Is there any textual evidence in Hebrew Bible or Christian New Testament that would identify the Pharaoh involved with Moses and the Exodus? Is there any textual evidence that would also correspond the earlier Pharaoh (some 300 years earlier) for whom Joseph would have been the vizier?

  • 2
    There isn't any real consensus on the identity of this pharaoh. The most popular choice in popular culture seems to be Ramesses II for some reason, but I don't think there's actually that much evidence supporting him over other choices.
    – David H
    Apr 12, 2014 at 19:23
  • 4
    There is of course no evidence for when Moses lived (if at all), and no evidence for the "events" mentioned in Exodus in Egyptian sources. There is consequently no way to link the Exodus story with the hard facts of Egyptian history.
    – fdb
    Apr 12, 2014 at 20:29
  • I believe there is some reasonable evidence that points to Thutmose II. For a detailed argument I refer you to this post on C.SE rather then copy it here. Why was Pharaoh wen Moses lived?
    – Mike
    Apr 13, 2014 at 10:01
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    I think the pop culture choice for Ramesses II is due to Charlton Hestons's 10 Commandments. Aug 9, 2014 at 2:20

2 Answers 2


The most common times chosen for the Exodus are sometime between 2670 BCE and 1759 BCE, during the Reign of Ahmose I who ruled 1539–1514 BCE, during the reign of Amenhotep II who ruled 1427–1401 BC, or 1427–1397 BC. Most scholars believe that it was one of the Pharaohs of the 18th Dynasty

The thinking behind these two dates are thus: For the first time period it is believe that slaves would have been needed in order to construct the Pyramids. The Hebrews are an easy choice for that. This does not enjoy much support however, as there is no indication in Egyptian history that there were slaves in Egypt at this time, and records tend to indicate that the pyramids were built by Egyptians themselves.

For the second time period of the 18th Dynasty, there are several reasons for this choice. First, there are the Hyksos which literally translates to "ruler(s) of the foreign countries". Records indicate that prior the arrival of the Hyksos, Egyptians were darker skinned with African skin tones. With the arrival of the Hyksos, lighter skin tones such as those of Asian or Semitic decent appeared in the art of the Egyptians. This would be consistent with the Biblical claim of Joseph as a foreign ruler in Egypt. Furthermore, refrences to the Habiru, (probably the Hebrews) a nomadic people living in the fertile crescent did not appear until well after the time of the pyramids making the times of the pyramids a very unlikely choice for the Exodus.

The Habiru also appear in Egyptian writings noting them as slaves of Egypt during the reign of Amenhotep II.

The reasons for choosing Ahmose I as the Pharaoh of Exodus are that he was most known for chasing the Hyksos into the Sinai desert and waging war against the Hyksos which might be responsible for the note in Exodus 14:9 which indicates that the Israelites were overtaken by the Egyptians and an altercation occurs in the passages after this, though fighting is not mentioned in the Bible.

The justification for choosing Amenhotep II is that there is no record of the Hyksos as slaves under Ahmose I (though it is possible that the Hyksos were enslaved for a time.) Shae suggests that Amenhotep II may have died in an altercation in the Sea of Reeds which could account for Exodus 14:26-28

There are also several other options for the pharaoh of Exodus outlined here.

  • 1
    +1 Good thoughts here. So then we need in each suggested theory to identify the Pharaoh of Joseph and the Pharaoh of the Exodus 300 years later, and to see if the lives of those Pharaohs would allow the combinaton.
    – lkessler
    Aug 9, 2014 at 4:35
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    I'd encourage you to look into Thutmose II. Ahmose son, but interestingly, his second son (think Passover). Hapshetsut would be his mother, and would be the one to rescue Moses. There are a lot of small clues that would fit well. Thutmose II has a strong first half reign, going out to war 17 years straight, but then his second half is weak, hiding at home. Also the defacing of Hapsetshut who he seems to have no problem with for 17 years makes sense now. The timing is right, landing at ~1440 BC. Of course, he is ruled out when people assume pharaoh drowns, but I'm not sure that's for certain.
    – Joshua
    Nov 4, 2015 at 17:03

Indirectly there is text pointing to Menkaure.

Exodus 12:5 describes what the Passover meal should be. Genesis 32 states that Jews did not consume meat from the hind legs.

Richard Redding (an archaeologist at Egypt) analysed the bones at the pyramids and there is a website claiming that these bones match the description of Exodus 12:5 and Genesis 32.

Seals from this site bear Menkaure's inscription.

  • @SelvaHarrisCould you list the name and identification of this manuscript? Which pyramid and site? What time period? Thank you. Peace.
    – ray grant
    May 27, 2023 at 22:56

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