I don’t even need the complexity of the situation (numbers) explained, I’m hardly even curious to understand all this. I’ve got so many papers and documents to read before I’ll feel free to have the background to start figuring these timelines out. Even then, I’d prefer my attention be elsewhere.