The Missing Half of Egypt's History
Who was the daughter of Pharaoh who adopted Moses? Where is Moses mentioned in the story of Egypt? Who was that Ramses whose land Jacob was given to dwell in? Which Pharaoh took Sarai from Abram?
Thus far only half the story of Egypt before the Exodus has been told. The first eight dynasties have told of the royal lines from Abydos or Thinis and of Memphis and Elephantine. Memphis, as most are aware, was the ancient capital of Lower Egypt. Who were the kings of Upper Egypt during this period? And of the Delta and of Middle Egypt?
The Story Unfolds The Bible is not a history textbook. It is a guide book. Without it nothing important in ancient history can be rightly understood. But this does not mean all ancient history is recorded in the Bible. Scripture is the starting point of study. It opens up solutions to secular records that otherwise would be misunderstood. This is especially true of Egypt's history.
Josephus, the Jewish historian of the first century of our era, wrote in his "Antiquities" of the life of Moses before he fled Egypt at age 40. Just prior to the flight of Moses, the Egyptians had been overrun by the Ethiopians from the south. This is the famous period of the Ethiopian Wars. Josephus records Moses' part in them. "The Egyptians, under this sad oppression, betook themselves to their oracles and prophecies; and when God had given them this counsel, to make use of Moses the Hebrew, and take his assistance, the king commanded his daughter to produce him, that he might be the general of their army." (Book II, chapter x, part 2.)
Moses' generalship is carefully recorded by Josephus in the entire chapter. The final victory was gained at the city of Saba (later Meroe), where the daughter of the Ethiopians — Tharbis — turned over the city as the price of her marriage to Moses. (Is this the beginning of the story in Numbers 12:1?)
"Now the Egyptians," continues Josephus in the next chapter, "after they had been preserved by Moses ... told the king he ought to be slain. The king ... also ... was ready to undertake to kill Moses; but when he (Moses) had learned beforehand what plots there were against him, he ... took his flight through the deserts, and where his enemies could not suspect he would travel."
Moses, it must be remembered, was heir to a throne in Egypt. The ruling Pharaoh had a daughter, but no grandchildren. Josephus explains Moses' peculiar position at the end of chapter ix of book II. "If Moses had been slain (after his adoption), there was no one, either akin or adopted, that had any oracle on his side for pretending to the crown of Egypt."
Here are the needed clues. A dynasty in which Moses is General, and one which was broken at the very point in history that Moses fled. Is there such a dynasty — one which also exercised jurisdiction in the northeastern Delta where Israel dwelt and Moses was found?
Indeed there is just such a dynasty — Dynasty XIII of Thebes!
The total length of this dynasty, according to Africanus' and Eusebius' epitomes from Manetho, was 453 years, under 60 rulers. But the version of Barbarus provides a missing detail from Manetho. It reveals that for a time the court was not only at Thebes, but at Bubastis in the Delta for the first 153 years. (See Alfred Schoene's edition of "Eusebius", page 214.)
Moses the General In the Turin Canon catalogue of kings of the thirteenth dynasty, listed number 17, is "The General," with the throne name of Semenkhkare. (Gardiner's "Egypt of the Pharaohs", page 440; and Weigall's "History of the Pharaohs", pages 136, 151-152.) The Egyptian word for "the General" was Mermeshoi. Not in all dynastic history does this title appear again as the personal name of a ruler of Egypt. This General was Moses as will be demonstrated by a comparison with contemporary history. Two beautiful large granite statues of Mermeshoi — the General — have been found in the Delta at Tanis. They are of excellent workmanship.
When Moses was made General or Commander of the Troops, he automatically inherited royal authority, as did Joseph before him. Only KINGS could have the supreme command of the army. That explains his appearance in this list. Before the rise to power of this famous General, the thirteenth dynasty was of Asiatic blood. Its kings at times bore the epithet "the Asiatic." There was consequently no basic prejudice in adopting the Hebrew child Moses into the family. (See Volume II, chapter II of the revised "Cambridge Ancient History", 1962)
The sixteenth king listed in the Turin Canon — just before "the General" — was Userkare Khendjer — the latter being an un-Egyptian personal name. He ruled over the Delta as well as Upper Egypt. A pyramid of his has been found at South Saqqara. No descendant of his is known to have succeeded to the throne. Though nothing more is known of this man's family, every evidence points to him as the Pharaoh whose daughter is mentioned in the book of Exodus. Within a few years the influence of this dynasty in the eastern Delta ceased.
