Now you might be wondering if this is kind of an odd way to pursue this issue, but as I've written before in many places on this blog, the Bible has an excellent track record for reliability. Actually, it has a perfect track record. It has never been proven to be wrong in any factual matter which it records. That is absolutely amazing in its own right. Imagine a baseball player with that type of statistics. Home runs every time he gets up to the plate.
So, let's see what the Bible has to say about who was the Pharaoh in Egypt during the time of the Exodus. At the same time , I am continuing with the commentary on the book of Exodus, so each time I discover a Biblical reference to the Pharaoh, I will return to this post and update it. Eventually, all the Biblical references will be here.
I'll try to keep the Bible references in some type of logical progression. I'm trying to pull together all of the things I'm reading about this issue into one place so that we can draw some conclusions. Or, if the information is not conclusive, we can at least have some facts with which to measure the various possibilities.
One of the things which I've been amazed about is that there are actually quite a few bits of information which we can gather from the Bible regarding this issue:
- The Pharaoh arose after the time of Joseph and his brothers. (Exodus 1:6)
- The new Pharaoh did not know about Joseph. (Exodus 1:8) [I find this puzzling, because Joseph had saved the nation from starvation and his influence had been felt even in other lands, whose people came to Egypt to buy food during the seven years of famine.]
- The new Pharaoh put slave masters over the Israelites and forced them to labor. The Israelites built the cities of Pithom and Rameses during that period. They also did agricultural labor. (Exodus 1:11-14)
- When forced labor did not diminish the Israelites, this Pharaoh told the Hebrew midwives to secretly kill the male infants of the Israelites. (Exodus 1:15-17)
- When the Hebrew midwives said that they were unable to do this because the Hebrew women gave birth even before they arrived, this Pharaoh gave up the attempt at secrecy and openly ordered all his people to throw every newborn boy (of the Hebrews only, I assume) into the Nile. (Exodus 1:17-22)
- Moses was adopted by the daughter of the current Pharaoh, who hired his mother to feed and care for him until he was able to come live at the palace. (Exodus 2, especially v.5-10).
More to follow as we continue in the book of Exodus....
- Moses was born during this time of the pharaoh's edict to kill all newborn Hebrew boys. (Exodus 2:1-4)