A Historical Timeline of the Bible

Part I - The Pharaoh of the Exodus

Lets discuss the two dominant theories as to the date and pharaoh of the exodus.

•  The early date theory has the year of the exodus somewhere in the 1440s B.C. during the time of the 18th Egyptian dynasty with Amenhotep II as pharaoh.

•  The late date theory has the year of the exodus somewhere around 1270–1260 B.C. during the time of the 19th Egyptian dynasty with Rameses II as pharaoh.

The arguments as to Amenhotep II vs. Rameses II are pretty well covered in the arguments for the dating of the exodus. The majority of scholarship in recent years is beginning to gravitate to the early date theory which points to Amenhotep II as the pharaoh of the exodus. Most in this group agree that the exodus occurred during the 18th Egyptian dynasty but there is some disagreement as to which pharaoh actually was in power. Here are four articles that side with Amenhotep II.

1 - Who Was The Pharaoh Of The Exodus?

The Bible nowhere mentions the name of the pharaoh of the Exodus, but Bible students have always been curious as to who he was. No doubt, some Christians will be wary of trying to discover something the Bible has not clearly revealed; but in studying this question one can come away with his faith increased in the Bible as the unerring word of God. Although the Bible does not specifically name the pharaoh of the Exodus, enough data is supplied for us to be relatively sure who he was.

Admittedly, there are two schools of thought concerning the date of the Exodus (i.e., the early date and late date theories). Proponents of the late date theory (1290 B.C.) are clearly in the majority, but they reject clear Biblical statements with reference to the date of the Exodus. Therefore their arguments in favor of a particular pharaoh will not be considered in this article.

In I Kings 6:1 the Scriptures say: "And it came to pass in the four hundred and eightieth year after the children of Israel were come out of the land of Egypt, in the fourth year of Solomon's reign over Israel, in the month of Zif, which is the second month that he began to build the house of the Lord." One can readily see that the times for both the Exodus and the beginning of the Temple have been specifically stated in God's Word. Scholars have identified the fourth year of Solomon's reign as 966 B.C. (Gleason L. Archer, A Survey of Old Testament Introduction, 1974, p. 223). Using this 966 B.C. date, we find that the Exodus took place in 1445 B.C. Now, if this information is correct, the Exodus occurred in the third year of the reign of the pharaoh Amenhotep II.

Before concluding that Amenhotep II was, indeed, the pharaoh of the Exodus, we will need to study further other evidence that can be presented. For instance, when comparing Exodus 7:7 with Acts 7:23, we learn that Moses was in Midian approximately forty years. Assuming the pharaohs mentioned in Exodus 1:8, 22 and 2:23 are all the same person, he would have had to reign for over forty years. Amenhotep's predecessor, Thutmose III, is the only pharaoh within the time specified in I Kings 6:1 who reigned long enough (54 years) to have been on the throne at the time of Moses' flight and to die shortly before his return to Egypt. This would make Thutmose III the pharaoh of the Oppression and Amenhotep II the pharaoh of the Exodus.

History tells us that for several years after 1445 B.C. Amenhotep II was unable to carry out any invasions or extensive military operations. This would seem like very strange behavior for a pharaoh who hoped to equal his father's record of no less than seventeen military campaigns in nineteen years. But this is exactly what one would expect from a pharaoh who had lost almost all his cavalry, chariotry, and army at the Red Sea (Exodus 14:23, 27-30).

Furthermore, we learn from the Dream Stela of Thutmose IV, son of Amenhotep II, that he was not the legitimate successor to the throne (J.B. Pritchard (ed.), Ancient Near-Eastern Texts, p. 449). This means that Thutmose IV was not the firstborn son, who would have been the legitimate heir. The firstborn son of Amenhotep II had evidently died prior to taking the throne of Egypt. This would agree with Exodus 12:29 which says the pharaoh's first-born son was killed during the Passover.

If the Exodus did take place in 1445 B.C., forty years of wilderness wandering would bring us to 1405 B.C. for the destruction of Jericho. Interestingly enough, John Garstang, who excavated the site of ancient Jericho (city "D" in his survey), came to the conclusion that the destruction of the city took place around 1400 B.C. (Garstang, The Story of Jericho, 1948, p. 122). He also concluded that the walls of the city toppled outward, which would compare favorably with Joshua 6:20.

Scholars have been fascinated by a revolutionary religious doctrine which developed shortly after 1445 B.C. that threatened to sweep away the theological dogmas of centuries. These scholars have credited Amenhotep IV, great grandson of Amenhotep II, with founding the religious concept of Monotheism (the idea that there is only one God). The cult of Aton set forth this idea to the Egyptian people and scholars have mistakenly credited this idea to the Egyptians. But it does not seem unusual to me that a people who had been so influenced by the one God of Moses would try to worship the God that had so convincingly defeated their gods. A continually increasing body of evidence indicates that this cult of Aton had its beginning in the reign of Thutmose IV, son of Amenhotep II, pharaoh of the Exodus.

Although the final verdict is not yet in, we can be reasonably sure that Amenhotep II was the pharaoh of the Exodus.

