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Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature
[vulgarly pron. Phar'oh.] (Heb. Paroh', פֵּרַעֹה, Sept., New Test., and Josephus Φαραώ , but seldom in classical writers), the common title of the ancient kings of Egypt, as Ptolemy of its later kings, and Caesar of the emperors of Rome. (The following account includes those that are of Scriptural interest, with special reference to their identificatioh.)
The name is derived from the Egyptian word Pire, or Phre, signifying the sun (Wilkinson, Anc. Egyptians, 1:43). This identification, respecting which there can be no doubt, is due to the duke of Northumberland and general Felix (Rawlinson's Herod. 2:293). It has been supposed that the original was the same as the Coptic Ouro, "the king," with the article, Pi- ouro, P-ouro; but this word appears not to have been written, judging from the evidence of the Egyptian inscriptions and writings, in the times to which the Scriptures refer. The conjecture arose from the idea that Pharaoh must signify, instead of merely implying, "king," a mistake occasioned by a too implicit confidence in the exactness of ancient writers (Joseph. Ant. 8:6, 2; Euseb. ed. Scal. pages 20, 5, 1). Bunsen approves of this derivation of Josephus (Egypt's Place, 1:191, Lond. 1848), but Wilkinson in the passage above quoted shows reasons for rejecting it. The name was probably given in the earliest times to the Egyptian kings as being the chief on earth, as the sun was the chief among the heavenly bodies, and afterwards, when this luminary became the object of idolatrous worship, as the representation or incarnation of their sun-god, Phra or Re (Wilkinson, Anc. Egypt. 4:267; Rosellini, 1:115; Trevor, Egypt, pages 124-136). Regarding the sun at first as the greatest of the divine works and a main element in the production of Egypt's marvellous fertility, they readily used it as significant of their monarchs, to whose wise laws in the infancy of their state Egypt is supposed to be greatly indebted for the permanence and prosperity of her institutions. "Son of the sun" was the title of every Pharaoh, and the usual comparison made by the priesthood of their monarchs when returning from a successful war was that his power was exalted in the world as the sun was in the heavens (Wilkinson, 1:400; 4:288). In the hieroglyphics the hawk was the emblem of the king as Pharaoh (id. 3:287), and it is perhaps of consequence to note that in the representations of, apparently, two different kings ruling contemporaneously over Upper and Lower Egypt, the hawk occurs only in connection with one of them (id. 3:282).
Readers of Scripture will remark that Pharaoh often stands simply like a proper name (Genesis 12:15; Genesis 37:36; Genesis 40:2 sq.; Genesis 44:1 sq.; and so generally throughout the Pentateuch, and also in Song of Solomon i, 9; Isaiah 19:11; Isaiah 30:2). "King of Egypt" is sometimes subjoined to it (1 Kings 3:1; 2 Kings 17:7; 2 Kings 18:21); and sometimes also the more specific designation, or real proper name of the monarch is indicated, as Pharaoh Necho (2 Kings 23:33), Pharaoh Hophra (Jeremiah 44:30). Josephus (Ant. 8:6, 2) says that while every king of Egypt from Menes to the time of Solomon- took this title, no king of Egypt used it afterwards, and affirms the latter fact to be apparent from the sacred writings. This, however, is not quite correct. Several Egyptian kings were after the period in question called by foreigners Pharaoh, sometimes simply, sometimes in connection with a second name (2 Kings 18:21; 2 Kings 23:29); but the alteration from the time of Solomon which undoubtedly took place is remarkable, and probably points to an important change in the dynastic history of Egypt.
Some writers suppose Pharaoh to have been the name given in the Bible to the native kings of Egypt. There were, however, probably before Solomon's time several introductions of foreign dynasties, and some of them, if we accept the usual period ascribed to the rule of the Shepherds, of long duration; yet Scripture gives the title to all alike before this period, and Josephus states that all without exception assumed it. Wilkinson supposes that it was the title of such kings as had the sole direction of affairs while Egypt was an independent state, and that the title of "melek," or king, marked such as ruled conjointly with other kings of Egypt, or who governed as viceroys under a foreign ruler, as was the case after the Persian conquest (1:148, 179). This is very probably a satisfactory explanation for the long period down to the reign of Solomon. Most likely throughout it "Pharaoh" marks the monarch who ruled alone in Egypt, or over its inferior and tributary kings when there were such. This may seem intimated in the speech of one of them to Joseph: "I am Pharaoh, and without thee shall no man lift up his hand or foot in all the land of Egypt" (Genesis 41:44). Wilkinson's explanation, however, scarcely accounts for the period subsequent to the Pharaoh who gave his daughter to Solomon. Shishak, who seems to have succeeded him, was evidently the supreme ruler of Egypt, and not only independent of foreigners, but able to extend Egyptian power far beyond the limits of Egypt. A change of dynasty seems here to have caused the change of title, and was probably more or less connected with such changes in after periods. The Persian monarchs finally, administering the affairs of Egypt through tributary native kings, took the title of Pharaoh as indicative of their sovereignty (Trevor, Egypt, page 331). With them this ancient name of royalty passed away forever.
The political position of the Pharaohs in Egypt is of great moment in understanding the history of that country. If it were the exclusive title of the supreme ruler, it marks the general unity of Egypt under a single monarch. If it were given indifferently to every king of Egypt at those times, which seem unquestionably to have recurred, and may have been of long duration and early date, when several kings ruled over various divisions of the country, the occurrence of the title does not necessarily mark the political unity of the land. According to the first view. for instance, the Pharaoh of Abraham or Joseph would be the supreme ruler of the whole of Egypt, with, it might happen, various dynasties of subordinate kings under him; according to the latter, he might be only king of a portion of Egypt, with other dynasties of equal rank ruling contemporaneously elsewhere. To us the former view appears the preferable one for many reasons. The unity of Egypt under a single supreme monarch is, we think, unquestionably the view according to which the Scriptures lead us to think thatobreigners regarded that country. Whatever may have been the internal administration of the government, into which Scripture does not enter at all, the general view given us of Egypt in the Bible is that of a country united under one monarch. The earliest apparent reference to a different state of things occurs in 2 Kings 7:6, where we read of "kings of Egypt," apparently of equal authority. Isaiah predicts great troubles arising probably from a similar dissolution of any central authority (ch. 19:3; Wilkinson, Egypt. 1:178; Rawlinson's Herodotus, 1:51, note 4, and 391). All ancient history with which we are acquainted (Herodotus, Diodorus, and Manetho) assumes the political unity of Egypt. The titles of the Pharaohs seem to establish it. They are always called on the monuments "Lords of Upper and Lower Egypt" (Wilkinson. 2:73; 2d ser. 1:261). This unity of Egypt from the earliest times is new generally acknowledged (Hengstenberg, Egypt, page 84). The power and greatness of Egypt from the remotest times point to such a unity. Its high civilization and peaceful internal condition are a similar indication. If divided into several independent kingdoms Egypt would have exhibited the same condition which all the petty states of antiquity did, in which every man was of necessity a soldier (Hume, Essays, 2:11). Whereas in Egypt soldiers formed a different class from the rest of the community, never wore arms except in actual service, while private citizens at no time carried offensive weapons (Wilkinsoln 1:402). Indeed, it is impossible to imagine any country less suited by geographical configuration for divided rule than Egypt from the Cataracts to the sea. One level valley, only divided east and west by its river, shut in from the rest of the world by the Libvan and Arabian mountains and the Syrian deserts, it must of necessity form a single state.
