Pharaoh of the Exodus
Damien F. Mackey
Now as Jannes and Mambres resisted Moses, so these also resist the truth,
men corrupted in mind, reprobate concerning the faith.
2 Timothy 3:8
A dynastic foundation for a revision of Egyptian history was laid in my:
according to which the biblical Joseph of the Book of Genesis belonged to the Old Kingdom’s 3rd (as Imhotep) and 5th (as Ptahhotep) dynasties, and the so-called Middle Kingdom’s 11th (as Khety?) dynasty.
Now, further, I would basically agree with Dr. D. Courville that: “The origin of Dynasty XIII belonged to the late phase of Dynasty XI” (“On the Survival of Velikovsky’s Thesis in Ages in Chaos”, Proc. 3rd Seminar of C and AH, 1986, p. 67).
The revised era of Joseph may therefore be charted basically as follows:
3rd 5th 11th 13th
With only a little over 60 years separating the death of Joseph from the birth of Moses - though with Moses obviously born into an environment entirely different from that known to Joseph (Exodus 1:8) - Moses would have belonged to the next major era of Egyptian history, which included the Giza Pyramid phase.
The revised era of Moses may therefore be charted basically as follows:
4th 6th 12th 13th
the 13th dynasty having continued even beyond the 12th dynasty and on into the Hyksos period.
My multi-dynastic correlations for biblical Joseph have enabled me in each case to link a powerful and long-reigning monarch (Zoser/3rd; Isesi/5th; Mentuhotep II/11th), who celebrated his sed-festival, with an imposing vizier or chancellor (see above) – generally with evidence for severe famine.
And I could add another possible link in support of this arrangement. It is this.
Mentuhotep II, identified as Joseph’s pharaoh for the 11th dynasty, had a vizier named Bebi. “Three of the viziers who held office during [Mentuhotep II’s] reign are known: Dagi, Bebi and Ipy”. (N. Grimal, A History of Ancient Egypt, Blackwell, 1994, p. 155). W. Shea (“Famines in the early History of Egypt and Syro-Palestine”, Uni. of Michigan, 1976) claims to have found evidence for a famine that occurred during the time of a Bebi. Thus G. Gammon writes (C and C Workshop, 1986, No. 1, p. 33): “[Shea] refers to three Egyptian texts of this [13th dynasty] period – those of Horherkhoutef of Edfu, Sobeknakht of el Kab, and Bebi of El Kab, all of which are dated by Vandier to this dynasty”.
As for biblical Moses, I have indeed, in my previous reconstructions of him, located his era to the 4th, 6th and 12th dynasties – and necessarily also, chronologically, to the 13th. Dr. Courville has provided these very useful correlations between the 12th and 13th dynasties, when writing of the Turin list which gives the names of the 13th dynasty officials (op. cit.):
P. 67: “The thirteenth name [Turin list] (Ran-sen-eb) was a known courtier in the time of Sesostris III …”.
“The fourteenth name (Autuabra) was found inside a jar sealed with the seal of Amenemhat III …. How could this be, except with this Autuabra … becoming a contemporary of Amenemhat III? The explanations employed to evade such contemporaneity are pitiful compared with the obvious acceptance of the matter”.
Pp. 67-68: “The sixteenth name (RaSo-khemkhutaui) leaves a long list of named slaves, some Semitic-male, some Semitic-female. One of these has the name Shiphra, the same name as the mid-wife who served at the time of Moses’ birth …. [Exodus 1:15]. RaSo-khemkhutaui … lived at the time of Amenemhat III”.
[End of quote]
Moses, as a high Egyptian official, was all at once, I have argued in:
the Chief Judge and Vizier and judge, Weni (6th dynasty); Chief Judge and Vizier, Mentuhotep; and the semi-legendary Sinuhe (12th dynasty).
Tightening the Dynasties
Relevant to Moses
The afore-mentioned Weni is undoubtedly a Moses type in the latter’s early career as one educated in all the ways of Egypt (Acts 7:22).
I compared them, for example, in my
Bible Bending Pharaonic Egypt. Part One: Abraham to Exodus.
The highly detailed Autobiography of Weni, conventionally (though wrongly) dated to the late C3rd millennium BC, is classic proof that sophisticated writing well pre-dated C. 1000 BC (when JEDP theorists imagined that writing developed and that oral tradition had prevailed prior to that date). According to my revision, the Autobiography of Weni would date to approximately half a millennium before c. 1000 BC. And Weni would have been at least contemporaneous with Moses. Consequently, I have written on this ….:
Moses was, according to my reconstruction of ancient history, a contemporary of both the so-called Old and Middle kingdoms of Egypt. He would have been a contemporary for instance of the 6th dynasty character, Weni, whose famous autobiography has been, according to N. Grimal, “expressed in a perfect literary form”. Here is a sample of Weni's autobiography ….:
His majesty sent me to Hatnub to bring a great altar of alabaster of Hatnub. I brought this altar down for him in seventeen days. After it was quarried at Hatnub, I had it go downstream in this barge I had built for it, a barge of acacia wood of sixty cubits in length and thirty cubits of width. Assembled in seventeen days, in the third month of summer, when there was no water on the sandbanks, it landed at the pyramid 'Merenre appears in splendour' in safety ….
Compare this description with Pentateuchal writings attributed to Moses himself:
"And Moses built an altar and called it, 'The Lord is my banner'." (Exodus 17:15).
"They shall make an ark of acacia wood; it shall be two and a half cubits long, a cubit and a half wide, and a cubit and a half high" (Exodus 25:10).
"In the third month … the Israelites … came into the wilderness of Sin" (Ex. 19:1).
Yes, narrative writing was sophisticated enough in those days for Moses to have used it.
[End of quotes]
Conveniently, Weni records that he had served pharaohs Teti, Pepi and Merenre, which information provides us, in my context, with a good idea of the pharaonic succession prior to the flight of Moses to Midian.
Apparently one must also consider here the obscure ruler, Userkare https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Userkare
Userkare (also Woserkare, meaning "Powerful is the soul of Ra") was the second pharaoh of the Sixth Dynasty, reigning briefly, 1 to 5 years …. Userkare's relation to his predecessor Teti and successor Pepi I is unknown and his reign remains enigmatic. Although he is attested in historical sources, Userkare is completely absent from the tomb of the Egyptian officials who lived during his reign.
[End of quote]
Presumably, Moses would have had dealings with all of these:
Founder King Teti
Starting at the beginning of the 6th dynasty, with pharaoh Teti, we have found that he has such striking likenesses to the founder of the 12th dynasty, Amenemhet (Amenemes) I, that I have had no hesitation in identifying ‘them’ as one. Thus I wrote in my “Bible Bending” article:
Pharaoh Teti Reflects Amenemes I
…. These characters may have, it seems, been dupli/triplicated due to the messy arrangement of conventional Egyptian history.
Further most likely links with the 6th dynasty are the likenesses between the latter’s founder, Teti, and Amenemes I, as pointed out by historians. Despite the little that these admit to knowing of pharaoh Teti - and the fact that they would have him (c. 2300 BC) pre-dating the early 12th dynasty (c. 1990 BC) by about half a millennium - historians have noted that pharaoh Teti shared some common features with Amenemes I, including the same throne name, Sehetibre, the same Horus name, Sehetep-tawy (“He who pacifies the Two Lands”), and the likelihood that death came in similarly through assassination.
This triplicity appears to me to be another link between the ‘Old’ and ‘Middle’ kingdoms!
[End of quote]
But Amenemhet I also shapes us remarkably well as the “new king” of Exodus 1:8, as I further wrote here (including 4th dynasty Khufu in the mix as well):
Filling Out the Founder-King
Once again we have a strong founder-king, pharaoh Amenemes [Amenemhat] I, who will enable us to fill out the virtually unknown Khufu as the “new king” of Exodus 1:8. This new ruler “knew not Joseph”, not in the sense of never having heard of him: the great Imhotep, see my:
still ‘known’ about a millennium and a half later in Ptolemaïc times, but in the Hebrew sense of ‘not knowing’, presumably, that is, ‘not recognising’ what Joseph had done for Egypt. (Or perhaps, more simply, meaning he had not been born while Joseph was still alive). The reign of Amenemes I was, deliberately, an abrupt break with the past. The beginning of the 12th dynasty marks not only a new dynasty, but an entirely new order. Amenemes I celebrated his accession by adopting the Horus name: Wehem-Meswt (“He who repeats births”), thought to indicate that he was the first of a new line, that he was “thereby consciously identifying himself as the inaugurator of a renaissance, or new era in his country’s history”
Amenemes I is thought actually to have been a commoner, originally from southern Egypt. Further on, I shall attempt to track down his beginnings via the 6th dynasty, which too will be found to be contemporaneous with the 4th and 12th.
The ancient Egyptian discourse “The Prophecy of Neferti”, relating to the time of this particular Amenemes, exhibits the same concern in Egypt for the growing presence of Asiatics in the eastern Delta as was said to occupy the mind of the new pharaoh of Exodus, seeing the Israelites as a political threat (1:9). That Asiatics were particularly abundant in Egypt at the time is apparent from Encyclopaedia Britannica (1964, volume 8, page 35): “The Asiatic inhabitants of the country at this period [of the Twelfth Dynasty] must have been many times more numerous than has been generally supposed ...”.
