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The Biblical Exodus Story Is Fiction

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By Staks Rosch | 6 April 2012

HUFFINGTON POST — Shortly after I started to question my belief in God, I remember talking to my rabbi about Passover and the Exodus from Egypt. My rabbi knew that I was starting to doubt the supernatural and ridiculous aspects of the story. He told me in confidence that while the basic story is historical fact, the supernatural elements might have been an exaggeration or might not have actually happened at all. He assured me, however, that even though there might not have been plagues of frogs and Moses might not have parted the Red Sea, the Jews were slaves in Egypt, and the important thing is that there was an Exodus and that this is the core of what Passover is about. Except, in reality, there wasn’t actually an Exodus. I have since learned that the Jews were never slaves in Egypt and that the entire story of Exodus is fiction.

When I first heard that there was not a shred of evidence discovered in the Sinai Desert that a large number of Jews had wandered for 40 years, I thought that wasn’t such a big deal. I mean, it’s a desert, right? Sand storms probably just swallowed up all the evidence. The more I looked into the story, however, the more I realized that the lack of evidence was actually a pretty big problem. According to the book of Exodus, a lot of Jews were wandering this desert, and it seems extremely unlikely (bordering on impossible) for this many people to leave absolutely no trace, especially when traces have been found for smaller groups of people which predated the Exodus in that same desert.

Just like the lack of evidence is itself strong evidence against the war between the Nephites and the Lamanites in the Americas as told in the Book of Mormon, the same is true with the Exodus story in the Torah.

Still, I didn’t think all that much about it until years later, when I stumbled upon the article called, “Did Jewish Slaves Build the Pyramids?“ by Brian Dunning. This article really got me thinking about the Exodus story again. Dunning’s article reinforced my skepticism about the Exodus story and fueled my feelings of betrayal. I was taught for most of my life that it was a historical fact that the Jews were slaves in Egypt. This “history” was part of my cultural identity as a Jew. Even when I gave up the ridiculous, superstitious beliefs associated with Judaism, I could still proudly feel connected to the Jewish culture, which was grounded in a deep history of liberation from slavery. […]

 

3 Comments on The Biblical Exodus Story Is Fiction

  1. Unfortunately, the author’s first detour from truth was following the rabbi. Most religious Jews do not take the Scriptures literally or historically; instead, they incorporate mystical and gnostic interpretations which originated (ironically) from Babylonian captivity. These gnostic ideas are found in the Talmud and the Zohar (chief text of the Kabbalah). These writings are not based not on the Holy Scriptures (the Torah or Pentateuch, which is part of the Tanakh) but on the traditions of men.

    From there, the author compounds his error by comparing the biblical account to the Book of Mormon, which is comparing apples to oranges, or even to durian (stinky fruit). For decades, archaeologists have tested and demonstrated the historicity of Scripture: “In addition to Jericho, places such as Haran, Hazor, Dan, Megiddo, Shechem, Samaria, Shiloh, Gezer, Gibeah, Beth Shemesh, Beth Shean, Beersheba, Lachish, and many other urban sites have been excavated, quite apart from such larger and obvious locations as Jerusalem or Babylon. Such geographical markers are extremely significant in demonstrating that fact, not fantasy, is intended in the Old Testament historical narratives.” (CRI)

    In contrast to the Bible, which is a proven guidebook to the ancient Middle East, NONE of the cities and places mentioned in the Book of Mormon can be found or substantiated by any Mormon authority, historian, or secular scientists. The only reasonable conclusion is they are—unfortunately for millions who believe the story—entirely fictitious. View the movie, “the Bible vs. The Book of Mormon” for details (it can be found online).

    So, that leaves us with the author’s claim that there is no evidence of the biblical Exodus. But the real questions are these: 1) Have they been looking in the right place? and 2) Have they been looking in the right time? There are reasonable, historic and scientific answers to both these questions. The first question is wonderfully addressed in the documentary film, “PATTERNS OF EVIDENCE: EXODUS,” which presents amazing archaeological evidence of the biblical Exodus, including:

    • The Ipuwer Papyrus• The Berlin Fragment• The Joseph Statue & Tomb• The Semitic Ruler’s Palace with Twelve Pillars in Avaris• The Walls of Jericho & the Burnt Grain of Jericho• The Merneptah Stele• The Amarna Letters

    Attempts to date the Exodus in the film were fascinating, but didn’t resolve all discrepancies. However, another researcher took the film’s premise, and did a tremendous job solving and reconciling the timeline differences between secular and biblical history. So, to all readers—skeptics and believers alike—please view this film, as well as the two YouTube movies freely available online: “How Long Were the Israelites in Egypt?” and “Were the Pyramids Built Before the Flood?”

