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Does archaeology support the biblical account of Israel’s sojourn in Egypt and the Exodus?
 
10/20/2020
 

Evidence of the Exodus?

Does archaeology support the biblical account of Israel’s sojourn in Egypt and the Exodus?

BY CHRISTOPHER EAMES

It’s that time of year. Across the world, Jewish families are sharing stories about Moses, the 10 plagues and Israel’s march through the Red Sea. The chief source of all these stories is the Bible, which gives a wonderfully detailed account of Israel’s sojourn in Egypt and the Exodus.

But how accurate is the biblical record? What does archaeology tell us about the Israelites in Egypt?

Archaeologists and scholars provide varying answers. "Really, it’s a myth," says Dr. Zahi Hawass. Archaeologist Philippe Bohstrom disagrees. For Haaretz, he wrote, "Were Hebrews Ever Slaves in Ancient Egypt? Yes." Three days later, Haaretz posted an article by archaeology correspondent Ariel David titled "For You Were (Not) Slaves in Egypt."

"The whole subject of the Exodus is embarrassing to archaeologists," wrote Stephen Rosenberg in a 2014 Jerusalem Post article. "The Exodus is so fundamental to us and our Jewish sources that it is embarrassing that there is no evidence outside of the Bible to support it." Apparently, archaeologists dislike questions about the Exodus because, Rosenberg says, "there is nothing in the Egyptian records to support it. Nothing on the slavery of the Israelites, nothing on the plagues that persuaded Pharaoh to let them go, nothing on the miraculous crossing of the Red Sea, nothing."

Sounds like a closed case. But is it? Is there really "no evidence outside of the Bible" of the Israelites’ presence in Egypt?

 
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