Watchman's Teaching Letter #32 December 2000
This is my thirty-second monthly teaching letter and continues my third year of publication. In the last teaching letter (#31), we began a study of Egypt. First we learned what Egyptian history is not. I demonstrated, with archaeological evidence, how one person’s attempt to shave 1000 years off Egyptian history simply cannot be correct. With the archaeological evidence I presented, we can now be more positive than ever about the general time period for the Exodus. If you don’t have lesson #31, you will need it to bring you up-to-date. As a matter of fact, you will need several of my later letters to really get a handle on this important subject. With this lesson, we are going to try to reconcile Egyptian history with Biblical history. This is not the first attempt to make such a reconciliation, as many a scholar has given it a stab in the past. If you will check out various references, you will find all kinds of suggestions for contemporary time comparisons. Thorough Bible research and study is more than just reading a few verses once in a while.
THE TRIP BACK TO THEBES
In the last letter, we learned how an Egyptian Pharaoh by the alias name of Akhenaten (Amenhotep IV) changed his religion and moved his throne, lock stock and barrel, from Thebes to an area known today as Tell el-Amarna. With a new name, he built a new city for his new religion. But, all did not go well in the new city. For some reason this new city (named Akhet-aton, “the Brilliance of the Sun’s Disk”) was suddenly abandoned en masse. When this city was abruptly deserted, they left behind unfinished tombs in which no one was ever buried; half finished statues which were never completed; supplies and food that were never used or eaten. Wonders Of The Past edited by Sir J. A. Hammerton, volume 2, page 1127 says this: “In cold weather a charcoal fire would be lit in a pottery brazier sunk in the floor; the actual ashes were found in many of these braziers — evidence of the sudden evacuation of the city.” From the book, The Murder Of Tutankhamen by Bob Brier, Ph.D., pages 98-100, I quote the following excerpts: “... Ordinary citizens abandoned Amarna, moving en masse to Thebes, creating an overnight ghost town ... In 1912 the German expedition to Amarna, led by Ludwig Borchardt, made a dramatic discovery while clearing debris from the house and studio of a master sculptor called Tuthmosis. When they entered a locked storeroom in the sculptor’s house, the excavators found exquisite busts and heads of statues that Tuthmosis had not completed when the exodus from the city began. Among these pieces was the famous bust of Nefertiti. That such a work of art should be left behind can only mean that people did not want to remember the era they had helped create ... In ancient Egypt, too, there was a general denial of ever having been part of Akhenaten’s movement. Even names were changed [before returning to Thebes] to make assimilation possible ... The bust of Nefertiti was left behind because no one wanted it.” It would appear, from all of this, there was evidently such a devastating blow directed toward Amarna that it was imperative for the residents to evacuate the area immediately and suddenly. People simply do not usually change their religion overnight, such as stated here.
Another good, short article on Tel el-Amarna is from Halley’s Bible Handbook, page 53 and reads thusly:
“The Tell-el-Amarna Tablets. In 1888 there were found in the ruins of Amarna, halfway between Memphis and Thebes, about four hundred Clay Tablets which had been a part of the royal archives of Amenhotep III and Amenhotep IV, who reigned about 1400 B.C. These Tablets are now mostly in the Museums of London and Cairo. They are from 2 to 3 inches wide, and 3 to 9 inches long, inscribed on both sides. They contain official correspondence from various kings of Palestine and Syria, written in Babylonian cuneiform script, to these two Pharaohs of Egypt. Like the Stone Tablet of Hammurabi, they constitute one of the most important archaeological discoveries of recent years.”
Because Garstang read some of the evidence at Jericho incorrectly, his dates are about 120 to 160 years too early. May I suggest a date in the 1300’s B.C. for the reigns of Amenhotep III and Amenhotep IV?
MORE ON THE NAME OF MOSES
You will remember, in the last lesson, I suggested that Moses got his name from the “moses” family of pharaohs of Egypt. In the process of preparing for this lesson, I was pleasantly surprised to find documentation on this very topic. I can’t imagine what kind of “evidence” professor Garstang found in Jericho to confirm this, for I came to the same conclusion. In the book The Story Of Civilization: part 1, “Our Oriental Heritage” by Will Durant, page 302, in a footnote we read:
“Moses is an Egyptian rather than a Jewish (Hebrew) name; perhaps it is a shorter form of Ahmose. Professor Garstang, of the Marston Expedition of the University of Liverpool, claims to have discovered, in the royal tombs of Jericho, evidence that Moses was rescued (precisely in 1527(?) B.C.) by the then Princess, later the Queen Hatshepsut; that he was brought up by her as a court favorite, and fled from Egypt upon the accession of her enemy, Thutmose III.
