Exodus 12:40-41, How long was Israel in Egypt?

Now the length of time the Israelite people lived in Egypt was 430 years. At the end of the 430 years, to the very day, all the LORD’s divisions left Egypt.

//430 years Israel lived in Egypt. To the very day, it says. Sounds pretty precise. Let’s add things up, and see if we agree.

Genesis 46:7-11 starts the story, telling how Jacob took all his family, including grandchildren, into Egypt. One of these grandchildren making the trip was Kohath.

In Exodus 6:18-20, Kohath has a son named Amram, and we learn Kohath lived 133 years. Then Amram has a son named Moses. Amram lived 137 years.

Exodus 7:7 tell us Moses was 80 years old when he confronted Pharoah. They left Egypt shortly thereafter.

Suppose Kohath entered Egypt as a newborn. Suppose further that Kohath conceived Amram from his deathbed, and Amram conceived Moses from his deathbed. That still leaves us with a maximum possible number of years of 133 + 137 + 80 = 350 years that Israel lived in Egypt.

430 years to the day? Anyone see where my math is wrong?


  1. The way that I’ve always understood it is that the time is measured from Joseph on–when Israel himself entered Egypt.

  2. Yeah, Jacob is Israel. When Jacob/Israel brought his clan into Egypt, Kohath was alive.

  3. Michael

    The error is in the translation of our modern Bibles from the Masoretic text which omits “land of Canaan” as part of the calculations. The correct text is found in the much earlier Septuagint and Samaritan Torah which reads “And the sojourning of the children of Israel, while they sojourned in the land of Mizraim{gr.Egypt} and the land of Canaan{gr.Chanaan}, [was] four hundred and thirty years.”
    Once you then check Galatians 3:17 and consolidate the ages and timeframes using Genesis 15:13; Exodus 1:6,8; Galatians 4:28-29; 1 Chronicles 6:1; 1 Chronicles 23:6-13 and Exodus 6:16-20, you arrive at the conclusion that Israelited were in Canaan 215 years and in Egypt 215 years (total of 430). I’ll be happy to point tou to a very brief study video which summarises it all :-)

  4. Lee Harmon

    That’s interesting, Michael! Do feel free to post the video for any other visitors to view.

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