CRITICAL SCHOLARSHIP | There is a consensus among modern biblical scholars that the Exodus tradition belongs to the memory of the northern Hebrew kingdom, the Kingdom of Israel. In 1 Samuel, a text which contains a great deal of early strands of Israel's cultural memory, this opinion is supported by the preponderance of Egyptian names - particularly among those associated with the Levites and the priestly class. This certainly supports a historical and cultural connection between Israel and Egypt. Richard Friedman and William Propp have used this to support their 'Levite Hypothesis,' a proposal for the origin of the Levites that imagines them - the Levites - as a small group Exodus.
A cultural connection with Egypt, however, does not require any group to have left Egypt. Canaan had been part of the Egyptian Empire for over three and a half centuries until the beginning of the twelfth century BCE. It is certain that the Egyptians established temples in Canaan, brought their own priests, and worshipped the local gods. It is at least possible the Egyptian names of Levites and priests in the biblical traditions came from the 'attached' priestly families that remained in Canaan after the departure of the Egyptian forces.