The Egyptian Exodus
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Pharaoh Akhenaten and Pharaoh Ay

 

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The World According to Genesis: Language and Society

Category: History Religion Social evolution
Posted on: June 15, 2007 11:25 PM, by John S. Wilkins

After the Flood, the earth is repopulated, and so R and P give us a list of notable ancestors. In 10:4-5 they say "And the sons of Javan; Elishah, and Tarshish, Kittim, and Dodanim. By these were the isles of the Gentiles divided in their lands; every one after his tongue, after their families, in their nations." [Taken from here]. This could mean either the coastlines of the nations or, as the NAS has it, the maritime nations spread out into their territories or something similar. No matter what the best translation, it is clear that each one of these sea peoples has their own language. Hold that thought until we get to chapter 11.
So clearly the editor R, around 550 BCE, is trying to account for the ethnic and linguistic diversity of the region in which he now finds himself. The sons of Ham lead to ethnic groups that are in competition with the Hebrews for territory, the sons of Cush are those who found the mighty civilisations to the east, including Ninevah, Babylon, and other cities in the Mesopotamian region, and the sons of Shem are those who are leading to the Hebrews, and their close cousins. In particular we are told of the Canaanites. And we are told of the sons of Shem and their nations and languages. It's a "common descent" view of languages and nations, based on individuals who found them. Those individuals may be, in fact, merely abstract placeholders for the nations, with names based upon the places ("Tarshish", "Sidon" "Cush" being city names or region names), but it's a nice way to get the message across to the unlettered.

In chapter 11, we return to a largely J narrative, and immediately it says (still holding that thought?) "Now the whole land/earth used the same language/tongue and the same words". The disparity is clear from the previous chapter, where sea peoples and sons of Shem all use their own tongues. This is an older story, stitched into the narrative. It basically reads like this:

As they [who? the whole earth? What about the peoples of chapter 10?] journey east (from the Garden?) they find a river plain and settle there in "Shinar" (the country of the two rivers). They can't have gone far from the Garden, as it is supposed to be in this same territory. The make bricks and mortar and build a city with a high tower. Skyscrapers being in short supply, a brick and stone tower would be quite impressive. Consider that until the nineteenth century in Europe, the highest buildings would be the local cathedral. This would have the same impact as the religious towers in Babylon.

So the people try to build a society, and YHWH comes down (from the sky?) to see the city and tower and he is rather frightened by the sight. He says, presumably to the Elohim, that the humans are getting too close to the divine power ("Nothing that they propose to do will be impossible for them") and so he scatters these peoples and confuses them and their language, and they never actually manage to complete the tower. He scatters the people over all the earth. In one of the many serious puns of Genesis, the name "Babylon" (Babel) is derived from the Hebrew for "confusion" - balal. It must be nice to think that the local superpowers are the result of such an act of your deity, and that their own deities couldn't prevent it (remembering that J's audience are still henotheists at this point).

Given what we know of R's intentions and cosmology, this is the return from the east of the peoples, and in this story at least, J intends to explain all ethnicities, not merely those that are around the 6th century BCE Hebrews. In another example of the duplicated stories, the events of chapter 10 are retold, only this time just the lineage leading to Abram is given. Abram is born in "Ur of the Chaldeans" (a city in the lower regions of the Mesopotamian valley, although it is unclear if the geography is known to J or P or R). And he continues the movement to the west, ending up in Canaan.

This is the start of what has come to be called the "Abraham Cycle". I guess we'll discuss it next.

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Comments

1

The tower of Babel is a rather odd story to me. The people talk about "building a tower to heaven" and God says that "Nothing that they propose to do will be impossible for them", but both of those statements are clearly false. First of all, there's simply no way to "build a tower to heaven". Their knowledge of construction and construction materials means that they would've been forced to build a pyramid-like structure (which is stable) in contrast to, say, a modern day skyscraper structure. This means each foot in elevation increase requires more and more effort. Thus, it's impossible that ancient people could ever build something rivaling the height of modern-day and future skyscrapers (why doesn't God confuse the language of people building skyscrapers?) Additionally, the air would get thinner and thinner the higher they went. And once they finished - then what? They'd have a big pyramid - interesting to look at, but not very useful. It's not like they could physically walk up their tower and step into heaven like Jack and the Beanstalk. The "Jack and the Beanstalk" idea (if it actually was true) is about the only one that would make sense as to why God would want to confuse the languages. (And it might be the case that Biblical authors thought that this idea of physically climbing to heaven actually had some truth to it.) Second, people have a way of splitting into rival groups. It seems unlikely that a human race with one language wouldn't naturally split into separate groups (because of local leaders) and separate languages (because of the slow accumulation of language changes - as we've seen with modern languages such as Latin). Third, this talk about "nothing that they propose to do will be impossible for them" is rather odd. Human beings are still trying to cure cancer, and we still live limited lifespans - and this is four thousand years after this supposed Tower of Babel. The whole Tower of Babel story lacks any verisimilitude - yet people take it as literal truth.
 

