Implications of the New Chronology on the Findings of Ahmed Osman
David & Solomon
According to Donald Redford in his landmark book, Egypt, Canaan, and Israel in Ancient Times, "Solomon has assumed the guise of the 'Sesostris of Israel.(1)'" (The story of the "semi-legendary" King Sesostris originated about the sixth century B.C. as a composite of the two great historical Pharaohs of Egypt, Thutmose III and Ramses II.) The research of Ahmed Osman points to Amenhotep III as being the main source of our "Sesostris of Israel." In the conventional chronology, Solomon and Amenhotep are separated by about 350 years, and this would make the association between them more difficult to accept (albeit still strong). However, in the New Chronology, they are very nearly contemporary. In the New Chronology, the United Kingdom of David and Solomon follows shortly after the reign of Amenhotep III, and therefore would have enjoyed use of the entire infrastructure of fine cities newly established by the Egyptian 18th Dynasty Pharaohs in Palestine. For example, strata VIII and VIIB corresponding to Solomonic Israel at Megiddo span the reigns of Amenhotep III through Merenptah in Egypt. It may prove difficult to differentiate between construction in Palestine by 18th Dynasty Pharaohs and that of a local Israelite monarchy, especially if construction by local rulers was performed with the blessing and assistance of those same Pharaohs. However there is at least the possibility of pursuing this research.
In the New Chronology model, the Pharaoh Seti I ascends in Egypt around the middle of the fourty year reign attributed to Solomon. Shortly after his coronation, Seti I and the Egyptian army set out to deal with a crisis in Palestine. The Karnak account states, "their chiefs are gathered... on the hills of Palestine,"(2) and that "Beth Shean was under attack from a Canaanite king and could not get help."(3) Beth Shean is listed as one of the most important Solomonic cities, and yet it is Seti I who is taking action to defend Egyptian interests there.
The Bible does not mention this Egyptian military intervention. However, it does mention the capture of Gezer by the army of Egypt during the reign of Solomon. The Bible also records that Solomon had troubling adversaries, e.g., Jeroboam who is said to have fled from Solomon to the Pharaoh Shishak in Egypt; Rezon, the former minister of Hadadezer (identified by Rohl as Aziru of the Amarna letters) in Damascus; and Hadad in Edom (I Kings 11:14-40). Osman notes that both the Bible and the Talmud agree that Solomon was not the original name of the local monarch, but perhaps Jedediah.(4)
What does seem certain is that Palestine remained an Egyptian possession from the time of Thutmose III throughout the Amarna period(5) and up until the time of Ramses III of the 19th Dynasty, and that David and Solomon would have ruled under the shadow of some of the most powerful kings of ancient times. Egypt, and the other imperial powers that followed (Assyria, Babylon, Persia, Greece and Rome), sought to control Palestine in order to secure land routes between Egypt, Mesopotamia, and Arabia. A recurring and effective strategy of control involved mass deportations and the establishment of native governors as vassals.
Those who ruled in Palestine, especially during the Egyptian 18th and 19th Dynasties, would have only done so with Egypt's cooperation, or as Egyptian vassals. One ruler of Jerusalem, namely Solomon's son Rehoboam, apparently decided to test that condition by fortifying the cities of Judah after Egypt's defeat to the Hittites at the Battle of Kadesh in Syria in year 5 of Ramses II. In his year 8, Ramses II demonstrated Egypt's resolve to maintain sovereignty over Palestine. The pride of Rehoboam was dashed, and his move toward greater independence put down.
The Encyclopedia Judaica states, "Elhanan was David's original name, which was later changed to David."(6) However, in the New Chronology, we have a more likely candidate, namely the Dadua of the Amarna tablet inscription. In the New Chronology model, the rise of the Habiru leader Dadua falls squarely within the Amarna period of Egypt. At this same time, another "Apiru" kingdom was emerging just to the north of Palestine known as Amurru. Its aggressive and independent leader, Aziru (identified in the New Chronology as the Biblical King Hadadezer) owed nominal allegiance to Egypt, but by the end of the Amarna period, had defected to the Hittites. It is reasonable, as the Bible describes, that the the newly established tribal kingdom of David would clash with its close rival just to the north, and after the defection of Hadadezer (Aziru) may have been encouraged by Egypt to do so.
