Memes are stupid. Memes are dangerous. As fun and often humorous as these passed-around images on the internet can sometimes be, memes are one of the multitude of things that are causing society to become more divisive and decay faster into an unrecognizable mass of dung.
Why? Well, for starters, hardly anybody fact-checks memes, pics, or screenshots of comments or tweets that are shared around social media quicker than the flu at an elementary school assembly (they truly are “viral”). Sources are rarely given for the “arguments” they offer. Memes appeal to both dumbed-down and extremist emotional jabs without offering anything real, substantial, or thorough, nor do they hardly ever put anything in the proper context of their debates. The minimalist thinking is, “who cares if there is any validity to this? It makes the other side look bad, and hopefully, I’ll influence a few people to move over to my side.”
What’s worse is that lamentably everyone uses memes. Liberals use them against Conservatives, Conservatives against Liberals, Atheists against Creationists, Creationists against Atheists, or for any sociological, political, religious, philosophical, or medical argument or cause that exists. Participants throw them back at their opponents without even realizing that even though there may exist well-founded, rational arguments that support their side, they still chose to use these extemporaneous – and often wrong – meme pictures instead, and not even realize that their employment may hurt their cause more than it helps.
I dislike it whenever I see anything excessively proliferating that is flat-out wrong. Therefore, I’m going to start a series of posts debunking some of the most inane and egregious anti-Christian memes I find on the internet. The first one I’ll tackle is one about Moses and the Exodus from Egypt.
Here’s What Happened
Some wise guy thought they could easily shame both Jewish and Christian believers by questioning the story of Moses and the Hebrew Exodus; this person opened the Google Maps app and punched in the estimated walking time between Cairo, Egypt, and Jerusalem, Israel. It turns out that according to the app, the journey “only” takes six days to travel by foot. They made a cutesy meme pic and threw it up on the internet. Yep! That must disprove the whole story in the Bible as being an ancient fairy tale where its creators idiotically conceived some preposterous drivel about it requiring 40 years to trek to the Promised Land!
Hey, not so fast, bucko. Here are some rapid-fire responses to shoot holes in that knee-jerk “gotcha” time of 6 days:
1. The estimation for a six-day journey is based on the notion that one is walking at the average maximum walking speed of 3 mph and have the stamina to walk for 24 hours a day the entire time during your journey.
2. There are no rest times, meal or bathroom breaks, time to sleep, etc. accounted for.
3. It assumes that you are traversing on modern, paved roads between Egypt and Israel.
4. You have adequate food, water, first aid, and all necessary supplies for your entire journey across the rough terrain and desert, not to mention GPS or other navigational aids.
Anybody can see that this meme is blatantly wrong and misleading at this point. But you may be thinking something along the lines of, “okay, Scott. I get that it won’t take six 24-hour days. Let’s factor in the above points and multiply the amount of time fivefold or even tenfold. Even giving them 30-60 days to walk the distance, that’s still far less an amount of time than forty years is!”
Don’t fret, for I will address that, dear reader…
Here Are the Big Myth-Busting Points
Myth-Killing Point #1: There Was a Rather Enormous Group of People to Lead Around
Again, it’s not like Moses and company were a streamlined, athletic, nimble band who could rapidly transverse the desert in record time, needed few breaks, and had an endless supply of water and food. On the contrary. Think of the Hebrew population as an ocean of people who could literally fill dozens of football stadiums:
“And the children of Israel journeyed from Rameses to Succoth, about six hundred thousand on foot that were men, beside children. And a mixed multitude went up also with them; and flock, and herds, even very much cattle.” (Exodus 12:37-38).
There are a few points to draw from this Scripture:
1. It states that there were 600,000 Hebrew men numbered in the Exodus. Once you add women and children, the total number of Hebrew people could easily reach past 1 million in upwards of 2-2.5 million or even 3 million. That’s a pretty hefty mass of evacuees to navigate as one, cohesive group.
2. There were no doubt a sizable number of elderly folks in these estimations. Add in those who had physical ailments like leg, hip, and back problems that prevented them from walking at a fast pace. Oh, and let’s not forget slow-moving pregnant and nursing women who no doubt needed frequent rests. Lastly, throw in younger children, and you have an enormous sea of humans who can neither travel very fast nor can cover very much ground daily.
