Study Materials


What Pharaoh Dynasty was Moses in?

What Pharaoh Dynasty was Moses in?
Robert Notgrass

    In the lists of Pharaohs of Egypt, there are many “dynasties.” A “dynasty” is a group of rulers who rule in succession from parent to child. Sometimes dynasties simply die out, but usually a dynasty ends when a palace coup or other disaster overtakes a particular Pharaoh – sometime by being overthrown by foreign rulers such as with the Hykosis group. With that said, it is extremely difficult to pen down which dynasty Moses belonged to. According to the Bible, "Now there arose up a new king over Egypt, which knew not Joseph (Exodus 1:8). From this, we are certain that the dynasty was a new kingdom all together. Well, only the 18-20th dynasties are considered as the new kingdom.
    Now, when you go to movies, such as the Ten Commandments with Charlston Heston, they mention in the movie about Rameses who ruled in the 19th dynasty. And, while that seems to clear things up, it only makes things more confusing. Rameses I and Rameses II are strongly linked to Moses. However, these two men reigned from 1292-1290 BC and 1279-1213 BC. Moses was already dead by that time. So, that rules them out.
    According to many commentaries, Bible dictionaries and Chronological books, Moses seems to be dated somewhere from 1566-1540. But, since a new kingdom had come, it would have to be no later than 1550 because this was when the new kingdom came in Egypt. Therefore, from 1550-1540 is the date of Moses. Well, this date would put him in the 18th dynasty of rulers. More than likely, he was under Ahmosis I, Amenhotep I (this was the one in the Mummy movies), Thutmose I, II, III.
    While this seems to be the most logical with facts, historical and Biblical, there are still other questions that come up. Such as, the Bible indicates that the Pharaoh whose daughter adopted three-month-old Moses died when Moses was nearly 80 years old. If this is true, then, there is only one Pharaoh who reigned for over 80 years. That is Pepi II who reigned from 2278-2184. But, he was in the 6th dynasty. In Exodus 7:7, it tells of Moses, being 80 years of age when he stands before a pharaoh who really did not seem to know him like the previous one. Also, we know that this pharaoh, who was before Moses, died in the Red Sea and so he did not seem to reign as long as Pharaoh. This coincides with Pharaoh Neferka who only reigned for one year at best. No pharaoh in the 19th dynasty or the 18th dynasty comes to this short of a reign. This also may seem to fit because the Pharaoh allowed a lot of fortune to be taken from Egypt by the children of Israel. It was almost as he did not really understand what all he had. But again, this does not coincide with many other concrete facts.
    So, it is difficult to tell which dynasty Moses was in. A lot seems to be based upon the historical documents of Egyptology which seem to be incomplete and sporadic. But, I would be more grounded to put Moses in the 18th dynasty because the date of Moses seems to be universally accepted in the 1550-1540 birth date.