Jewish Prophet, reign of Ramesses II (?) c.1250 BC.
    According to the Biblical account, the descendants of the tribe of Israel whom *Joseph had brought into Egypt centuries earlier ultimately became part of those groups of itinerant labourers who were press-ganged into various building projects; their particular task was to make mudbricks for the royal Delta cities of Pithom and Ramses. The persecution of the Children of Israel was probably part of the general stern measures which the Ramesside rulers of the Nineteenth Dynasty introduced against the peoples who lived on the borders of Egypt.
    The Bible relates how Moses, the child of Hebrew slaves resident in Egypt, was rescued from the bulrushes by an Egyptian princess and was brought up in the palace. When grown, he defied Pharaoh and led the Hebrews out of Egypt, probably starting the journey from the district near the city of Ramses. In Sinai, Moses received God's covenant in the form of the Ten Commandments, and finally the Hebrews reached their destination and settled in the land that was to become known as Israel.
    Although the Exodus marked a milestone in the religious and political history of the *Jews, and Moses was later regarded as a great spiritual leader, no reference to these events has been found in Egyptian records. This is not surprising since the Egyptians would have regarded this as a relatively unimportant uprising on the part of their workforce. It was also not the practise to document a pharaoh's failures. Despite the fact that Moses is not mentioned in Egyptian records he would have been totally acceptable at the Royal Court of the Nineteenth Dynasty, for many foreigners then held high positions. His Egyptian education would also have prepared him well for his role as a leader and law-giver.
    It is generally accepted that the Exodus took place in the Nineteenth Dynasty, but no exact date can be established. Some evidence indicates that the persecution occurred under *Ramesses II and *Merneptah and that the Hebrews escaped during the latter's reign. However, the Israel Stela, which *Merneptah usurped from *Amenophis III and which is a major source for Egypt's Libyan War, also mentions Israel as an already established geographical place by the middle of *Merneptah's reign. This is the only known reference to Israel in an Egyptian inscription, and it is important in this context because it indicates that *Ramesses II and not *Merneptah was the king in whose reign the Exodus occurred, probably c.1290 BC.
    The lengthy sojourn spent in Egypt undoubtedly influenced *Jewish thought: associations can be shown between some legal and liturgical elements in the Mosaic laws and in Egyptian examples, and some interesting parallels can be drawn between the two literatures, with particular reference to the Egyptian Wisdom Texts and the Hymn to the Aten. (The Book of Proverbs and Psalm 104 respectively.)
BIBL. The Bible, Exodus, ch. 1-20; Kitchen, K.A. Ancient Orient and Old Testament. London: 1966 pp. 57 ff., 156 ff; Freud, S. Moses and Monotheism. New York: 1967.
Biographical Dictionary of Ancient Egypt by Rosalie and Antony E. David
* * *
   See Exodus.
Historical Dictionary Of Ancient Egypt by Morris L. Bierbrier

Ancient Egypt. A Reference Guide. . 2011.

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