Moses, Prince of Egypt:
Dynasty XIII and the "First Intermediate Period
And the child grew, and she brought him unto Pharaoh's daughter, and he became her son. And she called his name Moses: and she said, 'Because I drew him out of the water.'
— Ex 1:10
Conventional chronology places "the Second Intermediate Period" at the end of Dynasty XII, and after Dynasty VI it places "the First Intermediate Period". So, both the Middle and the Old Kingdoms end with these "dark ages", these "Intermediate Periods" (abbreviated "IP"). The last section of this chapter will look at the errors which the standard paradigm resorts to in order to achieve a semblance of order. But right now, let's look at some of the dynasties which are gathered under the "Intermediate" rubric.
In this chapter, we will consider Dynasty XIII, which is equivocally assigned either to the end of the Middle Kingdom, or to the start of the "2nd IP". We shall see the reason for this vagueness in a bit. Then we will consider the 1st IP houses of Dynasties VII, X, and XIV, having already looked at Dynasty IX. In this manner we will cover all of the 1st IP (except for Dynasty VIII), and we shall have prepared ourselves for our discussion of the Exodus and the era of the Judges and the Hyksos (2nd IP).
Dynasty XIII(1705-1552-1252/ c. º1786-1680), "Second Intermediate Period"
To deal with Dynasty XIII, we need to back-track once again. This line is considered to have ruled during the era of the Hyksos (2nd IP), but actually it started 150 years before, and was the direct heir of the culture of Dynasty XII which had effectively ended with the death of Joseph — after whose death the Old Kingdom Dynasty VI of Memphis became preeminent in Egypt, as we have learned.
Manetho tells us that “The Thirteenth Dynasty consisted of sixty kings of Thebes, who reigned for 453 years.” But Barbarus, another of Manetho's editors, records that for 153 years its court was not at Thebes but Bubastis in the Delta. Dynasty XII ended in 1705, and if XIII started at this time — founded by Theban royalty relocated in the Delta — then 153 years later brings us to 1552, only nine years after the catastrophes of the Exodus.
Even the standard paradigm admits that Dynasty XIII was Theban in its roots, and after the fall of Memphis to the Hyksos of Avaris (c. 1561/ c. º1674 or º1720), the royal house is admitted to have relocated at Thebes. Scholars have difficulty fitting the evidence into their standard theory, and so the obscurity of the first part of Dynasty XIII is taken as a result of the incursion of the Hyksos, whereas it is actually the result of the prominence of Dynasty VI. The fact is that the Hyksos were not even relevant to the first third of the history of Dynasty XIII.
After 300 years, Dynasty XIII became Dynasty XVII (c. 1252/ c. º1650). This successor to Dynasty XIII eventually organized the Egyptian opposition which under Kamose drove out the Hyksos (1051/ c. ô1567). Notice that the ºdates reflect nothing whatsoever of reality.
Dynasty XIII of Bubastis, then, was a royal house which was subordinate to Dynasty VI for the first third of its duration, after which it moved to Thebes under the Hyksos. The Theban legacy, then, is as follows: Dynasty XI from 2077-1967-1918/17, XII from 1918-1705, XIII from 1705-1552-1252, and finally XVII lasting until the start of the New Kingdom's Dynasty XVIII, c. 1050's bc.
The standard construction would have Dynasty XIII comprised of many short-term puppet-rulers centered in Itj-Tawa (of Dynasty XII) near Memphis. Its kings are said to have controlled most of Egypt for the line's first hundred years — actually 150 years — until the domination of the Hyksos, but this conclusion is based on the misconception of a very brief Hyksos period, which in fact lasted fully 500 years.
The viziers of Dynasty XIII reportedly had much power and gave continuity to the government. “A great vizier like Ankhu was more important than Sebekemsaf I and Sebekhotep III, the kings he theoretically served.” It has been suggested that the 60 pharaohs of Dynasty XIII were elected to brief terms in office — evidently with the viziers holding the true power. Much of this analysis is based on the fact that the testimony of the ancient histories has been ignored, and also on the faulty timeline, which truncates half a millennium into something like a century. In any case, a fair analogy to the power of the viziers — for many periods of Egyptian history — seems to be with the Shoguns and Mikado of Japan, where the emperor was overshadowed; again, the figurehead monarchy of modern England may also serve as an analogy.
