Hebrew for the title of the kings of Egypt, who were regarded as divine and ruled absolutely, with the help of an enormous corps of civil servants; these were supervised by the head of the service, the vizier, which was the office pictured as being held by Joseph (Gen. 41–7). The Pharaoh of the Exodus who allowed the Israelites to leave Egypt (Exod. 5–12) is often identified as Rameses II (1279–1212 BCE) in the light of excavations carried out in his store cities of Pithom and Rameses (Exod. 1: 11).

Other Pharaohs mentioned in the OT include

  • 1. Shishak (945–924 BCE), who invaded Palestine (1 Kgs. 14: 25–6);
  • 2. So (perhaps 727–720 BCE), to whom King Hoshea begged for help when he rebelled against Assyria (2 Kgs. 17: 4); and
  • 3. Neco (610–595 BCE), who slew King Josiah in battle at Megiddo in 609 BCE (2 Kgs. 23: 29).