|Exploring Ancient History - The First 2500 Years
PART 4: EGYPT AND ISRAEL TO THE EXODUS
Egypt from Cush to the Days of Joseph Five of the most famous personalities of the post-Flood world were rulers in the First Dynasty of Egypt. Cush. Nimrod, Semiramis, Horus, and Shem all left their mark in the history of earliest Egypt.
Egypt's first dynasty is certainly one of the most fascinating dynasties in all the annals of ancient history. Its events and dates will be summarized here followed by other major events and rulers of the very earliest dynasties of ancient Egypt. These include Dynasties 2, 9, 10, and 11.
All the major personalities and occurrences on the world scene down through the life of Horus have already been covered in Part 2 of this book. Therefore only a summary of the happenings specifically pertaining to Egypt down to the time of Dynasty 12 needs to be presented here. After reaching Dynasty 12 with its famous rulers and the career of Joseph in Egypt, a more detailed account will again be necessary, but first Dynasty 1 and the other early dynasties of Egypt.
Cush and Mizraim The first ruler in Manetho's First Dynasty of Egypt was Meni or Mena — Menes in Greek. This name means "the establisher" or "the everlasting." Menes was the first to establish himself as king in place of the everlasting God. This definition immediately reveals who Menes was. It was the rebel CUSH, the son of Ham. The husband of Semiramis, and the father of Nimrod!
The reign of Cush lasted for a total of 62 years. However. One transcriber assigns him only 30 years as ruler in Egypt. Why this difference? The answer is simple. Cush began to reign in Shinar but then spent the last 30 years of his rule in Egypt.
In brief, the story is this: Cush came to Egypt about 2222, leading a migration of people from Shinar. This marked the beginning of Cushite, or Ethiopian settlement of Africa. His supreme authority over Egypt lasted 30 years — 2222-2192. His capital was Thinis (Abydos) in upper Egypt.
When Cush arrived in Egypt there were already certain tribes of people, some of them very primitive and savage, living along the shores of the Nile. These were descendants of Mizraim, another of the sons of Ham (Gen. 10:6). Mizraim is a term commonly applied to Egypt because it was from him that the Egyptians descended. In fact, "Mizr" is the name which the natives still apply to Egypt today. These people were distinct from the Cushites who came to Egypt under Menes and were later ruled over by the family of Cush and Nimrod.
Now it is important to realize that Mizraim actually founded a Dynasty at Tanis or Zoan in the Delta which was entirely separate from that of Cush and Nimrod. This dynasty is not included with the 31 Dynasties of Manetho. This line of kings is preserved in the book of Sothis which contains a genuine list of Egyptian kings. However, the record of these kings of the Delta is foolishly rejected by all historians today. This Dynasty of Mizraim lasted for 955 years down to 1299. The reign of Mizraim covered 35 years — 2254-2219. This dynasty will take on special significance when we come to the story of Joseph. (Compendium, Vol. I, pp. 94-96).
Both Cush and Mizraim, then, were rulers in separate dynasties in earliest Egypt. With this in mind, notice Psalm 105:23, which speaks of Israel, Egypt, and the Exodus: Israel also came into Egypt; and Jacob sojourned in the LAND OF HAM. It is obvious why God called Egypt "the land of Ham" — Cush and Mizraim, Ham's sons, originally settled their tribes there and ruled over them.
But now to continue the story of Dynasty 1, the dynasty of Cush and Nimrod.
Cush, Nimrod, and Semiramis Nimrod, the son of Cush and Semiramis, settled in Egypt 60 years after being crowned at Babel (2194). And reigned two years jointly with his father. Then, in 2192, Cush disappears from history. At this time he was about 170 years of age but, considering the length of life then, should have lived decades longer. Why was his life cut short?
