Monday, January 19, 2009

The Straight Dope on The Exodus

Here's an old entry(dated March 3, 1981) to Cecil Adams of The Straight Dope trivia column regarding the veracity of the Ten Plagues of Moses and the Exodus of the Hebrews from Egypt. The Book of Exodus portrays the Plagues and Exodus as historical fact, but the archaeological record is silent. Not only is there no other evidence (outside of the Bible) that the Hebrews fled Egypt afer a series of devastating plagues, but some of the plagues are naturally-occurring phenomena anyway, such as the river Nile turning blood-red.

Furthermore, the story of Exodus clearly portrays the capriciousness of Jehovah and the Hebrews who worshipped him. Jehovah punishes the Egyptians for enslaving the Hebrews, but for some reason needed over four hundred years to work up the appropriate amount of divine wrath. Once the devastation began, however, Exodus records that Jehovah hardened Pharoah's heart in order to allow the plagues to continue. During the tenth plague, the "angel of the Lord" kills the firstborn of all Egypt with the notable exception of Pharoah himself, who should have been the firstborn in his family, no? Finally, after the Hebrews crossed the Red Sea, Jehovah didn't close the waters behind them preventing the Egyptian army from chasing them down. No, he waited until the Egyptians were in the river bed before releasing the waters, thus needlessly drowning them.

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