Archive for the ‘Egyptian History’ Category
The major objection to Joseph being Imhotep is the dates, however, new insights into the Egyptian chronology are slowly but surely resolving this issue.
There are many theories about who Joseph was in Egyptian History. Similarly, people theorize about who was the Exodus Pharaoh and who was the Pharaoh of Moses Birth and who was the pharaoh of Abraham.
As these Biblical and Historical figures are related to each other in time, sequence and position, the identification of one of these figures (a point of reference) determines where and when to look for the others.
As there are different views about the way the various Egyptian dynasties are ordered and as there are two schools of though regarding the length of the Israelite’s Sojourn in Egypt, many different permutations and combinations are possible when everybody logs in their answers for who they think just four of these iconic Biblical figures may have been in Egyptian History.
For a theory to hold, there needs to be a good character match, sufficient archaeological evidence, any discrepant dates need to be explained and the sequence and time frames needs to be right.
As a point of reference, one might ask, what lasting legacy did the Israelites leave behind (for us to find) when they were slaves in Egypt? The Bible records that the Israelites were forced to make mud bricks that were reinforced with straw. The Bible says that there were over 600 thousand Israelite men of fighting age by the time of the Exodus. The Bible says that the Israelites Sojourned in Egypt for 400 years.
Even if the the Israelites only produced one mud brick per person per day for half of their sojourn, that would be 600000 people x 200 years x 365 days x 1 mud brick per day per person = 43.8 billion mud bricks.
That is a lot of mud bricks!!
Where can we find this many mud bricks in Egyptian History?
The answer is: In the 12th dynasty (and the 12th dynasty lasted about 200 years)!!
There is considerable evidence to suggest that the 12th dynasty was the period when the Israelites were oppressed. The 12th dynasty pyramids had a mud brick core and a limestone veneer. (The limestone veneer has fallen away over the centuries leaving the mud brick core exposed.) There were seven such pyramids constructed over about 200 years. The Labyrinth, another monolith of the 12th dynasty, was also made from mud bricks.
There was a massive Exodus of slaves from Egypt in the 13th dynasty, after which, no more pyramids were constructed.
The only other significant exodus from Egypt was at the end of the second intermediate period when The Hyksos were chased out of Egypt in a rebellion lead by the family of Ahmose who went on to found the 18th dynasty. The Hyksos were rulers of Egypt and are clearly not the Israelites.
The only reasonable conclusion is that the Exodus of slaves in the 13th dynasty was in fact the Israelite Exodus. This is supported by good character matches for Moses, Moses’ pharaoh, Moses’ adoptive mother and the Exodus pharaoh. The profiles of Amenemhet III, Sobekneferu Amenemhet IV and Neferhotep and the chronology and time frames make it very likely that they were The pharaoh of Moses Birth, the princess that adopted Moses, Moses himself and the Exodus pharaoh respectively.
People have suggested the 12th dynasty vizier Mentuhotep (of Sesostris I) to be Jospeh of the Bible based on a 200 yr sojourn but there is little evidence and a poor character match.
The Bible says that the Israelites were in Egypt for 400 years. They were able to enjoy the protection of Joseph for the first 70 years and some time elapsed before there was a change of dynasties to a pharaoh who neither remembered Joseph, nor was sympathetic to the Israelites.
It is unlikely that the Pharaohs of the 12th dynasty changed their tune half way thru the dynasty.
There is a lot of evidence to suggest Joseph was Imhotep of the third dynasty and this would fit with Menez being Mizraim. Abrahams pharaoh (Abimelech) was somewhere in between Menes and Imhotep.
We know that the Egyptian chronology has been stretched out too far, that dynasties overlapped and so we cannot use dates to match Biblical figures with their historical counterparts.
If the long sojourn is right, then Joseph would have arrived in Egypt about 200 years before the 12th dynasty began.
The first intermediate period is likely to have been contemporary with other dynasties (3-6th dynasties). As a consequence, the 12th dynasty (middle kingdom) followed directly on from the old kingdom (dynsasty 3-6).
The pharaohs of the dynasties 7-11 (erroneously referred to as the First Intermediate Period) were probably Nomarches and high officials and not pharaohs at all. The only record we have of them is there name and how long they reigned. They were not even buried in pyramids.
Amenemhet I who founded the 12th dynasty was the vizier of Mentuhotep IV of the 11th dynasty. Amenemhet I assassinated Mentuhotep IV and took over the whole country. It was he who had a different attitude to the Israelites and made them into slaves, forcing them to make mud bricks for the 12th dynasty pyramids.
