Home > chronology, Egyptology, pharaohs > >Who was the Pharaoh of the Exodus?

>Who was the Pharaoh of the Exodus?

>The pharaoh who was in power when Moses fled Egypt died (Exodus 2:23). A subsequent pharaoh, perhaps the next, continued to oppress the Hebrews. Moses returned to Egypt c. 2513 AM. Moses appeared before Pharoah with a sign of a staff turning into a snake. This pharaoh had 2 magicians named Jannes and Jambres (2 Timothy 3).

God sent 10 plagues over several months. They were the plagues of blood, frogs, gnats, flies, pestilence on the livestock, boils, thunder/ hail/ fire, locusts, darkness, and death of firstborn. The death of the firstborn was on the 13th or 14th of Nisan in the year 2514 AM.

~2,000,000 Hebrews and Egyptians left Egypt from Rameses and Sukkoth. They went thru the wilderness to Etham on the edge of the desert then to Pi-hahiroth. Pharaoh with his army caught up to them there at which point the Hebrews crossed the Red Sea but the pursuing army, including Pharaoh, drowned in the Red Sea.

Some of the places may prove difficult to identify but there is plenty of information given to help us identify the pharaoh. There are several catastophes which befell Egypt that there may be records of. Pharaoh died in the Red Sea and therefore his body was not mummified. His eldest son died so did not ascend the throne. It is possible that this pharaoh was the last in his family line. Egypt was also without an army for sometime.

Several persons have variably identified the pharaoh of the Exodus based on the biblical data. Some correlate the plagues to verses in the Ipuwer Papyrus, this may be so though the main theme of the poem seems to be a reversal of social order.

Various identities for this pharaoh are:

Neferhotep I

This identity is made by David Down. Neferhotep is a pharaoh of the 13th dynasty. The chronology of the 13th dynasty is difficult to untangle. Down places him as the last pharaoh of this dynasty before the Intermediate Period dominated by the Hyksos whom he identifies with the Amalekites as per Velikovsky who first proposed this. Neferhotep’s corpse has not been identified.

Tom-Taoui-Toth

This is the proposal by Immanuel Velikovsky. I am unable to identify him further though Velikovsky places him at the end of the middle kingdom which would be about the 13th dynasty.

Ka-Ankh-Re

Which in Greek would be Cencheres. Donovan Courville identifies a 13th dynasty pharaoh by this name. Neferhotep is also known by his throne name Khasekhemre and his brother Sobekhotep IV has the throne name Khaneferre; both names having some resemblance. Courville suggests that Brugsch identified Ka-Ankh-Re as Sobekhotep IV (or V). Charles Taylor agrees with Courville on KaAnkh-Re being the pharaoh of the Exodus.

Amenemhat IV

Alan Montogomery suggests that this is the pharaoh of the Exodus. Amenemhat was earlier than Neferhotep, the former belonging to the 12th dynasty, though possibly not by many years (< 100).

? Menrenre Nemtyemsaf II

Bruce Alan Killian suggests that the long reign of Pepe II corresponds to the birth and life of Moses for the first 80 years. He suggests that Pepe’s successor was the pharaoh who pursued the Hebrews and died in the Red Sea. He does not mention the pharaoh by name so Nemtyemsaf is my guess. Pepe II reigned during the 6th dynasty.

Dudimose I

Or Tutimaeus. This is suggested by Barry Setterfield based on Manetho who gives this pharaoh as the last one before the invasion of the Hyksos. Again the relationship to the other pharaohs is not immediately apparent because of the messy state of affairs with ancient Egyptian chronology and the multiplicity of names. Setterfield states Dudimose comes after Khaneferre whom he places at the time when Moses flees Egypt.

Amenhotep II

Curt Sewell proposes this pharaoh of the 18th dynasty. This is consistent with his identification of Moses adoptive mother as Hatshepsut, also of the 18th dynasty. My difficulty with this is Amenhotep’s body has been identified. Sewell claims that while the army is at the bottom of the Red Sea, the pharaoh did not follow them in and thus survived. While Exodus does not specifically state that pharaoh dies (though it is a reasonable inference), Psalm 136 does.