Sir Flinders Petrie, working in the Fayyûm in 1899, made the important discovery of the town of Illahûn [Kahun], which Petrie described as “an unaltered town of the twelfth dynasty” [Ten Years’ Digging in Egypt, 1881-1891, rev. 2013, p. 112, 2013]. Of the ‘Asiatic’ presence in this pyramid builders’ town, Rosalie David (who is in charge of the Egyptian branch of the Manchester Museum) has written (The Pyramid Builders of Ancient Egypt: A Modern Investigation of Pharaoh’s Workforce, Guild Publishing, London, p. 191, 1996):
It is apparent that the Asiatics were present in the town in some numbers, and this may have reflected the situation elsewhere in Egypt. It can be stated that these people were loosely classed by Egyptians as 'Asiatics', although their exact home-land in Syria or Palestine cannot be determined ... The reason for their presence in Egypt remains unclear.
Undoubtedly, these ‘Asiatics’ were dwelling in Illahûn largely to raise pyramids for the glory of the pharaohs. Is there any documentary evidence that ‘Asiatics’ in Egypt acted as slaves or servants to the Egyptians? “Evidence is not lacking to indicate that these Asiatics became slaves”, Dr. D. Down has written with reference to the Brooklyn Papyrus (Digging Up the Past, October, 1986), p. 5). Egyptian households at this time were filled with Asiatic slaves, some of whom bore biblical names. Of the seventy-seven legible names of the servants of an Egyptian woman called Senebtisi recorded on the verso of this document, forty-eight are (like the Hebrews) NW Semitic. In fact, the name “Shiphrah” is identical to that borne by one of the Hebrew midwives whom Pharaoh had commanded to kill the male babies (Exodus 1:15). “Asian slaves, whether merchandise or prisoners of war, became plentiful in wealthy Egyptian households [prior to the New Kingdom]”, we read in the Encyclopaedia Britannica (1964), vol. 8, p. 35).
Amenemes I was represented in the ‘prophecy’ - as with the “new king” of Exodus 1:8 - as one who would set about rectifying the problem. To this end he completely reorganised the administration of Egypt, transferring the capital from Thebes in the south to Ithtowe in the north, just below the Nile Delta. He allowed those nomarchs who supported his cause to retain their power. He built on a grand scale. Egypt was employing massive slave labour, not only in the Giza area, but also in the eastern Delta region where the Israelites were said to have settled at the time of Joseph. Professor J. H. Breasted provided ample evidence to show that the powerful 12th dynasty pharaohs carried out an enormous building program whose centre was in the Delta region. More specifically, this building occurred in the eastern Delta region which included the very area that comprised the land of Goshen where the Israelites first settled (A History of Egypt, pp. 189-200). “... in the eastern part [of the Delta], especially at Tanis and Bubastis, ... massive remains still show the interest which the Twelfth Dynasty manifested in the Delta cities”. Today, archaeologists recognise the extant remains of the construction under these kings as representing a mere fraction of the original; the major part having been destroyed by the vandalism of the New Kingdom pharaohs (such as Ramses II). The Biblical account states that: “... they made their lives bitter with hard bondage, in mortar and in brick” (Exodus 1:14).
[End of quotes]
More recently, Creationist Anne Habermehl has considered the possible appropriateness of Amenemhet I for the “new king” of Exodus 1:8:
REVISING THE EGYPTIAN CHRONOLOGY:
JOSEPH AS IMHOTEP, AND AMENEMHAT IV AS PHARAOH OF THE EXODUS
The start of a new dynasty usually indicated a break of some kind, and we could even wonder whether the pharaoh “who knew not Joseph” (Ex. 1:8) was the first of the 12th Dynasty, Amenemhat I. Historians believe that this pharaoh overthrew the one that preceded him, and had no royal blood (Gardiner, 1964, pp. 125 –26). He would indeed have qualified as a pharaoh who did not continue the previous customs with respect to Joseph’s family, the Children of Israel.
The implications of this choice for the “new king”, though, would likely mean that the 12th dynasty needs to be shortened, as I have long realised. Thus Habermehl continues: “However, this would have ramifications for the length of the 12th Dynasty, which would have to be drastically telescoped; the secular chronology currently allots about 200 years from its beginning to the end of the reign of Amenemhat III (Shaw, 2003, p. 482)”.
The possibility of any such radical shortening of the 12th dynasty will be considered in this series.
Chariots in Egypt
There do not appear to have been any depictions of horse-drawn chariots in early Egypt (Old/Middle Kingdom). So in what sort of “chariot” was Joseph conveyed (Genesis 41:43)?
And what of the 600-plus war chariots of the Pharaoh of the Exodus? (Exodus 14:7)?
Chariots: Era of Jacob and Joseph
According to Genesis 41:43: “[Pharaoh] had [Joseph] ride in his second chariot; and they proclaimed before him, ‘Bow the knee!’ And he set him over all the land of Egypt”.
The Hebrew word interpreted here as “chariot” is
which can apparently also mean “riding seat”. The following excerpt may well explain the situation (“Could Joseph and Imhotep have been the same person?”):
The Bible records that Joseph was given a chariot to travel through Egypt.
If Joseph and Imhotep were the same person, this would mean that chariots existed in Egypt as early as the third dynasty.
In the third dynasty, only high officials like the pharaoh and his chancellor / sage / vizier were afforded a chariot to travel in.
Chariots in the 3rd dynasty were not horse drawn, they were carried by a procession of servants.
The Hebrew word ‘merkabah’ in the Bible can be translated as ‘chariot’ or ‘riding seat’. It does not distinguish between a vehicle that is horse drawn or a vehicle that is carried.
In Joseph’s time, this word is better translated as ‘Riding Seat’ as there were no horse drawn Chariots with wheels in the third dynasty. ….
[End of quote]
It is what we might call a palanquin.
King Solomon used one (Song of Solomon 3:9): “King Solomon made himself a palanquin [or sedan chair] of the wood of Lebanon”.
I presume that when, later, Genesis 50:9, referring to the funeral procession of Jacob, father of Joseph, tells that: “Chariots and horsemen also went up with him. It was a very large company”, we may need still to separate the “chariots” from the “horsemen”.
A. Habermehl has offered this comment on Genesis 50:9:
REVISING THE EGYPTIAN CHRONOLOGY:
JOSEPH AS IMHOTEP, AND AMENEMHAT IV AS PHARAOH OF THE EXODUS
Secular history books are unanimous in claiming that horses were introduced into Egypt only during the time of the Hyksos rule in the 15th Dynasty, after the Exodus (Bourriau, 2003, p. 202). However, the Bible says that the pharaoh gave Joseph his second-best chariot for travel throughout Egypt (Gen. 41:43), and we would expect that it was pulled by horses, although it does not say so. Certainly, 26 years later, when Joseph buried his father in Canaan, there were chariots and horsemen in the crowd that accompanied him (Gen. 50:9). This pushes horses in Egypt back to the 3rd Dynasty, a not impossible situation because there is evidence of horses in Nahal Tillah (northern Negev, not a great distance from Egypt) in predynastic times (Aardsma, 2007). In addition, the pharaoh of the Exodus had a large number of chariots at his command when he pursued the Children of Israel at the end of the 12th Dynasty (Ex. 14:7–9).
[End of quote]
Mesopotamia, by contrast, provides very early evidence of chariots - going back as far as 2500 BC (conventional dating). Thus https://traveltoeat.com/chariots-the-first-wheels-of-war/
Chariots, The First Wheels of War
March 1, 2014 by Kurt Buzard MD ….
War Panel of the Standard of Ur 2500 BC. British Museum, London
I saw the beautiful Standard of Ur, seen above, when we visited the British Museum last summer. It is about 4,500 years old and was probably constructed in the form of a hollow wooden box with scenes of war and peace represented on each side through elaborately inlaid mosaics of Lapis Lazuli and shell. The standard of Ur shows the first unambiguous depictions of chariots in war. There has been some debate on whether a Sumerian chariot was actually used in combat. Many scholars believe that it was merely a “battle taxi”, used to convey a commander to a strategic part of the battlefield where he could lead his troops, in the same way that a modern general uses a jeep or helicopter to reach the front lines. Some scholars also believe the chariots were used to carry noblemen to the battle, where they would dismount and then fight on foot. The Standard of Ur along with the Vulture stele are the first depictions of war in history. The Standard of Ur dispels any question that chariots were used directly in combat. They were likely heavy and slow to start but undoubtedly were truly intimidating in combat, with an ability to scatter the enemy lines.
[End of quote]
Chariots: Era of Moses and Exodus
The stiff-necked Exodus pharaoh certainly had horse-drawn chariots. Plenty of them! Exodus 14:6-7: “So he had his chariot made ready and took his army with him. He took six hundred of the best chariots, along with all the other chariots of Egypt, with officers over all of them”.
At least I think that it is highly unlikely that the Israelites would have been pursued into the wilderness by a host of man-drawn palanquins! Moses and Israel would later exalt (15:9): “When Pharaoh’s horses, chariots and horsemen went into the sea, the Lord brought the waters of the sea back over them, but the Israelites walked through the sea on dry ground”.
In the revised context that I am developing, a possible scenario to explain the difficulty would be that the Pharaoh of the Exodus, affected by the growing foreign influence throughout the region, had introduced the horse-drawn chariot for warfare purposes – 600 and more strong. But, before there had been sufficient time for artists to depict this new military development on any sort of wide scale throughout Egypt (perhaps there were some that have been lost), Egypt was brought right to its knees by the biblical Plagues, and every single chariot at the disposal of this obsessive Pharaoh (who would not have left a single chariot back home) had become stuck in the Sea of Reeds, and later washed up on to the sea shore (cf. Exodus 14:30).
No doubt the Israelites would have gathered these valuable bits and parts afterwards along with the other weapons of the Egyptians.
Moses and the Giza Pyramid Age
The era of Moses as a high Egyptian official, prior to his flight to the land of Midian, would most likely have spanned the major part of the construction of the Giza pyramids and Sphinx.
