From Genesis to
of Early Egypt
Damien F. Mackey
In the course of this book I shall be proposing that the Patriarchs Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, and Moses, span the entire period of Egyptian history from the very first king of the First Dynasty of the Old Kingdom (as we have already learned) to, in the case of Moses,
the last king (actually a woman) of the so-called Middle Kingdom.
Egyptologists have created too many Egyptian kingdoms and dynasties.
Likewise, regarding the early history of the earth, we are presented with a vast succession of Geological Ages reaching back, say, 4 billion years ago, give or take.
Palaeontology takes us back through the supposedly successive Stone Ages a far more modest 2-3 million years.
Archaeological Ages then follow these earlier ages, all nicely set out in linear, or “Indian file”, fashion. This system, however, is quite artificial, not according with reality. Hence, the already challenging task of trying to marry, particularly the Archaeological Ages, with the historical kingdoms and their dynasties, might seem to have become well-nigh impossible.
Thankfully, though, Dr. John Osgood has already made the task far more manageable, at least, with his “A Better Model for the Stone Ages” series, in which the linear model is rejected on the basis of hard evidence.
And, regarding the conventional arrangement of the Egyptian Kingdoms (Old, Middle, New), which, too, is linear, Dr. Donovan Courville has argued for the Old and Middle Kingdoms, conventionally separated as to beginnings by (2600-2040 =) about 560 years, to be recognised as being (in part) synchronous.
Here, embracing Dr. Courville’s general thesis (though with quite a different application of it), I would like to attempt to fill out that first ruler of the Old (or Archaïc) Kingdom era of Egypt – the contemporary of Abraham and Isaac – by enfleshing him with a so-called Middle Kingdom aspect or dimension as well.
Just as I had earlier suggested that the Noachic Flood, when properly deciphered, might serve to bring into some sort of coherent synthesis those unwieldy and vast Geological Ages, so, too, do I believe that the Patriarchs of Genesis (Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and Joseph), in company with Moses of the Pentateuch, may serve to tidy up the early Egyptian Kingdoms and dynasties.
And here is a preview of how I think it may be done.
In the course of this book I shall be proposing that those aforementioned Patriarchs and Moses span the entire period of Egyptian history from the very first king of the First Dynasty of the Old Kingdom (as we have already learned) to (and even slightly beyond), in the case of Moses, the last king (actually a woman) of the so-called Middle Kingdom.
Here is the schematic outline of it, with consideration of a possible Second/Tenth Dynasty connection to Abraham and Isaac to follow after it:
Abraham and Isaac (1, 2, 10 dynasties);
Joseph (3, 11 dynasties);
Moses (4-6, 12-13 dynasties).
Dynasties 7-9, which are thought to have followed the collapse of Egypt’s Old Kingdom as a First Intermediate Period (c. 2181-2055 BC), are omitted here.
Dr. Courville identified this period of confusion with the so-called Second Intermediate Period (c. 1782-1570 BC), and I would basically accept this parallel revision of his.
The implications of the drastic revision that I have outlined above are that a period of Egyptian history Sothically calculated as spanning, very roughly, (3100-1780 =) 1320 years, was actually the same 430-year period that we had calculated from the arrival of Abram in Canaan, aged 75, down to the Exodus under Moses.
This is a time discrepancy between Egypt and the Bible of a whacking (1320-430 =) 890 years!
In terms of the Early Bronze Ages (I-IV), these can neatly be set out (to be elaborated on) as:
Abraham and Isaac (EBI);
Jacob and Joseph (EBII);
Now, in fashion similar to my condensing of the Akkadian dynasty by identifying alter egos, or duplicate rulers, so here do I intend to shorten the early Egyptian history which, I think, fits so poorly against the biblical record.
The king of Egypt at the time of Abram (Abraham) I have identified as the first ruler of the First Dynasty, the very long-reigning Menes Hor-Aha (‘Min’).
And I have been able – following the structure of the Book of Genesis (toledôt and chiasmus) – to link that ruler with the Abimelech known to Abram (Genesis 20:2) and to Isaac (26:1).
Whilst Abimelech (?????????????) is a Hebrew name, meaning “My Father is King”, I noted that it had a structure and meaning rather similar to that of the supposedly Second Dynasty Egyptian king, Raneb (or Nebra): that is, “Father Ra is King”.
Before I had come to the conclusion that Abram’s ruler of Egypt belonged to the First Dynasty, I had thought – the same as David Rohl, although quite independently of him – that that ruler must have been the Tenth Dynasty’s Khety.
