The Dating of the Exodus

            There is a great deal of debate as to the dating of the Exodus.  Some scholars, based on archaeological evidence, place the Exodus in the 13th century BC.  Others, citing both Biblical and extra-Biblical evidence, place it in the 15th century BC.  To support the later dating, scholars like John Currid cite the massive building projects that took place in the 13th and 14th centuries BC.  They also note that one of the greatest of the builders was Rameses II, who reigned between 1290 and 1224 BC, who built a new capitol city in his honor, named Pi-Ramesse (“Domain of Rameses”).  Exodus 1:11 records that the Jews were used to build the cities of Pithom and Raamses.  It is also important to note that it was not until the 13th century that Egypt lost its control over Canaan as a province.  There are also Egyptian reliefs that depict the Israelite conquest of Canaan that date between 1224 and 1214 BC.

            The most convincing evidence, though, places the Exodus in the 15th century BC.  Scholars like Keil and Delitzsch begin with the termination of the 70 year exile, which took place in the first year of Cyrus’ sole reign (536 BC).  Thus, dating backwards, the captivity began in 606 BC.  According to the chronologies in the book of Kings, Judah was carried into captivity 406 years after the year the building of Solomon’s temple began, placing its beginning in 1012 BC.  1 Kings 6:1 also tells us that the building of Solomon’s temple began 480 years after the Exodus from Egypt, placing it at the year 1492 BC.  Their dating concurs with the traditional Christian and Jewish chronologies which date the Exodus.  This also concurs with archaeological evidence which shows that the likely date of the destruction of Jericho was in the early 1400s BC.

            How do we understand this earlier dating of the Exodus in light of modern archaeology?  First, archaeology is not an exacting science, but a lens through which to view history.  Archaeological facts are largely the result of educated deductions and scientific hypotheses, not divine revelation.  In terms of the specific evidence, Exodus 1:11 speaks of the building of tAnK.s.mi yrE[‘ (store cities), not capitol cities.  There was likely a store city of Rameses already in existence when Rameses II build Pi-Ramesse.  With respect to Egyptian influence over Canaan, Israel would not have been considered a kingdom by the Egyptians until the enthronement of Saul.  Given the upheaval in the land during the time of Joshua’s conquest and the time of Judges, the point where Egypt would have lost all of it’s influence in the land would coincide with the later accounts of the judges or that of Samuel, where some sense of identity was firmly established in the land.

            To set this event in its larger context, it is worth recognizing what is going on in the world surrounding Egypt and the wilderness at the point of the Exodus.  Assuming an early date of 1492 for the Exodus to have begun, the city of Sparta would be formed two years into the Israelite wilderness wanderings.  In addition, the nations of Athens (1556 BC), Troy (1546), and Thebes (1493) had been founded at this point.  What would later become the Olympian Games (then called the Panathenaean Games) also had its beginnings during this era (1495).  The Areopagus was established in 1504 BC, and in 1493 Cadmus is credited with bringing the 15 Phoenician letters into Greece, which gradually changed in form to become the Romans letters used predominantly in Europe and America today.  Though these events may not seem to bear very heavily upon the Biblical text, it is important to note that this era was a time when civilizations were being born and establishing themselves.  Growing up in the Pharaoh’s household, Moses would have been aware, particularly of the politics of these (largely Greek) new nations.  Who better than one trained in such legal codes to receive and teach the Law of God to God’s people?  Who better to organize God’s people into a nation than one who had watched nations form?

About preacherwin

A pastor, teacher, and a theologian concerned about the confused state of the church in America and elsewhere...Writing because the Christian should think Biblically.

Posted on March 22, 2008, in Pastoral Reflections, Pensees and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 20 Comments.

  1. The Exodus occured in 1495 B.C. some 480 years before king Solomon’s 4th year. 1019-979 B.C. was Solomon’s real reign. Thutmose III actually died in 1495 B.C. the time of the Exodus not in 1434 B.C. Thutmose III was the pharoah of the Exodus & Queen Hatshepsut was the princess who saved Moses when he was an infant.


    • We are essentially in agreement, as I am dating it only 3 years after you. What is your source on the date of Thutmose III?



