Hammurabi and Zimri-Lim as Contemporaries of Solomon

 Image result for zimri-lim


 Damien F. Mackey


If this reconstruction is correct, then it completely puts paid to the opinion that the Torah was influenced by the famous Law of Hammurabi. More likely, the Babylonian Code was based upon the law practiced in David’s and Solomon’s influential kingdom of Israel.

The following is a re-working of an old Christmas 2000 article of similar title.




In an article published in 1986, entitled “The Dating of Hammurabi”, its author Professor George Albert Hickman, Dean of Toronto University, argued for an early C10th BC placement for King Hammurabi of Babylon (conventionally dated to c. C19th BC); thereby making him a contemporary of David and Solomon.

Hickman went even further than this and provided an outline revision of Mesopotamian history down to the mid-C9th, which, despite certain deficiencies, rendered some very plausible synchronisms between the Mesopotamian kings and their neighbours. Surprisingly though, as far as I am aware, Hickman’s article does not appear to have stimulated much interest or discussion amongst revisionists. One possible reason for this may be that he, like Velikovsky, was not able to offer a satisfactory revision of Mesopotamian history for the troublesome el Amarna [EA] period of Pharaoh Akhnaton (conventionally dated to c.1350 BC). The effect of Hickman’s revision, in bringing Hammurabi and his dynasty down some 800-900 years, into and beyond the C10th, was to clutter the EA period all the more. He made no real attempt to tie up the loose kings that he had circulating around in this period. This is unfortunate in that EA, probably more than any other period, is in need of a satisfactory solution as regards Mesopotamian chronology if the revision is to be taken seriously by the experts.


Here, though, I wish to consolidate one area only of Hickman’s research: the era of Solomon.


Now, just as Hickman began his interesting article with mention of Zimri-Lim, king of Mari – and certain events that occurred during his reign and that of his father, Iahdulim – it will be this same Zimri-Lim who will become the central character of this article. Hickman had managed to identify most of Zimri-Lim’s outstanding contemporaries with major characters of the C10 world, but he did not actually link Zimri-Lim or his father with any particular persons. The identification of Zimri-Lim, king of Mari, will therefore be the special task of this article.


I believe that a very satisfactory identification can be made between Zimri-Lim and Rezin (or Rezon), Syrian adversary of King Solomon, and son of Eliada (I Kings 11:23). It is wholly in keeping with the framework established by Hickman for the era of Hammurabi, Zimri-Lim’s contemporary, and may thus serve to reinforce Hickman’s thesis. Logically it must follow from this identification that Zimri-Lim’s father, Iahdulim/Yahdu-Lim, be identified with Rezin’s father, Eliada.

The similarity in the names Iahdulim and Eliada is actually quite striking.


Benjaminites and Davidites


Hickman found what he believed to be the people of Saul and David in the names “Benjamites” (Benjaminites) and “Dawidum” (Davidum), cited in “three date formulas” of the kings of Mari. It was customary for ancient kings to date certain years of their reigns with reference to notable historical events that occurred within those years. Thus the kings of Mari recorded these years:


  1. “The year in which Iahdulim went to Hen and laid hands on the territory of the Benjamites.”
  2. “The year that Zimri-Lim killed the Davidum of the Benjamites.”
  3. “The year after Zimri-Lim killed the Davidum of the Benjamites.”


Hickman was quite safe, from a linguistic point of view, in associating the “Benjamites” of the Mari Letters [ML] with the biblical Benjaminites. And, since Saul belonged to the tribe of Benjamin (I Samuel 9:1-2), he was quite entitled to suggest an identification between the “Benjamites” and the peoples ruled by Saul. André Lemaire concurred with this view that the “Benjamites” of ML corresponded in name precisely to the southern tribe of Israel. More controversial, though, was Hickman’s attempted revitalization of an old and not very popular theory according to which the word “dawidum” of the letters was thought to relate to David’s name. According to Lemaire, the word “dawidum” was actually derived from a word “dabduum” meaning “defeat”.

But more pressing than the linguistic question were the powerful historical reasons why, within the context of conventional reasoning, the ML could not possibly bear any references to King David or his era. It is an undisputed fact that Zimri-Lim was a contemporary of Hammurabi, king of Babylon. We know that Hammurabi eventually overthrew Zimri-Lim and brought destruction upon Mari. And, though historians may have found Hammurabi extremely difficult to date precisely, they certainly would not question that he preceded David by more than half a millennium. Though recently dated towards the end of the C19th, Hammurabi’s era tends to shift with variations ranging up to in excess of a century. No wonder then that Dr. Courville felt compelled to describe this great king of Babylon as “floating about in a liquid chronology of Chaldea”!

Hickman, however, not bound by the stifling strictures of conventional chronology, was free to re-assess the earlier connection between the “dawidum” and the name David. As regards Lemaire’s “dabduum” he noted that the use of the letter “b” instead of “w” or “v”, did “not conclusively exclude the possibility that a word meaning ‘David'” was intended in the letters; and that in the Old Testament Hebrew “the name of David is variously written ‘Dawid’ () and ‘Dabid’ b=(/) instead of “w” or “v” ().” Even though, as he said, “current archaeological wisdom precludes it”, Hickman felt inclined nonetheless to explore the possibility that “Dawidum” related to David and that Hammurabi belonged to the Davidic era.


Here we are concerned more with historical, than philological considerations.


Shamsi-Adad’s Identity

Hickman’s first notable identification between a Mari correspondent and a C10th character was to equate Shamsi-Adad I (c.C19th BC) with David’s mighty adversary, Hadadezer, the Syrian. Not only David, but Saul also, had to contend with the aggressive kings of Zobah in Aram, or ancient Syria (I and II Samuel). Yet, according to conventional opinion, the kings of Zobah (pronounced Tzobah) are not supposed to have left any inscriptions concerning their accomplishments. In CAH, we read that the name Zobah occurs in the Assyrian documents of the C8th and C7th’s as “Subatu, Subutu or Subiti”. Josephus called Zobah, “Sophene”, and its king, “Hadad”. Accordingly, Hickman identified Shamsi-Adad, son of Ilu-kabkabu, with biblical Hadadezer, son of Rekhob. And he added that the ubiquitous Shamsi-Adad’s best known city of Shubat-Enlil was to be equated with Hadadezer’s city of Zobah or Subatu. Hickman also provided an interesting explanation as to why he thought that Rekhob, the name of Hadadezer’s father, bore “some resemblance to Ilu-kabkabu”, the name of Shamsi-Adad’s father.

The next task was to identify the regions wherein lay the kingdom of Shamsi-Adad and his alter ego Hadadezer. Shamsi-Adad’s kingdom is known to have included the plain of Assyria, stretching southward through the middle Euphrates Valley almost to the latitude of Eshnunna.

Cities described as belonging to Hadadezer were Betakh, Berothai, Tibhath or Tebah, and Chun (2 Samuel 8:8 and I Chronicles 18:8). In CAH, Tebah is identified as Late Bronze Tubikhu, Chun as Late Bronze Kunu (Roman Conna), and Berothai tentatively as Bereitan, a town south of Baalbek. Hickman added that Berothai, thought to be north of Damascus, “is probably the same as Berothai of Ezekiel 47:16, between Hamath and Damascus”.

In a date- formula from Eshnunna the army of Iasmakh-Adad, the son of Shamsi-Adad, is called “The host of Shubartu and Khana”.

Hickman suggested that Khana may possibly refer to the city of Chun in I Chronicles 18:8; and that Shubartu may be derived either “from Zobah or from Sibraim” (Ezekiel 47:16).

Shamsi-Adad boasted that he had erected triumphal stelae in Lebanon. He was allied with princes of upper Syria, notably Carchemish and Qatna, and with Hammurabi of Babylon.
We know from Scripture that Hadadezer liked to set up victory monuments; David defeated him “as he went to set up his monument at the river Euphrates(I Chronicles 18:3). Scripture records also that the Syrian was ruler of the kings beyond the river (2 Samuel 10:16, 19), i.e. the Euphrates, as later records from Assyria confirm as well.

Hickman thought that “this description resembles that of Shamsi-Adad”.

Hadadezer opposed David with phenomenal forces, but was defeated by the Israelite king in two major campaigns. In the first campaign David took from the Syrian an incredible 1000 chariots, as well as 7000 horseman, and 20,000 footmen (I Chronicles 18:4). Hickman was interested to discover that Shamsi-Adad had informed one of his sons, Ishme-Dagan, that he could supply him with 20,000 troops; the same number as cited in Scripture. In the second campaign, Hadadezer allied himself with the Ammonites who had called upon him for help (II Samuel 10:6).

Hickman identified Shobach, “the commander of the army of Hadadezer” (II Samuel 10:16) with Shamsi-Adad’s pleasure-loving son, Iasmakh-Adad.

The Kingdom of Hamath

The first conflict between David and Hadadezer had occurred near Hamath, when Hadadezer went to recover his border at the river Euphrates. Hickman wondered if Hamath might be the state of Yamkhad. The Mari archive has enabled us to know the greatness of the Syrian kingdoms, which previously had been overshadowed by Babylonia especially. As Dalley put it: “… we now know that Syria had cities and monarchs equal in power and civilisation to Larsa and Babylon”. She added that Syria’s mightiest kingdom “was centred on Aleppo, ancient Halab in the state of Yamkhad”; Halab being “the mightiest of many kingdoms in Zimri-Lim’s day”.

Dalley could back up this claim simply by citing the very celebrated ML which stated that”:


There is no king who is mighty by himself. Ten or fifteen kings follow Hammurabi the ruler of Babylon, a like number Rim-Sin of Larsa, a like number Ibal-pi-el of Eshnunna, a like number Amud-pi-el of Qatanum, but twenty follow Yarim-Lim of Yamhad.


When David had defeated Hadadezer and his allies in the region of Hamath, a king of Hamath named To’i sent him tribute by the hand of his son Joram (2 Samuel 8:9). Hickman identified this Joram of Hamath with Iarim-Lim of Aleppo (Halab) in the kingdom of Yamkhad.

This Iarim-Lim may even turn out to be the great Hiram, ally of David and Solomon.


Indeed, I have since identified Iarim-Lim with Hiram, in:


King Hiram the Historical and Hiram Abiff the Hysterical



The Syrian (Amorite) world was a conglomerate of kingdoms loosely united and oftentimes prone to fall out one kingdom with another. We read in Scripture that Hadadezer, for instance, called upon “the Syrians of Damascus” (II Samuel 8:5), and that the Ammonites hired “the Syrians of Beth-rehob, and the Syrians of Zobah” (II Samuel 10:6). Then there was the Syrian kingdom of Hamath, which may eventually have absorbed Zobah; hence “Hamath-zobah”. But, as we shall see, there could be serious conflicts amongst the Syrian kingdoms. Thus Rezin, son of Eliada, fell out with his master Hadadezer, and fled from him, and became leader of his own army (I Kings 11:23-24). The reason for this enmity will become clearer in the next section as we pursue the identity of Rezin and Eliada, with Zimri-Lim and Iahdulim of ML.


Like Hadadezer, Shamsi-Adad employed confederate Syrian kingdoms to assist him in his campaigns. But it seems that the aggressive Shamsi-Adad was nervous when it came to the Benjaminites and their kinsmen. Shamsi-Adad wrote to his son, who had seized Mari from Zimri-Lim’s father:

Reference:“..the proposal to take a census of the Benjamites, about which you have written me …. The Benjamites are not well disposed to the idea of a census. If you carry it out, their kinsmen, the Ra-ab-ay-yi, who live on the other bank, of the river, will hear of it.”
“They will be annoyed with them and will not return to their country. On no account should this census be taken!”

Hickman’s summary of this letter was that Shamsi-Adad, characterised as “the greatest figure of his generation”, who claimed control of “the land between the Tigris and the Euphrates”, was wary of the Israelites. He identified the “Ra-ab-ay-yi” of Shamsi-Adad’s letter, who were dwelling “on the other bank of the river”, with the Reubenites (one of the 12 tribes of Israel) who dwelt east of the Jordan river along with the tribes of Gad and Manasseh. Scripture records that these Transjordanian Israelites began to expand eastwards in Saul’s day, and began to engage the Hagarites (Arabs) in battle, and defeated them (I Chronicles 5 and II Chronicles 5).

Era of Solomon

Peace, which had been unknown in the time of Saul and David, came to Israel during the glorious reign of Solomon, David’s son and successor. David had smashed the mighty forces of Hadadezer king of Zobah, and had put garrisons in the land of Aram around and in Damascus; and the Syrians became servants to David and brought tribute (II Samuel 8:5-6). For more than 20 years Solomon reigned in peace and prosperity, with Israel’s enemies subdued on every side. It appears that Solomon absorbed both the kingdoms of Hadadezer and of the Aleppo region, because he took Hamath-zobah (II Chronicles 8:3). He built Tadmor in the wilderness – which was connected by a desert road to Mari – and he also built store cities in Hamath (8:4). Even after his 20th year of rule (II Chronicles 8:1), things were still going well for Solomon; for Scripture recalls the celebrated visit of Queen Sheba. See my:


Solomon and Sheba



Solomon had an incredible 1400 chariots, and 12,000 horsemen with which to defend Jerusalem (I Kings 10:26).

But the happy situation was not to last. In the latter half of his long reign Solomon apostatised from Yahweh worship by courting the foreign gods of his wives (I Kings 11:4). Scripture names three adversaries who “lifted up their hand” against Solomon in those days (I Kings 11): Hadad, the Edomite; Rezin, son of Eliada, who had fled from his master Hadadezer king of Zobah and Jeroboam, an Ephraïmite.

It is this Rezin upon whom our attention will be focussed for the remaining pages.

From Rezin to Hammurabi

In identifying Rezin with Zimri-Lim, and his father, Eliada with Iahdulim, we are able to refine Hickman’s chronological scheme somewhat. Hickman had surmised that Zimri-Lim belonged to the time of David, which meant that Iahdulim was roughly contemporaneous with Saul: “Since … Iahdulim … mentions only the Benjamites [in the date-formula quoted earlier] he must belong to Saul’s time”. Hickman thought that there was reason to suspect “That the incursion of this [Iahdulim] into Benjamite territory resulted in Saul’s wars against Zobah and that Mari was associated with the Zobah kingdom”.

It seems that Hickman was correct in his last statement in that Iagit-Lim of Mari, who was Zimri-Lim’s grandfather, had once been an ally of Shamsi-Adad. But Iagit-Lim and Shamsi-Adad quarrelled eventually, with dire consequences. Iagit-Lim’s son and successor, Iahdulim – who claimed to have strengthened the foundations of Mari – was assassinated by his own servants. Shamsi-Adad then occupied the city of Mari, and set up his son, Iasmakh-Adad, as ruler. Zimri-Lim, the heir to the throne, was forced to flee for his life, spending many years in exile at Aleppo. Zimri-Lim returned to Mari about the 16th year of Hammurabi of Babylon, and ruled there for at least most of Hammurabi’s remaining years.

Since Shamsi-Adad’s death coincided with the 12th year of Hammurabi, Zimri-Lim apparently was returning to a less hostile environment, where he ruled for at least 17 years. For most of that time he and Hammurabi were on quite friendly terms with one another; but Hammurabi eventually turned against Zimri-Lim and, in his 33rd year, he came to Mari and dismantled its walls. However, this may not have been the end of Zimri-Lim because the number of years-names attested for his reign would indicate that he continued to rule Mari for some years after this event.


When we transfer all of these events onto a revised time plane, there emerges a more precise picture. Hadadezer (Shamsi-Adad), a one-time ally of Rezin’s (Zimri-Lim’s) grandfather, king of Mari, quarrelled with the king of Mari. Later, Eliada (Iahdulim), Rezin’s father, was assassinated by his servants – presumably at the instigation of Hadadezer – and Hadadezer’s son Shobach (Iasmakh-Adad) was established as ruler of Mari. The assassination of his father, and the occupation of the city throne to which he was heir, explains why Rezin “fled from his master Hadadezer king of Zobah” (I Kings 11:23).

We also now know the city to which Rezin fled, Aleppo, or Halab, in Hamath (Yamkhad).

Scripture goes on to record that “after the slaughter of David” (i.e. after David had slaughtered Hadadezer’s forces), Rezin “gathered men about him and became leader of a marauding band” (I Kings 11:24). Some of his band may have been remnants of Hadadezer’s decimated forces. We know from Scripture that it was just after Solomon’s 20th year as king of Jerusalem that adversaries began to spring up about him. Now, since Solomon’s 20th year is to be dated at approximately 950 BC, Rezin’s reign probably began shortly after that date.

What follows is a quotation of what Hammurabi wrote to Zimri-Lim:


“To Zimri-Lim communicate the following: Thus says your brother Hammurabi [of Yamhad]: The king of Ugarit has written me as follows: `Show me the palace of Zimri-Lim! I wish to see it.’ With this same courier I am sending on this man.”


Now since Zimri-Lim with whom we identify Rezin returned to Mari from exile “about the sixteenth year of Hammurabi”, Hammurabi’s 16th year must correspond closely to Solomon’s 20th year. It is more accurate to say, therefore, that Zimri-Lim was a contemporary of Hammurabi, it seems. Shamsi-Adad had died 5 years before Zimri-Lim returned from exile; in Hammurabi’s 12th year, approximating to Solomon’s 16th year. But he was already a spent force before that.

It is obvious then that the event of Zimri-lim’s return from exile in the 16th year of Hammurabi is a very crucial clue for organizing a chronology of this period; especially when it is associated with Rezin’s return from exile. Scripture does not say that Rezin seized Mari on his return, but Damascus, where he was made king (I Kings 11:24).

We cannot determine whether he took Damascus or Mari first.

Chances are that Rezin was, as Hickman described Shamsi-Adad: “… continually on the move and did not really possess a capital”.

A Syrian, as was Hadadezer also, Rezin too remained a foe of the House of David. Scripture records that Rezin “was an adversary of Israel all the days of Solomon, doing mischief as Hadad [the Edomite] did; and he abhorred Israel and reigned over Syria” (I Kings 11:25). After that, Scripture has no more to say about Rezin, and we have to turn back to ML. Actually the historical evidence matches the scriptural data very well, if we are correct in associating Zimri-Lim’s return from exile in Aleppo with that of Rezin. In both cases the master or overlord of the Syrians was dead. We know that Zimri-lim and Rezin ruled for close to two decades. Zimri-Lim definitely ruled for 17 years, until Hammurabi’s sack of Mari; and he may have ruled somewhat longer, as the inscriptions indicate. Rezin saw out at least 17-20 years of Solomon’s 40 year reign (I Kings 11:42); and he may have survived partly into the next reign; though we hear no more about him.




King Hiram extended biblico-historically

Image result for idrimi

Part One:

Hiram as Idrimi of Alalakh



 Damien F. Mackey



Level VII [at Alalakh], which did not contain the [characteristic] pottery,

was the level containing the inscribed tablets of the Yarim-Lim dynasty.”




To flesh out historically the biblical kings David and Solomon (c. C10th BC) one needs also to:


  • delve right back to a conventionally-estimated Syro-Mesopotamia of the era of c. 1800 BC so as to locate their contemporaries in Rekhob and Hadadezer (historically, Uru-kabkabu and Shamsi-Adad I); Eliada and Rezon (historically, Iahdulim and Zimri-Lim); and Hiram (historically, Iarim-Lim); and then to


  • dip into the conventionally-estimated Egypt of the era of c. 1500 BC to locate their Eighteenth Dynasty contemporaries in (Thutmose I and II), “Queen of Sheba” and “Shishak” (historically, Hatshepsut and Thutmose III).


In what will follow here, that same conventionally-estimated (but quite incorrect) era for the Eighteenth Egyptian dynasty (c. 1500 BC) will also to found to contain a colourful character who may be yet another face of the biblical king Hiram.


Hiram as Idrimi


I had previously sought to identify this Idrimi (conventionally dated to c. 1500 BC) with one of King Solomon’s three adversaries (I Kings 11:14-26) namely, Hadad, or Hadar, the Edomite: “That name, Hadar, is the same as Hadoram (Adoram), and, as it seems to me, as Idrimi”.


But Hadoram (Adoram), or Adoniram, are also names that can be associated with the Hebrew name, Joram, and also with Hiram, as according to Abarim:



Associated Biblical names








Moreover, the geography of Idrimi, Alalakh, is much more befitting of Hiram, as Iarim-Lim.

Thus I would write, in my university thesis:


A Revised History of the Era of King Hezekiah of Judah

and its Background



the following (very Courville-based) sections regarding Iarim-Lim, the Philistines (Cretans) and the archaeology of Alalakh:


The Earlier Philistine History


It remains to be determined whether or not the Philistines can be traced all the way back to Crete in accordance with the biblical data; though obviously, from what has been said, to well before the time of the ‘Sea Peoples’, whose immediate origins were Aegean, not Cretan.

Courville has looked to trace just such an archaeological trail, back through the era of the late Judges/Saul; to Alalakh (modern Atchana) at the time of Iarim-Lim (Yarim-Lim) of Iamkhad (Yamkhad) and Hammurabi of Babylon; and finally to Crete in early dynastic times. I shall be basically reproducing Courville here, though with one significant chronological divergence, in regard to his dating of the Alalakh sequences. Courville has, according to my own chronological estimation for Hammurabi and Iarim-Lim, based on Hickman … dated the Hammurabic era about four centuries too early (as opposed to the conventional system’s seven centuries too early) on the time scale. Courville had wonderfully described Hammurabi as “floating about in a liquid chronology of Chaldea”, just after his having also correctly stated that: …  “Few problems of ancient chronology have been the topic of more extensive debate among scholars than the dates to be ascribed to the Babylonian king Hammurabi and his dynasty …”. And so he set out to establish Hammurabi in a more secure historical setting. This, I do not think he managed successfully to achieve however.

Courville’s re-location of Hammurabi to the approximate time of Joshua and the Conquest is still fairly “liquid” chronologically, as it seems to me, without his having been able to establish any plausible syncretisms beyond those already known for Hammurabi (e.g. with Shamsi-Adad I and Zimri-Lim). Revisionist Hickman on the other hand, despite his radical lowering of the Hammurabic era even beyond the standard [Velikovsky-date lowering] scale, by about seven centuries to the time of kings David and Solomon (c. C10th BC), has been able to propose and develop what are to my way of thinking some promising syncretisms, e.g. between David’s Syrian foe, Hadadezer, and Shamsi-Adad I (c. 1809-1776 BC, conventional dates), with the latter’s father Ilu-kabkabu being the biblical Rekhob, father of Hadadezer (2 Samuel 8:3); … and between Iarim-Lim and the biblical Joram (var. Hadoram), son of To’i, and prince of Hamath (cf. 2 Samuel 8:10 & 1 Chronicles 18:10).

I shall have cause to re-visit some of these kings in the following chapter.

So now, with Hammurabi and his era somewhat more securely located, as I think, than according to Courville’s proposed re-location – and hence with the potential for a more accurate archaeological matrix – we can continue on with Courville’s excellent discussion of the archaeology of the early Philistines: ….


VIII. The Culture of the Sea Peoples in the Era of the Late Judges


The new pottery found at Askelon [Ashkelon] at the opening of Iron I, and correlated with the invasion of the Sea Peoples, was identified as of Aegean origin. A similar, but not identical, pottery has been found in the territory north of Palestine belonging to the much earlier era of late Middle Bronze. By popular

views, this is prior to the Israelite occupation of Palestine. By the altered chronology, this is the period of the late judges and the era of Saul.

… That the similar pottery of late Middle Bronze, occurring both in the north and in the south, is related to the culture found only in the south at the later date is apparent from the descriptions of the two cultures. Of this earlier culture, which should be dated to the time of Saul, Miss Kenyon commented:


The pottery does in fact provide very useful evidence about culture. The first interesting point is the wealth of a particular class of painted pottery …. The decoration is bichrome, nearly always red and black, and the most typical vessels have a combination of metopes enclosing a bird or a fish with geometric decoration such as a “Union Jack” pattern or a Catherine wheel. At Megiddo the first bichrome pottery is attributed to Stratum X, but all the published material comes from tombs intrusive into this level. It is in fact characteristic of Stratum IX. Similar pottery is found in great profusion in southern Palestine … Very similar vessels are also found on the east coast of Cyprus and on the coastal Syrian sites as far north as Ras Shamra. [Emphasis Courville’s]


Drawings of typical examples of this pottery show the same stylized bird with

back-turned head that characterized the pottery centuries later at Askelon. … The anachronisms and anomalies in the current views on the interpretation of this invasion and its effects on Palestine are replaced by a consistent picture, and one that is in agreement with the background provided by Scripture for the later era in the very late [sic] 8th century B.C.


Courville now turns to the archaeology at the site of Alalakh on the shore of the Mediterranean at its most northeast protrusion, in order “to trace this culture one step farther back in time” (though in actual fact, by my chronology, it will bring him to approximately the same time – though a different place). ….


  1. The Culture of Level VI at Alalakh Is Related to That of the Philistines


He commences by recalling Sir Leonard Woolley’s investigations at this site in the

1930’s, during which Woolley discovered “seventeen archaeological levels of occupation”:


A solid synchronism is at hand to correlate Level VII at Alalakh with the era of Hammurabi of the First Dynasty at Babylon …. The basis for this synchronism is found in the Mari Letters where it is stated that “… there are ten or fifteen kings who follow Hammurabi of Babylon and ten or fifteen who follow Rim-sin of Larsa but twenty kings follow Yarim-Lim of Yamkhad”.

Investigations at Alalakh revealed numerous tablets inscribed in cuneiform, most of which are by the third of the three kings of the dynasty, Yarim-Lim by name.

…. Since the First Dynasty at Babylon was of Amorite origin, then so also was the Yarim-Lim dynasty of Amorite origin.

In the reports by Woolley, he indicates the find at Alalakh of two characteristic pottery types which were designated as “White-Slip milk bowls” and “Base-Ring Ware”. As the digging proceeded downward, he found that such types of pottery were plentiful in Level VI, all but disappeared in Level VII, and then reappeared in all levels from VIII to XVI. Level VII, which did not contain the pottery, was the level containing the inscribed tablets of the Yarim-Lim dynasty. The obvious conclusion was that the people of Yarim-Lim (Amorites) had conquered this city and probably also the surrounding territory, ruling it for a period estimated to have been about 50 years. At the end of this time, the original inhabitants were able to reconquer the site and reoccupy it.

Courville now turns his attention to seeking an identity for the people from whom the city of Alalakh was taken for about half a century, but who then reoccupied it: ….

What then was this culture like …? We let Woolley tell us about the culture:


… We do indeed know extremely little about the Level VI buildings. It is to the pottery that we must look for information about Level VI, and the pottery can tell us a good deal. On the one hand we have what I have called the “nationalist revival” of the traditional painted ware which had been suppressed under the late regime, and some examples of this are perfect replicas of the old both in form and in decoration, but as time goes on, there appear modifications of the long-established types – instead of the isolated and static figures of birds or animals these become active and are combined in running scenes surrounding the whole pot without the interruption of the triglyph-like partitions which were once the rule … For the first time we get a polychrome decoration in red and black paint on a buff surface, and the design includes not only birds but the “Union Jack” motive which is specially characteristic of contemporary Palestine … [Emphasis Courville’s]


As one examines this pottery description, he will be struck with the notable similarities of decoration found on the pottery at Megiddo for the era of Philistine occupation in the time of Saul. There is the same use of red and black paint, the similar use of birds as a decoration motif, and the same use of the “Union Jack”.


Finally, Courville traces this distinctive archaeological path all the way back to Crete. I am giving only the barest outlines of his discussion here: ….


  1. The Sea Peoples of Crete


With the evidences thus far noted before us, we are now in a position to examine the archaeological reports from Crete for evidences of the early occupation of this site by the Caphtorim (who are either identical to the Philistines of later Scripture or are closely related to them culturally). We now have at least an approximate idea of the nature of the culture for which we are looking …. … we can hardly be wrong in recognizing the earliest occupants of Crete as the people who represented the beginnings of the people later known in Scripture as the Philistines, by virtue of the stated origin of the Philistines in Crete. This concept holds regardless of the name that may be applied to this early era by scholars.

The only site at which Cretan archaeology has been examined for its earliest occupants is at the site of the palace at Knossos. At this site deep test pits were dug into the earlier occupation levels. If there is any archaeological evidence available from Crete for its earliest period, it should then be found from the archaeology of these test pits. The pottery found there is described by Dr. Furness, who is cited by Hutchinson.

“Dr. Furness divides the early Neolithic I fabrics into (a) coarse unburnished ware and (b) fine burnished ware, only differing from the former in that the pot walls are thinner, the clay better mixed, and the burnish more carefully executed. The surface colour is usually black, but examples also occur of red,

buff or yellow, sometimes brilliant red or orange, and sometimes highly variegated sherds”.

A relation was observed between the decoration of some of this pottery from early Neolithic I in Crete with that at the site of Alalakh ….

Continuing to cite Dr. Furness, Hutchinson commented:


Dr. Furness justly observes that “as the pottery of the late Neolithic phases seems to have developed at Knossos without a break, it is to the earliest that one must look for evidence of origin of foreign connections”, and she therefore stresses the importance of a small group with plastic decoration that seems mainly confined to the Early Neolithic I levels, consisting of rows of pellets immediately under the rim (paralleled on burnished pottery of Chalcolithic [predynastic] date from Gullucek in the Alaca [Alalakh] district of Asia Minor). [Emphasis Courville’s]


While the Archaeological Ages of early Crete cannot with certainty be correlated with the corresponding eras on the mainland, it would seem that Chalcolithic on the mainland is later than Early Neolithic in Crete; hence any influence of one culture on the other is more probably an influence of early Cretan culture on that of the mainland. This is in agreement with Scripture to the effect that the Philistines migrated from Crete to what is now the mainland at some point prior to the time of Abraham. ….

King Solomon needs a shift to Late Bronze Age of wealth and international trade

Image result for hatshepsut trade


Damien F. Mackey


“The wealth and international trade attested by these [Late Bronze Age] levels certainly reflect the age of Solomon far more accurately than the Iron Age cities normally attributed to him, from which we have “no evidence of any particular luxury”.”



Revisionists have accepted the need to re-date the Eighteenth Dynasty era of Egyptian history, of the Late Bronze Age [LBA], to the time of kings David and Solomon of Israel. See e.g. my:


Solomon and Sheba



Archaeologically, Dr. John Bimson had re-set this all into a proper perspective in his important article, “Can There be a Revised Chronology Without a Revised Stratigraphy?” (SIS Review, 6:1-3, Glasgow Proceedings, pp. 18-20).

Here is the relevant section of it for King Solomon:


  • The Late Bronze Age and the Reign of Solomon



Although an exhaustive study of the LBA contexts of all scarabs commemorating Hatshepsut and Thutmose III would be required to establish this point, a preliminary survey suggests that objects from the joint reign of these two rulers do not occur until the transition from LB I to LB II, and that scarabs of Thutmose III occur regularly from the start of LB II onwards, and perhaps no earlier [14]. Velikovsky’s chronology makes Hatshepsut (with Thutmose III as co-ruler) a contemporary of Solomon, and Thutmose III’s sole reign contemporary with that of Rehoboam in Judah [15]. Therefore, if the revised chronology is correct, these scarabs would suggest that Solomon’s reign saw the transition from LB I to LB II, rather than that from LB I A to LB I B.

Placing the beginning of LB II during the reign of Solomon produces a very good correlation between archaeological evidence and the biblical record of that period. It is with this correlation that we will begin. In taking the LB I – II transition as its starting-point, the present article not only takes up the challenge offered by Stiebing, but also continues the revision begun in my previous articles, and will bring it to a conclusion (in broad outline) with the end of the Iron Age.

Though KENYON has stated that the LB I – II transition saw a decline in the material culture of Palestine [16], ongoing excavations are now revealing a different picture. LB II A “was definitely superior to the preceding LB I”, in terms of stability and material prosperity; it saw “a rising population that reoccupied long abandoned towns” [17]. Foreign pottery imports are a chief characteristic of the period [18]. According to the biblical accounts in the books of Kings and Chronicles, Solomon’s reign brought a period of peace which saw an increase in foreign contacts, unprecedented prosperity, and an energetic building programme which extended throughout the kingdom [19].

I Kings 9:15 specifically relates that Solomon rebuilt Hazor, Megiddo and Gezer. In the revised stratigraphy envisaged here, the cities built by Solomon at these sites would therefore be those of LB II A. More specifically, these three Solomonic cities would be represented by Stratum VIII in Area AA at Megiddo [20], by Stratum XVI at Gezer, and by Stratum XIV of the Upper City at Hazor (= Str. Ib of the Lower City) [21].

The wealth and international trade attested by these levels certainly reflect the age of Solomon far more accurately than the Iron Age cities normally attributed to him, from which we have “no evidence of any particular luxury” [21a].

The above-mentioned strata at Megiddo and Gezer have both yielded remains of very fine buildings and courtyards [22]. The Late Bronze strata on the tell at Hazor have unfortunately not produced a clear picture, because of levelling operations and extensive looting of these levels during the Iron Age; but the LB II A stratum of the Lower City has produced a temple very similar in concept to the Temple built by Solomon in Jerusalem, as described in the Old Testament [23].

Art treasures from these cities not only indicate the wealth of the period, but reflect contacts with Egypt and northern Mesopotamia [24]. These contacts are precisely those we would expect to find attested during Solomon’s reign, the Bible records Solomon’s trade with Egypt and his marriage to the Pharaoh’s daughter [25], and says (I Kings 4:24) that his kingdom extended as far to the north-east as Tiphsah, which is probably to be identified with Thapsacus, “an important crossing in the west bank of the Middle Euphrates … placed strategically on a great east-west trade route” [26].

The Bible adds extra detail concerning Gezer: namely, that Solomon rebuilt it after it had been captured and burnt by the Pharaoh, who had given the site to his daughter, Solomon’s wife, as a dowry (I Kings 9:16-17). In Velikovsky’s chronology, this pharaoh is identified as Thutmose I [27]. In the revised stratigraphy considered here, we would expect to find evidence for this destruction of Gezer at some point during LB I, and sure enough we do, including dramatic evidence of burning [28]. The “latest possible date” for this destruction is said to be the reign of Thutmose III, with some archaeologists preferring an earlier date [29]. We may readily identify this destruction as the work of Solomon’s father-in-law.

From the period between this destruction and the LB II A city comes a group of several dozen burials in a cave. DEVER remarks that most of these “show signs of advanced arthritis, probably from stoop labour, which may be an indication of the hardships of life during this period” [30]. Yet contemporary finds, including “Egyptian glass, alabaster and ivory vessels, and a unique terra-cotta sarcophagus of Mycenaean inspiration” [31], indicate considerable prosperity and international trade at this time. In a revised framework, it is tempting to speculate that the burials were of people who suffered under Solomon’s system of forced labour, by which Gezer was built according to I Kings 9:15. It emerges in I Kings 12 that this forced labour caused sufficient hardship to contribute to the bitterness which split the kingdom after Solomon’s death.

