A Matter of Time


1,519 words

© Anthony E. Larson, 2003

A Matter of Time

Search as much as you like, you will find little archeological or historical evidence to confirm much of the Old Testament. If you are a student of the scriptures, then you have undoubtedly been frustrated by this fact.

Early hopes of religionists, Latter-day Saints included, that biblical archeology and scholarly research would vindicate the Old Testament as accurate history have been repeatedly dashed.

Some of the first work done by 19th century Egyptologists was to create a comprehensive, chronological record of Egyptian history. Archeologists and historians decided that since it seemed to be the most complete chronological record of ancient history, as well as the oldest and the most long lived, Egyptian history could be used to create a complete, chronological timeline. It would thus function as a yardstick to correlate events in all the other contemporary ancient cultures in the Middle East and the Mediterranean—including those of the Hebrews or the Israelites—into a unified, seamless historical overview.

The sad reality was, though, once the Egyptian timeline was firmly established, scholars and historians found that archeological evidence seemed to contradict the historical timeline of the Old Testament at almost every turn. There seemed to be no evidence of the major events of Israelite history, as recorded in the Bible. There was little or no data confirming the existence of the Israelite nation in Egypt, no evidence of the Exodus or the conquest of Canaan in the relevant archeological strata.

For example, when Kathryn Kenyon excavated the site of ancient Jericho, she found a city with massive walls that had crumbled due to a sizeable earthquake. This was strongly suggestive of the biblical narrative that tells how the Israelite army, under Joshua’s leadership, took Jericho after its impressive city wall fell. But because of the conventional archeological dating of artifacts found at the site, Kenyon surmised that the fabled walls of Jericho fell hundreds of years before Joshua’s arrival, casting considerable doubt on the accuracy of the Old Testament as history.

In fact, these types of findings led many archeologists to doubt the historicity and the validity of a large part of the Bible. Most historians and scholars today consider most of the Old Testament to be conjured or borrowed history, if not mere mythology.

Frustrated religionists, Christians and Jews alike, were left with little historical or archeological evidence to support the sacred record. The advent of modern science and scholasticism had been no help. Archeology would be no friend to religion. It was as if the Old Testament Hebrews or Israelites never existed—a disturbing state of affairs.

Then a quiet revolution began.

A few maverick historians and archeologists suggested that their colleagues had, as one researcher put it, “been looking in the right places, but in the wrong time.” That is, they saw glaring flaws in the accepted chronology of ancient history.

These unorthodox scholars, such as British archeologist and historian David Rohl, sought to create a new chronology, one less arbitrary and more accommodating of strong historical and archeological evidence for inter-cultural correlations that were rejected in the old, rigid chronological scheme. Rohl and others suggested egregious errors in the Egyptian timeline had, in effect, dislocated and distorted other histories—including the Hebrew. They recommend that documented connections or correlations in the historical and archeological record should be allowed to speak for themselves instead of forcing an illogical, rigid chronology on all ancient history.

The result is a fascinating, insightful chronological and historical revision.

The happy news for Latter-day Saints and religionists everywhere is that by allowing heretofore discounted correlations between Egyptian and Hebrew histories to stand alone, irrespective of any ‘established’ chronology, we discover that much of the long sought for evidence of the validity of the Old Testament record has been right under our noses all the time.

For two centuries no evidence was found for the Israelites when looking in Egypt in the strata of the 19th Dynasty. Amended chronologies now suggest that the Israelite sojourn in Egypt be placed in the 12th and 13th dynasties. With that revision, we suddenly find a wealth of archaeological evidence corroborating the biblical account—some very revealing of ancient events, people and situations. The orthodox timeline prevented us from seeing them because the dating created an illusion of history that was really a dislocation in time, in most cases by hundreds of years.

Evidence of the Exodus, perhaps the most impressive event in Hebrew history, has been lacking in profane history for this very reason.

In the old chronology, Ramases II was thought to be the Pharaoh of the Exodus, if there was one at all. There was little evidence for a large population of Hebrew slaves, for ‘plagues’ that swept the Nile Valley or for the decimation of the Egyptian armies, as the Old Testament relates.

