Thursday, January 26, 2017

Will the Egyptologists ever find Nefertiti?


Image result

 

by

 

Damien F. Mackey

 

 

 

 

 

Nefertiti as Jezebel

 

“This [her name] has naturally led to the suggestion that the new queen may have been a foreigner who, quite literally, arrived at the Egyptian court in order to marry the king. The idea of a foreign queen has a certain attraction … because it allows Nefertiti to introduce strange, un-Egyptian religious ideas into the hitherto highly conservative royal family and thus provides a neat explanation for Amenhotep's [i.e. Akhnaton's] defection from the traditional Egyptian gods. It allows Nefertiti a certain romantic glamour to match her regal status”.

 

{This is a slightly up-dated version of an earlier one of the same title}.

 

 

Introduction

 

When Maryalice Yakutchik wrote early in an article for DiscoveryChannel.com that: “Essentially nothing is known about Nefertiti before she became co-regent of Egypt with her husband, Pharaoh Akhenaten, who ruled from 1352 B.C. to 1336 B.C”, then one does not feel over confident that she will be able to answer the question posed in the title of her article,

 

“Who Was Nefertiti?”

 

Nor is one's confidence lifted at all when the author tells (concerning Egyptologist Joyce Tyldesley’s efforts in her book entitled Nefertiti) that “Nefertiti was an elusive subject for Tyldesley because, she says, ‘meager shreds of evidence’ can support a variety of interpretations about the sun queen”. And Yakutchik's further comment, that “Nefertiti's origins - as well as her demise - remain shrouded in mystery”, is echoed by the following one taken from the similarly uninformative - because uncertain - AkhetEgyptology article “Nefertiti”: “Little is known about the origins of Nefertiti but it seems unlikely that she was of royal blood”. How many times does one meet in Egyptology (and in ancient history generally) this phrase, “… little is known about …”?

A large part of the problem is, of course, that Akhnaton and his beautiful wife, Nefertiti, have been located to the wrong century, to the mid-C14th instead of to the mid-C9th BC. It fell to Dr. I. Velikovsky (his Ages in Chaos series) to begin setting the record straight here. And it is a great pity that the established Egyptologists in general have not heeded him, at least in his basic message of the need for a radical chronological revision of Sothic-based Egyptian history. It is a great pity that they have not woken up to the fact that their efforts at historical synchronisation are so perennially fruitless, constantly yielding that catch-cry of “… little is known about …”.

I find it extremely frustrating to have to read this phrase over and over again, in documents pertaining to one or other period of ancient history.

By comparison, a sensible revision can be most fruitful. And I hope to show this yet again, this time in regard to Queen Nefertiti, so that she will now become very well known and her origins will be fully revealed: but in the C9th BC, not the C14th.

 

Preface

 

 

A C9th BC Setting for Akhnaton and Nefertiti

 

What has struck me, when considering a comparison between Horemheb and the biblical Jehu, has been a certain similarity between the demise of Nefertiti and that of the biblical queen, Jezebel. In conventional history Nefertiti, of course, pre-dates Jezebel by some 500 years. And what similarity might one expect to find anyway between the delicately beautiful Nefertiti and the brazen Jezebel, except for the common denominator, “Queen”?

Well, this is where the revision - if properly set - can yield the harvest of abundance that I am talking about, that is denied to the bankrupt conventional scheme. An alter ego of Horemheb’s was, I believe, the biblical king, Jehu (841-814 BC, conventional dating), who brought down the House of Ahab and, with it, Ahab’s former queen, Jezebel. Horemheb had also, like his possible other persona, Jehu, ‘slaughtered’ a famous queen, though then meaning ‘slaughtered’ only in a symbolical sense.

This queen was Nefertiti.

My initial thought and conclusion had been that Horemheb had acted true to his form as Jehu, and had twice treated with utter contempt a royal woman - now Jezebel, now Nefertiti - one who had in ‘each’ case enthusiastically imposed a pagan cult. But I had not initially also recognised the fall of Jezebel as being the same incident as the demise of Nefertiti: hence, that Nefertiti was the biblical Jezebel.

Let me first reproduce the section I had formerly written that would later suddenly prompt me to stop and re-think who Nefertiti was, and to conclude that she was Jezebel. I have since lifted it right out of a previous article in order to make it a kind of foundation, or focal point, for this new article. Here is the relevant section, beginning with Horemheb and Nefertiti, and then moving on to Jehu and Jezebel:

 

Like Jehu, in the case of Baal, Horemheb initially left no stone unturned - literally - in eradicating traces of the heretic religion. He turned upside down some of the stone blocks from Nefertiti’s pillars in the Hwt-Benben, so as to make partial scenes. And he defaced her images …. She, who had been goddess-like at Amarna … was now treated with utter contempt, as R. Winfield Smith explains (as quoted by J. Tyldesley, op. cit., pp. 41-42):

 

It is certain that the queen was held in contempt by those responsible for this undignified treatment. To turn a beautiful female upside-down, to slash her viciously, and to place her where she would be symbolically crushed by the enormous weight of massive, soaring walls, can hardly be explained otherwise.

 

…. Horemheb had, in his purge of Atonism, acted with the same sort of single-minded intent as had Jehu in his persecution of the Baal cult throughout Israel.

 

[End of section of comparison].

 

Once it had dawned upon me, though, that this may have been the same Queen being fatally crushed before the same General, then I further tested whether any significant parallels might be drawn between Nefertiti and Jezebel. And I was extremely happy with the outcome of this - albeit brief - testing. What Egyptologists have always found most obscure about Nefertiti, namely her beginnings and her end (the ‘book-ends’ of her life, so to speak), these could now, I came to believe, be factually revealed.

So let me now present, in outline, the public life of Nefertiti, as I see it, through the medium of Jezebel.

 

Part A: Her Public Career

The Queen's Origins

 

We are apparently free to examine Nefertiti’s origins because these, as we have just read, have by no means been established by the Egyptologists.

J. Dunn (“Queen Nefertiti”) gives the typical sort of hypothetical version of what Nefertiti’s origins might have been:

 

Nefertiti may or may not have been of royal blood. She was probably a daughter of the army officer, and later pharaoh, Ay, who may in turn have been a brother of Queen Tiye. Ay sometimes referred to himself as "the God's father", suggesting that he may have been Akhenaten's father-in-law, though there is no specific references for this claim. However, Nefertiti's sister, Mutnojme, is featured prominently in the decorations of Ay's tomb in the Valley of the Kings on the West Bank at Thebes (modern Luxor). However, while we know that Mutnojme was certainly the sister of Nefertiti, her prominence in Ay's tomb clearly does not guarantee her relationship to him. Others have suggested that Nefertiti may have been a daughter of Tiye, or that she was Akhenaten's cousin. Nevertheless, as "heiress", she may have also been a descendant of Ahmose-Nefertari, though she was never described as God's wife of Amun. However, she never lays claim to King's Daughter, so we certainly know that she cannot have been an heiress in the direct line of descent.

