Month: May 2011

  • An Egyptian Description of the Exodus!



    An Egyptian Description of the Exodus! - By J.R. Church


    We have read about the 10 plagues of Egypt in the Bible, but what if an ancient papyrus was discovered that described the plagues from the pen of an Egyptian? Well, guess what! In 1822, an ancient papyrus was discovered near the pyramids of Saqqara. The papyrus came into the possession of Giovanni Anastasi, the Swedish consul to Egypt, who, in turn, sold it to the Dutch National Museum of Antiquities in Leiden, Netherlands, in 1828.

    It has been dubbed "Leiden 344" and tells the story of an Egyptian man named Ipuwer. We shall call it "The Ipuwer Papyrus." It lay in obscurity for almost a century, until Egyptologist Sir Alan Gardiner took up the task of translating it in 1909. Only then were its secrets revealed.

    According to the translation, the Ipuwer Papyrus was a scathing indictment against the pharaoh - the one responsible for Egypt's destruction. It has been dated at around the 12th dynasty, the very era believed to be about the time when Moses led the Israelite slaves to freedom. But of course, modern scholarship has pounced on it with a vengeance, trying to discredit its author, his era, and the authenticity of his papyrus.

    So, you decide. Compare the following Egyptian text with each corresponding biblical account. David Brennan, in his book, The Israel Omen, discusses this scroll at length and paints a dismal picture of Egypt's plight: "Strangely, there appears to be no one around to protect the people and maintain civil order, as though the entire Egyptian army had somehow disappeared into thin air. Starvation is rampant. Worst of all, something very strange has happened to the great Nile River, the lifeline of ancient Egyptian society, and now it is undrinkable."

    Turning Water to Blood

                                               River of Blood_sq

    First, let's look at the Exodus account of Moses turning Egypt's water into blood:

    7:20 "... And all the waters that were in the river were turned to blood.

    7:21 "... the river stank... there was blood throughout all the land of Egypt.

    7:24 "So all the Egyptians dug all around the river for water to drink, because they could not drink the water of the river."

    Now let's see what the Ipuwer Papyrus says:

    2:5,6 "Plague is throughout the land. Blood is everywhere.

    2:10 "The river is blood.

    2:10 "Men shrink from tasting - human beings, and thirst after water.

    3:10-13 "That is our water! That is our happiness! What shall we do in respect thereof? All is ruin."

    Ipuwer goes on the describe seeing a man pour water on the ground and causing great misery to the strongest men of Egypt:

    7:4 "Behold Egypt is poured out like water. He who poured water on the dry land, he has captured the strong man in misery."

    The Exodus account says:

    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."

    It appears that Ipuwer watched Moses take a pitcher of water from the Nile and pour it on the ground in the presence of the mighty pharaoh!

    Hail, Fire and Blood

                                            Hail & Fire_sq

    Now, lets look at the plague of hail and fire. The Exodus account says:

    9:23-24 "... and the fire darted to the ground... there was hail, and fire mingled with the hail, so very heavy.

    9:25 "... and the hail struck every herb of the field and broke every tree of the field.

    9:31,32 "Now the flax and the barley were struck, for the barley was in the head and the flax was in bud.

    "But the wheat and the spelt were not struck, for they are late crops.

    10:15 "... there remained nothing green on the trees or on the plants of the field throughout all the land of Egypt."

    The Ipuwer Papyrus says:

    2:10 "Forsooth, gates, columns and walls are consumed by fire.

    10:3-6 "Lower Egypt weeps... The entire palace is without its revenues. To it belong [by right] wheat and barley, geese and fish.

    6:3 "Forsooth, grain has perished on every side.

    5:12 "Forsooth, that has perished, which was yesterday seen. The land is left over to its weariness like the cutting of flax."

    Ipuwer says that the crops, which were fine only yesterday, are now destroyed by fire. Egypt was left without food.

    Sick Cattle


    Now lets look at the plague upon cattle throughout Egypt. The Exodus account says:

    9:3 "... the hand of the Lord will be on your cattle in the field... a very servere pestilence [sickness].

    9:19 "... gather your livestock and all that you have in the field...

    9:21 "But he who did not regard the word of the Lord left his servants and his livestock in the field."

    The Ipuwer Papyrus says:

    5:5 "All animals, their hearts weep. Cattle moan...

    9:2,3 "Behold, cattle are left to stray, and there is none to gather them together."

    Note that the Bible tells the Egyptians to gather their cattle, and the Ipuwer Papyrus says that the cattle are left to stray because there was no one to gather them.


                                            darkness over the land_sq

    Concerning the darkness that covered Egypt, the Exodus account says:

    10:22 "... and there was darkness in all the land of Egypt..."

    The Ipuwer Papyrus says:

    9:11 "The land is without light."

    Death of the Firstborn

                  Death of the firstborn_sq

    Concerning the death of the firstborn, the Exodus passage says:

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

    12:30 "... there was a great cry in Egypt, for there was not a house where there was not one dead."

    The Ipuwer Papyrus says:

    4:3 (5:6) "Forsooth, the children of princes are dashed against the walls.

    6:12 "Forsooth, the children of princes are cast out in the streets.

    6:3 "The prison is ruined.

    2:13 "He who places his brother in the ground is everywhere.

    3:14 "It is groaning throughout the land, mingled with lamentations."

    The Pillar of Fire


                                                      Pillar of fire_sq

    Concerning the pillar of fire that led the Israelites out of Egypt, the Exodus passage says:

    13:21 "... by day in a pillar of cloud to lead the way, and by night in a pillar of fire to give them light, so as to go by day and night."

    The Ipuwer Papyrus says:

    7:1 "Behold, the fire has mounted up on high. Its burning goes forth against the enemies of the land."

    Ipuwer saw a great fire building high in the sky and thought that Egypt's gods had finally come to destroy the Israelites. After all, it stood above them as they left Egypt. He did not understand that the pillar of cloud and fire was there to guide the Israelites.

    Gold and Booty of Egypt

                                                  Gold & Booty of Egypt_sq

    Concerning the booty of Egypt, the Exodus account says:

    12:35,36 "... they had asked from the Egyptians articles of silver, articles of gold, and clothing. And the Lord had given the people favor in the sight of the Egyptians, so that they granted them what they requested. Thus they plundered the Egyptians."

    The Ipuwer Papyrus says:

    3:2 "Gold and lapis lazuli, silver and malachite, carnelian and bronze... are fastened on the necks of female slaves."

    The Ipuwer Papyrus has condition problems. We don't know how much is missing - both from before and after the existing text. There are also many gaps in the papyrus, leaving it in poor condition. Unfortunately, the name of the pharaoh is missing. Ipuwer describes the devastation in both the upper (southern) and the lower (northern) kingdom and blames the pharaoh for letting his nation fall into chaos. He urges the pharaoh to "destroy the enemies of the August Residence," which could be a factor in pharaoh's decision to pursue the Israelites all the way to the Red Sea!


    This article originates at:


    SEE VIDEO ON 'Ipuwer Papyrus'! THE TEN PLAGUES