Numerous catastrophic events befell Egypt at the time of the Exodus. A frightful destruction of its national wealth; loss of two million people used as slaves; the death of its most powerful rulers. All public building ceases. Historians have looked vainly for this sign of the Exodus sometime in the great eighteenth and nineteenth dynasties of Thebes. They have never found it. And no wonder. The Exodus occurred at the end of the fifth dynasty, and during the sixth, thirteenth and fourteenth! Every one of these dynasties preserves the record of the calamity. After the Exodus an invasion of the Delta occurred, a natural consequence of Israel evacuating the territory. The story of the Exodus and of this invasion is recounted in the "Admonitions of Ipu-wer." A recent translation by John A. Wilson, of this early document may be found in Pritchard's "Ancient Near Eastern Texts", pages 441-444.
Who Were the Invaders?
The Egyptian priest Manetho wrote a full account of this great event. Much of his material has been preserved by Josephus. It is found in "Against Apion", book I, chapter 14, parts 73-92. Manetho began his report by admitting, "... for what cause I know not, a blast of God smote us; and unexpectedly, from the regions of the East, invaders of obscure race marched in confidence of victory against our land. By main force they easily seized it without striking a blow, and having overpowered the rulers of the land, they burned our cities ruthlessly, razed to the ground the temples of the gods, and treated all the natives with a cruel hostility, massacring some and leading into slavery the wives and children of others. Finally they appointed a king of one of their number whose name was Salatis. He had his seat at Memphis, levying tribute from Upper and Lower Egypt, and always leaving garrisons behind in the most advantageous positions." The name Salitis comes from a Semitic root meaning prince. It is the root of the word Sultan. These invaders came from the East. They must have passed to Egypt from Sinai. They made Egyptians slaves. Does the Bible speak of such a people who suddenly gained the dominance of this part of the world? Indeed, the Edomite Amalekites! As late as the days of King Saul the Egyptians were still partly subject to these people. In I Samuel 30:11-13 appears this account: "And they found an Egyptian in the field .... And David said unto him, To whom belongest thou? and whence art thou? And he said, I am a young man of Egypt, servant to an Amalekite; and my master left me, because three days ago I fell sick." In the time of Moses, shortly after the Exodus, Balaam spoke of Amalek in these terms: "And when he looked on Amalek, he took up his parable, and said, Amalek the first of nations: but his latter end shall be that he perish forever" (Numbers 24:20). "The first of nations" is not a matter of time, but of position and rank. The Amalekites were a nation late to arrive, since they stemmed from Esau. But they were suddenly plummeted to greatness by seizing the Delta at the Exodus. The first people to attack the children of Israel in Sinai were the Amalekites. "Then came Amalek, and fought with Israel in Rephidim" (Exodus 17:8). Had not God intervened on behalf of Israel, the Amalekites would have gained a great victory. From 1486 to 1076 the Amalekite Shepherd Kings and kindred peoples dominated the land of Egypt, as shall now be demonstrated. Historians have arbitrarily shortened this period to little more than a century and placed it much too early. But such are the vagaries of historians who have no respect for the record of history.
The Great Shepherds
Manetho tells us that Dynasty XV was composed of Shepherd Kings. The Egyptian word for them is "Hyksos". Hence these people are often spoken of as "the Hyksos." In the year the Hyksos overran Egypt they established their government at Memphis — 1486 — and ruled Egypt for the next 259 years. Nine years after the Exodus — in 1477 — they established court in Thebes. This explains why Eusebius assigns them only 250 years at Thebes — 1477-1227. The year 1477, uniquely, coincides with the founding of Troy, in Asia Minor, by a related people. Dynasty XV is listed below according to Josephus and Eusebius. The varied spellings are from transcriptions by Josephus and Eusebius.