There was at least one major Egyptian military campaign during the Amarna period, either at the end of Akhenaten's reign or during that of Tutankhamun.(7) This campaign was directed primarily toward reestablishing the traditional border of Egypt's empire in Syria. This sortie by the Egyptian forces was largely unopposed and resulted in the recapture of the Syrian city Kadesh. A refinement of Osman's interpretation of the Bible's statement that David defeated Zobah (a city or region in Syria mentioned in the Bible) and "went to re-cover his border at the River Euphrates," would be that David participated in the Egyptian campaign of Akhenaten/Tutankhamun, and that it was later perceived as a retaking of the claims of his namesake Thutmose III. The Bible records that after this campaign, the Kings of Syria and former allies of Hadadezer (Aziru) made peace with David (II Samuel 10)..
In the New Chronology model, Tutankhamun's reign falls squarely within the time of King David in Israel. This poses an interesting situation considering that Tutankhamun and his general Horemheb likely campaigned in Palestine and Syria. If this be the case, Tutankhamun's efforts could only have strengthened the position of the new Hebrew nation, which Egypt must have considered as an ally. Furthermore, if the identification by Osman of Tutankhamun as a second Joshua is correct, then Tutankhamun's Palestine campaigns could only have reinforced his association with the earlier Joshua of the conquest. Excavation of Jericho indicates that the catastrophic destruction of the city was associated with the first Exodus of the 13th Dynasty. The corresponding destruction layer includes outwardly collapsed walls, extensive fire damage, and storage jars filled with charred grain, and is consistent with the Biblical account.
However, something dramatic also occurred during the reign of Amenhotep III, or shortly thereafter, as evidenced by the sudden absence of cartouches among Jericho burials. Perhaps this corresponds to military action of Tutankhamun. Archaeology also indicates that Jericho lay waste for a considerable time after this event, i.e., until the time of King Ahab as the Bible also states. The Joshua of the Canaan conquest and Hebrew Commonwealth period would be associated with the first Exodus. In the second Exodus, the role of Joshua reflects the historical activities of Akhenaten's protege, the young Tutankhamun.
The research of Rohl has strengthened the basis for a Hebrew Sojourn and Exodus during the Egyptian 12thand 13th Dynasties.(8) So how can Ahmed Osman's identification of an 18th Dynasty Sojourn and Exodus also be correct? The explanation offered here is that there are at least two distinct sources for the Sojourn and Exodus, as there are for the accounts of David and Solomon.
The three passages in the Bible that specify the length of the Israelite Sojourn in Egypt reveal obvious "kludges" when carefully analyzed. Exodus 12:40 in the Masoretic text, on which some translations of the Bible are based, reads as: "they sojourned in Egypt for 430 years." However, in the Septuagint and Samaritan Pentateuch texts, which both predate the Masoretic, Exodus 12:40 reads as: "they sojourned in Egypt and Canaan for 430 years." Josephus bases his account of the Exodus on the earlier texts as well. The original length of the Sojourn recorded by Exodus 12:40 would therefore have been approximately 215 years (430 years minus the 215 years Abraham and his descendants dwelt in Canaan prior to the Sojourn). The "and Canaan"was apparently dropped in order to harmonize with Genesis 15:13-16 which reads: "your [Abraham's] descendants will be strangers in a country not their own, and they will be enslaved and mistreated four hundred years ... and in the fourth generation they shall come back."
Exodus 6:16-20 provides the four generations for the entire Sojourn, and explicit life spans, i.e., Levi (137 years), Kohath (133 years), Amram (137 years), and Moses (120 years) totalling 527 years (527 years minus the 57 years Levi lived prior to the Sojourn(9) minus the 40 years Moses lived after the Sojourn equals a Sojourn of 430 years, but only if you assume each son was born in the year of his fathers death!). Despite this fine piece of accounting work (most likely a harmonizing performed by a Biblical editor), it is impossible to reconcile the four generation Sojourn of Exodus 6 with the 400 year Sojourn of Genesis 15, or even a 215 year Sojourn recorded in Exodus 12. Moreover, the four generations of Exodus 6:16-20 cannot be harmonized with the eleven generations given for the Sojourn found in the genealogy of Joshua in I Chronicles 7:23-27. This is especially unworkable, because we are told that Amram married his father's sister.
This mess of "Biblical proportion" can be explained by recognizing that the Biblical editors/redactor were attempting to harmonize, wittingly or not, two or more distinctly different Sojourns. One Sojourn, according to early Bible manuscripts and Jewish tradition lasted approximately 215 years spanning eleven generations, while the other spanned portions of only four generations.
