Dating The Exodus
Many will find this note positively pointless. To me, the entire doctrine of scriptural inerrancy hangs in the balance of this debate – still a very active and lively debate. Unlike creation/evolution, the world sits this battle out. This is a civil war – Christians comprise both sides. And as usual, the side holding to biblical inerrancy is losing.
To me, this debate begins, ends, and needs no further discussion than to read 1 Kings 6:1: “And it came to pass in the four hundred and eightieth year after the children of Israel had come out of the land of Egypt, in the fourth year of Solomon’s reign over Israel, in the month of Ziv, which is the second month, that he began to build the house of the Lord.”
Since neither side disputes that Solomon’s reign began in 970 BC, that the fourth year of his reign was 966 BC, and neither side disputes that the Temple was begun in 966 BC, the date of the Exodus is sure:
It is possible that 480 is a rounded number, so I might grant 5 years in either direction. But I am essentially immovable that the Exodus occurred somewhere between 1450 BC and 1440 BC. It isn’t rocket science. Since Moses was 80 years old at the Exodus, the book of Exodus begins in 1526 BC – about 1000 years after the flood.
The opposition puts forth the date 1290 BC, rejecting 1 Kings 6:1 in favor of archaeological data. They reason that the Bible was written to provide us with spiritual guidance – not to provide data that will answer historical questions. In other words, in spiritual matters that man cannot confirm, the Bible is inerrant; in physical matters that man can observe, man’s observations are trump.
Decide for yourself. I stand on total inerrancy. It seems to me gibberish that any source found consistently in so-called error whenever I check out the facts should be called upon to guide me spiritually when I have no other choice. Jesus Himself debunks that mindset: “If I have told you earthly things and you do not believe, how will you believe if I tell you heavenly things?” – John 3:12
I offer nothing to explain what energizes those who believe that 1290 BC. The infighting is a disgrace. Still I cannot walk away, and allow the integrity of 1 Kings 6:1 to be impaired.
How badly is inerrancy losing (fully within the body of Christ)? The Pharaoh of the Exodus is named Ramses II in the 1944 novel The Law by Thomas Mann. Also in So Moses was Born by Joan Grant. Mainstream movies name the Pharaoh Ramses in The Ten Commandments (1958); The Prince of Egypt (animated, 1998); and in The Ten Commandments: The Musical (2006). For Pharaoh Ramses II was the prominent Pharaoh of the early 13th Century BC. Ramses is well known in the world, and his fame is launched by his being named the Pharaoh of the Exodus.
Have you even heard of Pharaoh Thutmose III? Thutmose was Pharaoh 1479 BC to 1425 BC. That would make Thutmose the real Pharaoh of the Exodus.