PHARAOH HOPHRA [ISBE]
- hof'-ra (par`oh chophra`; Houaphre):
1. Sole King, 589-570 BC:
He is so called in Scripture (Jer 44:30); Herodotus calls him Apries (ii.169). He is known on the monuments as Uah `ab `ra]. He was the son of Psammetichus II, whose Greek mercenaries have left in scriptions upon the rocks of Abu-Sim-bel, and the grandson of Pharaoh-necoh. He reigned alone from 589 BC to 570 BC, and jointly, by compulsion of his people, with his son-in-law Aahmes (Greek Amasis) for some years longer.
2. Alliance with Zedekiah:
No sooner had he mounted the throne than he yielded to the overtures of Zedekiah of Judah, who thought Hophra's accession a good opportunity for throwing off the yoke of Babylon. So, as Ezekiel says (17:15), "he rebelled against him (Nebuchadrezzar) in sending his ambassadors into Egypt, that they might give him horses and much people." Zedekiah had entered into the intrigue against the advice of Jeremiah, and it proved fatal to Zedekiah and the kingdom. Nebuchadrezzar was not slow to punish the disloyalty of his vassal, and in a brief space his armies were beleaguering Jerusalem. The Egyptians did indeed march to the relief of their allies, and the Chaldeans drew off their forces from Jerusalem to meet them. But the Egyptians returned without attempting to meet the Chaldeans in a pitched battle, and Jerusalem was taken, the walls broken down and the temple burnt up with fire.
3. Reception of Jeremiah and Jewish Captives:
When Jerusalem had fallen and Nebuchadrezzar's governor, Gedaliah, had been assassinated, the dispirited remnant of Judah, against the advice of Jeremiah, fled into Egypt, carrying the prophet with them. They settled at Tahpanhes, then Daphnae (modern Tell Defenneh), now identified with a mound bearing the significant name of Qatsr Bint el Yahudi, "the palace of the Jew's daughter." Here Pharaoh had a palace, for Jeremiah took great stones and hid them in mortar in the brickwork "which is at the entry of Pharaoh's house at Tahpanhes," and prophesied that Nebuchadrezzar would spread his royal pavilion over them (Jer 43:8-13). The Pharaoh of that day was Hophra, and when the fortress of Tahpanhes was discovered and cleared in 1886, the open-air platform before the entrance was found. "Here the ceremony described by Jeremiah took place before the chiefs of the fugitives assembled on the platform, and here Nebuchadrezzar spread his royal pavilion. The very nature of the site is precisely applicable to all the events" (Flinders Petrie, Nebesheh and Defenneh, 51). It was in 568 BC that the prophecy was fulfilled when Nebuchadrezzar marched into the Delta.
4. Palace of Memphis:
More recently, in 1909, in the course of excavations carried on by the British School of Archaeology in Egypt, the palace of King Apries, Pharaoh Hophra, has been discovered on the site of Memphis, the ancient capital of Egypt. Under the gray mud hill, close to the squalid Arab village of Mitrahenny, which every tourist passes on the way to Sakkhara, had lain for centuries Hophra's magnificent palace, 400 ft. long by 200 ft., with a splendid pylon, an immense court, and stonelined halls, of which seven have been found intact. With many other objects of value there was found a fitting of a palanquin of solid silver, decorated with a bust of Hathor with a gold face. It is said to be of the finest workmanship of the time of Apries, a relic of the fire, which, Jeremiah predicted at Tahpanhes, the Lord of Hosts was to kindle "in the houses of the gods of Egypt" (Jer 43:12).
Pharaoh Hophra, as Jeremiah prophesied (44:29 f), became the victim of a revolt and was finally strangled.
Flinders Petrie, History of Egypt, III, 344 f; Wiedemann, Geschichte von Alt-Aegypten, 190 ff; Flinders Petrie and J. H. Walker, Memphis, I, II ("The Palace of Apries"); Herodotus ii.161-69.