Analysis of the Joseph story reveals details of the narrative that demonstrate a setting in ancient Egypt and even suggest a specific time known as the 2nd Intermediate Period. The account begins with a clear distinction between Joseph and his brothers, apparent by happenings such as Jacob giving Joseph a tunic of many colors (Genesis 37:3). Tunics of many colors were in style during the Middle Bronze Age in Canaan, as exhibited by the clothing of migrants from Canaan depicted on the walls of the Tomb of Khnumhotep II (Newberry, Beni Hasan).
The presence of Hebrews in Egypt prior to their departure is a key component in the Exodus story, leading to the eventual formation of the Israelite nation and the subsequent settlement of Canaan. However, skepticism about the historical validity of the Exodus story has spread through both academia and the general public over the last century. One of the key problems for asserting the Exodus narrative as historical has to do with the supposed lack of archaeological confirmation for Hebrews living in Egypt.