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Bible History Timeline 430 Years In Egypt

Here’s a letter pointing out a possible error and an overlooked fact.

I have really enjoyed using the Bible Timeline along with my studies, and appreciate this awesome resource. It really helps to have a clearer picture of all of the events and how they relate to one another. Thank you for the PDF version of the timeline. This is a great bonus!
I know that the timeline states that there may be inconsistencies due to a number of different factors, but I was curious about one in particular and hoping you could explain it to me.
In Exodus 12:40 it says that the Israelites lived in Egypt for a total of 430 years to the day when Moses lead them out. On the timeline there is only about 200 years between the time when they came to Egypt and the Exodus of Moses. This seems like a big discrepency, and I’m am interested to know why this doesn’t appear to line up with scripture. I understand the enormous task of trying to put all of this information on a single resource, and I know it can’t be 100% accurate due to conflicts in the historical record. I was just hoping you could help clear this up for me.

The dating of the time in Egypt – either 215 or 430 years – is one point of contention among those striving to develop a Biblical chronology.

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Egypt: the land of Mizraim

We used James Ussher’s chronology for our biblical dates. As you know, his chronology is the most widely accepted. The question becomes why did he place the dates when he did. Bishop Ussher worked with a variety of biblical manuscripts and historical resources. The verses mentioned do say the Israelites lived in Egypt for 430 years in the Masoretic text.

Other manuscripts (the Samaritan Pentateuch and the Septuagint) add the words “and Canaan” after Egypt in the above quote, so that it reads “the length of time the Israelite people lived in Egypt and Canaan was 430 years”. This made the beginning of the 430 year period when Abraham arrived in Canaan. This is 215 years earlier than Jacob’s arrival in Egypt, and would shorten the Israelites’ period in Egypt to 215 years (215 + 215 = 430). This was the view taken by James Ussher.

However, in Acts 7:6, Stephen states that Abraham’s descendants were to be “enslaved and mistreated four hundred years”. But then in Galatians 3:16-17 Paul makes reference to a 430 year period from Abraham leaving Haran to Moses receiving “The Law”. As you can see, biblical chronologists work to coordinate all the verses and use multiple sources.

We appreciate any and all feedback on the Amazing Bible Timeline. Each reprinting includes suggestions for enhancements, so please keep sending them.


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7 thoughts on “Bible History Timeline 430 Years In Egypt

  1. The 430 years of Ex 12:40-41 begins at Jacob’s birth. Jacob entered Egypt at the age of 130; and 2238 years after Adam sinned. They spent 260 years in Egypt and 40 in the wilderness. However, the time spent in the wilderness is included in the 430 years of Ex 12:40-41. And, the 480 years of 1KI 6:1 begins at the END OF Exodus in BCE 1438; which occurs 2538 years after Adam sinned.

    1. Where do you get that info from Earl?

    2. The promise was made to Abraham and confirmed to jacob ps105:9-10, confirmation is last statement, last statement of God was made to Jacob of the same, when God said, do not fear to go Egypt , after that 430 years passed and then law was given, Paul talked about two things in one thing: promised made to Abraham, promised confirmed to jacob for law IChr16:16-17, ps105:9-10

    3. Ex. 12:40

  2. The Temple was started 480 after thr Exodus ENDS in BCE 958 and 3018 after Adam fell (and time on earth) began. 6000 – 3018 would mean that Christ would return 2982 years after BCE 958; or in the year CE 2924. On the Hebrew calendar this is Tishri 10, 5785 (the day of atonement) or Yon Kippur.; which begins at sunset on Tishri 9. On our calendar this is the 11th of October, 2024.

  3. It is an interesting question, but the answer seems inadequate to me for the following reason: Abraham was NOT an Israelite, Issac was NOT an Israelite. They were Hebrews, but not Israelites. The sojourn of the Israelites in Egypt had to start with Jacob and his sons moving to Egypt. And, if you would say “the sojourn of the Israelites in Egypt and Canaan,” it still has to start with Jacobs return to Canaan from Haran, because before that there were no IsraelITES in Canaan.

  4. The sojourn of the Israelites had to start with the children of Jacob, because Jacob WAS Israel, and his children were the ISRAELITES (children of Israel). Abraham and Isaac were Hebrews, but NOT Israelites. The verses in question say “Israelites” or “children of Israel,” not “Hebrews.”

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