Could Joseph and Imhotep have been the same person?

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Joseph was a very prominent person in Egyptian History. By the 18th dynasty, Netjerikhet was known after his vizier as Pharaoh Djoser; the Pharaoh of Joseph (or Zozer in Greek).

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Joseph saved Egypt from a seven year famine and brought all the land of Egypt for the Pharaoh.  He would have been a very prominent person in Egyptian History.

The Bible is silent about what Joseph did in the last 66 years of his life but it does say that when he died at the age of 110 years, he was given a Royal Egyptian burial.

It is quite likely that Joseph was the Imhotep of  the third dynasty, the vizier of Pharaoh Netjerikhet and the designer of the Step Pyramid complex at Saqqara (which was really a grain storage and distribution centre).

After saving Egypt from a seven year famine, he continued to serve the Pharaohs of the 3rd and 4th dynasty and was, therefore, in a position to ensure the safety of his family, the Israelites who had settled in the best part of the Land of Ra and were rapidly increasing in number.

Joseph-Imhotep was responsible for burying the pharaoh when Netjerikhet died in the 5th year of the famine.  Joseph-Imhotep decided to bury Netjerikhet in the first grain silo that he built (it was fraught with ventilation issues making it difficult to use as a grain silo anyway).  The grain silo was to make an excellent tomb in which to place Netjerikhet’s sarcophagus.  Joseph-Imhotep just had to make a platform at the bottom of the silo and line the silo with ornate limestone and then lower the Sarcophagus into place.   There was already a number of access tunnels which could be extended to become the galleries in which Netjeriket’s funerary vessels and treasures were placed.  Joseph-Imhotep sealed the tomb with a granite slab and then built a mastaba out of solid limestone on top.  Prior to this, mastabas were much smaller structures and made out of mud bricks with a much smaller shaft in which the pharaoh was buried.  As time went by, Joseph added more mastabas, made from solid limestone, to that of Netjerikhet’s, to bury his 3 wives and 11 daughters.  The mastabas were added initially on the same level but eventually were stacked on top of one another to give rise to a step pyramid structure that was finally faced with smooth limestone.

As time went by, Netjerikhet eventually became known after his vizier as Pharaoh Djoser (the Pharaoh of Joseph).

The Egyptians and the Greeks tried to deify him (Imhotep).  Temples were built in Imhotep’s name and pilgrims in the Ptolemaic period would bring mummified animals to offer to his tomb in the hope of being healed; over a 1000 years after Joseph-Imhotep’s death!

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