Pharaoh of Abraham and Isaac



 Damien F. Mackey



Upon close examination, the Book of Genesis appears to provide us with several vital clues

about the “Pharaoh” encountered by Abram and Sarai.



These may be such clues as can assist us in determining just who was, in the Egyptian records, this enigmatic ruler.

From a study of the structure of the relevant Genesis passages, from toledôt and chiasmus, as considered in my article:


Toledôt Explains Abram’s Pharaoh


we learned that the biblical pharaoh:


Was the same as the Abimelech of Gerar, ruler of the Philistines, contemporaneous with both Abram (Abraham) and Isaac.


Which means that:


This particular pharaoh must have reigned for at least 60+ years (the span from Abram’s famine to the marriage of Isaac and Rebekah).


The era of Abram also closely approximated, we have found – as archaeologically determined by Dr. John Osgood – the time of Narmer.

Now, while some consider this Narmer to have been the father of Egypt’s first pharaoh, Menes, my preference is for Narmer as the invasive Akkadian king, Naram-Sin.

See my combined:


Narmer a Contemporary of Patriarch Abraham

Thanks to the important revision of Dr. John Osgood, in “The Times of Abraham”, the Sothically mis-dated monarch, Narmer (c. 3100 BC, though conventional dates vary) can now be established archaeologically during the lifetime of Abraham (c. 1870 BC).



Narmer a Contemporary of Patriarch Abraham. Part Two: Narmer as Naram Sin.


…. what makes most intriguing a possible collision of … Menes with a Shinarian potentate … is the emphatic view of Dr. W. F. Albright that Naram-Sin … had conquered Egypt, and that the “Manium” whom Naram-Sin boasts he had vanquished was in fact Menes himself (“Menes and Naram-Sin”, JEA, Vol. 6, No. 2, Apr., 1920, pp. 89-98).


a contemporary of Menes and the latter’s vanquisher.

I am also inclined to accept the view that the classical name “Menes” arose from the nomen, Min, of pharaoh Hor-Aha (“Horus the Fighter”).

Most importantly, according to Manetho, Hor (“Menes”) ruled for more than 60 years (

Moreover, Emmet Sweeney has provided a strong argument for a close convergence in time of Abraham and Menes (




My tentative estimation would be that Abram came to Egypt at the approximate time of Narmer, and right near the beginning of the long reign of Hor-Aha (Menes), who in his youthfulness had fancied Sarai.

However, by the end of the pharaoh’s long reign, at the time when Isaac had married Rebekah, he (as Abimelech) no longer sought personal involvement with the young woman, but rather commented (Genesis 26:10): ‘What if one of the men had taken Rebekah for himself?’



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