Will the Real Exodus Pharaoh Please Stand Up?
Dr. Steven Collins
In this message, Dr. Collins explains that the Bible is trustworthy, even in matters of history. Using logic, historical analysis, and a firm belief in the historical reliability of the biblical narrative, he demonstrates why he believes Tuthmosis IV was the Pharaoh at the time of Israel's deliverance from bondage in Egypt.
Beginning in the brickyards of Egypt and ending in the tabernacle filled with God's presence, the book of Exodus chronicles the deliverance of God's people from Egypt and records the end of their oppression under Pharaoh. It also provides an account of the beginning of a prophecy fulfilled: God promised Abraham descendants beyond number, and on the pages of Exodus we see Israel become a great nation.
In this verse-by-verse study, Pastor Skip Heitzig presents an in-depth look at Moses, the ten plagues, the ten commandments, the desert wanderings, the construction of the tabernacle, and more. As we study, we'll see the grace of God, witness the glory of the Lord, and a catch a glimpse of Israel's coming Savior.
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Skip Heitzig: I'm pleased to introduce to you tonight Dr. Steve Collins. Dr. Collins is an archeologists and professor at Trinity Southwest University. His recent work at Tall el-Hammam has created quite a stir in the academic world. Dr. Collins believes this site may be the biblical Sodom. We're privileged to have him speak tonight. Give him a big hand.
Dr. Steve Collins: Well, it's good to be here tonight. The last four or five times I was here we did talked about biblical Sodom but we're not going to talk about Sodom tonight. We're going to talk about the Pharaoh of the Exodus. Who is the Pharaoh of the Exodus? I'm going to mention a lot of kingdoms that you've never heard of, a lot a names that you've probably never heard off and you're going to learn a lot tonight.
We're going to take it very slow and easy. If you have questions anytime throughout the teaching tonight, you can text those in. So if I see you down there doing this, it's okay. You can text your question in. If you look at the screen, it will give you some instructions on how to do that so we'll answer those questions toward the end of the time tonight.
Now, how do we find the Pharaoh of the Exodus? By the way, there is absolutely no consensus among biblical scholars on who the Pharaoh of the Exodus is. I will say one thing for sure, it is not Yul Brynner. Ramesses the great can only be the Pharaoh of the Exodus. If you completely dismiss the biblical numbers represented in the text beginning with 1 Kings 6:1, which says that of course, the Israelites exited from Egypt 480 years before Solomon began to build the temple in 966. Now, that's fairly easy to deal with because that gives you an Exodus date of about 1446 BC.
If the Exodus happened in 1446 BC, then any number of Pharaohs could possibly have been the Pharaoh of the Exodus. But that Biblical date does rule out in Exodus during the reign of Ramesses and I'll also dismiss Ramesses for a couple other reasons as we go through tonight. But one of the primary reasons biblically is it just doesn't fit the picture chronologically, but it also doesn't fit the historical picture either.
Now, I always say and of course I said this about the Sodom issue. If you want to find Sodom, what you probably ought to do is read the biblical text. It's the same way with the Pharaoh of the Exodus. The bible makes some very specific claims about what happened at the time of the Exodus. And if you take those things seriously, what it does is it specifies very clearly for us what must be the case at the time of the Exodus.
So that brings me to this point. If you want to find the particular answer, you must ask the right question. And here is the right question regarding the time of the Exodus, the Pharaoh of the Exodus. Here it is. If the events surrounding the Exodus of the Israelites from Egypt occurred in a manner even approximately as the bible says, what would have happened to Egypt? Okay, let me ask the question again. You might want to write that down. If all of the events that we read from the biblical text of Exodus, if all those events occurred in a manner as the bible describe them, what would have happened to Egypt? Well, I'll tell you. Theoretically, there's only one answer to that question.
Egypt would have gone into a serious state of decline, even collapsed. Now, in the text there are five things. Five things happened to Egypt. You have to write this down because I didn't put this on my PowerPoint. I want you to think through these five things. Here they are. Plagues. Now there are ten of those but I'm just going to count them as one thing. So that's how bad these five things are. One of them is ten plagues. We've already gone through those plagues in this study.
Plagues. The bible also says the Israelites plundered Egypt. Now they may have not plundered the whole of Egypt, they certainly would have plundered the Egyptians who were living in and around the area where they were living and that was in Lower Egypt in the delta region of the Nile near the Mediterranean.
