Although there are many biblical scholars who like the Ramesses dynasty for the placement of the Exodus, some notable Bible- honoring scholars do not place it there, but earlier. To solve this question for myself, I looked at the big picture of both Egyptian and Old Testament history. Historians and archaeologists are in agreement that Ramesses the Great was the greatest pharaoh of Ancient Egypt, in terms of military prowess, wealth, and real temporal power. Secular historians record that the Ramesses dynasty was unable to retain its might, and died out. As a result Egypt was thrown into a period of chaos from which it took hundreds of years to recover. But even then, Egypt never reclaimed its former glory. The reign of Ramesses the Great was its peak.
Now, let’s look at the big picture of the book of Exodus. The real history of Exodus and the deliverance of the children of Israel from Egypt is a prophetic type of God’s people at present and their deliverance from the kingdom of darkness into the kingdom of heaven. Egypt is a type and foreshadow. As such, God’s people were enslaved by the most powerful kingdom of this world, whose king refused to acknowledge God or His claim on His people. Pharaoh was so powerful and secure in his own might, that he mocked at God, just as the ruler of the kingdoms of this present world also does.
God poured out judgment onto Pharaoh’s kingdom, educating him in who YHVH is in the process (Exo 5:2). He is the King of kings and Lord of lords, and the gods of Egypt bowed their knee before Him. He delivered His people with mighty power and an outstretched arm. The greatest kingdom of the ancient world was completely shattered, the greatest king of that greatest kingdom was completely humbled before Him. We know this essential history will repeat itself with Jesus returning as the King of kings and Lord of lords. This biblical logic is consistent with the history of Egypt in which its greatest dynasty — the Ramesses dynasty — is shattered so completely, that it takes Egypt hundreds of years to recover, and then never to the point of its former glory.
The other option is to place the Exodus in an earlier dynasty. In that scenario, Moses brings the children of Israel out from under a pharaoh no one has ever heard of, and God so completely shatters Egypt, as a type of the kingdom of darkness, that it soon recovers, and a few dynasties later produces Ramesses the Great, acknowledged by all as Egypt’s greatest pharaoh, of the greatest height of kingdom Egypt ever attained. Huh? To me, that logic does not fit the big picture history of Exodus and the prophetic themes of the entire Scripture.
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