Did Exodus happen?

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Did Exodus happen?

#1

Post by 1over137 » Fri Jun 07, 2013 1:10 am

Dear friends,

I ask because I have discussion with an atheist, who is, well, take it as something as close family member.

Issue is, whether Exodus did happen. He gave me some links, then I gave him another given to me from my other Christian friend, but now he says this:
"Search how many people were supposed to leave Egypt and try to imagine whether such a big mass of people did not leave traces behind them when they were supposed to wander for 40 years..."

I wish to ask, what do you know about Exodus? Facts, history, archaelogy, some studies, etc.

Thanks.
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Re: Did Exodus happen?

#2

Post by Ivellious » Fri Jun 07, 2013 1:23 am

I'm no expert in archaeology, but I have a handful of anthropologist/archaeologist friends who have told me this:

There is literally no record from the Egyptians or the surrounding cultures that there was any mass enslavement of Jews in Egypt, which clashes with a literal biblical account.

There is no evidence that any culture spent any significant amount of time wandering around the desert. We have lots of archaeological records of virtually every group of people that have ever been said to have lived in that region during that time frame, but the biblical account of the Jews is the only evidence that they ever did what the Bible says. Which is not very convincing.

From what they've said and what I've seen, most of the general story about what happened to the Jews after Exodus (and their many years of wandering) is archaeologically backed up. But the story about Moses freeing the slaves and leading them on a 40 year quest is completely non-existent in the archaeological record, except for in the Bible. So take that for what you will.

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Re: Did Exodus happen?

#3

Post by Silvertusk » Fri Jun 07, 2013 2:37 am

Ivellious wrote:I'm no expert in archaeology, but I have a handful of anthropologist/archaeologist friends who have told me this:

There is literally no record from the Egyptians or the surrounding cultures that there was any mass enslavement of Jews in Egypt, which clashes with a literal biblical account.

There is no evidence that any culture spent any significant amount of time wandering around the desert. We have lots of archaeological records of virtually every group of people that have ever been said to have lived in that region during that time frame, but the biblical account of the Jews is the only evidence that they ever did what the Bible says. Which is not very convincing.

From what they've said and what I've seen, most of the general story about what happened to the Jews after Exodus (and their many years of wandering) is archaeologically backed up. But the story about Moses freeing the slaves and leading them on a 40 year quest is completely non-existent in the archaeological record, except for in the Bible. So take that for what you will.

Bear in mind that a group of people who was constantly on the move would not leave any trace of archelogical evidence because there was no permanent settlements that would stand the test of time.

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Re: Did Exodus happen?

#4

Post by 1over137 » Fri Jun 07, 2013 2:58 am

Well, Ivel, what do they expect they would find from wandering people?
But examine everything carefully; hold fast to that which is good.
-- 1 Thessalonians 5:21

For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.
-- Philippians 1:6

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Re: Did Exodus happen?

#5

Post by neo-x » Fri Jun 07, 2013 3:22 am

1over137 wrote:Well, Ivel, what do they expect they would find from wandering people?
not much...but I'm afraid your atheist friend will not accept this as a reasonable explanation. People who put their trust in the absence of such evidence are not very serious in my opinion. Its unfair in a way.
It would be a blessing if they missed the cairns and got lost on the way back. Or if
the Thing on the ice got them tonight.

I could only turn and stare in horror at the chief surgeon.
Death by starvation is a terrible thing, Goodsir, continued Stanley.
And with that we went below to the flame-flickering Darkness of the lower deck
and to a cold almost the equal of the Dante-esque Ninth Circle Arctic Night
without.


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Re: Did Exodus happen?

#6

Post by 1over137 » Fri Jun 07, 2013 3:30 am

neo-x wrote:
1over137 wrote:Well, Ivel, what do they expect they would find from wandering people?
not much...but I'm afraid your atheist friend will not accept this as a reasonable explanation. People who put their trust in the absence of such evidence are not very serious in my opinion. Its unfair in a way.
I do not wish to talk about the friend.
But examine everything carefully; hold fast to that which is good.
-- 1 Thessalonians 5:21

For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.
-- Philippians 1:6

#foreverinmyheart

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Re: Did Exodus happen?

