A Preliminary Note
Most Ancient Days -- Preface
Chapter 1 -- The Number of the Years: chronology from Adam to Saul
Chapter 2 -- The Age of Evil Imagining: the Confusion and Scatter at Babel
Chapter 3 -- The Generations of the Sons of Noah: the Tabel of Nations
Chapter 4 -- Cities of the Twin Rivers: Shinar from Babel to Sodom
Chapter 5 -- Profane Fables: Egyptian historiagraphy and the standard paradigm
Chapter 6 -- Kings of the Nile: Egypt from Babel to Sodom

Chapter 7 -- Stones of Sumer: Jemdet Nasr and "Early Dynastic"

Chapter 8 -- Sands of Egypt: Dyanasty XIIa & IIa

Chapters 9 & 10 (The Age of Base Metal: The Middle Bronze Age) -- Expanded and presented here.

Chapter 11 -- Joseph Over the House of Pharaoh: Egypt in the 18th century

Chapter 12 -- The Pharaoh Who Knew Not Joseph: The Old Kingdom to the Exodus

Chapter 13 -- Moses Prince of Egypt: Dynasty XIII and the "First Intermediate Period"

Chapter 14 -- Into the Hands of the Living God: the Ten Plagues of Egypt

Chapter 6 -- Kings of the Nile: Egypt from Babel to Sodom

Chapter 6

Kings of the Nile:

Egypt from Babel to Sodom

"My river is mine own, I have made it for myself."

— Ezek 29:3

Egypt does not exist. That is, the concept we have in our minds, which we call "Egypt", describes reality only to a limited degree. Indeed, Egypt exists even less then we would expect, in that our concept of that land has been so twisted by the faulty chronology. We imagine that its ancient culture just suddenly coalesced out of the "stone age", essentially fully formed, like wisdom from the brow of a storm god. Repetition has made such an idea acceptable, but if we consider the subtleties, we see how unlikely, how farfetched, such a scenario is.

The nameEgypt’ is found first in Linar B script at the Minoan stronghold of Knossos on Crete. After the non-existant "Dark Age" of Greece — supposedly separating by five centuries the Heroic Age of the Mycenaeans from the archaic Age of Tyrants of the Ionians — "Egypt" is next found in Homer's Odyssey. The name is thought to derive from Hikuptah, ("mansion of the Ka of Ptah") — a name for Memphis, capital of Lower (north­ern) Egypt. Memphis’ itself was the name of the pyramid of Pepi I (of Dynasty VI), and indicated the city as well; it means "established and goodly", and is used in the Bible (cf. Hos 9:6, Is 19:13) to stand for all of Egypt.

The Bible implies that Mizraim, son of Ham, was the first to settle Egypt — specifical­ly, the northern region, of the Delta. Mizraim became the biblical name for Egypt — even in describing people of that land who were not descended from Mizraim. But Mizraim was not the name which the ancient Egyptians called themselves; forms of this word have not been found in Egyptian texts, but are found in non-biblical texts first in the 9th/ ô14th century — that is, only 200 years after the Hyksos domina­tion.

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 Canaan seems to have been quite dark-skinned, as we will see in The Days of Brass and Iron.

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 Babylonia is established. The culture known as Jemdet Nasr may have developed in Elam, rather than in Babylonia — but this is a minor point. In any case, cylinder seals from early Egyptian tombs indicate a connection with Mesopota­mian Semites. The conventional paradigm requires that Jemdet Nasr be older than Dynasty I, when in fact it is younger. The error is possible because Egypt is unstratified, in terms of archeology — we just saw this fact in Chapter 5.

In Egypt during the immediate post-Babel period, we find three very significant names: Mizraim, Menes, and Narmer. Josephus informs us that from Menes to Solomon was over 1,300 years. Solomon ended his rule in 931, and 1,300 years earlier is within shouting distance of the year 2192, when the Confusion at Babel occurred. The fit is not perfect, but it is only about 40 years off — which is very close compared to the standard paradigm, which is well over 2,000 years off.

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.

Egypt first enters upon the stage of secular history with the mention of king Menes. The king list of Abydos and the Turin Canon give the founder of Dynasty I as Meni (Menes). Manetho says this first dynasty lasted for about 252 years (2192-1940), and was ruled by demigods and heros (to the ancient mind, these are the same thing); he gives Menes about 60 years as king, which would have started shortly after the Confusion at Babel — so c. 2190-2130 bc.