2 - Did the Pharaoh of the Exodus Drown in the Red Sea, Exodus 14:28?

The most conservative scholarship considers that the pharaoh of Egypt at the time of the Exodus ( c. 1446 B.C.) was Amenhotep II (1450-1424 B.C.). The overwhelming biblical and historical evidence is that he did not die with his army in pursuit of Israel.

In Psalm 136:15, we find that God "overthrew Pharaoh and his army in the Red Sea." The Hebrew word translated here as "overthrew" is na'ar, also found in Exodus 14:27. It does not mean "to drown" or "to toss or tumble about as in the water" as some have attempted to assert. It simply means "shook off" as is mentioned in the margins of many Bibles and in the Brown, Driver & Briggs Hebrew Lexicon. ( Nehemiah 5:13 illustrates how na'ar should be translated: "Then I shook out the fold of my garment. . . .") Therefore, these verses simply say that God shook off the Egyptians, including Pharaoh, from their pursuit of the Israelites. These scriptures say nothing of who was drowned.

In Exodus 14:28, the waters cover "all the army of Pharaoh," but Pharaoh himself is not mentioned. Exodus 15:19 supports this: "For the horses of Pharaoh went with his chariots and his horsemen into the sea, and the LORD brought back the waters of the sea upon them." Naturally, the horses and horsemen of Egypt were considered to be Pharaoh's. But this verse does not say that Pharaoh's personal horse, or that Pharaoh himself, drowned in the sea.

This is significant because the death of such an important person would almost certainly have been given special note in the Bible. The Old Testament contains many clear references to the deaths of enemy kings, most of them much less important than this pharaoh. Archaeology proves that Amenhotep II ruled for about 22 years after the Exodus.

3 - Historical Evidence for Moses & Pharaoh

In Cecil B Demille's classic The Ten Commandments staring Charlton Heston, Yul Brynner plays the role of Pharaoh Ramesses in one of the all time great bible movies about Moses. But according to the Bible, Ramesses could not have been the Pharaoh of the Exodus.

The reason many movies about Moses portray the Pharaoh as Ramesses is because of the bible passage found in Exodus 1:8-11 which states:

"Now there arose a new king over Egypt, who did not know Joseph. And he said to his people, "Look, the people of the children of Israel are more and mightier than we; come, let us deal shrewdly with them, lest they multiply, and it happen, in the event of war, that they also join our enemies and fight against us, and so go up out of the land." Therefore, they set taskmasters over them to afflict them with their burdens. And they built for Pharaoh supply cities, Pithom and Raamses."

The bible says that the Israelites built Raamses, and since Ramesses II, who ruled between 1290 and 1224 B.C., built a royal city named Pi-Ramesse, many just assume him to be the pharaoh of the Exodus.

However recent excavations at this site indicate that this city was occupied much earlier by the Egyptians.  

The name Raamses itself has also been found inscribed on a burial tomb painting from Pharaoh Amenhotep III; who ruled nearly 100 years before Ramesses II.

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 circa 967 B.C.

So the date of the Exodus can be calculated: 967 + 480 = 1447 B.C.  And according to history, Pharaoh Ramesses did not begin his reign until around 1290 B.C., so he couldn't have been the Exodus pharaoh.

Depending upon which history book you read, there are two possible candidates.

The first is pharaoh Amenhotep II who may have ruled from (1450-1425 B.C.). He was the son of Thutmose III, who ruled from either (1490-1450 B.C.) or (1490-1436 B.C.), the other possible candidate. Scholars disagree as to the exact dates that these two men ruled which makes it difficult to pin point the exact one. To get some clues, lets look at what the bible says about the events surrounding the life of Moses.

The first place we will start is with the date of his birth.  According to Exodus 7:7 "Moses was eighty years old and Aaron eighty-three years old when they spoke to Pharaoh." Adding 80 years to the date of the Exodus in 1447 B.C equals 1527 B.C., the approximate year in which Moses was born. The ruler of Egypt at this time was Pharaoh Thutmose I (1540-1504 B.C.). The fascinating thing about his name is that if you remove THUT from his name you are left with MOSE.

What's the chance of this being just a coincidence?

According to the bible, in Exodus 1:22-2:10, this Pharaoh gave the command that every son who was born of the Hebrews should be cast into the river.  So fearing the child's life, the mother of Moses hid him in a basket in the reeds along the bank of the Nile. While Pharaoh's daughter was walking along the riverside she found him and raised him as her son.

Although the bible never records her name, the Jewish historian Josephus writing in the first century does. He states:

"Pharaoh's daughter, Thermuthis , 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."

Josephus says the daughter of  pharaoh was Thermuthis, which sounds an awful lot like the royal name Thutmose or Thutmosis.

According to history, Pharaoh Thutmose and his wife Queen Ahmose had two daughters, Neferubity, of whom little is known, and Hatshepsut who later became Queen and bore the title 'King's daughter'. Hatshepsut married her stepbrother Thutmose II as arranged by her father.    