This view of the political position of the Pharaohs is not inconsistent with the theory, for which there is very strong proof from Manetho and elsewhere, that for long periods of Egyptian history there may have been subordinate dynasties of kings ruling throughout Egypt. There may also have been, but probably for much shorter periods, a total overthrow of the central power, or a practical disregard of it even while acknowledging its nominal authority. There is a passage of Manetho preserved by Josephus which seems to point strongly to the view that the ancient internal constitution of Egypt was its government by subordinate kings under a supreme ruler (Josephus, Con. Revelation 1:14). Such, he expressly tells us, was its state during the oppression of the Shepherds: "These tyrannized over the kings of Thebais and of the other parts of Egypt." The general idea of ancient government was that of a supreme monarch over tributary kings; and the great probability is that the Shepherds followed this analogy, and, merely deposing the ruling Pharaoh, left the minor dynasties undisturbed. The Pharaohs are supposed to have been at all times invested with the highest sacerdotal dignity (Hengstenberg, Egypt, page 35; Wilkinson, 1:245). From the circumstance that in the earliest names enclosed in ovals the title priest precedes that of king, and for other reasons, Wilkinson argues, as we think inconclusively, that Egypt was originally governed by hierarchical and not regal power (1:16). (See EGYPT).
1. The Pharaoh of Abraham. — The first mention of a Pharaoh in the Bible is on the occasion of Abram's visit to Egypt during a famine in Canaan (Genesis 12:10). Which of the ancient kings of Egypt is to be understood by this Pharaoh it is perhaps impossible to determine with certainty. Wilkinson supposes him to have been Apappus; Africanus calls him Ramnessemenes; and some have taken him to be one of the Shepherd kings. We have, in truth, no materials in Scripture or elsewhere for fixing the name and place of this king in the dynasties of Egypt. In regard to the date also of Abraham's intercourse with him there is great uncertainty. But as the investigation of the point would involve us in a discussion on the somewhat perplexed chronology of the earlier parts of Old-Test. history, and the still more perplexed chronology of ancient Egypt, we can here only touch upon it; but see for the refutation of extreme views on the part of the Egyptologists, Hengstenberg's Egypt and the Books of Moses, and Sir C. Lewis's Astronomy of the Ancients. At the time at which the patriarch went into Egypt, according to Hales's as well as Usher's chronology, it is generally held that the country, or at least Lower Egypt, was ruled by the Shepherd kings, of whom the first and most powerful line was the fifteenth dynasty, the undoubted territories of which would be first entered by one coming from the east. Manetho relates that Salatis, the head of this line, established at Avaris, perhaps the Zoan of the Bible, on the eastern frontier, what appears to have been a great permanent camp, at which he resided for part of each year. (See ZOAN). It is noticeable that Sarah seems to have been taken to Pharaoh's house immediately after the coming of Abraham; and if this were not so, yet, on account of his flocks and herds, the patriarch could scarcely have gone beyond the part of the country which was always more or less occupied by nomad tribes. It is also possible that Pharaoh gave Abraham camels, for we read that Pharaoh "entreated Abram well for Sarah's sake: and he had sheep, and oxen. and he-asses, and men-servants, and maid-servants, and she-asses, and camels" (Genesis 12:16), where it appears that this property was the gift of Pharaoh, and the circumstance that the patriarch afterwards held an Egyptian bondwoman, Hagar, confirms the inference. If so, the present of camels would argue that this Pharaoh was a Shepherd king, for no evidence has been found in the sculptures, paintings, and inscriptions of Egypt that in the Pharaonic ages the camel was used, or even known there, and this omission can be best explained by the supposition that the animal was hateful to the Egyptians as of great value to their enemies the Shepherds. On the other hand, Abraham's possessions, especially the camels, may have been purchased by him from the nomnad tribes with the proceeds of Pharaoh's liberality, and the fact that Hagar was of this Arab race hardly consists with her having been reduced to bondage while they were in the ascendant. Indeed, it appears that the Shepherd kings (q.v.) were not on good terms with the Hebrews, as their interests were rival. The date at which Abraham visited Egypt (according to the chronology which we hold most probable) was about B.C. 2081, which would not accord with the time of Salatis, the head of the fifteenth dynasty, B.C. 2006, according to our reckoning, but rather with that of Binothris of the second (Thinitic) dynasty, and that of Othoes of the sixth (Memphitic) dynasty, as well as with that of Tancheres of the fifth (Elephantinitic) dynasty, but anterior to all the other dynasties.
2. The Pharaoh of Joseph. — Between the Pharaoh of Abraham and the Pharaoh of Joseph there was an interval of two hundred years. During this period there may have been various changes of dynasty, art, and religion in Egypt of which we derive no information from Scripture; while the notice of the former king and of the state of the country in his time is so brief that we cannot by comparison arrive at any conclusion upon this point. Of the political position and character of the latter, and the condition of Egypt in his time, Scripture gives us very important information from his intimate connection with Joseph and the chosen people of God.
