The Bible’s Book of Exodus describes the plight of the ancient Israelites under Egyptian slavery, and their subsequent escape to freedom. Key players in this chapter of the Old Testament include the Hebrew prophet Moses and the unnamed Egyptian Pharaoh, whose identity has been hotly debated. Exodus contains very few clues about the Pharaoh’s identity, revealing only the Israelites “built for Pharaoh treasure cities, Pithom and Raamses”.
And although the historical accuracy of these events has been questioned by some, historians have suggested the Pharaoh may have been Rameses II, Rameses III, Thutmose II or Akhenaten.
Professor Tom Meyer from Shasta Bible College and Graduate School in California, US, has, however, suggested another possibility.
In his opinion, there is ample archaeological evidence to suggest the Pharaoh in Exodus was Amenhotep II, the son of Thutmose III.
The Bible expert told Express.co.uk: “Who was the Pharaoh of the Exodus? Moses, for whatever reason, chose not to reveal this king’s personal name in the Biblical book of Exodus.
“This mystery of the ages can be solved using biblical chronology and is reinforced by an archaeological treasure found in between the paws of the Great Sphinx of Giza.
“To discover this Pharaoh’s identity, we begin with the chronological peg given in 1 Kings 6:1, which states that King Solomon began to construct the Temple of YHWH in Jerusalem 480 years after Israel came out of Egypt.
“The Temple’s construction began around 960 BC which would place the Exodus around 1440 BC.”
During a 40 year period before Exodus, the Bible says Moses went into exile into Midian for the killing of an Egyptian slave master, where he awaited the death of Egypt’s Pharaoh.
It is during this time scripture says God first spoke to Moses through a burning bush.
Professor Meyer said: “Using biblical chronology, this Pharaoh who died shortly before the Exodus can be identified as the famous and powerful Thutmose III – 1504 to 1450 BC.
“His son and successor who became the Pharaoh of the Exodus was Amenhotep II – 1454 to 1419 BC.
“Both of their mummies were discovered in the late 19th century by archaeologists and are on display at The Museum of Egyptian Antiquities in Cairo.
“Also, numerous reliefs and statues have been discovered related to these Pharaohs which help us to understand more about their reigns.”
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Amenhotep II took over the reins of power from his father at the height of the nation’s splendour.
But Professor Meyer said the nation rapidly declined under Amenhotep II, which he thinks may have been a direct result of the 10 plagues described in Exodus.
He said: “Interestingly, archaeology tells us that Amenhotep II’s firstborn son did not come to power, as was the custom, but a younger son reigned in his stead; this is in accordance with the Biblical account that the firstborn of Pharaoh died during the tenth plague.
“The ‘Sphinx Stele’, a monument dating to the 15th century BC portrays Thutmose IV praising the Egyptian gods that he became Pharaoh even though he wasn’t Amenhotep II’s firstborn son.
“Using Biblical chronology and the discovery of Egyptian treasures buried in the sands of time we can determine who the Pharaoh of the Exodus was.”
And yet, many historians have challenged the validity of the scripture, going as far as to say the events of Exodus are not entirely grounded in historical fact.
William Dever, a professor of archaeology from Lycoming College in Pennsylvania, said in 2012: “When it comes to Moses, again, you have a really larger-than-life portrait.
“I doubt that the miracles attributed to him ever took place. I don’t think he led three million Israelites out of Egypt in an exodus across the Sinai.
“I don’t think he was the founder of Israelite religion, but I think there was a Moses.
“I argue, and I think some other archaeologists will, too, there was a small exodus group – not millions of people, but perhaps a few thousand – who did escape from slavery in Egypt.”
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