Critics of the Bible often demand more proof for biblical events than they do for other historical claims. Skeptics have suggested there is no evidence of a mass Hebrew exodus from Egypt. The typical claim is that Egyptian records mention neither this event nor large slave populations, and there is a lack of bones or graves in the wilderness. Such criticisms are factually incorrect: there is archaeological evidence that corresponds to the Bible’s description of the exodus.
It’s important to realize that “proof” of prehistoric events is extraordinarily rare, or more specifically, everything man attempts to learn has already happened or already exist. This means we operate at best guess.
In 1650 Archbishop James Ussher gave a biblical account of the age of the Earth, using an Old Testament period event that corresponded to a known historical date. The death of the Babylonian King Nebuchadnezzar in 562 BC. Then by adding up the generations of the prophets, patriarchs and the 139 genealogies of the Old Testament from Adam to Nebuchadnezzar, Ussher came to the conclusion the date of the Earth was October 22, 4004 BC at 6PM, which was a Saturday.
Göbekli Tepe (Turkish for “Belly Hill”) is an important archaeological site in modern Turkey that contains the world’s oldest known megaliths 12–15,000 years old. The hill is 1,000 feet in diameter and located at the high point of a mountain ridge in southeastern Turkey. The megaliths form circles somewhat similar to Stonehenge in England. Göbekli Tepe was discovered in the 1900s and investigated by German archaeologists under the leadership of Klaus Schmidt from 1996 to 2014.
The discovery of Göbekli Tepe contradicts an aspect of Young Earth Creationism (YEC) which is the belief that the earth is relatively young. Young earth creationists usually place the age of the earth at 6,000 years (10,000 years being an upper limit). Archbishop James Ussher and YEC were wrong.
Mountains of obvious evidence don’t typically survive three thousand years, even when the event itself is significant, this is the argument of the ignorant. We tend to make excuses for things we have no knowledge of or don't undersatnd in order to make ourselves appear more knowledgeable. (Job 38)
Archeological finds like Göbekli Tepe, the Pilgrimage road in Jerusalem, Kiriath Yearim identified as Emmaus and the Goliath wall at Gath are small examples of significant discoveries previously unknown rather than known artifacts searched for.
It’s reasonable to look for remnants, circumstantial evidence, collaborating artifacts, and perhaps some random documents. Insisting that evidence must be found outside the Bibleis, itself, an unfair bias. Scripture is part of ancient written records, whether skeptics appreciate it or not. For those not committed to rejecting such things out of hand, archaeological evidence favors a real, historical exodus of Israel from Egypt.
Examining evidence fairly means avoiding myths and poor assumptions. Pop culture is not historical evidence. For example, movies such as The Prince of Egypt and The Ten Commandments use the name Rameses for the Pharaoh of the exodus. However, Scripture never identifies Pharaoh using that name. Looking for explicit evidence in connection with the reign of Rameses II is an attempt to verify a movie, not the Bible. Skeptics who assume the Bible speaks of Rameses are not only looking at the wrong sources but the wrong time period.
Ramesses II, who is depicted as the brother of Moses is not correct, Ramesses was born c. 1303 BCE; he died July or August 1213 BCE.
He reigned 1279–1213 BCE, he was also known as Ramesses the Great and was the third pharaoh of the Nineteenth Dynasty of Egypt. The more accurate Pharaoh during the time of Moses would be Thutmose II (1492 to 1479 BC) the fourth Pharaoh of the Eighteenth Dynasty of Egypt. Thutmose II is best qualified to be the pharaoh of the Exodus based on the fact that he had a brief, prosperous reign and then a sudden collapse with no son to succeed him.
His widow Hatshepsut then became first Regent (for Thutmose III) then Pharaoh in her own right. Thutmose II is the only Pharaoh's mummy to display cysts, possible evidence for the plague of boils mentioned in Exodus 9 which spread through Egypt at that time.