Posted by: tinyfrog | June 16, 2007 3:51 PM

2

God, I'm sorry for the length of this but I hope you find it of interest.

It's easy to either blindly believe, against evidence and good sense, that these myths in Genesis are true, or as most do, accept these stories as myths and try to make some sense of them while maintaining a respect for the deeper truth of the scriptures. I prefer not to carry a reverence for the Bible into any analysis or critique of it. This means examining the text without an already accepted bias and answering questions of when, where, why and how without preset boundaries. When approached this way, Genesis reeks of Egyptian influence. This makes sense because how can a group of people live in a country for 430 years and not be enculturated. What evidence would lead us to believe that they came out of Egypt maintaining their own unique beliefs, language and culture without influence? I look briefly at this, then from there use this information to shed light on the Tower of Babel.

The pharaoh Akhenaton is the first pharaoh to be monotheistic. He changed his name from Amenhotep IV to reflect his reverence for the Aten who could only be depicted as a sun disk. No images could be made of Aten and "Thou shalt make no graven images" comes to mind. He eliminates worship of all other gods and builds a great city specifically dedicated to Aten called Akhetaton. (This is the setting for the Tower of Babel story). He even composed the Great Hymn to Aten which is in style and sequence like Psalm 104 which was said to be written hundreds of years latter.

As to language (which also figures into the story), Hebrew and Egyptian are very similar and Ralph Ellis, in his book Eden in Egypt, translates Genesis into Egyptian from Hebrew then into English and the result is a truly Egyptian story. As an example of verse 1: At the sunrise the Elohims illuminated the eastern lands (horizon). Verse 2: And the land was an empty wilderness and the last of the night's darkness was upon the face of the watery abyss of Nu. And the rays of Ra bathed the upturn boat in the waters. (The boat refers to the solar boat sailing through the night towards the dawn of a new day around the firmament). So the creation story when read this way becomes a priestly ritual for the greeting of a new day.
The Sabbah brothers in their book "Secrets of the Exodus" give a scholarly work based on 20 years of research showing how the Hebrew alphabet came from Egyptian hieroglyphics.

As to the culture, the priests of Egypt were part of the nobility and as such never were slaves (according to The Hagadah and Rashi) but instead owned slaves themselves. These priests were called the "servants of Pharaoh" and the word servant can more precisely mean "to offer worship to Pharaoh." The Aramaic Bible distinguishes between the Yahuds (monotheistic priests) and the Hebrews (the multitudes). The name Yahud comes from the Egyptian words Yahu-Dueh meaning adoration, prayer, and homage. From it we get the names Judah and Judea. So, according to Sabbah, the Yahuds were the nobility and clergy from the era of Akhenaton and there could not have been two separate clergies and two nobilities of different origins in Egypt at the same time.

This brings me to the brink of the discussion of the Tower of Babel. First, there needs to be one more character to fill out the story and that would be Adonai. This word is made up of the word Adon, meaning Lord and the name of Ay who was the grand vizier of the Pharaoh, the one who actually ran the country. (The Aramaic Bible states one of the names of God as Ay). This man was called The Divine Father Ay and is said (by Sabbah) to be responsible for the exodus of the Yahuds from Egypt. He later became Pharaoh after Semenkare and Tutankhamen. There is no record outside the Bible of an Exodus as described therein. However, Egyptian history and archaeology do report an exodus dated about 1344 BC of the population of an entire city, the newly built capital of Egypt, the city of Akhetaten.

