We are pleased to have readers email questions related to the material on this site. It makes sense to publish some of these questions and answers.
Who was the pharaoh during the time of Joseph?
It should be understood that pharaohs during the early period in Egyptian history were tribal leaders of a particular region or area. These tribal leaders became known as "pharaohs". The term "pharaoh" as is it thought-of today is overly impressive. For example, the histories tell "in the ninth year of Nebhepetre Mentuhotpe -- the Pharaoh to whose harem Sarah was brought -- a great war was fought over the city of Heracleopolis. So small was Egypt's population in those days that only 60 men were lost by the Thebans in their attack". (Herman Hoeh, Compendium of World History, Volume 1 (1967) p. 52.)So more than one "pharaohs" were ruling in Egypt during Joseph's era.
Joseph served under Djoser of Dynasty III. His Egyptian name was Imhotep. He is the recognized builder of "The Step Pyramid". There is evidence to believe this was the grain distribution center that saved the nations during the "seven year famine". The many so called "tomb pits" (as they are described in the histories) at the site were found with grain up to the knee in the bottom of the pits.
Joseph also served Amenhotep III of Dynasty XII. It was under his leadership that the "Bahr Yousef" "The River of Joseph" was built. It is still labeled the same on current Egyptian maps. The river served two purposes. It provided irrigation that nearly doubled the food output of the nation in preparation for the great famine. This area is called the "Faiyum" on current maps. The "Bahr Yousef" also fed Qarun Lake (also located in the "Faiyum"), greatly increasing its size. This had the effect of greatly increasing the fish supply to the nation. This would also have been important in feeding a hungry nation during the period of the great famine.
(For more information, click on "Joseph in Egypt")
Who was the pharaoh during the time of Moses?
Once again, it should be understood there was more than one "pharaohs" (tribal leaders) during the time of Moses.
Dynasties V and VI ended abruptly at the end of "The Old Kingdom". The reason for the abrupt decline is said by many more recent historians to be the result of the exodus period. This period included the one-year period of the ten plagues, the loss of pharaoh and the Egyptian army in the Red Sea, and the take-over of the nation by the Hyksos kings.
Dynasty XIII, while it didn't end immediately at the same era, they Dynasty was unable to withstand the take-over of the nation by the Hyksos kings. It is interesting that the pyramid of Amenemhet III (Dynasty VIII) was build of clay bricks that were mixed with straw. There is a town near the pyramid was excavated by "Petrie" that was labeled by him as a "slave town".
Click here for a discussion on the subject by archaeologist David Down: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Om4dmmLNR6g.
Why is there a place called Ramses in Genesis when Ramses II doesn't come along until after Moses?
There are several kings lists in the histories. Among these are the Royal Turin List, Manetho's List of Dynasties, the Theban King List, the Sothis List, etc.. This list names two groups of Ramses kings totaling no fewer than eight kings who took this title. The two earliest Ramses kings are from the city named in the Bible. These kings precede the era of Moses. The excavations at present-day Avaris (ancient Ramses) by Dr. Manfred Bietak confirm this earlier historical period of the city of Ramses.