In the New Chronology model, the first Sojourn begins shortly after the appointment of Joseph by the 12th Dynasty Pharaoh Amenemhet III, and ends with the first Exodus under Prince "Mousos" at the close of the Egyptian 13th Dynasty (in accordance with the ancient Jewish historian Artapanas as quoted by the later Christian historian Eusebius). In the second Sojourn, Joseph, in the person of Yuya, serves the 18th Dynasty Pharaoh Amenhotep III, and the second Exodus occurs at the end of the 18th Dynasty (in accordance with the ancient Egyptian historian Manetho as quoted in the later works of the Jewish historian Josephus). The first Exodus coincides with a devastating plague, which leaves Egypt unable to stop the encroachment of the Hyksos. The second Exodus also is associated with a devastating plague that was at least partly responsible for the ignominious fall of Akhenaten's government, and ultimately for bringing an end to the 18th Dynasty.
Exodus 6:26-27 seems to confirm a second Moses when it states, "It was this same Aaron and Moses...who spoke to Pharaoh king of Egypt about bringing the Israelites out of Egypt. It was this same Moses." The passage appears to be trying to discriminate between this Moses and another Moses who led Hebrews out of Egypt at another time and under different circumstances.
This second Exodus may not have involved the destruction of Pharaoh's army, however it was not entirely peaceful either. Those who survived Seti's assault must have made their way to Palestine to join (or rejoin) the new Hebrew/Israelite nation.
An attempt to integrate the research of Ahmed Osman and David Rohl strongly indicates that the accounts of the major Biblical characters, such as David, Solomon, Moses, Joseph, and Joshua, relied upon two primary historical persons as their sources, and that the resulting narratives represent a skillful harmonizing of the traditions of the elitist and highly educated Israelites of the Egyptian 18th Dynasty with the traditions of the Hebrews who left Egypt at the end of Egyptian 13th Dynasty and had arrived in Palestine before them. It is less clear why composite accounts would have been considered necessary by the Biblical authors/editors. Perhaps, the circumstances under which the Israelites had left Egypt and the bitterness caused by it had made it unacceptable to explicitly reveal all of the original historical associations in a linear/chronological fashion. Perhaps composite narratives were an acceptable form of preserving history in the 6th Century B.C. when both the story of Sesostris and the Biblical accounts were taking on their final forms. Perhaps it was the only means of reconciling multiple traditions when it may no longer have been certain, especially to late Biblical editors, that distinct sources were even involved. Perhaps the desperate need for a unified history at that time in the Jewish experience demanded a synthesis of all important traditions. And perhaps, history seemed to be repeating itself, and the compilers of the Bible perceived this as the hand of God in his relationship with Israel.
Having to deal with composite Biblical persons is not gratifying to the purist. But, the Biblical Moses does seem to be equally at home in the "eye for eye and tooth for a tooth" world of the Hammurabi Code (contemporary with the Egyptian 12th & 13th Dynasties), as he does in the time of the sweeping reforms of Akhenaten in the Egyptian 18th Dynasty. Dualism and other forms of synthesis and symbolic thought were highly developed and prized in ancient times,(10) and is a genius that has often been persecuted by "fundamentalists" of all pursuits even to this day. Whether one recognizes it as a genius or not, it is certainly a practice that we may all be forced to cope with when trying to reconcile the Bible and archaeology
Suggestions for Additional Research
It may be that the Benemina of Amarna tablet EA 256 is actually the Biblical Benaiah, and not Baanah, as proposed by Rohl. Baanah is a fletting character mentioned only in connection with the murder of Ishbaal. However, Benaiah is a major Biblical figure, and more importantly, David's most trusted companion. If Benaiah is the Benemina of EA 256, then Mutbaal is referring Akhenaten not only to David and his father, but also to the Captain of David's bodyguard!
Rohl also identifies the Yishuya of Amarna tablet EA 256 as David's father Jesse. However, it doesn't take a Hebrew scholar to observe that Yishuya or Yeshua is a form of the name Jesus/Joshua. If EA 256 was written late in the reign of Akhenaten or after his exile, then this very well may be a reference to Tutankhamun. Perhaps, this is just a bit too obvious, but it should still be investigated.
It is not yet clear how the Israelites who may have left Egypt in exile with Akhenaten or later in the reign of Ramses I, would have melded with those Hebrews already in Palestine. It may be that the exiled Israelites did more than simply bide their time in the Sinai, but took an active role in the Habiru revolution occurring at that very same time. As Rohl points out in "Pharaohs and Kings," there are two distinct groups in the Biblical Palestine of the tribal leader David. One group, referred to in the Bible as Hebrews, readily flee in the face of danger. The other are referred to as Israelites, and are the ones who stand and fight against the Philistines with conviction.
