About The "Pharaohs Of The Bible" Study Tool
The information contained in this "Pharaohs Of The Bible" study tool is extracted from two different versions of Easton's Bible Dictionary, which is now in the public domain. This list may not show all of the Pharaohs mentioned in the Bible, and I have not verified the accuracy of the verse references. Please also note that due to the thousands of years which have passed since that time, as well as a lack of clear records, some of the information below may be a bit contradictory, and is subject to debate within scholarly circles.
Pharaohs Of The Bible :
"Pharaoh" is properly an Egyptian word adopted into the
Hebrew, and signifies "king"; so that when we find this
name, it means everywhere "the king". Thus, also, Pharaoh
Hophra is simply King Hophra.
"Pharaoh" was the official title borne by the Egyptian kings
down to the time when that country was conquered by the
The name is a compound, as some think, of the words "Ra",
the "sun" or "sun-god", and the article "phe", "the,"
prefixed; hence "phera", "the sun", or "the sun-god". But
others, perhaps more correctly, think the name derived from
"Perao", "the great house" his majesty in Turkish, "the
Of the kings of Egypt, there are not less than twelve or
thirteen mentioned in Scripture, all of whom bore the
general title of Pharaoh, except four. Along with this
title, two of them have also other proper names, Necho and
Hophra. The following is their order. Some of them have been
identified, by the labors of Champollion and others, with
kings whose proper names we know from other sources, while
others still remain in obscurity. Indeed, so brief, obscure,
and conflicting are the details of Egyptian history and
ancient chronology, which no name before that of Shishak can
be regarded as identified beyond dispute.
- 1. The Pharaoh who was on the throne when Abraham went down
into Egypt -- Genesis 12:10-20 -- was probably one of the
Hyksos, or "shepherd kings" -- B.C. 1920.
Note : The other version of the dictionary states that this
Pharaoh was probably a king of the Theban dynasty.
The Egyptians called the nomad tribes of Syria Shasu,
"plunderers," their king or chief Hyk, and hence the name of
those invaders who conquered the native kings and
established a strong government, with Zoan or Tanis as their
capital. They were of Semitic origin, and of kindred blood
accordingly with Abram. They were probably driven forward by
the pressure of the Hittites. The name they bear on the
monuments is "Mentiu".
- 2. Pharaoh, the master of Joseph -- Genesis 37:36, 39:1-23,
Acts 7:10, 13 -- B. C. 1728. Some suppose that the Pharaoh
to whom Joseph became Prime Minister was the son of the one
mentioned in Genesis 37:36.
Note : The other version of Easton's Bible Dictionary may be
referring to this son of the pharoah when it states :
The Pharaoh of Joseph's days -- Genesis 41:1 -- was probably
Apopi, or Apopis, the last of the Hyksos kings. To the old
native Egyptians, who were an African race, shepherds were
"an abomination"; but to the Hyksos kings these Asiatic
shepherds who now appeared with Jacob at their head were
congenial, and being akin to their own race, had a warm
welcome -- Genesis 47:5-6. Some argue that Joseph came to
Egypt in the reign of Thothmes III., long after the
expulsion of the Hyksos, and that his influence is to be
seen in the rise and progress of the religious revolution in
the direction of monotheism which characterized the middle
of the Eighteenth Dynasty. The wife of Amenophis III., of
that dynasty, was a Semite. Is this singular fact to be
explained from the presence of some of Joseph's kindred at
the Egyptian court? Pharaoh said to Joseph, "Thy father and
thy brethren are come unto thee: the land of Egypt is before
thee; in the best of the land make thy father and brethren
to dwell." Genesis 47:5-6.
- 3. Pharaoh, who knew not Joseph, and under whom Moses was
born -- B. C. 1571 -- Exodus 1:8, Acts 7:18, Hebrews 11:23.
