Jesus The Alpha and The Omega

A study on the 430 years of Exodus 12:40,41

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Evidently, God predetermined the existence of sin on planet Earth to be 7,000 years (or 70 centuries). This suggestion is made on the basis that when one adds up the genealogical records in Genesis, the history of Israel in the Old Testament and the prophetic time-periods found in Daniel and Revelation, the total amount of timementioned in the Bible adds up to slightly more than 7,000 years. The slight overage beyond 7,000 years appears to exist because Adam and Eve lived in the Garden of Eden a few years before they sinned.

The Bible says a thousand years are like a day to the Lord. (Psalm 90:4; 2 Peter 3:8) We know that God established the weekly cycle as a template at Creation because this template is found in the week of seven months, the week of seven years and the week of seven weeks given to Israel. (Leviticus 23 and 25) Did God also establish a millennial week of seven days for the duration of sin? Is it merely coincidental that Revelation 20 contains a time-period of 1,000 years? Does 70 centuries for sin parallel the 70 weeks granted to Israel in Daniel 9? These are interesting questions that do not have simple proof text answers.

Consider this: If God is waiting for the close of the �Friday� millennium, a Sabbathical rest of 1,000 years from the works of sin will soon commence. If God is using a millennial calendar, the first full day of freedom from the works of sin will be a Sabbath rest! This point is made because the first full day for Adam and Eve was a Sabbath rest and the first full year for Israel in the Promised Land was a Sabbatical year. On the other hand, if we say that God is not following a millennial calendar, what is the point of knowing in advance about the 1,000 years mentioned in Revelation 20? In other words, what contribution does the knowledge of 1,000 years bring to our overall prophetic understanding? We know that God is deliberate and purposeful in everything He does. God deliberately pre-determined the duration of 1,000 years in Revelation 20 because that length of time fits into His flawless plans.

When does the 6,000th year of sin end? When does the 1,000 years of Revelation 20 begin? These are interesting questions that merit examination. For reasons that are forthcoming, this writer finds the year of Creation to be on or about 4034 B.C. Of course, this date is subject to dispute. This date was determined in the following manner: The Bible indicates there are 1,656 years between the creation of Adam (4034 B.C.) and the flood in Noah�s day (2378 B.C.). The Bible also indicates there are 221 years between the flood and the birth of Terah, Abraham�s father. (See outline at the end of this study.) The length of time between the birth of Terah and the Exodus is disputed and this study hopes to reduce some of the controversy by addressing three or four issues.

Some people say Terah was 70 years old when Abraham was born because of this text: �After Terah had lived 70 years, he became the father of Abram, Nahor and Haran.� (Genesis 11:26) Were Abram, Nahor and Haran born on the same day? No! The Bible says Terah lived 205 years and at the time of death, Abram was 75 years old. (Genesis 11:32, 12:4) Therefore, Abraham was born when Terah was 130 years old. Perhaps Terah was 70 years old when He began to have offspring. Nevertheless, there are a total of 351 years between the flood (2378 B.C.) and the birth of Abraham (2027 B.C.).

One more introductory point. This writer finds the date of the Exodus to be fixed at 1437 B.C. by God�s Jubilee calendar. (For a comprehensive discussion on this topic, see my booklet �Great Clocks From God.�) Because the date of 1437 B.C. appears to be mathematically and historically secure, the count of years since Creation can be reasonably determined if (a) the Biblical record of time is 2complete and (b) we can determine the number of years between the birth of Abraham (~2027 B.C.) and the Exodus (1437 B.C.).

430 Years or 215 Years?

How long were the descendants of Abraham in Egypt before the Exodus? Most people say 215 years, others say 400 years, and a few say 430 years. Which answer is best? To get the best answer we have to examine the writings of Moses. Moses grew up in Pharaoh�s court and he was highly educated. The Bible says he lived in Egypt for 40 years (Acts 7:23) and he lived in the desert 40 years. The Bible s ays that Moses was 80 and Aaron was 83 years of age at the year of the Exodus. (Exodus 7:7) Therefore, as a contemporary of the Exodus, no one else in the Bible speaks on the dating of this matter more authoritatively than Moses. This is a crucial point because Moses wrote the following words, �Now the length of time the Israelite people lived in Egypt was 430 years.� (Exodus 12:40, NIV, Italics mine) Assuming the words of Moses to be accurate, we have serval tough questions to answer.

