I have just made a litological discovery which should have massive ramifications for two of the main faiths on the planet; Judaism & Christianity. In our modern age, the atheistic trend is to look upon the Bible as a fabrication, a collection of wild inventions. The Old Testament, however,is more a history of the Jews, tracing their roots through Moses, Abraham & Noah all the back way to Adam. Along this ancient lineage, there is one figure of whom there is now evidence to say definitely existed. His name was Joseph, he who dreamt of a seven year famine in Egypt & managed to persuade the pharoah to prepare for the cataclysm in advance.
The evidence for him was found just over a century ago, during the 1907-08 excavations at Lisht, a village to the south of Cairo, by the Metropolitan Museum of Art (see Dieter Arnold’s ‘Middle Kingdom Tomb Architecture at Lisht‘). It was the site of a series of royal burials of the Middle Kingdom (2055 BC to 1650 BC), the two principal pyramids being that of Amenemhat I & Sensuret I. Through the litological process I have discovered that Amenemhat was the very pharoah who invited the semitic Joseph into the higher echelons of Egyptian society.
Looking at the Book of Genesis, there are several clues which will help us ascertain the true identity of Joseph.
Joseph’s Egyptian name
41:45 Pharaoh gave Joseph the name Zaphenath-paneah
Joseph becomes the Chief Steward of the King’s house & estates
45:8 So it was not you who sent me here, but God; he has made me a father to
Pharaoh, and lord of all his house and ruler over all the land of Egypt.
Joseph hoards up anti-famine foodstuffs
41:48 He gathered up all the food of the seven years when there was plenty in the land of Egypt, and stored up food in the cities; he stored up in every city the food from the fields around it.
Returning to the excavations at Lisht, four relief blocks discovered there mirror the clues above. They all seem to be from the same ancient scene, broken in four by the ravages of time. Of these, the largest block bears the Egyptian name Sobeknahkt. Given that the Book of Genesis was written c.600 BC, in a different language, we can see how the name Sobeknahkt became the biblical Zapenath, (SEE NOTE 1) with both sharing principle phonetics, as in;
Sob – Zap
Nahkt – Nath
Stunningly, we know that a Sobeknahkt was royal chief steward during the later years of Amemenhat I, fitting perfectly with the Bible’s versions of events. Indeed, the block at Lisht gives him the titles of ‘Chief Steward,’ & ‘Chief of the Friends,’ the latter meaning he was the most trustworthy of all the pharoah’s officials, reflected by the Pharoah’s proclamation to Joseph of; “Only with regard to the throne will I be greater than you.‘ There is also an image of Sobeknahkt on one of the smaller blocks, which shows him filling storage jars, a perfect fit for Joseph’s laying aside a fifth of Egypt’s produce in preparation of famine!
1980 BC – Joseph in Egypt / Arrival of Jacob (+430)
1550 BC- The Exodus / Hyksos Expulsion (+40)
1510 BC – Moses ends his wanderings (+468)
1042 BC – Start of Saul’s reign (+40)
1002 BC – Start of David’s reign (+40)
962 BC – Start of Solomon’s reign (+4)
958 BC – Start of Solomon’s Temple (+143)
815 BC – Foundation of Carthage
According to Wildung, Amenemhat reigned from 1991 BC to 1962 BC, & using information gleaned from the Bible & elsewhere, we can place Joseph in this very time period. Beginning with the foundation of Carthage, Polybius dates this to to 814 or 813 B.C. Likewise, Velleius Paterculus said Carthage lasted 667 years. As the city was utterly destroyed in 146BC by the Romans, we obtain a year of 815BC for its foundation. This date has been confirmed through archeological means, when in 2000, Nijboer of Groningen University used the radio-carbon analysis of animal bones in the first layer of settlement at Carthage to date them to a period just before 800BC. (‘SEE NOTE 2′)
We can now link the the foundation of Carthage to the building of Solomon’s temple through Josephius, who wrote; ‘Therein it was recorded that the temple was built by king Solomon at Jerusalem, one hundred forty-three years and eight months before the Tyrians built Carthage.’Adding 815+143 together gives us 958 BC for the foundation of the Temple of Solomon. Next we learn from the bible that the temple was begun in Solomon’s fourth year;
(KINGS I…6-1) And it came to pass… in the fourth year of Solomon’s reign over Israel, in the month of Zif, which is the second month, that he began to build the house of the Lord. (SEE NOTE 3)
Thus, Solomon began his reign in 962 BC. From here we go back another 40 years, to the start of the reign of King David;
(KINGS I … 10-13) So David slept with his fathers, & was buried in the city of David. And the days that David reigned over Israel were forty years: seven years reigned he in Hebron, & thirty & three years reigned he in Jerusalem. Then sat Solomon upon the throne of David his father; & his kingdom was established greatly
Giving us the year 1002 BC for the start of David’s reign. Next, we must go back another 530 years to the start of the Exodus of Moses
(Acts… 13:18, 20-22) For some forty years he (Moses) bore with their conduct in the desert…. And after that he gave unto them judges about the space of four hundred and fifty years, until Samuel the prophet. It was then that they asked for a king, and God gave them Saul son of Kish, a man of the tribe of Benjamin. He reigned forty years before God removed him and appointed David as their King...”
