11th dynasty

Who were the Pharaohs of the Oppression?

The Israelites numbered about 70 when they first came to live in Egypt at the invitation of the Pharaoh whose vizier was Jacob’s 11th son Jospeh-Imhotep. They were allowed to live in the best part of the land; Goshen. Here they flourished and multiplied under the protection of Joseph who was second in charge of Egypt and had saved the country from a seven year famine by storing up grain to sell before the famine started. Joseph had brought up all the land of Egypt and had made the Pharaoh very rich and powerful. Joseph lived until the age of 110 years and served several pharaohs. When he died, he was embalmed and given a royal Egyptian burial – some 80 yrs after he first entered Egypt.

The Israelites came to Egypt in the 3rd dynasty when Netjerikhet was the Pharaoh. Pharaoh Netjerikhet came to be know as Pharaoh Djoser as time went by (the pharaoh of Joseph). The Israelites flourished and multiplied during the 3rd & 4th dynasties while Joseph was alive and continued to multiply during the 5th & 6th dynasties after his death. The 6th dynasty, which was based in Memphis in Lower Egypt, was contemporary with the 9th and 10th dynasties based in Herakleopolis and the 11th dynasty based in Thebes.

Amenemhet I - the first pharaoh of the 12th dynasty.  He reigned for 30 yrs (including a 10 yr coregency with his son Sensuret I) and then was assassinated.

Amenemhet I – the first pharaoh of the 12th dynasty. He reigned for 30 yrs (including a 10 yr coregency with his son Sensuret I) and then was assassinated.

About 100 years after Joseph’s death, a pharaoh who did not know Joseph came to power. Amenemhet I was the vizier of Mentuhotep IV of the 11th dynasty based in Thebes (Upper Egypt). He assassinated Mentuhotep IV of the 11th dynasty and took over both Upper and Lower Egypt to start what is known as the 12th dynasty (or Egypt’s Middle Kingdom). The pharaohs of the middle kingdom did not like the Israelites and felt threatened by them. Fearing that they would join their enemies, they forced the Israelites into slavery.

The 12th dynasty pharaohs constructed their pyramids from mud brick with only a veneer of limestone. The 12th dynasty pharaohs needed a large slave labor force to make the mud bricks required for their pyramids. This became the task of the Israelites who by the time of the Exodus had come to number over two million. The 12th dynasty lasted some 200 years and during this time, 7 pyramids were constructed as well as the Labyrinth. The Labyrinth was considered one of wonders of the ancient world by Heroditis.

Moses was born during the co-reign of Senusret III and Amenemhet III about 4yrs into Amenemhet III’s reign. Amenemhet III built two pyramids and the Labyrinth. He was very cruel to the Israelites and it was probably he who ordered the midwives to kill the Hebrew baby boys. His daughter Sobeknefru was childless and there was no male heir to the throne. Sobeknefru adopted a Hebrew baby Moses that she found in a basket amongst the reeds of the Nile and she brought him up as her own in her household. He was known as Amenemhet IV.

When Amenemhet IV was old enough, 30yrs, he began a co-regency with Amenemhet III. This lasted 9 yrs and then Amenemhet IV suddenly disappeared. This left no male heir to the throne. Consequently, Sobeknefru had to assume the throne but she only lived for 8yrs and then she died. When she died, the 12th dynasty ended and Egypt became unstable. There was a rapid succession of pharaohs in the 13th dynasty. The longest ruling was Neferhotep I who reigned for 11 years. It was Neferhotep I who was the pharaoh when Moses-Amenemhet IV returned from exile. Neferhotep I was the Exodus Pharaoh who chased the Israelites and whose army and chariots were drowned in the Red Sea.

Egypt was crippled by the Exodus of the Israelites and became vulnerable to invasion. Not long after the Exodus, the Hyksos, shepherd kings from Arabia, invaded Egypt and built a fort at Avaris. From there, they occupied and controlled Lower Egypt for the next 400 years.

The relationship between the Israelite sojourn (430yrs) and the dynasties of Egypt.

The relationship between the Israelite sojourn (430yrs) and the dynasties of Egypt.