It is said that the nomes were tamed and unified by Menes, and he built Memphis as his capital, although Manetho lists him as ruling in Thinis (This), near Girga, some 310 miles south of modern Cairo. Menes fought in the eastern desert and elsewhere, and according to Manetho was killed by "a horse-shaped river-monster"; we need not over-extend our imagina­tions, if we recognize the hippopota­mus (the "river-horse") in this description: more people are killed by hippos than by lions or croco­diles.

Now, it is possible — even likely — that Mizraim and Menes are the same person. Just as the Bible gives Mizraim as the patriarch of Egypt, Menes is universal­ly affirmed in secular history as the first king of Egypt. Their names seem to describe the same event: just as Mizraim enclosed the sea, ‘Menes’ means "establisher" or "everlasting" — and the thing which was established was the course of the Nile.

Herodotus says that the primal land of Egypt proper — which was Lower (northern) Egypt — was flooded, up to Thebes. He says thefirst man to rule Egypt was Min, in whose time the whole country, except the district around Thebes, was marsh, none of the land below lake Moeris . . . then showed above the water. The land was flooded to the foot of the Libyan mountains. Menes diverted the course of the Nile with a strong dyke, which was maintained until the days of the Persian pharaohs. The dyke directed the waters to the middle of the valley, where Menesbuilt the city of Memphis in the bed of the ancient channel. Having set the Nile's course, the pharaohs of Egypt might well have said (Ezek 29:3),My river is mine own, I have made it for myself. Both Mizraim and Menes, then, seem to be credited with having performed the same task.

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 Memphis as his capital. What are we to make of this? Are Narmer and Menes the same individual?

Rare, low-relief carvings on stone palettes give us our picture of this era in Egypt. A slate palette from Dynasty I (c. 2100/ *3000) found at Hierakonpolis (ancient Nekhen) depicts Narmer wearing the southern crown of Upper Egypt; the image is framed by two human-faced bulls, which powerfully identifies Narmer with Nimrod. A later inscription known as the Narmer Palette shows him wearing the crown of southern Egypt, and the hieroglyphs are translated as:Horus brings the captive to Lower Egypt. So it appears that Narmer was king of the southern kingdom, who conquered the north, bringing his captive there. That Nimrod should be called Horus is no surprise, given that the elder Horus was his own grandfather, Ham. It may be, of course, that later generations of Egyptians confused Nimrod/ Narmer for his "son", Gilgamesh/ Horus. The evidence is too sparse to be definite.

But what then of Menes? We know that Nimrod was the nephew of Mizraim. It would appear that Menes was the primal king of Egypt, ruling in Thinis and working to make the valley prosperous for the refugees from Shinar. Herodotus tells us that Menes drained the morasses and tamed the land. The distinctive culture, artistic and literary, which so characterized Egypt were developed at this earliest period, lasting perhaps 60 years. Some time later, he or his successor was overwhelmed by Narmer/ Nimrod, who invaded from Mesopotamia, intent upon his conquests. Nimrod apparently established his base in the south, perhaps settling at Thebes; eventually he unified the land, adopting Memphis in the north as his new capital. Building in Memphis, it may be said that he built it.

The unique character of the land of the Nile dictated its political destiny, just as the terrain of Mesopotamia sealed its fate. Specifically, thephysical nature of Egypt, a land that for 500 miles . . . . had length but scarcely any breadth, rendered it difficult to rule, even under the most favourable conditions. A king who delegated control in the nomes to powerful local officials courted disaster. The act of unifying Egypt was no small task, and holding it together was a monumental chore, beyond the capabilities of many of its kings — as demonstrated by the many nomarch-"pharaohs" of the various dynasties. But Nimrod was born to conquer.

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 Cush) and Horus were so closely linked. Over half a millennium later, when the semitic Hyksos invaded Egypt, they also worshipped Set, reviving or re-introducing that cult in the Delta (although Dynasty II was also involved with Seth). From all this we may speculate that Mizraim was an ally of Shem, and opposed to the apostates of Babel who had been lead by his brother Cush and his nephew Nimrod. On the other hand, Mizraim may have worshipped in some serpentine cult, and the supplanting of his paganism by that of Nimrod would just be the exchange of one evil for another.