Conclusion

There have been multiple attempts at identifying the pharaoh of the Exodus. I have surveyed a few who take the biblical record seriously. We know that there were 10 plagues in the months prior to the Exodus and the Egyptian economy was devastated; there was a mass exodus of slaves and some of the natives from Egypt; and Pharaoh and his army drowned in the Rea Sea. I think that the identification of Sewell contradicts a scriptural passage, as mentioned above, which leaves the identities proposed as being the later kings on the 13th dynasty except Montogomery who suggests the 12 dynasty and Killian the 6th. The 12th and 13th dynasties were closely aligned and the 13th may not have lasted very long. The documentation of the 13th dynasty is in shambles which would not be unexpected if it ended in such disaster. Interestingly, Courville claims dynasties 6 and 12 were concurrent. While these chronologists are not independent, a not unreasonable inerrantist identification of the pharaoh of the Exodus is a late or final pharaoh of what is commonly identified as the 13th dynasty.

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  1. aris m hobeth
    2008 January 17 at 18:20

    I suggest the 12th dynasty pharoahs as: Amenemhet I=the Egyptian killed by Moses; Sesostris I=the pharoah who sought Moses’ life; Amenemhet II=the pharoah of the Exodus; Sesostris II=Aaron; Sesostris III=Moses; skip one; Amenemhet III=Joshua; Sobeknefru=Deborah.
    The Egyptian literature supports these identifications. The entire reconstruction is at arismhobeth.com and in the book, “Moses in the Twelfth Dynasty Egyptian Literature: a Reconstruction” by Aris M. Hobeth.

  2. Carol
    2008 February 23 at 20:59

    According to the midrash, the Pharaoh of the Exodus was named Adikam. He had a short reign of four years before the Red Sea incident. The Pharaoh who preceded him, whose death prompted Moses’s return to Egypt (Exodus 2:23, 4:19), was named Melol. Melol, we are told, reigned from the age of six to the age of one hundred.
    The book of Jasher (mentioned twice in the Bible) verifies this. In Jasher Chapter 77, we read that Adikam Ahuz [Ahuz means short] was very wise but thick in the flesh, and of short stature about 1 cubit and a span. He was exremely ugly and had a beard that reached to the floor. He was the 2nd son of Melol also known as Meror, King of Egypt (who had ruled 99 years begining at the age of 6) Adikam exceeded his father in wickedness and the yolk over the children of Israel.

  3. aris m hobeth
    2008 February 24 at 13:47

    I prefer to use ONLY the Bible and the original Egyptian literature. Any other writings are later, even much later, and perhaps less immediate to the biblical and Egyptian “contemporary” coverage of the events.
    Also midrash and any others such as Manetho, Josephus may have undergone a few translations and editorial revisions.
    Ultimately, Moses was Egyptian, and ethnically/religiously also Hebrew. Therefore the confirmation of his existence must be found in the Egyptian literature.

  4. John Devries
    2008 March 31 at 02:09

    Thank you for this article.
    I also believe that Merenre Antyemzaf was the Pharaoh of the Exodus. This fits because of the following:
    1. Joseph = Imhotep. He was the vizier of king Zoser who is named in connection with a 7 year famine. 3rd dynasty
    2. The sojourn of the Israelites therefore was from the 3rd to the 6th dynasties.
    3. Moses lived during the time of Pepi II who ruled for 94 years – 14 of which may have been a co-rule with his father.
    4. Merenre succeeded Pepi and ruled only a short period.
    5. Egypt fell under foreign rule after the shortlived 7th dynasty.
    6. The middle kingdom of Egypt is contemporaneous with the judges period in Israel – except that the judges period was longer.
    8 The new kingdom in Egypt began at about the same time as the time of the kings in Israel.
    The commentary is obviously very short – a lot more detail is available.

