Dead Sea Scrolls

Why is the Exodus from Egypt so well known?

The Exodus of the Jews from Egypt, an event recorded in the Bible and corroborated by historical evidence, is well known to Jews and non-Jews alike, since the event, which Jews commemorate with Passover, came to symbolize departure from oppressive conditions, for the Israelites had been enslaved in Egypt.

According to the Bible (the Old Testament books of Genesis and Exodus), the ancestors of the Israelites had settled in the Nile River Delta of Egypt 430 years before the Exodus, or about the seventeenth century B.C. A change of dynasty caused the Israelites, because of their growing numbers, to be looked upon with hostility. They were put to work as state serfs in the construction of cities.

The biblical account tells about a series of confrontations between Ramses II, the pharaoh of Egypt, and the prophet Moses, who had been commissioned by God to lead his people to the Promised Land. The pharaoh refused to allow the Israelites to leave Egypt but was later convinced, through a series of divine signs including the Ten Plagues, to permit them to go. The flight from Egypt and the Promised Land have come to symbolize freedom and the realization of hopes.


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