WHO WAS THE Pharaoh OF THE EXODUS?
What we have written is speculative, but it matches what many scholars think. We have found some interesting information that is not commonly known!
We just came back from Egypt. There are millions of "straw bricks" at the archaeological sites. The Bible mentions that the oppressed Israelites were forced to make these bricks! At first they were given the straw, but later they were forced to get it themselves and still make their quotas. The thing we were struck by was the massive size of the monuments in the Egyptian sites. They make Rome look like the Pee Wee Herman show. And we have been to Rome! It made us think, who was the real Pharaoh of the Exodus? Everyone has seen the movie “The 10 Commandments”...so we all have a Hollywood version of the Exodus in our minds. “What did the real Moses look like?” We might think of Charlton Heston, right? The Bible says that Moses was beautiful in God's sight and Josephus says that Moses was a beautiful baby and a striking young man, evoking stares of admiration when he walked by. So young Moses may have looked more like Elvis than Heston! And, we think of an imposing muscular Ramses as the Pharaoh of the Exodus because of movies. But, if what we found is correct...the real Pharaoh of the Exodus was barely 5 ft. tall!
Right off the bat, we can rule out Ramses. The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia (ISBE) states that Ramses does not fit any of the Bible criteria, nor in fact, do any of the 19th Dynasty Pharaoh's. The reason some people assume that Ramses is the Pharaoh of the Exodus is because the Bible says that the children of Israel built the store cities of Pitham and Ramses. But this can be explained. Number one, the Pharaoh Ramses fits none of the criteria of the Bible and secondly, the city called Ramses had been called 2 other names in it's earlier history. The writer of the passage used the current name of the city, in his day, and not the older unused name. We have certain criteria that must be met and Ramses does not meet them. It would seem rather simple to find the identity of the right Pharaoh since we know he had to die shortly after Passover, drowned in the Red Sea, and we know that a firstborn heir of Pharaoh was killed when the death angel “passed over” Egypt. The Bible says that every household lost a firstborn including the household of Pharaoh. So these things are necessary if we want to match the Bible.
The reason there is such a hodge-podge of time lines out there is because there is no cut and dried evidence of a Pharaoh and his firstborn son dieing the same year. But no worries, we may have solved this mystery. And the Bible is exactly right and fits history. To find our mysterious Pharaoh of the Exodus, we need to establish a real time-line. If we can find a historical or Biblical benchmark, we can work backwards.
A BIBLICAL BENCHMARK FOUND!
We'll come back to this shortly. First, let's go back even further. If Moses was 80 years old when he led Israel out of Egypt, and the Bible says that he was, we can add 80 to 1450 and it brings Moses birth to around 1530 b.c. This was at the beginning of the reign of the cruel Thutmose I. This might explain why baby Aaron, born 3 years earlier at the end of Amenhotep I was not threatened. Aaron's birth fell at the end of one Pharaoh and Moses' birth fell at the beginning of the next Pharaoh who was not so nice. That makes sense that Thutmose I decreed the death of the infants. He had a cruel nature. It is said that He hung the decapitated head of a Nubian king on the prow of his barge. And, as far as motivation, he had a great fear that the Israelites were about to overrun the country. They were increasing faster than the Egyptians. Exodus 1:8 and 9, “Now there arose up a new king over Egypt, which knew not Joseph. And he said unto his people, Behold, the people of the children of Israel are more and mightier than we.” It is estimated that there were over 2 million Israelites by the time of the Exodus in Egypt! Some have estimated closer to 3 million! The fighting men alone who left Egypt were numbered at 600,000, remember, this did not count women, children or young men under 30.
It is said that Thutmose I built a large palace at Memphis and it is speculated that it was here that his daughter found the baby Moses in the water. (Exodus 2:1-10) We have no way of proving that his daughter Hatshepsut was the young Pharaoh's daughter of the Bible, but many people who study such things believe this. She fits the time-line perfectly. The ISBE says that Moses grew up during the reigns of Thutmose I and Thutmose II. If that be so, Hatshepsut was the daughter of Thutmose I and the wife of Thutmose II!
It was common for Egyptian royalty to marry their sister or brother to secure the throne within the family. But, a male ruler was usually the norm. Thutmose I married royal Queen Ahmose and they had a daughter named Hatshepsut. And if it is so, is it not amazing that we can see the Egyptian mother of Moses frozen in stone, as Moses may have seen her over 3,500 years ago?
HATSHEPSUT...POSSIBLE EGYPTIAN MOTHER OF MOSES?
