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Was Amenhotep II the Biblical Pharoah of the Exodus?
The dream of Thutmosis IV preserved on a stone slab strengthens the case.

Dr. David Livingston makes a rather interesting argument that Amenhotep II was the Pharoah of Egypt referenced by the Biblical accounts of the Exodus as the result of the inscription on a stone slab relating the dream of Thutmosis IV his son. In his on-line article "Between the Paws of the Sphinx", Dr. Livingston tells how the stone slab reports that "Thutmosis had been strenuously driving his chariot over the desert. After awhile, he lay down in the shadow of the Sphinx' head, all that was visible above the sand. While sleeping, the Sphinx came to him in a dream and assured the future Pharaoh that if he cleared the sands away, the Sphinx would, in turn, make Thutmosis the next ruler. Thutmosis did so and, sure enough, he became next Pharaoh!"

The existence of the story of this dream on the stone slab reveals a couple of interesting things. First, it shows that Thutmosis' right to the throne was apparently shaky. According to Dr. Livingston's article:

Thutmosis' right to the throne apparently was shaky. Why? For one thing, the study of ancient records shows that his mother was not the "Great Queen" of Amenhotep II. Rather, she was a lesser wife. Inscriptions written during Thutmosis' reign are few. From them scholars believe his short reign of 9 years was tenuous the whole time. Thus, he may have enlisted the priestly order of the Sphinx-cult to back him.

Second, and equally importantly, it shows that Thutmosis came to the throne not by the usual right of succession as the eldest son of the Pharoah. "William C Hayes, eminent Egyptologist says, 'This fanciful tale . . . suggests that Thutmosis IV was not his father's heir apparent, but had obtained the throne through an unforeseen turn of fate, such as the premature death of an elder brother' (italics omitted)(Cambridge Ancient History, fasc. 10; 1962: II.)."

Dr. Livingston goes on to make the case that the story on the stone slab strengthens the evidence that Amenhotep II, a strong builder king whose reign ended abruptly and without much explanation as to why, is a strong candidate for the Pharoah of the Exodus. It really is an interesting read if you are interested in this sort of history.

7 comments:

When did Amenhotep reign?

1 Kings 6 says ' In the four hundred and eightieth year after the Israelites had come out of Egypt, in the fourth year of Solomon's reign over Israel, in the month of Ziv, the second month, he began to build the temple of the LORD .

If the Temple was built about 950 BC, when did the Exodus happen?

We don't know precisely when the Exodus occurred. According to the essay: "The startling fact is that the 9th year of Amenhotep II was ca. 1440 BC (Ancient Near Eastern Texts, p. 245, n.l; p.247, n.53.7). And the Bible records that the DATE OF THE EXODUS WAS ALSO ca. 1440 BC! (I Kings 6:9.)" I know that David Rohl has placed the date of the Exodus about 600 years before that.

David Rohl places the date of the Exodus during the reign of Pharaoh Dudimose of the 13th Dynasty (accesion to the throne 1457-1444). According to Manetho at this time "a blast from God smote the Egyptians".

Arguing that Amenhotep II is the pharaoh of the Exodus because his son Thuthmose IV was not his firstborn... is not a strong enough case.

For example, Amenhotep IV, better known as Akhenaten also succeeded his father Amenhotep III (Nebmaatre) to the throne because his elder brother Thutmose died young.

The same thing can be said for other rulers, such as Sety I's first born son who also died prematurely and Ramses II, a younger son of his succeeded him to the throne... The same goes for Ramses II's successor, Merenptah, who was by no means his first born.
... and so on...

Elo, if you're still around, it appears that you are more up to speed on Rohl's work than I am. Please clarify the comment by/about Manetho, if you would. Where did it come from? Is someone trying to make the case that it references the Exodus?

BTW, I agree that this, taken alone, is insufficient to be prove the case of the Exodus. I haven't read the article in awhile and don't recall what else it may have said (if anything) to stregthen the case or what other facts exist that weren't mentioned that may stengthen the case.

The quote supposedly comes from the work titled Aegyptiaca, written by Manetho, in three books... though nothing remains of this work.

We only know of Manetho's work through references to his writings in the books of Africanus, Josephus and others, themselves being very ancient writers as well.

A bit of explanation here:
http://www.ancient-egypt.org/index.html

I do not agree or disagree whether the Exodus happened during the reign of Dudimose of the 13th Dynasty. Like many other researchers, I'm just trying to figure out what really happened and when, though that will be a bit difficult because the original events have been much too distorted over the ages.

Furthermore, the Egyptians had the custom of imitating ancient great rulers, and some newer dynasties are a bit of a duplicate of ancient dynasties. I can't help find similarities between the people of the 12th and 18th dynasty for example... though the 18th dynasty as we call it has a wider scope both in parallel dynasties and in time and location than it is usually assumed.

Thank you for your comments and insight. Please drop by often.

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