There has been a significant problem relating the events of the book of Exodus to known Egyptian history.  This has caused Liberal Protestant scholars to deny the historicity of Exodus, including the historicity of Joseph and Moses.  They deny that there was any Israelite nation in Egypt, and deny the Exodus of those people from Egypt, calling all those things myths of a much later age.  Egyptologists and liberal theologians have decimated the membership of the Anglican church in England by severely questioning the historicity of Exodus.  However, is there an alternative explanation that vindicates the Bible?  Is there a way to harmonize the Biblical account with actual Egyptian history?

Ted T Stewart, although not a trained Egyptologist or an archaeologist, researched this topic for over 20 years and has arrived at a proposal that is fascinating.  In short, he believed he had found the true kings and pharaohs of Abraham, Joseph, Moses and the Exodus.  Indeed, the similarities Stewart has discovered between the rulers in actual history to those portrayed in Exodus are amazing.  In my opinion, the evidence is substantial and persuasive.  The difficulty is that this would demand a major change in dating the Egyptian kings by some 300 years.  Ted Stewart has published his research into these matters, including a rationale for reconsidering Egyptian dating.1  His book is over 400 pages long, and if your are interested in this topic, I strongly recommend that you consider his research and logic by reading the book yourself.

In brief, Stewart first establishes the biblical chronology of this period.  He says there were 430 years from God's promise to Abraham when he left Ur until the time of the Exodus.  The date of the Exodus can be established from 1 Kings 6:1, which says there was 480 years from the the date of the Exodus until the fourth year of Solomon's reign.  This time in Solomon's reign was 966 B.C., as documented by Thiele's astronomically dated reigns of the Kings of Israel and Judah.  This would put the Exodus in 1446 B.C., and God's promise to Abraham in Ur in 1876 B.C.  Based on this biblical chronology, Isaac's birth can be fixed at 1846 B.C., Jacob's birth in 1786 B.C., Jacob entered Canaan in 1656 B.C., and the birth of Moses at 1526 B.C. (80 years before the Exodus).  He deals with the special problem of properly translating Exodus 12:40 into the English translations.

Using this biblical Chronology as a template to overlay on existing Egyptian history, he found the following pattern:
  1. Joseph was a slave and prisoner in the reign of Amenemhet I.
  2. Joseph becomes the Vizier of Sesostris I.
  3. There were 7 years of abundance and 7 years of famine in Sesostris I's reign.
  4. Israel entered Egypt during Sesostris I's reign.
  5. Sesostris III enslaves the Israelites.
  6. Sesostris III built Rameses and Pithom.
  7. Zoan (Itjtowy) was the capital of the 12th dynasty.
  8. Amenemhet III was the pharaoh who tried to kill Moses.
  9. Amenemhet IV was the pharaoh of the Exodus.
  10. Moses and Ipuwer reported the 10 plagues.

Now this is a vast oversimplification of Stewart's book!  Stewart continuously demonstrates with great historical detail from Egypt the various and sundry points he makes, and also backs up his call for a reevaluation of the chronology of Egypt in view of this overwhelming historical overlay of Hebrew history on known Egyptian history.

Another Egyptian scholar, William Shea, Ph.D., believing the biblical chronology of Exodus, concluded that Amenemhet II was the pharaoh of the Exodus.  You can read his logic based on upon historical reasoning at the link in this footnote.2  One of my readers directed me to this webpage.  However, this may not solve the problem of vindicating early OT chronology in Genesis, especially with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.

My point is this:  Abraham, Joseph, Moses and the Exodus were not the results of some fanciful flights of fiction that evolved around the Israelite campfires and finally brought to light during the time of Solomon.  No, these were actual people, and the Exodus was an actual event.  All of this time from Abraham forward were times of reading and writing, of centers with substantial learning, and of significant information transfer between diverse cultures.

The Old Testament is not a myth.  It is real history.


ENDNOTES:
  1. Stewart, Ted T. Solving The Exodus Mystery--Volume 1: Discovery of the True Pharaohs of Joseph, Moses and the Exodus.  Biblemart ©1999, 2003 by Ted Stewart, printing by Lightning Source.
  2.  Shea, William. "Amenhotep II as the Pharaoh of the Exodus," in Bible and Spade, Spring 2003.  Article available at the following link: http://www.biblearchaeology.org/post/2008/02/amenhotep-ii-as-pharaoh-of-the-exodus.aspx.