The answer seems plain. It is said that when Nimrod's mother, who was white, saw him (apparently upon his arrival in Egypt in 2194), she lusted after him — she desired him. Remember Nimrod was colored (black). Cush, his father, was the ancestor of the East African Ethiopians. Thus, when Semiramis married Cush. She was the first white woman after the Flood to marry a colored (black) man. So evil was Nimrod's mother that she later married her own son. Thus, Nimrod and Semiramis must have plotted to get rid of Cush and finally did so after two short years. Nimrod and Semiramis were guilty not only of racial intermarriage but of incest as well!
But Nimrod had to pay for his evil deed. His sole reign in Egypt lasted for 25 years (2192-2167) and then was cut short. Shem, the great patriarch, intervened to halt the growing power of the arch-rebel, Nimrod.
Most people in Egypt favored Nimrod, but not all. Shem came to Egypt and, being a very eloquent person. obtained the aid of a group of Egyptians to assist him in the execution of the evil king. Nimrod was forced to flee. He went into hiding in Italy but Shem and his followers found him there, executed him, and cut his dead body in pieces. These pieces were sent to different areas as a warning of what would happen to others if they followed Nimrod's God-defying practices. According to ancient tradition his death took place in the summer of 2166, on the 17th day of the month of Tammuz. (Compendium, Vol. I, p. 53).
So ended the career of the infamous Nimrod. But Semiramis was still alive.
Semiramis and Horus At the flight of Nimrod. His mother-wife also had to flee. Tradition states she went to a place in the Delta called Buto. She did not remain there, but eventually journeyed to other parts of the world including Assyria. She remained in exile from Egypt for thirty years.
Who ruled Egypt with Nimrod dead and Semiramis in exile? We must bear in mind that at this early time in history Egypt was not a nation-state. It simply consisted of tribes living in different areas ruled over by patriarchs or tribal chiefs. A national head of state occupying an elective office for the administration of everything was not necessary. The tribal ruler could handle all the needs of his group without the aid of a centralized national government.
The answer to the question can further be explained this way: In some cases Nimrod's reign is given a total of 57 years which would include the period of 30 years after his death (2167-2137) when Semiramis was in hiding. This means that, even though he was dead, the Egyptians recognized no one else as the great ruler and still counted the reign as his. In other words, the government Nimrod had set in motion perpetuated itself while the people waited for Nimrod's heir to return to again pick up the reins of government. In other instances the dating is figured in such a way that the 30 years is given to Semiramis who was regarded as the heir of Nimrod. In any case, Semiramis probably caused reports to be circulated in Egypt that she would soon return and again take over the government — or that she would bring an heir to take over the throne. These secret reports sent into the country by Semiramis kept the populace satisfied while she was in exile. She gave them something to look forward to.
Finally, in 2137, Semiramis learned that it was safe for her to return to Egypt. She suddenly reappeared in the country bringing with her a son named Horus. She claimed he had been begotten by a "spirit." The supposed Nimrod immortally alive as the impregnating sun. Actually Horus was an illegitimate child, but because Semiramis was very beautiful and regarded as a goddess by the populace, they believed her lies.
Since the child was very young Semiramis herself took over the throne of Egypt in 2137. Then, four years later in 2133, she associated Horus with her on the throne. Eight years after that in 2125, Horus became supreme ruler as Semiramis turned the reins of government over to him. His sole rule continued for 31 years down to 2094 at which time he journeyed to Babylonia and led a migration of people to Europe.
With the departure of Horus, Semiramis again took over the throne of Egypt and ruled 11 more years, 2094-2083. After 2083 she appeared in the history of Assyria, 2048-2006 and finally met her death in 2006 at the hands of her son, Horus!
Realize that Semiramis was the guiding force of continuity in all this early period of Egyptian history. She was the wife of Cush, the mother and wife of Nimrod, and the mother of Horus. When she was not actually on the throne, she was the power behind it. Although Cush had other children by other women, Nimrod got the throne because he was her son. She was the great queen and dignitary that everyone recognized. The same was true of Horus. He was able to come to power because this influential, and actually deified, woman was his mother. All later Pharaohs were related by blood to Nimrod, Semiramis and Horus — the bloodline of this famous queen. They could become royalty by marrying into this bloodline!
