Merneptah was Egypt’s fourth ruler and he reigned on the throne during the Nineteenth Dynasty of Egypt. Pharaoh Merneptah was the fourth son of Ramses II and he ascended the throne when he was an elderly man. Once he gained power over Egypt he spent most of his time protecting Egypt from foreign invaders and small uprisings. He is placed on the Biblical Timeline with World History during the 12th century BC.
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Pharaoh Merneptah grew up as the thirteenth son of Ramses II. As a prince of Egypt he had learned the ways of the empire from his teachers, priests and his father. When he was of age he apparently went into the military and gained valuable knowledge as a soldier. In time he advanced to the rank of commander or general within Egyptian forces.
Since Ramses had thirteen children and Merneptah was the youngest, he had to wait many years before he could inherit the throne. After the death of Ramses II, Merneptah’s thirteen older brothers had taken over the throne. Once they had passed away Merneptah’s chance to rule had finally come. His father Ramses died when Merneptah was about forty. His other brothers were also a lot older than he was and they too were older men before gaining power.
When Pharaoh Merneptah became the leader of Egypt he took his forces to Libya to crush a revolt among the local inhabitants. The Libyans had teamed up with the sea people in order to threaten Egypt. Historians claim that Merneptah fought a six hour battle with both of these groups and defeated them. The Libyans and sea peoples never revolted against Egypt during the rest of his reign.
His next set of enemies was the Hittites who tried to control Egyptian held territories in Syria. Some of the Syrians had joined with the Hittites in order to be freed from Egyptian rule but this territory was brought back under control through a treaty that he made with the Hittite rulers. Eventually the Hittite kingdoms needed Merneptah’s aid because of a famine that had spread into their lands. The pharaoh helped them out as a means for honoring the treaty.
Some Egyptian scholars and historians speculate about Merneptah being the pharaoh of the Exodus. He had made a reference about Israel as a defeated foe of the Egyptians. This is supposedly the oldest non Biblical record of ancient Israel that is in existence today.
Merneptah had also moved the administration center of Egypt from Piramesses back to Memphis. He also had a royal palace constructed next to Ptah temple. Merneptah also built a sanctuary at the Colossi of Memnon.
Eventually old age and time finally caught up with this pharaoh. Merneptah had arthritis and arteriosclerosis and both of these medical conditions had caused his demise. He died after ruling Egypt for about ten years and his body was mummified before being buried in the Valley of the Kings. His body wasn’t placed in a particular burial tomb that was made for him. It was later found with a group of mummies that were located near the tomb of Amonhotep II. He had a son named Seti who took his place on the throne after he had passed away.
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