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Tanakh and Talmud

How many years did the Israelites suffer in Egypt before Moses rescued them?


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April 15, 2011 5:29AM

The generally accepted time in Egypt is given as 430 years in Exodus 12:40, but as Genesis 15:13 says 400 years and it is only three generations in Genesis 15:16. The biblical time spent by the Israelites in Egypt is unknowable.

However there is an answer, although, for many, an unexpected one. The majority of modern scholars say that the Israelites were really Canaanite people who peacefully left the coastal cities and adjacent regions, to settle in the hitherto sparsely populated hinterland. They say that there was no Exodus from Egypt as described in the Bible, and no conquest of Canaan. The stories of the sojourn in Egypt, the Exodus under Moses and the conquest of Canaan were legends that developed long after the Hebrew people had forgotten their real origins.