|Exploring Ancient History - The First 2500 Years
PART 4: EGYPT AND ISRAEL TO THE EXODUS
The Importance of Egyptian History If the history of ancient Egypt had been preserved unperverted and unaltered, ancient history would never have been misunderstood. There would have been no conflict with Bible history and Bible chronology. But the history of Egypt was diabolically utilized to make the Bible appear false. Ancient history. Especially that of Egypt, and biblical history were made to seem irreconcilable.
Who was the Pharaoh Abraham and Sarah met? Which Pharaoh enslaved the Children of Israel? Who was the Pharaoh of the Exodus? Who was the Pharaoh when Joseph was second in command in Egypt? All these questions and others are still the source of heated controversy among scholars to this day. But the answers to all these questions can be known and proved. Egypt is mentioned frequently in the Bible. Since there are many parallels between the histories of Israel and Egypt, that it must be possible to synchronize the two.
The histories of Egypt and of Israel from the days of Joseph down to the Exodus are interwoven. The Children of Israel were in the land of Egypt for almost two and one-half centuries before Moses led them out. The events of this period will be the main topic of the following chapters.
But first: How did Egyptian history become distorted? What was the plot to confuse history? How has a correct concept of Egyptian history and chronology eluded the historians?
Manetho and Egyptian history As explained in the introduction of this book, historians in recent decades invented "prehistory" — that long period in the imagined evolutionary past when primitive men could not write — to explain man's past without the use of Genesis. The next step was to tie "prehistory" to recorded ancient history. What could they use for a link?
They decided upon Egypt. There were definite reasons why Egypt seemed to provide the best solution. Because of a warm, dry climate, her earliest documents were more likely to be preserved. Unlike Mesopotamia, most monuments of Egypt were above ground. This made the task of the archaeologist much easier! And its civilization was certainly one of the oldest and earliest. Egypt, decided the scholars. Should become the historical standard of the world.
But there was a slight problem involved. Archaeologists could not always determine which Egyptian monuments and which kings' reigns came first. There were no buried cities — no layers one above another — as in Mesopotamia to help determine the exact order of events. The only alternative was to adopt the traditional dynastic history of Egypt — Egypt's past as recorded by Manetho.
Manetho was an Egyptian priest and historian who wrote the history of Egypt under thirty (or thirty-one) dynasties. The influence of Manetho on the order of events of ancient history is tremendous. Notice what Sir Alan Gardiner, one of the foremost Egyptologists of the twentieth century, wrote of him: "That I have devoted so much discussion to what survivors of Manetho ... will need no excuse for those familiar with the evolution of our science; no Egyptologist has yet been able to free himself from the shackles imposed by the native annalist's thirty Dynasties, and these are likely always to remain the essential framework of our modern expositions" (Egypt of the Pharaohs, Vol. VIII).
It should be pointed out that Manetho, in his original work, presented to the world three large volumes. He covered the history of ancient Egypt in great detail! But these books have been lost. However, before they perished, many writers copied out material that, to them, appeared vital. From these Greek versions of Manetho (for Manetho was writing for the benefit of the Greeks) ancient and medieval historians took their material. Among them were Julius Africanus (early third century), Eusebius (early fourth century) and George the Monk, known as Syncellus (eighth to ninth century).
These men contributed greatly to the transmission of ancient history. The famous Jewish historian, Josephus (1st century A.D.), also took information from these earlier Greek documents.
Now it should be understood that different writers viewed the multitude of Manetho's facts differently. Josephus considered certain events more important than did Africanus, for example. Because of this, his dates for the reign of a king might differ somewhat from Africanus. On occasion, whole reigns might be deleted as unimportant. Nevertheless, enough writers copied enough facts from Manetho, that all the essentials of his history have been preserved. They are still available today.
It should also be noted that Manetho is not the sole source for Egyptian material. Archaeology has uncovered other monuments and documents in Egypt that substantiate, confirm, and add important details to, Manetho's history. Two outstanding examples are the Turin Papyrus and the Palermo Stone.
But, with the above in mind, this should again be emphasized: the chronological framework of all ancient history is derived from Egypt, particularly through the writings of Manetho.
The Plot that Distorted History The dynastic history of Egypt as presented by Manetho is universally assumed to be correct! It is simply one of the assumptions he has taken for granted. The time has come to explode this gigantic assumption! The story of how Manetho succeeded in misleading historians over the centuries from his day to ours is one of the most intriguing in all the annals of history.