The Promise To Abraham

Before we proceed to examine the number of years in Egypt, we need to review the words spoken to Abraham (pay close attention to the words that are underlined): "Then the Lord said to [Abraham], "Know for certain that your descendants will be strangers in a country not their own, and they will be enslaved and mistreated four hundred years. {15} You, however, will go to your fathers in peace and be buried at a good old age. {16} In the fourth generation your descendants will come back here, for the sin of the Amorites has not yet reached its full measure." Genesis 15:13,15,16

Two statements emphasized:

A. The Lord said to Abraham... �your descendants will be enslaved and mistreated four hundred years.�

B. The Lord said to Abraham... �In the fourth generation your descendants will come back here....�

Abraham�s Family Data

1. Genesis 21:5 "Abraham was a hundred years old when his son Isaac was born (~1927 B.C.) to him." (Abraham died at 175 years of age. Gen 25:7)

2. Genesis 25:26 �...Isaac was sixty years old when Rebekah gave birth to them [Esau and Jacob in ~1867 B.C.].� (Isaac died at 180 years of age. Gen 35:28)

3. Jacob was 89 or 90 when his eleventh son, Joseph, was born (~1777 B.C.). (Jacob�s age is calculated from the fact that Jacob was 130 when he entered Egypt and Joseph was 39 or 40. See texts below.)

The Ages of Jacob and Joseph

Genesis 37:2 �This is the account of Jacob. Joseph, a young man of seventeen, was tending the flocks with his brothers, the sons of Bilhah and the sons of Zilpah, his father's wives, and he brought their father a bad report about them.�

Genesis 41:46 "Joseph was thirty years old when he entered the service of Pharaoh king of Egypt. And Joseph went out from Pharaoh's presence and traveled throughout Egypt."

Genesis 41:48 Joseph collected all the food produced in those seven years of abundance in Egypt and stored it in the cities. In each city he put the food grown in the fields surrounding it.

Genesis 45:4-6 "Then Joseph said to his brothers, "Come close to me." When they had done so, he said, "I am your brother Joseph, the one you sold into Egypt! {5} And now, do not be distressed and do3 not be angry with yourselves for selling me here, because it was to save lives that God sent me ahead of you. {6} For two years now there has been famine in the land, and for the next five years there will not be plowing and reaping. "

So, Joseph, is sold as a slave at age 17, then at age 30 he rose to Pharaoh�s throne, then he spent seven years gathering food plus he endured two years of famine before his father moved to Egypt � so Joseph's age is 39 or 40 when his 130 year old father joins him. (Genesis 47:9) Therefore, Jacob is 130 when Joseph is ~40.

Alignment of years thus far
Abraham born 2027 B.C.
Isaac born + 100
Jacob born + 100 + 60
Joseph born + 100 + 60 + 90
Joseph sold as a salve into Egypt     + 100 + 60 + 90 + 17
Jacob enters Egypt with family + 100 + 60 + 90 + 17 + 23
Total 290 years later which is 1737 B.C.

Result: From Abraham's birth to Jacob's entrance into Egypt is 290 years. If Abraham was 75 years old when the Lord called Him to leave Haran, (Genesis 12:4) one can see that Jacob entered Canaan 215 years after the call of Abraham. (290-75 = 215)

Of course, 215 years is exactly half of 430 years. Notice this text: �At the end of the 430 years, to the very day, all the Lord's divisions left Egypt.� (Exodus 12:41) So, the count of 430 years to the very day is a spectacular event to Moses (who wrote this passage), but what happened 430 years earlier on Nisan 15 (the date of the Exodus)? Was it the call of Abraham?

215 Years Can�t Be 430 Years
Many scholars find there are 215 years between the call of Abraham and Jacob�s entrance into Egypt, and they say that if the Israelites are in Egypt for a total of 215 years, this makes a total of 430 years to the very day. But, two texts frustrate this conclusion.

