Archaeological Facts in the Bible – Moses and the Exodus
Table of Contents
[TIMELINE: circa 1600 – 1400 b.c.]
History of Moses and the Exodus
Roughly 400 years after God made His covenant promise to Abraham, Abraham’s descendants (the Israelite’s) where enslaved by the Egyptians. Moses, an Israelite, was chosen by God to be His spokesperson to deliver the people from slavery.
Irrefutable evidence has been found marking the journey of Moses and the children of Israel from Egypt through the Wilderness and into their promised land.
Evidence has been discovered for:
- 10 plagues of Egypt
- Crossing of the Red Sea
- Pharaoh’s destruction
- The Rock of Horeb
- The Golden Calf
- Israeli encampment at Mt. Sinai
10 Plagues of Egypt
In the Leiden Museum in Holland, there is a papyrus page written in a later period of Egypt’s history, but most scholars agree that is it a copy of a papyrus that came from an earlier dynasty. It could have been from the 13th dynasty describing the conditions that prevailed after the plagues had struck. It reads;
The following excerpts derive form the translation of the page, note the striking similarity between it and the description of events from the biblical record:
‘Nay, but the heart is violent. Plague stalks through the land and blood is everywhere … . Nay, but the river is blood. Does a man drink from it? As a human he rejects it. He thirsts for water … .– Papyrus Record In the sight of Pharaoh, and in the sight of his servants; and all the waters that were in the river were turned to blood – Ex 7.20
Nay, but gates, columns and walls are consumed with fire … – Papyrus Record The LORD sent thunder and hail, and fire ran down unto the earth; and the LORD rained hail upon the land of Egypt – Ex 9.23
Nay but men are few. He that lays his brother in the ground is everywhere … . Nay but the son of the high-born man is no longer to be recognized …. – Papyrus
Record And it came to pass at midnight, that Jehovah smote all the first-born in the land of Egypt, from the first-born of Pharaoh that sat on his throne unto the first-born of the captive that was in the dungeon; and all the first-born of cattle. – Ex 12.29
The stranger people from outside are come into Egypt … . Behold, cattle are left to stray, and there is none to gather them together. – Papyrus Record Behold, the hand of Jehovah is upon thy cattle which are in the field, upon the horses, upon the asses, upon the camels, upon the herds, and upon the flocks: there shall be a very grievous murrain. – Ex 9.3
The land is without light – Papyrus Record And Moses stretched forth his hand toward heaven; and there was a thick darkness in all the land of Egypt three days; – Ex 10.22
Nay, but corn has perished everywhere. People are stripped of clothing, perfume and oil. Everyone says “there is no more”. The storehouse is bare … . It has come to this. The king has been taken away by poor men.’ – Papyrus Record
And the flax and the barley were smitten: for the barley was in the ear, and the flax was in bloom. – Ex 9.31
And it came to pass at midnight, that Jehovah smote all the first-born in the land of Egypt, from the first-born of Pharaoh that sat on his throne unto the first-born of the captive that was in the dungeon; and all the first-born of cattle. – Ex 12.29
Journey through the Wilderness
And it came to pass, when Pharaoh had let the people go, that God led them not through the way of the land of the Philistines, although that was near; for God said, Lest peradventure the people repent when they see war, and they return to Egypt – Exo 13:17
God did not lead his people through the land of the Philistines as some have concluded. The Israeli inhabitants was in the northern part of Sinai. Historical and archaeological evidence shows there where peaceful relation between Egypt and Philistines, and it may have been that the Philistines would have seen the wandering Hebrews as escaped slaves and would have tried to drive them back to Egypt.
To make the pass from Egypt to the Gulf of Aqaba, the bible says the journey would take 7 days [as recorded in Exodus 12.15].
Travel Time Calculations
In realistic terms, the bible says that God was ‘for them’ a cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night, to lead through the wilderness (Ex 13.21). Therefore, if they had travels night and day as the bible says they would only have had to traveled 1 mile per hour (24 miles per day) to make it to the Gulf of Aqaba in 6 days.