Before this section is complete, a final point should be noted about Cush, Nimrod, and Semiramis. The tombs of these famous heroes who founded Babel are located in Egypt. The tomb of Nimrod at Abydos was the "sepulchre of the god Osiris, and, as such, became the shrine to which millions of pilgrims made their way" (Sir Arthur Weigall, "A History of the Pharaohs", Vol. I, p. 111). In Semiramis' burial place a hair piece was found. Even this great queen needed a wig in her old age. With this in mind, we can easily realize why Babylonians and Egyptians claimed to be the first people in the world and claimed their civilization was the earliest. Their original great rulers were the same individuals.
Shem Changes the History of Egypt Following the departure of Semiramis from Egypt in 2083, two kings ruled over the period of the next 46 years down to 2037. they were Usaphais (2083-2063) and Miebis (2063-2037) who was Osiris II. This brings us to the seventh king of the First Dynasty of Egypt.
This seventh king was none other than the great patriarch, Shem, the executor of Nimrod. His original name in the Egyptian records is Semsem, meaning the great Sem or Shem. In the New Testament Greek, Shem is spelled Sem (Luke 3:36). The hieroglyphics representing Shem depict him in Asiatic, not Egyptian dress. He appears as an old man with a long beard in priestly garb. He was old indeed — 430 years old.
Shem came to power in Egypt in 2037. Two years later he did something that altered Egyptian history for all time. He founded new dynasties or kingships at Thebes (Manetho, Dynasty XI) and Heracleopolis (Manetho, Dynasty IX). Shem came into Egypt and purposely divided the country up into various kingships, in order to prevent the rise to power of one unified kingdom over the entire world.
Shem, in 2035, split up the country of Egypt. He wanted Egypt to be divided into various areas — not a united area in which the royal family that had descended from Semiramis and Horus could continue to grow in power. The Egyptian leaders were probably willing to co-operate with Shem in this because it would give more of them an opportunity to hold kingly office. Notice then, for over two centuries, since the days of Cush, there had been only one dynasty in Egypt. Suddenly, in 2035, there are three dynasties. Shem changed the basic governmental structure of ancient Egypt.
From the days of Cush down to the arrival of Shem in 2037, Egypt was a united country. And this union of upper and lower Egypt under the rule of the family of Semiramis started a deception that has lasted ever since because all historians have assumed that all later dynasties must have had the country united under them.
Shem performed two great deeds in the history of early Egypt: 1) He executed Nimrod under God's direction and thereby cut short the power of this wicked archrebel; and 2) He changed the basic political structure of the country. Historians have failed completely to realize the impact this great patriarch had upon the course of events in ancient times. This is the price paid when the Bible is regarded as myth!
Egypt to the Beginning of Dynasty 12 Noah died in Italy in the .year 2019. This is the same year with which Shem's reign ended in Egypt. He had to leave Egypt for Italy to take over his father's responsibilities there. With the departure of Shem significant developments took place in Egypt. As soon as the great patriarch was absent from the scene, war broke out. When the controlling influence of Shem was removed from the country it apparently fell to pieces.
This tragic war was waged between the rulers of Thebes and Heracleopolis, the new dynasties which Shem had originated in 2035. They were fighting for control of Thinis, the capital city of the first Dynasty which had been established by Cush. In this struggle the famous first Dynasty collapsed and Dynasty 2 arose in 1993. Thebes obtained control of Thinis and subordinated this new Second Dynasty. Thebes and Heracleopolis, then, were battling with each other for control of Egypt. The city of Thebes was a small semi-independent kingdom that steadily rose to power. In 1962 a ruler named Nebhepetre Mentuhotpe II or Mentuhotpe the Great. As the story will show, he was the greatest Pharaoh of Dynasty 11. His reign was destined to bring new developments to war-torn Egypt.