First, God forbid Isaac from going down to Egypt to live. (Genesis 26:2) So, the length of time in Egypt cannot be counted from the call of Abraham. Second, Moses says the Israelites were in Egypt for 430 years: �Now the length of time the Israelite people lived in Egypt was 430 years.� (Exodus 12:40) Furthermore, God told Abraham His descendants would be mistreated and enslaved for four hundred years! Can 215 years equal 400 years? Can 215 years equal 430 years?

Entrance into Egypt
We know that Joseph's family arrived in Egypt when Joseph was about 40 years of age and Jacob is 130. �And Jacob said to Pharaoh, "The years of my pilgrimage are a hundred and thirty. My years have been few and difficult, and they do not equal the years of the pilgrimage of my fathers." (Genesis 47:9)

When Jacob (age 130) entered Egypt, this author concludes that his son, Levi, was about 44 years of age and Levi�s son, Kohath, was about 3 years of age. Levi�s age needs to be known because the Bible traces the ancestry of the Israelites in Egypt through Levi�s offspring.

Levi is the third born of Leah (Genesis 29:34) His age has to be 3 to 10 years older than Joseph (This writer assumes Levi is 5 years older than Joseph). The age of Levi is deducted from the fact that Jacob served Laban for seven years before marrying 4 Leah. Levi is Jacob�s third born son, since three males (assuming no girls were born to Leah) take an absolute minimum of 27 months to gestate, Levi could have been born during Jacob�s 10th year working for Laban. Since Jacob served Laban a total of 20 years (Gen 31:38) and Joseph was born the year Jacob departed Laban (Gen 30:25), Levi could have been a maximum of ten years older than Joseph. This writer assumes that Levi is about five years older than Joseph because (a) the Bible says Leah did not have children for some time after marriage. (Gen 29:31) and (b) having three sons within 27 months is possible, but not probable. The result of this calculation is that Levi is 45 when Joseph is 40.

Because God said Abraham�s descendants would return to Canaan in the fourth generation, notice that Joseph and his eleven brothers were considered one generation. "Now Joseph and all his brothers [such as Levi, etc.] and all that generation died..." (Exodus 1:6 ) So, the offspring of Abraham looks like this:

1. Abraham       - 1st generation
2. Isaac - 2nd generation
3. Jacob - 3rd generation � Lived in Egypt 17 years / died at 147
4. Levi - 4th generation � The Generation that enters Egypt
5. Kohath - 5th generation
6. Amram - 6th generation
7. Moses - 7th generation � The Generation that leaves Egypt

In order to fulfill the prophecy given in Genesis 15, the fourth generation has to leave Egypt. Remember, the Lord said to Abraham... �In the fourth generation your descendants will come back here....� Since it has been assumed that Levi was 44 when he entered Egypt. Notice his lineage: Notice the offspring of Levi:

Genesis 46:11 The sons of Levi: Gershon, Kohath and Merari.
Exodus 6:18 The sons of Kohath were Amram, Izhar, Hebron and Uzziel.
1 Chronicles 6:3 The children of Amram: Aaron, Miriam and Moses.

The Bible gives the ages of these four generations at death:

Exodus 6:16 Levi lived 137 years.
Exodus 6:18 Kohath lived 133 years.
Exodus 6:20 Amram lived 137 years.
Exodus 7:7 Moses was 80 years old at the Exodus (died at 120 years; Deut. 24:7)

1. Levi - lived to be 137 (Since he entered Egypt at age 44 or 45 he lived in Egypt for about 92 years)
2. Kohath - entered Egypt near age 3(?) and lived to be 133 years of age
3. Amram - lived for 137 years
4. Moses - age 80 at the Exodus (Moses died the year Israel entered Canaan at 120 years of age. Deut 24:7)

What maximum span of time does this data offer? If Kohath is 3(?) years of age upon entering Egypt, let us speculate that Amram is born on or about the last year of Kohath�s life. Let us also speculate 5that Moses is born during on or about the last year of Amram�s life. This extreme speculation produces a maximum of 347 years (130 + 137 + 80). Of course, for reproduction purposes 347 years is inconceivable (pun intended) but this process pushes the maximum number of years to their absolute limit. The controversy here is that Moses says the Israelites lived in Egypt for 430 years. (Exodus 12:40: �Now the length of time the Israelite people lived in Egypt was 430 years.) How does Moses count these years?

