2 Kings 17:4—How can this verse mention a king of Egypt named “So” when there are no records of such a king?

Problem: When Shalmaneser king of Assyria came to do battle with Hoshea king of Israel, Shalmaneser discovered a conspiracy which Hoshea had begun when he “sent messengers to So, king of Egypt” (2 Kings 17:4). However, besides this statement in the Bible, there are no records of a king of Egypt named So. Is this an error?

Solution: The name translated “So” can also be translated “Sais” which was the name of the capital city of Tefnakht the king of Egypt at the time Hoshea ruled in Israel. Thus the passage should read, “He [Hoshea] sent to Sais, to the king of Egypt.” The word “So” in the nkjv is not the name of the king of Egypt, but of the capital city of the kingdom of Egypt. There is no error here.

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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.