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Ancient Egypt was an ancient civilization of eastern North Africa, concentrated along the lower reaches of the Nile River in what is now the modern country of Egypt. The civilization coalesced around 3150 BC with the political unification of Upper and Lower Egypt under the first pharaoh, and it developed over the next three millennia. Its history occurred in a series of stable Kingdoms, separated by periods of relative instability known as Intermediate Periods. Ancient Egypt reached its pinnacle during the New Kingdom, after which it entered a period of slow decline. Egypt was conquered by a succession of foreign powers in this late period, and the rule of the pharaohs officially ended in 31 BC when the early Roman Empire conquered Egypt and made it a province.
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Image of Imhotep, famous Egyptian. Was this really Joseph?
Joseph in Ancient Egyptian History
by: Mary Nell Wyatt
Inscriptions on a monument to Horemheb, a pharaoh several years after the Exodus, provide evidence of the story of Joseph's pharaoh's invitation to Jacob's family to come to Egypt and live. It tells of a community of shepherds from the "north" asking Egypt to allow them to pasture their cattle "as was the custom of the father of their fathers from the beginning".
There is also a picture in the tomb of Tehuti-hetep in Bersheh which has a picture of a herd of Syrian cattle entering Egypt with the inscription: "Once you trod the Syrian sands. Now, here in Egypt, you shall feed in green pastures. (Light from the Ancient Past, by Jack Finegan.)
According to our chronology, taken from the Biblical record, the flood was in about 2348 BC. Abraham left Haran in about 1921 BC, about 427 years later.
Soon after this (we don't know exactly how soon) he and Sarah went to Egypt because of a famine in Canaan. The Biblical account is extremely short on the subject of Abraham's visit to Egypt (Gen. 12:10-20) but we do learn that Abraham misled the pharaoh about who Sarah was- he told him she was his sister. This was partially true since she was his half-sister, but she was also his wife.
The pharaoh, because of her beauty, took her to his palace. (Gen. 12:12-15). The king paid Abraham well for Sarah (verse 16) but God intervened, causing some types of plagues to fall upon the pharaoh. (verse 17). When the pharaoh figured out the cause for these inflictions, he called Abraham to account, asking him why he lied to him about Sarah. (verse 18, 19). He then ordered his men to escort Abraham and his entourage out of Egypt. (verse 20). Egypt at this time was already a rich nation, for it was at this time that Abraham became rich in cattle, gold and silver, given to him as payment for Sarah. (Gen. 13:1,2).
And there is good evidence that it was at this time that the regulation prohibiting the Egyptians from eating, drinking or fraternizing with foreign shepherds was instituted. (Gen. 46:34). Josephus relates that Abraham was responsible for bringing the knowledge of arithmetic and astronomy to the Egyptians, which may also be true. We believe the time of Abraham's visit to Egypt was early in the 1st Dynasty. It would be about 200 years later when Joseph would be elevated to his high position in Egypt, second only to the pharaoh. And in the 3rd Dynasty, there appears on the scene a most incredible individual in the ancient records- a man called "Imhotep".
For many years, Egyptologists had doubted that Imhotep had been a real person- they found it rather difficult to believe the various accomplishments credited to him in the accounts written over a thousand years after he was supposed to have lived.
At times, Imhotep has been termed the "Leonardo da Vinci" of ancient Egypt, but in fact he was more than that. Da Vinci gained the reputation of a genius- Imhotep was eventually elevated to the status of a god.
In Egypt's long list of "gods", very few were ever once living among them. Imhotep was. Manetho wrote that "during his [Djoser of the 3rd Dynasty] reign lived Imouthes [i.e., Imhotep], who, because of his medical skill has the reputation of Asclepius [the Greek god of medicine] among the Egyptians and who was the inventor of the art of building with hewn stone." It was this statement that caused the specialists to doubt the existence of a real man named Imhotep. But in 1926, the question was settled once and for all- Imhotep was a real man.
When excavations were carried out at the Step Pyramid at Sakkara, fragments of a statue of pharaoh Djoser were found.
The base was inscribed with the names of Djoser and of "Imhotep, Chancellor of the King of Lower Egypt, Chief under the King, Administrator of the Great Palace, Hereditary Lord, High Priest of Heliopolis, Imhotep the Builder, the Sculptor, the Maker of Stone Vases..."
Does this fit what we know of Joseph? The Bible is quite clear on his high rank under the pharaoh:
GEN 41:40 Thou shalt be over my house, and according unto thy word shall all my people be ruled: only in the throne will I be greater than thou. 43 And he made him to ride in the second chariot which he had; and they cried before him, Bow the knee: and he made him ruler over all the land of Egypt. 44 And Pharaoh said unto Joseph, I am Pharaoh, and without thee shall no man lift up his hand or foot in all the land of Egypt.
In fact, it sounds as if Joseph was the first person ever given such honor by a pharaoh, which is confirmed by evidences in Egypt. If this man, Imhotep, was Joseph, surely there must be some evidence tieing him with the Biblical account. Let's take a look...
Joseph's main position was that of a prime minister and Imhotep appears to be the first who could boast of such a broad range of authority in ancient Egypt. There are records of many, many viziers throughout Egyptian history- but the first evidence which connects Imhotep with Joseph is an amazing inscription found carved on a large rock on the island of Sihiel just below the First Cataract of the Nile.
This inscription claims to be a copy of a document written by Djoser in the 18th year of his reign,- this copy being written over 1,000 years after the events it claims to be relating. It goes on to tell of a 7 year famine and 7 years of plenty. Let's look at a few passages from this inscription and compare them with the Biblical account, keeping in mind that this was written a millenium after the events it claims to be describing:
1. It begins with the great distress of the pharaoh: "I was in distress on the Great Throne..."
GEN 41:8 And it came to pass in the morning that his spirit was troubled;
2. In the inscription, the pharaoh is troubled about a famine and asks Imhotep who the god of the Nile is, so he can approach him about the drought: "... I asked him who was the Chamberlain,...Imhotep, the son of Ptah... `What is the birthplace of the Nile? Who is the god there? Who is the god?'" Imhotep answers: "I need the guidance of Him who presides over the fowling net,..."
GEN 41:16 And Joseph answered Pharaoh, saying, It is not in me: God shall give Pharaoh an answer of peace. In the Egyptian text, Imhotep is termed "the son of Ptah", who was the Egyptian god known as the "creator" of everything else, including the other gods.
3. In the inscription, Imhotep answers the pharaoh about the god of the Nile and tells him where he lives. In the Bible, Joseph interprets the pharaohs dream. But, the next thing in the inscription tells that when the king slept, the Nile god Khnum, revealed himself to him in a dream and promised the Nile would pour forth her waters and the land would yield abundantly for 7 years, after a 7 year drought. This passage reflects the fact of a dream by the pharaoh of 7 years of plenty and 7 years of famine, although reversed.
4. The inscription then goes on to record Djoser's promise to the Nile god, Khnum, in which the people were to be taxed 1/10 of everything, except for the priests of the "house of the god", who would be exempted.
GEN 47:26 And Joseph made it a law over the land of Egypt unto this day, that Pharaoh should have the fifth part, except the land of the priests only, which became not Pharaoh's.
So here we have an inscription which tells a story of pharaoh Djoser asking his vizier, Imhotep, to help him with the problem of a great 7 year famine. Imhotep tells him he must consult the god because the answer is not in him. Then, the pharaoh dreams a dream which foretells the event.
Next follow 7 years of plenty, which is reverse from the Biblical account.
The pharaoh levies a tax of 10% on all of the population except for the priesthood. The Biblical account tells of a 1/5, or 20% tax, with the priesthood exempt. All of the components of the Biblical account are present in this inscription, except that the story has been "Egyptianized" to fit their religious beliefs.
It is believed that this inscription was written during the 2nd century BC, by the priests of Khnum for the purpose of justifying their claim of some land privileges. Part of the inscription states the pharaoh dedicated some of the land and taxation to the god.
But, this isn't the only inscription with this "tale"- there is a similar inscription on the Isle of Philae, only this one has the priests of Isis stating that Djoser made the same gift to their god for the same purpose. Just as the story of the flood is found in almost every ancient culture but is twisted to fit their own purposes and gods, here we find the story of Joseph, only it is twisted to fit the needs of the priests of the various gods in substantiating their claims to certain land.
The name, Imhotep, in ancient Egyptian is translated to mean "the voice (or mouth) of Im" however, there is no record of a god in Egypt called "Im". But, we all know the God, "I AM":
EXO 3:14 And God said unto Moses, I AM THAT I AM: and he said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you.
JOH 8:58 Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am.
God told Moses to tell the pharaoh that "I AM" had sent him because "I AM" was the name by which the Egyptians had known Joseph's God. Could "Im" have been "I AM"?
The name the Bible states that was given to Joseph by the pharaoh, "Zaphenath-paneah", has been translated by some to mean, "the God lives; the God speaks". Since we do not fully understand the meaning of the Egyptian "hotep", it is quite possible that the translation of Imhotep ("The voice of I AM) is identical to the Biblical name of Joseph ("the God lives; the God speaks).
Imhotep is the earliest physician whose historical records survive, and although Joseph isn't mentioned as being a physician, the Bible gives one very important clue to this:
GEN 50:2 And Joseph commanded his servants the physicians to embalm his father: and the physicians embalmed Israel. Here, the physicians are specificly stated to be under Joseph.