In the new chronology, the Exodus occurred toward the end of the 13th Dynasty. Pharaoh Tutimaeus, or Didimose, emerges as the ruler whom Moses confronted. Thus, the corrected chronology gives new meaning to Josephus’ quote of the Egyptian scholar, Manetho, when he writes, “Tutimaos: in his reign, for what cause I know not, a blast of God smote us.”

The “blast of God” in the time of Tutimaos (Tutimaeus or Didimose) can now be seen as the Exodus plagues.

What is more, the Exodus story suggests that Egypt was left defenseless since Pharaoh’s army was drowned in the Red Sea. So, the Amalkites that did battle with the Israelites, who were on their way to Canaan, went on to easily conquer Egypt and became known to history as the barbarous Hyksos.

The new chronology allows a reassessment of the archeological and historical record, offering many fascinating historical details and creating a much more complete picture of Hebrew history in Egypt.

Egyptian history and archeology now confirm that Joseph became a vizier under Pharaoh Amenemhat III, and the Egyptian Labyrinth at Hawara with its thousands of storerooms was nothing less than Joseph’s administration center for the distribution of grain during the famine.

Near Tell ed-Daba in the Nile delta region, archeologists excavated a large city beneath the city of Ramesses, mentioned in Exodus 1:ll. This city, which was called Avaris, anciently, had a large Israelite quarter. A magnificent palace with 12 pillars was excavated there and is thought to be Joseph’s. Additional evidence for that conclusion was a tomb found in the palace garden with the desecrated remains of a twice life-size statue with a uniquely Hebrew hairstyle—likely a statue of Joseph, the most powerful Hebrew in Egyptian history.

Further, death pits discovered at Avaris attest to the deaths of the Egyptian first born during that plague. What is more, immediately after this disaster, the remaining population left the city en masse—a startling corroboration of the Israelite Exodus following a terrible pestilence.

The same historical revision reveals evidence for the later Hebrew Monarchy in Palestine during the time of Saul, David and Solomon, which had been completely discounted under the old chronology. It now shines forth to illuminate the Old Testament accounts of that era and give it a historical context that has been utterly lacking heretofore.

As it turns out, the Amarna letters, clay tablets found at Tell el-Amarna over a century ago, record the correspondence of the famous Pharaoh Akhenaten with rulers in Canaan, and contain information about the Israelite conquest of that area following the Exodus. They paint a more complete picture of a tribal Palestine that corroborates the biblical picture described by the prophet Samuel.

Indeed, they tell of a king named Labayu, meaning “the great lion of Yahweh,” who shows scant respect for Pharaoh in his communiqué to that Egyptian potentate. The career of Labayu in the Amarna letters is strikingly similar to that of Saul, who was also known as the “great lion of Yahweh.” Thus, we reach the astounding conclusion that we have had in our possession a letter from Saul to Akhenaten, warning off an Egyptian Pharaoh, for over a century without recognizing it for what it is.

Moreover, the Amarna letters yield dozens of names recognizable to scholars as equivalents to familiar, prominent biblical characters of that era. Ayab is Joab, commander of David’s army. Dadua is a form of the name David, and Yishuya is Jesse (Yishay in Hebrew), David’s father.

We can now also see that instead of reigning in the impoverished Early Iron Age where conventional chronology puts him, Solomon is now seen to rule in the Late Bronze Age, a period of wealth and prosperity in the Levant. His contemporaries in Egypt were Haremheb and Seti I. An ivory piece excavated at Megiddo, which the Bible tells us was built up by Solomon, depicts a king on his throne flaked by two sphinxes with his queen before him. This could very well be Solomon and the Egyptian queen (I Kings 3:1) since Solomon is said to have had a throne flanked with lions.

Naturally, conventional historians and archeologists hotly contest such notions. The reputations of some eminent scholars and well-established academic careers are at stake in this debate.

Any Latter-day Saint wishing to better understand the characters found in the Old Testament and the history of God’s dealings with Israel and its prophets would do well to inform themselves of the revelations coming from these avant-garde archeologists and historians working on the revision of ancient history and its chronology.

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10 Comments

  1. I have studied the chronologies a bit myself, and I have made my own preliminary attempts to reconcile the Irish bardic, the Hebrew, and the Egyptian and Mesopotamian chronologies. I come to a different conclusion than do the schools which follow David Rohl and others.

