Monday, March 16, 2015

Bible Bending Pharaonic Egypt. Part Three A: Jehu to Zechariah








by


Damien F. Mackey




 


A most pressing challenge for historical revisionists has been where to place, in their chronologically shortened models, the long-reigning pharaoh, Ramses II ‘the Great’. Conventionally dated to c. 1280- BC, his reign of 66-67 years is thought to have occurred during the time of the Oppression (and/or Exodus) of the Israelites in Egypt. This conclusion is partly based upon the fact that Exodus 1:11 records that: “… [the Egyptians] set taskmasters over [the Hebrews] to afflict them with heavy burdens. They built for Pharaoh store cities, Pithom and Raamses”.


Moreover, the clear reference to “Israel” in the famous Stele of Ramses II’s son, Merenptah, is thought to coincide with the arrival of the Israelites in the Promised Land. 


 


But, according to my present “Bible Bending” series, all of this is utterly impossible.


Wrong era, wrong dates, wrong events, wrong archaeology, and wrong Pharaoh!


For one, the biblical dates would place the Exodus at a period earlier than the C13th BC. And, as argued in PART ONE of this series: “Abraham to Exodus”, the Middle Bronze I nomadic people fit very well indeed the pattern of the Exodus Israelites.


Secondly, Ramses II and the Nineteenth Egyptian Dynasty to which he belonged (estimated at Late Bronze IIB) actually came into being about half a millennium after the C13th BC.


Thirdly, there was no massive exodus of foreign slaves from Egypt during the Ramesside era.


And, finally, Merenptah’s ‘Israel Stele’ could not be referring to a newly-arrived people.   


 
 


(All dates are BC and approximate only. Conventional dates are now totally irrelevant).


 


Legend:          Blue indicates that about which I am extremely confident.


                        Orange is for possible to likely.


                        Green is for still highly tentative.


  


 


Introduction
 


Any revision worth its salt must be able to find a suitable place for a pharaoh as significant as Ramses II ‘the Great, whose reign over Egypt encompassed the best part of seven decades. So mighty a monarch as he, who had approximately 100 sons and 60 daughters, cannot easily be overlooked. But he has turned out to be something of a stumbling-block for revisionists, who just cannot agree upon when, in their new schemes of things, to place him.


When Dr. Immanuel Velikovsky - who had set the whole revisionist thing in motion with his Ages in Chaos series - came to light in 1978 with his much-anticipated book, Ramses II and His Times, some of the best minds of the revision (e.g. the “Glasgow School”), who had until that time been seriously considering Velikovsky’s work, with some important modifications, now, one by one, began to abandon the entire Velikovskian project. Velikovsky’s complete separation of Egypt’s Eighteenth Dynasty from the Nineteenth Dynasty (that of Ramses II), thereby making the latter contemporaneous with (and identical to) the Twenty-Sixth Dynasty - whilst alleviating some of that crushing at the lower end of the time scale so feared by revisionists - was totally unacceptable archaeologically, they would argue.


And the judgment of the “Glasgow School” (to give them a title) on this seems to be justified. 


Dr. Donovan Courville (The Exodus Problem and its Ramifications), who had basically accepted Velikovsky’s Eighteenth Dynasty revision, had, in his own distinctive scheme, held firm to the conventional view that the Nineteenth Dynasty followed on directly from the Eighteenth. His idiosyncratic solution to the time crush was to identify the Twenty-Second Dynasty, generally considered to be a Libyan one, as an Assyrian dynasty ruling Egypt (e.g. ‘Osorkon’ was Sargon of Assyria). This, too, was rightly rejected by the “Glasgow” critics.


In Courville’s scheme, Ramses II now became the biblical “So king of Egypt” (2 Kings 17:4) of c. 725 BC; whilst Merenptah’s Stele (“Israel is laid waste, its seed is not”) dovetailed perfectly for him with the Fall of Samaria (c. 722 BC). That was a pretty good effort!