So they had plagues, they had a plundering. They had a severe loss of labor. What have the Egyptians done to the Israelites and the other Semitic folks living in that region of Egypt, in Goshen, Pithom, and Ramesses? They enslaved them and they were just mowing the grass. They were running the economic engine of Egypt. They were building the cities, they were making bricks, they were doing all kinds of projects, and certainly they were also involved in agricultural production. So the Egyptians lost a significant labor force that just walked out.
They also lost and according to the bible, the Egyptians lost and I'm sorry for this term, but I didn't think of it until I -- I didn't think of it exactly this way until I had already thought of it and the cat was out of the bag. Here it is. I apologize. Egypt lost its Delta force. Why? It's because they were stationed in the Delta of Egypt, in the Nile Delta. That's where the northern army of Egypt was located. By the way, they didn't need a western army and they didn't need any eastern army. They had a small southern army to deal with the Nubians to the south and they had their massive four-division army of Ahkmenrah in the North. So the northern army of Egypt in chasing after the Israelites was all drowned in the sea, right? So they lost the principal part of the Delta force. And if those four things weren't bad enough, they also lost the Pharaoh. Now, Exodus doesn't specifically say that the Pharaoh died with his troops, but the book of Psalms does give us some kind of a little indicator that the Pharaoh died in the sea.
The Exodus does say that all the Egyptians perished, they all drowned in the sea. Unless the Pharaoh wasn't Egyptian, which I assume that he was. So all the Egyptians drowned. By the way, we do have the mummy of the Pharaoh of the Exodus. Is that cool or what? I'm going to tell you who and I who it is. We have this mummy and a lot of people asked me, "What if he drowned in the sea, how do we have his mummy? How did that happen?"
Well, you got to read the text, right? What does the text to say? It says that the next morning, go read the account, the next morning all he sees are the bodies of the Egyptians washed up on the shore. And because of the Egyptian religion, it was absolutely necessary to bury the Pharaoh in exactly the precise manner as the Book of the Dead instructed them and they would have drowned a thousand slaves if they needed to get the body of Pharaoh out of the sea. No matter where that crossing took place and what body of water that was, he drowned and they had to get him and they found him probably just laying up their on a shore.
So we do have the mummy of the Pharaoh of the Exodus. By the way, it's fun to think that we have all the mummies of both the 18th and the 19th Dynasties. All of the Pharaohs who could possibly have ever been the Pharaoh of the Exodus, we have them all. Question is which one.
The title tonight is would the Real Pharaoh of the Exodus stand up. We could make that happen actually. We could do that. The Egyptian Department of Antiquities probably wouldn't let us near the mummy, but we could do that.
Now, five things. If those all happened to Egypt, I don't care when it happened. If they all happened, what would have occurred in Egypt? You'd be in a bad way. Now we know Egypt is not going to collapse completely because historically, we need them for the rest of history and we need them for the rest of the bible because they show up again in the biblical text. Obviously, they didn't disappear, collapsed totally and go away forever. But the fact of the matter is that if these events occurred, Egypt would have gone into a tail spin of near collapse, perhaps pulling out just at the last minute. And that's' what we're going to see tonight.
Now, why can't we just grab the biblical date, Exodus in 1446 BC? Well, because you have some people who take a 1446 date, you have other people who don't take the numbers of the bible so literally and who place the Exodus in about 1250 BC And then you got folks like me who take a middle date for the Exodus using the Septuagint dates of the Old Testament Greek translation, the Septuagint date of 1406 BC.
So the bible scholars are kind of all over the maps swinging about 200 years from the lowest to the highest dates for the Exodus. Obviously, the movie "The Ten Commandments" takes a very late date of 13th Century BC for the Exodus, very late, whereas the literal text says it's very early. Well, not only is the biblical chronology swinging back and forth a couple of hundred years amongst the bible scholars, but the Egyptian chronology also has its own swing of about 50 years top to bottom.
There's a high, a middle and a low Egyptian chronology as well. So what all these chronologies doing this, how in the world do you nail them? How do you pin them together to say this biblical event happened at this particular juncture in Egyptian history? How do you do that?
You do it by giving up modern absolute dating. We don't have such a date in the ancient world as 1500 BC. If you find a coin that says "5 BC", it's plain out authentic because they didn't reason like that. Everything was done with what we call Regnal dating. In the 5th year of King so and so, in the 21st year of King so and so, we date by reigns. And so if we sort of use our biblical dates to put this in the ball park, we can do the rest of the work, the fine tuning of the precise placement of the Exodus, we can do that by what I call historical synchronisms.