Wilkinson identifies this Pharaoh with Osirtesen I, one of the kings of his sixteenth dynasty of Tanites, whose reign he supposes to have exceeded forty-three years (Egypt. 1:42, 43). Bunsen prefers to identify him with Osirtesen III, of the seventeenth dynasty of Memphites, who is, according to him, the Sesostris of classical writers (Trevor, Egypt, page 254). Osburn thinks him to have been Apophis (ibid. page 216), as Eusebius states, changing the date so as to fit. The identification obviously depends simply upon a comparison of the Hebrew and Egyptian chronologies. Whether he was of one of the dynasties of the Shepherd kings is a question on which authorities differ, according to their views of the date of the Shepherd rule, and their interpretation of the scriptural account of this king. Wilkinson is decidedly of opinion that he was not a Shepherd king, an opinion with which Trevor agrees. Josephus says that he was a Shepherd. We are decidedly of opinion from the incidental notices of Scripture that he was not of a Shepherd dynasty. If we are to accept Manetho's account, we must suppose that these Shepherds conquered the most of Egypt, ruled with the greatest tyranny and cruelty over the Egyptians, disregarded the old laws of the country, and demolished its temples (Josephus, Revelation 1:14). Their rule was not one of policy and conciliation, but of brute force and terror, an idea strongly corroborated by the abomination in which the Bible tells us all shepherds were held in Egypt, and by the testimony which the monuments bear to the detestation and scorn in which they were universally held (Wilkinson, 2:16; 4:126).
The Shepherds being such, it seems to us quite inconsistent with the Biblical narrative to suppose that Joseph's Pharaoh was a Shepherd king. Thus we find that the Egyptian prejudice against shepherds was carefully and jealously respected by this king. The Israelites on coming into Egypt were by him located in the border-land (Hengstenberg, Egypt, page 42) of Goshen, where they would serve as a barrier against the shepherd-hating Egyptians (Genesis 46:34). We cannot suppose a Shepherd king to act thus. He would not thus consult a native prejudice hostile to his own dynasty, while his own Shepherd garrisons occupied the strongholds of Egypt. Again, Pharaoh's court and household, so far as we know them, were composed of native Egyptians. Such was Potiphar, the captain of the king's bodyguard, probably the most trusted officer of Pharaoh (Genesis 39:1); while the chief butler and baker of his court are the well-known officers of the native court of the Pharaohs (Trevor, page 256). The officials of Pharaoh's prime minister, Joseph, are also native Egyptians, whose feelings of caste towards foreigners were carefully consulted (Genesis 43:32; see Rawlinson's Herodotus, book 2, c. 41, note 9). In the midst of universal destitution, when all others were reduced to serfdom, and the lands of Egypt passed into the possession of Pharaoh, the property of the native Egyptian priests alone was religiously respected, and they received, without any return, an ample maintenance from Pharaoh's stores for themselves and their families (Genesis 47:22). When Pharaoh sought to bestow upon Joseph marks of the highest honor for his preservation of the country, one of these marks was the bestowal on him in marriage of Asenath, the daughter of Potipherah, priest of On or Heliopolis, who is thus distinguished as one of the highest and most honored personages in the land (Genesis 41:45). These considerations lead us to conclude that this Pharaoh was a native Egyptian, not a Shepherd king, and that he ruled after the expulsion of the Shepherds, or during their supremacy, while the memory of their tyranny was still vivid in the national mind. Rawlinson (Herod. Luke 2, c. 108, note 2) seems to think that horses were unknown in Egypt till the time of Amosis (B.C. 1510), and would thus give a low date for this monarch, in whose time horses were in use for ordinary purposes as well as for war (Genesis 47:17).
The testimony of Herodotus on which he comments seems, however, opposed to this view. According to the chronology which we adopt, the period of Joseph's deliverance from prison was B.C. 1883, which will fall, according to our view of the Egyptian dynasties, under the reign of Aphobis, the fourth king of the fifteenth (Shepherd) dynasty. But as the Shepherd kings do not seem to have been friendly to the Hebrews, and for the other reasons enumerated above, we presume that these foreigners were not at this time (if indeed they ever were) in possession of the whole of Egypt. We therefore incline to identify the Pharaoh in question with one of the eighth (Memphitic) dynasty, whose names are unrecorded, but who were contemporaneous with the twelfth (Diospolitic) as well as with the fifteenth (Shepherd) dynasty. There is one indication in Scripture which seems to attribute a very considerable antiquity to this period. In Joseph's time the territory allocated to the Israelites was called Goshen (Genesis 45:10). In the time of Moses this ancient name appears to have been almost forgotten, and to have yielded to that of the land of Rameses (Genesis 47:11).
The religion of Egypt during the reign of this Pharaoh appears to have been far less corrupt than it subsequently presents itself in the tinme of Moses. The Scriptures give us several indications of this; and these of no indistinct kind. Thus Joseph speaks to his master's wife as if she recognised the same God th'at he did (Genesis 39:9). His language to the chief butler and baker in the prison conveys a similar idea (Genesis 40:8), as does his address to Pharaoh when called before him (Genesis 41:16-57). Pharaoh in his speech to his servants and to Joseph speaks of God precisely as Joseph had done, and as if he recognised but cne God (Genesis 41:38-39). Joseph, without any fear of injurious consequences to himself, and as if it were no extraordinary thing, allows the identity of his religion with that of the sons of Jacob (Genesis 42:18). Joseph's steward, probably a native Egyptian, evidently recognises their God (Genesis 43:23). No doubt corruption had now been introduced into the pure religion derived from Noah. In the magicians and wise men (Genesis 41:8) of Egypt we see probably a caste who had already given a superstitious coloring to religion, introduced new rites of worship, and paved the way for a total declension from theism to gross polytheism. But this latter condition does not appear to have been reached in the time of Joseph. Symbolic worship, if now, as is most likely, in common use, had still to a very great extent left undestroyed the notion of one supreme God ruling over all the nations; nor have we reason to suppose that Potipherah, the father-in-law of Joseph, and priest of On, was an upholder of the idolatry of a later time. The sun, now introduced into Egyptian worship, was by him in all likelihood explained as the sign and symbol of deity, but not as partaking of deity itself. No doubt we see from this the danger of any alteration by man of the worship ordained by God, but at the same time the religion of Egypt may have been comparatively true and pure, though it had now introduced that symbolism which quickly degenerated into the grossest idolatry the world has ever seen. Symbolic worship was now probably regarded as a high proof of religious wisdom (Romans 1:22); a short time proved it to be utter folly.
