A Misconception

followFollow Me: Deliverance[1]

Observations as I follow God through the Chronological Bible

Exodus 12:40-42[2]

The writer of Exodus paused the story of the Hebrews deliverance with a side note that birthed a misconception. A surface reading leads one to believe God abandoned his people to Egypt’s tyranny for 430 years. The NIV Bible ingrains that thought as does the MSG, NASB and AMP. All of them state the Hebrews’ lived in Egypt 430 years. A side note in the NIV states other text say the Hebrews lived in “Egypt and Canaan” 430 years.

According to the Chronological Bible the accurate translation is Egypt and Canaan. Abraham entered Canaan on April 15, 1892. His descendants through Isaac departed Egypt 430 years later on April 15, 1462. Jacob relocated his family to Egypt in 1677, which means they lived in Egypt for 215 years, not 430 years.

Joseph’s wisdom had made Pharaoh wealthy beyond imagination. Jacob and his family came to Egypt highly favored and given the best of Egypt. The oppression of the Hebrews began 91 years later in 1580 when a new King of Egypt came to power who did not know Joseph.

The new King of Egypt knew the Hebrews had grown stronger than Egypt and feared them. His oppression of the Hebrews grew increasingly severe, yet the Hebrews continued to grow stronger. After wrestling with the Hebrew problem for 23 years, he commanded the Hebrew midwives to kill the male babies. The midwives feared God and ignored the murderous command. Eleven years later, in 1546, the king realized his plan failed and order the Egyptians to cast every newborn Hebrew son into the river.

On March 6, 1543, three years after the Egyptians began murdering the Hebrew’s male babies; Moses was born and raised in Pharaoh’s house. When Moses was 40 he tried to help his people and they rejected him. If they had accepted Moses their oppression would have ended 40 years after it began. Instead, their misery was extended 40 years while the generation that rejected Moses died.

If you read this far, you may be wondering why I find this important. Understanding what really happened in Egypt gives us a true image of God to worship. At no time did God condemn his people to 400 years of the kind of slavery practiced in America. Oppression came upon his people because the Hebrews had abandoned the God of their fathers and given their hearts to Egypt’s king. The events after God delivered them prove it. They cried to return to Egypt and a live under the rule of a sadistic government until God let that generation die in the wilderness. Their slavery lasted 80 years, and would have been a mere 40 if they had accepted the man God choose to deliver them.

430 Year Timeline of the Hebrews Sojourning

1892 Abram entered Canaan

1882 God tells Abram his family will be strangers in a “land not theirs” for 400 years

1677 Jacob relocated his family to Egypt

1580 Pharaoh commands midwives to kill male babies

1546 Pharaoh commands his people to kill male babies

1543 Moses born to deliver the Hebrews

1503 Moses rejected by the Hebrews

1463 God appears to Moses in burning bush

1462 Hebrews depart Egypt with great wealth


[1] From the time God promised to change Jacob’s name to Israel, Jacob and his descendants were addressed as both Jacob and Israel, which can be confusing. In Follow Me: Deliverance, I will use “Hebrews” to identify the children of Jacob.

[2] All Scripture is from the NIV Bible unless otherwise noted.

About Teena Myers

Teena Myers is the Chairman of Southern Christian Writers, a freelance writer and author of three books.
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