Very probably there was another Pharaoh reigning at the time
when Moses fled into Midian, and who died before Moses at
the age of eighty, returned from Midian into Egypt - Exodus
2:11-23, 4:19, Acts 7:23.
Note : The other version of Easton's Bible Dictionary states
the following concerning the Pharaoh who knew not Joseph :
The "new king who knew not Joseph" -- Exodus 1:8-22 -- has
been generally supposed to have been Aahmes I., or Amosis,
as he is called by Josephus. Recent discoveries, however,
have led to the conclusion that Seti was the "new king". For
about seventy years the Hebrews in Egypt were under the
powerful protection of Joseph. After his death their
condition was probably very slowly and gradually changed.
The invaders, the Hyksos, who for some five centuries had
been masters of Egypt, were driven out, and the old dynasty
restored. The Israelites now began to be looked down upon.
They began to be afflicted and tyrannized over.
In process of time a change appears to have taken place in
the government of Egypt. A new dynasty, the Nineteenth, as
it is called, came into power under Seti I., who was its
founder. He associated with him in his government his son,
Rameses II., when he was yet young, probably ten or twelve
years of age.
Note, Professor Maspero, keeper of the museum of Bulak, near
Cairo, had his attention in 1870 directed to the fact that
scarabs, i.e., stone and metal imitations of the beetle,
(symbols of immortality), originally worn as amulets by
royal personages, which were evidently genuine relics of the
time of the ancient Pharaohs, were being sold at Thebes and
different places along the Nile. This led him to suspect
that some hitherto undiscovered burial-place of the Pharaohs
had been opened, and that these and other relics, now
secretly sold, were a part of the treasure found there.
For a long time he failed, with all his ingenuity, to find
the source of these rare treasures. At length one of those
in the secret volunteered to give information regarding this
burial-place. The result was that a party was conducted in
1881 to Dier el-Bahari, near Thebes, when the wonderful
discovery was made of thirty-six mummies of kings, queens,
princes, and high priests hidden away in a cavern prepared
for them, where they had lain undisturbed for thirty
"The temple of Deir el-Bahari stands in the middle of a
natural amphitheatre of cliffs, which is only one of a
number of smaller amphitheatres into which the limestone
mountains of the tombs are broken up. In the wall of rock
separating this basin from the one next to it some ancient
Egyptian engineers had constructed the hiding-place, whose
secret had been kept for nearly three thousand years." The
exploring party being guided to the place, found behind a
great rock a shaft 6 feet square and about 40 feet deep,
sunk into the limestone. At the bottom of this a passage led
westward for 25 feet, and then turned sharply northward into
the very heart of the mountain, where in a chamber 23 feet
by 13 and 6 feet in height, they came upon the wonderful
treasures of antiquity. The mummies were all carefully
secured and brought down to Bulak, where they were deposited
in the royal museum, which has now been removed to Ghizeh.
Among the most notable of the ancient kings of Egypt thus
discovered were Thothmes III., Seti I., and Rameses II.
Thothmes III. was the most distinguished monarch of the
brilliant Eighteenth Dynasty. When this mummy was unwound
"once more, after an interval of thirty-six centuries, human
eyes gazed on the features of the man who had conquered
Syria and Cyprus and Ethiopia, and had raised Egypt to the
highest pinnacle of her power. The spectacle, however, was
of brief duration. The remains proved to be in so fragile a
state that there was only time to take a hasty photograph,
and then the features crumbled to pieces and vanished like
an apparition, and so passed away from human view for ever."
"It seems strange that though the body of this man," who
overran Palestine with his armies two hundred years before
the birth of Moses, "mouldered to dust, the flowers with
which it had been wreathed were so wonderfully preserved
that even their colour could be distinguished" (Manning's
Land of the Pharaohs).
