When the Israelites were slaves in Egypt, the pharaoh held them in captivity. When he finally let them go following Moses’ many pleas, the Bible says that God hardened his heart again so that he would once again change his mind:
He chased after them until they got to the Red Sea. This is the scene where Moses parts the Red Sea so the Israelites could cross, and then the water crashed back down onto the Egyptians that were pursuing them:
The Pharaoh during this time that followed the Israelites into the Red Sea was named Merneptah. The mummy of Merneptah was discovered in 1898 in the tomb of Amenhotep II, but it was thought to originally be buried in the Valley of the Kings. Merneptah was unwrapped and identified in 1907 by Dr. G. Elliott Smith in Cairo, Egypt.(1) Medical examinations were done around 1975 and it was determined through examination of Merneptah’s tissues that he had been in water before his death. It was also discovered that Merneptah had severe injuries from blows that caused loss of tissue and bone. Most Egyptian pharaohs die peacefully so it is very odd that Merneptah had died during a violent event in a body of water. It is believed that Merneptah received these injuries from following the Israelites through the Red Sea. While the water rushed back down after Moses’ command, the horses probably would have started panicking and likely could have ran Merneptah over with a chariot. This could account for the massive injuries he suffered while he drowned in the sea. The discovery of Merneptah’s mummy has helped put some more pieces of the puzzle together regarding what happened when the Israelites tried to escape Egypt.
(1)”Mummy of Merneptah”. The center for online Judaic studies. Retrieved from http://www.cojs.org/cojswiki/Mummy_of_Merneptah,_1213_–_1203_BCE.