Sunday, 30 September 2007

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.


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.


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.


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.


  1. Thutmose III reigned 480 yrs. before Solomon's 4th year. (1 Kings 6:1. Thutmose III is pharaoh of the Exodus.

    1. The actual amount of years between the building of the first Temple and the Exodus is 573 and not 480.
      The years when Israel were under sin are not mentioned. According to the Book of Kings, Solomon began to build the Temple 480 years after Israel came out of the land of Egypt. Read Israels history as detailed in the book of Judges!So if one adds the 573 years from the four year of Solomons reign, it will give the date of the Exodus!

    2. how can Thutmose 111 BE the pharaoh of exodus, if his body was found and he has several children?

    3. The problem with some of the dating of kings is when to start counting. We typically count the first year for someone when they turn 1 year old, but ancient writings often referred to the 1st year as the year they actually took the throne. In this case, many of the dating methods for the reigns of kings listed in scripture are off some. I read something just this year to that effect where in order to accurately date the Exodus, they had to make adjustments off of known dates from the ancient near east that were exclusive of scripture. The author used 4 of them, and based on that information was able to backtrack. I also just watched a documentary yesterday on this, and there is new evidence from within Egyptian writings themselves that support that Dedumose II was actually the pharaoh of the Exodus. This would support the author of the book from this summer too.

  2. Based on what Anon? Who reigned in Egypt at the time of Solomon? And why do you think Thutmose was 480 years prior to whichever Egptian king?

  3. please consider adding Menkaure to your list:

  4. Hi Selva, he seems a little early? I wondered about Khufu and Abraham's visit?

    I thought your article on carbon dating good. Your assumption of stable production of C-14 is reasonable to explain the issue. I think the dates likely even older due to a stronger earth magnetic field previously thus lower amounts of C-14 being produced at that time.

    I think a empirical rather than analytical solution will be required, thus some firm dates (biblically consistent) and C-14 levels from the same time/ strata.


  5. Where does it say that the Exodus Pharaoh died in the Red Sea?

  6. Just read an article today that says another Psalm says the army of Pharaoh was seen on the shores. That means that Pharaohs body could have been buried....but Thutmoses III didn't die that year.....



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