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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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King_Tut
“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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16 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 tomb..lol

    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.

  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.

  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.

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