3. The Israelites brought with them out of Egypt an unnumbered amount of domesticated animal herds, which probably included creatures such as cattle and sheep.
Myth-Killing Point #2: Moses and the Israelites Made Dozens of Stops, and They Actually Reached the Promised Land within a Year
If the meme creators (or anyone who shares or blindly agrees with the memes, for that matter) would have simply cracked open a Bible or did some research on the matter, they would immediately figure out that they have no historical or logical legs on which to stand.
For instance, Chapter 33 of the Book of Numbers in the Bible lists out all of the encampments of Moses and the Israelites. I’ve copied all 56 verses from the NIV translation just to show you the depth of their journey:
“1 These are the stages of the people of Israel, when they went out of the land of Egypt by their companies under the leadership of Moses and Aaron. 2 Moses wrote down their starting places, stage by stage, by command of the Lord, and these are their stages according to their starting places. 3 They set out from Rameses in the first month, on the fifteenth day of the first month. On the day after the Passover, the people of Israel went out triumphantly in the sight of all the Egyptians, 4 while the Egyptians were burying all their firstborn, whom the Lord had struck down among them. On their gods also the Lord executed judgments.
5 So the people of Israel set out from Rameses and camped at Succoth.
6 And they set out from Succoth and camped at Etham, which is on the edge of the wilderness.
7 And they set out from Etham and turned back to Pi-hahiroth, which is east of Baal-zephon, and they camped before Migdol.
8 And they set out from before Hahiroth and passed through the midst of the sea into the wilderness, and they went a three days’ journey in the wilderness of Etham and camped at Marah.
9 And they set out from Marah and came to Elim; at Elim there were twelve springs of water and seventy palm trees, and they camped there.
10 And they set out from Elim and camped by the Red Sea.
11 And they set out from the Red Sea and camped in the wilderness of Sin.
12 And they set out from the wilderness of Sin and camped at Dophkah.
13 And they set out from Dophkah and camped at Alush.
14 And they set out from Alush and camped at Rephidim, where there was no water for the people to drink.
15 And they set out from Rephidim and camped in the wilderness of Sinai.
16 And they set out from the wilderness of Sinai and camped at Kibroth-hattaavah.
17 And they set out from Kibroth-hattaavah and camped at Hazeroth.
18 And they set out from Hazeroth and camped at Rithmah.
19 And they set out from Rithmah and camped at Rimmon-perez.
20 And they set out from Rimmon-perez and camped at Libnah.
21 And they set out from Libnah and camped at Rissah.
22 And they set out from Rissah and camped at Kehelathah.
23 And they set out from Kehelathah and camped at Mount Shepher.
24 And they set out from Mount Shepher and camped at Haradah.
25 And they set out from Haradah and camped at Makheloth.
26 And they set out from Makheloth and camped at Tahath.
27 And they set out from Tahath and camped at Terah.
28 And they set out from Terah and camped at Mithkah.
29 And they set out from Mithkah and camped at Hashmonah.
30 And they set out from Hashmonah and camped at Moseroth.
31 And they set out from Moseroth and camped at Bene-jaakan.
32 And they set out from Bene-jaakan and camped at Hor-haggidgad.
33 And they set out from Hor-haggidgad and camped at Jotbathah.
34 And they set out from Jotbathah and camped at Abronah.
35 And they set out from Abronah and camped at Ezion-geber.
36 And they set out from Ezion-geber and camped in the wilderness of Zin (that is, Kadesh).
37 And they set out from Kadesh and camped at Mount Hor, on the edge of the land of Edom.
38 And Aaron the priest went up Mount Hor at the command of the Lord and died there, in the fortieth year after the people of Israel had come out of the land of Egypt, on the first day of the fifth month. 39 And Aaron was 123 years old when he died on Mount Hor.
40 And the Canaanite, the king of Arad, who lived in the Negeb in the land of Canaan, heard of the coming of the people of Israel.
