An Old Testament KnoWhy relating to the reading assignment for Gospel Doctrine Lesson 13: Bondage, Passover, and Exodus (Exodus 1-3; 5-6; 11-14) (JBOTL013C)
Question:Most of the evidence for the historical Exodus comes indirectly from general archaeological findings and analysis of biblical texts. Is there any specific evidence for the reality and timing of the Exodus that can be corroborated from Egyptian sources?
Summary: Very possibly, but only indirectly. Although the Egyptians, like other ancient (and modern!) peoples, were understandably loathe themselves to truthfully advertise a military defeat, the Israelites had no qualms about publicizing such an event on their behalf. According to Hebrew Bible scholar Joshua Berman, the author of the “Sea Account,” the oldest description of Israel’s final escape in the book of Exodus, may have intentionally imitated the structure and vocabulary of Egyptian propaganda trumpeting a claimed victory at the Battle of Kadesh in order to mock the pharaoh’s failure to stop the flight of the Israelites. Berman makes the case that the Israelite “Sea Account” must have been authored within a reasonable period of time after the battle of Kadesh by someone personally acquainted with the Egyptian inscriptions that reported it.
The full article may be found at the Interpreter Foundation website: KnoWhy OTL13C — Is There Any Evidence in Egyptian Sources for the Exodus?
A three-minute synopsis of Joshua Berman’s ideas can be found in “A Passover Story: Archaeology and the Exodus,” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZOGeusWwI-g
For a video describing the historical context and weapon technology of the battle of Kadesh, see Ancient Discoveries: Egyptian Warfare (History Channel), Ancient Discoveries: Egyptian Warfare (History Channel), https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SS3eQbQG5mA.