Exceptional biblico-historical circumstances, such as the Exodus and the Conquest, ought to be a strong aid to the revision of ancient history and a corresponding stratigraphy. Another helpful factor ought to be exceptional reign lengths, such as the 66-67 years for Ramses II’ the Great’, and - though this one is much queried - the 94 years of pharaoh Pepi II.
So far, however, revisionists are finding it most difficult to locate Ramses II. It appears that he even today, from the grave, exerts a certain power – namely, to make or break a revision.
The rule of women in Egypt, a rarity, presents another such exceptional circumstance that ought to be of great assistance for a revision.
A Female Pharaoh
Revisionists who have appreciated the necessity of paralleling some of the Old and Middle Kingdom dynasties have found themselves attracted to the unusual situation whereby both the 6th dynasty (Old) and the 12th dynasty (Middle) having terminated, apparently, with a female ruler. Surely, one had thought, Nitocris, at the end of the 6th dynasty, must equate with Sobk-neferu, at the end of the 12th dynasty.
Surely this must have been the same woman!
However, a recent re-reading of N. Grimal (A History of Ancient Egypt) on the subject of Nitocris has provided me with a clue, as I think, that may hint at quite a different scenario. Grimal, a conventional writer, and thus having no intention of considering Nitocris as having also any connection to the 4th dynasty - which is the way I, though, am currently thinking - has written (p. 89):
…. Queen Nitocris, who according to Manetho was the last Sixth Dynasty ruler. The Turin Canon lists Nitocris immediately after Merenre II, describing her as the ‘King of Upper and Lower Egypt’. The woman, whose fame grew in the Ptolemaic period in the guise of the legendary Rhodopis, courtesan and mythical builder of the third pyramid of Giza (LÄ: 513-14), was the first known queen to exercise political power over Egypt.
[End of quote]
The possibility now, as I see it, is that 6th dynasty Nitocris (Neithikret?), who became a pharaoh, may also have been the 4th dynasty’s Queen, Neith, associated with pharaoh Merenre II. Whether or not, she actually had any input into the construction of the Third Pyramid of Giza, she would have been at least contemporaneous with this building effort. Interestingly perhaps, in this regard, is the fact that Queen Neith’s tomb contained pyramid texts (Grimal, p. 126).
This unexpected new scenario may now enable for a better merging of the 4th and 6th dynasties. Thanks to information from Weni (i.e. Moses as an Egyptian official prior to his flight to Midian), we know that his career saw service to the 6th dynasty’s pharaohs Teti, Pepi and Merenre. Now, putting this against the 4th dynasty Giza Pyramid Age, we arrive at the following:
4th Dynasty 6th Dynasty
Khufu (Cheops) Teti
Khafra (Chephren) Pepi
Menkaure (Mycerinus) Merenre
I am not necessarily proposing that, in every case, the 4th dynasty pharaoh is identical to the 6th dynasty one listed opposite him. Though that may well be the case. There are other ephemeral 4th dynasty rulers, for instance, also to be taken into account.
The likely conclusions that I would draw from this new structure are that:
Thanks to the association of the last 6th dynasty ruler, Nitocris, with the Third Pyramid, the 6th dynasty needs to be curtailed, so that the second set of Pepi (II) and Merenre (II), being duplicates of the first, needs to go, along with the incredible 94 year reign of Pepi II.
That Nitocris was not the same female ruler as the 12th dynasty’s Sobk-neferu.
And that Moses was a witness of the Giza Pyramid Age.
‘Folding’ the Twelfth Dynasty
Some of the Old Kingdom pharaohs who are famous - often due to their magnificent building efforts - are, however, but poorly known. Investing them with a ‘Middle’ Kingdom alter ego may be just the kind of ‘royal service’ they need in order for flesh to be added to their bones.
Take pharaoh Khufu (“Cheops”) as a perfect case in point. Incredibly, as we read (http://www.guardians.net/egypt/khufu.htm): “Although the Great pyramid has such fame, little is actually known about its builder, Khufu. Ironically, only a very small statue of 9 cm has been found depicting this historic ruler. This statue … was not found in Giza near the pyramid, but was found to the south at the Temple of Osiris at Abydos, the ancient necropolis”.
Obviously there is something seriously missing here: namely a detailed historical record, and extensive monuments, concerning the reign of one of the mightiest pharaohs of Egypt!
I began to fill out pharaoh Khufu in Part One:
After having confidently connected (i) the 6th Dynasty founder, Teti, with (ii) the 12th Dynasty founder, Amenemhet I, as (iii) the “new king” of the babyhood of Moses, I hinted: “Once again we have a strong founder-king, pharaoh Amenemes [Amenemhat] I, who will enable us to fill out the virtually unknown Khufu as the “new king” of Exodus 1:8”.
Teti, who is found to have borne a most striking likeness to Khufu, is variously thought to have reigned for from 7 to 33 years.
Though N. Grimal, in A History of Ancient Egypt (Blackwell, 1994), thinks a figure such as the last is impossible, otherwise Teti would have celebrated a Heb-Sed Jubilee.
Amenemhet I, however, Teti’s proposed alter ego, did reign long enough apparently to celebrate the Jubilee festival.
Inscriptions on the foundation blocks of Amenemhat I's mortuary Temple at Lisht show that the king had already celebrated his royal jubilee, and that year 1 of an unnamed king thought to be his successor Senwosret I had already elapsed.
[End of quote]
First Twelfth Dynasty ‘Fold’
My suspicion is (and, yes, my revision does require a shortening of the 12th dynasty) that at least some of the 12th dynasty kings, Amenemhet (I-IV), and at least some of the kings Sesostris (I-III), must be duplicates.
The same would apply, I suggest, for the double 6th dynasty sequence of Pepi (I and II) and Merenre (I and II).
And it is right here and now that I want to suggest my first possible ‘folding’ for the 12th dynasty: Amenemhet I and II. The latter may also be in need of some enfleshing because, despite his reign of about 33 years (including co-regency) (Grimal) - very close to the figure for Amenemhet I - he has fairly little to show for it in terms of building works, according to Phouka (http://www.phouka.com/pharaoh/pharaoh/dynasties/dyn12/03amenemhet2.html):
There is a good chance that Amenemhet II was already middle aged when he took the throne, so the estimate that he ruled for ten or so years is more likely than that 38 attributed to him by Manetho. Ten years also jives better with his lack of building.
Amenemhet did very little building during his reign; not many temples bear his handiwork.
[End of quote]
Like Amenemhet I, Amenemhet II celebrated a Heb-Sed jubilee (see Dorman, Monuments of Senemut, Ch. 5, p. 133):
Though the titulary may vary, the mothers’ names at least were similar, Nofret (Nefret), for I, and Nefru for II.
And Amenemhet II looks just like his other proposed alter egos.
Twelfth Dynasty and Flight of Moses
Professor Emmanuel Anati, for one, had recognised that the famous Egyptian Tale of Sinuhe, shared “a common matrix” with the Exodus story of the flight of Moses to the land of Midian (Mountain of God, p. 158). And fortunately for us that much-copied story tells us during the reign of which 12th dynasty pharaoh Sinuhe’s flight had occurred.
12th Dynasty and The Story of Sinuhe (TSS)
Since some of this is a re-hash of old material, I shall not bother to include references.
Pharaoh Amenemhet I
From the 12th dynasty, we gain certain further elements that are relevant to the early career of Moses. Once again we have a strong founder-king, Amenemhet I, who will enable us to fill out the virtually unknown Cheops as “the new king” of Exodus 1:8. This new ruler “knew not Joseph” (probably because he was born after Joseph’s death) - the great Imhotep, still ‘known’ about a millennium and a half later in Ptolemaïc times. But also he did not “know” Joseph in the Hebrew sense of not having recognised his great contribution to archaïc Egypt. King Solomon, in the Book of Wisdom, is scathing about the Egyptian ingratitude (19:13-17):
On the sinners, however, punishments rained down not without violent thunder as early warning; and they suffered what their own crimes had justly deserved since they had shown such bitter hatred to foreigners.
Others, indeed, had failed to welcome strangers who came to them, but the Egyptians had enslaved their own guests and benefactors.
The sinners, moreover, will certainly be punished for it, since they gave the foreigners a hostile welcome;
but the latter, having given a festive reception to people who already shared the same rights as themselves, later overwhelmed them with terrible labours.
Hence they were struck with blindness, like the sinners at the gate of the upright, when, yawning darkness all around them, each had to grope his way through his own door.
Other versions have the Egyptians here as ‘worse than Sodom’.
The reign of Amenemhet I was, deliberately, an abrupt break with the past. The beginning of the 12th dynasty marks not only a new dynasty, but an entirely new order. Amenemhet I celebrated his accession by adopting the Horus name: Wehem-Meswt (“He who repeats births”), thought to indicate that he was “the first of a new line” … that he was “thereby consciously identifying himself as the inaugurator of a renaissance, or new era in his country's history”. Amenemhet I is thought actually to have been a commoner, originally from southern Egypt.
