Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Phinding Pharaoh

The Egyptian King & I
So who was the Pharaoh of Egypt who scuffled with Moses?  NO - it wasn't Yul Brynner!  That's another "King and I" ;)

Identifying the Pharaoh is quite simple if you believe the Bible and compare it to Egyptian history.

Eighteenth and Nineteenth Dynasties of Egypt
Eighteenth Dynasty
Amenhotep I
Thutmose I
Thutmose II
Thutmose III
Amenhotep II
Thutmose IV
Amenhotep III
Amenhotep IV (Ikhnaton)
Nineteenth Dynasty
Rameses I
Seti I
Rameses II
(Eugene H. Merrill, Kingdom Of Priests: A History Of Old Testament Israel, 2nd edition, Baker Academic, 2008, pp. 75-76)

Reasons For A 1446 Exodus

1.  1 Kings 6:1  In the four hundred and eightieth year after the people of Israel came out of the land of Egypt, in the fourth year of Solomon’s reign over Israel, in the month of Ziv, which is the second month, he began to build the house of the Lord.  (ESV)

Merneptah Stele, Cairo Museum
Eugene Merrill writes:  “The first is the statement of 1 Kings 6:1 that the exodus preceded the founding of Solomon’s temple by 480 years. Granting for now that Solomon began to build in 966, simple mathematics suggests that the exodus took place in 1446.”  (Kingdom Of Priests, p. 83)

 2.  Jephthah (Judg 11:15-27) cites that the Ammonites have no basis to be hostile with Israel since it had been 300 years since Israel defeated them at Sihon which occurred 40 years after the Exodus.  Jephthah defeated the Ammonites at 1100 BC putting about 340 years since the Exodus (1440’s BC).

3.  The Merneptah Stele is a record of the Pharaoh Merneptah's (son of Rameses II) military conquests in the 13th century.  The stele dates about 1230 B.C. and was found in Thebes, Egypt in the late 1800's.  This is one of the earliest non-biblical records of Israel being a significant nation that was defeated by Merneptah.  Thus the nation of Israel was already well established which supports an early date for the Exodus, not a late 13th century date.  

John J. Davis points out:  "Merneptah took the throne approximately 1234 B.C. and shortly thereafter conducted campaigns in Palestine which were generally successful.  In this victory stela he claims to have encountered the people of Israel and to have defeated them.  This information implies that Israel was alread in Palestine and to some degree had expanded its land holdings toward the west."  (Moses And The Gods Of Egypt, Baker, 1971, p. 32)  The brief mention of Israel on the stela states:  "Israel is laid waste, its seed is not."

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4.  The excavations of Jericho by John Garstang point to the city's destruction at about 1400 BC.  If the  Exodus was c. 1446-1406, then Joshua's conquest of Jericho would match the archaeological findings.

5.  Acts 13:18-20 describes 450 years from Canaan through the Judges to Samuel.  If Samuel dates around 1000 B.C., then 450 + 1000 takes us to the mid-1400's. 

Thus Moses was born 1526 in the year of Amenhotep I’s death.   Moses was 80 at exodus (Ex 7:7). Moses was 120 at death (Dt 34:7) – 1406.

Amenhotep I's successor, Thutmose I (1526-1512) was not of royal blood, but had married the king’s sister.  Thutmose I probably decreed the infanticide which forced Jochebed to send her baby Moses up the river.

Thutmose II (1512-1504) married his half-sister Hatshepsut but died mysteriously.  He appointed his son, Thutmose III (1504-1450), as Pharaoh when he was a minor and would have been younger than Moses.  Thutmose III was probably the Pharaoh of the Egyptian Moses.  He was son of Thutmose II and a concubine and had married his half sister (born to Thutmose II and Hatshepsut).

Hapshepsut was the daughter of Thutmose I, wife of Thutmose II, mother-in-law to Thutmose III.  That qualified her to be a powerful co-regent with the brashness to raise a Hebrew child despite Pharaoh's order for the death of Hebrew baby boys.  Hatshepsut was probably the pharaoh’s daughter who rescued Moses.  The time frame for Moses and Hatshepsut's age fit well.
Hatshepsut & Hat

Eugene Merrill comments:  “The general picture of Hatshepsut leads to the possibility that this bold queen was the pharaoh’s daughter who rescued Moses. Only she, of all known women of the period, possessed the presumption and independence to violate an ordinance of the king, and under his very nose at that. Although the birth date of this daughter of Thutmose I is unknown, she was probably several years older than her husband, Thutmose II, who died in 1504 while in his late twenties. She may have been in her early teens by 1526, Moses’s birth date, and therefore able to effect his deliverance.” (Kingdom of Priests, p. 76)

Allen P. Ross:  “This powerful man Thutmoses III became a great rival of Hatshepsut; when he reigned in his own right he killed off her court (1462 B.C.) and tried to rid the country of any memory of her. He died in 1450 B.C. In this time we would find a natural backdrop for the flight of Moses out of Egypt. Moses would have returned from the desert when he heard that the king had died.”  (“Exodus,” www.christianleadershipcenter.org/exod.intro.pdf/)

Douglas Petrovich:  “If Hatshepsut is identified with the biblical Moses’ adoptive mother, attempts to erase her memory from Egyptian records may have come from efforts of Amenhotep II because of her part in rescuing Moses when he was a baby and becoming his adoptive mother.”  (“Amenhotep II And The Historicity Of The Exodus-Pharaoh,” The Masters Seminary Journal, Vol. 17/1, Spring 2006, pp. 81-110)

Thutmose III relief @ Karnak
Thutmose III would be younger than Moses and may have seen his older rival as a threat since Hatshepsut had no natural born son.  This may have made the situation tense and be the reason why Moses had to flee after killing the taskmaster.  History shows Thutmose III had a contentious relationship with his half-sister and mother-in-law.   Hatshepsut’s name was erased by Thutmose III in many of the ancient writings – perhaps because he never liked her relationship with Moses, as one of the reasons he disliked her (besides being his mother-in-law).

