RAMSES (Raamses, Rameses; Heb. רַעַמְסֵס ,רַעְמְסֵס), ancient city in Lower Egypt. The second but the more important of the two treasury cities which the Hebrews built in Egypt (Ex. 1:11), Ramses is mentioned four further times in the Bible (see also *Pithom). In Genesis 47:11 *Joseph established his family in the land (i.e., region) of Ramses, and in Exodus 12:37 and Numbers 33:3, 5 Ramses was the Israelites' point of departure from Egypt. Ramses can be hardly any city other than the Delta residence of the Ramessid kings of the Egyptian 19th dynasty, Per-Rameses-Miʿamunpa-ka-aʿo-en-preʿ-Ḥorakhty ("The House of Rameses-Beloved-of-Amun, the-Great-Ka-Soul-of-Re-Ḥorakhty"), the identification of which was long a subject of controversy among modern scholars. Since it was certainly situated within the eastern Delta, its exact location would shed light on the possible route of the Exodus. It was first thought to have been Pelusium, but the identification was then narrowed down to either Tanis (biblical *Zoan) or Qantir, with the weight of scholarly opinion favoring the latter.


E.P. Uphill, in: jnes, 27 (1968), 291–316; 28 (1969), 15–39.

[Alan Richard Schulman]

Source: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2008 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.