Who was the pharaoh that experienced the ten plagues that fell on Egypt?

The Bible doesn’t mention the name of the Pharaoh during the time of the Exodus. At the same time Egyptian history is not reliable since it was customary for the pharaohs to delete major historical events that took  place during their reign especially if it was characterized by failure or defeat. So, in an effort to find a common denominator between the book of Exodus, secular archaeology and Egyptian history, we have to keep an open perspective about the dates for the events recorded in all three sources.

It is believed that Neferhotep 1 of the 13th Dynasty could be the Pharaoh of Exodus for the following reasons:

1-Neferhotep’s dynasty took place because Amenemhat III (the preceding pharaoh) had no surviving sons and his daughter -Sobekneferu- didn’t have any children. The Bible tells us that Pharaoh’s daughter adopted the Hebrew child Moses whom she rescued from the Nile (Exodus 2).

2-Neferhotep I reigned during a most chaotic time in the history of Egypt which was described in the Ipuwer Papyrus documents: “The river is blood… Forsooth, gates, columns and walls are consumed by fire… Forsooth, grain has perished on every side… All animals, their hearts weep. Cattle moan… The land is without light… Forsooth, the children of princes are dashed against the walls… Gold and lapis lazuli, silver and malachite, carnelian and bronze… are fastened on the neck of female slaves.” This matches the Biblical account of the ten plagues, as well as when the Egyptians gave valuable treasures to the Israelite slaves as they left Egypt.

3-Neferhotep’s son did not reign after his father but rather Neferhotep’s brother Sobkhotpe IV took rule. The Biblical account tells us that the pharaoh of the Exodus lost his first-born son in the tenth plague on Egypt (Exodus 12:29).

4-The semitic slave villages of Kahun and Tel ed-Daba were occupied up until the time of Neferhotep I. These were suddenly abandoned near the end of the 13th dynasty. This fits the Biblical account when the Isralites, who were enslaved in Egypt, left for the promised land under the leadership of Moses in 1446 BC.

5-Archaeology does not provide a mummy for Neferhotep. This fits the Biblical account in that the pharaoh of the Exodus who chased after the Israelites. He must have drowned with his army in Red Sea (Exodus 14).

6-Staves shaped like snakes dated to this same time period have been discovered. This matches the Biblical account of Aaron who, by the power of God, turned his staff into a serpent When the Egyptian magicians tried to duplicate this miracle and make snakes, Aaaron’s snake swallowed all their snakes (Exodus 7).

7-After the death of Neferhotep, Egypt was overtaken by the Hyskos or the Amalekites (the 15th dynasty). With Egypt being destroyed by the 10 plagues and their army perished in the Red Sea as the Bible account states, it would be an easy prey for other stronger nations.

Check out our Bible Answers page for more information on a variety of topics.

In His service,

BibleAsk Team

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