1 Kings 6:1—How can this be an accurate calculation if Ramses the Great was the Pharaoh of the Exodus?

Problem: The predominant view of modern scholarship is that the Pharaoh of the Exodus was Ramses II. If this is right, it would mean that the Exodus took place about 1270 to 1260 b.c. However, since the fourth year of Solomon’s reign was 967 b.c., adding 480 years to that date would put the Exodus at about 1447 b.c. which is in the reign of Amenhotep II. How can this calculation be correct if Ramses the Great was the Pharaoh of the Exodus?

1. The “y” in the word rbym is normally represented by the long “i” vowel. However, since the consonant yod was written to represent long vowels before the vowel points were added, it is inserted here as a transliteration of the letter which would have appeared in the unpointed text.

Solution: If the present chronology of the kings of Egypt is accepted, the Pharaoh of the Exodus was not Ramses the Great, but Amenhotep II. If Egyptian chronology is revised, then Ramses lived 200 years earlier and could be the Pharaoh of the Exodus. Although modern scholarship has proposed a late date for the Exodus, ca. 1270–1260 b.c., there is no longer any reason to accept this date, and alternative explanations provide a better account of all the historical data and place the Exodus at about 1447 b.c. (See comments under Ex. 5:2.)

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This excerpt is from When Critics Ask: A Popular Handbook on Bible Difficulties (Wheaton, Ill.: Victor Books, 1992). © 2014 Norman Geisler and Thomas Howe. All rights reserved. Used by permission. Click here to purchase this book.