Before we address a more realistic figure in Egypt (347 years is not realistic), we have to consider some other issues.

430 years versus 400 years?
Carefully read these two texts and notice the conflict:

1. Exodus 12:40,41 says: "Now the length of time the Israelite people lived in Egypt was 430 years. At the end of the 430 years, to the very day, all the Lord's divisions left Egypt."

2. Genesis 15:13,16 says, �Then the Lord said to him [Abraham], "Know for certain that your descendants will be strangers in a country not their own, and they will be enslaved and mistreated four hundred years. In the fourth generation your descendants will come back here, for the sin of the Amorites has not yet reached its full measure."�

We know that 430 years can�t be 400 years unless the 400 years are understood to represent 100 years per generation. The length of a generation is averaged by subtracting the age for offspring from the age at death. Therefore, historians today generally regard our generation to be about 50 years (we die around 70 and begin having offspring around 20 years of age) although a specific generation for a given family can be longer or shorter depending on the lineage of that particular family. So, it is possible that 430 years could be called 400 years (death at 135 minus 35 for having offspring) if God was generally speaking of four generations. But there is a greater problem.

In Genesis 15:16 God said, "In the fourth generation your descendants will come back here, for the sin of the Amorites has not yet reached its full measure."

It has been said earlier that some people put 430 years between the Exodus and the call of Abraham. The problem here is that Moses is not a member of the fourth generation from Abraham. Moses is a member of the seventh generation! So, God must have started with Levi because Moses is the fourth generation from Levi.

Seven generations: Abraham to Moses
1. Abraham
2. Isaac
3. Jacob
4. Levi
5. Kohath
6. Amram
7. Moses

The mystery deepens. Moses says the Israelites lived in Egypt for 430 years. We know the last four generations cannot span 430 years. We have already determined the longest possible span of time in Egypt was an �inconceivable� total of 347 years. So, what did Moses intend for us to understand? Evidently, the descendants of Israel were set free �on the anniversary� (the very day) of some 6noteworthy event. (Exodus 12:40,41) What was the anniversary event?

The Anniversary Event
For the sake of a solution, let�s suppose Moses dated the 430 years from the birth of Jacob. We know that Jacob is 130 years of age when he enters Egypt. This solution is offered because there must have been a very special anniversary which the Hebrews honored because they were aware of the fact that their departure from Egypt occurred 430 years later �to the very day.� Something important happened 430 years on that very day. What was it?

What could have been so special 430 years earlier � to the very day � if not the birthday of the father of their nation? Remember, the twelve tribes in Egypt are Israelites. That is, they were the family of Jacob (Israel), not Abraham (who fathered Ishmael, Isaac and six other sons). The Hebrews in Egypt were not the only descendants of Isaac (who fathered Esau and Jacob).

The birthdate of Israel (Jacob) might resolve the 430 years in Egypt problem because Jacob is 130 years old when he enters Egypt and 300 more years in Egypt could mkae a total of 430 years to the very day. Wouldn�t it be neat if God delivered the Israelites on the birthday of their father? We notice that 300 years is less than the inconceivable maximum of 347 years, so this solution might work if the Hebrew language in Exodus 12:40 is translated in the following way: �Now the length of time the Israelites [existed], which were in Egypt, was 430 years [to the very day].�

                               |------Levi 44-----|137
                                           |-----Kohath 3--------|133
          |---------------------430 Years-----------------------|

One literal translation of Exodus 12:40 reads like this: �And the living time sons Israel�s which lived in Egypt, thirty years and four hundred years.� (The Interlinear Hebrew-Greek English Bible, 1984, Jay P. Green) Does a literal translation support the idea that Israel lived in Egypt 430 years or does it better support the idea that the nation of Israel, which lived in Egypt, existed for a total of 430 years?

