The old Testament reading gives us the story of the departure of the Israelites from Egypt. None of Egypt’s ancient records make any mention of the Israelites, but from the Bible account itself we can piece together the facts regarding their stay in Egypt. When Moses led the people out from Egypt the Book of Exodus tells us they had been there for four hundred years, and we can fit that in between historical events from 1700 to1300 B.C.
Around 1700 B.C. Egypt was conquered by a Semitic people called the Hyksos. They fitted in there, supplying their own pharaohs to Egypt for four hundred years. However, the Hyksos had once been neighbors of the Hebrews, speaking the same language; and they would have welcomed Moses and the Israelite to settle with them. Then, after four hundred years that dynasty was overthrown by a native Egyptian, Ramses I. It was his son, Ramses II, whom Exodus described as “knowing nothing of Joseph.” He it was who put them to hard work, building the cities of Pithom and Raamses.
That ancient history has no direct bearing on our spiritual life, but it grounds our religion in facts. When we consider the other ancient religions, we find they were all founded on mythical gods. We can find confidence in knowing that our religion is based on solid facts.
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