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Egypt's Royal House

Pharaoh, a term which was originally used for the royal house or palace, became the official title of Egyptian kings from ancient times until Egypt was conquered by the Greeks (see Ancient Empires - Greece and The Ptolemies). Although two unnamed Pharaohs (see Who Was The Exodus Pharaoh?), whose attitudes toward the Israelites were very different (i.e. when the Israelites entered Egypt, and when they left over 400 years later) are perhaps the most famous, there were a number of other Egyptian kings who were active in Bible History.

Pharaoh Abraham and Sarah

"Now there was a famine in the land. So Abram went down to Egypt to sojourn there, for the famine was severe in the land ... But The Lord afflicted Pharaoh and his house with great plagues because of Sarai, Abram's wife." (Genesis 12:10,17 RSV) (see Abraham and Sarah)


"Then Pharaoh said to Joseph, "Your father and your brothers have come to you. The land of Egypt is before you; settle your father and your brothers in the best of the land; let them dwell in The Land Of Goshen; and if you know any able men among them, put them in charge of my cattle." Then Joseph brought in Jacob his father, and set him before Pharaoh, and Jacob blessed Pharaoh." (Genesis 47:5-7 RSV) (see Coat Of Many Colors and Children of Jacob)

Pharaohs Of The Oppression And Exodus

"Now there arose a new king over Egypt, who did not know Joseph. And he said to his people, "Behold, the people of Israel are too many and too mighty for us [see Growth Of A Nation]. Come, let us deal shrewdly with them, lest they multiply, and, if war befall us, they join our enemies and fight against us and escape from the land." Therefore they set taskmasters over them to afflict them with heavy burdens; and they built for Pharaoh store-cities, Pithom and Raamses." (Exodus 1:8-11 RSV)

"So Moses and Aaron went in to Pharaoh, and said to him, "Thus says The Lord [see Rock Of Ages], the God of the Hebrews, 'How long will you refuse to humble yourself before Me? Let My people go, that they may serve Me. For if you refuse to let My people go, behold, tomorrow I will bring locusts into your country, and they shall cover the face of the land, so that no one can see the land; and they shall eat what is left to you after the hail, and they shall eat every tree of yours which grows in the field, and they shall fill your houses, and the houses of all your servants and of all the Egyptians; as neither your fathers nor your grandfathers have seen, from the day they came on earth to this day.'" Then he turned and went out from Pharaoh." (Exodus 10:3-6 RSV) (see The Ten Plagues)

During The Time Of Israelite Kings

"For when David was in Edom, and Joab the commander of the army went up to bury the slain, he slew every male in Edom ... but Hadad fled to Egypt, together with certain Edomites of his father's servants, Hadad being yet a little child. They set out from Midian and came to Paran, and took men with them from Paran and came to Egypt, to Pharaoh king of Egypt, who gave him a house, and assigned him an allowance of food, and gave him land." (1 Kings 11:15-18 RSV)

"But the king of Assyria found treachery in Hoshea; for he had sent messengers to So, king of Egypt, and offered no tribute 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 RSV) (see Ancient Empires - Assyria and Kings of Israel and Judah)

"The sons of Ezrah: Jether, Mered, Epher, and Jalon. These are the sons of Bithiah, the daughter of Pharaoh, whom Mered married; and she conceived and bore Miriam, Shammai, and Ishbah, the father of Eshtemoa. And his Jewish wife bore Jered the father of Gedor, Heber the father of Soco, and Jekuthiel the father of Zanoah." (1 Chronicles 4:17-18 RSV)

"Solomon made a marriage alliance with Pharaoh king of Egypt; he took Pharaoh's daughter, and brought her into the city of David, until he had finished building his own house and the house of The Lord and the wall around Jerusalem." (1 Kings 3:1 RSV)

"Behold, you are relying now on Egypt, that broken reed of a staff, which will pierce the hand of any man who leans on it. Such is Pharaoh king of Egypt to all who rely on him. But if you say to me, "We rely on The Lord our God," is it not he whose high places and altars Hezekiah has removed, saying to Judah and to Jerusalem, "You shall worship before this altar in Jerusalem" (2 Kings 18:21-22 RSV) (see Hezekiah's Tunnel)

"After all this, when Josiah had prepared the Temple [see Temples], Neco king of Egypt went up to fight at Carchemish on the Euphrates and Josiah went out against him. But he sent envoys to him, saying, "What have we to do with each other, king of Judah? I am not coming against you this day, but against the house with which I am at war; and God has commanded me to make haste. Cease opposing God, who is with me, lest he destroy you." (2 Chronicles 35:20-21 RSV)

"The army of Pharaoh had come out of Egypt; and when the Chaldeans who were besieging Jerusalem heard news of them, they withdrew from Jerusalem. Then the word of The Lord came to Jeremiah the prophet: "Thus says The Lord, God of Israel: Thus shall you say to the king of Judah who sent you to me to inquire of me, 'Behold, Pharaoh's army which came to help you is about to return to Egypt, to its own land. And the Chaldeans shall come back and fight against this city; they shall take it and burn it with fire." (Jeremiah 37:5-8 RSV) (see Ancient Empires - Babylon and Why Babylon?)

Fact Finder: What was God's purpose for the Pharaohs during the height of their power?
Romans 9:17

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