The Seventh Plague: the plague of hail, and what it did to the barley and flax.
Did the Exodus really happen? How can we know? Skeptics say there has never been any evidence found, but there is lots of evidence! Here is one point to think about. This comes from the book “Israel in Egypt” by James K. Hoffmeier. This book is loaded with information and has lots (and I mean a lot) of footnotes. So, if you wanted you could go back and look at the original sources to see for yourself.
Here is what is going on, Moses is telling Pharaoh that if he does not let the Israelites go God will strike Egypt with plagues. The seventh plague, hail, is in Exodus 9:18-35. In that story we read this verse, which is a note to the rest of the story of this plague (that is why it is in parentheses).
29 Moses said to him, “As soon as I go out of the city, I will spread out my hands to the Lord; the thunder will cease and there will be hail no longer, that you may know that the earth is the Lord’s… 31 (Now the flax and the barley were ruined, for the barley was in the ear and the flax was in bud. 32 But the wheat and the spelt were not ruined, for they ripen late.) Exodus 9:29, 31-32
Why is this important? On page 148 Mr. Hoffmeier describes the agricultural practices of ancient Egypt. The flax and barley were, in fact, planted together at that time. The wheat was planted at a different time. This was dependent on the floods of the Nile River. He presents all his sources and describes how things worked at that time.
What’s the point? If Exodus was written several hundred years later than the time of the Exodus, how would the authors know about this? Many theories have been proposed that claim the first five books of the bible were written much later to bolster the Jews claim to the land of Israel. There were very few books at that time, there were no public libraries, encyclopedias, and no internet. If the supposed authors were sitting in a room making this up, this little snippet would not exist.
So yes, there is evidence that the story we read about in Exodus is true!