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 Abydos wasthe sepulchre of the god Osiris, and, as such, became the shrine to which millions of pilgrims made their way.

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 Egypt for 28 years, so we may take the 57 years as indicating his total time in Egypt, and the 27 or 28 as his control over all of Egypt. At his death, Dynasty XI was founded, in 2075; it either started in Thebes, or moved there c. 1967 bc.

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 Memphis, and archeology has uncovered the fact that under the name Aha, he warred with the Nubians.

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 Nile prior to Dynasty XVIII. In any case, by the time that Nimrod arrived in Egypt the Delta had been well-settled by the clans of Mizraim. There was a very clear difference between the people of Mizraim and those of Nimrod, in that the "Predynastic" inhabitants of Lower Egypt had broader heads, and were buried in more elaborate tombs. As for today, the ancient race of Egypt is most preserved in the non-Arab Copts, whose language is a direct descendant of the tongue of the Pha­raohs.

It seems that Athothis/ Nimrod/ Osiris was married to Hept, wife of Menes (his uncle Mizraim). Hept was another name of Isis in the myths, and she is found in Egyptian mythology as Heptet, "the embracer", who assisted in the "resuscitation" of Osiris; her image was of a woman with a serpent's head, wearing the beard of king­ship. Some ancient authorities tell us that Osiris/ Nimrod was killed in Italy, and if there is any truth to the myths, then Isis/ Semiramis would have eventually taken the body back to Abydos.

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 Nubia. He ruled for more than 20 years, and if this is the third king of Manetho's list, he is Kenkenes or Cencenes, who ruled 31/ 39 years (c. 2075/2060-2040/ c. *3050). Kenkenes means "Terrible", and he was considered to be Athothis, reincarnated, which would make him the younger Horus, or Gilgamesh. The rule of Gilgamesh/ Horus would have started in exile at his birth, since his "father" was dead. There is no known interaction between Egypt and the contemporary kings of Mesopotamia, although it was at this very time that Gilgamesh was also the king of Erech; Mes-Anne-Pada ruled in Ur I, and Enmebaragesi and Akka, the last kings of Kish I, also reigned now.

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 Egypt, returning to Babylon and his city of Uruk.

This departure seems to have resulted in the restoration of Isis/ Semiramis to the throne of Egypt, under the name of Uenephes (Vavenephis, Zet, Hept, 23/42 years, c. 2030, with some complex scheme of coregency). Manetho calls Uenaphes the son of the previous king, but this 4th ruler was named Hept, which we know to be a name of Isis. Another of her names was Henneit, meaning "Victorious Neit". Neit was the mother-/ warrior-goddess of the Delta, whose cult-center was in Sais; her temple wall remains even today, and is inscribed with the wordsI am all that has been, that is, and that will be. This is precisely the claim which Isis makes for herself. Archaic tombs from this era are found near the pyramids of Saqqarah (Cho, the old name for Memphis).

The only event during this time noted by Manetho was a famine, which occurred within the time frame of Terah's emigration from Ur. It may be that it was this mechanism that God used to summon Terah. We know that Abraham left Canaan for this very same reason, of a famine.

As we shall see, the other nomarchs of Egypt did not stand idly by during this period. Intef II of Thebes (Dynasty XI) in the south engaged in battle with the king of Heracleo­polis (Dynasty IX) far to the north, and this fighting involved the Thinis nome, which was located between the two antagonists. This must reflect the attempt of various factions to achieve a balance of power favorable to themselves. We have the misconception of Egypt as a monolithic hive, but Egypt was no different than any other collection of city states, except in that Egypt was effectively a tremendously long desert oasis, with the nomes connected by the all-important Nile. As in Babylonia, so in Egypt even hostile rivals were forced usually to act civilly with their neighbors.

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 Egypt during the decade of the 1990's bc. Den also would have been the king with whom Intef II (2045-1995/ º2117-2069) of Thebes warred. His tomb at Abydos is remarkable for its floor of granite blocks. If this is the fifth king of Manetho's list, he ruled for 20/34 years (centered around c. 2010/ c. *3000), as Usaphais; an official of his had a step tomb which was changed during construction to a mastaba. In Shinar during this time, Gilgamesh and his ally from Ur defeated Akka, last king of Kish I.