We must turn briefly to Jerusalem, where Solomon’s building activities were concentrated for the first twenty years of his reign, according to I Kings 9:10. Here we find that traces of occupation datable to Solomon’s time in the conventional scheme are rather poor [32] In the revised scheme, we may attribute to Solomon the impressive stone terrace system of LBA date excavated by Kenyon on the eastern ridge [33]. In fact, this is probably the “Millo” which Solomon is said to have built (I Kings 9:15, 24; II:27). Kenyon describes the nucleus of this terrace system as “a fill almost entirely of rubble, built in a series of compartments defined by facings of a single course of stones…” [34]. “Fill”, or “filling”, is the probable meaning of “Millo” [35]. Also to Solomon’s time would belong at least some of the LBA tombs discovered on the western slope of the Mount of Olives; many of these contain LB I – IIA material which includes “a surprisingly large number” of imported items from Cyprus, Aegean and Egypt [36]. The number would not be surprising in the context of Solomon’s reign. ….

Comparison of (A) LB II (Stratum Ib) temple at Hazor with (B) the basic ground plan of Solomon’s Temple in Jerusalem, as deduced from biblical information. Both have a tripartite division on a single axis, side-rooms and a pair of free-standing pillars (though the latter are not identically situated in both cases) …”.


This LBA world, though, does not even enter the mind of a conventional archaeologist such as Israel Finkelstein as a possible setting for King Solomon. We read of Finkelstein’s views on the matter in Robert Draper’s article, “Kings of Controversy” (National Geographic Magazine, December 2010):



…. The once common practice of using the Bible as an archaeological guide has been widely contested as an unscientific case of circular reasoning—and with particular relish by Tel Aviv University’s contrarian-in-residence Israel Finkelstein, who has made a career out of merrily demolishing such assumptions. He and other proponents of “low chronology” say that the weight of archaeological evidence in and around Israel suggests that the dates posited by biblical scholars are a century off. The “Solomonic” buildings excavated by biblical archaeologists over the past several decades at Hazor, Gezer, and Megiddo were not constructed in David and Solomon’s time, he says, and so must have been built by kings of the ninth-century B.C.’s Omride dynasty, well after David and Solomon’s reign.

During David’s time, as Finkelstein casts it, Jerusalem was little more than a “hill-country village,” David himself a raggedy upstart akin to Pancho Villa, and his legion of followers more like “500 people with sticks in their hands shouting and cursing and spitting—not the stuff of great armies of chariots described in the text.

“Of course we’re not looking at the palace of David!” Finkelstein roars at the very mention of [Eilat] Mazar’s discovery. “I mean, come on. I respect her efforts. I like her—very nice lady. But this interpretation is—how to say it?—a bit naive.”

…. To the minimalists, David and Solomon were simply fictitious characters. The credibility of that position was undercut in 1993, when an excavation team in the northern Israel site of Tel Dan dug up a black basalt stela inscribed with the phrase “House of David.” Solomon’s existence, however, remains wholly unverified.

…. “You can find evidence in radiocarbon for David being a villager in Norway in the sixth century A.D.!” declares Israel Finkelstein—exaggerating to make a point, as he is prone to doing. “But look, I enjoy reading everything Tom writes about Khirbat en Nahas. It has brought all sorts of ideas to me. I myself would never dig in such a place—too hot! For me, archaeology is about having a good time. You should come to Megiddo—we live in an air-conditioned B&B next to a nice swimming pool.”

This is how Finkelstein begins his rebuttals, with amiable preambles that cannot conceal the Mephisto-like gleam in his eyes. For a scholar, the Tel Aviv archaeologist has a highly visceral manner—leaning his tall, bearded frame into a visitor’s face, waving his large hands, modulating his baritone with Shakespearean agility.

Yet his charm wears thin for those who have felt the sting of his attacks. “If you want to attract attention, you behave like Finkelstein,” says Eilat Mazar. Similarly unamused is Yosef Garfinkel, who says of Finkelstein’s recent receipt of a four-million-dollar research grant, “He doesn’t even use science—that’s the irony. It’s like giving Saddam Hussein the Nobel Peace Prize.” Still, Finkelstein’s theories strike an intellectually appealing middle ground between biblical literalists and minimalists. “Think of the Bible the way you would a stratified archaeological site,” he says. “Some of it was written in the eighth century B.C., some the seventh, and then going all the way to the second B.C. So 600 years of compilation. This doesn’t mean that the story doesn’t come from antiquity. But the reality presented in the story is a later reality. David, for example, is a historical figure. He did live in the tenth century B.C. I accept the descriptions of David as some sort of leader of an upheaval group, troublemakers who lived on the margins of society. But not the golden city of Jerusalem, not the description of a great empire in the time of Solomon. When the authors of the text describe that, they have in their eyes the reality of their own time, the Assyrian Empire.

“Now, Solomon,” he continues with a sigh. “I think I destroyed Solomon, so to speak. Sorry for that! But take Solomon, dissect it. Take the great visit of the Queen of Sheba—an Arabian queen coming to visit, bringing all sorts of exotic commodities to Jerusalem. This is a story which is an impossibility to think about before 732 B.C., before the beginning of Arabian trade under Assyrian domination. Take the story of Solomon as the great, you know, trainer in horses and chariots and big armies and so on. The world behind Solomon is the world of the Assyrian century.” ….


Wrong era, wrong cultures, Israel!

The following recent article by Dave Aeilts and Steve Law is a refreshing change from such endemic biblical minimalising:



Contents of Greek Tomb May Rewrite History



The miniature masterpiece, as UC Magazine calls it, was carved on an agate just under 1-½ inches in length. (Credit: University of Cincinnati)


For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord. – Isaiah 55:8 (ESV)


A worker at an archeological dig unearths a lump of limestone and puts it to the side. It’s just another shapeless artifact to clean and classify as a team from the University of Cincinnati excavates this 3,500-year-old gravesite in southern Greece. What the team does not realize is that, underneath layers of sediment deposited by the ages lies the work of a genius. This masterpiece may change scholars’ views of Late Bronze Age art—and the other contents of the burial may reveal new insights about this neighbor of Israel, including the dates that should be assigned to events in the ancient world.

What’s going on in the Bible lands has been the focus of many Thinker Updates, but this time we’re exploring a find from one of Israel’s neighbors that just might help us better understand the world of the Bible and its place in history.

A year-and-a-half ago, archeologists affiliated with the University of Cincinnati (UC) made a startling discovery. They were excavating the tomb of a Mycenaean warrior near the Palace of Nestor in Pylos, Greece. They believed this warrior was buried around 1,500 BC, during what is commonly referred to as the “Late Bronze Age.”

The Mycenaean civilization is thought to have controlled what is now southern Greece as well as other lands around the Aegean Sea from about 1,600 to 1,200 BC. Around 1,200 BC at the end of the Late Bronze Age, this early Greek culture went into a downward spiral along with many of their neighbors at the time of the Sea Peoples incursion. By about 1,100 BC, according to standard dating, the Mycenaeans were gone and Greek history had entered a dark period of weakness and disunity about which relatively little is known.


The image of a male warrior has been recreated by layering muscle and skin over the well-preserved skeletal remains in his tomb. (Credit: University of Cincinnati)


The skeletal remains in this tomb were so well preserved that an image of the male warrior has been recreated by overlaying muscle and skin. He has been dubbed “the Griffin Warrior” because of a plaque found next to him. On that plaque, made of ivory, was engraved the body of a lion and the head and wings of an eagle. That character, in both Greek and Egyptian mythology, is known as a griffin—hence the Griffin Warrior.

Besides the plaque, workers unearthed more than 3,000 objects buried with the warrior. The number and quantity of these items speak to his elevated status. According to UC Magazine’s article Unearthing a Masterpiece, the treasure trove included “four solid gold rings, silver cups, precious stone beads, fine-toothed ivory combs, and an intricately built sword, among other weapons.”

No wonder it was a full year before anyone got around to cleaning and categorizing the aforementioned lump of limestone. Imagine their surprise when they removed the crusted veneer of the small agate and realized that its flat surface bore an almost microscopic carving that may change how scholars view the development of art at that time and place.


This artifact was discovered in the grave, next to the Mycenaean warrior. Little did archaeological workers know what was under the limestone veneer. (Credit: University of Cincinnati)


First of all, the image on the stone depicts a battle scene in which a warrior overcomes a foe with his sword while trampling another underfoot. This scene is characteristic of warfare in that era, but it was the extremely fine detail of the artwork that astounded archaeologists who unearthed it.


“Looking at the image for the first time was a very moving experience, and still is,” the magazine quoted Shari Stocker, dig leader and senior research associate in UC’s Department of Classics. “It’s brought some people to tears.”


“What is fascinating is that the representation of the human body is at a level of detail and musculature that one doesn’t find again until the Classical period of Greek art 1,000 years later,” explained Jack Davis, dig leader and professor of Greek archeology, in UC Magazine.

Not only the detail but the size of Pylos Combat Agate, as it is referred to, is amazing. The agate on which this depiction of armed combat is carved is just under 1-1/2 inches in length and contains tiny features which may only be appreciated when viewed through a photographic lens.

“Some of the details on this are only a half-millimeter big,” said Davis in the magazine. “They’re incomprehensibly small.” The small size has prompted some to speculate that a magnifying glass was needed to engrave such exquisite detail.

The intricate detail of the Pylos Combat Agat is revealed in this enlarged drawing of the image on the stone. (Courtesy of Tina Ross/the University of Cincinnati)


The warrior scene is thought to have been created by artisans of the Minoan culture, which inhabited the island of Crete, southeast of Pylos.

“Although the Minoans were culturally dominant to the Greek mainlanders, the civilization fell to the Mycenaeans around 1500-1400 BC—roughly the same time period in which the Griffin Warrior died,” according to the magazine.

What surprised the archeologists was the large number of artifacts of high quality discovered in this Mycenaean warrior’s grave. “It seemed the Minoans were producing art the sort that no one ever imagined they were capable of,” Davis told the magazine.

According to the UC archeologists, this treasure trove also suggests that relations between Mycenaean and Minoan were closer and their cultures more interwoven than earlier thought.

Will this remarkable find rewrite the history of Greece and Greek art? Could the advanced quality of the Pylos Combat Agate, engraved 1,000 years before any comparable artwork, cause scholars to rethink their ideas of when these societies rose and fell?

The Pylos tomb and future archeological digs may reveal more answers. As has been mentioned, Greece supposedly fell into a dark age of nearly 500 years after the collapse of the Mycenaean Greece and the Bronze Age in about 1,200 BC. Yet many scholars have noted the close stylistic similarities in many aspects of the culture (including art) between Mycenaean Greece and the rise of Classical Greece about 500 years later.


One book, Centuries of Darkness by Peter James (Athens: Aiolos, 2006), points to problems with the dating of these dark ages around the Mediterranean. James notes that evidence from before and after the dark periods shows that some of these styles are so similar that the time of depression must be much shorter than normally thought. He concludes that the “dark periods” in the cultures have all been artificially lengthened by centuries due to their reliance on Egypt’s timeline for their dates.

Apparent problems with standard dating are what prompted Egyptologist David Rohl to explore potential revisions. The New Chronology being proposed by Rohl and others would decrease the long dark periods in Egypt and its neighbors by centuries, which would pull a remarkable pattern of archaeological evidence matching the Bible’s Exodus account from the Middle Bronze Age forward in time to match the biblical dates for the Exodus. It would also have the effect of drawing Mycenaean Greece much closer to classical Greece.

David Rohl has noted that some scholars have been puzzled by the historical detail gotten right by Homer in his great tale of the Iliad. Many think Homer lived in the 800s BC, but the Trojan War, which is the subject of the Iliad, was about 400 years earlier. Under the New Chronology, the end of the Bronze Age and the Trojan War would move forward by at least three centuries, so Homer could have spoken with some whose grandfathers participated in the war. This would explain how he got so much right.


So Hiram supplied Solomon with all the timber of cedar and cypress that he desired … So Solomon’s builders and Hiram’s builders and the men of Gebal did the cutting and prepared the timber and the stone to build the house… and Hiram king of Tyre had supplied Solomon with cedar and cypress timber and gold, as much as he desired, – 1 Kings 5:10, 18, 9:11 (ESV)


Will connections drawn from evidence at Pylos show signs that the Bronze Age happened later in history than the standard view holds. If so, the Mycenaean civilization could have been active through the time of kings David and Solomon, rather than collapsing centuries earlier. The result would be that the glorious kingdom of Solomon would no longer be lost. Currently, most scholars conclude that the Bible is exaggerating when it describes the peace, wealth and cosmopolitan nature of Solomon’s kingdom. This is because the period of the Iron Age in which Solomon is currently set was the most impoverished in Canaan. But a shift as called for in the New Chronology would set Solomon in the era of wealth and international trade found in the Late Bronze Age. This controversial proposal is dismissed by many, but troublesome anomalies continue to point to the fact that something is wrong with the standard view.

Researchers continue to sort through this amazing find in one of the world’s oldest continuously populated regions. The UC archeological team has yet to restore and catalog some of the items found in the grave with the Griffin Warrior.

“There will be many more surprises to come, for sure,” stated Davis confidently in UC Magazine. Keep Thinking.


For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts. – Isaiah 55:9 (ESV)


“Zerah the Ethiopian” not likely a Pharaoh



 Damien F. Mackey




Dr. I Velikovsky’s Identification


“Amenhotep [II] called himself victorious, and it is accepted that this campaign was a victorious one. But was it really? …. the complete spoils were pitiful indeed if all the king of Egypt could count after his victorious battle were one chariot, two horses, two bows, and one quiver “full of arrows.” It was a defeat. …”.

 Dr. I Velikovsky (Ages in Chaos)



Dr. Velikovsky’s 1945 “Theses”


Here Velikovsky outlined, in point fashion, what he would elaborate upon later, in his series Ages in Chaos (http://www.varchive.org/ce/theses.htm):







  1. Amenhotep II lived not in the fifteenth but in the ninth century, and was the scriptural Zerah.


  1. The theory that the Ethiopian Zerah came from Arabia is wrong; equally wrong is the theory that he is a mythological figure.


  1. The battle of Ain-Reshet, referred to by Amenhotep II, is the battle of Mareshet-Gath, which was lost by Amenhotep II and won by Asa.


  1. This intrusion of Amenhotep II-Zerah is also narrated in the poem of Keret found in Ras Shamra.


  1. The theory that Terah of the Poem, who invaded the south of Palestine with millions of soldiers, is the father of Abraham, is wrong.


  1. The Shemesh-Edom of the war-annals of Amenhotep II is the Edomite city of Shapesh (Shemesh) referred to in the Poem of Keret.



  1. The texts found in Ras Shamra are not of the fifteenth, but of the ninth century.


  1. The close resemblance of the texts of Ras Shamra with diverse books of the Scriptures repudiates most of the assertions of the Bible criticism (late origin of the texts), as well as the modern theory about the Canaanite heritage in the Scriptures (early origin of the texts).


  1. The theory that alphabetic writing was perfected in the sixteenth century cannot be supported by the Ras Shamra texts of the ninth century.


  1. As the alphabetic writing of Hebrew in cuneiform of Ras Shamra is contemporaneous with the stela of Mesha written in Hebrew alphabetic characters, the alphabet most probably did not originate in Phoenicia but in Palestine”.



Dr. Velikovsky’s Ages in Chaos, I (1952)


Here (Chapter 5: “Ras Shamra”) Velikovsky elaborated upon his choice of the physically strong pharaoh, Amenhotep II, for the biblical “Zerah the Ethiopian”:


“Amenhotep II


Syria-Palestine of the period we are discussing was a region coveted by the pharaohs and striving for independence.

When the long and successful reign of Thutmose III came to its end, Amenhotep II (his royal name is usually read Okheperure) took the scepter. To the Asiatic provinces the death of Thutmose III was a signal for insurrection and the casting off of the Egyptian yoke. Amenhotep II marched at the head of a vast army of chariots, horsemen, and foot warriors to suppress the rebellion in Syria and Palestine. His Majesty “went against Retenu (Palestine) in his first victorious campaign, in order to extend his frontier.

… His Majesty came to Shamash-Edom and devastated it. … His Majesty came to Ugarit and subdued all his adversaries. . . .”97

On the way to Syria Amenhotep II displayed his ability to use the bow in a demonstration before the local princes in order to impress and intimidate them.

He returned to Memphis with a few hundred nobles as war prisoners and a booty of some hundred horses and chariots or war carriages. On his return to Egypt he hanged some of the prisoners to the mast of his ship on the Nile with their heads down.

In his ninth year he repeated his expedition to Palestine, his goal being Aphek in lower Galilee. He plundered two villages “west of Socoh,” and after pillaging other unimportant localities, he returned to Memphis with more prisoners. His harassing visits made him a common enemy of the kingdoms of Palestine and Syria. When he came again to Palestine, the main, and seemingly the only, battle was fought at a place called “y-r’-s-t”. Various solutions have been proposed for the identification of this locality.98

However, it is an important fact that according to Amenhotep’s annals he reached the place one day after his army left the Egyptian border.99 Thus the place of the battle could have been only in southern Palestine.

Amenhotep called himself victorious, and it is accepted that this campaign was a victorious one. But was it really? What was the booty in the battle of y-r’-s-t?

List of that which his majesty captured on this day: his horses 2, chariots 1, a coat of mail, 2 bows, a quiver full of arrows, a corselet and –100 some object the reading of which is no longer possible. But whatever may have been that last object, the complete spoils were pitiful indeed if all the king of Egypt could count after his victorious battle were one chariot, two horses, two bows, and one quiver “full of arrows.” It was a defeat.101

After a victory an army usually marches deeper into the enemy’s territory. But the lines directly

following the enumeration of the spoils say that, “passing southward toward Egypt, his majesty proceeded by horse.”102 Immediately after the battle, the king turned toward Egypt.

When a king returns from a successful campaign of restoring order in the provinces, the cities located on his triumphal route home do not choose that moment for revolt. Vassal cities rebel on seeing their oppressor in flight, and this is just what happened, for the war annals relate that Asiatics of a city on the way to Egypt “plotted to make a plan for casting out the infantry of his majesty.”103

During the remainder of his reign, for some decades, Amenhotep II did not return to Palestine, and there is no mention of any yearly tribute from there.104

To ascertain whether his expedition was a defeat, his subjective evaluation of the campaign must be compared with the scriptural record.

The son of Rehoboam, Abijah, king of Judah, succeeded in winning a decisive battle against Jeroboam, king of Israel (II Chronicles 13). This must mean that Egyptian domination was already declining.

After the short reign of Abijah, Asa, his son, followed him. “In his days the land was quiet ten years.”

He built fortified cities in Judah, constructed walls and towers, gates and bars. He said to Judah: “We have sought the Lord our God, and he hath given us rest on every side” (II Chronicles 14:7). So they built and prospered.

The destruction of the images of the pagan gods was in itself a rebellion (II Chronicles 14:5), for among them the first place surely belonged to the Egyptian gods, as the land since Shishak (Thutmose III) had been subject to the Egyptian crown. By fortifying the cities of Judah and recruiting his warriors, Asa clearly rejected Egyptian rule.


II CHRONICLES 14:8 And Asa had an army of men that bare targets and spears, out of Judah three hundred thousand; and out of Benjamin, that bare shields and drew bows, two hundred and fourscore thousand: all these were mighty men of valor.

The cities were fortified, the army stood ready.


II CHRONICLES 14:9-10 And there came out against them Zerah the Ethiopian with a host of a thousand thousand, and three hundred chariots; and came unto Mareshah.

Then Asa went out against him, and they set the battle in array in the valley of Zephathah at Mareshah.

Asa prayed to God for help.


II CHRONICLES 14:12-13 So the Lord smote the Ethiopians before Asa, and before Judah; and the Ethiopians fled.

And Asa and the people that were with him pursued them unto Gerar; and the Ethiopians were

overthrown, that they could not recover themselves; for they were destroyed before the Lord, and before his host; and they carried away very much spoil.


Zerah the Ethiopian, who led an army of Ethiopians and Libyans (II Chronicles 16:8) from the southern and western borders of Egypt (like the army of the pharaoh Shishak), could be none other than a pharaoh.

The way from Ethiopia to Palestine is along the valley of the Nile, and an Ethiopian army, in order to reach Palestine, would have had to conquer Egypt first. Moreover, the presence of Libyan soldiers in the army leaves little doubt that the king was the pharaoh of Egypt.

In the opinion of the exegetes (Graf, Erbt) the story of the Chronicles must have a historical basis in an Egyptian or an Arabian invasion.

The description of the battle of Mareshah or Moresheth105 reveals why the pharaoh turned his back speedily on Palestine and his face toward Egypt, why from the field of this battle his army carried away “one bow and two horses,” and why the population of the cities, presumably in Edomite southern Palestine, plotted against his garrisons.

It is a token of defeat when an Egyptian king recounts his own personal valor and fierceness on the battlefield, fighting himself against the soldiers of the enemy. It means that, when everyone had fled, His Majesty fought alone. In bombastic phrases, which do not refer to any special encounter, the inscription glorifies the ruler who battled alone: “Behold, he was like a fierce-eyed lion.”

He was pursued only to Gerar. So he still had the satisfaction of taking with him on his return to Egypt a few chiefs of some villages, whom he burned alive in Egypt: his Memphis stele records this holocaust.

Amenhotep II was not a great man, but he was a large one. He was proud of his physical strength and boasted that no one could draw his bow. A large bow inscribed with his name was found a few decades ago in his sepulcher.

“There is not one who can draw his bow among his army, among the hill-country sheiks [or] among the princes of Retenu [Palestine] because his strength is so much greater than [that of] any king who has ever existed,” says the Elephantine stele.106

“It is his story which furnished Herodotus with the legend that Cambyses was unable to draw the bow of the king of Ethiopia.”107 A modern scholar saw a common origin in this story, which survived in legendary form in Herodotus (Book III, 21ff), and in the historical boast written on the stele of Elephantine by Amenhotep II, who lived many centuries earlier. The story of Herodotus has an Ethiopian king as the bragging bender of the bow of Amenhotep II. Was Amenhotep II an Ethiopian on the Egyptian throne?

In the veins of the Theban Dynasty there was Ethiopian blood.108 Was the royal wife of Thutmose III a full-blooded Ethiopian and did she bear him a dark-skinned son? Or was Amenhotep II not the son of Thutmose III at all? He called himself son of Thutmose, but this claim need not have been literally true.

He called his mother Hatshepsut.109 Is it possible that before ascending the throne of Egypt he was a viceroy in Ethiopia?110 Conventional chronology identifying Zerah with Osorkon of the Libyan Dynasty encounters difficulty in the biblical reference to Zerah as an Ethiopian.

It was a glorious accomplishment to carry away so decisive a victory from the battlefield, when the foe was not a petty Arabian prince – as some exegetes have thought111 – or a pharaoh of the ignominious Twenty-second Dynasty – as other exegetes have assumed – but Amenhotep II, the great pharaoh, the successor to Thutmose II, the greatest of all the pharaohs. It was a victory as sweeping as the defeat of the Hyksos-Amalekites by Saul, but, as we shall see, its effect on the subsequent period was not of equal importance. Politically, the victory was not sufficiently exploited, but this fact does not detract from its military value. Egypt, at the very zenith of its imperial might, was beaten by Asa, king of Judah, and this was not a victory over an Egyptian garrison or a detachment dispatched to collect tribute, but over the multitude of the Egyptian-Ethiopian and Libyan hosts, at the head of whom stood the emperor-pharaoh himself.

With the rout of the Egyptian army in the south of Palestine, all of Syria-Palestine naturally was freed of the Egyptian yoke. The pharaoh had previously laid Ugarit waste and threatened all the kingdoms in this area; it is conceivable that the king of Judah had some help from the north, and the sympathy of the Syrian maritime peoples must certainly have been with Asa. The inscriptions of Amenhotep II reveal his ambition to dominate, in addition to the land of the Nile, the lands of the Jordan, Orontes, and Euphrates, which had rebelled after the death of Thutmose III. The great victory at Mareshah carried a message of freedom to all these peoples; the repercussions of the battle should have been heard in many countries and for many generations. But only once again does the Book of Chronicles pay tribute to this victory, and this in the words of the seer Hanani: “Were not the Ethiopians and the Lubim (Libyans) a huge host, with very many chariots and horsemen?” (II Chronicles 16:8.) It is also said that the population of the northern tribes went over to Judah because of the high esteem this country enjoyed after it had successfully repelled the pharaoh and his army (II Chronicles 15:9). Is no more material concerning the victory of Asa over Amenhotep II preserved? Such a great triumph should have had a greater echo.



Conventional estimate of Zerah



“The name “Zerah” is a “very likely corruption” of “Usarkon” (U-Serak-on), which it closely resembles … and most writers now identify Zerah with Usarkon II, though the Egyptian records of this particular era are deficient and some competent scholars still hold to Usarkon I …”.


Camden M. Cobern


“Zerah” as a king Osorkon


  1. M. Cobern explains the standard estimation of “Zerah the Ethiopian” (in ISBE) as follows (http://biblehub.com/topical/z/zerah_the_ethiopian.htm):




(zerach ha-kushi (2 Chronicles 14:9); Zare): A generation ago the entire story of Zerah’s conquest of Asa, coming as it did from a late source (2 Chronicles 14:9-15), was regarded as “apocryphal”: “If the incredibilities are deducted nothing at all is left” (Wellhausen, Prolegomena to the History of Israel, 207, 208); but most modern scholars, while accepting certain textual mistakes and making allowance for customary oriental hyperbole in description; accept this as an honest historical narrative, “nothing” in the Egyptian inscriptions being “inconsistent” with it (Nicol in BD; and compare Sayce, HCM, 362-64). The name “Zerah” is a “very likely corruption” of “Usarkon” (U-Serak-on), which it closely resembles (see Petrie, Egypt and Israel, 74), and most writers now identify Zerah with Usarkon II, though the Egyptian records of this particular era are deficient and some competent scholars still hold to Usarkon I (Wiedemann, Petrie, McCurdy, etc.). The publication by Naville (1891) of an inscription in which Usarkon II claims to have invaded “Lower and Upper Palestine” seemed to favor this Pharaoh as the victor over Asa; but the chronological question is difficult (Eighth Memoir of the Egyptian Exploration Fund, 51). The title “the Cushite” (Hebrew) is hard to understand. There are several explanations possible.


(1) Wiedemann holds that this may refer to a real Ethiopian prince, who, though unrecorded in the monuments, may have been reigning at the Asa era. There is so little known from this era “that it is not beyond the bounds of probability for an Ethiopian invader to have made himself master of the Nile Valley for a time” (Geschichte von Alt-Aegypten, 155).


(2) Recently it has been the fashion to refer this term “Cushite” to some unknown ruler in South or North Arabia (Winckler, Cheyne, etc.). The term “Cushite” permits this, for although it ordinarily corresponds to ETHIOPIA … yet sometimes it designates the tract of Arabia which must be passed over in order to reach Ethiopia (Jeremias, The Old Testament in the Light of Ancient East, I, 280) or perhaps a much larger district (see BD; EB; Hommel, Ancient Hebrew Tradition; Winckler, KAT, etc.). This view, however, is forced to explain the geographical and racial terms in the narrative differently from the ordinary Biblical usage (see Cheyne, EB). Dr. W. M. Flinders Petrie points out that, according to the natural sense of the narrative, this army must have been Egyptian for


  • after the defeat it fled toward Egypt, not eastward toward Arabia;
  • the cities around Gerar (probably Egyptian towns on the frontier of Palestine), toward which they naturally fled when defeated, were plundered;
  • the invaders were Cushim and Lubim (Libyans), and this could only be the case in an Egyptian army;
  • Mareshah is a well-known town close to the Egyptian frontier (History of Egypt, III, 242-43; compare Konig, Funf neue arab. Landschaftsnamen im Altes Testament, 53-57).


(3) One of the Usarkons [Osorkons] might be called a “Cushite” in an anticipatory sense, since in the next dynasty (XXIII) Egypt was ruled by Ethiopian kings. …”.



Critical assessment so far


Chronologically, Velikovsky’s placement of the biblical “Zerah the Ethiopian” during Egypt’s Eighteenth Dynasty must inevitably (according to our revision) be far closer to reality than the conventional version, somewhere during the Twenty-Second Dynasty.

Biblically calculated, we must still be in the reign of pharaoh Thutmose III. For, a comparison of P. Mauro’s spacings (The Wonders of Bible Chronology) with the estimate for Zerah’s invasion by Peter James and Peter van der Veen, would yield approximately 25-30 years after the Shishak incident.

James and van der Veen have written (“Zerah the Kushite: A New Proposal Regarding His Identity”): https://www.academia.edu/13445553/Zerah_the_Kushite_A_New_Proposal_Reg


“… Shishak invasion in Year 5 of Rehoboam … when would the Zerah episode have occurred in Egyptian terms? Chronicles records that there was peace in the land for the first ten years of Asa’s reign; also that some of the livestock captured after the defeat of Zerah were sacrificed in the year 15 (2 Chron. 14:1; 15:11). This places the Zerah episode in a fairly narrow window, between the years 11 and 14 of Asa. With 12 years for the remainder of Rehoboam’s reign and 3 for Abijah, the invasion of Zerah would thus have fallen 26 to 29 years after that of Shishak”.


Now if, as we have calculated, Year 5 of Rehoboam had coincided with Year 23 of pharaoh Thutmose III (“Shishak”), then 30 years (the maximum possible figure) after that would bring us to Year 53, the penultimate year of Thutmose III’s long reign (54 years).

According to most estimates, Amenhotep II would by then have been co-ruling with his father. The length of the co-regency varies wildly from 4 months to 24 years. The uncertainty surrounding the reign of this pharaoh is apparent from Wikipedia’s article, “Amenhotep II” (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amenhotep_II):


“Amenhotep’s coronation can be dated without much difficulty because of a number of lunar dates in the reign of his father, Thutmose III. These sightings limit the date of Thutmose’s accession to either 1504 or 1479 BC.[15] Thutmose died after 54 years of reign,[16] at which time Amenhotep would have acceded to the throne. Amenhotep’s short coregency with his father would then move his accession two years and four months earlier,[6] dating his accession to either 1427 BC in the low chronology,[17] or in 1454 BC in the high chronology. The length of his reign is indicated by a wine jar inscribed with the king’s prenomen found in Amenhotep II’s funerary temple at Thebes; it is dated to this king’s highest known date—his Year 26 …. Mortuary temples were generally not stocked until the king died or was near death; therefore, Amenhotep could not have lived much later beyond his 26th year.[19] There are alternate theories which attempt to assign him a reign of up to 35 years, which is the absolute maximum length he could have reigned. In this chronology, he reigned from 1454 to 1419.[6] However, there are problems facing these theories which cannot be resolved.[20] In particular, this would mean Amenhotep died when he was 52, but an X-ray analysis of his mummy has shown him to have been about 40 when he died.[21] Accordingly, Amenhotep II is usually given a reign of 26 years and said to have reigned from 1427 to 1401 BC.[17]


Point 1, “Zerah” invaded the Judah of Asa right towards the end of the reign of Thutmose III.

This was well before the emergence of the pharaohs Osorkon.


Point 2. Now against the opinions of both convention and Velikovsky, who make “Zerah” a pharaoh, the invader is never once designated as such. (Their ethnic arguments are also weak).

Biblically whenever a Pharaoh is involved – from the time of Joseph of Egypt all the way down to Necho during the late C7th BC (conventional dating) – the Bible specifies either “Pharaoh” or “King [so-and-so] of Egypt”. We also have (Isaiah 37:9): “… Tirhakah king of Ethiopia …”.


Thus, whilst I would flatly reject convention’s era, designation and ethnicity for “Zerah”, I would also have to – whilst accepting Dr. Velikovky’s approximate era – reject his designation for “Zerah” as a pharaoh. If he had been a pharaoh, biblical consistency would demand that he be designated either as “King Zerah of Egypt” or as “Zerah king of Ethiopia”. He is neither.


Rohl, James and van der Veen estimates



“In choosing Rameses II as Shishak, Rohl has failed however to follow up and identify a candidate for ‘Zerah the Ethiopian’ (II Chronicles 14:9) who followed soon after Shishak …”.


Dr. John Osgood



Halfway versions of “Zerah” 


We might expect that the likes of David Rohl and Peter James, having abandoned Velikovsky’s Eighteenth Dynasty revision for a more middle course – or version situated ‘halfway’ between Velikovsky and convention – would find their “Zerah the Ethiopian” somewhere between the era of Velikovsky’s pharaoh Amenhotep II (late C15th BC, conventional dating) and convention’s Osorkon I (c. 900 BC, conventional dating) or II (c. 850 BC, conventional dating). 

And that is just what we do find.


David Rohl has located Zerah to the time of his “Shishak”, pharaoh Ramses II (c. 1300 BC).

Whilst Peter James has, in league with Peter van der Veen, located Zerah to “the final years” of pharaoh Ramses IV (c. 1150 BC).


On a positive note, neither of these moderate versions has identified “Zerah the Ethiopian” as a pharaoh, but, instead, as an officer of a current pharaoh, be he Ramses II or Ramses IV.


On a negative note, both choices suffer for their failure to accept the Thutmose III = “Shishak” Velikovskian equation (according to my previous arguments).

Commenting on this, a blogger has written (“Who was Shishak?”)



“Any revised chronology must identify a plausible candidate for the “Shishak king of Egypt” who plunders the Temple in the fifth year of King Rehoboam. Conventionally, Shishak is identified with Shoshenq, founded of the 22nd Dynasty. The names are a good match and Shoshenq did campaign in Palestine, but otherwise the match is implausible. The stela recording his campaign does not mention Jerusalem, thought to be the center of his attack David Rohl proposes Rameses II under his nickname “Sheshi” as the Shishak who sacked the Temple. Still, the larger chronological framework proposed by Rohl is not workable: within a few decades, Asa decisively defeats “Zerah the Ethiopian.” On Rohl’s chronology, Ethiopia is not under Egyptian jurisdiction at this point in time: Asa would be fortifying Judah right under the watchful eye of the powerful 19th Dynasty of Egypt, and Zerah would have to move through Egypt to battle Asa. Peter James has proposed Rameses III [or IV] (again, under the nickname “Sheshi”) as the Shishak who sacked Jerusalem. Yet again, however, the chronological framework does not work. David would be establishing the kingdom of David right under the nose of the powerful Rameses II. The only way James can work this is by denying the figure of 80 years for the reign of David and Solomon and reducing it to 40 years. This is the theory driving the facts”.


