It is interesting that Johnstone uses the phrase “absence of evidence” with regard to the Exodus.
There is an oft-repeated adage in Biblical and archaeological studies with regard to efforts to reconstruct events of thousands of years ago from the bits and tatters of information that have survived: “absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.” Rather than blindly accepting a learned scholar’s argument from silence to dismiss the factuality of the Exodus, let us look at the reality of the situation.
An Asiatic settlement from the time of Joseph was found at Tell el-Daba, quite possibly the very place where Jacob and his family settled.
The Egyptian town at that time was called Rowaty, “the door of the two roads” (12th–13th Dynasties). 1555 BC, the town was known as Avaris, “the royal foundation of the district” (13th, 15th Dynasties). 1555 BC until the site was abandoned at the time of the Exodus it was named Perunefer, “happy journey” (18th Dynasty).
The royal city of Rameses II in the 13th century BC, named Rameses, is located in the area labeled “Town Center 19th Dyn.” to the north.
(From Bietak and Foster-Müller 2005: 66) On a more positive note, I believe there is evidence for the presence of Israel in Egypt, albeit indirect.
There is no consensus regarding the date of the Israelite slavery, nor its nature, nor even its historicity…It is an area where archaeological interpretation and biblical narrative collide" (Oblath 2007: 380).
Sadly, most contemporary Biblical scholars deny the historicity of God’s miraculous deliverance of Israel from Egypt as documented in the Old Testament (Ex 2–12) and alluded to in the New Testament (Acts ; Rom ).
It first so occurs under Thutmose III and IV (15th cent. Thus in the Pentateuch “Pharaoh” is used without a proper name precisely as in Egypt…From the 10th cent. Pharaoh Hophra [Jer ] and Pharaoh Neco [2 Kgs –35; 2 Chr –22; 36:3–4; Jer 46:2].The royal precinct at the time of the Exodus was located at Ezbet Helmi, indicated by the red circle.When Jacob and his family came to Egypt, Joseph “gave them property in the best part of the land, the district of Rameses” (Gn ).Fortunately, we know a lot about Rameses, modern Tell el-Daba in the northeastern Nile delta, since it has been excavated almost continuously since 1966.
What historical records have been found from the time period of the Exodus at ancient Rameses? In fact, the only historical document to be found from any period from all of the excavations in the area of ancient Rameses over a period of more than 40 years is one small 2x2 in (5x5 cm) fragment of a clay tablet.
The locale is generally referred to as Tell el-Daba, after the name of the village where archaeological investigations began.