The government of Pharaoh seems to have been of an absolute kind (Genesis 41:40-43; see Wilkinson, 1:45). The supposition that at this time Egypt was governed by several independent dynasties seems inconsistent with the language and conduct of Pharaoh in making by his own mere will Joseph to be ruler "over all the land of Egypt," only inferior to himself throughout its whole extent. But this language is evidently that of courtly assumption, and may very naturally be applied only to that region over which he ruled. The evidence is very strong from the monuments and other sources that even under the Shepherd rule there were kings in other parts of Egypt largely if not wholly independent of them. The appointment of coregents decorated with royal titles is thought to have been characteristic of this dynasty (Trevor, Egypt, page 258). This Pharaoh's personal character seems to have been that of a wise and prudent monarch, anxious for the welfare of his people, and superior to popular prejudice against strangers. Wilkinson thinks he was pacific in his policy, and his conduct in receiving a blessing from the aged Jacob shows a humility of mind and a respect for worth which contrasts very favorably with the conduct of other despotic kings. The situation of his capital was near the land of Goshen (Genesis 45:10), and the civilization and flourishing condition of Egypt during his reign were very great (Wilkinson, 1:43). Whether he were the same monarch whom we find ruling Egypt at the time of Jacob's death, seventeen years subsequently to his removal into Goshen, has been differently viewed (Genesis 1:4). It has been thought by some that Joseph's using the intercession of Pharaoh's household to procure a favor from the king indicates a less intimate acquaintance than we should expect between him and that king who ruled at the time of the famine. But local customs, probably connected with the habits of Egyptian mourning, may account for this.without supposing a different king (Hengstenberg, Egypt, page 71).
3. The Pharaoh of the First Persecution of the Israelites. — The interval which elapsed between the Pharaoh of Joseph's time and the Pharaoh who commenced the persecution of Israel is much affected by opinion as to the length of the sojourn in Egypt. (See CHRONOLOGY).
According to our view, the interval between Jacob's removal into Egypt and the birth of Moses was a little over one hundred and thirty-five years. The unknown quantity is the period from the commencement of the persecution to the birth of Moses. It was the same Pharaoh that began to afflict Israel who reigned when Moses was born (Acts 7:20), and the persecution must have continued a considerable time previous to allow for the events mentioned in the first chapter of Exodus. These included the building oftwo considerable cities and other labor, for which a period of several years seems to be required. The name and dynasty of this king have been differently given (Jour. of Sac. Lit. [new ser.] 1:491). Wilkinson supposes him to have been Amosis or Ames, the first of the eighteenth dynasty of Theban or Diospolitan kings, and supports his view of the change of dynasty at this time, and the accession of kings from the distant province of Thebes, from the scriptural account of him as" a new king that knew not Joseph"(1:47, 76). Lord Prudhoe, in an able paper given by Wilkinson (1:78), argues that the new king was Rameses I, who was also, according to him, the head of a new dynasty, and as such ignorant of the history of Joseph, while it was for Rameses II that the Israelites built the treasure cities. According to the fragment of Manetho preserved by Theophilus, the new king was Tkthmosis (Bunsen, Egypt, 1:655). He is very commonly supposed to have been the king who crushed the power of the Shepherds in Egypt. From a picture on the walls of a very interesting tomb of Roshere, "superintendent of the great buildings" to king Thothmes III, Trevor (Egypt, page 72) thinks it likely that it was during his dynasty, the eighteenth, that the oppression of Israel occurred, and that most likely Amosis, the first king, was the originator of it (page 275). Josephus (Ant. 2:9, 1) considers him to have been of a new family called to the throne; but Hengstenberg (Egypt, page 252) argues that the appellation of "new king," in the Bible, which is very often referred to in proof of a change of dynasty, indicates only a disregard of the services of Joseph, and a forgetfulness of the old affection that used to be entertained in Egypt and by its kings for the great preserver of their country.
According to Manetho's story of the Exodus-a story so contradictory to historical truth as scarcely to be worthy of mention-the Israelites left Egypt in the reign of Meneptah, who was great-grandson of the first Rameses, and son and successor of the second. This king is held by some Egyptologists to have reigned about the time of the rabbinical date of the Exodus, which is virtually the same as that which has been supposed to be obtainable from the genealogies. There is, however, good reason to place these kings much later; in which case Rameses I would be the oppressor; but then the building of Rameses could not be placed in his reign without a disregard of Hebrew chronology. But the argument that there is no earlier known king Rameses loses much of its weight when we bear in mind that one of the sons of Aahmes, head of the eighteenth dynasty, who reigned about two hundred years before Rameses I, bore the same name, besides that very many names of kings of the Shepherd period, perhaps of two whole dynasties, are unknown. Against this one fact, which is certainly not to be disregarded, we must weigh the general evidence of the history, which shows us a king apparently governing a part of Egypt, with subjects inferior to the Israelites, and fearing a war in the country. Like the Pharaoh of the Exodus, he seems to have dwelt in Lower Egypt, probably at Avaris. (When Moses went to see his people, and slew the Egyptian, he does not seem to have made any journey, and the burying in sand shows that the place was in a part of Egypt, like Goshen, encompassed by sandy deserts.) Compare this condition with the power of the kings of the latter part of the eighteenth and of the nineteenth dynasties: rulers of an empire, governing a united country from which the head of their line had driven the Shepherds. The view that this Pharaoh was of the beginning or middle of the eighteenth dynasty seems at first sight extremely probable, especially if it be supposed that the Pharaoh of Joseph was a Shepherd king. The expulsion of the Shepherds at the commencement of this dynasty would have naturally caused an immediate or gradual oppression of the Israelites.