The kings of this period often have their names associated with King Neferkare on royal seals. This name is that of Pepi the Great. Here is the final proof that these rulers of Dynasty XIII were contemporary with the last great Pharaoh of the sixth dynasty of Memphis! More than one name on a scarab has puzzled many historians, who view Egypt as ruled generally by only one king at a time. But literally hundreds of such seals have been found. They are generally treated with discreet silence, for the implication of these seals would revolutionize the history of Egypt! (See "The Sceptre of Egypt", by William C. Hayes, Volume I, page 342.)
About 40 years after the reign of the General, Egypt collapsed. With the reign of the 25th king of the dynasty, nearly all contemporary evidence ceases. Foreigners invade the country. This period is summarized by Sir Alan Gardiner by the dismal words: "... darkness descends upon the historical scene, leaving discernible in the twilight little beyond royal names ..." (page 155 of "Egypt of the Pharaohs").
No internal dates for this dynasty are now available. But the history of this and preceding dynasties of Thebes can be restored Take the evidence of Barbarus, which gives the dynasty, while centered in the Delta, 153 years. Place this date in the 41st year before the collapse of Egypt in 1486. The 41st year before 1486 brings us to 1527. (This is when Moses is nearly 40 years old during the war with Ethiopia. When Moses is forty, in 1526 he flees Egypt.) The beginning of the dynasty was then 153 years before this, or in 1680. There were only two dynasties of Thebes before this time — the eleventh and the twelfth. Dynasty XI ruled 143 years; the famous Dynasty XII for 212 calendar years. Add these figures up and one reaches 2035 — the reign of Shem!
Now the story of Shem is clear. Shem came into Egypt to divide the country up into various kingships, in order to prevent the rise to power of one unified kingdom over the entire world.
But Shem did more than found a new kingship at Thebes — he also established a kingship at Heracleopolis, south of Memphis. Manetho's Dynasty IX — the first of two dynasties to be established in Heracleopolis — ruled 409 years. It is exactly 409 years from 2035 to 1626, the date at which Dynasty VI of Memphis began.
The historians' fiction of an Old and a Middle Kingdom — under Memphis, and then Thebes — is completely demolished by these facts of history. It is, rather, the story of the kings of Memphis in Lower Egypt and the kings of Thebes in Upper Egypt ruling in a great confederacy.
History of Upper Egypt Now, to tell the history of the kingships of Thebes and Heracleopolis which paralleled the dynasties of Thinis and Memphis and, later Elephantine. The city of Thebes, like Thinis during the second dynasty, was a small semi-independent kingdom that steadily rose to power. From archaeology the Turin Canon and monuments, the entire 143 years of the Dynasty XI can be restored as follows.
In the days of Wahankh Inyotef a tragic war broke out in Egypt between the rulers of Heracleopolis and Thebes over control of the city of Thinis (Abydos). In this struggle the first dynasty of Thinis collapsed, and a new dynasty arose in 1993. It is interesting to note that Wahankh came to power in the year (2019) that Shem ceased to reign in Thinis. It appears that with his departure war convulsed Egypt. Once these dynasties are properly placed the whole of Egypt's ancient history makes sense — to the very year! Since the restoration, in this compendium, must proceed solidly step by step, the events cannot be told here in logical order until the chronological position of the dynasties is positively determined. It is advisable that the lists of dynasties already given be continuously consulted.
Names Length of Reign Dates
Mentuhotpe, Hereditary Prince
and Sehertowe Inyotef 16 2035-2019
Wahankh Inyotef 49 2019-1970
Nakhtnebtepnufe Inyotef 8 1970-1962
Nebhepetre Mentuhotpe 51 1962-1911
Sankhkare Mentuhotpe 12 1911-1899
Nebtowere Mentuhotpe and others 7 years of 1899-1892
Before we can proceed further with the story, a chart of the two dynasties of Heracleopolis and of Dynasty XI of Thebes is needed. The meaning of this chart will become apparent with the development of the story of Thebes. The figures for the length of the Heracleopolitan dynasties are falsely labeled spurious — by historians. Now consider Dynasty XI of Thebes.