The major objection to Joseph being Imhotep is the dates, and new insights into the Egyptian chronology are slowly but surely resolving this issue.
I think it is likely Joseph was Imhotep. Hopefully, as new evidence comes to light, we will understand Egyptian chronology better and reconcile the dates.
In any case, I have no doubt that the Bible is true and that Moses and Joseph were real people and one day we will know their Egyptian names and the names of the Pharaohs that they served with more certainty.
|Joseph (Imhotep) invitesJacob to come to Egypt.||Jacob and his sons move to Egypt and settle in the land of Ra.||Netjerikhet / Djoser (3rd dynasty)Vizier: Imhotep = Joseph|
|The Israelites Multiply in Egypt||The Hebrews multiply and become numerous. Joseph / Imhotep protects them for 70 years.||3rd Dynasty 4th dynasty 5th dynasty 6th dynasty(dynasties 7-11 are contemporary with other dynasties)|
|Oppression||Moses raised by Sobeknefru in Pharaoh’s household until 40 years old during the reign of Amenemhet III.Moses co-reigns with Amenemhet III for 9 years as Amenemhet IV during this time||Amenemhet I Sesostris I Sesostrist II Amenemhet IISesostris III Amenemhet III (12th dynasty)|
|Waiting||Moses (Amenemhet IV) flees to Midian where he lives with Jethro for 40 years||Amenemhet III Sobekneferu (12th dynasty)Sobekhotep I to Neferhotep I (13th dynasty)|
|Exodus||Moses becomes the leader of the Jews and Aaron their spokesman||Neferhotep I (13th dynasty)|
|Wilderness||Moses leads the Israelites in the Wilderness for 40 years. During this time, Moses receives the Law on Mt Sinai, sets up the Sanctuary and positions the Israelites to take the Promised Land||Sobekhotep IV (13th dynasty)14th dynasty|
|Canaan – Judges||Moses dies on Mt Nebo in Moab just before the Israelites invade Canaan (The Promised Land)Israel is ruled by ‘Judges’||Hyksos (15th dynasty))(16th and 17th dynasties contemporary with 15th)|
|Israel United – Kingship||Saul David Solomon||Ahmose I Amenhotep I Thutmose I Thutmose IIHatshetsup (18th dynasty)|
The Bible is silent about what Joseph did for the last 66yrs of his life although the Bible does say that he was able to not only ensure the survival of his family, he was able to protect them as they grew into a great nation numbering over 2 million at the time of the Exodus
Joseph (son of Jacob) is a key figure in the Old Testament of the Bible , who became a vizier (sage / viceroy) for an Egyptian pharaoh and during this time was responsible for saving ancient Egypt from a seven year famine. Joseph was able to acquire all the land of Egypt (except that of the priests) by selling grain during the famine. In this way, Joseph made the Pharaohs very rich. Joseph was only 30yrs old when he became vizier and 44yrs old when he had saved Egypt and bought up all the land. He lived to the age of 110yrs and was given a royal Egyptian burial. The Bible is silent about what Joseph did for the last 66yrs of his life although the Bible does say that he was able to not only ensure the survival of his family, he was able to protect them as they grew into a great nation numbering over 2 million at the time of the Exodus (which occurred 430 years after Joseph’s family entered Egypt).
The identity Joseph in Egyptian history is debated, but some scholars identify him with Imhotep, who was the vizier during the Third Dynasty under Pharaoh Djoser ( also called Netjerikhet / Zoser).
Given Joseph’s position and achievements, one would expect to find some evidence for his existence in Non-Biblical Egyptian records and archaeological discoveries.
Joseph built silos to store grain in key Egyptian cities. Massive underground silos can be found in many cities of Egypt dating back to the third dynasty.    It is not unreasonable to suggest that these may have been built by Joseph. In particular, Joseph may have built the silos associated with the first pyramid built in Egypt (The Step Pyramid which is part of the Djoser Pyramid complex at Saqqara, designed by Imhotep).    
Large pits can be found within the Step Pyramid complex at Saqqara. The bottom of the pit can be accessed from an adjacent pit that has stairs. It would have been ideal for storing grain and, most likely, it was used for this purpose. It could have been made by the Hebrew vizier Joseph who had many similarities to the vizier Imhotep who designed the Step Pyramid complex. This has caused many historians to propose that Joseph and Imhotep were the same person.