“Zerah” for David Rohl


Dr. John Osgood would, in his review of Rohl’s A Test of Time (Vol. I), both praise Rohl for having at last located King Solomon to a plausible archaeological setting, but criticise him for not having followed up his Ramses II as “Shishak” with a candidate for “Zerah the Ethiopian” https://creation.com/images/pdfs/tj/j11_1/j11_1_33-35.pdf


“In chapter 8 Rohl then attempts to date the Solomonic period presently assigned to Iron Age IIA, and rightly concludes, as he must, that ‘the cultural wealth of the era of Solomon . . .is not

reflected in the archaeology of Iron Age Palestine . . .’. (page 175)

He puts forward the Late Bronze Age as the era of Solomon — the only period consistent with the Solomonic milieu. At last a member of the archaeological discipline begins to make archaeological sense of the Palestine archaeological strata!

In choosing Rameses II as Shishak, Rohl has failed however to follow up and identify a candidate for ‘Zerah the Ethiopian’ (II Chronicles 14:9) who followed soon after Shishak, nor an explanation for the Queen of Sheba”.


Eric J. Aitchison would comment similarly (now including Peter James as well) in his book, Revisiting Velikovsky: An Audit of an Innovative Revisionist Attempt:





“It is of some moment that I draw to your attention that neither in “A Test of Time”, (David Rohl), nor in “Centuries of Darkness” (Peter James) is any attempt made to identify this historical character; this is subsequently rectified in Academia posts …. The word, “Zerah” is not in either book’s index. Each author identifies who might be Shishak and thus a relationship with Rehoboam, but neither goes on to identify whom [sic] Zerah might be in relation to an activity that occurs those twenty-eight years later …. In his later book, “The Lost Testament” David Rohl … offers the suggestion that Zerah was a general under Ramesses II. Thus Velikovsky was the braver scholar over his identification of Zerah as Amenhotep II. Murphie … in his work on “A Test of Time”, draws to our attention that under Rohl’s scheme Zerah must be active under Ramesses II, and then points out to us the resultant incongruities that flow there from”.


Whilst I must reject David Rohl’s proposed era for the biblical Zerah as too late, I think that his later suggestion that Zerah the Ethiopian was a “general” is preferable to Velikovsky’s view that he was a pharaoh.


“Zerah” for James and van der Veen


Era-wise for Zerah, James and van der Veen are even further away from the mark than is Rohl.

What can be gleaned from their choice for the biblical Zerah, though, is that they have, like Rohl finally did, accepted that Zerah was an official rather than a pharaoh.

In “Zerah the Kushite: A New Proposal Regarding His Identity”: https://www.academia.edu/13445553/Zerah_the_Kushite_A_New_Proposal_Reg James and van der Veen have chosen for Zerah an official of pharaoh Ramses IV, Userḫau.

Whilst this choice suffers further from the fact that there appears to be nothing to suggest that Userḫau was an “Ethiopian”, it does have in its favour that the name Userḫau is compatible with Zeraḥ. “The resemblance of his name to that of Zeraḥ prompts further investigation”.


Zerah: one million men, 300 chariots?



“Asa had an army of three hundred thousand men from Judah, equipped with large shields and with spears, and two hundred and eighty thousand from Benjamin, armed with small shields and with bows. All these were brave fighting men. Zerah the Ethiopian came out against them with an army of a million men and 300 chariots, and came as far as Mareshah”.


2 Chronicles 14:8-9



One million men?


Common sense ought to tell us that this is a ridiculous figure for that time and that the text, in order to make sense, must stand in need of a more reasonable translation.

The writer of the following blog is therefore entirely correct in mounting this direct challenge, though wrong in attributing it to a fault of the Bible, “the bible is false, it is all false”.



“The Bible is Wrong About

1,000,000 Ethiopians Being Murdered


…. I am using the murder [sic] of one million Ethiopians to represent all of God’s murders in the Old Testament. Steve Wells documents the 158 separate instances where God either commands, condones or participates in the murder of approximately 25 million people in his book, Drunk With Blood. He also provides a complete listing and description of each of the 158 murderous events …. I will leave it to his website to describe each event; I will just look at the one with the highest toll. I will show beyond a doubt that it never happened. That is, I will provide yet another biblical story that is falsified. One can conclude that if any story of the bible is false, it is all false.


Population of Ethiopia


The story of killing 1,000,000 Ethiopians is an example of the ridiculous nature of all of the old testament.  In order to mount an army of one million, the population would have to be at least 4  million. There were nowhere near four million Ethiopians alive at that time. Only Egypt came close to those numbers in those days. According to Colin McEvedy in his reference book “Atlas of World Population History”, Ethiopia had a population of 200,000 in 1000 BC. McEvedy makes the case that the entire continent of Africa had a population of only 6.5 million in 1000 BC with 3 million of those living in Egypt. There was no Ethiopian dynasty of over 4 million back in the times of King David.


What About Egypt?


To get to the land of the children of Israel, the Ethopians would have had to march through Egypt. Just how would this have been accomplished? How were 1 million soldiers supplied? Where did the water come from?

In addition, do you suppose that Egypt would have stood still while one million Ethiopians marched through their land. Or, did the Lord change the hearts of the Egyptians, his hated people. Remember, he was going to show them (the Egyptians) who was Lord with his plagues. He failed to do so. They still worshiped many gods, Ra chief among them. So, the Ethiopians would not even have been able to get to the Children’s promised land.


No Other Accounting of This Event


The real proof is in the total lack of any corroborating stories about the murder of 1 million Ethiopians. If their culture was advanced enough to support 4+ million people, they would be capable of recording their history. It is not there. In fact, there is no corroboration of any of the 158 murderous events that god commanded, condoned or participated in. …”.


We actually have the same problem here as with the numbers involved in the Exodus event, which have, owing to unreasonable translation of the texts, been inflated to millions.

The above questions: “How were 1 million soldiers supplied? Where did the water come from?”, are similarly applicable to the Exodus event. They are entirely relevant questions.


The solution to the numbers of Zerah the Ethiopian’s army and of the inflated Exodus numbers – and even of King Asa of Judah’s massive army of upwards of half a million, which would have made him potentially a world conqueror – is in the proper interpretation of the key Hebrew word, eleph (אֶלֶף), common to all three situations (Exodus; Asa: and Zerah).

Dr Bryant Wood (a conventional archaeologist) explains the situation in his answer below, in “The Number of Israelites in the Exodus”: “At the heart of the issue is the meaning of the Hebrew word eleph …”: http://www.biblearchaeology.org/post/2009/04/16/The-Number-of-Israelites-in-the-Exodus.aspx


“In several places, the Bible seems to suggest that the Israelites involved in the Exodus and Conquest numbered more than two million people (e.g., Ex. 12:37; Num. 1: 46; Num. 26: 51).

This figure seems extraordinarily large and skeptics often cite it as proof of the biblical account’s inaccuracy. I know that various solutions have been offered, by James Hoffmeier amongst others, but there appears to be insurmountable difficulties with taking the texts at anything other than face value.

Is there archaeological evidence that the Promised Land received such a large influx of people during the period under discussion?

I would appreciate any perspective you might give me on this problem.


Thank you for the question: “Is there archaeological evidence that the Promised Land received such a large influx of people during the period under discussion?”

The number of Israelites who left Egypt at the time of the Exodus is a vexed problem.  It is possible, however, to make a rough estimate.  Following the Conquest, 1406–1400 B.C., in the subsequent Late Bronze II period [sic] (14th and 13th centuries), the urban population in the highlands where the Israelites settled remained approximately the same as it was prior to the Conquest (Gonen 1984: Table 4).  Based on highland burials, however, which includes both urbanites and non-urbanites, the population seems to have increased from the pre-Conquest period to the post-Conquest period (Gonen 1992: Table 5).  The overall population is difficult to access.  We do not have estimates for the Late Bronze I and II periods, but an estimate of the highland population for the previous Middle Bronze II period is ca. 65,000 (Broshi and Gophna 1986: Tables 1, 2, 6, 7,10, 11). Another possible way to estimate the number of Israelites who left Egypt is by means of the number of captives the Egyptians acquired in Canaan four years after the Exodus, which amounted to ca. 100,000 (Wood 2008:105–106).

At the heart of the issue is the meaning of the Hebrew word eleph. It is usually translated “thousand,” but has a complex semantic history. The word is etymologically connected with “head of cattle,” like the letter aleph, implying that the term was originally applied to the village or population unit in a pastoral-agricultural society. From that it came to mean the quota supplied by one village or “clan” (Hebrew Mišpāḥā) for the military muster (Malamat 1967: 135). Originally the contingent was quite small, five to fourteen men in the quota lists of Numbers 1 and 26, as shown by Mendenhall (1958). Finally the word became a technical term for a military unit of considerable size, which together with the use of the same word for the number 1,000 has tended to obscure its broader semantic range. See also Humphreys 1998 and 2000, and Hoffmeier 2005: 153–59.

I hope this helps.

Sincerely yours,

Bryant G. Wood”


Obviously, to reduce the “thousand” to, for instance, Bryant’s “five to fourteen men” would make a considerable difference to the overall sum of fighting men involved.


Translations whose outcome is to defy common sense make the Bible very easy pickings for hostile critics. Here is another such example, “God killed 27,000 Syrians with a falling wall”: http://dwindlinginunbelief.blogspot.com.au/2010/02/gods-83rd-killing-god-killed-27000.html


“In his last killing, God killed the 100,000 Syrians for calling him a hill god. But some of the name-calling Syrians escaped. God took care of them by having a wall fall on them, killing 27,000.
But the rest fled to Aphek, into the city; and there a wall fell upon twenty and seven thousand of the men that were left. 1 Kings 20.30a


It was a really big wall”.


Once again, we encounter that Hebrew word, eleph:


וַתִּפֹּל הַחוֹמָה, עַל-עֶשְׂרִים וְשִׁבְעָה אֶלֶף אִישׁ הַנּוֹתָרִים


Falling walls, especially those relatively small ancient ones, do not tend to kill 27,000 men.

Common sense ought to tell us that straight off.

But a falling wall might flatten, say, 27 “chiefs” – a possible translation of eleph.


Era of Zerah


Our first critic above is right to argue for a lesser population estimate at the approximate era of Zerah the Ethiopian (give or take the conventional 500 years of error): “There were nowhere near four million Ethiopians alive at that time. Only Egypt came close to those numbers in those days. According to Colin McEvedy in his reference book “Atlas of World Population History”, Ethiopia had a population of 200,000 in 1000 BC”.

We have firmly fixed Zerah the Ethiopian’s invasion, during the early reign of King Asa of Judah (c. 900 BC, conventional dating), to Asa’s 11th-14th year “window” (following James and van der Veen).

And we have estimated that this must have occurred whilst pharaoh Thutmose III (whose Year 23 corresponded with Rehoboam’s Year 5) was still ruling Egypt, to very late in his 54-year reign. At this stage, he was considered to have adopted his son, Amenhotep II, as co-regent.


Hence, chronologically, Amenhotep II was a co-ruler of Egypt at the time of Zerah’s invasion.


Despite this nice coincidence, I am not inclined to accept Dr. Velikovsky’s identification of Amenhotep II as “Zerah the Ethiopian”.

There is no strong evidence at all to indicate that Amenhotep II was an Ethiopian.

There is no biblical evidence at all that Zerah was a pharaoh of Egypt.

The names are quite un-alike (though that also applied with Thutmose III as ‘Shishak”).


As David Rohl has correctly discerned, this was the Late Bronze Era.

Dr Bryant Wood is quite wrong above in locating the Conquest era to this approximate archaeological phase: “Following the Conquest, 1406–1400 B.C., in the subsequent Late Bronze II period (14th and 13th centuries) …”.

Dr. John Osgood, our reliable biblico-archaeological guide in earlier parts of this series, makes favourable reference to Rohl when considering the archaeological era of King Solomon that immediately preceded Thutmose III:


“In chapter 8 Rohl then attempts to date the Solomonic period presently assigned to Iron Age IIA, and rightly concludes, as he must, that ‘the cultural wealth of the era of Solomon . . .is not

reflected in the archaeology of Iron Age Palestine . . .’. (page 175)

He puts forward the Late Bronze Age as the era of Solomon — the only period consistent with the Solomonic milieu. At last a member of the archaeological discipline begins to make archaeological sense of the Palestine archaeological strata!”


And Dr. John Bimson had, in his fundamentally important article, “Can There be a Revised Chronology Without a Revised Stratigraphy?” (SIS Review, VI, 1-3), pin-pointed the archaeological phase for Thutmose III (which must also be the age of “Zerah the Ethiopian”):


“Although an exhaustive study of the LBA [Late Bronze Age] contexts of all scarabs commemorating Hatshepsut and Thutmose III would be required to establish this point, a preliminary survey suggests that objects from the joint reign of these two rulers do not occur until the transition from LB I to LB II, and that scarabs of Thutmose III occur regularly from the start of LB II onwards, and perhaps no earlier [14]. Velikovsky’s chronology makes Hatshepsut (with Thutmose III as co-ruler) a contemporary of Solomon, and Thutmose III’s sole reign contemporary with that of Rehoboam in Judah [15]. Therefore, if the revised chronology is correct, these scarabs would suggest that Solomon’s reign saw the transition from LB I to LB II, rather than that from LB I A to LB I B.

Placing the beginning of LB II during the reign of Solomon produces a very good correlation between archaeological evidence and the biblical record of that period. It is with this correlation that we will begin. In taking the LB I – II transition as its starting-point, the present article not only takes up the challenge offered by Stiebing, but also continues the revision begun in my previous articles, and will bring it to a conclusion (in broad outline) with the end of the Iron Age”.


As we move towards the east, to Babylon for instance, we must at this time encounter the Hammurabic dynasty – given that we have revised Hammurabi of Babylon as a close contemporary of King Solomon.

For almost four decades after Hammurabi’s death, his son Samsuiluna is said to have ruled Babylon (c. 1750-1712 BC, conventional dating). His reign must, therefore, have run alongside that of the long-reigning Thutmose III.

This necessitates that Samsuiluna must now be shifted downwards by some eight centuries.

He must be now dragged out of the Middle Bronze Age II 1750 BCE – 1650 BCE

and re-located to Late Bronze II.

No longer a contemporary of Egypt’s Thirteenth Dynasty, Samsuiluna now becomes, as he was, a contemporary of Egypt’s Eighteenth Dynasty, the New Kingdom era.


What was going on at this time in the east?



“In the 9th year of Samsu-iluna’s reign a man calling himself Rim-sin (known in the literature as Rim-sin II, and thought to perhaps be a nephew of the Rim-sin who opposed Hammurabi)[3]:48–49 raised a rebellion against Babylonian authority in Larsa which spread to include some 26 cities, among them Uruk, Ur, Isin and Kisurra in the south, and Eshnunna.[2]:243[3]:48–49[4]:115 in the north.

Samsu-iluna seems to have had the upper-hand militarily. Within a year he dealt the coalition a shattering blow which took the northern cities out of the fight.[Note 1] In the aftermath the king of Eshnunna, Iluni, was dragged to Babylon and executed by strangulation.[2]:243 Over the course of the next 4 years, Samsu-iluna’s armies tangled with Rim-sin’s forces up and down the borderlands between Babylon, Sumer and Elam. Eventually Samsu-iluna attacked Ur, pulled down its walls and put the city to the sack, he then did the same to Uruk, and Isin as well.[3]:48–49[Note 2] Finally Larsa itself was defeated and Rim-sin II was killed, thus ending the struggle.[2]:243

Unfortunately the floodgates had opened. A few years later, a pretender calling himself Ilum-ma-ili, and claiming descent from the last king of Isin, raised another pan-Sumerian revolt. Samsu-iluna marched an army to Sumer, and the two met in a battle which proved indecisive; a second battle sometime later went Ilum-ma-ili‘s way, and in its aftermath, he founded the First Dynasty of Sea-Land,[2]:243[Note 3], which would remain in control of Sumer for the next 300 years. Samsu-iluna seems to have taken a defensive approach after this; in the 18th year of his reign, he saw to the rebuilding of 6 fortresses in the vicinity of Nippur[5]:380–382, which might have been intended to keep that city under Babylonian control. Ultimately, this proved fruitless; by the time of Samsu-iluna’s death, Nippur recognized Ilum-ma-ili as king.[3]:48–49

Apparently, Eshnunna had not reconciled itself to Babylonian control either, because in Samsu-iluna’s 20th year they rebelled again.[3]:48–49 Samsu-iluna marched his army through the region and, presumably after some bloodshed, constructed the fortress of Dur-samsuiluna to keep them in line. This seems to have done the trick, as later documents see Samsu-iluna take a more conciliatory stance repairing infrastructure and restoring waterways.[3]:48–49

As if this weren’t enough, both Assyria and Elam used the general chaos to re-assert their independence. Kuturnahunte I of Elam, seizing the opportunity left by Samsu-iluna’s attack on Uruk, marched into the (now wall-less) city and plundered it, among the items looted was a statue of Inanna which wouldn’t be returned until the reign of Ashurbanipal 11 centuries [sic] later.[2]:243 In Assyria, a native vice regent named Puzur-Sin ejected Asinum who had been a vassal king of his fellow Amorite Hammurabi. A native king Ashur-dugul seized the throne, and a period of civil war in Assyria ensued. Samsu-Iluna seems to have been powerless to intervene, and finally a king named Adasi, restored a stable native dynasty in Assyria, removing any vestages of Amorite-Babylonian influence[6]:section 576 apud[2]:243

In the end, Samsu-iluna was left with a kingdom that was only fractionally larger than the one his father had started out with 50 years prior (but which did leave him mastery of the Euphrates up to and including the ruins of Mari and its dependencies).[4]:115[Note 4] The status of Eshnunna is difficult to determine with any accuracy, and while it may have remained in Babylonian hands the city was exhausted and its political influence at an end”.


Pharaoh Amenhotep II himself appears to have continued a peaceful relationship with Babylon and Mitanni in his time (http://www.touregypt.net/featurestories/amenhotep2.htm):


“Yet these stele, erected after year nine of Amenhotep II’s rule, that provide us with this information do not bear hostile references to either Mitanni or Nahrin, the general regions of the campaigns. This is probably intentional, because apparently the king had finally made peace with these former foes. In fact, an addition at the end of the Memphis stele records that the chiefs of Nahrin, Hatti and Sangar (Babylon) arrived before the king bearing gifts and requesting offering gifts (hetepu) in exchange, as well as asking for the breath of life. Though good relations with Babylon existed during the reign of Tuthmosis III, this was the first mention of a Mitanni peace, and it is very possible that a treaty existed allowing Egypt to keep Palestine and part of the Mediterranean coast in exchange for Mitannian control of northern Syria. Underscoring this new alliance, with Nahrin, Amenhotep II had inscribed on a column between the fourth and fifth pylons at Karnak, “The chiefs (weru) of Mitanni (My-tn) come to him, their deliveries upon their backs, to request offering gifts from his majesty in quest of the breath of life”.”



A possible candidate for Zerah



Usersatet was an Ancient Egyptian official with the titles king’s son of Kush (Viceroy of Kush) and overseer of the southern countries. He was in office under king Amenhotep II and perhaps in the early years of the reign of Thutmosis IV. As king’s son of Kush he was the main official in charge of the Nubian provinces”.




Ethnically Ethiopian?


Whilst I had written previously, regarding the proposed identification of Zerah as the official, Userḫau, according to Peter James and Peter van der Veen, that “… this choice suffers further from the fact that there appears to be nothing to suggest that Userḫau was an “Ethiopian” …”, it has since occurred to me that biblical practice may use such a term geographically, rather than ethnically. For instance, we have considered that Ruth was only a “Moabite” (Ruth 1:22) in terms of where she lived. For she was, by race, an Israelite.

So it may also be that “Zerah the Ethiopian” was simply dwelling in Ethiopia, though he may not necessarily have been an Ethiopian by race – may not necessarily have been black.


More definitely, I think, can we say that the “one million men” who supposedly constituted the army of Zerah is an unrealistic translation.

We discussed this previously.

For, the largest armies of this time were probably more like 10,000 men – the number some have estimated for the size of the army employed by Thutmose III in his First Campaign.


Tightening the historical context


We have calculated that the latest that the invasion of Zerah could have occurred would have been “… Year 53, the penultimate year of Thutmose III’s long reign (54 years)”, using that “fairly narrow window, between the years 11 and 14 of Asa” (James and van der Veen).

Year 50 would have been the earliest possible date for Zerah’s invasion.

What was happening around this time with Thutmose III?, with Amenhotep II?


Interestingly, as I think, Thutmose III would, in his Year 50, complete his final campaign.



“Thutmose took one last campaign in his 50th regnal year, very late in his life. He attacked Nubia, but only went as far as the fourth cataract of the Nile. Although no king of Egypt had ever penetrated as far as he did with an army, previous kings’ campaigns had spread Egyptian culture that far already, and the earliest Egyptian document found at Gebel Barkal in fact comes from three years before Thutmose’s campaign.[53]


Why this campaign may be ‘interesting’ for our purposes is (i) that it sits right at the beginning of the “fairly narrow window” of possible years for Zerah’s campaign, 50-53 of Thutmose III; it (ii) concludes Thutmose III’s military activity; and it (iii) involves a conquest of Nubia (Ethiopia) which provided soldiers, “Cushites”, for the large army of Zerah.

2 Chronicles 16:8: ‘Were not the Cushites [Ethiopians] and Libyans a vast army with many chariots and horsemen? When you depended on Yahweh, He handed them over to you’.


Although the extent of the recognised co-regency between Thutmose III and his son, Amenhotep II, is disputed, the general estimate is of a co-regency of about two years.

That would place Amenhotep II’s beginning around Years 52-53 of Thutmose III.

Hence Amenhotep II’s 7th and 9th Year campaigns – the ones favoured for Zerah’s invasion, including by Velikovsky – would be well outside the range of possible dates for Zerah.


With Thutmose III having ‘faded out’, and with Amenhotep II yet to emerge, then the suggestion by some revisionists that Zerah the Ethiopian was an official rather than a pharaoh (supported by the scriptural description of him) becomes an attractive one.

Peter James and Peter van der Veen had favoured the official, Userḫau, whose name is compatible with that of Zerah.

But I believe that he is far too late for Zerah.

However, we may be able to identify an important official who has the same name element User, but who belongs to the approximate time range that we have established above for Zerah.


He is:


Usersatet Viceroy of Kush


Hence he also has the advantage over Userḫau of having ruled Kush, or Ethiopia, from whence Zerah the Ethiopian and his army will emerge.



“Usersatet was an Ancient Egyptian official with the titles king’s son of Kush (Viceroy of Kush) and overseer of the southern countries. He was in office under king Amenhotep II and perhaps in the early years of the reign of Thutmosis IV. As king’s son of Kush he was the main official in charge of the Nubian provinces.


Usersatet was perhaps born in Elephantine or at least the region around this island. The name Usersatet means Satet is strong; Satet being the main deity of Elephantine. Usersatet’s father was Siamun, and his mother was Nenwenhermenetes, king’s ornament, both of which not much is known.[1]


It seems that Usersatet grew up in the royal palace and followed the king on his military campaign to Syria. He cleared 5 canals in the region of Aswan. The canals were already more than 700 years old and most likely had been filled with sand earlier in the 18th Dynasty.[2] Usersatet is known from a high number of monuments, especially in Lower Nubia. Near Qasr Ibrim, he erected a chapel in honour of king Amenhotep II. A stela found at Semna bears a copy of a king’s letter to Usersatet. However, no biography of this official survived.


Therefore there is not much known about his life and career. His name had been removed from many monuments, therefore it seems that he fell into dishonour at some point in his career. His tomb has not yet been identified.[3]


It is highly unlikely that Zerah’s embarrassing defeat at the hands of Asa king of Judah would have been recorded in any of the Egyptian records.

Velikovsky had, as he thought, found vestiges of the debacle in Ugaritic (Ras Shamra) literature – this having been, like the El Amarna archives, grossly mis-dated.


We shall look at that briefly next.


Ugarit (Ras Shamra) mis-dated



The discovery was startling: hundreds of years before the Israelites entered Canaan, the Canaanites not only used Hebrew … but wrote it in an alphabetic script”.

 Dr. I. Velikovsky, Ages in Chaos, I




Ugarit in Chaos  


Just as Dr. Velikovsky had (in his Ages in Chaos series) completely revised and re-written the history of the El Amarna period (soon to be considered in this series), so, too, did he turn upside down the current understanding of the abundant Ras Shamra (Ugaritic) archives, all of this greatly affecting our knowledge of the Minoans and the Mycenaean Greeks as well.


Here follows a summary of Velikovsky’s Chapter V (“Ras Shamra”)



“The Timetable of Minoan and Mycenaean Culture


… The place was tentatively identified as Ugarit of the el-Amarna letters … and written documents found there confirmed this conjecture. In gray antiquity the city had been repeatedly reduced to ruins. The levels at which dwellings were dug up are numbered from I to V starting at the surface. The first or uppermost layer is the most explored, but in the first nine archaeological seasons only about one eighth of this level had been unearthed. Digging in deeper strata has been confined to very small areas …. The second layer yielded a few objects of Egyptian origin of the time of the Middle Kingdom; during the Middle Kingdom the north Syrian coast was in the sphere of Egyptian influence.


When a few Egyptian objects were found in this layer, too, the experts’ identification of them as belonging to the Eighteenth and Nineteenth Dynasties … gave fair support to the time determination made on the basis of the pottery; the period during which Ugarit enjoyed prosperity was placed in the fifteenth century, and the fourteenth century was recognized as the one that saw the sudden decline of the city. As two different methods had been applied and both led to similar conclusions, there was no further questioning of the age of the site, and all publications dealing with Ras Shamra-Ugarit … are based on thr premise that the literary and cultural remnants from the excavated layer were products of the fifteenth and fourteenth centuries. Before going further, we must appraise the real value of ceramics and other objects of art from Mycenae and Crete in dealing with time reckoning. In the course of this discussion I shall also have a few words to say on the age of the Minoan and Mycenaean cultures.


In Knossos on the northern shore of Crete, in Phaestus on the southern shore, and in other places on the island, remnants of a culture were found which is called Minoan, from the name of the semi-legendary king Minos. The remains belong to various epochs. The palace at Knossos and other buildings were suddenly destroyed, giving place to a new palace and buildings, which were again destroyed and again rebuilt. Many reasons led the explorer of these antiquities to the belief that a natural catastrophe was the agent of destruction, which marked the end of one period and the beginning of another. …. The ages are divided into Early, Middle, and Late Minoan, and each age is divided into three parts, I, II, and III. Another culture recognizable by its characteristic pottery had its center in Mycenae on the mainland of Greece. It, too, is divided into Early, Middle, and Late Mycenaean or Helladic Ages, which correspond roughly to the Minoan Ages of Crete. The Minoan and Helladic Ages begin with the end of the Stone Age and are subdivisions of the Bronze Age. There is no internal evidence that would help to fix the dates of the Minoan-Mycenaean Ages. The scripts of Crete have not yet been deciphered, despite some promising efforts, and the contacts with Egypt are regarded as the only source for establishing a timetable in the Minoan Mycenaean past. …. With some deviations, the Old, Middle, and New Kingdoms of Egypt are held to be the counterparts of the Early, Middle, and Late Minoan and Helladic Ages. At Knossos of the Early Minoan period were found vases similar to pottery unearthed at Abydos in Egypt of the First Dynasty. Seals of the type of the Sixth Egyptian Dynasty were found in Crete. During the Middle Minoan period there was active intercourse between Crete and Egypt. At Abydos, in a tomb dating from the Twelfth Dynasty, a polychrome vase of the Middle Minoan II period was found, and at Knossos a statuette dating from the Twelfth or Thirteenth Dynasty was discovered.

The dating of the Middle Minoan Age “of course depends upon that assigned to the Twelfth Dynasty”. ….


At Mycenae on the Greek mainland also were unearthed a few Egyptian objects bearing the cartouches of Amenhotep II, Amenhotep III, and his wife Tiy, of the Eighteenth Dynasty (New Kingdom); vases of the Late Mycenaean style were dug up in large numbers in Egypt, in Thebes, and especially from under the ruined walls of Akhnaton’s palace at el-Amarna, “which thus gives a fixed date (about 1380 B.C.) for this style of vase-painting” …. The present research endeavors to bring to light a mistake of more than half a millennium in the conventional Egyptian chronology of the New Kingdom. If Akhnaton flourished in 840 and not in 1380, the ceramics from Mycenae found in the palace of Akhnaton are younger by five or six hundred years than they are presumed to be, and the Late Mycenaean period would accordingly move forward by half a thousand years on the scale of time. It is my contention that the glorious Eighteenth Dynasty, the Kingdom of David and Solomon, and the Late Minoan and Late Mycenaean periods started simultaneously, about the year 1000 before the present era.


Greek Elements in the Writings of Ras Shamra


Ras Shamra was not merely a maritime city that traded in arms of Cyprian copper and in wine, oil, and perfume: jars, flagons, and flacons were found there by the hundreds; it was also a city of learning: there was a school for scribes and a library. In the school the future scribes were taught to read and to write at least four languages. Tablets of clay were found in the dust under the crushed walls of a building, destroyed by human hand or by the unleashed forces of nature. The entire collection is written in cuneiform, in four different languages. Two of the languages were easily read: Sumerian, “the Latin” or the “dead language” of the scholars, and Akkadian, the tongue of business and politics in the Babylonian world. Business letters in Akkadian, commercial receipts, and orders were read. Two tablets very similar to those of the el-Amarna collection were also found … and with them the connection of Ras Shamra with Egypt at the end of the Eighteenth Dynasty was firmly established. Some large tablets are lexicons, bilingual and even trilingual. On some of the tablets there is a “copyright” mark: it is a statement that these tablets were made at the order of Nikmed, king of Ugarit. Nikomedes is an old Greek name. … The similarity between the name Nikomedes, regarded as originally an Ionian name, and the name of the Ugaritian King Nikmed, is so obvious that, after deciphering the name of the king, two scholars … working independently, related it to the Greek name. Other scholars, however, rejected this equation of the name of the king Nikmed (who also wrote his name Nikmes and Nikmedes) with Nikomed (Nikomedes) of the Greeks, asking how an Ionian name could have been in use in the fourteenth century before this era. Those who made the identification were unable to defend their position against the mathematics of conventional chronology. …. Ugarit was a maritime commercial city; its population was composed of various ethnic groups. One document found there describes the expulsion of King Nikmed and all the foreign groups in the city. Among them were people of Alasia (Cyprus), Khar (explained to be Hurrites), and Jm’an.

The last name was identified by the decipherers as Jamanu, which is well known from the Assyrian inscriptions, and means lonians. …. This interpretation of Jm’an was disputed for no other reason than that in the fourteenth century a reference to lonians would have been impossible. In the same inscription, at a point where the names of the expelled are repeated, the name Didyme appears. The decipherers took it to be the name of the city of Didyma in Ionia. …. This city was renowned for its cult of Apollo Didymeus. Again, the name of the deity Didymeus (Ddms) was inscribed on another Ras Shamra tablet; the decipherers … turning neither left nor right, translated it “Apollon Didymeus.” Now antiquities have been brought from the site of Didyma, originating from the eighth century. …. But in the fifteenth or fourteenth century neither lonians nor the shrine of Apollo Didymeus could have been mentioned. Chronology could not square with the Ionian names of Nikomed, or the name of the Ionian city of Didyma, or the Greek cult of the god of that city, or the very name lonians in the Ras Shamra texts but all these were there, and no explanation was put forth in place of the rejected theory about an Ionian colony from the city of Didyma near Milet in Ionia that came to Ugarit and was expelled together with the king of Ionian origin, Nikmed. …. It could only be stated that there was not a grain of probability in such a reading of texts belonging to the middle of the second millennium.



Hebrew Elements.

Two Cities and Two Epochs Compared


The third language of the Ras Shamra tablets in cuneiform (Sumerian and Akkadian being the first two) did not long retain its secret. The large tablets were apparently written in an alphabetic script. Their cuneiform could not be an ideographic or syllabic “script, for a syllabic script like Akkadian uses hundreds of different signs, but alphabetic script only a few; and in this third script there were only thirty different characters. An example of the simplification of the cuneiform script was … already known to the scholars: the Persians in the sixth century had used cuneiform for an alphabet of thirty-six characters. …. The bright idea came simultaneously to more than one scholar … that it might be ancient Hebrew written in cuneiform. An attempt to substitute Hebrew letters for cuneiform signs was successful, and before the scholarly world were tablets in a legible language. Some of the texts were even re-edited by modern scholars in Hebrew characters. …. Reading was facilitated by strokes placed after each word by the scribes of Ras Shamra-Ugarit The Cyprian script of the sixth century has the same characteristic stroke after each word, and this similarity was stressed, but it was asserted that, before this peculiarity returned, more than six hundred years had passed. …. Again six hundred years! As in the case of the sepulchral chambers, it required six hundred years of latency before the Cypriotes started to imitate their neighbors only sixty miles away. With an eagerness comparable only to the avaricious excitement of discoverers of a hidden treasure, scholars kindled their lamps and read the messages in ancient Hebrew. They thought they knew, even before they began to read, that the tablets were some six hundred years older than the oldest known Hebrew inscription. The discovery was startling: hundreds of years before the Israelites entered Canaan, the Canaanites not only used Hebrew … but wrote it in an alphabetic script ….


…. “Since these documents date from the fourteenth or fifteenth century, the Ras Shamra alphabet is among the first alphabets to be composed, and actually is the earliest yet known”. …. The Hebrew-cuneiform alphabet of Ras Shamra is not a primitive pioneer effort; it has features that indicate it was already in an advanced stage. “The Ras Shamra alphabet is already so advanced that it implies the existence of a still earlier alphabet yet to be found.” …. What the aborigines of Canaan wrote down was even more unexpected. In the mirror in which, in conformity with biblical references to the Canaanites, it was expected that the face of a wicked generation and of a low spiritual culture would be seen, the face of a dignified people was reflected. In the Book of Leviticus and in other books of the Scriptures iniquity and vice were attributed to the Canaanites: the country “was defiled by them.” This appeared to be a “biased attitude of Israelite historians. … As it is, the Ras Shamra texts reveal a Literature of a high moral tone, tempered with order and justice. ….

…. The Hebrew texts of Ras Shamra are mostly poems describing the exploits and battles of the gods and the adventures and wars of heroes. The pantheon of Ras Shamra … was composed of a number of gods; Baal was one of them, but the supreme deity was El. …. The land of the Canaanites is sometimes called “the whole land of El … and the supremacy of this deity (“no one can change that which El has fixed”), known by the same name in the Bible as the Lord of the Israelites, is regarded as “a clear indication of a monotheistic tendency in the Canaanite religion.”