    Together, these will remove significant rational roadblocks to receiving the historicity of the biblical account of the Exodus. As far as the supernatural aspect of the account, the very fact you’re able to read with your eyes and understand with your mind, while your heart beats and your lungs breathe involuntarily is proof that life itself is miraculous. Matter cannot come from nothing; and life cannot come from non-life; such a belief violates all laws of science and logic.

    • Tacitus the 1st century Roman historian had a position on the Exodus and the Jews.

      The Jews are said to have been refugees from the island of Crete who settled in the remotest corner of Libya in the days when, according to the story, Saturn was driven from his throne by the aggression of Jupiter.note This is a deduction from the name Judaei by which they became known: the word is to be regarded as a barbarous lengthening of Idaei, the name of the people dwelling around the famous Mount Ida in Crete. A few authorities hold that in the reign of Isis the surplus population of Egypt was evacuated to neighboring lands under the leadership of Hierosolymus and Judas.note Many assure us that the Jews are descended from those Ethiopians who were driven by fear and hatred to emigrate from their home country when Cepheus was king.note There are some who say that a motley collection of landless Assyriansnote occupied a part of Egypt, and then built cities of their own, inhabiting the lands of the Hebrews and the nearer parts of Syria. Others again find a famous ancestry for the Jews in the Solymi who are mentioned with respect in the epics of Homer:note this tribe is supposed have founded Jerusalem and named it after themselves.

      Most authorities, however, agree on the following account. The whole of Egypt was once plagued by a wasting disease which caused bodily disfigurement. So pharaoh Bocchorisnote went to the oracle of Hammonnote to ask for a cure, and was told to purify his kingdom by expelling the victims to other lands, as they lay under a divine curse. Thus a multitude of sufferers was rounded up, herded together, and abandoned in the wilderness. Here the exiles tearfully resigned themselves to their fate. But one of them, who was called Moses, urged his companions not to wait passively for help from god or man, for both had deserted them: they should trust to their own initiative and to whatever guidance first helped them to extricate themselves from their present plight. They agreed, and started off at random into the unknown. But exhaustion set in, chiefly through lack of water, and the level plain was already strewn with the bodies of those who had collapsed and were at their last gasp when a herd of wild asses left their pasture and made for the spade of a wooded crag. Moses followed them and was able to bring to light a number of abundant channels of water whose presence he had deduced from a grassy patch of ground. This relieved their thirst. They traveled on for six days without a break, and on the seventh they expelled the previous inhabitants of Canaan, took over their lands and in them built a holy city and temple.

      In order to secure the allegiance of his people in the future, Moses prescribed for them a novel religion quite different from those of the rest of mankind. Among the Jews all things are profane that we hold sacred; on the other hand they regard as permissible what seems to us immoral. In the innermost part of the Temple, they consecrated an image of the animal which had delivered them from their wandering and thirst, choosing a ram as beast of sacrifice to demonstrate, so it seems, their contempt for Hammon.note The bull is also offered up, because the Egyptians worship it as Apis.note They avoid eating pork in memory of their tribulations, as they themselves were once infected with the disease to which this creature is subject.note. They still fast frequently as an admission of the hunger they once endured so long, and to symbolize their hurried meal the bread eaten by the Jews is unleavened. We are told that the seventh day was set aside for rest because this marked the end of their toils. In course of time the seductions of idleness made them devote every seventh year to indolence as well. Others say that this is a mark of respect to Saturn, either because they owe the basic principles of their religion to the Idaei, who, we are told, were expelled in the company of Saturn and became the founders of the Jewish race, or because, among the seven stars that rule mankind, the one that describes the highest orbit and exerts the greatest influence is Saturn. A further argument is that most of the heavenly bodies complete their path and revolutions in multiples of seven.

