Among the Dead Sea Scrolls are several copies of Exodus, none complete. According to the accepted analysis of the handwriting, some of those were made in the second century B.C. and one in the mid-third century B.C. (4QExod-Lev; photo below).12 That is unlikely to be the very first copy of the text, so the age of the Book of Exodus should be set well before 250 B.C.

Beside the Hebrew text should be placed the Greek translation, the Septuagint (LXX). The earliest known fragment of Exodus in Greek was copied about 100 B.C. (LXX 805, a Dead Sea Scroll manuscript containing Exodus 28:4–7), but there are copies of other books of the Pentateuch that are dated to the second century B.C., and it is unlikely that they circulated without Exodus.13 The Greek manuscript witness leads us to the same conclusion as the Hebrew, to a date before the second century B.C. for the composition of Exodus.

I am speaking here simply of the extant manuscript evidence. As I point out in my article, the lack of Aramaic, Persian or Greek vocabulary and grammar in Exodus suggests that the text is earlier than the Babylonian Exile (sixth century B.C.). As I further point out, historical details in Exodus indicate that it accurately preserves information from the times it describes: the Late Bronze Age, or about a thousand years earlier than the oldest surviving manuscripts of Exodus.