This contradiction is not so much a biblical contradiction but rather an historical one. After I left the church I began to research many of its stories using outside or secular sources to try to either prove their historical validity or dismiss them entirely as Jewish fabrications and myths. One of the stories I found most compelling of the entire bible was that of the exodus of the Hebrews from captivity in Egypt. I thought to myself this story has many unique elements that can be analyzed or probed from a secular perspective fairly and should have some external evidence to support its claims.
One of the first questions I asked myself was what was the approximate date of this enormous exodus, and how many people took part in it? Exodus 12:37 says it was about 600 thousand men not including of course women and children and an unidentified mixed multitude that went out with them. Discounting all of the miraculous hoopla that was inserted into the story I decided to try and look at this from a more mundane perspective. My next question was: Who was this Pharoah that followed the Hebrews into the Red sea? And finally what archaeological evidence has been found to support this story? Given the enormous size of those that supposedly trod the desert with Moses leading the pack, and the enormous size of Pharaohs army that supposedly drowned in the sea there should be more than enough evidence discovered by archaeologists.
If you think of this you will want to know that if this did in fact happen, there should have been traces of Pharaohs army in the sea, things such as chariots, weapons, etc. There should have been some trace of the Hebrews encampments and things found in the Sinai desert, according to the scriptures the generation of people that escaped slavery in Egypt eventually all died in the desert. The ones that made it across to this so called land of milk and honey were all of the children of the former generation all grown up. The bible states that they dwelt in the desert for 40 years surely they must have left plenty of evidence behind to validate their story.
Despite all of those things I have just mentioned an article on wikipedia states: 'A century of research by archaeologists and Egyptologists has found nothing which can be directly related to the Exodus narrative of an Egyptian captivity and the escape and travels through the wilderness, and it has become increasingly clear that Iron Age Israel - the kingdoms of Judah and Israel - has its origins in Canaan, not Egypt: the culture of the earliest Israelite settlements is Canaanite, their cult-objects are those of the Canaanite god El, the pottery remains in the local Canaanite tradition, and the alphabet used is early Canaanite.'
Another tell tale sign of the falsity of this story is that there is no record of a Pharaoh and his entire army drowning in any sea of any kind. Biblical scholars have recently stated that the Red sea is actually a mistranslation of the sea of Reeds which is an entirely different site. Not to mention that conveniently the biblical authors made sure to not identify this pharaoh to try to mask the historical integrity of the story. Without the name of this Pharaoh all one could do is try to match and date the biblical narrative with actual historical Egyptian records but that in and of itself has turned out to be an exercise in futility. Anyone who claims to know who this Pharaoh was is merely speculating, and if he does manage to identify him he also has the enormous task of finding evidence that this Pharaoh died in the sea with approximately over six hundred chariots and his entire army (Exodus 14:7).Regarding the date of the Exodus biblical scholars are all at odds as to the actual dates and have so far not manage to come to a concrete date for the exodus.