[Yet another example of how the Bible is deliberately vague on the issue of the names of the pharaohs! So if you want to match Biblical history with actual history … you can't! The Bible is out of step with the actual history of the past and note, during all the time of this Jewish/Hebrew history, if you compare their stories with that of real history, Egypt actually ruled the area that the Jews claimed later was Israel and was under their control. Nope. Israel never existed. Look here at the problem of the pharaohs, who are mentioned 155 times in the Bible. Jan]
The two primary books of the Old Testament – Genesis and Exodus – refer to ‘Pharaoh’ 155 times. Curiously, not once in either book is Pharaoh identified by name – and yet, in fact, the references are to many different pharaohs, across many centuries. The anomaly is all the more telling in that the holy books are not lacking in naming numerous sundry and incidental characters. For example, the grandmother, of the grandmother, of King Asa of Judah was Abishalom, should you be interested! (1 Kings 15.10). But this style of literature should be familiar to us all: "Once upon a time, in a land far away, was a bad king. And in the forest, David played … "
It’s called a Fairy Tale.
Out of Egypt
Let’s remind ourselves of Israel’s supposed early encounters with the diverse kings of Egypt. In the sacred history of the Jews, the ‘father of the races’ Abraham is placed in Babylonia, anachronistically re-labelled Chaldea, a term more appropriate to the empire of Nebuchadnezzar in the 600s BC. The character of Abraham alternates between bedouin pastoralist and landed grandee. Neither has the slightest claim to historical veracity.
…. snip …
Biblical ‘Pharaohs’ – Unknown to the Egyptians!
Despite the omission of pharaonic names in Genesis, Exodus and most other biblical books, in a few places pharaohs are indeed named. This should have made it possible to synchronize the real history of Egypt with some part of the purported "history" of the Jews recorded in the Bible.
Unfortunately there is a small problem: the Bible’s ‘Pharaohs’ are unknown in all of the vast corpus of Egyptian history.
Thus, 1 Kings (11.40) introduces the character "Shishak"; 2 Kings (17.4) brings on "So" ; and Jeremiah (44.30) gives us "Hophra." The anomaly has given rise to 200 years of "name that pharaoh." With many centuries, 30-odd dynasties, and dozens of monarchs to choose from the possibilities are endless.
Jeroboam’s "refuge" in Egypt:
Pharaoh ‘Shishak’ delivers God’s punishment on Judah (1000 – 800 BC)
In the last days of Solomon, a labourer, promoted to overseer, called Jeroboam "lifts up his hand" against the monarch and has to flee to Egypt and the protection of Shishak (who of course has an open-house for renegade Jewish labourers) (1 Kings 11). Solomon dies, Jeroboam becomes king of 10 northern tribes (what a star!) and Solomon’s legitimate heir Rehoboam is left with just 2 tribes in the south. Jeroboam’s accommodating monarch Shishak plunders the Temple in Jerusalem, controlled by his rival, and conquers the whole of Judah. We never hear of Shishak again.
Nothing is known in Egypt of ‘Shishak’ but inscriptions of Pharaoh Shoshenk I (22nd dynasty) record his attack upon Jerusalem – so Shoshenk has traditionally been identified as the biblical ‘Shishak.’
Hoshea of Samaria challenges the King of Assyria:
"Pharaoh So" to the rescue (800 -700 BC)
"And the king of Assyria found conspiracy in Hoshea: for he had sent messengers to So king of Egypt, and brought no present to the king of Assyria, as he had done year by year: therefore the king of Assyria shut him up, and bound him in prison." – 2 Kings 17.4.
An obvious candidate for So is Shoshenk – but he’s already identified with Shishak! Thutmose III has a temple relief showing conquered cities of Judaea – perhaps we should make Thutmose ‘Shishak’ so that ‘So’ can be Shoshenk?!
Egyptian civil war written into the story:
Pharaoh ‘Hophra’ gets on the wrong side of the Lord
"Thus saith the LORD; Behold, I will give Pharaoh Hophra king of Egypt into the hand of his enemies, and into the hand of them that seek his life; as I gave Zedekiah king of Judah into the hand of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, his enemy, and that sought his life." – Jeremiah 44.30.
With the ‘clue’ of Nebuchadnezzar (605 – 561 BC) and an obvious fate, chief suspect is the grandson of Pharaoh Neckau who reigned from 589 to 570 BC. This pharaoh died in a rebellion led by his general and son-in-law Ahmose. Unfortunately, this pharaoh is actually called Apries (Herodotus ii.169) and on his monuments as Uah
abra (Wahibre). Perhaps the Pharaoh used the name ‘Hophra’ when he sent letters to the Jews …?!
The biblical author was using the literary device of a royal murder to put an instructive ‘prophecy’ into the mouth of ‘Jeremiah.’ His oracle of woe was directed at recalcitrant Jews, many of whom lived in Egypt and were susceptible to Egyptian religious practices.