View Full Version : Ramses the Great and Moses?

01-14-2000, 09:24 PM
Is Ramses II the Pharaoh who was mentioned in the Bible with Moses? And if he was, why don't Pharonic records show the plagues mentioned in the Bible?

"If we knew what we were doing, it wouldn't be called research, would it?"

01-14-2000, 09:28 PM
I have no idea..just wanted to say..

Hi sweetness!

If you can't convince them, confuse them.
Harry S. Truman

01-14-2000, 09:30 PM
The Egyptians were very careful what they recorded. They dropped a few wars from their records because they lost, and they tried to erase an entire pharaoh who upset the priests. They did not record anything that was not for the glory and honor of Egypt.

Or, maybe the Israelites embroidered the circumstances of their leaving.

Take your choice.

01-14-2000, 09:40 PM
I'm convinced that if he is the Pharaoh of record, then the plagues would be considered to have been the Gods speaking and saying their displeasure at what was going on. At the time, it probably would have been interpreted by the priests as the cause of the plagues was the Israelites. The Gods were unhappy with them there - so send them away. Pharaoh probably expected to have them killed by the land or the enemies which were around then. As for being mentioned in the records... the Gods apparently were appeased when the Israelites left and all was forgotten - Why should they remind the Gods? They might send them back and have more plagues!

Banks: Hi darlin! How's my bestest friend? ;)

"If we knew what we were doing, it wouldn't be called research, would it?"

01-14-2000, 09:52 PM
Of course, asking why the Plagues under the Pharaoh of the Oppression were not recorded does rather beg the question of whether the Israelites were in Egypt at all. There are no records anywhere except in the Bible to support their presence in Egypt at any time.

But, given that, it is most probable that Pharaoh of the Oppression was Rameses II. Exodus records that the Israelites built the store-city of Pithom (pa-tum in Egyptian), and that is known to have been established during Rameses II's reign.

Dr. Fidelius, Charlatan
Associate Curator Anomalous Paleontology, Miskatonic University
"You cannot reason a man out of a position he did not reach through reason."

01-14-2000, 09:55 PM
Silly me. The Pharaoh of the Exodus was probably Ramses' successor, Merneptah. Exodus 2:23 says that the "king of Egypt died". And that was when Moses and Company got while the getting was good...

01-14-2000, 10:03 PM
Records indicate that Ramses II's first born son died about the same time Moses et al were in Egypt. To my knowledge, Merneptah left no records that any progeny died.

"If we knew what we were doing, it wouldn't be called research, would it?"

01-14-2000, 10:32 PM
Egyptians usually didn't record things that made Egypt look bad, so it stands to reason that the Ten Plagues would be left out of the history scrolls, as well as their army drowning in the Red Sea (or Reed Sea or whereeverthehell it was :D). Plus, don't forget the fact that it's been thousands of years since the Egyptian empire died out. I think that most of the records we have were what was written on the walls of tombs and pyramids. It's probably a pretty small fraction of the Egyptian body of literature.

--It was recently discovered that research causes cancer in rats.

01-14-2000, 10:40 PM
more Egyptian history has been lost to thieves and tomb raiders than has been recovered. To my knowledge, we can't even keep the list of rulers straight - never mind general history of the Country. Some Papri are still being translated - others are still being found... and there are some that are hidden away in vaults that they can't unroll or aren't allowed to even touch to translate.

"If we knew what we were doing, it wouldn't be called research, would it?"

01-14-2000, 11:52 PM
Just channel surfed through a show tonight that touched on this very subject. Must have been The Learning Channel, maybe History. Stopped for just a minute and the narrator was saying that Ramses (didn't say which one) possibly knew Moses.

It sounded kinda interesting and I was going to go back to it but HBO was showing Big Business. Silly movie but I love Bette Midler and Lily Tomlin.

They usually re-run those shows -- but I doubt that they have the in depth analysis that would answer the questions you guys are raising.

Northern Piper
01-15-2000, 12:27 AM
There are no records anywhere except in the Bible to support their presence in Egypt at any time.

Dr. F, haven't there been some hieroglyphs found that can be read phonetically as "ai-barus," referrring to a group of people in Egypt? I thought some people think it's a reference to "Hebrews" (or am I suffering from late-night poor memory?)

and the stars o'erhead were dancing heel to toe

01-15-2000, 12:57 AM

FWIW...It is Saturday, 1:46am here on the east coast. TLC has "Ramses the Great" on right now, offering proof as we speak that he was the Ramses of Moses' time. They would offer all of this info on their website too, I'm pretty sure.

C K Dexter Haven
01-15-2000, 07:58 AM
On whether the Exodus actually happened, and why there are no Egyptian records thereof (or none found to date), Cecil has set forth his wisdom: Did the Jewish Exodus really happen? (http://www.straightdope.com/classics/a1_035b.html)

On which Pharoah it was, we just don't know. Since there are no corresponding Egyptian records, it's purely guesswork. Start with different assumptions and you get different answers.

There's one group of scholars who say it din't happen at all. Frankly, I find this hard to accept -- why would the Israelites make up a story that has their origin in slavery, if it weren't so? Other peoples have stories about their origins, that make them out to be the best, descended from heroes, etc. Descended from slaves probably has some truth to it.

There's another group of scholars who think that there were several migrations away from Egypt, over a long period of time, of different tribes.

And yet another group who think that the Biblical account of the plagues may be overly dramatized or overly poetic. They paint a more "modern" version, such as: river becomes polluted, causes fish to die and frogs to leave the river, dead fish bring flies and other nasty insects, which bring diseases and death. Couple that with a nasty locust attack and perhaps volcanic ash darkening the sky, and you have a convergence of natural phenomenon that worked conveniently for the Israelites.

