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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It was Joseph who set the precedent for Mega Tombs and Monuments for Pharaohs by burying Netjerikhet in a grain silo and stacking mastabas on top of it.

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Joseph upsized the Mastaba to a Pyramid when he buried his pharaoh in a grain silo. He set the precedent for the pharaohs that followed. Few were able to surpass the solid limestone pyramid that Joseph-Imhotep erected. It was to become the gold standard for the burial of pharaohs in future dynasties.

Grain silos were the hallmark of Joseph

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Joseph built silos to store grain in key Egyptian cities. If one was to look for some lasting legacy of Joseph in Egypt that is mentioned in the Bible, it would be grain silos. Similarly if one was to look for a lasting legacy of the Israelites in Egypt, it would have to be mudbricks, and lots of them. These are the two things that the Bible mentions that could have stood the test of time and are unique enough to positively confirm the existence of Joseph and his family in ancient Egypt. Joseph was the first to think of building grain silos in Egypt and so naturally, one would look for the oldest grain silos to be built in Egypt.

 

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Written by gospelclips

December 1, 2014 at 9:11 am

Did Joseph bury his Pharaoh in a Grain Silo and then build a pyramid on top of it??

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At the bottom of the central shaft there is a platform on which stood the Sarcophagus of Djoser.  The shaft itself was cased with large limestone blocks and the roof was sealed with a heavy granite slab.  The Step Pyramid was constructed above.

Imhotep constructed an elaborate network of tunnels around the central shaft which linked to the main entrance tunnel.

Were these tunnels made to retrieve grain or were they made to throw off grave robbers?

Some of the tunnels actually went beneath the platform for the sarcophagus of Djoser.  Why was there a need for a platform?  Was the shaft originally used to store grain?  Were the tunnels used to retrieve grain from the bottom of the shaft?  Did the platform plug the hole in the bottom of the shaft used to access the grain.

Was the shaft first used to store grain and then converted into a burial chamber for Djoser?

Did Imhotep bury the Pharaoh in one of the shafts that he originally made to store grain?

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The Step Pyramid was built on top of a Shaft in which the Pharaoh was buried. Was this shaft originally used to store grain or was it made for this purpose?

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The shaft was cased with large limestone blocks and the top was sealed.  A limestone mastaba was constructed over it.  Successive layers were then added to the mastaba to bury the rest of Djoser’s family.  The final result was the Step pyramid.

In about 500BC the limestone casing in the shaft collapsed, crushing Djoser’s sarcophagus.   It was only in recent times that the rubble in the tomb has been cleared and the tomb inspected.

The shaft would have had to have been constructed before the pyramid was constructed.  

This means that Djoser must have died and been placed in the shaft before the construction of the Step Pyramid.   The famine occurred during Djoser’s life time as did the seven years of plenty.  Maybe the shaft was originally used to store grain and later was lined with limestone and used as a burial chamber.  A limestone mastaba was contructed on top of the burial chamber and then successive mustabas were added to bury Djoser’s 11 daughters and three wives.  The original mastaba was extended horizontally and then vertically (stacking one upon another) resulting in a Step Pyramid which was then faced with nicely cut limestone (which has fallen down over the centuries).

 

 

The Bible is silent about what Joseph did for the last 66yrs of his life although the Bible does say that he was able to not only ensure the survival of his family, he was able to protect them as they grew into a great nation numbering over 2 million at the time of the Exodus

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Joseph (son of Jacob) is a key figure in the Old Testament of the Bible , who became a vizier (sage / viceroy) for an Egyptian pharaoh and during this time was responsible for saving ancient Egypt from a seven year famine. Joseph was able to acquire all the land of Egypt (except that of the priests) by selling grain during the famine. In this way, Joseph made the Pharaohs very rich. Joseph was only 30yrs old when he became vizier and 44yrs old when he had saved Egypt and bought up all the land. He lived to the age of 110yrs and was given a royal Egyptian burial. The Bible is silent about what Joseph did for the last 66yrs of his life although the Bible does say that he was able to not only ensure the survival of his family, he was able to protect them as they grew into a great nation numbering over 2 million at the time of the Exodus (which occurred 430 years after Joseph’s family entered Egypt).

