Pharaoh (Book of Abraham)

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In Latter-day Saint theology, Pharaoh is the proper name of the first king of Egypt, as found in the Book of Abraham in the Pearl of Great Price.[1] According to the story, all Egyptians descended from him.(Abraham 1:22) He was the eldest son of Egyptus, who was the daughter of Ham and Egyptus. Pharaoh was a descendant of the Canaanites (Abraham 1:22), a race of people who had been cursed with black skin (Moses 7:8). Mormon leaders have taught that he inherited the curse of Cain through his grandmother, Egyptus, so that the devil might have representation upon the earth.[2]

Enemy of Abraham[edit]

Non-Biblical accounts of Abraham's life are replete with stories of his life being in danger. While the story of the Egyptian priest is absent, there are others of Abraham life being sought when he was an infant, of the magicians of the king's court seeking his life, of his life being in danger for preaching against idolatry to Nimrod the king, of his being cast into a fiery furnace and receiving no harm, etc. These stories contain elements common to the Abraham 1 story, including:[3]

  • Children were sacrificed
  • Those who would not worship idols were killed
  • Abraham was brought to be killed or sacrificed because he would not worship idols
  • Terah was behind the attempt to kill Abraham
  • Abraham was fasted or bound
  • When his life was in danger, Abraham prayed
  • An angel came to rescue Abraham
  • God rescued Abraham from death
  • The altar (furnace) and the idols were destroyed
  • The priest (or leader) was smitten and died

Differences with biblical account[edit]

A number of elements or themes in Abraham 2 are not found in the biblical account (Book of Genesis. Chapter:11-12). The following list provides twelve of these elements and themes from the Book of Abraham verses noted in the comparison:[4]

1.A famine struck Abraham's homeland (Abraham 2:1, 5).

2.Haran died in the famine (Abraham 2:1).

3.Terah, after repenting returned to his idols (Abraham 2:5).

4.Believers are the seed of Abraham and are blessed through him (Abraham 2:10-11).

5.Abraham held the priesthood (Abraham 2:9,11)

6.Abraham sought God earnestly (Abraham 2:12).

7.An angel came to rescue Abraham (Abraham 2:13).

8.Abraham was familiar with Egyptian idols (Abraham 2:13; 3:20).

9.Abraham was sixty-two years old when he left Haran, not seventy-five as Genesis says (Abraham 2:14).

10.Abraham made converts in Haran (Abraham 2:15).

11.Abraham prayed that God would end the famine in Chaldea (Abraham 2:17).

12.The Lord instructed Abraham to say that Sarah was his sister (Abraham 2:22-25).


The use of the name Pharaoh is considered anachronistic during Abraham's time by some scholars.[5]


  1. ^ Abraham 1:20–31: Pharaoh, King of Egypt, The Pearl of Great Price: Teacher Manual, (2000), 39–40
  2. ^ Harris, Matthew L.; Bringhurst, Newell G. (2015). The Mormon Church and Blacks: A Documentary History. Chicago: University of Illinois Press. p. 158. ISBN 978-0-252-08121-7. 
  3. ^ Traditions about the Early Life of Abraham, by J. Tvedtnes, B. Hauglid, J. Gee, [Provo: FARMS, 2001], Appendix A, 539-542.
  4. ^ (J. Tvedtnes, B. Hauglid, J. Gee, Traditions about the Early Life of Abraham, [Provo: FARMS, 2001], xxii-xxiii)
  5. ^ Egyptology and the Book of Abraham

External links[edit]