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

Moshe Shulman mshulman at ix.netcom.com
Thu Aug 19 19:31:24 EDT 2004

At 04:31 PM 8/19/2004 -0400, you wrote:
>Yigael's comment about Currid's book on Egypt and the Bible called to mind
>some comments on the Exodus dealt with by Charles F. Aling, a Conservative
>Christian scholar. cf. below :
>"The preceding digression from the biblical account is necessary background
>to our discussion of the sojourn and exodus. Two basic views are held today
>regarding the length of Israel's stay in Egypt. The first view is that the
>total length of the sojourn was 215 years. This is based on Galatians
>3:16-17, which seemingly places the giving of the law to Moses 430 years
>after the promises made to Abraham in Genesis 12:1-3. Since these promises
>(ca. 2091) preceded Jacob's entry into Egypt (ca. 1876) by 215 years, the
>sojourn in Egypt would have lasted 215 years. A sojourn of only 215 years is
>seemingly supported by Exodus 6:16-20, which mentions only four generations
>from Levi to Moses, and by the Septuagint reading of Exodus 12:40, which, in
>reference to the sojourn, substitutes 215 years for the 430 years of the
>Hebrew text.
>But the primary evidence seems to favor a longer sojourn of 430 years. First
>and foremost, the Hebrew text asserts that the Israelites spent 430 years in
>Egypt (Exodus 12:40-41); and, as Leon Wood states, the Hebrew text must be
>favored over later versions. Second, God told Abraham in Genesis 15:13 that
>his descendants would be afflicted in a foreign land for 400 years. Nor need
>we regard Exodus 6:16-20 asstrictly genealogical. This passage probably is
>meant to give Moses' tribe, clan and family rather than specific

I need to look up the sources, but in the Dead Sea Scrolls there is a 
document that indicates that the time was around 200 years. This is also 
the traditional Jewish interpretation. Textually it is supported by 
counting the years from Levi to Moses, and you will find that it is not 
possible to get 400 years for those who lived in Egypt. 

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