In the Temple of Abu Simbel there are engraved these words: "The master builder constructed a temple whose summit is as high as the heavens. The sun rises for love of it". Thus, there is a precedent for the language of the Babel story. These words would be appropriately written also for a city that was built to honor a deity symbolized by the sun, Akhetaton. This city was built by thousands of workers and artisans from all over the region and since it was the capital it was populated by representatives of nations and provinces from that part of the world. The Bible speaks of a variety of languages in Gen. 10:20 then says that "the whole world had one language and one dialect". This is a contradiction. The story of the Tower of Babel seems to be telling a part of the history of Akhetaten and the Divine Father Ay. As I said, the city was built with workers, artisans, builders and priests from around the region and over the years of working, first on the Temple to Aten in Karnak and then on the city, had developed a dialect that differed from Egyptian. This language, discovered in the Armana Letters is called Pre-Biblical Hebrew. Adon-Ay saw that Egypt was being destroyed by the resources of the country being channeled solely to the city and to the worship of Aten. The rest of the country was being neglected and the other gods and the priests who worshiped them were not being funded. The Stela of Restoration speaks of this when it says: "The temples have begun to collapse. The sanctuaries are falling, little by little, into ruins in front of piles of rubble covered by weeds". In observing this, Father Ay fears "this is just the beginning of what they can do" and plans to relocate the Yahuds and the Hebrews (common people of the city who followed the religion of Aten) to an Egyptian territory in Canaan. This move would serve to re-unite Egypt and the Hebrews would serve as a buffer to invaders at a troublesome border region. The Stela says after the exodus: "He drove out deceit from one end of the two lands to the other. And Maat was re-established. The lie became an abomination within the land". Later, the city was destroyed and its materials used to build other projects. Evidence of this has been found in the remains of other structures. Finally, Akhenaton himself was erased from history in the same manner in which he tried to destroy the pantheon of Egyptian gods.

Some hymns to Amun speak of Akhenaton as a criminal and tell of the fall of those who attacked Amun. Also, of interest, is an unprecedented appeal for priests to replenish the priests of Amun who were depleted from the neglect suffered during the reign of Akhenaton. Since the priesthood was a noble class the right to priesthood was based on birth or station in life. However, there is an historical reference to an unprecedented call for recruits to the priesthood. This was due to the loss of so many priests choosing to be exiled to Canaan rather than worship gods other than Aten.

It is believed that when Israel was conquered and taken into Babylon that the priesthood tried to mask their Egyptian roots and turn their story into a story of victimization by a mutual enemy of Babylon rather than have their texts destroyed and lost forever if they were perceived as having ties with an enemy of Babylon. So they told stories from a Mesopotamian bias and changed things enough to mask the true nature of their past. An example of this is having camels being used in the same manner as in Mesopotamia in their stories of the Patriarchs even though the camel wasn't domesticated until much later in history. It worked, but many forgot the real truth.

For more on this subject read, in addition to Ellis (who comes to some weird conclusions) and the Sabbaths (who are quite remarkable in their research), Ahmed Osman who has written many books on the subject and is good throughout, although he may come to some erroneous conclusions. Also, Robert Feather speaks on the subject of Akhenaton in his research on the copper scroll of Qumran. It is a good intro into the Egyptian influence of the Jewish sect called the Essenes which wrote the Dead Sea Scrolls and greatly influenced Christianity.
 

Posted by: Rick T | June 16, 2007 10:51 PM

3
...this talk about "nothing that they propose to do will be impossible for them" is rather odd. Human beings are still trying to cure cancer, and we still live limited lifespans - and this is four thousand years after this supposed Tower of Babel. ....Posted by: tinyfrog

The babel myth is one thing, but the idea that "nothing is impossible for humans" is surely what drives us to know and learn?

We believe that we can, as a group, investigate and understand how the universe came to be as it is.
We investigate the causes of the various forms of cancer and believe that we can find cures for all of them.

To impose mental limits on what we can achieve is anathema to learning and, no offence intended, rather similar to the "god of the gaps".
 

Posted by: Chris' Wills | June 17, 2007 1:41 AM

4
"The babel myth is one thing, but the idea that "nothing is impossible for humans" is surely what drives us to know and learn?"

No, I think the idea that "many things are possible for humans" or "experience has shown that humans are capable of improving our condition" is quite sufficient to drive us to know and learn. We certainly don't need beliefs about "nothing is impossible" to drive us.
 

