Ancient Egypt (Second part)

According to tradition the Exodus of the Israelites from Egyptian captivity occurred towards the last quarter of the second millenium BC during the reign of Raameses II. Thus the Book of Exodus relates:’Therefore they did set over them taskmasters to afflict them with their burdens.and they built for Pharaoh store-cities, Pithom and Raamses’.

As the greatest builder of the Nineteenth Dinasty New Kingdom Raamses engaged in building works at these two sites, employing vast numbers of saves. Yet most schoars believe that the Israelites escaped during the reign of his successor Merneptah.

A Victory stele of this pharaoh dated 1220 BC relates that he won a battle in Canaan and mentions the defeated people as ‘Israel’. Taken in conjunction with bibical evidence such as calculations based on I Kings 6:1 (‘And it came to pass in the four hundred and eightieth year after the chidren of Israel were come out of the and of Egypt, in the fourth year of Solomons’s reign over Israel, in the month Zif, which is the second month, that he began to build the house of the Lord’), it appears that the Exodus of the Israelites nation would have occurred by c. 1225 BC. (From Dan Cohn-Sherbok, Atlas of Jewish History, Routledge 1994, pp. 9-10)

Simone Venturini


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