A couple of years ago, May 2017, a Nathan Hoffman posted a video on YouTube entitled, “Were the Pyramids Built Before the Flood?”
A complete refutation of the points raised in this video can be found here: Were the Egyptian pyramids built before the flood?
In the video it is claimed that the verse, in the original Hebrew read “who dwelt in Egypt and Canaan, was four hundred and thirty years.” This is allegedly based upon the Septuagint, the Samaritan Pentateuch, and the writings of the Flavius Josephus. The author of the video even attempts to make Paul stand in opposition to the Hebrew text based upon Galatians 3:17. But the spurious claim that the current Hebrew text has been corrupted and that the LXX, SP, Josephus’ writings, and Paul were all referencing an older and lost Hebrew text shows that one must first believe the authentic Hebrew text has been corrupted in order to prove this assertion.
Let’s look at the verses in question:
Exodus 12:40, 41 Now the sojourning of the children of Israel, who dwelt in Egypt, was four hundred and thirty years. And it came to pass at the end of the four hundred and thirty years, even the selfsame day it came to pass, that all the hosts of the Lord went out from the land of Egypt.
Galatians 3:15-17 Brethren, I speak after the manner of men; Though it be but a man’s covenant, yet if it be confirmed, no man disannulleth, or addeth thereto. Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to thy seed, which is Christ. And this I say, that the covenant, that was confirmed before of God in Christ, the law, which was four hundred and thirty years after, cannot disannul, that it should make the promise of none effect.
The video above claims that the Hebrew text is wrong. Why? They weren’t in Egypt the entire 430 years. But is Scripture actually saying they were in Egypt for the 430 years? Let’s look at Calvin’s commentary on Exodus 12:40:
40.Now the sojourning of the children of Israel. The beginning of this period is not reckoned from the coming down of Jacob, for it is very clear from other passages, that, from the time that Jacob entered into Egypt to the Exodus, not more than 230 years at most had passed. (147) The Jews generally only reckon 210; but Moses includes also the period during which Abraham and his children were not in possession of the promised land. The meaning therefore is, that from the time that the inheritance of the land of Canaan was given to Abraham, the promise was suspended for 400, years before his posterity enjoyed their right. For Paul also thus explains this difficulty, (Galatians 3:17,) where he says, that God had confirmed his covenant with Abraham 430 years before the law was promulgated. Moses, therefore, dates the commencement of this period from the sojourning of Abraham, when he was still the lord of the land of Canaan by the just title of donation. With respect to the omission of the thirty years in the 15th chapter of Genesis, in this there is no contradiction, because the land had already been promised to Abraham some years previously, though, so far from obtaining dominion over it, he had scarcely been permitted to occupy it as “a stranger.” Therefore God apprizes him, that 400 years still remained before he would put his descendants into possession of it; and, consequently, that the little time which had elapsed was not sufficient for the trial of his patience, but that both for himself and for his posterity there was need of extraordinary endurance, lest they should faint under the weariness of the long delay. Moreover, there is no departure from the usual manner of speaking, in His not exactly reckoning the number of years. More than 400 years, some twenty, or thereabouts, indeed, remained; but, since God had no other object than to exhort His people to patience, He does not accurately compute or define the exact number of years, because it was sufficient to put before them 400 years in a round sum. In the same way, it is added in the next verse, “at the end of 430 years,” viz., from the time that Abraham had begun to be the legitimate lord of the land; for Moses wished to show, that although God had long delayed the fulfillment of His promise, still His truth and faithfulness were certainly proved, not only because He had precisely performed what He had proraised, but because He had observed the: foreappointed time. He calls the people, weak as they were, by an honorable title, “the hosts of the Lord,” both to enforce again the power of God’s blessing, and to give due honor to His grace in ruling and marshalling so confused a band. Although soldiers may be accustomed to obedience, and have learnt from exercise to keep their ranks; although they may have generals, commandants, and captains, and banners also under which to range themselves, still it is a very difficult thing to march an army of 20,000, or 30,000 men by night without. confusion, and in good order; how great a miracle was it, then, for 600,000 men, with women and children, much baggage, herds, and flocks, and other encumbrances, to pass by night through the midst of enemies, and all to escape safely without a single exception! To the same effect, Moses repeats in the last verse of this chapter, that “the Lord did bring the children of Israel out — by their armies,” as much as to say, that there was no confusion in that immense multitude; since God performed the part of an incomparable Leader in His marvelous power.
It should immediately be noted, from the context of Exodus 12:40, that Moses isn’t referring to just the time they sojourned in Egypt. He’s referring to the total time of their sojourning regardless of where they spent it. Calvin shows how to understand the text, which is informed by other texts, to properly understand what is being said. And there’s no contradiction with Stephen in Acts 7:6. Where did they come out of at the end of 430 years? So which place would be most significant for Stephen? Part of the problem in this video is the attempt to treat Scripture as an historic textbook that was written solely for the purpose of proving Egyptologists wrong. It was written for us, God’s people. And as it reflects God character, it is without contradiction. Therefore, the Christian thing to do is to look to the rest of Scripture to inform our understanding of alleged contradictions.