Posted by: tinyfrog | June 17, 2007 6:21 AM

5

"Nothing that they propose to do will be impossible for them"

The whole story seems quite silly actually, especially when interpreted in the context of current fundamentalist attitudes towards God (why should an omnipotent God be afraid of men building a tower?). A while ago, I confronted some of the bible thumpers in my family with this question, and they said I was interpreting the story incorrectly. God was not afraid of the tower. "Nothing they propose to do" apparently meant evil deeds, although what is so evil about men building a tower is beyond me (idolatry perhaps?). I guess you can twist biblical passages to fit nearly anything, or claim that it is mistranslated, or whatever. But the meaning of that passage seems clear to me.

Posted by: jeffw | June 17, 2007 12:24 PM

6

The main point I like to bring up in that situation is that this interpretation has as much, if not more, evidense to support it. If you read an ancient text translated from an almost dead language, you can interpret it as almost anything you want.

Posted by: josh | June 18, 2007 7:47 AM

7

Rick T: Only, Exodus and the Egyptian stay are myth, according to reputable archaeologists.

Posted by: Heleen | June 19, 2007 7:21 AM

8

Heleen:
"Only, Exodus and the Egyptian stay are myth, according to reputable archaeologists."
I agree. There has been no physical data or writing outside the Bible to indicate a bondage and Exodus. Even common sense will tell you that you can't have over 2,000,000 people live in a country and leave it without making a mark somehow. I simply suggest that maybe a known, documented event like the relocation of the Aten priests could have been the basis for the Biblical Exodus.
 

Posted by: Rick T | June 19, 2007 6:54 PM

9

Some more tidbits...

Gen 10 is of course the "table of nations". There are 70 nations in the list (70 an idiom for a large family). 7 also make an appearance as Japhet has 7 sons and 7 grandsons.

There is a geographic distinction similar to the mesopotamian world view as well that seems to reflect a division of peoples into urban/agricultural (Ham), nomadic (Shem), and seafarers (Japhet). The symbolisim is in agreement with the Cain and Abel story where Cain, the agriculturalist, represents the Canaanites and Abel, the nomadic herder, the Hebrews. In Gen 10, the Canaanites are descended from Ham and the Hebrews from Shem. And of course after the flood Ham and his descendents (Canaanites) are cursed (mark of Cain, 7/77 times) for seeing drunk naked Noah and Shem is blessed, just as Cain was cursed for murdering Abel. Both arrangements serve to give precedence of the land to the nomadic Hebrews (Shem/Abel) over the settled Canaanites (Ham/Cain).

Nimrod, son of Cush (urbanite), is associated by some as being Marduk as NRD~MRDK. (Also Erech=Uruk and Shinar=Sumer.) There are clues here as to the date of composition. Calah was made capital of Assyria by Ashurnasirpal (883-859) and Nineveh by Sennacherib (704-681). Nineveh gets top billing (twice) in the list of Assyrian cities (just as Babylon in Shinar) and was razed in 612 by the Babylonian/Mead coalition against Assyria putting the composition date between 704 and 612, likely under Hezekiah (715-687). The most liberal date would be no earler than about 850 which coincides with the rise of general literacy along with the "chiefdoms" of Sameria and Jerusalem.

The Babel story has more inverted mesopotamian parallels. A sumerian myth tells of an age when all the people of the earth spoke one language until Enki confused their tounges, however no reason is given. The tower itself is of course the great ziggurat of Babel ("gate of god"). Zigurrats developed by raising standard temples on elevated platforms so the god could descend to earth to receive its blessings. The Hebrew tale reverses the function of the zigurrat as man attempting to reach the heavens (sky) and as punishment and to stop them YHWH confuses their language. The punchline is of cource J's use of "balal" / "to confuse" as a pun against "Babel" which servers as a psudo-etiological explanation as to the name.

Gen 11:10-26 is the last half of the Book of Generations, the first being Gen 5:1-32. The verses concerning Noah are scattered in the flood story in 7:6 and 9:28-29. In total they list the geneology from Adam to Abraham ("father of a multitude"). Also interesting is Assyrian texts from the 8th and 7th century mention towns near Haran with names similar to Teran, Nahor, and Serug which all appear near the tail end of the BOG. The same texts also mention a city called Ur (the "of the Chaldees" was tacked on by P). Abraham may very well represent an eponomous ancestor of peoples deceded into the levant from the north.