Categories: 11th dynasty, 12th dynasty, 13th Dynasty, Egypt, Israel, Israelite Slaves in Egypt, Pharaohs of the Oppression | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Nebhepetre – Mentuhotep II – was a pharaoh when the Israelites were in Egypt.

Mentuhotep II of the 11th dynasty was only king of Upper and Lower Egypt for part of his reign – at a time when the Israelites were in Egypt.

Mentuhotep II wearing the crown of Upper Egypt

Mentuhotep II wearing the crown of Upper Egypt

Mentuhotep II was the 5th Pharaoh of the 11th dynasty which as based in Thebes. The son of Intef III. He reigned for 51 years. Around the 14th year of his reign, he defeated the Herakleopolitans (10th dynasty) and was able to consolidate his reign. Around his 39th year on the throne he reunited Egypt. He is considered by many to be the first pharaoh of the Middle Kingdom.

Mentuhotep II wearing the crown of Upper and Lower Egypt.

Mentuhotep II wearing the crown of Upper and Lower Egypt.

Manetho’s statement that the 11th Dynasty consisted of 16 kings, who reigned for 43 years is contradicted by contemporary inscriptions and the evidence of the Turin King List, whose combined testimony establishes that this kingdom consisted of seven kings who ruled for a total of 143 years.

The 11th dynasty seem to have originated with a Nomach from Thebes “Intef the Great”. His son Mentuhotep I is regarded as the first king of the dynasty.  Intef II, son of Mentuhotep I, was the first king of the dynasty to lay claim to ruling Upper and Lower Egypt but only managed to take as far North as Abydos where he came into conflict with the 10th dynasty kings of Herakleopolis. His son Intef III was the father of Mentuhotep II.

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Ancient Egypt had 42 provinces or ‘Nomes’ as they were called. These were divided into those of Upper Egypt and those of Lower Egypt. Each province or ‘Nome’ had a Govenor or ‘Nomarch’.

Dynasties refer to a line of rulers who were related to one another. Dynasties often ran in parallel in different parts of the country. Potentially, there could be 42 dynasties running in parallel at one time in Egypt if each Nome had a series of leaders from the one family line.

The 11th dynasty, based in Thebes, was contemporary with dynasties in other parts of the country. In particular, the 9th and 10th dynasties, based in Herakleopolis, often referred to the as the First Intermediate Period (when Lower Egypt had no King), were contemporary with the 11th dynasty. The 9th and 10th Dynasties lasted only 20 years and followed the sixth dynasty which was also contemporary with the 11th dynasty but in a different part of the country (Memphis).

The principal dynasties that were recorded by Manetho refer to the families that ruled Upper and Lower Egypt or both (ie Kings).

Mentuhotep II defeated the Herakleopolitians in the 14th year of his reign. This ended the First Intermediate Period when Lower Egypt had no King.  Egypt was not unified, however, until the 39th year of his reign.

At what point did Mentuhotep II become the King of Upper and Lower Egypt? Was it by force when he defeated the Herakleopolitians or was it in the 39th year of his reign when Egypt became unified?

Assuming that there was continuity of the Kingship, the chronology of Egypt would be considerably shorter if the dynasties were aligned according to when a change of Kings occurred without shortening the dynasty as there would, no doubt, be much more overlap of dynasties.

When Pharaohs (Kings) took the reign by force, they would subjugate the other Nomarchs, killing those who would not submit and allowing those who did to continue their dynasty in parallel.

After all, there were 42 Nomes and 42 Nomarches and potentially there could have been 42 dynasties running at one time. Only the major dynasties were recorded by Manetho. These were the more important dynasties in which a Nomarch ruled Upper or Lower Egypt and sometimes both Upper and Lower Egypt. What’s more, these Nomarchs could have reigned considerably longer than the period that they wore the crown of Upper or Lower Egypt or both. Failure to understand this would grossly prolong the Egyptian Chronology.

There may have been times that Egypt had no native king to unite it’s 42 Nomes. This was most likely the case during the first intermediate period even though it was contemporary with the 11th dynasty. The second intermediate period was a time when Lower Egypt was ruled by foreign invaders from Arabia (the Hyksos).


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Categories: 11th dynasty, Egypt | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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