Q&A: Who was the Exodus Pharaoh? - Exodus 6:1 and 1 Kings 6:1

Who was the Exodus Pharaoh? - Exodus 6:1 and 1 Kings 6:1

Question

Who was the Exodus Pharaoh? - Exodus 6:1 and 1 Kings 6:1

Answer

Exodus 6:1 Then the LORD said to Moses, "Now you will see what I will do to Pharaoh: Because of my mighty hand he will let them go; because of my mighty hand he will drive them out of his country."

1 Kings 6:1 In the four hundred and eightieth year after the Israelites came out of Egypt, in the fourth year of Solomons reign over Israel, in the month of Ziv, the second month, he began to build the temple of the LORD.

The date and the route of the exodus have been subjects of considerable debate. Biblical chronology dates the exodus event at 480 years before the reign of Solomon (1 Kings 6:1) - about 1440 B.C. The early date is consistent with Judges 11:26, which declares that 300 years had elapsed since Israel had entered Canaan. The 1440 B.C. date is also supported by Exodus 12:40-41, where 430 years is specified as the duration of Israel's stay in Egypt. The pharaoh of the exodus probably would then have been Thutmose III or Amenhotep II.

Advocates of a much later date appeal to the name Ramses, as one of the store cities built with Israelite labor (Exod. 11:1). Ramses II (1290-1224 B.C.) is then taken to be the pharaoh of the exodus, thus setting the date as approximately 1270 B.C. This is held to be more consistent with the archeology of the cities destroyed in the region and with the lack of earlier settlement I Transjordan. More recent discoveries in Transjordan and a new evaluation of the destruction of Jericho have weakened the case for the later date.

Reference:

Richard Pratt, General Editor. Spirit of the Reformation Study Bible, Zondervan, Grand Rapids, MI, 2003.

Answer by Dr. Joseph R. Nally, Jr.

Dr. Joseph R. Nally, Jr., D.D., M.Div. is the Theological Editor at Third Millennium Ministries (Thirdmill).