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All of the answers below assume that the Biblical account is historically accurate, in that there were any group of people who could actually be categorized as Israelites, that they were in Egypt, and that they experienced an Exodus. There is, however, almost no evidence for that belief.

Read some experts rather than random websites:

Finkelstein, I. & Silberman, N.A. (2001). The Bible Unearthed: Archaeology's New Vision of Ancient Israel and The Origin of its Sacred Texts. New York

Oren, E.D. (1987). The "Ways of Horus" in North Sinai. In Rainey, A.F. (editor), Egypt, Israel, Sinai: Archaeological and Historical Relationships in the Biblical Period. Tel-Aviv

Redford, D.B. (1992). Egypt, Canaan and Israel in Ancient Times. Princeton

Redford, D.B. (1987) An Egyptological perspective on the Exodus narrative. In: Rainey, A.F. (editor), Egypt, Israel, Sinai: Archaeological and Historical Relationships in the Biblical Period. Tel-Aviv

In the book of Exodus, Pharaoh is treated as a name rather than a title, and he is not otherwise named. Possible identifications for the anonymous Biblical Pharaoh are:

  • The 4th-century historian Eusebius identified the Pharaoh of the Exodus as Ramesses II (1290-1223 BC or 1279-1213 BC) of the 19th Dynasty. Most scholars seem to favor him, but many suggest his father Seti I. The Merneptah Stele (1208 BC) mentions "Israel" by name as already in Canaan, so it seems unlikely if Ramesses's son Merneptah I or any Pharaoh afterward is the Pharaoh of the Exodus.
  • According to Biblical chronology in I Kings 6, the Biblical Pharaoh would be a Pharaoh of the 18th Dynasty, possibly Amenhotep IIA. There is circumstantial evidence, though very compelling, that the Pharaoh of the Exodus was Amenhotep IIA. Why A? There is a possible misidentified mummy, known as Thutmose III, who does not fit the description of Thutmose III, who died when he was about age 60, but would fit the description of Amenhotep IIA, who would have been around 25 years of age when he drowned in the Red Sea. Amenhotep IIA body would have been recovered from the shores of the Red Sea, and then quickly buried, and Amenhotep IIB would have been enthroned without the people's knowledge. Any death of a Pharaoh by a foreign God would have ended the people's faith in the gods of Egypt. Amenhotep II successor is also not his oldest son, but Thutmose IV, his second son. Is this because the first son died in the final plague? Thutmose IV also had great difficulty getting his military and civil government in place. Probably because the slaves had been freed and the military had been drowned. It is interesting to note that a future successor of Amenhotep II(b), Amenhotep IV (Akhenaten) initiated a faith system in monotheism. While many scholars mistakenly attribute his realignment of the Egyptian faith to leading to the monotheism of Judiasm and Christianity, it is highly probable that Akhenaten was familiar with the story of the Exodus, and Akhenaten was influenced by the story of of God of Israel.
  • In Against Apion, the 1st-century historian Josephus identified the Exodus with the expulsion of the Hyksos. Thus the Pharaoh of Exodus is one of the Theban Pharaohs of the late-17th or early-18th Dynasties, who fought against the Hyksos, especially Ahmose I (1570-1546 BC or 1550-1525 BC).
  • Some suggest the Pharaoh of the Exodus is one of the Hyksos, who conquered Egypt, in which case, Israelites like other Egyptians are among those subdued.

Note, the pharaoh of the Exodus need not necessarily be the same pharaoh as the one for whom they built the Rameses and Pithom of Ex. 1:11, who need not necessarily be the same as the "pharaoh who knew not Joseph". Nor is it necessary that the Pharaoh of the Exodus actually drowned in the Sea of Reeds, even though his charioteers did.