The sudden appearance of over 300,000 men at Hebron to assist David in his capture of Jerusalem (see 1 Chronicles 11:1-6; 12:23-40) may be associated with the infusion of a new fighting force into Palestine. The power struggle associated with the ascension of Solomon may be a witness to their political takeover (see 1 Kings 2:13-35). At that time, Adonijah, the elder step-brother of Solomon, and the commander of the Army, Joab, were both killed by Benaiah (same as above) the Levite by order of Solomon. Also by command of Solomon, the priesthood of the Hebrew Commonwealth at Shiloh was ended at that time. Its priest, Abiathar was dismissed and he was replaced by the Levitical priest Zadok. Upon the death of Solomon, the short-lived marriage between factions came to an abrupt end (see 1 Kings 11:26-40; 12:1-20).
The New Chronology represents a radical revision of the chronology of the ancient world. The impact to those who have a vested interest in the status quo in archaeology and related fields probably cannot be overestimated. As indicated by the accompanying chart, the time period corresponding to the Egyptian Third Intermediate Period (TIP) is a far busier place in the New Chronology than it was in the conventional chronology. The basis for numerous parallel dynasties in Egypt, Assyria and Babylon must still be more firmly demonstrated before Rohl's "New Chronology" will replace the conventional chronology in the hallowed halls of some institutions.
There are two articles on tree ring dating that claim to have bearing on the dating of ancient Egypt: "Anatolian Tree Rings and the Absolute Chronology of the Eastern Mediterranean, 2220-718 B.C." in the June 1996 issue of Nature, and "Ancient World Gets Precise Chronology" in the June 29, 1996 issue of Science News. The first article states, "Wood found as part of the cargo on the Kas/Uluburun shipwreck has a last preserved ring of 1316 B.C.; other finds include ... a unique gold scarab of Nefertiti ... and confirm conventional 14th-12th century B.C. chronology against radical critiques ("Centuries of Darkness" is referrenced).
SYNERGY BETWEEN THE RESEARCH OF OSMAN, ROHL, AND THEAUX
DRAFT DISCUSSION PAPER w/questions following
posted 12/20/98; last updated on 12/20/98
Although Ahmed Osman, David Rohl, and William Theaux each have evinced their own controversial theories, there is an uncanny synergy between them. The powerful insight gained through integrating their collective research would therefore ascribe far greater credence to their individual works.
Moses' relationship with "the Lord" is depicted as one with a god incarnate. For example, we are told that Moses spoke with "the Lord would speak to Moses face to face, as a man speaks with his friend," and that he was allowed to see his "form." In that locale and era, the living god in question could have been no other than the ruling Pharaoh. The general behavior (e.g., aloofness) and "signs and wonders" performed by "the Lord" seem consistent with those which might have been "staged/performed" by an Egyptian Pharaoh, and which would also have been extremely intimidating to the common people. Nevertheless, "the nobles with scepters and staffs" (Numbers 21:18) who accompanied Moses were not so easily impressed, and "the Lord's" intimidation tactics were but one of the many reasons for the incessant complaints from those privileged elite. "The Lord's" repeated threat to annihilate the Israelites indicates that the real loyalty was with Moses and not 'his people".
If Moses was indeed Akhenaten in exile, then "the Lord" to whom he spake and often pleaded with could very well have been his successor to the throne, the Pharaoh Semenkhare. Establishment of a covenant, followed by the breaking of the Tablets might also reflect a failure or betrayal on the part of Semenkhare to "live" up to his end of the bargain.
On his web site (Akhnaten.com), William Theaux ardently states the case for the re-identification of the "Triple Master" (Hermes Trismegistus) as being that of Akhenaten, Moses, AND the Oedipus of the Greek tradition. Moreover, Theaux equates the roles of Oedipus' sons Eteocles and Polynice with Tutankhamun and Semenkhare, respectively. On the grounds of etymology, these latter associations may not be quite correct, however they clearly can be seen to be equivalent to two of the leading proponents in the real life Amarna drama? Pa-nahesy equates to Polynice (Pan = Poly), and Semenkhare equates not to Polynice, but to Eteocles (Semen = Etio). (See Question at the bottom of this essay for suggestions on why their roles may have been transposed in the Greek tradition.) Both "sons" were cursed by Oedipus. But why? Osman has associated Pa-Nahesy, the High Priest of Akhenaten, with Phineas (the exalted priest of Moses), and further identifies him as the murderer of Tutankhamun/Joshua. For his part, Semenkhare may have transgressed the "covenant" with Akhenaten, thereby causing Moses to break the Tablets. When Semakhare subsequently dies, he is eventually replaced by Tutankhamun, who would become "the Lord" in the remainder of the Biblical account of Moses. An interim reign of Nefertiti may have taken place while a deal was being worked out for the return of Tutankhamun/Joshua to Egypt.
