The Orthodox Pages

























Question 113

I would like to know whether Moses was an actual person and whether he did in fact write the first few books of the bible? Also did the exodus actually occur since there are no historical records of it?     


Answer to Question 113


The second book of the Old Testament is called Exodus, because it contains the exodus of the Israelites from Egypt. Exodus also contains the journey of the Israelites after their exodus from Egypt until they reach Mount Sinai where they received the Law. The author of Exodus is Moses and is a firsthand witness of the events because Moses himself is the central figure of all that takes place. Jewish and Christian Traditions both testify that Moses is the author of the first five Books of the Old Testament, known in Greek as the Pentateuch and in Hebrew as the Torah meaning the "Law" except for a few passages which refer to Moses’ death which he could not have written and which tradition ascribes to Moses’ successor Joshua of Nun.

In the New Testament Christ, himself, verifies this tradition when he said to the Jews: "Do not think that I will accuse you to the Father: there is one that accuseth you, even Moses, in whom ye trust. For had ye believed Moses, ye would have believed me; for he wrote of me. But if ye believe not his writings, how shall ye believe my words?" (John 5: 45-47)

Historically there isn't much evidence to support that Moses was a real person, but if we believe that Jesus is God incarnate, then his word is proof enough. We can calculate in what year the Exodus took place by certain years given to us in both Genesis and Exodus.  Chapter 12 of Exodus tells us that 430 years had passed from the time they dwelt in Canaan and Egypt until the Exodus. From Abraham who first came to Canaan until when Jacob stood before Pharaoh in Egypt there are 215 years so from then until when Israel departed from Egypt another 215 years had passed. The Septuagint and the KJB have about two hundred years difference. The KJB mentions that 430 years had passed only from the time they dwelt in Egypt and does not refer to Canaan. The New Testament actually tells us that the Septuagint text is correct. St. Paul in his letter to the Galatians speaks of the Promise made to Abraham which was confirmed by the law 430 years after, so the 430 years is from the time Abraham came to Canaan and not from the time Jacob came to Egypt.

Moses was about 80 years old at the time of the Exodus so he was born 135 years after Jacob came to Egypt. His grandfather was Kaath the son of Levi who came with Jacob to Egypt. Joseph was about thirty nine years old at the time and lived to 110 so Moses was born about sixty four years after Joseph's death. Joseph was born about 1700BC and died 1590BC which would make the year of Moses birth 1526BC and the Exodus 1446BC. You might also like to read up on the credibility of Genesis and more on Moses in a series of talks I gave a few years back.