By Gen 11 we've also seen 6 of the 10 occurrences of another framing construct used by the redactor to string together the geneology leading to Jacob/Israel. Each account is prefixed with the phrase "These are the generations of...". They are: 2:4 - Heaven and Earth, 5:1 - Adam, 6:9 - Noah, 10:1 - Sons of Noah, 11:10 - Shem, 11:27 - Terah, 25:12 - Ishmael, 25:19 - Isaac, 36:1 & 36:9 - Esau, and 37:2 - Jacob.

Posted by: MG | July 3, 2007 2:42 PM

10

MG, would you like to continue this series? I'm mainly concerned to see how Genesis thinks the world is, rather than theology, but you seem to have a damned good grasp of the source material and I'm going to be busy for a while. I can add my bits, so it will be doubly delicious.

Posted by: John Wilkins | July 4, 2007 2:47 AM

11

Sorry for the slow reply, been out of town. I'd be glad to lend a hand. Email me and let me know what you have in mind and how I can best help you.

Posted by: MG | July 12, 2007 8:36 AM

 

 
  Debunking Christianity

A Comparison of Exodus to Egyptian History

 
A More Plausible Explanation for the Exodus Based on Egyptian History.
Submitted by Trou.

I used to think the Bible was the truth, every word of it. I studied it, assured of this fact, and used it as the backbone of my worldview. But as I became more educated and exposed to new ideas, I began to realize that the Bible was not true and it could not provide answers to the questions and challenges that were generated by scientific knowledge. Yet, I was fascinated by the stories told in the Bible. How did they come to be told and from where did these stories originate? These were the initial questions that spurred me to read as much as I could on the subject.

In my reading, I happened upon quite a few authors who wrote of the Egyptian origins of the Jewish people and religion. Although they do not all agree on the details, the general Egyptian genesis thesis can explain the early stories of the Bible, the literary figures and the religious concepts that we find in Genesis. There is very little if any historical or archaeological evidence for the early time period when Israel became a people and no historical evidence whatsoever of the patriarchs, the flood, and the exodus that corroborates the Bible version. However, there is historical and archaeological evidence for events and religious beliefs that can be shown to bear a striking similarity to the events as described in the Bible. Let me give you a background of the political and religious climate of the 18th dynasty and make a case that this was the time, the place and the events that the Book of Genesis based its myths on.

In the first part of the 19th century the remains of the city of Akhetaten were found. This was the first anyone new of the city and scholars and Egyptologists found evidence of the existence of a pharaoh who was not included in the pharaoh's list of succession. It was soon evident that this pharaoh, named Akhenaten, had been blotted out of history and the city that he had built had been destroyed.

He began his reign under the name of Amenhotep IV and ruled as coregent with his father Amenhotep III. After the first few years of his reign he changed his name to Akhenaten to signify his devotion to the god Aten instead of the god Amen. At this point his whole reign became first and foremost about the worship of Aten. This was not unusual except that this was done to the exclusion of, and not in addition to, the worship of the other gods of the Egyptian pantheon. Akhenaten funded only the priesthood that was devoted to Aten and ignored all the rest of the priesthood to their detriment. He built a new city call Akhetaten in the honor of his Aten and situated it away from the traditional worship centers of the other gods. Such disrespect for the gods and the traditional priesthood would not be forgotten.

Akhenaten is credited with being the world's first monotheist. He was innovative in several things that today we associate with Judaism. Akhenaten didn't allow any graven images of the god Aten. As the unseen God, Aten could not be represented in animal or human form as the other false gods were depicted. Aten was … "an abstract entity not known to man but designated only by a symbol of the daylight that radiated from the disk of the sun by which his power was manifest." (Akhenaten, p262, 245) This disc had rays emanating from it with ankh symbols at the end of the rays positioned near the nostrils of the pharaoh and his wife. This was an indication of the fact that Aten was responsible for the breath of life also a concept familiar to those of us who have read the creation story in the Bible.

The great hymn of Aten reads, concept for concept, just like Psalms 104. Many think that Akhenaten himself wrote this psalm. The hymn and the psalm both depict creation and the giving of life by God and it is also reminiscent of the Genesis creation account. So, the monotheism of Akhenaten featured the one god, without an image, who was the creator and sustainer of life, along with the concepts of king and father, all of which we associate with the Abrahamic faiths. (Moses and Akhenaten, p. 163-164.)