But later, when Imhotep became established as the "god of healing", it is the manner in which he healed that ties him directly to Joseph. Ancient Greek writings mention a great sanctuary at Memphis where people came from everywhere to seek cures from Imhotep. They would pray to him, make offerings and then spend the night in this sanctuary, which was a sort of Lourdes of ancient Egypt. While sleeping, the god, Imhotep, was said to come to people in their dreams and cure them. Is there a connection between Joseph and dreams?
GEN 37:8 And his brethren said to him, Shalt thou indeed reign over us? or shalt thou indeed have dominion over us? And they hated him yet the more for his dreams, and for his words.
Remember, it was Joseph's dream about he and his brothers binding sheaves- their sheaves stood up and bowed to his- that was one of the causes of their great jealousy of him.
GEN 37:20 Come now therefore, and let us slay him, and cast him into some pit, and we will say, Some evil beast hath devoured him: and we shall see what will become of his dreams.
The Biblical account also speaks of Joseph's wisdom:
GEN 41:39 And Pharaoh said unto Joseph, Forasmuch as God hath shewed thee all this, there is none so discreet and wise as thou art:.
Again, the evidence points to Imhotep. Imhotep was also revered for his wisdom. In several inscriptions from much later times, reference is made to the "words of Imhotep". For example, in "Song from the Tomb of King Intef", we read:
"I have heard the words of Imhotep and Hardedef...",
and it goes on to explain that their "sayings" were recited in his day. To date, nothing has been found of Imhotep's works, however there are several works of "wise sayings" attributed to one "Ptahotep", who is only known as a vizier of a king from the 5th dynasty.
However, there are 5 known "Ptahoteps", all viziers to pharaohs of the 5th dynasty, all priests of Heliopolis, or "On". Evidence seems to indicate that after Imhotep, the trend among viziers became patterned after him, with these later viziers taking credit for Imhotep's actual deeds and his writings- a practice which the Egyptians, among others, were notorious for.
Now, let's do some assuming for a moment- let's assume that Joseph wrote a collection of wise sayings, of course, inspired by God. Because of his great favor with the king, these came to be revered by the scribes and people. His fame as a sage spread throughout Egypt and became the standard of wisdom. We know that his wisdom came from the true God of Abraham. Would it not be expected that Joseph would pass on his wisdom from God to those around him? In fact, the Bible says that he did:
PSA 105:17 He sent a man before them, even Joseph, who was sold for a servant:...20 The king sent and loosed him; even the ruler of the people, and let him go free. 21 He made him lord of his house, and ruler of all his substance: 22 To... teach his senators wisdom.
After Joseph's death, others copied his wise sayings and took credit for them, perhaps adding a bit of their own and changing things to suit them. As these sayings were passed down through several generations, instead of being attributed to Imhotep, they were attributed to Ptahotep, "the voice of" the Egyptian creator, "Ptah". Thousands of years later, several papyruses are found which purport to be copies of "The Instruction of Ptahotep". Could this scenario have happened?
There are 2 particular statements in Ptahotep's writings which indicate that this is exactly what happened. At the end of these manuscripts, the writer states that he is near death, having lived 110 years and that he received honors from the king exceeding those of the ancestors,- in other words, he received the most honors ever given a man by a pharaoh. And, we know that Joseph died at the age of 110 years.
Well, it gets even more familiar as we examine the text of these manuscripts. They begin as Solomon's Proverbs begin, as instructions to his son, with the admonition they are "profitable to him who will hear" but "woe to him who would neglect them". Keep in mind that the Originator of Joseph's wisdom was also the Originator of Solomon's wisdom, and the parallels between the 2 are undeniable. We are told in the Bible that Solomon knew many, many proverbs:
1KI 4:30 And Solomon's wisdom excelled the wisdom of all the children of the east country, and all the wisdom of Egypt. 31 For he was wiser... and his fame was in all nations round about. 32 And he spake three thousand proverbs: and his songs were a thousand and five.
This statement indicates that the concept of a "proverb" was known to the ancient peoples. We aren't told if Solomon was the author of all of these proverbs or whether they were passed down to him from his ancestors. There are examples of proverbs in many ancient civilizations, but the only ones which Solomon recorded by inspiration and today appear in the Bible are very similar to the ancient Egyptian "wisdom literature" which can be traced back to Imhotep. This doesn't mean that Solomon copied from the ancient Egyptians- it means that the God of His Fathers gave the same wisdom to his ancestors, who included Joseph, that He gave to Solomon.
We'll compare a few passages of Ptahotep's writings to the Bible:
1) "Don't be proud of your knowledge"
PRO 3:7 Be not wise in thine own eyes: fear the LORD, and depart from evil.
2) "One plans the morrow but knows not what will be".
PRO 27:1 Boast not thyself of to morrow; for thou knowest not what a day may bring forth.
3) "If you probe the character of a friend, don't enquire, but approach him, deal with him alone,..."
PRO 25:9 Debate thy cause with thy neighbor himself; and discover not a secret to another".
4) "If you are a man of trust, sent by one great man to another, adhere to the nature of him who sent you, give his message as he said it."
PRO 25:13 As the cold of snow in the time of harvest, so is a faithful messenger to them that send him: for he refresheth the soul of his masters.
5) "Teach the great what is useful to him."
PRO 9:9 Give instruction to a wise man, and he will be yet wiser: teach a just man, and he will increase in learning.
We also find parallels in other Books, such as Psalms and Ecclesiastes:
6) "If every word is carried on, they will not perish in the land."
PSA 78:5 For he established a testimony in Jacob, and appointed a law in Israel, which he commanded our fathers, that they should make them known to their children: 6 That the generation to come might know them, even the children which should be born; who should arise and declare them to their children:
7) "Guard against the vice of greed: a grievous sickness without cure. There is no treatment for it.
ECC 6:2 A man to whom God hath given riches, wealth, and honour, so that he wanteth nothing for his soul of all that he desireth, yet God giveth him not power to eat thereof, but a stranger eateth it: this is vanity, and it is an evil disease.
8) "If you are a man of worth who sits in his master's council, concentrate on excellence, your silence is better than chatter... gain respect through knowledge..."
ECC 9:17 The words of wise men are heard in quiet more than the cry of him that ruleth among fools.
9) "The wise is known by his wisdom, the great by his good actions; his heart matches his tongue..."
PRO 18:21 Death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof.
10) "If you are one among guests at the table of one greater than you, take what he gives as it is set before you."
PRO 23:1 When thou sittest to eat with a ruler, consider diligently what is before thee:
God used Joseph to establish in Egypt a safe haven for the growth and development of the "seed of Abraham" until they were ready to be delivered into the land God had promised them. And while in Egypt, surrounded by paganism, God would not leave His people nor the Egyptians without access to His Truth. The Bible records the fact that Joseph even taught the pharaoh's "senators".
And while this wisdom was revered by the Egyptians and carried down through the ages by their sages who copied some of his writings, (claiming it as their own), some of these same "wisdom sayings" were recorded by some of Joseph's descendants over 700 years later, and ultimately were preserved for us in the Book of Proverbs, Ecclesiastes and Psalms. But Joseph's wisdom didn't originate with him- it was divinely inspired, as was Solomon's wisdom, David's wisdom and the wisdom of all of God's people.
There are several other items concerning Imhotep which continue to fit the Biblical account. We know that the pharaoh of Joseph had been king for an unknown period of time when Joseph was finally brought to him to interpret his dream.
And the evidence shows that Imhotep was not Djoser's vizier earlier in his reign- in fact, no mention is made at all of Imhotep on Djoser's earlier monuments. Imhotep was not the architect of Djoser's tomb built at Beit Khallaf, which was probably undertaken soon after he became king. In this earlier tomb, which is similar to the preceding dynasties as Sakkara, there are clay sealings of jars which record Djoser's name, his mother's name, and the names of numerous other officials from his reign- but not Imhotep's, which indicates that he hadn't been appointed to his position yet. The standard practice was for the pharaoh always to appoint men to office as soon as he took the throne, with family members being the highest ranked.
All available information about Imhotep continues to point to his identification with Joseph. For example, in some inscriptions, his titles indicate that he was not a member of the royal family, but a "self-made man". This was unique because the son of the pharaoh was usually the vizier.
Imhotep was also the "priest of Heliopolis", the Biblical "On". Now in the story of Joseph, we learn that his father-in-law was the "priest of On" at the time of Joseph's marriage:
GEN 41:45 And Pharaoh called Joseph's name Zaphnathpaaneah; and he gave him to wife Asenath the daughter of Potipherah priest of On. And Joseph went out over all the land of Egypt.
Since Asenath was old enough to marry Joseph at this time, it follows that her father was probably at least in his forties. And in ancient Egypt, the people didn't live too much longer than about 50. At his death or disability, it follows that his son-in-law would be assigned his position, especially if that son-in-law were so highly regarded by the pharaoh as Joseph was.
If Joseph became the "Priest of On", was he being unfaithful to the true God? Absolutely not- the pharaoh had recognized the power of the God of Joseph, and even though the Egyptians remained idolaters, Joseph made them aware of his God and was unswerving in his loyalty to Him. The "Priest of On" was not termed the priest of a particular god- but the title instead seems to indicate a position of high honor and political importance.
It was Imhotep who is credited with having designed the first pyramid and began building with hewn stone instead of all mud brick. If we look at ancient Egyptian history, we can see evidence which shows that it was during the time of Djoser that Egypt became a truly great nation- after all, it had gathered the wealth of all the surrounding nations by selling them grain during the famine.
