MembersWhy Jews Call It the ‘Egyptian Exodus’

The Exodus would have failed had a multitude of Egyptian “believers” not joined Israel

By Tsvi Sadan | | Topics: Passover, Bible, Exodus
Why Jews call it the Egyptian Exodus.
Photo: Creative Commons

Egypt plays an overlooked, but critical role in the story of the Exodus that takes on increased significance as Passover this year coincides with all of mankind facing the threat of coronavirus.

Passover commemorates the event of the people of Israel leaving Egypt after being there for 215 years (according to Jewish interpretation). The second book of the Bible, called in Hebrew Shemot (Names), is in English called Exodus, because this is the main theme of the book. It tells the story of Israel from the time they settled in Egypt until they left to wander in the desert.

Someone approaching the book with no preconceived notions might rightly question to whose exodus it refers. The Hebrew term Yetziat Mitzraim is so familiar that we don’t often consider it too closely. But doing so reveals the surprising reality that we are referring to this event literally as “Egypt’s Exodus,” or “the Egyptian Exodus.”


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