The monotheistic Atenists only had power for 12-17 years until both Akhenaten and his son Smenkare died. After this, Tutankhamen, who changed his name from Tutankhaten, came to be the boy pharaoh. His vizier, and a future pharaoh Ay, was the one with the power and influence who orchestrated the move back to the worship of the neglected gods. We can assume that a young boy would not change his religious preference from Aten to Amun, as his name change indicates, without being influenced by someone. The Aramaic bible, called the Targum, which is the oldest copy of the torah that we know of, speaks of Adon Ay when referring to the god of the exodus. The Sabbah brothers think that this is a reference to this vizier/pharaoh who, as royalty, had the status of a god, and in fact, one of his titles was Father of the God. They believe he was the one responsible for ridding the country of the followers of Aten and returning Egypt to the religious ways of the past.

The Stela of Restoration of Tutankhamen reveals some very interesting things about the conditions facing the pharaoh when he ascended to the throne and what Tut was to accomplish during his reign. A translation of a portion of the stela by John Adams Wilson (Egypt, Life and Death of a Civilization) reads, "He drove out deceit from one end of the two lands to the other. And Maat was re-established. The lie (monotheistic religion) became an abomination within the land." The monotheists were called the liars or deceivers by those who later came to power. Another translation of the text states, "Now when his majesty appeared as king, the temples of the gods and goddesses from Elephantine [down] to the marshes of the Delta [had... and] gone to pieces (or fallen into neglect). Their shrines had become desolate, had become mounds overgrown with [weeds]. Their sanctuaries (or chapels) were as if they had never been. Their halls were a footpath (or trodden roads). The land was topsy-turvy and the gods turned their backs upon this land."

Ay, seeing what monotheism had done to Egypt, was committed to returning to the old ways. There had been too much damage politically and to the infrastructure of the kingdom. But, it would not suffice to just return to the worship of the other gods because the threat that the Atenists could regain power would always loom as a future possibility. He devised a plan in which he promised a land flowing with milk and honey, the Egyptian province of Canaan, to the Atenists whose removal would appease the Amunists. This would also benefit Egypt by populating a region of the empire with an Egyptian presence in order to create a buffer in a rather troublesome region that had been giving the realm fits for a few years. The stela of restoration says "If [the army was] sent to Djahi (region in Canaan, possibly in the Judean hills.) to extend the frontiers of Egypt, no success of theirs came at all." Political unrest is indicated in the Armana letters also, (http://nefertiti.iwebland.com/a-rib-addi.htm) so it was necessary for Ay to initiate a military campaign that would help to pacify the region so this relocation of the monotheists could be carried out.

This was accomplished with the help of the Egyptian military under the leadership of Ramses and Horemheb (later pharaohs). Evidence for this can be seen in the restoration stela of Tutankhamen, the war records of Ramses I and Seti I. (http://nefertiti.iwebland.com/ramses_i_stela.htm) (http://nefertiti.iwebland.com/seticampaign.htm). There is an indication that Horemheb, as a general, fought in campaigns in Canaan as he is depicted receiving honors for his victories during the reign of Tutankhamen. This military activity continued through the reign of Ay then Horemheb, Ramses I and his son Seti who finally pacified the region.

Seti I, in his first year as pharaoh, had a series of battles that subdued all resistance to Egyptian rule. If you compare the battles of Seti to the battles of Joshua you will find similarities. The bible says that Joshua conquered 31 fortified cities in Canaan and Phoenicia. Sabbah says, "The many cities taken by Sety I during his campaign – Megiddo, Lachish, Beth-Shean, Yenoam, Geder, Tyre, etc. –correspond to those reportedly taken by Joshua." Claude Vandersleyen, "The kings of Jerusalem, of Hebron, of Jarmuth, of Lachish, and of Eglon were Amorites; Hittites and Amorites are found in the hill country of Judaea. This area corresponds to the lands traversed by SetyI and is confirmed by the texts at Karnak." (http://www.touregypt.net/featurestories/setiwar.htm). The fact that both Seti I and Joshua are said to have erected victory stelae is also noteworthy. Sety erected 2 at Beth-Shean and Joshua set one at Shechem. These 2 places, it seems to me, are very near to one another. This all took about 40 years. The bible says it took 40 years of wandering in the desert till it was time for Joshua to lead the battle to clear out the promise land. The land, now free of turmoil, was ready to allow the Aten priests and their deported followers to settle there after they had been temporarily living in Moab. (Secrets of the Exodus, p.125)