[End of quote]

 

Plenty of suppositions here. Nor can any presumed link with Ay be properly established. Moreover if Nefertiti were Jezebel, as I am maintaining, then the typical view that she may not have been of royal blood can no longer be upheld, because (1 Kings 16:31): “Jezebel [was the] daughter of King Eth-baal of the Sidonians”. (Some suggest that Ethbaal was actually a king-priest of Tyre who ruled the Sidonians). Cf. 2 Kings 9:34: ‘Take care of that cursed woman’, [Jehu] said, ‘and bury her, for she was a king's daughter’.

Anyway, in the biblical statement from I Kings above we learn of, I believe, the very origins of Queen Nefertiti as a Phoenician and of royal blood.

 

But, since Jezebel was King Ahab’s wife, let us firstly discuss the queen with Ahab of Israel.

 

(1) Jezebel Married to Ahab

 

When pharaoh Akhnaton's era of el-Amarna [EA] is properly set historically, then we find that we are able to identify, in the extensive EA correspondence, biblical contemporaries of Ahab (C9th BC).

We can even, I propose, identify in the correspondence Ahab and his wife Jezebel. See, e.g., my article:

 

King Ahab and his Two Sons

 


 

I have in fact identified Ahab with EA's Lab'ayu, who certainly ruled the region of northern Israel (around Shechem). And Jezebel, I have identified with EA's Baalat-Neše; the only woman important and powerful enough to have figured in the EA correspondence. Here is what I wrote on another occasion about Baalat-Neše and her connection with Lab'ayu (Ahab):

 

Velikovsky had, with typical ingenuity, looked to identify the only female correspondent of EA, Baalat Neše, as the biblical "Great Woman of Shunem", whose dead son the prophet Elisha had resurrected (cf. 2 Kings 4:8 and 4:34-35). Whilst the name Baalat Neše is usually translated as "Mistress of Lions", Velikovsky thought that it could also be rendered as "a woman to whom occurred a wonder" (thus referring to Elisha's miracle). This female correspondent wrote two letters (EA 273, 274) to Akhnaton, telling him that the SA.GAZ pillagers had sent bands to Aijalon (a fortress guarding the NW approach to Jerusalem). She wrote about "two sons of Milkili" in connection with a raid. The menace was not averted because she had to write again for pharaoh's help. Because Milkili himself at about this time had taken a stand against the city of "Shunama" - which would appear to be the biblical "Shunem" - Velikovsky had concluded that Baalat Neše was asking Egypt for help for her own city of Shunem. But this conclusion is quite unwarranted as the letters do not actually make the connection between Baalat Neše and Shunama.

In a revised context, Baalat Neše, the "Mistress of Lions", would most certainly be Jezebel, wife of Ahab. Jezebel was also wont to write official letters, even "in Ahab's name and [she] sealed them with his seal" (1 Kings 21:8). It would be most appropriate for the "Mistress of Lions" (Baalat Neše) to be married to the "Lion Man" (Lab'ayu). Her concern for Aijalon, near Jerusalem, would not be out of place since Lab'ayu himself had also expressed concern for that town. Baalat (Baalath, the goddess of Byblos) is just the feminine form of 'Baal'. Hence, Baalat Neše compares well with the name, Jezebel, with the theophoric inverted: thus, Neše-Baal(at)/ "Nesebaalat".

 

Baal Worship

 

If this woman Jezebel were so stunningly beautiful (as we know she indeed was as Nefertiti), then there is the likelihood that some of the great kings of the day would have wanted to snare her away from Ahab, a very powerful king in his own right. As the song goes: "When you're in love with a beautiful woman, you watch your friends …. Everybody wants her. Everybody tells her, that she's the most beautiful woman they know. …".

Certainly king Ahab had plenty of wives of his own from whom to choose. We know from EA # 32 that he (as Lab'ayu) had even ranged as far as Arzawa (Cilicia), in search of a wife. And king Ben-hadad [I] had once, when he had brought Samaria under siege, commanded Ahab: ‘Deliver to me your silver and gold, your wives and children’ (1 Kings 20:5).

But Ben-hadad's siege had ultimately failed.

No doubt, amongst all of his "wives", Ahab cherished Jezebel the most. And it may well be she to whom he was referring when he (as Lab'ayu), protesting his loyalty to, wrote to a great king: "Further, how if the king hath written for my wife, how should I withhold her? How, if the king hath written unto me: 'Plunge a dagger of bronze into thine heart', how should I not do the bidding of the king?"

Previously I, when thinking that Jezebel had been passed on from (i) Ahab (and via (ii) pharaoh Amenhotep III) to (iii) Akhnaton, had written:

 

Chances are anyway that Akhnaton (and indeed his uxorious father, Amenhotep III) had already greatly covetted Queen Jezebel, who had, as Baalat-Neše, written to Akhnaton several times (and maybe more) to gain his help. [That these letters were intended for Akhnaton I now consider to be greatly in need of reconsideration]. Indeed, the net was out to bring her husband (Lab'ayu) in chains to pharaoh. Lab'ayu was actually captured once, but he escaped through bribery (EA# 245). Soon afterwards though he would fall victim to a violent death.

The duplicitous Ahab had typically protested his loyalty to the Egyptian [that now needs to be proved] crown, though with no intention whatsoever of complying (just as he had in the end point-blank refused Ben-hadad's demands, 20:9). And perhaps what the king of Israel had subconsciously meant in his EA letter, when seemingly groveling to pharaoh, was that he would rather have 'a dagger of bronze plunged into his own heart than yield up to pharaoh his beloved wife'.

Though Ahab was the king of the land of Israel, it is pretty clear from reading the relevant sections of 1 Kings that Jezebel virtually ruled Ahab. He ever turned to her when a setback occurred, and she promptly proposed a plan, often involving murder and betrayal. And it was she who had instituted into Israel a Phoenician version of Baalism, probably of the Tyrian Baal Melquart variety (though some suggest Baal Shamem), and of Ashtarte.

“Indeed, there was no one like Ahab, who sold himself to do what was evil in the sight of the Lord, urged on by his wife Jezebel” (1.Kings 21:25).

("Specialty Tyre - A City at the Crossroads of History"): "During this period the prophet Elijah practically fought a one man battle to keep all of Israel from accepting Baal as their god”.

But later, after Ahab had died in battle (or perhaps even earlier, while Ahab was away on campaign), there was nothing to prevent pharaoh Akhnaton from doing what he had so longed to do, to claim Jezebel for himself.

So … this queen … did what the Egyptians must long have been anticipating. She went to Egypt to marry the oddest of pharaohs.

Not surprisingly, she was greeted there rapturously and given an Egyptian name:

 

NEFERTITI

"The beautiful (or perfect) woman has come".