The historian Josephus says,
"Pharaoh’s daughter, Thermuthis, (name of an Egyptian deity) was walking along the river bank. Seeing a basket floating by, she called to her swimmers to retrieve it for her. When her servants came back with the basket, she was overjoyed to see the beautiful little infant inside . . . Thermuthis gave him the name Moses, which in Egyptian means saved from the water" Having no children of her own, she adopted him as her own son." The (Egyptian) word moses meant “son of” or “drawn from.” Moses was part of the name of Hatshepsuts father. Ramses means born of Ra or the sun. Thutmoses means Son of Thut. Thut was the moon god associated with baboons and the ibis. So why did Josephus refer to the daughter of Pharaoh as “Thermuthis”? Thermuthis was the name of an Egyptian serpent god who was the protector, provider and nourisher of infants. Egyptian royalty usually chose animal gods or goddesses to be associated with. It could be a crocodile, a hippopotamus, or a falcon, etc... So, Hatshepsut may have been identified with the serpent goddess Thermuthis who protected children. If she was Moses adopted mother, then she fit the description because she had protected a child from destruction when she drew him from the water. She was known to be a kind hearted gentle person in general in that she associated with the people of Egypt and did not hold herself above them or back from them.
But, a male was required to rule Egypt, so when her father Thutmose I died, he was succeeded by her brother Thutmose II, whose mother was a commoner. Hatshepsut married her half brother but they had no male heirs. He only lived 3 or 4 years after the marriage. At his death, she might have wanted Moses to succeed as Pharaoh, but he was likely too young. In fact, there was another little problem. Her dead husband had a son called Thutmose III also by a secondary common wife. Since this young son was also too young to rule at his fathers death, Hatshepsut ruled as Pharaoh.
Hatshepsut dressed like a man, even wearing a fake beard to increase respect. She was considered one of the greatest rulers and builders of monuments in Egypt. All the while, Thutmose III grew older and older and eventually was co-regent which meant he was equal as Pharaoh with her. He took care of military affairs and she took care of domestic affairs. Still, he deeply resented his stepmother, but had no power to remove her. He must have always had Moses in the back of his mind as his possible replacement...
Since Hatshepsut favored Moses, there must have been bad blood between Moses and Thutmose III. So when Moses was 40 and he killed the Egyptian, he had to run for his life or co-Pharaoh Thutmose III would have taken opportunity to kill him certainly! Moses fled Egypt and was gone for 40 years. It was not until he was 80 years old that he came back and led the children of Israel out of Egypt. By then Thutmose III was full Pharaoh of Egypt. After Hatshepsut death, Thutmose III had a campaign to wipe her memory from Egypt but she had reigned a long time. There were too many monuments and statues....so the removal of her name from all of Egypt was interrupted by his own death. Again, it is interesting that because the Egyptians preserved their dead kings, we can see what might be the very face that Moses and Aaron looked into.
Pharaoh OF THE EXODUS? THUTMOSE III?
*Interestingly enough, Thutmose III by historical accounts, dies around the year 1450 which is Moses 80th year and is the estimated time of the Exodus according to the Bible and according to the ISBE and this falls right at 480 years before Solomon dedicated the temple! The time of year is important, in that he dies in the Spring! This makes Thutmose III most likely, the Pharaoh of the Exodus. Not only did he die in the right year, the Bible Encyclopedia we have used for reference says, “according to chronologies...he died in the spring in the right month to fit Passover..” But there is a glitch. Thutmose III did not have a firstborn son die that year. His firstborn son died years earlier. Amenhotep II, his successor, was the second son. Since the Bible indicates that there was not a household in Egypt that did not lose a firstborn child, (Exodus 12:29) including Pharaoh's household, how can this still fit the Bible? Here is how.
Only two years before Thutmose III died, he made his 18 year old son Amenhotep II co-regent or better put... co-Pharaoh of Egypt. In other words, there were 2 Pharaohs at the time of the Exodus who were equal in power . Amenhotep II was in Syria on a campaign when his unnamed firstborn son died as the death angel passed over Egypt. He must have been a very small baby. History shows that Amenhotep II had only been co-Pharaoh for a couple of years when this firstborn infant son died. 2 Pharaoh's! Thutmose III and Amenhotep II were simultaneously Pharaoh's of the Exodus! The answer is that Thutmose III died and his infant grandson died. This does not contradict the Bible and it explains something that historians have been looking for but couldn't find, there were 2 Pharaohs of the Exodus! Again the Bible is vindicated when compared to history! All this is speculative, but it matches the speculation of many Bible scholars.
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