After her father's death, her husband Thutmose II became pharaoh, but Hatshepsut was really in power. Queen Thutmose II if  you will. She became one of Egypt 's greatest rulers. She coreigned with her husband from approximately 1504-1490 B.C.

The next significant event which occurs in the life of Moses is when he flees the land of Egypt after killing an Egyptian. Moses was 40 years old at this time according to Acts 7:23-30 which says:

"Now when he was forty years old, it came into his heart to visit his brethren, the children of Israel. And seeing one of them suffer wrong, he defended and avenged him who was oppressed, and struck down the Egyptian."

Moses fled and became a dweller in the land of Midian, where he had two sons. "And when forty years had passed, an Angel of the Lord appeared to him in a flame of fire in a bush, in the wilderness of Mount Sinai."

Subtracting 40 years from the date of Moses birth in 1527 B.C. equals 1487 B.C., the date at which he flees Egypt.

Either Thutmose II or Thutmose III would have been in power around this time. Since historians are not sure on the exact dates for their reign, lets go through the two possibilities.

THUTMOSE  III - EXODUS  PHARAOH?

If Thutmose II was the Pharaoh from whom Moses fled, Thutmose III may have been the Pharaoh of the Exodus.

The Jewish historian Josephus wrote the following: "The Pharaoh, from whom Moses fled, died, and a new Pharaoh had become ruler."

After the death of Thutmose II, his son, not by Hatshepsut, became pharaoh. Thutmose III co-reigned with Queen Hatshepsut until her death in 1482 B.C. He then ruled alone until approximately 1450 B.C. It is also known that Thutmoses III was so jealous of the acts done by Queen Hatshepsut that one of his first acts, after her death, was to purge her name off of all monuments in Egypt.

An interesting thing recorded in history about Thutmose III was that he was the greatest conqueror in Egyptian history, he was known as the Napoleon of ancient Egypt. During his reign he had recorded that he subdued the Ethiopians.

Although the bible doesn't mention these events, the historian Josephus states the following:

"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.

Josephus also mentions that Moses married an Ethiopian woman after this conflict:

"Because of the bravery of Moses, The daughter of the king of Ethiopia, Tharbis, saw Moses and fell madly in love with him. She sent to him a delegation of her most trusted servants to propose marriage. He accepted, on the condition that she would surrender the city over to him . . . After Moses had punished the Ethiopians, he praised God and then celebrated his marriage."

The bible also mentions his Ethiopian wife in Numbers 12:1:  "Then Miriam and Aaron spoke against Moses because of the Ethiopian woman whom he had married; for he had married an Ethiopian woman."

Josephus also writes:  "The Pharaoh, from whom Moses had fled, died, and a new Pharaoh had become ruler. Moses traveled to his palace and told him of the victories he gained for Egypt in the war against Ethiopia . . . He also spoke to Pharaoh about what had taken place on Mount Sinai, and when Pharaoh laughed, Moses showed him the signs."

According to the bible, after the ten plagues God sent against Egypt, Israel departed, but Pharaoh led his army in pursuit of them at the Red Sea. The bible records the following:  

"So the Egyptians pursued them, all the horses and chariots of Pharaoh, his horsemen and his army, and overtook them ....

And when Pharaoh drew near, the children of Israel lifted their eyes, and behold, the Egyptians marched after them. So they were very afraid, and the children of Israel cried out to the LORD......"

"Then the waters returned and covered the chariots, the horsemen, and all the armies of Pharaoh that came into the sea after them. Not so much as one of them remained." Exodus 14:23-28

The bible says in Psalm 136:13-15:

"To him who divided the Red Sea asunder, and brought Israel in the midst of it, but swept Pharaoh and his army into the Red Sea."

This passage says Pharaoh was killed in the incident. If so, the date of the Exodus in 1447 B.C., as calculated from the Bible, is synonymous with Pharaoh Thutmose III death which most historians approximate at 1450 B.C.

If indeed Thutmose III was the Pharaoh of the Exodus, his acts recorded in history would have been consistent with how the bible portrays him as personally leading his army against the Israelites.

The following inscription was found in Egyptian records detailing one of his well known military campaigns where he personally led his army against the Canaanites at the fortress of Megiddo:

"Then the king moved to the front of his army . . .  Where his majesty [Thutmose III] triumphed over them as leader of his troops."

Some people don't believe that the Pharaoh perished in the waters of the Red Sea because the tombs of both Pharaoh Thutmose III and his successor, Amenhotep II, have been found.

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.

AMENHOTEP  II  -  EXODUS  PHARAOH?

One amazing fact about Amenhotep II was that his successor was not his firstborn son nor his heir. This would confirm the biblical passage in Exodus 4:22-23 which states:    

"Then you shall say to Pharaoh, 'Thus says the LORD:" Israel is My son, My firstborn. "So I say to you, let My son go that he may serve Me. But if you refuse to let him go, indeed I will kill your son, your firstborn."  

LIVE  BY FAITH  IN  THE  LORD:

"By faith Moses, when he became of age, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh's daughter, choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God than to enjoy the passing pleasures of sin, esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt; for he looked to the reward.