AnswerAfter the Exodus, another Egyptian king was Pharaoh Neco. He fought King Josiah of Judah in circa 610 BC. There were other Egyptian kings who invaded Israel when Israel did not listen to God. AnswerAll of the above answers are standard responses to this question. However, rival chronological frameworks question the orthodox framework of Egyptian chronology which effectively generates answers like those above. If the orthodox framework is correct, it is really very difficult harmonising Israel's Biblical account with the research in Egyptology. The Biblical account requires the ancient Israelites to have sojourned in Egypt for 400 years. "The Pharaoh who knew not Joseph" could have been any individual pharaoh in the last 300 years of that period or it could refer to a new dynasty in that time.

The cities, mentioned in Exodus 1:11, which the ancient Israelites built for the pharaoh of Moses' Day, were presumably still under construction when Moses returned from 40 years banishment. The Biblical names for these cities probably, but not necessarily absolutely, provide clues as to the identity of the pharaoh who was principally responsible for their construction, certainly via the Pharaoh's formal title. For example, "Pithom", if it means "Pi-Thom" suggests it was the "place of Thom". However, what or who was "Thom? Breaking this down to probable consonants it might read "T-H-M" or "Th-M". If we reverse the consonants; because some ancient scribe who was not familiar with the direction pointers used in ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs read the alphabetic sounds and determinatives in the wrong order; we can derive "M-Th" or "M-H-T".

This might seem "contrived" but we have to remember that ancient Hebrews (and modern Israelis) write things down from the right-hand side of the page to the left-hand side; not as one does in the modern "West" 'left to right'. Hieroglyphs are usually clustered and foreigners did not always observe the direction pointers provided which were not necessarily all that helpful anyway when determinatives had to be added. So ancient Hebrew writers who referred to the hieroglyphs might get the order incorrect, for example Jeremiah 2:16 where "Tahapanes and Noph" are really Se-en-Ptah and Phon (or Pun-Punicia = Phoenicia). Jeremiah had a penchant for 're-arranging' words and sounds to make puns or indulge in invective, which is not always helpful to researchers 2600 years later!

By adding vowels to this confusing situation of consonant-based or 'vowel-less' writing systems, we might putatively arrive at "em-hat" and that suggests "Pithom" is the Pi or place of a king named Em-Hat. If Amen had sponsored that king he would be Amen-Em-Hat or Amenemhat. Simply, this means "the leader (H'at)" as in "Hat-shep-sut", or assigned leader, 'chosen' or 'of' Amen (i.e., God). Thus "Pi-em-hat or Pi-th-om simply means "place of (or Capitol) of the leader or king". Four kings with the name Amenemhat ruled the 12th Dynasty. Significantly, that dynasty disappeared very suddenly, chaotically and disastrously suggesting a calamity like Exodus and the Ten Plagues before that ruining Egypt. Interestingly, Amenemhat III ruled for 43 years and is the only king, apart from Ramesses II, who lived long enough to force Moses to endure 40 hard years in the Arabian deserts after the Great Jewish leader-to-be killed an Egyptian persecuting an (ungrateful) Israelite. The next king, Amenemhat IV followed Amenemhat III then the last monarch was a short-lived queen which suggests a dramatic end to that dynasty as chauvinistic Egyptians rejected queens (Hatshepsut apart and then only for a certain time) except when disasters happened when presumably the king's consort might survive with a child or heir.

Another reason for favouring the 12th dynasty, rather than the 18th or 19th, as that which persecuted the Israelites before Moses rescued them, is that in the previous dynasty, the "11th", pharaohs named Inyotef I to III ruled Egypt for about 68 years. Quite possibly, they were named after Joseph who was a "Father to Pharaoh" according to Genesis. In fact, that probably explains the curious entry in the Biblical record that "Joseph was a 'father' to pharaoh". It also makes sense that when the 12th dynasty took over and persecuted the Israelites, their scribes naturally wrote, "There arose a new king over Egypt, who knew not Joseph" - something of an understatement probably. The 11th dynasty "Yotef" is equivalent to Yosef or Joseph. Using this chronological framework, we have a dynasty friendly to Israel followed by a dynasty unfriendly to Israel in the sequence required by The Bible's account. As the answers above expose, this does not work with the 18th or 19th Dynasties which according to revised chronology actually ruled Egypt from 1000 to 600 BC not 1500 to 1100 BC as per the orthodox chronology