I found more concerning this same thing in Halley’s Bible Handbook, page 112:
“Thotmes (Tuthmosis) III. (1500(?) B.C.) Queen Hatshepsut, his half sister, was regent the first 20 years of his reign; and, though he despised her, she completely dominated him. After her death he ruled alone for 30 years. He was the greatest conqueror in Egyptian history. Subdued Ethiopia, and ruled to the Euphrates, first Great Empire in history. Raided Palestine and Syria 17 times. Built a Navy. Accumulated great wealth. Engaged in vast building enterprises. Recorded his achievements in detail on walls and monuments. His tomb is at Thebes. His mummy is at Cairo. Thought to have been the Oppressor of Israel. If so, then Famous Queen Hatshepsut may have been the Pharaoh’s Daughter who rescued and brought up Moses.
In Bob Brier’s book The Murder of Tutankhamen the following questions are asked on the introduction page:
“X rays of Tutankhamen’s skull suggest a violent death. Was it accident or murder? ... Why was the king’s tomb so small and insignificant? Was it intended for someone else? ... Several members of Tutankhamen’s family died around the same time — was it coincidence? ... Why did Tutankhamen’s widow send desperate messages to the Hittite king, requesting marriage to one of his sons? And who murdered the Hittite prince on his journey to Egypt? ... Who ordered the removal of Tutankhamen’s name from all monuments and temples, and thus from Egyptian history? ... This fascinating, painstakingly researched book is the first to explore in depth the questionable circumstances of Tutankhamen’s demise — and to present a shocking scenario of betrayal, ambition, and murder. From one of our most renowned Egyptologists, this is an exciting journey into ancient history — and a 3,000-year-old mystery that still compels us today.”
As you might see, there were many strange circumstances surrounding Tutankhamen’s death. I strongly suggest that Tutankhamen was executed by the death angel in the last plague upon Egypt. Because of the difference of my premise and Bob Brier’s premise, I will be quoting several excerpts from his book to show a dissimilar viewpoint, as my conclusions are quite different from some of his. Therefore, this will be a critical review. I do not criticize his findings or his expertise, but I believe this incident revolves around Bible history rather than a political-religious Egyptian intrigue.
LADY PHARAOH DRESSES AS A MALE,
AND RAISES A MALE CHILD DRESSED AS A FEMALE
For information concerning this, I will quote from The Pyramids And Sphinx by Desmond Stewart, ©1971, pages 52-55:
“Hashepsowe (Hat-shep-sut) was married to Tuthmosis II, an unimpressive ruler. A court official has left us a terse account of his death: ‘Having ascended into heaven, he became united with the gods and his son, having arisen in his place as king of the Two Lands, ruled upon the throne of his begetter, while his sister, the god’s wife Hashepsowe (Hat-shep-sut), governed the country and the Two Lands were under her control; people worked for her, and Egypt bowed the head.’
“Although Egypt was less male-assertive than some later societies (and inheritance through the mother was a normal pattern), we must sense a note of resentment at a female ruler. Part of this resentment may have been due to primordial associations of the king’s reproductive organs with the fertility of herds and crops. Hashepsowe (Hat-shep-sut) was aware of such feelings, hence her desire to be portrayed as a male — as a kneeling granite statue or a male sphinx. Yet something feminine affects the beast’s expression.
“This great woman was more interested in architecture and commerce than foreign conquest. At Deir el-Bahri she created a mortuary temple that compares with the pyramids for spectacular scope and rivals them for its imaginative use of landscape ...