Theban Dynasty XI — 143 years — 2035-1892 First conquest of Heracleopolis, ninth year of Nebhepetre Mentuhotpe — 1954 Final conquest of Heracleopolis and union of all Egypt 100 years after founding of dynasty — 1935 Years of dominion over all Egypt: 43 — 1935-1892 Dynasty IX at Heracleopolis appears in Manetho thus: Length of rule: 409 years — 2035-1626 — to Dynasty VI of Memphis Length of power: 100 years — 2035-1935 Dynasty X at Heracleopolis appears in Manetho thus: Length of rule: 204 years — 1954-1750 — to Dynasty IV of Memphis Length of rule: 185 years — 1935-1750 — to Dynasty IV of Memphis The preceding outline is explained by these facts. Three dynasties contended for the control of Egypt after Thebes obtained control of Thinis and subordinated its second dynasty.
In the ninth year of Nebhepetre Mentuhotpe — the Pharaoh to whose harem Sarah was brought — a great war was fought over the city of Heracleopolis. So small was Egypt's population in those days that only 60 men were lost by the Thebans in their attack. This and many other evidences clearly indicate that the eleventh dynasty was one of the earliest in Egypt. This ninth year was 1954-53. This date is very significant. Barbarus, the Latin writer, designated Dynasty X of Heracleopolis as lasting 204 years. (In this account a note of caution should be observed. As Manetho listed the dynasties of Egypt, the only two dynasties of Heracleopolis were labeled Dynasty IX and Dynasty X. In any final history textbook Manetho's numbering should be discarded. and each city's dynasties should be renumbered from the beginning. Thus these two dynasties were not IX and X of Heracleopolis, but I and II of Heracleopolis.) There were exactly 204 years between 1954, when the dynasty was founded, and 1750 when Snefru brought the fourth dynasty to power at Memphis.
Thus every major event in the history of the Theban kings is reflected in the history of Heracleopolis.
This does not mean that Dynasty IX ceased. It continued 409 years to the beginning of Dynasty VI, as already mentioned. The war with Heracleopolis continued intermittently until the 100th year of the Theban dynasty 1935. In that year Egypt was completely united under Mentuhotpe. This date, too, is significant. Although Africanus gives the length of Dynasty IX as 409 years, Eusebius gives it only 100 years. Since it was founded in 2035, its hundred years extended to 1935 as did that of Thebes. Thus one may see that instead of these figures being corrupt and unhistorical records, each tells only part of the whole story.
Already it has been noted that Dynasty X of Heracleopolis lasted 204 years. But Africanus and Eusebius state that its period of dominion was 185. It was exactly 185 years also from 1935 to 1750. The difference between these figures is 19 — the same as between the years 1954 and 1935 in the reign of Mentuhotpe. Also Africanus and Eusebius both state that Dynasty XI of Thebes extended its rule over Egypt 43 years. From 1935 to the end of the dynasty in 1892 is exactly 43 years. All this is simple arithmetic that historians have not solved in 2000 years!
Few of the names of the Heracleopolitan dynasties have been preserved. Nor has any internal dating been preserved in any records. With the addition of the twelfth dynasty at Thebes, the following chart illustrates the order of dynasties in this early period.
Thinis Dynasty I — 261 years — 2254-1993 Dynasty II — 256 years — 1993-1737 Memphis Dynasty III — 74 years — 1737-1663 Thebes Dynasty XI — 143 years — 2035-1892 Dynasty XII — 212 years — 1892-1680 Dynasty XIII — 453 years — 1680-1227 The Great Theban Dynasty XII
Heracleopolis Dynasty IX — 100 years — 2035-1935 Dynasty X — 185 years — 1935-1750 Memphis Dynasty IV — 123 years — 1750-1627 Dynasty V — 140 years — 1627-1486 Heracleopolis Dynasty IX — 409 years — 2035-1626 Memphis Dynasty VI — 181 years — 1626-1445 Dynasty VII and 6 kingless years 1445-1439 Dynasty VIII — 140 years — 1439-1299
With the restoration of Dynasty XII of Thebes — the second dynasty to rule in Thebes — the history of early Egypt to the Exodus will be nearly complete.
The lengths of reigns of Dynasty XII are firmly established, though they have come down in several forms due to the practice of associating successors on the throne prior to death of predecessor, or of dating from designation as heir to the throne. In each case the total is 212 calendar years — 1892-1680.
