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Was King Tut the Pharaoh of the Exodus?

Since the pharaoh, who appears alongside Moses in the Exodus story is nameless, we are left with our best guesses and detective work. One of the most recent guesses comes from a Jewish scholar working in Jerusalem. He suggests that the Pharaoh of the Exodus was none other than King Tutankhamen.

He finds two chronological clues in the Bible: 1) the Israelites worked with mud-brick, not stone (5:7-8); 2) the Israelites spent 430 years in Egypt (from Joseph to Moses) (Ex. 12:40). These events are listed on the Bible Timeline Chart.
PRO: A Building of Mud-Brick
Most building projects in Egypt (the pyramids and temples) involved stone-work. The one major mud-brick building project was the city of Akhetaten. Akhenaten built this city as a new religious center for the worship of one god, Aten.

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“Stripped of all its jewels, the mummy of Tutankhamun remains in the Valley of the Kings in his KV62 chamber”

One God
His new program of radical monotheism was not very popular among the Egyptian religious and political establishment. This meant he had to work quickly. The choice of mud-brick as the building material for this new city helped with that very short timeline. They completed the entire city in six years. Eight years later, Akhenaten died, and the city was evacuated.
Reference to Plagues
Since the pharaoh who built the city with Israelite labor died before the Exodus events (Ex. 2:23), his son Tutankhamen would then be the Pharaoh of the Exodus. In his article in the Jerusalem Post, you would think the Egyptian stela was talking directly about the Exodus. In talking about the stele, Rosenberg cites the following curses: 1) Hapi, god of the Nile, will make it undrinkable; 2) Kermit, goddess of fertility, will release her frogspawn; 3) Osiris, god of corn, will allow locusts to eat the grain; 4) Ra, the sun god, will refuse to shine.
CON – Plagues not actually listed
Unfortunately, things that look too good to be true usually are. The only thing the restoration stele of Tutankhamen says is that the gods turned their back on the land. It does not give any specifics about curses. It does not even mention the specific gods by name. It is Rosenberg, who took the plagues recorded in the Exodus and linked them with specific Egyptian deities.
Question of Dates
The Hyksos from 1720 – 1550 BC
Rosenberg also makes a follow-up point. He points to the Hyksos, a Semitic people group. They entered Egypt in large numbers around 1750 BC. They became so dominant that they ruled Egypt for close to 200 years (1720-1550 BC). Josephus was a Jewish historian and a contemporary of Jesus. He thought that the Israelites entered Egypt with this group.

Remember the high position Joseph held in the Egyptian government? This made perfect sense during this period of Semitic rule in Egypt. This was followed by a stark shift in power between the 15th and 18th dynasty. The Semites lost power whereas the native Egyptians regained it. Could this help explain the shift in attitude on the part of the Egyptian government towards Israel? Israel thrives as a minority under Joseph. But the Pharaoh “who did not know Joseph” turns them into an oppressed minority. Rosenberg points out that Jews and Christians alike ignore the specific information on Israel’s time in Egypt (Exodus 12:40). Even the Amazing Bible Timeline follows Bishop Ussher in assigning 130 years to this period rather than 430. His dates restore this original figure.
The City and Pharoahs Ramses
But there is good reason Rosenberg is practically alone in arguing for King Tut as the Pharaoh of the Exodus. He ignores the two primary pieces of evidence that most commentators cite. One is a chronological note in 1 Kings 6:1. The second is the reference to the city Rameses.

Most Christian and secular scholars today base their arguments on the city of Rameses. Ramses is a personal name meaning “son of Ra.” 11 different pharaohs bore this name. They ruled between the 13th and 12th centuries BC. Regardless of the identification of this city, it should be one named after one of these kings. Not only that, there happens to be a city called Per-Ramessu (Pi-Ramesse). It happens to be located in the Nile Delta, where the Bible situates it. It was also built with slave labor. The name of these slave laborers was the ʿApiru’. Many scholars connect this word with the Hebrew word for “Hebrews.” It was Ramses II who orchestrated this building project. This city functioned as the seat of Egyptian power throughout the 19th and 20th dynasties. Moses does make a reference in Genesis to Joseph living in “the land of Rameses.” But one can easily explain this as a reference to the area Moses knew by this later name.
A Difference in Spelling?
Critics of this position argue that there is no reason to identify Rameses the city with the pharaoh’s name Ramses. Their main argument is that the two names are spelled differently, Raamses as opposed to Ramesses. This is a difficult position as the Bible only mentions the place Rameses and not the pharaoh. The Hebrew contains the letters resh-ayin-mem-samekh-samekh (rʿmss). The Egyptian uses the letters r-ayin-m-s2-w (rʿmśśw). The final /w/ indicates the vowel u and Hebrew lost all final short vowels. But this is the crux of the rebuttal.