But it must be remembered that what we have just said of the power of some kings of this dynasty is almost as true of their predecessors. The silence of the historical monuments is also to be weighed, when we bear in mind how nuinerous the gaps are, and that we might expect many of the events of the oppression to be recorded even if the exodus were not noticed. If we assign this Pharaoh to the age before the eighteenth dynasty, which our view of Hebrew chronology would probably oblige us to do, we have still to determine whether he were a Shepherd or an Egyptian. If a Shepherd, he must have been of the sixteenth or the seventeenth dynasty; and that 'he was Egyptianized does not afford any argument against this supposition, since it appears that foreign kings, who can only be assigned to one of these two lines, had Egyptian names. In corroboration of this view we quote a remarkable passage that does not seem otherwise explicable: "My people went down aforetime into Egypt to sojourn there; and the Assyrian oppressed them without cause" (Isaiah 52:4): which may be compared with the allusions to the exodus in a predic tion of the same prophet respecting Assyria (10:24, 26). Our inference is strengthened by the discovery that kings bearing a name almost certainly an Egyptian translation of an Assyrian or Babylonian regal title are among those apparently of the Shepherd age in the Turin Papyrus (Lepsius, Konigsbuch, Tafel 18:19:275, 285). According to our view of the Hebrew chronology, the birth of Moses occurred B.C. 1738. The scheme of Egyptian chronology which we have adopted places the beginning of the sixteenth (Shepherd) dynasty in B.C. 1755, and it would therefore be under the reign of one of the first kings of this dynasty, whose names are unknown, that the persecution of the Israelites began.
4. The Pharaoh of Moses's Exile. — It is often supposed that the Pharaoh who ruled Egypt at the birth of Moses is the same Pharaoh who ruled it when Moses fled into Midian (Exodus 2:15). There is nothing in the narrative of Scripture to lead us to this conclusion, though it may possibly have been the case. The probabilities, however, seem to point the other way. We have allowed about eight years of his reign to have elapsed prior to the birth of Moses, who at the period of flight was forty years of age (Acts 7:23). The monarch, therefore, if the same, must have reigned forty-eight years, which is an unusual length. (The entire 16th dynasty of thirty-two kings seems to have lasted but 112 years.) The jealousy also with which Moses was regarded by this Pharaoh seems to indicate that he did not stand towards him in the relation of his grandfather by adoption. The view is further confirmed by the intimation in Exodus 4:19, which seems to tell us that the Pharaoh who sought Moses's life lived nearly to the time of his return into Egypt, a period of forty years. If this were so, it is impossible for this king to have been the monarch who began the persecution of Israel. We prefer, therefore, to regard him as different, and as probably chosen by adoption, to continue the succession of a childless family. We would mace the year during his reign at the flight of Moses to have been B.C. 1698, and his attempt upon the life of the great lawgiver is the only event of his reign recorded in Scripture.
5. The Pharaoh of the Exode. — The Pharaoh in whose reign the deliverance of the Israelites was achieved would appear to have succeeded to the throne not very long before the return of Moses to Egypt after his forty years' sojourn in Midian (Exodus 4:19). His relationship to his predecessor is not told us, but he was probably of the same dynasty, and carried on the traditional policy of a grinding oppression of the Israelites. We do not read of any effort of his to re. duce the numbers of that nation: he seems rather to have looked on their numbers as an additional source of grandeur and power to Egypt by an enforced system of labor. The name of this Pharaoh is very variously related. Wilkinson supposes him to have been Thothmes III, the fourth or fifth monarch, according to him, of the eighteenth dynasty of Theban or Diospolitan kings; while Manetho, according to Africanus, makes him to have been Amos, the first of that line of monarchs; and lord Prudhoe would have him to have been Pthahmen, the last of that dynasty (Wilkinson, AEgypt. 1:31, 41, 81). Ptolemy, the priest of Mendis, agrees in opinion with Manetho (Bunsen, Egypt, 1:90). Various reasons are given in the Journal of Sacred Literature (new ser. i, 490) for supposing him to have been Sethos II. Respecting the time of this king, we can only be sure that he was reigning for about a year or more before the exodus, which we place B.C. 1658.
His acts show us a man at once impious and superstitious, alternately rebelling and submitting. At first he seems to have thought that his magicians could work the same wonders as Moses and Aaron, yet even then he begged that the frogs might be taken away, and to the end he prayed that a plague might be removed, promising a concession to the Israelites, and as soon as he was respited failed to keep his word. This is not strange in a character principally influenced by fear, and history abounds in parallels to Pharaoh. His vacillation only ended when he lost his army in the Red Sea, and the Israelites were finally delivered out of his hand. Whether he himself was drowned has been considered matter of uncertainty, as it is not so stated in the account of the exodus. Another passage, however, appears to affirm it (Psalms 136:15). It seems to be too great a latitude of criticism either to argue that the expression in this passage indicates the overthrow, but not the death of the king, especially as the Hebrew expression "shook off" or "threw in" is very literal, or that it is only a strong Shemitic expression. Besides, throughout the preceding history his end is foreshadowed, and is, perhaps, positively foretold in Exodus 9:15; though this passage may be rendered, "For now I might have stretched out my hand, and might have smitten thee and thy people with pestilence; and thou wouldest have been cut off from the earth," as by Kalisch (Commnentary, ad loc.), instead of as in the A.V.
Although we have already stated our reasons for abandoning the theory that places the exodus under the nineteenth dynasty, it may be well to notice an additional and conclusive argument for rejecting as unhistorical the tale preserved by Manetho, which makes Meneptah, the son of Rameses II, the Pharaoh in whose reign the Israelites left Egypt. This tale was commonly current in Egypt, but it must Le remarked that the historian gives it only on the authority of tradition. M. Mariette's recent discoveries have added to the evidence we already had on the subject. In this story the secret of the success of the rebels was that they had allotted to them by Amenophis, or Meneptah, the city of Avaris, formerly held by the Shepherds, but then in ruins. That the people to whom this place was given were working in the quarries east of the Nile is enough of itself to throw a doubt on the narrative, for there appear to have been no quirries north of those opposite Memphis, from which Avaris was distant nearly the whole length of the Delta; but when it is found that this very king, as well as his father, adorned the great temple of Avaris, the story is seen to be essentially false. Yet it is not improbable that some calamity occurred about this time, with which the Egyptians wilfully or ignorantly confounded the exodus: if they did so ignorantly, there would be an argument that this event took place during the Shepherd period, which was probably in after- times an obscure part of the annals of Egypt. The character of this Pharaoh finds its parallel among the Assyrians rather than the Egyptians. The impiety of the oppressor and that of Sennacherib are remarkably similar, though Sennacherib seems to have been more resolute in his resistance than Pharaoh. This resemblance is not to be overlooked, especially as it seems to indicate an idiosyncrasy of the Assyrians and kindred nations, for national character was more marked in antiquity than it is now in most peoples, doubtless because isolation was then general and is now special. Thus, the Egyptian monuments show us a people highly reverencing their gods, and even those of other nations, the most powerful kings appearing as suppliants in the representations of the temples and tombs. In the Assyrian sculptures, on the contrary, the kings are seen rather as protected by the gods than as worshipping them; so that we understand how in such a country the famous decree of Darius, which Daniel disobeyed, could be enacted. Again, the Egyptians do not seem to have supposed that their enemies were supported by gods hostile to those of Egypt, whereas the Assyrians considered their gods as more powerful than those of the nations they subdued. This is important in connection with the idea that at least one of the Pharaohs of the oppression was an Assyrian.