Seti I. (his throne name Merenptah), the father of Rameses
II., was a great and successful warrior, also a great
builder. The mummy of this Pharaoh, when unrolled, brought
to view "the most beautiful mummy head ever seen within the
walls of the museum. The sculptors of Thebes and Abydos did
not flatter this Pharaoh when they gave him that delicate,
sweet, and smiling profile which is the admiration of
travellers. After a lapse of thirty-two centuries, the mummy
retains the same expression which characterized the features
of the living man. Most remarkable of all, when compared
with the mummy of Rameses II., is the striking resemblance
between the father and the son. Seti I. is, as it were, the
idealized type of Rameses II. He must have died at an
advanced age. The head is shaven, the eyebrows are white,
the condition of the body points to considerably more than
threescore years of life, thus confirming the opinions of
the learned, who have attributed a long reign to this king."
- 4. Rameses II., the son of Seti I., is probably the Pharaoh
of the Oppression. During his forty years' residence at the
court of Egypt, Moses must have known this ruler well.
During his sojourn in Midian, however, Rameses died, after a
reign of sixty-seven years, and his body embalmed and laid
in the royal sepulchre in the Valley of the Tombs of Kings
beside that of his father. Like the other mummies found
hidden in the cave of Deir el-Bahari, it had been for some
reason removed from its original tomb, and probably carried
from place to place till finally deposited in the cave where
it was so recently discovered.
In 1886 the mummy of this king, the "great Rameses", the
"Sesostris" of the Greeks, was unwound, and showed the body
of what must have been a robust old man. The features
revealed to view are thus described by Maspero:
"The head is long and small in proportion to the body. The
top of the skull is quite bare. On the temple there are a
few sparse hairs, but at the poll the hair is quite thick,
forming smooth, straight locks about two inches in length.
White at the time of death, they have been dyed a light
yellow by the spices used in embalmment. The forehead is low
and narrow; the brow-ridge prominent; the eye-brows are
thick and white; the eyes are small and close together; the
nose is long, thin, arched like the noses of the Bourbons;
the temples are sunk; the cheek-bones very prominent; the
ears round, standing far out from the head, and pierced,
like those of a woman, for the wearing of earrings; the
jaw-bone is massive and strong; the chin very prominent; the
mouth small, but thick-lipped; the teeth worn and very
brittle, but white and well preserved. The moustache and
beard are thin. They seem to have been kept shaven during
life, but were probably allowed to grow during the king's
last illness, or they may have grown after death. The hairs
are white, like those of the head and eyebrows, but are
harsh and bristly, and a tenth of an inch in length. The
skin is of an earthy-brown, streaked with black. Finally, it
may be said, the face of the mummy gives a fair idea of the
face of the living king. The expression is unintellectual,
perhaps slightly animal; but even under the somewhat
grotesque disguise of mummification there is plainly to be
seen an air of sovereign majesty, of resolve, and of pride."
Both on his father's and his mother's side it has been
pretty clearly shown that Rameses had Chaldean or
Mesopotamian blood in his veins to such a degree that he
might be called an Assyrian. This fact is thought to throw
light on Isaiah 52:4.
- 5. Pharaoh, under whom the Israelites left Egypt, and who
perished in the Red Sea -- Exodus 5:1-14:31, 2 Kings 17:7,
Nehemiah 9:10, Psalm 135:9, 136:13, Romans 9:17, Hebrews
11:27 -- B. C. 1491.
The Pharaoh of the Exodus was probably Menephtah I., the
fourteenth and eldest surviving son of Rameses II. He
resided at Zoan, where he had the various interviews with
Moses and Aaron recorded in the book of Exodus. His mummy
was not among those found at Deir el-Bahari. It is still a
question, however, whether Seti II. or his father Menephtah
was the Pharaoh of the Exodus. Some think the balance of
evidence to be in favour of the former, whose reign it is
known began peacefully, but came to a sudden and disastrous
The "Harris papyrus," found at Medinet-Abou in Upper Egypt
in 1856, a state document written by Rameses III., the
second king of the Twentieth Dynasty, gives at length an
account of a great exodus from Egypt, followed by
wide-spread confusion and anarchy. This, there is great
reason to believe, was the Hebrew exodus, with which the
Nineteenth Dynasty of the Pharaohs came to an end. This
period of anarchy was brought to a close by Setnekht, the
founder of the Twentieth Dynasty.
