Comparison with Biblical Account

Moses’ Life

• The Bible never says anything about Moses’s time as a young adult, perhaps because it was not significant enough. We do not know if the Pharaoh loved him as much as he did in the movie, though possible. We don’t know if Moses was ever in love before Sephora, as there is no biblical evidence for Nefritiri, nor any ‘throne princess’.

• The Bible doesn’t mention the name of the Egyptian worker killed, nor does it talk about the Hebrew that Moses saved. Moses in the Bible may as well have killed an Egyptian on accident, whatever the cause, the death of the Egyptian differs, too. Moses didn’t step in to fight him, but instead slew him and hid him in the sand (which was not even to be seen in that scene).
• It is not known if the Pharaoh was Ramesses, though historians speculate that it was, as that would have been in line with the time the Biblical account took place in. The Pharaoh, however, should have been Ramesses I, not Ramesses II.
• The movie added a lot of dialog that is not in the Bible, but it doesn’t contradict it either.


The Plagues

• The film shows four of the Plagues of Egypt: Blood, Hail, Darkness, and Death of the Firstborn, omitting the rest. DeMille could not figure out a way to enact the plagues of frogs, flies and so on, without it coming out as unintentionally humorous. It is mentioned in the dialogue between Pharaoh and his advisers.

• In the Bible, Moses did not say, "If there is one more plague on Egypt, it will be by your word that God will bring it" as he did in the movie, and Pharaoh did not decree that the firstborn of each house of Israel would die, beginning with the son of Moses. This is taken from a Midrash that expands the Biblical narrative in order to explain the origin of the tenth plague.

• In the Bible, God executes the tenth plague alone, not by sending the Angel of Death. In the film, on the first Passover night, the Destroyer is seen with a crescent moon in the sky. But Passover always begins in the middle of the Hebrew month of Nissan, during a full moon.


The Commandments

• In the Bible, the reception of the Ten Commandments began as a national revelation, as opposed to the private one depicted in the film. The story of Moses and seventy Elders of Israel eating and drinking in the presence of God (Exodus 24:9-11) is not found in the film.

• The story of Korah and his rebellion, which occurs much later in the Bible narrative, is conflated with that of the Golden Calf in the film. Korah himself plays only an assistant to the ringleader Dathan. Further, in the Bible, Dathan does not die during the Sin of the Golden Calf (nor do his brother Aviram or Korah), but during Korah's rebellion.

• The Hebrew term generally translated as Ten Commandments is more accurately Ten Pronouncements, and Jewish tradition considers that Moses received not only those but all the 613 Commandments contained in the Five Books of Moses.


Other changes

• In Exodus, the Israelites, led by Miriam, sing and dance to celebrate the death of Pharaoh and the Egyptian army, and their own liberation. In the film, they stand still in stunned silence.

• The Biblical story of the attack by the Amalekites and the Battle of Rephidim has been omitted in the film.

• The Biblical accounts of God supplying the Israelites with water, manna and quail are missing in the movie.

• In the movie, God ordered the Israelites to wander in the wilderness for 40 years as punishment for the Golden Calf incident. In the Bible, the 40 years of wandering was punishment for their unwillingness to believe God would deliver the promised land to the Hebrews despite the apparent physical superiority of the natives.