One reader inquired regarding the Camping Jenga post:
If Amram was Aaron’s dad, how on earth do we account for the 430 year sojourn in Egypt?
I answer as follows:
The Israelites did not sojourn 430 years in Egypt. This is one of the first mistakes that Mr. Camping has made in his claims regarding the matter, though it is certainly not the most significant or plain of his mistakes. Look at the verses that are relevant more closely:
Now the sojourning of the children of Israel, who dwelt in Egypt, was four hundred and thirty years. And it came to pass at the end of the four hundred and thirty years, even the selfsame day it came to pass, that all the hosts of the LORD went out from the land of Egypt.
Genesis 15:13 And he said unto Abram, Know of a surety that thy seed shall be a stranger in a land that is not theirs, and shall serve them; and they shall afflict them four hundred years;
You will notice that neither of these verses say that the Hebrews were in Egypt for 430 years, but that they were sojourning for 430 years. When we compare Scripture to Scripture, we discover what the starting point of the 430 years is:
Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to thy seed, which is Christ. And this I say, that the covenant, that was confirmed before of God in Christ, the law, which was four hundred and thirty years after, cannot disannul, that it should make the promise of none effect.
Paul here clearly explains that the promise came to Abraham 430 years before the giving of the law. Therefore, the 430 years should be counted not from the entry into Egypt by Jacob and his sons and grandsons, but from the date of the promise.
This particular commenter didn’t specifically state whether he accepts Mr. Camping’s chronology, but let’s be perfectly clear: if one accepts Mr. Camping’s chronology, one contradicts Paul in Galatians 3:16-17, because Mr. Camping’s chronology makes the period from the promise to the law much longer than 430 years. In fact, Mr. Camping dates the birth of Isaac at 2068 B.C. and the exodus at 1447 B.C., over 600 years later. (Biblical Calendar of History, pp. 6-7)
Recall as well the remainder of the promise:
And he said unto Abram, Know of a surety that thy seed shall be a stranger in a land that is not theirs, and shall serve them; and they shall afflict them four hundred years; and also that nation, whom they shall serve, will I judge: and afterward shall they come out with great substance. And thou shalt go to thy fathers in peace; thou shalt be buried in a good old age. but in the fourth generation they shall come hither again: for the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet full.
Abraham died seeing only his grandson Jacob, but not his great-grandchildren from Jacob. We know this from the fact that Abraham died at 175 (Genesis 25:7), that his son Isaac was born when Abraham was 100 (Genesis 17:17), and that Jacob was born when Isaac was 60 (Genesis 26:26).
Who then is the fourth generation? It is the fourth generation of descendants that Abraham did not see.
1) Levi, the son of Jacob
2) Kohath, the son of Levi
3) Amram, the son of Kohath
4) Aaron and Moses, the sons of Amram
But again, if one takes Mr. Camping’s view, one must deny the truth of the promise to Abraham, because if Amram was not Moses’ and Aaron’s father, then they were more than four generations past Abraham’s death. I realize that Mr. Camping attempts to defuse this objection by suggesting an odd way of doing the chronology, such that “generation” is actually not the way we consider generations today.
So, as you can see, Mr. Camping’s error regarding the relatively simple question of “who is Moses’ father?” (correct answer, according to Exodus 6:20, Numbers 26:59, 1 Chronicles 6:3, and 1 Chronicles 23:13, is “Amram”) actually ends up in his having not only to deny the plain sense of the term “four generations” but having to contradict Paul’s chronology in Galatians.
Before signing off, for those interested, I’d like to add one additional plain contradiction to the growing pile. You’ll recall that Mr. Camping’s chronology calculated 430 years thus:
Levi (77 years in Egypt)
Kohath (133 years in Egypt)
Amram (137 years in Egypt)
Aaron (83 years in Egypt)
Total = 430 years total time
The last plain contradiction that I’ll point out is this. Kohath was Levi’s son (Exodus 6:16), Kohath lived a total of 133 years (Exodcuse 6:18), and Kohath came into Egypt with Levi (Genesis 46:8-26, especially vs. 11). Thus, Kohath was born before he and Levi came into Egypt, and Levi’s time in Egypt is not properly added to Kohath’s time in Egypt, since their time in Egypt was overlapping.
In case anyone thinks that this was a different Kohath in Genesis 46 as opposed to Exodus 6, Scripture confirms the identity of Kohath for us:
Genesis 46:11 And the sons of Levi; Gershon, Kohath, and Merari.
Exodus 6:16 And these are the names of the sons of Levi according to their generations; Gershon, and Kohath, and Merari: and the years of the life of Levi were an hundred thirty and seven years.
(I’ve included an addendum with quotations from Gill, Calvin, and Henry at my own blog – link)