Who was the Pharaoh of Moses?

You might be thinking, who cares? However if one reads archeology reports from the Middle East one quickly realizes that there is some kind of huge controversy.

RamessesMost people think it was Ramesses the Great. He reigned from 1279-1213BC. However the dates don’t match the Biblical account. So why do so many think he was the Pharaoh of Moses? Because of the movie The Ten Commandments, and now the new movie Exodus: Gods and Kings, as they both contain this error.

When Egyptology was just beginning one of the early translators of the hieroglyphics found Ramesses name on a wall and connected it to the Biblical account of the Israelite slavery in Egypt were the built the store cities of Pithom and Ra-amses. [Ex1:11]. This was largely due to the Western habit of naming places for great leaders. An example would be that the most common place name in the USA is Washington. If one look at the East coast of the USA where the 13 original British colonies were they are full of place names for the royal family of England. There is Virginia for the virgin Queen, and Georgia for king George, and Maryland for Queen Mary etc. However Joseph lived in the land of Ramesses, 500 years before Ramesses the Great.

Then Joseph settled his father and his brothers, and gave them a possession in the land of Egypt, in the best of the land, in the land of Rameses, as Pharaoh had commanded. Gen. 47:11

Since the children of Israel were 430 years in Egypt the place name existed before the 19th dynasty claimed the name for their own.

The time that the people of Israel dwelt in Egypt was four hundred and thirty years. Ex. 12:40 

Ramesses was clearly named for the Egyptian god Ra and probably has no connection whatever to the store cities of the Bible. So why do people insist that this is the right Pharaoh? Because it discounts the Bible account, and Egypt is after all a Muslim country. If an Egyptologist wants to dig in Egypt he had better tow the Egyptian Muslim line.

Of Calendars and Kings

The Bible keeps no calendar. No one in antiquity kept the same calendar the way the post modern world does. We all use a Gregorian Calendar. Every people, nation, and tongue had a different calendar some where solar, some where lunar, and navigators all used a stellar one. It was also a common practice to start a new calendar with a new king. So every reign start a new set of years (example would be “in the first year of king so and so.”) So the scholars end up fixing dates in antiquity by examining everyones chronologies. With the occasional reference to an eclipse in these chronologies we have the dates we now use.

This is the surviving chronology of the Exodus.

While Israel dwelt in Heshbon and its villages, and in Aroer and its villages, and in all the cities that are on the banks of the Arnon, three hundred years, why did you not recover them within that time? Judg. 11:26

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. 1Kings 6:1   

And when he had destroyed seven nations in the land of Canaan, he gave them their land as an inheritance, for about four hundred and fifty years. Acts 13:19 

The fourth year of Solomon’s reign was 967 BC. That put the date of the Exodus around 1447 BC. and the Pharaoh of Egypt at that time was Thutmoses III who reigned from 1492-1479. His second born son Amenhotep II becomes Pharaoh after him.

Tutmosis-IIIBut there is even more tantalizing information on Thutmoses III. He came to the throne while still a baby. His step-mother Hatshepsut was co-regent for 21 years. Could she be the daughter of Pharaoh that adopted Moses. If she was Moses would have been about 30 when Thutmoses III was born in 1490 BC. Hatshepsut is said by the Egyptologist to have a daughter 433px-BlockStatueOfSenenmutAndNeferura-LeftProfile-BritishMuseum-August19-08Neferure, however every image of this supposed daughter has a princely lock. There is also a name that has been chiseled out all over her temple. Could this daughter have really been Moses and could it be that his name is the name that is chiseled out? But all this is speculation. It just makes a lot of sense.

The reason that there is so much contention about this simple bit of history, is that a great deal of religious prejudices are involved. There are those who do not what the Bible to be accurate in anyway. So they have invented that Ramesses was the Pharaoh of Moses. This way they are looking for the Exodus in the wrong time and therefore find no evidence. So the Bible must be wrong. It their preconceived notions that are wrong. There are those who because of their Muslim faith or their fear of the Muslim faith will not let the Jews or the Christian be right. They don’t want Joseph or Moses found in Egypt. They want to make God’s chosen people to have arisen from myth and legend not fact and faith. So they restrict the dig permits.

If you want more information on this chronology and the Egyptian Court power plays have a look at New Evidence for Thutmoses II as Exodus Pharaoh in 1440 BC. If your not into all the detail chronological information at the web sight, skip to point B 17, where there is a detail explanation of the family dynamics within the Pharonic family at the time. It quite fascinating.