Kings of the
"My river is mine own, I have made it for myself."
— Ezek 29:3
The name ‘
The Bible implies that Mizraim, son of Ham, was the first to settle
The name Egyptians themselves used for their country was k_me ("black soil"); kemi ("black") is related to the name of Ham (cf. Ps 105:23, 106:22). Although we need not assume that Ham or his son Mizraim were dark-skinned, Ham was the father of several dark-skinned races: his son Cush was father of the negroid Ethiopians, his son Put of the dark-skinned Somalians, and his descendants through
The earliest historic Egyptian population was partly Hamitic and partly Semitic, with the Semites apparently being the dominant language group. As we have seen, the patriarch Mizraim may account, counter-intuitively, for part of the Semitic influence, and his sons account for the Hamitic population. The invasion a few generations later, by Nimrod in his conquests, would have resulted in a large influx of Mesopotamians of mixed race; we shall consider the matter in depth, later.
Around the time of Dynasty I, a Babylonian influence has been identified, “and a synchronism with the Jemdet-Nasr period of
The name ‘Mizraim’ may derive from matsuwr, meaning "something which hems in" — that is, "a border". Its parts may be broken into m ("one who"), tsr ("to enclose"), and yam ("the sea") — one who builds dikes and drains morasses. Mizraim was the patriarch of the primal Egyptian race, and his offspring settle along the Nile in clans, establishing what are supposed to have been 42 petty kingdoms — 22 "nomes" in the south, and 20 nomes in the north.
The nomes were retained as districts of the central authority, even by alien kings, and in times of disunity they acted as independent states. However, we must remember the vast misunderstanding of standard chronology, which creates the illusion that the importance of the nomes lasted longer than it really did. Thus, the nomes were important in Dynasty XII, but this dynasty thrived not a thousand years after the start of Egyptian history, but rather only a few hundred years after.
It is said that the nomes were tamed and unified by Menes, and he built
Now, it is possible — even likely — that Mizraim and Menes are the same person. Just as the Bible gives Mizraim as the patriarch of
Herodotus says that the primal
Menes' wife is given as Hept, "veiled one", whom we have met before, and shall meet again shortly, as Isis or Semiramis. I will not attempt to explain how a single woman could be the wife and daughter of Asher and the wife of his brothers Mizraim and Cush, and also the wife of Cush's son Nimrod and "grandson" Gilgamesh (who was her own son). Given the corruption of the woman, none of this seems beyond her — although it may be that the sources are corrupt, that the name was a title or office held by numerous women, or simply that several women had the same name.
Be that as it may, we find that another king, named Narmer, is also said to have unified Upper and Lower Egypt and to have started Dynasty I and built
Rare, low-relief carvings on stone palettes give us our picture of this era in
But what then of Menes? We know that Nimrod was the nephew of Mizraim. It would appear that Menes was the primal king of
The unique character of the land of the Nile dictated its political destiny, just as the terrain of
As would be expected, at this early time of unification under Nimrod, “Upper [southern] Egyptian traditions, particularly religious ones, were evidently given greater prominence” than those of the north. Apparently Mizraim, the son of Ham and grandson of Noah, originally instituted a religion involving the name Set or Seth — a name closely linked to ‘Shem’, but also to serpents. This sect was suppressed by the Cushite cult of Horus, which is only to be expected, considering the fact that the conquering Nimrod (son of
Dynasty I Thinis, c. 2192-1940/39/ *3100-2890, 252 years
Manetho lists Menes as the first king of Dynasty I, and the second as Athothis, known from archeology as Aha. Now, this Athothis is that very Nimrod/ Narmer of whom we have read. When we read that Athothis was the son of Menes, we may take this to mean he was a younger relative, or even simply an heir, legitimate or not; it is not uncommon to find unrelated individuals citing previous kings as "father". His tomb at
Athothis is listed as having ruled 57/27 years (2132-2075/ c. *3075 — Manetho's dates are given differently, in the various epitomes of his work, and I will sometimes present both: Africanus/ Eusebius). Plutarch tells us that this king from Mesopotamia ruled
Whatever the politics of his coming to the throne, Athothis is recorded by Manetho as having excelled in medicine and anatomical knowledge — which is expected from the magus and mummifier which we know Osiris to have been. We know that he built a palace at
This is the first mention of the Nubians, who although a very dark skinned-race, had features and hair which do not match those of what we would consider sub-Saharan negroids. It appears that Ham's son Put is the father of the Nubians, and another of his sons, Cush, was the father of the sub-Saharan Africans, which race does not seem to have been present on the
