When Did Rameses and Merneptah/Merenptah Reign?

The following article is a synopsis of Chapter 18 of ‘The King’s Calendar: The Secret of Qumran’


The King’s Calendar is a computer generated mathematical reconstruction of the chronological synchronisms found in the Books of the Bible, which successfully synchronises Bible chronology for the Divided Kingdom Period of Israel’s history.

That reconstruction determines certain historical dates pertinent to the reigns of King Saul (1039 BCE) and King David (1010 BCE). Until the reign of King Saul, Israel was not a ‘kingdom’ with a professional army, but according to an Egyptian Stele, King Merenptah (Merneptah) who according to traditional chronology, lived well before the time of King’s Saul and David, crushed Israel during his 5th year of reign.

Today, there are some who challenge the traditional chronology for Ancient Egypt. This article merely suggests, that if Egyptian Chronology is to be revised, then given the exact dating of the King’s Calendar for King’s Saul and David, it may be possible to provide a synchronism between Egyptian and Israelite chronology.

Merenptah’s Stele & Revising Dynastic Egyptian History.
(This article was first published 10 years ago.)

Peter James and his associates call for a complete revision of the current chronology of the Ancient Near Eastern Nations, pertinent to dates provided relating to the Hittites, Kassites, Mitanni and Egyptians. They base this upon evidence to demonstrate that the Sothic cycle upon which Egyptian Chronology is based, is in great error. Refer to: James P. Thorpe.I.J., Kokkinos.N., Morkot.R., Frankish.J. (1991) Centuries of Darkness. Rutgers Uni Press. New Jersey, p.304

They believe that the ‘El’Amarna period’ should be reduced from the mid fourteenth century to the eleventh century. This results in a substantial shift in current chronology, some of which is partly absorbed by determining that the twenty-first and twenty-second dynasties of Egypt were concurrent. This ‘New Chronology’ shifts the commencement of the eighteenth dynasty to around 1300 BCE (James Et. Al. p195 Table 8:3).

The following links demonstrate where the 19th Dynasty is placed in relation to Merenptah. The proposed “New Chronology” would place the 18th Dynasty in this position, pushing Merenptah closer the reign of King Saul.

19th dynasty 1307 BCE /1196 BCE Merenptah [Amenephthes] 1224 – 1214 (Link no longer active)
19th Dynasty 1293 BCE / 1185 BCE. Merneptah 1212 – 1202 (Active)

While the proposed “New chronology” would negate the ‘King’s Calendar’ apologetics for the placement of the Exodus within a 15th Century BCE – 18th Dynasty scenario, the significance for the ‘King’s Calendar’ of the New Chronology is that in relation to Merneptah’s Stele, it may now be possible to provide an exact date for this Pharaoh Merenptah’s fifth year.

If James is on the right track with his reduction in the period of the Dark Ages; that Shishak is ‘a Rameses’; and that Shoshenq I is more accurately placed around 800 BCE, then the ‘King’s Calendar’ would indicate that his current figures in relation to Rameses II and Merenptah need to be put back about 40 years.

If Merenptah’s reference to ‘Israel’ is to refer to the ‘nation’ under the Monarchy, (which is implied in James adjusted Chronology), it must place Merneptah’s reign somewhere between 1039 and 973 BCE.

The chronology offered by the King’s Calendar is:

Rameses II 1083 – 1016
Merneptah 1016 – 1006
Period of turmoil 1006 – 990
Rameses III 980 – 958

Merenptah’s commemorative stela could well be a triumphant boast, that this people who were not a nation, but which had managed to unite under Saul’s leadership for some 30 years, were once again without a king.

That ‘his seed is not’ (Saul’s or Israel’s), could refer to the death of Saul’s and his three sons in the same battle. In Saul’s defeat (1 Samuel Ch. 31), not only was Israel defeated (laid waste?) but was left (apparently) without King or Royal heir.

When one combines 2 Samuel 5:5 in which it is recorded that David ruled only over Judah for the first seven and a half years of his reign; with 2 Samuel 5:17 in which it is recorded that the Philistines only mounted fresh attacks after discovering that there was a new ‘King’ in Israel, one might well imagine that Israel’s neighbours were quite confident of Israel’s utter defeat; a thought which seems to be suggested in verse six of the same chapter, when it is said that David could be warded off by the ‘blind and the lame’.

Remembering however, that Saul’s defeat was at the hand of the Philistines and not the Egyptians, is it still possible for this defeat to have been legitimately ascribed to Merneptah?

I believe so! It must be appreciated that the ‘philistines’ of the era of the Judges down to King David’s time were actually Egyptian mercenaries and that Israel’s conflict with the Philistines, was in fact, with the lords of the Philistines, the Egyptians.

James Et. Al. currently and tentatively aligns Merenptah’s reign with that of King David, but it seems more appropriate to align Merenptah’s 5th year with the death of King Saul.

Whilst Merenptah’s stele only seems to make sense in reference to a Monarchy in Israel, James Et. Al. in proposing a New Egyptian Chronology, do shift the 18th Dynasty away from the 15th Century BCE, where the Bible seems to place it.

Nevertheless, there is nothing currently within the framework of James’ Et.Al. ‘The Centuries of Darkness’, or the personal perspectives of Peter James himself, that negates, contradicts, or affects the ‘King’s Calendar’ chronological placement of the Mosaic Exodus.

What is the King’s Calendar?
The KingsCalendar Synchronization from 986 BC to 586 BC
KingsCalendar Research Proposal

The Principle of Linear Causality

The King’s Calendar is a very simple approach to Biblical Chronology. It substitutes a value of 336 days for every year listed in Scripture. As far as the Divided Kingdom is concerned, when you use this 336 day year value, the synchronisms actually work. To see how effective this method is, SEE:Appendix 5: Diagrammatic Reconstruction of Israelite History from 936 to 586 BCE

Because it is a mathematical system, the King’s Calendar must abide by certain mathematical rules, the most important of which, is that if you change any date for any day, month, or year every other day, month, or year is effected and must also change. It’s like a ‘domino effect’. Chronological references cannot be ‘forced’ to fit, and nor can they simply be ignored or ‘compressed’ as is the usual case with historians and archaeologists.

If any King’s Calendar chronological determination disagrees with anything in the history books, it must argue the case as to why the history books are wrong, or why the evidence for an assertion is untrustworthy. If the King’s Calendar successfully defends its’ position, then the history books cannot be treated as definitive, and if the King’s Calendar is ‘proven’ wrong, then every other chronological reference it provides is also wrong.

Because of this, the King’s Calendar Chronological Reconstruction of Israel’s history is unique, in that its’ methodology can be scientifically (mathematically) tested and demonstrated to be either true or false. Its’ chronological predictions are able to be ‘proved’ or ‘disproved’.

Articles on the Old (not mobile friendly) KingsCalendar Site which you might find interesting.

Period of the Judges
LXX, The MSS and the Exodus.
Qumran: A Question of Proof
Exodus Unabridged.
Onias III : Teacher of Righteousness

Correct History of Ancient Israel
Correct History of Ancient Israel

R.P. BenDedek
Email: rpbendedek@hotmail.com
Articles at iPatriot.com
Author of
The King’s Calendar : The Secret of Qumran
“Finding Myself in China: A Politically Incorrect Story”

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