    First, let me say that I believe Joseph Smith, Jr., advocated that we research our genealogies because he knew that most of the Gentiles’ lost scriptures were contained therein. Joseph Smith, Jr., has a genealogy which traces back to Adam, through Japheth, Magog, and Baath (even if Family Search only traces his ancestry a few generations back to England).

    Please consider this translation of Joseph Smith’s Gaelic pedigree from Adam (you can find the Smith family on p. 28 and my family on p. 18):

    http://books.google.com/books?id=h5MNAAAAYAAJ&pg=PA7&lpg=PA7&ots=_vebwWa0al&sig=ikTP2CCIP_EYa7QrqH_aG_R7E7w

    It is relatively easy to match the Kelt/Gaelic bardic chronologies with the other more-well-known chronologies, including the biblical account.

    According to the bardic timelines, Amenemhat III would have been roughly 100 years after the Tower of Babel, contemporary to Easru & Sru in the pedigree of Magog. At the time of the Tower of Bable, Niul the linguist was contemporary. It is said in the Irish chronologies that he married the daughter of Pharaoh Cincris, and that Niul was born about BC 1950 (AM 1790). If you consult the accepted Egyptian king lists, you’ll find that Senusret I ruled as pharaoh between BC 1971 and 1926. Cincris/Senusret seems like a strong phonetic match to me.

    Senusret I was four pharaohs prior to Amenemhat III, and this just isn’t enough time for Joseph to have been born yet according to the biblical genealogies.

    Joseph son of Jacob is contemporary to Lamhfiom, 23rd in descent from Adam according to Joseph Smith’s genealogy (a perfect match, as Joseph of Egypt himself is 23rd in descent from Adam according to the biblical account).

    I date this as putting Joseph contemporary to the Hyksos 15th dynasty of the Second Intermediate Period. This group ruled from Memphis but was established in Avaris, which supports the evidence you point out (although I wouldn’t go so far as to claiming buildings for Joseph).

    I believe that this dating better explains the biblical account than the dating you advocate.

    If you read the end of Genesis, you’ll see Joseph seems to separate the Pharaoh from the Egyptians. He says the Egyptians are opposed to shepherds of any kind, so Israel will have to settle in Goshen away from the main body of native Egyptians. The Hyksos kings were called “shepherd kings”, and obviously the Egyptians wouldn’t like foreign and powerful nomads ruling over them. Also, the story of Joseph tells about Joseph buying all of the land of Egypt from the Egyptians for the Pharaoh during the famine after their monetary system failed. What kind of native pharaoh doesn’t already own all the land of Egypt? I think this further supports the fact of a Hyksos pharaoh as contemporary to Joseph, who Joseph assisted in consolidating power and ownership.

    As Genesis ends and Exodus starts, it says, “Now there arose up a new king over Egypt, which knew not Joseph.” I see this as the return of the native Egyptian pharaohs, who were opposed to the “shepherds” that had been ruling over them (and taking advantage of them during hard times).

    I can’t say which of the 15th dynasty pharaohs put Joseph in charge, but I would assume it was one of the early Hyksos pharaohs, which would give Israel enough time to become “more and mightier than we [the Egyptians]” (Ex. 1:9) before the native Egyptians came back to power and enslaved the Israelites. (Many Christian scholars try to say it was the last Hyksos pharaoh, Apepi I, that was contemporary to Joseph, but I tend to think this is a bit too late in time. According to the biblical account, these pharaohs gave special concessions to the native priestcaste, like not making them sell their land during the famine. After they came back to power, they demonized the Hyksos and turned Apepi I into the demon-god Apophis the Destroyer. Also, it is important to note that the earlier Hyksos pharaohs had consolidated power in the north, further from the native Egyptian population, while Apepi I had consolidated power in the south, further provoking the native Egyptians.)

    In this way, I think you can neatly harmonize the Irish bardic, Hebrew, and Egyptian chronologies…

  2. I forgot to include speculative dates for some of the names I mention:

    Amenemhat III — BC 1860 to 1814
    Easru — b. BC 1880 (AM 1874)
    Sru — b. AM 1912

    Lamhfiom — b. BC 1583 (AM 2157)
    Apepi I — thought to have ruled in BC 1500s, but dates are not well established
    Khyan — whom Apepi I usurped, ruled c. BC 1610 to 1580

    Also, the biblical account tells of the Israelites using chariots to return to Canaan to bury Jacob. Chariots were unknown to the ancient Egyptians until the arrival of the Hyksos pharaohs of the 15th dynasty. This is further evidence against Joseph being contemporary to the 12th dynasty and Amenemhat III.

