The following material is being presented here to give a more accurate understanding of the


430 years of Exodus 12:40, and the 400 years of Genesis 15:13 – the approximate number of


years the Israelites were in slavery.    



     This can be accomplished by looking at the ages of the men who lived through this period of


time. God has recorded their ages at critical times in each of their lives to give us a better


appreciation of the continuity and interaction of them and their history.


     This continuity explains how their experiences and prophecies were passed down to Moses


who recorded all of them for us. The starting point will be Ex. 12:40 (all scripture is quoted from


the New King James version unless otherwise noted). “Now the sojourn of the children of Israel


who lived in Egypt was four hundred and thirty years.” Note: Israel here represents the whole


family, beginning with Abraham. Therefore, it means that the sojourn starts with Abraham and


should not be taken to mean only the time the Israelites spent in Egypt as is shown in Galatians


3:16-17 “Now to Abraham and his Seed were the promises made. He does not say, ‘And two


seeds, as of many, but as of one, And to your Seed, Who is Christ. And this I say, that the law,


which was 430 years later, cannot annul the covenant that was confirmed before by God in


Christ, that it should make the promise of no effect.’”


     The questions which need answers are: 1. At what point in Abraham’s life did the 430 years


begin, and 2. When did the 400 years begin?  The following will show their relative position in




      The 400 year prophecy is stated in Genesis 15:13 “Then He said to Abram: ‘Know certainly


that your descendents will be strangers in a land that is not theirs, and will serve them, and they


will afflict them 400 years.’”  There are two important points to note here. This prophecy pertains


to Abraham's descendents, not to him, and because he had no descendents at this time the


starting point for the 400 years laid in the future.


     Abraham was 100 years old at Isaac’s birth, and 75 years old when God gave him the first


promise. Gen.12:4 “So Abraham departed as the Lord had spoken to him, and Lot went with


him. And Abraham was 75 years old when he departed from Haran.” This would account for 25


years, so that the beginning of the 400 years would need to occur at another juncture in his life.


That occasion is shown in Genesis 21:8 “So the child grew and was weaned. And Abraham made


a great feast on the same day that Isaac was weaned.” Verse 12 of this same chapter: “But God


said to Abraham, ‘Do not let it be displeasing in your sight because of the lad or because of your


bondwoman. Whatever Sarah has said to you listen to her voice; for in Isaac your seed shall be


called.’” This verse puts God’s stamp of approval on Isaac as Abraham’s seed by sending Hagar


and Ishmael away. This is the point at which the 400 year prophecy begins; five years after


Isaac’s birth. This is when God lets Abraham know that his seed is in Isaac and no other. The 25


years, plus the 5 years totals 30 years; the difference between the 400 years and the 430 years.


     It should be clear that the 400 years and the 430 years culminate at the same time in


Exodus 12:40. This is confirmed in Acts 7:6 “But God spoke in this way: that his descendents


would dwell in a foreign land, and that they would bring them into bondage and oppress them


four hundred years.”


     Now, start counting the years forward from Genesis 12:4 to determine the passage of time to


the death of Joseph.


     Genesis 12:4       Abraham is 75 years old.


     Genesis 21:1-7    Abraham is 100 years old at Isaac’s birth.


     Genesis 25:26      Isaac is 60 years old at Jacob’s birth.


     Genesis 47:9        Jacob was 130 years old when he went to Egypt.


     Genesis 41:46-47 Joseph was 30 years old when he gave the Pharaoh the meaning of his

                                  dream at the start of the seven years of plenty.


     Genesis 47:9         Records that Jacob was 130 years old when he came to Egypt in the                                   

                                   second year of the famine, making Joseph 30 plus 7 years of plenty, plus 2   

                                   years of famine, or 39 years when his father came to Egypt. This shows     

                                   Joseph’s birth at Jacob’s age of 91 years.


     Abraham was 75 years old when he left Haran, and 100 years at Isaac’s birth          25

     Isaac was 60 at Jacob’s birth                                                                                        60

     Jacob went to Egypt                                                                                                    130

      This shows the elapsed time from the beginning of the 430 years to Jacob’s

arrival in Egypt.                                                                                                   Total    215


     Joseph dies at 110 years – see Genesis 50:22. 110 minus 39 = 71 years that the Israelites lived


in Egypt peacefully during Joseph’s lifetime. 215 plus 71 = 286, and 430 minus 286 = 144 years


of slavery in Egypt. This 144 years of slavery assumes that it started at Joseph’s death.   


     Based on this the following observations can be made. The Israelites came out of slavery at


the 430th year when Moses was 80 years old. Moses died at 120 years of age; (Deut.34:7), so


subtracting 40 years of wandering would make Moses 80. Figuring back from 430 years, minus


Moses’ age of 80 at the time of the Exodus to arrive at his birth year, which was 350 years after


the original promise given to Abraham. The 350 years minus the 286 years to Joseph’s death


leaves 64 years. This means Moses was born 64 years after Joseph died.


     The starting points of the two prophecies are 30 years apart, but once the 400 year prophecy


begins they run simultaneously to the concluding point of Exodus 12:40. The most time the


Israelites spent in slavery in Egypt would have been 144 years.



Don Roth