By faith he forsook Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king; for he endured as seeing Him who is invisible." Hebrews 11:24-27.

4 - The Pharaoh of the Exodus

The term "Pharaoh" was used in Egypt from the time of the Old Kingdom to designate the palace or the court, also as a specific designation for the kings from the 18th dynasty onward—the dynasty during which Moses wrote the Pentateuch. These kings each had three titles and two names. The Egyptians usually used the first name whereas modern Egyptologists and historians use the second name. The following Pharaohs are mentioned by name in the Old Testament: Shishak, Tirhakah, Neco, Hophra. Several others are designated only by the term Pharaoh, some of whom cannot be identified; others with varying degrees of certainty.

The Pharaoh "who knew not Joseph" (Exodus 1:8) was probably one of the first kings of the 18th dynasty who expelled the Hyskos from Egypt and reestablished national rulership in the country. He is thought to be either Ahmose ( c. 1591- c. 1564 B.C.) or his immediate successor, Amenhotep I ( c. 1564 - c. 1542 B.C.).

The Pharaoh who gave the decree to kill the newborn Hebrew male children (Exodus 1:15 -22) was most probably Thutmose I ( c. 1542 - c. 1524 B.C.). This places the Exodus at 1445 B.C. (cf. 1 Kings 6:1) when Moses was 80 years old (Acts 7:23, 30), which would make 1525 B.C. the year in which Moses was born.

The Pharaoh before whom Moses fled to Midian (Exodus 2:15) was probably Thutmose III whose reign fell between the years c. 1486 - c. 1450 B.C. but was already powerful as coregent with his aunt Hatshepsut for some years previously.

The Pharaoh of the Exodus (Exodus 3:10 ), was probably Amenhotep II ( c. 1450 - c. 1427 B.C.).

With this history you can see that the Pharaoh of the Exodus was not killed in the Red Sea but lived an additional 18 years. It is interesting to note the Moses could very well have been Thutmose II. Even though adopted, he was the only child of Pharaoh's daughter. When Moses "refused to be called the son of Pharaoh's daughter" he was displaced by the nephew of Hatshepsut, who then became Thutmose II in his stead.

5 - Exodus 12:40-41

Note this scripture: Exodus 12:40 – "Now the sojourn of the children of Israel who lived in Egypt was four hundred and thirty years. 41 And it came to pass at the end of the four hundred and thirty years—on that very same day—it came to pass that all the armies of the Lord went out from the land of Egypt."

Did the children of Israel leave Egypt on the exact same day as Abraham's covenant? Was this the same day of the Hebrew calendar, Nisan 15th, or does it also mean the same day of the week too? The following chart of the reign of Amenhotep II shows the Roman calendar dates of Tishri 1st in the year of the exodus and the year of the covenant.

In 1446 B.C. and 1444 B.C. Tishri 1st falls on the exact same weekday as 1876 B.C. and 1874 B.C. respectively. Since Nisan 15th is a fixed number of days prior to Tishri 1st then it would also fall on the exact same weekday in these two sets of years. In 1876/1446 B.C. this would be a Thursday and in 1874/1444 B.C. this would be a Tuesday. If the exodus occurred during the timeframe shown below then the years 1444 B.C. and 1446 B.C. are the most likely candidates in light of Exodus 12:40-41.

Pharaoh of the Exodus – Amenhotep II?

 

Year of the Exodus
(B.C.)

430 Years Earlier
(B.C.)
Ex. 12:40-41  

Reign of Amenhotep II

Possible Years of Solomon's Death

Comments

1453

 

 

 

 

1

 

Amenhotep II coregent with Thutmose III 

1452

 

 

 

 

2

 

 

1451

 

 

 

1

3

 

Amenhotep II rules alone about age 18  

1450

 

 

 

2

4

 

 

1449
 
 
 
3
5
   

1448

 

 

 

4

6

 

 

Exodus "Window"

1447

MON, SEP 15

1877

TUE, SEP 28

5

7

932

Amenhotep II ceases military campaigns after his 9th year. Year 9 was either 1445 B.C. or 1443 B.C. depending if you count from when Amenhotep II was coregent with his father or ruled alone.

1446

SAB, OCT 3

1876

SAB, SEP 17

6

8

931

1445

THU, SEP 22

1875

SAB, OCT 7

7

9

930

1444

THU, OCT 12

1874

THU, SEP 27

8

10

929

1443

MON, OCT 1

1873

TUE, OCT 14

9

11

928

1442

THU, SEP 19

1872

SAB, OCT 3

10

12

927

 

 

 

 

 

1441

 

 

 

11

13

 

 

1440

 

 

 

12

14

 

 

“”

 

 

 

“”

“”

 

 

1420

 

 

 

32

34

 

 

1419

 

 

 

33 / 1

35 / 1

 

Amenhotep II dies and Thutmose IV becomes the new Pharaoh. Thutmose IV was not Amenhotep's II oldest son. Amenhotep II's oldest son (the firstborn of Pharaoh) died several years before his father. See Ex. 12:29-30.