There may be additional surprises in store for us regarding Semankhare and Nefertiti. Perhaps, Nefertiti's (Miriam's) death (Numbers 20:1) was feigned (one month into the exile), and her identity ("face") was carefully concealed from the Israelites. Snakes alive! This corresponds to the Oedipus tradition, in which Nefertiti is snake bitten (cursed?), dies a symbolic death, and is restored and "married once again" to Akhenaten/Moses. If this be the case, then Nefertiti was also "the Lord" who spoke with Moses face to face! Moreover, Semenkhare may have died very early into the very short reign attributed to him. Nefertiti may indeed have ruled in his "stead" or as his "double" until a new king could be agreed upon. In Exodus 24, Moses and the elders of Israel are allowed to see "the God of Israel But God did not raise his hand against these leaders." However, after the covenent is broken, "the Lord" says "no one may see me and live." (Exodus 34:20) Moses alone is allowed to see "his form," however not "his face." Hatshepsut had ruled in Egypt in the 18th Dynasty, and so it certainly would not have been a problem in Egypt for Nefertiti to become interim ruler. However, this may not have been acceptable in the patriarchal Hebrew society. Would the disclosure of Nefertiti's identity be any less scandalous today?
The short (single verse) and matter-of-fact depiction of Miriam's death, which does not even mention a period of mourning, has perplexed scholars. The Biblical account may indicate that Nefertiti (Miriam) had initially accompanied Akhenaten into exile, but after only one month, she was required to return to Egypt (a metaphor for death in the Hebrew symbology).
Many Bible passages indicate that Joshua son of Nun and "the Lord" were to be closely associated. If "the Lord" of the Bible's (early exile) Moses story was Semenkhare, then the closeness and access afforded Joshua to "the Lord" was a result of their being brothers. Because of the very close similarity of their skulls, and their identical bloodtypes, it is now considered likely that Semenkhare and Tutankhamun were indeed brothers. The perceived role of Meriam/Nefertiti would also elicit a new meaning for the closeness of Joshua/Tutankhamn and "the Lord." in Exodus 33. "The Lord" (Semenkhare and/or Nefertiti) is characterized by fits of anger, followed by loving forgiveness after the intercession of Moses/Akhenaten. Joshua, on the other hand, shows greater self-confidence, and a more equable temperament.
In Exodus 33, Joshua son of Nun enters the Tent of Meeting, but does not depart. Just prior to this (also in Ex 33), "the Lord" had said (verse 3) that "I will not [no longer] go with you." [parenthetical mine] The implication from Osman's research is that Joshua has been murdered (Sellin and Freud suspected Moses had been killed), but it might also be that the Pharaoh (Semenkhare) was now dead or dying, and Moses was in despair. Moses then speaks "to the Lord (Semenkhare/Nefertiti?)," and says "you have not told me whom you will send with me." We are told that "the Lord's" response was, "My Presence will go with you." In the next chapter (Exodus 34) Moses no longer speaks face to face with "the Lord," but instead enters "his presence." (verse 34). This may indicate the required return of Nefertiti to Egypt, and the succession of Tutankhamun upon the death of Semenkhare and deliberation on his successor. Joshua/Tutankhamun could no longer be with the Moses on a regular basis, because he became the next Pharaoh. "The Lord" tells Moses, "I will send an angel before you and drive out the Canaanites but I will not go with you." As Pharaoh, Joshua/Tutankhamun sent the military into Canaan under Horemheb. In Numbers 27:15-20, Moses is instructed (by Semenkhare/Nefertiti?) to "appoint Joshua and give him some of your authority."