God lead them through the wilderness to the red sea. Many historians have made the assumption that God parted the Red Sea at the Gulf of Suez because it is much more shallow in these parts.
Rather, if we take the bible literally when it states that they crossed the Red Sea into Midian, we find that the biblical account is much more accurately understood along with the evidence we find in the gulf of Aqaba.
There is an extremely windy mountain pass that seems to match a remark made by Pharaoh:
For Pharaoh will say of the children of Israel, They are entangled in the land, the wilderness hath shut them in. – Exo 14:3
The Jewish Historians also wrote about these mountains in reference to the Exodus speaking about how impassable these mountains were.
The Gulf of Aqaba drops off down to about 6000 ft below sea level in most parts, but there is one shallow part that only drops to about 900 ft below sea level in a gentle downward-grade.
This is geographically located in a position that is described by the bible at the point where, as the Israelite’s after being chased by Pharaoh, come to a dead end at the red sea. This mountainous region at the Gulf of Aqaba is an exact description and plays an important role in the following discoveries.
Parting of the Red Sea
The Israelite begun to cross the Red Sea as God parted it, and Pharaoh and his chariots chased after them. The Bible tells us that as soon as the Israelite’s crossed over to the other side, God closed the waters upon Pharaoh and his chariot riders.
The Bible records that, literally as Pharaoh’s men where riding:
The LORD … troubled the host of the Egyptians, And took off their chariot wheels, that they drave them heavily. And the LORD said unto Moses, Stretch out thine hand over the sea, that the waters may come again upon the Egyptians, upon their chariots, and upon their horsemen.
And Moses stretched forth his hand over the sea, and the sea returned to his strength when the morning appeared; and the Egyptians fled against it; and the LORD overthrew the Egyptians in the midst of the sea.– Exodus 14. 24 – 27
As described in the Bible, there have been various archaeological findings at the bottom of the gulf of Aqaba. Stretched out over hundreds of feet are various related artifacts that date back to ancient Egypt. Multiple chariots wheels have been found covered in coral, corresponding to the exact account of the bible in this area. The coral growth obviously accounting for a very old date.
Due to the ancient condition of all these artifacts, they have mostly rusted or rotted away, but everything that the coral has attached to has remained, all in exact correlation to the time frame of the Egyptian army given in the exodus account in the bible.
Even this golden chariot wheel was found in the place where the back of the army would have been. A significant factor that the priests of the Egyptians gods would have come along for this expedition to re-capture the Hebrews.
Egyptologists and Archaeologists that have examined these chariot wheels and artifacts have dated them to Egypt’s 13th dynasty. Historically this was the only time in Egypt’s history 4, 6 and 8 spoke chariot wheel where used in Egypt, like those found at the bottom of the Red Sea. This date matches exactly with the exodus time frame.
Monuments can typically be dated from ancient Egypt according to the number of spokes in their chariot wheels.
And he took six hundred chosen chariots, and all the chariots of Egypt, and captains over every one of them. – Exodus 14:7
Pharaoh’s chariots and his host hath he cast into the sea: his chosen captains also are drowned in the Red sea. The depths have covered them: they sank into the bottom as a stone. – Exodus 15:4-5
On the opposite end of the Red sea, at the gulf of Aqaba, Archaeologist Ron Wyatt found this large pillar erect with ancient Hebrew and Aramaic inscribed on it. Most likely erected as a memorial marker to the Exodus.
For this Agar is mount Sinai in Arabia, and answereth to Jerusalem which now is, and is in bondage with her children. – Gal 4:25
The children of Israel then crossed to the land of Midian into the land of Rephidiam and began to cry unto the Lord for water because there was none. God told Moses to hit the rock that was in a certain place where they where, and out of the rock came a fountain that gushed onto the land.