Picking the biblical flow, you come up with a biblical flow of events and you come up with a commensurate section, approximate section of the near eastern or Egyptian history and you run them across each other. And where they click, just like a key in a lock, where they click, that's where you want to nail it. So you don't want to just look for dates, pick you favorite chronology, pick your favorite Pharaoh, there you got the Pharaoh of the Exodus, no.
We have to look carefully to see if there's a coordination and the big coordination is what? What are we looking for? Egypt is going to what? Collapse. If you pick, and I always tell my scholar friends this, if you pick a Pharaoh for the Exodus and there is no sign of Egyptian collapse during the time at the death of the particular Pharaoh, you don't have the Pharaoh of the Exodus.
Pure and simple. So let's find him, shall we? Now, what I've got here is Ancient Egypt during the Hyksos period. Now, the Hyksos eriod is the time when Semitic people from Canaan had rushed down, had come down in droves because of famines. You recall that famine? Abraham, Isaac, Jacob all suffered famines, this is that period. They all came down into Egypt and one day they woke up and they said, "There are ten of us for every one native Egyptian. How come they're in charge and we're not?" And the Hyksos rose up and they took over Egypt. But in about 1550 BC, all that came to a screeching halt. The native Egyptians got upset and they kicked the Hyksos out of Egypt. What we can see here is the Kingdom of the Hyksos Egyptians, the Semitic Canaanite Pharaohs that we call the Hyksos. Thebes in Egypt is in the south, what we call Upper Egypt. Now there's another Kingdom up here I want to introduce, Mitanni. This is in Northern Mesopotamia. Assyria is a vassal state of the Mitannians and here's a famous kingdom Hatti, better known as the Hittites, the famous Hittites. This is the way the Middle East looks in the time of Joseph.
But the Bible says of course there arose a Pharaoh who did not know Joseph, who enslaved the Egyptians. I'm not going to go into all the detail there, but here he is as we shall see. But what I'm going to do right now is not invoke the bible for the next ten minutes, okay? All I'm going to give you -- and this is a highlight of your life tonight here. When have you ever done as ten-minute serial history of the entire 18th Dynasty of Egypt? Here it is. Wow. Start with Ahmose, first king after he has reunified Egypt. He starts building a new Egypt. His predecessor, I mean his successor Amenhotep I, then we have the kingdom of Egypt as it looks during Thutmose I. Now, Thutmose gets some imperial visions. He decides he wants to take the border of Egypt, let's go back, that's the way Egypt looked, the borders of Egypt when he began his reign. By the end of his reign, the border of Egypt had been moved up to the Euphrates River. Now, if the Mitanni kingdom controlled that part of the world and the Egyptians one day showed up there to try to take that territory, what do you suppose happened between those two empires?
Yeah, a little conflict going on. But the Egyptians were dead set. Thutmose I was dead set on taking that territory, putting Egypt all the way to the Euphrates River. Well, during the reign of Thutmose II, the same thing obtains. Egypt tries to keep a border at the Euphrates. Of course, all the time they have to fight against the Mitanni's. All the city-states in the region would give their allegiance to the Mitanni king. The Egyptians would show up the next spring and would come to the area and say, "We're going to give you a choice. We can attack and burn your city or you can throw your allegiance to the Pharaoh of Egypt." And they would say, "Oh, that's fine. We'll give our allegiance to the Pharaoh." Well, all the city-states would bow and scrape and would say, "Fine, we're just as happy with Egypt."
And about the time the Egyptian army would turn around and get back over the hill going back to Egypt, the city-states would turn around and reunite with Mitanni. So the Northern border of Egypt was really sort of a mystical, ethereal kind of thing and mostly in the mind of the Egyptians is not really forged in reality. But they fought for it almost every spring and by late summer, they were all back in the Mitanni camp. But anyway, back and forth it would go.
Now, when Thutmose II died, technically Thutmose III was the Pharaoh who was supposed to take over and that particular Pharaoh at the time was only seven years old, a little young to rule. So his aunt, Hatshepsut, took over. Now she was the principal queen of Thutmose II and she always wanted to be Pharaoh. And she decided since little Thutmose III was too young to reign, she would rule in his steps. That's what she did. She told him to kind of, "Now, you scurry on and go play with the camels, whatever you're going to do and I'll take over Egypt," and she did. She put on the false beard of the Pharaohs. She called herself Pharaoh, not queen, and she ruled Egypt with a pretty good iron fist for about 20 years.