      Whatever their origin, these observances are sanctioned by their antiquity. The other practices of the Jews are sinister and revolting, and have entrenched themselves by their very wickedness. Wretches of the most abandoned kind who had no use for the religion of their fathers took to contributing dues and free-will offerings to swell the Jewish exchequer; and other reasons for their increasing wealth way be found in their stubborn loyalty and ready benevolence towards brother Jews. But the rest of the world they confront with the hatred reserved for enemies. They will not feed or intermarry with gentiles. Though a most lascivious people, the Jews avoid sexual intercourse with women of alien race. Among themselves nothing is barred. They have introduced the practice of circumcision to show that they are different from others. Proselytes to Jewry adopt the same practices, and the very first lesson they learn is to despise the gods, shed all feelings of patriotism, and consider parents, children and brothers as readily expendable. However, the Jews see to it that their numbers increase. It is a deadly sin to kill an unwanted child,note and they think that eternal life is granted to those who die in battle or execution – hence their eagerness to have children, and their contempt for death. Rather than cremate their dead, they prefer to bury them in imitation of the Egyptian fashion, and they have the same concern and beliefs about the world below. But their conception of heavenly things is quite different. The Egyptians worship a variety of animals and half-human, half-bestial forms, whereas the Jewish religion is a purely spiritual monotheism. They hold it to be impious to make idols of perishable materials in the likeness of man: for them, the Most High and Eternal cannot be portrayed by human hands and will never pass away. For this reason they erect no images in their cities, still less in their temples. Their kings are not so flattered, the Roman emperors not so honored. However, their priests used to perform their chants to the flute and drums, crowned with ivy, and a golden vine was discovered in the Temple; and this has led some to imagine that the god thus worshipped was Prince Liber,note, the conqueror of the East. But the two cults are diametrically opposed. Liber founded a festive and happy cult: the Jewish belief is paradoxical and degraded.

      • Abraham came from “Ur of the Chaldees” (Genesis 11:28-31; 15:7), the southernmost portion of ancient Sumer, and from there we have a clear record of the origin of the ancient Hebrews, through Abraham’s son Isaac, as well as the Ishmaelites—who fathered some (but not all) of what became Arab nations today.

        While the writings and opinions of a variety of scholars are generally helpful to consider, many historians have found it far easier to recognize the historicity of the biblical account, especially considering that archaeological finds have never disproved, but only support and cement what is already recorded in the Bible. Finding harmony between secular and biblical history is not at all difficult; but where it becomes divisive is among those who reject the supernatural accounts recorded in the Bible (such as the case with most Darwinian evolutionists and atheistic humanists).

        The important thing is that we are always engaged in the relentless pursuit of truth. The trouble today is that while many claim to be in this pursuit, they never arrive at it. It’s in vogue to be “searching” but never finding. In contrast, God declared, “And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart” (Jeremiah 29:13). Of course, the word here for “heart” means not just with our emotion, but all of our mind, will, conscience, intellect, and soul. Unfortunately, most “seekers” simply stop at what seems right, or feels good to them subjectively, without regard for ultimate, objective truth.

        It is understandable why many have anti-Semitic bias today; but the truth is that the biblical account does not exonerate, but rather excoriates, the Jews for their rebellion and wickedness (which was the whole point behind their Babylonian and Assyrian captivity). Indeed, even now, national Israel is still outside of the parameters of God, which is why they reject the New Testament—which foretells of coming judgment against their nation, until they “look upon Him whom they pierced” and mourn (Zechariah 12:10, John 19:37).

        (And since hundreds of biblical prophecies have been fulfilled in exact detail, it behooves serious students and scholars alike to consider the ramifications of prophecies yet to come.)

        However, Israel is not the only nation that is acting wickedly. In fact, Bible prophecy indicates that as the end of this earth age approaches, virtually all mankind will reject their Creator, mock his Son, and basically thumb their nose at God (2 Peter 3:3-7). This is tragic, considering that the good news of the gospel, as explained in the Scriptures (i.e. John 3:16-18) reveals God’s plan to save not only the Jews, but to all who recognize and receive Jesus as Lord.

        The rejection of God’s truth is precisely why we are living in increasingly perilous times today. We are living in the days of which the Bible foretold, when “evil men and seducers will grow worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived” (2 Timothy 3:13). The father of lies, of course, is identified as none other than Satan, by whose “sorcery all the nations [are] deceived” (Revelation 18:23).

        To be freed from this global spiritual and political deception, we must simply look to the words of Jesus, who declared “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man comes to the Father, except through me” (John 14:5).

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