The “Glasgow” people soon began to forge their own schemes, with not much consensus anymore, David Rohl rejecting Velikovsky’s Thutmose III as “Shishak king of Egypt” to be replaced with Ramses II, who apparently did attack Jerusalem (The Lost Testament, 2007). That I fully support Velikovsky’s view in this case, however, is apparent from PART TWO A of this “Bible Bending” series: “Saul, David to ‘Shishak’.”


I, too, was confronted with the challenge of Ramses II when writing my post-graduate thesis:


 


A Revised History of the Era of King Hezekiah of Judah


and its Background


 




 


In seeking a resolution of this most difficult matter I had to avoid the temptation to ignore archaeological reality (as had Velikovsky); or to fuse incompatible dynasties (as had Velikovsky and Courville); or to discard what I considered that the revision had already set on firm ground (as had Rohl, when rejecting Velikovsky’s “Shishak” and “Sheba” theses).


My own placement of the Nineteenth Dynasty was an original one, and - whether right or wrong, or maybe a bit of each - was the best solution that I was then able to come up with. I am confident that, chronologically, and archaeologically, it will not be too far from the mark.


 


Textbook History Textbook History


 


Egypt’s Nineteenth Dynasty (c. 1295-1186 BC)


 


The Ramesside 19th dynasty is introduced, and tabulated, in conventional terms, as follows (http://discoveringegypt.com/ancient-egyptian-kings-queens/egyptian-dynasties-new-ki):


 


Nineteenth Dynasty 1295 – 1186 BC
Seti I’s reign looked for its model to the mid-18th dynasty and was a time of considerable prosperity. He restored countless monuments. His temple at Abydos exhibits some of the finest carved wall reliefs. His son Rameses II is the major figure of the dynasty. Around this time the Hittites had become a dominant Asiatic power. An uneasy balance of power developed between the two kingdoms, which was punctuated by wars and treaties.


By now Egypt was an ethnically pluralistic society and this is reflected in a diversity of artistic expression. Unfortunately the tide of history was turning and Rameses son, Merenptah had to struggle to maintain Egypt’s prestige.


 


  • Rameses I 1295-1294
  • Seti I 1294-1279
  • Rameses II 1279-1213
  • Merenptah 1213-1203
  • Amenmessu 1203-1200
  • Sety II 1200-1194
  • Saptah 1194-1188
  • Tausret 1188-1186
     
     
    My Revised History:
    Jehu and his Dynastic Sons
     
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    The indomitable partnership of Hazael and Jehu would succeed in wiping out the Jezebelian Baalism in Syro-Palestine, just as it would – {as Ay and Horemheb} - wipe out the Nefertitian Atonism, a Syro-Mitannian (hence its ‘Vedic affinities’) cult, in Egypt.
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
     
    Background to the Ramesside Pharaohs
     
    What I already underlined in PART TWO B: “Rehoboam to Jehoram” (but it cannot be stressed enough) was this:
     
    A real pillar of Velikovsky’s revision was his identification of the Syrian biblical set of Ben-Hadad I and Hazael with, respectively, EA’s Abdi-ashirta and Aziru.
     
    This would become a firm foundation for the early part of my post-graduate thesis.
    From there I proceeded to provide the powerful and long-reigning Syrian, Hazael, with an Egyptian identification as well, as the Machiavellian Ay (or Aye), who virtually ruled Egypt during the reign of Tutankhamun.
    In Velikovsky’s brilliant ‘Egyptianisation’ of the Greek Oedipus legend, this Ay is Creon (Oedipus and Ikhnaton, 1960).
    Now Hazael’s contemporary, and his most willing partner, in the dismantling of Baalism, Jehu (I Kings 19:15-16), I identified in an Egyptian context as Horemheb.
    This astute military commander, Jehu (= Horemheb), who oversaw the bloody death of the reviled Queen Jezebel (= Queen Nefertiti):
     
    The Shattering Fall of Queen Nefertiti
     
     
    became, with Hazael/Ay, a veritable lynch-pin of Volume One of my thesis, and for my revised history of the Ramesside pharaohs. For, although the conventional chronology tends to place Ay and Horemheb - though somewhat dubiously - at the end of the Eighteenth Dynasty, as follows (http://discoveringegypt.com/ancient-egyptian-kings-queens/egyptian-)
     