But what happened is that one day, we don't know exactly what happened, but if you look at Egypt, you can pretty much tell what's going on because one day, I think Thutmose III, who was by then commanding the Northern Armies of Egypt up in Canaan and Syria, I think he woke up one day at about age 27. Remember he started at age seven but he wasn't old enough. Now she's been on the throne 20 years, so now he's 27 years old. And I think he thought something like this, "I'm the Pharaoh of Egypt. Why am I up here and why is she down there ruling in the palace?" Well, the next thing we know, Hatshepsut disappears from history and all of her name and her face from all of her monuments are hacked off. They completely chiseled them off. Her name is gone and all of her images are defaced. Well, I think we know what happened and Thutmose probably was directly responsible.
So Thutmose III comes to power finally after all these years. Now thankfully for him, even though she had more or less usurped 20 years of his reign, he rules for another 34 years in his own right. So his rule is technically 54 years long, 34 on his own. He is known, you may have not ever heard his name before, but Thutmose III is the greatest Pharaoh in the history of Egypt, period, no peers bar none.
It makes Ramesses the Great, Yul Brynner, look like an elementary school kid. As far as Egyptian prestige and wealth and power and ferocity, Thutmose III, the great warrior king of Egypt, is the greatest Pharaoh in the history of Egypt but he is not the Pharaoh of the Exodus. How do we know? Because all along, by the way, he is proposed by many people as the Pharaoh of the Exodus because in some chronologies, his death date is very close to some people's date for the Exodus. But he cannot be the Pharaoh of the Exodus because at the end of his reign, Egypt continues to get even stronger. There is no glitch. There is no problem in Egypt. When he dies, his son Amenhotep II has already been placed on the throne for about eight to ten years as co-regent, a very smart move, and he comes to the throne with great power and Egypt continues to sail on doing quite well.
So, our next Pharaoh, Amenhotep II, the son of Thutmose III, is a strong and powerful Pharaoh. In fact, he is a brute and just one little example, when Thutmose III died, the Syrian kings in the north rebelled. Once he got his regime stabilized, he marched his armies up to Syria, captured the five Syrian princes who were responsible for the rebellion, took them to the Mediterranean, hung them over the prow of his boat, kept them alive as he sailed them down the Mediterranean, down the Nile all the way to Thebes. He took them in a great ceremony into the temple of Luxor and personally with his own knife cut all their heads off, the Pharaoh himself. He didn't have somebody else do it.
He did it, Mr. Tough Guy, and he cut their heads off. He ordered their bodies dismembered with little notes attached to them, "Don't mess with Amenhotep II," and had them dispersed all through Canaan and Syria.
There was not another rebellion in his entire reign. A tough guy. When he died, the next Pharaoh came to power without a problem. In other words, Egypt is now not only at its height, but it now is going to get even stronger. Where's the Exodus? We haven't seen it yet. It's not happening. Thutmose IV comes to power. Now, what he says is this, "Even though we have this strong hegemony, this strong control over the northern provinces as you see on the map all the way to the Euphrates River, right under the nose of the Mitannians, why are we doing this? It takes a lot of money. Military campaigns constantly waged year after year after year in order to maintain a territory like -- this is expensive."
So you know what he does? The first diplomatic thought in the history of Egypt. What he thinks is this, "If we could make friends, a brotherhood pact, a treaty with the Mitannis, we could get them to declare the Euphrates, the northern Egyptian border, and we could in turn give them full access to the Mediterranean and we could ship them all the gold they want and everything would be happy. We wouldn't be spending all this money on war." Well, to make the long story short, a princess was sent from Mitanni down to be one of the wives of Thutmose IV. The treaty was signed, sealed, and delivered and Egypt now has really risen to its greatest height of power, prestige, and stability. Where's the Pharaoh of the Exodus? Not quite yet.
But something happened. We have this Egyptian-Mitannian alliance. By the way, that alliance cut off the Hittites from the Mediterranean. We don't have time to talk about that, but they always wanted that Mediterranean corridor to the northern Canaanite coast having cut – the Egyptians having cut off the Hittites with the Mitannian alliance made the Hittites mad. The Hittites wanted the brotherhood, the treaty with the Egyptians and they didn't get it. The Mitannians got it. This made the Hittites a mortal enemy of Egypt from this point in history onward as you can imagine. Now, what I want you to notice is when Thutmose IV died, this is what the near eastern world looked like. But I want to show you what happened during his reign.
