Four Hundred & Thirty Years


by Pastor Don Elmore

May 12, 2013

Scripture Reading:  Exodus 12:40-41

Have you ever wondered what these two verses mean in Exodus 12:40-41?  It seems that Israel was 430 years in Egypt; however, it took a while before I learned that Israel wasn't in Egypt that long.   Below is a table that will explain the timing.

How Long was Israel In Egypt?
Patriarch Age Years from Promise Years to Exodus Event Passage
Abraham 75 0 430 God makes the promise to Abraham and he leaves Haran Gen. 12:1-4
Abraham 86 10 420 Ishmael is born Gen. 16:3-4









Isaac is born


Gen. 21:5














Isaac is weaned and Ishmael mocks/persecutes Isaac



Gen. 21:8-9
Gal. 4:29










 Isaac marries Rebekah


Gen. 24:1-67
Gen. 25:20










Esau and Jacob are born


Gen. 25:26














Abraham dies



Gen. 25:7











 Joseph is born


Gen. 30:25














 Joseph is sold by his brothers and taken to Egypt



Gen. 37















 Isaac dies



Gen. 35:28-29











 Jacob meets Pharaoh


Gen. 45:4-6
Gen. 47:9









 Jacob dies


Gen. 47:28
Gen. 49:33
Joseph  110  286  144  Joseph dies Gen. 50:26
Only 64 years pass from the time Joseph dies to when Moses is born     
Moses  3 mos  350  80  Moses is placed in a basket and adopted by Pharaoh’s daughter Exod. 2
Moses  80  430  0  Exodus from Egypt Exod. 7:7
Exod. 12:40-41
Gal. 3:16-17

Genesis 12:1-4 “Now the LORD had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father’s house, unto a land that I will shew thee.

And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing:

And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee:  and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.

So Abram departed, as the LORD had spoken unto him; and Lot went with him:  and Abram was seventy and five years old when he departed out of Haran.”

Genesis 16:3-4 “And Sarai Abram’s wife took Hagar her maid the Egyptian, after Abram had dwelt ten years in the land of Canaan; and gave her to her husband Abram to be his wife.

And he went in unto Hagar, and she conceived:  and when she saw that she had conceived, her mistress was despised in her eyes.”

Genesis 21:5And Abraham was an hundred years old, when his son Isaac was born unto him.”

Genesis 21:8-9 “And the child grew, and was weaned:  and Abraham made a great feast the same day that Isaac was weaned.

And Sarah saw the son of Hagar the Egyptian [Ishmael], which she had born unto Abraham, mocking.”

Galatians 4:29 “But as then he that was born after the flesh persecuted him that was born after the Spirit, even so it is now.”

Genesis 24:1, 3, 4 “And Abraham was old, and well stricken in age;…

And I will make thee swear by the LORD, the God of heaven, and the God of the earth, that thou shalt not take a wife unto my son of the daughters of the Canaanites, among whom I dwell:  But thou shalt go unto my country, and to my kindred, and take a wife unto my son Isaac.”

Genesis 25:20 “And Isaac was forty years old when he took Rebekah to wife, the daughter of Bethuel the Syrian of Padanaram, the sister to Laban the Syrian.” 

Genesis 25:26 “And after that came his brother out, and his hand took hold on Esau’s heel; and his name was called Jacob:  and Isaac was threescore years old when she bare them.”

Genesis 25:7 “And these are the days of the years of Abraham’s life which he lived, an hundred threescore and fifteen years [175 years].”

Genesis 37:1-2 “And Jacob dwelt in the land wherein his father was a stranger, in the land of Canaan.  These are the generations of Jacob.  Joseph, being seventeen years old, was feeding the flock with his brethren; and the lad was with the sons of Bilhah, and with the sons of Zilpah, his father’s wives:  and Joseph brought  unto his father their evil report.”

Genesis 35:28-29 “And the days of Isaac were an hundred and fourscore years [180 years].  And Isaac gave up the ghost, and died, and was gathered unto his people, being old and full of days:  and his sons Esau and Jacob buried him.”

Genesis 45:4-6 “And Joseph said unto his brethren, Come near to me, I pray you.  And they came near:  And he said I am Joseph your brother, whom ye sold into Egypt.

Now therefore be not grieved, nor angry with yourselves, that ye sold me hither:  for God did send me before you to preserve life.

For these two years hath the famine been in the land:  and yet there are five years, in the which there shall neither be earing [plowing] or harvest.”

