"If you obey all the rules you miss all the fun." - Katharine Hepburn
Question #80685 posted on 01/22/2015 1:56 p.m.
Q:

Dear 100 Hour Board,

I recently asked a question, Board Question #80523 and received a terse, curt answer from Tally M. She didn't answer my question at all, which makes me feel that she didn't really read it. If you are stressed for time or simply don't feel like answering a question (understandable), then please let someone else answer them. Don't offer a half-attempt answer, it just shows that perhaps I am just a thing to check off your list (rather than a person on the other side that has question). Please leave my questions for someone more responsible to answer them.

I will now proceed to ask my question again. (The answer that "Ramesses the II wasn't the Pharoah" --- doesn't answer my questions. -- I had told you that, actually. And regardless, that doesn't really affect my questions).

It is my understanding that the last and final plague God wrought on the Egyptians (to redeem the Israelite) was the death of the firstborn. Now... I thought this was the death of the firstborn regardless of age so both young and old firstborns would die, right? How do you/scholars reconcile that the Pharoah survived the last and final plague? Why didn't he die? Weren't Pharaohs typically the firstborn son of their father?

How do scholars get around the statement that the Pharaoh chased the Israelite in chariots later? How on earth did he survive the 10th plague?

Looking forward to an answer! Thanks for your help!

-Sage

P.S. Did Pharaoh die in the Red Sea? Or just his infantry?

A:

Dear Wade,

You say that Tally "didn't answer your question at all" because "she didn't really read it." Let's take another look:

Original:

It is my understanding that the last and final plague God wrought on the Egyptians (to redeem the Israelite) was the death of the firstborn. Now... I thought this was the death of the firstborn regardless of age so both young and old firstborns would die, right? 

Now, I know it is just speculation that Ramses the II was the Pharaoh during the time of Moses/Exodus, but if people truly thought Ramses the II was the Pharaoh during Moses/Exodus, how do they reconcile that he survived the last and final plague? Why didn't he die? Weren't Pharaohs typically the firstborn son of their father? Do Egyptian records indicate that Rameses was the firstborn son? (or did he have a brother that died as a baby or child?)

How do scholars (who support Rameses II during this time period and are still religious) get around the statement that the Pharaoh chased the Israelite in chariots later? How on earth did he survive the 10th plague?

(Red text was removed in the revised question.)

If we isolate the questions you asked, we get:

  • How do [scholars] reconcile that [Ramesses II] survived the last and final plague?
  • Why didn't [Ramesses II] die?
  • Weren't Pharaohs typically the firstborn son of their father?
  • Do Egyptian records indicate that Rameses was the firstborn son?
  • How do scholars get around the statement that the Pharaoh (which they believe to have been Ramesses II) chased the Israelite in chariots later?
  • How on earth did [Ramesses II] survive the 10th plague?
So, the general sentiment is "How, if Ramesses II was the firstborn son, did he survive the plague of the death of the firstborn sons?"
 
With this submission, you revised your questions:

Revised:

It is my understanding that the last and final plague God wrought on the Egyptians (to redeem the Israelite) was the death of the firstborn. Now... I thought this was the death of the firstborn regardless of age so both young and old firstborns would die, right? How do you/scholars reconcile that the Pharoah survived the last and final plague? Why didn't he die? Weren't Pharaohs typically the firstborn son of their father? 

How do scholars get around the statement that the Pharaoh chased the Israelite in chariots later? How on earth did he survive the 10th plague?

(Green text was added in the revised question.)

Again, isolating the questions you asked, we get:

  • How do [writers of the 100 Hour Board]/scholars reconcile that the Pharoah [sic] survived the last and final plague?
  • Why didn't [the Pharaoh] die?
  • Weren't Pharaohs typically the firstborn son of their father?
  • How do scholars get around the statement that the Pharaoh (whoever he may have been) chased the Israelite in chariots later?
  • How on earth did [the Pharaoh] survive the 10th plague?
So, completely different sentiment. In fact it does affect your questions.
 
Let's take another look at Tally's answer and see how she did answering the questions you originally asked (and not the ones you may have meant to ask).
  • How do [scholars] reconcile that [Ramesses II] survived the last and final plague?
    • They don't believe that Ramesses II was the Pharaoh during the plague.
  • Why didn't [Ramesses II] die?
    • He was not the Pharaoh during the plague.
  • Weren't Pharaohs typically the firstborn son of their father?
    • Tally does not directly answer this question.
  • Do Egyptian records indicate that Rameses was the firstborn son?
    • Tally does not directly answer this question.
  • How do scholars get around the statement that the Pharaoh (which they believe to have been Ramesses II) chased the Israelite in chariots later?
    • They don't believe that Ramesses II was the Pharaoh during the plague.
  • How on earth did [Ramesses II] survive the 10th plague?
    • He was not the Pharaoh during the plague.

So, Tally did a pretty good job isolating the main line of inquiry that came across from your question and answering it. She doesn't address the firstborn son question directly because, I presume, she believed that her answer addressed the core of the question (and I tend to agree). You may still have questions about another possible Pharaoh being a firstborn son during the Exodus but, if you had followed the link Tally provided you would have seen that Amhose I is the main candidate for the Pharaoh during the Exodus and that he was not the firstborn son (his older brother, Kamose, had ruled before him).