Egypt pulled out of the Levant. Egypt pulled out of Canaan and Syria. Why? By the way, the Egyptians are never going to tell us why they do anything, especially if there's a problem. They are never going to admit defeat, weakness, anything like that, nothing. Why? Because if you do that, you signal to your enemies that you have a problem and you signal for rebellion and you invite attacks. So you don't say anything negative. What you do is you simply keep a stiff upper lip and you put all of your writings and all of your monuments in the positive. You spin it all to the plus. Everything's fine, everything's wonderful.
But during Amenhotep III's reign -- by the way his, father died. Thutmose IV died when was only between 25 and 30 years old. He died untimely and his son was only 12 years old and he was not fit to rule. So, he had his mother, Mutemwiya, in his place ruling Egypt. Now, isn't it interesting that he rules for precisely 38 years? The Deuteronomy text, Deuteronomy Chapter 2 says that, "God kept the Israelites in the dessert for 38 years." There's a reason for that. We'll come back to that in a second.
Now, what's interesting is that during the reign of Amenhotep III, Egypt not only withdrew all of its troops from the Levant, but Hatti, the Hittites almost immediately marched on the Mitanni kingdom and virtually destroyed it. They burned their capital to the ground and pretty much laid waste to the kingdom of Mitanni.
Now wait a minute, why would the Hittites who've been out of the picture for a good while because of this Egypto-Mitannian alliance, why would they all of a sudden feel like they could attack the Egyptian brother, Mitanni, with impunity? What did they know about Egypt that the historians have had a difficult time figuring out? Well, it's not too difficult to figure out if you put all the pieces together because when the Hittites attacked Mitanni, it was because Egypt could not respond and they knew it.
So what did they do? They took out Mitanni. They extended their -- Mitanni shrank of course and the Hittites extended their kingdom down to include the northern Canaanite coast, which is what they always wanted anyway. Now, Assyria then, which was a vassal state of Mitanni, all of a sudden becomes a mighty and powerful kingdom. With Mitanni out of the picture, Assyria rises to control Mesopotamia. Then we get a new king on the block, Akhenaten. He was born Amenhotep IV, changed his name to Akhenaten. He did so because he named himself after a new God, the "Aten" because he dumped all the old gods of Egypt.
For some reason, he looked at his father and his grandfather and looked at Egypt for a long -- for two generations had been falling down, crumbling, collapsing and he looks out at it and the gods of Egypt are doing nothing. So he changes the religion of Egypt to quasi-Monotheism. I wonder where he might have got that little idea.
All right. King Tut, the famous King Tut, the one with a mask, the one whose artifacts are going around the U.S. right now. I think they're in Minnesota tonight. King Tut is one of the weakest, snivelingest little kings in the history of Egypt. He's a nobody and nothing, but he had good stuff which was all borrowed out of other people's tombs. None of it was made for him. They threw it all together at the last minute. But I don't want to go into King Tut too much. But King Tut, Tutankhamun, only rules for about nine years. The boy king, very young, died young, but when he died, something happened.
Not only was Egypt continuing to fail, but his widow, you're going to love this as a great dog name, "Ankhesenamun." His little widow, Ankhesenamun, wrote one of the most famous letters in the history of the Ancient Near East to -- before I answer that question, you're going to tell me. I could see if you're awake here. Remember when the Egyptian signed the treaty with Mitanni and they cut the Hittites out of the Near Eastern picture and the Hittites became their mortal enemy? Do you remember? So, at this point in time, who is still the mortal sworn enemy of Egypt? The Hittites.
Ankhesenamun writes a famous letter to none other than the warrior king, Suppiluliuma of Hatti, the Hittite king. "Dear Suppi," I think she says. Now let me quote the letter for you. "Dear Suppi, my husband has died. We have no sons. I hear that you have many sons."
Now the shocking part, remember this is the queen of Egypt writing, "If you will send one of your sons to be my husband, his shall be the throne of Egypt."
What Ankhesenamun, the queen of King Tut, has just done is to offer the enemy king, the enemy empire, the Hittites to make Egypt a vassal state under Hittite control by making a Hittite prince the Pharaoh of Egypt. This is stunning. This is a very weird and strange occurrence. It's just almost inexplicable. Well, we have the Hittite annals that record Suppiluliuma's response to this letter. He is walking around his palace with his hands upon his head saying, "What in the world is this? What are they're trying to do to me? This has never has never happened to me in my whole life. I just got offered one of the great empires of the Near East for my very own."