The idolatry of Egypt appears to have arrived at its height in the time of this monarch. We see evidences of a great difference between the religious system of this period and of the time of Joseph's Pharaoh. At both periods indeed we read of the "magician and wise men of Egypt," but it by no means follows that because the names are the same the part discharged by them was identical in the two periods. Besides, we read in the later period (Exodus 7:11) of an order of men (sorcerers, מְכִשְּׁפַים ) apparently unknown in the earlier. These men supported their authority and doctrine by claims to miraculous power (Exodus 7:11), whether we suppose them to have executed their feats merely by a skilful system of jugglery and sleight of hand, or, as many think, by diabolical aid. The authority of the God of Israel, acknowledged by the earlier Pharaoh, is by this king scornfully renounced, and a vast system of polytheism, embracing the famous worship of sacred animals, is firmly established as the religion of Egypt (5:2; 12:12; 8:26). This was the suitable time chosen by God, when a great monarch ruled over the greatest empire of its time, which had brought to full development the idolatry by it widely propagated, to read a lesson to the Gentile world on the feebleness of idols as compared to him.
Before speaking of the later Pharaohs we may mention a point of weight in reference to the identification of these earlier ones. The accounts of the campaigns of the Pharaohs of the eighteenth, nineteenth, and twentieth dynasties have not been found to contain any reference to the Israelites. Hence it might be supposed that in their days, or at least during the greater part of the time, the Israelites were not yet in the Promised Land. There is, however, an almost equal silence as to the Canaanitish nations. The land itself, Kanana or Kanaan, is indeed mentioned as invaded, as well as those of Kheta and Amar, referring to the Hittites and Amorites; but the latter two must have been branches of those nations seated in the valley of the Orontes. A recently discovered record of Thothmes III, published by M. de Rouge in the Revue Archeologique (November 1861, page 344 sq.), contains many names of Canaanitish towns conquered by that king, but not one recognised as Israelitish. These Canaanitish names are, moreover, on the Israelitish borders, not in the heart of the country. It is interesting that a great battle is shown to have been won by this king at Megiddo. It seems probable that the Egyptians either abstained from attacking the Israelites from a recollection of the calamities of the exodus, or that they were on friendly terms. It is very remarkable that the Egyptians were granted privileges in the law (Deuteronomy 23:7), and that Shishak, the first king of Egypt after the exodus whom we know to have invaded the Hebrew territories, was of foreign extraction, if not actually a foreigner.
6. Pharaoh, the Father-in-law of Mered. — In the genealogies of the tribe of Judah, mention is made of the daughter of a Pharaoh married to an Israelite: "Bithiah, the daughter of Pharaoh, which Mered took" (1 Chronicles 4:18). That the name Pharaoh here probably designates an Egyptian king we have already shown, and observed that the date of Mered is doubtful, although it is likely that he lived before, or not much after, the exodus. (See BITHIAH). It may be added that the name, Miriam, of one of the family of Mered (Deuteronomy 23:17), apparently his sister, or perhaps a daughter by Bithiah, suggests that this part of the genealogies may refer to about the time of the exodus. This marriage may tend to aid us in determining the age of the sojourn in Egypt. It is perhaps less probable that an Egyptian Pharaoh would have given his daughter in marriage to an Israelite, than that a Shepherd king would have done so, before the oppression. But Bithiah may have been taken in war after the exodus, by the surprise of a caravan, or in a foray. Others, however, bring down this event to the times of or near those of David. It was then the policy of the Pharaohs to ally themselves with the great families whose power lay between Egypt and Assyria, as we know from the intermarriages of Hadad and Solomon with the Egyptian dynasty. The most interesting feature connected with this transaction is the name, Bithiah (daughter of Jehovah), given to the daughter of Pharaoh. It exhibits the true faith of Israel as exerting its influence abroad, and gaining proselytes even in the royal house of idolatrous Egypt. (See MEREU).
7. Pharaoh, the Protector of Hadad. — With the exception of the preceding Pharaoh, whose date is doubtful, there is a long silence in Jewish history as to the kings of Egypt. During the period of the judges, and throughout the reigns of Saul and David, they had apparently neither entered into alliance nor made war with the Israelites. If such an event had happened, it is probable that some mention would have been made of it. It does not follow from this that during this period they had made no wars nor effected any conquests to the east of Egypt, for the seaboard of Canaan, which Israel did not during this time occupy, seems to have been a usual passage for the Egyptian armies in their eastern wars. But the silence of Scripture points to the probability that for this long period Egypt did not occupy the commanding position of the earlier or the later Pharaohs. Intestine divis'ons and dynastic quarrels may during a great portion of it have retained the Egyptians within their proper borders, satisfied if they were not assailed by foreign nations. In the reign of David we incidentally find notice of a Pharaoh who received with distinction Hadad the Edomite fleeing from Joab, and gave him his sister-in-law for wife (1 Kings 11:15-22).
We find this Pharaoh ruling from about the twentieth year of David'a reign to its close, i.e., from about B.C. 1033 to B.C. 1013. His reign perhaps came to an end soon after David's death, as Solomon's father-in-law is thought to have been another Pharaoh. His treatment of Hadad, a bitter enemy of David, and with strong reason so, was certainly an unfriendly act towards the latter, but it does not seem to have been attended by any ulterior consequences. No war ensued between Egypt and Israel, and Pharaoh made no attempt to restore Hadad to the throne of Edom. When this latter, upon David's death, sought to return home, evidently with the intention of disturbing the reign of Solomon in its commencement, Pharaoh was apparently opposed to his return, very probably from a disinclination to favor any step which might involve him in unpleasant relations with the powerful kingdom of Israel, then at the height of its greatness. Probably in the first part of this account the fugitives took refuge in an Egyptian mining-station in the peninsula of Sinai, and so obtained guides to conduct them into Egypt. There they were received in accordance with the Egyptian policy, but with the especial favor that seems to have been shown about this time towards the eastern neighbors of the Pharaohs, which may reasonably be supposed to have led to the establishment of the twenty-second dynasty of foreign extraction.