#7

Post by neo-x » Fri Jun 07, 2013 3:40 am

1over137 wrote:
neo-x wrote:
1over137 wrote:Well, Ivel, what do they expect they would find from wandering people?
not much...but I'm afraid your atheist friend will not accept this as a reasonable explanation. People who put their trust in the absence of such evidence are not very serious in my opinion. Its unfair in a way.
I do not wish to talk about the friend.
that's fine Hana, I never meant anything disrespectful.
It would be a blessing if they missed the cairns and got lost on the way back. Or if
the Thing on the ice got them tonight.

I could only turn and stare in horror at the chief surgeon.
Death by starvation is a terrible thing, Goodsir, continued Stanley.
And with that we went below to the flame-flickering Darkness of the lower deck
and to a cold almost the equal of the Dante-esque Ninth Circle Arctic Night
without.


//johnadavid.wordpress.com

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Re: Did Exodus happen?

#8

Post by RickD » Fri Jun 07, 2013 4:16 am

Ivellious wrote:
There is literally no record from the Egyptians or the surrounding cultures that there was any mass enslavement of Jews in Egypt, which clashes with a literal biblical account.
That sounds eerily similar to what those who deny the Nazi holocaust say. :shock:
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Re: Did Exodus happen?

#9

Post by ryanbouma » Fri Jun 07, 2013 8:56 am

This is a total shot in the dark, but any chance the pyramids and all the Egyption wonders aren't a product, or at least partial product, of Jewish slave labour?

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Re: Did Exodus happen?

#10

Post by DRDS » Fri Jun 07, 2013 2:12 pm

Hey there, I don't know if this will help much or not, but you can look at this and see if it would.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nEdpkdkjLf0

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Re: Did Exodus happen?

#11

Post by Ivellious » Fri Jun 07, 2013 2:44 pm

Bear in mind that a group of people who was constantly on the move would not leave any trace of archelogical evidence because there was no permanent settlements that would stand the test of time.
Not entirely true, actually. We have lots of archaeological evidence (some much older than biblical times) from nomadic groups that rarely had permanent settlements all over the world. Deserts, in particular, are great archaeological spots because the general lack of moisture is good for preserving relics. So the absolute lack of evidence of them ever existing is kind of strange, especially in a region that is so heavily studied by archaeologists and paleontologists.
not much...but I'm afraid your atheist friend will not accept this as a reasonable explanation. People who put their trust in the absence of such evidence are not very serious in my opinion. Its unfair in a way.
I agree that it would be wrong to suggest that the story is absolutely false without good reason. But as far as archaeology is concerned, much of the biblical story (even some rather specific details) have been supported by archaeological evidence. Except the story about enslaved Jews and their escape from Egypt. You can accept the story on faith, but just like you don't accept various other religious stories because you don't see evidence of them, it's not unreasonable for a nonbeliever to say that this particular story doesn't seem to add up when we look at our present-day knowledge.
That sounds eerily similar to what those who deny the Nazi holocaust say.
I'm going to very much disagree with you here, Rick. Especially since there is a ridiculous amount of evidence from the Holocaust. If anyone denies the Holocaust they are simply denying that the evidence is real, or invoking a conspiracy theory. I'm saying exactly the opposite; I can see why someone would look at the Exodus story and see no evidence for it happening, and conclude that they don't believe it. Seriously, compare the evidence for the Holocaust against the archaeological evidence for Exodus. It's not even close.
This is a total shot in the dark, but any chance the pyramids and all the Egyption wonders aren't a product, or at least partial product, of Jewish slave labour?
Good question, I forgot to bring this up. It's been generally accepted (even by biblical archaeologists) that the idea that the Jews were enslaved to build the pyramids is not true at all, but that the workers were poor, but paid laborers who actually were ceremonially buried after completion of the structures they built. The Egyptians never buried slaves in tombs, as that was a great honor to be buried among the pharaohs. Not to mention, the pyramids were built long before any estimate of the Jews even being in Egypt, throwing out any possibility that the Jews were forced to build them.