I really don't believe that Tally's answer was deserving of such a response. Tally is almost incapable of being rude to someone. On top of that, she is probably the most responsible of all of the writers on the Board and puts more effort into the Board and her work on it than any of the other writers. We're all college students and none of us are experts on really any topic (particularly Ancient Middle Eastern Studies). Despite that, we do our best to provide quality answers, but remember this is a completely volunteer-based service. We all have other responsibilities (school, work, relationships (well, the other writer have relationships)) and we volunteer to answer stranger's questions on anything because... well, I'm still not really sure why. We're not some advanced algorithm that will just research whatever you want for you; there are actual people on the other side with the answers as well. True, sometimes we get things wrong. Sometimes our writing isn't the best. But the service is completely free. There's not even ads!

So yeah, sometimes you won't always get the answer that you want. Sometimes we'll just tell you to Google it or link to the Wikipedia page. This is because not every single question is one a writer is dying to answer. Sometimes it sits there for a few days until a writer better than me (usually Tally) decides to help get at least something posted, like in the case of this question. But please, don't disrespect Tally for not living up to your standard for a (free) answer.

-M.O.D.A.Q.

A:

Dear Sage, 

We've had some good times together, but I hope you've realized by now your interest in Ancient Near Eastern Studies generally far outstrips our experience. You probably won't be satisfied with 'most anything we answer, particularly if we feel a concise answer from one of our best writers was more than adequate. I really think you would benefit from getting in touch with Ryan Combs. He's surprisingly versatile. Even if you have a question on something as obscure as women, pigeons and Islam, he can help point you towars some good resources.  In fact, he's pretty great for just about any question regarding Ancient Studies you may have. This includes the Israelites, customs of ritual cleansing, and probably the Pharaohs of the Bible.

Suerte,

--Ardilla Feroz

A:

Dear Clara,

So, as Mo pointed out, the premise of your original question was inaccurate. 

I would hope you would understand that there are real people on the other side answering your question. No one had even looked at your question until I decided to pick it up at 90 hours, and so I addressed the question that I felt was the real core of the answer. When I am answering questions, I am always striving to provide the best possible answer. Often times, I will go through questions that no one else is picking up and find answers for them. Sometimes, I can't answer questions, and so I take one for the team and concede that we don't have the answer. Since I had a tendency to answer questions on ANES when they first started coming in, I've usually ended up being the one to answer all ANES questions, even though I'm nowhere close to an expert.

If my answers seem curt, I apologize. I was just providing the information I thought you needed without bells attached. Unlike some writers, I tend to not include pictures/stories in my answers to spice them up. But when it comes down to it, you wanted an answer, and I did my best to give you one. 

Just one final note (and this applies to all): if you have a problem with the way I answer questions, please email me. I will be happy to address your concerns in a more private forum. 

-Tally M.

A:

Dear Sage,

Sometimes, we're just all busy and incapable of answering questions at the time. This especially happens around finals week, the beginning of semesters, holiday travel, and any other life event that disrupts the routine of student life. When this happens, or when a particular question outstrips the ability of any writer to find a good answer, or both, we all do exactly what you said: we leave it for someone more "responsible," (the word I would choose is "knowledgeable about the issue") to answer it.

When we're all waiting for someone else to answer it, eventually the question gets to 80, 100, 120, or even 170 hours without even being touched. At this point, the easy, irresponsible thing to do is nothing: just leave the question in the inbox, ignore it, don't get in any trouble, and continue to disappoint the reader as they anxiously await their response.

The truly responsible thing to do in this situation is to do what none of the other writers will do, give it your best shot, and post what you can find, or a funny non-answer if you can't find a single thing, and let the answer post. This way, you know you're not getting an answer, rather than waiting indefinitely and getting your hopes up for a big, well-researched answer that you're not getting. If we can't answer your question, at least we can post it on time instead of letting you down after 600 hours of nobody being able to answer your question.

Tally is actually a very conscientious writer and cares about getting answers out in a timely manner, rather than letting them go overdue. Because of this, she often takes on the difficult and nobody's-favourite role of cleaning out the inbox when nobody can answer the question.

I used to fill that role a lot more before my mission, and the readers didn't understand it then either. A lot of people accused me of giving short, lame answers out of some desire to "boost my stats" rather than caring about the quality of my answers. That wasn't the case at all. Similarly, Tally's short answers don't indicate that she's an irresponsible writer; rather, they indicate that she's willing to be the bearer of bad news when none of the collective writership can answer a question. All of us were equally unable to answer your question, and she should be no more at fault than any of the rest of us.

As for your question about the firstborn children dying: this is totally non-scholarly, but in The Prince of Egypt, they only depict the firstborn children dying. None of the adults die. I assume the same could be true of animals; for instance, when the scriptures talk about the "firstling of the flock" being offered in sacrifice, it generally refers to a firstling from that same year, not a 5-year-old sheep that happened to have been the firstborn in the year it was born. I've always just assumed that only the children died and not the adults. I haven't been able to find any good information about this, though.

I also did a quick Google search about whether Pharaoh died in the Red Sea. There is a common belief that he died based on Psalm 136:15, as explained by this church's website. However, most scholars seem to conclude that the correct translation of the Hebrew word in that Psalm is "shook off," not "drowned," and that the Pharaoh did not drown. They are of the opinion that the death of one of Israel's enemies would have received more scriptural attention, and that archeology shows that he continued to reign for about 16 years afterwards. There is an interesting Jewish tradition that Pharaoh eventually became the king of Nineveh, which is why the king there decreed that the people should repent after hearing Jonah's message. Apparently he had learned his lesson. While that account is untenable from an archeological standpoint, it's a pretty interesting idea.

-Zedability

A:

Dear parsley, rosemary, and thyme,

If you are dissatisfied with the answers that you get from our free volunteer service, we cheerfully offer you double your money back!

-Inverse Insomniac

PS - Be nice. "Offense" is a thing you put around a horse.