When did the Jews make the Exodus from Egypt?
Moses, parting the Red Sea
Rick Brentlinger Answers -
Moses led Israel out of Egypt around 1445 BC. We arrive at that answer based on two important verses of scripture, Judges 11:26 and 1 Kings 6:1.
In the Old Testament book of Judges, Jephthah was a judge raised up by God to deliver the Israelites from the oppression they suffered when the Ammonites were persecuting Israel. Ammon was a small kingdom located east of the Jordan River.
Before starting his Jewish military campaign against Ammon, Jephthah attempted to resolve the conflict through negotiation, which failed. In the process of negotiation, Jephthah, justifying Israel's possession of lands east of the Jordan River, reminded the king of Ammon that Israel had dwelt in Heshbon for 300 years.
Jephthah asked the king of Ammon:
"While Israel dwelt in Heshbon and her towns, and in Aroer and her towns, and in all the cities that be along by the coasts of Arnon, three hundred years? why did ye not recover them within that time?" -Judges 11:26, KJV
Bible scholars date Jephthah's time as Judge of Israel to 1100 BC. Jephthah said Israel had dwelt in the land for 300 years at the time of the conflict with Ammon. So, according to Judges 11:26, when did Israel take possession of the land?
The correct answer is, around 1400 BC. Taking possession of the land was part of the conquest of Palestine under Joshua. Before that conquest started, Israel had left Egypt and wandered in the wilderness for 40 years.
Accepting Judges 11:26 at face value, we can now do the math. Jephthah was Judge over Israel in 1100 BC. The Jewish Exodus from Egypt happened 300 years + 40 years before Jephthah, giving us a date for the Exodus from Egypt of 1440 BC.
But wait, there's more!
From 1 Kings 6:1 we discover that the Exodus from Egypt occurred 480 years before Solomon began building the Temple in Jerusalem. Solomon began building in the fourth year of his reign, about 965 BC, making the date of the Exodus about 1445 BC.
"And it came to pass in the four hundred and eightieth year after the children of Israel were come out of the land of Egypt, in the fourth year of Solomon's reign over Israel, in the month of Zif, which is the second month, that he began to build the house of the Lord." 1 Kings 6:1
This verse provides two important pieces of information. First, it was Solomon's 4th year on the throne. Second, it was 480 years after the Exodus. There is some dispute about exactly when Solomon began to reign even among conservative Bible scholars, which is why we suggest an approximate date for Solomon's 4th year as 965 BC.
When we do the math, accepting Solomon's 4th year as 965 BC, we get an Exodus date of approximately 1445 BC.
From two different scriptures, we arrive at the same time period for the Exodus, approximately 1445 BC.Our eDisciples page has excellent resources to help you answer questions like, When did the Jews make the Exodus from Egypt?