Step Pyramid, built by Imhotep
And during the 7 years of plenty, the people, under Joseph's wise guidance, began to organize a great administrative center which would handle the selling of the grain to all the surrounding nations.
A large complex was built which contained the future burial site of the pharaoh but also included a walled in center which contained huge grain bins. There was only one entrance into this center and there was an outside entrance into the system of storage bins. The Step Pyramid complex at Sakkara is the complex which we will now discuss.
At the main entrance on the east wall at the southern end, one enters a long hall of 40 columns- 20 on each side. Each column is connected to the main wall by a perpendicular wall, forming small "rooms" between each column.
As you exit this colonade and walk straight ahead, you come to a series of very large pits which extend deep into the earth. These are extremely large in size- much larger than any burial chambers; they are all centrally accessible by a connecting tunnel, extend to well above ground level, and one has a staircase extending down to the bottom. For this reason, we know that they were not built as tombs- if they were, they would have been constructed underground and they certainly would not have been so incredibly large.
These massive structures extend to well above ground level, which indicates that they were not hidden, as were tombs. Because the ancient Egyptians buried their dead with so much valuable material and provisions for their "afterlife", plundering of tombs was always their biggest fear. Therefore, we know that these massive pits had another purpose.
Also, in all the other ancient cities, whenever large bins such as these were uncovered, they were recognized as "storage bins", but in Egypt, the scholars tend to term everything they find a "tomb".
However, in the pharaoh's burial complex under the pyramid, we find matching bins for the king and his family's afterlife- and in these bins were found grain and other food stuffs.
In the Biblical account, we learn that Joseph appointed men throughout the land of Egypt to oversee the gathering and storing of the grain in all the cities:
GEN 41:34 Let Pharaoh do this, and let him appoint officers over the land, and take up the fifth part of the land of Egypt in the seven plenteous years. 35 And let them gather all the food of those good years that come, and lay up corn under the hand of Pharaoh, and let them keep food in the cities.
Joseph had given this plan to the pharaoh prior to his appointment as vizier or prime minister, and since it would be impossible for him to oversee the gathering and storing for the entire country, we know he implemented this plan. We also know that when the famine began and the Egyptians began to cry for food, they were told to go to Joseph and do whatever he said, which indicates that he gave the orders for the distribution of the grain:
GEN 41:55 And when all the land of Egypt was famished, the people cried to Pharaoh for bread: and Pharaoh said unto all the Egyptians, Go unto Joseph; what he saith to you, do. 56 And the famine was over all the face of the earth: and Joseph opened all the storehouses, and sold unto the Egyptians; and the famine waxed sore in the land of Egypt.
But when the foreign peoples came to purchase grain, we learn that they went directly to Joseph:
GEN 42:6 And Joseph was the governor over the land, and he it was that sold to all the people of the land: and Joseph's brethren came, and bowed down themselves before him with their faces to the earth.
Joseph's brothers came directly to Joseph in person. We believe it is Sakkara to which they came- where the remains of this fantastic complex are preserved. And it was here that Djoser had 11 extremely large pits constructed which can only be grain storage bins.
Every city had stored grain from its region, but at this complex at Sakarra, we have these massive pits which would have stored an incredible amount of grain- more than a single city would have needed. At the entrance to this complex, as we described earlier, there are 40 small cubicles, each just the right size to hold a single person who could administer the receipt of payment from people coming to purchase grain. There could have been several "cashiers" of each language group to handle the purchases of those who spoke the various languages. Of course, the Egyptologists think all these little cubicles were for statues, however, no pedestals were found in the remains, which is a very important point, because these statues were always erected on pedestals. Statues may vanish, but pedestals remain.
The design of the 11 pits is impressive. There are 11 of them, with only one containing a very elaborate stairway extending all the way to the bottom. All the pits are connected to each other by a subterranean tunnel- the pits were filled and the tops were sealed with wooden timbers and stone. And, all of the grain could be accessed from one entrance- and there is one entrance into the pits from outside the wall enclosure of the complex. Last of all, grain was found in the floor of these pits, which has been explained by Egyptologists as having been from foods buried with deceased who were buried there- however, no evidence of burials was ever found in these pits.
Does this fit the Biblical account? When Joseph's brothers came to him for grain, they talked to Joseph and paid for the grain. When they received the grain, it was already in sacks:
GEN 42:25 Then Joseph commanded to fill their sacks with corn, and to restore every man's money into his sack, and to give them provision for the way: and thus did he unto them. 26 And they laded their asses with the corn, and departed thence. 27 And as one of them opened his sack to give his ass provender in the inn, he espied his money; for, behold, it was in his sack's mouth.
The complex at Sakkara is unique- nothing like it has ever been found. It was described by William Hayes as being a "veritable city in itself, planned and executed as a single unit and built of fine white limestone from the near-by Mukattam Hills." (The Scepter of Egypt, Vol. 1, p. 60.) In fact, Egyptologists tend to term everything they find as a royal "tomb", which is what they have called this complex.
But it in fact exhibits every feature indicative of being a center of great activity, a feature which again fits with the story of Joseph. When Joseph's brothers came to get grain, they came face to face with Joseph who was overseeing the distribution. Where did they go to get the grain? They went to wherever the grain was stored, and this was where Joseph was.
And the storage of such a massive amount of grain would have required a large storage area, such as the extremely large pits found in this complex. It is also reasonable to expect to find the storage pits within an enclosure such as this complex, with an area for the payment of the grain. This was a "business" and would have required a center of administration.
A great deal has been written about this complex, and most mention the uniqueness of it- something they cannot explain. In fact, when you ask the Egyptians what the huge pits were for, they admit that they just don't know.
Some ancient historians have written of the fact that the pyramids were once believed to be "Joseph's storage bins" for the grain, and perhaps this story has its roots in the fact Joseph designed the first pyramid in the same complex in which the grain was stored. But regardless of what the "experts" want to believe about the Step Pyramid complex, the circumstantial evidence fits the story of Joseph perfectly. And, it is one of the best preserved site in Egypt- certainly of the very old structures- and this is consistent with God's preservation of important evidences which confirm the total accuracy of His Word.
We know from the Bible that Joseph died in Egypt and was embalmed and placed in a coffin.
GEN 50:26 So Joseph died, being an hundred and ten years old: and they embalmed him, and he was put in a coffin in Egypt.
But, when the children of Israel left during the Exodus, his bones were taken with them:
EXO 13:19 And Moses took the bones of Joseph with him: for he had straitly sworn the children of Israel, saying, God will surely visit you; and ye shall carry up my bones away hence with you.
This leads us to think that Joseph would have had a royal tomb in Egypt, but that it was possibly taken over and used by someone else, we just don't really know. But one of the big mysteries for Egyptologists has been the tomb of Imhotep- they simply can't find it although they know it should be somewhere in Sakkara. So important is Imhotep to Egyptology, that in the Guidebook to Sakkara by Jill Kamil, "The Tomb of Imhotep" is listed as a subject heading, only to explain that it has not been found.
In our discussion of "Imhotep, the Physician", we mentioned that ancient Greek texts speak of a place near Memphis where people came to worship "Imhotep" and be healed. When excavators continued to search for Imhotep's tomb very near the Step Pyramid, they found an incredible labyrinth of underground tunnels, full of mummified ibis (birds) and bulls (in separate galleries). Inscriptions and coins found here show that people came here to be healed! They had found this "sanctuary to Imhotep" written of by the Greeks.
After the deification of Imhotep as "god of medicine" , he was given the title, "Chief One of the Ibis"- and this was the connection of this labyrinth with Imhotep. These hundreds of thousands of ibis were mummified and brought here as tribute to Imhotep, filling these tunnels.
It was later discovered that these galleries connected to a pit that extends down to a funerary chamber which contains an empty coffin. They also discovered that this chamber belonged to a very large mastaba tomb which contained a second chamber full of broken stone vessels, and in the tomb's storerooms were jars whose clay-stoppers had the seal impression of Djoser! Here is absolute proof that this was the tomb of a very important person of Djoser's reign. No inscriptions were found on the walls and the sarcophagus was empty. But even more importantly, this mastaba is oriented to the north instead of the east, as the other pyramids and mastabas are. This was an important tomb of someone from Djoser's time- but the sarcophagus was empty.
There was even found an inscription by an anonymous Greek who came here, telling how he was cured- and it was through a dream! Once again, the evidence speaks loudly of a wonderful story from the Bible- the story of Joseph.
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Tutmosis II - Was this really Moses?
by Mary Nell Wyatt
First published in newsletter # 3 in 1993)
The data gained from the chariot wheels placed the Exodus at the time of the 18th Dynasty. Amazingly, this is the most well documented group of kings in all of ancient Egypt. A "dynasty", to give a definition, is basically a continuous family line of rulers.
"A more or less arbitrary and artificial but convenient subdivision of these epochs, beginning with the historic age, is furnished by the so-called dynasties of Manetho. This native historian of Egypt, a priest of Sebennytos, who flourished under Ptolemy I (305-285 B.C.), wrote a history of his country in the Greek language. The work has perished, and we only know it in an epitome by Julius Africanus and Eusebius, and extracts by Josephus. The value of the work was slight, as it was built up on folk tales and popular traditions of the early kings. Manetho divided the long succession of Pharaohs as known to him, into thirty royal houses or dynasties, and although we know that many of his divisions are arbitrary, and that there was many a dynastic change where he indicates none, yet his dynasties divide the kings into convenient groups, which have so long been employed in modern study of Egyptian history, that it is now impossible to dispense with them."
