DCCC Apologetics Course II EGYPTIAN HISTORY CONTRADICTS BIBLE HISTORY OF JOSEPH AND MOSES Lesson 15

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INTRODUCTION

Critical scholars say that Egyptian history and archaeology linked to Egyptian dating contradicts Bible history from Joseph to Moses. Indeed, if Egyptian history is correctly dated, Biblical history from Joseph to Moses seriously contradicts Egyptian history. This lesson demonstrates the serious conflict that exists between Egyptian and Biblical histories if both of the histories are correctly dated.

In the next lesson we will show how complete harmony exists between the two histories when Egyptian history is dated 3 centuries later. Let us first establish the dates of Biblical history from Abraham to the Conquest before looking at parallel Egyptian history.

LESSON AIM:

To compare Egyptian history and Bible history from the time of Joseph to the Exodus of Israel out of Egypt.

LESSON OBJECTIVES: You will . . .

  1. Examine the Bible chronology from Abraham’s promise to the fourth year of Solomon’s reign.
  2. See how Egyptian history matches Biblical history during the time of Joseph.
  3. Learn that the accepted concept of Egyptian history runs contradictory to Biblical history for the time of Moses and the Exodus.

BIBLICAL HISTORY CHRONOLOGY

  • Chronology From Abraham’s Promise to Joseph’s Death
    1. 966 B.C. has been established by Edwin Thiele as the spring of Solomon’s 4th year.
    2. 1446 B.C.- the Exodus was 480 years before Solomon’s 4th year. I Kings 6:1.
    3. 1876 B.C. – Galatians 3:17 dates the Promise to Abraham 430 years before the Exodus.
    4. 1846 B.C. – Isaac’s birth (Genesis 17:17).
    5. 1786 B.C. – Jacob’s birth (Genesis 25:26).
    6. 1656 B.C. – Jacob entered Egypt in his 130th year (Genesis 47:9).
    7. 1665 B.C. – Joseph became prime minister at 30 years of age (Genesis 41:46).
      1. The 7 years of abundance began the same year Joseph became prime minister of Egypt (Genesis 41:32-47).
      2. Jacob arrived at the end of the 2nd year of famine (Genesis 45:6); Joseph became Prime Minister of Egypt 9 full years before Jacob arrived.
      3. Adding these 9 years to Jacob’s arrival in 1656 B.C. fixes Joseph’s appointment as prime minister in 1665 B.C.

 

  1. 1678 B.C. – Joseph was 17 when sold as a slave into Egypt (Genesis 37:2), 13 years before he was appointed Prime Minister at age 30: 1656 + 13 = 1678 B.C.
  2. 1695 B.C. – Joseph was born in Canaan 30 years before he became Prime Minister.
  3. 1585 B.C. – Joseph died in Egypt at age 110 (Genesis 50:26).
  • Chronology From Joseph to the Conquest (See Table 15-A).
    1. 1585 B.C. Joseph’s death.
    2. 1446 B.C. – Date of the Exodus.
    3. 1526 B.C. – Moses’ birth (Exodus 7:7).
    4. 1486 B.C. – Moses fled to Midian at age 40 (Acts 7:23).
      1. The Pharaoh of Moses’ birth likely died before Moses was 40, because he had been reigning for sometime before Moses was born.
      2. Moses’ foster uncle (brother of Moses’ Egyptian mother) was likely reigning when Moses was 40 and fled to Midian (Exodus 2:11-15).
      3. Moses remained in Midian 40 years because he was 80 when he returned to Egypt (Exodus 7:7)
      4. Toward the end of Moses’ 40-year exile in Midian the Pharaoh that sought to kill Moses also died (Exodus 2:23).
      5. The Pharaoh that tried to kill Moses should have reigned forty years or more since he was reigning before Moses fled to Egypt and reigned most of Moses’ 40-year exile.
      6. When all the men who formerly knew Moses had died, God commanded Moses to return to Egypt (Exodus 4:19).
    5. 1446 B.C. – Moses returned to Egypt at age 80 (Exodus 7:7) and left Egypt with in the same year (Exodus 12-14).
      1. The Pharaoh of the Exodus began to reign toward the end of Moses’ 40-year exile and was still reigning when Moses returned to Egypt.
      2. Psalm 136:15, joined with Exodus 14:28, teach that the Pharaoh of the Exodus died with his army in the Red Sea in 1446 B.C.
      3. Since the Pharaoh of the Exodus came to power shortly before Moses returned to Egypt and died in the Sea, his reign had to be very short, certainly less than ten years.
    6. 1406 B.C. – Joshua led Israel to conquer Canaan forty years later (Joshua 5:6).

