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How Long Were Israel in Egypt?

 From time to time the question is posed, how long were the children of Israel in Egypt?  Suggestions range from 430 years to a little over 200 years.

I offer the following explanation to show that they were actually in Egypt for 225 years.  This is measured from the time Jacob entered the land (Genesis 47:9) to their departure under the leadership of Moses (Exodus 12:40-41).

Enclosed is a copy of my chart which first of all, attempts to reconcile the 430 and 400 year prophetic time periods.  Reconciling these time periods leads me to the conclusion that Israel must have been in Egypt for 225 years.  In order to calculate this it is necessary to account from Scripture for both time periods, the 430 year (Ex.12:40-41; Gal.3:17) and 400 year periods (Gen.15:13; Acts 7:6).

Moses in the book of Exodus informs us that 430 years was the period of, “the sojourning of the children of Israel”, that is, from the time of Abraham’s seed, i.e. Isaac onwards.  Paul tells us in his letter to the Galatians that the 430 year period started with “the covenant that was confirmed before of God in Christ…”.  The period ended with the giving of “the law (on Sinai) which was 430 years after…”.

God established a covenant with Abraham (Genesis 15).  His seed was to be “a stranger in a land that was not theirs” for 400 years.  Luke also informs us that Abraham’s seed would “sojourn in a strange land and that they should bring them into bondage…” for 400 years.  Therefore the 400 year prophetic period finished when Israel left Egypt.

The Chart

The column which totals 430 years is constructed with scripture time periods between the covenant being made with Abraham and the Exodus from Egypt.  The only apparent gap in the Scriptural data for this prophetic period is the time period between the death of Joseph and the birth of Moses.  This figure (74yrs.) is derived in order to make up the balance to total 430 years, from the covenant made with Abraham (Gen.15) to the Exodus.  It is interesting that during this period we read (Ex.1:8) that, “there arose a new king over Egypt which new not Joseph.”.

This period of 74 years can now be used in the next column to construct the timetable of events for the 400 year period.  Starting with Israel’s departure from Egypt and working backwards in time, we come to 105 years between the death of Abraham and the death of Isaac. This leaves us with a 60 year balance necessary to make up the 400 year time period.  This calculation suggests that when Abraham was (i.e.175-60) 115 years old his son Isaac must have been 15 years of age.  This shows that the 400 year period started with the offering of Isaac.

This conclusion is confirmed by the Paul in reference to (Gen.22:16-17) the sacrifice of Isaac, Hebrews 6:13-15. “… so after he had patiently endured, he obtained the promise.”

The final column simply totals up the time periods from Jacob’s entry to Egypt to the time when God released them from bondage. – i.e. 225 years!

 

 

Person

 

Age

 

References

 

Abraham offering to Sinai

 

Isaac offered, to Sinai

 

Israel in Egypt

 

Abraham

 

 

 

 

85

 

86

 

100

 

Gen. 15; 16:3

Gal. 3:17

Ishmael born (Gen. 16:16)

Isaac born (Gen. 21:5)

 

 

 

 

1

14

 

Isaac

 

15

 

Offered, Gen. 22

 

60*

 

Abraham dies

 

175

 

Gen. 25:7, (Isaac 75)

 

75

 

Isaac dies

 

180

 

Gen. 35:28 (Jacob 120)

 

105

 

105

Jacob 130 Went into Egypt (Gen. 47:9) 10 10
 

Jacob dies

 

147

 

Gen. 47:28, (Joseph 56)

 

17

 

17

 

17

 

Joseph dies

 

110

 

Gen. 50:26

 

54

 

54

 

54

 

Moses born

 

Exod. 2:2

 

74*

 

74

 

74

 

Israel left Egypt

 

Exod. 12:40-41; Gal. 3:17 (Moses 80)

 

80

 

80

 

80

     

Total Years

 

430

 

400

 

225 in Egypt

 Note:- Years added are marked * to make up totals of 430 years and 400 years.

 Conclusions:- This suggests that Israel must have been under Egyptian bondage for 225 years (see Exod. 2:23-25).  Therefore, there would be 74 years between the end of Genesis 50 and Exodus 1 (see Exod. 1:6-8).  This would make Isaac 15 years of age when offered (see Gen. 22:5).

Peter Moore

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