This quote from "A History of Egypt" by James Henry Breasted (1905) p. 13-14, tells us from the pen of one of the leading authorities on ancient Egypt, that the basis on which the information of ancient Egyptian dynasties rests, is unreliable, yet it continues in use.
This so-called 18th Dynasty consisted of a family who ruled in Thebes. At the time this family came to the throne, it was apparent that other dynastic families were ruling as pharaohs in other areas of Egypt. In the north, or the delta region, there lived at this time a people whom the Egyptians thought of as "foreign"- these included the descendants of Jacob, or the Israelites. It appears that other Asiatic peoples had moved into the region along with them- people who were ambitious and wanted to rule themselves as the Egyptians did. And they did not conform to the Egyptian religion.
We know that the Israelites, by decree of the pharaoh of Joseph's time, were allowed to live as "independents" and that their leaders were considered "royal"- when Jacob died, the description of his funeral was exactly the same as that of the pharaohs:
GEN 50:2 And Joseph commanded his servants the physicians to embalm his father: and the physicians embalmed Israel. 3 And forty days were fulfilled for him; for so are fulfilled the days of those which are embalmed: and the Egyptians mourned for him threescore and ten days. 7 And Joseph went up to bury his father: and with him went up all the servants of Pharaoh, the elders of his house, and all the elders of the land of Egypt, 9 And there went up with him both chariots and horsemen: and it was a very great company.
So, for many, many years the Israelites live peacefully among themselves, setting up their own rulers. And doesn't it seem reasonable to assume that relatives and friends of the Israelites would want to move down to the Delta region with them when they saw what a "garden of Eden" it was there? Well, whether it was friends and relatives, or not, someone moved in and lived along side of them. And these foreigners soon became a "thorn in the side" of the native Egyptians.
At the end of the 17th Dynasty, ancient records tell of the Egyptians in Thebes claiming to expel the "Hyksos" from the delta. Inscriptions document the presence of these "Shepherd Kings" in the delta region beginning with the 6th dynasty and terminating with the 17th.
When the native Egyptian Theban rulers "expelled" the Hyksos, what occurred was that they ran these other peoples who had settled along with the Israelites out of Egypt. And although no mention is made of the Israelites by name, we know that it was at this time, at the beginning of the 18th dynasty, that they were enslaved. With the trouble-making outsiders gone, the peaceful Israelites were at the mercy of the Theban rulers.
There is an interesting inscription by Hatshepsut of the 18th dynasty which refers to the restoration of Egypt after the "Hyksos" had been expelled from the delta region:
"I have restored that which was in ruins, I have raised up that which was unfinished. Since the Asiatics were in the midst of Avaris of the Northland [Delta], and the barbarians were in the midst of them [the people of the Northland], overthrowing that which had been made, while they ruled in ignorance of Re."
This wonderful passage tells us that whoever lived in the Delta (the Israelites and the "barbarians" from Asia) did not worship RE, the Egyptian sun god. And we know this was true of the Israelites. So they simply "kicked out" the trouble-makers, who had no right to be there in the first place. Then, the Israelites, who had been given the right to live there, had their special "status" canceled. The Egyptians had no reason to expel them- after all, they were peaceful, industrious and hardy people. Instead, they were enslaved.
The kings of the 18th Dynasty are stated by historians as being named either Amenhotep and Thutmoses. But, there is a big problem with this fluctuation between names. The pharaoh was considered the earthly embodiment of the main god and his name reflected the supreme god of his royal family. Does it make sense to anyone that one king would consider Thoth (Thutmoses) the supreme god while the next considered Amen (Amenhotep) the supreme god, and continue to alternate gods through a succession of several kings? Of course not.
As we read earlier, the list of dynasties and kings that the Egyptologists base their information on is quite inaccurate. The inscriptions found in temples and tombs indicate that the "Thutmoses" name is indicative of one of the offices of the pharaoh, just as was the "Amenhotep" name- and that each pharaoh was both a "Thutmoses" as well as an "Amenhotep" as he advanced in the royal line from co-regent to emperor.
From our research, it appears that the crown prince received his "Thutmoses" title upon being appointed co-regent, and then became "Amenhotep" in addition to his earlier names, when he became emperor. Let me stress that it appears that this is the order he received each name; however, it may possibly have been reversed. But we have no doubts that each ruler possessed both names.
Each ruler left inscriptions relating to his reign in both names- sometimes he referred to himself as Thutmoses, while at other times Amenhotep. Each individual king left inscriptions in both names, dating his regnal years sometimes from the date of his co-regency and sometimes from the date of his emperorship. We don't fully understand the "rules" governing these practices yet.
Yes, most people think of the pharaoh of the Exodus as "Rameses". And why not? The name "Rameses" is mentioned in the Bible as early as the story of Joseph. Was there a "Rameses" in the 18th dynasty? Yes... but that was more a title than a name- much like the title "pharaoh".
Not only was "Thutmoses" also to become "Amenhotep"- he, as main emperor of all Egypt, was also titled "Rameses". If you will recall, in the story of Joseph, the land of Goshen was also referred to as the land of "Rameses":
GEN 47:11 And Joseph placed his father and his brethren, and gave them a possession in the land of Egypt, in the best of the land, in the land of Rameses, as Pharaoh had commanded.
Egyptian evidence shows that every native Egyptian king from the time of the so-called 5th dynasty was titled "Son of the Sun" or "Rameses" in addition to his other names. This has caused massive confusion among the Egyptian scholars, who have zeroed in on one particular pharaoh, "Rameses II", and proclaimed him the "greatest pharaoh of all Egypt". All one needs to do is go to the museum in Cairo and view the 4 statues of "Rameses II" in the main entrance hall- each one is clearly a different person. The inscriptions referring to "Rameses" refer to many different pharaohs.
Also, let's go back to the inscription of Hatshepsut in the section on the Hyksos- remember that she said these people lived "in ignorance of RE? This inscription makes its quite clear that whoever lived in the delta (Goshen/Rameses) region, did not worship the native Egyptian god, Re. "Re" is the "Ra" of "Rameses"- and this verifies the supremacy of "Re/Ra" during the time of the 18th dynasty,- and that "Rameses" would indeed be one of the titles of the pharaoh.
We are going to do a great deal of talking about the 18th dynasty kings. To make it easier for you to follow, we will state now that we believe Thutmoses 1 became Amenhotep 1 when he went from co-regent to emperor. Therefore, these 2 names are the same person.
This list will tell you who we believe were the names of each royal person we will be discussing. You can reference this list if you get confused.
Pharaoh at Moses' birth THUTMOSES 1/ AMENHOTEP 1
"Pharaoh's daughter" NEFURE /HATSHEPSUT
(Moses- con't) HATSHEPSUT XNEM AMEN
Pharaoh when he fled THUTMOSES 3/ AMENHOTEP 2
Pharaoh of the Exodus THUTMOSES 4/ AMENHOTEP 3
1st-born son of Pharaoh TUTANKHAMEN
1KI 6:1 And it came to pass in the four hundred and eightieth year after the children of Israel were come out of the land of Egypt, in the fourth year of Solomon's reign over Israel, in the month Zif, which is the second month, that he began to build the house of the LORD.
If you go to your encyclopaedia or most any reference book, you will be able to discover that the date of Solomon's rule is fairly well established and the date of the 4th year of his reign would be 967/966 BC. In our opinion, the most accurate and authoritative book on the subject of dating the Hebrew Kings is "The Mysterious Numbers of the Hebrew Kings" by Edwin R. Thiele. You can order this book from any book store if they do not have it in stock.
With this date established (967/966 BC) we need to go back 480 years, as the above scripture indicates. This would place the date of the Exodus at 1447/1446 BC. I will state at this point that we do not consider any outside source above the scriptural reference, so we will look no further for more information as to the date.
We will, however, look for historical references and inscriptions which may verify this date. The following information is just such a verification, and is from the "Encyclopaedia Britannica" 1985 ed. vol. 4 pp. 575,6:
"The next date is given by a medical papyrus, to which a calendar is added, possibly to insure a correct conversion of dates used in the receipts to the actual timetable. Here it is said that the 9th day of the 11th month of year 9 of King Amenhotep I was the day of the helical rising of Sothis- i.e., 1538 BC. This date, however, is only accurate provided the astronomical observations were taken at the old residence of Memphis; if observed at Thebes in Upper Egypt, the residence of the 18th dynasty, the date must be lowered by 20 years- i.e., 1518 BC."
When we came across this information, we had already constructed our chronology of the 18th dynasty, which took about 3 years. We show year 9 of Amenhotep 1 to be 1519 BC- and this reference places his year 9 at 1518 BC, if the observance was noted at Thebes, which is where their royal headquarters were. This was a very exciting confirmation which is based on solid astronomical evidence. It, at the very least, placed the 18th dynasty at exactly the right place in the time scale. For it to have fit so extremely well was far more than we could have asked for!
The next question that must be addressed is whether there existed in the 18th dynasty, a pharaoh without a royal son to pass the throne to, and whether that pharaoh had a royal daughter of note. The answer is a most resounding "yes"! Not only did "Thutmoses I/Amenhotep I" not have a royal son who lived, he had a daughter who is the most well-known and well-documented female personage of all ancient Egyptian history, next to Cleopatra. Her names were Nefure and Hatshepsut. She was referred to as "Nefure" when we first learn of her in the inscriptions. At that time, she is a royal princess- her father was co-regent for the emperor, "pharaoh Ahmosis". She is referred to in the ancient records by this name, Nefure, until a point in time when she becomes known as the "royal queen"- we'll explain a little later.
