The “Hyksos” as Amalekites
Damien F. Mackey
Dr. I. Velikovsky’s identification of the Hyksos conquerors of Egypt with the biblical Amalekites has been widely accepted by revisionists - even those who have since rejected his Ages in Chaos.
David Rohl, whose own biblico-historical revision is some centuries apart from Velikovsky’s, had nonetheless accepted the latter’s identification of the Hyksos conquerors of Egypt with the Amalekites of the Book of Exodus (Pharaohs and Kings: A Biblical Quest, 1997).
Debbie Hurn, in 2003, wrote a solid article in support of this Velikovskian thesis. I thoroughly recommend that one reads her insightful article written for Testimony Magazine. It is found at: http://www.testimony-magazine.org/back/dec2003/hurn.pdf
2.Were they the Hyksos?*
Dr. John Osgood, too, has mounted a strong case for the Amalekites to have been the Hyksos, an archaeologically-based argument with the assistance of maps - as he provided also in the case of the wandering Exodus Israelites as the Middle Bronze I people (from which this one naturally flows): http://creation.com/the-time-of-the-judges-the-archaeology-b-settlement-and-apostasy
The Times of the Judges—The Archaeology:
(b) Settlement and Apostasy
A new alignment begins
The land of Israel rested in peace and freedom from oppression for a period of 40 years—here equated with the MB IIA period, or the last portion of it (Judges 3:11). Again they apostasised [sic] into idolatry, and soon a new spectre appeared on the horizon. A strong king of Moab began a conquest of Israel which brought him into control of at least the strategic central portion of the land. Eglon of Moab now rebuilt on the ruins of Jericho, ‘the city of palms’, a fortress capable of stationing 10,000 troops, and a palace (Judges 3:12-30).
This apparently was not a rebuilding of the old city which had been cursed by Joshua, later rebuilt by Hiel the Bethelite (1 Kings 16:34), but it was, nonetheless, the same site geographically.
Assisting him in this conquest naturally was Moab’s old sister nation Ammon. This is quite easy to accept. However, surprisingly, also in the raiding force was AMALEK (Judges 3:13).
Now geographically Amalek was in the western Negev (see Genesis) 14:17, Numbers 13:29, Numbers 14:25, 1 Samuel 15:7, 27:8). The related Edomites were between Moab and Amalek, so the alliance does seem a little unusual (see Figure 7).
Figure 7. Map showing the regions/peoples of the Moabite alliance.
However, Amalek has a number of enigmatic statements made about it in the Scriptures (Numbers 24:20). Balaam says of Amalek that it was then ‘the first of the nations’ (first = Hebrew reshith—foremost). This is a truly incredible statement on first glance, but the same concept is supported by Balaam’s other comment about Agag, the Amalekite king. He said that Israel’s kingdom would be higher than Agag, and his kingdom exalted. In other words, the whole idea being conveyed was that Agag occupied a position of immense power (Numbers 24:7).
The implication of these statements is that Amalek was a power to be reckoned with, no longer just a fledgling nation, as before. It is with this in mind that the … assertions of Velikovsky18 and Courville19 need to be perused. They were united in identifying Amalek with the ‘AMU’ ( = Hyksos) overlords of Egypt during the Second Intermediate period of that nation. Such an assertion would give weight to statements of scripture that imply an Amalekite nation was the foremost of the nations in Moses’ day. It would also bring meaning into Eglon’s call for help to Amalek for the subjugation of Israel. In fact, it would almost be a necessity for Moab to obtain Amalek’s blessing on her conquest of Israel in order to bear rule over what Amalek (the Hyksos rulers of Egypt) would regard as their sphere of rule. Eglon then would be a vassal ruler of the Amalekite/Hyksos over a subjugated Israel.
It is of interest to note that from this point in Israel’s history as the scriptures record it, Amalek is on the scene more consistently than any other nation in attack against Israel for the next 300 years, first assisting Eglon, then in association with Midian (Judges 6:3), and then in the days of King Saul and David (1 Samuel 15 and 1 Samuel 30).
Such an interval of time adds to the circumstantial weight of the identification of Amalek with the Amu, and the Hyksos, and this author accepts fully at least this part of the theses of Velikovsky18 and Courville19 (This is not, however, a blanket endorsement of other areas of their work.) Hereafter in this work I will assume the identification of Amalekite/Hyksos to be valid, although further discussion on this point will undoubtedly ensue. Taking the above premises, we would expect to find an MB IIB city at Jericho, of larger proportions than the old city (identified as EB III), evidence of a palace, and evidence of Hyksos rule. Furthermore, if we were able to differentiate Moabite culture from Israelite, we would also expect some evidence of Moabite culture in the MB IIB city.
