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The Pharaoh of the Exodus

Who was the exodus pharaoh that Moses and ancient Israel challenged in the exodus account?

The first reference to ancient Israel outside of the Bible is found in the time of Pharaoh Merneptah. For this reason some have suggested that he must be the exodus Pharaoh, but the Bible indicates an earlier period for the exodus and his reference is regarding a war with the people of Israel, not an exodus from Egypt.

The Bible states that ancient Israel built the supply cities of Pithom and Ramesses, Exodus 1:11. For hundreds of years Pi-Ramesses, the capital of Ramesses II was identified as one of these biblical cities. One eye witness account of the city of Ramesses said, “It is a splendid city without any rival…their storehouses are filled with barley and corn which towers up to the sky.”

The Bible’s use of the name Ramesses has been the primary reason for scholars to judge that Ramesses II must be the exodus Pharaoh; however the name Ramesses was in use long before Ramesses II and the Bible itself called the land of Goshen the land of Ramesses in the time of Joseph, Genesis 47:11. At the same time, if we take the biblical timeline literally, Ramesses II would have lived around two hundred years after Israel’s exodus took place.

Pharaoh Ahmose has also been called the exodus Pharaoh for famously expelling a Semitic people group from Egypt, who were called the Hyksos. Some believe these were the Hebrew slaves, most scholars do not.

Finally, if we take the biblical timeline literally, Pharaoh Thutmosis III could have been the exodus Pharaoh and he was very cruel being called the ‘Napoleon of Egypt.’ Another candidate is Pharaoh Amenhotep II, who using Egyptian high chronology also fits in at the right time.

‘Israel in Egypt - The Exodus Mystery DVD’
Enter ancient Egypt and search for the evidence for the Bible's exodus. Go.

‘The Exodus Evidence Book’
Experience a photographic search for the Bible’s exodus. 100+ colour photos. Go.

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