One objection to the Exodus

  • Could not have happened
    • Describes Moses as having written Exodus accounts (Exodus 34:27; et al)
    • Describes the Law written by God’s own finger (Exodus 31:18)
    • Archaeologists and historians denied existence of written Hebrew language that early

Written communication

  • Three main types of written communications:
    • Syllabary – language dependent, symbols expressing sounds
    • Pictograms – symbols independent of language, depict things, ideas
    • Alphabets – language dependent, make sounds of the language
  • Dr. Miles R. Jones, former professor of education at Texas A&M University) – The Writing of God
    • Purports that written ancient Hebrew is the first alphabet in history


  • Sound from combinations of consonant and vowel
    • Ca, Ce, Ci, Co, Cu
    • Da, De, Di, Do, Du, etc.
  • Cuneiform was a type of syllabary
  • Syllabary requires about 200 symbols
  • Communication is language dependent
  • Neither writing nor pictures, but symbols
    • Made with stylus
    • Makes wedged imprints on clay
    • Not carved in stone
    • Cumbersome in writing and preserving


  • Symbols express things, ideas, or states of being
  • Not language dependent
  • Requires huge number of symbols
  • Dynamic lexicon


  • Type of pictogram
  • Symbols of things and ideas
  • Borrowed by Hebrews
    • Hebrews borrowed symbols to depict sounds in Hebrew language
      • Took symbols for items beginning with a sound
      • Used that symbol to express that sound
    • When did they do this?
      • Some time in the 2nd millennium B.C.
    • When did Joseph’s family come to Egypt?
      • Early in the 2nd millennium B.C. – approximately 1850 B.C.

“A” is for cow

  • In Hebrew, Aleph means Cattle or Oxen
    • Hieroglyph is a cow’s head
    • Symbol of cow’s head used for the “A” sound
    • Symbol evolved into a sideways “A”
  • The Hebrews took 22 symbols from Egyptian hieroglyphs
    • One for each of the sounds in the Hebrew language
    • The symbols were for the sounds, not the things or ideas
    • Established a 22-letter alphabet
    • By the Exodus, the symbol for cow had morphed into a sideways “A”

Hebrew experience with writing

  • Abraham – cuneiform
  • Joseph – cuneiform, hieroglyphics
  • Moses – cuneiform, hieroglyphics, alphabet

The term “alphabet”

  • Taken from the first two letters
  • Greek?
  • Hebrew?
  • You decide

Archaeological evidence

  • El Arish inscription
    • Dates from 325 B.C.
    • Problem?
  • Ipuwer papyrus
  • Mernepta Stele
    • Presence of Israelites
    • When?
  • Four-room houses
    • Typical of Hebrew houses
    • Found in both Egypt (pre-1440 B.C.)
    • And in Canaan (post-1500 B.C.)

Effect of archaeology

  • Can’t probe the Exodus
  • Much of it puzzle pieces
  • Wide range of interpretations
  • Will always be a matter of faith

Where was Mount Horeb?

  • Also called Mount Sinai
  • Traditional – Sinai Peninsula
  • Bible – Midian – Exodus 3:1, 12