The Exodus from Egypt, followed by the invasion and conquest of Palestine, lies at the heart of the Biblical account of Israel’s origins. A number of modern scholars, however, reject the entire story. It is, in their view, little more than a pious fabrication written hundreds of years after the events described. “The Scriptures,” as Robert B. Coote puts it succinctly, “do not contain an [accurate] historical account of Israel’s origin and early history.”1 In the words of another exponent of this school of thought, Thomas L. Thompson, “Israel’s own origin tradition is radically irrelevant to writing … a history [of Israel’s origins].”2
We will examine here three sites described in three different Biblical passages, as well as some of the evidence that supposedly undermines the historical accuracy of the Biblical account.