Of the five major historical
periods of ancient Egypt, only three were involved with the history of the nation
of Israel in the days recorded in the Pentateuch and historical books:
A) The Middle Kingdom
B) The Second Intermediate Period (1750-1570 b.c.)
C) The Modern Kingdom (1570-1150 b.c.).
The Pharaoh of the Patriarchs
If we assume that the birth
of Abraham was at approximately 2075 b.c., and that he may have arrived in the
land of Canaan around 2000 b.c., then it would be reasonable to assume that
his sojourning in Egypt (Gen. 12-13) would coincide with the reign of one of
the Pharaohs of the strong XIIth dynasty of the Middle Kingdom. By the time
Joseph arrives on the scene (ca. 1855 b.c.), the reigning monarch is Amenemes
IV, of the same dynasty (who raised Joseph to the second position in the kingdom).
About 15 years later, Jacob stands before the same Pharaoh and blesses him.
The Intermediate Period
The kingdom, however, soon
deteriorated into disunity with a weak central authority. Just about that time,
hordes of Asiatic Semitic tribes called the Hyksos invaded Egypt; they only
managed to control the northern part of the country. Some authorities put the
date of Israel coming to Egypt to this Hyksos Period (1750-1570 b.c.), on the
assumption that only a Hyksos Pharaoh, being Semitic, would have treated the
Hebrew Joseph kindly. However, we read that the social climate of the time was
such that the authorities despised the Hebrews, and would not even eat with
them (Gen. 43:32).
The ethnic origin of the
Hyksos made them unpopular with the Egyptians, and particularly with the strong
princes of Thebes in the southern part of the country, who never did submit
to their rule. By the year 1570 b.c., Prince Ahmos of Thebes, with the help
of the priests of the new religion of Amon, rallied the Egyptians around him
to throw the now weak Hyksos out of the country and establish the modern kingdom
of the XVII-XX dynasty with Thebes (Luxor) as its capital. This could well be
the new king of Exodus 1:8
who knew not Joseph.
The Date of the Exodus
Most conservative authorities
agree that the most likely date of the Exodus was not far from 1450 b.c. Notice
that 1 Kings 6:1
gives the fourth year of the reign of Solomon (968 b.c.) to
be the 480th year from Exodus (placing the Exodus at about 1448 b.c.) Most historians
give the date of destruction of Jericho to be about 1400 b.c., in keeping with
a period of about 40 years in the wilderness between the Exodus (ca. 1440 b.c.)
and the Battle of Jericho.
The Pharaoh of the Oppression
Assuming the date of the
Exodus to be approximately 1448 b.c., the great empire builder Thutmose III
(1482-1450 b.c.) would be the Pharaoh of the oppression. He would have died
while Moses was still in Midian (Ex. 4:19).
The Pharaoh of the Exodus
Thutmose's son, Amenhotep
II (1450-1425 b.c.), would then be the Pharaoh of the Exodus. There are no historical
records of the plagues or the disaster at the Red Sea in any Egyptian monuments,
but this omission is explainable on the basis of national pride. It is notable,
however, that if Amenhotep II was in fact the Pharaoh of the Exodus, his firstborn
would have died in the tenth plague (Ex. 12:29). History confirms that his son
who followed him, Thutmose IV (1425-1412 b.c.), was not his eldest son.
Other authorities make Raameses
II (1301-1234 B.C.) to be the Pharaoh of the Exodus; there is no clear proof
that this was the case, however.
My friends in Christ, history
is indeed His story. "That the residue of men might seek after the Lord...saith
the Lord, who doeth all these things. Known unto God are all His works from
the beginning of the world" (Acts 15:17-18).