So far in this series, I have filled out this “new king” interdynastically as follows:
= Cheops (4th) = Teti (6th) = Amenemhet I and II (12th)
“The Prophecy of Neferti”, relating to the time of Amenemhet I, shows the same concern in Egypt for the growing presence of Asiatics in the eastern Delta as was said to occupy the mind of the new pharaoh of Exodus, seeing the Israelites as a political threat (1:9). That Asiatics were particularly abundant in Egypt at the time is apparent from the Cambridge Ancient History: “The Asiatic inhabitants of the country at this period [of the Twelfth Dynasty] must have been many times more numerous than has been generally supposed ...”. Dr D. Down gives the account of Sir Flinders Petrie who, working in the Fayyûm in 1899, made the important discovery of the town of Illahûn [Kahun], which Petrie described as “an unaltered town of the twelfth dynasty”. Of the ‘Asiatic’ presence in this pyramid builders’ town, Rosalie David (who is in charge of the Egyptian branch of the Manchester Museum) has written:
It is apparent that the Asiatics were present in the town in some numbers, and this may have reflected the situation elsewhere in Egypt. It can be stated that these people were loosely classed by Egyptians as ‘Asiatics’, although their exact home-land in Syria or Palestine cannot be determined ... The reason for their presence in Egypt remains unclear.
Undoubtedly, the ‘Asiatics’ were dwelling in Illahûn largely to raise pyramids for the glory of the pharaohs. Is there any documentary evidence that ‘Asiatics’ in Egypt acted as slaves or servants to the Egyptians? “Evidence is not lacking to indicate that these Asiatics became slaves”, Down has written with reference to the Brooklyn Papyrus. Egyptian households at this time were filled with Asiatic slaves, some of whom bore biblical names. Of the seventy-seven legible names of the servants of an Egyptian woman called Senebtisi recorded on the verso of this document, forty-eight are (like the Hebrews) NW Semitic. In fact, the name “Shiphrah” is identical to that borne by one of the Hebrew midwives whom Pharaoh had commanded to kill the male babies (Exodus 1:15). “Asian slaves, whether merchandise or prisoners of war, became plentiful in wealthy Egyptian households [prior to the New Kingdom]”, we read in the Encyclopaedia Britannica.
Amenhemet was represented in the ‘prophecy’ - as with the ‘new pharaoh’ of the Book of Exodus - as one who would set about rectifying the problem. To this end he completely reorganised the administration of Egypt, transferring the capital from Thebes in the south to Ithtowe in the north, just below the Nile Delta. He allowed those nomarchs who supported his cause to retain their power. He built on a grand scale. Egypt was employing massive slave labour, not only in the Giza area (this was also the era of the Giza Pyramids), but also in the eastern Delta region where the Israelites were said to have settled at the time of Joseph. Professor J. Breasted provided ample evidence to show that the powerful 12th dynasty pharaohs carried out an enormous building program whose centre was in the Delta region. More specifically, this building occurred in the eastern Delta region which included the very area that comprised the land of Goshen where the Israelites first settled. “... in the eastern part [of the Delta], especially at Tanis and Bubastis, ... massive remains still show the interest which the Twelfth Dynasty manifested in the Delta cities”. Today, archaeologists recognise the extant remains of the construction under these kings as representing a mere fraction of the original; the major part having been destroyed by the vandalism of the New Kingdom pharaohs (such as Ramses II).
The Biblical account states that: “... they made their lives bitter with hard bondage, in mortar and in brick”. (Exodus 1:14).
According to the Book of Exodus, not only did the Egyptians enslave the Israelites, to keep them in check, but Pharaoh even gave orders for all their male babies to be slain at birth, to stem the numbers (1:15-16). In the light of this grim episode, an intriguing aspect of Sir Flinders Petrie’s discoveries was the unusual number of infant burials beneath the floors of the houses of Illahûn. Rosalie David thus describes Petrie’s find:
Larger wooden boxes, probably used to store clothing and other possessions, were discovered underneath the floors of many houses at Kahun. They contained babies, sometimes buried two to three to a box, and aged only a few months at death .... Internment of bodies at domestic sites was not an Egyptian custom, although such practices occurred in other areas of the ancient Near East”.
David Rohl, moreover, has noted multiple graves in the Delta region, at Tell el-Daba during the same approximate period, had an excessively large proportion of babies:
... it was discovered that there was a higher percentage of infant burials ... than is normally found at archaeological sites of the ancient world. Sixty-five per cent of all the burials were those of children under the age of eighteen months. Based on modern statistical evidence obtained from pre-modern societies we would expect the infant mortality rate to be around twenty to thirty per cent. Could this be explained by the slaughter of the Israelite infant males by the Egyptians?
King Solomon tells - in what could also be a wake-up call for our own times - how Egypt paid for this pharaonic “decree of infanticide” (Wisdom 11:5-16, emphasis added):
Whereas their enemies had only the ever-flowing source of a river fouled with mingled blood and mud,
to punish them for their decree of infanticide, you gave your people, against all hope, water in abundance,
once you had shown by the thirst that they were experiencing how severely you were punishing their enemies.
From their own ordeals, which were only loving correction, they realised how an angry sentence was tormenting the godless;
for you had tested your own as a father admonishes, but the others you had punished as a pitiless king condemns,
For a double sorrow seized on them, and a groaning at the memory of the past;
when they learned that the punishments they were receiving were beneficial to the others, they realised it was the Lord,
while for the man whom long before they had exposed and later mockingly rebuffed, they felt only admiration when all was done, having suffered a thirst so different from that of the upright.
For their foolish and wicked notions which led them astray into worshipping mindless reptiles and contemptible beetles, you sent a horde of mindless animals to punish them
and to teach them that the agent of sin is the agent of punishment.
From the 4th dynasty, we gain certain elements that are relevant to the early career of Moses. Firstly we have a strong founder-king, Cheops (Egyptian Khufu), builder of the great pyramid at Giza, who would likewise be a good candidate for the “new king”" during the infancy of Moses who set the Israelite slaves to work with crushing labour (Exodus 1:8). This would support the testimony of Josephus that the Israelites built pyramids for the pharaohs, and it would explain from whence came the abundance of manpower for pyramid building. Cheap slave labour.
... they became very abusive toward the Israelites, and contrived many ways of afflicting them; for they enjoined them to cut a great number of channels for the river, and to build walls for their cities and ramparts, that they might restrain the river, and hinder its waters from stagnating, upon its running over its banks: they set them also to build pyramids, and by all this wore them out; and forced them to learn all sorts of mechanical arts, and to accustom them to hard labor.
The widespread presence of Asiatics in Egypt at the time would help to explain the large number of Israelites said to be in the land. Pharaoh would have used as slaves other Syro-Palestinians, too, plus Libyans and Nubians. As precious little though is known of Cheops, despite his being powerful enough to build one of the Seven Wonders of the World, he had need of being ‘filled out’ with his 6th and 12th dynasty alter egos.
Pharaoh Sesostris I
“Merris” and “Chenephres”
In Cheops’ daughter, Mer-es-ankh, we seem to have the “Merris” of tradition who retrieved the baby Moses from the water. The name Mer-es-ankh consists basically of two elements, Meres and ankh, the latter being the ‘life’ symbol for Egypt worn by people even today.
Mer-es-ankh married Chephren, builder of the second Giza pyramid and probably of the Great Sphinx. He thus became Moses’ foster father-in-law. Chephren is presumably, therefore, the Chenephres of tradition. Prince Moses, now a thorough-going ‘Egyptian’ (cf. Exodus 2:19), must have been his loyal subject. “Now Moses was taught all the wisdom of the Egyptians and became a man of power both in his speech and in his actions”. (Acts 7:22) Tradition has Moses leading armies for Chenephres as far as Ethiopia. Whilst this may seem a bit strained in a 4th dynasty context, it is perfectly appropriate in a 12th dynasty one.
Amenemhet I assumed a co-regency with Sesostris I, who acted as the king’s deputy and was entrusted with the control of the army, responsible for Libya and Ethiopia. Also, late in his reign, Amenemhet undertook campaigns into Ethiopia (Nubia), opening up to him the diorite quarries at Wadi Toshka. [Hence the famous diorite statues of the 4th dynasty?]. And he campaigned against the Bedouin in the Sinai, thereby safeguarding the turquoise mining operations at Serabit el-Khadem.
Sesostris I had the praenomen of Kheperkare, which is superficially like Chephren, and like “Chenephres”. But we may need to go to his alter ego, Pepi (II), as previously suggested, for a more precise rendering of the traditional “Chenephres”. Pepi II’s praenomen was Neferkare, which contains all of the elements of Chenephres.
And here may be another connection, architectural.
Whilst professor W. Stiebing would, contrary to Courville’s view, flatly reject any notion of contemporaneity between the 6th and 12th dynasties:
This revision, however, ignores the fact that while Palestinian EB III pottery is found in Sixth Dynasty tombs, it is not found in tombs belonging to the supposedly contemporaneous Twelfth Dynasty. It also ignores stylistic differences and developments in tomb reliefs and inscriptions which indicate that the Old and Middle Kingdoms were not contemporaneous .... [,]
there might yet be some substantial architectural evidence to support Courville.
Thus J. Osgood proposes a possible close relationship between the 6th and 12th dynasty mortuary temples:
Edwards certainly opens the possibility unconsciously when referring to the pyramid of Sesostris the First:
"... and the extent to which its Mortuary Temple was copied from the Mortuary Temples of the VIth dynasty, as illustrated by that of Pepi II, is clearly evident."
The return of a culture to what it was before ... after some three hundred years must be an uncommon event. The theoretical possibility that the two cultures, the Twelfth and the Sixth Dynasties were in fact contemporary and followed a common pattern of Mortuary Temple must be borne in mind as real.
[End of quote]
Furthermore, there may also be an identifying element of Sphinx obsession. This is quite obvious with Chephren, in his building of the Great Sphinx of Giza. And it is again obvious in the case of Sesostris I, from his building works, because he was an obsessive builder of sphinxes. For example: “Gold was brought also from mines east of Koptos and hard stone from the nearby Wãdi Hammãmãt, where, in Sesostris I’s thirty-eighth year, an expedition of more than seventeen thousand men quarried the blocks for sixty sphinxes and one hundred and fifty statues”.
