First, most important…
How many Children of Israel (COI) were on the alleged Exodus?
Various “studies” (I don’t know how one can study something that never happened) put the numbers between 3 and 6 million. The bible says there were 600,000+ males of fighting age. Here is a Christian website that supports the number as being 2.5 – 3.5 million. Assuming that there were large families due to the rapid increase in the Jewish population) and knowing that even the Children of Israel had slaves (Exodus 12:44) it is easy to support a number of 3 million (about the size of Chicago).
This apologist “shows” that the number of COI in Egypt at the end of the 430 years was about 5,000,000! This totally vindicates our use of 3,000,000.
The Truth Is…
No Jews in Egypt EVER!
The “documentary hypothesis” identifies four authors, J, E, D, P of the Torah. J and E wrote around 900 BCE, D and P wrote around 700 and the whole Torah was assembled around 400 BCE. No serious Biblical scholar denies this timeline for the Torah.
The Torah defines what it means to be one of God’s chosen people, it defines the Jewish religion. It lays down all the laws that one had to follow (including cutting off part of a man’s penis) in order to be seen as a Jew.
Since the Torah was not completed until around 400 BCE, there was no such thing as a Jew in 1446 BCE.
No Written Evidence of Existence of Hebrews in Egypt
According to Exodus 12:40, the Israelites lived in Egypt for 430 years. The Bible mentions Egypt about 700 times, yet there is no mention of the Israelites in any Egyptian history, nor archaeological evidence outside the Hebrew Scriptures that records the sojourn of the Israelite in Egypt. With no leader (Moses comes later) and no synagogue, the “Israelites” would have been assimilated into the Egyptian culture.
There is no mention of Jews or 10 plagues in this extensive history of Egypt.
Most Important: The Egyptian records themselves have no mention of anything recorded in Exodus. Egyptians wrote extensively, in their distinctive hieroglyphs, and practiced detailed art that depicted many scenes of Egyptian life yet none depicts any of the 10 plagues. Because they left such a rich legacy, the Egyptians are more familiar to us than perhaps any other ancient civilization.
As the Jewish archaeologists Israel Finkelstein and Neil Silberman noted:
[W]e have no clue, not even a single word, about the early Israelites in Egypt: neither in monumental inscriptions on the walls of temples, nor in tomb inscriptions, nor in papyri. Israel is absent – as a possible foe of Egypt, as a friend, or as an enslaved nation
Most historians today agree that at best, the stay in Egypt and the Exodus occurred in a few families and that their private story was expanded and “nationalized” to fit the needs of theological ideology.
Israeli archaeologist Ze’ev Herzog, provides the current consensus view on the historicity of the Exodus:
The Israelites never were in Egypt. They never came from abroad. This whole chain is broken. It is not a historical one. It is a later legendary reconstruction – made in the seventh century [BCE] – of a history that never happened.
William Dever, an archaeologist normally associated with the more conservative end of Syro-Palestinian archaeology, has labeled the question of historicity of Exodus “dead.”
No Archaeological Evidence of a 40 Year Sojourn in the Desert
Modern archaeological research has found no evidence that the Sinai desert ever hosted, or could have hosted, 3+ million people, nor of a massive population increase in Canaan, estimated to have had a population of between 50,000 and 100,000 at the time. The wilderness of the southern Sinai peninsula shows no traces of a mass-migration such as Exodus describes, and virtually all the place-names mentioned, including Goshen (the area within Egypt where the Israelites supposedly lived), the store-cities of Pithom and Rameses, the site of the crossing of the Red Sea, and even Mt Sinai itself, have resisted identification.
Even Those Whose Purpose Would be Served Can’t Find Anything
This is not for want of trying. Both Jewish and Christian “scholars” have been desperately trying to find evidence to “prove” that Exodus took place. “Between 1967, when Israel captured the Sinai Peninsula from Egypt, and 1982, when it was returned in the peace treaty, Israeli archaeologists made dozens of expeditions throughout the peninsula. Yet, not a single shred of evidence for an ancient Israelite presence was found. Great schools of Jewish archaeology, given every motive to find to the contrary, and given every chance to find, in the Sinai and the region, any evidence of the Exodus, were unable to do so. Came back empty handed and admitted that there was no evidence for any Jewish life in Egypt or in the Sinai desert.
