We were once slaves in the land of Egypt, until the Lord with His outstretched hand did His thing. But, while in Egypt, whatever we were doing, we probably weren’t building the pyramids. Mud-brick tombs discovered last week purportedly demonstrate that the builders of the famous pyramids at Giza were paid laborers, probably drawn from the ranks of poor Egyptians, and not slaves, Jewish or otherwise. Part of the reason to think this is that these laborers received lavish burials for their services—“No way would they have been buried so honorably if they were slaves,” says an Egyptian archaeologist.
So where did the whole Jews-built-the-pyramids idea originate? (C’mon, you thought so, admit it!) Exodus refers to the Jews’ “backbreaking labor,” but does not specify what that labor was. You can blame Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin, who in 1977 said the Jews built the pyramids. Blame it on Orientalism, if that is your thing. But most of all, say experts? Blame it on Hollywood. Sure, why not!
Egypt Says Jewish Slaves Didn’t Build Pyramids [Christian Science Monitor]