The Rock of Horeb
And all the congregation of the children of Israel journeyed from the wilderness of Sin, after their journeys, according to the commandment of the LORD, and pitched in Rephidim: and there was no water for the people to drink– Exo 17:1
Behold, I will stand before thee there upon the rock in Horeb; and thou shalt smite the rock, and there shall come water out of it, that the people may drink. And Moses did so in the sight of the elders of Israel.– Exo 17:6
Close to Mt. Sinai was found evidence that matched the Biblical description of the events that transpired at the rock of Horeb. Within this extremely dry desert region, it would seem that no deposits of water could even be possible, however strong evidence shows that an enormous burst of water has been retrieved from amidst this stone that is split in half.
Enormous channels of water have been cut into the earth that had obviously ruptured from the middle of this rock. This deep trench can be seen cutting a channel into the rock and dirt beneath it, far into the distance.
This discovery, regardless of heated debate, reveals that events like the ones described in the Bible have left physical evidence for us to find today, namely, channels of water flowing from between the rocks.
Battle of the Amalekites
Shortly after the Israelite’s crossed the Red Sea, and had been traveling in this remote land, the Amalekites came to battle against the Israelite’s.
Then came Amalek, and fought with Israel in Rephidim. – Exo 17:8
Evidence still surrounds all about this valley with ancient camp sites and ruins of old tent and hut structures where the people would have rested and setup camps for their families and herds. After the battle, Moses built an alter to the Lord in the valley of Rephidim, simply a few hundred yards from the rock that brought fourth water.
And Moses built an altar, and called the name of it Jehovahnissi: – Exo 17:15
Structures that where discovered in this area could easily be considered alter type structures found only a few hundred yards away. This is further evidence supporting the Biblical records.
Base of Mount Sinai
The Bible tells us that the Israelite’s departed after the battle and made a camp at the base of Mt. Sinai. Evidences of these campsites still remain to this date.
For they were departed from Rephidim, and were come to the desert of Sinai, and had pitched in the wilderness; and there Israel camped before the mount. – Exo 19:2
The Israelite’s where not allowed to go touch the mountain because it was holy, this would mark the border in which they where allowed to come up to, to pray.
The nation of Israel was divided into 12 tribes, each tribe descended and named after their forefathers. Evidence of 12 pillars was also found at his location, just as the Bible describes Moses had erected shortly after arriving.
And Moses wrote all the words of the LORD, and rose up early in the morning, and builded an altar under the hill, and twelve pillars, according to the twelve tribes of Israel. – Exo 24:4
Alter of Stone
Moses build a small temple with an alter to God (Ex 24.4) of unhewn (uncut) stone. Two ends of the structure would serve as passageways, one end for the entrance, the other would be the exit.
… which offered burnt offerings, and sacrificed peace offerings of oxen unto the LORD. And Moses took half of the blood, and put it in basons; and half of the blood he sprinkled on the altar. – Exo 24:5
The Bible describes this place as the center for the animal blood sacrifices, which would have been made to cleanse the people of their sins before the Lord. The people would enter the tent, give their sacrifice to Moses or the priests at the entrance, and than exit the other side.
At the Top of Mount Sinai
And mount Sinai was altogether on a smoke, because the LORD descended upon it in fire: and the smoke thereof ascended as the smoke of a furnace, and the whole mount quaked greatly. – Exo 19:18
When God spoke to Moses, the peak of the mountain was literally burning and scorched by lightning. This was because the presence of the Lord was literally on the mountain top.
Evidence is still seen today as the peak of the mountain is covered in solidified molten stone, blackened and charred on the entire region on the mountain top.
This scorched and molten rock can not be explained by volcanic activity, as this area is not in the proximity of any volcano. Further evidence shows this could not have been done by a volcano, as the molten rock only appears at the very peak of the mountain top.
This evidence is not caused by a simple wild fire as their remains only last for a season. This molten evidence could have only been left by some sort of catastrophic torrential heat that literally melted the top of the mountain.
Alter of the Golden Calf
In the same location at the base of Mt. Sinai, these hieroglyphs were found engraved upon a large rock found along the outer parameter of the campsite.
