The history of Egypt has a lot of events and wonders. Many kings and pharaohs have ruled Egypt throughout its history.
Now, we are going to talk about one of the most famous pharaohs in ancient Egypt, King Merneptah.
Merneptah was the 4th king of the 19th dynasty. This dynasty was known along with the 20th dynasty by the “Ramessides” because these two dynasties include about eleven kings called Ramses; two of them belonged to the 19th dynasty and nine from the 20th dynasty.
King Merneptah hold the title of “khaii Mi Ptah”, which means the shiny like god Ptah. He ascended to the throne after the death of his father, King Ramses II, at the time in which the foreign affairs were not stable. He was an old man when he became the king, about 60 years old.
The latest dating said that he ruled for about eight years from the history of Egypt, although Manetho said that he ruled for about 19 years and 6 months.
History of Egypt , the situation before his rule
His father, Pharaoh of Egypt Ramses II, was the ruler before him as we said. He was considered one of the greatest kings in ancient Egypt and ancient world.
No king in the history of Egypt gained that reputation or achieved military victories like him. He built a lot of monuments in each place in ancient Egypt.
Also, his name was associated with the exodus of the Jews (Children of Israel) and Muses from Egypt; as some scholars have said that he was the pharaoh of the exodus, but there is no evidence till now.
Ramses II has involved in a lot of wars. He had a great, organized, and powerful army. He made the first peace treaty with the Hittite king “Khatusili”. The two Kings have signed the treaty in the 21st year of the rule of King Ramses II.
King Ramses II ruled the kingdom for about 67 years from the history of Egypt. During his reign, Egypt was very powerful. He enabled from securing the borders of the kingdom.
His son, Merneptah became the crown prince at the 55th years of the reign of King Ramses II. Merneptah was the 13th son of Ramses II.
Although the number of the achievements and victories that made by King Ramses II internally and externally, but the latest years of his rule carries within it the seeds of weakness.
The rebellions have increased in the Egyptian empire in Asia, and the wars have drained the wealth of the kingdom. The Libyans started their attacks on the western borders of the kingdom.
The Indo-Europeans, also, started their immigration to Egypt; these immigrations made a state of chaos in the area. The Indo-Europeans were Sea-People who belong to different tribes and roots.
King Merneptah had to deal, decisively, with these attacks and put down the rebellions that led by the states followed by Egypt. Merneptah, also, had to secure the western borders of the kingdom.
History of Egypt pharaohs, the rising of Merneptah
As we mentioned before, Merneptah was the 13th son of King Ramses II, his mother was Queen “Ist’ Nofret”.
He was chosen to be the crown prince after the death of his brother “Kha M Waset”, who was the crown prince for a long time of the history of Egypt before Merneptah.
Also, Merneptah became the great priest of god Ptah; as he was performing the rituals in the cemetery of Serapium at Saqqara.
There are a lot of inscriptions reveal that King Merneptah worked also as a royal scribe and the great commander of the army.
The scholars also have found a scarab dates back to the reign of King Ramses II shows that Merneptah was the real ruler of the kingdom at the latest years of his father’s reign.
History of Egypt , King Merneptah, the pharaoh of Egypt
During his reign, the internal condition became more stable, and he succeeded in getting back the Egyptian properties in Asia; these achievements were written on the victory stela which displayed now at the Egyptian Museum.
This stela, which wrongly named Israel stela, tells us the details of his wars and victories in Asia and his campaign to Libya.
One of the most famous battles of King Merneptah was against the Indo-Europeans people at someplace in the west of Delta; the Egyptian army enabled from achieving a great victory.
History of Egypt , his battles with Sea- people
Although the matter in the Northern-Eastern borders became more stable after the signing the peace treaty with King “Khita”, a new danger has faced Egypt in another place, which was the Northern-Western borders; this danger was the Sea-people.
The Sea-people was living in Libya. They were called Tehnu, Temehu, and Mamoush. The Pharaoh of Egypt, King Merneptah had to encounter this danger.
The inscriptions have mentioned the great role of king Merneptah in eliminating this danger and how he became ready for the battle. An example of these inscriptions, the ones that were found in the Karnak temple.
Besides the inscriptions of the Karnak temple, there are other sources like the pillar of Merneptah, the stela of Athribis, and the chant of the victory.
The inscriptions locate at the Karnak Temple consider one of the tallest-preserved documents. These inscriptions present a description of King Merneptah’s victory over the Sea-People.
These inscriptions consist of 85 lines, which were inscribed on the Eastern wall of the Western side of the 7th pylon.
This text mentioned the names of the tribes that were defeated by the king. The inscriptions, also, mentioned the preparations of the king.
The inscriptions said that the Sea-People attacked Egypt firstly, so the king fought them and achieved a great victory. The texts mentioned a list of captives’ names from each tribe.
History of Egypt , Mernptah and the pharaoh of Exodus
Some people have tried to find a relation between Merneptah and the Exodus of the Children of Israel under the leadership of Muses. This relation was based on the victory stela which we have mentioned.
A lot of people, wrongly, named this stela “Israel stela” because of the mentioning of the name of Israel in this stela. The fact is that Israel was a merely small tribe that lived in Palestine since centuries.
This “Israel” tribe was mentioned on this stela like the other tribes that were defeated by King Mernptah. This tribe revolted against the king, like the other tribes, so the king decided to put them down.
So, we can conclude that the name “Israel” related to a tribe that lived in Palestine and did not relate to the Children of Israel who emigrated from Egypt. Until now we do not know the real pharaoh of Exodus.
History of Egypt , the monuments of Merneptah
The tomb: his tomb was locating at the Valley of the Kings besides the tomb of King Ramses II. But his tomb was robbed after his death, so his mummy was transferred to the tomb of King Amenhotep II and was put in the coffin of king “St Nakht”.
We identified his tomb from a small inscription written on the linen of his mummy. This mummy is displayed now at the Egyptian Museum.
The valley temple: its remains located at the north of the temple of King Amenhotep III in the desert. The stones of the king Amenhotep I’s temple were used in the building of his temple.
Because of the bad condition of the economy in Egypt, Merneptah did like what his father did; as he usurped the monuments of his father and grandfathers.
Tanis: we have found two statues made out of granite belong to him.
Tall-Basta: we have found remains of his statue.