He doesn't buy it. What if they're trying to pull -- it's a sneak -- so he sends an envoy. He sends an envoy to Egypt and they come into the throne room and they talked to Ankhesenamun and she flies off the handle. "What? He didn't take me seriously?" She writes another letter, sends them back to the Hittite capital and says again, "Listen, I told you my husband has died. I have no sons. You have many sons. Send me one of your sons and he will sit on the thrown of Egypt. What do you take me for? Who else have I spoken to? Who else have I made this request to?" And she's going on and on. And the envoys are going, "It's okay. It's real. It's the real deal. Take it." Okay. Suppiluliuma, another good dog name.
Suppiluliuma sends one of his sons to Egypt on a convoy, a whole entourage and off they go to Egypt. Expect a great movie. Soon as they get to the boarder of Egypt, he's assassinated. Now, Suppiluliuma is really, really ticked. He just lost a son. Now he really feels like he's had wool pulled over his eyes. Now he determines, because he knows that Egypt has reached the bottom of the barrel, Egypt has reached a level where they cannot respond, he decides to attack and take Egypt by force because he knows they will not be able to resist. He lines up his armies around Lebanon in the north. As soon as he's ready to march the next day, his men are falling ill to a plague that the Egyptian envoys have caught and brought back to the Hittite troops and back to the Hittite capital by doing all these running back and forth from Hatti to Egypt.
Egypt has been suffering with plagues for a long time now since the end of Thutmose IV's reign and now the plague is still making havoc in Egypt, have now caught the Hittites by surprise and Hittites cannot march. Isn't that just fun? As I will show you, it's the very plagues that God put upon the Egyptians to let his people go, are the same plagues that eventually the Hittites caught which saved the Egypt's neck. So God not only got to the Egyptians in the self same bugs, he protected the Egyptians on the other hand. A little irony of history.
Now, this is the strangest thing, but what it shows is that Egypt has fallen from the great heights to the lowest depths in a very short period of time.
Horemheb, the first king of the 18th Dynasty, arguably the last king of the 18th Dynasty, arguably the first king of the 19th Dynasty, he's a general. He's not part of the royal family. He looks at the situation and goes and he's probably responsible for killing the Hittite prince. He takes over Egypt. He says, "Enough of this. We're going to take Egypt back to its glory. The military takes over Egypt and on we go into the next dynasty."
Now, what I want to see is this, the decline and collapse of Egypt's mighty 18th Dynasty was a result of none other than the five core Exodus events that we read about in the book of Exodus. Those events brought down the greatest dynasty of Egypt. Now, here they are and we talked about them. Five things and what I want to show you are how precipitous this was.
Here are the power ratings for the Pharaohs, Ahmose, Amenhotep I, Thutmose I, Thutmose II, Hatshepsut, and Thutmose III. Egypt now has reached the pinnacle of its history and there you are. The most powerful, prestigious Egypt ever is right here in the reigns of Thutmose III, Amenhotep II, Thutmose IV. But watch what happens now. In the collapse of the 18th Dynasty, everything comes from that point. That decline looks just like that.
If those five Exodus events occurred to Egypt, we asked what would happen to Egypt. They would collapse. The only place in the entire history of the 18th and 19th Dynasties for the entire range of possibilities for the Exodus Pharaoh, this only happens one time. All the rest of the time Egypt is powerful and strong one time.
Now, there is simply -- so here's our Pharaoh of the Exodus, Thutmose IV. But there's something else. The bible makes it very specific. Let's go all the way back to the time of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph then up to Moses and Joshua. God promised all of these patriarchs to give them the land of Canaan from the river of Egypt, the water of Egypt which is probably the eastern most -- what we call the Pelusiac Branch of the Nile, from the river of Egypt to the Euphrates River. That was Canaan. That was what God promised from here, from the Egyptian border, to the Euphrates River. All of that was promised to Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph.
Now, he also said, "I'm going to give you all of this land," and he called it the land of the Canaanite, the Hittites, and the Amorites. Now there's a lot of other "ites" in there as well. Hivites and Perezzites and so on. Not parasites, Perezzites. So there are a lot of tribes in there but there are three constants, Hittites, Canaanites, and Amorites. But if you go to the book of Joshua when the Israelites actually come into the land, there are no Egyptians ever mentioned as being in Canaan. In other words, God is promising them a land of Canaanites, Hittites, and Amorites, but no Egyptian, an Egyptianless Canaan with Hittites.