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 containfragments 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 Egypt from the famine in Canaan (1991 bc). It was also during his reign that the cities of the Plain of Siddim (Sodom, Gomorrah, etc.) were tributaries of Shinar and Elam; and during this time, c. 1987, Abram defeated the hosts of the east.

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 Egypt to Horus. Manetho calls him Semempses, "the great Shem", and gives his rule 18 years (9 in the Palermo Stone — 1984/1975-1966/ c. *2930, with his first 9 years coregent with Eber). An intriguing bit of evidence which justifies identifying these Egyptian kings with Eber and Shem is the fact that their hieroglyphic signs indicate asiatic figures in priestly garb. In any case, it is assumed here that this Egyptian pharaoh was indeed the Shem of the Bible.

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 Sodom. From the Confusion at Babel to the Sodom catastrophe was 225 years (2192-1967) — taking up most of the life of Dynasty I. But given the magnitude of the judgement which befell Sodom, is the Bible the only record of this truly earth-shaking catastrophe? At this time, the Great Rift Valley ripped its way through the cities on the plain, whose green pastures were flooded with brack and pummelled with bitumen, blasted forever. Is there no other purely historical record of this event?

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 Sodom and Gomorrah, in 1967 bc! I hasten to point out that I did not manipulate any data to achieve this correspondence: I am pleased to affirm that it is the natural and independent product of my reconstruction. In a moment, we will notice several important political events linked to this same date. Be that as it may, that Shem ruled in Egypt is only a pleasing supposition — but that Semempses suffered the effects of the very catastrophe of Sodom is certain.

This invites us to look at Abram, who was active at this very time. Abram went into Egypt in 1991 (cf. Gen 12:17), and was with Abimalech in 1967, the year of the Sodom catastrophe. Using the Bible, I was able to narrow down the date of Abram's war (Gen 14) only to the 1980's. After he rescued his nephew Lot, Abram met with Melchize­dek at Salem (Jerusalem) and paid a tithe. Rabbinical sources have maintained a consistent tradition that Melchizedek was Shem:And behold, Shem, who was now priest of the most high God and ruled at Salem under the name of Melchizedek, came to meet [Abram], bringing forth bread and wine. If this is so, then we may further refine the date of the war, as having occurred sometime between 1991 and 1984; at this latter date, Shem was invested as king of Thinis.

Shem (perhaps with Eber) was on the throne of Thinis when Heracleopolis (Dynasty IXa) and Thebes (Dynasty XIa) went to war over Thinis, in 1979. Three years later, Shem ruled Thinis alone, ending his rule after the Sodom catastrophe. Shem evident­ly abdicated in favor of Qay-A/ Beineches, and lived for another 50 years, until 1916 bc.

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 Syria and this nome of Egypt (and perhaps other nomes as well). In Chapter 8 we will discuss Dynasty II, which immediately followed Dynasty I in Thinis.

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 oftenarranged 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 understoodeither 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 Mesopotamia, cuneiform was also maturing. Which came first is an irrelevant question, since both spun off from the same source, at Babel. It seems reasonable to suppose that Cush used some sort of pictographic writing, which was improved along independent lines by the Egyptians and the Sumerians. The Chinese script also developed from pictographs, which some scholars link to Mesopotamia.

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 Memphis (77 miles south of modern Cairo), on the right shore of what would become Bahr Yusuf (Lake Joseph). The Turin Papyrus lists 13 kings, including Khety I (Meryibre Achthoes, Akhtoy, Mer-Ib-Ra) and Khety II. This Dynasty arose, scholars say, out of the turmoil of the "First Intermediate Period" — but there was no First Intermediate Period, and it actually rose during the downfall of Nimrod and in the interregnum before Horus claimed the throne.

