In Genesis 15:13 God told Abram that his descendants would be slaves in a foreign land for 400 years. This number is also mentioned in Acts 7:6.
Exodus 12:41 says that the Israelites were in Egypt for 430 years. This number also appears in Galatians 3:17.
But when you add up the genealogical record [which?] you only come up with about 190-215 years.
How can we resolve this seeming contradiction?
Short Answer: The Israelites were enslaved in Egypt for 400 years. There is nothing in the chronologies that indicates anything different.
Here's the chronology as provided in the Hebrew Scriptures:
The easy calculations:
- When Abe was 100 he had Isaac
- When Isaac was 60 he had Jacob
When Jacob (Israel) was 130 he and his sons went to Egypt
- NOTE: Jacob was not enslaved in Egypt! He enjoyed favor all the days of his life in Egypt.
After some time the Egyptians became jealous and fearful and enslaved the Israelites as prophesied
The Israelites were enslaved in Egypt for 400 years
The sons of Israel were in Egypt for 430 years, which means they were in Egypt 30 years before they were enslaved (that clarifies the unknown from the previous note above)
When Jacob and his sons entered Egypt, they were in the 2nd year of famine
The years of famine were immediately preceded by 7 years of plenty
Joseph stood before Pharoah and interpreted his dream about the impending plenty/famine when he was 30 years old
That makes Jacob about 91 years old when he had Joseph, and Joseph about 69 years old when the Israelites were enslaved. He lived another 41 years after that, dying at around 110 years old
Conclusion: There is nothing in the Biblical chronology that indicates they were only in bondage in Egypt for 215 years.Tweet