In the ninth year of Mentuhotpe's reign, a great war was fought for the city of Heracleopolis. Only 60 men were lost by the Thebans in their attacks indicating how small Egypt's population was. (this, and many other evidences, indicate that the eleventh Dynasty was one of the earliest in Egypt.) The Thebans were successful in this battle. However, the war with Heracleopolis continued intermittently until the 100th year of the Theban Dynasty in 1935. In that year the struggle was brought to a halt. Thebes was victorious. Mentuhotpe succeeded in uniting Egypt completely.
This does not mean, however, that now there was only the Dynasty of Thebes (Dynasty 11) left in Egypt. In 1935 there were actually four dynasties in Egypt with Thebes being the dominant one. Dynasty 9 of Heracleopolis was allowed to continue although its actual power was gone. Dynasty 2 of Thinis also continued but it was only of minor importance. Then there was another Dynasty of Heracleopolis, Manetho's Dynasty 10. This dynasty had been set up by Mentuhotpe and the Thebans during the first conquest of Heracleopolis; it supported Thebes. Thus, from 1954 on, the government of Heracleopolis was divided. One branch supported Heracleopolis. But the other supported Thebes. With a divided house Heracleopolis was bound to collapse.
To summarize: after Shem ceased ruling in Dynasty 1 of Thinis, Dynasty 11 came to dominate Egypt militarily and politically. Dynasty 11 was the great one of the period. Dynasties 9 and 10 of Heracleopolis and Dynasty 2 of Thinis were minor in comparison.
The ruler who brought Thebes and its Eleventh Dynasty to greatness was Mentuhotpe II. His reign lasted for over half a century — 1962-1911! This was the Pharaoh Abraham and Sarah met in the story in Genesis 12. Recall the story of Abraham in Part Three. Mentuhotpe was the first Pharaoh in Egypt to have a harem — which is why he wanted Sarah. He was a man of energy and achievement, the greatest Pharaoh of his day.
The reign of Mentuhotpe the Great ended in 1911. With his departure the end of the Dynasty was not long in coming. Sankhkare Mentuhotpe (Mentuhotpe III) followed him for 12 years, down to 1899. Then the next seven years were years of anarchy. Nebtowere Mentuhotpe (Mentuhotpe IV) and others tried to maintain control. Confusion reigned in the land of Egypt.
What was happening in Egypt during 1899-1892? It was a time of great civil war. The power of Thebes was being challenged. This terrible war brought about the end of the 11th Dynasty. This war was the MOST IMPORTANT STRUGGLE IN THE HISTORY OF EGYPT because it resulted in the rise to power of the great 12th Dynasty of Thebes. This was the dynasty that would lead Egypt to world power and domination, in the days of Jacob and Joseph. The year of 1892 is very important. It witnessed the end of the civil war and the seven years of near anarchy. In it, the power or hegemony of Thebes was re-established, but with a new ruling house, the famous Dynasty 12.
During the first 112 years of this great Dynasty four successive kings occupied the throne. Each one increased the prestige, power, and might of the dynasty. Then, in 1779, one of the greatest conquerors of ancient history came to the throne. His name was Sesostris (or Senwosre) III. His conquests made it possible for the Children of Israel to have influential positions in the government that dominated the ancient world.
Sesostris the Great and the Egyptian Empire Sesostris III spent the first 19 years of his reign (1779-1760) in subjugating Ethiopia, the region south of Egypt along the Red Sea and Indian Ocean. But he did more than conquer the Ethiopians. He transported them to distant lands!
The story is in Herodotus' History, Book II. Sesostris set sail in ships with his armies from the area of the Persian Gulf. He moved his fleet along the shores conquering the various peoples. The fleet moved down the west coast of India and then up the east coast all the way to the region of Burma and Southeast Asia. Because the waters there were much more shallow than they are now (all geologists recognize there has been a great sinking in the region of the Bay of Bengal. Notice the many little islands in the area) Sesostris had to return to Egypt.
