The bible says that Moses was raised in Egypt. He killed an Egyptian and escaped from the land until he was called to return to Egypt to deliver the descendants of Jacob from the oppression of the pharaoh. The attention of this entry is not on Moses, nor is it on the children of Israel, but rather towards the pharaoh himself, the antagonist of the story.
If the bible is true, then who is the pharaoh of Exodus? Here we have the Bible versus the history of Egypt. If the story in the bible is true, then we would have its timeline aligned perfectly with the historical record of Egypt.
Attention: This entry contains blasphemous content.
We are familiar with King Tut, King Seti I, Seti II, Ramses I, Ramses II, Tuthmosis, etc etc. Altogether there were approximately 322 known pharaohs in Egypt. There were many more who were chiseled off from history, be it from vengeance or murder, we will never know.
Although the bible never specifically identifies the pharaoh of the Exodus by name, it does tell us the exact date of the Exodus.
1 Kings 6:1 states that Solomon began building the Temple in the fourth year of his reign, 480 years after the Exodus.
Most bible scholars agree that the fourth year of Solomon's reign was 967 B.C. So the date of the Exodus can be calculated: 967 + 480 = 1447 B.C.
The bible says that the Pharaoh whose daughter adopted three-month-old Moses died when Moses was nearly 80 years old, meaning that the Pharaoh of the Exodus reigned for over 80 years. Pepi II, who ruled for 90 years, is the only pharaoh who meets this requirement.
King Pepi II
But King Pepi II was born in 2278 BC and died in 2184 BC, whereas the story of Moses was dated to be around 15th to 13th century BC. Way off the mark~
Bible scholars generally agree that Ramses II is the pharaoh mentioned in the bible. He built a royal city named Pi-Ramesse, many just assume him to be the pharaoh of the Exodus. However recent excavations at the site indicate that this city was occupied much earlier by the Egyptians. There is no way Ramses The Great could be the pharaoh that drown in the red sea. If he had drown, he wouldn't have a mummy at all for his body would have been swept away into the sea.
And according to history, Pharaoh Ramses II did not begin his reign until around 1290 BC, which is much later, so he couldn't have been the Exodus pharaoh.
King Amenhotep III, who fathers King Akhenaten, was also one of the candidates, though the suggestion was soon lifted for lack of evidence.
Ramses I died during year 2 of his reign, which is consistent with the content of the bible, and his time is also consistent with Moses's appearance in history; 13th century BC.
Oh my Lord, it must've been really cold down there in the underworld..~
Is Ramses I the pharaoh we're looking for?
The answer is NO.
Already an old man when he took over the throne, Ramses I probably died of old age. The evidence? Well his grandson, Ramses II has already been born during his accession. The pharaoh in the bible who chased after the Israelites drown in the red sea, so Ramses I is NOT the pharaoh we all are looking for.
If the history is correct, then is the bible wrong?
We all know that Egyptians are smart. They have their own calendar, they are very skilled in astronomy, mathematics, language. They built the pyramids. They respect women; there were three female pharaohs in their history; Hatshepsut, Nefertiti, and Cleopatra, and woman have equal rights as man. They had everything recorded down systematically, and so there is little probability that their chronology is wrong.
Queen Hatshepsut, the first female pharaoh in history
Moreover, their chronology is supported by carbon dating. Mummies are carbon-dated to verify the date of their death, and the technology is consistently accurate.
The first five books of the bible were written by Moses; Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy.
How can one person remembers the history before him so well? He escaped Egypt for forty years, how could anyone guarantees that he remembered the date correctly? I, for one, seriously doubt that. He wrote the story of Genesis, Noah's Ark, Abraham and Issac, etc etc. It's a miracle he could remember all of them so well.
Thus it is not surprising if he'd made some mistakes especially in terms of the date and the sequence of pharaohs.
Jewish historian Josephus, who lived during the first century, wrote the followings about King Thutmose III:
" A state of war broke out between the Egyptians and the Ethiopians. At this time Moses had grown to be a man. The two sides fought a great battle in which the Ethiopians were triumphant, and they pushed to conquer all of Egypt. The Egyptians looking for help inquired of their priests. The priests revealed to them that they should make Moses their general . . . Moses then became the commander of a great army . . . In a surprise attack against the Ethiopians, Moses led his troops to victory."
It may be that Thutmose III, being jealous, took credit for victories over the Ethiopians, even though Moses achieved them.
But if one reads Exodus 14:30 carefully it states the following: "So the LORD saved Israel that day out of the hand of the Egyptians, and Israel saw the Egyptians dead on the seashore." This passage indicates that the dead bodies of the Egyptians were deposited on the shore of the Red Sea. This would have allowed the Egyptians access to his body for burial.
His arguments are ludicrous, as they are made based on assumption. There is no evidence in the bible to prove that Moses had led an Egyptian army against the Ethiopians.
Moreover, he also included that Hatshepsut co-reigned with her husband Tuthmose II and became the pharaoh of exodus, though actually she co-reigned with him for three or four years before Tuthmose II died from a skin disease. She then took over for the next 17 years as the sole ruler of Egypt until her death, allowing her nephew Tuthmose III to ascend the throne and chisel her off the history book.
One thing is for sure: Josephus's arguments are made in agreement with the bible, and pathetically skewed to align itself with historical record.
We will never find the pharaoh mentioned in the bible. Scholars have browsed through the entire chronology of egyptian kings from the 15-13th Century BC and found no one that fits the criteria in the bible.
Then I ask: Is the Bible wrong, or is it something wrong with historical record?
I'll leave that to your imagination~