Paul�s Comments
There are arguments against dating the 430 years from Jacob�s date of birth. Some people argue that Paul dates the 430 years from the call of Abraham to the giving of the law at Mt. Sinai. If Paul�s statement is true, what do we do with the statement of Moses who was present at the Exodus? What do we do with the seven generations from Abraham to Moses? Notice Paul�s statements:

Galatians 3:16,17 �The promises were spoken to Abraham and to his seed. The Scripture does not say "and to seeds, "meaning many people, but "and to your seed," meaning one person, who is Christ. {17} What I mean is this: The law, introduced 430 years later, does not set aside the covenant previously established by God and thus do away with the promise.�

If we choose to ignore the statement of Moses who lived at the time of the Exodus, we could interpret Paul�s statement to measure 430 years from the promises made to Abraham to the giving of the law at Mt. Sinai. Or, should we interpret Paul�s statement to be a label identifying a well known timeperiod? In other words, how should we interpret Paul? Is Paul quoting Moses saying, �The promises7 were spoken to Abraham.... [then] the law, which was introduced after 430 years in Egypt, does not set aside the covenant previously established [with Abraham]?" Before we address Paul's remarks in Galatians 3, let's examine Paul�s remarks in Acts 13.

The 450 Years
Acts 13:17-20 Paul said, �The God of the people of Israel chose our fathers; he made the people prosper during their stay in Egypt, with mighty power he led them out of that country, He [God] endured their conduct for about forty years in the desert, He overthrew seven nations in Canaan and gave their land to his people as their inheritance. �All this took about 450 years. "After this, God gave them judges until the time of Samuel the prophet."

From what point does Paul measure the beginning of the 450 years? Some people say the call of Abraham. If this is the case, the approximate number of years would be 480 years (430 years plus 40 years in the wilderness plus 10 years(?) in Canaan to overthrow seven cities). On the other hand, if Paul refers to the �450 years� as 400 years as salves (using Genesis 15:13 language), plus 40 years in the wilderness, plus 10 years in Canaan -- conquering seven nations, then a total of 450 years appears to fit.

          Exodus 12:40,41 language
   | - - - - - - - - 430 - - - - -|
Jacob     Jacob                         Exodus         Canaan
Born    to Egypt                         Wilderness
           130 |             300             |    40   |   10  |
   |- - - - - - - - - 400 - - - - - - - |- - - -50 - - - | Judges
Genesis 15:13 / Acts 13 language

Notice in the chart above, that 400 years and 430 years cover the same period of time because the 400 years cover four generations of 100 years each, but the actual number of years is 430. It�s Genesis and Acts language versus Exodus language. Evidently, Paul speaks of the 430 years using the �400 year language� of Genesis 15:13 plus he adds 50 years to cover the 40 years in the wilderness and ten years of initial conquest of Canaan. The question though is where does Paul place the origin of the 450 years?

Back To The call of Abraham
Let�s assume that Paul measures 430 years from the call of Abraham in Acts 13 and Galatians 3. If this is the case, and Abraham was called around age 75, the time-frame looks like this:

Dates from Abraham's call
Abraham called: age     75
Isaac born 75 + 25 (25 years later)
Jacob born 75 + 25 + 60 = (85 years later)
Joseph born 75 + 25 + 60 + 90 = (175 years later)
Jacob enters Egypt 75 + 25 + 60 + 90 + 40 = (215 years later)

There are 215 years between Abraham's call and Jacob entering Egypt. Because 215 years is exactly half of 430, this forces a very short stay in Egypt as slaves � far less than the 400 years mentioned in Genesis 15 or the 430 years mentioned in Exodus 12:40,41. This is a problem, but there is a greater problem.