For the identification of this Pharaoh we have chronological indications, and the name of his wife. Unfortunately, however, the history of Egypt at this time is extremely obscure, neither the monuments nor Manetho giving us clear information as to the kings. It appears that towards the latter part of the twentieth dynasty the highpriests of Amen, the god of Thebes, gained great power, and at last supplanted the Rameses family, at least in Upper Egypt. At the same time a line of Tanitic kings, Manetho's twenty-first dynasty, seems to have ruled in Lower Egypt. The feeble twentieth dynasty was probably soon extinguished, but the priest-rulers and the Tanites appear to have reigned contemporaneously, until they were both succeeded by the Bubastites of the twenty-second dynasty, of whom Sheshonk I, the Shiskak of the Bible, was the first. The monuments have preserved the names of several of the highpriests, perhaps all, and probably of some of the Tanites; but it is a question whether Manetho's Tanitic line does not include some of the former, and we have no means of testing the accuracy of its numbers. It may be reasonably supposed that the Pharaoh or Pharaohs spoken of in the Bible as ruling in the time of David and Solomon were Tanites, as Tanis was nearest to the Israelitish territory. We have therefore to compare the chronological indications of Scripture with the list of this dynasty. Shishak must have begun to reign in the twenty-fifth year of Solomon (B.C. 989).
The conquest of Edom probably took place some fifty years earlier. It may therefore be inferred that Hadad fled to a king of Egypt who may have ruled at least twenty-five years, probably ceasing to govern before Solomon married the daughter of a Pharaoh early in his reign; for it seems unlikely that the protector of David's enemy would have given his daughter to Solomon, unless he were a powerless king, which it appears was not the case with Solomon's father-in-law. This would give a reign of twenty-five years, or 25 + x separated from the close of the dynasty by a period of twenty-four or twenty-five years. According to Africanus, the list of the twenty-first dynasty is as follows: Smendes, 26 years; Psusennes, 46; Nephelcheres, 4; Amenothis, 9; Osochor, 6; Psinaches, 9; Psusennes, 14; but Eusebius gives the second king 41, and the last 35 years, and his numbers make up the sum of 130 years, which Africanus and he agree in assigning to the dynasty, although the true sum seems to be 109 years. If we take the numbers of Eusebius, Osochor would probably be the Pharaoh to whom Hadad fled, and Psusennes II the father-in-law of Solomon; but the numbers of Africanus would substitute Psusennes I, and probably Psinaches. We cannot however, be sure that the reigns did not overlap, or were not separated by intervals, and the numbers are not to be considered trustworthy until tested by the monuments. The royal names of the period have been searched in vain for any one resembling Tahpenes. If the Egyptian equivalent to the similar geographical name Tahpanhes, etc., were known, we might have some clew to that of this queen. SEE TAHPANHES; (See TAHPENES).
8. Pharaoh, the Father-in-law of Solomon. — In the narrative of the beginning of Solomon's reign, after the account of the deaths of Adonijah, Joab, and Shimei, and the deprivation of Abiathar, we read: "And the kingdom was established in the hand of Solomon. And Solomon made affinity with Pharaoh king of Egypt, and took Pharaoh's daughter, and brought her into the city of David, until he had made an end of building his own house, and the house of the Lord, and the wall of Jerusalem round about" (1 Kings 2:46; 1 Kings 3:1). The events mentioned before the marriage belong altogether to the very commencement of Solomon's reign, excepting the matter of Shimei, which, extending through three years, is carried on to its completion. The mention that the queen was brought into the city of David while Solomon's house, and the Temple, and the citywall were building, shows that the marriage took place not later than the eleventh year of the king, when the Temple was finished, having been commenced in the fourth year (1 Kings 6:1; 1 Kings 6:37-38). It is also evident that this alliance was before Solomon's falling away into idolatry (1 Kings 3:3), of which the Egyptian queen does not seem to have been one of the causes. From this chronological indication it appears that the marriage must have taken place between about twenty-four and eleven years before Shishak's accession. It must be recollected that it seems certain that Solomon's father-in-law was not the Pharaoh who was reigning when Hadad left Egypt. Both Pharaohs, as already shown, cannot vet be identified in Manetho's list. (See PHARAOHS DAUGHTER)
This Pharaoh led an expedition into Palestine, which is thus incidentally mentioned, where the building of Gezer by Solomon is recorded: "Pharaoh king of Egypt had gone up, and taken Gezer, and burnt it with fire, and slain the Canaanites that dwelt in the city, and given it [for] a present unto his daughter, Solomon's wife" (1 Kings 9:16). This is a very curious historical circumstance, for it shows that in the reign of David or Solomon, more probably the latter, an Egyptian king, apparently on terms of friendship with the Israelitish monarch, conducted an expedition into Palestine, and besieged and captured a Canaanitish city. This occurrence warns us against the supposition that similar expeditions could not have occurred in earlier times without a war with the Israelites. Its incidental mention also shows the danger of inferring, from the silence of Scripture as to any such earlier expedition, that nothing of the kind took place.
This Pharaoh we suppose to have reigned over all Egypt, but he does not appear to have had any possessions in Asia. The kingdom of Israel, we are told, stretched to the land of the Philistines and the border of Egypt (1 Kings 4:21), so that Egypt seems to have been strictly confined on the eastward by Philistia and Canaan. His expedition to and capture of Gezer was the capture of a city hitherto independent both of him and Solomon, and over which he retained no authority (1 Kings 9:15-16). The kingdom of Israel was at this time of greater extent and power than that of Egypt, so that the alliance with Solomon would be courted by Pharaoh, and seems to have been productive of great commercial advantages both to Egypt and Israel (1 Kings 10:28-29; 2 Chronicles 1:16-17). It is the first direct intercourse of which we are with certainty informed between these two kingdoms since the time of the exodus. It is most likely that Pharaoh's daughter, married to Solomon in the opening of his reign, and when his zeal for Jehovah and his worship was at its height, was herself a convert to the faith of Solomon (1 Kings 3:1-3). He would scarcely at this period of his life have married an idolatress. and in the Bithiah of an uncertain date we have already seen some evidence of the influence of true religion on the royal house of Pharaoh. Nor can we readily suppose that the Song of Solomon, emblematic of the union of Christ and his Church, was founded on any other than the marriage of Solomon with a daughter of the true faith. To what extent this good influence may have spread in the family of Pharaoh can be only matter of conjecture. If it had prevailed to any great extent it may have partly led to the change of dynasty which we have reason to believe took place in Egypt during the reign of Solomon. Any tendency towards truth, if it existed in the royal house, was not shared by the priesthood or people of Egypt, who were firmly wedded to their debased system of idolatry.