 


Part II - The Dating of the Exodus

By Peter Nathan
May 2001 issue of the Church of God News

Sphinx and pyramids

In the April (2001) issue of the Church of God News, we featured a comprehensive and helpful chart (pages 12-13) that itemized various events around certain key celebrations of the Passover. The date of 1487 BC was given for the Exodus from Egypt. This is a date that was formerly used but one that now needs revising. The Bible does not list dates for us in the way we outline history today, so any attempt to provide a date rests upon the best knowledge available at any point that can be linked to the biblical record.

In Moses and the Gods of Egypt by John J Davis (Baker Book House, Grand Rapids, 1986), the author favors 1445 BC as the date for the Exodus, bearing in mind a careful consideration of stratographic detail at various excavation sites -- as further enlightened by Scripture. He points out that the 1445 BC date is established by the usual reckoning of Solomon's fourth year being 966/5 BC. 1 Kings 6:1 states that the temple was finished in the fourth year of Solomon, which was 480 years after the Exodus.

In his recent book A Test of Time (Random House UK Ltd., London, 1995) David Rohl gives a similar date -- 1447 BC -- for the Exodus. The New International Version Study Bible quite dogmatically places Solomon's fourth year at 966 BC. Other recent scholarship suggests approximately 963 BC. On the basis of this latter date, the Exodus would have occurred in 1443 BC.

These mid 1400s dates fit well with the statement of Jephthah in Judges 11:26. Jephthah told the king of Ammon that his forbears traveled through the territory of Ammon 300 years earlier as they came to inherit the Promised Land. Jephthah is placed at approximately 1100 BC, which would mean the entry into the Promised Land was about 1400 BC, some 40 years after the Exodus. Moses and the Gods of Egypt makes the point that the king of Ammon no doubt had his own historical records, yet Jephthah made his statement boldly, without fear of contradiction.

Dating the Exodus to approximately 1443 BC also dovetails with what we presently know of Egyptian history. It is calculated that Thutmose III seized the throne from Hatshepsut, his stepmother, in about 1483 BC. If Moses had been 40 years of age at this point then he would have been 80 years old in 1443 BC. We know that Moses was 80 at the burning bush incident (compare Acts 7:30 with Deuteronomy 8:2 and 31:2) in which c ase the Exodus would have occurred around 1443 BC. Thutmose III's son and successor, Amenhotep II, came to the throne in approximately 1453 BC and lists no major military campaign after his tenth year, i.e. about 1443 BC. This watershed date is thus a strong candidate for when the might of Egypt and its army had been broken by the plagues and the miracle at the Red Sea.

In a tomb of a high-ranking official of Amenhotep II, a wall painting exists of foreign laborers, including bearded Semites, making mud bricks. Interestingly, Thutmose IV, who succeeded Amenhotep II, was his second son and was not originally designated as his father's successor. No record of the fate of the firstborn son has been found in Egyptian history but the Bible reveals his end if he was indeed the first son of the Pharaoh of Exodus -- he would have died in the final plague (Exodus 12:29 ). The Amarna tablets, dated between 1400-1350 BC speak of a period of chaos in the land of Canaan. These tablets refer to a group known as "Apiru", a general term used to describe people living outside the established political-social framework of a given region. With the Exodus dated at approximately 1443 BC and the entry into the land at about 1403 BC, these tablets likely refer to the Israelites establishing themselves within the Promised Land.

The matter of when the Exodus occurred will no doubt continue to stir up controversy and interest. At this time our best understanding is that it occurred some time around the early-to-mid-1440s BC.

 

 


Part III - More on the Dating and Pharaoh of the Exodus

Various Authors

There are two basic schools of thought on the dating of the Exodus. As the previous text shows there is reason to lean towards the early-to-mid-1440s B.C. The other school is what I call the “Rameses theory” in which the date of the Exodus is put about 1270–1260 B.C. The basic assumption here is that Rameses II was the pharaoh of the exodus based on this verse Exodus 1:11 – “Therefore they set taskmasters over them to afflict them with their burdens. And they built for Pharaoh supply cities, Pithom and Raamses.” Here are three separate explanations of this:

(1) From Ron Wyatt's web site, http://www.arkdiscovery.com/redsea3.htm , note this explanation of Exodus 1:11.