 

Image result for nefertiti name in hieroglyphs

 

In my article “King Ahab and his Two Sons”, however, I have streamlined things, by now identifying Ahab as Akhnaton. And Akhnaton’s pharaonic father, Amenhotep III (“Immuria”), I have identified as Ahab’s father, Omri:

 

Omride Dynasty Egyptian. Part One: Omri's Name and Origins

 


 

(2) Jezebel (as Nefertiti) Married to Akhnaton

 

Jezebel's Egyptian name, translated as "The beautiful (or perfect) woman has come," "prompts some scholars to think that Nefertiti traveled to Egypt from a foreign land", as Yakutchik has noted. Tyldesley, too, has entertained this idea (Nefertiti, pp. 41-42):

 

This [her name] has naturally led to the suggestion that the new queen may have been a foreigner who, quite literally, arrived at the Egyptian court in order to marry the king. The idea of a foreign queen has a certain attraction … because it allows Nefertiti to introduce strange, un-Egyptian religious ideas into the hitherto highly conservative royal family and thus provides a neat explanation for Amenhotep's [i.e. Akhnaton's] defection from the traditional Egyptian gods. It allows Nefertiti a certain romantic glamour to match her regal status”.

 

And whilst I believe that Tyldesley has hit the nail right on the head in all four major points of observation that she has made here, that Nefertiti was a 'foreigner', who 'came to Egypt specifically to marry the king', and 'who brought with her strange, un-Egyptian religious ideas', thereby 'explaining Akhnaton's defection', Tyldesley herself will go on to conclude to the contrary (ibid., p. 46): "… Nefertiti, far from being a foreigner, must have been born a member of Egypt's wealthy élite".

Though not an Egyptian royal, as she adds (ibid., p. 47): "… the fact that Nefertiti never refers to herself as a 'King's Daughter' makes such speculation fruitless. Nefertiti could not have been a royal princess".

Nefertiti, however, was foreign in her origins, being a Phoenician, not an Egyptian, princess, who had married a king of Israel, and who had brought her strange un-Israelite religious ideas into the land. And, just as she had - according to the Bible - influenced Ahab who had abandoned traditional (though not Omride) ways, so did she – from the perspective of Egyptian history - influence the highly unconventional pharaoh, Akhnaton (still Ahab, I believe), who is well known to have abandoned traditional Egyptian practices.

The queen exerted so strong an influence over king Ahab in Israel that he, like Solomon before him, had built a temple for this foreign wife of his and had also set up a shrine to the goddess Ashtarte (I Kings 16:32-33). And she would influence Akhnaton in much the same way. Accordingly some Egyptologists, as we are going to read, even suggest that it may have been Nefertiti, rather than Akhnaton, who instigated the Aton cult.

And I would expect that - based on a Jezebel parallel - there may be at least some truth in this.

We also may ask the question, was there a connection between Nefertiti's manifestations in Egypt as a fruitful wife and the fertility goddess, Asherah/Astarte (Aphrodite)? Jehu will make reference to Jehoram of his mother's "many whoredoms and sorceries" as if still continuing, just before her death (2 Kings 9:22).

Enough has been written about Nefertiti's career with Akhnaton in el-Amarna (ancient Akhetaton), where she is supposed to have given him 6 daughters, but no sons. This period of her life at least is generally well known as there are representations of it everywhere in Akhetaton. The two of them were apparently very much in love, and they were not afraid to show it publicly. In fact they could both be quite uninhibited and exhibitionistic. Many pictures show them embracing. Other pictures show the whole family in domestic scenes.

Queen Nefertiti seemed to be a beloved wife and mother.

The pair often presented themselves to their subjects at the Window of Appearance (or palace balcony), depicting themselves there as basking in the rays of the Aton.

Akhnaton undoubtedly had a great love for his Chief Royal wife, Nefertiti, just as Ahab had for Jezebel. Akhnaton and Nefertiti were inseparable in early reliefs, many of which showed their family in loving, almost utopian compositions. At times, the king is shown riding with her in a chariot, kissing her in public and with her sitting on his knee. One eulogy proclaims her:

 

… the Heiress, Great in the Palace, Fair of Face, Adorned with the Double Plumes, Mistress of Happiness, Endowed with Favors, at hearing whose voice the King rejoices, the Chief Wife of the King, his beloved, the Lady of the Two Lands, Neferneferuaten-Nefertiti, May she live for Ever and Always.

 

But Nefertiti, though Akhnaton's favourite wife, was no more Akhnaton's only wife than she was Ahab's sole wife; though she was undoubtedly also the favoured wife. "Nefertiti is so consistently presented as Akhenaten's consort, and is so obviously at the center of the nuclear royal family, that there is a tendency to forget that Akhenaten followed New Kingdom tradition in having many secondary wives". Many Egyptologists think that it was probably with another royal wife called Kiya that the king sired his successors, Smenkhkare and Tutankhamun. Nefertiti also, according to some, shared her husband with two other royal wives named Mekytaten and Ankhesenpaaten, as well as later with her probable daughter, Meritaten.

J. Dunn believes Queen Nefertiti to be "perhaps better known than her husband, the heretic king Akhenaten (Amenhotep IV)":

 

It is said that even in the ancient world, her beauty was famous, and her famous statue, found in a sculptor's workshop, is not only one of the most recognizable icons of ancient Egypt, but also the topic of some modern controversy. She was more than a pretty face however, for she seems to have taken a hitherto unprecedented level of importance in the Amarna period of Egypt's 18th Dynasty.

 

In artwork, her status is evident and indicates that she had almost as much influence as her husband. For example, she is depicted nearly twice as often in reliefs as her husband, at least during the first five years of his reign. Indeed, she is once even shown in the conventional pose of a pharaoh smiting his (or in this case, her) enemy.

Tyldesley puts all this into more mathematical terms, with reference to the vast number of inscribed and painted sandstone, or talatat, blocks, that have survived at Thebes:

 

The indexing of the talatat blocks has made one thing very clear: Nefertiti enjoyed a far greater prominence in Theban state ritual than had ever been imagined. A brief analysis of the images of the recovered blocks makes fascinating reading. By 1976 there had been 329 confirmed occurrences of the name or figure of Amenhotep IV [Akhnaton] and 564 occurrences of Nefertiti's name or image. When broken down these figures seem even more startling: for example, Nefertiti's name appeared sixty-seven times on offering tables, Nefertiti and Amenhotep appeared together thirteen times, and only three tables bore Amenhotep's name alone. This imbalance is likely to be at least in part a reflection of the fact that the recovered blocks … include a disproportionate number of images from Hwt-Benben, a building which was particularly associated with Nefertiti. Nevertheless, Nefertiti's prominence in what until now had been a king-dominated sphere, is beyond dispute.