I know of no direct, historical evidence that these priests were said to have been the beginnings of the Hebrews. However, the Aramaic Bible, called the Targum, does say as much by calling these priests Yahuds from which comes the word Judah. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jew) The word Yahuda (Judah) comes from Yahu-Hodah meaning praise god or one who praises or adores god. The Egyptian Yahu-Daeh means adoration, prayer, homage and giving praise. The Yahuds of the Aramaic Bible correspond to the monotheistic priests who left Egypt where, as priests of Aten, they rendered homage to the dawning light. It is clear that not just anyone could have the status to worship Aten so referring to Yahuds as Jews would not be precise enough. They were the priestly class. The Aramaic Bible makes a clear distinction between the Hebrews (Children of Israel) and the Yahuds. The Hebrew Bible does not make such a distinction. (Secrets of the Exodus, p.47) The Targum also mentions that the Yahuds were escorted out of Egypt by the armies of Ay. (Aramaic Bible, Exodus 12:41. "On exactly that day, all the armies of Ay left the land of Egypt".) The Hebrew Bible reads it differently calling them the hosts of Jehovah which makes one think of a group of people and not an army. A military escort makes sense and the direction of their travel takes them by several Egyptian military outposts that would have posed a problem for them had they been fleeing instead of being led away or deported.

One other link to the restoration stela gives further credence to the idea that the Yahuds were exiled to Canaan. The stela says, "He allocated waab-priests, God's Servants and the heirs of the Chiefs of the Cities to be the sons of wise men whose reputation is established." I quote Sabbah, "According to Claude Vandersleyen, the Stela specifies that Egypt, lacking enough priests for the restoration of the cult of Amun, organized a massive recruitment drive. "The only written indication of social reorganization of the priests states that from then on, the priesthood would consist of children of the functionaries of their cities." If the customary and historic rite of succession of the priesthood had to be changed for this occasion then that must have meant that there was a shortage of priests. Where could they have gone? Could it be they chose deportation to Canaan over performing the priestly duties to Amun?

I commented earlier in a post that the Levi and Cohen names are associated with the Jewish priesthood and have a genetic marker on the Y chromosome that indicates this lineage goes back 10,000 years. Since the Jewish people can only account for 3500 years of history how can this bloodline have gone back nearly 3 times that far into the past? This thesis that I'm presenting accounts for that nicely. The Israelites came from the monotheistic priests and their followers who were formerly a part of the Egyptian priestly class and were Egyptian through and through and the Egyptian priesthood extended from father to son back into the beginning of Egypt.

Why does this whole thesis seem such a foreign concept to most scholars. First of all, Horemheb erased all mention of the Armana pharaohs from history and claimed his place in the kings list right behind Amenhotep III eliminating 4 of the pharaohs involved in this saga. In a fit of revenge at what Akhenaten did to the country, the city of Akhetaten was dismantled bit by bit to be used as building blocks for other projects so there was no knowledge of Aten and the impact his worship had on religion and culture. Also, the Bible wasn't compiled and in its final or more modern form or formalized into a holy book until the Babylonians conquered them and took them captive at about 600 BC. The Bible stories were changed to make them more acceptable to their conquerors who were enemies of the Egyptians. "The commentary of Rashi, discussing Ex, 12-40, shows that this practice was known in the oral tradition. He wrote, "This is one of the passages of the Torah which was modified to please King Ptolemy."" Sabbah, p.95. So all things Egyptian were disguised and some of it was placed in a Chaldean context to please the Babylonians. Things like camels were added to the text which were yet to be domesticated for a few hundred years, for example.

So I think that the Egyptian origins thesis fits nicely with the historical evidence that we have. In fact, what I have just written is by no means the only support for this theory. The traditional biblical version, on the other hand, is not backed up historically at all. The more one digs into the archaeology and history of Genesis the less likely is seems that there is any literal truth to it at all.

Secrets of the Exodus by Messod and Roger Sabbah

Moses and Akhenaten by Ahmed Osman

Akhenaten by Cyril Aldred

The Mystery of the Copper Scroll of Qumran, The Essene Record of the Treasure of Akhenaten by Robert Feather

Great Hymn of Aten ; http://www.touregypt.net/hymntoaten.htm

Great Hymn and Psalms 104; http://kemet.250x.com/psalm104.html

http://debunkingchristianity.blogspot.com/2008/06/comparison-of-exodus-to-egyptian.html

 

 
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