Could Joseph and Imhotep have been the same person?

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King Netjerikhet (Pharaoh Djoser) died in the 5th year of the famine and was buried by Imhotep / Joseph

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Djoser reigned for 29 years.  According to the ‘Famine Stele’ located on the Island of Sehel, Imhotep came to Djoser in the 18th year of his reign.  Given that there were 7 good years before the famine started, it can be calculated that Djoser would have died in the 4th or 5th year of the famine.

The Famine Stele also indicates that Djoser and Netjerikhet were the same person.  The term Djoser did not come into common usage until well after Netjerikhet’s death.  It was not until the finding of the Famine Stele that archaeologists could be certain that Netjerikhet and Djoser were the same person.  Until then there was only 18th dynasty vandalism on Netjerikhet’s monuments to indicate that Netjerikhet may have been Djoser.

The Famine Stele tells the tale of Imhotep interpreting Netjerikhet’s (Djoser’s) dream about seven years of plenty and seven years of famine and how Imhotep saved Egypt from a seven year famine.

It says that Djoser gave the land to the priests indicating that Djoser had the rights over the land.  This would further support the notion that Joseph and Imhotep were the same person.

The Bible tells us that Joseph, second in charge of Egypt, acquired all the land of Egypt for the pharaoh, except that of the priests, by the selling of grain during the famine.

Djoser kept the priests on side by giving them an allowance of grain so that they did not have to sell their land.

Joseph interprets Pharaoh’s Dream

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Written by gospelclips

January 24, 2014 at 2:23 pm

Flinders Petrie discovered the famine stella in 1887 on the Island of Sehel. The Famine Stella tells the story of Imhotep saving Egypt from a seven year famine and buying up the Land for his Pharaoh – Djoser (Netjerikhet).

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Advance video to 2 minutes 35 seconds to see the discovery of the Famine Stella on the Island of Sehel

Flinders Petrie, who conducted numerous excavations in Egypt over a 40 yr period, also discovered the Merneptah stella in Thebes in 1896 and the Middle kingdom workers village of Kahun.  He found evidence of a sudden mass exodus of slaves from Kahun  in the 13th dynasty. From the well documented collection of scarabs that he found in Kahun, he was able to show that the village was occupied from the time of Sesostris II of the 12th dynasty up until Neferhotep I of the 13th dynasty.  [1] [2]

Petrie also developed a system of dating based upon pottery and ceramics found in the layers! [3]

[1]  Scarabs and Cylinders with Names by Flinders Petrie

[2] Flinders Petrie – A life in archaelogy 

[3] Flinders Petrie

Imhotep’s mummy has never been found (because Moses took Joseph’s (Imhotep’s) bones with him when the Israelites left Egypt).

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Advance to 24min 24seconds to see the tomb of Djoser

Advance to 37min 24seconds to see the tomb of Imhotep

Who was Imhotep?

This video is a documentary about Imhotep from a secular point of view.

Imhotep was the vizier of Pharaoh Djoser (Netjerikhet) of the 3rd dynasty of Egypt.  He functioned like a Prime Minister, running the country for the King (Pharaoh Djoser).

He was responsible for building the first pyramid in Egypt which is part of a complex containing the tombs of the Pharaoh (accessed by underground tunnels), a mortuary temple, grain silos and buildings that contain columns.

Imhotep has many similarities to the Biblical figure “Joseph”.  He was a commoner.  He lived until the age of 110 years, he married the daughter of the high priest of Heliopolis (capital city On).  He interpreted the dream of the Pharaoh and saved Egypt from a seven year famine.

He was a great architect who made the first building with columns.

He wrote many literary works.  He was the first to use the papyrus.

He performed operations and developed mummification techniques.

He may have served four pharaohs.

He was eventually deified by the Egyptians and the Greeks after his death.

He was embalmed and given a Royal Egyptian burial, however, his mummy has never been found.

If Joseph and Imhotep were the same person, you would not expect to find the mummy of Imhotep in Egypt because the Israelites carried Joseph / Imhotep’s bones with them when they left Egypt at the time of the Exodus.

Genesis 50:25 And Joseph made the Israelites swear an oath and said, “God will surely come to your aid, and then you must carry my bones up from this place.”

Genesis 50:26 So Joseph died at the age of a hundred and ten. And after they embalmed him, he was placed in a coffin in Egypt.

Exodus 13:19 Moses took the bones of Joseph with him because Joseph had made the Israelites swear an oath. He had said, “God will surely come to your aid, and then you must carry my bones up with you from this place.”

Joshua 24:32  And Joseph’s bones, which the Israelites had brought up from Egypt, were buried at Shechem in the tract of land that Jacob bought for a hundred pieces of silver from the sons of Hamor, the father of Shechem. This became the inheritance of Joseph’s descendants.

Hebrews 11:22 By faith Joseph, when his end was near, spoke about the exodus of the Israelites from Egypt and gave instructions concerning the burial of his bones.

How long was the Israelite Sojourn in Egypt?

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It was foretold to Abraham in a dream that his descendants would serve as slaves in a foreign land for 400 yrs (or 4 generations of priests).  Genesis 15:12-16

Yet the Bible also tells us that the Israelites lived in Egypt for 430 years to the very day. Exodus 12:40-41

The Israelite Oppression ended when the 12th dynasty ended, about 10 years after Moses / Amenemhet IV went into exile at the age of 40 years.  This was 400 years after Jacob and his family came to Egypt.  The Exodus did not take place until 30 years into the 13th dynasty when Moses / Amenemhet IV returned to confront Neferhotep I at the age of 80 years.

The Israelite oppression lasted 400 years – it ended when the 12th dynasty ended.  No more pyramids were built after the 12th dynasty.  The 13th dynasty was very chaotic and the Pharaohs did not focus on oppressing the Israelites because their thrones were not stable enough and maybe their attitude towards the Israelites was slightly more sympathetic than that of the 12th dynasty pharaohs.  The Exodus occurred 30 years into the 13th dynasty during the reign of Neferhotep I who was the longest ruling pharaoh of that dynasty (11 years).

Amenemhet III would have reigned between 2-6 years after Moses fled to Midian and Sobekneferu would have reigned between 4-8 years after her father Amenemhet III and then she died.  When she died, the 12th dynasty ended as there was no heir to the throne.  The result was that Egypt fell into Chaos.  There was a rapid succession of Pharaohs in the 13th dynasty and as a result, the Israelites were not oppressed during this time.  They were able to keep multiplying and prepare to leave Egypt.

The Exodus occurred exactly 40 years after Moses fled to Midian and about 30 years after the 12th dynasty ended with the death of Sobeknefru.