 

Nefertiti also fulfilled an important religious rôle in the Aton cult and mythology, apparently, according to Tyldesley, even venturing beyond Egyptian women's traditionally allowed service in temples, as "priestesses, musicians and dancers [whilst] many queens had held honorary positions in the cult of Hathor". Thus:

 

Some queens had enjoyed a more intimate relationship with the gods. It was recognized that the queen could stimulate or arouse susceptible male deities, and the king's grandmother Mutemwia had even conceived a child with Amen. Centuries of tradition, however, decreed that the king, and only the king, as chief priest of all cults, should offer to the gods. Within the precincts of Hwt-Benben it was Nefertiti and not Amenhotep who took the king's role of priest.

 

"Nefertiti" moreover, as Tyldesley had written, “had transformed herself into a semi-divine human being”.

She was a virtual goddess.

 

Whilst Tyldesley is of the opinion that such unconventional initiatives were actually instigated by Akhnaton:

 

… Akhenaten's wife was not only a highly capable woman but was - if the evidence from Amarna is to be believed - the passion of his life and the center of his universe. It is therefore not surprising that Akhenaten, conscious of the lack of a female aspect to the Aten and aware of just how useful an ally a strong queen could be, promoted Nefertiti to provide the absent element of the new cult …. This aspect of Nefertiti's queenship was now to be emphasized as never before. Nefertiti was to become Akhenaten's religious twin, the female complement to his male role. The Aten, Akhenaten son of Re, and Nefertiti, his wife, now formed an inverted semi-triad which paralleled the ancient triad formed by the creator god, his son Shu, and Shu's twin consort Tefnut”,

 

I would instead opine that it was Nefertiti who had largely taken the initiative here, introducing this female element of herself into Egyptian mythology, as "a living female fertility symbol". She served as the fertility goddess Ashtarte (or Baalath) to Akhnaton as Baal.

Her being Baalath might strengthen my identification of her as EA’s Baalat-Neše.

Then, all of a sudden, the famous Nefertiti disappears from the Akhetaton scene. And no one can say exactly why.

Though our parallel with Jezebel will allow us to go all of the necessary steps further.

 

Her Decline and Death

 

 

“The account of Jehu’s revolt has long been recognized as a masterpiece of historical narrative. The wealth of detail, the sure touch in the delineation of the various strong personalities involved, and the headlong pace of the narrative make it certain that the author is a contemporary and perhaps even an eyewitness”.

 

The Jerome Biblical Commentary

 

 

Part B:

Reason for Nefertiti’s sudden disappearance

 

 

 

The Queen’s Return to Israel?

 

Dr. I. Velikovsky, to assist himself in attempting to determine the reason for Nefertiti’s sudden disappearance from the public arena in Akhetaton - after she having been so prominent there for about a decade - turned to the Oedipus cycle of legends that had served him so well in his reconstructing the El Amarna [EA] period (Oedipus and Akhnaton, 1960, ch., “Nefretete”). According to a version of the drama, Oedipus sent away in shame his young wife Euryganeia and four daughters.

There is probably a degree of truth in this legend.

What we now know for certain (if she were also Jezebel) is that Nefertiti was not murdered in Egypt, nor did she die in Egypt, but that she, like Euryganeia of the legend, left the country alive. Probably, as the former great beauty (“Beauty forever and ever”) advanced to middle age she was naturally superseded by the younger woman, Meritaten. Women were quite expendable in those days - even Nefertiti, it seems, despite her former power and glory. As Joyce Tyldesley has well observed: “Her political role may well have stemmed from her religious prominence” (Nefertiti, pp. 3-4). And that ‘religious prominence’ was based upon her fecundity. She may have outlived her usefulness and was no longer needed.

Nefertiti would no doubt have come to anticipate this outcome. Nevertheless, there is a certain pathetic and tragic aspect to it all. “It is sad to see in [Nefertiti's] last portrait how tired and sorrowful she grew”, wrote Velikovsky (op. cit., p. 97). And that tragic element was only going to intensify as pent-up anger against the murderous Baal régime that she had embodied would detonate in the person of Jehu.

Nefertiti, as always, would take her ‘banishment’ from Egypt with her customary dignity, like the king’s daughter that she was. Tyldesley has noted how Queen Nefertiti had always maintained her composure, even as she began to age; for example in regard to her deportment (op. cit., p. 50): “Whatever her shape, Nefertiti appears consistently graceful in her movements”. Keeping up appearances was always most important to the queen - {Tyldesley has devoted many pages to Nefertiti's appearance and dress. See her Index} - and this applied even, as we shall see, when she was faced with her death.

Leaving behind her, in Egypt, a daughter to serve as Akhnaton's wife, the aging queen returned to Israel to be with her king-son, Jehoram, in Jezreel.

But not for long.

 

The Death of Nefertiti

 

Having seen to the murder of so many in Israel (and perhaps also in Egypt), the queen would now meet her own bloody death, before the rampaging Jehu (Horemheb) (2 Kings 9:30-37):

 

When Jehu came to Jezreel, Jezebel heard of it; she painted her eyes with kohl, and adorned her head, and looked out of the Window. As Jehu entered the gate, she said, ‘Is it peace, Zimri, murderer of your master?’ He looked up to the Window and said, ‘Who is on my side? Who?’ Two or three eunuchs looked out at him. He said, ‘Throw her down’. So they threw her down; some of her blood spattered on the wall and on the horses, which trampled on her. Then he went in and ate and drank; he said, ‘See to that cursed woman and bury her; for she is a king's daughter’. But when they went to bury her, they found no more of her than the skull and the feet and the palms of her hands. When they came back and told him, he said, ‘This is the word of the Lord, which he spoke by his servant Elijah the Tishbite. ‘In the territory of Jezreel the dogs shall eat the flesh of Jezebel; the corpse of Jezebel shall be like dung on the field in the territory of Jezreel, so that no one can say. This is Jezebel’.’

 

This is a most arresting narrative. Indeed, according to The Jerome Biblical Commentary (article “2 Kings”, 1968, 10:56):

 

The account of Jehu’s revolt has long been recognized as a masterpiece of historical narrative. The wealth of detail, the sure touch in the delineation of the various strong personalities involved, and the headlong pace of the narrative make it certain that the author is a contemporary and perhaps even an eyewitness.

 

Notice the Akhetaton-like, or Nefertiti-like, elements in the above biblical narrative. The Queen hastily paints her eyes with kohl. Tyldesley (op. cit., p. 196), tells that the right - and only - eye of the Queen’s Berlin bust is “ringed with a black kohl line”.

She adorns her head.

And she takes her place at the Window; most likely Israel’s version of Amarna’s

 

“Window of Appearance[s]”

 

(hence I have taken the liberty of using the capital ‘W’), which was the palace balcony.

 

And this may only highlight the tragic aspect of her death; for did the Queen’s mind fleetingly flit back to those glory days when she and her husband Akhnaton had presented themselves at Amarna’s Window of Appearance[s] to those seemingly adoring crowds?