There are many similarities between the profile of Joseph and Imhotep.     Imhotep is also credited with saving Egypt from a seven year famine after hearing of the Pharaoh’s dream. Imhotep, like Joseph, was a commoner with some divine connection and was placed second in charge of Egypt by the King (Netjerikhet).  Joseph bought up all the land for Pharaoh by selling the grain he stored during the seven years that preceded the famine ; a feat that could only have been performed once, early in Egypt’s history, and explains how the Pharaohs became so powerful and able to build the pyramids. Given that Joseph was one of the Patriarchs of Israel, and figures very early in the Biblical record, less than 1000 years after the flood of Noah, it is quite possible that he may have figured in the early parts of Egyptian history, namely the Third Dynasty as the vizier for Pharaoh Djoser. 
Until recently, the most compelling argument against Joseph and Imhotep being the same person, has been the discrepancy between the estimated times during which they lived. 
Egypt was not always united and sometimes there were different rulers in upper and lower Egypt. Sometimes, a conquering Pharaoh would let regional rulers (Nomarchs) stay on as governors when a new dynasty began (eg 12th dynasty). The division of the kingdom into up to 42 ‘nomes’ (regions or provinces) can be dated back to the Old Kingdom and it continued until the Roman period.
Clearly, there are many problems with the “traditional Egyptian chonology” that assumed the Egyptian dynasties were sequential and did not allow for co-regency and dynasties running in parallel. Evidence is now accumulating to suggest that Egyptian dynasties may overlap and may not date back as far as was once thought. 
Egyptian records are not chronological and dates have been calculated from very sketchy notes of third parties who saw the original documents (eg Manetho‘s records in the Alexandrian Library before they were destroyed in a fire).  Other documents such as the Turin King list are very fragmented and incomplete. In many cases, all that is known about some pharaohs are their names and how long they reigned. The pharaohs of dynasties 7-11 (the first intermediate period) were not buried in pyramids as were the pharaohs of the Old Kingdom (dynasty’s 3-6) and the Middle Kingdom (dynasty 12). Some pharaohs in this first intermediate period may turn out to be ‘Nomarchs‘ or ‘other high ranking officials’ and not ‘pharaohs’ at all! The result of this is that Egyptian history is probably a lot shorter than previously thought and the pyramids were probably constructed much later than many historians have previously estimated. 
If David Down is on the right track with his “modern alignment” of the Egyptian dynasties and allowing for a long sojourn of the Israelites in Egypt of 430 years (Exodus 12:40), it is quite likely that Joseph and Imhotep were the same person, particularly if some pharaohs in dynasties 7-11 (the first intermediate period) turn out to be ‘high ranking officials’ or ‘Nomarchs‘. 
The Step Pyramid Complex was designed by Imhotep. Some large man made pits that look like grain silos can be found within it’s walls.
Grain would have been poured into the top of the pit and servants would have walked down stairs into the adjacent pit to retrieve grain through a small tunnel that connected the bottom of the pits.
There can be little doubt that the Djoser complex was a grain distribution and storage center.
The Step Pyramid complex at Saqqara Egypt contains grain silos and administrative buildings. Not only was it the first pyramid, it contained the first silos and the first building with columns. It was designed by Imhotep who may have been Jospeh of the Bible.
This is the Step Pyramid Complex in Saqqara in Egypt. It was designed by Imhotep in the third dynasty of Egypt for King Netjerikhet (Pharaoh Zozer). It is also known as the Djoser Pyramid or the first pyramid. It is composed of solid Limestone Blocks and as a result, it is in better condition than the 12th dynasty pyramids that were made largely of unfired mudbricks with only a limestone veneer. The buildings are the first known structures to utilize columns in their architecture.
The pyramid is part of a complex which contains several interconnected man made pits in the ground, an open courtyard and a number of buildings which were part of a wall that surrounded the compound. The entrance to the complex is through the main buildings.
These square and rectangular pits in the ground are likely to have been used to store grain and retrieve it. One of the pits has stairs and connects to the bottom of the main pit which abuts the courtyard on the side opposite the Step Pyramid within the walls of the complex.
The pyramids at Dashur and Giza can be seen from the Step Pyramid (and visa versa). The pyramids would have been useful for navigation and finding the complex even if this was not he main reason that they were built.
The pyramids became the tombs of the Pharaohs. Previously, they used Mastabas as tombs. Pharaoh Zozer was buried under the Step Pyramid. The burial chambers may have been added after the pyramid had been built.