  • Amenhotep IV(Akhenaten) 1352-1336
  • Smenkhkare 1338-1336
  • Tutankhamun 1336-1327
  • Ay 1327-1323
  • Horemheb 1323-1295
     
    they were in my opinion, as Hazael and Jehu, quite independent rulers, Syro-Palestinians. Jehu, who went on to rule Israel for 28 years (2 Kings 10:36), turned out to be a perfect character fit for Horemheb who also reigned for 28 years: cruel, proud, generous, red-necked reformer, law-maker, religiously ambiguous.
    Just as Hazael Perfectly well fitted the Character of Ay.
     
    Horemheb (Jehu) as Founder of the 19th “Ramesside” Dynasty
     
    That Jehu was Horemheb is my firm chronological anchor for this period of ancient history! 
     
    This most interesting, but rather ambivalent character, Jehu (c. 841-814 BC), whose date of death I revised in my thesis (op. cit., Volume One, p. 255): “Now Horemheb’s year of death will need to be adjusted (based on Mauro’s inclusion of three interregna) from the usual c. 814 BC to 867 BC. {P. Mauro, The Wonders of Bible Chronology], was the founder of a dynasty in Israel enduring unto a fourth generation of descendants (2 Kings 10: 30-31):
     
    The Lord said to Jehu, ‘Because you have done well in accomplishing what is right in my eyes and have done to the house of Ahab all I had in mind to do, your descendants will sit on the throne of Israel to the fourth generation’. Yet Jehu was not careful to keep the law of the Lord, the God of Israel, with all his heart. He did not turn away from the sins of Jeroboam, which he had caused Israel to commit.
     
    The indomitable partnership of Hazael and Jehu would succeed in wiping out the Jezebelian Baalism in Syro-Palestine, just as it would – {as Ay and Horemheb} - wipe out the Nefertitian Atonism, a Syro-Mitannian (hence its ‘Vedic affinities’) cult, in Egypt. 
     
    Now,
    with Jehu firmly set as Horemheb,
    what I next ventured in my thesis was tentatively to identify the four descendants of Jehu:
     
    Jehoahaz;
    Jehoash;
    Jeroboam II;
    Zechariah;
     
    with, respectively, the four Ramesside successors of Horemheb:
     
    Ramses I;
    Seti I;
    Ramses II;
    Merenptah.
     
    This I managed to achieve with greater or lesser success – with some seemingly excellent fits coupled with some far less successful (or worse) ones. It is geographically cumbersome. Anyway, for those who might be interested to read about this, it is all set out in Volume One, Chapter 11 of my thesis, which chapter I introduced with (p. 254):
     
    A Preliminary Note
    My revised chronology here of the Ramesside era and TIP, to the dawn of Hezekiah, largely based on what I have so far determined, will be controlled by the following factors: (i) my broad acceptance (though with significant modifications) of Velikovsky’s 18th dynasty revision; (ii) acceptance of the standard view that the 19th dynasty followed on from the 18th (beginning on p. 274, I shall give solid reasons, mainly genealogical, for rejecting Velikovsky’s separation of the 18th from the 19th); (iii) my identification of Horemheb with the biblical Jehu (d. 814 BC, conventional date), and so the Jehu-ide succession with the Ramesside succession (to be developed); and (iv) the three interregna, combined, for Judah and Israel prior to the fall of Samaria (as referred to in Chapter 5, p. 129).
     
    A most satisfying aspect of this new arrangement turned out to be this fortuitous situation (ibid., p. 258):
     
    Now, most interestingly in regard to this, the biblical span for the Jehu-ides, 124 years [P. Mauro’s estimate, The Wonders of Bible Chronology, pp. 55-56] … is almost identical to Grimal’s estimate for (my equivalent era) Horemheb to Merenptah (1323-1202), 121 years [A History of Ancient Egypt, pp. 392-393] …. Given my foundational argument, that Horemheb was Jehu, then my chronology for the 19th dynasty Ramessides is going to be very accurate indeed even if these were not - as I think they may well be - the Jehu-ides.
     
