Discoveries of late years have thrown much light on ancient Egyptian life and history, as touched upon in the Bible. But so many unsolved problems and "debated questions" remain as to the dynasties and individual kings, that it is not yet possible to give any reliable "table" such as that referred to in Ap. 37.
Nevertheless, we are now able to accept definite conclusions as to the Pharaoh of the Exodus of whom Stephen spoke :
"The People grew and multiplied in Egypt, till another king arose, which knew not Joseph."
How this could be has long been a difficulty with many, but discoveries in Egypt have removed it.
If we read this passage accurately in the original we notice that the word for another is heteros, which means another of a different kind; and not allos which means another of the same kind. (*1) (See Ap. 124. 1 and 2.)
The word points, therefore, to the fact that it was not another king of the same dynasty, but one of a different dynasty altogether, and this agrees with Exod. 1:8. The Sept. there uses heteros for the Hebrew word hadash ("new"); and aneste for the Heb. word kum ("arose"), which means to stand up and, in some connexions, occupy the place of (or instead of) another. (See the kindred Chaldee word in Dan. 2:31, 39, 44; 3:24. For meaning of hadash see Deut. 32:17, and cp. Judg. 5:8.)
Josephus says, "the crown being come into another family" (Ant. ii. 9. 1).
The discoveries now made in Egypt prove that this was the case. The mummy of this very Pharaoh is to be seen to-day in the Museum at Bulak, and it is clear that this Rameses was the Pharaoh of the Oppression. (*2)
He was an Assyrian, and every feature of his face is seen to be quite different from the features of the Pharaoh who preceded him.
Now we can comprehend Isa. 52:4 which has so puzzled the commentators, who were unable to understand why the two oppressions, in Egypt and by Assyria (centuries apart), should be mentioned together in the same sentence, as though they were almost contemporary. There was no oppression (on the lines of Egypt) in Assyria.
The discoveries in Egypt thus independently and entirely confirm the perfect accuracy of the Divine words in showing that this was so, for in Isa. 52:4 we read :
"Thus saith Adonai Jehovah,
My People went down aforetime into Egypt to sojourn there;
And the Assyrian oppressed them without cause."
Cp. Jer. 50:17.
(*2) While Meneptah, his son, was the Pharaoh of the Exodus.