There is only one place in history when we have in this entire period -- by the way, this entire period we're talking about is known as the time of Egyptian domination of Canaan, except for a nice little window. If you take Thutmose IV as the Pharaoh of the Exodus, not only do you get this precipitous collapse of Egypt upon his death, but you also get right after his death. Remember, the Hittites swept into Canaan. Now we have Hittites for the first time in history. The Hittites were never politically, physically, militarily present in Canaan before that. Only then to do the Hittites come in for the very first time and at the same time or prior to that, the Egyptians have withdrawn.
So during the reigns of the next Pharaohs, during the next 38 years of Amenhotep III's reign, Egypt moves out of Canaan, the Hittites move in to Canaan and Joshua would then come in in the second year of Akhenaten and 40 years after the death of the Pharaoh into an Egyptianless Canaan with Hittites, precisely according to the promise of Yahweh. That to me is absolutely stunning. It's not only a confirmation of the prophecies to the patriarchs, but is a confirmation of the historical accuracy of the Exodus accounts in the biblical record. And there's more and more and more and more to be layered on top of that, but we don't have time.
So, let's do a quick review. Here's what we had. In the reign of Thutmose IV, the Pharaoh of the Exodus, in year ten he dies. It could be year eight to ten. We have then the loss of the Mitannian alliance. We have the withdrawal of the Egyptians from Canaan. Why would they withdraw? Because the area where the Israelites lived, the area of Goshen in the delta region of Egypt was the only staging area whereupon the Egyptians could launch or maintain military control of Canaan.
You hit the delta of Egypt like God hit the delta with five plagues, what happens to the Egyptians? They have to withdraw. They withdrew and there we go. In his reign, the Hittites destroyed Mitanni. Mitanni shrinks, Egypt is in decline, the Hittites take the Northern coast, Assyria rises and Akhenaten comes to the power. And during the first couple of years of his reign, Joshua marches in. I think I have time to slip it. I got two minutes before we start answering questions.
The Book of Joshua goes on to say that when Joshua crossed the river and came in to the land, after he destroyed Ai, Joshua 7 and 8, he marches up to Jericho. He crossed the river to Jericho and from Jericho after the walls fall down at Jericho, he marches into the central highlands north to Shekem, between Mount Gerizim and Mount Ebal, he camps there at Shekem.
What's interesting about that is in the Amarna letters, the texts from Egypt from Akhenaten's own archive, we have letters from the Canaan and Syrian city-states, one in particular from Jerusalem. The King of Jerusalem is complaining to the Pharaoh, "You used to have control of this land. You better send some troops up here or all the Pharaoh's lands are going to be lost. You better fix this because the Habiru are encamped at Shekem and the king of Shekem is allied with the Habiru." Does that sound a little bit like a word you've ever heard? Habiru, Apiru, Ebri, Hebrews. We know that in the Amarna letters, a group of nomadic warring people has allied with Shekem at exactly the same moment in history when the bible says Joshua took his troops, a bunch of marauding nomads to Shekem and on and on and on.
So when I see scholars telling me, "There's no connection between the biblical history and the Near Eastern or Egyptian history. We can't find the Exodus in the Egyptian records." Listen, if the Egyptians were suffering something like the plagues in the Exodus, I promise you they wouldn't tell you. So you have to go the Hittite records or the Matannic records. You have to go outside and you have to look at the whole picture. When we do, we see an extremely remarkable thing and that is the accuracy of the biblical texts. It's remarkable, it's exciting and somebody really ought to make a movie or we could re-dub the other one and just change the name of the Pharaoh.
All right, now we have some time for questions and we've got some coming up on the screen, so let me pick one here. Here's one. "What percentage of scholars agree with my view of the Exodus Pharaoh?" Oh, what a great question and it's fun to be a lone wolf.
A lot. Quite a few, but some. I'd say the majority of scholars still hold that Ramesses, the Great in the 13th Century BC sometime around 1250, is when that Exodus occurred in their minds. So I'd say the majority of scholars, even amongst a lot of the evangelicals, they still hold to what we call the late date for the Exodus. So a mid-13th Century BC date, that late date whereas I hold a 14th Century date and some hold even a slightly earlier, a 15th Century date. Mine could even be late, 15th, depending upon which Egyptian chronology you use.