For all the admitted obscurity of Dynasty XIII, however, “there is plenty of documentary evidence to show that the state continued to operate efficiently for many years and that the influence of Egypt was still recognized in Syria and Nubia.” It is on such documentary evidence that the conception of the era of the Hyksos has been so distorted, considered by some to have been a subtle and almost benign force. But, again, we know that the Hyksos had not yet even appeared in Egypt.
You may have noticed that much of what I have written in this reconstruction has been assertion: I have shown how it could work, but I have not everywhere given concrete evidence that this is actually how it was. My case is supported in the archeology of the Palestinian Early and Middle Bronze Age, but in Egypt the poor quality of the standard system does not stand as positive evidence for this reconstruction. To correct this imbalance, I will turn to archeology.
On hundreds of the royal seals from Dynasty XIII, its kings associate their name with Phiops II (Neferkare) of Dynasty VI. If we simply let the evidence speak for itself, this association of two names on a scarab must indicate that the two houses were contemporaries, with Phiops the Great standing as suzerain. If the dynasties were contemporaries, we would expect to find such "anachronisms". In Mesopotamia, because of “the continuous changes in the style of the seal designs, cylinder seals are among the most valuable of chronological indicators for archaeologists.” Yet when Egyptian seals link houses separated by a supposed º700 years — an impossible situation to standard chronology — the explanation has been invented that the entire culture of Dynastgy XIII was antiquarian, and seals which were hundreds of years old had a use akin to common currency.
It is as if England's Elizabeth II and her line constantly linked themselves to Richard the Lion Hearted — not an impossible situation, but highly unlikely. If some hero were needed, whom the lords of Dynasty XIII might worship, a far more reasonable candidate was available in Sesostris III, of the same culture and only a century before. His rule did not last for a century, but he was over seven feet tall — heroic enough. Clearly, the value of such "chronological indicators" is extremely inflationary, and they can be made to mean almost anything one wants them to mean, if one is locked into the dogma of an invalid paradigm.
Archeology brings some of the kings of this line alive for us. “The first king of Dynasty XIII built a gate at Medamud in imitation of that of Sesostris III, while statues of some of his successors have been found at Karnak, in the Delta at Tanis, and in the Sudan at Argo and Kerma [the Kushite capital].” We will take special notice of two such statues in a moment, and come to see why others of this line might be found in Ethiopia.
The sixteenth king of Dynasty XIII was Userkare Khendjer. Userkare was also the name of the foreign usurper of Teti (founder of Dynasty VI) several generation before, and the name Khendjer is a non-Egyptian personal name. Khendjer had influence in Upper Egypt and in the Delta, and he built his pyramid in the south of Saqqarah, “near Dahshur — as did another of the later kings, while two other pyramids of this time are known at Mazghuneh, not far away.” It appears that Khendjer had no blood-heir to take the throne, and there is reason to suspect that we know of Khendjer from the Bible.
You may remember that, based on a contextual argument, I suggested that Moses may have been adopted into the house of Phiops I, who was the very Pharaoh who sought the lives of the Hebrew infants. But now we see that, although Dynasty VI was in Zoan at this time, Dynasty XIII was also in the Delta. So when Moses was placed in the Nile by his mother — presumably around Heliopolis — to be found in the bulrushes by Princess Thermuthis, it seems a far more amenable supposition that the royal house into which he was adopted was not that of the genocidal "Assyrian", but rather of the successor to Joseph's own Dynasty XII. And at that very time, heirless Khendjer was a Pharaoh of that royal house — father (or brother or nephew) of Thermuthis, Moses' adoptive mother. (Thermuthis, incidently, was the name of the Egyptian goddess of fate and fertility, whose symbol was a serpent.)
