[b-hebrew] Israel "in" Egypt 215 or 430 years ?

Harold R. Holmyard III hholmyard at ont.com
Thu Aug 19 18:43:14 EDT 2004


Dear Walter,

>Can anyone "clue me in" as to _why_ the resorting to Genesis 15;13 as an
>explanation of Gal 3:16's 430 years by Hendriksen and Aling ? Genesis 15:13
>is God's appearance to Jacob at Bethel while he is enroute to Haran for 14
>years of service to Laban for Leah and Rachel.

HH: I don't understand what you man. Genesis 15:13 is God's 
appearance to Abraham.

>Galatians 3:16-17
>
>"Now the promises were made to Abraham and to his offspring. It does not
>say, "And offsprings," referring to many; but, referring to one, "And to
>your offspring," which is Christ. This is what I mean: the law, which came
>four hundred and thirty years afterward, does not annul a covenant
>perviously ratified by God..."

HH: A simpler way than Aling's to deal with this Galatian text is to 
see it as a generalization. Genesis does not give the exact number of 
years from the time of the promise in Gen 15:13 to the time of 
sojourn in Egypt. But Exodus gives the time of the sojourn in Egypt 
as 430 years. Paul is simply making the point that the law that came 
so long after the Abrahamic covenant cannot nullify that covenant. He 
does not need to give the exact number of years but only needs to 
show that it was a long time. The law came at least 430 years after 
the Abrahamic covenant, and that is a long enough period of time to 
make Paul's point, so he does not have to get into others 
chronological details that the Bible does not plainly provide. His 
readers would be familiar with the 430 year figure and so would 
remember that the law came a long, long time after the Mosaic 
covenant. So I don't think Paul is trying to be precise at all.

					Yours,
					Harold Holmyard




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