The 52nd set of slides for our small group narrative study through the Scriptures are here. In this set we discuss several interesting issues, including the date of the Exodus and the number of people in Israel who left.
Why are these topics important? Because they relate to the inerrancy of the Scriptures. When the writer of 1 Kings says there were 480 years between the 4th year of Solomon’s reign and the Exodus, should we take him seriously, or should we try and find some way to adapt the text to some modern understanding? This particular case is very interesting, because its one of those where the world agreed with the Scriptures for a long time, but “newer” archaeological evidence challenged the Biblical record, causing a large number of people to declare the Scriptures inaccurate.
More recent evidence shows, however, that the Scriptures are as likely to be right as the archeologists who have been trying to undermine the Scriptures —in other words, that we don’t need to undermine the Scriptures so we can accept the latest “evidence.” That we shouldn’t be so quick to abandon our faith in what the Scriptures say in the face of rapid changes in the “external evidence.”Science changes its mind. God doesn’t.
The second point where a problem crops up is in the number of people who left Egypt in the Exodus. If there were truly 600,000 fighting men in Israel when they left, that makes for a population of at least 2 million total. How could a desert support all these people? How could Israel grow from 70 to 2 million in just 480 years? A deeper examination shows that it is plausible, which is all any explanation can provide. Once again, there’s just no point in not trusting the Biblical text in this case.
At the very end of this study there are a couple of slides discussing Stephen’s interaction with the Exodus narrative. As we plow through more of this narrative, we’ll pull in Paul’s interaction with the events described in Exodus, as well.