It seems that Athothis/ Nimrod/ Osiris was married to Hept, wife of Menes (his uncle Mizraim). Hept was another name of
Zer (Ity) is listed as the third king of Dynasty I, and we know he sent expeditions to Sinai and to the Second Cataract, in
The identification of Kenkenes with Gilgamesh requires that there be an interregnum between the death of Nimrod/ Osiris/ Narmer/ Athothis and the birth and maturing of Gilgamesh/ Horus/ Kenkenes. The ancient world preserved the epic events which brought about this interregnum, which I recount in The Serpent in Babel. Briefly, Nimrod was captured by godly Shem, and executed for his apostasy. His body was mutilated as a reproach to sinners. Semiramis/ Isis went into exile (in the Delta, according to some accounts, and by the Euphrates according to others — perhaps both are true); eventually she conceived her illegitimate son, whom she claimed to be Nimrod reborn — setting up the foundation of the Mystery Religion. When the child was old enough, apparently in his mid-teens, c. 2060/ c. *3050, he met Shem in some sort of dramatic confrontation, with Shem getting the worst of it. We might imagine a clashing of armies. From the Epic of Gilgamesh, we know that ‘Horus’ eventually left
This departure seems to have resulted in the restoration of Isis/ Semiramis to the throne of
The only event during this time noted by Manetho was a famine, which occurred within the time frame of Terah's emigration from
As we shall see, the other nomarchs of
Archeology tells us of the fifth king, Den (Khasety), who sent out expeditions and reformed the government; he wore the double crown. This king is depicted under the name of Wedymu in a small plaque, striking down an "Easterner": the Bible speaks of these easterners as the forces from Mesopotamia under Chedorlaomer (Gen 14:1-4), which controlled the region to the east of
The sixth king, Az-Ib (Mer-Pa-Ba), ruled according to archeology for more than 20 years; if this is the sixth king of Manetho, he is Neibais or Miebis, who ruled for 26 years (19 years according to the Palermo Stone; c. 1990/ c. *2945). Curiously, this king has been identified as Eber, the eponymous patriarch of the Hebrews; he is also said to have been the first king to rule in that land which would become known as Greece — thus the tombs of Eber and his successor were found to contain “fragments of a peculiar, non-Egyptian pottery, closely resembling the ornamented Aegean ware produced by the island peoples of the northern Mediterranean in pre-Mycenaean times.” In any event, this was one of the kings who was in power — albeit far to the south — when Abram fled into
The seventh king to rule was Semerkhet (Shemsu), who may be identified convincingly as Shem, returned to the Delta to rule some 90 years after he had first abandoned
We will look at the end of Shem's reign in a moment, but to conclude, the final king of Dynasty I was called Qay-A (Sen-Mu), of whom we know only that he ruled as Beineches, Ubeinthes or Vibenthis, for 26 years, 1966-1940/ c. *2900. It was during this time that Isaac was growing to manhood in the household of Abraham. Following immediately after Dynasty I, and also in Thinis, was Dynasty II. It would appear that the Theban conqueror appointed Qay-A to the throne of Thinis, but that after his death Qay-A's dynasty was replaced by another in Thinis. We will not look at this quite yet, however, since our approach is chronological.
Now, it is highly significant that Shem's rule ended in 1966, just after the catastrophe at
From Manetho, we learn that in Shem's reign (1984-1966) “there were many portents and a very great calamity.” It just so happens that this calamity precisely coincides with the catastrophe which befell
This invites us to look at Abram, who was active at this very time. Abram went into
Shem (perhaps with Eber) was on the throne of Thinis when Heracleopolis (Dynasty IXa) and
The "Archaic" period, consisting of the achievements of the culture of the two dynasties of Thinis, was notable for a strong centralized control over the territories which Thinis controlled. The first stone buildings and canals, and the proliferation of writing, are attributed to Thinis. Of course, much that is attributed to the Thinite nome may well be the product of other, contemporary dynasties, of Heracleopolis or Thebes — but this is not to take away from the accomplishments of Mizraim, or even of Nimrod. The tombs of the dynasties of Thinis, I and II, give proof of trade between
At some point during the course of Dynasty I, hieroglyphs ("priestly carving") developed. Although the conventions of ancient scripts seem rather fluid to us, there are points of stability (for example, hieroglyphs are always read in the direction which the birds are facing). Again, hieroglyphic characters of a word were often “arranged in a square-formation, with a long-and-narrow character placed alongside two or three short-and-wide characters, regardless of their order in the word.” How long it took for such conventions to become established is unknown, but from the literal pictographs of the earliest writing, other forms eventually evolved.