Surely more than 3+million people wandering around for forty years would have left some traces (pottery, bones, fecal matter, wagon parts) for archaeologists to find. Remember, God allowed the initial cohort of 3+ million to die. Only second generation “Israelites” entered Canaan. Thus there would have been over 3 million well preserved (desert you know) human skeletons, not to mention the skeletons of the live stock. Yet not a single bone has been found. Nor has any trace of fecal matter (a primary tool of archeologists and DNA analysis. See Archaeological Study of Human Fossil Feces called Coprolite” for proof of this.) been found and there would have been plenty of it, especially from the thrice dead cattle that Israelites took with them.
Ezion-Geber, where the ancient Israelites supposedly encamped (Numbers 33:35), is another site that has been identified by archaeologists. Yet here too no artifacts dating to the time of the Exodus can be found. Finally, despite numerous digs on Mount Sinai, on the southern tip of Sinai Peninsula, no evidence has been found of any ancient Israelite presence there.
No Evidence of Effect of Loss of 1/2 of Egypt’s Population
The bible says that the “Exodus” consisted of 603,550 able-bodied adult males (not counting Levites), wives, non-fighting men, Levites and children would have brought the total to 3 million or more; equivalent to nearly half of the entire Egyptian population of around 3-6 million. After 430 years, the Jews would have been well integrated into the fabric of Egyptian culture and economy. If they were slaves, they would have been even more critical to the economy. The loss of such a huge proportion of the population would have caused havoc to the Egyptian economy, but no evidence of such effect has been found.
Please, please THINK
Think of it this way… if, in the United States, approximately 150 million workers (~50% of our population) of the lowest job skills suddenly disappeared tomorrow and, at the same time, roughly 20% of our population suddenly dropped dead all at the stroke of midnight (i.e. “first born), and our entire Army (what was left of it) drowned in the sea, not to mention loss of all crops and cattle, don’t you think this would have affected our economy and reduced us to a third world country?
Wouldn’t Egypt have been affected similarly? Yet, at the time of the alleged Exodus (1447 BCE) Egypt was at the height of its powers.
No Evidence of 3,000,000 People Arriving, All at Once, at The “Promised Land”, Canaan.
The archaeology of Palestine has equally failed to substantiate the Bible’s account of the invasion of Canaan by the Israelites arriving from Egypt some forty years later – of the 31 cities supposedly conquered by Joshua, only one (Bethel) shows a destruction level that equates to the Biblical narrative, and there is general agreement that the origins of Israel lie within Canaan itself. Even those scholars who hold the Exodus to represent historical truth concede that the most the evidence can suggest is plausibility.
Even with God’s Help, Logistics Make Exodus an Impossible Event.
FIRST, THE ROUTE
The map and it’s points of destination below is copied from the a website without permission but surely they would want their concept of the Exodus spread throughout the land and God hasn’t said I shouldn’t do this so here it is.
Israel’s Exodus from Egypt and Entry into Canaan
Somehow, Moses gets word to the 3 million COI scattered throughout Egypt that they are to slaughter, roast with fire and, with bitter herbs, they shall slaughter before midnight, a first year male lamb which is without blemish, then put the blood of the lamb on both doorposts. Then, starting after midnight, the 3.0 million COI had to bake their unleavened bread, steal all they could from the Egyptians, gather their flocks and herds and very much cattle and…
- make their way from all over Egypt to Rameses and
- once gathered there, go to Succoth,
- depart from Egypt (go over the border which is over 60 miles away)
- all on that selfsame day!
Exodus 12:51 And it came to pass the selfsame day, that the LORD did bring the children of Israel out of the land of Egypt by their armies.
I thank God that the map includes a legend/scale. From looking at the scale, we can get an approximate sense of the miles covered on that selfsame day.
