Israelite Slaves in Egypt
David Down’s revised Egyptian Chronology places Moses in the 12th dynasty. With a long sojourn and no first intermediate period, his chronology fits with Joseph being Imhotep.
Yet the Bible also tells us that the Israelites lived in Egypt for 430 years to the very day. Exodus 12:40-41
The Israelite Oppression ended when the 12th dynasty ended, about 10 years after Moses / Amenemhet IV went into exile at the age of 40 years. This was 400 years after Jacob and his family came to Egypt. The Exodus did not take place until 30 years into the 13th dynasty when Moses / Amenemhet IV returned to confront Neferhotep I at the age of 80 years.
The Israelite oppression lasted 400 years – it ended when the 12th dynasty ended. No more pyramids were built after the 12th dynasty. The 13th dynasty was very chaotic and the Pharaohs did not focus on oppressing the Israelites because their thrones were not stable enough and maybe their attitude towards the Israelites was slightly more sympathetic than that of the 12th dynasty pharaohs. The Exodus occurred 30 years into the 13th dynasty during the reign of Neferhotep I who was the longest ruling pharaoh of that dynasty (11 years).
Amenemhet III would have reigned between 2-6 years after Moses fled to Midian and Sobekneferu would have reigned between 4-8 years after her father Amenemhet III and then she died. When she died, the 12th dynasty ended as there was no heir to the throne. The result was that Egypt fell into Chaos. There was a rapid succession of Pharaohs in the 13th dynasty and as a result, the Israelites were not oppressed during this time. They were able to keep multiplying and prepare to leave Egypt.
The 12th dynasty Pyramids (made with an inner core of mud bricks) are a lasting legacy of the Israelite Oppression in Egypt which took place prior to the Exodus in the 13th dynasty.
There are many theories about who Joseph was in Egyptian History. Similarly, people theorize about who was the Exodus Pharaoh and who was the Pharaoh of Moses Birth and who was the pharaoh of Abraham.
As these Biblical and Historical figures are related to each other in time, sequence and position, the identification of one of these figures (a point of reference) determines where and when to look for the others.
As there are different views about the way the various Egyptian dynasties are ordered and as there are two schools of though regarding the length of the Israelite’s Sojourn in Egypt, many different permutations and combinations are possible when everybody logs in their answers for who they think just four of these iconic Biblical figures may have been in Egyptian History.
For a theory to hold, there needs to be a good character match, sufficient archaeological evidence, any discrepant dates need to be explained and the sequence and time frames needs to be right.
As a point of reference, one might ask, what lasting legacy did the Israelites leave behind (for us to find) when they were slaves in Egypt? The Bible records that the Israelites were forced to make mud bricks that were reinforced with straw. The Bible says that there were over 600 thousand Israelite men of fighting age by the time of the Exodus. The Bible says that the Israelites Sojourned in Egypt for 400 years.
Even if the the Israelites only produced one mud brick per person per day for half of their sojourn, that would be 600000 people x 200 years x 365 days x 1 mud brick per day per person = 43.8 billion mud bricks. That is a lot of mud bricks!!
Where can we find this many mud bricks in Egyptian History? The answer is: in the 12th dynasty. (The 12 dynasty lasted about 200 years)!!
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There is considerable evidence to suggest that the 12th dynasty was the period when the Israelites were oppressed. The 12th dynasty pyramids had a mud brick core and a limestone veneer. (The limestone veneer has fallen away over the centuries leaving the mud brick core exposed.) There were seven such pyramids constructed over about 200 years. The Labyrinth, another monolith of the 12th dynasty, was also made from mud bricks.
There was a massive Exodus of slaves from Egypt in the 13th dynasty, after which, no more pyramids were constructed.
The only other significant exodus from Egypt was at the end of the second intermediate period when The Hyksos were chased out of Egypt in a rebellion lead by the family of Ahmose who went on to found the 18th dynasty. The Hyksos were rulers of Egypt and are clearly not the Israelites.
The only reasonable conclusion is that the Exodus of slaves in the 13th dynasty was in fact the Israelite Exodus. This is supported by good character matches for Moses, Moses’ pharaoh, Moses’ adoptive mother and the Exodus pharaoh. The profiles of Amenemhet III, Sobekneferu Amenemhet IV and Neferhotep and the chronology and time frames make it very likely that they were The pharaoh of Moses Birth, the princess that adopted Moses, Moses himself and the Exodus pharaoh respectively.