From that information, we could conclude that the 11th and 12th dynasties were those which ruled Egypt while Joseph, Jacob and the 'Children of Jacob-Israel' dwelled in ancient Egypt. That means neither the 18th nor 19th dynasties were the dynasties of the Exodus drama. Nearly 400 years separated Jacob-Israel (i.e., from when he actually entered Egypt to live) and Joseph (11th Dynasty) from Moses. Probably, therefore, a short period separated the 11th from the 12th dynasties but that often happened between dynasties as the Wars of the Roses in England demonstrate. Historians have to make judgments about where one dynasty ends and another starts. There may have been discord within Egypt as the Israelite enclave in "Goshen" expanded (e.g., from about 1700 BC or 200 years before the Exodus 1500 BC). Perhaps political pressure built up to overthrow or replace the dynastic line that started with Montuhotep I. Such discord, if not immediately certainly after a few decades, led to a 12th dynasty that began to oppress the Israelites. This makes far better sense of the Egyptological data than trying to fit the Exodus into 18th and 19th Dynasty Egypt where there is no place for all the drama of the Bible if one goes by the Egyptian record. The collapse and aftermath concerning the 12th Dynasty; for example, the short reign of its last monarch - a queen; does allow for a drama such as the account of Exodus especially if the Ipuwer Papyrus is indeed an Egyptian account of the end of the 12th Dynasty. The account by Egyptologists of Egypt's history between the 12th and "Glorious" 18th Dynasty is often described as "ephemeral".

Furthermore, on this revised model, it looks possible that the 11th dynasty under Montuhotep I came into power as a result of the forecasts Joseph was able to give Pharaoh from the dreams Pharaoh had as recorded in Genesis. Before Montuhotep I, Egypt had probably broken down into rival regions with separate kings. That breakdown may well have been the result of the Pharaoh in Abraham's time losing the ability to produce offspring as the Genesis account suggests. In that case, the last pharaoh of the 5th dynasty was the most likely candidate for Pharaoh when Abraham went to Egypt for a while because the 7th to 10th dynasties are "ephemeral" Hyksos names and placed in the wrong era because they conquered Egypt at the end of the 12th dynasty and ruled the place for 450 years (not 150 as Egyptologists currently believe). Circumstances surrounding the 6th Dynasty are unclear but it seems to include Hyksos chieftains too. Thus the real sequence for Egypt's dynasties covering the period from Abraham to Moses may well be "5th" followed by interregnum, "11th" (Joseph and Jacob) and 12th (ending with the destruction in the Ten Plagues and the Red Sea debacle). Hyksos and other anarchic groups ruled Egypt for the next 450 years until the 18th Dynasty won independence for Egypt around 1050 BC.

As explained, the words "Pi of Em Hat" would be clustered in hieroglyphs and could easily be re-arranged to read Phit-mem or Mem-phit which means Memphis. Thus, if Memphis was Pithom, where was Raamses? The best way to deal with this is to read the Hebrew more closely in Exodus 1:11. There we find the special Hebrew definite article (at or eth) in use. However, the use of at or eth is not really required here because it is obvious the cities were the object nouns of the verb "to build". Why then did the Hebrew scribe write "eth Pithom" and "v'eth Raamses"? Because a later editor, faced with a Jewish community that had long since forgotten where "Pithom" was, wanted to show the reader that the city the Jews of Jeremiah's day built was the same ancient capital of Egypt that Moses' Israelites built - the first and last or aleph and tav cities. Alternatively, it was a method of writing "The Pithom (The Ramesseum"). The ancient Jewish scribes did not use brackets as we do today in modern English - perhaps not a good thing either!

Continuing this hypothesis, when Jeremiah went to Egypt in circa 586 BC, he found many Jews building Egypt's capital of that day - Ramesses or "The Ramesseum". Thus it is true that Jews built both "Pithom and Raamses" for an Egyptian king. Butthe kings were quite different and separated from each other by 900 years. "Pithom and Raamses" were two capital cities of Egypt on the same site in two very different eras. They were not two capital cities on two different sites in the same era as Moses.