Also, we want to explain that when Moses was born, the emperor of all Egypt was Ahmosis who lived in Thebes. In Memphis, Thutmoses 1 was co-regent, and also called "pharaoh". The word "pharaoh" comes from the Egyptian word "pero" which simply means "big house". This "pharaoh", whose daughter rescued baby Moses, didn't become emperor of all of Egypt until Moses was about 12 years old.
Let me interject here that Egyptian scholars have constructed a scenario whereas "Nefure" and "Hatshepsut" are 2 different people. However, again, we can with great confidence state that these 2 names belong to the same lady. It was young Nefure who rescued baby Moses from the Nile while she was living at the palace in Memphis- the royal residence of the co-regent. In the museums across the world are various statues, unlike any other ancient Egyptian statues, which are of a young girl holding a baby or small child- this child wears on his head the "royal side-lock" of a future prince. The names on these statues are "Nefure" and "Senmut"- Senmut being the baby's name. However, the scholars have designated the woman in these statues as being a man named "Senmut", who is the official nurse of princess "Nefure".
"Senmut" is the Egyptian name given to Moses when he first came to live at the palace. This name is of extreme importance for it means literally "mother's brother". To understand the significance, we must explain briefly a subject which normally would take several volumes- Egyptian religion and the pharaoh...
The ancient Egyptians believed that the first king of Egypt was Osiris. Osiris was married to Isis, his sister. Osiris' brother, Set, killed Osiris out of jealousy for the throne. To sum it up briefly, Isis brought Osiris back to life for one night by a magic spell- and during this one night she was impregnated by Osiris, who then returned to his death state. The child she bore was called Horus, and he was the reincarnation of Osirus. At the end of the story, the throne is returned to Horus, the rightful king.
Therefore, Isis' child was her son, her husband and her brother- all in one. All kings of Egypt were then said to be "Horus"- the reincarnation of Osiris. Confusing?- yes. But that's what they believed.
Do you see the significance of the name given to Moses? He was being "set up" in the Egyptian economy to possibly be the future king- the royal heir of his "grandfather-pharaoh". His "grandfather" (adopted, of course) had no royal male heirs- they had died. But he had one royal daughter, Nefure. The future king could only inherit the throne through the royal daughter.
She (Nefure) convinced her father, the pharaoh, to make her little adopted boy his future heir. Nefure, as the symbolic Isis, had her little "Osiris/Horus", who was named "Senmut"- his "mother's brother". If all of this seems a bit complicated and silly, just compare it with the rules and regulations of the royal family of England today. The right to the throne doesn't pass that easily to someone inside the family, much less outside of the family. But, in times when there is no heir, preparations and steps must be taken to procure the right for whoever is determined.
With this understanding, there is a Scripture which sheds a great deal more light on the situation of Moses as Nefure (Hatshepsut)'s son:
HEB 11:24 By faith Moses, when he was come to years, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh's daughter;
Our studies show that Moses came to live at the palace at about age 12, about the same time his "grandfather" became main emperor over all Egypt. At this time, they moved from the palace at Memphis where the co-regent ruled, to Thebes where the main palace was. At about age 18, Moses was designated the future "heir apparent", with his mother, Nefure as his regent. She was now given the additional royal name of "Hatshepsut" and referred to as "queen" instead of princess. It gets very confusing from this point on because the Egyptologists have come up with a very elaborate scenario whereby they say that Hatshepsut proclaimed herself king. Now, a few words about this theory may help give a little understanding.
For one thing, the Egyptian line of royalty descent was based on very sacred beliefs- beliefs which would not in any way allow for a woman to become the "earthly embodiment" of the god. She could become the "royal wife", the "great queen", and in some cases possess the royal power to appoint a new pharaoh in instances whereby the throne may be empty at one point in time. But this fantastic scenario whereby the scholars say Hatshepsut proclaimed herself "king" is simply not possible.
In her temple at Deir El Bahri, there is a wall which depicts the birth of the future heir to the throne, which historians say is the birth of Hatshepsut. But there are a couple of problems with the scenario that these scholars have chosen to ignore. One, is that the baby is definitely a boy baby! And secondly, one scene shows the baby in the arms of Hatshepsut! One book we have explains this as "obviously a mistake on the part of the scribes who wrote the hieroglyphics- they must have gotten confused".
The evidence on which they build the case for Hatshepsut declaring herself king are the inscriptions of "king Hatshepsut Xnem Amen / MaatKaRe". They assume that this is Hatshepsut with a few additions to her royal name. But let's examine this "king's" name: "Hatshepsut Xnem Amen" means "Hatshepsut united with Amen". "Amen" is the supreme god of the 18th dynasty, another name for "Re/Ra", the sun. This name means that the "king" of this name is the product of Hatshepsut being united with Amen, or the offspring, so to speak, of Hatshepsut by the god, Amen.
This "king", who was not really king, but was being designated as the future heir to the throne, was Moses, with Hatshepsut as his regent. One someone was designated as the future heir to the throne, his inscriptions refer to him as "king".
That Moses was always closely associated with his adopted mother is very apparent- after all, she was his only connection to the royal family. To justify his elevation to such royal position had to be carefully documented in a manner that would be acceptable to the system.
The evidence shows that he was elevated to this position, as "heir apparent" when he was about 24 years old.
Finally, when Moses was about 33 years old, he was designated as the crown prince and became "Thutmoses II". Let us state at this point that the numbers after the Egyptian kings' names are not actually a part of their name- they are simply designations given them by the Egyptologists to identify each succeeding person of the same name.
Josephus tells that Moses, as Thutmoses, was the general of the army and that he was very popular with the Egyptians. He attributes Moses as the general who pacified Nubia, which in turn served to increase the wealth of Egypt greatly by the gold paid as tribute by the Nubians.
Finally, when Moses was 40, we know what happened at that time- and that he fled Egypt.
Near ancient Thebes, there is a magnificent building called "Deir el Bahri", which is a temple Moses built (as architect) for his adopted mother, Nefure. Above it is a tomb for Moses which has an unfinished statue carved above the entrance, in the virgin rock of the mountain, of a woman holding a small child. We, of course, recognize this as Moses and his adoptive mother.
The records of the building of this tomb show that it was begun when Moses was about 18- the year he was designated as the royal son of pharaoh's daughter and placed in line as the possible future heir-apparent. The name "Senmut" and "Nefure" are the names mentioned in this tomb.
Just below this tomb, excavators found a small rock-cut chamber that held the mummies of Hatnofer and Ramose, the Egyptian names for Moses' parents. His mother was embalmed and given a royal funeral, which indicates that she was buried here at the time of her death. The body of her husband, Ramose, however, was clearly a secondary burial- his body had been removed from its original burial and transferred to this grave- and it was clearly a non-royal burial.
This tomb was never finished and no one was ever buried in it. One reason being that another more elaborate, royal tomb was begun for Moses when he was about age 33/34- the year he was designated as Thutmoses II.
This tomb is equally as fascinating as the first, for there was never a burial in it either. This was the second tomb built for Moses and this one would have been his royal tomb. It is very exciting to go down into that tomb and see how, at the time Moses fled and gave up his claim to the future throne, all work stopped on this tomb and it remains exactly as it was left to this day. It is finished down to the lower section of hieroglyphs and pictures- then, where the workmen stopped work, the pictures are drawn onto the wall in black ink.
Equally amazing is the fact that, unlike other Egyptian tombs where the deceased is pictured with a wife and family, Moses is shown with only his mother and father, Hatnofer and Ramose. After all, Moses was never married while he was in Egypt.
At this point, I would like to state that those of you who decide to research this subject- and we definitely recommend that you do just that- will find that the facts we have presented will be totally different from those as presented by historians and scholars. But view the evidences in the light that we have presented them and see for yourself how the evidence fits.
It is amazing to us that the majority of scholars have missed this altogether. There have been a few, however, who have made the connection. One of these is Sir Charles Marston, who, in his book "New Bible Evidence", 1934, recognizes that the Exodus had to occur during the 18th dynasty and that Hatshepsut was indeed the "pharaoh's daughter". If he had had the information that the Thutmoses and the Amenhoteps of this dynasty were in fact the same people- (they were Thutmoses when they were co-regents in Memphis, and Amenhoteps when they arose to main emperor),- he would have figured it all out.
Marston brings out the fact that Josephus gives some vital information as to this pharoah's daughter's identity on p. 162 of his above mentioned book: "He does, however, mention the name of the princess who found Moses in the ark of bulrushes. He says it was `Thermuthis,'in which we see an echo of the name Thotmes, or Tahutmes, which was borne by each of the three Pharaohs in whose reigns Hatshepsut played such a leading part."
When Moses fled Egypt at age 40, the emperor, Amenhotep 1 was very elderly- he had been preparing Moses for the throne for the past 22 years. Now, there was a big problem. Who would now be the future king?
In Memphis, a young man was being groomed to be appointed co-regent for Moses when he became emperor. This young man was immediately elevated to the rank of co-regent and given the same name of Thutmoses. The records show that he assumed the throne on his year 22. Now, this is a strange statement and tells much more than one might at first notice. A co-regent, or royal heir-apparent, begins counting his years when he is designated as the "heir-apparent". That becomes his year one. Here, we have a man assuming office in year 22 and he assumes it under that same name as Moses had.
