Biblical Archaeology Review 38:3, May/June 2012

Strata: How Many?

How many pharaohs (kings of Egypt) are mentioned in the Hebrew Bible?

Answer: At least 14

It is difficult to get a precise count of the Egyptian pharaohs in the Bible because they fall into three categories: (1) those specifically mentioned by name; (2) those mentioned indirectly in the name of a geographical feature; and (3) unnamed kings called simply “pharaoh.”1

The names used for the pharaohs in the first group have often been Hebraized, but scholars are able to identify them with names on Egyptian king lists, including Shishak/Sheshonq I (1 Kings 11:40, 14:25 et al.), So/Osorkon III or IV (2 Kings 17:4), Tiharka/Taharqa of Cush and Egypt (2 Kings 19:9; Isaiah 36:6), Necho/Nekau II (2 Kings 23:29, 33–35) and Hopra/Apries (Jeremiah 37:5, 44:30).

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