Could Joseph and Imhotep have been the same person?

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Who were the pharaohs of the Oppression?

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The Israelites numbered about 70 when they first came to live in Egypt at the invitation of the Pharaoh whose vizier was Jacob’s 11th son Jospeh-Imhotep. They were allowed to live in the best part of the land; Goshen. Here they flourished and multiplied under the protection of Joseph who was second in charge of Egypt and had saved the country from a seven year famine by storing up grain to sell before the famine started. Joseph had brought up all the land of Egypt and had made the Pharaoh very rich and powerful. Joseph lived until the age of 110 years and served several pharaohs. When he died, he was embalmed and given a royal Egyptian burial – some 80 yrs after he first entered Egypt.

The Israelites came to Egypt in the 3rd dynasty when Netjerikhet was the Pharaoh. Pharaoh Netjerikhet came to be know as Pharaoh Djoser as time went by (the pharaoh of Joseph). The Israelites flourished and multiplied during the 3rd & 4th dynasties while Joseph was alive and continued to multiply during the 5th & 6th dynasties after his death. The 6th dynasty, which was based in Memphis in Lower Egypt, was contemporary with the 9th and 10th dynasties based in Herakleopolis and the 11th dynasty based in Thebes.

About 100 years after Joseph’s death, a pharaoh who did not know Joseph came to power. Amenemhet I was the vizier of Mentuhotep IV of the 11th dynasty based in Thebes (Upper Egypt). He assassinated Mentuhotep IV of the 11th dynasty and took over both Upper and Lower Egypt to start what is known as the 12th dynasty (or Egypt’s Middle Kingdom). The pharaohs of the middle kingdom did not like the Israelites and felt threatened by them. Fearing that they would join their enemies, they forced the Israelites into slavery.

The 12th dynasty pharaohs constructed their pyramids from mud brick with only a veneer of limestone. The 12th dynasty pharaohs needed a large slave labor force to make the mud bricks required for their pyramids. This became the task of the Israelites who by the time of the Exodus had come to number over two million. The 12th dynasty lasted some 200 years and during this time, 7 pyramids were constructed as well as the Labyrinth. The Labyrinth was considered one of wonders of the ancient world by Heroditis.

Moses was born during the co-reign of Senusret III and Amenemhet III about 4yrs into Amenemhet III’s reign. Amenemhet III built two pyramids and the Labyrinth. He was very cruel to the Israelites and it was probably he who ordered the midwives to kill the Hebrew baby boys. His daughter Sobeknefru was childless and there was no male heir to the throne. Sobeknefru adopted a Hebrew baby Moses that she found in a basket amongst the reeds of the Nile and she brought him up as her own in her household. He was known as Amenemhet IV.

When Amenemhet IV was old enough, 30yrs, he began a co-regency with Amenemhet III. This lasted 9 yrs and then Amenemhet IV suddenly disappeared. This left no male heir to the throne. Consequently, Sobeknefru had to assume the throne but she only lived for 8yrs and then she died. When she died, the 12th dynasty ended and Egypt became unstable. There was a rapid succession of pharaohs in the 13th dynasty. The longest ruling was Neferhotep I who reigned for 11 years. It was Neferhotep I who was the pharaoh when Moses-Amenemhet IV returned from exile. Neferhotep I was the Exodus Pharaoh who chased the Israelites and whose army and chariots were drowned in the Red Sea.

Egypt was crippled by the Exodus of the Israelites and became vulnerable to invasion. Not long after the Exodus, the Hyksos, shepherd kings from Arabia, invaded Egypt and built a fort at Avaris. From there, they occupied and controlled Lower Egypt for the next 400years.

The relationship between the dynasties of Egypt and the Phases of Israel.

The relationship between the dynasties of Egypt and the Phases of Israel.

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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.

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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 Grain Silos inside the Step Pyramid Complex at Saqqara, Egypt

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Satellite image of the Grain silos in the Djoser Complex, Saqqara, Egypt

Satellite image of the Grain silos in the Djoser Complex, Saqqara, Egypt

Massive underground grain storage silos can be found within the Djoser complex at Saqqara, Egypt. 

They may have been built by Joseph.

The Step Pyramid at Saqqara designed by Imhotep

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The Djoser Pyramid Complex, Saqqara, Egypt

This was a grain storage and distribution center in Egypt Saqqara designed by Imhotep who may have been the Joseph of the Bible.

Note the openings of grain silos in the ground inside the complex on the left hand side opposite the buildings and in front of the Step Pyramid; most easily seen in the schematic view.