But on this present occasion, instead of adoring subjects below to greet her, the Queen looked down upon the sullen face of Jehu. And the balcony upon which she stood in her regal adornment would now be the stage for the Queen’s headlong fall to her tragic death.

Nor had she been under any illusions about Jehu’s intentions for her. Far from having adorned herself for the purpose of attempting to seduce Jehu, she did this in order that she might face death like a queen. It was perfectly in keeping with Jezebel’s proud character.

 

 

 

Beyond Mummification

 

 

 

“Jehu, when later he as Horemheb had the opportunity to deface the Atonist images in Egypt, memorialised Nefertiti’s/Jezebel’s shattering death, that he himself had eye-witnessed in Jezreel of Israel, by turning the talatat blocks upside down and defacing her, and slashing the Aton’s rays across the fingertips”.

 

 

 

Queen Jezebel even insulted General Jehu by naming him, ‘Zimri’ – the latter having been a former army captain who had, like Jehu, slain the king of Israel and had then assumed rulership (1 Kings 16:9-12).

The narrative of the Queen’s death, as we read previously, provides us, in just a few verses, with certain facts about Nefertiti that many Egyptologists ‘would kill for’ to know, namely:

 

What became of Akhnaton’s famous wife?

 

How, when and where did she die? And:

 

Why has her mummy never been found?

 

Pharaoh Akhnaton had decreed, according to J. Tyldesley (Nefertiti, p. 116):

 

If the Great Queen Nefertiti who lives, should die in any town of north, south, west or east, she shall be brought and buried at Akhetaten”.

 

But that was not destined to happen. The Queen did not die in any one of Akhetaton’s suburbs, but had actually left the city before she died.

Jehu, when later he as Horemheb had the opportunity to deface the Atonist images in Egypt, memorialised Nefertiti’s/Jezebel’s shattering death, that he himself had eye-witnessed in Jezreel of Israel, by turning the talatat blocks upside down and defacing her, and slashing the Aton’s rays across the fingertips.

 

A Chronology of Nefertiti’s Public Career

 

Identifying Nefertiti with Jezebel ought enable one now to sharpen up the chronology of the troublesome El Amarna [EA] era revised. The Phoenician queen would have become Ahab’s wife at some point during his reign in the mid-C9th BC.

G. Gammon (“A Chronology for the Eighteenth Dynasty”, SISR, Vol. II, 1978, pp. 93-94), who is of the opinion that “the el-Amarna correspondence probably covers a period of a little more than 18 years, from two to three years before the Egyptian court moved to Akhetaten until it was abandoned by Tutankhamun in the 3rd or 4th year of his reign”, has dated a revised Akhnaton to 848-832 BC, giving him “a co-regency of 11 years” with his father Amenhotep III. Whilst that is a very good effort on Gammon’s part, it may be a little late insofar as there is no overlap in his chronology of Akhnaton with Ahab, whom he has departing from the scene around 853 BC (some 5 years before the commencement of Akhnaton’s reign).

 

According to my own scheme, Ahab was Akhnaton:

 

King Ahab and his Two Sons

 


 

Gammon has dated the commencement of the reigns of Ahab’s two sons, Ahaziah and Jehoram, to, respectively, 853 BC and 852 BC.

(Biblical historians can sometimes come to light with a complex co-rex and pro-rex situation between Ahab and these two sons).

According to AkhetEgyptology: “From surviving records it seems [Nefertiti] either fell [excuse the pun] from favor or died at around year 12 of Akhenaten’s reign. In this case her burial may have been elsewhere”.

We now know that the Queen at her death was un-buriable. And she certainly died “elsewhere” in relation to Egypt.

Projecting back those 12 or so years from c. 841 BC, the approximate year of the commencement of Jehu’s reign, when the queen met her violent death, we arrive right at the time of Ahab’s year of death in 853 BC. This is a very encouraging chronological fit (though of course still open to any necessary fine tuning).

The Queen noticeably disappears from the biblical narrative for this entire period.

But, as we shall read below: “She’s back”. There is currently much excitement over Nicholas Reeves’ claim to have found the lost tomb of Queen Nefertiti.

Mark Strauss, for instance, has written about it in National Geographic


 

She’s back.

If you’ve been online anytime within the last few days, you’ve likely encountered an onslaught of news articles declaring that University of Arizona archaeologist Nicholas Reeves might have found the long-sought tomb of Queen Nefertiti, who died in 1331 B.C. [sic]

The legendary Egyptian queen has been hiding in plain sight, Reeves says, in a large chamber behind a concealed door in the tomb of King Tutankhamun, who may or may not have been Nefertiti’s son.

Excitement over a historical find inevitably leads to speculation built upon speculation—which is why now is a good time to hit the pause button and rewind. This is the third alleged discovery of Nefertiti’s tomb in the last 12 years.

What's more, recent DNA evidence suggests that the ancient queen’s body may already be lying in the Egyptian Museum in Cairo, one of a group of mummies unearthed in 1898.

 

Cracking the Case


 

Reeves made his discovery when Factum Arte, a Spanish group specializing in the replication of artistic works, conducted detailed scans of Tutankhamun’s tomb.

The high-resolution images were used to create a nearby facsimile to accommodate the mobs of tourists who visit Egypt’s Valley of the Kings to see the final resting place of the boy pharaoh. But, last February, upon examining the scans, Reeves saw fissures that he believes indicate the presence of two sealed doors in the tomb's north and west walls.

The smaller of the two, he says, likely leads to a storeroom. But the larger one is fit for a queen. ….

[End of quote]

 

But if I am correct in identifying Queen Nefertiti with the biblical Jezebel, then there is no hope of hopeful archaeologists ever finding her mummy. As said above: “We now know that the Queen at her death was un-buriable”. Thus, despite Jehu’s best intentions to honour her in death (2 Kings 9:34): ‘Go now, see to this accursed woman, and bury her, for she was a king’s daughter’, to carry out Jehu’s request turned out to be physically impossible (v. 35): “So they went to bury her, but they found no more of her than the skull and the feet and the palms of her hands”.

Jehu recognised the hand of God in this (vv. 36-37): “And he said, ‘This is the word of the Lord, which He spoke by His servant Elijah the Tishbite, saying, ‘On the plot of ground at Jezreel dogs shall eat the flesh of Jezebel; and the corpse of Jezebel shall be as refuse on the surface of the field, in the plot at Jezreel, so that they shall not say, ‘Here lies Jezebel’.’’”

 

Her Character

 

“As we have it the bust of Nefertiti is artistically and ritualistically complete, exalted, harsh and alien … This is the least consoling of the great art works. Its popularity is based on misunderstanding and suppression of its unique features. The proper response to the Nefertiti bust is fear”.

