1312 The Main Exodus
© Charles Chandler
This is the date of "the" Exodus according to the Seder, so if there were actually several episodes (e.g., 1329, 1312, & ), this was the largest. It could have amounted to as many as a few thousand people.
  • Get Ready to be Taxed
    • Before leaving, the Atenists were encouraged to gather up all of the silver & gold they could carry.1,2,3
    • If they knew that they were leaving for good, they wouldn't need to be told to bring all of their wealth. So this is further to the point that they thought that it was just going to be a short religious retreat. Further still, their neighbors wouldn't have entrusted their wealth to people who were leaving for good.
    • This should have been a red flag, because they'd be liberated of all of it before long.4,5
  • Weekend in the Wilderness Becomes Exile
    • Originally, Ramose had been asking just for the permission to lead his people on a three-day journey into the wilderness, so that they could have a feast, and offer sacrifices to their God.6 Horemheb had outlawed Atenism, so Ramose was suggesting that the people be allowed to hike just beyond the Egyptian border, where they could pray to Adonai without breaking the law.
    • Apparently, this is what the people thought too. They left Avaris and went to Succoth.7 "God" (pharaoh) steered them around the Philistines, who might have put up a fight, which would have sent the Atenists scurrying back to Egypt.8 So the people weren't exactly fighting for a chance to get out of Egypt, if they'd go back at the first sight of resistance. From Succoth they went to Etham, at the edge of the wilderness.9 This was as far as they expected to go. So after the feast, they turned around and headed back.10
    • And that's when the Egyptian army come out against them.11 So the army didn't chase them out of Egypt — the army was mobilized to make sure they couldn't return.
    • The pharaoh actually fought on the side of the Atenists,12,13 or at the very least, rallied the Atenists against the Egyptian army. Once both sides had been bloodied, there was no going back, since now the people were combatants, subject to field execution on capture. This is when the people first realized that it was an exile, not just a weekend in the wilderness.
    • Then it's no wonder that they complained so bitterly about the hardships on the Exodus — they never signed on for all of that.
  • First Census
    • At the command of "God" (Horemheb), a census was taken of everybody except the Levites.14
    • Shortly thereafter, the exiles were hit with another bout of the plague.15
    • It sounds like Horemheb decided that there were too many of them.
  • Edom denied passage.
    • On reaching Edom, the rivalry between Esau & Jacob, as Edom & Israel, now both aged 38, resulted in the exiles having to go around, rather than through, Edom's territory.16 The text repeatedly refers to Edom & Israel as individuals, suggesting that Jacob made the trip along with Aaron & Moses, to act as a moderator between the exiles and the pharaoh, and with a vested interest in the welfare of the exiles.17
  • Golden Calf
    • When the people lapsed into idolatry on Jacob's behalf,18 Ramose confiscated the golden calf, and had the Levites slaughter the idolaters. This was the beginning of the rift between Jacob's clan and the Levites.
  • Ten Commandments
    • Only the Book of Exodus gives a detailed account.19,20,21 There, and in some of the back-references,22,23,24 the laws were given at Mount Sinai. Elsewhere, this was said to have occurred at Mount Horeb.25,26,27,28 It's possible that "Horeb" is short for "Horemheb" (i.e., a person, not a place), and that the Hebrews got the Laws from the person of Horemheb, at the place of Mount Sinai.
  • Aaron died.
    • Before leaving Mount Sinai, Aaron passed away.29 He might have simply died of old age, being ~73 years old at this point. The transfer of clothes to the son would have carried a bit more significance if Aaron was Prince Thutmose, and it was the attire of a royal being passed to a new possible heir to the throne of Egypt. Regardless, we hear no more of Aaron.


1. Exodus 3:21-22 (J)

2. Exodus 11:2 (J)

3. Exodus 12:35 (J)

4. Exodus 32:2 (E)

5. Exodus 33:4-6 (J,E)

6. Exodus 5:1-3 (J,E)

7. Exodus 12:37 (S,E)

8. Exodus 13:17 (E)

9. Exodus 13:20 (S)

10. Exodus 14:1-2 (P)

11. Exodus 14:5-9 (J,P,E)

12. Exodus 14:14 (J)

13. Exodus 14:24-25 (J,E)

14. Numbers 1:1-2 (P)

15. Numbers 11:31-33 (J)

16. Numbers 20:14-21 (E,J)

17. Numbers 10:32 (J)

18. Exodus 32:7-10 (E,J)

19. Exodus 31:18 (P)

20. Exodus 34:4 (J,R)

21. Exodus 34:32 (P)

22. Leviticus 26:46 (R)

23. Leviticus 27:34 (P)

24. Nehemiah 9:13

25. Deuteronomy 29:1 (D1)

26. 1 Kings 8:9 (DH)

27. 2 Chronicles 5:10

28. Malachi 4:4

29. Numbers 20:23-29 (P)

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