Thus, "hieratic" script, a cursive style, appears from Dynasty III onward — but this is actually a meaningless observation, since all it really says is that hieratic does not appear in the very scarce writings of the provincial Dynasties I and II. Much later, the much more stylized cursive form of "demotic" was used, purportedly from Dynasty XXV onward), and finally Coptic (adapted from Greek). These scripts can be understood “either as chronological developments or as linguistic subdivisions (and of course both elements are present) . . .” Obviously we take them much more as linguistic and regional, than as chronological developments.
In the same period, in
Dynasty IX2075-1979 (-1666)/ º2232-2140; Heracleopolis; starts at death of Nimrod; conquered by Mentuhotep II of XI, in conflict over Shem's Thinis; ended by Pepi I of Dynasty VI
To backtrack to the time of Nimrod, we find that Dynasty IX rose up in the 20th nome of ancient Hat-Nen-Nesut, called Heracleopolis by the Greeks — the "city of Hercules", who can be euhemerically identified with both Cush the apostate (father of Nimrod) and with Shem (the man of God). This capital was 90 miles south of
As with any sprawling land,
The founder of Dynasty IX, usually called Achthoes, declared himself king and proceeded to absorb the neighboring nomes. He extended into the Delta, and then south, having influence as far as
There is a superficial similarity between this account and the fate of Nimrod, even in their names, Athothis and Achthoes. The death of Nimrod by a dragon (Set, a mythic persona of Shem), and the death of Achthoes by a crocodile, and the tyranny of each, may be only coincidental. But we will have other occasions to observe the phenomenon, where the founder of a dynasty is not counted within that line. With this in mind, we may identify the first king of Dynasty IX with Nimrod, who was the second king of Dynasty I (or the first king, since some accounts do not count Menes). If this is so, then after Nimrod/ Achthoes/ Athothis met his death, some member of his household would have taken over the royal residence in the nome of Heracleopolis, and counted himself as heir to the kingdom. Again, if Achthoes I is Nimrod, then we might expect Achthoes II to be Horus — Nimrod reborn. Because of the lack of evidence, we can have no certainty in this matter, but the law of parsimony encourages us to look for this sort of correlation. Thus, for example, when we look at much later Egyptian history, we will find that Dynasty XIX is the same as Dynasty XXVI.
Although there is said to have been some literary activity in the court of this city — notice, in the dialect of Nimrod — the political gains which Achthoes made (the conquests of Nimrod) were ephemeral, and were not maintained by his successors, who ruled their nome "at a time when Egypt was disturbed." This disturbance had started with Nimrod's execution, and was aggravated when Horus came to claim the throne — and further aggravated by the rivalry of other nomes — specifically, of Thinis and
As fate would have it, it is one of the pharaohs of Heracleopolis whom Abram visited, when he descended into
Eusebius cites Manetho as saying that this dynasty lasted only 100 years, with just 4 kings. This centennial ended with the conquest by Mentuhotep II (Dynasty XI) — he fought with Heracleopolis over control of their mutual frontier in his ninth year (c. 1979/ º2052), 12 years before those more complete conquests which started the so-called Middle Kingdom, in 1967. The standard mistake is to believe that Mentuhotep fought with Dynasty X, some 300 years later, but it was the Heracleopolis of Dynasty IX which became vassal to
Standard references state that the cult of Osiris arose during the "First Intermediate Period" (Dynasties VII-X). What this actually means is that Dynasty IX was a center for the worship of Nimrod, which makes perfect sense given that he founded the line. From this center the cult spread across
Dynasty XIa [b](c. 2077-1967 [-1917]/ º2134-2040 [-1991]); in
My reconstruction has Dynasty XI also overlapping most of Dynasty I. Well might we wonder — if my reconstruction is correct, with dynasties running concurrently instead of consecutively — how it is that there is not an abundance of correspondences to be found, letters and other documents of state, passing between the various governments along the Nile, say from Dynasty IX to XI. There is a very simple answer. We find the letters of the kings of Mesopotamia, and of
It is true that the famous Amarna letters were written on clay tablets, but they were written in cuneiform, to foreign kings — not in hieroglyphs to fellow Egyptian rulers. The only place we could expect to find one ruler mentioning another would be in the self-glorifying monuments — obelisk, stela or tomb — and this is precisely the place were a pharaoh would not mention another king. Thus, those factors (of climate, abundance of stone, etc.) which have so marvelously preserved the cities of the Egyptians, have ensured that we would not find their documents of state. Later, we will see that the scarabs of
To return to Dynasty XI, it started in the last few years of Nimrod's rule, and was the first to be centered in
The line came from a family of Theban priests, and its founder, Mentuhotep I (2077-2061), evidently came to power as an officer of Nimrod. His son and successor, Intef I (Inyotef, Seher-Tawy, c. 2061-2045/ º2134-2118), also ruled 16 years — perhaps sharing the throne with his father. He was the first Theban to call himself the "King of the Two Lands". (Remember that a generation later Pharaoh Den of Dynasty I wore the double crown.) Intef, however, merely adopted the titles of slain Nimrod, and the independence which he supposedly won was the result of the destruction of Nimrod's government.
