The skeleton of a previously unknown pharaoh has been uncovered from the sands of Egypt. The remarkable discovery, announced in January of 2014, shows that there is still much to be learned about the history of ancient Egypt and also highlights the hardships being experienced at this time, which might be connected to the Exodus account. What is even more intriguing is that the new pharaoh may represent a completely unknown dynasty that under conventional dating reigned from about 1650-1600 BC, in the early portion of the chaotic Second Intermediate Period. This dynasty ruled from the city of Abydos about 300 miles south of Cairo. The pharaoh’s name, Woseribre Senebkay, was found inscribed on the walls of his tomb – one of 16 new tombs in the process of being excavated by a team from the University of Pennsylvania who believes they are all associated with a new dynasty. This counters the claim made by many scholars that we are generally aware of all the pharaohs who have reigned.

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Egypt’s rule was fragmented in this era, containing several dynasties ruling simultaneously in different parts of the country. So this new find of a forgotten dynasty does not necessarily mean a major adjustment to the timeline is needed. It does demonstrate, however, that we are far from knowing the complete story of Egypt’s past. Is there a connection between the Bible and this chaos found in Egypt’s Second Intermediate Period? This is exactly what Patterns of Evidence is investigating. The book of Deuteronomy presents Moses speaking 40 years after the Exodus, saying that Egypt had been completely devastated to the point where they had not yet recovered.

… consider the discipline of the LORD your God, his greatness, his mighty hand and his outstretched arm, his signs and his deeds that he did in Egypt to Pharaoh the king of Egypt and to all his land, and what he did to the army of Egypt, to their horses and to their chariots, how he made the water of the Red Sea flow over them as they pursued after you, and how the LORD has destroyed them to this day – Deuteronomy 11:2-4 (ESV)

Can evidence of this kind of devastation as a result of the Exodus be found in the archaeology? The modest nature of the tombs at Abydos and their reuse of materials from earlier times confirms that a severe economic downturn from the previous Middle Kingdom period had taken place, even among Egypt’s elite. This weakness was seen in the military, political and social structures of the time as well, creating a power vacuum that allowed the incursion of a group of foreigners known as the Hyksos. The Hyksos would go on to dominate northern Egypt for more than a century. This was the same period when the dynasty of Woseribre Senebkay reigned. Scholars such as David Rohl and John Bimson have pointed out that the onset of the Second Intermediate Period is the only time in a thousand years of Egypt’s history (between about 2100-1100 BC) that seems to fit the kind of collapse recorded in the Bible. For more information on this new pharaoh visit For more information on the judgment of Egypt during the Exodus, watch Patterns of Exodus: The Exodus