By way of corroborating this idea, we note that the kings of this dynasty, aside from bearing foreign surnames, were noted for their Asiatic blood, sometimes bearing the epithet "the Asiatic" — just as Dynasty VI was controlled by "the Assyrian." A baby of the same racial appearance — even perhaps down to the detail of circumcision — may well have been more readily adopted into the royal line. Again, we know that Dynasty VI did not want for heirs (although some daughter might have), but Dynasty XIII may have needed just such an adoption. This is what Josephus records: “there was no one, either akin or adopted, that had any oracle on his side for pretending to the crown of Egypt . . .” If Moses was adopted into the house of Khendjer, might we expect to find him numbered among the pharaohs of Dynasty XIII?
The next pharaoh of Dynasty XIII (king number seventeen as listed in the Turin Papyrus) is "the General" (Mermeshoi), bearing the throne name Semenkhkare. Two superb granite statues of him were found near Tanis, in the Delta. The point is that the timing, location and description of this king allows for his identification as Moses.
Josephus tells how the Ethiopians, under king Kikanos, had invaded the south of Egypt, and meeting with no effective resistance, “they proceeded as far as Memphis, and the sea itself; while not one of the cities was able to oppose them.” This would have been during the first decades of the sole reign of Phiops II, c. 1615. After consulting the sages and seers, the king (Khendjer?) “commanded his daughter to produce [Moses], that he might be the general of their army”, having come “to the age of maturity”. By means of strategy, Moses “came upon the Ethiopians before they expected him; and, joining battle with them, he beat them, and deprived them of the hopes they had of success against the Egyptians, and went on in overthrowing their cities, and indeed made a great slaughter of these Ethiopians.” Moses besieged Saba, the royal capital of Ethiopia, and with the help of Tharbis, the Ethiopian princess, he took the city. When archeology finds statues of later kings of Dynasty XIII in Kerma, we should not be surprised, given this conquest of the south by Moses.
After his victory, Moses married princess Tharbis. Another version has him marrying Adoniah, the widow of the Ethiopian king. Of course, Moses' other wife, Zipporah the daughter of Jethro, was not Ethiopian. In any case, it may be that this Ethiopian bride is that very woman mentioned in Num 12:1, where “Miriam and Aaron spake against Moses because of the Ethiopian woman whom he had married: for he had married an Ethiopian woman.” If this is the same woman, Moses had married her over 40 years before, and what their relationship had been during his years of exile I cannot say — but her reappearance would certainly have been cause for upset.
From Josephus and the legends of the ancient rabbis, we know that Moses certainly could be called "the General". From the natural and independent implications of this reconstruction, we know that Mermeshoi the General and Moses were both princes at the same time in the same court. So it certainly does no damage to rationality to suppose that Moses — a prince of Egypt — exchanged the title of prince for that of king, known by the throne name of Semenkhkare.
Moses was age 40 when he disappeared from Egypt (1601 bc), and forty years later he returned to witness the collapse of its civilization (1561). Some decades after the end of the General's reign, Egypt collapsed; in the time of the twenty-fifth king of Dynasyty XIII, foreigners invaded. The land fell silent. Only the breathless names of kings are found. We know this to be the result of the devastation of the Exodus and the invasion of the Amalekites. Dynasty XIII relocated to Thebes, and straggled on there for another 300 years. But the importance of this line ended with the General.
Dynasty XIV (c. 1700-c. 1200/ c. º1786-1680)
The standard paradigm has Dynasties XIII and XIV running at the same time. It is refreshing for me to be able to say that in this case, I agree. Manetho records that “The Fourteenth Dynasty consisted of seventy-six kings of Xois, who reigned for 184 [or 484] years.” At the collapse of the Theban Dynasty XII, the western Delta became independent, and as the Memphite Dynasty III was fading, Dynasty XIV set up its capital at Xois, running parallel to Dynasty XIII of Bubastis and Thebes. “Nothing is known of the kings of Dynasty XIV, whose seat was at Xois (Sakha) in the West Delta — an island and town . . . . They were not rulers of Upper Egypt, but probably of the West Delta only. At this period there was, it is probable, another contemporary dynasty in Upper Egypt . . . . In the Turin Papyrus there is a long series of rulers' names corresponding to this dynasty . . .” It supposedly thrived during the "Second Intermediate Period": this fiction is sustained by the fact that there is little archeological evidence to be found, and the line was merely local. The western Delta had strong ties with Libya and Crete several centuries before — as I discuss in The Days of Brass and Iron — and it seems reasonable that this house is a remnant of that culture.