PHARAOH "RAMESES" Yes, most people think of the pharaoh of the Exodus as "Rameses". And why not? The name "Rameses" is mentioned in the Bible as early as the story of Joseph. Was there a "Rameses" in the 18th dynasty? Yes... but that was more a title than a name - much like the title "pharaoh". Not only was "Thutmoses" also to become "Amenhotep" - he, as main emperor of all Egypt , was also titled "Rameses". If you will recall, in the story of Joseph, the land of Goshen was also referred to as the land of "Rameses": "And Joseph placed his father and his brethren, and gave them a possession in the land of Egypt , in the best of the land, in the land of Rameses , as Pharaoh had commanded." Genesis 47:11 Egyptian evidence shows that every native Egyptian king from the time of the so-called 5th dynasty was titled "Son of the Sun" or "Rameses" in addition to his other names. This has cau sed massive confusion among the Egyptian scholars, who have zeroed in on one particular pharaoh, "Rameses II", and proclaimed him the "greatest pharaoh of all Egypt ". All one needs to do is go to the museum in Cairo and view the four statues of "Rameses II" in the main entrance hall- each one is clearly a different person. The inscriptions referring to "Rameses" refer to many different pharaohs. Also, let's go back to the inscription of Hatshepsut in the section on the Hyksos - remember that she said these people lived "in ignorance of RE? This inscription makes its quite clear that whoever lived in the delta (Goshen/Rameses) region, did not worship the native Egyptian god, Re. "Re" is the "Ra" of "Rameses" - and this verifies the supremacy of "Re/Ra" during the time of the 18th dynasty - and that "Rameses" would indeed be one of the titles of the pharaoh.

(2) Here is another explanation by D. Cameron Alexander Moore in his article The Date of the Exodus, Introduction to the Competing Theories from the web site http://members.tripod.com/Cameron_Moore/Exodus.html.

 

The Date of the Exodus
Introduction to the Competing Theories

D. Cameron Alexander Moore

 

      Two schools of thought exist regarding the date of the Exodus: The early and late date theories. Three main arguments are advanced by those who support the late date (13th Century BC) for the Exodus. They are (1) the identification of Pithom and Raamses in Exod 1.11, (2) archaeological evidence pointing to the destruction of Jericho around 1230 BC, and (3) evidence from the Middle Bronze and Late Bronze age Transjordan , also known as Nelson Glueck's "Gap Theory." 1

      A discussion of all the archaeological data related to the dating of the Exodus is beyond the scope of this short treatise; 2 Therefore, the writer is providing a succinct exposition of the data advanced in support of the 1446 BC or early date hypothesis for the Exodus.

Evidence Cited to Support the Late Date

Pithom and Raamses

      To begin, it is necessary to discuss the textual data of Exod 1.11. Various writers have used the information present in the above text to support a late date for the Exodus. The main thrust of the text is that the Egyptians forced the Hebrews to construct the cities of Pithom and Raamses. Most who support the late date infer that the city was built just before the Exodus by order of Rameses II. 3 To determine the validity of this inference, we need to review the evidence contained in the archaeological record.

      Supporters of the late date which hold such a position do so tenuously. One must assume a connection between the biblical reference and the archaeological record based on the similarity of the names Raamses and Ramesse. Against this position, Redford notes that if the name of the city were the royal residence of Rameses II as many contend, the prefix "Pi" would be present. The absence of the prefix caused him to doubt the validity of the claim that Exod 1.11 refers to the residence of Rameses II. 4 E. P. Uphill noted that,

"The use of the word Pi or Per is significant. It has a wide application in Egyptian texts being derived from pr , (House). . . . In a wider context still it stood for a large temple area or the domain of a particular god, cf. Per Amun, Per Re, Per Ptah, etc. This usage introduces an administrative concept and implies a much greater area than the actual temple and its immediate surrpounding." 5a

Thus, it would seem that the lack of "Pi" or "Per" in front of the word Raamses of Exod 1.11, should cause one to reconsider the association of the biblical city with that of the archaeological city of Pi-Ramesse. This anomaly becomes more significant if the Egyptians' own use of these terms is taken into consideration.

      The second problem with the late date theory is that one must assume certain events are contemporaneous. That is, even if Raamses of Exod 1.11. and Pi-Pamesse are the same city, it does not follow that the chronological sequence of events recorded in the biblical narrative are dated to the reign of Rameses II. While most scholars accept the city of Qantir as the site of Pi-Ramesse, the work of L. Habachi, Manfred Bietak, Hans Goedicke, and others indicates that the Eighteenth Dynasty also occupied the site. 5 Excavations of MBIIA at Qantir show a pre-Hyskos 6, Asiatic population of Canaanite origin beginning to settle in the delta area toward the end of the Twelfth Dynasty and into the Thirteenth. 7; Tombs of that time have been found from the reign of Ammenemes III (1842-1798 BC). These and other tombs from the area have been dated to the ei ghteenth century due to MB IIA pottery. 8:  This data indicates settlement in the area of Pi-Ramesse prior to the Ramesside kings.

      During the Middle Kingdom 9, Qantir became the summer palace of the pharaohs of the Twelfth and Thirteenth Dynasties. In the Hyskos period, this same area was the summer capital of the Hyskos kings. After their expulsion in the sixteenth century BC, the early Eighteenth Dynasty pharaohs re-occupied the site. As Qantir has been inhabited, at least since the time of the Hyskos kings, it seems improbable that slaves of the Ramesside period could have been responsible for Qantir's construction. A further illustration that Exod 1.11 does not require a thirteenth century date.