Keep in mind, that as the royal heir assumes each stage of office, "heir-apparent", crown prince and co-regent, he also in some places counts his years from that particular appointment. This is why the years of "Thutmoses III are given as 54 years, while the years of Amenhotep II are given as 26 to 32 years (depending on what author you are reading). The problem with Thutmoses III, who took Moses' place, is that there are no records of his rise through the ranks. He just suddenly appears in year 22 as taking the throne.
Now, what happened here is that when Moses fled, in order to continue the reign of the earthly embodiment of "Thoth" in the "Thutmoses" co-regent, this man simply assumed the years that Moses had held that position. In other cases, when a royal personage would die, the god is said to "fly to the heavens" and then redescend into the body of whoever becomes the next earthly embodiment of the god. In this case, there was no death- there had to be an immediate transfer, which is exactly what took place. Everything that had belonged to Moses was simply figuratively transferred to this "new" "Thutmoses" and things went along without missing a step. This man is now referred to by scholars as Thutmoses III. All of the statuary attributed to him are actually the statues that were made of Moses.
And it was to this Thutmoses that scholars attribute 54 years of rule. However, 22 of those years belonged to the man he replaced, Moses. And the historic evidence proves this, too. If we subtract the 22 years from the 54 year total, we are left with 32 years. Now, instead of going through all the evidence, let's just read what one historian has to say about this Thutmoses III:
"He passed away after a rule of thirty-two (some say fifty-four) years, having made Egyptian leadership in the Mediterranean world complete." This is from "The Story of Civilization" Vol. 1 by Will Durant, (1954) p. 155.
And it truly was 32 years later when the man who became emperor after taking Moses' place, died. Amenhotep II was perhaps the greatest ruler Egypt ever had. By the time of his death, Egypt was truly the world power and the wealthiest nation. Hatshepsut remained alive for many years after Moses fled, and is named as queen on monuments very late into this king's rule.
Upon Amenhotep II's death, his co-regent for 29 years, the 4th Thutmoses, became Amenhotep III. Upon his becoming emperor, he appointed his young son, Tutankhamen, as "crown-prince" and for the next 8/9 years, this pharaoh ruled Egypt. He inherited the throne at a time when Egypt was well established as the world ruler. All he basically had to do was sit back and collect the foreign tribute as it arrived. Egypt had military troops stationed in all the vassal territories and maintained their empire peaceably. In his inscriptions, this emperor makes claims to be a triumphant warrior, but these references are to the time of his co-regency, when he accompanied Amenhotep II in his triumphant exploits.
But most interesting about this man is the fact that historical data shows that he actually had no claim to the throne. He was not the first-born of the pharaoh, which was the standard mode of becoming emperor. The well-known "sphinx stele", still present between the paws of the sphinx at Giza, tells the strange story of how Thutmoses IV fell asleep one day in the shadow of the sphinx. He dreamed that the sun god came to him and told him that if he would clear away the sand from around the sphinx, he would make him king. This elaborate story would not have been needed if he had been entitled to the throne as rightful heir.
But, it appears that Amenhotep II was also without a royal son. The inscriptions always call the new king the "son" of the previous king, but this is figurative- as referring to Osiris and Horus. But keep in mind that this new pharaoh was not the first born of the last pharaoh. This is important because this new king, Amenhotep III, was the pharaoh of the Exodus. Think about this- all the firstborn were killed by the Angel of Death; if the pharaoh had been a first born, he would have died that night! So it is very important that we establish that this pharaoh was not a firstborn.
After reigning as emperor for 8/9 years, we reach the 40th year after Moses had fled Egypt. Remember, the pharaoh who took Moses' place reigned 32 years. Then, this last pharaoh reigned 8/9 years. This equalled the 40 years Moses was in the wilderness of Midian.
At this time at the end of the 40 years, Moses returns to the court of pharaoh Amenhotep III as commanded by God. And soon, the plagues began to fall upon Egypt. When the plague of the death of the first born fell by the hand of the Angel of Death, the pharaoh was not striken- but his son was:
EXO 11:5 And all the firstborn in the land of Egypt shall die, from the firstborn of Pharaoh that sitteth upon his throne, even unto the firstborn of the maidservant that is behind the mill; and all the firstborn of beasts.
This son was the young crown prince known to us all as "King Tut". However, the name is misleading, for we know he was never pharaoh, just crown prince. And while the historians all argue over who his father was, in an inscription on a statue of a lion dedicated by Tutankhamen to the temple of Soleb, he calls Amenhotep III his father.
Remember, Amenhotep III was also named Thutmoses IV.
Another confusing factor in the identification of the kings and queens is the overabundance of royal mummies. In other words, although Thutmoses III and Amenhotep II are the same man, there have been found mummies for each name. Does this shoot down our theory? No, not in the least. First of all, it is necessary to have an understanding of the ancient Egyptian beliefs concerning death.
At death, they believed that a body was necessary for the ba, the ka and the akh to survive. These were, loosely translated, the various "spirit forms" which made up the psychic person and survived after death. However, in cases where the person was unavailable for burial, etc., any body would suffice as long as it was labeled with the name of the deceased. They believed that as long as a person's name was being spoken, or was on the walls of his tomb, his immortality was assured.
The name was the most important factor. The following is from "Mummies, Myth and Magic in Ancient Egypt" by Christine El Mahdy (1989) p. 13:
"The tomb, the mummy, the equipment, the paintings and reliefs were all designed to help preserve the name of the individual. the greatest horror was to have your name destroyed, cut out from a wall." (Emphasis ours)
If the mummy of the actual individual was so vital, why would they fear the desecration of their name? Because it was the key, in their belief, to their immortality. The mummy was important, as were the statues of the deceased. But the mummy could be supplied in a pinch- no problem.
Since it was considered a sacred duty of each king to protect the burials of his ancestor-kings, if a king couldn't find a mummy for a particular king, he would provide one as is written in numerous inscriptions.
Mummies have been found which the excavators claim to be the mummies of each of the Amenhoteps and each of the Thutmoses. However, a careful examination of all evidence leads one to conclude that the only mummies which are of the actual 18th Dynasty pharaohs in question are the mummy of Amenhotep I and Amenhotep II.
Amenhotep I (Thutmoses I) was found in his own tomb, as was Amenhotep II (Thutmoses III). Amenhotep I's mummy was never unwrapped but was x-rayed- and it revealed several genetic peculiarities which were shared by the mummies of several of his ancestors. The most obvious of these was the fact that he had the same type of malocclusion - a very prominent protrusion of the top front teeth- almost an overbite. This genetic feature was seen in all his female relatives- sister, mother, grandmother and daughter.
We believe the only authentic mummies of the 18th dynasty kings to be those of Amenhotep I and Amenhotep II. Of course, there wouldn't be a mummy for Amenhotep III as he drowned in the Red Sea. Nor would there be a mummy of Thutmoses II since he was Moses. The others, which are said to be Thutmoses I, III, IV and Amenhotep III we believe to be mummies supplied by later kings, as they were all found in other tombs, in other sarcophaguses, and as they were simply not royal burials.
Here are a couple of examples of the evidence which shows these mummies to be extremely doubtful. These concern the mummy said to be that of Thutmoses 1, who is known to have ruled a minimum of 21 years by existing inscriptions: "However, several eminent physical anthropologists who have seen these x-rays have been absolutely convinced that this mummy is that of a young man, perhaps 18 years of age, certainly not over twenty." "X-Raying the Pharaohs" by James E. Harris and Kent R. Weeks, (1973) p.131-2. The fact that this mummy is far too young to be this king is evidence enough. But now, let's go back to when the mummy was actually identified as Thutmoses I:
"Among the mummies discovered at Deir-el-Bahari was one, which on account of its having been found in a coffin bearing the name of Pinozen I of the XXIst Dynasty, was formerly supposed to be the mummy of that king. Maspero, however, formed the opinion that it was the mummy of Thutmoses I on account of the facial resemblance which it bore to the Pharaohs Thutmoses II and III" "Egyptian Mummies" by G. Elliot Smith and Warren R. Dawson (1924) p. 91.
This mummy was identified as Thutmoses 1 because he seemed to favor the other mummies. Not a strong basis for identification. Plus that fact that the mummy said to be Thutmoses III was also determined to be far too young- plus the fact that he was just barely five feet tall. Then, there is the mummy of Thutmoses IV, who was extremely emaciated and identified as just barely 30 years old. It doesn't even take careful study to realize that these mummies are "impostors".
by Mary Nell Wyatt
(First published in newsletter # 3 in 1993)
The year is about 1446 BC. The Egyptian pharaoh, his army and all the members of all the priesthoods have left in great haste. They are enraged that their entire slave population has fled, even though less than a week earlier the pharaoh and his ministers had virtually begged them to leave. The Egyptians lavished the great multitude of slaves with objects of gold, silver and precious stones as supposed "payment" for all the work they had done as slaves.
EXO 12:35 And the children of Israel did according to the word of Moses; and they borrowed of the Egyptians jewels of silver, and jewels of gold, and raiment: 36 And the LORD gave the people favour in the sight of the Egyptians, so that they lent unto them such things as they required. And they spoiled the Egyptians.
