Hi Turretin Fan, I just have one quick question about the Camping Jenga article. If Amram was Aaron's dad, how on earth do we account for the 430 year sojourn in Egypt? Thanks in advance for taking the time to respond.I answer:
The Israelites did not sojourn 430 years in Egypt. Look at the verses that are relevant more closely:
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.
Genesis 15:13 And he said unto Abram, Know of a surety that thy seed shall be a stranger in a land that is not theirs, and shall serve them; and they shall afflict them four hundred years;
You will notice that neither of these verses say that the Hebrews were in Egypt for 430 years, but that they were sojourning for 430 years. When we compare Scripture to Scripture, we discover what the starting point of the 430 years is:
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.
Paul here clearly explains that the promise came to Abraham 430 years before the giving of the law. Therefore, the 430 years should be counted not from the entry into Egypt by Jacob and his sons and grandsons, but from the date of the promise.
This particular commenter didn't specifically state whether he accepts Mr. Camping's chronology, but let's be perfectly clear: if one accepts Mr. Camping's chronology, one contradicts Paul in Galatians 3:16-17, because Mr. Camping's chronology makes the period from the promise to the law much longer than 430 years. In fact, Mr. Camping dates the birth of Isaac at 2068 B.C. and the exodus at 1447 B.C., over 600 years later. (Biblical Calendar of History, pp. 6-7)
Recall as well the remainder of the promise:
And he said unto Abram, Know of a surety that thy seed shall be a stranger in a land that is not theirs, and shall serve them; and they shall afflict them four hundred years; and also that nation, whom they shall serve, will I judge: and afterward shall they come out with great substance. And thou shalt go to thy fathers in peace; thou shalt be buried in a good old age. but in the fourth generation they shall come hither again: for the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet full.
Abraham died seeing only his grandson Jacob, but not his great-grandchildren from Jacob. We know this from the fact that Abraham died at 175 (Genesis 25:7), that his son Isaac was born when Abraham was 100 (Genesis 17:17), and that Jacob was born when Isaac was 60 (Genesis 26:26).
Who then is the fourth generation? It is the fourth generation of descendants that Abraham did not see.
1) Levi, the son of Jacob
2) Kohath, the son of Levi
3) Amram, the son of Kohath
4) Aaron and Moses, the sons of Amram
But again, if one takes Mr. Camping's view, one must deny the truth of the promise to Abraham, because if Amram was not Moses' and Aaron's father, then they were more than four generations past Abraham's death. I realize that Mr. Camping attempts to defuse this objection by suggesting an odd way of doing the chronology, such that "generation" is actually not the way we consider generations today.
So, as you can see, Mr. Camping's error regarding the relatively simple question of "who is Moses' father?" (correct answer, according to Exodus 6:20, Numbers 26:59, 1 Chronicles 6:3, and 1 Chronicles 23:13, is "Amram") actually ends up in his having not only to deny the plain sense of the term "four generations" but having to contradict Paul's chronology in Galatians.
Before signing off, for those interested, I'd like to add one additional plain contradiction to the growing pile. You'll recall that Mr. Camping's chronology calculated 430 years thus:
Levi (77 years in Egypt)
Kohath (133 years in Egypt)
Amram (137 years in Egypt)
Aaron (83 years in Egypt)
Total = 430 years total time
The last plain contradiction that I'll point out is this. Kohath was Levi's son (Exodus 6:16), Kohath lived a total of 133 years (Exodcuse 6:18), and Kohath came into Egypt with Levi (Genesis 46:8-26, especially vs. 11). Thus, Kohath was born before he and Levi came into Egypt, and Levi's time in Egypt is not properly added to Kohath's time in Egypt, since their time in Egypt was overlapping.
In case anyone thinks that this was a different Kohath in Genesis 46 as opposed to Exodus 6, Scripture confirms the identity of Kohath for us:
Genesis 46:11 And the sons of Levi; Gershon, Kohath, and Merari.
Exodus 6:16 And these are the names of the sons of Levi according to their generations; Gershon, and Kohath, and Merari: and the years of the life of Levi were an hundred thirty and seven years.
Addendum: For those interested in what more significant Bible scholars than myself have said about this topic, the following quotations are provided from John Gill, John Calvin, and Matthew Henry
The Septuagint version adds, "and in the land of Canaan"; and the Samaritan version is,"the sojourning of the children of Israel, and of their fathers, in the land of Canaan, and in the land of Egypt.''Agreeably to which are both the Talmuds: in one (o) of them the words are,"in Egypt and in all lands,''and in the other (p),"in Egypt, and in the rest of the lands;''and in the same way Aben Ezra interprets the words. And certain it is, that Israel did not dwell in Egypt four hundred and thirty years, and even not much more than two hundred years; but then they and their fathers, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, dwelt so long in Mesopotamia, in Canaan, and in Egypt, in foreign countries, in a land not theirs, as the phrase is, Gen 15:13 where the place of their sojourning, and the time of it, are given by way of prophecy. The Jews reckon from the vision of God to Abraham between the pieces to the birth of Isaac thirty years, so the Targum of Jonathan; but that cannot be, though from his coming out of his own native place, Ur of the Chaldeans, to the birth of Isaac, might be so many years, since he was seventy five years of age when he came out of Haran, and if he stayed at Haran five years, as probably he did, then there were just thirty from his coming out of Ur of the Chaldees to Isaac's birth, since he was born when he was one hundred years old; and from the birth of Isaac to the birth of Jacob was sixty years, and from thence to his going down to Egypt was one hundred and thirty, and from thence to the coming of Israel out of Egypt were two hundred and ten years, as is generally computed, which make the exact sum of four hundred and thirty years.
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. 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, (Gal. 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 430years,” 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 promised, 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.
Matthew Henry explains:
5. Of the date of this great event: it was just 430 years from the promise made to Abraham (as the apostle explains it, Galatians 3:17) at his first coming into Canaan, during all which time the children of Israel, that is, the Hebrews, the distinguished chosen seed, were sojourners in a land that was not theirs, either Canaan or Egypt. So long the promise God made to Abraham of a settlement lay dormant and unfulfilled, but now, at length, it revived, and things began to work towards the accomplishment of it. The first day of the march of Abraham's seed towards Canaan was just 430 years (it should seem to a day) from the promise made to Abraham, Genesis 12:2, I will make of thee a great nation. See how punctual God is to his time; though his promises be not performed quickly, they will be accomplished in their season.