Names of Hyksos Lengths of Reign Dates of Dynasty XV
1 Salatis or Saites 19 1486-1467
2 Bnon 44 1467-1423
3 Pachnan or Apachnan 36 1423-1387
4 Apophis 61 1387-1326
5 Iannas or Staan 50 1326-1276
6 Archles or Assis 49 1276-1227
The name of the fifth ruler is usually spelled by modern archaeologists "Khayan" — a title very similar to the Turkish and Tatar word Khan. The fourth king, Apophis, is an important figure in Greek history, as will be seen when restoring to the correct dates the rulers of the Greek city of Sicyon. The Greeks knew him as Epopeus. He was killed in Greece. The Great Hyksos kings of Dynasty XV tolerated the native rulers of Dynasty XIII of Thebes until 1227. In that year the Hyksos were forced to adopt a change in government at Thebes consequent to a native uprising. There followed, wrote Manetho, Dynasty XVII with 43 Shepherd Kings paralleled by 43 native kings of Thebes for 151 years. The native kings continued as vassals of the Hyksos. The 43 appointed Shepherd and native kings of Dynasty XVII ruled from 1227 to 1076, when the Hyksos were overthrown and the native Thebans of Dynasty XVII were superseded by Dynasty XVIII, In chart form the change in dynasties appears thus:
Dynasty XV 259 years Dynasty XIII 453 years
Dynasty XVII 151 years Dynasty XVII 151 years 1227-1076 1227-1076
The same pattern of change took place in 1179. In that year the fourteenth dynasty of Xois ceased (1663-1179). In its place arose an important new king line also called Dynasty XVII because it is related to the kings that came to power in Thebes in 1227. "They were brothers from Phoenicia and foreign kings: they seized Memphis." The Theban and Memphite branches were related by blood. The stronger ruled in Memphis the other in Thebes. This new line of Memphite kings ruled for 103 years — 1179-1076. The names and dates are these:
Names of Great Hyksos Lengths of Reign Dates of Dynasty XVII who Ruled in Memphis
1 Saites 19 1179-1160
2 Bnon 40 1160-1120
3 Archles or Archaes 30 1120-1090
4 Aphophis 14 1090-1076
The year 1076 is clearly one of the most important in Egyptian history. At the time of the conquest of Egypt by Dynasty XV, which set up its capital at Memphis, and later held court at Thebes, a lesser dynasty of foreigners set up a new regime in Upper Egypt in Thebes. This line of kings is known as Dynasty XVI. The names of these kings have not come down through the classical writers. There were 32 kings in all, ruling 511 or 518 years. The dates commence, of course. with the fall of the fifth dynasty 1486. Many have thought these long dynastic figures preposterous. But they make good sense when studied in connection with the expeditions of Thutmose the Great. The two different lengths of reign extend to 975 and 968. They represent the 23rd and the 30th years of Thutmose. The campaign of 975 took him along the southern Phoenician coast and as far inland as Megiddo. The campaign of the 30th year brought Egyptian arms to Kadesh (Jerusalem) and to Arvad far to the north, along the upper Phoenician coast. Since the Phoenicians were associated with the Amalekites in the invasions of Egypt, under Dynasty XVII, the final overthrow of those rulers was in Egyptian records synonymous with the conquest of Phoenicia. According to Africanus, the first five kings of Dynasty XVI ruled in Thebes for 190 years — 1487-1297. At that time another line of Shepherd kings replaced them at Thebes for 221 years according to Barbarus. These 221 years extend from 1297-1076. It is apparent therefore that after 1297 Dynasty XVI ceased to rule at Thebes. The classical writers do not state where the government of this dynasty was later centered, although toward the end it was located in Phoenicia where Thutmose ends the rule of these local kings. From Barbarus' account it is also clear that Dynasty XVII ruled at Thebes 70 years before replacing the Great Hyksos of the Fifteenth Dynasty in 1227. When Manetho stated the period as 151 years he referred only to the time after Dynasty XV. In actuality Dynasty XVII had been reigning in Thebes since 1297 and continued for 221 years. Thus all these figures, which at first seem so senseless, fit perfectly together. In chart form it may thus be illustrated.
