Posts Tagged With: MIDDLE KINGDOM
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!
Amenemhet I was the founder of the 12th dynasty. He was the vizier of his predecessor Mentuhotep IV who he may have assassinated.
31During the night Pharaoh summoned Moses and Aaron and said, “Up! Leave my people, you and the Israelites! Go, worship the Lord as you have requested. 32Take your flocks and herds, as you have said, and go. And also bless me.”
33The Egyptians urged the people to hurry and leave the country. “For otherwise,” they said, “we will all die!” 34So the people took their dough before the yeast was added, and carried it on their shoulders in kneading troughs wrapped in clothing. 35The Israelites did as Moses instructed and asked the Egyptians for articles of silver and gold and for clothing. 36The Lord had made the Egyptians favorably disposed toward the people, and they gave them what they asked for; so they plundered the Egyptians.
37The Israelites journeyed from Rameses to Succoth. There were about six hundred thousand men on foot, besides women and children. 38Many other people went up with them, as well as large droves of livestock, both flocks and herds. 39With the dough they had brought from Egypt, they baked cakes of unleavened bread. The dough was without yeast because they had been driven out of Egypt and did not have time to prepare food for themselves.
40Now the length of time the Israelite people lived in Egyptb was 430 years. 41At the end of the 430 years, to the very day, all the Lord’s divisions left Egypt. 42Because the Lord kept vigil that night to bring them out of Egypt, on this night all the Israelites are to keep vigil to honor the Lord for the generations to come.
The Israelites were fruitful and multiplied while Joseph (?Imhotep) lived. After Joseph had died, a new king came to power in Egypt who did not know Joseph or his connection with the Israelites. He felt threatened and started to oppress the Israelites.
The Israelites Oppressed
1These are the names of the sons of Israel who went to Egypt with Jacob, each with his family: 2Reuben, Simeon, Levi and Judah; 3Issachar, Zebulun and Benjamin; 4Dan and Naphtali; Gad and Asher. 5The descendants of Jacob numbered seventya in all; Joseph was already in Egypt.
6Now Joseph and all his brothers and all that generation died, 7but the Israelites were fruitful and multiplied greatly and became exceedingly numerous, so that the land was filled with them.
8Then a new king, who did not know about Joseph, came to power in Egypt. 9“Look,” he said to his people, “the Israelites have become much too numerous for us. 10Come, we must deal shrewdly with them or they will become even more numerous and, if war breaks out, will join our enemies, fight against us and leave the country.”
11So they put slave masters over them to oppress them with forced labor, and they built Pithom and Rameses as store cities for Pharaoh. 12But the more they were oppressed, the more they multiplied and spread; so the Egyptians came to dread the Israelites 13and worked them ruthlessly.14They made their lives bitter with hard labor in brick and mortar and with all kinds of work in the fields; in all their hard labor the Egyptians used them ruthlessly.