The Canon of Turin reckoned the first three kings' reigns differently, but the total again is the same. Amenemhe I is given 29 years (1892-1863). Senwosre I is given 45 years (1863-1818). Amenemhe II is given 20 years (1818-1798). These various datings, when taken together, illustrate the full tenure of public office.
Names in Manetho Personal Length of Reign Dates
Names based on the
Ammenemes Amenemhe I 20 1892-1872
Sesonchosis Senwosre I 42 1872-1830
Ammanemes Amenemhe II 32 1830-1798
(No name given) Senwosre II 19 1798-1779
Sesostris Senwosre III 38 1779-1741
Lachares Amenemhe III 49 1741-1692
Ameres (No name given)
Ammenemes Amenemhe IV 9 1692-1683
Scemiophris Sebeknofru 3 1683-1680
(Dynasty XIII of Thebes follows.)
Manetho's figures, as they have come down to us, tell another part of the story not contained in these records. His account deletes one king and adds another, beside referring to a rule of twelve. Manetho records that Amenemhe ruled 16 years during the close of the eleventh dynasty. His 30 years of rule after the close of seven years' anarchy is not recorded by Manethos abstractors.
In late Ptolemaic times a document was written on the temple wall at Edfu concerning a great war that occurred in the 363rd year of the era of Menes. Menes was crowned in 2254. The 363rd year is 1892. It was in this year that the climax of seven years of near anarchy was ended and the power or hegemony of Thebes was re-established over all Egypt. This same event is also recorded on the Palermo stone in the 363rd year of the kingdom.
Name in Manetho Length of Reign Dates
Ammenemes 16 1908-1892
Sesonchosis 46 1862-1816
Ammanemes 38 1816-1778
Sesostris 48 1778-1730
Lamares 8 1730-1722
Dodecarchy, or 22 1722-1700
rule of twelve.
Ameres 8 1700-1692
Ammenemes 8 1692-1684
Scemiophris 4 1684-1680
Sesostris III was one of the greatest conquerors in early Egyptian history. Manetho records that "in nine years he subdued the whole of Asia, and Europe as far as Thrace ..." Asia, of course, refers to Asia Minor and the Near East only. But our interest in this dynasty centers rather on Amenemhe III, the Pharaoh who dominated all Egypt in Joseph's day. Egyptian history rarely records a man who exerted so much energy in a positive direction. Under him Lake Moeris was developed in the Fayyum for the storage of water. He was responsible for the construction of a long canal, a kind of secondary river, along the Nile to Lake Moeris. It is named to this day the Bahr Yusuf — the River of Joseph! The famed Labyrinth was also erected under his rule. He associated, during the middle of his reign twelve rulers with him, called the Dodecarchy. Were these the brothers of Joseph? Amenemhe III took special efforts to measure the rise of the Nile. (Volume II of "A History of the Pharaohs", by Weigall.)
Before closing this period of history, it is important that one take notice of two facts that are at times misunderstood about this dynasty. Most historians date this dynasty to specific years "B.C." by astronomical methods. To do so they have recourse to altering certain readings in the documents they use. Further, historians neglect the fact that even the Egyptians state in their records that the courses of the heavens have on occasion changed. The Egyptian calendar does not determine the chronology of the time, but the proper historical restoration of the dynasties will instead enable the honest historian to determine the changes that have taken place in the Egyptian calendar.
The second problem is the stated length of the Dynasty XII in the Turin Canon. The figure is "213 years, 1 month, 17 days." The total length of the dynasty was only 212 calendar years. The last ruler — Sebeknofru reigned for "3 years 10 months, 24 days." The last 10 months, together with about 3 months of the last year of Dynasty XI, when Amenemhe obtained control of Egypt prior to New Year, are added to 212 years to make 213. But the last 10 months of Sebeknofru's reign became the first year of Dynasty XIII. Hence it is not counted to Dynasty XII when calculated in sequence. (See page 71 of Gardiner's "Egypt of the Pharaohs".)
Who Was Rameses? Perhaps the greatest difficulty in reconciling the Bible has been the reference in Genesis to the land of Rameses (Genesis 47:11). It has been assumed either that the book of Genesis was a late document which inserted the name of Rameses in place of some lost original name, or that the name is original and the account of the Exodus took place after Rameses and not in the manner described in the Bible. Neither of these explanations is correct.