Dynasty XVI 190 years Dynasty XV 259 years 1487-1297 1486-1227
Dynasty XVII 221 total years Dynasty XVII 151 years 1297-1076 1227-1076
One item yet remains for discussion — the 48-year period between 1227-1179. The names of the chief rulers of Egypt from 1486 to 1227 are known — Dynasty XV. So are the names of the rulers from 1179-1076 — the Memphite branch of Dynasty XVII. What is the name of the ruler between these two dynasties? Surely Egypt can hardly have left us without a name for 48 years! The answer is to be found in Africanus' account of Dynasty XV. Previously only Josephus' and Eusebius' transcriptions of Manetho were presented in chart form. It is now time to study Africanus' account. Scholars have long puzzled over Africanus' transcription of Dynasty XV from Manetho. It is most commonly thought that Julius Africanus misplaced the name of Apophis from fourth place to last place in the dynasty. This assumption is unfounded. Africanus meant exactly what he wrote — that an Apophis did in fact continue the line of kings of Dynasty XV after 1227. This second Apophis was not included after king Archles (1276-1227) by either Josephus or Eusebius. or in the Book of Sothis. Similarly Africanus did not include the first Apophis (1387-1326) whom the other transcribers recorded. That there were in fact three Hyksos kings with the name Apophis — two from Dynasty XV and one from Dynasty XVII — has been amply confirmed by archaeological discovery. From the monuments modern research teams have recovered the full Egyptian names of each: Akenenre Apopi (1387-1326) who was slain in Greece: Aweserre Apopi (1227-1166) who fought a native rebellion which rocked the country in 1227: and Nebkhepeshre Apopi (1090-1076) of Dynasty XVII, whose short reign ended in the collapse of Hyksos dominion in Egypt. ("Egypt of the Pharaohs" by Gardiner, pages 157-168 and 443.) The following chart presents the data preserved from Manetho by Africanus for Dynasty XV, beginning the year after the Exodus.
Dynasty XV According to Africanus Lengths of Reign Dates
Saites 19 1486-1467
Bnon 44 1467-1423
Pachnan 61 1423-1362
(Aphophis I — 1387-1326 — is not included by Africanus, and a longer reign of 61 years instead of 36 years is assigned to Pachnan.)
Staan (Iannas or Khian) 50 1326-1276
Archles 49 1276-1227
Aphophis (II) 61 1227-1166
This is the Hyksos ruler whose reign extended over the 48-year period between the end of Dynasty XV in 1227 and the commencement of Dynasty XVII in 1179.
Hyksos in Book of Sothis
According to the Book of Sothis there were seven Hyksos kings who dominated Egypt from 1486-1227. These kings in the book of Sothis are labeled "the Seventeenth Dynasty" according to the reckoning of George Syncellus. They were, however, the kings usually known as Dynasty XV. Syncellus and Barbarus and other writers in early times apparently followed different methods in numbering Manetho's dynasties. Notice that even Africanus grouped two lines of kings — one foreign, the other native — under the heading "Dynasty XVII." These Hyksos kings in the Book of Sothis appear as follows:
Names of Kings in Lengths of Reign Dates Book of Sothis
26 Silites 19 1486-1467
27 Baion 44 1467-1423
28 Apachnas 36 1423-1387
29 Aphophis 61 1387-1326
30 Sethos 50 1326-1276
31 Certos 29 1276-1247 (or 44) (or 1276-1232)
32 Aseth 20 1247-1227
At this point — 1227 — the natives forced the Hyksos or Amalekite to accept a new line of Egyptian rulers to represent Egypt at Thebes.
Amalekites After 1076
One must not assume, from these events. however, that Amalekite power was crushed solely by the Egyptians. Biblical history proves that Saul had no small part in the final overthrow of the Shepherd Amalekites outside Egypt. Saul was king 40 years altogether (Acts 13:21). After his anointing by Samuel there were almost twenty years (1091-1071) for which we have no record in the Bible. The country went to pieces under Philistine and Amalekite invaders. Then Saul regained his power for 20 years — 1071-1051 ("Antiquities of the Jews" by Josephus, book VI, chapter XIV, section 9). One year later (following his return to power) Saul appointed his now-grown son Jonathan to assist him in a military campaign against the Philistines. This was the calendar year 1070-1069. God intervened on behalf of Israel with a tremendous earthquake that shook the earth (I Sam. 14:15). "So Saul took the kingdom over Israel" (I Sam. 14:47) after this great event. He then gathered a great host against the Amalekites and defeated them (I Sam. 14:48). This account is amplified in I Sam. 15:1-9. It is significant that in the year 1069, in Greek history, there was an invasion of the Aegean by Amalekites and their brethren who were fleeing from war and from a terrible earthquake that had destroyed their possessions in Western Europe. Here we have the surprising Biblical evidence which reveals what befell the Hyksos in the 7 years after their expulsion from Egypt.