As with any sprawling land, Egypt had its dialects. These have been taken as an indication of separation by time when in fact they are an indication of separation both by geography and by culture. So Dynasties I through VIII, used the northern, "Old Egyptian" dialect of Mizraim, established in Memphis (best known from the Pyramid Texts). Dynas­ties IX through XVII used the classical "Middle Egyptian" — the southern dialect of Nimrod, established in Heracleopolis and Thebes. (Incidently, from the genuinely later Amarna period, starting well over half a millennium after the Exodus, through Dynasty XXIV, "Neo-Egyptian" was used, and "Low Egyptian" was used from XXV into Roman times.)

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 Elephantine. Manetho records something of his character:King Achthoes — behaving more cruelly than his predecessors — wrought woes ['dire disasters'] for the people of all Egypt, but afterwards he was smitten with madness, and was killed by a crocodile.. This is almost everything we know of this line.

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 Thebes.

As fate would have it, it is one of the pharaohs of Heracleopolis whom Abram visited, when he descended into Egypt during the famine of Gen 12:10-20. This king's name should be one of the 13 of the Turin Papyrus. He suffered those plagues which are recorded as famines in the inscriptions of Dynasty XI, as we shall see. A dozen years after this pharaoh's improper conduct with Sarai, a military doom befell his nome.

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 Thebes, and in this humbled state its royal house managed to survive for another three centuries — according to Africanus, lasting a total of 409 years, and ruled by 19 kings in all. Of events in Heracleopolis during this time, we are told nothing — but finally, c. 1666, Dynasty IX of Heracleopolis was terminated, not by Mentuhotep II, but by the Memphite Pepi I of Dynasty VI. It was replaced in Heracleopolis by Dynasty X, as we will learn.

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 Egypt, infecting other nomes, or not, as the case may be. In Thebes, the cult of the sun god Amon inhibited the worship of Osiris, and in the north, the sun god Ra was worshipped in Heliopolis (ancient On).

Dynasty XIa [b](c. 2077-1967 [-1917]/ º2134-2040 [-1991]); in Thebes; conquest af­ter Sodom, unified 43 years; ends in 7 years of civil war

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 Syria, and even of Anatolia, because they were written in clay. Egyptians wrote on perishable papyrus, and virtual­ly all of their correspondences have long since turned to powder; only what was placed in tombs has survived, and we are not likely to find letters of state in tombs. We have only what was re-copied — stories, poems, religious texts, but most certainly not the tedious wranglings one nomarch might send to another.

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 Egypt do place in the same era dynasties which are supposedly separated by 700 years.

To return to Dynasty XI, it started in the last few years of Nimrod's rule, and was the first to be centered in Thebes (ancient No) in Upper (southern) Egypt, somewhat south of Thinis and well over 300 miles south of Memphis near the edge of the Delta. The Turin Papyrus lists six kings ruling for about 160 years, but Manetho recorded that theEleventh Dynasty consisted of sixteen kings of Thebes, who reigned for 43 years. Now, plainly, Dynasty XI lasted for much longer than 43 years: what is meant here is that all of Egypt was unified at the end of Dynasty XI for 43 years, under Mentuhotep II and his successor Mentuhotep III. Only seven of these kings are known outside of Manetho: three named Intef and four named Mentuhotep.

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 Thebes over control of Thinis (Abydos), which was a buffer between them; this conflict may have occurred sometime between 2040 (after the rule of Horus) and 2020 (before the powerful Den). In his reign royal power reappears in the fully autocratic style of the divine monarchy . . . In Mesopotamia, Akka met his fate, and the Dynasty of Ur I came to the fore; under Chedorlaomer, the lands just to the east of Egypt became tributaries — a state of affairs which must have had some impact upon Egypt.

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 Abydos in the Thinis nome. The three 11th dynasty kings named Intef were periodically engaged in extending their control northward, eroding the territory nominally under the sway of the kings at Heracleopolis. But the struggle was not continuous. Long inter­vals elapsed between northward conquests.

In the mean time, the disunited condition of Egypt prevented efficient and orga­nized irrigation, and inscriptions from this dynasty bemoan the recurrence of famine, and speak of the measures which local officials took to ward off starvation. These famines were not, however, solely the result of faulty irrigation, because it is precisely this time, in 1991 bc, that a great famine plagued Abram in the land of Canaan. The Theban famine was related to the plagues which befell the (unnamed) Dynasty IX king of Heracleopolis (Gen 12:17).