The historian Jack Finegan summarizes this important information about Manetho: "In the arrangement of ... Egyptian materials within a framework of CONSECUTIVE dynasties, all modern historians are dependent upon an predecessor. This was an Egyptian priest and writer, Manetho, who lived under Ptolemy II Philadelphus (285-246 B. C.). Manetho was born at Sebennytus (now Samannud) in the Delta. Eventually he rose to be high priest in the temple at Heliopolis. Berossus of Babylon," continues Finegan, "was practically a contemporary, and the two priests became rivals in the proclamation of the antiquity and greatness of their respective lands" ("Light From the Ancient Past", pp. 65-66.)
Why this rivalry between Manetho and Berossus? Egypt and Babylonia were competing with each other for influence over the Greek-speaking world. In Manetho's time this spirit of competition reached a high point. Each land sought to be recognized as the founder of civilization, of culture and religious institutions. And of political unity. The spirit of rivalry and competition was spurred on by vanity coupled with a deep sense of inferiority, for both peoples were subject to the Greeks. It was still a Hellenistic world; Rome was only beginning to rise. To override this feeling of inferiority. Each claimed to be the first people on earth, not only in the sense of civilization. But in the sense of time. Manetho and Berossus attempted to back up these claims by providing a false, but seemingly true, historical basis for them. This required a dishonest manipulation of the facts.
To justify these claims to antiquity, Manetho and Berossus utilized their early records, the king lists of the various cities AND CLEVERLY MARSHALED THEM TOGETHER IN CONSECUTIVE ORDER. Manetho summarized the history of Egypt under the rule of thirty-one dynasties or ruling houses, from the royal cities of Thebes, Memphis, Thinis or Abydos, Heracleopolis, Elephantine Xois, Sais, and other cities. The history of the royal families of each city was drawn UP TO MAKE IT APPEAR THAT ONLY ONE CITY AND ONE DYNASTY AT A TIME DOMINATED EGYPT, and that Egypt was, from its beginning, under the government of only one ruler at a time. The result was that Egypt appeared to be extremely ancient and the first land to establish unity, thousands of years before the Greek city-states were united. This was a DELIBERATE FRAUD.
The INTERNAL DETAILS of the various dynasties were scrupulously correct. The length of reign of each king and the total duration of each dynasty were carefully and correctly recorded, they had to be to make the history look valid. But — THE ORDER IN WHICH THE DYNASTIES APPEARED WAS A HISTORIC LIE! Manetho cleverly told the history of the ruling families of each city, THEN ATTACHED THESE DYNASTIES END TO END to make Egypt appear the oldest and earliest unified nation on earth. As a result historians have assumed that the history of Egypt may be read straight through from Dynasty 1 to 31. But the truth is, for example, that Dynasties 9 and 11 are partly parallel with Dynasties 1 and 21. And Dynasties 3 and 4 are contemporary with the end of Dynasties 12 and 9 and the beginning of 13 and 14. At only two widely separated periods in Egypt's history is there just a single dynasty in existence. In all other periods there are two or more dynasties ruling simultaneously from different cities.
If Manetho had invented all the figures within each dynasty, so that none of the lengths of reign made any sense, then no one would have believed him and his hoax would not have worked. Instead. He took the facts, which no one would question because they were true, and arranged them in such a way that even the scholars would not think to doubt them. This is the manner in which he used the facts to tell a lie.
The Actual Source of the Conspiracy The diabolical conspiracy to alter history and make the Bible look false was not limited to Egypt and Babylonia. Greece was also part of it. No poet or historian in ancient Greece was considered worthy of special honor unless he has demented. In biblical terms, Homer and all the famous Greek poet-historians were possessed of demons.
The conclusion is absolutely clear. History has purposely been perverted by the diabolical influence of fallen spirits who seized the minds of poet-historians, such as Homer and Hesiod, and through them distorted the events of antiquity. And Manetho and Berossus, who were pagan priests, were not free of this influence. Their historical distortions required inspiration beyond mere human ingenuity.
Jesus himself declared that Satan, the prince of demons, "deceiveth the whole world" (Rev. 12:9). One of Satan's clever artifices is manifest in the form of corrupted history. This diabolical plot to make God and his word appear untrue has deceived the whole world. But now this deception has been uncovered.
This deception has been so thorough because it has been consistent. Perverted history makes half the record of ancient Greece appear five centuries too early. But the successive placement of the dynasties of Egypt also makes sections of Egyptian history appear five centuries too early.
The same is true of Mesopotamia. Therefore, when later Greek, Roman, and now modern critics and historians found perverted Greek history in apparent agreement with the altered Egyptian and Mesopotamia data, they never thought to question Homer, Manetho, or Berossus. Yes, this deception was so thorough, so clever, and so superior to human ingenuity that the whole world was deceived by it. Only through the inspiration and guidance of God could this mystery finally be unraveled in the time of the end!
The True Concept of Egyptian History! The actual truth is that ancient Egypt was a CONFEDERATION. Its several kings exercised authority under the most powerful who was called Pharaoh. The word Pharaoh means GREAT House — as there were also lesser houses (dynasties, Royal families) ruling.