Contention For A 1200 B.C. Exodus
  • Liberal critics contend that Rameses II (1304-1236) was Moses’ pharaoh, but that is far too late in time
  • The earliest mention of Israel in Canaan, aside from the Bible, is the Merneptah Stele (c. 1219 B.C.)
  • There is a lack of evidence, outside of the Bible, that Israel was in Canaan between 1400-1200 B.C..  Yet, outside of the 1200 B.C. reference, there is another silence about Israel in Canaan from 1200 – 1000 B.C. in non-biblical evidence.  Two more centuries of prolonged silence about Israel (1400-1200) would not be much of an issue.
  • Another critical claim is that Raamses, the city built by Israel (Ex 1:11) is thought to be the city Pi-Ramesses which had its hey-day between 1270-1100 B.C. and was named after Ramses II (c. 1290-1223).  But no one knows for sure if Pi-Ramesses is the same city as Raamses.

I always look at how an author dates the Exodus (1400's or 1200's) to determine whether a commentary is generally conservative or liberal.  The conservative date (1400's) takes the biblical record literally.  The liberal date discards biblical accuracy.  The strength of the liberal contention lies mainly on connecting Rameses II with the city.  But there are several explanations for that and the biblical and extra-biblical arguments for the early date is strong.

Gleason Archer suggests that the city of Rameses was prior to Moses' birth:  "As the narrative is related in the Hebrew text, this forced labor at Raamses (previously thought to be Tanis or Zoan, but, more likely shown to be Qantir, 12 miles south of Tanis) took place before the birth of Moses (which is not mentioned until the next chapter). But if the exodus took place around 1290 (as most modern scholars suppose), and if Moses was eighty at that time, his birth took place in 1370, or a good sixty years before a Nineteenth Dynasty Rameses ever sat on the throne of Egypt. Therefore it could not have been at a city named after Rameses II (1299–1232 b.c.) that the Israelites worked (prior to the birth of Moses). Furthermore, it is doubtful whether the city of Tanis (or Zoan or Avaris, as it is variously called) could have been built during the Eighteenth Dynasty."  (Survey of Old Testament Introduction, 3rd ed., Moody Press, 1998, p. 231).  

Eugene Merrill suggests that the city was named after the Ramessides of the 19th Dynasty (Historical Survey of the Old Testament, p. 107).  It is also possible that editors renamed the city in to update the city's reference for later readers (like editing a 1960 document that had “Brewer Island” updated as “Foster City” so readers in 2010 had a sense of identification).

The Pharaoh of Moses confronted at the Exodus was most likely Amenhotep II
Amenhotep II
  • Amenhotep II (1450-1425) succeeded his father
  • While most 18th Dynasty kings reigned in Thebes (far South), Amenhotep II ruled in Memphis (close to Goshen where the Jews were)
  • Amenhotep’s eldest son did not succeed him, but Thutmose IV, his younger son did.  His eldest son was probably the son of the plague of the first born (Exod 4:22-23; 12:29).
  • Petrovich:  “If this Amenhotep was the exodus pharaoh, biblical data about the perishing of his army in the Red Sea should not be understood as an account of his death. His second Asiatic campaign very possibly came as an effort to recoup his reputation as a great warrior and recover Egypt’s slave-base after the loss of two million Israelite slaves through the exodus. The record of 3,600 Apiru on the booty list for his second Asiatic campaign appears to be a small number of the escaped Hebrews whom he recaptured and brought back to Egypt.” (p. 81)
I hope this is phair about Pharaoh.


  1. Based on this web site, I believe that Amenhotep II was not born when the exodus happened(Tuthmose III's first born son died of "a disease". I think that Thutmose III and Hatshepsut reigned, and after Hatshepsut died Thutmose III defaced many of Hatshepsuts images because of her involvement with Moses(pulling him out of the nile, she would have likely been a teenager and daughter of the current Pharaoh Tuthmose I) I'm sure he was ticked because Moses made him look like an idiot and killed his firstborn son with the tenth plague.


    This site says: Amenhotep II, the son of Thutmose III and Merytre-Hatshepsut, was not the pharaoh's firstborn son; his elder brother Amenemhat, the son of Thutmose III and great wife Satiah, was the original heir to the throne. However, between Years 24 and 35 of Thutmose III, both queen Satiah and prince Amenemhat died, prompting the pharaoh to marry the non-royal Merytre-Hatshepsut. She would bear Thutmose III a number of children including the future Amenhotep II.(If you do the calculation from when he became Pharaoh at age 18 back to when Moses left in 1446, Amenhotep II was not born yet, because the original heir just died and Thutmose III had to remarry and have a son, because he didn't have one second until Amenhotep II)

    During the last two years of the reign of Thutmose III, Amenhotep II served as co-regent with his father. When he assumed power, Amenhotep II was 18 years old according to an inscription from his great Sphinx stele.

  2. in north africa there is temple balcons and behind them is flat desert, both sides of desert was 3 pyramides their grow wash down when the mountin where closer

    bricks where light red

    i wash there with hap and his father