Thutmose II's body was found in the Deir el-Bahri Cache above the Mortuary Temple of Hatshepsut and can be viewed today in the Egyptian Museum in Cairo.
Cultures use different dating systems, not all of which are consistent. Even when there is ample evidence of an occurrence, it can be difficult for historians to know exactly what dates were involved. This is particularly true of Egyptian history, the record of which is erratic. Egyptians sometimes recorded rulers who reigned simultaneously as if they were consecutive, for example. Even experts in Egyptian archaeology would admit that dating anything using ancient Egyptian records requires an inflated level of tolerance.
The normal approach to examining the exodus starts with the 18th Dynasty, and critics will note there is no evidence to date from that era. Pharaohs were not in the habit of listing failures. Something as humiliating as the exodus is exactly the kind of event an Egyptian historian would choose to omit from his record. However, even if every historical event was recorded in the annals of Egypt, we can’t expect to find evidence if we’re looking at the wrong century. Different cultures may have assigned different dates to the same event, and just because there’s no evidence for an event in one culture’s history at the time we would expect to find it doesn’t mean the event did not happen as in the examples of Göbekli Tepe.
Compared to Egyptian records, Assyrian and Hebrew history is more consistent and easier to correlate with known history. Assyrian dating, aligned with identical events in Egyptian records, shifts many Egyptian accounts to earlier dates. Using this Assyrian “correction,” the right place to start looking for evidence of the exodus is in Egypt’s 18th Dynasty. When examining that era, we find extensive information corresponding to the Bible’s account.
• Pyramids built of mud-and-straw bricks (Exodus 5:7–8), and both written and physical evidence that Asiatic people were enslaved in Egypt.
• Skeletons of infants of three months old and younger, usually several in one box, buried under homes in a slave town called Kahun (Exodus 1:13-16), corresponding to Pharaoh’s slaughter of Hebrew infants.
• Masses of houses and shops in Kahun, abandoned so quickly that tools, household implements, and other possessions were left behind. The findings suggest the abandonment was total, hasty, and done on short notice (Exodus 12:30–34,39), consistent with the sudden exit ordered in the wake of Passover.
• The Date and Pharaoh of the Exodus: 1446 BC, Pharaoh who killed Hebrew children: Amunhotep I: 1532-1511 BC, Pharaoh's Daughter who adopted Moses: Hatshepsut: 1526 BC, Pharaoh of Moses' flight to Midian: Thutmoses II/Hatshepsut: 1498-1485 BC, Pharaoh of the Exodus: Thutmoses III: 1485/1464 - 1431 BC.
• The 18th Dynasty, in which the exodus would have occurred, is often described by later records as one of bedlam and confusion, and few monuments from this period survive.
• Court advisors used rods that look like snakes (Exodus 7:10–12). This partly corroborates the magical opposition against Moses performed by Pharaoh’s advisors.
• When Egypt was invaded by the Hyksos—possibly the “stranger people” mentioned by Ipuwer—the Egyptians offered little or no resistance, something that makes sense only if Egypt’s armies and economy had been recently devastated (Exodus 12:35–36; 14:26–28).
These points are detailed in various excavations, monuments, and physical remains.
In summary, non-biblical archaeological evidence shows a sizable Hebrew workforce in Egypt that rapidly evacuated in connection with a time of chaos, under a Pharaoh who left no heir, and after whose time Egypt was notably weakened. As usual, when biblical details can be checked against historical evidence, they match.
This same approach to history applies to the supposed lack of Hebrew remains in the desert between Egypt and Israel. First and foremost, this complaint ignores traditional burial practices of Israel. This included disinterring bodies after a year, in order to rebury the bones in a common family location. Patriarchs such as Jacob and Joseph famously had their bones relocated after death (Exodus 13:19; Joshua 24:32). This practice was the origin of the phrase gathered to his fathers or to sleep with one’s fathers, in parallel to its implications for the afterlife.