    That means that the Jehu-ide dynasty must have terminated at very much the same time as Occurred the death of pharaoh Merenptah, son of Ramses II,
     
    which coincidence can also provide us, chronologically, with a very good focal point for:
     
    Interpreting Merenptah’s Victory Stele
     
    See pp. 300ff. of my thesis for a comprehensive discussion of this challenging task.
     
    So, whether or not the Jehu-ides were also the major Ramesside Pharaohs - or close relatives of these (an Offshoot?) – I am confident that these dynasties were very much contemporaneous.
     
    It needs to be noted here that I, in my thesis, identified the conventionally post-Merenptah rulers:
     


  • Amenmessu 1203-1200
  • Sety II 1200-1194
  • Saptah 1194-1188
  • Tausret 1188-1186
     
    as characters actually belonging to the end of the El-Amarna period, and not to the end of the Nineteenth Dynasty (see Table 1 below). For my thesis re-location of these rulers, see my:
     
    The Time of Amenmesse
     
    this discussion beginning on p. 306.
     
    I am Entirely Confident that Ramses II ‘the Great’ Must Now be re-dated from c. 1280 BC to c. 800 BC.
     
    Consequently, Ramses II can be neither (i) a Pharaoh of the Book of Exodus, or (ii) the biblical “Shishak king of Egypt” of c. 925 BC. And he falls a little too short, chronologically, to be (iii) Courville’s biblical “So king of Egypt” (2 Kings 17:4) at c. 725 BC.
     
    My most tentative identification of Ramses II (66-67 years) with Jeroboam II (41 years) can be possible only if P. Mauro’s interregnum of 22 years for Israel can be considered an additional factor – thereby possibly finding another two decades for Jeroboam II.
     
    Jeroboam II’s building work at Samaria, P. James has estimated as follows (as quoted in my thesis, Volume One, p. 62): “This would make Samaria III the final Israelite level, possibly built under Hoshea, last King of Israel (732-722 BC). The extensive work undertaken during Building Period II would then belong to a powerful king such as Jeroboam II (793-753 BC)”.
     
    Both Jehu and Horemheb constitute a new start, after a thoroughgoing purge.
    But, whether Horemheb was really, as Jehu certainly was, a dynastic founder, is very much open to question.
     
    Concluding Remark
     
    According to my re-calibrated scheme as set out above the Egyptian Nineteenth Dynasty, chronologically, fits snugly alongside the dynasty of Jehu straddling the C9th-C8th’s BC. However, this is not the simple end of it.
    Even more murky for the revision than is the problem of Ramses II, is the period that soon follows, known as the Third Intermediate Period (TIP), dynasties 21-25.
    And what of the fairly significant Twentieth Dynasty? Where does that fit in?
    Considerations such as these will necessitate my concluding this series with PART THREE B.
     
     
    Table 1:
     
    Egypt’s 19th Dynasty from Ramses I to Queen Tausert (c. 1295-1186 BC)
     
    19th Dynasty Egypt (Conventional)                                     19th Dynasty Egypt (Revised)
     
    Ramses I - Queen Tausert                            =                      Horemheb - Merenptah
    (c. 1295-1186 BC)                                                                  (c. 895-775 BC)
     
    (Iron Age IIB for Jehu-Zechariah)       
    Late Bronze Age IIB                                                                                        Late Bronze Age IIB – Iron I
     
    Amenmesse
    Seti II
    Siptah
    Queen Tausert
     
    Horemheb (c. 1323-1295 BC)                                    =                      Jehu (c. 895 BC)
    Ramses I (c. 1295-1294 BC)              =/or contemporary       Jehoahaz (c. 860 BC)/{Joash}
    Seti I (c. 1294-1279 BC)                    =/or contemporary       Jehoash (c. 840 BC)/{Amaziah}
    Ramses II (c. 1279-1213 BC)             =/or contemporary       Jeroboam II (830 BC)/{Uzziah}
    Merenptah (c. 1213-1203 BC)            =/or contemporary       Zechariah (c. 775 BC)
                                                               
    Jehu of Israel and His Dynasty

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