A hurred burial was provided for Semenkhare using Akhenaten's sarcophagus and Tiye's tomb. It is unlikely that Akhenaten was Semenkhare's father, however Tiye may have been his mother. DNA testing (if ever performed) could establish Tiye as the mother, or rule her out. Sitamun could also have been his mother. However, it seems more plausible that Sitamun, as a result of generations of inbreeding, may have had severe mental and physical birth defects, and was judged at an early age to be incapable of producing heirs. Protocol could therefore be broken with the election of Tiye over Sitamun as the Chief Wife of Amenhoptep III (and allow the recombing of bloodlines as both Osman and Theaux suggest) at a time when the Thutmosid line definitely needed revitalization. However, Sitamun may have managed to overcome her handicaps and bear healthy children, thus intensifying the Amarna controversy. (I hope that DNA tests will eventually obviate the need for such speculation. However, we do not have Sitamun's mummy.)
Upon the death of Semenkhare, a deal was most certainly struck between the exiled Atenists and their opponents in Egypt. This is partly reflected in the changing of Tutankhamun's name (formerly Tutankhaten). Tuankhamun/Joshua had also gone into exile with Akhenaten/Moses, and would have (as heir apparent) been used as a security against attacks from his enemies. This would also explain why he almost always is said to be with Moses and at his side. Part of the deal that brought Tutankhamun to the throne probably included guaranteed protection for Moses and the "Israelites."
It may be that Semenkhare was not killed in the Sinai, but in Egypt. However, the Biblical timeframe would be consistent with the above scenarios. Moses is said to have arrived at Mt. Sinai after the second month of exile (Exodus 19:1). He is said have left at the end of the fourteenth month. Semenkhare ruled for less than one year. It is probably not important to this inquiry whether he died in the Sinai of in Egypt. It likely involved intrique or plague/disease in either case.
The death of Joshua/Tutankhamun seems to occur at a later date. Parallel accounts in Numbers and Deuteronomy seem to confirm the death of Joshua. After the "plague at Peor," in Numbers, Moses again inquires, "Who will lead them out and bring them in?" Again, the indication is that it is to be Joshua, however it is apparent that Joshua is now also dead, because we are told that Balaam had been killed by the sword at this time (Numbers 31:8) This is odd, because Numbers 24:25 states that Balaam had returned home, i.e., to "Pethor, near the River, in his native land." (Numbers 22:5) The NIV Bible has a footnote at Numbers 22:5 that says the River in question was the Euphrates, however it seems more likely that it actually referred to the Nile. Where was Baalam/Joshua killed - at Peor or in Egypt? Deuteronomy 31:3,8 confirms that Joshua was not going with them, but "will cross over ahead of you." It would subsequently be Joshua's presence that would be required to lead Israel into the Promised Land. In Deuteronomy 32: 4-5,15, 43 (prior to their entering Canaan), we are told that they had already "rejected the Rock and their Savior (Joshua)" and that "he will avenge the blood of his servants." The plural here may indicate the murdered servants were Semenkhare and Joshua. The Zadokites would have considered Phineas and Moses to be the real victims, but there were limits to what even they could get away with in this twisted account.
The two passages (one in Exodus 17, one in Numbers 20) about water coming from the rock are somewhat contradictory, however it appears that the mortal sin of Moses and Aaron was in "striking the Rock," or by interpretation, in allowing the Rock to be struck down.
In "Out of Egypt," Osman points out that the Apostle Paul wrote (1 Cor. 10:1-4 and Hebrews 4:2) that Jesus/Joshua was at some point (possibly after leaving Mt. Sinai, but possibly later) no longer with the Israelites physically, but only spiritually as the "Rock" that sustained Israel, a Rock which has continued to hang ominously over the Jewish people from that fateful time forward. Therefore, the fantastical account of the Conquest of Canaan under Joshua was likely used to cover up the murder of Jesus as Osman suggests. If Phineas was subsequently killed in retribution of his act, this would explain his mysterious role and reappearances in following Biblical accounts. (Phineas was made into a "hero" both in Israel, and in Egypt. Phineas became a far more common name in the Egyptian 19th Dynasty.)
The judgment that the Conquest was a complete fiction may be better off withheld, as further research may establish it as an adaptation of an earlier tradition of a Hebrew invasion of Palestine that was only later attributed conveniently to Joshua in the Bible. It also could have been a recollection of the prior military campaign of Tutankhamun and Horemheb. (See notes under Joshua in "Implications of the New Chronology on the Works of Ahmed Osman" found on the JudeoRoots web site.)
Joshua had literally/physically "gone before them" as "an angel" to drive out the formidable residents of Canaan. This reflects the historical Canaanite campaign of Tutankhamun/Horemheb. As a result of Tutankhamun's military actions, "their protection was gone," (Num 14:9) i.e., the protection and favor that Canaanite and other tribes had formerly enjoyed as Egyptian vassals. In the New Chronology, Tutankhamun's campaign would have had the further effect of firmly establishing King David in Judea.
