The Other McCain

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Pharaoh Amenhotep II and the Exodus: Vindicating the Bible as Israel’s History

Posted on | December 10, 2023 | Comments Off on Pharaoh Amenhotep II and the Exodus: Vindicating the Bible as Israel’s History

Pharaoh Amenhotep II

Since the October 7 terrorist attacks by Hamas, there has been a chorus of anti-Israel rhetoric portraying the Jews as “colonizers.” This rhetoric seeks to undermine the legitimacy of Israel’s historic claim to the land which, as the Bible says, God promised to the descendants of Abraham as a covenant (Genesis 12:1-3). As every child used to know — back in the day when church attendance and Bible study were near-universal experiences — it took hundreds of years for this promise to be fulfilled. Abraham was the father of Isaac, who was the father of Jacob, whose sons conspired to sell their brother Joseph into slavery (Genesis 37:23-36). Joseph became a servant in Egypt, rising to high office, and eventually his entire family joined him there (Genesis 46). There are scholars who have devoted themselves to researching this era, and who believe Joseph’s slavery in Egypt began around 1,900 BC, during the 12th Dynasty.

Originally, the Hebrews were treated well in Egypt, because of the memory of Joseph’s valuable service to Pharaoh, but Exodus begins with the story of how a later Pharaoh subjected them to “hard bondage”:

“And Joseph died, and all his brethren, and all that generation. And the children of Israel were fruitful, and increased abundantly, and multiplied, and waxed exceeding mighty; and the land was filled with them. Now there arose up a new king over Egypt, which knew not Joseph. And he said unto his people, Behold, the people of the children of Israel are more and mightier than we: Come on, let us deal wisely with them; lest they multiply, and it come to pass, that, when there falleth out any war, they join also unto our enemies, and fight against us, and so get them up out of the land. Therefore they did set over them taskmasters to afflict them with their burdens. And they built for Pharaoh treasure cities, Pithom and Raamses. But the more they afflicted them, the more they multiplied and grew. And they were grieved because of the children of Israel. And the Egyptians made the children of Israel to serve with rigour: And they made their lives bitter with hard bondage, in morter, and in brick, and in all manner of service in the field: all their service, wherein they made them serve, was with rigour.”
Exodus 1:6-14 (KJV)

This “fruitful” multiplication of the Israelites was such that, by the time of the Exodus, they had more than 600,000 men age 20 or older, which suggests a total population of around 2 million. This is in keeping with God’s promise to Abraham that he would make his descendants “a great nation.” Of course, God didn’t tell Abraham how this would happen, or that it would involve centuries of servitude in Egypt.

Now we turn to the account of how Pharaoh sought to kill all the baby sons of the Hebrews (Exodus 1:15-22) and how Pharaoh’s daughter took Moses from the river and raised him as a royal prince (Exodus 2:1-10).

As I say, scholars have devoted themselves to studying this as history, and have identified the daughter of Pharaoh who saved Moses as none other than Hatshepsut, whose father was Thutmose I. Hatshepsut’s husband was Thutmose II, and she reigned as Pharaoh herself — only the second known queen to rule Egypt, as regent for her son Thutmose III — during the 22 years from the death of her husband until she died.

This is where the research becomes an amazing verification of the Bible. Moses was 40 years old when he fled from Egypt, fearing the Pharaoh’s wrath (Exodus 2:15). This Pharaoh would have been Thutmose III, the son of Hatshepsut, and the flight of Moses would have been about 1486 BC, a few years before Hatshepsut’s death. Moses remained in Midian until after Pharaoh died (Exodus 2:23), and Thutmose III died in 1450 BC. Then comes the “burning bush” episode: “And the Lord said unto Moses in Midian, Go, return into Egypt: for all the men are dead which sought thy life” (Exodus 4:19). This would have been near the start of the reign of Amenhotep II. Skip forward to the tenth plague, where God sends the angel of death to kill all the first-born of the Egyptians, and note this fact: Pharaoh himself doesn’t die.

Guess what? Amenhotep II was not the first-born son of Thutmose III. He had an older half-brother, Amenemhet, who died sometime early in the reign of Thutmose III. And something else: Amenhotep II’s successor as Pharaoh was not his first-born son, either. Amenhotep II’s successor, Thutmose IV, was not the original heir to the throne, thus indicating the death of his older brother. And so all these facts line up to support the biblical narrative: The long reign of Thutmose III, during which Moses was exiled in Midian, the fact that Amenhotep II was not his father’s first-born son, and the succession by another Pharaoh who wasn’t Amenhotep II’s first-born son. These are not the only facts discovered by researchers that vindicate the Bible as a true history of the Exodus, an event which scholars believe can be dated precisely to April 1446 B.C.

You know what’s most interesting about this? The research I’ve cited wasn’t done by Israelis trying to defend their claim to the Holy Land, but rather by fundamentalist Christians whose goal is to establish, from historical evidence, the Bible as literal truth. Do you think this is merely coincidence? Do you suppose that the advancement of historical research and archaeology by Christian scholars was just something that happened to approach an apex of certainty — dating the Exodus so precisely, based upon records of ancient Egyptian dynasties — at approximately the same time that most of the world has turned against Israel’s right to exist? Or do you, like me, see this confluence of events as providential?


You should watch Joel Kramer’s video about the Pharaoh of Exodus — he even shows you the mummy of Amenhotep II! — and also read Joel’s book, Where God Came Down: The Archaeological Evidence.



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