…. Besides the name El, which is predominant in the poems, especially in the poem of Keret dealing with exploits in Negeb, the name Yahu (Yahwe) is also encountered in the Ras Shamra texts. …. A few rare expressions or names found on Ras Shamra tablets are found also on monuments of the seventh century before the present era. …. A very unusual expression on one of the Ras Shamra tablets “Astart, name of Baal” appears in the epitaph of Eshmunazar, the Phoenician king of Sidon of the fifth century. …. The mythological pictures of the Ras Shamra poems often employ the same wording as the so-called mythological images of the Scriptures. Leviathan is “a crooked serpent*’ (Isaiah 27:1); it has several heads (Psalms 74:14). Lotan of the poems also is “a swift and crooked serpent” and has seven heads. There is, in one of the poems, an expression put into the mouth of El which sounds like a reference to the great feat of tearing asunder the sea of Jam-Suf. And the verb, “to tear asunder,” used there and in Psalms (136:13) is the same (gsr). The conclusion drawn from the similarity was this: long before the Exodus and the passage through the Red Sea, the Canaanites of Palestine knew this myth. ….

…. The language of the poems of Ras Shamra is, in etymology and syntax, “surprisingly akin” … to the language, etymology, and syntax of the Scriptures, and the characteristic dual and plural forms, both masculine and feminine, are cited as examples. The meter of the poems, the division into feet of three syllables or three words, and the balancing of the theme (parallelism) are also found in the Scriptures. …. ”These rules are precisely those of Hebrew poetry, and even the language from some of our Ras Shamra texts is entirely Biblical.” …. It was therefore concluded that Hebrew and Phoenician alike derived from the Canaanite, which could be called an Early Hebrew dialect. ….”There are striking similarities in the vocabulary, many words and even locutions being identical” … in the Ras Shamra texts and in the Old Testament. Here and there is found a turn of speech known from the Psalms, as, for instance, “I watered my coach with tears.” “The style resembles most the poetic books of the Old Testament, and especially the Book of Isaiah.” …. “We see that the Phoenicians of the fourteenth century before our era used rhythm and poetical forms that have all their development in the Song of Songs. . . . In short, “there are innumerable parallels with the Old Testament in vocabulary and poetic style,” … and an “intimate relationship existing between the Ras Shamra tablets and the literature of the Old Testament”.”


Mackey’s comment: A similar case of Hebrew-like writing and idiom is apparent in some of the El Amarna [EA] letters, like the Ugaritic writings dated by historians centuries before their actual era. Thus I have previously observed, following Rohl and Newgrosh:


“The language of the EA letters is Akkadian, but one letter by Lab’ayu, EA 252, proved to be very difficult to translate. ….


Albright … in 1943, published a more satisfactory translation than had hitherto been possible by discerning that its author had used a good many so-called ‘Canaanite’ words plus two Hebrew proverbs! EA 252 has a stylised introduction in the typical EA formula and in the first 15 lines utilises only two ‘Canaanite’ words. Thereafter, in the main body of the text, Albright noted (and later scholars have concurred) that Lab’ayu used only about 20% pure Akkadian, “with 40% mixed or ambiguous, and no less than 40% pure Canaanite”. Albright further identified the word nam-lu in line 16 as the Hebrew word for ‘ant’ (nemalah), נְמָלָה, the Akkadian word being zirbabu. Lab’ayu had written: “If ants are smitten, they do not accept (the smiting) quietly, but they bite the hand of the man who smites them”. Albright recognised here a parallel with the two biblical Proverbs mentioning ants (6:6 and 30:25).


“It is a pity”, wrote Rohl and Newgrosh … “that Albright was unable to take his reasoning process just one step further because, in almost every instance where he detected the use of what he called ‘Canaanite’ one could legitimately substitute the term ‘Hebrew’.”


Lab’ayu’s son too, Mut-Baal ... also displayed in one of his letters (EA 256) some so-called ‘Canaanite’ and mixed origin words. Albright noted of line 13: … “As already recognized by the interpreters, this idiom is pure Hebrew”. Albright even went very close to admitting that the local speech was Hebrew: ….


“… phonetically, morphologically, and syntactically the people then living in the district … spoke a dialect of Hebrew (Canaanite) which was very closely akin to that of Ugarit. The differences which some scholars have listed between Biblical Hebrew and Ugaritic are, in fact, nearly all chronological distinctions”.


But even these ‘chronological distinctions’ cease to be a real issue in the Velikovskian context, according to which both the EA letters and the Ugaritic tablets are re-located to the time of the Divided Monarchy”.


Velikovsky continues, now turning to the religious aspect:


“…. The religious cult, as reflected by poems and other texts of Ras Shamra, also bore a certain resemblance to the cult of the Israelites. There was a Rav Cohanim, a high priest; adzes with engraved dedications to Rav Cohanim were unearthed. The offering called mattan tam, known from the service in the Temple of Jerusalem, is mentioned in the Ras Shamra texts. Circumcision was also practiced at Ras Shamra, judging from stone phalli found in this Phoenician city. …

The Jewish law forbidding the people to boil a calf in the milk of its mother was directed against a definite custom and a culinary dish. This dish was enjoyed at Ras Shamra, as its writings reveal. From all this the following conclusion was drawn: “The traditions, culture and religion of the Israelites are bound up inextricably with the early Canaanites. The compilers of the Old Testament were fully aware of this, hence their obsession to break with such a past and to conceal their indebtedness to it”. …. Even in minute details the life in Ras Shamra of the fifteenth century and the life in Jerusalem some six or seven hundred years later were strikingly similar. Isaiah, on a visit to the gravely sick king, Hezekiah, ordered a debelah, a remedy made of figs, to be applied to the inflamed wound. Debelah is registered in the pharmacopoeia of Ras Shamra’s medical men and is found mentioned in a veterinary treatise. The deduction was therefore made: “The prophet made use of a very old-fashioned remedy, known previously to the veterinary surgeons at Ugarit in the fifteenth and fourteenth centuries.” …. This case of correspondence between the medical tablets of Ras Shamra and the Scriptures is not unique: “In the same [veterinary] treatise we also find some technical words corresponding exactly with similar expressions in the Bible, which further emphasize this contact between the Ras Shamra texts and the Old Testament.” …. And the generalization concerning medicine was: “They [the exactly corresponding technical words] establish a very striking similarity in the medical knowledge of the Canaanites or Proto-Phoenicians, and that of the times of the kings of Judah.” …. The weights and measures of Ras Shamra were also those known from the Scriptures. In the Sumero-Babylonian system a talent was divided into 3600 shekels, but in the Scriptures (Exodus 38:25-27) the talent is composed of only 3000 shekels. Was this an erroneous statement? In the Ras Shamra texts, too, the talent is divided into 3000 shekels. …. Jewels of gold to adorn the maidens of Ras Shamra are mentioned in the texts and were unearthed. …. “Now in the texts three kinds of gold pendants are mentioned by the name of ‘Astarte’, ‘suns’ and ‘moons’ …. The word used for a sun pendant is ‘shapash’. …. ‘Shapash’ is identified with the word ‘shebis’ mentioned in Isaiah 3:18. The same prophet alludes to crescents or pendants in the form of the moon. So at Ras Shamra we find not only mention of these pendants in the Canaanite texts but also the ornaments themselves that Yahwe, in the passage cited in Isaiah, will take away one day from the haughty daughters of Zion”. ….


Bible Criticism and the Documents of Ras Shamra


For the past seventy years the doctrines of Bible criticism have been taught from most cathedras of modern exegesis and are at last being preached from many pulpits. Two of the fundamental concepts have been: (1) before the time of the Kings (or before 1000) there were no written documents among the Israelites, and (2) most passages of the Scriptures are of a later origin than the Scriptures themselves suggest or rabbinical tradition ascribes to them. Since 1930 when the tablets of Ras Shamra were deciphered, they have been regarded as proofs (1) that already in the fifteenth century Hebrew was written in a highly perfected alphabetic script that had a long period of development behind it, and (2) that many biblical traditions and legends were alive, and biblical style, poetic form, and ways of expression were in use some six hundred years before the biblical books were composed, even according to rabbinical tradition. The confusion became great. …. For three generations famous scholars, to whose lectures students traveled from afar, writers for encyclopedias, and authors of commentaries, all were moved to decrease the age of the Old Testament and even to assume a post-evangelical editing of various parts of the Old Testament. The whole argument was supported by linguistic considerations and by a general theory of the natural development of religious thought. It could be shown expertly that one or another expression in Psalms or in Proverbs could not have been employed in the days of David or Solomon in the tenth century, but was a product of the sixth to third centuries. Now, in the Ras Shamra tablets of the fifteenth or fourteenth century, the same expressions were found.


In face of the striking parallels between the language, style, poetical forms, technical expressions, moral ideas, religious thought, temple ordinances, social institutions, treasury of legends and traditions, medical knowledge, apparel, and jewelry as reflected in the Ras Shamra tablets and in the pages of the Scriptures, the logical conclusion would have been that the tablets and the Books of the Scriptures containing; these parallels are of the same age. But such a deduction was not thought of, owing to the obstacles of chronology already explained. The revision of chronology requires the leveling of the time of Ras Shamra (Level I from the surface) to the time of the kings of Judea until Jehoshaphat. The presence of parallels in the life of Palestine and of a contemporary Syrian town, where the languages of neighboring peoples were learned, appears to be only natural. If this reconstruction of world history by a correction of five to six hundred years puts a strain on the customary notions of history, how, then, can one’s scientific conscience bridge a gap of double dimension and reconcile the results of the industrious efforts of Bible criticism with the archaeological finds of Ras Shamra? The span is twelve centuries.


Troglodytes or Carians?


The fourth language written in cuneiform on the tablets of the Ras Shamra library is called Khar. Words in Sumerian were accompanied by explanations in Khar. It appears to have been the local language, the language of the government and of a large part of the population. Despite the help of the bilingual syllabic dictionaries used by the scribes of Ras Shamra, the reading of Khar is not final. Had the words in Khar been explained in Sumerian, the task of the philologists would have been easier; but the translation and explanation of Sumerian words in Khar did not give all the necessary clues to the decipherers.

Before the excavations of Ras Shamra, frequent mention of “Khr” had already been encountered in various archaeological documents. Akkadian texts speak of “Khurri,” and in Egyptian documents a part of Syria is often called “Kharu.”

It had long been held that these Assyrian and Egyptian designations referred to the Horites or troglodytes of the early chapters of the Scriptures.

With the discovery of the Tell el-Amarna archives in Egypt it was found that one of the letters of the archives was written, apart from the introduction, in an unknown tongue. This letter, written by Tushratta, king of Mitanni, dealt in its six hundred lines with some matters interpreted with the help of other letters, and the language was deciphered. At first it was called Mitannian, but later changed to Subarean.

Then in the state archives of Boghazkeui in eastern Anatolia letters were found in a similar tongue, and its name was given as Khri. The people who spoke this language were called Khr. Scholars read the word differently Khar and Khur but finally they decided on Khur as the acceptable name, and accordingly the people are called Hurrians or Hurrites.

Despite the fact that the language of this people was found to have been put into writing, the identification of the Hurrians with the biblical Horites or troglodytes was maintained by a number of scholars.

A definite vestige of the association of the Humans with Palestine has been discovered: on tablets from Tell Taannek, in the valley of Jezreel, Human names were found.

With every new discovery it became increasingly obvious that the Hurrians exercised great influence on the civilization of the Near East. It was even stated that with the arrival of the Hurrians in this part of the world a new era in civilization had dawned. …. In a sense they became the leading power, and “the story of their enormous expanse, from Armenia down to southern Palestine, and from the shores of the Mediterranean up to the borders of Persia, constitutes one of the most amazing chapters in the ancient history of the Near East.”

The language of this people has been studied by linguists in an endeavor to unriddle it, but the historians know nothing of their history, “Hurrian” seemed therefore to be a tongue without a people. Those who spoke it were not Semitic, but neither were they Indo-Iranian. ….

Then the writings in alphabetic Khar of Has Shamra came to light. Translations from other languages into Khar proved that at least a part of the population used Khar as their daily speech. Who, then, were these Khar that impressed their name on Syria, their tongue on Asia Minor and on Mitanni, occupied a fortress in Palestine, were everywhere and nowhere in particular, were neither Semitic nor Indo-Iranian?

It became apparent not only that Khar was expressible in writing, but that the scribes who wrote in Khar were versed in a number of other languages as well, and wore themselves -out in lexicographic study (“several rooms’* in the library of Nikmed “contained only dictionaries and lexicons” ….). Consequently the idea that the Khar were cave dwellers or troglodytes (the biblical Horites) appears wholly untenable.

Most probably the Hurrian people is but a creation of modern linguists. If we bring the scene five to six hundred years closer to our time we begin to wonder whether the Khar of the inscriptions are not the Carians often mentioned in classic literature. In Egyptian the Mediterranean Sea was called the Sea of Khar(u). Was it the sea of troglodytes or the sea of the Carians?


Inasmuch as the Carians were inhabitants of northern Syria early in the first millennium before this era, it is only reasonable to look for a mention of them in the Scriptures. In the eighth century Athaliah daughter of Ahab and daughter-in-law of King Jehoshaphat of Jerusalem the queen-mother who usurped the throne when her son Ahaziah was killed by Jehu on the road to Megiddo, had a bodyguard composed of “Can.” This bodyguard later participated in a revolt against Athaliah, when Jehoiada, the priest, made a covenant with “the rulers over hundreds, with the Cari, and the runners” (II Kings 11:4,19) … and brought before them Jehoash, the boy

who was secretly saved when Athaliah killed the royal family.

It is more than probable that the Kreti of the “Kreti and Pleti” (Cherethites and Pelethites) bodyguard of David (II Samuel 8:18), led by his marshal Benaiah, were the same Kari In one place in the Scriptures (II Samuel 20:23) it is said that Benaiah was in command of Kari (or Kre) and Pleti. The Philistines, since days of old, have been considered the Kreti-Pleti. The word “Pleti” is generally regarded as a shortened form of “Philistines,” and without sufficient ground they have been presumed to be the same people as the Kreti, and thus originated the theory that the Philistines came from Crete.17 Pleti cannot be identical with Kreti or Kari, because whenever they are mentioned the two names are always connected by “and.” …. The origin of the Kreti in Crete heard even in the name is also attested to by the Version of the Seventy, who translated “Kreti” by “Cretans”. The Carians came from Crete. The Kreti also came from Crete and were identical with the Kari. It is obvious that Carians and Kari and Kreti were the same.



Mackey’s comment: Dr. Velikovsky will now proceed to attempt to connect the military leader, “Terah”, of the Ras Shamra Poem of Keret with the biblical “Zerah the Ethiopian”.

Thus he wrote:


The Poem of Keret


Among the epics unearthed at Ras Shamra, one contains some historical material. The poem of Keret the archaeologists call it by the name of its hero has a historical setting. It was first translated and interpreted by Charles Virolleaud. …. Later a very different meaning was given to the text. Virolleaud read in the text of the danger threatening the country of Keret, king of Sidon. The invasion of Negeb (south of Palestine) by the army of Terah aroused Keret’s fears; he wept in the seclusion of his chamber. In his great distress he was encouraged by a voice heard in a dream, and he went to meet the danger and joined the army of the defenders. The names of Asher and Zebulun, two tribes, appear according to Virolleaud, in the poem. It is not clear from the poem whether the role of the tribe of Zebulun was that of an enemy or a friend. Asher is mentioned repeatedly in a refrain, and the poem gives a vivid feeling of armed tribesmen hurrying to join the main army opposing Terah. Asher, two and two are gone, Asher, three and three are gone, shut the houses, marched together. Volunteers joined the thousands of Hasis. Men of Hasis went by thousands, and by myriads, as a flood [t/r]. They marched to meet the army of Terah. And Terah came into Negeb with a great force: “a great force of three hundred times ten thousand [rbt]” which would mean if the translation is correct three million men. Then the poem tells that the huge invading army, having been defeated, was in full retreat. Who was Terah? asked Virolleaud. In Genesis the father of Abraham is called Terah. The theory was advanced … and found followers in France that patriarchal migrations and wars are described in the Phoenician poem of Keret. It was found to be a very illuminating addition to the legends about the sojourn and wandering of the patriarchs in Negeb southern Palestine as found in Genesis. The patriarch Abraham came to Negeb; so did Terah of the poem. In the Scriptures it is said that Terah, Abraham’s father, migrated from Ur of the Chaldees on the lower flow of the Euphrates to Harran in the northwest, and ended his days there (Genesis 11:32). A correction was introduced with the help of the poem, and it was agreed that Terah did not die in Harran but prepared the conquest of Canaan from the south and also accomplished it in part, and that Abraham capitulated when he met difficulties and left Canaan to seek refuge in Egypt. …. Abraham and his two brothers, sons of the scriptural Terah, are not mentioned in the poem, and it was conjectured that this was because of the leading role played by Terah and the inconspicuous role of Abraham, the latter becoming an anonym in the multitude of the Terahites. And if the tale is very different from the scriptural legend, still the combination Negeb, the scene, and Terah, the invader seemed to be a convincing parallel to Negeb, the scene, and Abraham, son of Terah, the invader. Consequently, the conclusion was drawn by Virolleaud that Terahites invaded the south of Canaan, meeting resistance on the part of the population, although in the Scriptures nothing is said about Abraham’s war with the Canaanites, and in fact the peacefulness of his sojourn there is stressed. An unexplained unconformity is the huge number of soldiers in the host of Terah: three hundred times ten thousand is very different from the number of persons in Abraham’s household, servants included. The occurrence of the names Asher and Zebulun also presented a difficulty. Asher and Zebulun were sons of Israel of the Scriptures; these tribes were descendants of Abraham, son of Terah. How could Terah have battled with children of Asher and Zebulun, his descendants of many generations? To meet this situation it was said that originally the names of Asher and Zebulun belonged to cantons inhabited by Canaanites. At a later date these places were conquered by the tribes of Israel, who did not give their names to, but received their names from, the cantons. …. Another translation and interpretation of the poem of Keret was presented. It rejects Terah, Asher, Zebulun, as proper names, finding for them the meanings: bridegroom (terah), after, behind (atur), sick man (zebulun)…. It also denies the predominant martial theme of the poem, regarding it as a love romance. Thus are explained away the names of tribes not to be expected in Ugaritic times. Numerous other changes and corrections were offered. It seems to us, however, that Virolleaud’s translation was not far from the truth. Terah of the poem was, indeed, not the father of the patriarch, but the names of the tribes and the martial plot appear to be consistent with history. It is, in fact, undisputed that Ugarit and the entire Phoenician coast were threatened by Amenhotep II in the period with which we are concerned. Free from the limitations imposed by an incorrect estimate of the age of the Ras Shamra tablets, we pose this question: Is an unsuccessful invasion of southern Palestine by a large host known to us from the Scriptures? …”.


Whilst Velikovsky may possibly have been right in his view that “Terah” reflected the biblical Zerah the Ethiopian, this does not mean (as I think) that Zerah was pharaoh Amenhotep II – Velikovsky’s conclusion which I consider to be unlikely, though closely contemporaneous.

I personally have favoured for Zerah the influential Eighteenth Dynasty official at the time, Usersatet, viceroy of Nubia, hence “Ethiopian”.

Thutmose III as “Shishak”

Image result for thutmose III


 Damien F. Mackey



Champollion’s Shoshenk

as “Shishak”


Jean François Champollion was obviously a prodigious talent to whom we owe the first translations of the ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs. But he was also a pioneer, hence susceptible to some early miscalculations. His identification, with Megiddo, of Thutmose III’s Mkty, was, as far as Sir Henry Breasted was concerned, as if set in stone.


The most interesting candidates, as far as I am concerned, who have been put forward for the biblical “Shishak king of Egypt” (I Kings 14:25), are: Shosenk I; Thutmose III; and Ramses II.


Shoshenk I, because he was the choice of Champollion, and because this identification is still, to this day, purportedly a biblically-based pillar of Egyptian chronology – namely, the 5th year of Rehoboam, son of Solomon, tied to the 21st year campaign of Shoshenk I.

Thutmose III, because he alone is, according to my revision – with his co-ruler Hatshepsut as a contemporary of Solomon’s (following Velikovsky) – historically appropriate for “Shishak”.

Ramses II, who is David Rohl’s candidate for “Shishak” (A Test of Time: The Bible – From Myth to History, 1995) – because Rohl presents a very good argument in support of his case.


Who “Shishak” is not

Dr Elizabeth Mitchell, who has written for Answers in Genesis an article in which she pleads, “Will the Real Shishak Please Stand Up?”, has followed this up further on in the article with the amusing heading (https://answersingenesis.org/archaeology/ancient-egypt/will-the-real-shishak-please-stand-up/):


“Will the Wrong Shishak Please Sit Down?


So how did the chronological confusion come about? Jean Champollion, the brilliant translator of the Rosetta Stone, unwittingly gave support to inconsistent chronology when he erroneously identified Pharaoh Shoshenq as the Shishak of the Bible. Champollion found an inscription about Shoshenq, founder of the 22nd Dynasty, at the temple of Karnak. Because the names sound similar, Champollion assumed that Shoshenq was Shishak. Then, with the biblical date for Rehoboam as a starting point, chronologists used Manetho’s list to outline the next three centuries of Egyptian history.

Many Bible scholars have trusted traditional chronology even when it disputes the Old Testament.

Manetho’s list is problematic enough, being full of discrepancies, duplications, and overlaps, but the starting point Champollion thought he’d found was incorrect. The two problems with identifying Shoshenq as Shishak involve military strategy and phonics. According to the Karnak inscriptions, Shoshenq attacked the northern part of Israel, not Rehoboam’s Jerusalem or Judah. As we said earlier, Jeroboam was Shishak’s friend and probably his ally. If Shoshenq were Shishak, then Shoshenq attacked his friend and ignored his enemy. Furthermore, the phonetics of these two pharaohs’ names only sound similar in transliterated form, not in the original languages.

Because of this faulty identification of Shoshenq with Shishak, Egyptologists ignored the rest of the biblical facts relating to the geography and characters involved. Then, because dates determined by combining the Shoshenq-Shishak error with a misplaced acceptance of Manetho’s work almost magically match traditional information about the confusing Third Intermediate Period, many Bible scholars have trusted traditional chronology even when it disputes the Old Testament.

We should take a lesson from this bit of history. Champollion, with the best of intentions, a brilliant mind, a track record for great discoveries, and a belief in biblical history, stumbled. He began with the Bible and developed what seemed to be a perfect match. But when further analysis produced discrepancies with the Bible, the biblical Egyptologists of the time dropped the ball. They held on to their original interpretations of the evidence even when it forced clear discrepancies with the Bible.

In creation ministry, we also sometimes discover that models or arguments once popular among Christians, when examined more closely, actually conflict with new discoveries or, even more importantly, with Scripture. This website even maintains a section of arguments creationists should avoid. All evidence needs to be viewed through biblical glasses. We need to always be like the Bereans, who were commended because they “searched the Scriptures daily” (Acts 17:11), measuring all we “know” according to God’s Word and not being too stubborn to change any unscriptural ideas we may have”.


Professor James Henry Breasted considered the warlike Eighteenth Dynasty pharaoh, Thutmose III (c. 1480-1425 BC, conventional dating), to have been “the Napoleon of Egypt” (Ancient Times, I, Ginn and Co., 1914, p. 85). Now, Thutmose III has been confidently dated according to the ‘Sothic’ scheme of things to the C15th BC. Dr. Eva Danelius (whose research will be the inspiration for much of this present series) gives a brief summary of this astronomical scheme in her ground-breaking article, “Did Thutmose III Despoil the Temple in Jerusalem?” (SIS Review, Vol. II, No. 3, 1977/78, pp. 64-79). She wrote:


“The scheme commonly applied is that of a calendar tied to the fixed star called Spdt in Egyptian, Sothis in Greek, and Sirius by the Romans – the English “Dog Star”. The star becomes visible in Egypt about the time when the Nile begins to rise – the most important event for a country the pro­ductivity of whose fields depended on the annual Nile Flood. After having tied the calendar to a fixed star, it became poss­ible, through most complicated mathematical and astronomical observations and operations in combination with Egyptian texts, to secure so-called “astronomically fixed dates” for some pharaohs. In this way the reign of Thutmose III, includ­ing that of Thutmose II and Queen Hatshepsut, was “astronomically fixed” as from May 3, 1501 to March 17, 1447 BC …”.


For a more detailed analysis of the Sothic dating method, see my:


The Fall of the Sothic Theory: Egyptian Chronology Revisited




This artificial system has yielded (as we have already learned) wildly inaccurate dates for Eighteenth Dynasty figures such as Hatshepsut and Thutmose III, who were, in actual fact, C10th BC figures.

Ramses II and his fellow Nineteenth Dynasty Egyptian rulers have also been well mis-dated. (And yet biblical historians try to tie Ramses II to the Pharaoh of the Exodus).

In the case of 22nd dynasty Shoshenk I, he, in his C10th BC location, conventionally speaking, will be found later on to be somewhat closer (than were his 18th and 19th dynasty counterparts) to his rightful chronological place.


By far the majority of scholars are prepared – with so much seemingly weighty scientific argument behind the Sothic theory – simply to fall into line with its chronological conclusions. And so these would not quibble with the blatant conclusion of Professor Breasted that Thutmose III’s First Campaign, in his 22nd-23rd Year, occurred during April/May of 1479 BC.


A record of the pharaoh’s many campaigns, including this first one, have been inscribed upon the wall of the Temple of Amun.

According to  http://www.louvre.fr/en/oeuvre-notices/annals-thutmosis-iii


“… around 1437 BC, Thutmosis [Thutmose] had the story of his campaigns in Syria and Palestine inscribed on the walls of one of the sanctuaries of the great temple of Amun at Karnak. At the beginning of the first horizontal line that stands at the top of the wall, one can read the pharaoh’s dedication of this inscription to Amun: “His Majesty commanded that there be recorded on a stone wall in the temple he had renovated … the triumphs accorded him by his father, Amun, and the booty he took. And so it was done”.

Moreover: “The narrative is organized by year (hence the name “annals”), and each entry gives the course of the campaign, together with accounts of booty brought back and of the supposedly voluntary tribute paid by Nubia and by various countries of the Near East in recognition of the pharaoh’s might”.


According to Breasted, the ‘Napoleonic’ pharaoh, in the 22nd year of his long reign (54 years), embarked upon a military expedition into Syria, in order to fight against a coalition of Syrian princes under the leadership of the “King of Kd-šw”, who had revolted against Egypt. Kd-šw has been identified as the city of Qadesh, or Kadesh.

Pharaoh Thutmose III emerged from this campaign with a great victory and immense spoils from the conquered territories. Dr. Eva Danelius takes up the story, and how Megiddo got into the picture (“Did Thutmose III Despoil the Temple in Jerusalem?”, SIS Review, Vol. II, No. 3, 1977/78, pp. 64-79):


“… the greater part of Thutmose’s report is dedicated to the fight for a city My-k-ty (now read Mkty), its siege and final surrender. In their search for a city written this way in hieroglyphs, Egyptologists decided that My-k-ty must be the transcription of the name Megiddo, a city in the Plain of Esdraelon well known from the Old Testament.

…. According to common consent, Thutmose III was the first pharaoh to conquer Megiddo”.


Regarding Champollion’s identification of “Shishak” with Shoshenk I, Dr. J. Bimson, in 1986, would turn this right on its head in his article, “Shoshenq and Shishak: A Case of Mistaken Identity” (Chronology and Catastrophism Review, vol. VIII, pp. 36-46). Despite the superficial similarity of the names, the fact is that Shoshenq I (as is generally agreed), never attacked Jerusalem (which “Shishak” most certainly did).

Commenting on this, John Ashton and David Down write in “Unwrapping the Pharaohs”: https://answersingenesis.org/archaeology/ancient-egypt/the-third-intermediate-


“Shoshenq does not relate that he invaded Israel or that he conquered Jerusalem. He simply writes a list of cities that he is presenting to the god Amun, and Jerusalem is not among them. …. If Shoshenq had conquered Jerusalem and taken all the fabulous treasures out of the temple there, he would certainly have made a big deal of it. Some have pointed out that some of the inscription has been damaged and perhaps Jerusalem was mentioned among the damaged section, but Jerusalem would have been the prize and would have been mentioned at the beginning of the inscription, which is still intact. …”.


I summarised some of Dr. John Bimson’s argument as follows in my university thesis:


A Revised History of the Era of King Hezekiah of Judah

and its Background





‘King Shishak of Egypt’


My Egypto-biblical re-alignment will be fully in accordance with Velikovsky insofar at least as he had removed one of the most fundamental pillars of the conventional Egyptian chronology: namely, that Shoshenq I was ‘Shishak’. Whether Velikovsky was also correct in his identifying of the biblical ‘King So of Egypt’ with one or other Libyan Shoshenq462 will still need to be determined.


Just How Important is Shoshenq I in the Conventional Scheme?


Bimson has claimed that the present identification of Shoshenq I with ‘Shishak’ is so firmly fixed in the minds of the conventional historians that it constitutes a “major obstacle” standing in the way of their acceptance of the revised scheme of ancient history.463 Ever since Champollion proposed this identification, he says, it has been well nigh universally accepted by the scholarly community, becoming “axiomatic among Egyptologists and biblical scholars alike”.

Superficially, the link appears impressive enough. Apart from the fact that (i) Shoshenq I is conventionally dated to the approximate time of ‘Shishak’, it seems (ii) his name is similar to ‘Shishak’, and (iii) Shoshenq is known to have campaigned in Palestine.

The reality, however, is very much different from the appearance!

I will provide sufficient synchronisms later in this Part III to indicate that Shoshenq I does not by any means correspond chronologically with ‘Shishak’.”


Mackey’s comment: My reconstruction of Shoshenk I as it was in my thesis will differ significantly from what it will be in this series.

My thesis continues:


And I can add to this the pertinent observation that historians – as a result of their dating Shoshenq I, as ‘Shishak’, to the time of Rehoboam of Judah (c. 925 BC) – find themselves having to look, for [biblical king of Egypt] ‘So’, at the time, say, of pharaoh Tefnakht (c. 727-716 BC, conventional dates), a TIP ruler of the 24th dynasty. But since it is immediately apparent that the name ‘Tefnakht’ is entirely inappropriate for ‘So’, proponents of this view must then resort to such far-fetched explanations as this one mentioned by Grimal:464 “Some scholars have treated [So] as a mistaken Hebrew spelling for the city of Sais, in which case – by a process of metonymy – Hosea would have been appealing to King Tefnakht [who reigned from there]”. 2 Kings 17:4, however, clearly identifies ‘So’ as “King … of Egypt”; hence the name does not pertain to a city, such as Saïs.

Kitchen moreover has listed a number of reasons why he thinks that Tefnakht is unsuitable for ‘So’.465

Gardiner has looked more realistically to identify “So with the Sib’e, turtan of Egypt, whom the annals of Sargon state to have set out from Rapihu (Raphia on the Palestinian border) together with Hanno, the King of Gaza, in order to deliver a decisive battle”.466

Though such a view would need to address why one whom the Second Book of Kings had entitled ‘King’, prior to the fall of Samaria, had become, some half a dozen or so years later, a mere Egyptian official (turtan); albeit an important one.


Name (Linguistic) Arguments


The vocalisation of the Egyptian hieroglyphs as Shoshenq is based upon the spelling of the name Shushinqu (or Susinku) in Assyrian records from the C7th BC. We find experts ranged on both sides in regard to whether the two names Shoshenq and Shishak are sufficiently close to confirm their identity. Gardiner, for instance, plainly felt that the Hebrew name was incompatible with the hieroglyphic original.467 Kitchen468 has on the other hand defended the plausibility of the Hebrew rendering. More recently, Bimson469 has accepted Gardiner’s estimation that the name fit is not entirely compelling; whilst Bimson’s critic, Shea,470 has fully supported Champollion’s identification.


The most problematical linguistic aspect for the likes of Kitchen and Shea is the second vowel in the name Shishak, about which Bimson has this to say:471


“… there is the omission of the ‘n’ from the Hebrew name. Kitchen points to several instances of the ‘n’ being dropped from cartouches of the name Shoshenq during the 22nd Dynasty ….


Two of these involve the prenomen Hedjkheperre, i.e. the prenomen borne by the Shoshenq normally identified as the biblical Shishak; and two other instances are associated with his known relatives. It is therefore possible that the Hebrew name Shishak represents this abbreviated form of the Egyptian.

However, Kitchen’s case would be stronger if there were instances of the ‘n’ being dropped in non-Egyptian sources. The Assyrian Shushinqu preserves it, and it is retained in the Greek form employed by Manetho and his excerptors…. Should we therefore expect the Hebrew scribes to omit the ‘n’? Probably not”.


With Velikovsky’s Shoshenq (Sosenk) = ‘So’, any linguistic difficulty is greatly reduced, at least, since the whole of ‘So’ is contained in the first syllable of the pharaonic name.

And we should not be surprised about the abbreviation of the name ‘Shoshenq’ to ‘So’, since, according to Kitchen:472 “Abbreviations of private names are common from the New Kingdom onwards”. More specifically, Kitchen tells here of Shoshenq’s name having been actually shortened to ‘Shosh’ on scarabs.

Moreover, Hebrew shin (שׁ) and samek (ס) are reasonably close in pronunciation. The difference between the sh (שׁ) and s (ס) sounds could simply be one of dialect as is apparent from the celebrated case in Judges 12:6 where the Ephraïmites were distinguishable from the Gileadites in their inability to pronounce the password, Shibboleth (שִׁבֹּלֶת), which the Ephraïmites rendered as Sibboleth (סִבֹּלֶת).


Shoshenq’s Activity in Palestine


Whilst the linguistic argument in favour of Champollion’s choice of Shoshenq as ‘Shishak’ has at least something to recommend it, the same cannot be said I think for Shoshenq’s most misunderstood actions in Palestine, as recorded on the Bubasite Portal at Karnak. Shoshenq I’s activities in Palestine just cannot be made to fit the bold campaign by ‘Shishak’ against Jerusalem!

By today’s standards Champollion’s understanding of Shoshenq’s Bubasite list was, as Bimson has noted, quite unsophisticated. Instead of his recognising all of the name-rings

on Shoshenq’s inscription as being the names of towns and cities in Palestine, he believed that the list included “the leaders of more than thirty vanquished nations”.473

Among the names Champollion read No. 29 as ‘Ioudahamelek’, which he took to be the name ‘Judah’ (Heb. יְהוּדָה) followed by ‘the kingdom’474 – though, more preferably, it would be ‘the king’ preceded by definite article (Heb. : הַמֶּלֶךְ)a . Consequently, Champollion translated this name-ring as “the kingdom of the Jews, or of Judah” (cf. Hebrew ha(m)malcûth).

He thus concluded that Judah was among the many “nations” that the pharaoh claimed to

have conquered.

Champollion’s reading of name No. 29 was subsequently challenged by Brugsch, who made a new and detailed study of the list. Brugsch identified names both before and after

No. 29 as belonging to Israel as well as to Judah, and therefore felt that its position in the

list contradicted Champollion’s reading.475 The now generally accepted view, according to Bimson, is that proposed by Müller:476 namely, that No. 29 stands for a place, Yadha(m)melek. Whilst this location has not yet been identified, its position in the list would definitely seem to suggest that it refers to a location in the NW coastal plain of Israel, far from Jerusalem. This fact, however, does not appear to have weakened acceptance of the identification of Shoshenq with ‘Shishak’.