So, I am definitely in the minority but hey, I'm right. I mean I just think so. I don't know. Here's the problem I have with all of my Ramesses friends, the guys who think Ramesses is the Pharaoh. They can't give me an answer. What I ask them is, if you take the bible seriously and all those five things happened, point to me the time anywhere in the reign of Ramesses the Great when Egypt suffered anything like that. They can't point to it because it didn't happen. Egypt is very strong and stable during the reign of Ramesses.
And my good friend, Egyptologist Charles Haley, is only eight years off from me. He believes Thutmose IV's father, Amenhotep II, is the Pharaoh of Exodus. But I ask him the same question. Well, where in the reign of Amenhotep II do we have this collapse of Egypt that would be predicted based on the biblical events? And the answer to that question is there isn't any because upon his death, Egypt got even stronger during the reign of his son.
So again, it's not just enough to stick dates together. You have to go deeper and you have to begin and look at historical synchronisms. All right, another question. "Who was the Pharaoh of Egypt in the time of Joseph?" Difficult one. The problem with this is two-fold. Number one, we have two possibilities for the link of the Egyptian sojourn of the Israelites. How long were the Israelites enslaved in Egypt before they departed in the Exodus? According to the Masoretic texts, the Exodus 12:40, it says that they were in Egypt 430 years. So to find Joseph, what would you do? You would take the Exodus at 430 years and you get Jacob and Joseph in Egypt. Simple, right?
Well, things are never that simple because the Septuagint says they were in Canaan, that the patriarchs were in Canaan and in Egypt 430 years. If you look at the interior, internal chronology of the Masoretic texts itself, it was 215 years from the promise of Abraham to Jacob before Pharaoh and 215 years from Jacob before Pharaoh to the Exodus for a total of 430 years from Abraham to Exodus. That's what the Septuagint says. That's also what the Samaritan Pentateuch says. That's also what Josephus says adamantly and that's also what the apostle Paul says in Galatians 3.
Paul says in Galatians 3, "From the giving of the promise to Abraham," that's when he comes. Genesis 12, "From the giving of the promise to Abraham, to the coming of the law under Moses is 430 years." The Holy Spirit inspired that and I would say guess what, that's what I'm going to go with. That's the Septuagint date. So one line of evidence says they were in Egypt 430 years. All the other lines of evidence say that they were in Egypt 215 years. If they were in Egypt 215 years, that places them in the time of Hyksos.
If Joseph was going to be a Vizier, here is a nice Jewish boy in Egypt, right? Of course he wasn't a Jew yet, but his ancestors would be. But here he is in Egypt, in the Hyksos Dynasty where the Pharaoh himself was a Semitic-Asiatic.
The same folks basically. So it fits that Joseph would be well liked and respected in Egypt. He couldn't be there in the 18th Dynasty because they had a hatred and a policy of enslaving Asiatics. And that's during the time that the Israelites were in Egypt. So there you go. Joseph then really fits best during the Hyksos period. You could go early with that, you could go a little bit late with that, but that's the period of the Pharaoh.
Another question, the last one, "Did the plagues of God then affect Akhenaten's decision to change their religion since the gods of Egypt were defeated?" That's a good observation. The answer to the question is you bet. You bet, because his grandfather, the Pharaoh of the Exodus had lost out in that battle with the God of the Israelites, the Yahweh. And not only that, Egypt continued to suffer from plagues for many decades afterward. By the way, when plagues hit, and this could be influenza, could be small pox, chicken pox, could be any number of diseases, when those things set in, it takes a population sometimes two or three generations to genetically become immune to that sort of thing. It takes a while for that to happen.
So these plagues didn't just happen and then the Israelites left and the Egyptians got okay. Those plagues started and Egypt continued to go down, down, down, down. So the ensuing history of the Egyptians was still crashing, crashing, crashing and Akhenaten, his grandson, looks at the situation going, "This is not working. We got to change this religion. We got to get this under control." So he completely defunds and diffracts all the priests of Ahkmenrah, puts the Aten, the sun disk as the new God of Egypt and guess what? It doesn't work, but nice try. But I think it was directly precisely a knee jerk reaction of his against what was happening in Egypt because of the original plagues in the time of the Exodus.So yes, you can blame the entire collapse of the 18th Dynasty and everything that happened therein on the Exodus events' magnificent confirmation of the historical accuracy of the word of the God. Thank you very much.