Posted in Exodus, Genesis

Patterns of Evidence

“Know this for certain that your descendants will be strangers in a country not their own, and they will be enslaved and mistreated four hundred years. But I will punish the nation they will serve as slaves, and afterward they will come out with great possessions . . . In the fourth generation your descendants will come back here, for the sin of the Amorites has not reached its full measure.” Genesis 15:13-16

Filmmaker Timothy Mahoney went on a journey to discover whether the exodus the Bible describes is actual history or only a myth. What he found after more than a decade of traveling all over the world interviewing top scholars and Egyptologists is patterns of evidence affirming the Biblical account.

But the evidence was not in the time period archeologists were looking in and this led to much skepticism toward the Biblical account. Because of Exodus 1:11, “They built Pithom and Ramses as store cities for Pharaoh,” scholars assumed that Ramses was the Pharaoh of the exodus, so that was the city they were excavating. Many problems became evident: No sign of a Semite (Israelites are called Semites) population, no signs of distress in Egypt, and nothing that indicated any people group who were there, up and left.

Yet other Egyptologists call the text of Exodus 1:11 an “anachronism,” something added to the text by a later editor to help their readers understand where they were referring to. What the later editor was actually saying was something like this: “This is the place where the Israelites built the store city and we know it today as Ramses.” Evidence of a similar anachronism is found in Genesis 47:11 where Joseph settles his family in Goshen and the text refers to it as “the best part of the land, the district of Ramses.” This was hundreds of years earlier than the Exodus 2:11 text, long before any Ramses could possibly have been Pharaoh, or named a city after himself.

For the last thirty years, archeologists have been digging in another city, also in the area of Goshen, but at a lower level than Ramses, called “Avaris.” This city existed hundreds of years earlier than Ramses, in what Egyptologists call “The Middle Kingdom,” and in it is found every evidence Ramses was lacking. (Mahoney’s movie is called: Patterns of Evidence)


Pastor at City Church in Madison, Wisconsin