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Amenhotep IV and the Bible

Amenhotep IV

Amenhotep the fourth is the 10th Pharaoh in the new kingdom and the 18th dynasty. He was called Amenhotep IV for his first five years reign as a Pharaoh. However, he became so devoted to the sun disc god Aten that he adapted the name Akenaten, meaning “The one who is of service to Aten”. Amenhotep IV ruled Egypt for 17 years until his death. He is found on the Biblical Timeline Chart during the timeframe of Moses and the Exodus.

Unlike his father before him, Amehotep IV did not rule as long as his father Amenhotep III who ruled for 40 years. His greatest known accomplishment was his establishment of a monotheistic cult that centered on worshipping the god of sun disc called Aten.

Due to his belief in Aten, Amenhotep IV had other temples of gods destroyed like the temple of Amon. All inscriptions referring to ‘gods’ was wiped out as well. However, when he died, all his efforts in having one religion came to nothing as his son, Tuthanhkamen reverted back to the mutti-god beliefs of the Egyptian people. The mummy of Amenhotep IV was rumoured to have been destroyed by Amon priest so that he would not be able to go to an afterlife.

The Pharaoh Amenhotep IV was considered to be a good man by many. Some consider his monotheist belief is the origin of the Judeo-Christian monotheism.

Amenhotep IV in the Bible – The Pharaohs of Exodus

There have been a lot of pharaohs in the bible. There was the king of Egypt Shishak (I Kings 11:40, KJV) whom Jeroboam fled to when Solomon sought to kill him and So (II Kings 17:4, KJV) where Hosea, discovered by the Assyrian King, conspired and sent So, the king of Egypt a message. Another was the pharaoh Nechoh (II Kings 23:29; II Chronicles 35:20, KJV) who killed King Josiah in Megiddo when the king went up against the King of Egypt.

But the most famous of all Pharaohs in the Bible is the Pharaohs of Exodus. However, their names are never mentioned.  That is why until now, their identity is still open to speculation. There was two pharaohs that was needed to be identified, the one who oppressed the Israelites and the one who was plagued and set the Israelites free, thus the Exodus.

For example here is one theory.  When Moses was born, Tutmoses I, son of Amenhotep I, was the Pharaoh at that time who ordered the death of all male children of Israel. Tutmoses I had no son so that Nefure, speculated to be the princess who found Moses, adopted Moses. Tutmoses I named Moses as his heir and gave him the name Tutmoses II. Moses was Tutmoses II for 22 years until he killed an Egyptian and fled to Midian. The name Tutmoses II was given to Nefure’s half-brother.  She later became Queen Hatsheput. Tutmoses III son from a concubine was the father of Amenhotep III.

Amenhotep III, father of Amenhotep IV, was said to be the Pharaoh of Exodus. Tutankhamen was said to be the first born son who died in the plague (Exodus 12:29) making his brother, Akhenaten (Amenhotep IV) the crown prince. Amenhotep was a witness to his father’s pride against the God of the Hebrew and saw how their gods were struck powerless. This is why, when he became a Pharaoh himself, Amenhotep IV worshipped only one god, Aten. 

This is just but one of the speculations on the identity of the Pharaoh of Exodus. Other pharaohs who could be the pharaoh of Exodus are Dudimose, Ahmose I, Thutmose III, Horemheb, Ramesses I and Ramesses II. Ramesses II is the most well known candidate due to the films “The Ten Commadments” and the “Prince of Egypt”.



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