EGYPTIAN HISTORY CONTRADICTS THE BIBLE HISTORY OF JOSEPH

  • Was Joseph the Prime Minister of A 13th Dynasty Pharaoh in 1665 B.C.?
    1. R. Baines revised Egyptian chronology in the 1991 edition of the New Encyclopedia Britannica, assigning the year 1665 B.C. to the beginning of the last thirty years of the 13th dynasty.[i]
    2. However, the 13th and 14th dynasties were reigning simultaneously over a divided Egypt in 1665 B.C. (See Table 15-B.)
  • Parallel Dynasties Contradict the Biblical Description of Egypt’s Kingdom When Joseph Was Prime Minister of Egypt
    1. The Bible says that Joseph was prime minister of a Pharaoh who alone ruled over all of Egypt (Genesis 41:41-44, 55-56).
    2. Since the 14th dynasty reigned over part of Egypt while the 13th dynasty reigned over another part of Egypt, Joseph could not be the Prime Minister of a 13th dynasty Pharaoh.
    3. During the years of famine Joseph bought all of the land of Egypt and then leased the land back to the Egyptians after the famine had passed. Moses said that Joseph’s lease law was still operative at the time of the Exodus.[ii]
    4. Joseph’s law could not endure until Moses’ time if Joseph lived in the 13th dynasty, because the two Hyksos dynasties (15th and 16th  ) invaded Egypt thirty years later, took over the land of northern Egypt for themselves, and thus annulled former Egyptian lease laws. (See this chronology in Table 15-B.)
    5. Joseph could not have been the prime minister of a 13th dynasty Pharaoh, nor of a 15th  dynasty Pharaoh.
  • Most Scholars Believe Joseph Was the Prime Minister of A Hyksos Pharaoh [iii]
    1. The Hyksos were fellow Semites, and are thought to be more likely to have appointed him as prime minister than a pure Egyptian Pharaoh.
    2. The Hyksos had their capital Avaris in the eastern Delta of Egypt where Goshen was located close to the Israelites as Genesis 45:10 says.
  • Proof That Joseph Could Not Be the Prime Minister of a Hyksos Pharaoh
    1. Four dynasties (13 to 16) reigned simultaneously over Egypt in 1665 B.C. (Cambridge Ancient History.)[iv]
    2. The 15th dynasty reigned at its capital at Avaris, in the delta. See Table 15-C.
    3. The Bible says that Joseph was prime minister of a Pharaoh who alone ruled over all of Egypt (Genesis 41:41-44, 55-56).
    4. The Bible also says that the Pharaoh of Joseph bought all of the livestock and land of Egypt (Genesis 45:8, 26; 47:16-26). Therefore, this Pharaoh could not belong to the 15th Hyksos Dynasty, because three other Pharaohs and their Egyptian subjects owned land all over Egypt.