Long before Rameses the Great was born, there were several kings, not known by modern historians, with some form of the name Rameses. The record of these kings of the Delta, foolishly rejected by all historians today, is the key to this enigma in the Bible. The names are preserved by Syncellus in the Book of Sothis. A list of them may be found in Waddell's "Manetho", page 235.
This line of kings begins with "Mestraim" — the Mizraim of the Bible, from whom the Egyptians descended. Many early commentators thought this Mestraim was the same person as Menes, and have therefore inserted Menes' name as an explanation of Mestraim. But this is not so. Mestraim founded a dynasty at Zoan in the Delta entirely separate from that of Cush and Nimrod. Among these rulers is a Rameses who lived in the days of Joseph and the fourth dynasty. Many historians have been puzzled by the fact that the name of Rameses should appear on so many of the building blocks that went into the early buildings of the third and fourth dynasties. Their mistaken explanation is that the later Rameses had his servants take time out to carve his name on all these stones. It never occurred to them that there might actually have been a Rameses who assisted in the erection of these fabulous monuments of a by-gone era.
As the history of Egypt is gradually reconstructed, the Book of Sothis will play an ever more prominent part in it. Syncellus believed the book to be a genuine list of kings from Manetho. It names many otherwise unknown kings, and places the known dynasties in the correct order. For this reason the book has been rejected for centuries as a fictitious account of Pharaonic Egypt. The Book of Sothis is one of the most important proofs of the true order of kings as presented in this restoration of Egyptian history.
The kings in the Book of Sothis continue to the coming of the Persians in 525, but they will not all be listed in this compendium until their proper place in history. Following are the kings from the book of Sothis to the year 1299.
The fifth year of Concharis is the 700th year from Mestraim. Because of this statement, most commentators alter the length of reign of Concharis from 6 to 5. ("Chronological Antiquities", by John Jackson, Vol. II, page 150.) The correct figure is 6. Following Concharis were four other kings of Tanis, names not preserved, who reigned during the succeeding 254 years. Add to the 700 the last year of Concharis, plus 254 and the total is 955. This is exactly the same figure which the Turin Papyrus gives for the end of the eighth dynasty of Memphis. Both these lists are historical. They come from the same original sources. Such a figure as 955 to end an era is preposterous on the basis of coincidence. This list of Tanite (Zoan) kings is historical.
Names of Kings Length of Reign Dates
from Book of Sothis
1. Mestraim 35 2254-2219
2. Kourodes 63 2219-2156
3. Aristarchos 34 2156-2122
4. Spanios 36 2122-2086
5,6. Two others unrecorded 72 2086-2014
7. Osiropis 23 2014-1991
8. Sesonchosis 49 1991-1942
9. Amenemes 29 1942-1913
10. Amasis 2 1913-1911
11. Acesephthres 13 1911-1898
12. Anchoreus 9 1898-1889
13. Armiyses 4 1889-1885
14. Chamois 12 1885-1873
15. Miamus 14 1873-1859
16. Amesesis 65 1859-1794
17. Uses 50 1794-1741
18. Rameses 29 1744-1715
19. Ramesomenes 15 1715-1700
20. Usimare 31 1700-1669
21. Ramesseseos 23 1669-1646
22. Ramessameno 19 1646-1627
23. Ramesse Iubasse 39 1627-1588
24. Ramesse Uaphru 29 1588-1559
25. Concharis 6 1559-1553
4 kings of Tanis 254 1553-1299
Only one dynasty remains to be discussed before the coming of the Shepherd Kings. That is Dynasty XIV of Xois in the Delta. Its 76 kings lasted 484 years. It is known to be parallel with Dynasty XIII of Thebes. It commenced at the end of Dynasty III of Memphis, in 1663, following the reign of Huny and the departure of Job or Cheops in the same year, and ended in 1179. Africanus states that the dynasty exercised power for 184 years, but this covers only the time to the usurpation of power by the Shepherd kings. Few names have been preserved complete, and no regnal years are available. A complete list of the fragmentary names is printed in Gardiner's "Egypt of the Pharaohs", pages 441-442.
With this chapter the restoration of Egyptian history to the Exodus closes.