      Against the late date theory, Exod 1.7-14 implies that the work on Pithom and Raamses occurred prior to the birth of Moses, possibly early in the enslavement of the Hebrews. Bietak, remarking on the excavations at Quantir, stated,

The ten excavation campaigns so far . . . reveal the vital evidence which was previously missing, namely the presence of an extensive town-site belonging largely to an Asiatic (Canaanite) population with their own distinctive Syro-Palestinian Middle Bronze Age Culture II A and B. 10

The significance of this statement can be more clearly understood with a general knowledge of the dating scale used. The generally accepted dates based on pottery remains for this area are as follows: EBIII (2450-2250), MBI (2250-1800), MBII (1800-1650), and LB (1650-1200). While these dates are relative for a given area, they do allow one to understand the relavance of archaeological discoveries. The force of Bietak's comments are that 1) we have remains of a Cannanite population from the period of roughly 1800 to 1650 BC present at Quantir, 2) If Qantir is bibilcal Ramesses, then we now have evidence of a possible slave force from which to construct store cities, and 3) this Cannanite population predates the Ramesside kings.

      With respect to the city of Pithom , Bimson cogently argues for an early date:

There are two possible sites for Biblical Pithom: Tell el-Maskhuta and Tell er-Retabah . . . We need not debate which of the two should be identified with Pithom. The important point is this: The same Syro-Palestinian (Middle Bronze II) culture which marks the early period at the site of Raamses has now been found at both these candidates for Pithom as well. At Tell el-Maskhuta (the site favored for Pithom by the majority of scholars), the early remains include probable grain storage facilities, perhaps explaining the term "store-cities." 11

On the merits of the above, it can be stated that the names Pithom and Raamses in the biblical text do not mandate a late date but rather allow for an early date for the Exodus.

      Finally, the argument by Merrill deserves mention.

It is by no means certain that the city of Rameses was named after the Pharaoh of that name. In fact, Genesis 47.11 states that Jacob and his family settled in the land of Rameses when they entered Egypt in the nineteenth century; unless we postulate an anachronism, for which there is not the slightest proof, we must conclude that there was an area by that name before there was ever a Pharaoh Rameses. It could well be that there had been an ancient Ramesside dynasty long ages before the Ramessides of the Nineteenth Dynasty were named for them, the city also having taken this name. In any case, there is no need to assume that the mention of the city of Rameses proves that the Exodus must have taken place during the reign of Rameses II. 12

Therefore it would seem that the textural, grammatical, and archaeological evidence does not necessarily support the late date of the Exodus, but rather would indicate that an early date as a strong possiblity.

Jericho

      The Bible indicates that Jericho was the first city destroyed after the Israelites entered Canaan. As this occurred about forty years after the Exodus, the date of the fall of Jericho should provide some indication as to the date of the Exodus.

      Those who hold to a late date argue that Jericho lacks evidence of the conquest of Joshua. Yet, early excavation by John Garstang and Kenneth Kitchen at Jericho provides support fo the early date of the Exodus. Kathleen Kenyon indicated that there was occupation within some part of the fourteenth century BC but not in the thirteenth century. However, Kitchen noted that LBII levels appear to have been washed away; "during the four centures that the mound lay desolate from Joshua until Ahab's time." 13

Copyright 1998 by D. Cameron Alexander Moore

Footnotes

1 Hereinafter, generally accepted dating for the periods under discussion are denoted as MB and LB referring to the Middle Bronze and Late Bronze Age respectively.

2 See the works of such as Kenyon, Harding, Bietak, Dever, Kitchen, and Bimson for a detailed examination of the archaeological data.

3 See Albright Kitchen, Noth, Rowley, and Wright.

4 Donald B. Redford , "Exodus 1.11," Vetus Testamentum 13 (1963): 409-10.

5a E. P. Uphill, "Pithom and Raamses: Their Location and Significance," Journal of Near Eastern Studies 27 (1968): 292. See also, "Worterbuch der Agyptischen Sprache," I, 511.

5 The 18th Dynasty reigned from 1570 to 1293 BC. Whereas, Rameses II reigned during the 19th Dynasty, or roughly 1279 to 1212 BC.

6 The Hyskos were the Asiatic "Shepherd Kings" of Upper Egypt during the 1800 to 1700 BC.

7 Manfred Bietak, "The Middle Bronze Age of the Levant : An New approach to Relative and Absolute Chronology," in High Middle or Low? Acts of an International Colloquium on Absolute Chronology Held at the University of Göthenburg 20th-22nd August 1987, part 3, ed. Paul Åström (Göthenburg: Paul Åström, 1989), 82-88.

8 William F. Albright, Bulletin of the American Schools of Oriental Research ,("BASOR") 99 (1945):9-18; BASOR , 179 (1965): 38-43; Manfred Bietak, Avaris and Piramesse: Archaeological Exploration in the Eastern Nile Delta. (London; Oxford University, 1979), 234-37; 247-56.

9 This period starts around 2050 and ends around 1875 BC.

10 M. Bietak, op cit. 232.

11 John J. Bimson, "Redating the Exodus," Biblical Archaeology Review "BAR" 14, no. 4 (1988): 43.

12 Eugene H. Merrill, "An Historical Survey of the Old Testament." (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1966), 107.

13 Kenneth A. Kitchen, "Ancient Orient and Old Testament." (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1966), 62.