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. Aninsur­rec­tion 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, recentinvestiga­tion 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 Upper Egypt was Amenemhet, whose ‘graffiti’ has been found at this wadi. He quotes his king as saying:My majesty has sent the prince, mayor of the city, vizier, chief of royal works, royal favorite, Amenemhet, with a troop of ten-thousand men from the southern nomes of Upper Egypt, and from the garri­sons of Thebes, in order to bring me a precious block of the pure stone of this moun­tain . . . The block, 4 x 8 x 2 cubits — 6' x 12' x 3' — was to be used as the lid of the king's sarcophagus, anda troop of three thousand sailors from the nomes of Lower Egypt conduct it safely to Egypt. We shall meet again this Amenemhet shortly, as founder of Dynasty XII.

It was during this time, in c. 1930 bc, that Abraham scaled Mount Moriah to sacrifice his beloved Isaac. Isaac was born in 1966 bc, and dedicated as heir in 1961 bc (Gen 21:8-10, Gal 4:29-30), which occasion marked the start of the 400 years of sojourning for Abraham's seed (Gen 15:13, Acts 7:6). Sarah died in 1930 bc, and Isaac married at age 40 (Gen 25:20), in 1926 bc.

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 Egypt. It was seven years of near anarchy — a sabbatical of civil war. The con­flict was violent, but it is unknown if the violence was more among rival nobles, or against the ousted king. The contender who finally won out was Amenem­het, presumably that very vizier whom we just met. He had revolted against Mentuhotep IV, and in 1918/ º1991 became the first king of Dynasty XII.

So, we have looked at Mesopotamia from the empire of Nimrod to the end of his dyna­sty. We have considered Egypt from Mizraim until the founding of the "Middle Kingdom". In the course of these three centuries, Shem and Abraham followed after the way of God, and Nimrod and Chedorlaomer met their fitting end. In the next chapter, we will look at the rise of the Sumerians, and the advent of literacy in Mesopotamia.

Ch. 6 — Kings of the Nile: Egypt from Babel to Sodom

[1].W.S. LaSor, "Egypt," in ISBE, Vol. 2, p. 32

[2].LaSor, "qq," in ISBE, Vol. 1, p. 251.

[3].Antiquities, 8,6,2.

[4].T.G.H. James, "Egypt, History of: Egypt to the end of the 17th dynasty," Ency. Brit., Vol. 6, p. 464.

[5].Waddell, p. 32, note 2.

[6].Wad­dell, p. 215.

[7].Herodotus, Hist., Bk. 2, ch. 4, p. 131.

[8].Wilkinson, Vol. 1, p. 89; in Hislop, p. 293.

[9].See my The Serpent in Babel.

[10].James, p. 466.

[11].James, p. 464.

[12].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.

[13].Smith, p. 17.

[14].A. Weigall, A History of the Pharaohs, Vol. 1 (London: 1925), p. 111.

[15].Mercatante, p. 56.

[16].Mercatante, p. 105.

[17].W.S. Smith, Ancient Egypt (Boston: Museum of Fine Arts, 1960), pp. 22, 18.

[18].Hoeh, ch. 3.

[19].Breasted, A History of Egypt (1905), pp. 48-9.

[20].Waddell, p. 33; Eusebius.

[21].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.

[22].W.S. LaSor, "Egypt," in ISBE, Vol. 2, p. 34.

[23].LaSor, "Egypt," p. 33.

[24].Africanus, in Waddell, p. 61; dashes replace commas.

[25].Velikovsky demonstrates this in Ramses II and His Times and Peoples of the Sea.

[26].Eusebius, in Waddell, p. 61.

[27].Africanus, in Waddell, p. 63.

[28].AEL, Vol. 1, p. 83.

[29].James, p. 469.

[30].James, p. 469.

[31].James, p. 468.

[32].Smith, p. 17.

[33].AEL, Vol. 1, p. 114.

[34].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.

[35].R. Graves and R. Patai, Hebrew Myths (NY: Greenwich House, 1964), p. 175.

[36].Graves, p. 176.

[37].Sepher Hayashar, 77-79; in Graves, p. 174.

[38].A.S. Rappoport, Ancient Israel: Myths and Legends (NY: Bonan­za Books, 1987), Vol. 1, p. 294.