Evidence for the Jews in Egypt?
Rabbi Moshe Ben-Chaim
Sharon: I have been doing some research and discussion on the resurrection. Part of this discussion requires me to compare Jesus’ resurrection with the events of the Exodus, the 10 plagues, parting of the Reed Sea, giving of the Law at Sinai, the 40 year sojourn in the wilderness. I do agree that this is a spectacular event, until I further researched and found that the Exodus incident cannot be attested outside of the Jewish Scripture, community and tradition. Refer excerpt from Wikipedia ("The Exodus") below:
"After a century of research by archeologists and Egyptologists, the consensus of modern scholars is that the Bible does not give an accurate account of the origins of Israel. There is no indication that the Israelites ever lived in Ancient Egypt, and the Sinai Peninsula shows almost no sign of any occupation for the entire 2nd millennium BCE (even Kadesh-Barnea, where the Israelites are said to have spent 38 years, was uninhabited prior to the establishment of the Israelite monarchy). In contrast to the absence of evidence for the Egyptian captivity and wilderness wanderings, there are ample signs of Israel's evolution within Canaan from native Canaanite roots. While a few scholars discuss the plausibility of the Exodus story, archaeological investigation has been abandoned as "a fruitless pursuit."
I would like to hear your views on this. If there are any articles by secular scholars that supports the historicity of the event, it will be most welcome.
Rabbi: Deut. 1:46 states “And they dwelled in Kadesh many days, as the days they dwelled.” The Bible does not say that. Rashi explains this to mean that the Jews dwelled in Kadesh 19 years (not 38) equalling (“as the days they dwelled”) all other encampments, which in total was another 19 years.
First, to say “Bible does not give an accurate account of the origins of Israel” is to be illiterate, as the Bible records the lives and places, names and durations which permeate the Bible from Adam through Moses’ death.
Secondly, if archeologists and Egyptologists are willing to throw out the singular history of the Jews because they have yet to find satisfactory evidence, they must dismiss the histories of all other peoples on the same grounds. But, as the Jews possess one unanimously agreed history, the only means that such a history became universally accepted (even by other religions) must have been because it is truth. To suggest that a nation of millions abandoned their true history, and collectively replaced it with a fabrication of slavery in Egypt, is impossible. Fabrication might occur in small groups as with the accounts of Jesus, but not en masse. As Rabbi Israel Chait taught, lying requires motive, which is a subjective emotion, and emotions/motives not shared on a national level. A nation will not share a common motive to lie.
Third, had the Jews lied about their history, there would be many who did not accept the revisionists accounts, but retained the true history. There would then be at least two histories of the Jews. But we do not find an alternative Jewish history. Thus, the claim that a universally shared history is false is baseless.
Imagine this impossible scenario: A man today named Moses finds a group of people and tells them they were all on the George Washington Bridge at a certain date and time, and an alien spaceship materialized out of thin air and gave them a book. Not a single person will abandon their knowledge of their true whereabouts, and adopt this man’s fabrication. And this story will not become a world religion 3000 years later. Well, these archeologists and Egyptologists are suggesting this can occur, for they feel the Bible is false and that the ancient Moses found a group of people and told them they were slaves in a land for 400 years, that they witnessed 10 miraculous plagues, they were led through a split sea and heard intelligent voice from inside a fiery mountain, they ate bread from the heavens and a rock provided water for 40 years…and they all accepted it in place of their true history.
What motivates such a ludicrous suggestion of adopted fabricated history, is the rejection of God. For to believe the Bible, one must accept the commands of the Creator. Such rejection is also at the heart of anti-Semitism, which is a form of rejecting God. Anti-Semites reject the “people of the book,” the people God chose to give His law. Jews follow the Bible, and this threatens those wishing a life free from laws.
Regarding Biblical evidence, I found “PHARAOH'S CHARIOTS FOUND IN RED SEA?” (http://bit.ly/RedSea2):
“I am 99.9 percent sure I picked up a chariot wheel,” Peter Elmer tells WorldNetDaily after two diving trips to the Gulf of Aqaba branch of the sea. “It was covered in coral.” The 38-year-old forklift mechanic from Keynsham, England, traveled to the region with his brother, Mark, after being inspired by videos of explorers Ron Wyatt and Jonathan Gray, who have documented artifacts that in at least one case authorities have confirmed to be a chariot wheel dating to the time of the Exodus.
I found discoveries referencing the Jews in Egypt (http://bit.ly/JewsinEgypt):
“Following Petrovich’s study of the inscribed Egyptian stone slabs, he asserted that the writings are actually an early form of Hebrew. He believes that the stones recall the Bible’s descriptions about the Israelites living in Egypt and concludes that they transformed Egyptian hieroglyphics into Hebrew more than 3,800 years ago.
I also found this article regarding Egyptian papyri referring to the Jews and the plagues (http://bit.ly/JewsEgypt3):
Two weeks before Passover, on March 17, Dayan presented her research to an audience of more than 200 at Sinai Temple. Dayan, who earned her Ph.D. in Egyptology from Hebrew University in Jerusalem and is the wife of Jacob Dayan, Consul General of Israel in Los Angeles, told the group that linguistic evidence reveals an ancient and deeply involved Jewish presence in Egypt that eventually disappears. To illustrate, she drew remarkable parallels between the language of Egyptian papyrus (hieroglyphs), the haggadah and the Bible, all of which contain references to the Exodus story. In piecing together these manuscripts, Dayan framed an Exodus narrative based on facts of Egyptian history and language to prove her theory that a mass Exodus did occur and that it happened during the reign of Ramses II.
In each of the Egyptian manuscripts Dayan discussed, the same familiar characters are mentioned: Moses (“an Egyptian name”), Pharoah, the Red Sea/Sea of Reeds (“Yam Suf” in Hebrew), Hebrews, Israelites and the presence of slaves in Egypt.
In one manuscript, known as the Ipuwer papyrus, there is an eerie description of chaos in Egypt: “Plague is throughout the land,” Dayan’s translation reads, “blood is everywhere — the river is blood … and the hail smote every herd of the field … the land is without light and there is a thick darkness throughout the land … the Lord smote all the firstborn in the land of Egypt — from the firstborn of Pharoah that sat on his throne to the firstborn of the captive who was in the prison. …”
“Ladies and gentlemen,” Dayan said with dramatic effect, “this is an Egyptian papyrus that is describing the same plagues that we have in our haggadah.” She explained her view that the 10 plagues were not random punishments inflicted by the Jewish God upon Egypt, but a “declaration of war” on the entire Egyptian system. Each plague, she said, corresponds to a different Egyptian god and the element of creation over which they held dominion. This means the plagues were not merely grave misfortunes but the most humiliating insults to the Egyptian people.
Your quote commenced “After a century of research by archeologists and Egyptologists…there is no indication that the Israelites ever lived in Ancient Egypt.” I found these articles in just a few minutes, and I am certain many more stories exist.