The next Theban king was Intef II (Wah-Ankh, 2045-1995/ º2118-2068), said by Manetho to have ruled for 49 years. In his day, the first of several wars were fought between Heracleopolis and
His successor was Intef III (Nakht-Neb-Tep-Nufer, 1995-1988/ º2068-2061), ruling for 8 years according to Manetho. He was the last of these kings to be named Intef. His rule ended right around the time of the battle of the four kings of the east with the Sodomites and their allies, c. 1987.
At this time, the frontier of Theban power apparently extended north of
In the mean time, the disunited condition of
The next king is one of the truly great pharaohs of Egypt: Mentuhotep II (Neb-Hepet-Ra), 1988-1967-1937/ º2061-2040-2010 (Horus names: Se-Ankh-Ib-Tawy, Neter-Hedjet, and Sema-Tawy). He ruled for 51 years according to Manetho, into the time when the ethnic Sumerians were coming to control southern Mesopotamia.
Shortly after he became ruler, Mentuhotep II exploited some trouble in Thinis c. 1987/ º2060. An “insurrection in the Thinite nome seems to have provoked the final clash. The details of the hostilities have not been preserved . . .” The unrest is supposed to have occurred after the death of the penultimate king of Dynasty X, but this belief is the product of faulty chronology, not of primary evidence; the conflict was with Dynasty IX. The insurrection was in the time that Eber held the throne of Thinis — during Dynasty II, not some distant period of obscurity.
Notice that around 1987 bc, Abram slew the kings of the east, in Chedorlaomer's war. Only a few years later Shem would become coregent in Thinis, and we may supposed that Shem's appearance was a response to some combination of these same troubles.
“A struggle for control in the southern part of Upper Egypt had resolved itself into a conflict between Thebes and Edfu. Theban victory in time led to an inevitable clash with Heracleopolis.” In his 9th year (1979) — a century after his family had come to dominate Thebes — Mentuhotep II conducted his first campaign against Heracleopolis, at which time only 60 Thebans were killed; their mass grave may have been found near Deir el-Bahari. The process culminated in 1967/ º2040, when Mentuhotep unified Upper and Lower Egypt and founded the Middle Kingdom. It seems significant that this occurred in the year of the Sodom catastrophe.
In this conquest, Mentuhotep became forever linked with Menes and Ahmose, as a great unifier. In commemoration of this event, he took a new Horus name, Sema-Tawy "He who united the Two Lands". From the fragmentary record, we learn that he organized the administration of the nomes, and sent expeditions into Nubia, Libya, Syria and Sinai; Mentuhotep's temple has preserved fragmentary reliefs of battles against eastern nomads. For the last 31 years of his rule, he controlled all of Egypt, although Egypt remained unified for a total of only 43 years, according to Manetho.
It is assumed that Mentuhotep III (Se-Ankh-Kara, 1937-1925/ º2010-1998) ruled for the final 12 years of the Egyptian unity of this period. However, recent “investigation favors the idea that the two kings formerly called Mentuhotep II and III were really the same man who assumed a different titulary after the conquest of Heracleopolis.” In any case, he opened a route via Wadi Hammamat to the Red Sea, and so to the land of Punt; it is probably Mentuhotep III who is remembered by the funery monument at Deir el-Bahri near Thebes, which speaks of an invasion into Nubia and of trade with Punt.
Many inscriptions from Theban nobles have been found at Wadi Hammamat. During this time, the vizier and governor of
It was during this time, in c. 1930 bc, that Abraham scaled
Isaac was not a little child when offered by his father, but rather he was precisely the same age as Jesus at His crucifixion. If Isaac was offered right around the time of his mother's death, he would have been about age 35½. This is supported, first, by the fact that Sarah's death is the very next event recorded in Genesis (23:1). It is also supported by the fact that tradition says that Samael (Satan) went and told Sarah that Isaac had been killed, and when she learned that he was still alive, she died from joy. “A midrash . . . makes him thirty-seven.” Isaac is called a "lad" or "boy" in Gen 22:5 & 12, but this word (nah'-gar) is exactly the same as used of the "young men" in the same verse; it is used of Joshua in Ex 33:11 during the year of the Exodus, when he was 53 years old. Obviously, then, Isaac need not have been a child.