  3. Also, according to the Irish chronologies, Sru was expelled with his people from Egypt by the son of “Pharaoh an Tuir” (i.e., pharaoh of the monument or pyramid).

    This is where I think Senusret II, Senusret III, and/or Amenemhat III come into play, Senusret II & Amenemhat III having built the last two of the pyramids.

    Senusret II’s pyramid is southern-most and is considered a greater monumental work and landmark than is Amenemhat III’s pyramid. This gives strong candidacy to Senusret III in my mind as “the son of Pharaoh an Tuir”, and it helps that he was a skilled military leader and the strongest pharaoh of his dynasty, who would have been powerful enough to oust the Phoenicians/Gadelians (not to mention that the speculated dates match well). Following their ouster from Egypt, the Gadelians began an exodus to Libya and then to Golgeta in Scythia.

    If you can use the bardic chronologies to synchronize the other chronologies, then this puts the race of Joseph Smith, Jr., in modern Turkey (then Galatia), north of Canaan, at the time Joseph came to power in Egypt (circa Lamhfiom).

    Still, as for pinpointing the Exodus, I am none the wiser, other than guessing “after the Hyksos lost power”.

  4. Joseph son of Jacob is contemporary to Lamhfiom, 23rd in descent from Adam according to Joseph Smith’s genealogy (a perfect match, as Joseph of Egypt himself is 23rd in descent from Adam according to the biblical account).

    Derek, are you saying that Joseph the son of Jacob and Lamhfiom are one and the same and not just contemporaries? And that Joseph Smith, Jr. is literally a descendant of that Joseph who was sold into Egypt, literally the fruit of his loins, according to Smith’s genealogy?

  5. No, no… They are separate people of different races. One founded two tribes, the other is a gentile patriarch of the Phoenicians who were soon to become the Irish. Joseph Smith, Jr., possessed a goyim Y chromosome which descends agnatically from Lamhfiom. His descent from Ephraim must come from somewhere outside of his patrilineal pedigree.

    I meant to say their chronology and contemporariality are “a perfect match”, in that they were both 23rd in descent from Adam (through different lineages), and that they therefore lived on the Earth at about the same time (though they most certainly did not know each other, as Lamhfiom was directing his people to Galatia/Turkey, while Joseph was being kidnapped into Egypt).

    My closest great-grandfather to Joseph Smith, Jr., is Conal Cearnach, about whom a tradition of Christ pre-dates the arrival of St. Patrick:

    The battle was joined again and Conor MacNessa emerged the victor, but the Milesian hold on Ireland had already begun to weaken from within as result of MacNessa’s indiscretion. About this time in Jerusalem, there was a member of the Red Branch Knights called Conal Cearnach. He was in the city when Jesus of Nazareth was crucified. He later was in Ulster and had a conversation with Conor MacNessa. He learned there was a day in Ulster when the day turned to night at mid-afternoon, this was accompanied with great lightning and high winds. Conal explained that was exactly the way it was in Jerusalem the day the man called Jesus Christ was crucified. MacNessa asked who was the man called Jesus, and Conal told him he was a man of peace who wanted to help all men, and loved all men. He told MacNessa the teachings of Christ provided for a better world, but he was crucified for saying it. Conor MacNessa, it is said, flew into such a rage, of the Romans inhumanity to this man of humanity, that he died of the strain.

  6. I guess I can’t say, “though they [Lamhfiom & Joseph] most certainly did not know each other”. Perhaps the governor of Galatia (Lamhfiom) had courtly and diplomatic relations with the governor of Egypt (Joseph), but I have yet to come across evidence suggesting such a relationship.

    If the Hyksos were a “barbarous” people, it is likely that they are related to the Phoenicians somehow. But if they were allies or enemies, I know not. Then again, it really isn’t a stretch to imagine relations between the Hyksos of Egypt and the Phoenicians (Feine or Fenians) of Galatia, especially since the Feine had been in the north of Egypt for >100 years and were allied with the pharaohs a mere 5 generations previous (as I said, Senusret III or Amenemhat III having expelled the Feine from Egypt and begun their exodus to Libya, Scythia, Galatia [after 300 years in Galatia, they made their way to Spain and then Ireland], if you trust that the Irish and Egyptian chronologies match).