18TH DYNASTY HISTORY CONTRADICTS BIBLE HISTORY OF MOSES AND THE EXODUS

  • The Date of Moses’ Birth Coincides With the Reign of Ahmose of the 18th Dynasty
    1. The Britannica chronology dates Ahmose, the first king of the 18th dynasty, as reigning in 1526 B.C., the Biblical date of Moses’ birth.
    2. If both Egyptian and Biblical dates are correct, Ahmose should have been the reigning Pharaoh whose daughter found baby Moses in the reeds of the Nile.
    3. Table 15-D compares the 18th Dynasty with Biblical chronology.
  • Egypt’s Capital at the Exodus
    1. Egyptologists locate the 18th dynasty capital in Thebes (modern Luxor) in southern Egypt, about 400 miles from the land of Goshen by the Nile River.
    2. In 1526 B.C. (Moses’ birth year), Egypt’s capital was located close to Goshen, because Pharaoh’s daughter found baby Moses in the Nile River close to the palace (Exodus 2:1-10).
    3. 1446 B.C., the year of the Exodus, the capital of Egypt was still located in northern Egypt near the land of Goshen.
    4. Psalm 78:12,43 and Numbers 13:22 name “Zoan” as Egypt’s capital at the Exodus.
    5. Zoan is located in the eastern delta on the northern border of Goshen.
    6. Zoan’s closeness to Goshen explains how Joseph and Moses traveled back and forth between Goshen and Zoan.[v]
  • Rameses and Pithom in Goshen
    1. The reigning Pharaoh of Moses’ birth forced the Israelites to construct the cities of Ramses and Pithom in the land of Goshen (Exodus 1:11).
    2. Israel was constructing with mud bricks and straw in Goshen when the Exodus occurred 80 years later (Exodus 5).
    3. Archaeological excavation of these cities in Goshen shows that neither Ahmose, nor any other 18th dynasty king constructed them. They were originally constructed hundreds of years earlier by 12th dynasty kings.
    4. Geographical and archaeological history of the 18th dynasty contradicts the Bible history of Moses’ first 80 years of life.
  • The Duration of the Reign of the Pharaoh That Tried to Kill Moses
    1. According to the Britannica chronology, Thutmose I was ruling in 1486 B.C., when Moses fled to Midian at age 40 (Exodus 2:11-15; Acts 7:23-29).
    2. If so, Thutmose I is the Pharaoh that hated Moses and tried to kill him.
    3. The king that tried to kill Moses died toward the end of Moses’ 40-year exile (Exodus 2:23).
    4. Thutmose I’s reign endured only 11 years, from 1493 to 1482 B.C. Thus, Thutmose I’s death is dated 4 years after Moses arrived in Midian.
    5. Thutmose I did not reign most of Moses’ forty-year exile and cannot be the Pharaoh that tried to kill him.
  • The Duration of the Reign of the Pharaoh of the Exodus
    1. According to Britannica’s chronology Thutmose III reigned from 1479 to 1426 B.C. and should be the Pharaoh of the Exodus in 1446 B.C.
    2. However, the capital of the Pharaoh of the Exodus was located in northern Egypt, whereas Thutmose III’s capital was at Thebes, 400 miles south of Goshen by the Nile. He is not the Pharaoh that Moses saw often near Goshen.
    3. Exodus 2:23: The Pharaoh of the Exodus came to power toward the end of Moses’ 40-year exile in Midian. The Pharaoh of the Exodus died in the Red Sea with his army and thus reigned less than ten years (Psalm 136:13-15; Exodus 14:6-28).
    4. Thutmose III reigned a total of 53 years, including 20 years after the 1446 B.C. Exodus. Thutmose III cannot be the Pharaoh of the Exodus.
  • Egypt’s Destroyed Army
    1. Exodus 14:5-28: Pharaoh’s entire army was destroyed in the Red Sea in the Biblical date of 1446 B.C.
    2. The Britannica chronology and the Ancient Records of Egypt, II.406, p. 174 say that Thutmose III continued to fight and win battles for 20 years after 1446 B.C., including his greatest victory in 1445 B.C..
  • Britannica’s New Chronology Dates Amenhotep II’s Reign from 1426 to 1400 B.C., Precisely When the 1406 B.C. Conquest Should Have Occurred
    1. In his seventh year, dated 1419 B.C., Amenhotep II invaded Canaan and captured 3,600 Hapiru (Hebrews).[vi]
    2. The Hebrews were not supposed to arrive in Canaan until 1406 B.C.
    3. A contradiction between 18th dynasty history and Biblical history.
  • Archaeologists Report That Jericho and Other Canaanite Cities Fell as the Bible Describes in the Middle Bronze IIB Age, Dated from 1800 to 1550 B.C. [vii]
    1. The Bible dates for the conquest of Canaan – 1406 to 1396 B.C.
    2. Archaeology: Jericho and other Canaanite cities fell some 50 and 400 years before the Biblical conquest.
  • Low Population in the Southern Negev Before From 1700 to 1200 B.C.
    1. Numbers 13:26-29 says that all of Canaan was heavily populated with large fortified cities and giant inhabitants before Israel conquered the land c. 1406 B.C.
    2. Hallo, the Yale University historian, presents evidence against the Biblical account of the highly populated and fortified cities from 1444 to 1406 B.C.: “Archaeological surface exploration in the Negev [southern desert of Canaan] . . . proves it to have been totally devoid of occupation during the last three-fourths of the second millennium [1700-1300 B.C.]”[viii]
    3. This contradicts the Biblical account of large populations in 1406 B.C.