      • Lujack Skylark

        There are 521 years from the Exodus to Rehoboam’s 5th year of reign. (1 Kings 14:25)480th yr.(1 Kings 6:1) = Solomon’s 4th year Solomon reigns 36 more years plus Rehoboam’s 5th year = 521 years.Egyptian king Shishak died the 521st year shortly after attacking Jerusalem. Thutmose III end of reign is 1495 B.C. as we uncover by ending Shishak’s reign at 974 B.C. Egyptian king list reign in solo years. 1495-1471 B.C. Amenhotep II 1471-1462 B.C. Thutmose IV 1462-1424 B.C. Amenhotep III 1424-1407 B.C. Akenaton 1407-1406 B.C. Semenkare 1406-1396 Tutankhamon 1396-1392 B.C. Ay 1392-1361 Horemheb 1361-1360 B.C. Ramses I 1360-1347 B.C. Seti I 1347-1280 B.C. Ramses II 1280-1268 B.C. Merneptah I 1268-1263 B.C. Amenmesses 1263-1258 B.C. Seti II 1258-1251 B.C. Merneptah II 1251-1249 B.C. Tausert 1249-1247 B.C. Irsu 1247-1245 B.C. Setnakht 1245-1213 B.C. Ramses III 1213-1207 B.C. Ramses IV 1207-1203 B.C. Ramses V 1203-1193 B.C. Ramses VI 1193-1192 B.C. Ramses VII 1192-1185 B.C. Ramses VII 1185-1166 B.C. Ramses IX 1166-1157 B.C. Ramses X 1157-1130 B.C. Ramses XI 1130-1103 B.C. Smendes 1103-1099 B.C. Neferkhres 1099-1049 B.C. Pusennes I 1049-1040 B.C. Amenmope 1040-1034 B.C. Osokhor 1034-1014 B.C. Siamon whose daughter marries king Solomon 1014-995 B.C. Psusennes II & 995-974 B.C. SHISHAK. The pharaoh before Amenhotep II is Thutmose III by using Biblical numbers is the pharaoh of the Exodus!


  2. Lujack Skylark

    (1) Thutmose III pharaoh of the Exodus. (1 Kings 6:1)
    (2) Amenhotep II-expieriences two revolts in Asia. Perhaps Egypt’s enemies heard about the miracle at the Red Sea and revolted. (Joshua 2:10)
    (3) Thutmose IV has a dream about clearing sand from the buried Sphinx. The sand may have come from the strong east winds which parted the Red Sea. (Exodus 14:21)Why didn’t Amenhotep II clear the sand from the Sphinx? Perhaps Egypt was being rebuilt from all the plagues and manpower was scarce.
    (4) Amenhotep III declares himself a sun-god. Joshua calls upon the Lord whom holds the sun in the sky for nearly 24 hours. (Joshua 10:12)Tel Amarna letters state the Haribu (Hebrews) are in Canaan.
    (5) Akenaton’s poetry is like Psalms 104 proving the Hebrews were already in Canaan. Akenaton’s cousin was Tushratta Cushan-Rishathaim in Judges 3:8


  3. Lujack Skylark

    (1)Thutmose III had all captive people’s bow before Egyptian gods. Moses was in Egypt; Moses would not bow before Egyptian gods. Thutmose III was the Napolean of the Middle-East taken down by Moses’s God.


    • Very nice work on these numbers, Lujack, thanks for posting them. And again, these are consistent with the traditional earlier dating of the Exodus account.




  4. Lujack Skylark

    Solomon’s reign was 1019-979 B.C. Rehoboam 979-962 B.C. Abijam 962-959 B.C. Asa 959-918 B.C. Jehoshaphat 918-893 B.C. Jehoram 893-885 B.C. Ahaziah 885-884 B.C. Athaliah 884-878 B.C. Jehoash 878-838 B.C. Amaziah 838-809 B.C. Uzziah 809-757 B.C. Jotham 757-741 B.C. Ahaz 741-725 B.C. Hezekiah 725-696 B.C. Manasseh 696-641 B.C. Amon 641-639 B.C. Josiah 639-608 B.C.Jehoahaz 608 B.C. Jehoiakim 608-597 B.C. Jehoiachin 597 B.C. and Zedekiah 597-586 B.C.
    Most historians agree 586 B.C. was the
    date Solomon’s temple was destroyed. Running the Biblical numbers back from this date we discover Solomon’s reign at 1019-979 B.C. 1 Kings 6:1 the Exodus at 1495 B.C. Rehoboam’s 5th year when Shishak attacked Jerusalem was in 974 B.C. a few months before he died. Following the Egyptian kings list going back 521 years-we discover Thutmose III was the pharaoh of the Exodus. The 586 B.C. date for Solomon’s temple destruction anchors the time frame.


