Pharaoh of the Exodus

Pharaoh of the Exodus

The Bible makes reference to various pharaohs (kings of Egypt). These include unnamed pharaohs in the accounts of the Israelite settlement in Egypt, the subsequent oppression of the Israelites, and during the period of the Exodus, as well as a number of later rulers.

Historical pharaohs: Taharqa, Necho and Apries/Hophra

Sennacherib of Assyria. He is called King of Ethiopia, and hence is not given the title pharaoh which he bears in Egyptian documents.

Apries or Hophra (589-570 BC).

Conjectural pharaohs: Shishak and So

2 Chronicles 12:2 sqq. tell of an invasion of Israel by Shishak, and a subsequent raid of Jerusalem and the Temple of Solomon.

Unidentified pharaohs

Pharaohs in the book of Genesis

The passages Sarah and - being told she was Abraham's sister - summons her to become his own wife, for which Abraham is paid with cattle and slaves. After discovering Sarah's true relationship to Abraham the pharaoh releases her and her husband and orders them to leave Egypt. Abraham does not return the payment he had received.

The last chapters of the

Pharaohs in the book of Exodus

The book of Exodus tells how the Israelites are enslaved in Egypt and eventually escape under the leadership of Moses. At least two pharaohs are involved, the "pharaoh of the oppression" who enslaves the Israelites, and the "pharaoh of the exodus", during whose rule the Israelites escape. The biblical story does not name either, nor does it give enough information to identify the period in which the events are set, with the result that there have been many suggestions as to which of Egypt's many rulers was involved. Candidates put forward for the role include:

  • Dudimose (died c.1690 BC): David Rohl's 1995 A Test of Time revised Egyptian history by shortening the Third Intermediate Period of Egypt by almost 300 years. As a by-result the synchronisms with the biblical narrative have changed, making the 13th Dynasty pharaoh Djedneferre Dudimose (Dedumesu, Tutimaos, Tutimaios) the pharaoh of the Exodus.[4] Rohl's theory has failed to find support among scholars in his field.[5]
  • Ahmose I (1550-1525 BC): Simcha Jacobovici's April 16, 2006 History Channel documentary film Exodus Decoded and attributed to be the first pharaoh of the New Kingdom of Egypt.
  • Thutmose III (1479-1425 BC)[6]
  • Horemheb (1319-1292 BC): Ahmed Osman surmised that he was the Pharaoh of the Oppression. Tertius Chandler believed that Horemheb was the Pharaoh of the Oppression and of the Exodus.[7]
  • Ramesses I (c.1292-1290 BC): Surmised by Ahmed Osman to be the Pharaoh of the Exodus.
  • Ramesses II (c.1279-1213 BC) Also known as Ramesses the Great, he is the most commonly imagined figure in popular culture, but there is no documentary or archaeological evidence that he had to deal with the Plagues of Egypt or anything similar or that he chased Hebrew slaves fleeing Egypt. Ramesses II's late 13th century BC stela in Beth Shan mentions two conquered peoples who came to "make obeisance to him" in his city of Raameses or Pi-Ramesses but mentions neither the building of the city nor, as some have written, the Israelites or Hapiru.[8] Additionally, the historical Pithom was built in the 7th century BC, during the Saite period.[9][10]

See also