 

 

 

At Microsoft® Encarta® Encyclopedia we read about Queen Jezebel:

 

Jezebel introduced the worship of Baal into Israel, thereby inciting a mutual enmity with the prophets of Jehovah. She is portrayed as the most bitter opponent of the prophet Elijah and as instigating the murder of one Naboth for possession of his vineyard (see 1 Kings 21). Jezebel survived her husband by 14 years and was killed by Jehu when he seized the thrones of Israel and Judah (see 2 Kings 9). The name of Jezebel was held in reproach among the Jews because she introduced tyrannical government and the worship of foreign gods. In the New Testament (see Revelation 2:20), the name Jezebel is given to a wicked woman who exerts a corrupting influence. In English it has come to signify a brazen or forward woman.

[End of quote]

 

Jezebel’s name is now a byword for a wicked woman. Jehu speaks of her “many whoredoms and sorceries” as still continuing (2 Kings 9:22).

Here are some Net samples of her:

 

How Bad Was Jezebel?

 

For more than two thousand years, Jezebel has been saddled with a reputation as the bad girl of the Bible, the wickedest of women. This ancient queen has been denounced as a murderer, prostitute and enemy of God, and her name has been adopted for lingerie lines and World War II missiles alike. But just how depraved was Jezebel? (“Jezebel Phoenician Queen of Israel”).

 

All Dressed Up and No Place to Go

 

By Lynn Lusby Pratt

CBN.com - Here Lies Jezebel, a most wicked queen.

 

She was first a pagan princess. When Ahab became king of Israel (and he was no saint himself!), he married her, making her the queen over God’s people. Bad move. She brought in all the false religions with their wicked ceremonies. Knowledge of the true God may have been lost forever, if it hadn’t been for the prophet Elijah’s work.

Jezebel sponsored nearly 1,000 prophets of false gods; she killed people to get what she wanted (1 Kings 21:17, 13, 14). When Elijah called down God’s fire from Heaven (1 Kings 18) - proving that Jezebel’s gods were fake - everyone was scared to death … except Jezebel. She went after Elijah. And she swore by the false gods that she’d kill him (1 Kings 19:2). But God didn't let her. ….

 

MOUNTAINTOP LOYALTY: THE ELIJAH EXPERIENCE #13 RUNNING FROM THE QUEEN

 

In spite of Elijah’s great triumph in the trial on Mount Carmel and the dramatic demonstration that Elijah’s God is the Lord of heaven and earth and the source of Israel’s blessings, Jezebel is undaunted. Hers is no empty threat - remember, she sent Elijah a note promising to kill him - and Ahab has shown that he is either unwilling or unable to restrain her. So Elijah knows that one of the main sources of Jezebel’s present apostasy is still spewing out its poison and that his own life is in danger.

After running a hundred miles through the sand to save himself, poor Elijah had to be thinking to himself: ‘What does a guy have to do?’ And perhaps that was his problem: he thought the saving of Israel WAS HIS problem . . . and not God’s problem.

On the other side of the desert, you really have to wonder about this woman named Jezebel. What in the world is driving her? She hadn’t personally gone to the top of Mount Carmel, but she had certainly heard all the details.

And not only had she heard about her 450 Baal prophets being executed, but she had to also have heard how Baal had failed to deliver that day. Her hand-chosen men had prayed and shouted for nine or ten hours in the hot blazing sun, and no answer. They had screamed themselves hoarse, and not a peep from her beloved Baal. Didn’t that get through her thick skull? Did nothing penetrate the mind of this woman? ….

 

[End of Net samples]

 

Undoubtedly one of Queen Jezebel’s worst crimes was, to satisfy her husband Ahab’s cupidity, to have the innocent Naboth, the owner of an adjacent plot of land, unjustly framed and subsequently stoned to death, so that Ahab could get his hands on Naboth’s vineyard. It was Ahab’s willingness to accept this fait accompli that brought destruction to his House. Nor would Jezebel escape the vengeance (1 Kings 21). Whatever her good points, Jezebel was a vain, proud, stubborn, conniving, greedy, unjust and murderous woman.

As Robert Palmer sang: “A pretty face … don’t mean a pretty heart …”.

 

Queen Nefertiti’s Likenesses to Jezebel

 

Yakutchik’s suggestion that it may have been Nefertiti, rather than Akhnaton, who had instigated the new Aton religion in Egypt, is right in line with her character as Jezebel, who was the originator of Phoenician Baalism in Israel, in which regard she ruled her husband:

 

It’s clear [Nefertiti] had an unusually high status during her husband’s turbulent reign. The couple’s renegade practice … they worshipped the sun disc god over all others … threatened Egypt’s priesthood and ensured they would have no shortage of powerful enemies. Some Egyptologists think it was Nefertiti who actually instigated this new religion and catalyzed a rift between the royals and the priests.

 

That is 1 Kings all over again!

The Queen introduces the pagan cult, causing dissension amongst the people and the priests. No doubt she - equally as fiery and determined as her opponent, Elijah - now persecuted the priests and prophets of the old religion in Egypt, represented by Amun, just as she had done in Israel. 

Yakutchik continues, though attributing the religious initiatives to Akhnaton, rather than to Nefertiti: “As Akhenaten disposed of the plethora of old gods, enraging his priests and subjects, he likely needed a strong female figure to soften the abstract austerity of the sun deity, according to British archeologist Joyce Tyldesley, who wrote a biography of Nefertiti”.

And that religious action, in which Queen Nefertiti was so significantly involved, serves to answer the question that Yakutchik will now pose (as indeed she will go on to answer anyway):

 

How does one of the most powerful, stunningly beautiful and controversial queens of ancient Egypt virtually vanish from history? With the help of her enemies, apparently. And if there’s one thing Egyptologists agree on when it comes to Nefertiti, it’s that she had plenty of enemies. Like Akhenaten, Nefertiti’s name was erased from historical records and her many likenesses defaced after her death, as Egypt reverted to its former religion. With so many enemies, the obvious question is whether Nefertiti died naturally, or was she murdered? We don’t know ….

 

Actually we do know, I maintain.

 

One can easily understand why a woman such as Jezebel/Nefertiti would have accumulated, in the course of her public life, “plenty of enemies”. And unfortunately for her, one of these enemies was General Horemheb, known in Israel as Jehu. And this man, unsentimental, and despising the queen, was not easily put off, having a mind like a steel trap.

 

Conclusion

 

Yakutchik tells of the famous bust of Nefertiti in the Berlin Museum:

 

The wife of Pharaoh Akhenaten and perhaps a ruler in her own right after his death, Nefertiti was little more than a historical whisper when, in 1912, an exquisite limestone sculpture of her now-famous face was unearthed at the royal retreat of Amarna. It was more than 3,200 years old, dating from 1345 B.C [sic]. … from the moment it went on display at the Egyptian Museum in Berlin in 1924, the enigmatic bust with the swanlike neck assumed a place as one of the world’s most famous icons. Little was known [that phrase again] about the woman whose beauty it celebrated.