Earlier, we determined the absolute maximum number of years in Egypt to be 347 years. Because 215 years is significantly shorter than 347 years, the 215 year time-frame is an easy fit for four generations. Notice this arrangement below:

Kohath three years old upon entering Egypt
Kohath when Amram was born: 75
Amram when Moses was born: 60
Moses at the Exodus: 80

Too few Hebrews in 215 years?
Before the mystery of 430 years is resolved, there's one more problem that must be addressed. Let's take the popular view and assume the Israelites were in Egypt for a total of 215 years. Is it possible within this scope of years to produce the number of male Hebrews, 20 years old and older, that were counted at Kadesh Barnea?

Numbers 1:8 provides the following census data for each tribe:
1. Reuben: 46,500         7. Ephraim: 40,500
2. Simeon: 59,300 8. Manasseh: 32,200
3. Gad: 45,650 9.Benjamin: 35,400
4. Judah: 74,600 10. Dan: 62,700
5. Issachar: 54,400 11. Asher: 41,500
6. Zebulun: 57,400 12. Naphtali: 53,400
Total: 603,550

Given this data, and assuming the total years in Egypt is 215 years, we need to compare Israel�s population growth with data found in the Bible for that era. Genesis 46 says:

7 He [Jacob] took with him to Egypt his sons and grandsons and his daughters and granddaughters--all his offspring.
8 These are the names of the sons of Israel (Jacob and his descendants) who went to Egypt: Reuben the firstborn of Jacob.
9 The sons of Reuben: Hanoch, Pallu, Hezron and Carmi.
10 The sons of Simeon: Jemuel, Jamin, Ohad, Jakin, Zohar and Shaul the son of a Canaanite woman.
11 The sons of Levi: Gershon, Kohath and Merari.
12 The sons of Judah: Er, Onan, Shelah, Perez and Zerah (but Er and Onan had died in the land of Canaan). The sons of Perez: Hezron and Hamul.
13 The sons of Issachar: Tola, Puah, Jashub and Shimron.
14 The sons of Zebulun: Sered, Elon and Jahleel.
15 These were the sons Leah bore to Jacob in Paddan Aram, besides his daughter Dinah. These sons and daughters of his were thirty-three in all.
16 The sons of Gad: Zephon, Haggi, Shuni, Ezbon, Eri, Arodi and Areli.
17 The sons of Asher: Imnah, Ishvah, Ishvi and Beriah. Their sister was Serah. The sons of Beriah: Heber and Malkiel.
18 These were the children born to Jacob by Zilpah, whom Laban had given to his daughter Leah--sixteen in all.
19 The sons of Jacob's wife Rachel: Joseph and Benjamin.
20 In Egypt, Manasseh and Ephraim were born to Joseph by Asenath daughter of Potiphera, priest of On.
21 The sons of Benjamin: Bela, Beker, Ashbel, Gera, Naaman, Ehi, Rosh, Muppim, Huppim and Ard. 22 These were the sons of Rachel who were born to Jacob--fourteen in all.
23 The son of Dan: Hushim.
24 The sons of Naphtali: Jahziel, Guni, Jezer and Shillem.
25 These were the sons born to Jacob by Bilhah, whom Laban had given to his daughter Rachel--seven in all.
26 All those who went to Egypt with Jacob--those who were his direct descendants, not counting his sons' wives--numbered sixty-six persons.
27 With the two sons who had been born to Joseph in Egypt, the members of Jacob's family, which went to Egypt, were seventy in all.

Notice Jacob�s offspring when he enters Egypt at age 130 in grandsons and great-grandsons

1. Reuben: 4         7. Joseph: 2
2. Simeon: 6 8. Levi: 3
3. Gad: 6 9. Benjamin: 10
4. Judah: 3 / 2 10. Dan: 1
5. Issachar:     4 11. Asher: 4/ 2
6. Zebulun: 3 12. Naphtali:     4

Some Analysis
Jacob sired 12 sons which sired 50 grandsons which sired 4 great-grandsons by the time Jacob was 130. A total of 66 sons. Even though Jacob produced twelve sons � but His sons averaged a more reasonable 4.16 sons each.

We know that Jacob's male offspring numbered 66 when he entered Egypt. (Genesis 46:27) Can 66 males produce 603,550 males in 197 years? (Note: A census was taken during the second year in the wilderness of males who were 20 years of age or older, so 215 years in Egypt plus 2 years in the wilderness minus 20 years of age equals 197 years allotted for reproduction.)