Even the Bible preserves an account of more than one king in Egypt at the same time: "Lo, the king of Israel hath hired against us," said Arameans, "the kings of the Hittites, and the kings of the Egyptians" (II Kings 7:6). Another verse that refers to the kings of Egypt is Jeremiah 46:25. Like Egypt, the land of Assyria also had more than one king at the same time: "at that time did King Ahaz send unto THE KINGS of Assyria to help him" II Chron. 26:16). Historians falsely charge that these verses are untrue to fact. Actually they provide a major key to understanding the governmental structure of ancient nations. Subdivisions of government, not tightly centralized control under one ruler, were quite typical of the ancient world.
As an example of the strength of a great confederation we may note the case of Germany as it was organized at the beginning of the 20th century. Few are really aware that the German empire, like the ancient Egyptian empire, was a confederation governed by several kings even at the time of World War I! The supreme ruler was of the Prussian House of Hohenzollern, William II (1888-1918). Ruling with him in the German Confederation were Frederick Augustus III (1904-1918), King of Saxony; William II (1891-1918), King of Wuerttemberg; Louis III (1913-1918), King of Bavaria; and Ernest Augustus (1913-1918), Duke of Brunswick, all lost their thrones in November of 1918 at the conclusion of the war.
Ancient Egypt was like a feudal state with several rulers ruling over different districts or provinces. These districts have been termed NOMES. Each nome was under the jurisdiction of a certain Pharaoh. A map could be drawn showing specifically how Egypt was divided into these various counties.
But scholars and historians adopted the idea that Manetho wanted to put over — the concept that Egypt was always unified with only one dynasty and one Pharaoh ruling at a time. Now this was very clever when we realize that, in a sense, Egypt was unified — but it was diversity in unity. That is, the various sub-divisions and sub-rulers in the land of Egypt were essentially under the dominion of the leading ruler. As already stated, it was a kind of confederation. Each Pharaoh did rule over Egypt, but only jointly with others.
In certain periods of Egypt's history it is not possible to even determine which Pharaoh was the leading ruler. Each king would brag about his own achievements (which were carved in the stone monuments) and say nothing about his greater or lesser contemporaries. Egypt, then, was a united feudalistic state with various rulers of greater and lesser importance who shared dominion over the divided area.
The Bible and Egyptian History Because ancient Egypt had so many rulers and so many dynasties, it became a convenient vehicle for distorting the story of ancient times. By laying out the dynasties end to end in a long chain-like fashion, Egypt was made to appear very old indeed. But if the dynasties are strung out in this manner, chronology becomes so distorted that kings and dynasties have to be dated long-prior to the Flood and Babel. This, of course, is not possible since the 1st dynasty in Egypt did not begin till after Babel or 2254!
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 could not otherwise be understood. This is especially true in regard to ancient Egypt!
In regard to the over-all chronological framework of Egypt, the Bible provides the bounds or limits. All of Manetho's thirty-one Dynasties must be placed between the time of the conquest by Greece under Alexander in 323 and the date of Babel, 2254. This is a period of 1931 years. Yet the sum total of years of all thirty-one dynasties is some 5,137 years. The only answer to this dilemma is that many of these dynasties were parallel and ruled simultaneously. This has to be true because the Bible only allows so much time in which all these dynasties (and other minor ones for which there are no records) could exist. The key principle in understanding Egyptian history is of parallel dynasties.
In the Compendium of World History. Dr. Hoeh has proven by solid historical links which dynasties here parallel in every period of the duration of these thirty-one ruling houses as preserved through Manetho. These will be discussed on the following pages along with the fascinating events that took place.
To make the history of Egypt plain and simple it would be best to discard the numbers assigned to the dynasties by Manetho. Instead, the dynasties from each city should be renumbered from the beginning. Example: Thinis I, Thinis II; Heracleopolis I, Heracleopolis II; Thebes I, Thebes II, Thebes III, etc. This system would remove much of the confusion perpetrated by Manetho. However, since all other historians utilize his numbering it must be retained here for the sake of uniformity when reading other books on the subject.
Satan, as we have seen, used the history of Egypt to distort the story of ancient times. Because there are so many events concerning Egypt in the Bible, this distortion made the Bible appear completely out of harmony with the history accepted in scholarly circles. But now this diabolical scheme can be completely reversed. Egyptian history, when properly reconstructed and rightly understood. Becomes and invaluable aid to a full understanding of the Bible account. The purpose of history is to enrich and enliven our understanding of the Bible and God's plan.
For example, in Genesis and Exodus, Pharaohs are mentioned, but not by name. Who were these men? Outside historical sources provide the answers! You will learn who they were in the fascinating account that follows!