In Support Of A Biblical Exodus: Ancient Egyptian Kings and the Early Semitic Peoples
Matthew Allen Butler
Biblical Egyptology Dissertation
Instructor: Reverend Nick Federspeil
June 11, 2015
Ancient Egypt has influenced our world in ways we have yet to discover. Religions and belief systems have always had their place in a given society. In this dissertation, I will explain some of the ways an ancient society such as Egypt has influenced the world and a people who made an already powerful nation more well-known in a way it never intended through one of the most fabled stories where there is evidence enough through literature, surviving ancient documents and even hieroglyphic study that may be able to support claims such an event as, the Biblical exodus may have actually happened and, possibly, who may have been the reigning king(s) at that time. A king’s list analysis, a knowledge of the different peoples who lived in ancient Egypt and circumstances supporting the opportunity for an exodus will also aid in painting a picture of a time where kings ruled and there was a people with a destiny not yet realized.
Part I - Regarding an Exodus Event
Was there a Biblical exodus? If so, can we find evidence to support it? If such an event really happened who was involved and, most importantly, which king(s) fell victim to such a famed defeat? Such questions have been the subject of much debate as to whether or not there could have been evidence enough for an event of mythical size. In the fields of Biblical archeology and Egyptology, there is speculation as to whether “the exodus” is the same one stated in the Bible as there is the possibility of more than one exodus event involving Semitic peoples. Ahmose, a king usually placed as ruling in the 18th dynasty, is credited with once again unifying ancient Egypt with the expulsion of the Hyksos as per Manetho’s written account, Aegyptiaca, as well as stating an allowance to for 80,000 to go and possess the former Hyksos capital of Avaris as their city where they were “exiled” leaving another group still residing in Egypt which are believed to be the Chosen Ones of Biblical exodus. Aside from the Manetho account, it is mostly speculation with some historical fact to back up the people, time and place of this particular event.
Part II - Regarding the Hyksos/Semitic Peoples
Why was the expulsion of the Hyksos so important and who were they in regards to Egypt and the Chosen Ones of the famed Biblical exodus? The Hyksos were the non-indigenous ruling class who settled in Egypt around the 12th dynasty and lasted until their expulsion around the 17th – 18th dynasties. They were not Egyptian by heritage yet they ruled as kings although Manetho’s kings list includes no one ruling from those dynasties and is either by Ptolemaic decree or by personal expression of not recognizing them as legitimate kings. The best explanation is that Manetho did not consider them true kings as they were not from Egypt and, thus, was not part of his specific king’s list. There is even speculation that there may have been other Semitic peoples who were accounted for due to the fact that they came from elsewhere and were not necessarily Hebrew. These findings would certainly support the theory of more than one exodus event: the Hyksos expulsion counting as one and the Biblical exodus of the Chosen Ones as the more well-known. Analysis of the kings lists per Manetho, the list in the temple Karnack in Egypt and the Royal Turin Kings List are the best and most studied by archeologists and Egyptologists yet there are still many gaps left even when you combine these all together.
Part III - Regarding the Existence of Moses
Through many dynasties (like any made up of families and people vying for their place on the throne) there were those who did not want the exploits of previous kings to be known as they may overshadow that of the current king and that history was erased sans defacing of statues, hieroglyphic carvings and destruction of documents. In this way humanity has yet to change and such is how much information of ancient Egypt has been lost and this is not counting the numerous warring factions of Hyksos within the land that would lay waste to many recordings of previous dynasties as well as that of much later Roman expulsion of such histories under Constantine deeming anything not Christian to be sacrificed to flame and lost forever in trying to piece together any complete Egyptian history.
What evidence exists of the biblical exodus and the existence of the Biblical Moses? There is much speculation apart from the Holy Bible as to Which Moses one would be referring to as there was at least one other that may have held the same name that also was known for exploits that could have easily been attributed to either as there is the possibility of them being contemporaries in the land. The debate will not soon find a sure resolution apart from faith, though the Moses of the Bible has been in some ways connected to Hatshepsut and the possible tutoring of her daughter, Neferure. She was tutored by a famed man, named Semnut or Semenut, who was possibly vizier to her mother and who was regarded with respect in the government during Hatshepsut’s 22 year reign and even rumored to be a love interest per his close ties to the royal family. If this is true and before Biblical Moses’s leaving, it would place Semnut at a time and place comparable in history to Biblical Moses and, thus, present a possibility of his Egyptian identity before discovering his Hebrew heritage and returning years later as a vessel of deliverance to the Chosen Ones of the Biblical exodus. Still, due to much recorded history destroyed of Hatshepsut’s rule, most of which being destroyed by her nephew and stepson, Thutmosis III, the son of her brother Thutmosis II from an unknown mother, after his ascent to the throne, we may never know any positive connection between Semnut and Moses though the lack of evidence does not entirely rule it out.
Part IV - Regarding a King During the Biblical Exodus
Who then could have been the King during the famed Biblical exodus? This doctoral program, as well as countless research by many a Biblical archeologist and Egyptologist, has considered several up to too many to seriously be considered yet as there is no blatant written or hieroglyphed account complete and extensive enough to suffice an entire field of study to satisfy all involved. Many of Manetho’s writings as well as the writings of Josephus support that of it possibly being Amenhotep I, the son of Ahmose unifier of Egypt from the Hyksos. The dates of reigns as well as place times of Egyptian historical events give credence to such an assumption. I, as a doctoral student to this course, am expected to come to my own conclusions and through my studies contribute to past research help by coming to my own conclusions bringing us all closer to an answer. My opinion for the identity of the Pharaoh of the Biblical exodus is that it is possibly Amenhotep II who was the son of Tuthmosis III as the time recorded between Hatshepsut’s reign and Tuthmosis III coming into power was about the time Moses would have been close to the age the Biblical account states he returned to Egypt to convince Pharaoh to release those still in bondage under a king who knew of the trouble of people not native to Egypt as learned by the expulsion from a previous exodus. Given the evidence I was able to comprise in my research during this course: the reigning king, the history of the land at the time in response to past events, a dislike of non-indigenous peoples as well as a people recorded as being enslaved at that time along with the social upheavals of that society would place Amenhotep II as a possible candidate as the contender against Moses.
Though this dissertation and doctoral program did not go into depth as to the 10 plagues in the Biblical account but from a scientific historical research account of the place, the peoples and possible scenarios, its purpose is to form a hypothesis to be congruent with modern Egyptology and archeology to validate in the natural possible evidence as to the possibility of the occurrence of the Biblical exodus of the Hebrew Chose Ones. Aside from the statistical research, as one being of the faith of the Holy Bible and a believer in the Biblical account of the exodus, I see no reason how historical documentation of several authors not contemporaries of one another could be so wrong in describing an event to relative detail on all accounts as to say that it could never have happened. On the contrary, These same records, some pagan in nature, do more justice and credit to show a probability more than only a possibility of such an event and I will leave the reader and researcher to their own conclusions regarding the 10 Plagues, though Manetho states a specific unnatural otherworldly occurrence that apparently was addressed from a religious view, as it gives wonder that there must be a serious consideration as these were all learned scholars, especially Manetho for his time and position, and to discount their validity regarding unexplained matters is to also question their writings as a whole.
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