PROBLEM OF THE EXODUS IN THE 19TH DYNASTY

  • Many Bible Scholars Identify Ramses II of the 19th dynasty as the Pharaoh of the Exodus
    1. The Britannica chronology dates Ramses II’s reign from 1279 to 1213 B.C., 167 to 240 years later than the Biblical date of 1446 B.C.
    2. The 480 years of 1 Kings 6:1 are interpreted as figurative of twelve generations of 40 years each, rather than as literal years.
    3. The 300 years of Judges 11:16 also contradicts the idea that Ramses II was the Pharaoh of the Exodus.
    4. Ramses II constructed a new capital called Pi-Rameses in the delta of Egypt, fitting the location and name of the city of Rameses in Exodus 1:11.
    5. Many scholars concluded that Ramses II is the Pharaoh of the Exodus.
  • Contradictions Between 19th Dynasty History & Biblical History of the Exodus
    1. Rameses was a store city not the capital of Egypt in Moses’ day.
      1. Pharaoh built the store cities of Rameses and Pithom in Moses day.[ix]
      2. Ramses II constructed Pi-Rameses as his new capital.
    2. Zoan the capital of Egypt in Moses’ time (Numbers 13:22; Psalm 78:12,43).
      1. Pi-Rameses was the capital city in Ramses II’s day.
      2. In Ramses II’s time Zoan was not the capital.
      3. Moses and Ramses II lived in different historical periods.
    3. Pi-Rameses, the capital city of Ramses II, was constructed out of stone over the ruins of the Hyksos capital of Avaris. Underneath the Hyksos strata was found an older, mud-brick store city built 500 years earlier by Pharaohs of the 12th dynasty.[x] Rameses, the store city of Moses’ time, was built out of mud-bricks.[xi] Ramses II built the stone capital of Pi-Ramses 500 years after the mud-brick store city of Rameses was built by a 12th dynasty king. The two cities are not the same.
    4. The tribe of Asher was already in Canaan before Ramses II reigned. A scribe of Ramses II’s early reign contacted the chief of Asher while journeying in Canaan.[xii] Asher was one of the 12 tribes of Israel.[xiii] Ramses II’s scribe met the chief of Asher in the very area of Canaan that Joshua designated for the tribe of Asher.[xiv] Israel was already present in Canaan before the Exodus supposedly took place later in Ramses II’s reign.
    5. Ramses II reigned too long to be the Pharaoh of the Exodus. He reigned sixty-seven years. The Pharaoh of the Exodus could not have reigned more than ten years. Ramses II’s long reign disqualifies him from being the short-reigning Pharaoh of the Exodus. (See Table 15-E.)
    6. Israel was desolate in Canaan in the 5th year of Merneptah, the son of Ramses II.[xv] If Ramses II were the Pharaoh of the Exodus, Israel should have been wandering in the wilderness for 40 years or victorious in Canaan in Merneptah’s 5th year. Merneptah’s picture of desolate Israel in Canaan proves Israel was present in Canaan at that time, but gives no support to Ramses II as the Pharaoh of the Exodus.
    7. The Conquest occurred in Middle Bronze II, not the Late Bronze Age. All modern archaeologists date the foreign conquest of Jericho and other Canaanite cities in the Middle Bronze IIB/C Age. Ramses II lived in Late Bronze II-A, more than 300 years after Middle Bronze II ended. Therefore, Ramses II cannot be the Pharaoh of the Exodus.
  • Growing Rejection of the Biblical Exodus and Conquest by Scholars
    1. The late Kathleen Kenyon, knighted by England for her archaeological excavation of Jericho, says Jericho’s walls fell before the time of the 18th or 19th dynasties.
      1. Kenyon concluded that the Biblical account of the conquest under Joshua never occurred and that it is a waste of time to read Biblical chronology from Abraham to David.
      2. Kenyon proposed that the literary and archaeological evidence suggests that the Israelites arrived in Palestine in three phases: (1) many Israelites remained in Canaan and never went to Egypt, (2) some were expelled with the Hyksos in 1570 B.C., (3) a few others entered with Joshua in the time of Ramses II, but not as the Bible describes.[xvi]
    2. The late Joseph Callaway, former director of Graduate Studies at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, excavated Ai and determined that Ai did not exist as a city during the 18th and 19th dynasties and that therefore the Biblical account of the conquest is completely erroneous.[xvii]
    3. Many archaeologists consider Biblical archaeology “dead” and are “embarrassed” by those who connect archaeological excavation to Biblical events.[xviii]
    4. Most archaeologists, historians and a growing number of Biblical scholars no longer believe as historical truth the Biblical events surrounding Joseph, Moses, the Exodus and the Conquest.