A considerable number of names in the Bubasite list had come to be identified with towns in Israel and Judah, establishing that Shoshenq’s forces had campaigned in Palestine. Unlike in the campaign of ‘Shishak’, however, the kingdom of Israel too was attacked according to Donner.478

In regard to certain ‘explanations’ that “Rehoboam might have captured various towns in Israel, or that the pharaoh was simply prepared to override friendship with Jeroboam for the sake of political gain, these”, says Bimson, “are either flatly contrary to Scripture (1 Kings 12:21-4), or completely unattested therein”.479 “Such conjectures are necessary”, he adds, “only because of the identification of Shoshenq I with Shishak. It is entirely consistent with the Bible’s portrayal of Shishak as Jeroboam’s ally that it contain no reference whatsoever to an Egyptian invasion of Israel”.


Jerusalem Not Listed by Shoshenq


Scholars for and against Champollion’s reconstruction, alike, have generally concluded that Jerusalem is not even mentioned in Shoshenq’s Bubasite list. Velikovsky, for instance, claimed that:480 “Neither Jerusalem, Hebron, Beer-Sheba, Bethlehem, nor any other known place was among the names on the list; nor was Jaffa, Gath, or Askelon”.

And Bimson has regarded “Shoshenq’s failure to include Jerusalem in his list of cities …” as being far more serious than any other problem raised by the opponents of the conventional view; “a major stumbling block”.481

But even the proponents of the Shoshenq = ‘Shishak’ view are puzzled by this apparent omission. Judah’s wealthy capital features in the Scriptures as being the prime target of the biblical pharaoh’s expedition; but when we turn to Shoshenq’s inscription, as Hermann says:482 “It is remarkable that Jerusalem does not seem to be mentioned on it, and does not therefore belong among the places seized …”. Kitchen also thinks it extremely unlikely that Jerusalem ever featured in any of the sections of the bas-relief now damaged.483

Shea, on the other hand, claims to have found Jerusalem and its environs described in various of Shoshenq’s name rings.484 ….


David Rohl, admittedly, does make a very good fist of trying to match Ramses II with Shishak. But, as we shall read in the following critique, this ‘new’ version of Shishak runs into some insurmountable problems, thus placing “the New Chronology … under considerable threat”. Rohl, like James (Centuries of Darkness, 1990), still manages to score telling points against convention, but his mid-way revision leaves him wandering in something of a no man’s land. Dale Murphie (recently deceased) has provided the following rather devastating “Critique of David Rohl’s A Test of Time” (C and C Review, 1997:1, p. 31):


“According to David Rohl, ‘The evidence from the Egyptian monumental reliefs, artefacts and documents points to the identification of Ramesses II as the historical counterpart of the biblical Shishak, conqueror of Jerusalem’ [Test of Time, I, p. 170: ‘Conclusion 8’]. The evidence certainly points to Ramesses II having been in the Judaean capital but is this conclusion the only option? ….

Having sketched Ramesses II into the Shishak position, Rohl takes on the conventional view that Shoshenq of Dynasty XX [sic] was the biblical Shishak. His argument is cogent, convincing and compelling. Even Kenneth Kitchen, reigning champion of the Third Intermediate Period (TIP) dogma, must surely come under pressure to yield ground, opening the way to a dramatic TIP revision. The great advance here is that David demonstrates Shoshenq is not Shishak – and the book is worth its price for this gem alone – but he does not actually prove Ramesses II is Shishak. He merely establishes that this would be the case if his input data are comprehensive and accurate. I suggest they are neither.

In Rohl’s historical scheme, this is a paramount issue. He gives three full chapters (4-6), plus his Preface as reinforcement, to the proposition that Ramesses II is Shishak. If he is mistaken here, the New Chronology comes under considerable threat. It is worth examining the general milieu into which Rohl thrusts Ramesses II, to see how snugly he fits. There seem to be a number of problems, stemming from biblical evidence that the regional power of Egypt became diminished and the Judaean state re-established full independence in this very period.

Firstly, given Ramesses’ 67 year reign, he would only have reached Year 22 when Asa of Judah, grandson of Rehoboam, ascended his throne. The significance of this date is that only one year previously Ramesses concluded his famous treaty with the Hittite King, Hattusilis. At this stage, with Egypt and the Hatti entering a long period of unprecedented harmony, consider the remarkably provocative actions of miniscule Judah. This tiny nation, under her new king, flouted the Egyptian/Hatti pact (which provided for mutual aid in just such an event), by starting the greatest fortress building phase of its entire history and developing a standing army of 540,000 men [II Chronicles 14:6-8] – and where did this military build up take place? Not in some distant corner of Egyptian/Hatti territory, away from prying eyes, but right in the demilitarised zone between the two powers, where all might see and not be under the slightest doubt that Judah meant business”.


And that is not the end of the problem for Rohl.

Murphie continues:


“To compound this difficulty, the Hebrew annals declare that in Asa’s 10th Year [II Chronicles 14:9-15] (Ramesses’ 31st year in the New Chronology) Judah was invaded from the south. However the biblical record says the foe was neither Ramesses nor Hattusilis (as would be expected in Rohl’s scenario) but another character entirely: Zerah the Ethiopian. Would Hatti and Egypt stand back to allow this fourth party with a massive army (suggested as from Arabia rather than Nubia) to invade their territory? Moreover, Zerah’s expedition suffered a major thumping at the hands of the Judaean upstart, enhancing Asa’s reputation throughout the region. Still the New Chronology has us believe that Ramesses and Hattusilis did nothing! Even if Zerah was acting in some way as agent provocateur of one of the major players (logically Egypt) in an attempt to take out the Judaean Maginot Line of fortresses, how could Ramesses have tolerated Asa’s humiliation of his agent?

If Ramesses II was Shishak, there never was a time when, nor a place where, such a result for Asa could have been more inappropriate or unlikely. …”.


Briefly here, also, Murphie touches on the inadequacies of Rohl’s chronology in relation to the Queen of Sheba:


“At the beginning of this time frame Shishak is tied chronologically to another celebrity who, like Zerah, simply cannot be ignored. On p. 178 Rohl mentions the Egyptian princess, bride of Solomon, but pays little attention to the contemporary visit of the Queen of Sheba, to whom he assigns 2 lines on p. 32 and a patronising comment about Velikovsky on p. 402. By aligning Dynasty XIX with the middle to near end of the United Monarchy of Israel, the New Chronology lacks a suitable candidate for Solomon’s celebrated visitor. It is not good enough to stay with the received opinion that she was a denizen of the south-west regions of Arabia Felix, when Josephus [Antiquities of the Jews, VIII, vi, 5] informed us that she was the Queen of Egypt and Ethiopia …. Further, the Ethiopian Kebra Nagast (The Book of the Glory of the Kings), discussing their Queen’s visit to Solomon, delivers her name as Makeda, almost identical to the royal name of Dynasty XVIII Queen Hatshepsut Makera, used repeatedly in the Dier [sic] el-Bahri mortuary complex inscriptions of her trading mission to Punt, placing the events in Dynasty XVIII”.



Kings Rehoboam and Jeroboam I



“Also, Jeroboam son of Nebat rebelled against the king. He was one of Solomon’s officials, an Ephraimite from Zeredah, and his mother was a widow named Zeruah”.


I Kings 11:26




Jeroboam and “Shishak”


Jeroboam [I] is not – unlike King Solomon’s other adversaries, Hadad the Edomite and Rezon son of Eliada – actually referred to as a satan (שָׂטָן), but as ‘lifting up his hand against the king’ (וַיָּרֶם יָד, בַּמֶּלֶךְ).


Thus we read (vv. 27-39):


“Here is the account of how [Jeroboam] rebelled against the king: Solomon had built the terraces and had filled in the gap in the wall of the city of David his father. Now Jeroboam was a man of standing, and when Solomon saw how well the young man did his work, he put him in charge of the whole labor force of the tribes of Joseph.

About that time Jeroboam was going out of Jerusalem, and Ahijah the prophet of Shiloh met him on the way, wearing a new cloak. The two of them were alone out in the country, and Ahijah took hold of the new cloak he was wearing and tore it into twelve pieces. Then he said to Jeroboam, ‘Take ten pieces for yourself, for this is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: ‘See, I am going to tear the kingdom out of Solomon’s hand and give you ten tribes. But for the sake of my servant David and the city of Jerusalem, which I have chosen out of all the tribes of Israel, he will have one tribe. I will do this because they have forsaken me and worshiped Ashtoreth the goddess of the Sidonians, Chemosh the god of the Moabites, and Molek the god of the Ammonites, and have not walked in obedience to me, nor done what is right in my eyes, nor kept my decrees and laws as David, Solomon’s father, did.

But I will not take the whole kingdom out of Solomon’s hand; I have made him ruler all the days of his life for the sake of David my servant, whom I chose and who obeyed my commands and decrees. I will take the kingdom from his son’s hands and give you ten tribes. I will give one tribe to his son so that David my servant may always have a lamp before me in Jerusalem, the city where I chose to put my Name. However, as for you, I will take you, and you will rule over all that your heart desires; you will be king over Israel. If you do whatever I command you and walk in obedience to me and do what is right in my eyes by obeying my decrees and commands, as David my servant did, I will be with you. I will build you a dynasty as enduring as the one I built for David and will give Israel to you. I will humble David’s descendants because of this, but not forever’.’”


Jeroboam was obviously a man of great talent, making an impression, first on King Solomon, and, then, on Pharaoh Shishak.

Solomon, realising that the great man had become a danger (v. 40), “tried to kill Jeroboam, but Jeroboam fled to Egypt, to Shishak the king, and stayed there until Solomon’s death”.


Pharaoh Shishak can only be, according to my estimations, the very long-reigning (54 years) Thutmose III of the Eighteenth Dynasty.

We had calculated that Thutmose I was the biblical “Pharaoh” during King Solomon’s early reign, who had given his “daughter” to King Solomon in an “alliance”. He reigned into approximately the first decade of King Solomon’s reign.

Thutmose I was succeeded by Thutmose II of uncertain length of reign – but perhaps similar to his predecessor, about 13 years.

The “Queen of Sheba”, who had visited and married Solomon, then left to marry Thutmose II.

She was Queen Hatshepsut.

These were political marriages, for the purpose of linking powerful kingdoms such as Israel and Egypt.

When Thutmose II died, Thutmose III came to the throne, for almost the last two decades of Solomon’s reign. “According to custom”, Queen Hatshepsut “began acting as Thutmose III’s regent, handling affairs of state until her stepson came of age. …. After less than seven years, however, Hatshepsut took the unprecedented step of assuming the title and full powers of a pharaoh herself, becoming co-ruler of Egypt with Thutmose III”.



Although King Solomon had been, as Senenmut (Senmut) a mighty force in Egypt, in close association with Hatshepsut, his influence there, at the time when Jeroboam fled to Shishak, must have been well on the wane, with a maturing Thutmose III now in the ascendancy.

In my article “Solomon and Sheba” I had written on this:


“Thutmose III in the Ascendant


Thutmose, far from having engaged in damnatio memo­riae, actually placed a statue of Senenmut in his Karnak temple and was ‘willing to see honor done to him, at least posthumously’ …. Thutmose III’s apparent respect for his mentor might explain why such a military-minded Pharaoh left it 5 years after Solomon’s death before invading Jerusalem and sacking the Temple … (as the biblical ‘Shishak’).

However cracks in their relationship surfaced near the end of Solomon’s life when Jeroboam, chosen by God ‘to tear the kingdom from the hand of Solomon’, feared for his life and fled to ‘Shishak’ in Egypt, where he remained until Solomon’s death (I Kings 11:26, 31, 40). Perhaps during the last few years of Hatshepsut’s reign, with Solomon in decline, Thutmose Ill began to assert his independence. He may have realised that it would fall to him to rectify Egypt’s economic problems. He accomplished this after Hatshepsut’s death, by embarking upon a series of mighty military conquests.


Senenmut’s Decline and Death


‘Senenmut’s continuing goodwill at court seems to have continued unabated during most … of Hatshepsut’s floruit’ …. Hatshepsut died in about Regnal Year 21. …. There have been all sorts of intriguing guesses about Senenmut’s demise. Schulman … who estimated Senenmut’s age at over 50 in Regnal Year 16, thinks ‘it would not at all have been surprising for [Senenmut] to have died from natural causes at a relatively old age, without our having to suppose a fall from the royal favour which resulted in his death’.”


Evidence for Solomon’s weakening would be that, whereas, before, he had been able to slay his adversaries (e.g., Adonijah, Joab, Shimei), he was not able to do away with Jeroboam, who would, after Solomon’s death, go on to rule strongly “for twenty-two years” (I Kings 14:20).


That Jeroboam was prized by Shishak – as Hadad the Edomite earlier had been, by “Pharaoh” – is apparent from the fact that Shishak gave him an Egyptian princess for a wife, Ano, according to the LXX (I Kings 12:24):


“And Jeroboam heard in Mizraim {gr.Egypt} that Solomon was dead; and he spoke in the ears of Shishak {gr.Susakim} king of Mizraim {gr.Egypt}, saying, Let me go, and I will depart into my land; and Shishak {gr.Susakim} said to him, Ask any request, and I will grant it thee. And Shishak {gr.Susakim} gave to Jeroboam Ano the eldest sister of Thekemina his wife, to be his wife: she was great among the daughters of the king, and she bore to Jeroboam Abia his son: and Jeroboam said to Shishak {gr.Susakim}, Let me indeed go, and I will depart. And Jeroboam departed out of Mizraim {gr.Egypt}, and came into the land of Sarira that was in mount Ephraim, and thither the whole tribe of Ephraim assembles, and Jeroboam built a fortress there”.


The Hebrew text lacks any mention of an Egyptian wife given to Jeroboam (I Kings 12:1-2): “Rehoboam [son of Solomon] went to Shechem, for all Israel had gone there to make him king. When Jeroboam son of Nebat heard this (he was still in Egypt, where he had fled from King Solomon), he returned from Egypt”.


As I have said before, the revision, when properly aligned, can be fruitful, whereas the conventional system is sterile. Regarding Jeroboam’s Egyptian wife, Dr. I. Velikovsky thought to have found historical evidence for her (Ages in Chaos, ch. iv: “Princess Ano”, pp. 180-181):


“In the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York there is preserved a canopic jar bearing the name of Princess Ano [his ref. No. 10.130.1003]. The time when the jar originated has been established on stylistic grounds as that of Thutmose III. No other references to a princess of such name is found in any Egyptian source or document”.


Of course this data suited perfectly Dr. Velikovsky’s revision, according to which Shishak (Susakim) was Thutmose III (p. 181): “The existence of a princess by the name of Ano in the days of Thutmose III lends credence to the information contained in the Septuagint and gives additional support to the identification of Shishak or Susakim of the Septuagint with the pharaoh we know by the name Thutmose III”.


Jeroboam and the cow-goddess Hathor


Jeroboam I will ultimately be disgraced and will fall from grace. I Kings 14:9-11 tells of it:


‘You have done more evil than all who lived before you. You have made for yourself other gods, idols made of metal; you have aroused my anger and turned your back on me.

Because of this, I am going to bring disaster on the house of Jeroboam. I will cut off from Jeroboam every last male in Israel—slave or free. I will burn up the house of Jeroboam as one burns dung, until it is all gone. Dogs will eat those belonging to Jeroboam who die in the city, and the birds will feed on those who die in the country. The Lord has spoken!’


That fearful prophecy, uttered by Ahijah, would be fulfilled in the next reign.

In a marvellous article, “Aaron, Jeroboam, and the Golden Calves” (JBL, Vol. 86, No. 2, Jun., 1967, pp. 129-140), authors Moses Aberbach and Leivy Smolar will list “thirteen points of identity” between the accounts of Aaron and the Golden Calf (Exodus 32) and Jeroboam and his Golden Calves (I Kings 12:38 f.).

Might we take it even further, that Jeroboam’s “golden calves” were, like Aaron’s creature, vestiges from former contact with Egypt?

Dr. Eva Danelius has, indeed, established a firm Egyptian religious connection for Jeroboam I in “The Sins of Jeroboam Ben-Nabat” (The jewish quarterly review, vol. LVIII, no. 3, 1968):


“…. Faced with the fact, that Jeroboam’s “calves” were representations of a cow-goddess-the next question is that for the prototype to them, or her.

Naturally, attention is first focussed on Egypt-the country which had extended such ample hospitality to the exiled Jeroboam, where he had married, and where his son had been born. The search is not in vain : a cow like the heifers described by Josephus : a reddish young animal, made, not molten, covered with gold, in a small shrine of her own, a cow inscribed with the name of a Pharao-who was considered a -has indeed been found: it is the famous Hathor cow from the Hathor shrine in the temple at Deir el-deity43Bahari.

The magnificent temple at Deir EI-Bahari was erected in a bay of the cliffs on the west side of the Nile at Thebes, by the great queen Hatshepsut of the famous XVIIIth dynasty. In the winter, 1906, Mr. Naville, during his excavations of the XIth dynasty temple which preceded that of Hatshepsut, discovered the shrine of Hathor. The shrine was built by Thutmoses III, Hatshepsut’s husband, and successor to the throne. Within it stood a great life-size image of the cow-goddess. “Never before had a cult-image of this … size and beauty been found intact within its shrine”.

“. . . Hathor is a goddess who comes out of a mountain-therefore a cave was cut in the rock. . . The shrine is a cave about 10 ft long and 8 ft high” (it is 5 ft across) it is hewn in a rock. . . it has been lined allround with slabs of sandstone . . . the roof is a vault consisting of two stones abutting against each other and cut 45in the form of an arch. There never was any pavement; the cow stood on the rough rock”.

“The cow is of sandstone. She is of natural size and in her shape a perfect likeness of the cows of the present day. Her colour is a reddish brown, with spots which look like a four-leaved clover. . . in some texts, these spots are replaced by stars . . . It seems that there are animals with this particular colour and spots. Probably this was the sign that they were the incarnation of the goddess, just as some particular … marks distinguished the Apis Bull . . .

“Hathor is the goddess of the mountain. She comes out of her cave and goes towards the river to the marshes . . . In the Book of the Dead, immediately at the foot of the mountain out of which she comes, we … see quite a forest of high papyrus plants . . .”

“The head, neck, and horns of this cow were certainly originally covered with gold: faint traces of it may be seen in the nostrils and on the horns; but the gold must have been very thin, like the very delicate coating which covers some statuettes, and which is metal beaten so thin that the sculpture is made with the same care as if the coating did not exist. It is the case with the cow. . .”

“According to the judgement of experts, this cow is perhaps one of the finest representations of an animal … that antiquity has left us.

On the neck of the cow is the cartouche of Amenhotep II, son and successor of Thutmoses III.

The XVIIIth dynasty were fervent worshippers of Hathor, and so were many of its successors. The sculpture of Deir EI-Bahari was certainly not the only one of its kind, some of which must have been seen by Jeroboam. We know, too, that from the days of the Old Kingdom Egyptian princesses from the harim of the Pharao had been priestesses to Hathor and especially devoted to this goddess-and Jeroboam’s wife Ano might have been one of them. The possibility must be considered, therefore, that Jeroboam during his stay in Egypt accepted the worship of Hathor, the heavenly cow, the Great Lady, Mistress of Heaven and Earth. He seems to have decided already then and there, to introduce her service in his native land, should the prophecy of Ahija the Shilonite ever come true”.


The Greeks


The contemporary tomb of Rekhmire, like that of Senenmut, features Aegean emissaries, whose specific ethnicity and lands of origin are debated.

According to: https://biblicalstudies.org.uk/pdf/grace-journal/12-2_23.pdf


“… Introduction  of  a  new  term–The  terms  Keftlu and “Islands


“In the midst of  the  Great  Green” are found  In conjunction  in  the  tomb of the Vizier Rekhmire  during  the  reign  of Thutmose Ill.   Historically , one may infer that the new term, “Islands in the midst  of  the  Great Green” was designed to describe the Mycenaeans, who first  ca me  In touch with  Egypt during the time of Thutmose  III”.


A massive problem, of course, is the conventional archaeology with its Dark Ages for Greece. Previously I had noted:


“Thanks to historical revisions … we now know that the ‘Dark Age’ between the Mycenaean (or Heroic) period of Greek history (concurrent with the time of Hatshepsut) and the Archaic period (that commences with Solon), is an artificial construct. This makes it even more plausible that Hatshepsut and Solomon were contemporaries of ‘Solon’. The tales of Solon’s travels to Egypt, Sidon and Lydia (land of the Hittites) may well reflect to some degree Solomon’s desire to appease his foreign women – Egyptian, Sidonian and Hittite – by building shrines for them (I Kings 11: 1, 7-8)”.


John R. Salverda, in a letter to me, suggested that the Greeks may have derived “Europa” from the name, Jeroboam:


“…. Exiles from Jeroboam’s kingdom founded colonies in Mycenaean lands, including Greece (where the “virgin Israel” was likely even known by a feminine corruption of Jeroboam’s name “Europa”); Where a famous set of twins fought in the womb, and one of the twins (Acrisius) set up a twelve tribe “Amphictyon” to maintain a special temple. This Greek temple was located at a place known as “Pytho” (a likely transliteration of the term “Bethel,” also called Delphi) thought to be named for “Python” (a possible corruption of “Beth-Aven” or without the slur “Beth-On”), where Apollo (Identified by the Greeks with the Egyptian Horus) slew the great serpent (as Horus did Seth/Apophis). As the Bethel shrine was turned into a copy of the Jerusalem Temple, so the Pyhtian temple of Apollo shares many detailed coincidences with the Judean Temple. The “omphalos” as the “Eben Shetiyah” (the respective “center stones” of the Earth), the Adyton as the Holy of Holies (the sanctuary of forbidden entry), the goat sacrifice (complete with special treatment for the entrails), the fumigation (sweet smelling incense), and ritual bathing (in specifically “living water”) … there are many other corresponding ritualistic and anecdotal features shared by these two temple schemes too numerous to outline in this forum! Well, before going on too long, notice all of the “Egyptian” motifs in this narrative. …”.



What is certain is that Solomonic archaeology emerges in abundance when all of the seemingly disparate elements of ancient history are brought together, as indeed now they must be.

These, we have found, are:


The supposed C18th BC world of Iarim-Lim (now King Hiram), and the archaeology of Alalakh (tying in with the Philistines);

The contemporaneous Shamsi-Adad I (now Hadadezer) – son of Uru-kabkabu (Rekhob) – and his ‘sons’, with Iasmakh-Adad as a potential Hadad the Edomite;

The Era of Hammurabi (perhaps Huram-abi) and Zimri-Lim (Rezon), son of Iahdulim (Eliada). The Solomonic-like architecture at Mari.


The supposed C15th BC (actually only about a generation later than the above) world of Idrimi (Hadoram) at Alalakh, rightly situated as a contemporary of Hatshepsut and Thutmose III of Eighteenth Dynasty Egypt.


Senenmut (Solomon) in Hatshepsut’s Eighteenth Dynasty Egypt. Late Bronze II Age.

Not Iron II where the current archaeologists mistakenly look for King Solomon.

This is the age of those Minoan and Aegean Greeks depicted in the reliefs of Senenmut and Rekhmire.


The so-called (c. 600 BC) age of Solon of Athens (Solomon), whose laws are actually Jewish – some being even as late as those of Nehemiah. See e.g. E. M. Yamauchi’s, “Two Reformers Compared: Solon of Athens and Nehemiah of Jerusalem” (Bible world, New York: KTAV, 1980. pp. 269-292).


Rehoboam not so “young”


I Kings 14:25-26:

“In the fifth year of King Rehoboam, Shishak king of Egypt attacked Jerusalem. He carried off the treasures of the Temple of the Lord and the treasures of the royal palace. He took everything, including all the gold shields Solomon had made”.


and correspondingly we read from:


2 Chronicles 12:2-4, 9:

“Shishak king of Egypt attacked Jerusalem in the fifth year of King Rehoboam. With twelve hundred chariots and sixty thousand horsemen and the innumerable troops of Libyans, Sukkites and Cushites that came with him from Egypt, he captured the fortified cities of Judah and came as far as Jerusalem. …. When Shishak king of Egypt attacked Jerusalem, he carried off the treasures of the Temple of the Lord and the treasures of the royal palace. He took everything, including the gold shields Solomon had made”.


Fatefully, and wrongly – as we have found – the conventional history has (following Champollion) synchronised this most significant biblical event with the main Palestinian campaign of pharaoh Shoshenk (Shoshenq) I of Egypt’s 22nd (so-called Libyan) dynasty.

We have, though (in this case following Velikovsky) constructed a totally different scenario.

In our revision, Senenmut’s (who was King Solomon) floruit in Egypt would correspond approximately to the mid-to-late phase of Solomon’s reign = Years 1-16 of Thutmose III.

Hatshepsut’s reign is dated by the regnal years of Thutmose III.

Prior to this period, King Solomon had completed his great building projects in Jerusalem, and, towards its end, he fell away from pure Yahwism into a decadent phase, building shrines to pagan gods for his foreign wives (I Kings 1:18). In perfect accord this, N. Grimal says that Senenmut “was a ubiquitous figure throughout the first three-quarters of Hatshepsut’s reign. He oversaw some of the most famous temples and shrines built during the co-reign of Hatshepsut and Thutmose III, and [princess] Neferure’s name also figures in some of these. …”.

Solomon’s (Senenmut’s) fade out near to Year 16 of Thutmose III (Shishak), give or take, corresponds very well indeed, mathematically, with the latter’s ‘First Campaign’ of Years 22-23, that being (according to this revision) the 5th year of king Solomon’s son, Rehoboam.


King Rehoboam’s immaturity early during his reign would make one think that he was only young. Indeed, his son Abijah will refer to Rehoboam as if he had been (2 Chronicles 13:7): ‘Some worthless scoundrels gathered around him and opposed Rehoboam son of Solomon when he was young and indecisive and not strong enough to resist them’.

The Hebrew word na‘ar (נַ֙עַר֙), translated here as “young” needs to take into account the fact that (I Kings 14:21): “Rehoboam son of Solomon … was forty-one years old when he became king …”. The common word, na‘ar, also used by a reluctant prophet Jeremiah (Jeremiah 1:6): ‘“Alas, Sovereign Lord’, I said, ‘I do not know how to speak; I am too young”, must also include the sense of disposition, of temperament.


However, King Rehoboam, who had formerly told the people: 10-11): ‘… My little finger shall be thicker than my father’s loins. … whereas my father burdened you with a heavy yoke, I will add to your yoke: my father hath chastised you with whips, but I will chastise you with scorpions’, was wise enough to humble himself during the invasion of Shishak king of Egypt (2 Chronicles 1:6): “The leaders of Israel and the king humbled themselves and said, ‘The Lord is just’.”


Dr. Eva Danelius recreates the scene at the time in a revised context (“Did Thutmose III Despoil the Temple in Jerusalem?”: http://saturniancosmology.org/files/egypt/thutmos.htm


“The Empire of the Hebrews, which David had taken such great pains to build, fell to pieces immediately after the death of his son King Solomon. Hadad seems to have returned and conquered Edom even before King Solomon’s death – or, at all events, immediately thereafter (I Kings 11:22). Jeroboam was sent for and called back to his native Ephraim by the elders of the ten Northern tribes to be made “King over all Israel”. Rehoboam, Solomon’s son and successor, was left with his native tribe of Judah alone (I Kings 1:13; 12:20).

Rehoboam had lost an empire. Now he did everything possible to ensure the safety of the tiny kingdom with which he was left. Anticipating an invasion, Rehoboam put his country into a state of defence (II Chron. 11:5-12): he closed off all the roads and defiles leading up into “the high rocky fortress of Judaea” (23) with a semi-circle of fifteen fortresses, he “put captains in them, and store of victual, and of oil and wine . . . shields and spears, and made them exceeding strong”, to withstand a prolonged siege.

Rehoboam was well advised to do so, being surrounded by enemies of the House of David: in the south Edom, in the west the lands of the five Philistine kings, and in the north the Israelites, who had just successfully rebelled against him. The only road which he kept open was that which led via Jericho and the fords of the Jordan to the Ammonites, to whom he was related through his mother (I Kings 14:21), and from whom he could hope for help against a foreign invader.

Curiously enough, the Bible does not mention any fortress which would protect Judah’s northern border against Israel. This gap is filled by Josephus, who reports that Rehoboam, after completing the strongholds in the territory of Judah, constructed walled cities in the territory of Benjamin, which bordered Judah to the north ….

While the king of Judah prepared for defence, the Pharaoh prepared for an attack.

The Egyptian pharaoh who conquered Jerusalem during Rehoboam’s reign has been identified with Sheshonk I, who had a list of Palestinian cities inscribed on the Temple walls at Karnak. The list is most fragmentary, and it is doubtful whether it refers to a campaign at all. Most of the discernible names refer to localities in northern Palestine, which, in Shishak’s time, belonged to the Kingdom of Israel. The name “Jerusalem” does not appear at all. Some scholars maintain, therefore, that the main attack was not launched against Judah, but against Israel, which suffered serious destruction …. This contention, however, can only be upheld by scholars who are willing to sacrifice the reliability of the Bible (and of Josephus) – which this writer refuses to do ….

The Masoretic Text which has come down to us was written by Judaeans hundreds of years after the Kingdom of Israel had ceased to exist. The Judaeans hated this kingdom and its first king, Jeroboam the heretic. The redactors of the text would have been only too glad to report that Jeroboam was punished for his heresy, that it was his land that was conquered, his capital which was plundered, and the temple at Beth-El that was despoiled. – There is not a word of this, but definite proof to the contrary.

While Rehoboam was feverishly preparing his country for war, Jeroboam indulged in entirely peaceful activities. He built a royal palace at Shechem in the hope of making it his capital. He built a second one at Pnuel …. And he embarked on a religious revolution which weakened the military capacity of his country considerably …. During all those years, Jeroboam was certainly as well aware of the military preparations going on in Egypt as was his southern neighbour the king of Judah. It seems that Jeroboam judged the situation correctly, as far as his kingdom was concerned: no unfriendly act of the Pharaoh against Israel is as much as hinted at by the Chronicler, who reports:-

And it came to pass, when Rehoboam had established the kingdom, and had strengthened himself, he forsook the law of the Lord, and all Israel with him. And it came to pass, that in the fifth year of king Rehoboam Shishak king of Egypt came up against Jerusalem, because they had transgressed against the Lord … And he took the fenced cities which pertained to Judah, and came to Jerusalem … So Shishak king of Egypt came up against Jerusalem, and took away the treasures of the house of the Lord, and the treasures of the king’s house; he took all … (II Chron. 12:1-2, 4, 9)

An even more detailed account has been preserved by Josephus, who closes with the words: “This done, he [i.e. the Pharaoh] returned to his own country.” Neither source mentioned any hostility against Israel”.


Velikovsky had put out this challenge to conventional scholars regarding the forts of Judah:


“The walled cities fortified by Rehoboam (II Chronicles 11:5ff.) may be found in the Egyptian list. It appears that Etam is Itmm; Beth-zur – Bt Sir; Socoh – Sk. Here is a new field for scholarly inquiry: the examination of the list of the Palestinian cities of Thutmose III, comparing their names with the names of the cities in the kingdom of Judah. The work will be fruitful”.


This was coupled with his pointed remark that, among the 119 cities listed by Thutmose III, there were many cities “which the scholars did not dare to recognize: they were built when Israel was already settled in Canaan”.



What sort of a name is “Shishak”?



Dr. Velikovsky himself did not actually attempt to connect “Shishak” to any of the Egyptian names of pharaoh Thutmose III, but merely alluded to Josephus‘s information that the Egyptian conqueror’s name was “Isakos”, or “Susakos”, and also to the Jewish tradition that the name “Shishak” was from Shuk, “desire”, because the pharaoh had wanted to attack Solomon, but had feared him.


A right chronology


Criticisms of Dr. I. Velikovsky’s choice (in Ages in Chaos, I, 1952) of pharaoh Thutmose III for the biblical “Shishak king of Egypt” tend to focus on four crucial areas: (i) chronology (naturally, since Velikovsky has Thutmose III about 500 years later than does the conventional estimate); (ii) the name; (iii) the relevant campaign against Jerusalem; and (iv) the booty.

Conventionally, Shoshenk I of the 22nd (so-called “Libyan”) dynasty is considered to be the right candidate, given that he has been dated to the time of kings Solomon and Rehoboam; his name is phonetically like “Shishak”; and he is known to have campaigned in Judah.


Though it is now widely thought that pharaoh Shoshenk I did not at any stage attack Jerusalem (as “Shishak” most certainly did).


Inevitably, Velikovsky’s vital (for posterity) Eighteenth Dynasty reconstruction, snugly aligned against the United (and later Divided) Monarchy of Israel, must lead him to the conclusion that the long-reigning (54 years) pharaoh Thutmose III was the same ruler as the biblical Shishak. Demonstrating this to be the case in all its major details, though, has turned out to be more elusive, not only for Velikovsky, but for those who have followed him here.

I, for my part, am convinced that Velikovsky was entirely correct in this identification of his (though not in his reconstruction of the whole biblico-historical scenario) and I have added a possible extra dimension to the revision by introducing Senenmut (Senmut) as King Solomon.

As previously noted, Senenmut’s floruit in Egypt would correspond to the mid-to-late phase of Solomon’s reign. In perfect accord with this, N. Grimal says that Senenmut “was a ubiquitous figure throughout the first three-quarters of Hatshepsut’s reign”.

Solomon’s (Senenmut’s) fade out near to Year 16 of Thutmose III (Shishak), give or take a year or two, corresponds very well indeed, mathematically, with the latter’s First Campaign of Years 22-23, that being (according to this revision) the 5th year of king Solomon’s son, Rehoboam, when Shishak came up against Jerusalem and its Temple.


Name “Shishak” for revisionists


Reconciling the name, “Shishak”, with the mighty Eighteenth dynasty pharaoh, Thutmose III, was one of Dr. Immanuel Velikovsky’s pressing tasks towards establishing this proposed biblico-historical synchronism as a sturdy pillar of his historical revision. Other major challenges relating to this were to connect the geography of Thutmose III’s First Campaign to the brief biblical accounts about “Shishak king of Egypt”; and to demonstrate that the inscribed Karnak treasures from this campaign could be matched to those of the Solomonic reign (his palace and the Temple of Yahweh).


Admittedly the name Shoshenk (var. Shosenq, Soshenq) is, phonetically speaking – and despite Dr. Bimson’s useful criticisms of it in his “Shoshenq and Shishak” – a far more obvious fit for “Shishak” (Heb. Šiwšaq: שִׁישַׁק) than is the name “Thutmose” (and perhaps than any other pharaonic nomen).

