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At least two bands have used the name The Pharaohs:

For other Pharaohs, see Pharaoh (disambiguation).


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Up to date as of January 23, 2010
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the official title borne by the Egyptian kings down to the time when that country was conquered by the Greeks. The name is a compound, as some think, of the words Ra, the "sun" or "sun-god," and the article phe, "the," prefixed; hence phera, "the sun," or "the sun-god." But others, perhaps more correctly, think the name derived from Perao, "the great house" = his majesty = in Turkish, "the Sublime Porte."

(1.) The Pharaoh who was on the throne when Abram went down into Egypt (Gen 12:10ff) was probably one of the Hyksos, or "shepherd kings." The Egyptians called the nomad tribes of Syria Shasu, "plunderers," their king or chief Hyk, and hence the name of those invaders who conquered the native kings and established a strong government, with Zoan or Tanis as their capital. They were of Semitic origin, and of kindred blood accordingly with Abram. They were probably driven forward by the pressure of the Hittites. The name they bear on the monuments is "Mentiu."

(2.) The Pharaoh of Joseph's days (Gen. 41) was probably Apopi

(3.) The "new king who knew not Joseph" (Ex 1:8ff) has been generally supposed to have been Aahmes I., or Amosis, as he is called by Josephus. Recent discoveries, however, have led to the conclusion that Seti was the "new king."

For about seventy years the Hebrews in Egypt were under the powerful protection of Joseph. After his death their condition was probably very slowly and gradually changed. The invaders, the Hyksos, who for some five centuries had been masters of Egypt, were driven out, and the old dynasty restored. The Israelites now began to be looked down upon. They began to be afflicted and tyrannized over. In process of time a change appears to have taken place in the government of Egypt. A new dynasty, the Nineteenth, as it is called, came into power under Seti I., who was its founder. He associated with him in his government his son, Rameses II., when he was yet young, probably ten or twelve years of age.

Note, Professor Maspero, keeper of the museum of Bulak, near Cairo, had his attention in 1870 directed to the fact that scarabs, i.e., stone and metal imitations of the beetle (symbols of immortality), originally worn as amulets by royal personages, which were evidently genuine relics of the time of the ancient Pharaohs, were being sold at Thebes and different places along the Nile. This led him to suspect that some hitherto undiscovered burial-place of the Pharaohs had been opened, and that these and other relics, now secretly sold, were a part of the treasure found there. For a long time he failed, with all his ingenuity, to find the source of these rare treasures. At length one of those in the secret volunteered to give information regarding this burial-place. The result was that a party was conducted in 1881 to Dier el-Bahari, near Thebes, when the wonderful discovery was made of thirty-six mummies of kings, queens, princes, and high priests hidden away in a cavern prepared for them, where they had lain undisturbed for thirty centuries. "The temple of Deir el-Bahari stands in the middle of a natural amphitheatre of cliffs, which is only one of a number of smaller amphitheatres into which the limestone mountains of the tombs are broken up. In the wall of rock separating this basin from the one next to it some ancient Egyptian engineers had constructed the hiding-place, whose secret had been kept for nearly three thousand years." The exploring party being guided to the place, found behind a great rock a shaft 6 feet square and about 40 feet deep, sunk into the limestone. At the bottom of this a passage led westward for 25 feet, and then turned sharply northward into the very heart of the mountain, where in a chamber 23 feet by 13, and 6 feet in height, they came upon the wonderful treasures of antiquity. The mummies were all carefully secured and brought down to Bulak, where they were deposited in the royal museum, which has now been removed to Ghizeh.

Among the most notable of the ancient kings of Egypt thus discovered were Thothmes III., Seti I., and Rameses II. Thothmes III. was the most distinguished monarch of the brilliant Eighteenth Dynasty. When this mummy was unwound "once more, after an interval of thirty-six centuries, human eyes gazed on the features of the man who had conquered Syria and Cyprus and Ethiopia, and had raised Egypt to the highest pinnacle of her power. The spectacle, however, was of brief duration. The remains proved to be in so fragile a state that there was only time to take a hasty photograph, and then the features crumbled to pieces and vanished like an apparition, and so passed away from human view for ever." "It seems strange that though the body of this man," who overran Palestine with his armies two hundred years before the birth of Moses, "mouldered to dust, the flowers with which it had been wreathed were so wonderfully preserved that even their colour could be distinguished" (Manning's Land of the Pharaohs).

Seti I. (his throne name Merenptah), the father of Rameses II., was a great and successful warrior, also a great builder. The mummy of this Pharaoh, when unrolled, brought to view "the most beautiful mummy head ever seen within the walls of the museum. The sculptors of Thebes and Abydos did not flatter this Pharaoh when they gave him that delicate, sweet, and smiling profile which is the admiration of travellers. After a lapse of thirty-two centuries, the mummy retains the same expression which characterized the features of the living man. Most remarkable of all, when compared with the mummy of Rameses II., is the striking resemblance between the father and the son. Seti I. is, as it were, the idealized type of Rameses II. He must have died at an advanced age. The head is shaven, the eyebrows are white, the condition of the body points to considerably more than threescore years of life, thus confirming the opinions of the learned, who have attributed a long reign to this king."

(4.) Rameses II., the son of Seti I., is probably the Pharaoh of the Oppression.

(5.) The Pharaoh of the Exodus was probably Menephtah I., the fourteenth and eldest surviving son of Rameses II.

(6.) The Pharaoh of 1 Kg 11:18ff.

(7.) So, king of Egypt (2Kg 17:4).

(8.) The Pharaoh of 1Chr 4:18.

(9.) Pharaoh, whose daughter Solomon married (1 Kg 3:1; 1 Kg 7:8).

(10.) Pharaoh, in whom Hezekiah put his trust in his war against Sennacherib (2Kg 18:21).

(11.) The Pharaoh by whom Josiah was defeated and slain at Megiddo (2Chr 35:20ff; 2Kg 23:29f). (See Necho.)

(12.) Pharaoh-hophra, who in vain sought to relieve Jerusalem when it was besieged by Nebuchadnezzar, 2Kg 25:1ff; comp. Jer 37:5ff; Ezek 17:11ff. (See Zedekiah.)

This entry includes text from Easton's Bible Dictionary, 1897.

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