There is also the fact of the 12th dynasty’s extension of empire into Ethiopia, where tradition has prince Moses playing so important a rôle.
Jealousy of Chenephres
According to traditions, Chenephres became extremely jealous of the successful Moses. Eusebius, for instance (l.c. ix. 27): “Jealousy of Moses’ excellent qualities induced Chenephres to send him with unskilled troops on a military expedition to Ethiopia, where he won great victories”. Chenephres had set his mind upon killing Moses.
There is a perfect parallel here to Saul's jealousy of David for the very same reasons (I Samuel 18:6-9).
Whether the scheming of Chenephres went even further than all this, to regicide, is a matter yet to be decided. The assassination of Amenemhet I may be implicit in Grimal’s likening of the growing civil disorder in the reign of Teti - founder of the 6th dynasty - leading to Teti’s assassination, to what happened during the reign of Amenemhet I.
The whole drama may have been re-told again in the legend of Osiris and Set (Seth). Let me briefly recall that legend:
"Osiris [Teti/Amemenhet I?] was King of Egypt. Set [Chephren/Sesostris I], his brother [sic], urged on by jealousy, resolved to dethrone him and put him to death. The faithful Isis [wife of the King], discovered this criminal design and succeeded for some time in foiling the plots of Set, but his skilful intrigues ended by triumphing over Osiris whom he treacherously assassinated. Set then seized the throne of Egypt".
Enter Horus the Avenger whom some associate with, in his infancy, Moses.
The chronology is a bit askew, but it is only a legend after all:
"... Isis [here, Moses’ Hebrew mother] then gave birth to Horus [Moses] in the marshes of the Delta, near the sacred town of Buto, with the help of the goddess Hathor [Meresankh III, Moses’ foster mother]. .... Horus, brought up by his mother amid a thousand dangers, driven to seek a sanctuary in the desert [Midian] to escape the implacable pursuit of Set, grew at last to maturity, and dethroned Set".
The apostle Paul has most obligingly left to us the names of two Egyptian dignitaries who he said resisted Moses. “As Jannes and Mambres [Jambres] opposed Moses ...” (2 Timothy 3:8).
The task of identifying the two Egyptian dignitaries referred to by the apostle Paul is complicated by two textual variations between the Latin and the Greek. (i) Whereas the Latin gives “Quemadmodum autem Jannes et Mambres restiterunt Moysi”; the Greek gives Jannes and Jambres in 2 Timothy 3:8 (Exodus 7:11, 22): Again, (ii) whereas the Latin tells us nothing of the pair’s office; the Greek calls them: “pharaoh's magicians”.
Who were the two Egyptians who “resisted Moses”?
Undoubtedly Chenephres who appears to have invoked a fatwa against Moses that he maintained to the very grave. I suggest that Chenephres is Jannes; the already westernised name Chenephres having been shortened to Chennes, hence Jannes. The other obvious Egyptian resister of Moses, again unto death, was the obdurate Pharaoh of the Exodus, to be considered later. St. Paul’s “Mambres” will be found to be the key to the identification of the Pharaoh of the Exodus.
From what we have read above, “Chenephres” certainly opposed Moses, inasmuch as he wanted him dead. And it was because of that pharaoh, my Chephren/Pepi/Sesostris I, that Moses fled to Midian (Exodus 2:14-15): “Then Moses was afraid and thought, ‘What I did must have become known’. When Pharaoh heard of this, he tried to kill Moses, but Moses fled from Pharaoh and went to live in Midian, where he sat down by a well”.
This is the true story, of which the much-copied and popular, The Tale of Sinuhe (TSS), is but a garbled version. But at least TSS tells us when the flight occurred: during the reign of Sesostris I.
Then. Exodus 2:23: “During this long period the king of Egypt died”.
End of Great Pyramid Age
While Moses was sojourning in exile, in the land of Midian, the long-reigning “Chenephres” (i.e., pharaoh Sesostris I), who had sought to take Moses’ life, passed away (Exodus 2:23). Then, some time later, that pharaoh’s descendants, apparently, had also died (Exodus 4:19): “Yahweh said to Moses in Midian, ‘Go return to Egypt, for all those who wanted to kill you are dead’.”
Exodus 4:19 I take as having marked the end of an age.
And I would regard this as being basically the end of the Giza Pyramid Age.
Moses, I have identified in this series, and in:
as Weni (6th dynasty), and as both Mentuhotep and the semi-legendary Sinuhe (12th dynasty).
Now, Weni is helpful inasmuch as he has recorded the names of the 6th dynasty pharaohs whom he served: Teti; Pepi and Merenre. How do these biblically relate to Moses?
Teti I have identified with Khufu (4th dynasty), and, more certainly, with Amenhemet I, as the “New King” of Exodus 1:8. And, in a ‘folding’ of the 12th dynasty, I have further identified Amenhemet I and Amenhemet II.
Pepi I have identified with Khafra (4th dynasty), and with Sesostris I, as the foster father-in-law of Moses (“Chenephres”), who would seek to kill Moses out of jealousy.
Though I cannot, at this stage, connect pharaoh Merenre to any specific alter ego (perhaps the obscure Userkare?), I previously suggested a possible identification of Queen Nitocris with the Queen Neith associated with Merenre, re-connecting these to the 4th dynasty period of the third pyramid at Giza. Adding to this what we have concluded about the 12th dynasty so far, we get an arrangement like this:
4th Dynasty 6th Dynasty 12th Dynasty
Khufu (Cheops) = Teti = Amenemhet I-II
Khafra (Chephren) = Pepi I-II = Sesostris I
Menkaure (Mycerinus) Merenre I-II
The set of Pepi (II) and Merenre (II) is to be folded with the first of those same names.
In support of this shrinkage, we found architectural likenesses between Pepi II and Sesostris I. The 12th dynasty is conventionally arranged as follows
However, as with the folding of Amenemhet I and II, the question is whether or not any of the pharaohs Sesostris can likewise be folded.
I think that it may be possible to fold all of Sesostris I-III into just the one pharaoh Sesostris, so that now, who are conventionally the first five pharaohs of the 12th dynasty, can be reduced to just these two: (i) the founder pharaoh, Amenemhet, and (ii) “Chenephres”, or Sesostris, who sought to kill Moses.
Beginning with Sesostris II, consider these striking comparisons with Sesostris I and/or III:
Firstly, as with the reign length of Sesostris I (up to 46 years), Sesostris II is said by Manetho to have reigned for 48 years:
Secondly, there is the common name Sesostris, a son of an Amenemhet.
Thirdly, the Throne name of Sesostris III, Kheperkare, contains basically the same elements as does the Throne name of Sesostris II, Khakheperre.
Fourthly, there was a common co-regency with a father Amenemhet (or Ammenemes).
Thus N. Grimal (A History of Ancient Egypt, pp. 160, 166):
… twentieth year of Ammenemes’ reign … he began a co-regency with his eldest son Sesostris [I].
… co-regency of almost five years [between Amenemhet and Sesostris II].
Amazingly, however, despite all of the achievements of pharaoh Sesostris II, there is hardly anything to show for it in terms of statuary.
Firstly, as with the reign length of Sesostris I (up to 46 years), and Sesostris II (48 years), Sesostris III may likewise have reigned for 48 years:
Secondly, there is the common name Sesostris.
Thirdly, the Throne name of Sesostris I, Khakaure (“Appearing like the Souls of Re”), is virtually identical in meaning to the Throne name of Sesostris II, Khakheperre (“The Soul of Re has Appeared”).
Fourthly, history supposedly repeats itself with Sesostris III fixing a problem that Sesostris I is thought to have dealt with at a somewhat earlier time. Grimal tells of it (op. cit., p. 167): “When Sesostris III rose to the throne he had to deal with a political problem which … Sesostris I … had already attempted to address …. The basic problem was that the families of local rulers had once more become almost as powerful as the king himself …”.
The way that I see it, these “families of local rulers” had not “once more” become “powerful”. It was in fact the same families, in the same era!
Do we not find over and over again that the conventional history, with its ‘Indian file’ structure of kingdoms and dynasties, has to presume returnings to old situations, or to old values, etc., when in actual fact there is no returning involved?
Sesostris I (c. 1900 BC, conventional dating) is supposed to have styled his Mortuary Temple on that of Pepi II (c. 2300 BC, conventional dating), four centuries earlier. But according to my revision, Sesostris was Pepi (Neferkare).
He was also Chephren and “Chenephres” (Neferkare?) and St. Paul’s “Jannes” who opposed Moses.
A New Schema
4th Dynasty 6th Dynasty 12th Dynasty
Khufu (Cheops) = Teti = Amenemhet I-II
Khafra (Chephren) = Pepi I-II = Sesostris I-III
Menkaure (Mycerinus) Merenre I-II
Two pharaohs in particular opposed Moses.
The one who wanted to kill him (Exodus 2:15).
And the one who refused to let the people of Israel go free, and who then pursued them to the sea (Exodus 14:5-9).
It is to these two pharaohs, I believe - rather than to court magicians - that Saint Paul was referring in 2 Timothy 3:8, when he told of “Jannes and Mambres [who] opposed Moses”.
Vulgate: … Jannes et Mambres resisterunt Moysi …
The Greco-Roman names, “Jannes” and “Mambres” (or “Jambres”), do not easily lend themselves to transliteration into Egyptian.
So far, I have painstakingly attempted to reconstruct the life and times of the first of these two pharaohs who resisterunt (‘resisted, opposed, withstood’) Moses, by re-aligning and re-shaping the kingdoms and dynasties relevant to him.