Archaeology and Egyptology are NOT "finished" sciences... new information is constantly being -- um -- unearthed. So we may yet learn more about the dating of the Exodus.

01-15-2000, 08:24 PM
There are a few pharaonic reigns that could be conceivably linked to the whole issue of Moses and the Exodus. There are the leading candidates Rameses and Mernephtah (BTW, with the amount of children Rameses procreated, who knows if one got lost in the shuffle[and how come such a fertile guy has his name on a prophylactic?]?); there is also Ikhnaten, the monotheist Pharaoh, for that theological "coincidence". During the historical period that includes Ikhnaten (and Tut), there is record of some Caananite border states (Egyptian vassals) sending correspondence to Egypt reporting raids by the "habiri" or "ai-buri" tribes and pleading for help. That would place these Pharaohs circa the time of Joshua, biblically. IIRC there are some reports from Mernephtah's time that talk about having encountered some Israelites in battle and wiped them out, but then again, that's just what you'd expect.

The sojourn of the Israelites in Egypt is often correlated with the period it was under foreign rule, by the Hyksos, and many peoples were welcome to settle inside the borders and hold office. After the Hyksos were thrown out, then would have come the "oppression" period.

It is entirely plausible, if one were willing to set aside claims of biblical inerrancy, that the "historical" events of the exodus as described in the latter books of the Pentateuch, be just as much of a composite of 3 or more different histories and legendary traditions as are the "historical" events of the creation/flood/Babel/etc. in Genesis, and thus you could not pinpoint *one* Pharaoh's reign as being when *THE* Exodus took place.

The biblical plagues and other bizarre phenomena are, by some, explained as possible consequences of the great volcanic catastrophe at Thera (which suppossedly crippled Minoan civilization and allegedly led to the myth of Atlantis); Immanuel Velikovsky, ever creative, attributed most biblical catastrophes to his great planetary-orbit upheaval.


Northern Piper
01-15-2000, 11:50 PM
and how come such a fertile guy has his name on a prophylactic?

as a grim warning?

and the stars o'erhead were dancing heel to toe

01-16-2000, 10:37 PM
I agree the the Hyksos (hikau khasut - "rulers of foreign lands") invasion was probably the original basis for the story of the Jewish Egyptian sojourn. Around 1750 BC, a chariot driving group of people invaded Syro-Palestine. The dominant group was called the Maryannu (possibly related to the ancient Sanskrit word maryas meaning youth or warrior and later the source for the Egyptian word for chariot warrior). Their graves, forts and weapons are found throughout coastal Palestine. They coalesced or coerced the locals into the invasion of Egypt. I remember seeing an Egyptian monument representing the Hyksos invasion. In additions to the Hyksos chariots, the 18th century BC equivalent of an Abrams tank, there was a representation of a Hyksos cart piled high with objects. (At this time the Egyptians had neither chariots nor carts.) Apparently the Hyksos brought all their stuff with them and were planning to stay. This sort of matches the story of Jacob and the other 11 brothers packing up and coming to Egypt. The Egyptians maintained a tributary, pharaonic-derived power base in Thebes. Dr. Fidelius, the fact that the Egyptians recorded this humilating period does not agree with your contention that they were shameless revisionists. Anyway, after 200 years the Theban powers were able to drive the Hyksos out of Egypt and out of coastal Syro-Palestine, apparently over a 10-20 year (maybe 40 years?) period (the Hyksos forts were really tought nuts to crack.) This is probably the true Exodus, no slavery or bondage, no plagues, no parting of the Red Sea, just a quick skedadle out of the way of the newly resurgent Egyptian New Kingdom. The fancy embroideries were probably added in Babylon when they had some free time and some excellent library resources to borrow from. One problem with the Biblical account is that the Egyptians immediately occupied the coastal areas, so if the proto-Hebrews did return to their Promised Land, they were probably up in the hills and almost certainly were under tribute.

01-17-2000, 07:19 AM
I recall reading that the "Ahmes" papayrus records some details that seem consistent with the biblical exodus. One would think that there would be more in the records, though

C K Dexter Haven
01-17-2000, 07:39 AM
Mipsman says: << Dr. Fidelius, the fact that the Egyptians recorded this humilating period does not agree with your contention that they were shameless revisionists. >>

To the contrary, I believe that most records of the Hyskos period were, in fact, erased. Most, but not all.

The efforts of one Pharoah to wipe out all records of a hated predecessor is fairly well documented -- although, interestingly, they sometimes thought that chopping the beard off the earlier statues was sufficient "erasure." That happened to the female Pharaoh, I forget her name.

It is hard to reconcile the literal Biblical text (600,000 men leaving the Egyptian slave pool would've surely left some sign, or a considerable economic downturn at the least.) However, if the 600,000 number is exaggerated, the Egyptians did NOT record events that related to slaves. They recorded events related to the Pharoah's victories. The telling of history was quite subjective, perhaps even more so than today.

01-17-2000, 07:56 AM
What we need to remember is that the concept we have of "history" did not exist then. No one was trying to preserve a record of what actually happened.

The best we have are from chroniclers, who recorded events to please their rulers or their gods. Bias was not avoided, in fact the most successful chroniclers and bards were those who best reflected the biases and egos of their patrons.

01-17-2000, 10:23 AM
I think one of the reasons that the plagues were not mentioned in history, is because they were not that unusual (other than being done at the bidding of Moses). Besides, the eternal, unchanging overall theme of everything the "historians" of the time wrote was basically "the Pharoh is the greatest of all time." A modern comparison would be any press release or interview from the Clinton White House.