41 And they set out from Mount Hor and camped at Zalmonah.
42 And they set out from Zalmonah and camped at Punon.
43 And they set out from Punon and camped at Oboth.
44 And they set out from Oboth and camped at Iye-abarim, in the territory of Moab.
45 And they set out from Iyim and camped at Dibon-gad.
46 And they set out from Dibon-gad and camped at Almon-diblathaim.
47 And they set out from Almon-diblathaim and camped in the mountains of Abarim, before Nebo.
48 They left the mountains of Abarim and camped on the plains of Moab by the Jordan across from Jericho.
49 There on the plains of Moab they camped along the Jordan from Beth Jeshimoth to Abel Shittim.
50 And the Lord spoke to Moses in the plains of Moab by the Jordan at Jericho, saying, 51 ‘Speak to the people of Israel and say to them, When you pass over the Jordan into the land of Canaan, 52 then you shall drive out all the inhabitants of the land from before you and destroy all their figured stones and destroy all their metal images and demolish all their high places. 53 And you shall take possession of the land and settle in it, for I have given the land to you to possess it. 54 You shall inherit the land by lot according to your clans. To a large tribe you shall give a large inheritance, and to a small tribe you shall give a small inheritance. Wherever the lot falls for anyone, that shall be his. According to the tribes of your fathers you shall inherit. 55 But if you do not drive out the inhabitants of the land from before you, then those of them whom you let remain shall be as barbs in your eyes and thorns in your sides, and they shall trouble you in the land where you dwell. 56 And I will do to you as I thought to do to them.'”
So that was a lot of sojourning, stopping to rest and camp, and then continuing. As you can imagine, for a mass of 1.5 to 3 million humans, it took quite a long time!
How long did it take, you might be asking? I will answer that for you…
The Exodus Timeline
Well, many scholars have been able to calculate the traveling times and have developed chronologies to a fairly accurate degree. The ridiculously comprehensive archeology section of the Bible.ca site [http://www.bible.ca/archeology/bible-archeology-exodus-route.htm] has one exhaustively researched page after another that documents places and times for the Exodus that I could barely scratch the surface of here in any adequate summarization. Just bookmark it read it for yourself.
Instead of that, I’ll give you the gist of how long the journey took from Egypt to just shy of Canaan, AKA the Promised Land, which would eventually become Israel. In earlier chapters of Numbers and the Book of Exodus, we get some pretty solid timeframes listed.
According to Exodus 12:2 and 6, his whole Exodus started in the city of Rameses on the 14th day of the first month. Moses and the Hebrews then proceeded to Succoth in Egypt (Exodus 12:37), and that night they began their trek out of the country of Egypt, according to Exodus 12:40-42 and Deuteronomy 16:6. The first stage of the journey comprised of leaving Succoth, traveling through the Wilderness of the Red Sea, and then on to Etham (Exodus 13:18-20).
The Israelites made an encampment at Pi Hahiroth, “between Migdol and the sea” (Exodus 14:2). After crossing the Red Sea (Exodus 14:21-22), Moses and company took a three-day journey to Marah (Exodus 15:22-23). The next rest was Elim (Exodus 15:27). They then reached the Wilderness of Sin. According to Exodus 16:1, the total elapsed Exodus time was around 30-31 days (“the fifteenth day of the second month”). From there, the next destinations were Rephidim and then Sinai. Another thirty or more days had transpired at this point (Exodus 19:1-2).
There at Mt. Sinai, God gave Moses and the Israelites His Law, instruction, and covenant. From this point, we cover the rest of the Book of Exodus, Leviticus, and the first several chapters of Numbers with God’s Law, and the building of the Tabernacle and the Ark of the Covenant. They spent about one year here at Sinai (Numbers 10:11).
When it was time to pick up and begin traveling again, The Israelites undertook a three-day jaunt to Taberah/Kibroth Hattaavah (Numbers 10:33, 11:3). The following encampment was at Hazeroth (Numbers 11:35), and stayed there at least seven days (Numbers 12:15). From there they came to Kadesh Barnea in the Wilderness of Paran (Numbers 12:16).
This stop at Kadesh Barnea was an important one, for it bordered the Promised Land of Canaan, which would eventually become the country of Israel. Yep, the Hebrews were in striking distance to where God was ultimately leading them. They were close enough that they sent out Twelve Spies to survey the land and its people (Numbers 13:18-25).
So from Rameses in Egypt to Mt. Sinai was approximately two months. The time spent at Mt. Sinai was about one year. And the remaining leg of the Exodus before the dispatching of the Twelve Spies was at least ten days, and possibly two weeks, all for a grand total of roughly 1 year and 2 1/2 months.