The identity Joseph in Egyptian history is debated, but some scholars identify him with Imhotep, who was the vizier during the Third Dynasty under Pharaoh Djoser ( also called Netjerikhet / Zoser).

Given Joseph’s position and achievements, one would expect to find some evidence for his existence in Non-Biblical Egyptian records and archaeological discoveries.

Joseph built silos to store grain in key Egyptian cities. Massive underground silos can be found in many cities of Egypt dating back to the third dynasty. [1] [2] [3] It is not unreasonable to suggest that these may have been built by Joseph. In particular, Joseph may have built the silos associated with the first pyramid built in Egypt (The Step Pyramid which is part of the Djoser Pyramid complex at Saqqara, designed by Imhotep). [4] [5] [6] [7]

The Djoser Pyramid at Saqqara, Egypt. (otherwise known as the ‘Step Pyramid’ or The ‘First Pyramid’ )

Large pits can be found within the Step Pyramid complex at Saqqara. The bottom of the pit can be accessed from an adjacent pit that has stairs. It would have been ideal for storing grain and, most likely, it was used for this purpose. It could have been made by the Hebrew vizier Joseph who had many similarities to the vizier Imhotep who designed the Step Pyramid complex. This has caused many historians to propose that Joseph and Imhotep were the same person.

One of three statues of Imhotep in the Louvre. Imhotep and Joseph may be the same person.

There are many similarities between the profile of Joseph and Imhotep. [8] [9] [10] [5] Imhotep is also credited with saving Egypt from a seven year famine after hearing of the Pharaoh’s dream. Imhotep, like Joseph, was a commoner with some divine connection and was placed second in charge of Egypt by the King (Netjerikhet). [8] Joseph bought up all the land for Pharaoh by selling the grain he stored during the seven years that preceded the famine [11]; a feat that could only have been performed once, early in Egypt’s history, and explains how the Pharaohs became so powerful and able to build the pyramids. Given that Joseph was one of the Patriarchs of Israel, and figures very early in the Biblical record, less than 1000 years after the flood of Noah, it is quite possible that he may have figured in the early parts of Egyptian history, namely the Third Dynasty as the vizier for Pharaoh Djoser. [9][12][13]

Until recently, the most compelling argument against Joseph and Imhotep being the same person, has been the discrepancy between the estimated times during which they lived. [4][14]

Egypt was not always united and sometimes there were different rulers in upper and lower Egypt. Sometimes, a conquering Pharaoh would let regional rulers (Nomarchs) stay on as governors when a new dynasty began (eg 12th dynasty). The division of the kingdom into up to 42 ‘nomes’ (regions or provinces) can be dated back to the Old Kingdom and it continued until the Roman period.

Clearly, there are many problems with the “traditional Egyptian chonology” that assumed the Egyptian dynasties were sequential and did not allow for co-regency and dynasties running in parallel. Evidence is now accumulating to suggest that Egyptian dynasties may overlap and may not date back as far as was once thought. [15][16][17][18]

Egyptian records are not chronological and dates have been calculated from very sketchy notes of third parties who saw the original documents (eg Manetho‘s records in the Alexandrian Library before they were destroyed in a fire). [12] Other documents such as the Turin King list are very fragmented and incomplete. In many cases, all that is known about some pharaohs are their names and how long they reigned. The pharaohs of dynasties 7-11 (the first intermediate period) were not buried in pyramids as were the pharaohs of the Old Kingdom (dynasty’s 3-6) and the Middle Kingdom (dynasty 12). Some pharaohs in this first intermediate period may turn out to be ‘Nomarchs‘ or ‘other high ranking officials’ and not ‘pharaohs’ at all! The result of this is that Egyptian history is probably a lot shorter than previously thought and the pyramids were probably constructed much later than many historians have previously estimated. [19]

If David Down is on the right track with his “modern alignment” of the Egyptian dynasties and allowing for a long sojourn of the Israelites in Egypt of 430 years (Exodus 12:40), it is quite likely that Joseph and Imhotep were the same person, particularly if some pharaohs in dynasties 7-11 (the first intermediate period) turn out to be ‘high ranking officials’ or ‘Nomarchs‘. [20][21][22][23][18]