Did Moses really exist?


#1

Did Moses and the Exodus really exist? I believe that this story was passed down through oral tradition with the guidance of the Holy Spirit, but I have an atheist friend who I would like to meet on common secular ground with about this issue. He claims that there is no evidence outside of the Bible which supports the existence of Moses and Exodus. He also claims that there are Egyptian records from the time that Moses would of existed, yet there is no mention of Moses, Hebrew slaves, the plagues, the parting of the Red Sea, and the leaving of the Hebrew people.


#2

[quote="YosefYosep, post:1, topic:321499"]
Did Moses and the Exodus really exist? I believe that this story was passed down through oral tradition with the guidance of the Holy Spirit, but I have an atheist friend who I would like to meet on common secular ground with about this issue. He claims that there is no evidence outside of the Bible which supports the existence of Moses and Exodus. He also claims that there are Egyptian records from the time that Moses would of existed, yet there is no mention of Moses, Hebrew slaves, the plagues, the parting of the Red Sea, and the leaving of the Hebrew people.

[/quote]

I am not a biblical scholar by any means, but there have been lots of the things in Exodus that people seem to have discovered to be historically accurate, though usually they attribute them to natural causes.

The Nile really does sometimes have a series of events in which it turns red from algal bloom, which kills the fish, drives the frogs out onto the land, poisons animals, causes immense numbers of flies from all the dead creatures, and boils from the bites of flies...all of which are part of the Exodus story. It appears that at about that time there was a severe famine in Egypt which would have driven people to eat contaminated food. About that there is no doubt at all, since ancient flood records and sediments clearly show there was a terrible drought then, and some records do speak of a famine. Since in Egyptian society, the first born was considered the most important child, the first born child would have gotten more of the contamination, and there could have easily been a massive dying-off of the first born. It appears that at about the time of the Exodus, the volcano Thera erupted, which would have appeared in Egypt as a pillar of fire by night and a pillar of cloud by day. It was such a violent eruption, with severe aftershocks, that an earthquake caused by it could have easily caused a recession of water, then a tidal wave, in the Red Sea.

On the other hand, it is sometimes thought the true translation of "Red Sea" should be "Reed Sea", a fairly shallow body of water that sometimes blows dry in parts when there are strong desert winds, then returns when the winds die down.

There are actual carvings of Hebrews on ancient buildings of about that era, depicted as a conquered or subjugated, but sometimes as an aggressive people. The word "Hebrew", ("Habiru" actually) is written in heieroglyphs on monuments in Egypt.

It is very clear that a numerous and foreign people had settled in the land of Goshen around the right time, but then disappeared from there. Nobody knows why they did, but the ruins in the area have been fairly recently discovered and partially excavated. Whoever they were, their artifacts establish that they weren't Egyptians.

Rameses II is generally thought to have been the Pharoah of the Exodus. Not he, but his son appears to have met a violent death. It is thought that his death motivated Rameses to build the enormous complex of Rameseid tombs.

One might believe God visited the plagues of Egypt and caused all the things in Exodus directly by non-natural miracle or through natural events. But no matter what, one cannot truly say none of those things happened at all, because some of them could easily have happened, and some pretty much undeniably did.

Non-mention of the name of Moses isn't at all odd. The Egyptians had a practice of not putting the names of their enemies on things because they thought it had some role in their immortality. In some instances, as with Queen Hatshepsut, they actually went and carved her name off all kinds of monuments she built during her reign, because she was hated by the subsequent ruler and his followers, and they wanted to deprive her of an afterlife.


#3

It is well known that rulers of ancient Egypt would destroy evidence of other rulers. Monuments damaged or records erased. This becomes a challenge for Egyptologists. That might explain why there is no hard evidence to support the Exodus from Egyptian artifacts or monuments.


#4

Jesus, Who is God, and Who can neither deceive nor be deceived, spoke of Moses as a living, breathing man. Good enough.


#5

They may have been looking in the wrong place.

Check out google earth at
28° 39' 18.7626 North
35° 18' 15.9732 East

Jabel El Lawz. For some reason it is not as clear as it used to be. But in addition you clearly could view various features and they were all marked, such as pillars, the altar, tent hut circles. It is in an unauthorized fenced off area.


#6

Better - with the landmarks...


#7

[quote="buffalo, post:5, topic:321499"]
They may have been looking in the wrong place.

Check out google earth at
28° 39' 18.7626 North
35° 18' 15.9732 East

Jabel El Lawz. For some reason it is not as clear as it used to be. But in addition you clearly could view various features and they were all marked, such as pillars, the altar, tent hut circles. It is in an unauthorized fenced off area.

[/quote]

Wow this is extremely interesting. It makes for some fascinating archeological evidence for Moses and the exodus!


