pha·raoh /ˈfɛr(ˌ)o, ˈfær(ˌ)o, ˈfe(ˌ)ro/
1. A title by which the sovereigns of ancient Egypt were designated.
2. See Faro.
Pharaoh's chicken Zool., the gier-eagle, or Egyptian vulture; -- so called because often sculpured on Egyptian monuments. It is nearly white in color.
Pharaoh's rat Zool., the common ichneumon.
n : the title of the ancient Egyptian kings [syn: Pharaoh of
the official title borne by the Egyptian kings down to the time
when that country was conquered by the Greeks. (See EGYPT.) 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. 12:10-20) 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, or Apopis, the last of the Hyksos kings. To the old
native Egyptians, who were an African race, shepherds were "an
abomination;" but to the Hyksos kings these Asiatic shepherds
who now appeared with Jacob at their head were congenial, and
being akin to their own race, had a warm welcome (Gen. 47:5, 6).
Some argue that Joseph came to Egypt in the reign of Thothmes
III., long after the expulsion of the Hyksos, and that his
influence is to be seen in the rise and progress of the
religious revolution in the direction of monotheism which
characterized the middle of the Eighteenth Dynasty. The wife of
Amenophis III., of that dynasty, was a Semite. Is this singular
fact to be explained from the presence of some of Joseph's
kindred at the Egyptian court? Pharaoh said to Joseph, "Thy
father and thy brethren are come unto thee: the land of Egypt is
before thee; in the best of the land make thy father and
brethren to dwell" (Gen. 47:5, 6).
(3.) The "new king who knew not Joseph" (Ex. 1:8-22) 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
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. During his forty years' residence at the
court of Egypt, Moses must have known this ruler well. During
his sojourn in Midian, however, Rameses died, after a reign of
sixty-seven years, and his body embalmed and laid in the royal
sepulchre in the Valley of the Tombs of Kings beside that of his
father. Like the other mummies found hidden in the cave of Deir
el-Bahari, it had been for some reason removed from its original
tomb, and probably carried from place to place till finally
deposited in the cave where it was so recently discovered.
In 1886, the mummy of this king, the "great Rameses," the
"Sesostris" of the Greeks, was unwound, and showed the body of
what must have been a robust old man. The features revealed to
view are thus described by Maspero: "The head is long and small
in proportion to the body. The top of the skull is quite bare.
On the temple there are a few sparse hairs, but at the poll the
hair is quite thick, forming smooth, straight locks about two
inches in length. White at the time of death, they have been
dyed a light yellow by the spices used in embalmment. The
forehead is low and narrow; the brow-ridge prominent; the
eye-brows are thick and white; the eyes are small and close
together; the nose is long, thin, arched like the noses of the
Bourbons; the temples are sunk; the cheek-bones very prominent;
the ears round, standing far out from the head, and pierced,
like those of a woman, for the wearing of earrings; the jaw-bone
is massive and strong; the chin very prominent; the mouth small,
but thick-lipped; the teeth worn and very brittle, but white and
well preserved. The moustache and beard are thin. They seem to
have been kept shaven during life, but were probably allowed to
grow during the king's last illness, or they may have grown
after death. The hairs are white, like those of the head and
eyebrows, but are harsh and bristly, and a tenth of an inch in
length. The skin is of an earthy-brown, streaked with black.
Finally, it may be said, the face of the mummy gives a fair idea
of the face of the living king. The expression is
unintellectual, perhaps slightly animal; but even under the
somewhat grotesque disguise of mummification there is plainly to
be seen an air of sovereign majesty, of resolve, and of pride."
Both on his father's and his mother's side it has been pretty
clearly shown that Rameses had Chaldean or Mesopotamian blood in
his veins to such a degree that he might be called an Assyrian.
This fact is thought to throw light on Isa. 52:4.
(5.) The Pharaoh of the Exodus was probably Menephtah I., the
fourteenth and eldest surviving son of Rameses II. He resided at
Zoan, where he had the various interviews with Moses and Aaron
recorded in the book of Exodus. His mummy was not among those
found at Deir el-Bahari. It is still a question, however,
whether Seti II. or his father Menephtah was the Pharaoh of the
Exodus. Some think the balance of evidence to be in favour of
the former, whose reign it is known began peacefully, but came
to a sudden and disastrous end. The "Harris papyrus," found at
Medinet-Abou in Upper Egypt in 1856, a state document written by
Rameses III., the second king of the Twentieth Dynasty, gives at
length an account of a great exodus from Egypt, followed by
wide-spread confusion and anarchy. This, there is great reason
to believe, was the Hebrew exodus, with which the Nineteenth
Dynasty of the Pharaohs came to an end. This period of anarchy
was brought to a close by Setnekht, the founder of the Twentieth
"In the spring of 1896, Professor Flinders Petrie discovered,
among the ruins of the temple of Menephtah at Thebes, a large
granite stela, on which is engraved a hymn of victory
commemorating the defeat of Libyan invaders who had overrun the
Delta. At the end other victories of Menephtah are glanced at,
and it is said that 'the Israelites (I-s-y-r-a-e-l-u) are
minished (?) so that they have no seed.' Menephtah was son and
successor of Rameses II., the builder of Pithom, and Egyptian
scholars have long seen in him the Pharaoh of the Exodus. The
Exodus is also placed in his reign by the Egyptian legend of the
event preserved by the historian Manetho. In the inscription the
name of the Israelites has no determinative of 'country' or
'district' attached to it, as is the case with all the other
names (Canaan, Ashkelon, Gezer, Khar or Southern Palestine,
etc.) mentioned along with it, and it would therefore appear
that at the time the hymn was composed, the Israelites had
already been lost to the sight of the Egyptians in the desert.
At all events they must have had as yet no fixed home or
district of their own. We may therefore see in the reference to
them the Pharaoh's version of the Exodus, the disasters which
befell the Egyptians being naturally passed over in silence, and
only the destruction of the 'men children' of the Israelites
being recorded. The statement of the Egyptian poet is a
remarkable parallel to Ex. 1:10-22."
(6.) The Pharaoh of 1 Kings 11:18-22.
(7.) So, king of Egypt (2 Kings 17:4).
(8.) The Pharaoh of 1 Chr. 4:18.
(9.) Pharaoh, whose daughter Solomon married (1 Kings 3:1;
(10.) Pharaoh, in whom Hezekiah put his trust in his war
against Sennacherib (2 Kings 18:21).
(11.) The Pharaoh by whom Josiah was defeated and slain at
Megiddo (2 Chr. 35:20-24; 2 Kings 23:29, 30). (See NECHO.)
(12.) Pharaoh-hophra, who in vain sought to relieve Jerusalem
when it was besieged by Nebuchadnezzar (q.v.), 2 Kings 25:1-4;
comp. Jer. 37:5-8; Ezek. 17:11-13. (See ZEDEKIAH.)
Pharaoh, that disperses; that spoils