“Hashepsowe (Hat-shep-sut) had first conceived the bold idea of driving her burrow eastward, straight under the mountain; in this way her sarcophagus and that of her divine father, Tuthmosis, could lie under the cliff itself. She planned to transform the sheer face of the escarpment into a vast temple, imitating on a far grander scale the mortuary temple built by an Eleventh Dynasty predecessor. But the tunnel collapsed and this part of her scheme had to be abandoned. Hashepsowe’s (Hat-shep-sut’s) ultimate design — an ascending sequence of colonnaded courtyards culminating in a rock-hewn inner shrine — served the same functions as the mortuary temples attached to the pyramids ...
“Egyptian inscriptions rarely recorded unharmonious facts; they give no indication of how the queen’s reign may have been terminated by supporters of Tuthmosis III, Hashepsowe’s (Hat-shep-sut’s) nephew and coregent, now grown to manhood. Whether Hashepsowe (Hat-shep-sut) died of natural causes, was retired, or was murdered is still unknown. But some time after the king assumed solitary power he had every artistic reference to Hashepsowe (Hat-shep-sut) that he could uncover destroyed.”
Also on page 55 of this same book is a picture of a granite statue for which there is considerable interest concerning Hatshepsut and it is described thusly:
“Hashepsowe’s (Hat-shep-sut’s) chief minister, Senmut, is portrayed in this block statue with his royal pupil. the queen’s daughter, on his knees. The two heads emerging from the confines of the massive granite block convey an aura of tender affection between tutor and pupil.”
I believe that, rather than the queen’s daughter, this was Moses, her adopted son dressed up as a girl in order to protect him during his childhood years (but check Exodus 2:10-14). That was probably her story when she saved him from the river. I also believe she was grooming Moses to be the pharaoh following her as her heir. Hatshepsut was at the end of a pure royal line. She may even have been of the House of Shem which would tell us a lot about the reason for saving Moses in the first place. Tuthmosis III (her adversary) was born of a minor wife and thus not of royal blood. When we can understand the circumstances here, we can start to grasp the situation.
To state the relationship with the other pharaohs at the time, Hatshepsut was the daughter of Tuthmosis I. She married her brother (possibly half brother) Tuthmosis II. She then took the throne as king in the stead of Tuthmosis III for which there was much animosity between her and him. If Hatshepsut was the Egyptian princess who rescued Moses from the river, then the persecution of the Israelites must have started under Tuthmosis I or possibly even Hatshepsut’s husband, Tuthmosis II. To give another view to help clear up this situation, I will now quote from The Murder Of Tutankhamen by Bob Brier, page 35:
“The only surviving child of Tuthmosis [I] and his queen was Princess Hatshepsut. There is no word for ‘queen’ in ancient Egyptian. The phrase we translate as ‘queen’ is actually ‘king’s great wife.’ Had Hatshepsut been a son, the royal crown would have passed directly to him, but she was a girl and this created a problem. It is not always clear how the successor to the throne was chosen. It wasn’t as simple as in England — where the laws of primogeniture decreed that the throne was passed down through the king’s eldest son, with specified contingencies for all possibilities. In Egypt, the pharaoh had several wives and could also marry his sisters, so the lines of succession for his children could be rather complex. Overall, the rule known as the ‘Heiress Theory’ covered most cases: whoever married the eldest, most royal daughter became pharaoh.
“When Tuthmosis [I] died, his son Tuthmosis II by a minor wife was married to his half sister Hatshepsut, the eldest daughter of the pharaoh and his great wife. Marriage to Hatshepsut established Tuthmosis II’s right to the throne. The couple had a successful, uneventful twenty-year reign. When Tuthmosis II died he left two children, a daughter [really probably the adopted son Moses in disguise] by Hatshepsut, and a young son, Tuthmosis III, by a minor wife. Then, suddenly, one of the most incredible events in Egypt’s long history occurred: Hatshepsut changed her royal title from ‘Queen’ to ‘King’ and had herself portrayed in full male royal regalia, complete with beard. This was unheard of in conservative ancient Egypt. By wearing the false beard and the royal kilt of the pharaoh, Hatshepsut was attempting to stay within the traditional boundaries of Egyptian kingship — she was the king who happened to be a woman ...”