The exact year would be 1532 BC, but the key phrase is ‘about 450 years,’ giving us a little flexibility. This allows to identify the year c.1550 BC as the year of the Exodus, supported by modern scholarship appertaining to the reign of Ahmose I & the expulsion of the Hyksos. Then, from this date we are told in Exodus 12.40 that‘The sojourn of the children of Israel who lived in Egypt was four hundred and thirty years,” taking us to the year c.1980 for the arrival of Joseph’s family, led by Jacob, in Egypt – slap-bang in the centre of Amenemhat’s reign! (SEE NOTE 4)
By investigating the period of Amenemhat further, I have unearthed more evidence that confirms my discovery.
1 – In an ancient Egyptian text known as ‘The Teaching of King Amenemhat I’ we find a reference to that king’s anti-famine measures; ‘None hungered in my years, none thirsted then. Men rested through what I had done, and told tales of me.’
Its biblical parallel is, ‘the seven years of plenty that prevailed in the land of Egypt came to an end; and the seven years of famine began to come, just as Joseph had said. There was famine in every country, but throughout the land of Egypt there was bread.‘
2 – In the reign of either Amenemhat or his successor, Sensuret, a farmer named
Heqanakht mentions the coming of the famine to Egypt – Do not worry about me! Behold, I am healthy and alive. Behold, you are like one who can eat his fill, when he was (already so) hungry that he had sunken eyes. Behold, the whole of Egypt has died (and) you did not hunger.
3 – When the Bible tells us Joseph gained authority over the land of Egypt, so have relics of Sobeknahkt been scattered across that land, from the blocks at Lisht, through a statue at Thebes, to a stela at Abydos
4 – The blocks at Lisht name a woman known as ‘beloved Dejeb-nut’ as belonging to Sobeknahkt’s family. This seems an Egyptian version of the Hebrew name Di-Nah, who was said to be Joseph’s sister. Also shown is his ‘beloved father’ who can now only have been Jacob.
5 – The Egyptian tale – The story of Sinuhe - is set during the reign of Amenemhat’s succesor, Senwosret I. The tale tells us that Sinuhe flees Egypt & finds shelter with a certain king Amuneshi in the hills of Canaan. This king was surely Joseph’s own son Manasseh, the patriarch of his eponymous tribe. This is supported by the siting of Shechem in the traditional lands of the Manasseh tribe, the very city that Joseph & his family were dwellers. That the Israelites lived in both Egypt & Canaan is confirmed in an early translation of the Old Testament – – the Septuagint or LXX made under Ptolemy I in the 3rd Century BC, which reads; “And the sojourning of the children of Israel, that is which they sojourned in the land of Egypt and in the land of Canaan, was four hundred and thirty years.” – Exodus 12:40 – (See John Fulton)
6 – The Book of Genesis tells that Joseph, ‘was embalmed and placed in a coffin in Egypt.’ That Sobeknahkt’s tomb lay empty & broken connects with biblical transference of Joseph’s bones to Israel (Exodus 13-19).
7 – The Bible tells us that – the sons of Israel came to buy corn among those that came: for the famine was in the land of Canaan. The economic boon of selling stockpiles of grain to foreign nations is reflected in a great increase in jewel caches found in the graves of Amenemhat’s Egypt, alongside records of the opening up of trade links with city-states such us Byblos. That there was a famine at this time is recorded on the tomb of a nomarch (also called Amenemhat) at Beni Hasan.
Looking at the evidence again, we have a Chief steward of Egypt bearing the same name given to Joseph doing the same thing (storing foodstuffs) that made Joseph famous, at the very time that Joseph was said to have lived. The matches between Joseph & Sobeknahkt seem irrefutable, & common sense dictates they are one & the same man. In light of this, my discovery strongly supports the veracity inherent in at least an early part of the book on which both Christianity & Judaism are built.
1 – It is possible the Paneah element comes from Ipa – this was the name given to a Vizier late in Amenemhat’s reign & also to one of his an official treasurers. Perhaps Sobeknahkt was known by two different names (as well as Joseph to the Canaanites.)
2 – See Docter et al 2005 – Meditteranea (Rome) ed G Bartolini
3 – It is this passage in Kings I that has deflected scholarship away from the true Joseph. In it we are told that there were 480 years between the Exodus & the building of Solomon’s Temple. However, this figure is a typical biblical device, formulated by the general number for many generations – 12 – multiplied by the general number for a geneartion – 40. However, the number I obtained above is drawn from a number of seperate, concise figures, which together add up to a more accurate amnount than the sweeping generalisation of 480 years.
4 – From here we obtain an approximate birth year of 2020 BC for Joseph, who was at least 30 years old when his father, Jacob, came to Egypt. To this we can add another 40 years to the birth of Jacob (2060 BC), then another 160 years between Jacob’s birth & the birth of Abraham (2220 BC). Going further back in time the bible tells us there were over 261 years between Abraham’s birth & the time of the great deluge, giving us an approximate year of 2500 BC for the flood. I shall be looking at this in more detail in another post, but suffice it to say this year connects with a great flood at Kish, confirmed in other sources such as the epic of Gilgamesh.
Fulton, John – A New Chronology
Josephius, Flavius – Against Apion (1CE)
Polybius – The Histories (3rd Century BC)
Wildung, D – L’Âge d’Or de L’Égypte (le Moyen Empire, Office de Livre, 1984)