The Hebrew words in this text that are translated "borrow" and "lent" are the same word, "shaal". And this word simply means "ask", "demand" "request", "give", etc. Only 6 times in the entire Bible is it translated "borrow" and 2 times as "lend" or "lent". But 87 times it is translated "ask" and in excess of 60 times is it translated to read other words which mean simply "ask". The verses are telling us that they "asked" for these things, as God had told them to do so they would not be a destitute nation. And the Egyptians were quite happy to comply with whatever they asked. The fear of God was in the Egyptians after the terrible plagues which had befallen them by the Hand of the Israelites' God.
Back home in Egypt, the entire country is trying to recover from the catastrophic destruction the country has suffered as a results of the plagues brought by the God of the slaves, "I AM". Every family is in mourning for the loss of their first born. Nothing of this magnitude has ever been experienced by these people.
The crown-prince, the young boy, Tutankhamen, is being mourned by the entire nation and preparations are being made for his burial. But mostly, all is at a standstill until the pharaoh, the ministers of state, the army and the priesthoods all return with the slaves. Throughout the land, the continuous sound of mourning can be heard from sun up to sun down, and even throughout the night.
The pharaoh, as soon he ascended the throne 8/9 years earlier as emperor, had taken as his "great wife and queen" a lady of foreign blood by the name of Tiy. When he had been co-regent in Memphis, he had been married to a royal daughter, as was tradition. It was this royal lady who had given birth to his firstborn, Tutankhamen. But it was the "common" foreign wife whom he elevated to "great king's wife and queen" as soon as he was "boss"- and this lady was to play a big part in later events of Egyptian history after the Exodus. But now, back to the story at hand.
Soon, word arrives at the palace in Memphis that is too fantastic to be believed- the entire Egyptian army, all of the priesthood and the pharaoh himself have all perished! All drowned in the Red Sea while in pursuit of the slaves! The confusion, grief, fear and agony of the entire country is impossible to imagine. But very quickly, it becomes utmost in the minds of those remaining that knowledge of what has happened must be kept secret.
The previous emperor had secured the position of Egypt as the world power. All nations feared as well as respected Egypt. They all, for the most part, brought their tribute regularly to the palaces, and Egypt had want of absolutely nothing. She had no need to ever go to war for the nations feared her great army. If word of what happened here became known, Egypt could lose her control over her vassal territories and that would mean financial disaster.
There is a miraculously-preserved record of the last official correspondences of the pharaoh who drowned in the Red Sea, as well as correspondences with the later pharaoh, and even Tiy. These are contained in the group of tablets found in ancient Amarna, called the Tel-Amarna Letters. In these were found correspondences to this pharaoh of the Exodus, Amenhotep 3, from the Babylonian king, Kadashman-Enlil and the Mittanni king, Tushratta, which serve to verify other world events of this time.
The greatest contender for world power, after Egypt, at the time of the Exodus was the rapidly emerging Hittite Empire. And the greatest Hittite king, Suppiluliumas, had just taken the throne a few years earlier. The Egyptians were sitting ducks if word leaked out...
Time passed; the Egyptians tried to pick up the pieces and go on with their lives, but it was difficult. The only thing they had in their favor was the fact that they were so isolated from the rest of the world. No one could enter the country without being detected far before they arrived. Careful precautions were taken to see that the true situation was not discerned by others.
There was but one person in Egypt who had the royal right to seat a new pharaoh- this was the original great royal wife of Amenhotep 3- the mother of Tutankhamen. But, her situation was not an easy one. Remember, when her husband took the throne as emperor, he took a non-royal wife and she became his favorite.
The true, royal wife of the royal bloodline took the only step she knew to take to secure strong leadership for the country and provide protection and security for Egypt. She wrote a letter to the Hittite king. We can learn about this in an inscription left behind by the Hittite king, Suppiluliumas' son:
"...When the people of Misra [Egypt} learned of the destruction of Amqa, they were afraid, for to make matters worse their master, Bibhuria had just died and the widowed queen of Egypt sent an ambassador to my father and wrote to him in these terms:
`My husband is dead and I have no son. People say that you have many sons. If you send me one of your sons he will become my husband for it is repugnant to me to take one of my servants to husband.'
When my father learned this, he called together the council of the great: `
Since the most ancient times such a thing has never happened before.'
He decided to send Hattu-Zittish, the chamberlain,
`Go, bring me information worthy of belief; they may try to deceive me; and as to the possibility that they may have a prince, bring me back information worthy of my belief.'
While Hattu-Zittish was absent on the soil of Egypt, my father vanquished the city of Karchemish...
The ambassador of Egypt, the lord Hanis, came to him. Because my father had instructed Hattu-Zittish when he went to the country of Egypt as follows:
'Perhaps they have a prince, they may be trying to deceive me and do not really want one of my sons to reign over them.';
the Egyptian queen answered my father in a letter in these words; `
Why do you say `they are trying to deceive me?' If I had a son, should I write to a foreign country in a manner humiliating to me and to my country? You do not believe me and you even say so to me! He who was my husband is dead and I have no son. Should I then perhaps take one of my servants and make of him my husband? I have written no other country, I have written to you..."
There is more, but for the sake of space, we will just tell you what happened. Suppiluliumas finally believed her and sent a son. However, that son never made it to Egypt. No one knows what happened to him exactly, but we do know what happened next.
However, before we leave this most important letter, we must point out that the most convincing evidence of all is the fact that the queen who wrote the Hittite king makes it quite clear that all who remain in Egypt are her "servants"! Is this not a perfect description of the situation that would have resulted after all the royal ministers, priests and army had drowned in the Red Sea?
The scholars assign the name of the dead pharaoh "Bibhuria" as being that of "Tutankhamen", for one of his names was "Neb-kheper-ru-re"; however, we believe it should be transliterated "Neb-maat-Re", which was one of the names of Amenhotep 3. Either way, the evidence is equally strong. Either the royal wife or the royal daughter (who was symbolically "married" to Tutankhamen) of the dead pharaoh would have retained the royal right to do this. So it really doesn't matter which wife wrote the letter as far as the evidence goes.
Meanwhile, time passes in the devastated Egypt. Petty quarrels arise between the true royal wife and the favored foreign wife of the dead pharaoh. It becomes a power struggle- but one that must remain confidential in order that the outside world not realize the vulnerability of Egypt.
There is not clear evidence as to the exact events which next occurred, but there is enough evidence to generally know. The winner in the power struggle was the favored, foreign wife, Tiy. She took a man as her husband who was named "Eye" or "Ay" - a man who left behind evidence that he assumed the role of pharaoh for about 3 to 4 years, but a man who is not later recognized as a true king of Egypt in inscriptions of later kings. It was this man who officiated at the burial of the crown-prince, Tutankhamen. The evidence clearly shows that Tutankhamen was buried very hastily and that most of the items of his burial were not originally his. The names had been changed from that of his father to his- remember, his father had drowned in the Red Sea and had no burial.
Tiy was still the power behind the throne, even though Eye was "officially" the pharaoh. And within 3 or 4 years, she had elevated her son to the throne, as soon as he was old enough. He was known initially as "Amenhotep 4", but is best known today as "Akhnaten". He was a true son of the dead pharaoh, but as his mother was of foreign descent, he was not a legitimate contender for the throne. Only in a situation such as Egypt was in at that time could he have ever taken the throne.
And while history records Akhnaten as being the pharaoh, it is evident that it was really his mother who was directing from the background. Those of you who have done any research on Egypt are obviously aware of Akhnaten, and that Egyptologists credit him with shifting the religious system of ancient Egypt from one of many gods to a system of monotheistic worship. And to a degree, this is true. Let's return to ancient Egypt and the events there...
Tiy, who is now wed to Eye, or Ay as some spell it, finally places her son in the role of emperor. For a while, he is known as Amenhotep 4. He is obviously quite young- one letter found at Amarna from Tushratta, the Mitanni king, tells him to be sure and listen to his mother. The ancient inscriptions and statues depict him as a strange, pot-bellied man married to a beautiful wife named Nefertiti, with a large family of young girls. But in fact, the evidence seems to show that all of this was in fact a cover-up; a made-up story to lend credibility to the fantasy that Egypt had a strong pharaoh calling the shots. The chronology of the ancient records give this fact away by conflicting accounts of the ages of his children, as well as other chronological blunders.
With no priesthood left for the worship of the numerous gods of Egypt, Tiy institutes, through the so-called authority of her son, the pharaoh, a reorganization of the religious system. All prior gods are forgotten. After all, hadn't they all failed miserably when pitted against the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob? It is the god called "Aten" that is now worshipped- but, in fact, this "Aten" is just another form of the old sun-god, "Amen" and "Re". And apparently, "Aten" was the god of Tiy's native land. Since records show that Tiy was worshipped as a goddess in Nubia, and Aten was the Nubian god, we feel safe in assuming she was of Nubian descent. Also, the art-style of this period reflected the Nubian style.
The old capitals of Memphis and Thebes are forsaken by the new ruling house and a new capital is built at a site between the other 2 cities. It is called "Amarna". And it is here that Tiy, Eye (Ay), Akhnaton and his "family" all reside.
After a few years, the tomb of Tutankhamen is reopened and new furnishings are placed in the tomb- new items which contain the name of the new pharaoh in order to please the gods according to their beliefs. All of these sort of actions are taken for a dual purpose- to comply with their religious beliefs which require each emperor to care for the burial of their ancestors, and also to cover-up the true events which took place. The shame that Egypt suffered at the tremendous losses at the Hand of the Great, I AM, were to be carefully obliterated from any surviving Egyptian records.
