The ancient concept of time versus opportunity.
The length of the Israelites’ sojourn has been cause for debate amongst scholars for some time, and was one that this series wrestled with. The Biblical text, such as the Genesis examples above, often seems to contradict itself and different traditions appear to interpret the text in different ways. For example, in using the passage above, the birth of the child that fathered each of the subsequent generations would have to be born in his fathers old age, if four generations were to span four hundred years. Also, some traditions state the sojourn started with the entry of Abram into Egypt, Canaan and Goshen, while others state it began with Jacob’s entry into Egypt. My solution to this problem is that scholars debate it, faith walkers surrender.
But this interpretation in itself, that of moving these statements of time from the linear measured ‘chronos’ of the historian, to that of the appointed time of the religious, ‘kairos’, can be a source of conflict and dissatisfaction for those seeking to affirm or reaffirm their faith. Reconciling specific historical people, locations and events to specific characters, cities and episodes of the Bible is problematic. Yet this is the form which many an investigation has taken. Indeed, this series highlights the problems with such an approach.