He, “Jannes”, can only be, I would suggest, the “Chenephres” of Artapanus, who had married “Merris”, the daughter of Pharaoh who retrieved the baby Moses from the river and named him (Exodus 2:5-10). Saint Paul’s “Jannes”, a name which has its variations
Jannes (Iannis), with slight variations, is the most common form in which the name appears in Greek sources, as well as in the Palestinian Targum and in the main midrashic references. The Babylonian Talmud, however, gives the name as Yoḥana (cf. Yal., Ex. 235 – Yoḥane). There appears therefore to be justification for retaining the reading Johannes as it appears in the best-preserved manuscript of Apuleius.
is probably a condensed version of the traditional “Chenephres”. Hence “Chennes” = Jannes.
In 4th dynasty terms, this pharaoh is the like named “Chephren” (Greek), Khafra (Egyptian), who married a Meres-ankh (= “Merris”).
In 6th dynasty terms, he is Pepi (I and) II Neferkare (= “Chenephres”), who married Ankhesenmerire (= Meresankh = “Merris”).
In 12th dynasty terms, he is Sesostris I (II and III). The Egyptian Moses, Sinuhe, fled from Sesostris I.
From Jannes to Mambres
The long reign (about 45 years) of the pharaoh (Saint Paul’s “Jannes”) who had sought the life of Moses - which reign must have spanned most of Moses’ career as a high official in Egypt, even continuing into the phase of Moses’ exile in Midian - had eventually come to an end (Exodus 2:23).
And, afterwards (Exodus 4:19), those associated with this pharaoh had also passed away.
This last verse would suggest to me the end of a dynasty, meaning that the similarly long reigning Amenemhet III, “forty-five years” according to N. Grimal (A History of Ancient Egypt, p. 170), whose early reign must have overlapped with the late reign of “Chenephres” (= “Jannes”), was in fact a new dynastic founder.
Traditions have more than one pharaoh ruling at a time during the life of Moses. And the wise King Solomon tells of Moses, upon his return, as having faced “kings” (Wisdom 10:16): “[Wisdom] entered the soul of one of God’s servants [Moses] and stood up to dreaded kings by performing miracles”. εισηλθεν εις ψυχην θεραποντος κυριου και αντεστη βασιλευσιν φοβεροις εν τερασι και σημειοις
The reign of Amenemhet III would have continued on for the entire Midian phase of Moses, and for the latter’s return to Egypt, and on to the Plagues and the Exodus.
It was now quite a different Egypt to which the aged Moses returned.
As the long reign of pharaoh Sesostris (= “Jannes”) wore on - and the 12th dynasty with it - a resurgent king of new energy, Amenemhet III, now also ruling a part of Egypt, began to inject much-needed life into the country. This was, I believe, the very same situation about which we read at the time of the long reigning Pepi (Pepy) II (= Sesostris), as Grimal explains (op. cit., p. 88): “The growing power of local officials was a major factor in the decline of the Egyptian state; as Pepy II’s reign dragged on, these officials were gradually becoming local rulers in their own right”.
I suggest that Amenemhet III was probably one of these powerful officials.
Mambres, the Hard-Hearted Pharaoh
And, just as the 12th dynasty had begun with a “new king” (Exodus 1:8), called “Amenemhet”, who was likely not of royal blood, so may there have been something of a parallel case now with Amenemhet III, possibly the non-royal founder of a new dynasty.
It is he, Amenemhet III, now near the end of his reign, who was, I believe, the stern king whom Moses had returned from Midian to encounter, and to ask to set Israel free.
It is Amenemhet III, then, who must be St. Paul’s “Mambres”, or “Jambres”. And it is in this case - far more satisfactorily than with the name, “Jannes” - that we get a close hit. For Amenemhet III was known in Greco-Roman tradition, and worshipped, under the name of “Lamares” (Grimal, p. 170).
This name has many variations, such as Lachares, Lamares, Lamaris, Lampares
and also Lambares https://books.google.com.au/books?id=GbjPBpGySpsC&pg=PA303&lp which we can read as “Lambres”, almost exactly Saint Paul’s “Mambres” or “Jambres”.
As I said, his reign must have overlapped to some degree with the long-reigning “Chenephres”, or “Jannes”, who was Sesostris III. For both Sesostris III and Amenemhet III built pyramids of brick mixed with straw, as the Bible tells of the children of Israel. This is explained at: http://oahspestandardedition.com/OSAC/Exodus3.html
....From the historical records we learn that Asiatic slaves were used during the twelfth dynasty.
"The Asiatic inhabitants of the country at this period must have been more times more numerous than has been generally supposed. Whether or not this, largely slave, population could have played a part in hastening . . . the impending Hyksos domination is difficult to say." Cambridge Ancient History, vol II part I, page 49."Asian slaves, whether merchandise or prisoners of war, became plentiful in wealthy Egyptian households." Encyclopaedia Britannica 1964, volume 8, page 35.The buildings constructed in the delta under the twelfth dynasty were made of mud brick. Mountains of such bricks went into the city of Avaris and nearby cities.
Moreover the pyramids of Sesostris III and Amenemhet III were also made of mud bricks. The early dynasties' burial places were made of mud brick. The magnificent third and fourth dynasty pyramids were built of stone. For some strange reason these twelfth dynasty rulers reverted [sic] to mud brick. It is interesting in this connection to note that Josephus wrote: "They (the Egyptians) set them (the Israelites) to build pyramids." Antiquities of the Jews, book 2, chapter IX, paragraph 1.
On the assumption that the oppression took place during the eighteenth or nineteenth dynasty [in the time of Ramesses II], this statement is regarded by scholars as a glaring blunder by Josephus, for by this time, according to their view, the Pyramid Age had ended. The pharaohs of the New Kingdom dynasties were buried in the Valley of the Kings near Luxor. But maybe it is the scholars who have blundered, for the kings of the twelfth dynasty did build pyramids, and what is more, they built them of mud bricks mixed with straw. "Ye shall no more give the people straw to make brick as heretofore: let them go and gather straw for themselves." (Exodus 5:7) ….
[End of quote]
Amenemhet III has all the hallmarks of a mighty and proud king. I previously wrote that he:
… was a particularly strong ruler, renowned for massive projects involving water storage and channelling on a gargantuan scale. He is credited with diverting much of the Nile flow into the Fayuum depression to create what became known as lake Moeris (the lake Nasser project of his time).
The grim-faced depictions of the 12th dynasty kings, Amenemes III and Sesostris III, have been commented upon by conventional and revisionist scholars alike. Thus Cambridge Ancient History has noted with regard to the former …: “The numerous portraits of [Amenemes] III include a group of statues and sphinxes from Tanis and the Faiyûm, which, from their curiously brutal style and strange accessories, were once thought to be monuments of the Hyksos kings.”
For revisionists, these pharaohs can represent the cruel taskmasters who forced the Israelites to build using bricks mixed with straw (Exodus 5:7, 8) …. This combination of materials can clearly be seen for example in Amenemes III’s Dahshur pyramid.
Now when one slots Amenemes III into his rightful place at the beginning of the 12th dynasty, there emerges a very comprehensive picture of the régime under which captive Israel toiled. Amenemes III, according to Grimal …:
… was respected and honoured from Kerma to Byblos and during his reign numerous eastern workers, from peasants to soldiers and craftsmen came to Egypt. This influx of foreign workers resulted both from the growth in Egyptian influence abroad and from the need for extra workmen to help exploit the valuable resources of Egypt itself. For forty-five years [Amenemes] III ruled a country that had reached a peak of prosperity … and the exploitation of the Faiyûm went hand in hand with the development of irrigation and an enormous growth in mining and quarrying activities.
The Faiyûm was a huge oasis, about 80 km S.W. of Memphis, which offered the prospect of a completely new area of cultivable land. Exodus 1:14 tells of the Israelite slaves doing “all kinds of work in the fields.”
Mining and quarrying also, apparently, would have been part of the immense slave-labour effort. Grimal continues …:
In the Sinai region the exploitation of the turquoise and copper mines reached unprecedented heights: between the ninth and forty-fifth years of [Amenemes III’s] reign no less than forty-nine texts were inscribed at Serabit el-Khadim …. The seasonal encampments of the miners were transformed into virtually permanent settlements, with houses, fortifications, wells or cisterns, and even cemeteries. The temple of Hathor at Serabit el-Khadim was enlarged …. The expeditions to quarries elsewhere in Egypt also proliferated ….
Amenemes III, it seems, was a complete dictator …:
The economic activity formed the basis for the numerous building works that make the reign of [Amenemes] III one of the summits of state absolutism. Excavations at Biahmu revealed two colossal granite statues of the seated figure of [Amenemes] III …. Above all, he built himself two [sic] pyramids, one at Dahshur and the other at Hawara…. Beside the Hawara pyramid were found the remains of his mortuary temple, which Strabo described as the Labyrinth. ….
[End of quotes]
There may be a good reason why statuary of Amenemhet III resembled that of the Hyksos.
Sheshi Maaibre (Maabre)
This pharaoh has been most difficult for Egyptologists to pinpoint, but he may have been the founder of the 14th dynasty, and have ruled for 40 years. I suggest that he, too, is Mambres (= Maaibre). According to https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sheshi
Maaibre Sheshi (also Sheshy) was a ruler of areas of Egypt during the Second Intermediate Period. The dynasty, chronological position, duration and extent of his reign are uncertain and subject to ongoing debate. The difficulty of identification is mirrored by problems in determining events from the end of the Middle Kingdom to the arrival of the Hyksos in Egypt. Nonetheless, Sheshi is, in terms of the number of artefacts attributed to him, the best attested king of the period spanning the end of the Middle Kingdom and the Second Intermediate period …. Hundreds of scaraboid seals bearing his name have been found throughout Canaan, Egypt, Nubia and as far away as Carthage where some were still in use 1500 years after his death.
