[b-hebrew] Exo 12:40 430 years

K Randolph kwrandolph at gmail.com
Fri Jul 3 14:33:13 EDT 2009


How good is the text in this verse? Evidence from the LXX is that
there is a phrase missing that would help clear things up. Do you know
if there are any findings in the DSS that would back up the LXX?

On Thu, Jul 2, 2009 at 9:17 PM, Steve Miller<smille10 at sbcglobal.net> wrote:
> Exo 12:40 And the dwelling of the children of Israel, who dwelt in Egypt,
> was four hundred and thirty years.
> 41 And it came to pass at the end of the four hundred and thirty years, even
> the selfsame day it came to pass, that all the hosts of the LORD went out
> from the land of Egypt.
> Questions:
> 1.      What is the antecedent of "asher" in Exo 12:40?
> a.      Is it "dwelling" as in:
> And the dwelling of the children of Israel, which [dwelling] they [the
> children of Israel] dwelt in Egypt, was 430 years?
> b.      Or is the antecedent "the children of Israel" as in:
> And the dwelling of the children of Israel, who dwelt in Egypt, was 430
> years?

> 2.      What is the point of the "asher" phrase? If the intent was to say
> that the children of Israel dwelt in Egypt 430 years, why not just say "And
> the dwelling in Egypt of the children of Israel was 430 years?

It makes sense if a phrase is missing.

> 3.      Does the Hebrew of v40 state unequivocally that Israel dwelt in
> Egypt for 430 years?

As the MT presently stands, yes.

> The Stone Tanach translates the "asher" phrase as
> "during which they dwelt in Egypt", but I don't know of a precedent for
> adding "during". Could the "asher" phrase be translated "who then dwelt in
> Egypt"?


> 4.      Is it possible for the term "children of Israel" to include Abraham,
> Isaac and Jacob? Is there another place in the Bible where it so refers?

Good question.

> 5.      I know that the main Jewish interpretation is that the 430 years
> includes the sojourning of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, so that the actual
> time in Egypt was only 210 or 215 years.  Is there another ancient Jewish
> interpretation that says that Israel spent 430 years just in Egypt?
Well, the LXX backs up the Jewish tradition, which indicates that
maybe the MT is faulty here.

> Thank you for your time.
> Sincerely,
> -Steve Miller
> Detroit
> www.voiceInWilderness.info
> A man's life consists not in the abundance of the things which he possesses.
> (Luke 12:15)
It would be nice to find some pre-exile texts of Tanakh for
comparison. But right now that’s a pipe dream. Even the evidence from
the DSS is only fragmentory where many of our questions are found in
the gaps in the DSS coverage. So we work with what we have.

Karl W. Randolph.

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