"Nothing more impressive than an intellectual and spiritual approach to seeking truth and a willingness to embrace it unconditionally."

Monday, August 8, 2011

Fact Check #1: Was Egyptian Bondage 430 Years?

I thought the following article was interesting. On of the most common mistakes made by preachers is preaching that the Jews were in slavery to the Egyptians for 400+ years. We have all made the mistake, including myself.

"Now the sojourning of the children of Israel, etc. - The statement in this verse is allowed on all hands to be extremely difficult, and therefore the passage stands in especial need of illustration. “That the descendants of Israel did not dwell 430 years in Egypt,” says Dr. Kennicott, “may be easily proved, and has often been demonstrated. Some therefore imagine that by Egypt here both it and Canaan are to be understood. But this greater latitude of place will not solve the difficulty, since the Israelites, including Israel their father, did not sojourn 430 years in both countries previous to their departure from Egypt. Others, sensible of the still remaining deficiency, would not only have Egypt in the text to signify it and Canaan, but by a figure more comprehensive would have the children of Israel to mean Israel’s children, and Israel their father, and Isaac the father of Israel, and part of the life of Abraham, the father of Isaac.

“Thus indeed,” says Dr. Kennicott, “we arrive at the exact sum, and by this method of reckoning we might arrive at any thing but truth, which we may presume was never thus conveyed by an inspired writer.” But can the difficulty be removed without having recourse to such absurd shifts? Certainly it can. The Samaritan Pentateuch, in all its manuscripts and printed copies, reads the place thus: -

Umoshab beney Yishrael veabotham asher yashebu baarets Cenaan, ubaarets mitsraim sheloshim shanah vearba meoth shanah.

“Now the sojourning of the children of Israel, and of their fathers, which they sojourned in the land of Canaan and in the land of Egypt, was 430 years.” This same sum is given by St. Paul, Gal_3:17, who reckons from the promise made to Abraham, when God commanded him to go to Canaan, to the giving of the law, which soon followed the departure from Egypt; and this chronology of the apostle is concordant with the Samaritan Pentateuch, which, by preserving the two passages, they and their fathers, and in the land of Canaan, which are lost out of the present copies of the Hebrew text, has rescued this passage from all obscurity and contradiction.

It may be necessary to observe that the Alexandrian copy of the Septuagint has the same reading as that in the Samaritan. The Samaritan Pentateuch is allowed by many learned men to exhibit the most correct copy of the five books of Moses; and the Alexandrian copy of the Septuagint must also be allowed to be one of the most authentic as well as most ancient copies of this version which we possess. As to St. Paul, no man will dispute the authenticity of his statement; and thus in the mouth of these three most respectable witnesses the whole account is indubitably established.

That these three witnesses have the truth, the chronology itself proves: for from Abraham’s entry into Canaan to the birth of Isaac was 25 years, Gen_12:4; 17:1-21; Isaac was 60 years old at the birth of Jacob, Gen_25:26; and Jacob was 130 at his going down into Egypt, Gen_47:9; which three sums make 215 years. And then Jacob and his children having continued in Egypt 215 years more, the whole sum of 430 years is regularly completed. See Kennicott’s Dissertation on the Hebrew Text."

Adam Clarke's Commentary on the Bible, Retrieved from E-Sword 08.08.11

No comments:

Post a Comment