I can understand your caution. Consider this:
1. If the Exodus would have occured during the reign of Ramese II when the Jews finally reached the promised land what would they have found waiting for them....more Egyptian troops. We know Egypt occupied the area on an almost continous basis from the time of Thutmose III entil around 1150.
2. Many would want you to believe that 600,000 Jews wandered around in the wilderness and left not a single trace, not even as much as a single campsite.38 of those 40 years were reputed to be at one place and yet there is not a trace that they were there.
3. Some want to put the Exodus earlier...around 2000BC. Our first mention of Isreal as a nation is the merenapth stelle in around 1207 BC. They would have you believe that isreal existed for several hundred years with no trace at all. Not a single mention of their name.
Some good points Horemheb. Especially number one.
As for number two
http://www.angelfire.com/journal/biblei ... gchart.htm
Is a site that offers a graph of Biblical sites relating to the Exodus. You are referring to Kadesh-Barnea i do believe. Below is data regarding Kadesh-Barnea, Please note that the only period that isn't listed it the MBI period approx. 2000 BCE i wonder why?
Kadesh-Barnea Deut. 1:19-46 Most of the 40 years in the desert were here? EB2 sites nearby. No EB3 occupation. No MB2 occupation at any possible sites for Kadesh-Barnea. No LB remains at any Kadesh-Barnea sites. Fortresses at Ain Qudeirat and Ain Qedeis only at the end of IA1.
Then there is the alternative theory and that is what modern folks think is Kadesh-Barnea isn't.
As for number three.
If you read the Biblical book of Samuel, you will see where it is Pharaoh that is ruler over the tribal people of what would become Israel during the United and Divided Monarchy Period. (1st Samuel 9) The Pharaoh's of the 12th dynasty made sure that Canaan understood that Egypt was overlord of this area, even as Asiatics were taking control of it.
So for those of us that accept an early date for Exodus it isn't so surprising that it isn't until the reign of Merenptah that we first find Israel being mentioned. If you read the bible you can see that prior to Shishak's sacking of Jerusalem, Pharaoh was interferring with Israelite rule. Jeroboam a servant of Solomon's finds protection from Solomon in Egypt.
Not strange at all Horemheb, when you consider that prior to the United and Divided Monarchy the Hebrews of Canaan are called in the Bible, the sons of Israel, the men of Judah, Benjamin, Simion, etc. While closer to the Monarchy periods it is the tribal names that dot the Bible.