 

  1. Hershell Shank recently asked William Dever if most archaeologists rejected the Biblical description of Joshua’s conquest of Canaan. Dever answered, “I would say all archaeologists.”[xix]
  • Religious Consequences of the Exodus Problem
    1. The Church of England has closed the doors to scores of houses of worship in London because the people no longer believe in the Bible nor in religion.
    2. Many U.S. denominations are dividing over the historicity the Bible.
    3. As a result, these churches are dividing over the moral and religious authority of the Bible, homosexual and lesbian preachers, pre-marital sex and adultery, and ordination of women as preachers and elders.

CONCLUSION

The Exodus problem seriously calls into question the veracity of biblical history and has created growing unbelief and immorality.

SELF EXAM FOR LESSON FIFTEEN

 

  1. Match the dates:

___966 B.C.                           a.             Isaac’s birth

___1446                                b.             Joseph’s death

___1876                                c.             Israel entered Canaan land

___1846                                d.             Moses’ birth

___1786                                e.             Moses fled to Midian at age 40

___1585                                f.          Date of the Exodus

___1526                                 g.             The spring of Solomon’s 4th  year

___1486                                h.             The promise to Abraham

___1406                                i.              Joseph’s birth

 

  1. What are the biblical dates for the conquest of Canaan? ___________________________________
  2. What was the late Kathleen Kenyon’s conclusion concerning the falling of Jericho? ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
  3. Discuss three consequences of the problem surrounding the unsettled question of the Exodus.
    1. ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
    2. ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
    3. ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

 

 

[i] J. R. Baines, New Encyclopedia Britannica, 1991 Ed.,18.114.

[ii] Genesis 47:20-26.

[iii] C. F. Pfeiffer, ‘Joseph,’ Zondervan Pictorial Bible Encyclopedia, III.695.

[iv] Cambridge Ancient History, II.1. p. 818.

[v] Genesis 45:10; Exodus 7:15; 8:6-8, 20-23; 9:7, 13,27,33; 10:22-24; 12:29-31,37.

[vi] James Pritchard, Ancient Near Eastern Texts, 3rd Ed., p. 247.

[vii] Amihai Mazar, Archaeology of the Land of the Bible, p. 30.

[viii] Hallo, Ancient Near East, A History, p. 74.

[ix] Exodus 1:11.

[x] W. A. Shea, “Exodus, Date of,” International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, II.231.

[xi] Exodus 1:11; 5:6-19.

[xii] Yohanan Aharoni and Michael Avi-Yonah, Macmillan Bible Atlas, p.39.

[xiii] Exodus 1:1-5.

[xiv] Joshua 19:24-31.

[xv] “Hymn of Victory of Merneptah,” Ancient Near Eastern Texts,” Ed. Pritchard, p.378.

[xvi] K. Kenyon, Archaeology of the Holy Land (Nelson Pub., 1985), pp. 16, 111,            204-206.

[xvii] Biblical Archaeological Review, Nov./Dec., 1988, p. 24).

[xviii] Neil Silberman, “Lure of the Holy Land,” Archaeology, Nov./Dec., 1990, p. 33.

[xix] Hershel Shanks, “Is This Man a Biblical Archaeologist,” Biblical Archaeology Review, July/August, 1996, 22.4, p.37.

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