  5. Bruce Marvin
    2008 July 9 at 03:31

    i had (and lost) a copy of a book by Charles Taylor that was fascinating. i don’t even remember the title. Can anyone help?

  6. 2008 July 9 at 04:27

    Hi Bruce. Charles Taylor is probably not an uncommon name. The chap I was referring to is an Australian. He also goes by Charles V. Taylor. He has written a few books on the Bible. I don’t know where you can get them from though. Some of the titles include:
    Bibles with Holes
    Rewriting Bible History
    The Oldest Science book in the World
    Did God Really?

  7. Bruce Marvin
    2008 July 9 at 16:41

    thank you very much. that is the correct Charles Taylor and “Rewriting Bible History” is the one I was looking for

  8. 2008 July 9 at 22:34

    I think it is out of print and I don’t know where you will be able to find it. I can’t find it on Amazon or thru other sites. This is the best I can find, an entry in a Australian university. What country are you in?

  9. 2008 July 21 at 00:21

    Dudumose or Dudimose was Moses. He was also called Mer-Meshoi and Amemenhet III. The Pharoah of the exodus was Sobekhotep IV.
    see
    http://aronbengilad.blogspot.com/2006/08/rose-dynasty.html

  10. 2008 July 21 at 00:24

    Dudimose or Dudumose was Moses. He was also Mer-meshoi and amenemhet III. The Pharoah of the Exodus was Sobekhotep IV.

  11. Thomas
    2009 January 10 at 05:18

    If you add the very scriptural 480 years onto the typically accepted time for the exact year that is stated in scripture: 1kings 6:1 (In the four hundred and eightieth [a] year after the Israelites had come out of Egypt, in the fourth year of Solomon’s reign over Israel, in the month of Ziv, the second month, he began to build the temple of the LORD.) you get around to about 1442-1447 which places you in the the reign of Thutmose III. But because his mother Hatshepsut who is supposed to have died in 1457 could still be alive, because dating her death is very in accurate since almost all records of her rule were erased from Egypt by her son. This would make sense since if she had been the pharaoh to rule during such a devastation as the Exodus was, then it is logical to believe her step son Thutmose III would have been very angry for the atrocity she brought on the land. He then would have preceded as he did to destroy her legacy. After he mummy was discovered and tests were done, it was learned that her body was riddled with illnesses. Cancers such as tumors, horrible teeth, and an unidentifiable skin disease. She could have suffered from this disease because it could have been the on plague that struck the people and the livestock. Scientists assume that she died from one of her illnesses, but it is not really known how she died. Why would the Egyptian civilization record the embarrassing death of a Pharaoh and the sudden loss of approximately a 1000+ chariots(Exodus 14:7). After she came to power as Queen after her husband(Thutmose II), who was always a very sick man, died. she was left with an infant Thutmose III as heir to the throne. She was very sick much of her days too. So she made it very clear, by being cruel, that everyone should view her as pharaoh and not as queen. Therefore taking on the identity of a male figure in Egypt. It could be that she wanted to be seen as PHARAOH so badly that everone would have acted around her as if she were a male pharaoh. We know that Thutmose III was often fighting in war. Strangely after the 1447 of the exodus his military campaigns mysteriously stopped. Maybe because his country was in ruins and he had many lost chariots. Hatshepsut could have been the one whom Moses spoke with. It could have been Hatshepsut’s first born child, since her Thutmose was her step son, that God killed. We wouldn’t know of her children because her legacy was irradiated. He child would have been young. Her father could have been the Pharaoh who ordered the killing of the first born and she could have fished Moses out of the Nile.

  12. 2009 January 11 at 02:48

    Thomas, while your dating for Moses is likely roughly correct, I think you dating for Egypt is way out. The problem is that you are taking the Israelite dates from Hebrew records and Egyptian dates from Egyptian records, but if 1 or both of these are incorrect or inflated the synchronisms are going to be incorrect.
    What is a better method is to find similarities in the stories from both cultures and match the stories. One can then decide which chronology is more likely to be accurate.
    Personally I think that Hatshepsut likely lived around the time of David/ Solomon.