Rohl numbers him as Khety IV Nebkaure, whereas I had numbered the same ruler as Khety III (N. Grimal, I note, has a Khety II Nebkaure, A History of Egypt, pp. 144, 148).
If the so-called Tenth Dynasty were really to be located this early in time, I had thought, then this would have had major ramifications for any attempted reconstruction of Egyptian history. Having Abram’s Egyptian ruler situated in the Tenth Dynasty did fit well with my view then, at least, that Joseph, who arrived on the scene about two centuries after Abraham, had belonged to the Eleventh Dynasty (as well as to the Third, as Imhotep).
Although I would later drop from my revision the notion of Khety (be he II, III or IV) as Abraham’s king of Egypt – not being able to connect him securely to the Old Kingdom era – I am now inclined to return to it.
Previously I had written on this:
So far, however, I have not been able to establish any compelling link between the 1st and 10th Egyptian dynasties (perhaps Aha “Athothis” in 1 can connect with “Akhthoes” in 10). Nevertheless, that pharaoh Khety appears to have possessed certain striking likenesses to Abram’s [king] has not been lost on David Rohl as well, who, in From Eden to Exile: The Epic History of the People of the Bible (Arrow Books, 2003), identified the “Pharaoh” with Khety (Rohl actually numbers him as Khety IV). And he will further incorporate the view of the Roman author, Pliny, that Abram’s “Pharaoh” had a name that Rohl considers to be akin to Khety’s prenomen: Nebkaure.
Here, for what it is worth, is what I have written about pharaoh Khety III:
There is a somewhat obscure incident in 10th dynasty history, associated with … Wahkare Khety III and the nome of Thinis, that may possibly relate to the biblical incident [of “Pharaoh” and Abram’s wife]. It should be noted firstly that Khety III is considered to have had to restore order in Egypt after a general era of violence and food shortage, brought on says N. Grimal by “the onset of a Sahelian climate, particularly in eastern Africa” [A History of Ancient Egypt, Blackwell, 1994, p. 139].
Moreover, Khety III’s “real preoccupation was with northern Egypt, which he succeeded in liberating from the occupying populations of Bedouin and Asiatics” [ibid., p. 145]. Could these eastern nomads have been the famine-starved Syro-Palestinians of Abram’s era – including the Hebrews themselves – who had been forced to flee to Egypt for sustenance? And was Khety III referring to the Sarai incident when, in his famous Instruction addressed to his son, Merikare, he recalled, in regard to Thinis (ancient seat of power in Egypt):
Lo, a shameful deed occurred in my time:
The nome of This was ravaged;
Though it happened through my doing,
I learned it after it was done.
Cf. Genesis 12:17-19:
But the Lord afflicted Pharaoh and his house with great plagues because of Sarai ….
So Pharaoh called Abram, and said,
‘What is this you have done to me?
Why did you not tell me that she was your wife?
Why did you say, ‘She is my sister’? so that I took her for my wife?
Now then, here is your wife, take her, and be gone’.
It may now be possible to propose some (albeit tenuous) links between the era of Khety and what is considered to be the far earlier Old Kingdom period to which I would assign Abraham. N. Grimal refers to another Aha (that being the name of Abraham’s proposed contemporary, Hor-Aha) as living at the same time as Khety II.
Another tentative suggestion would be that the legendary Nebka, ruler of Egypt, whom Grimal and the likes find difficult to locate precisely in early Egyptian history, was Nebkaure, Nebkare, Pliny’s traditional ruler of Egypt at the time of Abraham – and Khety Nebkaure according to David Rohl.
This name, in turn, Nebka, may then allow for a link also to be made with Raneb, whose name we have found to be like Abimelech.
If Menes Hor-Aha (‘Min’) had really reigned for more than sixty years (Manetho-Africanus), then he is likely to have accumulated many other names and titles.
We may need to start investigating First, Second and Tenth Dynasty inter-connections.
The ancient Egyptians are not renowned for their sea-faring abilities.
Author-mariner Gavin Menzies might dispute this.
The Akkadian-Assyrian name for Egypt was “Magan”, and we learn that: “… the ships from Magan … [Sargon] made tie-up alongside the quay of Akkad”.
The era of Sargon of Akkad I have synchronised with the First Dynasty of Egypt, and N. Grimal tells of “boats” being referred to in the Palermo Stone in connection with the ruler, Aha.