Except for Bolivia perhaps, no country has two capital cities. Even in Chess, the king can only move one square at a time and that is usually only when he is in some strife. The Hebrew adjective "miskenot" has various meanings such as "treasure". But a country's gold reserves, normally held in the "Capitol" (Capital) are presumably stored in one city not two.

The problems in Egyptian chronology outlined here, and referred to in other answers in this forum, give some idea of the magnitude of the error in Egyptian chronology that generates the many variations in answers to questions like these. The error seems to start from the assumption that a 19th dynasty king named Ramesses, either Number II or III, or an 18th dynasty king named Thutmosis or Amenhotep, was contemporary with a Jewish leader with an Egyptian name - Moses. But that overlooks the possibility that Egyptians much later named their kings "Moses", "Mosis" or "Messes" when Israel was in decline. Or Egyptian kings took that title to rival or snub ancient Israel.

It is agreed that the Egyptian dynastic lists do not seem to make any sense alongside the ancient Jewish (Hebrew) king-lists. But they don't with others either. The Assyrian Shalmaneser I apparently conquered Egypt in 1350 BC but Shalmaneser III did the same thing in circa 800 BC. Did two Assyrian kings named Sar of Peace (Shalman) conquor Egypt 500 years apart? Or did one king only do that? I suggest the latter and he did it in circa800 BC. A duplicate record in Egyptian annals dated to the 14th century BC by Egyptologists is their account of the Assyrian account written in 800 BC (perhaps really 770 BC or something like that). That's perhaps the best or most glaring example of the problem and it started with the idea that one of the great Ramessides, probably Ramesses II was a contemporary with Moses when actually he was an old man just before Jeremiah started writing his book (circa 600 BC). Centuries of Darkness by Peter James et al, British archaeologists writing on this subject in 1991, demonstrates the problem covering many societies of ancient times.

What has been described above, is only a beginning or cursory reconstruction of Egypt's dynasties. In the 'political sense', probably only about 8 dynasties really ruled Egypt from 2200 to 550 BC not 26 from 2900 to 550 BC. The Hyksos, or Amalekites of the Bible, actually anarchists, desecrated Egypt for 450 years until Saul and David of Israel defeated them. Thus for 1650 years between circa 2200 and 550 BC, about 8 dynasties (one of the first three or four, the 4th, 5th, 11th, 12th, 17th, 18th, 19th and 20th ) ruled all Egypt (and Ethiopia for the 18th). Only about 1200 of those years were civilised supra-national government of the "Nile Lands". Thus the average length of a dynasty was about 150 years which is about standard from most countries' experience (c.f., UK, China). Other dynasties, usually little more than lists of names handed down to our times, were probably regional chieftains, mayors, governors or priest-kings who were theocratic rather than political.

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โˆ™ 2013-08-30 10:44:49
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โˆ™ 2016-10-07 07:23:18

The short answer is that we do not know. Any name put forth is a matter of conjecture.

In the Exodus, Moses brought the Israelites out of the Egyptian slavery under the guidance of God, after God brought plagues upon the Egyptians (Exodus ch.1-12).

After the Israelites left, Egypt was in turmoil for decades. Though Israel was later harassed (Judges ch.3,6 and 10) by its smaller neighbors (Ammon, Moab, Midian), not a peep was heard from Egypt for four hundred years.

Egypt's turmoil is also borne out by the Ipuwer papyrus, which mentions a number of the Plagues ("Pestilence is throughout the land....the river is blood, death is not scarce...there is no food...neither fruit nor herbs can be found...barley has perished...all is ruin...the statues are burned") (Professor John van Seters, Journal of Egyptian Archaeology no. 50). The plagues were also described by ancient historians, including Herodotus and Diodorus. The Exodus is mentioned by Strabo, Berosus, Artapanus, Numenius, Justin, and Tacitus.

See also the Related Links.

Link: Archaeology and the Hebrew Bible

Link: The Plagues

Link: The Exodus

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Q: What was the name of the pharaoh the Jews escaped from?
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