555 Difficult Bible Questions Answered

93. Was Pharaoh Drowned in the Red Sea?




All the evidence is against the theory that he was drowned in the Red Sea. Some very interesting information, furnishing striking confirmation of the Bible narrative, has recently been obtained, by deci phering the inscriptions on ancient Egyptian monuments. From these it appears that the Pharaoh who "refused to let the people go" was named Menephthah. He was the youngest son of the great Pharaoh, Ram-eses II, the Pharaoh who oppressed the Hebrews and ordered the killing of the male infants, and whose death is mentioned in Exodus 2 tst$. Menephthah was an old man, at least sixty, when he came to the throne, and was constitutionally timid and feeble. He joined with him in the government his brilliant son Seti, a young man resembling in person and character his grandfather, the great Rameses. Seti was virtually king though his father, Menephthah, was king in name. The Bible alludes to Seti as "the firstborn of Pharaoh who sat on the throne" (Ex. 12:29). This young man's tomb has been found, and a record of his achievements, showing him to have been a great general and administrator. But his name does not appear in the list of the Pharaohs and the inscription on his tomb shows that he never became king, but died suddenly, while still only a prince. The Bible tells us how he died. It was on the night when the angel slew the firstborn. Menephthah, as we know by the Bible narrative, pursued the Hebrews. He had no son now to take command as on former occasions. He was then an old man eighty-two years of age. What more likely than that, when he saw the Israelites descend into the Red Sea, he should send on his army and stay behind himself, not caring at his age, and at night, to undertake so perilous a journey. The Egyptian records state that once before, on the eve of battle, when he should have led his army, the old man had a convenient vision, ordering him not to enter the battle but to give the command to his son. He doubtless excused himself on this occasion and so saved his life. A parallel case of a father and son reigning simultaneously is found in Belshazzar, who, though exercising kingly functions, does not appear on the list of kings. He was associated in government with his father, Nabon-nidus, and, like Seti in Egypt, died before his father.