400 Years—Genesis 15:13-15 & 430 Years—Exodus 12:40-41

Genesis 15:13-15

13 Then He said to Abram: “Know certainly that your descendants will be strangers in a land that is not theirs, and will serve them, and they will afflict them four hundred years. 14 And also the nation whom they serve I will judge; afterward they shall come out with great possessions. 15 Now as for you, you shall [a]go to your fathers in peace; you shall be buried at a good old age. Footnote: [a]Die and join your ancestors.

Exodus12:40-41

40 Now the [a]sojourn of the children of Israel who lived in [b]Egypt was four hundred and thirty years. 41 And it came to pass at the end of the four hundred and thirty years—on that very same day—it came to pass that all the armies of the Lord went out from the land of Egypt. Footnotes: [a]Length of the stay, [b]Sam., LXX Egypt and Canaan.

  • The 430 Years began in year 2089AM/1958BC.
  • The 400 years began in year 2119AM/1928BC.

"Israel" represents the whole family beginning with Abraham (Abram).

  • Abram (Abraham) was born in year 2014AM/2033BC.

  • Abram (Abraham) turned 75 years of age in year 2089AM/1958BC and departed from Haran with Lot (Genesis 12:4).

  • Abram (Abraham) is age 86 at the birth of Ishmael in the year 2100AM/1947BC (Genesis 16:15).

  • Abram's name was changed to Abraham at age 99 in year 2113AM/1934BC (Genesis 17:5).

  • Abraham was age 100 at Isaac's birth in year 2114AM/1833BC.

  • Isaac was weaned at age 5 in year 2119AM/1928BC (Genesis 21:8). Ishmael turned 19 this same year.

  • God gives His approval that Isaac is Abraham's seed—not Ishmael (Genesis 21:9).

  • Hagar and Ishmael are sent away that same year 2119AM/1928BC (Genesis 21:10-13).

A related issue is about how long (approximately) the Israelites actually were in slavery in Egypt. It was not 430 or 400 years; it was significantly less.

  • The entire sojourn (that began with Abraham) was the 430 years—2089AM/1958BC (Galatians 3:16-17). 

  • The 400 years started at the weaning of Isaac—the same time that Hagar and Ishmael were sent away—2119AM/1928BC.

  • The 430 and 400 years culminate at the same time—the Exodus 2519AM/1528BC (Exodus 12:40 and Acts 7:6).

  • The death of Joseph in year 2375AM/1672BC is not the earliest point to begin counting years of Israelite slavery as some incorrectly do. [2375-2089=286 years. 430-286=144 years.]

  • Counting from the death of Levi is Biblically correct.

  • Levi's birth year is approximate—2262AM/1785BC (Could have been as early as 2260AM/1787BC).

  • Using 2262AM/1785BC for discussion, Levi's death year was 2399AM/1648BC (137 years—Exodus 6:16).

  • Levi lived 22-24 years longer than Joseph (again, approximate).

  • Years of Israelite in slavery is around 120-122 years.

Further Clarification

Genesis 21:9—the "affliction" begins with Isaac and continues into his adult life. [The Philistines had no respect for Isaac.]

And Sarah saw the son of Hagar the Egyptian, whom she had borne to Abraham, scoffing. [a] Footnote: Lit. laughing

"Scoffing" is Strong's #6711 and is defined as "a verb meaning to laugh, to make a joke, to mock." This may have the same sexual licentious overtones found in Exodus 32:6.

Exodus 32:6

    Then they rose early on the next day, offered burnt offerings, and brought peace offerings; and the people sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to play.

    "Play" here is also Strong's #6711.

    Genesis 21:12—God places His stamp of approval on Isaac as Abraham's seed; Abraham sends Hagar and Ishmael away.

    12 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.

    Five years after Isaac is born, the 400-year prophecy begins—2119AM/1928BC.

    To be clear—The 430 and 400 years culminate at the same time—the Exodus 2519AM/1528BC (Exodus 12:40 and Acts 7:6).

    Exodus 12:40

    40 Now the [a]sojourn of the children of Israel who lived in [b]Egypt was four hundred and thirty years. Footnotes: [a]Length of the stay, [b]Sam., LXX Egypt and Canaan

    Acts 7:6

    But God spoke in this way: that his descendants would dwell in a foreign land, and that they would bring them into bondage and oppress them four hundred years.

    Genesis 26:17-22—the "affliction" continues.

    17 Then Isaac departed from there and [a]pitched his tent in the Valley of Gerar, and dwelt there. 18 And Isaac dug again the wells of water which they had dug in the days of Abraham his father, for the Philistines had stopped them up after the death of Abraham. He called them by the names which his father had called them.

    19 Also Isaac’s servants dug in the valley, and found a well of running water there. 20 But the herdsmen of Gerar quarreled with Isaac’s herdsmen, saying, “The water is ours.” So he called the name of the well [b]Esek, because they quarreled with him. 21 Then they dug another well, and they quarreled over that one also. So he called its name [c]Sitnah. 22 And he moved from there and dug another well, and they did not quarrel over it. So he called its name [d]Rehoboth, because he said, “For now the Lord has made room for us, and we shall be fruitful in the land.” Footnotes: [a]camped, [b] Lit. Quarrel, [c]Lit. Enmity, [d]Lit. Spaciousness

    "Afflict" is Strong's #6031. The Complete Word Study Dictionary Old Testament, page 852 gives the following definition of this word: “a verb indicating to be afflicted, to be oppressed, to be humbled. It refers to being oppressed, in a state of oppression. It means to bow down, to humble oneself, to be humble (Exodus 10:3; Isaiah 58:10).”

    English