Isaac carried the wood of his own sacrifice (Gen 22:5), as did Jesus; He was immobilized, as was Jesus. Both actual sacrifices, of ram and Christ, were trapped by horns (Jesus on the ‘horns’ of the cross — an ancient, technical description); and both were crowned by thorns (the brambles, in the case of the ram).
There were even three temptations by Satan. Hebrew legend says that Samael appeared in the guise of an old man to Abraham on the way up the mountains. He whispered to Abraham that such a command, to sacrifice Isaac, could not have come from God: "You have been deceived." (This echoes Satan's "Hath God truly said?" of Genesis 3, which is answered by Jesus in Mt 4:4 and Lk 4:4, Man shall live by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.) Abraham drove the deceiver away, but Samael returned as a handsome youth, and said to Isaac, “Why should your besotted father slaughter you without reason? Flee, while there is yet time!” (This echoes the Serpent's It shall not be so of the Garden, answered by Jesus in His honoring of His Father in Mt 4:7: Do not put the Lord thy God to the test. Again Satan was driven away. Finally, he appeared to Abraham and said that God wanted only a lamb, and not Isaac as sacrifice. (Again, this echoes the replacement of a created thing for the divine — You shall be as gods — which Jesus answers in Mt 4:10: Worship the Lord thy God.) For the third and last time, Satan was driven away.
To return to Dynasty XI, Mentuhotep IV (Neb-Tawy-Ra, 1925-1918/ º1998-1991) presided over a time of severe disruption, when various factions sought to take control of
So, we have looked at
Ch. 6 — Kings of the Nile: Egypt from Babel to Sodom
.W.S. LaSor, "Egypt," in ISBE, Vol. 2, p. 32
.LaSor, "qq," in ISBE, Vol. 1, p. 251.
.T.G.H. James, "Egypt, History of: Egypt to the end of the 17th dynasty," Ency. Brit., Vol. 6, p. 464.
.Waddell, p. 32, note 2.
.Waddell, p. 215.
.Herodotus, Hist., Bk. 2, ch. 4, p. 131.
.Wilkinson, Vol. 1, p. 89; in Hislop, p. 293.
.See my The Serpent in Babel.
.James, p. 466.
.James, p. 464.
.I discuss this in depth in The Serpent in Babel; the topic is too vast to discuss here, so I'll just note that Horus is most closely identified with the son of Nimrod, Gilgamesh, but the ‘father’ and ‘son’ are conflated as the same god.
.Smith, p. 17.
.A. Weigall, A History of the Pharaohs, Vol. 1 (London: 1925), p. 111.
.Mercatante, p. 56.
.Mercatante, p. 105.
.W.S. Smith, Ancient Egypt (Boston: Museum of Fine Arts, 1960), pp. 22, 18.
.Hoeh, ch. 3.
.Breasted, A History of Egypt (1905), pp. 48-9.
.Waddell, p. 33; Eusebius.
.A.S. Rappoport, Ancient Israel: Myths and Legends, Vol. 1 (NY: Bonanza Books, 1987), p. 260; citing Genesis Rabba, 44, Midrash Shokhor Tob, Ps. 76:3, and Sanhedrin, 108b.
.W.S. LaSor, "Egypt," in ISBE, Vol. 2, p. 34.
.LaSor, "Egypt," p. 33.
.Africanus, in Waddell, p. 61; dashes replace commas.
.Velikovsky demonstrates this in Ramses II and His Times and Peoples of the Sea.
.Eusebius, in Waddell, p. 61.
.Africanus, in Waddell, p. 63.
.AEL, Vol. 1, p. 83.
.James, p. 469.
.James, p. 469.
.James, p. 468.
.Smith, p. 17.
.AEL, Vol. 1, p. 114.
.Jesus was born before the Passover of 4 bc (when Herod died); the season was probably around the Feast of Tabernacles (autumn), 6 or 5 bc. He was crucified April 9 (Nisan 13), 32 ad — aged from 35½ to 37.
.R. Graves and R. Patai, Hebrew Myths (NY: Greenwich House, 1964), p. 175.
.Graves, p. 176.
.Sepher Hayashar, 77-79; in Graves, p. 174.
.A.S. Rappoport, Ancient Israel: Myths and Legends (NY: Bonanza Books, 1987), Vol. 1, p. 294.