There is another group of scholars who emphasize a different piece of evidence. They focus on 1 Kings 6:1. It states that Solomon broke ground on the Temple in Jerusalem 480 years after the Exodus. Scholars vary in the dates they assign the temple construction. Recent scholars have placed the date as low as 958 BC. The Amazing Bible Timeline gives a date of 1011 BC for this event. Adding 480 years would place the Exodus at the beginning of the 15th century BC. This corresponds to the 18th dynasty of Egypt. These two pieces of evidence were easy to reconcile for scholars in the 17th century like Bishop Ussher. The Greek histories of Egypt easily placed Ramses II in the 15th century. Archeological excavations in the 19th and 20th centuries changed all that. We now have direct access to the Egyptian language and thousands of Egyptian texts.
Possible Reconciliation of View Points
Critics of this position point to a number of concerns. The number 480 is a very round number. It corresponds to 12 generations of 40 years. The authors of the Biblical text were not saying 480 years exactly. Rather they were using a standard number to indicate 12 generations. Adjusting the length of a generation still preserves the integrity of the Biblical text. Another way to do it is to add up the years given for events from the Exodus to the temple. This method produces a period of 510 years plus 3 periods of unknown length. This suggests that these events may overlap in ways the Bible does not bother explaining.

Wherever we locate the events of the Exodus, they clearly had a significant impact on how Israelites viewed themselves. It was also central to their view of God.

What do you think? Was King Tut the Pharaoh of the Exodus? Comment below.

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21 thoughts on “Was King Tut the Pharaoh of the Exodus?

  1. Tut seems to be Moses son. Moses left Egypt and then returned. Maybe the Pharoah that he fought with was his step-brother and Tut’s mother might have been under hypnotic influence of her father to kill Moses first born so her own father who eventually married Tut’s distressed wife orchestrated the posioning of her son and his grandson ti gain control and then killed Tut’s wife once he became ruler. If so, Tut’s mom would have been Miriam who eventually escaped with Moses second return but Tut would have already been murdered at that point. Might explain why Neferti’s mummy was never found.

    Moses monotheism would have been seen as Sun god to Egyptians but to Isralites it was just the one God.

    Also, I ponder why the world finds it ok to remove burial site artifacts and not except anger of the spirits from some of the greatest rulers of our entire history.

    Finally, there are many similarities in the Gospels that were most likely written by educated women of Egypt. Wrapping Jesus in linen, preparing the body and placing it in a

    Jesus might have been reincarnation of Tut and like Tut he was murdered because of greed.

    Also seems the world has seen rapid changes since Tut’s tomb was raided by archeologists in the early 1900s..

    Jews have dated mankind to 5777 but they have no clue how long Adam slept while Eve was created. 30 minutes in God’s time would be 41.666 years in man’s time.

    We know understand how DNA is taken from bone and Jesus did say his creator was from above, maybe 7 inches up where the rib bone is lying compared to dust of Earth.

    I could completely off on some of my hypothetical thoughts but only cause I am restricted to looking a pictures in pieces on Net and in books.

    I know that even little kids understand to respect the cemetery but we as a world justified the removing of very personal items based on strong beliefs in the name of science.

    1. There is no “God’s time.”

      God created time as an integral element of this universe.

      He is outside of his creation and not subject to it.

      1. WOW! Way to go in describing our God… puts it in whole new perspective

    2. My high school art teacher was one of the people who helped organize the Ramses The Great exhibit in the 1980s (I’m in Memphis, Tn. My art teacher had her master’s from U of M in Egyptology). While they were in Egypt an obelisk was discovered detailing the plagues. She saw it with her own two eyes. The Egyptian government came in and covered it all up much to their surprise. It’s all true. Everything about Moses and the plagues is true.