Here's a link regarding the pyramid builders, specifically, and how they were definitely not Jews, or slaves for that matter.

http://www.csmonitor.com/World/2010/011 ... s/(page)/2

And here's one from a Jewish newspaper that points out that there is no evidence at all supporting the notion of Jewish slavery in Egypt.

http://www.haaretz.com/jewish-world/the ... h-1.420844

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Re: Did Exodus happen?

#12

Post by Philip » Fri Jun 07, 2013 3:19 pm

But the story about Moses freeing the slaves and leading them on a 40 year quest is completely non-existent in the archaeological record, except for in the Bible. So take that for what you will.
Is this shocking? Who controlled the ancient spin in Egypt? Who decided what was and what was not recorded?

Let's see, a couple of scruffy guys with staffs, believing in only ONE supposed God come to Egypt, humiliate both Pharaoh and Egypt's supposed gods, free Israel from centuries of bondage, force Pharaoh to not only let them go but to also allow them to leave with tremendous loot, leaves Egypt a decimated, stinking, economically and agriculturally decimated place, kill all of its firstborns, drowns Pharaoh's army - ALL THAT - and yet without the Israelites having lifted even the first war club, lance or bow to make it happen. Everything Egypt believed in - from its gods to its leaders and wealth are left in ruins and humiliation. Think the ruling class and Pharaoh was going to have this humiliation recorded for posterity - not only revealing their total humiliation but also the powerlessness of Egypt's supposed mighty gods - not to mention the helplessness of Pharaoh, a supposed god himself. Yeah, right, they're gonna record that fiasco for posterity - carve it into monuments and tombs. Believe me, the Egyptian state propaganda machine began sanitizing and obliterating the record of this humiliation the moment it was all over.

Few highlights of a few things the Egyptian rulers might have found just a tad worth erasing from their history:

First Plague / Nile turns to blood: Is a judgment against Apis, the god of the Nile, Isis, goddess of the Nile, and Khnum, guardian of the Nile. The Nile was also believed to be the bloodstream of Osiris, who was reborn each year when the river flooded.

Second Plague / Frogs: The second plague, bringing frogs from the Nile, was a judgment against Heqet, the frog-headed goddess of birth. Frogs were thought to be sacred and not to be killed. God had the frogs invade every part of the homes of the Egyptians, and when they died, their stinking bodies were heaped up in offensive piles all throughout Egypt.

Third Plague / Gnats: This was a judgment on Set, the god of the desert.

Fourth Plague / Flies: Was a judgment on either Re or Uatchit, who were both depicted as flies. In this plague, God clearly distinguished between the Israelites and the Egyptians, as no swarms of flies bothered the areas where the Israelites lived.

Fifth Plague / Livestock Dies: Was a judgment on the goddess Hathor and the god Apis, who were both depicted as cattle. As with the previous plague, God protected His people from the plague, while the cattle of the Egyptians all died.

Sixth Plague / Boils: Was a judgment against several gods over health and disease (Sekhmet, Sunu, and Isis). This time, the Bible says that the magicians “could not even stand before Moses because of how horrible were their boils.

Seventh Plague / Hail: This attacked Nut, the sky goddess, Osiris, the crop fertility god, and Set, the storm god. And once again, the Israelites were protected from this onslaught.

Eighth Plague / Locusts: This also focused on Nut, Osiris, and Set. The later crops, wheat and rye, which had survived the hail, were now devoured by the swarms of locusts. There would be no harvest in Egypt that year.

Ninth Plague / Darkness: This was aimed at Egypt's "great" sun god, Re, who was symbolized by Pharaoh himself. For three days, the land of Egypt was smothered with an unearthly darkness, but the homes of the Israelites had light. Not too good a sun god, eh?

