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Which Was the Pharaoh of the Exodus?
This subject of which PharaOh Moses was dealing with when he (through God's power) brought the ten plagues upon Egypt, has been debated among Bible scholars and archeologists for centuries; however, due to a general lack of trust in the accuracy of the Bible accounts, most have assumed that it was a PharaOh who lived much later than the Bible account suggests (Ramesses I). For, some research that I've been doing indicates that the exodus from Egypt likely happened earlier, sometime between 1480 and 1567-B.C.E. And if so, whoever the PharaOh was, he lived and ruled in that time.
What Egyptian hieroglyphics tell us, is that a people known as the Hyksos (from the land of Canaan) invaded Egypt during the period when the Hebrews were living there, and that they dominated Egypt for about ninety years. Then, sometime around 1550-B.C.E., PharaOh Kamose conquered them.
Now, if such people (the Hyksos) did in fact conquer Egypt, we would expect to read about them in the detailed Bible accounts in Exodus, for that was also the same period during which the Israelites were living there… and we don't. However, if you consider what happened through the eyes and propaganda of the Egyptians, you can see that the Hyksos were unquestionably the IsraElites. After all, they lived in the land during that period, and according to the Bible, Joseph did become the effective ruler of all Egypt. But thereafter, the Egyptians became frightened of them, for we read at Exodus 1:9, 10, 'Look! The children of IsraEl have [grown tremendously] and they are now more powerful than we are! So, let's be smooth in the way we deal with them, because, if they continue to grow and then we find ourselves at war, they could side with our enemies. And after they beat us in war, they will leave our land.'
So, you can see how (with a little governmental propaganda to justify their actions against the Hebrews and a total defeat in war) the story that the Egyptians tell, is about their being dominated by the Hyksos, and how they fought a war to liberate themselves. Yet, the Egyptian history of where these people came from, what part of Egypt they lived in, and many more details, prove that the Hyksos (shepherds – see Genesis 46:29 - 47:4) were the IsraElites. Also, the Jewish historian Josephus identified them as the Jews.
Then, why do archeologists claim that the Hyksos weren't the Israelites? Because, such a conclusion would take this Bible story (and its chronology) from the realm of myth or a minor event, and elevate it to something major that is well documented in history. And so, archeologists prefer to accept the Egyptian description of what happened. For more information, please see the link, 'Egypt: Tempest & Exodus: The Biblical Exodus Inscribed on an Ancient Egyptian Stele'.
Kamose is said to have died in 1550-B.C.E., which places his reign almost forty years prior to what others have concluded to be the earliest possible Exodus date. So, most preclude him as a possible candidate. However, he is the king that is credited with driving the Hyksos out of Egypt, and I suspect that Kamose was the king with whom Moses dealt in the exodus, because he died early and mysteriously, as did his first-born son (in the last plague upon Egypt). Certainly, the history of the kings (PharaOhs) that preceded him don't present nearly as convincing an argument, nor do the dates line up as well with Bible chronology. Also, his mummy is in a poorly-preserved state (because of water damage?), and it was interred without a pyramid or a sarcophagus (hastily).
There are several ifs whereby Bible chronology can be more closely aligned with the dates for the reign of Kamose as provided by Egyptologists. They are:
· If the destruction of Jerusalem by Babylon did in fact occur in 607-B.C.E. as some claim
· If we can trust the prophetic dating in Ezekiel of the existence of the unfaithful Kingdom of Israel from its inception to the destruction of Jerusalem as being 390 years
· If we can accept 38 years as being the period between the death of Solomon and the laying of the Temple foundation
· If we can accept the Hebrew text's description of the period between the laying of the Temple foundation and the Exodus as being 480 years
· If that 480 years started from Israel's entry into the Promised Land, not their exodus from Egypt.
607+390=997 997+38=1035 1035+480=1515 1515+40=1555 (B.C.E.)
So, could these figures be wrong? Yes, but not by much. Consider, for example, the fact that radiocarbon dating for the destruction of Jericho (the time of the entry of IsraEl into the Promised Land) shows that it could have happened sometime between 1590 or 1527 B.C.E. ( or +/- 110 B.C.E., depending on how one reads the calibration curve); see the article, Carbon 14 Dating at Jericho. Therefore, 1527+40 years (wandering in the desert) = 1567-B.C.E., date of the Exodus.
However, if Solomon received some of his gold for the Temple from PharaOh Amenemnisu of the 21st Dynasty of ancient Egypt (see the link, Parvaim or PharaOh Aim?) and if we can trust Egyptian archaeological dating, then Solomon built the Temple somewhere between 1051 and 1047 B.C.E. And that sets the exodus as happening between 1527 and 1531-B.C.E., without the need of some of the above assumptions. And I'm sure that even Egyptologists would be delighted to know that their dates could be off by just twenty to twenty-five years.
It's important to recognize that the popular dating of reigns by Egyptologists is often (by their own admission), in question. Also other kings would have to be considered as being the one of the Exodus if any of the above suggested conclusions prove untrue. Ahmose I is a strong contender. His reign is said to be from 1570–1546, or 1560–1537, or 1551–1527 by various sources. Then, following him there were: Amenhotep I (whose reign is said to be from 1546-1526, or 1526-1506, or 1525-1504) and and Thutmose I (who is usually given a reign from 1506-1493 or 1526-1513). See the link Pharaohs Timeline.
By the way, just a little side point: The Egyptians never really called their kings PharaOhs, they just called them kings. Use of the term PharaOh as a title for their kings actually comes from ancient Hebrew and Greek writings. However, it is in fact an Egyptian term, meaning Great House (Phara Oh). And foreign peoples likely started using the title to refer to Egyptian kings, because they received salutations from The Great House (think White House), which they thought of as coming from the kings of Egypt.
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