An Eighteenth Dynasty Rameses -- By: Gleason L. Archer

Journal: Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society
Volume: JETS 17:1 (Winter 1974)
Article: An Eighteenth Dynasty Rameses
Author: Gleason L. Archer


An Eighteenth Dynasty Rameses

Gleason L. Archer

Trinity Evangelical Divinity School Deerfield, Illinois 60015

For many years it has been the contention of the advocates of the “Late Date” Theory of the Exodus (ca. 1290 B. C.) that a Nineteenth Dynasty situation for the oppression of the Israelites in Egypt was demanded by the mention of the city of “Raamses” in Ex. 1:11. On the asumption that this reference was not an anachronism for the period of the oppression, but the name actually current for Tanis or Avaris (referred to in Dyn. XIX as Pi-Ramesse), it is urged that an early 13th century date for the Exodus is absolutely required. This deduction has long been open to question, however, in view of the apparent connection between the 19th Dynasty and the Hykos ‘royal line. As W. F. Albright asserted (From Stone Age to Christianity, 2nd ed., 1957, p. 232). “The Ramesside house actually traced its ancestry back to a Hyksos king whose era was fixed 400 years before the date commemorated in the ‘400-year Stela’ of Tanis. The great-grandfather of Rameses II evidently came from an old Tanite family, very possibly of Hyksos origin, since his name was Sethos (Suta) … Rameses II established his capital and residency at Tanis, which he named ‘House of Rameses’ and where he built a great temple of the old Tanite, later Hyksos, god Seth (pronounced at that time Sutekh).” This being the case, the proposition that the actual name “Rameses” itself was used no earlier than Dyn. XIX seemed more than doubtful, even though it might be true that Rameses I (1303–1302, according to IDB, iv, 10) was the first pharaoh to bear that name.

It was therefore of considerable interest to this writer to discover purely by chance, as he was looking through “Views of the Biblical World” (Jerusalem, 1960, vol. iii, p. 118), a wall painting of a prominent nobleman who served in the reign of Amenhotep III (1412–1376) and who was nanled Ramose, or Rameses. The accompanying inscription caught my eye, because it contained the characters so familiar in the cartouche of Rameses the Great. The scene depicts a procession of trusted servants who had devotedly followed “Ramose” during his lifetime, and who are now carrying to his tomb the choice objects which were to be interred with him: his sandals, his jars of ointment and beer, his chair and bed, and what seem to be four caskets containing smaller precious objects or mummified portions of his body. The first eleven

columns seem to read: “His people of his estate say: O guardians, the faithful attendant upon his call says, O’mountain of the west, open up (for) Ramose; mayest thou shelter him within thee. The attendant ...

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