People have suggested the 12th dynasty vizier Mentuhotep (of Sesostris I) to be Jospeh of the Bible based on a 200 yr sojourn but there is little evidence and a poor character match.
The Bible says that the Israelites were in Egypt for 400 years. They were able to enjoy the protection of Joseph for the first 70 years and some time elapsed before there was a change of dynasties to a pharaoh who neither remembered Joseph, nor was sympathetic to the Israelites.
It is unlikely that the Pharaohs of the 12th dynasty changed their tune half way thru the dynasty.
There is a lot of evidence to suggest Joseph was Imhotep of the third dynasty and this would fit with Menez being Mizraim. Abrahams pharaoh (Abimelech) was somewhere in between Menes and Imhotep.
We know that the Egyptian chronology has been stretched out too far, that dynasties overlapped and so we cannot use dates to match Biblical figures with their historical counterparts.
If the long sojourn is right, then Joseph would have arrived in Egypt about 200 years before the 12th dynasty began.
The first intermediate period is likely to have been contemporary with other dynasties (3-6th dynasties). As a consequence, the 12th dynasty (middle kingdom) followed directly on from the old kingdom (dynsasty 3-6).
The pharaohs of the dynasties 7-11 (erroneously referred to as the First Intermediate Period) were probably Nomarches and high officials and not pharaohs at all. The only record we have of them is there name and how long they reigned. They were not even buried in pyramids.
Amenemhet I who founded the 12th dynasty was the vizier of Mentuhotep IV of the 11th dynasty. Amenemhet I assassinated Mentuhotep IV and took over the whole country. It was he who had a different attitude to the Israelites and made them into slaves, forcing them to make mud bricks for the 12th dynasty pyramids.
The major objection to Joseph being Imhotep is the dates, and new insights into the Egyptian chronology are slowly but surely resolving this issue.
In any case, there is no doubt that the Bible is true and that Moses and Joseph were real people and one day we will know their Egyptian names and the names of the Pharaohs that they served with more certainty.
The Pharaoh when Moses was Born
Moses/Amenemhet IV was 80 years old when he lead the Israelites out of Egypt in 1446BC. The Israelites were in Egypt for 430 years. Moses was born 80 years before the Exodus in 1526BC. The Israelites, therefore, had been in Egypt for 350 years when Moses was born. Joseph/Imhotep was long since dead and by the time of the Exodus the Israelites numbered around 2 million as there were over 600,000 men of fighting age.
The Israelites flourished and multiplied quickly when they first came to Egypt in the 3rd dynasty when Djoser (Netjerikhet) was pharaoh. They had the blessing of the Pharaoh and they enjoyed the protection of the vizier Joseph/Imhotep while he was alive. They lived in Goshen, the most fertile part of Egypt.
At the end of the 6th and 11th dynasty (which ran contemporaneously in different parts of the country), there was an uprising by Amenemhet I who was the vizier for Mentuhotep IV of the 11th dynasty. He assassinated Mentuhotep IV and became the first pharaoh of the 12th dynasty, eventually taking over all of upper and lower Egypt. Amenemhet I did not care or remember that the Israelites were related to Joseph/Imhotep who had saved Egypt from a seven year famine and made the pharaohs rich. This pharaoh (Amenemhet I) ruthlessly forced the Israelites to work the fields and make mud bricks for his public works. The 12th dynasty pyramids were composed largely of mud bricks which were then covered or faced with a limestone veneer. (Some of the inner rooms and passage ways were also made of limestone.)
The 12th dynasty spanned almost 200 years. Amenemhet III was the sixth pharaoh of this dynasty and he built two pyramids. He reigned for 46 years. He co-reigned with his father Sesostris III for as long as 20 years at the beginning of his reign. At the end of his reign, he co-reigned with his intended successor Amenemhet IV for 9 years but was succeeded by his daughter Sobeknefru because Amenemhet IV suddenly disappeared. Sobeknefru only lived for another 4-8 years and then the 12th dynasty ended and Egypt was thrown into turmoil. There was a rapid succession of pharaoh’s in the next dynasty and no pyramids were constructed during this time. Towards the end of the 13th dynasty, which lasted less than 40 years, there was a sudden exodus of slaves from Egypt. This occurred during the reign of Neferhotep. Kahun, for example, was a slave village that was occupied from the time of Sesostris II up until the time of Neferhotep, as evidenced by the scarabs that Flinders Petrie found in the town. Petrie also found evidence that the town was suddenly vacated.
