Could Joseph and Imhotep have been the same person?

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Landmarks in the Biblical timeline from Noah to Christ (Long Sojourn) aligned with Down’s revised Egyptian Chronology.

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The Biblical Chronology aligned with the Revised Egyptian Chronology.

The Biblical Chronology (long sojourn) aligned with Down’s Revised Egyptian Chronology.

While the Biblical timeline is fairly established and accepted by most theologians, there is still some debate about the length of time that the Israelites were in Egypt.  This is of critical importance as it would affect all dates prior to the Exodus.

In this alignment, a long sojourn, as recorded in the Old Testament, is assumed to be correct.

This results in very good synchronization between the Bible and History when aligned with Down’s revised Egyptian Chronology.

This is supported by considerable archaeological evidence.

David Down is a well known archaeologist who has been to Egypt numerous times on archaeological missions. He has proposed an alternative time line based upon his extensive archaeological experience excavating the Holy Lands and his knowledge of Egyptian history.

The Traditional Egyptian Chronology based upon the work of Manetho (a priest / historian during the Ptolemaic Period – 3rd centurary BC) is now known to have multiple problems.

Manetho was fortunate enough to have access to the Alexandrian library before it was burnt down and wrote extensively on Egyptian History (Aegyptiaca).

Unfortunately, his works were destroyed too when the Alexandrian Library was burnt down by the Romans.

All we have is the notes of people who read his work  ( Sextus Julius Africanus and Eusebius of Caesarea). They made a list of pharaohs and how long they reigned and grouped them into dynasties.

Since then, historians have come along and used these lists to construct the Egyptian Chronology. Unfortunately, the early historians assumed that only one pharaoh was ruling at a time and built a time line based on sequential reigns.

We now know that many of these dynasties ran in parallel in different parts of the country and what’s more, many pharaohs practiced co-regency at the beginning and the end of their reigns.

Other archaeologists and historians like Usher, Velicovsky, Sweeney, Rhol, Moller and numerous others have suggested alternative Egyptian Chronologies but they do not align completely with the Bible and suggest synchronisms that are not supported by archaelogicial evidence or history.

As there are numerous alternative or Revised Egyptian Chronologies, the one that is used here in this alignment is identified by the person that came up with it, namely David Down.

David Down in his book, Unwrapping the Pharaohs, tries to synchronize it with a Biblical chronology that assumes a short sojourn.  This works well from the Exodus on wards but produces poor sychronisms for Biblical figures prior to Moses.

In this diagram, the Biblical Chronology with a long sojourn has been aligned with the Revised Egyptian Chronology of David Down without changing Down’s revised Egyptian Chronology (with the exception of allowing for co-regency in the 12th dynasty)

The result is almost perfect synchrony between the Bible and History with considerable archaeological and historical evidence to support all of the synchronisms suggested for the pharaohs listed.

A better understanding of the Chronology of the Old Kingdom will hopefully produce more synchonisms which will need to be verified both archaeologically and historically.

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The Israelites had a profound influence on Egyptian culture

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Djoser Pyramid Complex at Saqqara, Egypt. Note the large man made holes in the ground near the Step Pyramid that were used to store grain. They were most likely made by Joseph, the designer of the Step Pyramid, also known as Imhotep.

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.

The Black Pyramid of Amenemhet III. The inner core made of mud bricks is exposed. Josephus records that the Israelite slaves were given the task of building the Pyramids. The Pyramids of the 12th dynasty had an inner core that was made of mud bricks.

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.

Moses and the Israelites Crossed the Red Sea at Nuweiba in the Gulf of Aqaba in 1446BC.

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).

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.

http://www.diggingsonline.com/pages/rese/dyns/yusef.htm

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.

http://www.ancientexodus.com/topics/index/new-york-times-book-review/

http://www.specialtyinterests.net/exodus.html

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

Egyptian Slavery – The History of Egypt

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Correlation of Egyptian Dynasties and the Bible

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Correlation of Egyptian Dynasties and the Bible

The Architect of the Step Pyramid Complex at Saqqara, Egypt.

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Imhotep was a visor to the King.  He designed the Djoser Pyramid Complex.  Joseph and Imhotep may be one in the same person.

 

 

 

 

Imhotep was a visor to the King. He designed the Djoser Pyramid Complex. Joseph and Imhotep may be one in the same person.

Imhotep was second in charge of Egypt.   He designed the Djoser Pyramid Complex at Saqqara.  He is also credited with saving his people from a seven year famine.  He was not of royal blood.  He was born a commoner.  When he died, he was burried in a tomb in a coffin like many of the Pharaohs.  Many years  after his death he was deified.  It has been suggested that Joseph and Imhotep may be one in the same person.

Joseph was Imhotep

Imhotep is credited with having built the first Pyramid in Egypt

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The Step Pyramid is part of a complex at Saqqara, Egypt

The Step Pyramid Complex in Saqqara, Egypt
The Step Pyramid Complex in Saqqara, Egypt

The Djoser pyramid complex in Egypt is surrounded by a high wall.  It contains several buildings that may have been used for trading the grain stored in the massive underground silo’s also contained within the complex.  The step pyramid was the first pyramid built in Egypt.  The Pyramid is set over the underground Tomb of Pharaoh Djoser.  Unlike other pyramids, the tomb was underground and there are alternative entrances to the tomb.  Imhotep is credited for designing the complex.  This complex is a links the step pyramid with massive silos that may well have been built by Joseph.  Egyptian historical records also credit Imhotep with saving his people from a seven year famine.

Imhotep was Joseph of the Bible