    The bardic chronologies are definitely worth studying, but their existence is little known, especially among the various schools of historical revisionism. Few genealogists know of the existence of these pedigrees, which are very meticulously kept, unless they happen to study the royal families of Europe, Asia, & Russia, or unless they have registered for the receipt of their Arms from the Kings of Arms of the British Isles (e.g., the Scottish Court of the Lord Lyon and its hereditary Lord Lyon King of Arms). Most of these pedigrees remain untranslated and safely stored away in the private libraries of Kings of Arms or in the collections of the Colleges of Heralds, etc.

  7. Egyptians left the square Tower of Babel in Sumer; Egyptians then migrated to Africa and built the square Step Pyramid. Djoser was actually the 1st Egyptian king. Some 13 out of 30 Egyptian dynasties are phony. The second Egyptian king was Snef-ru son of Path-ru-ism in Genesis 10:14 Ism = tribe. Man’s name was actually Path-ru. The third Egyptian king was Khufu son of Snefru. 4th king Redejef son of Khufu 5th king Khaf-ru (Khafre) son of Khufu. Khafru had trade with Ebla,Syria a town built by Eber in Genesis 10:25 (Should you find this interesting go to danielpipes.org/comments/111155)

  8. Where does Egypt match the Bible? (1) After the Egyptians left Sumer/Shinar’s square Tower of Babel-the father of the Egyptians Mizraim/Djoser has the Egyptians build the square Step Pyramid in Egypt. (2) Snef-ru is the son of Path-ru in Genesis 10:14 (3)Abraham age 75, Sarah age 65 meet 96 year old Pepi II who is Genesis 12:17 plagued by God. Memphis falls a few years after Abraham’s visit. Abraham slays Elamite king Kindattu/Chedorlaomer in Genesis 14:17 Next Elamite king is Indattu I “Son of Pepi”. (4)Abraham has a dispute with the Philistines over a well. Genesis 21:25 Mentuhotep II digs 12 wells along Egyptian trade routes cause water is scarce. Mentuhotep II follows Pepi II in the Sakkara kings list. (5) Isaac told not to enter Egypt. Genesis 26:2 Why? Senusert I called “Throat Sliter of Asiatics” would reign over Egypt. (6) Joseph managed the economies of both Egypt and Canaan. Genesis 47:13-17. Joseph entered Egypt during Senusert III’s reign. Senusert III annexed Canaan. (7) Amenemhet III calls a canal in Egypt Bahr Yousef. (Joseph’s canal) After Amenemhet IV Ahmose is the next name on the Abydos,Egyptian kings list (8) Ahmose destroys Joseph’s city Biblical On Genesis 41:45 (Heliopolis,Egypt) Ahmose destroyed all records of Joseph-so a future Egyptian king Exodus 1:8 would not know Joseph. (9) Thutmose I is the slayer of Hebrew male children. Exodus 1:16-Thutmose I did not know Joseph. Princess Hatshepsut saved infant Moses. Queen Hatshepsut kept the sickly Thutmose II from reigning over Egypt. (10) Thutmose III is the pharaoh of the Exodus who fell from power some 480 years before Solomon’s 4th year. 1 Kings 6:1. Amenhotep III would receive the Tel-Amarna letters from Amorite kings stating the Haribu (Hebrews) were attacking Canaan-(some 40 years after Thutmose III had died) The Bible is a historically accurate book!

  9. Pharoah Khafre had trade with Ebla, Syria. Akkadian king Naramsin destroyed Ebla,Syria and entered Egypt when Manium (Menkaure) reigned. Lagash Gutium governor Gudea had trade with the rebuilt city of Ebla,Syria at the same time pharaoh Pepi I traded with Ebla,Syria. Pepi I also traded with Ur-Nammu of Ur. Pepi II had trade with the last 4 kings of UR III dynasty. Amenemhet III secured Amorite slaves from Babylon’s Amorite king Ammi-ditanni. Pharaoh Ahmose worshipped the moon-god Iah while Amorite king Samsu-ditana worships the moon-god Sin in Babylon. These are the pages of lost world history cause modern historians won’t research international trade to link up Egyptian and Sumer/Babylonian history.


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