?? Miles to Ramesses
37 Miles, Ramesses to Succoth
20 miles, Succoth to Pi-Hahiroth (assuming Pi-Hahiroth is even out of Egypt)
So, on that selfsame day, 3,000,000 million people traveled unknown distances to Ramesses, 37 miles to Succoth and an additional 20 miles to Pi-Hahiroth.
Assume family groupings of 10 people. Then there would be 300,000 family groupings if the total of the Children of Israel is 3 million. A family grouping of 10 people and their flocks, herds and many cattle would easily occupy a circle of 55 feet in diameter.
Length of line: 300,000 groups * 55 feet = 16,500,000 feet = 3125 miles. Think of that… A column of Israelite families and their flocks and herds and many cattle stretching 3125 miles (that’s three thousand, one hundred and twenty five miles – do the math – I did).
Imagine a line of traffic stretching from Seattle Wa. to Tampa, Fl (3015 miles). They all want to get to Disneyland in Orlando Fl (~60 miles) Driving at 3 miles per hour, how long would it be after the first car, starting in Tampa, reached Disneyland before the last car in Seattle Wa. was even able to start driving?
Think about how you have to sit and wait in a line of traffic, even though the first car has moved. Now change this analogy from cars to COI family groupings. Walking at 3 miles per hour, it would take at least 20 hours before the first grouping reached Disneyland and that’s assuming the line moved 24 hours a day. No stopping for rest or food. There’s no telling how much longer it would take that last group to in Seattle to reach Disneyland. Remember, they have to travel the entire 3075 mile route walking 3 miles/hour. They WILL need to stop for food and water.
NOTE: Nothing changes significantly regardless of how many family groupings you have abreast. Even at 10 families abreast, the line is still 312 miles long and it’s 1/10th of a mile wide. Still impossible.
WHAT THEY CARRIED
The bible says The COI left Egypt with their “borrowed” Egyptian jewels of silver and jewels of gold and raiment along with all their flocks and herds,and much cattle, and their unleavened dough. In addition, they had those things “such that they required” that the Egyptians “lent” them.
However, here is what they did NOT have with them because they were thrust out of Egypt, and could not tarry, neither had they prepared for themselves any victual. Exodus 12:39
- any victual for themselves other than the unleavened bread.
- food for the flocks, herds and even very much cattle.
- water for themselves and the flocks, herds and even very much cattle.
- tents large enough for a family of at least 10 and sturdy enough to withstand 40 years of desert blowing sand around like sandpaper.
- arms, shields, swords, spears,
- knowledge of how to fight – they were slaves, not taught the art of war
- components for the Ark that God would make them construct
- beasts of burden; oxen and carts to haul all of the above which they did not have but which magically appear later on in the story.
Imagine the chaos of 3,000,000 people arriving at each of the 18 locations identified above with all their herds etc and no organization to tell them where to go, what to eat, where to take care of hygiene. This is all so ridiculous it doesn’t merit any more attention.
The “Children of Israel” were the same in number as the American city of Chicago. Chicago is spread over 130 square miles.
Seriously… How did Moses communicate with all “the children of Israel”? Remember, all this communication transpired in less that 24 hours.
What about clothing?
Now, on the very same night that marked the anniversary of their four hundred and thirtieth year (earlier we read 400 years), they all left Egypt. All 3 million of them with their flocks, herds, cattle, bread and stolen booty.
But what about clothing? They did not have much time to pack. They left in one night. All 3 million of them. For forty years then, these people go through the desert with only the clothes they brought with them on that departure eve. Really?!
I suspect those clothes got pretty ragged and torn and rank after about the 10th year. And, no relief from the unabated sun of the desert. I’ll bet they needed a lot of water and sun tan lotion.
