Since I’m always fascinated by anything relating to the Exodus, I was intrigued by an article by Dr. Elizabeth Mitchell titled “Doesn’t Egyptian Chronology Prove That the Bible is Unreliable?” The article was one of many that make up The New Answers Book 2, which is edited by Ken Ham and put out by Answers in Genesis. In it, Dr. Mitchell proves exactly the opposite. To quote from her final paragraph, “Accepting traditional Egyptian chronology (which, I might interject, has been found faulty by many secular historians) necessitates rejection of biblical truth. Accepting biblical chronology allows a reconstruction of ancient chronology on a foundation of truth. Viewing the evidence from a biblical framework makes the histories of Egypt and the Old Testament fit together like two sides of a zipper.”
The article draws on the work of David Down, whose book Unwrapping the Pharaohs is one I want to read. It points out synchronisms, or points of agreement, between the Old Testament and Egyptian sources, which provide key references to align the historical records. In this post, I’ll only summarize the ones related to Moses and the Israelites.
1. Joseph may well have been Sesostris I’s vizier, Mentuhotep of the 12th dynasty. This vizier is described as a man of great authority and power, one who saw his people through a time of great famine due to prior preservation of food.
2. Sesostris III built the cities of Bubastis, Qantir, and Ramses using bricks made of mud and straw instead of the earlier stone. A large slave population lived in Egypt during this time (second half of 12th dynasty).
3. Cemeteries in parts of Egypt with large slave populations reveal that an incredibly high percentage of the dead were infants (65%). Recall Pharaoh’s slaughter of Israelite baby boys. Also, many two- to three-month-old babies were found buried in boxes under houses. Slightly newer cemetaries (dated to late 13th dynasty) hold shallow mass graves of people buried without the usual “grave goods,” as though many bodies needed to be buried quickly. Tenth plague, possibly?
4. The slave populations suddenly, abruptly left Egypt in the 13th dynasty. The Exodus? Also, Neferhotep I’s mummy has never been found, and his son, Wahneferhotep never reigned. Could Neferhotep have been buried in the Red Sea with his army? Could his son have died of the tenth plague?
5. The invasion of the Hyksos at the end of the 13th dynasty has always baffled Egyptologists. How could such an advanced culture be suddenly taken over by outsiders without even a battle? But if the Egyptian army drowned in the Red Sea, Egypt would have been at the mercy of invaders.
All these coincidences make for some interesting speculation, do they not? There are many more listed in the article, aligning biblical and Egyptian histories all the way from Egypt’s founding through its Late Period and Judah’s captivity. To me, it’s always so exciting to see the accuracy of the Bible confirmed by secular sources. However, if they disagree, I, like Dr. Mitchell, prefer to rely on the biblical record every time.