The Exodus: Fact or Fiction? The Passover Trilogy, Part I

Shemot/Exodus 12

Could 600,000 men, plus women and children, (an estimated two million people) along with a “multitude of flocks, herds and cattle” have crossed the entire length of the Sinai desert, without leaving a shard pottery behind? (Exodus 12:37-38) I’m going to say, no. If a couple million humans and herds of animals crossed the Sinai, they would have left something behind, yet no archeological evidence has been found.

Were the ancient Israelites slaves in Egypt? Again, no archeological evidence or records exist to prove the Israelites, as a peoplehood, were enslaved in Egypt.

The entire population of Egypt at the time of the exodus was estimated to have been between three to four million. Suddenly losing half or more of the Egyptian population and workforce in a mass exodus, would have been a monumental event. Egypt’s economy and industry would have tanked.

The ancient Egyptians were known to be meticulous record keepers and bookkeepers extraordinaire — yet there’s no record or archeological evidence that such a highly consequential event of massive proportions occurred.

Did a few families of Israelites work as indentured servants, bonded labor and serfs in Egypt? Perhaps. In the bible, everyone — including the Israelites — had slaves and indentured servants.

Did a few families of Israelites leave Egypt seeking a better life? Perhaps. Did they cross over the “Reed Sea” (the reedy marshlands) on bridges that allowed people to cross? Possibly. The bridges were built for light foot traffic, however, not the passage of herds and masses of people. They would collapse under the weight of chariots and horses needed for an army, which I believe inspired the part where the Pharaoh’s army was swallowed up by the “Reed Sea.”

It’s possible the story was peppered with grains of truth, but stories have a way of getting more dramatic and fantastical with every author’s telling of it.

“Red Sea” is yet another botched Hebrew to English translation, attributed to an erroneous KJV rendering. In the Torah, it’s called Yam Suf (ים סוף) in Hebrew, which means Reed Sea or Sea of Reeds. It is not identified as the “Red Sea” anywhere in the Hebrew Scriptures.

Rashi, (1040-1105), a prolific Torah commentator, determined Yum Suf (which he called the “Reed Sea”), to be the marshlands filled with reeds north of the Red Sea in the Eastern Nile Delta region.

The “Reed Sea” appears to be linked to Moses in several places, starting when he was an infant.

When she could no longer hide him, she took [for] him a reed basket, smeared it with clay and pitch, placed the child into it, and put [it] into the marsh at the Nile’s edge.

Torah/Shemot/Exodus 2:3

Did a couple million people, (600,000 men, plus women and children) and great herds of animals, abruptly flee ancient Egypt, crossing the Sinai without a trace? I don’t need a Magic 8 Ball to tell me all signs point to no. Israeli archeologists and historians concur.

Does the lack of supportive logic and evidence mean we can’t honor the spirit of Pesach/Passover? Of course not!! I just think it’s time to stop vilifying ancient Egypt based on an origin myth. The story of the Biblical GODFATHER killing all the first born babies (human and animal) of Egypt and destroying their eco-system with plagues doesn’t exactly float my spiritual boat. Dayanu, already. Oy.


Stayed tuned for Part II! The metaphorical and spiritual meaning of Passover is pluralistic and relatable to everyone! Woot!

5 thoughts on “The Exodus: Fact or Fiction? The Passover Trilogy, Part I

  1. Pingback: Will the Real Passover Please Stand up – Soul Circle

  2. Just to play devil’s advocate, a Gd that can create the entire physical reality is certainly capable of eradicating evidence of the exodus. 🙂 The dessert is know to swallow things whole also (sandstorms).

    Egyptians did like to document things, BUT the History Channel has done some great specials on Egypt and how various Pharaohs would alter records to reflect better on them, steal the achievements of previous Pharaohs, etc… Hmmm, at least we know where our politicians got the idea… One show even revealed one of the missing cities that was mentioned in Scripture but never located. Apparently one of the Pharoahs had the whole thing taken apart and moved after the Nile changed course. O_O

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Soul Circle

      Along those same lines an omnipotent GD could have liberated the Israelites without hurting a fly, so to speak. Why kill newborn babies (human and animal)? Bah. Pharaohs may have altered records, but on the Israel end of things, top Israeli archeologists and historians agree the whole thing could not and did not happen, but is part of the Israelite origin myth.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Here’s the thing, and it’s part of why I asked you about views on afterlife and such… Life is supposed to be a test of adversity to develop character. Almost all spiritual schools of thought agree on that. Also, we tend to look at & interpret GD’s actions through our own lens. If you try to put yourself in the shoes of an all powerful, immortal being, this mortal life’s test is less than a nanosecond in the grand scheme of things.

        Looking at it from the other side also, a mortal death is just bringing that person “home” and ending their mortal turmoil. It’s only those remaining that suffer. Again, that suffering is a blink of an eye in immortal terms, and part of learning and growing too. Same idea with a mortal parent teaching a kid to ride a bike knowing they’re going to fall and get skinned up.

        I guess it could be summed up best by the quote “Do not pray for an easy life, pray for the strength to endure a difficult one” – attributed to a million different people (lol).

        All of this could be colored a bit by belief in reincarnation vs one shot, and true spiritual children of GD vs glorified house pets, BUT those are the arguments I hear to counter the whole human suffering thing.

        As for historians and archaeologists… How many things have they been adamantly wrong about in the past? 😉

        Again, just playing devil’s advocate for the sake of a good, intellectual discussion. Half of me actually does agree with the theories put forth in the post. The other half of me (the half that admittedly looks for reasons why I’ve been a figurative pinata all my life) can see it all as a test, including the evidence being hidden as a test of faith. *shrug*

        Keep up the great posts though. 🙂

        Liked by 2 people

        1. Soul Circle

          We each perceive GD through our own lens and the writers of the bibles (all bibles) did too. I’m going to the post about the afterlife concept in Judaism — I may as well throw in the Jewish belief in reincarnation, prophetic dreams and astral projection too. 😊 Thanks for the reminder. It’s great to have you here on this journey with me.

          Liked by 2 people

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