Moses was a man of God, maybe one of the greatest that ever lived.  The Bible says he led Israel out of Egypt.  Yet, many doubt his existence.  Can we find any evidence for Moses or the Israelites living in Goshen historically?  The Bible would be a good place to find clues.  We know he was born around the time two cities called Pithom and Ramses were being built for the pharaoh by the captive Hebrews. 

Exodus 1:10-12

10 Come on, let us deal wisely with them; lest they multiply, and it come to pass, that, when there falleth out any war, they join also unto our enemies, and fight against us, and so get them up out of the land.

11 Therefore they did set over them taskmasters to afflict them with their burdens. And they built for Pharaoh treasure cities, Pithom and Ramses.

12 But the more they afflicted them, the more they multiplied and grew. And they were grieved because of the children of Israel.   KJV

"They were called store or supply cities because they had granaries and armaments stored there."


If you remember, Joseph was put in charge of the granaries, after interpreting the dream which predicted 7 years of drought.  It would make sense that these 2 "treasure" cities were places of the storage of grain and they were in Goshen where the Israelites dwelled. 

The ancient city of Pithom was discovered in 1883.  Remember how Pharaoh forced the Israelites to make mud bricks to build his cities?  To be extra cruel to them, he made them fill their normal quota of bricks, but no longer gave them the straw, they had to go get it themselves.  "Pharaoh's overseers "made the children of Israel to serve with rigor, and made their lives bitter with hard bondage in mortar and in brick."  Not surprisingly, in the excavated city of Pithom, they have found 3 layers of brick.  Straw on the bottom, which phases out, and by the time the top is straw.

"Now, it is a very curious and interesting fact that the Pithom bricks are of three qualities. In the lower courses of these massive cellar walls they are mixed with chopped straw; higher up, when the straw may be supposed to have run short, the clay is found to be mixed with reeds, the same kind of reeds which grow to this day in the bed of the old Pharaonic canal, and which are translated as "stubble" in the Bible. Finally, when the last reeds were used up, the bricks of the uppermost courses consist of mere Nile mud, with no binding substance whatever.

"So here we have the whole Bible narrative surviving in solid evidence to the present time. We go down to the bottom of one of these cellars. We see the good bricks for which the straw was provided. Some few feet higher we see those for which the wretched Hebrews had to seek reeds, or stubble. We hear them cry aloud, "Can we make bricks without straw ?"

 An article called  "The Buried Cities of Ancient Egypt" further fortifies our theory that Pithom and Ramses were in Goshen when it says,

"It is said, in the forty-sixth chapter of Genesis, that Joseph "made ready his chariot, and went up to Hero÷polis to meet Jacob his father." this, however, was a verbal anachronism ... for there was neither a Pithom nor a Hero÷polis in the time of Joseph, but only a "Land of Goshen," as correctly given in the Hebrew original. The anachronism is, however, valuable, since it shows that Pithom was already known as Hero÷polis in the time of Ptolemy Philadelphus."

Pithom was also called Succoth.  The article called Ancient Texts says, "Succoth is supposed by some to be the secular name of this city, Pithom being its sacred name."  Pithom, Hero÷polis and Succoth were all the same city in the area of Goshen. 

The Land of Ramses was the land of Goshen.   How do we know that?  We know the Israelites dwelt in Goshen and the Bible gives us a neat clue as to where this was in Egypt.  Genesis 47:11 says, "And Joseph placed his father and his brethren, and gave them a possession in the land of Egypt, in the best of the land, in the land of Ramses, as Pharaoh had commanded."  Of course, Ramses was not Pharaoh at the time of Joseph.  The writer of this passage simply "updated" the known name of the area at the time he wrote.  The early name of the treasure city of Ramses was Avaris. 

Numbers 33:5 says, ""And the children of Israel removed from Ramses, and pitched in Succoth (Pithom)."  And from there they headed for the Red Sea.  We know there are Hebrew names listed as some of the slaves traded by the Egyptians.  Israelites were there in Egypt and so was Moses. 

We think we have a good idea who the Pharaoh of the Exodus was.  It is not Ramses, as is commonly thought, as we said, the writer of the passage wrote the updated name of the area, and the other things don't fit, but as we say, we found some great clues... Who Was the Pharaoh of the Exodus?

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