Skeptics who challenge the Bible’s accuracy often point to the story of Joseph in Egypt recorded in Genesis 37–50. First, the Bible tells of Joseph being sold by his brothers to a passing caravan and then sold as a household slave to an Egyptian officer named Potiphar. Next, after being falsely accused by Potiphar’s wife, Joseph lands in prison, becoming a model prisoner. Finally, by interpreting Pharoah’s dream, he becomes second in command in Egypt. Then the famine Joseph predicted forces Joseph’s brothers to go to Egypt for food. Eventually, the whole family settles in Egypt in an area the Bible refers to as Goshen (Genesis 47).
Living in Egypt continues for 400 years (Exodus 12:40). Eventually, a new pharaoh becomes unhappy about this foreign group residing in his land, perceives them as a threat, and enslaves them (Exodus 1:8-14). Then a leader named Moses helps the enslaved people escape, pursued as far as the Red Sea by the Egyptian army. Finally, after 40 years of wandering, they end up back in Canaan.
Atheists and skeptics claim that the story of Joseph in Egypt can’t be accurate because there is no record of any of this outside of the biblical account. Therefore, they say, it must not be true. However, Biblical Archaeology Review magazine (Fall 2021, pages 40-47) carried an article by Rachel Hallote titled “Does Archaeology Confirm Joseph’s Time in Egypt?” It said, “Egyptian material is nearly identical with the short summary of the biblical account.”
The problem seems to be that the Egyptian sources referred to the Canaanites as “Hyksos.” Secular writers often fail to recognize that the Hyksos were the descendants of Jacob and his son Joseph. The article concludes that “the stories of Joseph and his brothers are clearly rooted in the rise of the Hyksos in Egypt.” Thus the biblical story of Joseph in Egypt does not conflict with archaeological evidence.
— John N. Clayton © 2021
For more information: https://www.baslibrary.org/biblical-archaeology-review/47/3/5
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