  5. Lujack Skylark

    Genesis 15:13-16 Amorite 400 years of power must be broken before the Hebrews enter Canaan. The 400 years are 1895-1495 B.C. For 300 years the Amorite kings reigned over Babylon. 1895-1881 B.C. Sumu-abum 1880-1845 B.C. Sumulael 1844-1831 B.C. Sabium 1830-1813 B.C. Apil-Sin 1812-1793 B.C. Sin-muballit 1792-1750 B.C. Hammurabi 1749-1711 B.C. Samsu-luna 1710-1684 B.C. Abi-Eshuh 1683-1647 B.C. Ammi-danta 1646-1626 B.C. Ammi-saduqa 1625-1595 B.C. Amorite king Samsu-ditana. 1595-1495 B.C. in part of this time frame Thutmose I and Thutmose III war against the Amorites in Canaan and Syria. Thutmose III wins total victory for Amorites pay Amenhotep II, Thutmose IV, Amenhotep III and Akenaton tribute proving Amorite power has been broken.


  6. Lujack Skylark

    The Egyptian kings purged from their records people they did not like. Exodus 1:8 A king arose in Egypt who knew not Joseph. (Even before Moses was born the Hebrews were not found in their records.)Lets date the Hebrew leaders and see where real ancient history matches our Bible. Abraham 1992-1817 B.C. Isaac 1892-1712 B.C. Jacob 1832-1685 B.C. Joseph 1741-1631 B.C. & Moses 1575-1455 B.C.

    Egyptian kings: Pepi II 2003-1913 B.C. had trade with Sodom. The city Sodom was destroyed in 1893 B.C. Lot lived in Sodom. Pepi II was Egypt’s first bi-sexual king. Genesis 12:17 God plagued him. (The Sakkara kings list reveals after Pepi II died Mentuhotep II is the next king) Mentuhotep II 1913-1862 B.C. Mentuhotep II had 12 wells dug along Egyptian-Nubian trade route. Water was scarce. Abraham had a dispute with the Philistine king Abimelech (Genesis 21:25) Water was scarce. Mentuhotep III 1862-1851 B.C. Re-opens trade with Punt. Mentuhotep IV 1851-1844 B.C. Killed by Amenemhet I in a coup. Amenemhet I 1844-1814 B.C. Builds the “Wall of the Ruler” to keep the Amorites out of Egypt. Abraham dies in 1817 B.C. Senusret I 1814-1775 B.C. called the “Throat Sliter of Asiatics” (Genesis 26:2) Reason God told Isaac to stay out of Egypt. Amenemhet II 1775-1741 B.C. brings in 1,500 Syrian slaves. Senusret II 1741-1724 B.C. Minoan laborers work on his temple. Senusret III 1724-1685 B.C. invades Canaan shortly after Jacob leaves for Bethel after God terrorizes the cities around Shechem.(Genesis 35:1-6)Senusret III annexes Canaan. Joseph works with the economies of both Canaan and Egypt. (Genesis 47:13-17)Joseph worked with the peaceful Canaanites. They traded horses for bread and did not destroy Egyptian temples. (Genesis 47:22)Horse skeleton found in Buhen,Nubia (Sudan)in 1959 A.D. traced to Senusret III reign. Joseph worked alongside the Hyksos/Amorite/Canaanites in Egypt. They arrived in Egypt in 1702 B.C. when Jacob was 130 years old. Egyptian king Ahmose said they came as warriors whom destroyed Egyptian temples. He lied.


  7. Lujack Skylark

    Amenemhet III 1685-1640 B.C. completes Bahr Yousef (Joseph’s canal)Amenemhet IV 1640-1631 B.C. most likely assassinated by Ahmose. 1631-1628 B.C. Queen Sobekneferu mysteriously dies. Abydos Egyptian kings lists reveals after Amenemhet IV dies the next king is Ahmose. Ahmose 1628-1603 B.C. Ahmose drives the Hyksos/Amorite/Canaanites out of Egypt in 1608 B.C. in the first Exodus. He destroys Helipolis,Egypt Biblical On. He destroys all of Joseph’s records. 1603-1582 B.C. Amenhotep I named for AMENemhet and Mentu-HOTEP of the two previous dynasties. 1582-1495 B.C. House of Thutmose I-III. Thutmose I and Thutmose III wage war against the Amorites. Thutmose II was too sickly to reign. Thutmose III is the pharaoh of the Exodus. Hope you liked this history. Pepi II’s history matched Sodom. Senusret history matched Shechem. Senusret III reign 39 years. Amenemhet III reign 45 years and Amenemhet IV reign = 9 yrs. = 93 years. Joseph lived 93 years in Egypt.