Although God presumably provided food in the form of “Manna” and quail, there is no mention of Him providing water other than from a single rock and the 12 springs at Elim. Huge quantities of water would have been necessary to support 3,000,000 people and all the livestock they stole from the Egyptians. The city of Philadelphia requires 250 MILLION GALLONS OF WATER A DAY distributed via 3,300 miles of underground pipes. But the “Children of Israel” were moving around – hence the water supply would have to move with them. Remember they were in a desert! One rock spouting water did not supply 3 million people. Even if it did, it would have gushed at a rate of 175,000 gallons a minute onto the desert floor. Old Faithful in Yellowstone Park “gushes” a maximum of only 8400 gallons a minute. Wanna take a sip?
Seriously, what was the source of the water that maintained a city the size of Philadelphia and their livestock for a period of 40 years? How was it distributed?
THIS JUST IN: (8/11/2015)
Couple dies due to heat stroke in New Mexico desert within hours, even with 40 oz of water they carried with them.
Read the article here.
In case the original article is gone, you can read the story on this website. I copied it to make sure it would always be available.
The point of this “extra” is to show that it would have been impossible for 3,000,000 people to survive desert conditions without water. Water oozing from a rock could not support 3,000,000 people plus their livestock, regardless of whether or not they were in a desert. The fact that they were in a desert makes the story all the more impossible.
Recall that the COI cried out about having to eat nothing but manna. Then God stuffed quail down their throats until it came out their nostrils.
Why didn’t they eat all their flocks and herds,and much cattle? All their flocks and herds,and much cattle would have been reproducing at a rate that would have sustained the COI for the duration of the 40 year journey.
Because it makes a better story to have God provide for their needs by dropping manna from heaven.
The excrement from 3,000,000 humans and their livestock and herds would have produced a monumental volume of excrement EVERY DAY and its associated health problems. And this continued for over forty years! And yet there was no dysentery, diarrhea, cholera? Even today, around four million people a year die due to disease linked to a lack of safe drinking water, inadequate sanitation and poor hygiene.
Here is an excerpt from an article that appeared in the New York Times entitled “In India, latrines Are Lifesavers“. It completely supports the argument made above – that sanitation would have been a BIG problem for the Children Of Israel”.
“Jani’s pride is not unfounded. The success in her village is rare despite India’s repeated attempts to stop open defecation, a serious risk to health and safety that is on newly elected Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s agenda. More than 620 million people in India defecate outdoors — a much higher rate than in poorer countries like Bangladesh or those in sub-Saharan Africa. Exposure to fecal matter is a leading cause of diarrhea, which kills 600,000 people in the country each year, a third of them children. Andas Gardiner Harris reported in July, open defecation and rapid population growth fuel bacterial growth that contributes to malnutrition and stunted growth in 65 million Indian children under the age of five.”
Seriously, how did the “Children of Israel” deal with the huge sanitation problem that naturally occurs whenever large groups of people and their ” flocks and herds, and much cattle” live close together?
According to the Bible, the 430 year stay in Egypt started with only 70 people. After only 430 years, the population had grown to 3,000,000. This is an outrageous rate of growth. Apparently, it stopped immediately after the Exodus. More nonsense.
The COI took many spoils from their Egyptian captors including cattle (which, btw, were killed thrice over by the plagues). Using the statistics presented in the New International Version we find that the quantities of materials required for construction of:
The Altar of Incense
The Altar of Burnt Offering
The Basin for Washing
required, at least…
- 1 ton of gold
- 3.75 tons of silver;
- 2.50 tons of bronze; and
- over a mile of linen
- over a mile of yarn
The requirements for the Ark of the Covenant were not given until the Children were already in the desert!
How did they know to bring all this stuff along with them? They were given one day to pack up and leave Egypt.
Seriously where did all these raw materials come from? How were they transported? There is no mention of beasts of burden.
The Golden Calf
Where did the gold come from to make a golden calf? (We know… borrowed/lent/stolen). Where did the mold come from to form the gold into a golden calf? Gold melts at 2000 degrees Fahrenheit; where did the Children get fuel to heat the gold over to 2000 degrees? Don’t say “trees”; the COI were in the desert and had been there for a while. Any trees that may have existed initially were long used up by the time the calf was made. Where did they get a container that would not melt at temperatures over 2000 degrees and was able to hold the molten gold?
