Dating the exodus from egypt
The Exodus was preceded by a 215 year Israelite sojourn in Egypt, with about the latter half being spent in slavery.Figure 1 compares the biblical timeline with the pertinent dynasties of the conventional Egyptian chronology.Three thousand years ago, the biblical Old Testament Book of Kings cited the date of the Exodus as a reference point for the beginning of Solomon’s temple construction in Jerusalem: …in the four hundred and eightieth year after the children of Israel were come out of the land of Egypt, in the fourth year of Solomon’s reign over Israel, in the month Zif, which [is] the second month, that he began to build the house of the LORD.(1 Kings 6:1 KJV) It is well established that Solomon’s reign began in 971-970 BC (Kitchen 2001), making 967-966 BC his fourth year.However, despite its seeming bedrock character, the 1446 BC date has largely been ignored or maligned by the modern theorists.One reason is the lack of evidence for the Exodus in the supposedly “corresponding” Egyptian time frame–that of the 18th Dynasty (1550-1352 BC). Figure 1 compares the The Egyptian history of the 18th Dynasty period does not harmonize with the biblical depiction of an Egypt crippled by plagues and a destroyed army.Yet, the biblical date has not changed in three millennia, while the proposed Egyptian chronology is of relatively recent construction, and still in a state of flux, with four major downward dating revisions in the last 100 years (Stewart 1999, 319).
Interestingly, the Greek Septuagint Bible gives 440 years in this verse.
The reign of King Solomon can be calculated from the biblical king lists and their correlations with the contemporary Assyrian chronology.
The Assyrian chronology is fixed by several astronomical events, the earliest being an eclipse of the sun in 763 BC (Thiele 1983, 69).
The difference likely being whether the counting starts from the beginning or end of the 40-year Exodus event.
The manner of the date’s mention in the Bible implies that it was revered as a keystone of Hebrew history and had been carefully preserved.