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THAN ONE MOSES? by Stephen Rosenberg (J.C. 8.12.2000)
II was not the Pharaoh of the Exodus, as is commonly and
erroneously supposed. The Exodus took place in the reign
of his son, Merneptah, in the first year of his reign, when
a general amnesty was proclaimed as was customary, which
allowed Moses to return to Egypt from his exile.
is no difficulty in reconciling the biblical narrative with
historical dates: "Now there arose up a new king over
Egypt, which knew not Joseph" (Ex. Chapter I:8). That
refers to Rameses I, the nationalist king who started the
19th Dynasty and who imposed the harsh labour regime on
the Israelites. "And it came to pass in the course
of those many days, that the king of Egypt died" (Ex.
Chapter II:23). That refers to the death of Rameses II after
his extraordinarily long reign.
Exodus took place in 1236 BCE and can be said to be 430
years from when the migrant labour of Canaanites and Israelites
came to Egypt in 1666 BCE. In 1659 the Hyksos rulers invaded
and in 1550 they were driven out. These events refer only
to their rulers the labourers stayed on.
repeated encounters between Moses and Merneptah shows that
the new pharoah had a sympathetic ear to Moses demands
to "let my people go" but was overuled by the
powerful priesthood. The young king told Moses on departing
to bless him also, Ex. XII: 32. The Egyptian army chased
the fleeing Israelites when it was realised the amount of
looting that took place.
far as Jericho is concerned that was another place and another
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