Sheshi could be a ruler of the early 14th Dynasty, a line of kings of Canaanite descent ruling over of the Eastern Nile Delta immediately before the arrival of the Hyksos. Proponents of this theory, such as Kim Ryholt and Darrell Baker, credit Sheshi with 40 years of reign ….
Ryholt proposed that Sheshi allied his kingdom with the Kushites in Nubia via a dynastic marriage with the Nubian princess Tati. Ryholt further posits that the son of Sheshi and Tati was Nehesy, whose name means “The Nubian”, whom he believes succeeded Sheshi to the throne as the pharaoh Nehesy Aasehre.
Maaibre Sheshi is the best attested ruler of the Second Intermediate Period in terms of the number of artefacts attributed to him, with 396 seals and two seal impressions showing his nomen or prenomen. This figure is three times higher than the 123 seals attributed to the next best attested king of the period, Yakbim Sekhaenre. ….
In addition to these seals, Manfred Bietak has suggested that a scarab discovered in Avaris and inscribed with the name of a king "Shenshek" should probably be attributed to Sheshi. ….
Over 80 per cent of the seals attributed to Maaibre Sheshi are of unknown provenance … but the remaining 20 per cent have been found throughout Egypt, Nubia and Canaan, indicating widespread trade and diplomatic contacts during Sheshi's reign…..
Important finds include seals from Lachish, Gezer, Jericho, Amman and Tell el-Ajjul …in Canaan. In Lower Egypt, three seals have been unearthed in Tell el-Yahudiya and Tell el-Mashkuta and a further eight are from the wider Delta region….. Four seals originate from Saqqara … and a further five from the Middle Egyptian sites of Abusir el-Melek, Kom Medinet Ghurab, Kom el-Ahmar and Deir Rifa. To the south, in Upper Egypt, a total of twenty seals are known from Abydos, Hu, Thebes, Elephantine, Esna and Edfu, In Nubia, seals of Sheshi have been found in the Egyptian fortresses of Uronarti and Mirgissa and otherwise in Dakka, Kerma, Sayala, Aniba, Masmas, Faras, Ukma, Akasha and Sai…. Finally, two seal impressions of Sheshi have been found in Carthage … in a context dated archeologically to the 2nd century BC…..
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The Greco-Roman name for Amenemhet III, Lamares, is thought to have arisen from the pharaoh’s praenomen, Nimaatre.
If Amenemhet is Sheshi, then St. Paul’s Mambres may have arisen from Maaibre (Maabre).
As the biblical pharaoh, he was the most reckless of men.
Thus King Solomon tells (Wisdom 19:1-4):
God knew before they did what was yet to come: how, after agreeing to send your people away, and in fact sending them away in haste, their enemies would change their minds and pursue them. And so, even as they still held in their arms those whom they mourned and even as they still raised up their laments at the graves of their dead, another thoughtless plan occurred to them. They decided to pursue those who had fled even after they had agreed to their request to send them away. A fate they fully deserved drew them to this inevitable decision and made them forget about all the things that had so recently happened to them. All this took place so that they might complete the one punishment lacking in their sufferings.
Harnessed Horses and a New Technology
The apparent problem for the Book of Exodus of early Egypt’s lack of horse-drawn chariots may find its right solution in an identification of the presumed Twelfth Dynasty pharaoh, Amenemhet III, with the supposed Fourteenth Dynasty’s Sheshi Maaibre (Maibre).
Moreover, in the Greco-Roman name for Amenemhet III, “Lamares”, or “Lambares”, and in Sheshi’s somewhat similar prenomen, Maibre, we may at last have Saint Paul’s “Mambres”, one of the two (pharaohs, I believe) who had ‘opposed Moses’ (2 Timothy 3:8).
A New Technology
N. Grimal, writing in the context of the era (albeit much disputed) of pharaoh Sheshi Maibre, tells of the vast “technological innovations” (A History of Ancient Egypt, pp. 186-187):
The technological innovations of the Hyksos period were innumerable, particularly in the field of warfare, which was revolutionised by the introduction of the harnessed horse, even though the horse was already known and reared in the Nile Valley. The Egyptians were also introduced to innovative items of armour created with new techniques of bronze-working ….
For twenty years … Sheshi … probably based at Memphis, ruled a kingdom comprising both the delta and the Nile Valley down to Gebelein, as well as the desert trade routes that allowed the Hyksos to make contact with their Nubian allies.
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I surmised in part Three (i) of this series:
that Amenemhet III may have been one of those ‘powerful local officials’ who arose as the 6th/12th dynasty wore on. Grimal thought that (op. cit., p. 171): “The excessive length of the [reign] of Sesostris III … (about fifty years …) had led to various successional problems”.
I had also surmised in part Three (i) that Amenemhet III, perhaps a non-royal, may have commenced a new dynasty, e.g. as Sheshi Maibre. We even learned there that some of Amenemhet III’s statues had formerly been identified as Hyksos.
Whether or not Amenemhet III was foreign, or partly so, his reign certainly saw a massive influx of foreign workers (though we need also to consider, in my context, the proliferation of Israelites in Egypt). Thus Grimal writes (ibid., pp. 169-170):
… during his reign numerous eastern workers, from peasants to soldiers and craftsmen, came to Egypt. The influx of foreign workers resulted both from the growth in Egyptian influence abroad and from the need for extra workmen to help exploit the valuable resources of Egypt itself.
And here again we encounter that same phenomenon of the so-called ‘Middle’ Kingdom of Egypt repeating the Old Kingdom (ibid., p. 189): “[Amenemhet III] … By the end of the Middle Kingdom the immigrant communities were starting to unite and gain control over the territories available to them. The mechanism that had brought about the fall of the Old Kingdom was … being re-enacted”.
If Amenemhet III really were the hard-hearted pharaoh confronted by Moses and Aaron, then it may be that he, having, in the course of his long reign, brought great innovations to Egypt, including those relating to warfare, had lived to see much of his mighty effort destroyed in the cataclysmic Ten Plagues, coupled with the loss of the cream of his forces at the Sea.
King Solomon, no stranger to Egypt as the great Senenmut, tells of the upheaval in Egypt at the time (Wisdom 16:1-10):
In contrast to this punishment, you did your people a kindness and, to satisfy their sharp appetite, provided quails -- a luscious rarity -- for them to eat.
Thus the Egyptians, at the repulsive sight of the creatures sent against them, were to find that, though they longed for food, they had lost their natural appetite; whereas your own people, after a short privation, were to have a rare relish for their portion.
Inevitable that relentless want should seize on the former oppressors; enough for your people to be shown how their enemies were being tortured.
Even when the fearful rage of wild animals overtook them and they were perishing from the bites of writhing snakes, your retribution did not continue to the end.
Affliction struck them briefly, by way of warning, and they had a saving token to remind them of the commandment of your Law,
for whoever turned to it was saved, not by what he looked at, but by you, the Saviour of all.
And by such means you proved to our enemies that you are the one who delivers from every evil;
for them, the bites of locusts and flies proved fatal and no remedy could be found to save their lives, since they deserved to be punished by such creatures.
But your children, not even the fangs of poisonous snakes could bring them down; for your mercy came to their help and cured them.
And of the terrifying Darkness (17:1-21):
Yes, your judgements are great and impenetrable, which is why uninstructed souls have gone astray.
While the wicked supposed they had a holy nation in their power, they themselves lay prisoners of the dark, in the fetters of long night, confined under their own roofs, banished from eternal providence.
While they thought to remain unnoticed with their secret sins, curtained by dark forgetfulness, they were scattered in fearful dismay, terrified by apparitions.
The hiding place sheltering them could not ward off their fear; terrifying noises echoed round them; and gloomy, grim-faced spectres haunted them.
No fire had power enough to give them light, nor could the brightly blazing stars illuminate that dreadful night.
The only light for them was a great, spontaneous blaze -- a fearful sight to see! And in their terror, once that sight had vanished, they thought what they had seen more terrible than ever.
Their magical illusions were powerless now, and their claims to intelligence were ignominiously confounded;
for those who promised to drive out fears and disorders from sick souls were now themselves sick with ludicrous fright.
Even when there was nothing frightful to scare them, the vermin creeping past and the hissing of reptiles filled them with panic;
they died convulsed with fright, refusing even to look at empty air, which cannot be eluded anyhow!
Wickedness is confessedly very cowardly, and it condemns itself; under pressure from conscience it always assumes the worst.
Fear, indeed, is nothing other than the failure of the help offered by reason;
the less you rely within yourself on this, the more alarming it is not to know the cause of your suffering.
And they, all locked in the same sleep, while that darkness lasted -- which was in fact quite powerless and had issued from the depths of equally powerless Hades-
were now chased by monstrous spectres, now paralysed by the fainting of their souls; for a sudden, unexpected terror had attacked them.
And thus, whoever it might be that fell there stayed clamped to the spot in this prison without bars.
Whether he was ploughman or shepherd, or somebody at work in the desert, he was still overtaken and suffered the inevitable fate, for all had been bound by the one same chain of darkness.
The soughing of the wind, the tuneful noise of birds in the spreading branches, the measured beat of water in its powerful course, the headlong din of rocks cascading down,
the unseen course of bounding animals, the roaring of the most savage of wild beasts, the echo rebounding from the clefts in the mountains, all held them paralysed with fear.
over them alone there spread a heavy darkness, image of the dark that would receive them. But heavier than the darkness was the burden they were to themselves.