It would appear, Hatshepsut was attempting to keep royal blood on the throne. Knowing that Tuthmosis III was not of royal blood, evidently Hatshepsut took the throne herself until such time as Moses would be old enough to do so. Probably once Tuthmosis III did succeed in taking the throne, the persecution of the Israelites resumed after a lull during Hatshepsut’s reign. If all of this is true, Princess Hatshepsut had more motivation for rescuing Moses than just wanting an Israelite adopted son. She seemed to have all the qualities of a woman knowing exactly what she was doing. If Hatshepsut had no compunction dressing as a man, she would have had no reservations in dressing Moses like a girl for a short while.
At this juncture, there is a hodgepodge of dates from different sources to consider. The problem is fitting Moses’ life into this time period. Basically, Moses’ life is broken down into three forty year periods: (1) From his birth until he fled Egypt after killing an Egyptian. (2) His forty years in Midian and his return to Egypt to face down the pharaoh to let the Israelites have their freedom, and, (3) His 40 years wandering with the Israelites in the wilderness until his death. This can be verified by Acts 7:23, but doesn’t agree with Jasher 71:1; 72:23 & 76:3, The first 80 years is what concerns us, as we must fit it into the period from Hatshepsut until the Amarna period. I checked first with a time-chart in the book The Pyramid And Sphinx by Desmond Stewart, page 54, and the dates are about 60-70 years too long to fit Moses’ 80 years in Egypt. I continued to search other books such as Mummies Myth And Magic by Christine El Mahdy; Historical Atlas of Ancient Egypt by Bill Manley; The Boehm Journey To Egypt, Land Of Tutankhamun by Frank J. Cosentino; The Zondervan Pictorial Encyclopedia of the Bible in five volumes along with many other books. Finally, in The Interpreter’s Dictionary Of The Bible in four volumes I found in volume E-J pages 48-49, figures which fit Moses’ 80 years in Egypt. This reference places the Hatshepsut period 1486-1468 B.C., and the Amarna period 1375-1300 B.C. If we take a starting point of 1468 B.C., and subtract 40 years, we will come to 1428 B.C. By subtracting another 40 years, one will come to 1388 B.C. which is getting close to our objective. No doubt, there are still some further overlappings of time-periods which could be subtracted from these figures. We have to remember, too, these dates are probably generally off by a hundred years or so.
To show you we are on the right track, I will quote from the book The Bible And Archaeology by J. A. Thompson, pages 55-56:
“When Did The Exodus Take Place? It has been widely held that the Exodus took place about 1440 B.C. One reason for this has been found in I Kings 6:1, where we have the statement: ‘And it came to pass in the four hundred and eightieth year after the children of Israel were come out of the land of Egypt, in the fourth year of Solomon’s reign over Israel ... that he began to build the house of the Lord.’
“We have good reason to believe that Solomon began to reign about the middle of the tenth century B.C., that is, about 950 B.C. It would follow from this that the Exodus took place about 1430 B.C., in the time of the Eighteenth Dynasty which ruled Egypt from 1570 to 1310 B.C.”
If all of this is true, this places us within one hundred years of the Amarna period. There is another position which should be taken into account concerning this time-period. I will now quote from this same book, page 62:
“What, then, are we to say of the date implied by the statement in 1 Kings 6:1? A comparison with the Greek Septuagint shows that there was a difference of opinion in the minds of the translators in the time when this text was prepared, say in the period between 300 and 100 B.C. The Septuagint gives a period of four hundred and forty years as the time lapse between the Exodus and Solomon.”
Another important aspect of the Exodus period is mentioned on page 56 of this same book:
“In the first place, if we are to take the Bible narrative seriously (and there is every reason that we should), we are bound to notice that the picture in the Bible is easiest to interpret if we regard the residence of the Pharaoh as being in the region of the delta at the time of the Exodus ...”
This is an important observation, as Akhenaten’s move to his new city placed him much father north in Egypt than before. While not actually in the Delta area, the Amarna site is much closer than Thebes. No doubt, many of the Israelite slaves were moved the short distance from the so-called Goshen area to the Amarna site to serve as a labor force. (More on the location of Goshen later.) Unearthed at Tell-el-Amarna are the living quarters of a workman’s suburb.span style=text-align: justify; text-indent: .5in;span style=/spansans-serif Pictured is an area for a cottage living room, large water jar along with a food bowl and hearth, sunken brick receptacles for grain and even bathroom facilities. In viewing these ruins, one can even imagine the Passover lamb being prepared over the open charcoal hearth in the kitchen area.