The Bible says the second census, taken 38 years later, totaled: 601,730. (Numbers 26:4,51) In other words, 603,548 men died during the remaining 38 years in the wilderness. But, at the entrance into Canaan, 601,730 men were found to be between the ages of 20 and 57 (Note: A 19 year old living in the wilderness for 38 years would be about 57 upon entering Canaan). The point here is that there was no population growth for 38 years in the wilderness.

Yes, The Israelites Were Fertile
We know the size of the Israelite camp became a problem when a new Pharaoh came to power after Joseph died. �Then a new king, who did not know about Joseph, came to power in Egypt. "Look," he said to his people, "the Israelites have become much too numerous for us. Come, we must deal shrewdly with them or they will become even more numerous and, if war breaks out, will join our enemies, fight against us and leave the country.� (Exodus 1:8-10)

�But the more they were oppressed, the more they multiplied and spread; so the Egyptians came to dread the Israelites and worked them ruthlessly. They made their lives bitter with hard labor in brick and mortar and with all kinds of work in the fields; in all their hard labor the Egyptians used them ruthlessly. The king of Egypt said to the Hebrew midwives, whose names were Shiphrah and Puah, "When you help the Hebrew women in childbirth and observe them on the delivery stool, if it is a boy, kill him; but if it is a girl, let her live." The [two] midwives, however, feared God and did not do what the king of Egypt had told them to do; they let the boys live.� (Exodus 1:12-17, insertions mine)

To produce the largest population the shortest period of time, we have to make some assumptions about the birth rate of the Israelites in Egypt. Remember, we are trying to produce 603,550 surviving males in 197 years. So, it is generously assumed that each male produced five surviving males during a period of 50 years. (Note: Five surviving males implies four or five surviving females. Did most families have ten children? Probably not, but who can say? We do know the average offspring of Jacob�s sons is 4.1 males. Infant mortality rates for this time-period are also unknown. However, from Genesis 46:7-27 we have some idea about birth rate totals when a highly prolific Jacob (having children via four women) entered Egypt at age 130.)

OK, the numbers
We know that the largest tribe, Judah, had 74,600 men age 20+ when the first census was taken in the wilderness. According to Genesis 46, Judah entered Egypt with three sons and two grandsons � a total of 5 sons. Here's a reproductive model based on the premise that each of Judah's five offspring produced five surviving sons every fifty years in Egypt for 350 years:

              Judah�s Offspring
                Years in Egypt

     50     100      150       200       250         300            350

Births per generation
     5      25       125        625      3,125      15,625       78,125

Deaths from previous generation
     0       5         25        125       625         3,125       15,625

Net increase in sons
     5      20       100       500       2,500       12,500      62,500

Looking at the chart we observe that it would take about 350 years to produce a total of 62,500 living males. This is not far above the actual count for Judah of 74,600. But, the question remains: Can 74,600 surviving males be produced in 197 years by Judah�s offspring? According to our assumption that a generation is 50 years, the answer is �No.� In this illustration 300 years are required to produce 12,500 surviving males from one man (and this implies 12,500 surviving females for a total of 25,000 people total).

We also notice that Benjamin entered Egypt with 10 sons (twice that of Judah) but at the time of the census his tribe was one of the smallest, with 35,400 males. These two extremes can�t be discarded in our mathematical solution to this problem because 74,600 males came from the tribe of Judah during the time the Israelites were in Egypt!

If we use the data above and compare it with the smallest tribe, Manesseh, having 32,200 men in 197 years who were age 20+, this outline suggests that 300+ years would not satisfy their population count. The conclusions presented in this chart thwarts the idea that the Israelites lived in Egypt for 215 years.

