Archaeology finds shed insights into Exodus says Bar-Ilan University scholar

Archaeology finds shed great insights into Exodus story says Bar-Ilan University scholar

Ramat Gan, Israel – In the video “A Passover Story: Archaelogy & the Exodus,” which you can view here, Rabbi Dr. Joshua Berman, of the Zalman Shamir Bible Department of Bar-Ilan University (BIU), discusses how the Book of Exodus and the Passover Hagaddah use the language and imagery of the Egyptian pharaohs in order to explain how Hashem freed the Jewish People.   

 Rabbi Dr. Berman explains that recent archaeological findings in Egypt seem to depict the might of the pharaohs by showing imagery on ancient stones of their “mighty hand and outstretched arm,” which is a phrase only used in Jewish biblical writings to explain how Hashem delivered the Jewish people from bondage in Egypt.   Berman says in a sense the Jewish People “out-pharaohed the pharaoh.”

 Berman cites an example in the video of how the cruel actions of the pharaohs are ultimately turned against them. He shows an Egyptian artifact depicting the pharaoh holding captured slaves and “shattering the skulls of his enemies.” In the Talmud, it says that Hashem’s right hand shatters the enemy.

 According to Berman, another Egyptian inscription says that pharaoh bagged 120 elephants, and never was there such a thing in Egypt since the day of its founding. There is a phrase in the Torah, says Berman, which uses the same concept to show the Egyptian people that this is not impressive. The Torah says there is going to be a heavy hail, and there has never been anything like it in Egypt.  

 Berman’s insightful research reflects Bar-Ilan’s commitment to promoting a deeper understanding of Jewish knowledge in a broad spectrum of Judaic disciplines. Scholars such as Rabbi Dr. Berman reflect the University’s belief that an appreciation of Jewish values and culture are keys to fostering a commitment to the Jewish people and the Land of Israel.

 To learn more about the work of Bar-Ilan’s Jewish Studies faculty, which is the largest in the world, call Howard Charish at 212-906-3900 or email


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