JOSEPH AND THE HYKSOS
We will be placing Joseph with the Hyksos period, but not in the way most so-called authorities cast him. In order to learn something of the Hyksos period, I will quote from The Bible As History by Werner Keller, pages 86-88:
“Something incredible and frightful befell the Nile country about 1730 B.C. Suddenly as a bolt from the blue, warriors in chariots drove into the country like arrows shot from a bow, endless columns of them in clouds of dust. Day and night horses’ hooves thundered past the frontier posts, rang through city streets, temple squares and the majestic courts of Pharaoh’s palaces. Even before the Egyptians realized it, it had happened; their country was taken by surprise, overrun and vanquished. The giant of the Nile, who never before in his history had seen foreign conquerors, lay bound and prostrate.
“The rule of the victors began with a bloodbath. The Hyksos, Semitic tribes from Canaan and Syria, knew no pity. With the fateful year 1730 B.C. the thirteen-hundred-year rule of the dynasties came to an abrupt end. The Middle Kingdom of the Pharaohs was shattered under the onslaught of these Asian peoples, the ‘rulers of foreign lands.’ That is the meaning of the name Hyksos. The memory of their political disaster remained alive among the Nile people, as a striking description by the Egyptian historian Manetho testified: ‘We had a king called Tutimaeus. In his reign, it happened. I do not know why God was displeased with us. Unexpectedly from the regions of the East, came men of unknown race. Confident of victory they marched against our land. By force they took it, easily, without a single battle. Having overpowered our rulers, they burned our cities without compassion, and destroyed the temples of the gods. All the natives were treated with great cruelty, for they slew some and carried off the wives and children of others into slavery. Finally they appointed one of themselves as king. His name was Salitis and he lived in Memphis and made Upper and Lower Egypt pay tribute to him, and set up garrisons in places which would be most useful to him ... and when he found a city in the province of Sais which suited his purpose (it lay east of the Bubastite branch of the Nile and was called Avaris) he rebuilt it and made it very strong by erecting walls and installing a force of 240,000 men to hold it. Salitis went there every summer partly to collect his corn and pay his men their wages, and partly to train his armed troops and terrify foreigners.”
At their height, the Hyksos occupied the land of the Hurrians, Carchemish, Syria, Palestine and much of the northern part of Egypt. By inhabiting the Delta area of Egypt, they were in control of all commerce on the Nile. This cut Egypt off almost entirely from commercial trade and the rest of the then known world. The Hyksos could sit in their fortress at Avaris and call all the shots up and down the Nile. These Hyksos were a very strange people, desiring to set up a government like that of the Egyptians. It makes one wonder why they didn’t set up a government like they had wherever they came from, wherever that was. They seem to be a kind of chameleon type of people, adapting themselves to their surroundings. We have a chameleon type of people today living in the United States, pretending to be of the white race, and passing themselves off as such; changing their names to fit the territory. Some students believe the Hyksos came from the Caucasus or even Central Asia. At least, as far as the Egyptians were concerned, the Hyksos were an Asiatic people. The Hyksos seem to have been active merchants. They introduced into Egypt a new system of weights and balances. Does this seem to ring a bell of any kind? It kind of makes one wonder who the Hyksos people were. We can be quite sure they were not Egyptian or Israelite, though.
After 108 years of domination by the Hyksos, the last pharaoh of the 17th Dynasty, Kamose, and the first pharaoh of the 18th Dynasty, Amosis, rose up against these intruders, and over a period of about 20 years drove them northward out of the Delta area.
JOSEPH IMPOSES A 20% INCOME TAX
If you are unfamiliar with the income tax which Joseph imposed on certain people, it is found in Genesis 47:26. Not only did Joseph impose a 20% income tax, but he used the advantage of the seven years of famine to buy up all the land for the Pharaoh. I will quote from verses 20 to 26:
“20 And Joseph bought all the land of Egypt for Pharaoh; for the Egyptians sold every man his field, because the famine prevailed over them; so the land became Pharaoh’s. 21 And as for the people, he removed them to the cities from one end of the borders of Egypt even to the other end thereof. 22 Only the land of the priests bought he not; for the priests had a portion assigned them of Pharaoh, and did eat their portion which Pharaoh gave them: wherefore they sold not their lands. 23 Then Joseph said unto the people, Behold, I have bought you this day and your land for Pharaoh, lo here is seed for you, and ye shall sow the land. 24 And it shall come to pass in the increase, that ye shall give the fifth part unto Pharaoh, and four parts shall be your own, for seed of the field, and for your food, and for them of your households, and for food for your little ones. 25 And they said, Thou hast saved our lives: let us find grace in the sight of my lord, and we will be Pharaoh’s servants. 26 And Joseph made it a law over the land of Egypt unto this day, that Pharaoh should have the fifth part; except the land of the priests only, which became not Pharaoh’s.”