Amenemhet III may not have been the only pharaoh ruling when Moses returned to that, by now, very different Egypt. The 13th dynasty, which Dr. Courville believed to have begun as far back as the 11th dynasty era, was still active. Some of the 13th dynasty names we found (from Courville) to have been officials serving Sesostris III and Amenemhet III.
They may have been sub-kings, but some of them were quite substantial in their own right.
The 13th dynasty has been highly problematical, and will need to be properly integrated into a revised scenario. (See e.g. consideration of Khasekhemre-Neferhotep I below).
Did Pharaoh Drown?
Those who seek to prove that the astonishing events that are recorded in the Book of Exodus had really occurred historically - and who imagine that the Pharaoh must have drowned with his army - look to identify a pharaoh whose mummy has not been found.
But I would agree with the following piece according to which the pharaoh may not have drowned (https://www.cgg.org/index.cfm/fuseaction/Library.sr/CT/BQA/k/102/Did-Pharaoh-of-Exodus-Drown-in-Red-Sea-Exodus-1428.htm):
Did the Pharaoh of the Exodus Drown in the Red Sea (Exodus 14:28)?
The most conservative scholarship considers that the pharaoh of Egypt at the time of the Exodus (c. 1446 BC) was Amenhotep II (1450-1424 BC). The overwhelming biblical and historical evidence is that he did not die with his army in pursuit of Israel.
In Psalm 136:15, we find that God "overthrew Pharaoh and his army in the Red Sea." The Hebrew word translated here as "overthrew" is na'ar, also found in Exodus 14:27. It does not mean "to drown" or "to toss or tumble about as in the water" as some have attempted to assert. It simply means "shook off" as is mentioned in the margins of many Bibles and in the Brown, Driver & Briggs Hebrew Lexicon. (Nehemiah 5:13 illustrates how na'ar should be translated: "Then I shook out the fold of my garment. . . .") Therefore, these verses simply say that God shook off the Egyptians, including Pharaoh, from their pursuit of the Israelites. These scriptures say nothing of who was drowned.
In Exodus 14:28, the waters cover "all the army of Pharaoh," but Pharaoh himself is not mentioned. Exodus 15:19 supports this: "For the horses of Pharaoh went with his chariots and his horsemen into the sea, and the LORD brought back the waters of the sea upon them." Naturally, the horses and horsemen of Egypt were considered to be Pharaoh's. But this verse does not say that Pharaoh's personal horse, or that Pharaoh himself, drowned in the sea.
This is significant because the death of such an important person would almost certainly have been given special note in the Bible. The Old Testament contains many clear references to the deaths of enemy kings, most of them much less important than this pharaoh. ….
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Certainly the first born son of pharaoh died (Exodus 12:29): “At midnight the Lord struck down all the firstborn in Egypt, from the firstborn of Pharaoh, who sat on the throne, to the firstborn of the prisoner, who was in the dungeon, and the firstborn of all the livestock as well”.
And he may have been Amenemhet IV, presumed son of Amenemhet III.
Interestingly, the dynasty terminates in this case with a female ruler, Sobkneferu.
I have previously written on this (here ignoring footnotes):
Regarding whether the Egyptians recorded the Exodus, Anati has written :
In the last 100 years, many efforts have been invested on finding some hints of the Israelites and their exodus in the Egyptian ancient literature. In the many Egyptian texts that date to the New Kingdom ... there is no mention of the flight from Egypt or the crossing of the "Red Sea".
Not even the general historical and social background correspond. ... If all of this tradition has a minimal basis in historical fact, then it cannot have been totally ignored by the Egyptians.
Nor, according to Professor Anati, did they ignore it:
... The relevant texts do not date to the New Kingdom at all, but to the Old Kingdom. In other words ... the archaeological evidence ..., the tribal social structures described in the Bible, the climatic changes and the ancient Egyptian literature all seem to indicate that the events and situations which may have inspired the biblical narrations of Exodus do not date to the thirteenth century BC but ... to the late third millennium BC.
Professor Anati still accepts the conventional dating of the Old and New Kingdoms. …. But this only means that his discoveries are all the more meaningful, because he has not set out to make a chronological statement ….
The story of the Exodus, Lemonick wrote, “involves so many miracles” - plagues, the parting of the Red Sea … manna, from heaven, the giving of the Ten Commandments - that critics take it for “pure myth”.
In this regard he referred to Fr. Anthony Axe, Bible lecturer at Jerusalem’s École Biblique, who has claimed that a massive Exodus that led to the drowning of Pharaoh’s army would have reverberated politically and economically throughout the entire region. And, considering that artefacts from as far back as the late Stone Age have turned up in the Sinai, Fr Axe finds it perplexing that - as he thinks - no evidence of the Israelites’ passage has been found. Indeed Fr Axe is right in saying that an event such as the Exodus would have had widespread political and economic ramifications; but because he has been conditioned to thinking according to the Sothic-based time scale, Fr. Axe is unable to see the wood for the trees, so to speak. For, contrary to the conventional view, the Egyptian chronicles do give abundant testimony to a time of catastrophe reminiscent of the Exodus, and archaeology does clearly attest the presence of an invasive people sojourning for a time in the Sinai/Negev deserts.
And the reason why the Israeli archaeologists of the 60’s-80’s “... didn’t find a single piece of evidence backing the Israelites’ supposed 40-year sojourn in the desert”, as M. Broshi, curator emeritus of the Dead Sea Scrolls, claims … is because they were always expecting to find such “evidence” in a New Kingdom context. The error of looking to the New Kingdom for the Exodus scenario has already been pointed out by Anati …
Dr. Cohen, Deputy Director of the Israeli Antiquities Authority, when asked which Egyptian dynasty he considered to be contemporaneous with the Exodus events, nominated the Middle Kingdom's 12th dynasty ….
In this regard he referred to the Ipuwer Papyrus as describing the conditions in Egypt that could be expected as the result of the ten devastating plagues (cf. Exodus 7-12). Cohen of course is not the first to have suggested the relevance of the 12th dynasty, or of the Ipuwer Papyrus, to the situation of the Israelites in Egypt and the Exodus. Courville … had discussed in detail its suitability as the background for the enslavement and ultimate deliverance (Exodus 1:8-5:22). More recently, Down … has developed this view. And Velikovsky had presented a compelling case for both the Ipuwer and Ermitage papyrii’s being recollections of the plagues and devastation of Egypt. ….
Despite what might at first seem to be a dearth of positive archaeological data from this truly dark moment in Egyptian history, the collapse of the Old/Middle Kingdom, there is clear evidence that the ‘Asiatic’ labourers in Egypt departed suddenly and unexpectedly. The archaeology at Illahûn for example (where, as we saw, these foreign labourers had been living in numbers) reveals the exact time when they abandoned the town. Up to the time of Khasekhemre-Neferhotep I of the mid-13th dynasty, there was evidence of a continuous occupation. But then, as Rosalie David, explains, it was deserted:
There is every indication that Kahun [Illahûn] continued to flourish throughout the 12th dynasty and in to the 13th dynasty .... It is evident that the completion of the king’s pyramid was not the reason why Kahun’s inhabitants eventually deserted the town, abandoning their tools and other possessions in the shops and houses. The quantity, range and type of articles of everyday use which were left behind in the houses may suggest that the departure was sudden and unpremeditated.
David Rohl … describes the archaeology at Tell el-Daba (ancient Avaris, in the eastern Nile Delta), which he thinks may be evidence for this plague:
At the end of stratum G/1 ... [Manfred] Bietak and his archaeological team began to uncover a gruesome scene. All over the city of Avaris they found shallow burial pits into which the victims of some terrible disaster had been hurriedly cast. These were no careful internments of the deceased. The bodies were not arranged in the proper burial fashion but rather thrown into the mass graves, one on top of the other. There were no grave goods placed with the corpses as was usually the custom. Bietak is convinced that we have here direct evidence of plague or some other sudden catastrophe at Avaris.
Rohl next tells of a mass exodus from Avaris: “What is more, analysis of the site archaeology suggests that a large part of the remaining population of the town abandoned their homes and departed from Avaris en masse”.
This was followed at some point by a foreign invasion:
The site was then reoccupied after an interval of unknown duration by Asiatics who were not ‘Egyptianised’ like the previous population of stratum G. Stratum F marks a new beginning in the settlement of purely Asiatic (Canaanite) people ... The inhabitants of stratum G seem to have left the site before the arrival of [this other] wave of Asiatic immigrants, who settled and remained there until the be-ginning of the New Kingdom.
According to Rohl, the Asiatics who had dwelt in Egypt during this Middle Kingdom period were thoroughly ‘Egyptianised’ (just as one would expect the Hebrews to have been on the eve of the Exodus). It appears that these ‘Egyptianised’ foreigners fled Avaris at this time of plague, only to be replaced some time afterwards by other Asiatics (stratum level F) who show no evidence of their having been ‘Egyptianised’. These latter would therefore be the ‘Hyksos’ invaders. They began at Avaris, during the reign of Neferhotep's brother, Sobekhotep IV.
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Salitis, whom Grimal (op. cit., p. 187) has identified with Sheshi Maibre (my Amenemhet III), is supposed to have made Avaris his new capital (whether or not he actually built it).
(Manetho: http://www.realhistoryww.com/world_history/ancient/Misc/Hyksos/Hyksos.htm). From what we have read above in the “Stratigraphy” section, it is quite apparent that the strong fort of Avaris was built prior to the biblical Exodus.