A footnote in this edition of the Midrash Vayosha refers to "Pharaoh's assignment to rule Nineveh for 500 years". I'm aware of midrashim around Pharaoh being the King of Nineveh. But where does this 500 years business come from? Any sources? Thanks!

  • 1
    It seems like you are surprised that it's a long time, but How else could he have been alive for the Exodus and when Jonah came? Are you curious about how precise 500 is exactly?
    – Double AA
    Commented Oct 11, 2019 at 16:09
  • I wasn't particularly expressing surprise. I was asking for a source for the number 500 (which I assume the editor of the book I linked to didn't invent).
    – Zarka
    Commented Oct 11, 2019 at 16:15
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    To the contrary, 500 years seems awfully short. The Beis HaMikdash was built 480 years after Yetzias Mitzraim, and Yonah was quite a bit more than 20 years later.
    – DonielF
    Commented Oct 11, 2019 at 17:14
  • 1. THe link is broken 2. We seldom ask on Midrashim since they are not obligated to historical truth, many stories can be highly metaphorical.
    – Al Berko
    Commented Oct 12, 2019 at 18:41
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    1. The link's working for me, but if you're having trouble, Google "rule Nineveh for five hundred years" (with quote marks) and it comes up. 2. It may seldom happen, but today it has.
    – Zarka
    Commented Oct 12, 2019 at 19:47

1 Answer 1


In Otzar Hamidrashim there's a midrash called Divrei Hayamim Lemoshe which says:

"...ויוליכוהו לנינוה העיר הגדולה, וימלוך פרעה על נינוה ד׳ מאות שנה."

Translation: "...And they led him to Nineveh the great city, and Pharaoh ruled over Nineveh for 400 years."

As it turns out, the majority of Midrash Vayosha is a compilation of other midrashim, including Midrash Divrei Hayamim Lemoshe. This explains the inclusion of a variant of the midrash. The 500 years version can be seen also in Sefer Hazichronot - Divrei Haymim Leyerachmiel (another midrash) here.

Rabbi Yekutiel Yehudah Halberstam, the former Rebbe of Sanz-Klausenberg, wrote in Shefa Chaim:

"...ועפ"י דבריו הקדושים יומתק מאד מה שאחז"ל שפרעה נשאר בחיים ונעשה מלך נינוה ועשה תשובה, שמזה רואים איך דבריו הקדושים של משה רבנו פעלו ועשו רושם ואחרי מאות שנים נזכר פרעה בדבריו ועשה תשובה."


"...And according to his [Rabbi Elimelech of Lizhansk] holy words, it will be sweetened what Chazal said that Pharaoh remained alive and became the king of Nineveh, that from this we see that the holy words of Moshe worked and left an impression and after hundreds of years Pharaoh remembered his words and repented."

Rabbi Moshe Chorev wrote in Torah Mesinai:

"...וכמו כן זכה פרעה למלוך על נינוה ארבע מאות שנה עיין שם. ובא הרמז במה שכתוב "ויהי בשלח פרעה" סופי תיבות חיה שבשכר הלויה שליוה את עם ישראל זכה לחיים, וכנזכר לעיל."

Translation: "...and also Pharaoh merited to rule over Nineveh for 400 years, see there. And the hint to this comes from what it says "Now when Pharaoh let" [Vayehi Beshalach Par'oh], the ends of the words spell out "Chayah", for as reward for escorting Yisrael he received life, and as mentioned above."

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