Jericho MB IIB—A new fortress arises
Jericho was definitely rebuilt along different lines in the MB II period—larger than it was before. A regional similarity was also apparent as Garstang says:
“This is indeed fairly clear, because the site lay more or less derelict thereafter for some time, perhaps a century, and when finally the city revived it is found to have been entirely replanned and reconstructed upon fresh lines, with a new and improved defensive system; while an entirely new culture, that of the Middle Bronze Age, replaced the old. Moreover the change was general, and it affected in similar fashion all the great cities on the highlands above the Jordan valley, Jericho nearest surviving neighbours; while many early settlements in and near the southern end of the Rift never revived at all”20 (emphasis ours)
“It was during this period that Jericho, under the Hyksos regime attained its greatest extension and the height of its prosperity. The protected area was now about nine acres, which was nearly the size of contemporary Jerusalem.”21
Jericho gave evidence of being a premium city at this time. It was most important to have a palace in the heart of the city—and that a most prominent one. Here in the revised chronology we suggest that this palace was, in fact, that of the Moabite King Eglon, vice regent to his Hyksos/Amalekite overlords of Egypt and the Negev.
“In the heart of the City, on a peak of ground overlooking the spring, rose a royal palace, the most elaborate dwelling uncovered upon the site. The main block, which was square, crowned the highest part of the knoll, and it was surrounded at groundfloor level by a sort of roofed ambulatory, in which would be half-cellar store-rooms, offices, stables, etc., much as in the arcaded basements of many houses of the East to-day.”22
Certainly the description of this palace fits the details of Judges 3:13 and 20–26, but Garstang continues:
“The very proportions and solidarity of the palace building show that the ruler of Jericho at this period had attained both wealth and power; and the contents of the extensive store-rooms committed to his care seem to explain the source of his increased prestige.”23
Moreover, it was during this period that Hyksos power was evident and strong, the many scarabs with the red crown of Lower Egypt pointed out by Kenyon24 testifying to the hegemony of Jericho.
Garstang continues with his details of the Ruler of Jericho at this time:
“He became in fact the chief of an important unit in the Hyksos organization. Associated with him as guardian of the Hyksos stores or ‘treasury’ was a resident official, whose title ‘Scribe of the Vezir’ appears upon scarab-signets and jar-sealings recovered from the store-rooms; the names of two persons who held this office were Senb. ef and Se. Ankh, both characteristic of this period.”25
We emphasise our belief that this ruler was, in fact, Eglon of Moab.
It appears that although Eglon’s presence was removed from Jericho, some sort of Israelite presence persisted at the site, as witnessed by its occupation in the days of David’s reign (2 Samuel 10:5).
A new influence
A new influence now affected Palestine, producing the MB IIB culture (Albright nomenclature). The Khabur influence [of Cushan-Rishathaim] had come briefly and then gone, not being the sort of influence that one attributes to an ethnic movement of people, but eminently in the style of a conquest introduction. The main item of that influence was, in fact, a storage jar which would be suitable for grain or wine.
The new culture was a continuation of the main body of cultural tradition, but gone was the Khabur influence, and a new pottery tradition came, known as the Tell el-Yahudiyeh ware.
“A close analysis of MB IIA and B–C pottery shows many differences between the two periods, but a definite continuity of form and decoration can undoubtedly be observed.”26
The Tell el-Yahudiyeh pottery was not totally new to the MB IIB but was present already to a small extent in the MB I. However, its popularity peaked in MB IIB then continued into MB IIC, finally to leave a remnant in the LB I (Late Bronze I).27
This ware appears to have been produced in Palestine, some exported to Cyprus, Egypt and north into Phoenicia, but its centre was in Palestine (assumed by current thinking to be CANAANITE, but by this revised chronology it would almost certainly be Israelite).28
Despite the difference that is generally assumed between MB I and the MB IIA–C pottery, it is not inconceivable that the Tell el-Yahudiyeh decorations on the juglets which form the distinctive feature, were ultimately conceived from the very features already inherent in the MB I; viz, incisions and ‘notches’ in the MB I pottery made by a comb or fork,29 and ‘punctured decoration’ and ‘designs delineated by grooves’ also reminiscent of the use of comb or fork, in MB IIB Tell el-Yahudiyeh ware.30 Considering the general features of the MB I to MB IIA–C sequence, there is every reason to believe that what we are seeing was the ongoing development of the early Israelite pottery tradition.