This Egyptian alliance is the first indication, however, after the days of Moses, of that leaning to Egypt which was distinctly forbidden in the law, and produced the most disastrous consequences in later times. The native kings of Egypt and the Ethiopians readily supported the Hebrews, and were unwilling to make war upon them, but they rendered them mere tributaries, and exposed them to the enmity of the kings of Assyria. If the Hebrews did not incur a direct punishment for their leaning to Egypt, still this act must have weakened their trust in the divine favor, and paralyzed their efforts to defend the country against the Assyrians and their party.
The next kings of Egypt mentioned in the Bible are Shishak, probably Zerah, and So. The first and second of these were of the twenty-second dynasty, if the identification of Zerah with Userken be accepted, and the third was doubtless one of the two Shebeks of the twenty-fifth dynasty, which was of Ethiopians. The twenty-second dynasty was a line of kings of foreign origin, who retained foreign names, and it is noticeable that Zerah is called a Cushite in the Bible (2 Chronicles 14:9; comp. 16:8). Shebek was probably also a foreign name. The title "Pharaoh" is probably not once given to these kings in the Bible, because they were not Egyptians, and did not bear Egyptian names. The Shepherd kings, it must be remarked, adopted Egyptian names, and therefore some of the earlier sovereigns called Pharaohs in the Bible may be conjectured to have been Shepherds notwithstanding that they bear this title. (See SHISHAK); (See SO); (See ZERAH).
9. Pharaoh, the Opponent of Sennacherib. — It is not at all certain that the name used for so many centuries for the supreme ruler of Egypt was ever again correctly used by itself to designate a particular king of Egypt. The Pharaoh of whom we read in the reign of Hezekiah as the rival of the Assyrian Sennacherib (2 Kings 18:21; Isaiah 36:9), is, indeed, simply called Pharaoh, but this title is not given him by the sacred historian, but by the Assyrian general Rabshakeh. Pharaoh is still, indeed, used as the generic title of Egyptian rovalty (Isaiah 19:11), when no individlual king is intended, but when particular kings are meant the Scriptures join to Pharaoh a second title, as PharaohNecho, Pharaoh-Hophra. This may have been Josephus's reason for his statement (Ant. 8:6, 2) that after the father- in-law of Solomon no king of Egypt used this name. The Jewish historian was too well acquainted with Scripture not to have known of the title in connection with a second name, and he therefore meant probably that it was never again used by itself as the title of Egyptian royalty. The king of whom we are now speaking reigned in the fourteenth year of Hezekiah, i.e., about B.C. 713, and was the contemporary of Tirhakah king of Ethiopia, and of Sennacherib king of Assyria. This latter synchronism depends, however, on the correctness of the present Hebrew text, which some suppose to have been corrupted, and that it was Sargon and not Sennacherib who invaded Judaea in the fourteenth vear of IHezekiah (Journ. of Sacr. Lit. October 1858; January 1863). The comparison of Pharaoh in the above passages to a broken reed is remarkable, as the common hieroglyphics for" king," restricted to Egyptian sovereigns, Su- ten, strictly a title of the ruler of Upper Egypt, commence with a bent reed, which is an ideographic symbolical sign proper to this word, and is sometimes used alone without any phonetic complement. This Pharaoh can only be the Sethos whom Herodotus mentions as the opponent of Sennacherib, and who may reasonably be supposed to be the Zet of Manetho, the last king of his twenty-third dynasty. Tirhakah, as an Ethiopian, whether then ruling in Egypt or not, is, like So, apparently not called Pharaoh. (See TIRHAKAH).
10. Pharaoh-Necho. — He was king of Egypt during the reigns of Josiah, Jehoahaz, and Jehoiakim, kings of Judah (2 Kings 23:29-34). We do not read of him in Scripture until the last year of Josiah's reign, B.C. 609. How long before this he may have been king of Egypt the. Bible gives us no help in ascertaining. It mentions him as still reigning in the fourth year of king Jehoiakim, i.e., B.C. 606 (Jeremiah 46:2), and from 2 Kings 24:7 it seems probable that he continued to reign for a considerable time after this. In the Bible his name is written Nek6,נְכוֹ, and נְכֹה , and in hieroglyphics Neku. This king was of the Saitic twenty-sixth dynasty, of which Manetho makes him either the fifth ruler (Africanus) or the sixth (Eusebius). Herodotus calls him Nekos, and assigns to him a reign of sixteen years, which is confirmed by the monuments. According to this historian, he was the son of Psammetichus I; this the monuments do not corroborate. Dr. Brugsch says that he married Nit-Akert, Nitocris, daughter of Psammetichus I and queen Shepuntepet, who appears, like her mother, to have been the heiress of an Egyptian royal line, and supposes that he was the son of Psammetichus by another wife (see Hist. d'Egypte, page 252; comp. 248). If he married Nitocris, he may have been called by Herodotus by mistake the son of Psammetichus.
The father of Necho had already distinguished himself by the siege and capture from the Assyrians of the strong town of Ashdod, which had been taken from the Egyptians in the reign of Sargon (Herod. 2:157; Isaiah 20:1). In the decline of the Assyrian empire Egypt ventured once more beyond her eastern confines, and indulged in the hope of universal domination, Necho in the commencement of his reign prepared to carry out to completion his father's ambitious designs, and it was in this endeavor that he came into contact with the kingdom of Judah, and so finds a place in Scripture history. Claiming an oracle from the true God, he advanced an Egyptian army against the town of
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McClintock, John. Strong, James. Entry for 'Pharaoh'. Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature. https://www.studylight.org/encyclopedias/eng/tce/p/pharaoh.html. Harper & Brothers. New York. 1870.