    3. My high school art teacher was on the team of historians and archeologists who organized the Ramses the Great exhibit in the 1980’s. (She received her graduate degree in Egyptology from the U of M in Memphis, Tn). While there, they studied an huge obelisk that had been uncovered detailing the plagues. Much to their surprise and dismay, the Egyptian government came in, took over and covered it all up. It’s all true. Everything about Moses and the plagues is true. I will never forget what happened.

    4. The Hebrews attacked Jhericho in about 1400 BC killed 1200 people
      Which is around King TUTS timeline. Tut had a broken leg maybe from. Chasing Moses out into the desert fighting him.

  2. The Hebrews were not slaves but the followers of Akhenaten who laboured to build his new city and temples for the revolutionary monotheist religion he imposed on Egypt.

    Moses was an adopted son/son-in-law who was a believer in the one god religion of Akhenaten.

    Upon Akhenaten’s death, Tutankhamun seized power and returned Egypt to yhe old polytheist practices.

    Tutankhamun ruthlessly persecuted the monotheists.

    The monotheists, followed Moses when he fled from Egypt.

    The pharoah of the Exodus was not named because Tutankhamun effectively expunged Akhenaten from historical record and ruled for only a short time himself and was basically forgotten. By the time Exodus was written down, nobody would have recognised the name, even if it was remembered.

    This puts the Exodus at around 1341 BCE to 1323 BCE.

  3. I ask the question: Could the young King Tut be the firstborn of Pharaoh that died in the 10th plague?

    1. Agree: I have always thought that King Tut was the firstborn of Pharaoh that died in the 10th plague.

    2. I too believe Tut to be the first born of the pharaoh that died. But I think maybe Tut wasn’t king at all but a crowned Prince, perhaps crowned Prince names were also put in cartouche to show they would be King. And The one god King Akhenaten worshipped was God , not the sun, didn’t the Pharaoh of the exodus admit in the end Moses God was God; and even today religious pic show the sun and nature to show God’s wonders, so couldn’t it be when Akhenaten is shown with his arms raised to the sun he is only showing he worships God. I am no expert but read the Bible and watch evry thing I can on ancient Egypt. Just my belief .

  4. If i’m not mistaken, I believe the Bible tells us that the Pharaoh came out with his Army against the fleeing Israelites. Also, that the sea covered the Egyptian Army ‘including’ with the Pharaoh ! Consequently, there would be No Mummy to bury of the Pharaoh that came against Moses ! Unless there was some sort of PR campaign and a fake corpse to tell the Egyptians of another Victory !

    1. The Bible speaks of Pharaoh’s army, not the ruler himself.

      1. Me again, I should have added, being drowned in the Red Sea, only the army did, not the ruler.

        1. Please cross-reference with Exodus 14 with Exodus 15:19. “The horse of Pharaoh went in with his chariots….” I think we can rather safely assume that if Pharaoh’s horse (singular) went into the Red Sea that he was likely riding the horse as it would have been very curious for Pharaoh to have dismounted his horse and sent it riderless into the Red Sea.

  5. King Tut died about 20 and had to be mummified in a hurry. His body had serious injuries that could have been sustained by a fall from his chariot. Did he try to prove himself by going on a fools errand in revenge? His effects from his tomb indicate that he participated in battles and the God of his father was nothing like the biblical one who in nature was closer to Amun.

  6. The name of the pharaoh is not there but the name of the minister of the exodus king is mentioned as Haman; The chief vizier of the pharaoh, in the Quran. This is a vital clue to be considered.

