Paganism Fifteen

(NOTE: Some of the themes of these articles may not be appropriate for young readers. Please keep that in mind when sharing this information).

It is written:

Exodus 18:11-Now I know that the LORD is greater than all the gods; for in the very thing in which they behaved proudly, He was above them.”

One of the ways that archaeology confirms the events of the Exodus is through an Egyptian document known as the Ipuwer Papyrus.

“Though the evidence for the Exodus has been slow to be gathered, there is good reason to believe that it actually occurred as described in the Bible. This thinking is based on the biblical testimony, Egyptian extrabiblical sources, and archaeological excavation in Egypt and neighboring regions. For example, one of the most well-known documents in Egyptology is the Ipuwer papyrus (officially known as Papyrus Leiden 344), which records an account remarkably similar to the plagues described in the book of Exodus. The papyrus was obtained by Swedish diplomat, Giovanni Anastasi, and sold to the Leiden Museum in Holland in 1828. No one realized the exact significance of the contents of the document until the first full translation was done in 1909 by a British Egyptologist, Alan H.Gardiner, under the title The Admonitions of an Egyptian Sage from a Hieratic Papyrus in Leiden. In addition, there have been many later full translations made, including an Oxford edition (2009). Currently, the document is stored at the National Museum of Antiquities in the Netherlands. Its contents are widely regarded by Egyptologists as a lamentation over the catastrophic conditions in Egypt written by a high Egyptian official named Ipuwer sometime prior to the thirteenth century BC (which is consistent with either an early or late chronology for the Exodus).* Ipuwer was known as one of the great wise sages in Egyptian tian history. His astonishing description of the conditions, to the surprise of Egyptologists, appeared remarkably similar to the biblical account of the ten plagues recorded in the book of Exodus. The date of the Ipuwer manuscript approximately fits the Exodus date. The hieratic script style was in use at that time period, the events described are remarkably similar to the plagues, the location of the events (Egypt) matches the setting of the Exodus, and the odds of all these calamities occurring at the same time make them more than coincidental. There is no scientific, linguistic, or historical fact that Egyptologists can point to that would decisively preclude the content of the papyrus being a lament over the Exodus plagues. A simple comparison of the content in both the book of Exodus and the Ipuwer papyrus leaves little doubt to their similarities (see table below).” (Joseph M. Holden & Norman Geisler, The Popular Handbook Of Archaeology And The Bible: Discoveries That Confirm The Reliability of Scripture, 2555-2568 (Kindle Edition); Eugene, Oregon; Harvest House Publishers).

Let’s notice some of the ways in which the Ipuwer Papyrus confirms the biblical narrative:

Exodus 4:9-And it shall be, if they do not believe even these two signs, or listen to your voice, that you shall take water from the river and pour it on the dry land. The water which you take from the river will become blood on the dry land.”

Ipuwer 7:5-Behold, Egypt is fallen to the pouring of water. And he who poured water on the ground seizes the mighty in misery.”

Exodus 7:20-21-20 And Moses and Aaron did so, just as the LORD commanded. So he lifted up the rod and struck the waters that were in the river, in the sight of Pharaoh and in the sight of his servants. And all the waters that were in the river were turned to blood. 21 The fish that were in the river died, the river stank, and the Egyptians could not drink the water of the river. So there was blood throughout all the land of Egypt.

Ipuwer 2:10-The River is blood. If you drink of it, you lose your humanity, and thirst for water .”

Exodus 9:6, 23, 31-So the LORD did this thing on the next day, and all the livestock of Egypt died; but of the livestock of the children of Israel, not one died….And Moses stretched out his rod toward heaven; and the LORD sent thunder and hail, and fire darted to the ground. And the LORD rained hail on the land of Egypt….Now the flax and the barley were struck, for the barley was in the head and the flax was in bud.

Ipuwer 6:3; 3:3; 7:13-Gone is the barley of abundance . . . . Food supplies are running short. The nobles hunger and suffer . . . . Those who had shelter are in the dark of the storm .”

Exodus 10:15, 7-For they covered the face of the whole earth, so that the land was darkened; and they ate every herb of the land and all the fruit of the trees which the hail had left. So there remained nothing green on the trees or on the plants of the field throughout all the land of Egypt….Then Pharaoh’s servants said to him, “How long shall this man be a snare to us? Let the men go, that they may serve the LORD their God. Do you not yet know that Egypt is destroyed?”

Ipuwer 3:13-“What shall we do about it? All is ruin! ”

Exodus 12:29-And it came to pass at midnight that the LORD struck all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, from the firstborn of Pharaoh who sat on his throne to the firstborn of the captive who was in the dungeon, and all the firstborn of livestock.

Ipuwer 2:5, 6, 13; 4:3-“Behold, plague sweeps the land, blood is everywhere, with no shortage of the dead . . . . He who buries his brother in the ground is everywhere . . . . Woe is me for the grief of this time.”

Exodus 12:30-So Pharaoh rose in the night, he, all his servants, and all the Egyptians; and there was a great cry in Egypt, for there was not a house where there was not one dead.

Ipuwer 3:14-Wailing is throughout the land, mingled with lamentations.”

There is another indirect way that the Bible is confirmed by the Ipuwer Papyrus. When the Hebrews left Egypt, God instructed them to make the Egyptians pay them for the four hundred years of slavery they had endured. So the text says:

Exodus 12:35-36-Then the Israelites did what Moses asked them to do. They went to their Egyptian neighbors and asked for clothing and things made from silver and gold. 36  The LORD caused the Egyptians to be kind to the Israelites, so the Egyptians gave their riches to the Israelites.

Later, the Bible tells us about some of the jewels used in the high priests breastplate:

Exodus 28:17-20-Put four rows of beautiful jewels on the judgment pouch. The first row of jewels should have a ruby, a topaz, and a beryl. 18  The second row should have a turquoise, a sapphire, and an emerald. 19  The third row should have a jacinth, an agate, and an amethyst. 20  The fourth row should have a chrysolite, an onyx, and a jasper. Set all these jewels in gold.

Now, consider this statement from the Ipuwer Papyrus:

“People are stripped of clothes . . . . The slave takes what he finds . . . . Behold, gold, lapis lazuli, silver and turquoise, carnelian, amethysts, emeralds and all precious stones are strung on the necks of female slaves.” IPUWER 6:3, 2:4-5, 3:2-3)


The Ipuwer Papyrus teaches us at least three powerful lessons.

First, the Bible is true. Archaeology confirms this fact continually!

Second, the events of the Exodus prove that the one true God is Yahweh, the great I AM-the God of the Bible. He has triumphed over the gods of the pagans throughout history, and the pagans themselves confirm these facts!

Third, God always cares for and provides for His people.

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