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Did Pharaoh die in the Red Sea?

Did Pharaoh die in the Red Sea?

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Question:

Did Pharaoh accompany his army when they went after the Israelites? If so, did he die with them?

Answer:

We read in Exodus 14 that Pharaoh personally led his army against the Jews.

There are differing opinions in the Midrash1 concerning his fate. Some say that he drowned in the Red Sea together with his army, while others opine that he survived the miraculous event. He survived in order to retell a firsthand account of the miracles and wonders that G‑d performed.

According to one Midrash,2 he made his way to Nineveh, Assyria, where he became king—the same king who when hearing the prophet Jonah's message from G‑d foretelling Nineveh's destruction, encouraged all his subjects to repent in order to avert the divine decree. Apparently he had learned his lesson.

Wishing you a happy and kosher Passover!

Yours truly,

Rabbi Menachem Posner

Footnotes
1.

Mechilta Beshalach 2:6.

2.

Yalkut Shimoni Exodus 176.

Rabbi Menachem Posner serves as staff editor for Chabad.org.
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Jo Anne November 22, 2013

Did pharaoh die at the red sea? In Exodus 15:19, It says, For the horse of Pharaoh went in with his chariots and with his horsemen into the sea,and the Lord brought again the waters of the sea upon them... some people say this leaves room for doubt. Looking for a more definitive answer, we found psalm 136 : 15, But overthrew Pharaoh and his host in the Red sea: ... Reply

Anonymous Tamuning, Guam USA April 25, 2011

Before the edict was made, first born male children were the ones included. Those who were female or already adults weren't included.

What gets me is how it took two generations to rebuild the male population so they could attack the walled city of Jericho.
And how come archaeologists didn't find any evidence there had ever been a wall around Jericho in those days? That walled citieds didn't exist until the 8th and 9th century BCE.Etcaogigfht and not included as children.

Could it be that the Torah was actually written in the or 9th BCE? Reply

Anonymous Uttarakhand India June 20, 2017
in response to Anonymous:

Can archaeologists tell who destroyed the wall of Jericho? And mIght the Torah would have been written after 9th bce....... Reply

rabbi 30 years brooklyn, ny April 24, 2011

:P most of you remind me of a friend i have, who considers himself knowledgeable in medicine, simply because he reads the health section in the readers digest :P Reply

Anonymous n/a, n/a April 24, 2011

i'm sorry, #1 but the red sea is not the dead sea. Reply

Anonymous Peoria, Illinoise April 24, 2011

Correction Contrary to popular belief, it is not the "Red Sea" that the Jews crossed but the "Reed Sea." Reply

Katya Orlando, FL, USA April 24, 2011

DID PHAROAH DIE? In the Hebrew Scriptures it clearly states that HaShem took the wheels off of the chariots Himself. Guess He doesn't like it when a whole army goes after His people. He did intervene then and He has intervened since then. Look at all of the wars perpetrated upon Israel and how many have they lost? Oh, that's right . . . NONE! Hmmmmm . . . Why waste time debating if Pharoah died or not? The Holy One of Israel lives! That's what your focus should be: that He lives and desires a personal relationship with you. Because, trust me, you are going to need it in the days ahead. Reply

ari chicago, IL April 24, 2011

"And He threw Pharaoh and his host into the Sea" pharoah was in the sea but obviosly he didnt drown another miracle) according to that opinion in the midrash. Reply

Anonymous Abuja, Nigeria March 30, 2011

Pharoah and Red Sea. On my Philosopy, i thought the Bible made us understand that Pharoah gave out his chariote and soldiers or Army to go after the israelites(Exodus 14:1ff). This demostrated that Pharoah did not die. It was only the Army and chariote of pharoah that sank in to the red sea which is know as Dead sea. Pharoah life was spared in order to go and testify the mightywork of G-d. Reply

Terry North East, MD June 14, 2010

Pharaoh Tehillim - Psalms - Chapter 136:15
"And He threw Pharaoh and his host into the Sea of Reeds, for His kindness is eternal."

According to David, Pharaoh died with his host. Reply

Anonymous Suffern, NY via jewishsuffern.com April 8, 2009

Pharaoh dying in the sea Actually, my question is how did Pharaoh get to live long enough to worry about the Red Sea? I read that he was himself a firstborn, so why didn't he die on the same night as all the other firstborns, since G-d said "I will kill ALL firstborns ... even of the flock and of the herd... etc."

Howard Mark

\o/
/_\ Reply

Anonymous Dallas, Texas June 6, 2008

The Rabbi Is Not Contradicting Scripture It should be noted that the rabbi is only quoting the Midrash regarding the fate of Paro at the Sea of Reeds--not Torah. However, if one closely reads the Torah, the text never directly states that he drowned--only his horse is mentioned. Reply

Petros June 6, 2008

Of course, we don't have all the extrabiblical records. We don't have knowledge of many whole patches of history except from updated archives, based on earlier records later gone missing. We don't know for certain how many pharoahs in all there were, nor when, nor how long they reigned, nor details for all of those known. We can't say there weren't such records. Perhaps some of their myths fossilize such things which were looked on with disbelief later.

As to the view of Rabbi Menachem Posner contradicting Scripture, George, you didn't specify what view you speak of - he mentioned that there are differing opinions, and never told us which he prefers. Reply

George April 29, 2008

To Rabbi Menachem Posner in all due respect but according to scripture you are in error about what really happened to Pharaoh. The scripture doesn't support your belief. Reply

Anonymous Round Rock, tx April 25, 2008

Wouldn't there be some egyptian record stating if the pharaoh drowned in a miraculous event or disappeared? Reply

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