The various names known for pharaoh Thutmose III are provided here by Phouka:



Horus Name Kanakkht Khaemwaset
Nebty Name Wahnesyt
Golden Horus Name Djeserkhau Sekhenpehti
Praenomen Menkheperre “Lasting are the Manifestations of Re”
Nomen Thutmose” Born of the god Thoth”
Manetho Misphragmuthosis, Mepharamuthosis
King Lists
Alternate Names Totmes, Thutmos, Thumoses, Tuthmoses


It needs to be kept well in mind, however, that “Shishak” was the name by which this person was known to the Jews; so it may not necessarily even have been an Egyptian name.

A similar name, “Shisha” (Heb. Šiyša‘:שִׁישָׁא) – practically identical to “Shishak” but lacking the final k sound (Heb. qôph) – does occur in the First Book of Kings as the father of two of King Solomon‘s highest court officials, scribes (4:3).

It is generally thought that “Shisha” is an Egyptian name, as with one of this man’s sons, Eli-horeph.

Curiously, Shisha’s name is variously rendered in the Old Testament as “Seraiah” (2 Samuel 8:17); as “Sheva” (20:25); and as “Shavsha” (I Chronicles 18:16), which variability might perhaps indicate its foreignness.


Another very close fit for the name “Shishak” is the biblical name “Shashak” (Heb. Šašaq) of I Chronicles 8:14, 25.

{ŠŠK is actually an atbash cryptogram in Jeremiah 25:26; 51:41}.


So, “Shishak” may simply have been the name by which the pharaoh was known to the Israelites. And, in the context of King Solomon’s close (even intimate) connection with Hatshepsut, as Senenmut, then Israelite familiarity with the young Thutmose III, as well, becomes inevitable.


Velikovsky himself did not actually attempt to connect “Shishak” to any of the Egyptian names of pharaoh Thutmose III, but merely alluded to Josephus’s information that the Egyptian conqueror’s name was “Isakos”, or “Susakos”, and also to the Jewish tradition that the name “Shishak” was from Shuk, “desire”, because the pharaoh had wanted to attack Solomon, but had feared him. Certainly, this became an issue as King Solomon aged, with his foes now seeking refuge in Egypt, now with “Pharaoh” (1 Kings 11:18-22), and now with “King Shishak of Egypt” (v. 40).


If, on the other hand, the name “Shishak” is to be sought amongst those pharaonic titles of Thutmose III, then one might consider K. Birch‘s suggestion that it could derive from Thutmose III’s Golden Horus name, Djeser-khau (dsr h‘w) [“Chase a Cow”, as some have rendered it]. Birch has written: “… the (Golden) Horus names of Thutmose III comprise variations on: Tcheser-khau, Djeser-khau … (Sheser-khau?) …”. (“Shishak Mystery?”, C and C Workshop, SIS, No. 2, 1987, p. 35).

This Golden Horus name means “holy-of-diadems”.


Whilst Birch’s ingenious explanation, and the others, may all have merit, my own particular preference, at this point of time at least, is that the name, “Shishak”, was, not an Egyptian name at all – or certainly not a pharaonic one – but was one of those Israelite-applied names in vogue in King Solomon’s court along the lines of “Shisha” and “Shashak”.


David Rohl, admittedly, does make a very good fist of trying to match Ramses II with Shishak. But, as we have read, this ‘new’ version of Shishak runs into some insurmountable problems, thus placing “the New Chronology … under considerable threat”. Rohl, like Peter James (Centuries of Darkness), still manages to score telling points against convention, but his mid-way revision leaves him wandering in something of a no man’s land.


Overall Velikovsky’s revision (his Ages in Chaos series) has, despite its flaws, paved the way for relieving ancient history of its troublesome “Dark Ages” (c. 1200-700 BC).

Moreover, it has spelled the end of the “Sothic” astronomical theory upon which artificial bed the lengthy dynastic history of Egypt has been so uncomfortably spread out. Its worth has become apparent from the plethora of biblico-historical synchronisms – so lacking in the Sothic scheme – that have sprung up in association particularly with the Eighteenth Dynasty.

Unfortunately, some of the best minds associated with the necessary modification of Velikovsky’s revision, most notably those connected with what has come to be known as the “Glasgow School” of the late 1970’s to 1980’s – the likes of Peter James, John Bimson and Geoffrey Gammon – eventually abandoned those well-established Eighteenth Dynasty synchronisms and went off in search of their ‘new’ chronologies.

There is an interesting exchange between one who had persisted with the “Glasgow” findings, Michael Reade, and Bimson, formerly of that school, who had not (C and C Review 1999:2, pp. 38-40):




A further synchronism between Palestine and

Egypt by Michael G. Reade


Ten potential synchronisms between Palestine and Egypt during the period 1000-600 BC (approx.) were listed in the article ‘Shishak, the kings of Judah and some synchronisms’ [I]. A further such synchronism can be derived from John Bimson’s article ‘Dating the wars of Seti I’ [2]. This one has the special advantage of being independent of Dr. Velikovsky’s proposals in Ages in Chaos [3], which dominate the first four of the ten synchronisms and which seem to be particularly distrusted by some people. Dr. Bimson’s article rather plainly shows that Seti I’s campaigns in Palestine were synchronous with the time of Jehoahaz (of Israel). Jehoahaz ruled Israel during years 23-37 of Joash of Judah … though he is elsewhere credited with 17 years of rule (II Kings 13: I). ….


Notes and references


  1. Reade, MG, ‘Shishak, the Kings of Judah and some synchronisms’, C&CR 1997:2, pp. 27-36.
  2. Simson, Dr J, SISR V:l, pp. 11-27,1980/81.
  3. Velikovsky, Dr I, Ages in Chaos, Abacus (pub. Sphere Books), 1973, first pub. 1952 in USA.


“A response to Michael Reade

by John J. Bimson


Michael Reade is leaning heavily on my ‘Dating the Wars of Seti I’ (SISR V:I, 1980/81, pp. 11-27), written almost twenty years ago. He goes so far as to state that my article ‘rather plainly shows that Seti I’s campaigns in Palestine were synchronous with the time of Jehoahaz (of Israel)’. Unfortunately I no longer stand by the conclusions of that article and want to state clearly why I do not believe any further arguments should be based on it. A little history may help to clarify the picture.

By the late 1970s it became obvious to a number of us who were testing Velikovsky’s chronology that his separation of the 18th and 19th Dynasties was not viable. However, at that stage we were still persuaded that his redating of the 18th Dynasty had a lot to be said for it. The next logical step was therefore to test the possibility of adopting Velikovsky’s dating of the 18th Dynasty and letting the 19th and 20th Dynasties follow it consecutively (as in the conventional scheme). This experiment was reflected in some of the papers presented at the SIS international conference held in Glasgow in 1978 [I] and consequently the alternative revision became known as the ‘Glasgow Chronology’. The paper to which Michael Reade refers was an attempt to test and develop that revised chronology.

However, doubts about the Glasgow Chronology soon emerged. On the Egyptian side, we could not find room to accommodate the Third Intermediate Period; in my own field, the archaeology of Palestine, it became clear that sufficient compression of the Iron Age would be difficult to achieve; Peter James’s work on the Hittites raised parallel

problems; and so on … After further research and soulsearching, those of us most closely engaged with this problem (myself, Peter James and Geoffrey Gammon) reluctantly admitted that our alternative to Velikosvky’s scheme could not be brought to completion. In short, the evidence was now forcing us to question Velikovsky’s dating of the 18th Dynasty. Hence the postscript (dated Oct. 1982) which Peter James added to his Glasgow paper shortly before its publication: ‘The writer would like to add that he now feels somewhat higher dates than those experimented with in this paper are required by the evidence’. ….


Notes and References


  1. See papers by Geoffrey Gammon, John Bimson and Peter James in Ages in Chaos? Proceedings of the Residential Weekend Conference, Glasgow, 7-9 April 1978 (SISR VI: 1-3), 1982. …”.


I have, like Reade, found myself still continuing favourably to embrace “Glasgow” modifications despite the fact that its authors would no longer associate themselves with their early findings. And I have also, similarly to Reade, written of the “Glasgow” school as having ‘thrown out the baby with the bathwater’ – for Reade will, in his response to Bimson, use the like phrase, ‘thrown in the sponge’:


“Michael Reade replies


I am happy to assure Dr Bimson that I still stand by what I wrote in C&CR 1997:2 (top of p. 33): ‘I shall not attempt to adjudicate the extent to which either Velikovsky’s proposals or the ‘New Chronology’ are ‘right’ or ‘wrong’. I doubt whether it is even possible in the present state of the evidence’. My immediate object is to test the proposition that the founders of the Glasgow chronology may have thrown in the sponge before it is really necessary.

…. At the risk of being condemned to be burnt at the stake as an incorrigible heretic, however, I am willing to test the possibility of major revisions of this pattern, which could indeed permit this compression. Dr Bimson and his friends betray their own timidity in this respect when they speak of bringing down the chronology of Egypt by 250 or 350 years. This implies a shift of the existing order (en bloc) – a logical impossibility – whereas what I am envisaging is gross interference with the traditional order, which looks to be a house of cards erected on insecure foundations. It is high time these foundations were re-examined but this will obviously be a long and a slow business, involving testing a great many scenarios which must at least start out as very speculative. …”.


I fully agree with Reade’s sentiments, if not his own personal efforts at historical revisionism. Whereas Velikovsky had proposed – in what is now appearing more and more to have been a rather flawed reconstruction – that Hatshepsut’s contemporary, Thutmose III, was the biblical “Shishak king of Egypt”, who sacked the Temple of Yahweh in Jerusalem in the 5th year of king Rehoboam (I Kings 14:25), according to the ‘New Chronology’, ably led by David Rohl, Ramses II of the Nineteenth Dynasty was this Shishak. With Velikovsky’s anchors of Hatshepsut/Queen Sheba and Thutmose III/Shishak now thrown away, the ‘New Chronology’ immediately suffers from its not being able adequately to replace these Eighteenth Dynasty candidates with suitable Nineteenth Dynasty ones. This is especially true in the case of the Queen of Sheba – there is simply no appropriate royal woman to take her place! 



His Campaign against Jerusalem



“The topographical facts have been verified on the spot by a highly competent scholar … H. H. Nelson, … whose only adverse criticism was that the narrowness of the road had been somewhat exaggerated”.


Sir Alan Gardiner, Egypt of the Pharaohs.




Professor Breasted’s preconceptions


Gardiner, here on p. 192, is referring to Thutmose III’s First Campaign, undertaken in his Years 22-23, after Hatshepsut had passed away.

No wonder, then, if this was Gardiner’s reading of H. Nelson’s view – not to mention that of the pharaoh’s officers – that Egyptology is such a mess.

Gardiner was rather more accurate when he famously lamented (on p. 222): “What is proudly advertised as Egyptian history is merely a collection of rags and tatters”.


Professor James Henry Breasted considered the warlike Eighteenth Dynasty pharaoh, Thutmose III, to have been “the Napoleon of Egypt” (Ancient Times, I, Ginn and Co., 1914, p. 85). And it is to that pharaoh’s records that we now turn, because they concern Breasted and his reconstruction of the so-called “Battle of Megiddo”.


Thutmose III has been confidently dated according to the ‘Sothic’ scheme of things to the C15th BC. So, the majority of historians would not quibble with Breasted’s bold conclusion that Thutmose III’s First Campaign occurred during April/May of 1479 BC. According to Breasted, Thutmose III, in his Year 22, embarked upon a military expedition into Syria, in order to fight against a coalition of Syrian princes under the leadership of the “King of Kd-šw”, who had revolted against Egypt.


Kd-šw has been identified as the city of Qadesh, or Kadesh.


Pharaoh Thutmose III emerged from this campaign with a great victory and immense spoils from the conquered territories. Dr. Eva Danelius (“Did Thutmose III Despoil the Temple in Jerusalem?”, SIS Review, Vol. II, No. 3, 1977/78, pp. 64-79), tells of this and of the very poor condition of part of the Egyptian Annals:


“A hieroglyphic text, carved into the wall of a famous and much frequented Temple about 3,000 years ago, does not sur­vive undamaged. And this is how Breasted described it when he started working on it around the turn of the century:


“They [the Annals] are in a very bad state of preservation, the upper courses having mostly disappeared, and with them the upper parts of the vertical lines of the inscription.” ….


Detailed information about the length of the various gaps is provided by Sethe, who worked on a critical edition of the Egyptian original during the same years that Breasted worked on its translation into English. Gaps noted by Sethe vary from a few centimetres to more than 1.75 metres! …. In addition, even the signs which remained were sometimes damaged and their reading open to question. Add to this the enormous dif­ficulty of translating an Oriental text into a European lan­guage which differs from it fundamentally in its vocabulary, syntax etc. and its evaluation of events, and it will be under­stood how questionable all these translations actually are. No wonder, therefore, that the more important of these inscrip­tions induced every new generation of Egyptologists to try and produce a more complete rendering of the original.

Another pitfall for the translator is the licence to fill gaps not overly long with words which might have stood there, according to his – very subjective – ideas. Such words might have been taken from similar inscriptions where they have been preserved; or the translator/interpreter simply counts the number of missing “groups” and tries to fill the gap as best he can with fitting words of a similar length. Though these inser­tions by the translator have to be put in brackets as a warning to students, it happens only too often, especially when pro­vided by a famous teacher, that in the end they are treated with the same respect as the original.


For Breasted, the identification of the fortress [My-k-ty or Mkty] conquered by Thutmose with Biblical Megiddo was a fact not to be doubted. And his interpretation of the – very fragmentary – text was determined by this fact. …”.


Dr. Danelius has done some marvellous critical work whilst following the First Campaign of Thutmose III through the eyes of professor Breasted. She will point out some glaring discrepancies along the way, leading to her introduction of Harold Nelson and his doctoral thesis with its own criticisms of the conventional scenario. I take up Danelius’s account, adding my own comments here and there. Let us commence at the beginning:


“The story, as told by Breasted, starts in the 22nd year of Pharaoh’s reign, “fourth month of the second season”, when he crossed the boundary of Egypt (Records, § 415). There had been a rebellion against the Pharaoh in the city of Sharuhen, known from the Bible: the city had been allocated to the tribe of Simeon, inside the territory of Judah (Josh. 19:6). Nine days later was “the day of the feast of the king’s coronation”, which meant the beginning of a new year, year 23. He spent it at the city “which the ruler seized”, G3-d3-tw, understood to be Gaza (§ 417) (33). He left Gaza the very next day 16 in power, in triumph, to overthrow that wretched foe, to extend 17“the boundaries of Egypt, according †[… L.P.H.: conventional representation of brief Egyptian form for “(may he have) life, prosperity, health”, an honorific customarily applied to the Pharaoh. – Ed.] to the command of his father the valiant†18 that he seize. Year 23, first month of the third season, on the sixteenth day, at the city of Yehem (Y-hm), he ordered [GAP – one word] 19 consultation with his valiant troops … (§§ 418-420)


The attentive reader will have observed that there is no gap in the middle of line 18. Nevertheless, Breasted inserted before the words “at the city of Y-hm” in brackets: “(he arrived)” (§ 419). In his History of Egypt he goes much more into detail: “Marching along the Shephela and through the sea-plain, he crossed the plain of Sharon, turning inland as he did so, and camped on the evening of May 10th (34) at Yehem, a town of uncertain location, some eighty or ninety miles from Gaza, on the southern slopes of the Carmel range.” (pp. 286/7)

Not a word of all this appears in the Egyptian text. All that the text says is that the Pharaoh spent one night at a city which has been identified with Gaza, and that nine days later he held a consultation with his officers at another place of which we know absolutely nothing. All else is guesswork. Its only justification, in the eyes of the translator, lies in the fact that it brings the army to the place where it should be if the location of the city to be conquered, My-k-ty, was in the Valley of Esdraelon. Quod erat demonstrandum”.


It is highly worrying when an authority takes it upon himself to ‘improve’ upon an ancient text. I also found similarly in my thesis:


A Revised History of the Era of King Hezekiah of Judah

and its Background




that Assyriologists had done the same in the case of adding the name “Sargon” where they had presumed it ought to have been (Volume One, Ch. 6, p. 137):


“Another seemingly compelling evidence in favour of the conventional chronology, but one that has required heavy restoration work by the Assyriologists, is in regard to Sennacherib’s supposed accession. According to the usual interpretation of the eponym for Nashur(a)-bel, (705 BC, conventional dating), known as Eponym Cb6, Sargon was killed and Sennacherib then sat on the throne: ….


The king [against Tabal….] against Ešpai the Kulummaean. [……] The king was killed. The camp of the king of Assyria [was taken……]. On the 12th of Abu, Sennacherib, son [of Sargon, took his seat on the throne].


Tadmor informs us about this passage that: “Winckler and Delitzsch restored: [MU 16 Šarru-ki]n; ana Ta-ba-lu [illik]”. That is, these scholars took the liberty of adding Sargon’s name”.



Once we know that there has been some tampering with a text, in favour of one’s own preferred conclusion, then we can only wonder what further additions or deletions have occurred?


Dr. Danelius now proceeds on to the “war counsel” of the great pharaoh and his generals:


“Details of this highly dramatic warcounsel have been pre­served in the following 30 lines of the text, which are given here in Breasted’s translation (beginning at the end of line 19), but without his restorations and additions:-­


… saying as follows: That [GAP] enemy 20 of Kd-šw has come (35) to My-k-ty;*he [GAP] 21at this moment. He has gathered to himself the chiefs of [GAP] countries 22on the water of Egypt (36), as far as N-h-ry-n [GAP of 23cm.] 23the H3-rw, the Kdw, their horses, their troops [GAP of ca. 23cm.] 24thus he speaks, “I have arisen to [LONG GAP] (37) 25“in My-k-ty Tell ye me [LONG GAP]” 26“They spoke in the presence of his majesty “How is it to go [GAP] 27on this road which threatens to be narrow? (38) While they [GAP] 28 say that the enemy is there waiting [LONG GAP] 29way against a multitude. Will not horse come behind horse [GAP] 30man likewise? Shall our vanguard be fight­ing while our [GAP: rearguard?] is yet standing yonder 31in 3-rw-n3 not having fought? (39) There are [GAP] two roads: 33one road, behold, it [GAP] come forth at 34 T3-3-n3-k3, the other behold, it is to 35the way north of Df-ty, so that we shall come out to the north (40) of My-k-ty. 36“Let our victorious lord proceed upon [GAP] he desires [GAP] 37cause us not to go by a difficult (41) road [GAP]. 38[ONLY TWO WORDS PRESERVED:] … messengers … design 39they had uttered, in view of what had been said by (42) the majesty of the Court, L.P.H.:† 40As Re loves me, as my father Amon favours me, as 1 am rejuve­nated 41with satisfying life, my majesty will proceed upon the road of 3-42rw-n3. Let him who will 44among you, go upon those 43roads ye have mentioned, and let him who will 44among you, come in the following of my majesty. Shall they think among those 45enemies whom Re detests: ‘Does his majesty proceed upon 46another road? He begins to be fearful of us,’ so they will think,” 47They spoke before his majesty: “May thy father Amon [GAP], 48 Behold, we will follow thy majesty everywhere [GAP] go, 49as a servant is behind his master. (§§ 420-423)


This was indeed an amazing story – Thutmose’s generals rising almost in mutiny against their commander, the Pharaoh, “the Mighty Bull, Living Horus”, as he calls himself in his inscriptions. And, even more astonishing, the Pharaoh seemed to understand their reluctance to enter this road of ill omen: he neither blamed them, nor did he punish them, but left the decision to them. Upon which the officers decided to follow their master.

Breasted identified this defile, the road called “Aruna” in Egyptian records, with the Wadi Ara which connects the Palestine maritime plain with the Valley of Esdraelon (43). It was this identification which aroused my curiosity, and my doubt”.


And “doubt” Dr. Danelius well might.


As it turns out, the Wadi Ara is neither etymologically nor topographically (pace Gardiner) appropriate for the dreaded “Aruna” pass of the Egyptian Annals:


“If it is true that “the geography of a country determines the course of its wars” (44), the frightful defile, and attempts at its crossing by conquering armies, should have been reported in books of Biblical and/or post-Biblical history. There is no mention of either. Nor has the Wadi Ara pass ever been con­sidered to be secret, or dangerous.

“From the Plain of Sharon to Jordan. This line … ascends by the broad and open valley Wâdy Ârah. crossing the watershed at Ain Ibrahim, which is about 1200 feet above the sea. Thence the road descends, falling some 700 feet in 3 miles to Lejjûn, where it bifurcates . . . This line, which appears to be ancient, is of great importance, being one of the easiest across the country, owing to the open character of Wâdy Ârah.”

This was written years ago, by C. R. Con­der (45), long before a modern highway was laid through.

Conder’s view is shared by later writers: “Most armies coming north over Sharon … ­would cut across the . . . hills by the easy passes which issue on Esdraelon at Megiddo and elsewhere.” – thus, a famous historian and geographer (46).

The last army which actually crossed by this pass on its way from the south was the Egyptian Expeditionary Force under General Allenby, in September 1918. General Wavell evalu­ates the difficulties of the crossing when discussing the oper­ational plan for the final onslaught: “There was no obstacle to rapid movement along either the Plain of Sharon or Plain of Esdraelon. The crux of the ride would be the passage of the mountain belt which divides these two plains … the width of this obstacle is about seven miles. Two routes lead across it from Sharon, of which … the eastern debouches into Esdraelon at Lejjûn or Megiddo … Neither road presents any physical difficulties for a mounted force. On the other hand, either is easy of defence and would be hard to force against opposition”. On September 19th, 1918, a brigade with armoured cars was sent ahead to seize the defile leading to El Lejjûn. It was undefended, and on the following night “the 4th Cavalry Division passed the Musmus Defile (Wadi Ara pass) during the night, after some delay due to a loss of direction by the leading brigade, and reached the plain at El Lejjûn by dawn. (47)”



Testimony of Harold H. Nelson


It is at this point that Danelius introduces into her discussion the somewhat ill-fated young scholar, Harold H. Nelson – to whom Sir Alan Gardiner had referred – whose task it was, as Danelius puts it, “to verify a foregone conclusion of Breasted”:


“During the same years in which Breasted wrote his reconstruction of the campaign, a German team under Schuhmacher started to excavate at Tell el-Mutesellim. The excavation was led carried out during the years 1903 to 1905. Unfortunately, “At the spot excavated by Schuhmacher, absolutely nothing has been found which could provide any further information” (concerning identification of the mound with that besieged, and conquered by Thutmose III), states the report (48).

Schuhmacher’s excavation was much too limited to permit final judgement. Breasted, quite rightly, refused to give up so easily. He wanted specific proof for his identification, and suggested to one of his students, Harold H. Nelson, that he dedicate his doctoral thesis to the problem. Nelson was not given freedom to look for the frightening defile among the mountains of Palestine: Breasted confined him to a specific region: “This study is confined almost entirely to an effort to interpret the Annals of Thutmose III in the light of the geography of the environs of Megiddo”, explains Nelson in his preface (49). In other words, the “scientific investigation” had to verify a foregone conclusion of Breasted – it was “prove or perish” for the unhappy young man.

For the sensitive reader, the resulting dissertation is a moving testimony of an intelligent and honest young student who tried desperately to harmonise the theory of his venerated teacher with the observations made on the spot, which simply did not fit”.


Danelius is not exaggerating here.

The conventional reconstruction of this campaign now begins to get very messy, with the situation on the ground being quite incompatible – ‘simply not fitting’ – with the data recorded in the Annals. The hard road that pharaoh Thutmose III had chosen, that made his officers extremely nervous, cannot be equated with the relatively peaceful and easy one that is the Wadi ‘Ara. Nor are the names etymologically compatible:


“Nelson travelled the Wadi ‘Ara pass in 1909, and again in 1912. He described it in detail: “… the road enters the Wadi ‘Ara which is there … flat and open . . . All the way to a quarter of a mile above ‘Ar‘arah the valley is wide and level and cultivated up the slopes on either side … the ascent is so gradual as to be scarcely perceptible and it is possible to drive a carriage as far as the top of the pass.” The road follows an ancient Roman road which descends along a smaller way. “This latter gradually contracts as it proceeds till about half a mile above the mouth of the valley, it reaches its narrowest point, being not more than 10 yards wide. A little further on the road … opening out rapidly to a couple of 100 yards, emerges upon the plain of Lejjûn”. Nelson comes to the conclusion that: “Of course such a road could be easily defended by a comparatively small number of men, but, on the other hand, an invading army could readily keep pos­session of the hills on either hand which are neither steep nor high above the valley … a watcher posted on the hill above Lejjûn could descry an approaching army at least a mile above the mouth of the pass”. (50)

As an afterthought, Nelson warns not to be deceived by the Arabic name (wadi) ‘Ara: “Etymologically, it seems hardly possible to equate (Egyptian) Aruna with (Arab) Ar‘Arah (51).

Neither the physical appearance of the road as described by Nelson, nor its use as an international highway justify its identification with a road described as “inaccessible”, “secret” or “mysterious” in the Egyptian records”.

Neither did it make sense tactically speaking:


“Nelson’s difficulties did not end here. According to the timetable drawn up by Breasted, the Egyptian army emerged from the pass in the afternoon, set up camp, and spent a quiet night, to go forth to battle the next morning (52) – all this in full view of the army of the Asiatics!

Nelson is unable to understand the behaviour of the Allies, or why they should have “thrown away the advantage afforded by the narrowness of the pass … to strike Thutmose under circumstances so favourable to the success of the Allies. Our meagre sources must leave us forever ignorant of the reasons of the Allies for thus throwing away their greatest chance of victory . . . It is astonishing how little military wisdom the Asiatics seem to have displayed …. The great opportunity [of successful resistance] they seem deliberately to have neg­lected.” (53).

The theme given to Nelson was “The Battle of Megiddo”, and this became the title of the dissertation. It seemed, how­ever, that there was no battle. “On the actual conflict which took place there is not a vestige of information. To judge from the Annalist’s narrative it would seem that the Asiatics fled without striking a blow … why the Asiatics fled is not plain. They probably mustered a considerable force.” (54) And finally, why was the city not taken by storm? “Just why Thutmose did not make such an attempt at once is hard to sur­mise …” (55).

Habent sua fata libelli – books have their own fate, and Nelson’s was no exception”.


That Sir Alan Gardiner was quite wrong in writing that H. Nelson’s “only adverse criticism was that the narrowness of the road had been somewhat exaggerated”, is apparent from what Danelius describes next – Nelson’s ultimate complete disillusionment with the project.


“Whilst Breasted appeared satisfied with the outcome, Nelson claimed that he “would gladly have re-written the whole manuscript” in retrospect.

Somehow, he managed to satisfy Breasted; he passed his examination, and his study was printed before the outbreak of World War I. He immediately returned to Beirut for the cuts of’ the illustrations and maps, when war caught up with him. During the whole of the war he was confined behind the Turk­ish lines in Syria; only in the Year 1920 did he manage to sec­ure the material needed.

This unexpected turn of events provided him with the opportunity of discussing his thesis with some British officers who had participated in the conquest of Palestine, 1917/1918. Nelson refers to the outcome of these meetings in the Preface to the 1920 edition of’ his thesis: “Had the University of Chicago regulations governing the publication of theses permitted, I would gladly have re-written the whole manuscript in the light of the recent campaign of the Egyptian Expeditionary Force under Lord Allenby in the same region in which Thut­mose III, nearly 3,500 years earlier, also defeated an enemy advancing from the north towards Egypt”, but “I cannot make use of certain valuable suggestions made by those who cam­paigned in Palestine in 1917-18 …”.

Nelson never rewrote his dissertation. Armed with the pre­cious study, Breasted approached John D. Rockefeller Jr and persuaded him to finance a renewed excavation of Tell el-­Mutesellim for a five-year period. Clarence S. Fisher was to be the director, and he came to Palestine in 1925 to start the preparations for the dig. A comfortable house was built for the members of the expedition, and in 1926 excavation was started, lasting until 1939.

Results, as far as the Thutmose campaign was concerned, were as negative as those of Schuhmacher’s excavation. Con­cerning identification of the mound with the city besieged and conquered by the Pharaoh, the excavators relied only and sol­ely on Nelson’s dissertation: “There can now be no doubt concerning the identification of Tell el-Mutesellim as Megiddo (Armageddon). What little doubt might have remained … was entirely dispersed by Nelson’s translation of and commentary on the account of the Battle of Megiddo given in the annals of Thutmose III, which are recorded on the walls of the temple of Amon at Karnak.” (56)

And so, during the last 50 years, the doctoral dissertation of the young student became the unanswerable proof of the how, when and where of Thutmose III’s First Palestinian Campaign (57) …”.


Nelson for his part, however – according to Danelius – “no longer identified himself with his findings” as published in his thesis:


“However, there were at least two scholars who had their doubts about the localisation of the event. One was Nelson himself, the other the late P. L. O, Guy, who directed the excavations at Tell el-Mutesellim dur­ingthe years 1927 to 1935.

Harold Nelson, when asked by the Librarian of the Cairo Museum, the late Joseph Leibovitch, for a print for his private library, parted with his last copy of his doctoral thesis. He stressed this fact, adding that he no longer identified himself with his findings as expressed in the study (58). ….


  1. L. O. Guy was serving as Chief Inspector with the Department of Antiquities of the Mandatory Government of Palestine, when Breasted asked him to accept the leadership of the Megiddo excavation which Fisher had had to give up for health reasons. Guy was a Scotsman who had fought with the British Army in World War I in Europe and in the Middle East. Guy did not share Breasted’s enthusiasm. Time and again Breasted appeared at the Guy’s home in Jerusalem till Guy finally agreed to accept the offer to head the biggest and most richly endowed excavation in Mandatory Palestine (59).


Guy died in 1952. His wife, who had lived with him at Megiddo and shared work on the site, continued working with the Department of Antiquities of the State of Israel. Mrs Guy most willingly answered all my questions. Again and again she stressed the fact that nothing, absolutely nothing, had been found during their nine years of digging which would throw any light on the story of Thutmose’s campaign.

One brief work concerning post-World War II digs at the mound. All of these were small affairs undertaken to clarify special problems. The riddle of the stratification of the layers from the 10th and 9th centuries BC was investigated anew (60), and so “was that of the area around the temples. Among the various soundings carried out in the area, the only ones investigating ruins which could be ascribed to Late Bronze Age I – the time of Thutmose III, according to conventional chronology – were those carried out by a team from the Heb­rew University of Jerusalem, under the direction of the (late) architect I. Dunayevski (61). They led to the conclusion that: “At the end of the Middle Bronze Age, the temple with the wide walls appeared, developing at the beginning of the Late Bronze Age to the temple with two towers at the entrance, a type of temple whose sources, like those of its predecessors, must be sought in the north.” (Emphasis added.) Similarities were observed with the temple at Byblos in LB I, that at Shechem and stratum Ib at Hazor, in LB II.

The report does not mention any Egyptian finds”.


“… the road enters the Wadi ‘Ara which is there … flat and open … All the way to a quarter mile above ‘Ar’arah the valley is wide and level … the ascent is so gradual as to be scarcely perceptible …”.


  1. H. Nelson.



A Leap from Gaza to Carmel ridge


Breasted’s reconstruction of the campaign almost seems to spirit the Egyptian army from Gaza all the way north to the Carmel ridge.


To discuss this, Danelius (op. cit.) returns to the beginning:


“Let us stop here and survey the situation. To recapitulate: the one undisputed place reached by the Egyptian army was Gaza. From there on, every “identification” has been pure guesswork. This is especially true for the “identification” of Y-hm, which was supposed to have been near the entrance to Wadi Ara (and identified, eventually, with Jemma, a nearby Arab village). In order to reach this place, the army which had just crossed the Sinai desert would have continued marching for 10 days, covering about 90 English miles (89). So far Breasted, and his followers to this day.

Experience has shown that an army which includes cavalry and chariots drawn by horses cannot progress that quickly in a country where drinking water is in short supply during the dry season, May to November. It seems that neither Breasted nor any of his followers has given any thought to this vital ques­tion, not to mention other problems of logistics. In this respect, the dispatches sent by General Allenby to the Secretary of State for War during the advance of the Forces in the Philistine Plain are a veritable eye-opener. Gaza had fallen on November 7th 1917. Two days later: “By the 9th, the problem became one of supply … the question of water and forage was a very difficult one. Even where water was found in sufficient quantities, it was usually in wells and not on the surface, and consequently … the process of watering a large quantity of animals was slow and difficult,” writes Allenby (90). The very next day, November l0th: “The hot wind is an additional trial, particularly to the cavalry already suffering from water shortage”. (This was near Ashdod, in the Philistine Plain) “Owing to the exhaustion of their horses on account of the lack of water”, two mounted brigades “had to be with­drawn into reserve”, on November 11th.

There is no reason to suppose that nature was kinder to Thutmose’s troops in May, the month with the greatest number of days with the destructive hot wind blowing from the desert, than to the Allied troops in November. Allenby’s advance, too, was considerably slower than that demanded in Breasted’s calendar for the advance of the Pharaoh’s army: the Allied left wing covered only 40 miles in 15 days along the plain (91), while Breasted suggested 80-90 miles in 10-11 days.

These observations may justify a totally different interpretation of the events during the 10 or 11 days from the day Thutmose left Gaza to the council of war at Y-hm. According to the unanimous understanding of Egyptologists, the text of the Annals leaves no doubt that the entrance into Gaza was a peaceful one. There is no hint of any resistance by the inhabitants. ….

The place named immediately after Gaza is Y-hm. Petrie suggested an identification with the modern Arab village Yemma, south-west of the Carmel ridge, an identification that is “little more than guesswork” according to Nelson (94). [Danelius opted instead for Y-hm as the Egyptian equivalent of Yamnia (Yabne in Hebrew), a port about 40 km north of Gaza: “Today, Yamnia/Yabne lies about 7 km inland from the Mediterranean, from which it is sepa­rated by a broad belt of sand dunes. The plain around it is strewn with the remnants of Bronze Age and Iron Age set­tlements, among them a harbour town at the mouth of a little river which bypasses the city. Needless to say, possession of a harbour would facilitate the problem of supply and help con­siderably in its solution”].


Problematical Taanach and Megiddo


The seemingly most inconvenient (for Dr. Danelius) combination now encountered in the Egyptian Annals of the place names T3-3-n3-k3 and My-k-ty, rendered Taanach and Megiddo, really had given me pause to wonder whether one could possibly reject the conventional interpretation of the geography of Thutmose III’s First Campaign. For Taanach and Megiddo lie well to the north of where Dr. Danelius had focussed her campaign geography.

Taanach is almost always named in company with Megiddo, and they were evidently the chief towns of that fine rich district which forms the western portion of the great plain of Esdraelon”.


Joshua 12:21: “The king of Taanach The king of Megiddo”; Judges 5:19: “At Taanach, by the waters of Megiddo; 1 Kings 4:12: “Baana the son of Ahilud; [to him pertained] Taanach and Megiddo”; and so on.


