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

Yigal Levin leviny1 at mail.biu.ac.il
Fri Aug 20 08:29:21 EDT 2004

----- Original Message -----
From: "Peter Kirk" <peterkirk at qaya.org>
> Genesis 15:13: Here I won't bother with the textual details as there is
> no difficulty. But we should remember that Abraham was already a
> stranger in a country not his own, so this 400 year period can easily be
> understood as starting from that time. True, they were not at this time
> enslaved or mistreated, but in the Hebrew the timescale refers to all
> three preceding clauses without implying that all three will be
> simultaneously true for all of the time.
> So I would consider the issue entirely open, whether the 430 (or 400)
> years is from Abraham to Moses or from the move to Egypt until Moses.
> The chronology is not tied down either way.
> --
> Peter Kirk

There is a well known midrash that harmonizes the numbers by stating that
when God made His covenant with Abraham, He intended the Israelites'
enslavement to last 400 years, but when He saw that they remained loyal to
Him through their afliction, He had a change of heart and started counting
the 400 years from Abraham. The atuall sojurn in Egypt was 210 years.


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