Parent Category: Bible
Category: Biblical People
Pharaoh. [Heb. Paroh, a transliteration of the Egyptian PrÃÃ”Âª, "the Great House"; Gr. PharaoÂµ.] A term used in Egypt from the time of the Old Kingdom to designate the palace or the court, also as a specific designation for the kings from the 18th dynasty on, the dynasty during which Moses wrote the Pentateuch. (For the royal emblems and throne of an 18th-dynasty Pharaoh, see figs. 422, 501.) These kings each had 3 titles and 2 names. The Egyptians usually used the 1st name, whereas modern Egyptologists and historians use the 2d name. The following Pharaohs are mentioned by name in the OT: Shishak, Tirhakah, Neco, and Hophra. Several others are designated only by the general term Pharaoh, some of whom cannot be identified; others with varying degrees of certainty:
1. The Pharaoh who took Sarah, Abraham's wife, into his harem and then released her untouched after divine punishments fell upon him (Gen 12:15-20). On the basis of a mid-15th-cent. Exodus, Abraham, called some 430 years earlier, would have lived during the Middle Kingdom; then this Pharaoh would seem to have been one of the 12th-dynasty kings.
2. The Pharaoh who elevated Joseph to the position of vizier of Egypt, and under whom Jacob and his family moved into Egypt (Gen 41-47). This event, 215 years after the call of Abraham, must have happened in the 17th cent. b.c. when the Hyksos ruled over Egypt. It is therefore reasonable to conclude that this Pharaoh was one of the Semitic Hyksos kings. Since the sequence of these kings is not yet known, Joseph's benefactor cannot be identified.
3. The new Pharaoh who "knew not Joseph" (Ex 1:8) was, on the basis of the foregoing, most probably one of the 1st kings of the 18th dynasty, who expelled the Hyksos from Egypt and re-established national rulership in the country. This would be either Ahmose (c. 1591-c. 1564 b.c.), the victor over the Hyksos, or his immediate successor, Amenhotep I (c. 1564-c. 1542 b.c.; the 18th-dynasty dates are known only approximately).
4. The Pharaoh who gave the decree to kill the new-born Hebrew male children (Ex 1:15-22). This was most probably Thutmose I (c. 1542-c. 1524 b.c.), because the chronological scheme adopted in this dictionary, which places the Exodus in 1445 b.c., when Moses was 80 years old (cf. Acts 7:23, 30), would make 1525 b.c. the year in which Moses was born.
5. The Pharaoh before whom Moses fled to Midian (Ex 2:15); probably Thutmose III, whose sole reign fell into the years c. 1486-c. 1450 b.c. but who was already powerful as coregent with his aunt Hatshepsut for some years previously.
6. The Pharaoh of the Exodus (Ex 3:10), probably Amenhotep II (c. 1450-c. 1427 b.c.).
7. The Pharaoh who received Hadad of Edom in the time of David (1 Ki 11:14-22), probably either Siamon (c. 1004-c. 984 b.c.) or Psusennes II (c. 984-c. 950 b.c.) of the 21st dynasty. The Pharaoh who gave his sister to Hadad as wife could have been either the latter or Sheshonk I (Biblical Shishak), the 1st king of the 22nd dynasty.
8. The Pharaoh whose daughter Solomon married (1 Ki 3:1; 1 Ki 7:8; 9:16, 24), probably either Siamon (c. 1004-c. 984 b.c.) or Psusennes II of Tanis (c. 984-c. 950 b.c.), the last two kings of the 21st dynasty.
Lit.: G. Steindorff and K. C. Seele, When Egypt Ruled the East (Chicago, 1942); Ã‰. Drioton and J. Vandier, LEgypte (Paris, 1946). The latter contains a complete list of the Egyptian kings on pp. 597-602.