But names can be duplicated in different regions of Israel. The southern Simeonite location of “Bethul” (Joshua 19:4), for instance, re-emerges in “Bethulia” in the north (Judith 4:6).

Moreover, both the meaning and the ethnic origin of the name, “Taanach”, are uncertain (http://www.abarim-publications.com/Meaning/Taanach.html): “It’s unclear what the name Taanach might mean, where it comes from or even from which language”.


Still, this apparently fortuitous combination, Taanach and Megiddo, is by far, to my mind, the strongest point in favour of the conventional reconstruction of Thutmose III’s First Campaign.

And, if it were not for its complete topographical – and probably also logistic – incompatibility with the description of the region as provided by the pharaonic account, I might have had seriously to consider adopting the geographical scenario as interpreted by professor Breasted. (Though, importantly, see below: 3. The Taanach Road)

Indeed, Dr. Velikovsky had accepted this combination as indicating the well-known northern Taanach and Megiddo, and he would later, in a letter to Dr. Danelius, point to it as an apparent weak point in her reconstruction.

Thus Velikovsky wrote (http://saturniancosmology.org/files/egypt/thutmos.htm):


“A Response to Eva Danelius


Dr Velikovsky sent comments to Dr Danelius after reading her paper, and has requested that some of these be printed here:-


My view of the paper of Dr Danelius is given here extracted from a personal letter to her, dated March 14, 1977. Dr Danelius is a very gifted researcher and innovator, and she herself carries the responsibility for challenging Breasted and all others: I do not wish that any authority I may carry should overshadow the discussion of my work.

Your paper on Hatshepsut* is an important contribution. With your paper on Thutmose III and Megiddo I am not in accord. I would still follow Breasted as to the position of Megiddo, and these are my considerations in short:

It seems to me that things went this way: When Jeroboam, upon the death of Solomon, returned from Egypt, he did not succeed immediately in taking over the entire area of the northern tribes. Megiddo was one of the fortresses (the main) built by Solomon, and it withstood the secession. Four or five years thereafter, Thutmose III moved into Palestine, and as his first step he “took the fenced cities which pertained to Judah” (II Chronicles 12:4). Rehoboam hurried to defend Megiddo. Thutmose did not put siege to Jerusalem: he wished first to eliminate the strategically-dominating stronghold that was a thorn in his plan. After a pitched battle outside of the gate, in which the King of Kadesh participated, he was hoisted to the fortress – after a while the King of Kadesh (Rehoboam) went out of the fortress and “humbled himself”; Jerusalem was not besieged: already at the walls of Megiddo the surrender and the loot of the Temple and the palace of Jerusalem were agreed upon.

This was about -940. Megiddo was not handed over by Thutmose to Jeroboam, but was kept as a fortress enclave in the land that was a divided vassalage (North-South), with an Egyptian-appointed commander.

In the letters of el-Amarna, Biridia (Biridi) is the commandant referred to as Biridri in the Annals of Shalmaneser III. The commandant of Megiddo (which he calls in the letters Mikida and Magiida, called Mykty by Thutmose in his Annals one hundred years earlier), Biridri has under him at the battle of Karkar charioteers of Ahab, and Syrians, and a thousand Musri soldiers (Egyptians).

Also the name of the brook (Taanak) referred to by Thutmose III next to Megiddo:

“One of the roads – behold it is to the east of us, so that it comes out at Taanach. The other – behold, it is to the north side of Djefti, and we will come out to the north of Megiddo …”

Taanach is also next to Megiddo in the Bible (I Kings 4:12). Your equation of Taanach with the Tahhunah ridge does not strengthen your thesis.

Now as to the approach to Megiddo being a narrow pass – by what it is now, it cannot be judged what it was almost three thousand years ago. There could have been artificial mound-fortifications the length of the pass. Think, for instance, of Tyre of the time of Shalmaneser III or Nebuchadnezzar (who besieged it for 13 years), or even of the days of Alexander, when it withstood a protracted siege. Today its topography is completely changed.

The story as I see it explains what you see as insurmountable difficulties. I was asked what I think of your essay, and before I let it be known, I tell you this in the spirit of constructive co-operation.


[* E. Danelius: “The Identification of the Biblical ‘Queen of Sheba’ with Hatshepsut, ‘Queen of Egypt and Ethiopia’ as proclaimed by Immanuel Velikovsky – in the Light of New Archaeological Discoveries”, Kronos I:3, pp. 3-18. and I:4, pp. 8-24.]”.


We read in the Annals of the apparent close proximity of T3-3-n3-k3 to My-k-ty: “… behold, it [GAP] come forth at 34 T3-3-n3-k3, the other behold, it is to 35the way north of Df-ty, so that we shall come out to the north (40) of My-k-ty”.


Etymologically speaking, only, Dr. Danelius’s choice for Y-ḥm (Yehem) of the port of “Yamnia (Yabne in Hebrew)” was hardly more promising than was Petrie’s choice for it of Yemma, south-west of the Carmel ridge, an identification that was “little more than guesswork” according to Nelson.

But the information more recently supplied by Hans Goedicke, in The Battle of Megiddo (Halgo, Inc., 2000, pp. 96-97), that some of the conquered enemies of Thutmose III had apparently travelled to Egypt by boat, with their tribute, would be an argument in favour of Danelius’s approximate location for Y-ḥm, at least, if not necessarily of her actual choice for the site. Thus Goedicke wrote (pp. 96-97):


“… a group of people from among the chiefs that has been caught in Megiddo had to travel to Egypt. This journey was certainly not due to a desire to see Egypt or to participate in a triumphal display à la Aïda. The necessity to travel to Egypt is final evidence that Thutmosis III was not present at Megiddo at the time of the surrender but had already returned to Egypt …. The determinative [a boat] after ḫntyt, “to go south”, could be taken as an indication that the journey was under-taken by boat. While this might be the easiest way to get to Egypt, it opens the question where such a maritime link would have started. There are hardly any indications that Thutmosis III at this point in his reign controlled the Levantine Coast … and the big harbor towns located there, with the possible exception of Byblos. However, to transport through Byblos would have been a difficult task to accomplish”.


Goedicke will add to this, on p. 118: “According to the geographical list the itinerary of the king did not touch upon any of the harbors on the Levantine littoral, so that Sethe’s rendering of mnit as “harbor” has no absolute support”.


Three Possible Roads Leading to Mkty


These roads, ‘Aruna; Zefti and Taanach (Breasted’s ʽʼ-rw-nʼ; Ḏf-ty; and Tʼ-ʽʼ-nʼkʼ), are found mentioned in the Annals by Thutmose’s officers at the War Council:


“They spoke in the presence of his majesty, ‘How is it, that [we] should go upon this road … , which threatens to be narrow …? While they [come] and say that the enemy is there waiting, [hold]ing the way against a multitude. Will not horse come behind [horse and man behind] man likewise? Shall our [advance-guard] be fighting while our [rear-guard] is yet standing yonder in Aruna …. not having fought? There are yet two (other) roads: one road, behold, it [will] – us, for it comes forth at Taanach … the other, [behol]d, it will [bring us upon] the way north of Zefti …, so that we shall come out to the north of My-k-ty. Let our victorious lord proceed upon [the road] he desires; (but) cause us not to go on a difficult… road’.”


Let us (following Dr. Danelius and H. Nelson) consider each one in turn.


  1. The ‘Aruna Road


The problematic route we must first deal with is the road to ‘Aruna, the one Harold H. Nelson had so much difficulty harmonizing with the Wadi ‘Ara leading to Megiddo in the north. It had been suggested that, instead, this road to ‘Aruna is the same as that described in the papyrus Anastasi I.


“Behold, the … is in a ravine 2000 cubits deep (600 feet?), filled with boulders and pebbles … Thou findest no scout, that he might make thee a way crossing … thou knowest not the road. Shuddering seizes thee, (the hair of) thy head stands up, and thy soul (life) lies in thy hands. Thy path is filled with boulders and pebbles, without a toe hold for passing by … The ravine is on one side of thee, and the mount rises on the other. Thou goest jolting, with thy chariot on its side, afraid to press thy horse (too) hard. If it should be thrown toward the abyss, thy collar-piece would be left uncovered and thy girth would fall”.


Nelson commented on this, “Deep gorges as these are scarcely found in Palestine at all and certainly not in the region of Megiddo”.


“But such a defile cannot vanish from the map”, Dr. Danelius has rightly observed: “It should be found not only in books on historical geography but also in the Bible. It so happens that the name ‘Aruna has been preserved in written Hebrew – letter for letter- though with a slightly different pronunciation”. So claimed Danelius. “It is the so-called thrashing floor of ‘Arauna the Jebusite’ (2 Samuel 24:16, 18-24), the location where later the Temple of Yahweh was built”, as she says. “In other words, the dreaded road was the camel road leading from Jaffa up the so-called ‘Beth-Horon’ ascent to Jerusalem, approaching the city from the north”.


For our purposes, then, learning more about the geographical conditions of (a) the Wadi ‘Ara Pass, on the one hand, and (b) the ‘Arauna Pass (Beth Horon Ascent) becomes important.

  1. Conder provided this description of the Wadi ‘Ara [‘Ara] (The Survey of Western Palestine, Mem. II, Sheet VIII, 40):


“From the Plain of Sharon to Jordan. This line … ascends by the broad and open valley Wady ‘Arah, crossing the watershed at Ain Ibrahim, which is about 1200 feet above the sea. Thence the road descends, falling some 700 feet in three miles to Lejjun, where it bifurcates … This line, which appears to be ancient, is of great importance, being one of the easiest across the country, owing to the open character of Wady ‘Arah’.”


  1. Nelson, who travelled the Wadi ‘Ara pass in 1909, and again in 1912, provided this detailed description:


“… the road enters the Wadi ‘Ara which is there … flat and open … All the way to a quarter mile above ‘Ar’arah the valley is wide and level … the ascent is so gradual as to be scarcely perceptible … a watcher posted on the hill above Lejjun could descry an approaching army at least a mile above the mouth of the pass”.


We have read previously that Nelson had strong reservations about equating the northern pass with the one described in the Annals, his problems being of a geographical, topographical and etymological nature, and also pertaining to an inexplicable military strategy.

Danelius will, unlike both the conventional view and Velikovsky’s – that have Mkty as Megiddo – identify Mkty with Jerusalem, and Kd-šw with its land: “The surroundings of Jerusalem were called … ‘Kd-sw’ [Kadesh … , ‘Jebel el Kuds’ or ‘Har Kodsho’, the Holy Mount]. In other words ‘Kd-sw’ was not the name of a city but of the nearby surrounding land”.


Similarly, Velikovsky had thought that Kd-šw must have been Jerusalem.


I fully support Dr. Danelius in her equating the steep ‘Aruna pass with the Beth Horon approach to Jerusalem. The Beth Horon Ascent, she wrote, “was always a focal point of battles and attempts to stop troops trying to reach Jerusalem”.

The most famous incident that took place here is the first one:


  1. a) Joshua 10:10-14 where Joshua prayed and the sun stood still;
  2. b) 1 Maccabees 3:23, 24 and 7:26-50; revolt against the Syrians;
  3. c) The Roman general, Gaius Cestius Gallus (66 AD), took this route and encamped his army at Gibeon, where the Jews attacked. Though Gallus checked them, a large part of the Roman rearguard was cut off by the Jews as they were mounting towards Beth-Horon. But the real disaster overtook the Romans during their retreat, after they had become involved in the defiles and had begun the descent. Josephus wrote: “… but when they were penned up in their descent through narrow passages …”.
  4. d) In November 1917 the British tried in vain to force the road. It was the only occasion during general Allenby’s campaign that the ominous words, ‘successfully withdrew’, appeared in the daily dispatches.


Breasted was correct in having ‘Aruna lying in the midst of the mountains, but the mountains were not the Carmel heights but rather the mountains of Ephraim and those of Benjamin.


  1. The Zefti Road


The location translated as ‘Zefti’, Danelius wrote, is the biblical Zephathah, from 2 Chronicles 14:10: “Then Asa went out against him, and they set the battle in array in the valley of Zephathah at Maresha”. This is the place where Asa won his battle against Zerah the Ethiopian. Maresha was the Judean border fortress facing Philistia. Zephathah may have been on the other side of the fence. The road runs north for about 6 miles then turns northeast at the very location which is considered to be the one where David met Goliath. The defile then splits into several wadis, one of which reaches the ridge around Bethlehem in the south, while the other joins the more northerly defile which leads to a point north of My-k-ty, as suggested by the Egyptian officers of Thutmose. Even though the hieroglyphics are commonly translated as ‘My-k-ty’, others (Gauthier) read ‘Makta’. It is interesting to note, however, that in the latter 19th dynasty inscriptions, the last element ‘ti’ of the name is written ‘sh’, ‘s’, or ‘tsh’. Among the names referring to Jerusalem are:


  1. a) Bait-al-Makdis or Makdis
  2. b) Miqdash 10th century Arab writer Muqadassi the Jerusalemite in his description of Syria.


Therefore ‘My-k-ty’ could be read ‘My-k-sh’ or ‘My-k-tsh’, Makdis or Miqdash according to the 19th Dynasty information.


  1. The Taanach Road


This one is highly problematical as already discussed.

Though the problem may possibly be one of professor Breasted’s own making. Breasted gives two versions of it: Records II, 421, Tʼ-ʽʼ-nʼkʼ, and 425, Tʼ-ʽʼ[-nʼkʼ], in which the latter part of the name is missing.

And that would perhaps leave open the possibility of a different name.  


The geography of the Holy Land is extremely unclear in certain instances, and one of these, apparently, as we are now going to find, is Joshua 16:4-8:


“So Manasseh and Ephraim, the descendants of Joseph, received their inheritance.

This was the territory of Ephraim, according to its clans:

The boundary of their inheritance went from Ataroth Addar in the east to Upper Beth Horon and continued to the Mediterranean Sea. From Mikmethath on the north it curved eastward to Taanath Shiloh, passing by it to Janoah on the east. Then it went down from Janoah to Ataroth and Naarah, touched Jericho and came out at the Jordan. From Tappuah the border went west to the Kanah Ravine and ended at the Mediterranean Sea. This was the inheritance of the tribe of the Ephraimites, according to its clans”.


There is a collection of names here that could be relevant to our study: Beth Horon; Taanath (-Shiloh) and Kanah. That this Joshuan text may have become “corrupted”, thereby causing “a big jump geographically”, is apparent from the uncertainties expressed here by P. Pitkänen (Joshua: https://books.google.com.au/books?id=Q7tvG_w6uQEC&pg=PA300&lpg=PA300):


The location of Ataroth-Addar is unclear.

At first sight, the border behaves somewhat strangely here, and the text may well have been corrupted (cf. Boling and Wright 1982: 402) The expression hăyamah hămĭkmetat mĭṣapon is unclear in this context. Albeit the location of Michmethath is not clear (see ABD 4:815), it is otherwise said to be close to Shechem in Joshua 17:7, and there thus seems to be a big jump geographically from Upper Beth Horon to Michmethath in the boundary description. Taanath Shiloh may be located at Khirbet Ta‘na et-Tahta or Khirbet Ta‘na el-Foqa.

…. Janoah may be located at Yanun or Khirbet Yanun nearby (see ABD 3:640).

The location of Naarah is unclear (see ABD 4:969).

Kanah is usually identified with the Wadi Qanah, although this is not certain (see ABD 4:5).


“Not certain”, “unclear”, “border behaves … strangely”, etc., etc.

There is a worrying lack of precision regarding the identification of virtually every site referred to in this text. One of the few knowables here is “Upper Beth Horon”, with which we have associated the ‘Aruna pass taken at last by Thutmose III.


When Thutmose began his entrance into the dangerous road we find in his inscriptions the following account: “My majesty proceeded northward under (the protection of my) father, Amon-Re, lord of Thebes, [who went] before me, while Harakhte [strengthened my arms] —- (my) father, Amon-Re, lord of Thebes…”.

Dr. Danelius wrote on this:


“This is the only instance I know of in Egyptian records where we are told that statues or images of the gods were carried into battle, as the Hebrews carried the ark.

What kind of fear had thus gripped the pharaoh that he felt it necessary to take this precaution? … Why did he take it here, and only here, once in a lifetime? … The answer to the riddle should be of a kind which explains, too, why Thutmose judged his successful ascent through the Aruna road as one of the outstanding achievements of his military career. … The answer offered here belongs to a realm shunned by science in an age in which techniques have replaced metaphysics, and rationality rules supreme. At the time we are dealing with, religion, including a contact with a higher Being outside oneself, was a reality and part of life. That is why the answer should be sought there. …”.


The two roads favoured by the pharaoh’s generals, ‘Zefti’, transcribed Ḏf-ty by Breasted (but unknown in the Megiddo context, according to Danelius), and ‘T3-‘3-n3-k3’, Danelius now identified with, respectively, Zephathah (II Chron. 14:10), and Tahunah (Tahhunah), “through which the railway runs today …. Its eastern end leads on to the valley of Rephaim …”; both roads leading to the Temple Mount.

As to Mkty, the capture of which was compared by Thutmose to “the capture of a thousand cities”, this, Danelius claimed, was Jerusalem itself, for: “Among the names enumerated as designating Jerusalem is Bait-al-Makdis … corresponding to Beith-ha-Miqdash in modern Hebrew pronunciation”.

{As M. Astour has shown, it was typical ancient practice to designate the country, the capital, and even the tribal or dynastic name, e.g. Gurgum, its capital Marqas, and its dynastic name, Bit-Pa’alla. Hellenosemitica}.


Here Thutmose III, supposedly (in Danelius’s context), names the country, Kd-šw, and the capital, Mkty, whilst the El-Amarna letters supply us with the dynastic name of Bît Šulman (i.e., “House of Solomon”).

Generally speaking, Danelius was able to provide a logical account of the Egyptian tactics, identifying the city of which “only the last letter – n – has been preserved, together with the ideogram designating “a channel filled with water”,” as Gibeon (“The “many waters” of Gibeon are mentioned in the Scriptures”), and the related brook of Kina (K-y-n3, Breasted’s Ḳy-n’), unknown in the environs of Megiddo, as she claimed, as “the waters of lamentation” at Gibeon – an explanation for the name being found in II Samuel 2.


Velikovsky’s acceptance of the conventional interpretation of T3-‘3-n3-k3 as Taanach near Megiddo meant his inheriting the same formidable topographical problem with which Nelson had had to grapple. Danelius’s general location (at least) of ‘Taanach’ is, I think, far preferable. Scholars say Thutmose did not follow the northern route through Zephath, neither did he take the southern route from Gath to Taanach, instead he took a route in between, through ‘Aruna and the ‘Nahal Iron’, which is called in Arabic Wadi ‘Ara.

But a visitor to this Wadi ‘Ara will realize at once that there is nothing dangerous or overly steep about this route toward Megiddo. It is incomprehensible why the officers of the king would almost start a mutiny not wanting to take that supposedly dangerous road.

Comparing Breasted’s account of events in his History of Egypt and Records will reveal that he was wont to take liberties to ‘make’ Thutmose III arrive at the pre-supposed Megiddo, ignoring other possibilities completely. The Nahal Iron is certainly not ‘inaccessible’, ‘secret’, or ‘mysterious’ as the Annals describe the actual route taken by the Egyptian army.


It seems that Egyptologists want the Egyptian army to pass through the easier, broader route, rather than to enter upon the narrow way. But, as Jesus Christ has warned (Matthew 7:13-14): ‘Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it. For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it’.

Thutmose III achieved his goal, most brilliantly, by risking the narrow way that was the most difficult of the three possibilities, despite the advice of his officers to pursue an easier course, and so ‘cause us not to go on a difficult… road’.


It is the difference between genius and ordinariness.



No “Battle of Megiddo” was required



That the Ḳina valley should be held by the Syrians would be a most obvious military precaution, but if the restoration be correct – and it is hard to conceive any reasonable alternative it is impossible to understand why the Ḳina force supinely allowed the Egyptian army to emerge virtually unopposed from the ‘Aruna pass, or why an adequate detachment was not posted in the mouth of the pass itself”.


  1. O. Faulkner, “The Battle of Megiddo”.




A Nonsensical Military Strategy


Here is the fuller account of the “Shishak” incident as we find it in 2 Chronicles 12:1-12:


“After Rehoboam’s position as king was established and he had become strong, he and all Israel with him abandoned the Law of the Lord.  Because they had been unfaithful to the Lord, Shishak king of Egypt attacked Jerusalem in the fifth year of King Rehoboam. With twelve hundred chariots and sixty thousand horsemen and the innumerable troops of Libyans, Sukkites and Cushites that came with him from Egypt, he captured the fortified cities of Judah and came as far as Jerusalem.

Then the prophet Shemaiah came to Rehoboam and to the leaders of Judah who had assembled in Jerusalem for fear of Shishak, and he said to them, “This is what the Lord says, ‘You have abandoned me; therefore, I now abandon you to Shishak’.”

The leaders of Israel and the king humbled themselves and said, ‘The Lord is just’.

When the Lord saw that they humbled themselves, this word of the Lord came to Shemaiah: ‘Since they have humbled themselves, I will not destroy them but will soon give them deliverance. My wrath will not be poured out on Jerusalem through Shishak. They will, however, become subject to him, so that they may learn the difference between serving me and serving the kings of other lands’.

 When Shishak king of Egypt attacked Jerusalem, he carried off the treasures of the Temple of the Lord and the treasures of the royal palace. He took everything, including the gold shields Solomon had made. So King Rehoboam made bronze shields to replace them and assigned these to the commanders of the guard on duty at the entrance to the royal palace. Whenever the king went to the Lord’s temple, the guards went with him, bearing the shields, and afterward they returned them to the guardroom.

Because Rehoboam humbled himself, the Lord’s anger turned from him, and he was not totally destroyed. Indeed, there was some good in Judah”.


It is not surprising that the biblical account, and that of the pharaoh, would offer two different perspectives. The Bible is not much interested in giving world histories. If the ancients wanted to read more about the life and deeds of King Rehoboam, for instance, then they need only follow this lead from (v. 15): “As for the events of Rehoboam’s reign, from beginning to end, are they not written in the records of Shemaiah the prophet and of Iddo the seer that deal with genealogies?”

Moreover, “There was continual warfare between Rehoboam and Jeroboam”.


But we cannot read about it in the Scriptures – nor, sadly, anywhere else today.


Whilst the biblical scribes were, however, extremely interested in the fate of Jerusalem and its king, what most occupied the attention of pharaoh Thutmose III, on the other hand, were the extremely belligerent actions of the “Chief of Qadesh”.

But, according to Drs. Velikovsky and Danelius, this “Chief of Qadesh” was in fact Rehoboam.


Though I have had various opinions on Mkty, I would now consider that it might refer to Maktesh (Makhtesh), as in Zephaniah 1:11: “Wail, you inhabitants of Maktesh, for all the people of Kana`an are undone! All those who were laden with silver are cut off”.

Recall Danelius’s suggestion that “My-k-ty’ could be read ‘My-k-sh’ or ‘My-k-tsh’, Makdis or Miqdash …”.

It appears to be associated with the Fish Gate (http://biblehub.com/topical/m/maktesh.htm): “Maktesh. A quarter of Jerusalem so named, it is supposed, on account of the configuration of the ground and associated (Zechariah 1:10, 11) with the “fish gate” and MISHNEH … or “second quarter”.” Regarding the Fish Gate, however, Edward Lipiński was of the opinion that: “Its exact location is uncertain” (Itineraria Phoenicia, p. 519).


Egyptologist R. Faulkner published an article of the exact same title as Harold Nelson’s thesis, “The Battle of Megiddo” (1942), in which he lauded Nelson’s thesis as “admirable” and his “sketch-maps … indispensable to the student”. Faulkner gave as his justification for re-visiting the subject, not “any difference of opinion on topographical questions”, but “because a study of the hieroglyphic text … has led to somewhat different conclusions on various points regarding the operations”.

Here I would like to recall some of what Faulkner had picked up (in JEA, Vol. 28, Dec., 1942, pp. 2-15). Faulkner applies his expertise in Egyptology to clarify certain points in the Egyptian Annals. On pp. 7-8 (note t), for instance, he queries the Syrian tactics:


“So restored by Sethe and tentatively accepted by Nelson, Megiddo, 36-7, where ḳ‘ḥ is rendered ‘corner’ instead of ‘bend’. If the restoration be adopted the wings (lit. ‘horns’) of the Syrian army, a Nelson has seen, must be understood as detached forces holding Taanach and the Ḳina valley respectively, while between them will have been a strong central reserve which could be rushed to whichever point was threatened (see Map I); it is not to be credited that the Syrian army was strung out in a continuous line along four miles of road and mostly fronting on to impassable hills”.


Faulkner now finds himself confronted with the same sort of strange military tactic on behalf of the Syrians (Nelson’s “Allies”) as had puzzled Nelson before him (my emphasis):


“That the Ḳina valley should be held by the Syrians would be a most obvious military precaution, but if the restoration be correct – and it is hard to conceive any reasonable alternative – it is impossible to understand why the Ḳina force supinely allowed the Egyptian army to emerge virtually unopposed from the ‘Aruna pass, or why an adequate detachment was not posted in the mouth of the pass itself. It is true that in the broken lines which follow there is a hint of a skirmish in the mouth of the pass, as if a small body of the enemy had been found (see note v), but clearly there was no serious attempt to dispute the exit of the Egyptian army. If the restoration ‘the valley of Ḳina’ be wrong, then the dispositions of the Syrian High Command must have been incredibly inept; if it be right, then the refusal of the commander of the Ḳina force to act can have been due only to either utter incompetence, cowardice or treachery”.


Or, if I am right in what I have written previously, following Dr. Eva Danelius, then the “Syrian” army was not actually in the vicinity of Megiddo at all, hence the need to reconsider the topographical and military details of the Annals for the First Campaign of Thutmose III.


Faulkner continues on in this same vein (on p. 9):


“By taking the ‘Aruna road, [Thutmose III] not only chose the shortest way to his objective, but also came out on his enemy’s right flank. If the Syrians failed to block his egress from the hills, as was indeed the case, they were left with no choice but to conform to the Egyptian movements – in other words, the initiative passed completely into the hands of [Thutmose]. In fact, they were defeated not by hard hitting, but by being outmanoeuvred, a result that was partly due to reluctance to engage, and probably partly due to a defective Intelligence service; they apparently had no inkling of [Thutmose’s] route until he actually appeared in the Ḳina valley.


It is hard to believe that the Syrians had not established even a small guard-post in the mouth of the pass. If indeed there were resistance, it could not have been serious and was easily brushed aside; it is abundantly clear that at no time … was any part of the main Syrian force engaged.


At this point we meet a serious difficulty regarding the date of the battle. All previous commentators have assumed that the Egyptian army spent the night of the 19th at ‘Aruna and marched on Megiddo on the 20th, but from ll. 56 ff. (Urk. iv, 652-3) it is clear that the Egyptians left ‘Aruna on the 19th (see, too, note n) and went into camp in the Ḳina valley the same evening. They were then informed that battle would be joined the next day, yet according to the annalist, the clash did not take place till the 21st. What happened on the 20th? It is impossible to believe that for a whole day the two armies sat and looked at one another, and it is equally hard to credit that the whole of the 20th was taken up with preliminary manoeuvring. Besides, there is the clear order given on the evening of the 19th, ‘Prepare ye, make ready your weapons, for One will engage with yon wretched foe in the morning’. In view of these considerations, it is hard to avoid the conclusion that either the scribe who wrote up the narrative from his rough field notes, or the sculptor who transferred it to the temple wall, made a mistake in the date, and that for ‘day 21’ we should read ‘day 20’.”


The textbook reconstructions of pharaoh Thutmose III’s First Campaign are really serving to lead students ‘up the garden path’ by ‘substituting’, for the fearsome ‘Aruna pass of the Egyptian annals, the relatively benign Wadi ‘Ara route towards Megiddo.

The geography is all wrongside up, the timeline does not appear to fit, and the battle tactics do not seem to make any military sense whatosever!

Faulkner continues (pp. 11-13):


“Nelson restores ‘cross [the valley of the Kina]’. This restoration is decidedly suspect, for it suggests that the whole army was still within the Ḳina valley. This is very doubtful, for a little farther on we read that the Egyptian northern wing was to the north-west of Megiddo, while their southern wing rested on a hill somewhere near the Ḳina …. The crucial question is, when did the Egyptian army take up this position?

. the signal to ‘deploy’ … [Thutmose received] … a report that the southern and northern troops were safe …. Such a report would be quite meaningless if the whole army were still massed in the Ḳina camp, as there would be no ‘southern’ or ‘northern’ troops”.


It becomes glaringly apparent from all of this that a completely new scenario is now required to accommodate the quite specific geographical details of the Egyptian Annals for this most important First Campaign of Thutmose III.


The ‘Wretched Foe of Qadesh’


Whilst Qadesh (Kadesh) on the Orontes is the usually accepted identification for the Kd-šw of the Egyptian Annals, it is not the one favoured by Goedicke (The Battle of Megiddo, p. 28):


“Because of the extensively publicized battle of Ramesses II with the Hittite King Muwatallis at Qadesh on the Orontes … there seems to be a conflation between two events involving the derivation from qadesh, “sanctuary”. The area and its political authority of concern to Thutmosis III is what is known as Qadesh Naphtali, located only 9 kilometers southeast of Megiddo”.


We have seen that Velikovsky had equated Thutmose III’s “Qadesh” with Jerusalem itself. For Velikovskian modifier, Dr. Eva Danelius, this Qadesh was a land rather than a city (op. cit.): “… the eastern opening of the [‘Aruna] road lies in a district called “Jebel el Kuds” in Turkish times, “Har Kodsho” by the Hebrews, both names meaning the same: “The Mount of the Holy One”, “’The Holy Mount”. In other words Kd-šw was not the name of a city, but of a land. …”.


Faulkner has described “the King of Kadesh [as] the head and front of the opposition to Tuthmosis [Thutmose III]” (“The Battle of Megiddo”, p. 15), and this opinion would generally be supported. H. Goedicke, for instance, has written similarly (The Battle of Megiddo):


“The promulgated casus belli is the actions attributed to the ‘chief of Qadesh.” They consist of prolonged improper treatment of Egyptian subjects in his jurisdiction and the rejection of messages or messengers sent about it. The term ḥ᷾ḏ3 which is used for it is probably more inclusive than the frequent reference “to plunder” [ref. R.O. Faulkner, A Concise Dictionary, 164], but also more extended than “to act criminally” in an exact legal sense …. It is precisely the lack of legality which ḥ᷾ḏ3 seems to indicate, so that the rendering “to act lawlessly” appears appropriate …. In the prevailing political setting ḥ᷾ḏ3 conveys here the lack of a legal basis of the “Chief of Qadesh” but not necessarily belligerence”.


Despite the troublemaker’s prominence, the precise identification of his city of Kd-šw (Qadesh or Kadesh), as given in Thutmose III’s Annals, is uncertain. This is apparent from the fact that – as we have discovered in this series – historians have variously assigned to that city (or country) different locations (e.g., Qadesh on the Orontes; Qadesh of Naphtali; or even Jerusalem el-kuds, “the Holy”, itself).

The designation is commonly taken to mean “holy” or “sanctuary”. Goedicke again (p. 28): “The “Chief of Qadesh” appears to have been the leader in a confederation of city-states, presumably due to a central sanctuary located at Qadesh …”.

And he himself favours Qadesh Naphtali for Kd-šw.


Creationist P. Clarke, who, though a revisionist, has strongly criticised Dr. Velikovsky and his followers regarding their identification of Thutmose III with the biblical “Shishak”, is of the majority view that Kd-šw was the Qadesh on the Orontes (“Was Jerusalem the Kadesh of Thutmose III’s 1st Asiatic campaign? – topographic and petrographic evidence”, Journal of Creation, 25 (3), 2011, p. 52):


“This [Clarke’s proposed identification of the king of Qadesh] actually illuminates a major point of contention among revisionists (of which I am one – see endnote 1): Velikovsky claimed Kadesh was Jerusalem and that the city was plundered during this first campaign. Other revisionists accept the claim of Thutmose that he attacked and devastated his Kadesh (Qidshu) seven years after the year 23 campaign: he then crushed another uprising at Kadesh during his 17th campaign. Figure 4 … shows the important Beqa and Orontes sites, including some of the region’s Egyptian garrisons; … the location of Thutmose’s Kadesh (Qidshu) is easy to establish.

If Kadesh was Velikovsky’s Jerusalem and Thutmose III was his Shishak, that would mean that Jerusalem was assaulted three times by the same king of Egypt; this is very different to the Bible account where Shishak came just once to plunder, went home, and was never mentioned again. This is not an argument from silence but from ‘conspicuous absence’; given the pre-eminence of Jerusalem in biblical history, it would be odd indeed for the Bible to only refer to one attack by this ruler if there were in fact three”.


I do not necessarily agree with Clarke’s statement that the Bible would enumerate every single attack, given the historical telescoping (admitted by many scholars) involved, for instance, in the biblical accounts of Sennacherib’s campaigns. To give an example of this from my thesis (Volume Two, p. 11):


“…. Isaiah taunts Sennacherib with a prediction that could hardly have been uttered about the time of the Assyrian army’s encirclement of Jerusalem (37:33): “Therefore thus says the Lord concerning the king of Assyria: ‘He shall not come into this city, shoot an arrow there, come before it with a shield, or cast up a siege ramp against it. …’.” Most of these things that Isaiah says the Assyrian king will not do, Sennacherib did in fact do during his Third Campaign! …”.


Either the great prophet Isaiah got it completely wrong, or there were in fact – as argued in my thesis – two Assyrian campaigns against the kingdom of Hezekiah.


The Egyptian Kd-šw appears universally to be transliterated as “Kadesh”, or “Qadesh”, despite Clarke’s further criticism of “Velikovsky’s rendering of the Hebrew qodesh קֹ֫דֶשׁ[as] kadesh [as a] linguistic faux-pas” given that the first consonant of the Egyptian word “is a 2-consonant sound, transliterated and pronounced as qd”. On Clarke’s own admission, the Egyptian Kd-šw is “properly translated into English as Qadesh”.


Who Was the Ruler of Qadesh? Velikovsky had asked this very same question, and had answered it, idiosyncratically, by designating this ruler as king Rehoboam of Jerusalem (his “Kadesh”). Goedicke refers to Epstein’s more conventional identification, whilst, however, disagreeing with it (op. cit., p. 30, n. 130): “Claire Epstein, “‘That Wretched Enemy of Kadesh’.” JNES 22 (1963), 242-246, by assuming that Thutmosis’ opponent was the ruler of Kadesh on the Orontes and a vassal of the Mitanni, identified him as Durusa, who had nothing to do with the area in question”.


Clarke, following Epstein and N. Na’aman, will conclude, “he was Durusha, king of Kadesh” (op. cit., p. 51).


