The Exodus from Egypt

If a person believes only what they can see, hear, or sense such as archaeological evidence from an earlier epoch, that person is their own arbiter and so is playing God. They are their own reference (or what other humans reference-they being an extension) and so only believe what can be sensed in some way. Unless a record exists from an earlier time, they will not accept testimony of an event. This is the case of the Jewish Exodus from Egypt for many- no record of it in Sinai, so it didn’t happen. I am reminded of a verse in John 14.17: The Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you.

In everyday life we depend upon the laws of nature (so called) to function and physical laws are comforting and predictable for us. God made these predictable laws for our benefit but He overrides them at times for various reasons. Such is the case of Israel’s wanderings in Sinai.

Richard Elliot Friedman, in his forthcoming book writes:

Some archaeologists had said, “We’ve combed the Sinai and didn’t find anything.” But an Israeli archaeologist laughed at that claim and told me, “It was
five jeeps.” It was a survey, not an excavation of the whole Sinai
Peninsula. Moreover, even if we had excavated the whole Sinai,
what could we find that people traveling from Egypt to Israel
around thirty-three hundred years ago would have left that we
would dig up now? A piece of petrified wood with “Moses loves
Zipporah” carved in it? An Israeli archaeologist told me that a
vehicle that was lost in Sinai in the 1973 war was found recently
under sixteen meters of sand. Sixteen meters down in forty years
(a biblical number)! Finding objects thirty-three hundred years
down presents a rather harder challenge. And, above all, our archaeological
work did not turn up evidence to show that an exodus
did not happen. What it turned up was nothing, an absence of
evidence. And some archaeologists then interpreted this nothing
to be proof that the event did not happen. On the other side, people
who challenged such interpretations were fond of quoting the
old principle: “Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.”

As Friedman says, what is expected to be found in Sinai? Israel lived in tents and moved around instead of building dwellings. Manna was given them every day except the Sabbath for which they were given twice as much the day before. Their clothes and sandals were miraculously preserved (Dt. 8.4, 29.5, Neh. 9.21). God sustained Israel for 40 years in Sinai through intervening the laws of nature for them. So mounting an expedition or digging in the Sinai wilderness looking for clues of Israeli data will be futile. As with other miracles, no data of it is preserved since that is the nature of miracles-it is an imposition of the normal course of events by a supernatural agent.


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