The Exodus is perhaps one of the more difficult areas of Biblical archaeology, and some scholars are skeptical about its reality because finding confirming evidence for it has been very difficult. But it is a very important event in the history of Israel. Should we, and do we find evidence for the Exodus?
If we look for Egyptian records we run into the problem that most of them were recorded on very perishable papyrus. As Egyptologist James Hoffmeier pointed out, most papyrus documents did not survive in the Egyptian Delta because it was too wet. * And the inscriptions on statues and temples tended to be selective pro-Egypt propaganda, not records of defeats. Other archaeologists have pointed out that desert nomads such as Israel would have been, leave few traces in the archaeological record.
So is there any evidence at all for the Exodus? Dr. Randall Price gives some evidences such as that there were foreigners from the land of Canaan living in Egypt and they caused some problems, and that there is evidence that Egypt had a large foreign workforce of slaves spanning several dynasties, and that slaves escaped from Egypt also.**
There is an interesting document that was found in Egypt called the Ipuwer Papyrus, written during the 19th dynasty, that seems to be describing plague like conditions such as the river becoming as blood, many people buried in rivers and all kinds of crops dying, and other allusions that fit the biblical exodus such as the country in upheaval and slaves and foreigners suddenly becoming rich. ***
There is also evidence for the Red Sea crossing. Chariot wheels very similar to wheels pictured in Egyptian inscriptions were found on the Red Sea floor. The design of the wheels fits the time period of Egypt thought to be the time of the exodus. Along with them were objects that appeared to be chariots and skeletons of men and horses, all piled together on the sea floor. Two matching memorial markers on opposite shores were found, and across the Red Sea at the crossing site between these markers, it looks as if a path had been cleared on the sea floor, with stones seemingly pushed aside to make the path. ****
It can also be shown that the writer of the book of Exodus showed a great familiarity with the Egyptian environment, by looking at the descriptions of the geography, social customs, and even climate. And the law given at Mount Sinai has a form that fits the standard of that time period for such documents, and not those of later time periods.
Finally, in regard to the absence of a direct reference to Moses and the Exodus, we must remember the adage that “absence of evidence does not equal evidence of absence”.
* See exact quote from The Bible Can Be Proven, page 103
** See exact quote from The Bible Can Be Proven, pp. 103-104, referencing The Stones Cry Out by Randall Price, 1997, page 133.
** For full description see The Exodus Case by Dr. Lennart Moller, 2002, pp. 143-149, as referenced in The Bible Can Be Proven, page 104.
**** Ibid, The Exodus Case, pp. 204-229. This section in Moller’s book contains many photos of the Red Sea artifacts and the sea floor.