Sojourn

How long were the Israelites in Egypt?

The Bible says that the Israelites sojourned in Egypt for 430 years. Exodus 12:31-42   Exodus 12:40 says “the length of time that the Israelites lived in Egypt was 430 years.”

The New Testament also refers to this 430 years. 
Galatians 3:17
 says “ The law, introduced 430 years later, does not set aside the covenant previously established by God and thus do away with the promise. “ Genesis 15:12-16

Because of this many scholars believe that the 430yrs commenced with the promise being given to Abraham 215yrs before Jacob and his family moved to Egypt.

Genealogy of Abraham to Moses with the ages of the Levites

The result of this is that some scholars believe that Jacob moved to Egypt only 215 years before Moses lead the Israelites out of Egypt (The Short Sojourn).

Other scholars believe that the Jacob’s family numbering about 70, move to Egypt 430 years before the Exodus (The Long Sojourn).

When Jacob and his family went to Egypt, the Israelites numbered about 70. When they left Egypt they numbered around 2 million. They needed time time multipy to this number.

Not withstanding this, it is obviously important to know whether the Isralites were in Egypt for 430 years or 215 years so that we know in which dynasty to look for Joseph.

It is unclear if the Genealogy given in the Bible from Levi to Moses is complete. It appears that there were only 3 generations after Levi who was in the original group that went to Egypt, until Moses who was 80 years old when he lead the Israelites out of Egypt. Four Generations in Egypt would make a Long Sojourn unlikely (although their ages do add up to more than 400 yrs and they may have had children at an old age as did Abraham).   It is also hard to see how the Israelites would come to number 2 million in 4 generations unless the tribes of Israel had shorter generation times than the Levites.  Exodus 1:1-6 Exodus 6:13-26 Numbers 1:1-54 Numbers 2:1-34

Looking at the promise God made to Abraham it would appear that God was telling Abraham that his children would serve as slaves in a foreign land for 400 years and then God would bring them out of that land with great wealth and give them the promised land. Genesis 15:12-16 Acts 7:6-7

The place where Abraham received the promise was Cannan.  This is where Jacob was born and returned to before moving to Egypt.   In Genesis 15:12-16 &  Acts 7:6-7  it is clear that the foreign land  where the Israelites  would serve as slaves for 400 years did not include Caanan.

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