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.

If Joseph was Imhotep of the 3rd dynasty and Moses was Amenemhet IV of the 12th dynsasty, where do David and Solomon fit in?

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A schematic diagram illustrating the relationship the Egyptian Kingdoms and dynasties and the various phases of Israel as the Israelites grew to be a nation while they were in Egypt and then traveled to the promised land where they were ruled initially by Judges and later by Kings. The nation of Israel became divided into North (Israel) and South (Judah) after Solomon.

A schematic diagram illustrating the relationship between the Egyptian Kingdoms and dynasties and the various phases of Israel as the Israelites grew to be a nation while they were in Egypt and then traveled to the promised land where they were ruled initially by Judges and later by Kings. The nation of Israel became divided into North (Israel) and South (Judah) after Solomon. There was no first intermediate period.

The Bible says that Joseph was a sage or vicroy for the Pharaoh and Imhotep fits the bill perfectly.   Moses was an Israelite baby who was adopted by the Pharaoh’s daughter and raised as her own.  Maybe he would have been a pharaoh if he did not have to go into exile in Midian for 40 yrs at the age of 40.  The Israelites had to make mud bricks and work the fields for pharaoh.  There were 2 million Israelites and they were slaves in Egypt for at least half of the time that they were there. Even if they only made one mudbrick per person per day, that’s a lot of mudbricks.  The 12th dynasty pyramids had a core that was made of mudbricks.  Amenemhet III was the last pharaoh of the 12th dynasty to build a pyramid.  In fact, he built two pyramids that had mudbrick cores and he also built the labyrinth.  He reigned for 46 yrs and had a daughter called Sobekneferu who had no children of her own.  Another figure called Amenemhet IV who had no genealogical records, co-reigned with Amenemhet III for 9 yrs and then suddenly disappeared.  Moses may well have been Amenemhet IV.  This would make sense and agree with Bible as Moses was raised by pharaoh and was being groomed to be the next pharaoh. This was around the time that Moses had to flead to Midian.  Sobekneferu took over after Amenemhet III died but only reigned 4-8 years and then she died and the 12th dynasty ended.  There was a rapid succession of pharaohs in the 13th dynasty and second intermediate period. Moses lead the Israelites out of Egypt 430 years after they first came to Egypt at the age of 80 during the reign of Neferhotep I. The Israelites were in the wilderness for 40 yrs. Then they were lead into to promised land by Joshua.  The period of the Judges lasted around 400 yrs.  Then Saul became the first king of Israel who was succeeded by David who was succeeded by Solomon.  The dates for Solomon building the temple are fairly established and accepted even by worldly archaeolgists as around 960BC.  The bible says that the exodus took place 480 years before this.
Saul and David were Kings of Israel.  It does not make sense to try and equate them with an Egyptian pharaoh.  It would be good to know which pharaoh in Egypt was ruling when David and Solomon were ruling in Israel.
From what I can see, it appears that Apopi II, the last pharaoh of the second intermediate period – a Hyksos was driven out of Egypt by a rebellion lead by Kahmose, the son of Sequenre and the brother of Ahmose I.  When Apopi II and the Hyksos left Egypt heading north, they encountered the Israelites who were lead by Saul at the time.  Samuel instructed Saul to put them all to death.  Saul all but wiped out the Hyksos as instructed  but disobeyed Samuel by sparing Agag (Apopi II).  Samuel put him to death himself.  Ahmose I became the first pharaoh of the New kingdom of Egypt while Saul continued to reign in Israel.  Saul in Israel was then succeeded by David and then Solomon and Ahmose I in Egypt was succeeded by Amenhotep I, then Thutmoses I followed by Thutmose II and then Hatshepsut (the Queen of Sheeba who visited Solomon).  Thutmoses III succeeded Hatshepsut and became the most powerful pharaoh of Egypt plundering Israel during the period of the divided kingdom of Israel. He was the Shishak of the Bible.  David was 1000BC and Saul about 1040BC.  If the Egyptian dates do not match it is because they are wrong.  The Egyptian dates need to be revised – I could go on and on as to why they are wrong but just accept this for now.


Placing Joseph in the 3rd dynasty and Moses in the 12th dynasties not only fits very well with the archaeological evidence, it fits very well with the Biblical account and shows how Majestic God is.

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Many scholars now realize that Moses was born during the 12th dynasty when Amenemhet III was pharaoh and the Exodus occurred around 1445bc during the 13th dynasty when Neferhotep was Pharaoh.

There is much archaeological evidence to support this revelation, however, it means that the traditional dates of the 12th and 13th dynasties need to be revised.

When it comes to locating Joseph in the history of Egypt, there are two schools of thought.

The Bible says that the Israelites sojourned in Egypt for 430 years.  Exodus 12:40 says “the length of time that the Israelites live in Egypt was 430 years.”

The New Testament also refers to this 430 years.  Galations 3:17 says ” The law, introduced 430 years later, does not set aside the covenant previously established by God and thus do away with the promise. ”

Because of this many scholars believe that the 430yrs commenced with the promise being given to Abraham 215yrs before Jacob and his family moved to Egypt.

The result of this is that some scholars believe that Joseph came only 215 years before Moses lead the Israelites out of Egypt.

Other scholars believe that the Joseph was 430 years before the Exodus.

Joseph went to Egypt some 9-10 yrs before Jacob did.

When Jacob and his family went to Egypt, the Israelites numbered about 70.   When they left Egypt they numbered around 2 million.  They needed time time multipy to this number.  Not withstanding this, it is obviously very important to know whether the Isralites were in Egypt for 430 years or 215 years so that we know in which dynasty to look for Joseph.

It is also important to know how the Egyptian dynasties are ordered.

People who believe in a 215 yr sojourn in Egypt look for Joseph earlier in the 12th dynasty and have nominated Mentuhotep as a possibility.

People who believe in a 430yr sojourn in Egypt look for Joseph in an earlier dynasty and given the similarities between Joseph and Imhotep, have tended to place Joseph in the 3rd dynasty.

Placing Joseph in the 3rd dynasty would require an even greater revision of Egyptian history and a complete revision of the Chronology to allow for parallel dynasties running concurrently in the North and the South and also for the common practice of coregency.

This would bring Egyptian history into complete agreement with the Bible.

One of the problems of placing Joseph in the 12th dynasty means that the flood of Noah would most likely have occurred during during one of the earlier dynasties (2450bc) and this is not only out of keeping with the Bible but there is no archaeological evidence of a worldwide flood during any Egyptian dynasty.

The Bible records that Noah had a grandson named Mizraim who seems to be one of the Patriarchs of Egypt.   The flood would, therefore, have preceded even the predynastic periods of Egyptian History.

Even Manetho, whom most archaeologist regard as the most authoritative source of information on the chronology of Egyptian history, believed that Mizraim and Menes (the first Pharaoh) were the same person.

Placing Joseph in the 3rd dynasty and Moses in the 12th dynasties not only fits very well with the archaeological evidence, it fits very well with the Biblical account.  What we know about these people from the Historical records can then be used to fill in the gaps in the Biblical record revealing how miraculous, amazing and glorious the Hand of God has been in dealing with mankind.

Dr Nigel Hawkins

Joseph = Imhotep ?

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Joseph (son of Jacob / Israel) and Imhotep (visor to Pharaoh Djoser)  have been suggested to be the same person.

Joseph was Imhotep