Tenth and Final Plague / death of the firstborns: Was a judgment on Isis, the protector of children. This plague required an act of faith from Israel. The blood of the lamb they on the top and sides of their doorways is echoed in 1 Corinthians 5:7, which teaches that Jesus became our Passover when He died to deliver us from the bondage of sin. While the Israelites found God's protection in their homes, every other home in the land of Egypt experienced God's wrath. This final devastating event finally caused Pharaoh to release the Israelites. And they were so humiliated and their gods powerfully revealed as non existent and powerless, that the Bible says a mixed multitude of peoples came out of Egypt with the exiting Israelites - as the gods they previously had believed in had been exposed worthless/non existent AND the God of Israel was shown to have great power. So it's no wonder many Egyptians left as well and also that Egypt subsequently purged all record of these events.

So why would any country with such beliefs in such gods, having seen them both humiliated and totally shown to be powerless and non existent - who yet even STILL desired to perpetuate belief in these same gods, rulers and false beliefs - would have allowed this total humiliation into its history books and monuments? No, as far as Egypt was concerned, "it never happened."

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Re: Did Exodus happen?

#13

Post by jlay » Fri Jun 07, 2013 3:29 pm

Keep in mind that critics also said there was no evidence of the Hittite nation. In 1906 ruins were discovered and since there is a fairly developed history of this people. Now, we are talking about an established nation, not a nomadic people.

Some supporters of the historical exodus say that estimated dates are off by as much as 1,000 years. Yep, that could present a problem.

So, the issues brought forth are the when and the where.
http://www.biblicalchronologist.org/ans ... ennium.php

The issue is that doubting seems to be the new method to establish historical fact. In other words, if you keep repeating, "There is no evidence of the exodus," over and over again, it becomes the accepted fact.

You can make of this what you will. http://www.godtube.com/watch/?v=ZPP7PNNX
But, this pretty well calls into question the location of the exodus including the location of the red sea crossing and the mountain where the commandments were given.
-“The Bible treated allegorically becomes putty in the hands of the exegete.” John Walvoord

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Re: Did Exodus happen?

#14

Post by Icthus » Sat Jun 08, 2013 10:27 am

If I might drop in to give my own take on the matter, for the most part I agree with Ivellious that belief in the Exodus is largely a matter of faith. There are a number of places where Biblical events, people, and places are corroborated by literary and archaeological evidence, the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus being, in my opinion, the most notable example, but there isn't a great deal of evidence either way on the Exodus, which I think is to be expected. For one who believes based on other evidence that the Judeo/Christian God exists and has a relatively orthodox view on him, the Exodus can be accepted on faith, but one shouldn't expect to convince someone that it happened based on the evidence for its particular events alone.

That being said, I don't think that the lack of evidence for the Exodus is surprising, even if it did happen. As has been mentioned before, we shouldn't assume that Egyptian records would preserve accounts of events that would be seen as a great embarrassment to them. Ancient societies tended to be less literate than contemporary Western cultures, and writing materials were more difficult to come by.

If I recall correctly, J.P. Holding of the tectonics website makes a helpful allusion to the famous eruption of Mt. Vesuvius that destroyed Pompeii in CE 79. The disaster, killing thousands and with effects witnessed by thousands more, was certainly widely known in the Roman Empire, and a large number of educated, literate people with ready access to writing materials would have known about or witnessed it. Yet, in spite of the scale of the disaster, our only literary reference to it comes from Pliny the Younger. And this episode was much more recent than the Exodus and occurred in an area that likely had a higher rate of literacy as well as no reason for recording it to be suppressed. Given these factors, it should not be surprising that events, even ones such as total eclipses which would be seen by millions, have left little or no surviving documentation. It isn't terribly surprising, therefore, that we have no written record from outside parties about the Exodus if it happened.

Holding has also noted the Scythians as an example of a society that left almost no trace of its existence. The Scythians were nomads, and despite roaming the Russian steppes for centuries, the only physical evidence we have of them are royal grave sites, something that the Hebrews didn't have. It is not, therefore, completely implausible that a large number of people could have migrated as the Hebrews are claimed to have without leaving evidence.

I'm not what one would call an inerrantist, and I am admittedly rather agnostic on the specifics of the Exodus, but I see no reason to think it couldn't have happened.
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Re: Did Exodus happen?

#15

Post by Mallz » Sat Jun 08, 2013 2:36 pm

We need to get submarines and scuba divers and delve into the red sea! Perhaps we'd find chariots and corpses...

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