Moreover, the pottery of MB I Palestine shows at least some affinity with the late 12th Dynasty of Egypt, which is of course, what we would expect if the MB I to MB IIA to MB IIB–C sequence is postulated as Israelite. As Kenyon says:
“As a result, the royal tombs at Byblos can be closely dated by Egyptian objects. In tombs of the period of Amenemhet III and IV (second half 19th–beginning 18th centuries BC) there appears pottery which is very close to this new pottery in Palestine. Moreover, on a number of other sites in coastal Syria we find the same kind of pottery, and it is clear that part at least of the new population of Palestine must have come from this area.”31 (emphasis ours)
From the point of discussion of the new influence in Palestine in the MB IIB, the most significant features are those which point to a significant Hyksos influence in the land; and this is considerable.
As Amiram has said:
“The correspondence of MB IIB to the Hyksos Dynasties in Egypt is also established with a fair measure of certainty and is generally accepted.”32
With this statement I would make no objection, only with the question of who the Hyksos were would we differ. It follows that if the chronology here espoused is the correct view, then the generally held view on Hyksos origins must fall and be replaced by one which conforms to the scriptural details—the Hyksos would be the biblical Amalekites, found in the area of the Negev, mainly in the west, south of the Wadi Besor, then extending their influence into Egypt. Much that has been called Hyksos in Palestine would in fact be Israelite, but showing evidence of Amalekite hegemony, by scarabs and similar artifacts. Such intricacies of interpretation do not come freely with the sole use of archaeological evidence, but demands a basic framework of hypothesis against which to evaluate the findings. This the biblical record provides.
The major change of influence in Palestine in the MB IIB–C period was to the Hyksos influence. This influence was found, to judge by the scarab evidence, mainly in the area of Palestine south of the Carmel Ridge, a geographic fact worthy of note.
In my earlier discussion on the details of the servitude under the Midianites and Amalekites and their subsequent deliverance under Gideon,33 particular attention was paid to the evidence that this servitude was confined to Israel south of the Carmel Ridge. As soon as the northern deliverance from Jabin’s yoke had been completed, the Midianites and Amalekites moved over the Carmel range to fill the political vacuum, but were quickly defeated by Gideon.
Likewise, it was pointed out that the song of Deborah testified to a presence of Amalek in some sort of controlling influence in the area of Ephraim during the time of Jabin’s rule in the north. The later part of this period, however, was seen to be contemporary with the Midianite/Amalekite rule in the south (see Figure 8).
Figure 8. Map showing the expected distribution of Amalekite artifacts in Palestine compared with the actual distribution of Hyksos scarabs.
Also, it was reasoned that Eglon’s (Moab) rule was with the influence of Amalek.
Thus I am suggesting that the Amalekites of the Bible must be seen to be the same as the Hyksos who ruled over Egypt.
When all the above reasoning is brought together, it becomes apparent that the distribution of the Hyksos artifacts (as here defined by the scrabs [sic]) occupied exactly this distribution geographically, and no other. And as this period in the biblical record Eglon and onward corresponds most particularly to the MB IIB–C period on my revised Archaeological Table, the possible correctness of the revised chronology is upheld.
“Most interesting is the fact that Hyksos royal-name scarabs and sealings have not been discovered at sites in the Galilee, the Huleh Valley, Lebanon, or Syria.”34
“Only one Hyksos royal-name scarab and but a handful of contemporary private name-and-title scarabs have been found north of the Carmel Ridge.”35
Weinstein then argues that the principal centres of Hyksos power in Palestine were in the southern and inland regions south of the plain of Esdraelon. He concludes that the Hyksos were in fact simply southern and inland Palestinian princes.
Against the revised chronology here presented it becomes apparent that the Hyksos were in fact the Amalekites of the southern and western portion of Palestine, viz, the Negev, and that during the MB IIB–C period of Palestine they not only controlled Lower Egypt, but extended their influence up to the Carmel Ridge with the help of firstly Moab under Eglon, who ruled from Jericho on their behalf, and then Midian who helped Amalek to check the rising tide of north Canaanite influence and power under Jabin.
As for the names and order of the Hyksos kings of the 15th and 16th Dynasties who were so involved, their details are in great confusion still. The whole question of the Hyksos is a confused question, with hardly any authority agreeing with the next on details of even the place of the individual kings in the scheme of the period. We need, however, to remind ourselves of the fate of the Amalekite nation, Exodus 17:14 records that God said He would “blot out the remembrance of Amalek from under heaven.”
Today only the Bible and documents that remember Amalek from that source (including Arabian documents) remind us of the existence of this Edomite—descended (Genesis 36:12), Negev/Sinai-dwelling nation (Numbers 13:29) which rose to a pinnacle of power—‘the foremost of the nations’ (literal translation of Numbers 24:20)—and for centuries harassed Israel (Judges). Gone is their name outside of this source; gone is the clarity of details, like a whisp of steam that may not have been. But the remembrance of another name—the ‘Amu’—the Hyksos kings—has replaced the geography, the power, the time and the destiny of what the biblical Amalekites claimed.