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Rameses II and the Bible

Rameses II is the son of Seti I who became an Egyptian Pharaoh in his 30th year of age. He ruled Egypt for about 67 years. He was believed to be the greatest and the most renowned pharaoh of Egypt. As the 3rd Egyptian pharaoh of the new kingdom, he ruled Egypt from 1279 BC to 1213 BC , which is where he is found on the Amazing Bible Timeline with World History.

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Ramses II
Ramses II

Rameses II Conquest with the Hittites

Being the leader of a nation brings with it a responsibility to keep his land free from the danger of invasion.  It is an obligation of a Pharaoh to make use of his power to maintain the peace of his land during his supremacy. Rameses II most famous fight of conquest was the one with the Hittites of Kadesh. During his fifth year of being a Pharaoh, Rameses II battled in Syria against the Hittites and its alliance. The war continued for twenty years after the series of battles with the Hittites.

In his second battle, Rameses II experienced difficulties during his attack on Athe, a city of Kadesha where he almost fell during the battle through deceit. It happened when he grouped his soldiers into four groups namely: Amun, Ra, Ptah and Setekh. Rameses II led the Amun division outside the city with the Ra division about a mile and a half behind. The Hittites however, hid waiting to ambush the Pharaoh’s army. They first attacked the Ra division so that the Pharaoh wouldn't have it as reinforcement. Fortunately, the group managed to escape. The Hittites then attacked the Amun group and surrounded the Pharaoh. However, Ramses II managed to fight back in the combat and was able to pave the way out for him and his men after killing quite a large number of Hittites. 

After that, the Pharaoh and his men camped to regroup the army. They then went into battle again for four hours until all of them were drained of energy.  Rameses II decided to pull his army out from the battle.

It was a draw battle. After several years, Rameses II reached an agreement with the prince of the Hittites. It was settled that Egypt and the Hittites were not to invade or attack each other’s land. They also formed an alliance to defend one another against common enemies and in subduing revolts in Syria. 13 years after the truce, Rameses II married the daughter of Manefrure’s, the prince of Hittite, a daughter named Hattusilis.

Ramases II as a Pharaoh

Ramases II was considered to be a great fighter. However, he was also seen as an incompetent leader. He took credit not due to him and consumed most of the wealth of Egypt in maintaining his name by building big projects during his reign. He scribed his name everywhere on the shrines and buildings in Egypt and even put his name on statues that were not his own.

However, overall, Rameses II was known to be “Ramses the Great” because he was truly a great family man, a religious leader, builder and a great warrior. By the time he died at 90 years of age, Egypt was rich through his conquest of other empires.

Rameses II in the Bible

Of all the Pharaoh of Ancient Egypt in the new kingdom, Rameses was the only name mentioned in the Bible. Rameses also seemed to be a name of a place rather than the name of a Pharaoh.

Genesis 47:11: This was the time when Joseph, through the command of Pharaoh, brought his father and siblings to the land of Egypt that was called the ‘land of Rameses.

Exodus 1: 11: The Israelites, as slaves, worked under tight taskmasters’ commands to build the treasure cities of Pharaoh, the Pithom and the Rameses.

Exodus 12:37: The people of Israel, 600,000 thousand men on foot and unknown number of children, journeyed from the place called Rameses to another place called Succoth

Numbers 33:3: This passage in the Bible pertains to the time when the Israelites from Rameses departed Egypt on the 15th day of the first month in the morning of the Passover feast.

Numbers 33:5: The removal of Israelites from an Egyptian city Rameses to Succoth.

Due to these passages, Rameses II is suggested as the Pharaoh of Exodus, as portrayed in “The Ten Commandments” in the classic film as well as in the animation film entitled “Prince of Egypt”. However, it should be noted that there are nine other Pharaohs who took the name of Rameses. Aside from that, Moses was said to be living around the 1525 BC to 1405 BC, two hundred years before Rameses II. Other than Rameses II, Pharaoh Thutmose III was the Pharaoh in Exodus. Moses has only been proposed as the Thutmose II for the first 22 years of the Pharaoh’s his life until Moses was cast out to Midian and the half brother of Nefure (speculated to be the daughter of Pharaoh who took Moses in) took Moses place as Thutmose II. This Thutmose was the father of Thutmose III; another speculated Pharaoh of Exodus.