Now comes a more difficult question. Is the ratio of one father to five surviving sons every 50 years for 350 years reasonable? What do genealogical records for this time-period suggest? Notice this sample which may or may not be representative of reproduction while in Egyptian bondage:

Amram - 2 sons -- lived 137 years
Kohath - 4 sons -- lived 133 years
Moses - 2 sons -- lived 120 years
Average: 2.66 sons per father per 130 years

Smaller numbers
If we reset the reproduction rate to one father and three surviving sons per forty years (less time, less children), notice the result:

Number of Offspring
Years in Egypt
40    80   120    160    200    240     280         320         360        400

 3     9     27     81     243     729    2,187    6,561        19,683     59,049

 0     3       9     27      81     243      729     2,187        6,561     19,683

Net Increase
 3     6     18     54     162     486    1,458    4,374        13,122     39,366

Obviously, alterations produce alternate answers. However, our objective is to see if we can find a reasonable ratio of fathers to offspring and the number of years for a reproductive cycle for one generation to produce 603,550 males in 197 years. One can see by looking at this chart that 197 years is not enough time to produce the census totals for any tribe given in Numbers. When we factor in the population data between the first census and second census, and the reproduction cycles tested above, the number of years in Egypt appears to be greater than 215.

Long or Short Chronology?
Given the issues involved in this study, this writer prefers to date the 430 years in Egypt from the birth date of Jacob with these qualifications:

- The four hundred years mentioned in Genesis 15:13 are defined as an average span of 100 years per generation

- The four generations mentioned in Genesis 15 point to Levi, Kohath, Amram and Moses

- The precisely dated 430 years of Exodus 12:40,41 is an anniversary for Jacob�s date of birth (perhaps he entered Egypt on or near his birthday, Genesis 47:9) Therefore the words, to the very day, correspond to the birthday of Israel, the father of this nation.

- The KJV and other translations indicate the total time in Egypt was 430 years. This text may be translated as saying the total number of years since the birth of Israel, whose offspring was in Egypt, was 430 years.

- Population tables suggest a period of 197 years will not produce the necessary numbers to meet the census in the wilderness � 603,550 males.

- The 430 years and 450 years mentioned by Paul are subject to some interpretation given that we can�t precisely say if Paul wanted to define this time-period or if Paul wanted to identify a well known time-period which Moses had stated.

Because any solution to this mystery faces textual conflict, one has to justify his conclusions with a certain amount of explanation. When all of the above is factored together, this writer finds the best solution to be 430 years beginning with Jacob�s birthday.

From Jacob�s birth to entering Egypt: 130 years
Years Jacob�s family in Egypt: 300 years
Jacob�s offspring: From 66 males to 603,550 males in 300 years (Four generations)

If the 430 years are measured from Jacob�s birth to the Exodus, Creation�s dating appears to be:
1437 B.C. Exodus
1867 B.C. Jacob born (430 years)
2027 B.C. Abraham born (160 years)
2157 B.C. Terah born (130 years)
2186 B.C. Nahor born (29 years).
2216 B.C. Serug born (30 years)
2248 B.C. Reu born (32 years)
2278 B.C. Peleg born (30 years)
2312 B.C. Eber born (34 years)
2342 B.C. Selah born (30 years)
2377 B.C. Arphaxad born (35 years)
2378 B.C. Year of the Flood to Arphaxad (1 year)
4034 B.C. Creation to Year of the Flood (1656 years)

6,000 Years of Sin
Given the genealogical data above, the time Adam and Eve spent in the Garden of Eden before sinning affects the location of the 6,000th year. Because Adam and Eve did not bear children in the Garden of Eden, and because Cain and Abel were old enough to offer sacrifices when Cain killed Abel, we are left with a window of time that ranges from 36 to about 100 years in the Garden before sin occurred. Of course, there is no way to know when they sinned. However, the location of the 6,000th year clearly favors the first half of the 21st century. Note these figures:

If Adam and Eve lived in Eden 34 years before sin occurred: 4000 B.C. to A.D. 2000 = 6,000 years
If Adam and Eve lived in Eden 51 years before sin occurred: 3983 B.C. to A.D. 2017 = 6,000 years
If Adam and Eve lived in Eden 70 years before sin occurred: 3964 B.C. to A.D. 2036 = 6,000 years
If Adam and Eve lived in Eden 100 years before sin occurred: 3934 B.C. to A.D. 2066 = 6,000 years

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