And when the people saw that Moses delayed to come down out of the mount, the people gathered themselves together unto Aaron, and said unto him, Up, make us gods… – Exodus 32:1-8
Aaron had all the people put together all their gold jewelry and made a golden calf from it, so the people would have something to worship.
God said to Moses They have turned aside quickly out of the way which I commanded them: they have made them a molten calf, and have worshiped it… – Exodus 32.8
The children of Israel created a golden calf and set it upon a stone near the foot of the mountain where Moses had went up to speak to the LORD. The resemblance of the hieroglyph found on the stone was similar to that of the Egyptian cow gods of Hathor and Apis.
These god where most likely selected for their fertility references, as Hathor was also one of the most popular goddesses of ancient Egypt, and the Israelite’s would have had a lot of exposure to it.
Location of the Alter
This stone alter with the hieroglyphs are located only a few hundred feet from the entire ancient campsite at the base of Mt. Sinai These hieroglyphs are found no where else in Saudi Arabia.
Egyptologists and Arabian archaeologists state that these symbols are distinctly Egyptian in origin, even though it is located a great distance from Egypt.
Moses’ anger waxed hot, And he took the calf which they had made, and burnt it in the fire, and ground it to powder, and strung it upon the water, and made the children of Israel drink of it. – Ex 32. 19-20
The Bible records that Moses was so angry, that he grinded the golden idol into dust upon the rock it stood. Evidence of Moses actions were found as remains of the gold dust were still embedded within the rock.
The water flowed from the mountain top where God’s presence was, down into the ground basin. Ancient ruined wells all around this now dried basin show ancient remains of where the people once gathered their water. Wells are found outside all along this water basin in the valley.
Manna – Food of the Angels
And the LORD spoke unto Moses, saying, I have heard the murmurings of the children of Israel: speak unto them, saying, At even ye shall eat flesh, and in the morning ye shall be filled with bread; and ye shall know that I am the LORD your God. And it came to pass,… in the morning…
And when the dew that lay was gone up, behold, upon the face of the wilderness there lay a small round thing, as small as the hoar frost on the ground. And when the children of Israel saw it, they said one to another, It is manna: for they didn’t know what it was. And Moses said unto them, This is the bread which the LORD hath given you to eat.– Exodus 16:11-15
These grind stones have been found along the entire pathway described in the Exodus account in multiple sites. For most of Arabic history, archaeology shows that never was anything to grind in this whole desert region. There is no record of any grain, wheat or anything that would need a millstone to grind that had ever grown in this area. Yet, multiple millstone grinders like the one in the picture have been found.
Historically, the typical products of all nomadic people that have ever lived in this land had been limited down to foods such as dates, nuts, camel meat, camel milk; but nothing that requires grinding. One possible solution to this problem is seen in the Exodus account.
That the children of Israel use them as recorded in the Bible, to grind the Manna from heaven that God gave to them while they where in the wilderness. Manna is described in the Bible as a type of meal or grain product that the Israelite’s ground up, and used to made into cakes.
And the manna was like coriander seed, and the appearance thereof as the appearance of bdellium. The people went about, and gathered it, and ground it in mills, or beat it in mortars, and boiled it in pots, and made cakes of it: and the taste of it was as the taste of fresh oil. – Number 11.7-8
Found at the base of Mt. Sinai by Archaeologist Ron Wyatt in 1985, was this white marble shrine that had been broken. Many pieces had been taken to create a mosque centuries ago so the entire inscription cannot be made out.
Many pieces still remained and where intact enough to make out the pictographs. It was discovered that the pictographs was an ancient archaic form of writing and Hebrew similar to what was found on the columns on the beach. The words where translated by the archaeologist and found, with names written on them: King Solomon, Israel, Moses.
The sentences where not complete but the words of the names of King Solomon, Israel, and Moses, had been found in the writing. This would seem to indicate that king Solomon in ancient times had erected a shrine here to commemorate finding the very place where his ancestors had experienced the Exodus. Inscribing their names in the very area.
Pictures with WAR Stamp are courteously of Wyatt Archaeological Research at www.wyattmuseum.com