 

(3) From the web site Navigating the Bible ® II ( http://bible.ort.org/ ) the following link has a commentary on the Rameses region.

 

http://bible.ort.org/books/pentd2.asp?action=displayanchor&pentid=P1432#C895

 

Rameses region
This was in Goshen (Rashi; Ibn Ezra on Genesis 46:1. Some sources identify it with Pelusium, a city at the extreme northeast of the Nile delta ( Targum Yonathan ; see note on Exodus 1:11). Others identify it with Hero-opolis (cf. Genesis 45:10; Septuagint on Genesis 46:28), which may be Avaris, the ancient Hyksos capital (Josephus, Contra Apion 1:14 ), identified with Typho's City ( Ibid. 1:26 ). Josephus himself, however, clearly identifies Rameses with Heliopolis ( Antiquities 2:7:6), and this opinion is shared by Saadia Gaon (on Exodus 1:11).

Etymologically, Rameses comes from the Egyptian Ra-meses 'born of Ra,' where meses (born of) is also the root of the name Moses ( Moshe ) (see Exodus 2:10). Hence, it would be logical that the area around Heliopolis (or On, see note on Genesis 41:50) should be known as Rameses. The name was later also adopted by a number of Pharaohs.

Other sources identify Rameses with Tanis , Qantir or San el-Chagar.

 

Here are some web sites that discuss the pro's and con's of a 1440s B.C. exodus vs. a 1270–1260 B.C. exodus.

 

•  Evidence for the Early Date of the Exodus by D. Massimiliano Lorenzini, www.angelfire.com/nm/massimolorenzini/exodus.html.

•  A 15 th Century Exodus? by Biblical Archaeology www.bibarch.com/Chronology/Exodus/Cent15Exodus.htm.

•  Old Testament Survey, Exodus by The Open Word www.theopenword.org/ots/02_exod.pdf.

•  Who Was The Pharaoh Of The Exodus? by Allan Turner http://allanturner.com/pharaoh.html

•  " The Birth of Moses through the Exodus " by Jim A. Cornwell http://www.mazzaroth.com/ChapterFive/TheBirthOfMoses.htm

 

There are many more web sites on the internet covering the issue of the dating of the exodus. It is my personal conclusion on this issue that a mid 1440s B.C. date for the exodus best overall fits the chronology of the Bible. I believe the best dates fall between 1447 B.C. and 1443 B.C. All things considered the small difference in these dates is insignificant and any of them would make any appreciable difference on my chart. I used 1446 B.C. in my charts.


 

Part IV - Early Pharaohs of the 18th Dynasty

This table shows the pharaohs and events surrounding the life of Moses.

Hatshepsut who was the daughter of Thutmose I was the Egyptian princess who drew Moses from the Nile and legally adopted him to be her son and put him in line to be pharaoh. When Moses fled from Thutmose III in 1486 B.C. for slaying an Egyptian this put an abrupt end to Hatshepsut's co-regency. Hatshepsut died shortly after Moses' departure. Some say that Thutmose III had a hand in this either directly or indirectly.

Thutmose III apparently did something that only occurred one additional time in the span of Egyptian history. The Egyptian people viewed their pharaohs as being a god in the flesh. The temple of Hatshepsut lies along the Nile in the Diro Valley , just across from Karnak , where one can see what remains of Hatshepsut's figure. Thutmose III, who undoubtedly hated her, completely eradicated nearly all her monuments throughout Egypt. Only on one other occasion would Egyptian authorities eradicate the monuments of a previous pharaoh and erase his name wherever found. This raises the question of any record of Moses and his place in Egyptian history.

Pharaoh

Dates B.C.

Major Events

Ahmose

c. 1570-1546

• Founded the 18th dynasty of Egypt
• Likely candidate as the pharaoh who first oppressed the Israelites

Amenhotep I

c. 1551-1524

• Probably initiated the order to throw male Hebrew babies in the Nile (or perhaps Thutmose I)
• Hebrew baby named Moses born c. 1526 B.C.
• As a gift of the god of the Nile Hatshepsut adopted the baby as her son and named him Moses  (Exodus 2:10)

Thutmose I

c. 1524-1518

• Hatshepsut the throne princess daughter of Thutmose I, she took Moses from the Nile during reign of Amenhotep I

Thutmose II

c. 1518-1504

• Hatshepsut the principal wife and sister of Thutmose II
• Thutmose III born to another wife

Hatshepsut

c. 1498-1483

• Hatshepsut becomes regent and rules as a pharaoh
• Moses kills Egyptian and flees to Sinai in c. 1486 B.C.
• Revolution against Hatshepsut

Thutmose III

c. 1504-1450

• The nephew-stepson of Hatshepsut and son of Thutmose II

Amenhotep II

c. 1453-1419

• Pharaoh of the Exodus
• Exodus in c. 1446 B.C.

Thutmose IV

c. 1419-1386

• Was not the firstborn of Amenhotep II

 

Table 2b – Old Testament Chronology From Adam to the Time of the Judges - Part II

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