Genesis 47:9 “And Jacob said unto Pharaoh, The days of the years of my pilgrimage are an hundred and thirty years:  few and evil have the days of the years of my life been, and have not attained unto the days of the years of the life of my fathers in the days of  their pilgrimage.”

Genesis 47:28 “And Jacob lived in the land of Egypt seventeen years:  so the whole age of Jacob was an hundred forty and seven years.”

Genesis 49:33“And when Jacob had made an end of commanding his sons, he gathered up his feet into the bed, and yielded up the ghost, and was gathered unto his people.”

Genesis 50:26 “So Joseph died, being an hundred and ten years old:  and they embalmed him, and he was put in a coffin in Egypt.”

Exodus 7:7 “And Moses was fourscore [80] years old, and Aaron on fourscore and three years old, when they spake unto Pharaoh.”

The Septuagint differs from the King James Version on this verse by the addition of the words “and in the land of Canaan.”

Exodus 12:40-41 (KJV) “Now the sojourning of the children of Israel, who dwelt in Egypt, was four hundred and thirty years [430].

And it came to pass at the end of the four hundred and thirty years [430], even the selfsame day it came to pass, that all the host of the LORD went out from the land of Egypt.”

Exodus 12:40-41 (Septuagint) “Now the sojourning of the Israelites which they and their fathers had sojourned in the land of Egypt and in the land of Chanaan was four hundred and thirty years.

And at the end of four hundred and thirty years all the host of the Lord came out of the land of Egypt.”

Genesis 15:13-17 “And he said unto Abram, Know of a surety that thy seed shall be a stranger in a land that is not theirs, and shall serve them; and they shall afflict them four hundred years [This dates back to the time when Isaac was weaned and confirmed as the covenant seed, and Ishmael was cast out; Genesis 21:12 and Galatians 4:30.  At that time Isaac was 5 years old];

And also that nation, whom they shall serve, will I judge:  and afterward shall they come out with great substance.

And thou shalt go thy fathers in peace; thou shalt be buried in a good old age.

But in the fourth generation [1. Levi, 2.  Kohath, 3.  Amran, 4.  Moses;]

1 Chronicles 6:1-3] they shall come hither again:  for the iniquity of the Amorites ....

  1. Homosexuality
  2. Incest
  3. Inordinate affection
  4. Adultery
  5. Idolatry
  6. Profanity
  7. Bestiality
  8. Witchcraft
  9. Whoredom
  10. Dishonor to parents
  11. Murder
  12. Stealing
  13. Lying

.... is not yet full.”

Notice that this was a main part of the sermon given by Christianity’s early martyr; Stephen:

Acts 7:6 “And God spake on this wise, That his seed should sojourn in a strange land; and that they should bring them into bondage, and entreat them evil four hundred [400] years.”

The 400 years Stephen refers to in his famous sermon are to be reckoned from the confirmation of Isaac as the seed when Ishmael was cast out. 

Galatians 3:16-18 “Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made.  He saith not, And to seeds [8], as of many; but as of one, And to thy seed [‘Neither, because they are the seed of Abraham, are they all children, but, In Isaac shall thy seed be called,’ Romans 9:7], which is Christ [the anointed seed; Isaac].

And this I say, that the covenant, that was confirmed before of God in Christ [the anointed; the covenant people], the law, which was four hundred and thirty years after [the conditional marriage law], cannot disannul, that it should make the promise on none effect.

For if the inheritance be of the law [conditional marriage law], it is no more of promise:  but God gave it to Abraham by promise.”

The Apostle Paul is telling his listeners that the inheritance of Abraham was not by the law that Israel accepted when they were married in Mt. Sinai; for that law was a conditional law.  The house of Israel was divorced because of that law and had no hope.  There was nothing that they could do to put themselves back into the covenant promise.  But Paul tells them that the inheritance of Abraham was made by a covenant of promise, not the marriage law.  This unconditional promise was given 430 years before the marriage happened. 

God gave the inheritance to Abraham by promise, not by the marriage law; so God provided the salvation of His people.  It wasn’t by an animal sacrifice; but the voluntary sacrifice of His only Son.  It was by His blood that the House of Israel that was far off was made near.  The same was true for the more treacherous House of Judah.  Only one sacrifice was needed.  And it provided the penalty for all of our sins.  What a blessed Savior.

Blessed be the LORD God of Israel.