Now here is something very significant in relation to this story: southeast Asia has many black people. Where did they come from and how did they get there? The only logical answer is that Sesostris brought them from Ethiopia. Since he conquered Ethiopia he must have established colonies of Cushites along with Egyptians in Southeast Asia. The people of Southeast Asia tend to be folk who do not travel by ship. The movement to southeast Asia is also something that they would not carry out on their own. The reasonable explanation is that they were transplanted, taken as colonies by someone else!
This would also explain why the culture of ancient Egypt is found in southeast Asia. For example, the Australian Boomerang was first found in the Nile Valley! This is just one of numerous characteristics of Egyptian culture found in this far-removed area of the world. All of this also implies something very significant: if the Egyptians and Sesostris could send a great army and fleet all the way to Asia (and such expeditions certainly took place more than once), Egypt must have been the great sea power in ancient times. Egypt's greatness was not only due to military power on land but also because of control of the seas. As is true of Assyria, the greatness of ancient Egypt has never been realized by historians.
But this is only the beginning of the story of Sesostris the great conqueror. When he got back to Egypt, he gathered a great army and set out to conquer the near east. Manetho records that "in nine years (1760-1751) he subdued the whole of Asia (this refers to Asia Minor and the near east only, just western Asia). And Europe as far as Thrace."
Just what Sesostris' time schedule of conquest was is not exactly known. However the indication is that he subjugated Assyria very early in his campaign. In the early King List of Assyria there was a king named Balaeus who ruled from 1795-1743, the very time of Sesostris. According to Syncellus, in the middle of Balaeus' reign in 1758. Another king named Sethos came to the throne. Why this unusual event? It is very probable that the year 1758 marks the date of the conquest of Assyria by the Egyptian Pharaoh and the beginning of a joint reign in Assyria to stabilize the monarchy weakened by foreign invasion. Sethos was appointee of Sesostris III. (Compendium. Vol. I, p. 321).
Sesostris occupied Palestine very early in his campaign also, probably just before the overthrow of Assyria. The indication is that he took Canaan during the time Jacob was in Mesopotamia at Haran serving Laban. This was toward the end of the life of Isaac who died in 1737 — the period covered by Genesis chapters 27 through 35. This period will be discussed in more detail shortly.
After the occupation of Canaan and Assyria. Sesostris took Asia Minor also. Then he moved up into the Causcasus area between the Black and Caspian Seas. Next he took his armies into Scythia, Southern Russia north of the Black Sea and overcame the Scythians. Finally Sesostris and his forces moved into the region of Thrace and Macedonia north of Greece. At this point, they conquered no further but turned around, again following the northern coast of the Black Sea, and journeyed back down to Egypt.
Actually, then, the Egyptians under Sesostris came to dominate most of the civilized world. It is said that at a much later time Darius, King of the Persian Empire, was not allowed to place a statue of himself in front of a statue of Sesostris because he had not succeeded in conquering the Scythians while the great Egyptian ruler had. There is no question about it, Sesostris III was one of the greatest rulers of ancient times! Under his dominion Egypt built a world empire. God wanted Egypt to reach this pinnacle of power for the sake of the Children of Israel and the carrying out of his purpose.
After conquering the world, Sesostris returned to Egypt to concentrate on domestic affairs. In 1741 he associated his son, Amenemhe III, with him on the throne of Egypt. They ruled jointly for 11 years to 1730. As recorded by Herodotus (Book II, Sections 108-9), Sesostris was very prosperous toward the very end of his reign. This was due to the seven years of plenty when Joseph ruled in Egypt. This part of the History of Egypt will be presented in the next chapter. With this background in mind, concerning the empire of Sesostris and the greatness of Egypt the stage is set for the story of Joseph and his brothers in Egypt. Yes, the Bible and ancient history can be harmonized.