The rough, rocky, and arid terrain of the Sinai Peninsula. This is a shot of the Colored Canyons near Nuweiba, South Sinai, Egypt.
Myth-Killing Point #3: Meme Doesn’t Account for 40 Years of Punishment By Desert Wandering
Here’s a well-known fact that the paper-thin atheist debaters have ignored when propagating these memes: that God had punished the Israelites by making them walk back out into the desert for 40 years, often referred to as the Wandering in the Wilderness. It certainly wasn’t poor navigation like the meme implies.
In Numbers 13, the Lord commanded Moses out twelve spies to survey the land and its people (verses 18-15). After forty days of exploration, the twelve returned with their reports. Ten of them had highly negative statements about Canaan. They exclaimed, “we can’t attack those people; they are stronger than we are…All the people we saw were of great size…We seemed like grasshoppers in our own eyes” (Numbers 13:31-33). Two of the spies, Joshua and Caleb, had good reports of the Promised Land (Numbers 14:6-7). The Hebrew people chose to listen to the ten doubters instead of the word of Joshua and Caleb and the promises of God and rebelled. They grumbled and complained and “raised their voices and wept aloud,” against Moses and Aaron, lamenting, “If only we had died in Egypt! Or in this desert! Why is the Lord bringing us to this land only to let us fall by the sword?” (Numbers 14:1-2).
This doubting and rebellion angered the Lord God. He was about ready to destroy them with a plague (Numbers 14:11) until Moses intervened and asked the Lord for forgiveness (Numbers 14:13-20). God honored Moses’ request and forgave the Israelite people, but still thought punishment on a smaller scale was necessary. He decided that “not one of them will ever see the land I promised on oath to their forefathers. No one who has treated me with contempt will ever see it” (Numbers 14:23). Rather, they would suffer by wandering in the wilderness for forty years, one year for each of the forty days they explored the land (Numbers 14:34). Furthermore, God would give them what they asked for: “I will do the very things I heard you say: In this desert your bodies will fall, every one of you twenty years old or more” (Numbers 14:28-29). Out of the Twelve Spies, only Joshua and Caleb survived, being faithful and believing in God’s promise to give the land over to them.
After hearing of God’s punishment, some of the rebellious Israelites went towards where the spies came from in the hill country, but were attacked by the native Amalekites and Canaanites and beat them back (Numbers 14:39-45).
The rest of the Pentateuch (the remaining chapters of Numbers and Deuteronomy) document further exploits and instructional education of Moses and the Israelites until forty years had transpired and they were able to enter the Holy Land.
Here’s the “TL;DR” version: Moses and the Hebrews made dozens of stops, spent a year at Sinai, arrived near the Promised Land in a little over a year, and were punished by God, and were forced to wander back out in the desert wilderness for 40 years.
For all of you sharing and liking these unresearched memes…just stop. Seriously. You’re not doing your side any favors. Take some time to see if there is any validity to what you’re arguing against.
What Do YOU Think?
Do you have any additional thoughts on this matter? Are there any other memes or myths that you would like to be tested and busted? Contact me or leave your comment below!
Your pathetic. Worshipping your sky daddy. Get out of your fairy tail world, Roberts. The Flying Spaghetti MOnster will rule all of the magic earth Kingdom!
When discussing the reality of God with those you have disagreement with , I can’t think of another phrase as immature and cringeworthy than “Flying Spaghetti Monster”. If you care about being taken seriously, you’ll reject and stop using this phrase. But, maybe that’s all you’ve got. Perhaps a deep, meaningful discussion is impossible when the basis of. your world view is “something came from nothing” .
Please refer to the millions of immigrants in circumstances similar to those you have described above, that have travelled much further from Africa, to descend upon Europe. It took them weeks and months at most.
Refer also to the migration from Central America to the USA. Similar numbers and circumstances, but still only days and months.
This leaves you with only two explanations:
1. Moses is an idiot; or
2. It didn’t happen.
P.S. And quoting the Bible as proof of the Bible is just intellectual dishonesty allied to wilful delusion.
Scott Roberts Author
John, going by your comment, it’s crystal clear that you didn’t even bother to read the article. I even wrote a “TL;DR” explanation towards the end for people like you. Please try doing that next time, and you just might learn something. Have a great day.
