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The Exodus from Egypt was the escape by the Israelites (Jews) from slavery in Egypt. This event was recorded in the Hebrew Bible (the Old Testament of the Christian Bible) and has been corroborated by historical evidence. Jewish scriptures known as the Law, or Torah, recount this story, as do Genesis and Exodus, books (parts) of the Christian Bible. Ancestors of the Israelites settled in the Nile delta of Egypt around 1600 B.C., but when Egyptian rulers changed, the Israelites became the focus of hostility and were enslaved. According to the Bible, a Jewish prophet named Moses (Moshe) was told by God to lead the Israelites from Egypt to the Promised Land (present-day Palestine; also called the Holy Land). When the pharaoh (king) Ramses refused to allow the Israelites to leave Egypt, a series of divine signs, including ten plagues (widespread punishments from God), struck the Egyptians. As a result of the plagues, Ramses eventually allowed the Israelites to leave Egypt. Every year Jews commemorate the Exodus by celebrating Passover.
Further Information: "The Bible." Catholic Encyclopedia. [Online] Available http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/02543a.htm, October 20, 2000; Goldman, Elizabeth. Believers: Spiritual Leaders of the World. New York: Oxford University Press, 1995; Van Biema, David. "In Search of Moses." Time. December 14, 1998, p. 80.
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