We know, according to Biblical Law, that it is unlawful for Adam-Israelites to charge other Adam-Israelites an income tax. It is also unlawful to take the lands from the Adam-Israelites in the manner just described. It is, therefore, obvious that this income tax and confiscation of land was not directed toward or to be paid by the Israelites living in the land of Goshen, wherever Goshen was located. If we can connect this income tax historically, would it not identify the Joseph period in Egypt? I am sure, when Frank J. Cosentino wrote his book The Boehm Journey To Egypt, Land Of Tutankhamun, he had no idea he was making such an identification, but on page 37 he makes the following statement:
“Amosis I, now a great hero of Egypt, was in a position to eliminate the feudal system, and he did. He confiscated the lands and properties of the lords he defeated and stripped them of their peerage. Those who supported him during the long Hyksos war also turned their estates over to the pharaoh in return for retention of their old titles and offices. All of Egypt once again was the personal property of the pharaoh.”
From this short statement, we can comprehend, not only does this match up with Scripture, but also establishes, with little doubt, that the reign of Amosis I is contemporary with Joseph of the Bible. If what we surmise is true, when Joseph’s brothers sold him to the Ishmaelites (possibly a mistranslation for Midianites), they must have bypassed the Hyksos in the Delta area and entered into Egypt by the backdoor, from Sawu on the Red Sea, across the desert to the Nile (Test. of Zebulun 1:30).
This brings up some questions: Did Abraham and Sarah, when they went to Egypt to escape a famine, come into contact with the Hyksos? Were Isaac and Rebekah warned not to go to Egypt because the Hyksos were in power there at the time?
No doubt, it was the actions of Joseph that started the weakening of the Hyksos. We have no evidence that Joseph ever warned them of the coming famine, and they were totally unprepared for it. They, too, probably had to go to Amosis and Joseph for something to eat. What better time to start taking advantage of the Hyksos in charging them an income tax and trading them food for land? We can be quite sure that Joseph didn’t charge the Israelites an income tax or confiscate their land for Genesis 47:27 says:
“And Israel dwelt in the land of Egypt, in the country of Goshen; and they had possessions therein, and grew, and multiplied exceedingly.”
You will notice it doesn’t say anything about charging the Israelites an income tax or taking away their land. Some read this account of Joseph in Genesis 47 and condemn him, but it is a matter of figuring out who he was doing this to. As just quoted from Cosentino, “He (Amosis) confiscated the lands and properties of the lords he defeated and stripped them of their peerage.” It was the Hyksos that Amosis defeated.
Again, I wish to stress there are problems with the dates. Due to Garstang’s misreading of the evidence at Jericho, there is a 120 to 160 year differentiation of time between Egyptian and Israelite history. I am sure, when all is said and done, there will be a simple explanation for all of this and all the pieces of the puzzle will fit nicely into place.
The problem is expressed in the book The Bible And Archaeology by J. A. Thompson, pages 61-62:
“More recent work carried out by the British archaeologist Dr. Kathleen Kenyon has shown that the wall of Jericho fell at various times in its history. The town was burned several times, and the features mentioned by Garstang could have been discovered for a number of the cities of Jericho. Moreover, pottery found in the graves showed that there was occupation in this area rather later than 1400 B.C. There were, in fact, traces of a still later city to be found on top of the ruins that Garstang had found. He had observed this but had interpreted these as belonging to the city of Hiel referred to in 1 kings 16:34. the net result of Miss Kenyon’s work is that we cannot accept the excavation of Garstang as proving beyond all doubt that the Exodus took place as early as 1440 B.C.”