If this line started up at the end of Dynasty XII, then it may have begun c. 1685 bc, in which case it lasted through 1499, and then until 1199. The event commemorated by the break in 1499 would have been connected with the conquest and 8 year oppression (1501-1493) of Palestine by Cushan of Mesopotamia (Jdg 3:9), whom I have confidently identified as Inkishush of Gutium, as we will discuss in Chapter 17. If Dynasty XIV began c. 1705 at the death of Joseph, then it went through 1521 until 1221. The major event of 1521 was the invasion of Palestine by Joshua; this is the year of the earthquake which caused the Early Bronze III wall of Jericho to come "tumbling down". I have not yet seen evidence specific enough to pinpoint which start-up date is correct, but we see that either is reasonable.
Dynasty X — 1666-c. 1470/ º2140-2040
Dynasty X was an extension of IX, in Heracleopolis. Manetho says that “The Tenth Dynasty consisted of 19 kings of Heracleopolis, who reigned for 185 [or 204] years.” We have already looked at the crippling of Dynasty IX by the Thebans of Dynasty XI, during the conquests of 1967 bc (year of the Sodom catastrophe) — and we saw that Dynasty IX straggled on until 1666. In this year, the first house of Heracleopolis was replaced by its second house, Dynasty X, which lasted until 1481 or 1462.
Historians speculate that the change from IX to X “may have been due to a deterioration in the fortunes of the earlier dynasty, brought about by the rise of a new grouping of nomes in the south lead by the nomarchs of Thebes.” But as we know, this reference to Dynasty XI is grossly anachronistic. The long-ago conflict between Edfu and Thebes for control of southern Egypt had nothing to do with this much later Heracleopolis line; the suggestion otherwise is an artifact of the invalid standard paradigm, rather than of any evidence. Any internecine conflict of the Egyptians of Dynasty X would have been with Dynasties XIII or VI. “The impression left is that of rival kings in various parts of Egypt, each possibly controlling only a few nomes.”
As for the actual details of Dynasty X, we have few monuments or names, and no means have been preserved of internal dating. “The Turin Canon, like the Abydos list, apparently named eighteen kings, but there is little agreement between the names in the two lists.” However, despite this lack of focus, it is stated that the “kings of the 10th dynasty seemed well-established in their realm; they even conducted expeditions to Syria.” Since any ruler who could gather a few score or hundred men together could make such an expedition, this conclusion is extremely weak. The mining of turquoise in Sinai seems to have ended, and the burgeoning of a literature of pessimism indicates the morbid state of Egypt after the devastation of the Exodus. For example, The Instruction Addressed to King Merikare is supposed to have been produced around this time, although none of the characters can be identified; in fact, the text is recognized to describe a period very like the middle of the Hyksos domination, and the whole has consequently been quite confusing. All this goes to explain why historians have felt free to invent the "First Intermediate Period", and place Dynasty X within it.
This brings us to Dynasty VII. Just as Dynasty XII sank into the oblivion of Dynasty XIII, so does Dynasty VI disappear into Dynasty VII. We know of it only from Manetho: “The Seventh Dynasty consisted of seventy [or five] kings of Memphis, who reigned for 70 [or 75] days.” It may have been some sort of council of rulers, or “nothing more than an ephemeral series of princely nobles who attempted to carry on a form of royal power, also from Memphis.”
There is one concrete observation I can make: between 1521 and 1515, Joshua conquered and controlled Goshen (Josh 10:41, 11:16). In every other place in the Bible, "Goshen" refers to the eastern Delta of the Nile. If Dynasty VII has any reality in Memphis, then it should be placed around 1519, during the period of Joshua's control of Goshen. The council of 70 may have been some sort of brief Israelite government, modeled after the same plan as the seventy-man governing body of the Jewish Sanhedrin, in the days of Jesus. With Dynasty VII, the so-called "First Intermediate Period" starts, which is supposed to be a period of obscurity and decay.