Something dramatic happened both at Mt. Sinai and at Baal Peor. It seems that it was Semenkhare who betrayed Moses, died or was killed while the Israelites were at Sinai. The death of Joshua/Tutankhamun would not have occurred until the Israelites were in Moab (Baal Peor). Perhaps, the death of Moses also occurred in the vacinity of Baal Peor (where he is said to have been buried) at an even later time (after the Exodus) when Seti I took military action against "the foe belonging to the Shasu."
The "great sin" that required "atonement" (Ex 32:30), could not merely have been the making of the golden calf. Aaron's pitiful exuse for an excuse seemed adequate to atone for that. Retribution for the first death appears to have occurred immediately at the hands of the Levites (Ex 32:28). The second (later) retribution (as indicated by Ex 32: 34) occurred when the Israelites had moved among the Midianites (the "Shasu") of Moab. We are told (Numbers 25 and 31) in separate passages that both Israel and the Midianites were decimated. These passages may, as Osman suggests, represent the intervention of Aye as he came to claim Joshua's body and avenge his killing, however elements of one or especially the second account might also reflect the later military action of Seti I against "the foe belonging to the Shasu." (from the Karnak relief)
Moses himself had at least one Midianite wife and a respected Midianite father-in-law (Num. 10:29). Therefore, it is not logical that sexual relations with Midianite women was the cause of the "plague" of Numbers 25. The story of the death of Zimri the Simeonite (verse 14) must be a contrived grafting of an unrelated tradition. The disgraceful murderous act of Phineas was transformed into a righteous deed of honor and atonement! The account seems to expose its own lie when it accuses the Midianites of deceit in the "affair of [Balaam of] Peor." It does not say the affair of Zimri! What may be closer to the truth is that the "deceit" of the Midianites belies the liklihood that Israel was depending on them for protection, and were blamed (possibly unfairly) of "selling them out" (cf. Numbers 22:7) or otherwise betraying them. See also Deuteronomy 32: 30, which also implies that "their Rock had sold them," and "given them up" to their ememy. Therefore, the Midianites and the leaders of Israel, especially those of Ephraim (Joshua/Tutankhamun and Aye), were attributed guilt for this. Joshua, it would appear, paid for this with his life. We are also told that despite all his oracles of blessings upon Israel, Baalam son of Beor (Peor?) was killed by the sword at this time (at the hand of an Israelite). As Osman states, in the Talmud Baalam and Jesus/Joshua are sometimes synonymous. There may be additional clues of this event in Deuteronomy 4.
The retribution against the Midianites (Numbers 31), which is associated (verse 1) with the death of Moses would appear to have been at the hands of Seti I many years later, and not by the Israelites, themselves. Perhaps, a symbolic death is again intended, and Akhenaten/Moses (the ultimate survivor) left the Sinai for Greece where he took on the identity of Orpheus/Oedipus. Alternatively, Akhenaten may have travelled to Greece at other times during his exile, and did not return there after his attempt to regain the Egyptian throne had failed. He would have been an old man by the time of Seti I's reign.
Other than the vague references to Baal worship, the Bible does not tell us why the exalted and anointed descendants of Joseph fell from grace. However, it is clear in Genesis 49 that the "sceptre" (verse 10) passed from the line of Joseph to the line of Judah. This certainly must reflect the fall of the ruling line of Joseph in Amarna Period Egypt upon the deaths of Tutankhamun and Aye, and the rise of David (Dadua of the Amarna Tablets) in Israel. In the New Chronology of David Rohl, these events are contemporaneous. The genealogies of Phineas in 1 Chronicles 6 and Ezra 7 would seem to be highly inexact, and should not stand in the way of this conclusion.
It was the book of Hosea (likely related to a variant of Joshua's name, i.e., Hoshea - See notes under Num 13:16 and Deut 32:44) that in 1922 led Sellin to believe that an Israelite leader, and probably Moses, was murdered in the wilderness. Osman evinces that this death was that of Joshua and not Moses. The Book of Hoshea would seem to side with the Zadokite position that the killing of Joshua (an Ephraimite), as well as the death of Aye (the son of Joseph, i.e., Ephraim), was justified, because although "Ephraim was exalted in Israel, he became guilty of Baal worship and died." However, the Book of Hosea also appears to be an attempt at reconciliation with Ephraim at the time of their deportation by the Assyrians.