Moses spent the first 40 years of his life growing up in Pharaoh’s household. The pharaoh’s daughter, being childless, adopted Moses (a Hebrew baby who she found hidden amongst the reeds of the Nile) and raised him as her own. She would have groomed Moses to be the next heir to the throne.
There was no change of pharaohs during Moses’s first 40 years. The pharaoh of the time would have reigned at least 40 years.
Moses lead the Israelites out of Egypt at the age of 80 years, 40 years after Moses went into Exile.
Egypt was devastated by the Exodus. With the loss of it’s slaves, Egypt was no longer able to construct pyramids. With the loss of it’s army, Egypt was no longer able to defend itself. Egypt was invaded by the Hyksos not long after the Exodus.
It is highly likely that Amenemhet III was the Pharaoh that was reigning when Moses was born. He reigned for 46 yrs and would have seen Moses reach the age of 40 years. Amenemhet III had a daughter (Sobeknefru) who was childless. Amenemhet III was the last of a long line of pharaohs in the 12th dynasty who needed a large slave labour force to construct the massive pyramids of the 12th dynasty that were composed chiefly of mud bricks reinforced with straw.
The Hebrews were numerous enough and living in Egypt long enough to have made the mud bricks for all of the 12th dynasty pyramids as well as the Labyrinth which was constructed out of mud bricks too.
The ancestry of Amenemhet IV is unknown. Amenemhet IV may well have been the child of a Hebrew slave. Sobeknefru may well have been the princess who found him and adopted him and raised him as her own to be the next pharaoh Amenemhet IV after her father Amenemhet III.
The pyramids of Amenemhet III were the last great pyramids to be built. The early pyramids of the 3rd to the 6th dynasty were build out of solid limestone but the later pyramids of the 12th dynasty were built out of mud bricks as there was not enough limestone. No major pyramids were built after the 12th dynasty because Egypt’s slaves had escaped!
What are the implications for Israel, Islam and Christianity if the mud bricks in the 12th dynasty pyramids were made by Israelites?
They were real people who are considered the patriarchs of the faith.
Their ancestry and what they achieved is history and it is recorded in the Bible.
In an age when atheism and evolution are fairly common, it is good to be able to give evidence that the Bible is historically accurate.
Owing to the gross inaccuracies of the traditional Egptian chronology, many historians and archaeologists have been looking for evidence of the Jews in Egypt in the wrong dynasties. Not supprisingly, they haven’t found any.
The mud brick pyramids of the 12th dynasty have been staring us so blatently in the face, yet somehow, over the ages, the fact that the Israelites made the mudbricks that went into them has been forgotten. Fact has become legend, and legend myth.
The loss of historical records (eg when the Alexandrian library burnt down), the white washing of history to cover up humiliating defeats, wars, natural disasters and pilfering has also contributed. For almost 2000 years, the art of reading heiroglyphics was lost and only recently recovered when the Rosetta stone was found.
When animals become extinct, people begin to doubt they ever existed.
When people no longer believe that the Bible is true, the fact that the Jews were in Egypt and played a big role in building the pyramids also gets lost.
Now, nobody can explain how the pyramids came to be. Some people have even suggested that they were made by aliens.
The Bible is the oldest, most reliable and ubiquitous source of historical information that we have. If we ignore it, it is no wonder that we do not know who built the pyramids.
When we believe it to be true, archaeological evidence and historical records and geological information just seem to fall into place.
The Bible provides the only credible explanation for where we come from and how the pyramids came to be.
Isn’t God awsome and marvelous!!
The Pharaoh of Moses reigned for at least 40 years as it was the same pharaoh from Moses birth to his Exile at 40 yrs. Amenemhet III reigned for 46 yerars.
The Pharaoh of Moses had a big need for mud bricks. Amenemhet III built two pyramids (Hawara & Dashur) and The Labyrinth (Hawara) which were composed mainly of mud bricks.
The Pharaoh of Moses reigned towards the end of the Israelites’ oppression. Amenemhet III‘s pyramid at Hawara was the last of the Great Pyramids to be built.
