I’ve been researching the Exodus of Israel from Egypt, and also trying to establish the route of the exodus. Also, I’ve been looking for the time Joseph the son of Jacob came to prominence in Egypt. I feel satisfied that I have narrowed the time periods of both to acceptable ranges.
I believe that Joseph’s Pharaoh was actually two pharaohs. The first pharaoh was Senusret II, during the 12th dynasty of the Middle Kingdom of Egypt. During this time, co-regency was accepted and practiced commonly. Seeing how Joseph was made co-regent after giving pharaoh the interpretation of his dream, this fits the Bible account. Also, the time of Senusret II is within the time period described by the Bible as 480 years before Solomon’s temple (1 King 6:1) plus 430 years before Exodus (Exodus 12:40-41) plus the life of Joseph before coming to power in Egypt. That’s over 910 years before Solomon’s temple.
It is worth mentioning that Senusret III’s campaign against Nubia in his 19th year of reigning was called off due to a lower than normal Nile River flow. This very well might have been during or at the beginning of the famine predicted by pharaoh’s dream.
I believe all or a large portion of the famine that caused the people to sell themselves to pharaoh happened during the reign of Senusret III. The historical record implies that Senusret III gained full power over the nomarchs that had been just as powerful as his father, Senusret II. The Bible describes the people selling their cattle, land and finally themselves to the pharaoh (Genesis 47:23). This fits perfectly with the historical Egyptian record of the nomarchs submitting to the rule of the pharaoh, and also gives context to how it happened.
The exodus of Israel from Egypt happened during the 18th Dynasty of the New Kingdom. They crossed the Gulf of Aqaba, the northwestern branch of the Red Sea at a place currently called Nuwaibaa. Coral growths still exist in the shape of chariot wheels and axils throughout the Red Sea at this place of crossing. Both six and four-spoke wheel shapes have been identified in the coral growths. This combination of spoke types only happened in the 18th Dynasty.
We know from the Bible account that the Lord cursed the Egyptians with boils on their skins, killed all first-born heirs of the Egyptians, and then wiped out the pharaoh, all his chariots, and all the military elite. So, from the combination of physical evidence in the Gulf of Aqaba and the Bible’s account, we know that the Exodus happened, causing a quick power shift without an heir to the throne, and the pharaoh would have skin disfiguration from the recent boils that plagued Egypt just before his death.
Thutmose II matches this description. “Alfred Edersheim proposes in his Old Testament Bible History that Thutmose II is best qualified to be the pharaoh of Exodus based on the fact that he had a brief, prosperous reign and then a sudden collapse with no son to succeed him. His widow Hatshepsut then became first Regent (for Thutmose III) then Pharaoh in her own right. Edersheim states that Thutmose II is the only Pharaoh’s mummy to display cysts, possible evidence of plagues that spread through the Egyptian and Hittite Empires at that time.”
Placing Exodus during the 18th Dynasty also explains why the pharaoh would have wanted to kill all the Israelite males born, including Moses. Just prior to this Dynasty, Egypt had been ruled by foreigners–the Hyksos. The Hyksos center of power was in Goshen where the Israelites had settled. To the Egyptians, the Hyksos and the Israelites would have seemed to have a connection, culturally. Any native Egyptian Pharaoh would worry about the Israelites conquering Egypt like the Hyksos had. It was a valid concern, especially considering the number of Israelites at the time of the 18th Dynasty.
Currently, the best information for the location of Mount Sinai, also called Mount Horeb is in northwest Saudi Arabia. Jewish accounts predating the birth of Christ suggest its location is the highest mountain near the ancient city of Madyan, near modern day Al Bad’. The mountain is currently called Jebel al Lawz. It is 15 miles east of Al Bad’.