The story of the Exodus is told in the books of Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy, the last four of the five books of the Torah (also called the Pentateuch).

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The culture of the earliest Israelite settlements is Canaanite, their cult objects are those of the Canaanite god El, the pottery remains are in the Canaanite tradition, and the alphabet used is early Canaanite.

Almost the sole marker distinguishing the "Israelite" villages from Canaanite sites is an absence of pig bones, although whether even this is an ethnic marker or is due to other factors remains a matter of dispute.

A proposal by Egyptologist Jan Assmann suggests that the Exodus narrative has no single origin, but rather combines numerous historical experiences into "a coherent story that is fictional as to its composition but historical as to some of its components." These traumatic events include the expulsion of the Hyksos; the religious revolution of Akhenaten; a possible episode of captivity for the Habiru, who were gangs of antisocial people operating between Egypt's vassal states; and the large-scale migrations of the 'Sea Peoples'.

There is no indication that the Israelites ever lived in Ancient Egypt, the Sinai Peninsula shows almost no sign of any occupation for the entire 2nd millennium BCE, and even Kadesh-Barnea, where the Israelites are said to have spent 38 years, was uninhabited prior to the establishment of the Israelite monarchy.

The Book of Numbers tells how the Israelites, led now by their god Yahweh, journey on from Sinai towards Canaan, but when their spies report that the land is filled with giants they refuse to go on and Yahweh condemns them to remain in the desert until the generation that left Egypt passes away.

The Hebrew name for this festival, Pesach, refers to God's instruction to the Israelites to prepare unleavened bread as they would be leaving Egypt in haste, and to mark their doors with the blood of slaughtered sheep so that the "Angel of Death" or "the destroyer" tasked with killing the first-born of Egypt would "pass over" them. "General problems of studying the text of the bible...".

It is difficult to reconcile the idea of 600,000 Israelite fighting men with the information that the Israelites were afraid of the Philistines and Egyptians. Israel's Exodus in Transdisciplinary Perspective: Text, Archaeology, Culture, and Geoscience.

and no evidence has been found that Egypt ever suffered the demographic and economic catastrophe such a loss of population would represent, nor that the Sinai desert ever hosted (or could have hosted) these millions of people and their herds.

Moses leads them out of Egypt and through the wilderness to Mount Sinai, where Yahweh reveals himself and offers them a Covenant: they are to keep his torah (i.e. Verbrugghe, Gerald P.; Wickersham, John Moore (2001).