It’s the most dramatic event in the Hebrew Bible—the flight of the Israelites from Egypt and their miraculous escape across the Red Sea. The articles we’ve selected here address several key issues: How much history is contained in the Biblical account? What was life like in ancient Egypt? What is the story of the Ten Plagues trying to convey? And much more.

The articles below were hand-selected by Biblical Archaeology Society editors especially for members of the BAS Library.



Israelites Found in Egypt
Biblical Archaeology Review, September/October 2003 By Manfred Bietak

The history behind the biblical tradition of Israel in Egypt has always excited scholars and laymen alike. The subject may seem somewhat worn out, however, especially in view of the current “minimalist” tendencies in scholarship. I do not claim to be a Bible scholar myself—I am an Egyptologist. But sometimes an outsider can shed […]

How Reliable Is Exodus?
Biblical Archaeology Review, July/August 2000 By Alan R. Millard

Recent attacks on the historicity of the Exodus raise the question of whether or not a text prepared long after the event is likely to be historically accurate. For it is undoubtedly true that the text of Exodus was prepared centuries after the events it describes. The Exodus would have occurred, in archaeological terms, […]

Pharaoh’s Workers: How the Israelites Lived in Egypt
Biblical Archaeology Review, January/February 1999 By Leonard Lesko , Barbara Lesko

Whatever doubts scholars may entertain about the historicity of the Exodus, memories of an Israelite sojourn in Egypt seem too sharply etched to dismiss out of hand. The Biblical account simply contains too many accurate details and bears too many correspondences with Egyptian records to ignore. And although in our current state of […]

Let My People Go and Go and Go and Go
Biblical Archaeology Review, January/February 1998 By Abraham Malamat

Nothing in the archaeological record of Egypt directly substantiates the Biblical story of the Exodus. Yet a considerable body of Egyptian material provides such close analogies to the Biblical account that it may, in part, serve as indirect proof for the Israelite episode.

Exodus Itinerary Confirmed by Egyptian Evidence
Biblical Archaeology Review, September/October 1994 By Charles R. Krahmalkov

The Exodus from Egypt, followed by the invasion and conquest of Palestine, lies at the heart of the Biblical account of Israel’s origins. A number of modern scholars, however, reject the entire story. It is, in their view, little more than a pious fabrication written hundreds of years after the events described. “The […]

Three Ways to Look at the Ten Plagues
Bible Review, June 1990 By Ziony Zevit

When the enslaved Israelites sought to leave Egypt, Pharaoh said no. The Lord then visited ten plagues upon the Egyptians until finally Pharaoh permanently relented—the last of the plagues being the slaying of the first-born males of Egypt. Some of the plagues are the type of disasters that recur often in human history—hailstorms and […]

Red Sea or Reed Sea?
Biblical Archaeology Review, July/August 1984 By Bernard F. Batto

If there is anything that sophisticated students of the Bible know, it is that yam sûp, although traditionally translated Red Sea, really means Reed Sea, and that it was in fact the Reed Sea that the Israelites crossed on their way out of Egypt. Well, it doesn’t and it wasn’t and they’re wrong! Yam […]