"In the spring of 1896, Professor Flinders Petrie
discovered, among the ruins of the temple of Menephtah at
Thebes, a large granite stela, on which is engraved a hymn
of victory commemorating the defeat of Libyan invaders who
had overrun the Delta. At the end, other victories of
Menephtah are glanced at, and it is said that "the
Israelites (I-s-y-r-a-e-l-u) are minished so that they have
Menephtah was son and successor of Rameses II., the builder
of Pithom, and Egyptian scholars have long seen in him the
Pharaoh of the Exodus. The Exodus is also placed in his
reign by the Egyptian legend of the event preserved by the
historian Manetho. In the inscription, the name of the
Israelites has no determinative of 'country' or 'district'
attached to it, as is the case with all the other names,
(Canaan, Ashkelon, Gezer, Khar or Southern Palestine, etc.),
mentioned along with it, and it would therefore appear that
at the time the hymn was composed, the Israelites had
already been lost to the sight of the Egyptians in the
desert. At all events they must have had as yet no fixed
home or district of their own. We may therefore see in the
reference to them the Pharaoh's version of the Exodus, the
disasters which befell the Egyptians being naturally passed
over in silence, and only the destruction of the 'men
children' of the Israelites being recorded. The statement of
the Egyptian poet is a remarkable parallel to Exodus
- 6. Pharaoh in the time of David -- 1 Kings 11:18-22 -- B. C.
- 7. Pharaoh, the father-in-law of Solomon -- 1 Kings 3:1,
7:8, 9:16, 24 -- B. C. 1010.
- 8. Shishak, near the end of Solomon's reign, and under
Solomon's son Rehoboam -- B. C. 975 -- 1 Kings 11:18-22, 40,
14:25, 2 Chronicles 12:2. From this time onward, the proper
name of the Egyptian kings are mentioned in Scripture.
Easton's Bible Dictionary additionally states concerning
Sheshonk I., king of Egypt. His reign was one of great
national success, and a record of his wars and conquests
adorns the portico of what are called the "Bubastite kings"
at Karnak, the ancient Thebes. Among these conquests is a
record of that of Judea. In the fifth year of Rehoboam's
reign Shishak came up against the kingdom of Judah with a
powerful army. He took the fenced cities and came to
Jerusalem. He pillaged the treasures of the temple and of
the royal palace, and carried away the shields of gold which
Solomon had made -- 1 Kings 11:40, 1 Kings 14:25,
2 Chronicles 12:2.
This expedition of the Egyptian king was undertaken at the
instigation of Jeroboam for the purpose of humbling Judah.
Hostilities between the two kingdoms still continued; but
during Rehoboam's reign there was not again the intervention
of a third party.
- 9. The Pharaoh of 1 Chronicles 4:18, whose daughter Bithiah
was married to Mered.
- 10. Zerah, king of Egypt and Ethiopia in the time of Asa --
B. C. 930 -- called Osorchon by historians.
Easton's Bible Dictionary additionally states concerning Zerah :
An "Ethiopian", probably Osorkon II., the successor of
Shishak on the throne of Egypt. With an enormous army, the
largest we read of in Scripture, he invaded the kingdom of
Judah in the days of Asa - 2 Chronicles 14:9-15. He reached
Zephathah, and there encountered the army of Asa. This is
the only instance "in all the annals of Judah of a
victorious encounter in the field with a first-class heathen
power in full force." The Egyptian host was utterly routed,
and the Hebrews gathered "exceeding much spoil". Three
hundred years elapsed before another Egyptian army, that of
Necho, (B.C. 609), came up against Jerusalem.