Non-Christan: “The bible says Moses took 40 years! He was either an idiot or the whole thing didn’t happen.”
Christian: “Look more carefully you’ll see that the same text says 39 of those years were purposely spent in waiting.”
Non-Christian: “quoTing the biBle as prOof of thE biBle is juSt inTelleCtual diShoNestY alliEd to wilFul deLuSion”
Great memes! Even funnier when we consider that what we are arguing against isn’t even valid!!
Praying for you and that God remove the scales from your eyes.
Scott, thank you immensely for this timely article and for highlighting the clear, true word of God. Thank you so much for not responding to the snares of Satan. My heart goes out to the people responding negatively to this article. They don’t want to believe, yet know the truth that God is 100% real or they are curious….if not, why come to this article in the first place?
You are an idiot moron fool. Even if the walking time is cut by 2/3 and they may have walked at 1 mph., that’s still 54 days. Where the other 14,556 days? I’d say 54 days is much closer to the meme statement than 14,610 days or 40 years.
All your article proves is the willingness for idiots to put aside there dignity, honesty and integrity and lie to make their BS religious crap seem real.
Becuase I typed “Moses 40 year meme” into Google as I wanted to post this picture on a Facebook page claiming that “God keeps us on the true path”…
Saw there was an article attached to this so wanted to have a laugh.
This page did not disappoint haha.
So much stupidity written here…
Add whatever you want to the trip…
Livestock, 400,000,000 people…
It doesn’t turn a 6 days journey into a 40 year journey haha!
Scott Roberts Author
I take it you’re another person who didn’t read the actual article, huh? I stated up above that the trip took “roughly 1 year and 2 1/2 months.”
And read the “In Conclusion” section was the “TL;DR”. – it might help you out.
“If people did their research”…
Proceeds to quote a book written by literal word of mouth with no citable evidence to legitimize its claims, other than to refer to other scriptures that are also based on word of mouth.
Fact… The number of people/livestock/possessions does not turn a 6-day journey into a 40-year journey.
If basic maths eludes you, then you are not qualified to make any countering arguments to this.
The reason why religions worldwide are losing support is because facts and stories are two different things.
Logic and fact are starting to show the hypocrisy within religious texts.
Religion has to distort facts and logic to make their stories fit in, as such, people are starting to see through the stories.
Look at the ark story…
2 of every animal? According to the scriptures, the Ark was 300 cubits long and 50 cubits wide.
That’s smaller than most luxury yachts today.
How could two of every animal fit on such a small vessel?
Further to this, where are all the Kangaroo fossils between the middle-east and Australia?
Afterall, there would have been Kangaroo’s on the Ark yes?
They would have then had to migrate to Australia from the Middle East as Kangaroos are not found anywhere else in the world…
So why haven’t we found any Kangaroo remains between the Middle East and Australia?
Surely some would have died in the journey?
If it took Moses 40 years to travel 800km, then how long would it take the Kangaroos to travel over 4,000km?
Fair bit of swimming involved also, once they got to Malaysia…
What about Polar bears?
Must have been rough for them to have to walk from the arctic north, into the hot Middle East, to get on a boat and wait for the rains to stop… Only to have to walk all the way back to the arctic north haha.
The Bible is ONLY RELEVANT to the African continent, this is why it doesn’t mention animals from other continents.
Bit odd that a book guided by “God” is limited in its knowledge of the world.
Why would that be?
Because it was inspired by men who only knew of the world around them.
It was not inspired by “God” or any other diety.
It is a story.
You have to love and pity these poor atheist commentators. I feel like patting them on the head and giving them a lollipop. Are they so stupid that they don’t comprehend what most seven year-olds understand, or are they just so pigheaded that they refuse to accept logic and reason?
The point that I get from multiple readings of the book of Exodus is that it was a sort of purifying of the people so that worthy ones would enter the promised land – the wicked generation had to die off first, so it had to take a long time. The distance is completely immaterial. Even if the exodus was to the next street, it still had to take a long time. It’s a no-brainer. What’s wrong with the lollipop brigade?
its literally just a meme dude, dont be so triggered. i mean the story literally features the guy bust-opening the sea, of course the story isnt going to be logical.