The Live Stock
What did the livestock eat? The Children got Manna for breakfast from heaven and quail for dinner from heaven (once) but what did the livestock eat for forty years?
The Lord Speaks Out of Both Sides Of His Mouth
We can’t let this one go. Read this:
34:6 And the LORD passed by before him, and proclaimed, The LORD, The LORD God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth,
34:7 Keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, and that will by no means clear the guilty; visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children, and upon the children’s children, unto the third and to the fourth generation.
Is that not a total contradiction? On the one hand the lord is merciful, gracious, longsuffering and abundant in goodness and truth, keeping mercy for thousands (the fact that the world had a population of millions was way beyond the author’s comprehension), forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin! Then IN THE SAME SENTENCE, the Lord says he will punish the children and the great, great grandchildren of anyone who sins. WTF?
Discontinuities of the Torah
Age of Moses
The Age and genealogy of Moses indicates that Moses was in Egypt for 359 years but the Bible states he was 80 when he leaves.
Jacob enters Egypt with “All those who were descendants of Jacob were seventy persons” Four hundred and thirty years later, approximately 3,000,000 “Children of Israel” leave Egypt. Using basic population statistics, each woman had 9-10 children. However, this prodigious production of children apparently ended the moment they left Egypt.
The same would be true of their livestock. In order to have sufficient numbers of livestock to support the growing numbers which were increasing at an exponential rate, the livestock would have had to also increase at an exponential rate. Apparently this exponential rate of reproduction also stopped the moment they left Egypt.
Nowhere To Go
Children of Israel “escaped” to Canaan, yet Canaan was a province of Egypt so they were still under the rule of the Egyptians, even though they were in the “promised land”.
God’s Broken Promise
God promised that he would return His people … well, you read it:
And I am come down to deliver them out of the hand of the Egyptians, and to bring them up out of that land unto a good land and a large, unto a land flowing with milk and honey; unto the place of the Canaanites, and the Hittites, and the Amorites, and the Perizzites, and the Hivites, and the Jebusites. Exodous 3:8
BUT… only two of those to whom God made the promise actually made it to the land flowing with milk and honey. God compelled them to roam the deserts instead for forty years, until all of them except two had perished. Of all the multitude who escaped from Egypt, only Joshua and Caleb entered the promised land. Even Moses had to die in sight of it.
Their God was worse than the Egyptians ever were. He was quick-tempered, unreasonable, cruel, revengeful, and dishonest. Few of his promises to them were performed. Their tortuous path across the wilderness was marked by a track of death and bleaching bones.
No mention of the Pyramids? Either they built the Pyramids or the Pyramids were already there. How is it possible that there is no mention of the Pyramids in the entire saga?
Because the story was concocted by authors who had no idea of the nature of Egypt; had never seen Egypt.
Why doesn’t Moses mention the names of these offending Pharaohs?
First of all, the word Pharaoh does not appear in any Egyptian literature – these were Kings, not Pharaohs. Giving the name of the King that negotiated with Moses would sure help fact check this ridiculous story.
Second of all, the names of Egyptian Kings of the 1500 BC era were unknown to the authors of the book of Exodus. Modern scholarship sees the book as initially a product of the Babylonian exile (6th century BCE), with final revisions in the Persian post-exilic period (5th century BCE). The authors of Exodus had no idea who the Kings of Egypt were some 800-900 years ago. How could they possibly know?
WRITING OF THE TORAH
According to religious tradition, everything found in the Torah (Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy) was given by God to Moses, some at Mount Sinai and some at the Tabernacle. This dictation and recording resulted in the Torah we have today. No serious, unbiased religious scholar believes that the Torah was written by Moses during the period of the Exodus. Read about the Documentary Hypothesis.
Those five books contain over 100,000 English words. If Moses wrote in Cuneiform, the only form of writing known in that area in that era, it would have taken over 5,000,000 characters to represent the books of the Torah.Here is what the cuneiform symbol for “head” looks like:
The symbol represents an Old Assyrian version of the early 2nd millennium, as adopted into Hittite. Early 2nd millennium is about the time Moses would have been transcribing God’s words.