Many archaelologists and historians have long noted the similarities between Jospeh of the Bible and Imhotep of the third dynasty and have claimed that Joseph and Imhotep may have been the same person. The difficulty with this theory is that the Egyptian dates do not match the Bibles dates. Recent evidence, however, suggests that the traditional Egyptian dates (which were based on Manetho) may be out by as much as a thousand years (Ref Archaelogist David Down) giving the claim more credence.
The Amenemhat III Pyramid at Hawara – The Limestone Venere has fallen down exposing the core composed of millions of mudbricks (which were most likely made by the Jews when they were slaves in Egypt).
The Israelites flourished and multiplied while Joseph (Imhotep) was alive. They numbered over a million by the time of the Exodus. By the 12th dynasty, the Pharaohs had forgoten Jospeh (Imhotep) and his connection with the Hebrews. The Egyptians felt threatened by the Israelites and so the Israelites were enslaved by the 12th dynasty pharaohs and forced to make mud bricks. It is likely that many of the Semitic slaves lived in Kahun and made mud bricks for the cores of the 12th dynasty pyramids. After the Exodus, there was not enough slaves to make pyramids any more and so the pyramid age ended.
The last great pyramid to be built was that of Amenemhet III at Hawara.
Amenemhet III was most likely the pharaoh that Moses fled from. His daughter Sobeknefru was probably the princess that adopted Moses and raised him as her son.
If it is true that Joseph and Imhotep were the same person, then the first pyramid (the Step Pyramid in Saqqara) was designed by an Israelite at the beginning of Israel’s Sojourn in Egypt. What’s more, if the last of the great pyramids (those of the 12th dynasty) were constructed with a core made from mudbricks which were made by Israelite slave labour, then the Israelites were in Egypt while all of the great pyramids were being constructed. After the Israelites departed from Egypt in the 13th dynasty, lead by Moses, there were not enough slaves left in Egypt to construct pyramids any more. If this is correct, the pyramid age would coincide with Israel’s sojourn in Egypt and all of the Great Pyramids would, therefore, have been constructed over a period of around 430 years.
Egypt’s wealth and power reached it’s peak in the 12th dynasty under Sesostris III and his son Amenemhet III but as they had no successors, the Middle Kingdom started to fall apart when they died. Moses, an Israelite baby, was adopted by the Princess Sobekneferu and groomed to be the next Pharaoh (Amenemhet IV). Amenemhet IV did in fact co-reign with Amenemhet III for a period of 9 yrs but when he had to flee to Midian at the age of 40 years, there was suddenly no successor for Amenemhet III. His daughter Sobekneferu had to take over the reigns when Amenemhet III died. She only lived for another 4 yrs and when she died, the 12th dynasty ended and Egypt fell into turmoil and became politically unstable. There was a quick succession of Pharaohs in the 13th dynasty until Neferhotep who was the Pharaoh who was ruling when Moses (Amenemhet IV) returned from exile in Midian. After a series of ten plagues that were inflicted on Egypt, Neferhotep let Moses take the Israelities into the desert. When they did not return, he pursued them with his army. The Israelites were able to cross the red sea at the Gulf of Aqaba but Neferhotep and his army drowned when they tried to follow.
Not only did Egypt lose its slave labour force, it lost it’s monarch, it’s entire army and it’s transportation system. It was a massive defeat and not something that Egyptian historians would want to memorialize.
When the Israelites left Egypt, Pharaoh and his son died and all the Egyptian army drowned in the Red Sea taking all of Egypts chariots with them. Egypt was then thrown into turmoil. Thy Hyksos were able to take control of lower Egypt and the second intermediate period began. (The Hyksos were foreigners to Egypt who reigned for 400 yrs until they were finally defeated and then the 18th dynasty began).
The Israelites, therefore, had a profound influence on Egypt. Joseph saved Egypt from 7 yr famine, brought up all the land of Egypt and made the Pharaohs wealthy. Joseph designed the first pyramid (in the third dynasty), was the first to build with columns, write on papyrus and practice medicine and preservation methods. Later in their sojourn, the Israelites provided slave labour for various public works which included making mudbricks for the construction of the last of the great pyramids (those of the 12th dynasty).The Israelite Sojourn, therefore, coincides the Pyramid Age. Egypt was destabilised when Moses (Amenemhet IV) went into exile as there was nobody to continue the 12th dynasty. Egypt suffered massive losses as a result of the Exodus 40yrs later (1446BC) and as a result became vulnerable to invasion – (the end of the 13th dynasty). The Hyksos took over and ruled Lower Egypt for the next 400 yrs (the second intermediate period).