#8

Matt 17:1 Six days later, Jesus took with him Peter and James and his brother John and led them up a high mountain by themselves. 2 There in their presence he was transfigured: his face shone like the sun and his clothes became as dazzling as light. 3 And suddenly Moses and Elijah appeared to them; they were talking with him.

Luke 9:29 And it happened that, as he was praying, the aspect of his face was changed and his clothing became sparkling white. 30 And suddenly there were two men talking to him; they were Moses and Elijah

Mark 9:5 Then Peter spoke to Jesus, 'Rabbi,' he said, 'it is wonderful for us to be here; so let us make three shelters, one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah.'


#9

[quote="Ridgerunner, post:2, topic:321499"]
I am not a biblical scholar by any means, but there have been lots of the things in Exodus that people seem to have discovered to be historically accurate, though usually they attribute them to natural causes.

The Nile really does sometimes have a series of events in which it turns red from algal bloom, which kills the fish, drives the frogs out onto the land, poisons animals, causes immense numbers of flies from all the dead creatures, and boils from the bites of flies...all of which are part of the Exodus story. It appears that at about that time there was a severe famine in Egypt which would have driven people to eat contaminated food. About that there is no doubt at all, since ancient flood records and sediments clearly show there was a terrible drought then, and some records do speak of a famine. Since in Egyptian society, the first born was considered the most important child, the first born child would have gotten more of the contamination, and there could have easily been a massive dying-off of the first born. It appears that at about the time of the Exodus, the volcano Thera erupted, which would have appeared in Egypt as a pillar of fire by night and a pillar of cloud by day. It was such a violent eruption, with severe aftershocks, that an earthquake caused by it could have easily caused a recession of water, then a tidal wave, in the Red Sea.

On the other hand, it is sometimes thought the true translation of "Red Sea" should be "Reed Sea", a fairly shallow body of water that sometimes blows dry in parts when there are strong desert winds, then returns when the winds die down.

There are actual carvings of Hebrews on ancient buildings of about that era, depicted as a conquered or subjugated, but sometimes as an aggressive people. The word "Hebrew", ("Habiru" actually) is written in heieroglyphs on monuments in Egypt.

It is very clear that a numerous and foreign people had settled in the land of Goshen around the right time, but then disappeared from there. Nobody knows why they did, but the ruins in the area have been fairly recently discovered and partially excavated. Whoever they were, their artifacts establish that they weren't Egyptians.

Rameses II is generally thought to have been the Pharoah of the Exodus. Not he, but his son appears to have met a violent death. It is thought that his death motivated Rameses to build the enormous complex of Rameseid tombs.

One might believe God visited the plagues of Egypt and caused all the things in Exodus directly by non-natural miracle or through natural events. But no matter what, one cannot truly say none of those things happened at all, because some of them could easily have happened, and some pretty much undeniably did.

Non-mention of the name of Moses isn't at all odd. The Egyptians had a practice of not putting the names of their enemies on things because they thought it had some role in their immortality. In some instances, as with Queen Hatshepsut, they actually went and carved her name off all kinds of monuments she built during her reign, because she was hated by the subsequent ruler and his followers, and they wanted to deprive her of an afterlife.

[/quote]

Then there is that legends that often encrust the most historical of events, the inaccuracies that occur because a sequence of events is hard to keep straight as we look back over a span of years and we tend to embellish things. For instance the plagues would have been remembered as defeat of specific Egyptian gods, ending with Pharoah, the living god. And Old Testament numbers seem hard to interpret. Could there really have been a million;did the word actually mean a thousand thousand?


#10

[quote="mexolic, post:3, topic:321499"]
It is well known that rulers of ancient Egypt would destroy evidence of other rulers. Monuments damaged or records erased. This becomes a challenge for Egyptologists. That might explain why there is no hard evidence to support the Exodus from Egyptian artifacts or monuments.

[/quote]

My response was for those who claim the Exodus story not to be true, such as the atheist who saw no evidence outside the Bible. Of course I believe it is true. It's the Word of God.


#11

Did Moses really exist?

Well, yes. Because the Word of God says so. Do you doubt what God have revealed to us and his authors? That is the real question.


#12

[quote="buffalo, post:5, topic:321499"]
They may have been looking in the wrong place.

Check out google earth at
28° 39' 18.7626 North
35° 18' 15.9732 East

Jabel El Lawz. For some reason it is not as clear as it used to be. But in addition you clearly could view various features and they were all marked, such as pillars, the altar, tent hut circles. It is in an unauthorized fenced off area.

[/quote]

Not sure what I'm looking at. Sorry if I seem dumb, but I want to understand what this coordinate is supposed to be. Thanks.


#13

[quote="eyesopening, post:12, topic:321499"]
Not sure what I'm looking at. Sorry if I seem dumb, but I want to understand what this coordinate is supposed to be. Thanks.

[/quote]

go here - Better - with the landmarks...


#14

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.