 

How should one respond to the bust of Queen Nefertiti in the Berlin Museum?

There are probably as many responses to it as there are beholders. And Tyldesley (op. cit., pp. 197-198) has provided a sample of some of these, positive and negative, concluding with this telling one from Camille Paglia:

 

As we have it the bust of Nefertiti is artistically and ritualistically complete, exalted, harsh and alien … This is the least consoling of the great art works. Its popularity is based on misunderstanding and suppression of its unique features. The proper response to the Nefertiti bust is fear.

 

To which comment, Tyldesley adds: “Nefertiti herself would probably have approved”.

My view of the female character who inspired this magnificent limestone bust - coloured as it is now by the fact, as I believe, that I know who Queen Nefertiti really was, namely Jezebel - would definitely correspond more with Camille Paglia’s estimation of it, than with that of those who have fallen completely under its spell. This piece of art has about it a certain coldness and detachedness that could elicit fear. Certainly, I suspect it would have had this sort of unhappy effect upon those many who had found themselves opposed to the queen during her lifetime, in the C9th BC; enemies like Elijah, for instance, who, though himself a “prophet of fire”, had had to run for his life from this fire-breathing queen.

The reaction then was: Be Afraid. Be very Afraid!

 

 

 

Queen Jezebel’s Seal

 

 

The seal has ‘symbols typical of the 18th Dynasty’s Queen Tiy’.

 

 

 

Following on from Dr. Immanuel Velikovsky’s lowering of the El Amarna [EA] Age of pharaohs Amenhotep III and IV (Akhnaton), and Queen Nefertiti, down from the C14th BC (where the textbooks locate EA) to the C9th BC - according to which biblical characters and events of the latter era can be found in the extensive EA documents - I have proposed an identification of the famed Queen Nefertiti with the biblical bad girl, Queen Jezebel. Such an identification has, I think, provided Egyptology with an explanation for the beginning and the ending of Queen Nefertiti of whom only the middle phase of life has until now been known. And, given Queen Jezebel’s shattering fall and horrible death, eaten by dogs (1 Kings 21: 23-28, 2 kings 9: 30 - 37), and hence physically ‘beyond redemption’, it meant that Egyptologists have been completely wasting their time looking for the mummy of Queen Nefertiti.

Most likely, also, the letter-writing Queen Jezebel (1 Kings 21:8) can now be identified also with the only female correspondent of EA, Baalat-Neše, or Neše-Baalat; a name commonly thought to mean “Mistress of Lions” (cf. Sumerian: NIN. UR. MAH. MESH). 

 

As far as the actual seal of Jezebel goes, what one realises when scrutinizing it, is its thorough Egyptian-ness.

 

The Egyptian Correlation

 

Professor Marjo Korpel thinks that she may have sorted out an apparent problem with the seal regarding its association with the biblical Queen Jezebel. In the process of her argument she points out what others, too, have also not failed to notice, that the seal has ‘symbols typical of the 18th Dynasty’s Queen Tiy’ (http://www.biblicalarchaeology.org/daily/biblical-artifacts/inscriptions/fit-for-a-queen-jezebels-royal-seal/):

 

Fit for a Queen: Jezebel’s Royal Seal

 


 

Thousands and thousands of seals and seal impressions (bullae) from the ancient Near East have been found, including Hebrew exemplars in Israel. Documents would be tied up with string and a blob of clay placed over the string; a seal would then be impressed into the clay to identify the sender and assure the security of the document. Or a seal would be impressed into the handle of a jar to identify the owner, for example, the so-called l melekh handles ([belonging] to the king), of which there are several thousand. Or a seal could be used to prevent unauthorized entry to a storehouse. Deuteronomy 32:34 speaks of the Lord’s attributes, “sealed up in My treasuries.”

 

Of all the thousands of exemplars with Hebrew inscriptions, however, only about 35 belong to women. This paucity nevertheless demonstrates two things. First, some women did indeed possess and use personal seals. Second, this was true of only very few women. Ancient Israel, like its neighbors, was a patriarchal society. Women possessing seals clearly belonged to the upper classes.

 

On two seals the female owner is described as a daughter of the king. Set off against 24 attestations of a son of the king, this once again demonstrates that women had a harder time attaining a position of influence than men, even if they were princesses.

 

One of the most famous queens of ancient Israel is Jezebel, the daughter of the Phoenician king Ethbaal, wife of Israelite King Ahab (872–851 B.C.E.) and archetype of the wicked woman. I believe that she had a seal and that it has been recovered, although until now not confidently identified.

 

http://cdn.biblicalarchaeology.org/wp-content/uploads/jezebel-seal-2.jpg

 

The seal bears four letters (YZBL) interspersed around the images. Although scholars have long recognized the similarity of the inscription to the name Jezebel, they have usually refrained from making a connection to the infamous Queen Jezebel, Phoenician wife of the Israelite king Ahab. With the reconstruction of two additional letters (L’) in the damaged area at the top, however, author Marjo Korpel argues that the inscription originally read L’YZBL, or “(belonging) to Jezebel” and was in fact the personal seal of the Biblical queen.

 

Jezebel, though a woman, plays a major role, but backstage. Her influence on her husband, King Ahab, was enormous. As the Biblical text puts it: “There was none who sold himself to do what was evil in the sight of the Lord like Ahab, whom Jezebel his wife incited” (1 Kings 21:25). She never gave up her Phoenician religion, nor her devotion to Baal. Ahab sinned not only by taking a worshiper of Baal for his wife, but, at her urging he, too worshiped Baal (1 Kings 16:31). No doubt this strong Biblical criticism is colored by later Deuteronomistic theology, but it stands to reason that Jezebel did deserve her reputation somehow.

 

Jezebel went even further. She began killing off the prophets of the Lord (1 Kings 18:4). Apparently a hundred were saved when they were hidden in two caves by Obadiah. At that point the prophet Elijah confronts the king, who responds to Elijah with the famous line: “Is that you, you troubler of Israel?” (1 Kings 18:17).

 

Elijah then sets up a contest on Mount Carmel: 450 prophets of Baal and 400 prophets of Asherah who sup at Jezebel’s table (1 Kings 18:19) face Elijah alone. A bull is placed on Baal’s altar, but try as they may, even gashing themselves with knives, the prophets of Baal can produce no fire. Then Elijah orders water to be poured on his meal offering to the Lord. Elijah beseeches the Lord and fire descends from heaven consuming the meal offering and even the water (1 Kings 18:23-38).

 

In another episode, Ahab decides to enlarge his palace complex by acquiring the adjacent vineyard owned by Naboth. However, Naboth refuses to sell at any price. Disappointed and depressed, Ahab tells Jezebel about it. I will give you the vineyard of Naboth the Jezreelite, she tells him (1 Kings 21:7). She acts in Ahab’s name, even using the king’s seal rather than her own. She arranges for Naboth to be falsely accused, and he is stoned to death. When Jezebel learns that the deed has been done, she urges Ahab: “Arise, take possession of the vineyard of Naboth the Jezreelite which he refused to give you for money” (1 Kings 21:15).