For reinforcement of how difficult writing in cuneiform is, here is a section of the peace treaty between Hattusa and Ramses II, circa 1250 BCE.
The photo represents the state of the art of writing in 1200 BCE. Note the thickness of the “tablet”. Very thick in order to prevent breakage as it is transported via ox cart over bumpy roads no doubt. Think how many similar tablets Moses would have had to produce. Think of the problems of transporting these back to Canaan given the massive weight and size of the thousands of “tablets”. There can be little doubt that Moses would have had to write in some form of Cuneiform given the state of writing at the time he recorded God’s words.
Now then, upon what did Moses record these words? Writing in wet clay with a stylus was the method of writing in that era. To make the writing permanent, the clay had to be fired. But Moses didn’t have access to clay, only sand. He didn’t have a kiln to fire the clay into solid tablets that could be transported either.
The accumulation of these tablets would have added tons to the transportation burden.
How were these writings preserved during the 40 years?
We don’t have the stones containing words written by God himself onto stone (IE, the 10 commandments), but somehow we have managed to keep intact the entire texts of the Torah? We have apparently been able to preserve God’s word on how to make Aron’s breastplate:
“And thou shalt make the breastplate of judgment with cunning work; after the work of the ephod thou shalt make it; of gold, of blue, and of purple, and of scarlet, and of fine twined linen, shalt thou make it.” Exodus 28:15
Those stones survived long enough to be translated. But where are they now? Thousands of tons of writings created by icon Moses and not a one of these holy stones, words from the mouth of God himself, none of them survived?
The Children of Israel couldn’t even keep track of the two most sacred stone tablets written by the finger of their God. How then, did they ever maintain, intact, thousands of stone-like tablets of Cuneiform scrawled upon by Moses?. When and by whom and where were they translated? Why don’t we have ANY of them now?
The Torah describes events that occur AFTER Moses could have written them – including his own death! (So Moses the servant of the LORD died there in the land of Moab, according to the word of the LORD. Deuteronomy 34:7)
Most of the time, the authors of the Torah use Moses’ name in third person; e.g. “… the Lord said unto Moses …” There are a few instances where the phrase “… the Lord said unto me…” is used. So, it is obvious that it was not some kind of stylistic approach to use the third person because it is not done exclusively. This is more evidence that the Torah was not written by Moses and that Exodus cannot be true because of its’ own internal contradictions.
What Did Happen; i.e. The Truth
From the NOVA series, The Bibles Buried Secrets, read what Carol Meyers, an archeologist and professor of religion at Duke University, has to say about the significance of the Moses narrative in ancient times, the role it plays in American history, and why it continues to resonate with us today. VERY INTERESTING – CLICK HERE!
Summary, in case you don’t follow the link: Canaanites went to Egypt for a variety of reasons. They were generally assimilated—after a generation or two they became Egyptians. There is almost no evidence that those people left. But there are one or two Egyptian documents that record the flight of a handful of people who had been brought to Egypt for one reason or other and who didn’t want to stay there.
There you have it. Some Egyptians, originally from Canaan, left Egypt to return home; THAT IS YOUR EXODUS.
1 James Weinstein, “Exodus and the Archaeological Reality”, in Exodus: The Egyptian Evidence, ed. Ernest S. Frerichs and Leonard H. Lesko (Eisenbrauns, 1997), p.87
2 John Van Seters, “The Geography of the Exodus”, in The Land I Will Show You: Essays on the History and Archaeology of the Ancient Near East in Honour of J. Maxwell Miller, ed. J. Andrew Dearman and M. Patrick Graham (JSOT 343, Sheffield Academic Press, 2001), pp. 255-76
3 Lawrence E. Stager, “Forging an Identity: The Emergence of Ancient Israel”, in The Oxford History of the Biblical World, ed.
4 James K. Hoffmeier, Israel in Egypt: The Evidence for the Authenticity of the Exodus Tradition, (OUP, 1999)