  7. If King Tut was the pharaoh of the exodus then who was his son? King Ahkenaten his father would have had to resigned from kingship giving his young son the power of ruler ship. King Tut was too young to have children he wasn’t more than fourteen.
    I would believe that Ahkenaten was the Pharoah of the exodus, and he did have a son, but that son being of ruling age died from the plagues. Leaving his second son the next in line. Assuming that Tutankamen was significantly younger than his elsest brother, perhaps King Ahkenaten died from the after math of the plagues, or his own failures, or sheer sadness could have caused him an early death leaving King Tut to reign.
    Maybe King Tut was not the one who enslaved the Jews, or who caused G-d to act forcefully, but he was the King who let them go. Perhaps his innocence caused him to see that power was inferior to love and kindness after the death of his father and brother?
    It is also likely that the Pharoah conducted unlawful sexual acts on the slaves, so Miriam could have been his mother. But we must also take into consideration that not only the Jews left, scholars, and clergy against the King left too and could they have taken their wives. Moses Egyptian mother left Egypt too.
    So while Miriam may have been the mother of King Tut, Nefertiti was the adoptive mother of Moses.
    King Tut would have to not be the first born son of Ahkenaten in order for such to be plausible. Tut was the one who was left after the plagues took his family. And If indeed he was the one who let the Jews go, it would have been planned such by G-d. If he were Miriam’s son he would be Jewish first, before he was Egyptian. So wouldn’t that make him a Jewish Pharaoh?
    And to further him as the King who let the Jews go perhaps his sudden early death was a result of not only his parentage, but his unpopularity in parliament, perhaps his parliment favored his father’s rulership of Tut and they went after the Jews to bring them back. Perhaps Tut continued to reign over the people that was unfavorable to them causing for his assassination. He was a young boy so it could have been easy to coax him into poisoning himself. He was young so he was an easy target.
    I think that Tut was one of the son’s of Joseph and his love affairs. Joseph had all the rights of kingship, and he didnt leave Egypt, and his two sons inherited his birth right making it thirteen tribes instead of twelve. So it would have made sense for Joseph’s son to become King especially if his mother was a princess. Joseph would have royalty rights as a consort, but if Tut was his son and the son one of the Princesses, perhaps King Tut rose to power only because everyone else older than him died from the plagues. He may not have been the immediate blood line but he was the only oldest bloodline left.
    The scripture says about how the eleven brothers betrayed Joseph, but how about how Joseph betrayed his people. He turned his back on them when he sided with the Egyptian Parliament, and G-d punished him. Joseph was an Egyptian King,
    Moses and Ahkenaten were both Princes of Egypt but they were not brothers. They were raised like brothers but they were more like cousins. Joseph also predicted the plagues, after analizing the Pharaoh’s dreams which would mean that Joseph was either co leader with Ahkenaten or Ahkenaten’s father and the scripture tells us that the Pharaohs concern was real so, when he died and his arrogant son became King he brushed of Joseph’s prophecy, and did away with Joseph.
    The scripture also tells us that the Jews left Canaan because of famine there but what Joseph describes in plague and famine in Egypt. Because he talks about Pharoah’s crops not the crops and livestock in Canaan.
    Joseph must have had Tut with one Pharaoh’s sisters, but Tut was sparred the plague because he was not Joseph’s oldest son. Ahkenaten was the son of the Pharaoh who ruled with Joseph. Moses was Ahkenaten’s cousin, and Moses may have been Tut’s adoptive brother. Moses had the same consort rights and Joseph. As such Tut became King not because King not because he was Ahkenaten’s son but because everyone in line before him was either dead or female.
    After the last plague King Tut would have just rose to power, and let the Israelites go, and when the Egyptian Army came after the Israelites it was again King Tut’s order.

    1. Jacob and his family were brought to Egypt 430 years before any of this took place.

  8. No, I do not believe that Tut was the pharaoh of the Exodus. According to your own Amazing Bible Timeline, the Exodus happened around 1451 BC. Traditional Egyptian chronology places King Tut between approximately 1332 BC and 1323 BC. This is a large discrepancy that requires us to STRETCH Egyptian chronology to match the dates, yet traditional Egyptian chronology based on the priest Manetho’s accounting of the Egyptian king’s list raises too many questions when compared to (1) Scripture, (2) Assyrian, and (3) Babylonian chronologies, which indicate that Egyptian chronology should actually be revised and REDUCED. I’ve seen other more credible suggestions (to my mind) such as Neferhotep I, with the possibility of Sesostris I being the pharaoh of Joseph. Sesostris had a vizier named Mentuhotep who had the kind of power that Joseph had as the second-in-command.

  9. Secular scholars of the Bible, such as the aforementioned Rosenberg, are quite at a loss to describe an accurate timeline of the Israelite’s dwelling and subsequent enslavement in Egypt, as long as they fail to consider the actual Biblical accounts, compared to the known secular, historical timelines.

    Rosenberg and others who may agree with him are apparently ignorant of several versus of the Written Law (the 5 Books of Moses), as well as information easily gleaned from the Oral law, also given to Moses at Sinai, which further explicate these historical events. The fact that this article quotes a Jewish scholar writing in the Jerusalem Post merely underscores the fact that secular scholars, regardless of their religious heritage, are simply grasping at straws, pinning their “guesses” on sundry historical events or coincidences, while they ignore the actual Biblical accounts which are at their fingertips, if they would care to access them.