Meanwhile, in Palestine, the Egyptian vassals are in trouble. The Tel-Amarna Letters show that these cities, which were under Egyptian control, were being threatened by the Amurru and the Hittites. They pleaded with the pharaoh to send troops, but as one letter stated, no help had been received for 20 years. The situation was deteriorating fast. The Egyptians still had no army to speak of. After all, every trained military man had been lost in the Red Sea, and with no military leaders, even an army of able soldiers would be virtually worthless without proper leadership and training.
In time, the Egyptians finally rebelled against the strange leadership which had sprung up under the guidance of the foreign queen, Tiy. Evidence shows that the entire Amarna family probably died as a result of a plague. Whatever really happened, the events which took place in ancient Egypt back then are a strong testimony to the Biblical record- no matter how hard the historians may try to interpret them otherwise.
The evidence we will deal with in this scenario is something which takes us into the time that the great multitude finally entered the promised land. Remember the Hittite king, Suppiluliumas who received the letter from the Egyptian queen? Murshilish, his son, left a record of an event which occurred in his 10th year- and it is important to establish about when this event would have occurred.
The reign of Suppiluliumas is known to be in excess of 30 years and that he came to the throne just before the Exodus. We know that after he died, another son took the throne for a very short period of time, but died of a plague. The records show that this first son held the throne less than a year. Therefore, if Suppiluliumas died about 30 years after the Exodus, his next son died within that same year, and the son writing of this event reigned 9 full years and was in his 10th when it occurred, this would place the time of the event at about 40 years after the Exodus. I know this is getting complicated, but its important to show when the 10th year of Murshilish would have been.
The event of which Murshilish wrote was "an omen of the sun" that was so sinister that the dowager queen, Tawanna, interpreted it as portending the eminent disaster of the entire royal house. What was this "omen of the sun"? Scholars want to assign it to being an eclipse, but many historians deny that possibility. The fact is that these ancient peoples were all well familiar with eclipses- they possessed the ability to calculate when they were to occur.
There is but one event which perfectly fits the description of an omen of the sun, sufficiently frightening enough to cause the queen to view it as an evil omen- an omen that occurred about 40 years after the Exodus-- and we can read of that event in the Bible:
JOS 10:12 Then spake Joshua to the LORD in the day when the LORD delivered up the Amorites before the children of Israel, and he said in the sight of Israel, Sun, stand thou still upon Gibeon; and thou, Moon, in the valley of Ajalon. 13 And the sun stood still, and the moon stayed, until the people had avenged themselves upon their enemies. Is not this written in the book of Jasher? So the sun stood still in the midst of heaven, and hasted not to go down about a whole day.
The "long day" of Joshua, soon after they had entered the promised land after 40 years of wandering, is recorded in the records of the Hittite king, Murshilish!
Murshilish provided another evidence for us, which verified another Biblical fact- let's go to the Scriptures, where Moses is speaking to the people after they had come out of Egypt:
DEU 7:1 When the LORD thy God shall bring thee into the land whither thou goest to possess it, and hath cast out many nations before thee, the Hittites, and the Girgashites, and the Amorites, and the Canaanites, and the Perizzites, and the Hivites, and the Jebusites, seven nations greater and mightier than thou;
Moses tells that the Lord will cast out the people who inhabit the promised land, and that the Hittites are among those who will be cast out. Now, let's go back to the same chapter in Deuteronomy where Moses tells them how the Lord will accomplish this:
DEU 7:15 And the LORD will take away from thee all sickness, and will put none of the evil diseases of Egypt, which thou knowest, upon thee; but will lay them upon all them that hate thee.
What exactly were these evil diseases of Egypt?
DEU 28:27 The LORD will smite thee with the botch of Egypt, and with the emerods, and with the scab, and with the itch, whereof thou canst not be healed.
Whatever these diseases were, we know for sure that they were fatal. Now, let's read what Murshilish wrote in his "Plague Prayers", a prayer to the Hittite storm-god- and remember, Murshilish was Hittite king at the time Joshua led the people into the Promised Land:
"What is this that ye have done? a plague ye have let into the land. The Hatti land has been cruelly afflicted by the plague. For twenty years now men have been dying in my father's days, in my brother's days, and in mine own since I have become the priest of the gods....
My father sent foot soldiers and charioteers who attacked the country of Amqa, Egyptian territory. Again he sent troops, and again they attacked it....
The Hattian Storm-god, my lord, by his decision even then let my father prevail; he vanquished and smote the foot soldiers and charioteers of the country of Egypt. But when he brought back to the Hatti land the prisoners which they had taken, a plague broke out among the prisoners and they began to die.
When they moved the prisoners to the Hatti land, these prisoners carried the plague into the Hatti land. From that day on, people have been dying in the Hatti land."
The Hittites caught the plague from the Egyptian soldiers who were stationed in Amqa, Egyptian territory above Lebanon. And those who contracted the plague, died. Again, we can read a contemporary account of the events exactly as stated in the Bible!
We will conclude our discussion of the Exodus with the evidence found at Jericho. In the past few years, atheistic archaeologists have tried to discount the original work done at Jericho which showed clearly that it was destroyed in precisely the manner described in the Bible by Joshua, and also the iron-clad evidence that proved who the kings of Egypt were at the time of the Exodus. Due to lack of space, we must recommend that you obtain the book "New Bible Evidence" by Sir Charles Marston (1934) to read about the tremendous amount of information which verifies the destruction of Jericho at about 1407 BC. We will however, give one quote as an example, from p. 135:
"So great was the importance of verifying the date of the destruction, that in 1930, Professor Garstang and his wife cleaned and examined no fewer than sixty thousand fragments from the strata of the burned city. At the expedition in the following year (1931) another forty thousand fragments were treated in a similar manner. They all attested to the same date, that of the middle of the late Bronze Age (1400 BC) before the infiltration of the Mykenean ware."
But equally exciting was the discovery of the cemetery of this city, as we read on p. 136:
"In due course a number of tombs were opened that proved to belong to the century 1500- 1400 BC. and included royal tombs of the period. There were found a succession of eighty scarabs bearing the cartouches of the eighteenth dynasty Pharaohs. In one was unearthed scarabs bearing the joint names of Princess Hatshepsut and Thotmes III (1501- 1487 BC.) and in another two royal seals of Amenhetep III....
As the series of dated scarabs all come to an end with the two royal seals of Amenhetep III, there is evidence, quite independent of the pottery, that the city also ceased to exist during that period."
Amazing, isn't it, that all this fantastic evidence is hidden deep within old books collecting dust in libraries? But it is there! And we only have touched on the basics of this information- there is much more out there.
RECOMMENDED REFERENCE READING
"Archaeology and the Bible" by George A. Barton
"New Bible Evidence" by Sir Charles Marston
"A History of Egypt" by James Henry Breasted
"Ancient Records of Egypt II" by "
"Life in Ancient Egypt" by Adolph Erman
"The Ancient Egyptians" by Sir J. Gardner Wilkinson
"The Monuments of Senenmut" by Peter F. Dorman
"X-Raying the Pharaohs" by Jas. E. Harris & Kent Weeks
"Egyptian Mummies" by G. Elliot Smith & Warren Dawson
"Mummies, Myth and Magic" by Christine El Mahdy
"The Ancient Near East, Vol.1", ed. by James B. Pritchard
"Ancient Egyptian Literature, vol. II" by Miriam Lichtheim
"Records of the Past, vols. 1-6" ed. by A. H. Sayce
"Tutankhamen" by Christine Desroches-Noblecourt
"The Scepter of Egypt, vol II" by William C. Hayes
"When Egypt Ruled the East" by Geo. Steindorff & Keith Seele
"History of Ancient Egypt, vol. 2" by George Rawlinson
"Akhenaten" by Cyril Aldred
"Akhenaton the Heretic King" by Donald B. Redford
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The Ten Commandments is a 1956 American motion picture that dramatized the biblical story of Moses, an adopted Egyptian prince-turned deliverer of the Hebrew slaves. It was released by Paramount Pictures in VistaVision on October 5, 1956. It was directed by Cecil B. DeMille and starred Charlton Heston in the lead role. Co-stars included Yul Brynner as his adoptive brother, Pharaoh Rameses II, Anne Baxter as Nefertiri, John Derek as Joshua, Edward G. Robinson as Dathan, Yvonne De Carlo as Sephora, Cedric Hardwicke as Pharaoh Seti I, Vincent Price as Baka, and John Carradine as Aaron.
This was the last film that Cecil DeMille directed. He was set to direct his own remake of The Buccaneer, but his final illness forced him to relinquish the directing chores for that one to his son-in-law, Anthony Quinn. He had also planned to film the life of Lord Baden Powell, the founder of the Scout movement, with David Niven; this project was never realized.
The Ten Commandments is partially a remake of DeMille's 1923 silent film. Some of the cast and crew of the 1956 version worked on the original. It has since been remade again as a television miniseries broadcast in April 2006.
The Ten Commandments is one of the most financially successful films made, grossing over $65 million at the North American box office. Adjusting for inflation, this makes it the fifth highest grossing movie in North America, with an adjusted total of $977 million in 2010.
In 1999, The Ten Commandments was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant". In June 2008, AFI revealed its "Ten top Ten"—the best ten films in ten "epics" American film genres—after polling over 1,500 people from the creative community. The Ten Commandments was acknowledged as the tenth best film in the epic genre.
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