  13. Thomas
    2009 January 12 at 21:53

    I’m just going with the dates that historians insist on keeping concrete. I simply wanted to to compare the exodus story to how it could represent the events in Egypt that corresponds with the supposed dates. And I am quite inclined to rely on Biblical text as my more trusted source. There could be a mistranslation in the 480 years, changing it to 440 years. I have yet to look into that.

  14. Jay Raspin
    2009 May 8 at 17:13

    It perhaps doesn’t have much impact on your analysis but note that nowhere in original Biblical text does it make reference to the “Red Sea”. It was the “Sea of Reeds”, which could be many locations. The Red Sea comes from a mistransation in the King James Bible. A similar fate befalls the reading of numbers from Biblical texts. Often the word for thousand was in fact the word for a “unit”, which might just be 10 people. 2 million was probably 20,000.

  15. aris m hobeth
    2009 July 28 at 15:56

    Red Sea: (Consider the also exploits of Ron Wyatt, and the book on Exodus by Lennart Moller.) The Gulf of Aquaba is a northern branch of the Red sea. Crossing it leads directly to Midian where Moses had lived 40 years with his in-laws. It is also the “holy ground” where he encountered God at the burning bush.
    The Red Sea, in my opinion, was named Red for the blood of the “firstborn” (the cream of the Egyptian soldiers, the charioteers) who died in the crossing of theGulf of Aquaba. Moses had led the Egyptian/Hebrew evacuees from the passover destroyer who aimed directly at Egypt, (and destroyed it.) The first and last plagues happened at the same time. The blood poured out during the attack of the (celestial angel, comet?) passover event. All the destructions occured during the three days of darkness and killed the “firstborn” royal elite of Egypt. The idea of a sequence of plagues is actually a single mega-disaster with catastropes all over the place.
    Calling the Red Sea a “Sea of Reeds” seems to attempt to downgrade the massiveness of the situations.
    Sincerely, Aris M. Hobeth

  16. 2009 July 29 at 02:17

    Jay Raspin, Red Sea or Sea of Reeds doesn’t really affect this. Whatever the name, the water was enough to drown an army.
    I believe there is an alternative to “Sea of Reeds” based on the Hebrew but I have to look it up.
    Aris M Hobeth, I am mildly familiar with Wyatt, though I am not impressed with his ideas. His location of Noah’s Ark on lesser Ararat is massively flawed. I have not heard of Moller.
    I have heard of Sinai being in modern day Saudi Arabia. I am happy to consider this view but I have yet to be convinced. I think the distances involved are difficult to reconcile. Though I don’t necessarily agree with the traditional site either. I would like to consider the site further north on Sinai, Gebel Khashm Et-Tari, as a possibility.

  17. ELY
    2009 November 3 at 18:21

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  18. Sue Scheuer
    2009 November 10 at 05:31

    Lennart Moller is the mosst comprehenssive author on this subject. He dates the Exodus 1446=1441. josef is indeed Imhotep as shown at the global education project website. The Red Sea crossing was indeed the Gulf of Aqaba as Wyatt and Moller both agree. Hard to argue with chariot wheels and bones in the gulf. Nuwweiba Beach is the crossing point and of course Sinai is in Arabia as Paul said in Galatians.

  19. 2009 November 14 at 02:24

    Hi Sue, I was not aware of Moller. I found his site and his book. I don’t find Wyatt convincing, his placement of Noah’s Ark is, I think, grossly incorrect.
    There are issues with Saudi Arabia as a location and what Paul means by “Arabia” may include the Sinai.

  20. 2014 January 10 at 17:59

    There is but one Pharaoh who is listed as having had a son who died young in Egyptian records and that is Meneptah. The Pharaoh Ramses III is definitely out as Egyptian records show he never had male issue.

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