I would have to agree with Goedicke, that, at least, “Kadesh on the Orontes and … Durusa … had nothing to do with the area in question”.


Now, H. Goedicke’s reconstruction of Thutmose III’s First Campaign would suggest that northern Israel was, apart from Megiddo, largely unaffected at the time.

And so, indeed, was Qadesh on the Orontes. On p. 117, for instance, Goedicke writes:


“The account of the First Campaign of Thutmosis III is concluded with a global reference to the events following the Battle of Megiddo. Thutmosis III extended his sojourn by conducting an inspection tour through the area where he was now recognized as sovereign. The places touched upon during this tour are mentioned in his great geographical list ….According to it Thutmosis III travelled into the Beqaʿ Valley, but stopped before reaching the Orontes Valley with Qadesh in its center. In addition, he visited the upper Jordan Valley and the Syrian plain”.


Because of their strategic importance, the cities of the Upper Jordan Valley were the first to be conquered by invading armies who dared not leave “Ijon, Dan, [and] Abel-beth Maachah” to threaten their supply lines (see 1 Kings 15:20; 2 Kings 15:29; Genesis 49:17).

But, according to Goedicke (p. 123), commenting upon Breasted’s view that “chiefs” (wrw) of the country R-m-n-n were chiefs of Lebanon:


“There is no indication whatsoever that Thutmosis III during his First Campaign ever got to the Lebanon proper. Further, there is no knowledge that Thutmosis then or later built a fortress/garrison there …. These points … all speak against an equation of R-m-n-n with the Lebanon. …”.


Despite the strange tactics that the conventional reconstructions must elicit, Goedicke would write (Intro, p. 1): “The ‘Battle of Megiddo’, “is the towering event in the reign of Thutmosis III …”. (P. 5) “[It] established Thutmosis III as sovereign over the Levant”.


The standard textbook reconstruction of it is, I believe, terribly flawed.


We recall Nelson’s description: “… the road enters the Wadi ‘Ara which is there … flat and open … All the way to a quarter mile above ‘Ar’arah the valley is wide and level … the ascent is so gradual as to be scarcely perceptible … a watcher posted on the hill above Lejjun could discern an approaching army at least a mile above the mouth of the pass”.

Hence Nelson had, as we learned, strong reservations about equating the northern pass with the one described in the Annals, his problems being of a geographical, topographical and etymological nature, and also pertaining to an inexplicable military strategy.

Dr. Danelius had told of it:


“The theme given to Nelson was “The Battle of Megiddo”, and this became the title of the dissertation. It seemed, however, that there was no battle. “On the actual conflict which took place there is not a vestige of information. To judge from the Annalist’s narrative it would seem that the Asiatics fled without striking a blow… why the Asiatics fled is not plain. They probably mustered a considerable force.” (54) And finally, why was the city not taken by storm? “Just why Thutmose did not make such an attempt at once is hard to surmise…” (55)”.


Thutmose III came up against the market-place area of Jerusalem and the Temple of Yahweh. Having ousted his foes, he then laid siege to the city which was now occupied by a coalition of “northern princes”, probably including Syrian allies. We do not know the extent of Jeroboam’s northern kingdom at the time. Towns belonging to King Amaziah of Judah later, for instance, had stretched “from Samaria to Beth Horon”, according to 2 Chronicles 13.

So, it was not always a case of a clear division between north and south.


The Aftermath


According to Goedicke (Battle of Megiddo, p. 101), the enemy chiefs were reinstated.


  1. 103: “… they continued to be independent on the local level, but at the same time acknowledging the king as their sovereign”.
  2. 102. “Not only are there no more statements about military encounters after the surrender of Megiddo [sic], but the text itself does not report capture or plundering of other cities, as has generally been assumed”.
  3. 110. Heavy impost on chief of Qadesh.
  4. 103. “Although there is no specification as to his personal fate after the surrender of Megiddo [sic], his realm is territorially curtailed”.


Thutmose III, as “Shishak”, did not invade the northern kingdom of Jeroboam, who was dutifully paying tribute and probably had the full support of Egypt.

Despite objections, the pharaoh did not attack anything north of the kingdom of Judah in his all-important First Campaign.


In my opinion, there are absolutely no satisfactory replacements for the pair Queen Hatshepsut/ Queen of Sheba and ThutmoseIII/Shishak!

These, I believe, must be recognised as two sturdy pillars of revisionism.



Re-visiting the Karnak Treasures



Patrick Clarke writes, “… the subject is described as ‘white bread’ (ta hdj): the full description being: ta hdj hnk f kat; ‘dedication offering of white bread’. From where does Velikovsky derive his idea that 169 is of colored stone (malachite)”?


Patrick Clarke, “Was Thutmose III the biblical Shishak?”




Plunder Taken by Thutmose III


According to Dr. I. Velikovsky (Ages in Chaos, I, p. 155):


“The treasures brought by Thutmose III from Palestine [Israel] are reproduced on a wall of the Karnak temple. The bas-relief displays in ten rows the legendary wealth of Solomon. There are pictures of various precious objects, furnishings, vessels, and utensils of the Temple, of the palace, probably also of the shrines to foreign deities. Under each object a numerical symbol indicates how many of that kind were brought by the Egyptian king from Palestine: each stroke means one piece, each arch means ten pieces, each spiral one hundred pieces of the same thing. If Thutmose III had wanted to boast and to display all his spoils from the Temple and the Palace of Jerusalem by showing each object separately instead of using this number system, a wall a mile long would have required and even that would not have sufficed. …”.


But was Velikovsky entirely right about this? Not in the opinion of Creationist, Patrick Clarke (“Was Thutmose III the biblical Shishak?—Claims for the ‘Jerusalem’ bas-relief at Karnak investigated”: http://creation.com/images/pdfs/tj/j25_1/j

Clarke argues here that Velikovsky got all of this badly wrong. That Velikovsky – and those who have followed him in this (Clarke’s “VIC”) – lacking the necessary Egyptological knowledge, have wrongly identified the items that appear on the Karnak bas-relief. Consequently Clarke writes (p. 51): “It appears that one of the major weaknesses of a number of the VIC revisionists is that they are not competent in the ancient Egyptian language, or the rules governing Egyptian art”.


That is understandable, of course.

Not everyone can be a specialist in such arcane knowledge.


I had listed previously, as what I considered to be the “four crucial areas” of focus by critics regarding Velikovsky’s “Shishak” reconstruction: (i) chronology; (ii) the name; (iii) the relevant campaign against Jerusalem; and (iv) the booty.

The latter (iv) had been considered by many revisionists as being a strong point of Velikovsky’s argument – as had Hatshepsut’s Punt expedition, in the case of his Queen of Sheba reconstruction. But Dr. Bimson, as we found, blew the Punt expedition right out of the water as far as its qualifying for the biblical incident of the visit to Jerusalem by the biblical queen. And, likewise, Patrick Clarke appears to have seriously damaged Velikovsky’s proposed identifications of Thutmose III’s Karnak treasures with items from King Solomon’s Jerusalem.


Now, whilst I shall be agreeing with Clarke’s conclusions about the few items that he does in fact discuss – using his knowledge of Egyptian hieroglyphics against the Velikovskian thesis – that will in no way affect my previous findings in this series indicating that Thutmose III was most definitely the biblical Shishak.

Similarly, Dr. J. Bimson’s important argument (in “Hatshepsut and the Queen of Sheba: A Critique of Velikovsky’s Identification and an Alternative View”, SIS Review 8, 1986), in which Bimson completely shipwrecked Velikovsky’s romantic idea that Hatshepsut’s maritime expedition to Punt was the same as the visit by the Queen of Sheba to Solomon’s Jerusalem, does not affect the now well-founded identification of Hatshepsut with the Queen of Sheba.


With the wise King Solomon as a mentor, it would not be surprising, too, if Thutmose III himself had exhibited skills as a Lawmaker. After all his campaigns came to an end and steady streams of imposts, gifts and tribute were received, the scribes of the king turned their attention to the ‘Wise Administration’ of the king (Records, Sec. 568):


“Behold, my majesty made every monument, every law, (and) every regulation which I made, for my father, Amon-Re, lord of Thebes, presider over Karnak, because I so well knew his fame. I was wise in his excellence, resting in the midst of the body; while I knew that which he commanded to do, of the things which he desired should be, of all things which his ka desired that I do them for him, according as he commanded. My heart led me, my hand performed (it) for my father, who fashioned me, performing every excellent thing for my father [Amon]”.


It sounds rather Solomonic, doesn’t it?

Cf. e.g. I Kings 3:10-13:


“The Lord was pleased that Solomon had asked for this. So God said to him, ‘Since you have asked for this and not for long life or wealth for yourself, nor have asked for the death of your enemies but for discernment in administering justice, I will do what you have asked. I will give you a wise and discerning heart, so that there will never have been anyone like you, nor will there ever be. Moreover, I will give you what you have not asked for—both wealth and honor—so that in your lifetime you will have no equal among kings’.”


Other of Thutmose III’s statements would suggest that the pharaoh was quite at home when it came to giving moral guidance and a philosophical foundation of government.


The Egyptian records, according to H. Breasted (Records, II, Sec. 435), specify:


“…. 340 living prisoners; 83 hands; 2,401 mares; 191 foals; 6 stallions; … young …; a chariot, wrought with gold, (its) pole of gold, belonging to the chief of `M-k-ty’ (as the land around Jerusalem was called); …. 892 chariots of his wretched army; total, 924 (chariots); a beautiful suit of bronze armor, belonging to the chief of Jerusalem; …. 200 suits of armor, belonging to his wretched army; 502 bows; 7 poles of (mry) wood, wrought with silver, belonging to the tent of that foe. Behold, the army of his majesty took …., 297 …., 1,929 large cattle, 2,000 small cattle, 20500 white small cattle”.


Given the significant cultural interchange on practically every level between Israel and Egypt at this time, it is hardly surprising that the likes of Dr. Danelius, and more recently P. Clarke, have referred to the Egyptian element in the Karnak bas-reliefs. Thus Danelius (“Did Thutmose III Despoil the Temple in Jerusalem?”, SIS Review, vol. ii, no. 3, 1977/78):


“The problem of the provenance of the spoil is further aggravated by the observation that some of the objects pictured in murals were unquestionably of Egyptian workmanship … pieces of furniture decorated with the royal uraeus, the serpent of the pharaohs; vessels are formed like the lotus flower, symbol of Upper Egypt; others are decorated with the ram’s head of the Egyptian god Amun, and those of other Egyptian animal-gods”.


Not surprising at all, I would say, from a King Solomon who had apostatised under pressure from foreign influences (I Kings 11:1-4).

Clarke, in turn, refers to (op. cit., ibid.): “The frieze of ureai (a bas-relief of rearing cobras) [that] represents potent occult magic, for the cobra-goddess Wadjet was considered a deadly protectress of the king in both life and death”, and this description (e.g. ‘cobra’, ‘uraeus’, and ‘magic’) resonates well with the following description of the statue of a kneeling Senenmut (http://arthistory.about.com/library/weekly/sp/bl_hatshepsut_rev.htm):


“The intact and relatively unscathed portrait statue of Senenmut Kneeling with Uraeus Cryptogram was carved from a grayish green stone called metagraywacke. As he gently kneels, Senemut holds a large cryptogram or emblem with hidden meaning. A cobra’s head supports a solar disk and cowhorns. The serpent rests on two upraised arms, the hieroglyphic symbol for the ka or soul. In its entirety, this mysterious composite image was meant to support life and protect one from evil magically. Also, the cobra, arms and sun disk together hieroglyphically spell Hatshepsut’s coronation or throne name, Maatkare. Possibly after her demise or by priests hostile to the cult of Amun, Senemut’s name was carefully and intentionally erased from the sculpture’s inscriptions. …”.


Clarke continues (op. cit., p. 55):


“… the offerings on the Thutmose bas-relief were not at all unusual, being quite normal in this period … [the high priest] Hapuseneb listed:


“ … a shrine of ebony and gold …offering tables of gold and silver, and lapis lazuli … vessels … necklaces … two doors of copper …’’. . .


Hapuseneb also mentioned that there was a ‘great name’ upon the doors “Okhepernere [Thutmose II]-is-Divine-of-Monuments”. Everything listed was Egyptian, right down to dedications on doors; this consistency in offerings which covers three Pharaohs’ reigns overturns Velikovsky’s argument”.


But this just what we should expect now, I believe, in a revised context.

Hatshepsut’s husband, pharaoh Thutmose II was the above-mentioned “Okhepernere”, the son of Thutmose I.


Firstly, may I make a general comment regarding the plunder taken by Thutmose III.

Clarke, on pp. 48 and 49, considering the Hebrew word qol (קוֹל), will make these (typically Creationist) ‘global’ statements:


“Since this Egyptian ‘took everything’ (Heb. כֹּל qol), … included in his looted inventory would have been the Ark of the Covenant, along with many other valuable items of precious metals and gems mentioned in the biblical narrative. God allowed Shishak to plunder his people for their disobedience. ….

…. Velikovsky believed that the Ark [of the Covenant] was left unwanted in Jerusalem and did not depart until the Babylonian exile. …. But the Hebrew word qol indicates that the Temple and palace were stripped bare; “all” meaning “everything that one has; entire possession”.


Previously, though, I have had cause to disagree with this view as espoused by ‘Creationists’.

They, making much of the fact that the Genesis Flood narratives use language that they say unequivocally indicates totality and universality – and indeed they surely do when read at face value, from a modern (western) point of view – are forced to situate Noah and his family in the same sort of vast global environment, virtually, as now inhabited by 3rd millennium man. Ham et al. (op. cit., pp. 141-143), for instance take such Hebrew phrases from the Flood narrative translated as e.g. “all flesh”, “all the earth”, “every living thing”, “under the whole heaven”, etc., as clearly implying a global Flood. Though they do note (ibid., p. 143), at least in regard to the word ‘all’ (Hebrew kol), here, that:

Some have argued that since ‘all’ does not always mean ‘each and every’ (e.g. Mark 1:5) the use of ‘all’ in the Flood account does not necessarily mean the Flood was universal. That is, they claim that this use of ‘all’ allows for a local flood.

Again, the co-authors are adhering to a true literary principle – applicable to both ancient and modern writings – when they insist that the meaning of any word (such as ‘all’) needs to be determined according to its [geographical] context; that: “From the context of ‘all’ in Luke 2:1, for example, we can see that ‘all the world’ meant all the Roman Empire”. D. Hochner … though, having also considered these same sorts of ‘total’ Hebrew phrases in the Flood narrative, concludes that the Flood was not global. Here is what Hochner has to say, for instance, about the key word “earth”/“land” (Heb: eretz/erets):

Erets (#776 in Strong’s), the Hebrew word that [is] translated “earth” throughout the flood account and it does not require a world-wide meaning. This word translated “country” (140 times) and “land” (1,476 times!) in the Bible. Many of them are often of limited land areas.

Hochner then proceeds to produce a list of Old and New Testament usages of this word, eretz, to show that its meaning is often localized, and certainly never globalized in our modern sense. To give just one of his examples (his point e):

… Acts 11:28 speaks of a similar famine throughout all the world, yet it is not likely it really meant over the whole globe including the New World.

One encounters again, later in the Old Testament, a phrase very reminiscent of the Flood narrative, namely, ‘spread over the face of the earth’ (Numbers 22:5,11): ‘A people has come out of Egypt; they have spread over the face of the earth’, complains the Moabite king, Balak, of the Israelites on their way to cross the River Jordan. But how far ‘spread over the face of the earth’ were the Israelites at this particular point in time? A few verses earlier (22:1) we are told just how far: “The Israelites …camped in the plains of Moab across the Jordan from Jericho”.

Not very far at all according to a global context!

Thus, certain Semitic geographical phrases that would seem to us to imply ‘total’, or ‘global’, do not necessarily mean that!


I have my own personal copy of Sir A. Gardiner’s Egyptian Grammar (Oxford, 1973), and, whilst not professing to be a fluent reader of the hieroglyphs, I have been able at least to verify that the following matchings by Clarke are all correct.


On p. 49, Clarke tells that what has been presented by VIC as the Ark of the Covenant (fig. 76), is actually in Egyptian nbw hbny pds n mnkht, which translates “a gold and ebony clothes chest”.


Most important are the gold shields, since 1 Kings 14:26 specifically mentions that ‘Shishak’ “took away all the gold shields which Solomon had made”. Velikovsky claimed to have identified these, as Clarke say (p. 53), “… shields made of “beaten gold” in row seven of the bas-relief”. But Clarke goes on to tell that, except for Figures 127 and 128 there, “all the objects in the row are clearly marked as being silver”, with Fig. 127 being “described as nbw w hen n mnw (my gift of a gold chest)”; and the rest being basins, not shields, “which are rendered differently in Egyptian art”.


On p. 50, Clarke tells that Velikovsky claimed that collars in row 4 of the bas-relief (54-57) are evidence of priestly apparel, some having “breastplates”. But Clarke says that they are not “breastplates”, but just a functional ornament. In a vertical column between items 80 and 81-88, the hieroglyphs describe their use, he says: “Jewellery for the Appearance Festival of the god”. “Such collars, called usekh … were worn by royalty and the privileged elite”.


Pp. 50-51. Here we meet the uraeus, referred to by Danelius, but that we also found adorning statues of Senenmut (our Solomon). Dr. David Down of whom Clarke is also critical, had claimed in his DVD “Unwrapping the Pharaohs”, that “it looks like a fire altar”. But Clarke replies that: “The frieze of ureai (a bas-relief of rearing cobras) represents potent occult magic, for the cobra-goddess Wadjet was considered a deadly protectress of the king in both life and death. There is no example from Scripture for such an artefact being found in either the Temple or residence of Solomon and the claim that it is a ‘fire altar’ is not tenable”.

But it is exactly what we would expect from Solomon in his late career as Senenmut. Recall what we included above: The serpent rests on two upraised arms, the hieroglyphic symbol for the ka or soul. In its entirety, this mysterious composite image was meant to support life and protect one from evil magically.

  1. 51. Here Clarke quotes Velikovsky as identifying figure 35 (and by association 36-38) as being “candlesticks with lamps”. “One of them (35)”, writes Velikovsky, “has three lily lamps on the left and three on the right”. But Clarke claims that, here, “Velikovsky missed an important detail …’. [He includes Dr. David Down here, too]. A text accompanies figure 35 on the bas-relief, he says which reads … nbw-ddt (gold bowl). Clarke also compares it with Wreszinski’s Fig. 35 for clarification. “Six Nile lotus blossoms and a human figurine cannot be equated to branches and almond blossoms no matter how hard one tries”, Clarke says, before concluding: “… the bowl (Egy. ddt) is not the same as altar (Egy. khawt)”.


  1. “Row seven on the bas-relief may contain predominantly silver objects but the choice of Egyptian text for 138 leaves no doubt about its nature: ‘white … bread’. Velikovsky’s ‘silver bread’ is deduced only by its position in the register. Had it really been silver its label would have included the Egyptian … hdj nb, where the two hieroglyphs combined translated as hdj white, and nb gold”.


Pp. 52-53. “As for 138”, Clarke writes, “the subject is described as ‘white bread’ (ta hdj): the full description being: ta hdj hnk f kat; ‘dedication offering of white bread’. From where does Velikovsky derive his idea that 169 is of colored stone (malachite)”?’, Clarke asks.


The likes of Bimson and Clarke have done a real service to the revision by applying their specialist knowledge to the Velikovskian theses, and showing where these are inadequate or just plain wrong. Others have sometimes followed Velikovsky into these traps, either due to too much idealism or just plain laziness.

Clarke has given a good lesson in why revisionists really need to scrutinise everything that is presented to them, and not just take matters for granted. The Karnak booty of Thutmose III will need to be more thoroughly and scientifically investigated.


Unfortunately, neither Bimson nor Clarke has been able to find any compelling substitutes for those ‘twin pillars’ of the Velikovskian revision, Hatshepsut and Thutmose III, whom they have completely discarded – having ‘thrown out the baby with the bathwater’ in my opinion.





Zimri-lim’s Mari Palace and King Solomon

Wall mural from the Babylonian city of Mari showing the home of the gods.  In the top panel is an unidentified god; possibly An, the god of heaven, or Utu, the god of the sun. On the upper right is a winged bullman. Bottom panel: Enlil, the chief god of earth, is attended by a minor female goddess (shown wearing a horned helmet) and by two kings wearing shepherds' hats. Wind pours out of a jar, signifying that Enlil is the god of the winds that bring life-giving rains.



Damien F. Mackey  




The Mari palace of Zimri-Lim, biblical “Rezon” and some time foe of King Solomon,

may show evidence of Genesis (Garden of Eden) and Solomonic (Temple) imagery.





If Hammurabi were, as the biblical artisan, Huram-abi, involved in the technical enhancement of Solomon’s architecture, then we might expect that the contemporary palace of Mari, belonging to Zimri-Lim (see my):


Hammurabi and Zimri-Lim as Contemporaries of Solomon



would exhibit some degree of Solomonic influence. Accordingly, one will read at: http://publications.mi.byu.edu/publications/studies/4/S00001-507d876e576a3Bradshaw.pdf


A number of scholars have found parallels in the layout of the trees in the Garden of Eden and certain features of Israelite sanctuaries.75 Significantly, the holiest places within the temples of Solomon and of Ezekiel’s vision were decorated with palms.76 Indeed, the holy of holies in Solomon’s temple contained not only one but many palm trees and pillars, which Terje Stordalen says can represent “a kind of stylised forest.” 77 The angels on its walls may have represented God’s heavenly council,78 mirrored on earth by those who have attained “angelic” status through the rites of inves­titure. Such an interpretation recalls the statues of gods mingling with divinized kings in the innermost sanctuary of the Mari pal­ace.79


And again at: http://cojs.org/jerusalem_as_eden-_lawrence_e-_stager-_bar_26-03-_may-jun_2000/


On the mountain of Yahweh, Mt. Zion,a the indissoluble triad of creation, kingship and Temple find their most profound visual and literary expression. Nowhere in ancient Near Eastern art is this triad more brilliantly illustrated than in the wall paintings of the Old Babylonian palace at Mari, built almost a millennium before [sic] Solomon’s palace and Temple in Jerusalem. In the palace at Mari, located on the banks of the Euphrates, in modern Syria, a large, sunlit courtyard decorated with wall paintings led into a vestibule in front of the king’s throne room. The courtyard enclosed a garden of live potted palm trees. According to one scholar, a tall, ornamental but artificial palm tree stood in the middle of the garden (compare the location of the tree of life in the Garden of Eden). This artificial tree had a wooden core and was plated with bronze and silver leaf.4 At eye level, just to the right of the doorway leading from the courtyard to the vestibule of the throne room, a large wall painting portrayed the relationship of divinity, royalty and creation. Luxuriant orchards and fantastic creatures surround the building in which the investiture of the king is taking place. In the upper register of the central panel, the goddess Ishtar as warrior, with weapons strapped to her shoulders, scimitar in one hand and “the ring and the rod” in the other, presents the emblems of authority to the king. Ishtar rests one foot on a recumbent lion, her emblem. Three other deities witness the ceremony. In the register below, two lesser goddesses hold vases from which four streams of water flow and vegetation sprouts. The setting for the ceremony is a paradise garden with date palms and stylized papyrus stalks. Guarding the garden and the palace are winged sphinxes, griffins and bulls. At the outer edges of the scene, two goddesses of high rank stand with upraised arms—a gesture of protection for all within the garden precincts.

[End of quotes]


I would suggest that the above would be only the tip of the iceberg of potential similarities between the religious imagery of the Mari era (revised) and that of the Solomonic era.

Huram-Abi King of Artisans

 Hiram Abiff with Jachin & Boaz


Damien F. Mackey



Explores the possibility that the biblical Huram-abi was King Hammurabi.



Abrahamic Connection


Hammurabi’s possible Amorite ancestry, tracing back to Abraham, might account for why we have been finding that the great king had been so influenced by Hebrew Law and protocol.

Herb Storck has shown, in an important article “The Early Assyrian King List … and the ‘Greater Amorite’ Tradition” (Proc. of the 3rd Seminar of Catastrophism & Ancient History, C & AH Press, Toronto, 1986, p. 43), that there is a genealogical link among:


(i) Abraham;

(ii) the genealogy of king Hammurabi; and

(iii) the Assyrian King List.


Storck commences his article with the following explanation:

The Assyrian Kinglist (AKL) is one of the most important chronographic texts ever uncovered. Initially it was thought to represent a long unbroken tradition of rulership over Assyria. A closer look at the AKL by Benno Landsberger (1890-1968) … however, dispelled this somewhat facile approach to AKL tradition. Subsequent studies by Kraus … and Finkelstein … have demonstrated a common underlying Amorite tradition between parts of the AKL and the Genealogy of Hammurapi (GHD). Portions of this section of the AKL containing 17 tent-dwelling kings have also been compared to biblical … and Ugaritic … Amorite traditions.


Storck’s purpose will be “to take a closer look at the 17 Assyrian tent dwellers and the greater Amorite tradition, as evidenced primarily in the genealogy of the Hammurapi [Hammurabi] Dynasty and other minor traditions”. The names of all 17 tent-dwelling kings are preserved in various lists. What is striking is that many of these names can be linked with names in the GHD, which gives the names in couplet form. Thus, for example, names 3 and 4, Janqi (Janqu) and Sahlamu are given in GHD as Ya-am-qu-us-ha-lam-ma. Name 11, Zuabu, may be connected with Sumuabi, an ancestor of Hammurabi. Thus Storck:

Poebel sought to connect the name with Su-mu-a-bi, the name of the first king of the first dynasty of Babylon, even though in our list it is written with the sign ZU. …. Kraus, however, expressed his personal doubts as to whether this would work …. But in a recently published fragment of this portion of the AKL (E) this name was indeed written with an initial SU for ZU, thus supporting Poebel’s contention somewhat. “Nevertheless, the genealogy edited by J.J. Finkelstein has Zu-um-ma-bu in the apparently parallel line, hinting that the reverse may be the case. The presence of ma as restored eases the interpretation of the name Sumu-abu” ….


Storck concluded the first part of his study by claiming that: “Nine of the 17 tent-dwelling AKL kings can reasonably be identified with GHD ancestors of Hammurapi. This would appear to be sufficient to establish that these two genealogies drew upon a common ‘Amorite’ tradition”.

That there was still that nomadic inclination within the kings of the Hammurabic era may perhaps be gleaned from the fact that Shamsi-Adad I of that time had no really fixed capital, but moved from place to place.

And we have found that Iarim-Lim (Hiram), though stationed in the west, had a political reach that extended all the way to Elam.


Who Was Hammurabi?


Who, then, was this Hammurabi, likely a non-indigenous ruler of Babylon, of Amorite, or northern Canaanite background, who had deepy absorbed Hebrew traditions and culture, and who was contemporaneous with the biblical King Hiram (Iarim-Lim) and, hence, with David and Solomon of Israel?

The most likely candidate for Hammurabi, I now think, would be that famous biblical artisan of very similar name, Huram-abi (Hiram-abi) – the fabled Hiram Abiff of the Freemasons – who was probably somewhat younger than King David, but older than King Solomon.

King Hiram had told Solomon (2 Chronicles 2:13-14):


‘I am sending you Huram-Abi, a man of great skill, whose mother was from Dan and whose father was from Tyre. He is trained to work in gold and silver, bronze and iron, stone and wood, and with purple and blue and crimson yarn and fine linen. He is experienced in all kinds of engraving and can execute any design given to him. He will work with your skilled workers and with those of my lord, David your father’.


From I Kings 7:13, it appears that Huram-abi was located in Tyre at the time: “King Solomon sent to Tyre and brought Huram …”. Tyre would, of course, be a geographical problem obstructing an identification of Huram-abi with Hammurabi the king of Babylon.

Could he have become king of Babylon later? That is only surmise. But also see comments above re Shamsi-Adad I’s nomadic tendencies and Iarim-Lim’s power. Plus, our knowledge of Hammurabi’s Babylon is seriously disadvantaged by the high water table in Babylon at that archaeological level, preventing excavation.

I Kings 7:14 gives a variation on 2 Chronicles’ account of Huram-abi’s mother, “from Dan”, by telling us that his “mother was a widow from the tribe of Naphtali”.

That Huram-abi was a man with the technical skills necessary to assist King Solomon is abundantly apparent from the continuing narrative of I Kings 14:14-50:


Huram was filled with wisdom, with understanding and with knowledge to do all kinds of bronze work. He came to King Solomon and did all the work assigned to him.

He cast two bronze pillars, each eighteen cubits high and twelve cubits in circumference. He also made two capitals of cast bronze to set on the tops of the pillars; each capital was five cubits high. A network of interwoven chains adorned the capitals on top of the pillars, seven for each capital. He made pomegranates in two rows encircling each network to decorate the capitals on top of the pillars. He did the same for each capital. The capitals on top of the pillars in the portico were in the shape of lilies, four cubits high. On the capitals of both pillars, above the bowl-shaped part next to the network, were the two hundred pomegranates in rows all around. He erected the pillars at the portico of the Temple. The pillar to the south he named Jakin and the one to the north Boaz. The capitals on top were in the shape of lilies. And so the work on the pillars was completed.

He made the Sea of cast metal, circular in shape, measuring ten cubits from rim to rim and five cubits high. It took a line of thirty cubits to measure around it. Below the rim, gourds encircled it—ten to a cubit. The gourds were cast in two rows in one piece with the Sea.

The Sea stood on twelve bulls, three facing north, three facing west, three facing south and three facing east. The Sea rested on top of them, and their hindquarters were toward the center. It was a handbreadth in thickness, and its rim was like the rim of a cup, like a lily blossom. It held two thousand baths.

He also made ten movable stands of bronze; each was four cubits long, four wide and three high. This is how the stands were made: They had side panels attached to uprights. On the panels between the uprights were lions, bulls and cherubim—and on the uprights as well. Above and below the lions and bulls were wreaths of hammered work. Each stand had four bronze wheels with bronze axles, and each had a basin resting on four supports, cast with wreaths on each side. On the inside of the stand there was an opening that had a circular frame one cubit deep. This opening was round, and with its basework it measured a cubit and a half. Around its opening there was engraving. The panels of the stands were square, not round. The four wheels were under the panels, and the axles of the wheels were attached to the stand. The diameter of each wheel was a cubit and a half. The wheels were made like chariot wheels; the axles, rims, spokes and hubs were all of cast metal. Each stand had four handles, one on each corner, projecting from the stand. At the top of the stand there was a circular band half a cubit deep. The supports and panels were attached to the top of the stand. He engraved cherubim, lions and palm trees on the surfaces of the supports and on the panels, in every available space, with wreaths all around. This is the way he made the ten stands. They were all cast in the same molds and were identical in size and shape.

He then made ten bronze basins, each holding forty baths and measuring four cubits across, one basin to go on each of the ten stands. He placed five of the stands on the south side of the Temple and five on the north. He placed the Sea on the south side, at the southeast corner of the Temple. He also made the pots and shovels and sprinkling bowls.

So Huram finished all the work he had undertaken for King Solomon in the Temple of the Lord:


the two pillars;

the two bowl-shaped capitals on top of the pillars;

the two sets of network decorating the two bowl-shaped capitals on top of the pillars;

the four hundred pomegranates for the two sets of network (two rows of pomegranates for each network decorating the bowl-shaped capitals on top of the pillars);

the ten stands with their ten basins;

the Sea and the twelve bulls under it;

the pots, shovels and sprinkling bowls.

All these objects that Huram made for King Solomon for the Temple of the Lord were of burnished bronze. The king had them cast in clay molds in the plain of the Jordan between Sukkoth and Zarethan. Solomon left all these things unweighed, because there were so many; the weight of the bronze was not determined.

Solomon also made all the furnishings that were in the Lord’s Temple:

the golden altar;

the golden table on which was the bread of the Presence;

the lampstands of pure gold (five on the right and five on the left, in front of the inner sanctuary);

the gold floral work and lamps and tongs;

the pure gold basins, wick trimmers, sprinkling bowls, dishes and censers;

and the gold sockets for the doors of the innermost room, the Most Holy Place, and also for the doors of the main hall of the Temple.


If Hammurabi were Huram-abi, then it would be no wonder that he dealt in bonze and that he favoured artisans and craftsmen, and that he imported his wood from Lebanon (http://www.fsmitha.com/h1/ch03-ham.htm):


Babylon was a city where trade routes crossed. Under Hammurabi it became a bronze-age city of commerce and agriculture. It was a city with skilled artisans, architects, bricklayers and businessmen, with an efficient secular administration and a chain of command. The city was at the hub of an intricate network of canals. It was surrounded by great fields of barley, melons, fruit trees and the wheat the Babylonians used in making unleavened, pancake-like bread. From their barley, the Babylonians made beer. They sheared wool from their flocks of sheep. And they imported wood from Lebanon and metals from Persia.


Hammurabi was a king of artisans: (https://prezi.com/uuaatljvjity/ancient-mesopotamia/): “Hammurabi had artisans carve almost 300 laws into a stone stele. This writing is now known as Hammurabi’s code”, with rules for artisans:


  1. If an artisan take a son for adoption and teach him his handicraft, one may not bring claim for him.


  1. If he do not teach him his handicraft, that adopted son may return to his father’s house.


  1. If a man hire an artisan, the wage of a … is 5 SE of silver; the wage of a brickmaker (?) is 5 SE of silver; the wage of a tailor is 5 SE of silver; the wage of a … is … SE of silver; the wage of a … is … SE of silver; the wage of a … is … SE of silver; the wage of a carpenter is 4 SE of silver; the wage of a (?) is 4 SE of silver; the wage of a (?) is … SE of silver; the wage of a mason is … SE of silver; so much per day shall he pay.


According to: http://mcadams.posc.mu.edu/txt/ah/Assyria/Hammurabi.html “craftsmen” (artisans) occupied the highest class in Babylon:


The Code contemplates the whole population as falling into three classes, the amelu, the muskinu and the ardu. The amelu was a patrician, the man of family, whose birth, marriage and death were registered, of ancestral estates and full civil rights. He had aristocratic privileges and responsibilities, the right to exact retaliation for corporal injuries, and liability to heavier punishment for crimes and misdemeanours, higher fees and fines to pay. To this class belonged the king and court, the higher officials, the professions and craftsmen.


  1. van de Mieroop (The Ancient Mesopotamian City, p. 179) writes of ‘most craftsmen being employed by palaces and temples’ (reminiscent of the case of Solomon and Huram-abi):


The specialized class of artisans needed to be exempt from the tasks of primary food production, and this was only possible in an urban economy. It is clear that craft specialization took place in the early stages of the development of urban society, and that the sustainable size of the class of craftsmen was directly related to the size of the urban economy. It is often stated in current literature that, at least until the late second millennium Bc [sic], most craftsmen were employed by the central institutions of palace and temples, as only these rich organizations were able to support them ….