Was the Pharaoh during the Israelite Enslavement and Deliverance a Native Egyptian?
by Robert Randle 10/16/2009 / Bible Studies
Exodus 1: 5-10
All those who were descendants of Jacob were seventy-five persons (for Joseph was in Egypt already). And Joseph died; all his brothers, and all that generation. But the children of Israel were fruitful and increased abundantly, multiplied and became very numerous; and the land was filled with them. Now there arose a new king over Egypt, who did not know Joseph. And he said to his people, "Look, the people of the children are more mightier than we; "come, let us deal shrewdly with them, lest they multiply, and it happen, in the event of war, that they also join our enemy and fight against us, and go up out of the land."
NOTE: There are several things worth consideration in this early narrative, namely the placement of this part. Of the 75 people among Israel's descendants who settled down in Egypt, Joseph, his brothers and all that generation died, so how could the remaining number become so abundant in such a short period of time where the land was filled with them? Also, why is it that this new king did not know about Joseph, who was a Governor over Egypt under the previous Pharaoh and there were doubtless archival records of his accomplishments as well as among the memories of the people. It is interesting that the new ruler mentioned that these descendants of Israel ("Hebrews") are mightier than he and his people and yet they were able to be made subservient slaves; so the question is again, how could this be? Is it possible that this is an invading army from a foreign nation who came into the country [Upper or Lower Egypt] whose leader became the king of Egypt in this region? Did the numbers of Israelites pose a national security risk by possibly siding with an enemy and tipping the balance-of-power in another direction and to then depart from the land? This new king of Egypt was concerned about the children of Israel multiplying but it seems that they were already experiencing an unnatural exponential growth that cannot be explained outside of divine intervention.
Therefore they [who are they?] set taskmasters over them to afflict them with their burdens. And they built for Pharaoh supply cities, Pithom and Ramses. But the more they afflicted them, the more they multiplied and grew. And they were in dread (fear) of the children of Israel. So the Egyptians made the children serve with rigor. And they made their lives bitter with hard bondage- in mortar, in brick, and in all manner of service in the field. All their service in which they made them serve was with rigor.
NOTE: How could the Israelites have built the storage city of Rameses when it says in Genesis 47: 5-6a, 11: Then Pharaoh spoke to Joseph, saying, "Your father and your brothers have come to you. "The land of Egypt is before you. Have your father and brothers dwell in the best of the land; let them dwell in the land of Goshen." And Joseph situated his father and his brothers, and gave them a possession in the land of Egypt, in the best of the land, in the land of Rameses, as Pharaoh had commanded.
2: 15b-19; 3: 1
But Moses fled from the face of Pharaoh (Cp. 2; 23A; 4: 19) and dwelt in the land of Midian; and he sat down by the well. Now the priest of Midian had seven daughters. And they came and drew water, and they filling the troughs to water their father's flock. Then the shepherds came and drove them away; but Moses stood up and helped them, and watered their flock. When they came to Reuel their father, he said, "How is it that you have come so soon today?" And they said, "An Egyptian delivered us from the hand of the shepherds, and he also drew enough water for us and watered the flock." Now Moses was tending the flock of Jethro his father-in-law, the priest of Midian. And he led the flock to the back of the desert, and came to Horeb, the mountain of God.
NOTE: Why is it that Moses was called an Egyptian? The seven daughters of Reuel/Jethro came to 'draw water' and Moses' name means "drawn out of the water."
Reu[El] was most likely a worshipper of the True God by virtue of his name and lived in the vicinity of the Mountain of God (Horeb). This does not mean that he was necessarily a monotheist.
2: 23a, 24a
Now it happened in the process of time that the king of Egypt died. Then the children groaned because of the bondage, and they cried out; and their cry came up to God because of their bondage. So God heard their groaning. . .
NOTE: Since the ruler of Egypt who did not know about the deeds of Joseph and through cunning, enslaved the children of Israel; now that he is dead, why are the Israelites still oppressed. Did his heir or successor continue his policy of oppression and subjugation of the Hebrews?
The Angel of the LORD says to Moses in 3: 7, 9-10
And the LORD said, "I have surely seen the oppression of My people who are in Egypt, and have heard their cry because of their taskmasters; for I know their sorrow (pain)." "Now therefore, behold, the cry of the children of Israel has come to Me, and I have also seen the oppression with which the Egyptians oppress them. "Come now, therefore, and I will send you to Pharaoh that you may bring My people, the children of Israel out of Egypt."
3: 13-14; 5: 1-2
Then Moses said to God, "Indeed, when I come to the children of Israel and say to them, 'The God of your fathers has sent me to you,' and they say to me, 'What is His Name?' what shall I say to them?" And God said to Moses, "I AM WHO I AM." And He said, "Thus you shall say to the children of Israel, 'I AM has sent me to you.' " Afterward Moses and Aaron went in and told Pharaoh, "Thus says the LORD God of Israel: 'Let My people go, that they may keep a pilgrim-feast to Me in the wilderness.' " And Pharaoh said, "Who is the LORD, that I should obey His voice to let Israel go? I do not know the LORD, nor will I let Israel go."
NOTE: One of the things that might have gone unnoticed, and which is quite significant in the entire history of the children of Israel's 400 years of Egyptian servitude is whether this King/Pharaoh of Egypt was a "foreigner" and therefore, it is understandable that God's Name was unknown to him. Also, unless the pharaoh live a long time, the 400 year span would have included several kings or Pharaoh's of Egypt [the Land].
According to James Bonwick, in his book "Egyptian Belief and Modern Thought," (p. 395) as well as Godfrey Higgins in his monumental work, "Anacalypsis, vol. II p. 17," state that the ancient Egyptians had a Name for God which was 'Nuk-Pa-Nuk' [translated as, "I AM WHO I AM"]. Among those supporting this position are Clement of Alexandria in his work called "Stromatis," T.W. Doane in his book "Bible Myths and Parallels in Other Religions," and Professor Renouf in "Religion of Ancient Egypt," (p. 99). It seems after the abundance of research that the sacred acronym or 'Tetragrammaton (YHWH, JHVH) are borrowed from the Egyptian "I-ha-h" or "I-ha-hou" or "Y-ha-Ho" where the transliterated Divine Names Yahweh [Egyptian "Ioa"] and Jehovah are formulated. Not only that, but the divine Name or title Jehovah is the Egyptian "Huhi" from which comes the name "Ihuh." Since the latter 'J' was not added to the English alphabet [there is no equivalent in Hebrew] until the 17th century, the Hebrew consonants representing the 'Tetragrammaton' was originally, at least, corresponded to IHUH; and then later JHUH, from which we get JEHOVAH. It is strange that the word used as a substitute for the ineffable and unpronounceable sacred Name is "Adonai" (Lord), which is taken from the Phoenician or Greek god "Adonis."