- 11. So, or Sevechus, contemporary with Ahaz -- B. C. 730 --
2 Kings 17:4.
Easton's Bible Dictionary additionally states concerning So :
(Nubian, Sabako), an Ethiopian king who brought Egypt under
his sway. He was bribed by Hoshea to help him against the
Assyrian monarch Shalmaneser -- 2 Kings 17:4. This was a
return to the policy that had been successful in the reign
of Jeroboam I.
- 12. Tirhakah, king of Ethiopia and Egypt, in whom Hezekiah
put his trust in his war against Sennacherib -- B.C. 720 --
2 Kings 18:21, 19:9, Isaiah 37:9. The Tearcho of Strabo, and
the Taracles of Manetho.
Easton's Bible Dictionary additionally states concerning
The last king of Egypt of the Ethiopian, (the fifteenth),
dynasty. He was the brother-in-law of So (q.v.). He probably
ascended the throne about B.C. 692 having been previously
king of Ethiopia -- 2 Kings 19:9, Isaiah 37:9 -- which with
Egypt now formed one nation. He was a great warrior, and but
little is known of him. The Assyrian armies under
Esarhaddon, and again under Assur-bani-pal, invaded Egypt
and defeated Tirhakah, who afterwards retired into Ethiopia,
where he died, after reigning twenty-six years.
- 13. Necho, the Pharaoh by whom Josiah was defeated and slain
at Megiddo -- B. C. 612 -- 2 Kings 23:29-30, 2 Chronicles
Easton's Bible Dictionary additionally states concerning
Necho, or Necho II :
An Egyptian king, the son and successor of Psammetichus,
(B.C. 610), the contemporary of Josiah, king of Judah. For
some reason he proclaimed war against the king of Assyria.
He led forth a powerful army and marched northward, but was
met by the king of Judah at Megiddo, who refused him a
passage through his territory. Here a fierce battle was
fought and Josiah was slain -- 2 Chronicles 35:20-24.
Possibly, as some suppose, Necho may have brought his army
by sea to some port to the north of Dor (comp.) -- Joshua
11:2, 12:23 -- a Phoenician town at no great distance from
Megiddo. After this battle, Necho marched on to Carchemish
(q.v.), where he met and conquered the Assyrian army; and
thus all the Syrian provinces, including Palestine, came
under his dominion.
On his return march, he deposed Jehoahaz, who had succeeded
his father Josiah, and made Eliakim, Josiah's eldest son,
whose name he changed into Jehoiakim, king. Jehoahaz he
carried down into Egypt, where he died -- 2 Kings 23:31, 2
Chronicles 36:1-4. Four years after this conquest, Necho
again marched to the Euphrates; but here he was met and his
army routed by the Chaldeans, (B.C. 606), under
Nebuchadnezzar, who drove the Egyptians back, and took from
them all the territory they had conquered, from the
Euphrates unto the "river of Egypt" -- Jeremiah 46:2, 2
Kings 24:7,8. Soon after this, Necho died, and was succeeded
by his son, Psammetichus II.
- 14. Pharaoh Hophra, contemporary with Nebuchadnezzar. He was
the grandson of Necho, and is the Apries of Herodotus.
Zedekiah formed an alliance with him against Nebuchadnezzar,
and he drove the Assyrians from Palestine, took Zidon and
Tyre, and returned to Egypt with great spoil. He seems to
have done nothing to prevent the subsequent destruction of
Jerusalem -- Jeremiah 37:1-5, 47:1, Ezekiel 29:21. He
reigned twenty-five years, and was dethroned by his army
after an unsuccessful expedition against Cyrene, as was
foretold -- Jeremiah 44:30.
Note : The other version of Easton's Bible Dictionary states
the following concerning Pharaoh-hophra :
Pharaoh-hophra, who in vain sought to relieve Jerusalem when
it was besieged by Nebuchadnezzar (q.v.) -- 2 Kings 25:1-4
-- comp. Jeremiah 37:5-8, Ezekiel 17:11-13.