The premise of this work is that the legitimate blocks of history have been arranged by the standard chronology into the wrong order. This distortion has been made possible by the invention of a number of illusory "dark ages". The "first" such Egyptian distortion is the so-called "First Intermediate Period" — supposedly a mysterious period of confusion which followed after Dynasty VI. The confusion, however, lies in the minds of scholars. In fact, this "Period" actually has no reality, but stands merely as a saving-device invented to make the standard paradigm work.
Although the very foundation of Egyptology — and so of ancient history — is the dynastic scheme of Manetho, this priest is effectively ignored by modern historians with regard to the 1st IP. This is necessary because if Manetho's Dynasties VII through X are added end to end, as that paradigm expects, their sum is 740 years, which is an insurmountable contradiction, since by the standard paradigm the sum can be "not more than 125 — or 200 — years". Historians can proceed only when this embarrassment is simply dismissed, genie-blinked out of existence.
The "Old Kingdom" culture was terminated by the Exodus, the effects of which are recognized in part as the 1st IP. Within “a few years of [Phiops'] death, Egypt was a divided country.” The “general collapse of authority led to a proliferation of local rulers, grouping and regrouping in alliances of mutual protection or aggrandizement.” The culture of the Old Kingdom is considered to have ended for a two-fold cause: [a] the general effects of entropy, where centralized Egypt just fell apart “into small rival kingdoms,” and [b] the external factor of invaders, associated with “the disturbances which brought to a close the Early Bronze period in Palestine and Syria.”
With regard to Egypt's internal collapse the evidence is admittedly scanty, but what little can be found is taken as enough to generate a rather silly psychological explanation for the collapse and obscurity of the country. During the Old Kingdom, “Egyptians had become more conscious of the possibility of happiness in the earthly life and of a dignified existence in the life to come. These desirable changes in the Egyptian way of life seem not to have brought contentment, however, but instead a loss of orientation and troubled consciences.” Famines are ascribed to this period, and the first rise of Thebes is anachronistically supposed to have started. What all this seems to mean is that Egypt went through puberty, and had a troubled adolescence.
But this psycho-geo-history recognizes only part of the evidence. The vital factors of the Plagues and the Plundering and the Exodus and the Hyksos have been missed. After such events, it is only to be expected that there should follow a "dolefulness" and a "general malaise".
The second supposed cause of the 1st IP is the unrest of foreigners — Amorite settlers in Syria and 'Asiatics' in Egypt. From both the biblical and the humanist perspectives, these easterners are not those of a specific time — rather, 1st IP textual references to Asiatics span from the earliest days of Dynasty IX (21st to 18th centuries), through Dynasty X (17th and 16th centuries), and finally to Dynasty VIII (14th and 13th centuries). However, although the written record mentions an Asiatic presence, “attempts to trace their presence in Egypt by archaeological means have not been successful. No unmistakably foreign types of objects are known from the graves of the First Intermediate period.” This is because [a] most of the earlier period was dominated by the powerful Dynasties XII and VI, which would not have allowed a significant foreign presence, and [b] the Asiatic presence is assigned to the 2nd IP, dominated by the asiatic Hyksos after the end of the Egyptian Kingdoms.
Because the evidence is improperly handled, confusion and false conclusions are derived: “The sequence of events at this time is hard to determine. It is unlikely that foreign invaders contributed to the overall disruption. Some infiltration undoubtedly took place into the Delta . . . but the numbers involved were probably not great. Politically they may have been influential, but their presence was a symptom of the unrest rather than a cause.” Notice that the conclusions are guesses based on prior assumptions. It is true that the actual disintegration which followed Dynasty VI is not due to the nagging influence of the Asiatics of the dynasties of the 1st IP, but, again, this is because the truly damaging asiatic invasion is recognized only in the 2nd IP.