  8. Queen Hatshepsut some believe is the princess who saved baby Moses. She worshipped the cow goddess Hathor. Since the Thutmose family was the time of the Exodus and the Hebrews were in the wilderness the same generation as the pharaoh of the Exodus could the Hebrews who built the golden calf be thinking of queen Hatshepsut their most famous queen who had worshipped the cow goddess Hathor when building the golden calf.


    • Thanks for the insight, I find these connections are fascinating and are good attestations to the reliability of the scriptural record.



      • For more fascinating imformation from Judah king Ahaz’s reign to the end of Judah king Zedekiah’s reign..Google:
        Assyria,Babylon,Biblical,Cush,Egypt & Elam’s comfirmations.

        This ancient history shows the reliability of five ancient nations having a history with ancient Israel. While radical Moslems are writing Israel out of ancient history this study reveals how ancient Israel existed with other ancient nations.


      • Thanks for the link, Tom.



  9. Joseph’s seven year famine Genesis 41:1-57 has been verified in ancient history 1704-1697 B.C.

    (1) Jacob age 130 (Genesis 47:9) leads the Hebrew people into Egypt the second year of the famine in 1702 B.C. Joseph age 30 becomes an Egyptian governor in 1711 B.C. Then there is 7 good years and 2 famine years. Joseph is 39 years old in 1702 B.C. when he meets his father.

    (2) Hyksos Canaanite chieftain also leads his starving people into Egypt in 1702 B.C. and they settle at Avaris, Egypt.

    (3) Minoans from Crete also settle in Egypt’s delta in 1700 B.C. and other Minoans migrate to mainland Greece spreading the Minoan culture there.

    (4) Amorite Babylonian king Abi-Eshuh 1710-1684 B.C. dams up the Tigris river trying to starve out the Indo-European Sealanders who have invaded southern Babylonia.

    (5) Starving Indo-European tribes invade Dravidan dominated India in 1700 B.C. bringing down the Dravidan Mohenjo-Daro civilization.

    (6) Indo-European tribes invade western China. Chinese archaeologist found their mummies there. They introduce the Chinese to the horse driven chariot. NOTE: The Indo-European Kassites were the first to use a horse driven chariot against Amorite Babylon king Samsu-iluna 1750-1711 B.C. in his 9th year of reign in 1741 B.C. NOTE: Joseph age 30 rides the pharoah’s 2nd chariot (Genesis 41:43) in 1711 B.C.

    (7) The Chinese Shang Dynasty had a seven year famine verifying Joseph’s 7 year famine!

    (8) American agricultural Indians established the Poverty Point Mound Culture in Louisiana in 1700 B.C. creating their first urban city during the global world famine.

    (9) Olmecs enter the Yucatan Peninsula inventing plumbing and were interested in water conservation at this time in ancient world history.

    (10) Joseph’s seven year famine seems to have been confirmed by archaeology and ancient history. Feel free to pass the research to interested people who love Biblical history.


  10. The Jewish book Tanakh supposely gives the 430 years Exodus 12:40 to be in Canaan then Egypt. So if the Exodus is at 1495 B.C. the 430 years started in 1925 B.C. when Abraham’s older brother Haran had died and Abraham’s family on its way to Canaan stopped in the city of Haran living there for 8 years until Terah Abraham’s father had died. From 1916-1817 B.C.Abraham would live in Canaan.

    1992-1817 B.C. Abraham lives. 1892-1712 B.C. Isaac lives. 1832-1685 B.C. Jacob lives. Joseph lives 1741-1631 B.C. Jacob entered Egypt age 130 (Genesis 47:9) in 1702 B.C. Joseph would see the third generation born in Egypt. (Genesis 50:23)

    Exodus 6:16-20 Levi born in Canaan 1747 B.C. arrives in Egypt in 1702 B.C. Kohath Moses grandfather born in Canaan around 1714 B.C. arrives in Egypt in 1702 B.C.

    Levi 1747-1610 B.C. Kohath 1714-1581 B.C. Amram Moses father likely 1684-1547 B.C. Moses at 1575-1495 B.C. is 80 years old at the time of the Exodus. The 4 generations in Egypt.

    This is just my theory about these dates. I still believe the Exodus occurred in 1495 B.C.


    • The 430 years in Egypt comes from Genesis 15:13 and Exodus 12:40-41. 1 Kings 6:1 gives us a framework from the other side, looking backward from the start of the building of the temple. Scripture gives us a great deal of clues that we can piece together to figure out the chronology dating. 1492-1495 is the traditional dating (with which I would also agree) based on the scriptural references.

      As always, Lujack, thanks for your input.



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