    The correct timeline of the Israelite’s sojourn in Egypt and the monarchies of the various pharaohs is as follows: According to the 5 books of Moses, Abraham was told through prophecy at the “covenant between the pieces” (of sacrificed animals) that his descendants would be enslaved in a land that “does not belong to them” for 400 years. It states this explicitly in Genesis 15:13. However, that time period of 400 years was actually counted from the birth of Isaac, the second of the Patriarchs. since both he and his son Jacob, the third Patriarch, dwelled among the Philistines, and it was, therefore, considered part of the prophetic decree–being technically in a “foreign” land that did not belong to them. The apparent discrepancy between this verse and Exodus 12:40 which states that the Israelites were in Egypt 430 years is explained by the fact that Isaac was not born until 30 years following the “covenant between the pieces” and that period of 30 years is also reckoned by the latter verse to be part of the exile, in so much as it began immediately after the decree, and Abraham also lived among the Philistines.

    Thus, the actual time spent in Egypt by Jacob and his descendants was only 210 years. This commenced 220 years after the covenant referenced above, which encompassed 105 years of Abrahams life (he was 70 at the time of the covenant and lived to 175), Isaac’s life of 105 years following the death of Abraham (Isaac lived to 180 and was born when Abraham was 100; 75 + 105= 180) and ten years of Jacob’s life after the passing of Isaac when Jacob was 130 years old and went down to Egypt (Exodus 47:9). (He was born when Isaac was 60, 15 years prior to Abraham’s death (15 + 105 years of Isaac after Abraham’s death mentioned above + 10 years of Jacob’s life after Isaac’s passing = 130).

    This period of 210 years is clearly alluded to in the Passover Haggadah which Jews read annually, commemorating the Exodus. The Jews wandered in the desert after their exodus for 40 years. The period of the Judges which ensued upon their arrival under Joshua’s leadership to the Promised land lasted 355 years. King Saul ruled for only 2 years, and the first anointed King of Israel, David, ruled 47 years until his son Solomon gained the throne and built the first Temple. The two Holy Temples which were built in Jerusalem lasted a total of 810 years until the destruction of the second Temple in 70 CE.

    Working backwards from 70 CE we have total of approximately1464 years to the time the Israelites first entered Egypt. (810 + 47 + 2 + 355+ 40 + 210). 70 CE plus 1464 years, going backward in time, leads us to the year 1394 BCE. That was approximately 62 years before the rule of King Tut began, which means the Israelites entered Egypt significantly prior to his reign, but also dwelled in Egypt during his reign. However, the actual enslavement of the Israelites, although they dwelled in Egypt for 210, years was only 116 years. The Israelites lived prosperously in Egypt up until shortly after the last of Jacob’s sons—Levi, who lived for 137 years—died. Levi was 43 when his father, Jacob, brought his entire family of 70 souls to Egypt to escape the famine-riddled Canaan. That leaves 116 years of slavery, after the death of Levi, before they were liberated and a total of 210 years in Egypt. (137 – 43 equals 94 years of Levi’s life spent in Egypt. 94 plus 116 years of actual slavery, following his death, equals the 210 years spent by the Israelites in Egypt).

    However, what comes out of this computation is that the actual slavery of the Israelites began 94 years after descending there, which means it began 22 years after Tut reigned. (62 + 10 years of Tut’s reign +22 = 94).

    Why did the actual slavery not begin until the death of the last of the sons of Jacob–the heads of the 12 tribes of Israel? The merit of their righteousness protected the Israelites from the decree of slavery in Egypt, just as the merit of the Patriarchs protected the Jewish people and allowed that the sojourning in a “strange land” was considered to have begun while they were still in Canaan, living amongst the Philistines.

    In any event, this little historical and theological note aside, getting back to our main point– the actual enslavement of the Jewish People would not have begun until the year 1300 BCE, twenty-two years following Tut’s demise (62 years prior to his rule + 10 years of his rule +22 years = 94), and their exodus 116 years later would have occurred in 1184 BCE. This would have been during the time of the rule of Ramses III who ruled from 1184–1153 B.C. Many secular historians claim that the Pharaoh Ramses II, who ruled from 1279–1213 B.C. was the ruler who enslaved the Israelites, and this would be consistent with the above computations since the 116 years prior to their exodus would have encompassed the 66 years of his reign.

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