The Pharaoh of Moses reign ended around 40 years before the Exodus. Archaologist Flinders Petrie found a workers village at Kahun which was occupied from the time of Sesostris II to Neferhotep I. Neferhotep I reigned about 30-40 years after Amenemhet III. The village appeared to have been suddenly vacated.
The Pharaoh of Moses’s daughter adopted a child. Amenemhet IV had no records of his birth in Egyptian records. Sobekneferu is often cited as the wife sister of Amenemhet IV although there is no evidence to substantiate this.
The Jews were slaves for half of their time in Egypt (the first 200 yrs was for multiplication and then they were slaves for the next 200 yrs). The 12th dynasty lasted about 200 yrs.
The Jews had to make mud bricks that contained straw. There were millions of Jews and they served as slaves for 200 years. That is a lot of mud bricks!! The Pyramids of the 12th dynasty and The Labyrinth were made out of mud bricks containing straw. The 12th dynasty pyramids only had a limestone facing / veneer which no longer exists.
Who else could have made all these mud bricks?
Joseph (Imhotep) had long since died and the Pharaohs of the 12th dynasty had forgotten his connection to the Israelites. Joseph / Imhotep had looked after his family and ensured that they were able to multiply to become a great nation. Joseph died at the age of 110 years; 80 years after coming to Egypt.
The Israelites were in Egypt for 430 years by the time of the Exodus.
The Israelites had become so numerous by the start of the 12th dynasty that the Egyptians were beginning to feel threatened.
Amenmhet I (the first pharaoh of the 12th dynasty), was the vizier of Mentuhotep IV (the last pharaoh of the 11th dynasty) whom he may have assasinated.
The pharaohs of the 12th dynasty required a large slave labour force for the construction of their pyramids and other public works. The Jews were given the task of making mud bricks and working in the fields. The 12th dynasty lasted almost 200 years and at least seven pyramids were constructed during this time.
A semitic slave village at Kahun was built during the time of Sesostris II and occupied up until the time of the Exodus when Neferhotep I was reigning. We know this because scarabs of these pharaohs were found in the town.
The pyramids of the 12th dynasty had a core of mudbricks and a limestone veneer. The cores of each of these pyramids contained millions of mudbricks. Mudbricks were also used for other structures such as the Labyrinth which was built by Amenemhet III, the 6th pharaoh of the 12th dynasty.
Amenemhet III reigned for 46 yrs but had a 20 year co-regency with his father Sesostris III at the beginning of his reign. Moses was born early in the reign of Amenemhet III. It was Amenemhet III who tried to kill the male Israelite babies at birth. It was his daughter Sobekneferu who found Moses in a basket among the reeds of the Nile and adopted him and raised him as her own. Moses was groomed to be the next pharaoh Amenemhet IV and may have even been co-regent with Amenemhet III for 9 years (as Amenemhet IV). He never got to rule by himself. When his affections for the Israelites became known, Moses (alias Amenemhet IV) had to go into exile in Midian or be killed by Amenemhet III.
This not only fits well with historical records and the archaeological evidence, it allows complete synchrony of the Bible with the Egyptian Chronology.
Netjerikhet / Djoser (3rd dynasty)Vizier: Imhotep = Joseph
The Israelites Multiply in Egypt
3rd Dynasty 4th dynasty 5th dynasty 6th dynasty(dynasties 7-11 are contemporary with other dynasties)
Moses raised by Sobeknefru in Pharaoh’s household until 40 years old during the reign of Amenemhet III.Moses co-reigns with Amenemhet III for 9 years as Amenemhet IV during this time
Amenemhet I Sesostris I Sesostrist II Amenemhet IISesostris III Amenemhet III (12th dynasty)
Moses (Amenemhet IV) flees to Midian where he lives with Jethro for 40 years
Amenemhet III Sobekneferu (12th dynasty)Sobekhotep I to Neferhotep I (13th dynasty)
Neferhotep I (13th dynasty)
Moses leads the Israelites in the Wilderness for 40 years. During this time, Moses receives the Law on Mt Sinai, sets up the Sanctuary and positions the Israelites to take the Promised Land
Sobekhotep IV (13th dynasty)14th dynasty
Canaan – Judges
Moses dies on Mt Nebo in Moab just before the Israelites invade Canaan (The Promised Land)Israel is ruled by ‘Judges’
Hyksos (15th dynasty))(16th and 17th dynasties contemporary with 15th)
Israel United – Kingship