As promised, I am offering a few comments on the Discovery Channel special “Rameses: Wrath Of God Or Man?” [The Discovery Channel Challenges the Bible] Dr. Kent Weeks claims he has found the firstborn son of the Pharaoh of the Exodus. Well, sort of. Throughout the program we heard, “I believe he could well be. . . . He thinks he’s found the skull. . . . It’s believed to be the skull of the son of Rameses II.” The fact that Rameses II “had scores of wives,” “many sons,” and an embellished historical record that only describes Egyptian victories, there’s no way to know for sure.

Weeks concludes that the son of Rameses II was killed by a blow to the head. If it’s true that Rameses’ first-born son Amun-her-khepeshef shows signs of a violent death rather than a sickness as the result of a plague, then the biblical record is myth masquerading as fact. As I thought, the purpose of the show was to demonstrate, without actually coming out and saying it, that the biblical record of the Exodus is a complete fabrication. No one should have been surprised.

The biggest problem historians and archeologists encounter is reconstructing a past when they don’t have a reliable blueprint. Once the Bible is rejected as trustworthy history, all we are left with is dust, rubble, and the presuppositions of the historical reconstructionists. The operating presuppositions of most modern-day archeologists are clear: First, in order for the Bible to be validated as accurate history, it must be supported by some so-called objective secular source of the period. Second, any history other than biblical history is always more reliable. Third, the Current Consensus Chronology (CCC) is correct. On this third point, which is critical to the topic at hand, James B. Jordan, an expert in biblical chronology, makes the following assessment:

The 20th century will go down as an era of tremendous error as regards the history and chronology of the ancient world. The consensus chronology, used by secular scholars and Christian scholars alike, is built on fiction, creates huge problems with the history of every culture of the ancient world, and is collapsing today. Believing Christians can rejoice at this development, but students must be aware that virtually every Bible Dictionary article, Bible Encyclopedia article, and Old Testament commentary written in this century is replete with error wherever it discusses links between Bible history and the history of the ancient world. [1]

Secularist skeptics have great latitude to speculate since the Pharaoh of the Exodus is not named. We do know from Exodus 1:11 that the Hebrew slaves built the cities of Rameses (or Ramesses) and Pithom, although the Bible does not say when this took place. Israel was in Egypt 400 years. Many archeologists have concluded that Rameses II is the Pharaoh of the Exodus. According to archeologist Kenneth Kitchen, the name Rameses was “used by eleven kings of the Nineteenth and Twentieth Dynasties, circa 1290-1070 [BC]. The first of these, Ramesses I, reigned only sixteen months and built no cities. None of the rest founded major cities either, with but one exception. He was Ramesses II, grandson of I, who was the builder of the vast city Pi-Ramesse A-nakhtu, ‘Domain of Ramesses II, Great in Victory,’ suitably abbreviated to the distinctive and essential element ‘Ra(a)mses’ in Hebrew.” [2]

Given what we know about the Bible, the Exodus, and later biblical history, Jordan offers a helpful chronology of events that is a better historical record of the period than what is being offered today in both secular and Christian chronologies.

Let’s consider what the Bible actually says happened to Egypt in 1417 B.C.:

  1. A slave labor base of over 600,000 men was lost, and a working population of an unknown number of “mixed multitude” also departed.
  2. All the crops of Egypt were destroyed.
  3. All the cattle of Egypt were destroyed.
  4. All the firstborn sons of Egypt were killed.
  5. The Egyptian army was wiped out.
  6. The Pharaoh was killed, because the Pharaohs always led their armies.
  7. The gods of Egypt were humiliated completely.

Now this event was of a huge magnitude. Scholars using the CCC of today often tell us that it happened during the reign of Thutmose III, but we not only have the sarcophagus of Thutmose III, we also know nothing like this happened during his reign. The same is true of the alternative sometimes suggested, Rameses II. This construction of ancient history is clearly completely wrong.

The destruction of Egypt must have ushered in a dark age. Any reconstruction of ancient history that does not have an Egyptian dark age beginning in 1417 B.C. (or the equivalent CCC date, 1447 B.C.) is wrong. [3]

If Jordan’s analysis is correct, we can conclude that Dr. Kent Weeks dug up the wrong Pharaoh.


[1] James B. Jordan, “The Egyptian Problem, Biblical Chronology,” 6:1 (January 1994).
[2] Kenneth Kitchen, On the Reliability of the Old Testament, 255. [3] James B. Jordan, “Egypt in Biblical History,” Biblical Chronology, 5:8 (December 1993).