In Chapter 10, on the Middle Bronze Age, we noted that the nomadic Middle Bronze I culture had a much longer history than is usually admitted. In exactly this same way, we have just notice that the 1st IP also has a far longer duration than is commonly recognized. The standard chronology gives oblique confirmation of all this, by admitting that the “synchronization of the First Intermediate period with the Middle Bronze I of Syria and Palestine is not established by specific archaeological correlations. These periods fall into place opposite each other merely as the successors of the Old Kingdom and the Early Bronze period.” This is important enough to repeat: the amorphous 1st IP and MB I are given shape solely by the theory, and not by any evidence.
Contact between Egypt and Syria “ceased at the beginning of the First Intermediate Period (c. º2160 [i.e., end of Dynasty VI]), a break probably due both to disruptions at Byblos and to incursions of nomadic Asiatics into Egypt, probably connected with the same population movements.” What this actually means is that the provincial dynasties lumped together into the grab-bag of the 1st IP did not trade with Byblos. The artifacts of Dynasties XII and VI are found at Byblos, but are placed in the wrong chronological order.
After Dynasty XII disintegrated, VI took over and controlled Egypt through the 1600's until the Exodus, with Dynasties V and XIII tagging along. The founder of Dynasty VI, Teti, sent ships to Byblos, and Phiops I, the pharaoh who sought baby Moses' life, also had contact there. The supposed "break" in trade — the 1st IP — is an illusion of the faulty standard timeline. As for the Asiatic migrations, they are noted in Byblos as well as by Dynasty VI, which may itself have been asiatic, given the "Assyrian" epitaph of Phiops I.
This brings us to the end of our discussion of the Middle and Old Kingdoms. The mirage of the 1st IP was created because a single catastrophic era has been partitioned, and peripheral evidence has been taken for the center. That center is the domination of the Hyksos, recognized, again, in the "Second Intermediate Period", generally considered to have followed Dynasty XII, but we will discuss it when we deal with Dynasty XV. Now we will turn to the Exodus itself and correlate the events of the Bible with the records of the Egyptians.
.Schoene, Eusebius, p. 214.
.T.G.H. James, "Egypt, History of: Egypt to the end of the 17th dynasty," Ency. Brit., Vol. 6, p. 470.
.James, ibid, p. 470.
.W.C. Hayes, Scepter of Egypt, Vol. 1, p. 342.
.E.D. Edzard, "Mesopotamia and Iraq, History of:," Ency. Brit., Vol. 11, p. 968.
.W.S. Smith, Ancient Egypt (Boston: Museum of Fine Arts, 1960), p. 78.
.Smith, p. 78; dash replaces comma.
.According to Josephus, Ant, Bk. 2, ch. 9, sec. 5, p. 56.
.CAH, Vol. 2, ch. 2, 1962.
.Ant, Bk 2, ch. 9, sec. 7, p. 57.
.Gardiner, p. 440, Weigall, pp. 136, 151-2; the identification of Moses as this king was made by Hoeh.
.Rappoport, Ancient Israel, Myths and Legends , Vol. 2, p. 245; the related legends are quite corrupt.
.Ant., Bk. 2, ch. x, sec. 1, p. 57.
.Ant., Bk. 2, ch. x, sec. 2, p. 58.
.Rappoport, Vol. 2, p. 246.
.Gardiner, Egypt of the Pharaohs, p. 155.
.Africanus, Waddell, p. 75.
.Waddell, pp. 74-5; he incorrectly suggests the other dynasty is XVII. See Gardiner's Egypt of the Pharaohs, pp. 441-2, for all existing names.
.Africanus [and Barbarus], in Waddell, p. 63.
.James, ibid, p. 468.
.LaSor, "Egypt," ISBE, Vol. 2, p. 39.
.James, p. 468.
.Waddell, p. 57; Africanus [or Eusebius].
.James, p. 468.
.H.J. Kantor, "The Relative Chronology of Egypt and Its Foreign Correlations before the Late Bronze Age," p. 18, in COWA.
.James, p. 468.
.Kantor, p. 19; parenthetical reference deleted.
.James, p. 468.
.Kantor, p. 19; emphasis added.
.K.M. Kenyon, "History of Syria and Palestine. Early History," Ency. Brit., Vol. 17, p. 932.