Israelites were NOT enslaved for 400/430 years

Many people believe the Israelites were enslaved in Egypt for 400 years based on what is written in Genesis 15:13 or 430 years based on what it says in Exodus 12:40. However, the Israelites couldn’t have been enslaved in Egypt for 400 or 430 years. The issue is that these numbers conflict with the math in the story and in actuality they couldn’t have been in Egypt for more than 350 years maximum.

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Slavery in the Bible

Various cultures around the world had slaves, including cultures in the ancient near east, like Egypt, Mesopotamia, Babylon, Assyria, etc. How slavery was practiced around the world varied with culture, most cultures have debt slavery where people sold themselves into slavery to pay off debts, and there were those who are made slaves by conquest. Some had chattel slavery where people were treated like animals and kidnapped, but when most people think of this kind of slavery they think of the transatlantic slave trade. The closes thing we see to ethnic-based enslavement in the bible is when the Egyptians enslaved the Israelites. The Egyptians hated Hebrews (foreigners) long before Moses was even born according to Gen 43:32 and Gen 46:31-34, and they used their nationalism as justification for their mistreatment and enslavement of the Hebrews according to Exodus 1:8-10.

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