 

Elijah passes judgment in the name of the Lord: “As with Ahab, whose blood dogs will lap up, so with Jezebel: Dogs will devour her in Jezreel” (1Kings 21:19-23).

 

Jezebel’s life indeed ends badly. When Elisha (Elijah’s successor) anoints Jehu as Ahab’s successor, Jehu is instructed to wipe out Ahab’s line: “That I may avenge on Jezebel the blood of my servants the prophets” (2 Kings 9:7).

 

When Jehu arrives in Jezreel, where Ahab has a royal residence, Jezebel prepares to greet him. She paints her eyes with kohl and dresses her hair and appears at an upper window, apparently hoping to seduce Jehu (2 Kings 9:30). [Mackey’s comment: Perhaps she may have been too old by now to have contemplated that. Rather she was acting the part of a proud queen]. Instead, Jezebel is thrown down from the window. Her blood splattered on the wall and on the horses, and they trampled on her (2 Kings 9:33).

 

Jehu orders her to be buried. So they went to bury her; but all they found of her were her skull, the feet and the hands. They came back and reported to [Jehu]. And he said, “It is just as the Lord spoke through his servant Elijah the Tishbite: The dogs shall devour the flesh of Jezebel in the field of Jezreel; and the carcass of Jezebel shall be like dung on the ground” (2 Kings 9:35-37).

 

The seal I want to deal with here comes from a private collection, and we don’t know where or when it was found. In some American and Israeli circles, this alone would condemn it to oblivion. Indeed, these critics would ban publication of such an item. This, in my view, is nonsense. Yes, we must be cautious in assessing the authenticity of unprovenanced finds, but we cannot condemn the whole lot simply because they are unprovenanced. As Professor Othmar Keel recently pointed out, even in the highly praised Corpus of West Semitic Stamp Seals published by Nahman Avigad and Benjamin Sass (Jerusalem, 1997), only 10 percent of the seals discussed come from professional excavations.a

 

When what I believe to be the seal of Queen Jezebel came to scholarly attention in the early 1960s, it was donated to the Israel Department of Antiquities and gratefully accepted. Another day and another time! In 1964, it was published in the Israel Exploration Journal by Israel’s then-leading paleographer, Nahman Avigad.1

 

Despite the fact that the seal bears an inscription YZBL … which spells Jezebel in Hebrew, as Avigad recognized, he nevertheless concluded that there was no basis for identifying the owner of our seal with this famous lady [Queen Jezebel], although, as Avigad recognized, they may have been contemporaries, and the seal seems worthy of a queen. Moreover, Jezebel is a rare Phoenician name.

 

Later, the reading Jezebel and the possible identification of the seal as Queen Jezebel’s was rejected because the spelling of the name on the seal is different from the spelling of the name in the Bible. On the seal, as noted, it is spelled YZBL; in the Bible, it is spelled ‘YZBL … where ‘ represents, by scholarly convention, the Hebrew letter aleph … a guttural with a throat-clearing sound.2

 

I believe I have an answer to this problem.

 

As Avigad notes, this is a very fancy seal. It is large, as these things go (1.25 inches from top to bottom). It is filled with the common Egyptian symbols that were often used in Phoenicia at this time.c At the top is a crouching winged sphinx with a woman’s face and (part of) a female Isis/Hathor crown. The body of the sphinx is a lioness (cf. Ezekiel 19), clearly appropriate for the seal of a queen. To the left is an Egyptian ankh, the sign of life. A line then divides these symbols from a lower register. Below the line is a winged disk (which, incidentally, also appears on many Hebrew l melekh handles). Below this is an Egyptian-style falcon. On either side of the falcon is a uraeus, the cobra most commonly seen on the headdresses of Egyptian royalty and divinities. Each of these snakes faces outward. The serpent-like symbol beneath the falcon is actually a lotus, which refers to regeneration but also is a typical female symbol generally connected to women, but especially royal women. The densely filled space reflects the horror vacui (fear of empty space) that is typical.

 

One other thing that may at first seem peculiar: The four letters of the inscription appear to be scattered in the interstices of the symbols that almost fill the space. Two letters (Y and Z) are just below the sun disk. Tucked into the lower left is the B. Tucked into the lower right is the L.

 

Actually, this is not as peculiar as it might seem at first. We have many seals where the lettering identifying the owner is distributed around an elaborate decoration in a way that matches the Jezebel seal perfectly.

 

But what about the critical missing aleph at the beginning of the spelling of the name Jezebel in Hebrew? Actually, there are two letters that we would expect to find in a seal like this. In addition to the aleph, we would expect an L, or lamed, preceding the name, as, for example, in the l melekh handles. The lamed means to and is often translated “(belonging) to”. In short, the lamed indicates ownership and appears on almost all seals before a name.

 

So we should expect two additional letters before the four letters that actually appear on this seal, a lamed and then an aleph. Though theoretically any letter of the alphabet could fill the space of the second letter, only an aleph produces an acceptable name for such an elaborate seal.

 

There is one damaged part of this seal, at the very top. It is just large enough for the two missing letters: lamed and aleph. In my view, the broken-off part of the seal originally contained these two letters.3

 

In short, the name Jezebel appears exactly as it should: L YZBL, or “Belonging to Jezebel”.”

 

There are additional reasons to believe that this Jezebel is the queen who figures so prominently in the Bible.

 

Of course, the seal does not contain her father’s name or the addition “queen.” The unusually large size alone, however, suggests a very wealthy, influential person. The winged sphinx, winged sun disk and especially the falcon are well-known symbols of royalty in Egypt. The female Isis/Hathor crown on the winged sphinx (symbol for the king) suggests the owner to be female. The graceful Egypto-Phoenician style points to someone who apparently loved this type of art, a circumstance tallying with the fact that Jezebel was a Phoenician princess (1 Kings 16:31).

The double uraeus (cobra) at the bottom is a typical symbol of queens with prominent roles in religion and politics from the 18th Egyptian dynasty onward. Especially the Egyptian queen Tiye seems to have functioned as a model for later queens. Often she is represented wearing the Isis/Hathor crown or the crown with double uraei. So, independent of the name of the owner, the iconography definitely suggests a queen. Although other individuals used the same symbols to indicate their closeness to the throne, no other seal uses them all.

[End of quote]

 

Conclusion

 

Whilst proponents of the conventional history would find it extremely hard to explain why Queen Jezebel might be emulating an Egyptian queen (Tiye) who had lived supposedly 500 years before her own time, the revision would have Queen Jezebel as a contemporary of Tiye’s.

 

My own revision has taken this further, by identifying the biblical Jezebel as a Queen of Egypt, as the famous Nefertiti. 

 

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