Artist's rendering of Moses and Aaron before Pharaoh
|Title||King of Egypt|
|Died||2447, or later|
After the much kinder Pharaoh of the Book of Genesis died, a new king came to power in Egypt at the beginning of the Book of Exodus. The Pharaoh of Exodus did not know about Joseph or his good deeds. Instead he treated the Israelites that were Joseph's people like slaves. So thus the Jews were kept in slavery for many years. Because of a rumor floating around about a deliverer who would free the Jews, this pharaoh ordered all male Jewish babies be killed.
Pharaoh Menkaure has been identified as the Pharaoh who ruled during the Exodus for the following reasons:
- Deposits which have cattle bone that match the first Passover meal have also seals with the inscription of Menkaure's name.
- Menkaure's pyramid was initially constructed using massive blocks of limestone, but finished using mudbrick. This would have happened if slaves who had initially built using limestone left the country.
- Herodotus mentions that after the reign of Menkaure money was scarce. Exodus 12 records that the Egyptians gave Israelites gold and silver as they left Egypt.
- There are no boat pits at Menkaure's pyramid. There was a funeral procession where the body of the dead Pharaoh would be brought by boat to its final resting place. Since the Pharaoh who ruled during the Exodus drowned in the sea while pursuing the Israelites, there was no funeral procession for Menkaure.
A son born to an Israelite family was set adrift in a basket to be saved from Pharaoh's decree. Pharaoh's daughter Bithiah was bathing in the river when she found the child. The princess felt sorry for the baby So Bithiah brought the baby back to the palace. She called the baby Moses and raised him in the palace. Moses grew up as the brother to the next pharaoh. at adulthood Moses had to flee because Moses killed a guard an Egyptian who was beating a Hebrew. In the end the old pharaoh died and his son (Moses' foster brother) became king.
Forty years later G-d called Moses. Moses went back to the palace. The new pharaoh was with his wife and child sitting on the throne. Moses kept telling Pharaoh that G-d wanted Pharaoh to let the Hebrews go. Pharaoh refused. G-d sent ten plagues to Egypt: First blood, then Frogs, Lice, Wild Beasts, Domesticated animal plague, Boils, Meteorites of Ice and Fire, Dark Fog, and the last plague was the Death of a Firstborn. That night G-d himself killed every Egyptian firstborn. Pharaoh's own child died too. Finally, Pharaoh let them go.
The Pharaoh of the Exodus was not ready to give up yet. He had his army follow the Hebrews. Cornered, Moses stretched his hand over the red sea and the sea parted making a path. The Hebrews followed Moses and so did Pharaoh, but Moses stretched his hand and the water poured down on Pharaoh his army and horses. Pharaoh drowned with his army leaving Moses and the Hebrews safe. But a Midrash states that Pharaoh actually lived, and became a wandering storyteller.
Interestingly, while the Torah treats names of people and places as important, the Pharaoh at the time of the exodus from Egypt is never named. The omission of his name is significant. While even the midwives are named and remembered for their work in not killing babies on the Pharaoh's command, the Pharaoh is an anonymous figure.
Not much is known about the Pharaoh's life. The Exodus tells us The old Pharaoh had a daughter (Bithia) and a son with a name unknown. Some scholars believe he is Ramesses II.