Joshua's military intervention had "saved" Israel" in their battle with the Amalekites (Exodus 17:8-16), and his personal intervention had "saved" Moses and Aaron from stoning (Numbers 14). In the wilderness, he was indeed Israel's last remaining hope of salvation and restoration. However, Moses and Aaron were not able in turn to save him. Phineas killed him, and ended any immediate hope of reconciliation with Egypt.
Note: The repeated passage about Zelophelhad's daughters may symbolize the bereavement and destitution of leading Ephraimite women after the loss of their husbands. (Numbers 26, 27, and 36; Joshua 17)
In dealing with discrepancies between Egyptology, the Hebrew/Israelite traditions, and the Greek traditions, archaeology should carry the most weight. Possibly both Hebrew and Greek legends became prejudiced and somewhat jumbled in the facts and in their sequencing. The "Ramesside conspiracy" leading to univeral suppression of the memory of the Amarna Kings may also have resulted in significant distortions. However, the Egyptian record is unequivocable regarding the Pharaonic succession of Akhenaten, Semenkhare, and Tutankhamun. This should help to sort out the various traditions.
The Zadokite branch of Levitical priests were probably responsible for distorting (and de-Egyptianizing) the Biblical Exodus account. I also suspect that this ultimately led to a counter movement within Israel, which at some point had to go "underground," and which later resurfaced in the Messianic material of the latter prophets (and further in the schism between Zadokite and Enochic Judaism). The new book, "Beyond the Essene Hypothesis" by Gabriele Boccaccini (Eerdmans Publisher) would indicate that Christianity emerged from the Enochic stream. Boccaccini identifies the Qumran Essesnes as a fringe group within Enochic Judaism, however concludes that they did not produce the Christian Gospels.
Among the Israelites, Aaron and his line through Eleazar and Phineas are the ones who can do no wrong. On the other hand, all of Israel's sins (as well as other Levitical leaders) are put on parade. Even the old priesthood of the Commonwealth is denigrated, e.g., the story of fat Eli and his reprobate sons. The slur campaign of the Zadokites needs to be researched more fully.
If it was the Levitical priest Phineas (= High Priest of Akhenaten, Pa-Nehesy = Polynice?) who killed Jesus/Joshua, then it would have been the Zadokite Priests (line of Phineas) who after gaining power would have tried to cover it up, and to rationalize the killing when that didn't work (hence, the Talmud statements that it was "Phineas [not Caiphas] who killed him" and "they hanged [not crucified] him on a tree [either before or after striking him with a spear or sword]," because he "practiced magic and lead Israel astray.") Despite the station of Jesus/Joshua, he was not to be "spared." [parenthetical mine]
Much of Exodus, Numbers, Leviticus, and Deuteronomy is spent justifying the exclusive right of the Zadokite line (through Aaron, Eleazar, and Phineas) to the High Priesthood. Aaron is implicated twice in wrong doing. He is reprimanded, however never disciplined, even in the matter of the golden calf (although he does share in Moses' fate of not entering the Promised Land). (See Exodus 32:22-24, and Numbers 12) Passage after passage exposes the sins of other Levite leaders (Korah, etc). Of Aaron's four sons, only Eleazar is elevated as a result of the zealous killing of Zimri by his son Phineas. Two of the four sons are killed for disobedience, and a third son Ithamar, is virtually ignored. In Num. 10:16-20, Moses becomes angry with Eleazar and Ithamar, however their wise answer appeases even him.
If Rohl is right, then the "Hebrews" were already in Canaan as a result of an Exodus occurring in the Egyptian 13th Dynasty (~480 years prior to the building of Solomon's/Amenhotep's Temple). In Rohl's New Chronology, the abdication and exile of Moses/Akhenaten to the Sinai would have occurred around the beginning of the reign of David, and the return of Moses/Akhenaten to Egypt and his final expulsion/exodus with the "Levites/Israelites" would have occurred late in the reign of David or early in the reign of Solomon. This would explain why Solomon suddenly and mysteriously ordered Benaiah the Levite to kill Joab (the Commander of David's army), and to replace the Commonwealth priest Abiathar with the Levitical priest Zadok! (1 Kings 2:13-35) After the death of "Solomon" (the Judaean version), the "10 northern tribes" threw off the Zadokite yoke and went their separate way. (1 Kings 11:26-40; 12:1-20)
The Bible's account of Solomon's succession is contrived. Osman points out that Ur-iah is not a Hittite name, but a code name for Abraham (who hailed from Ur in Mesopotamia). This leads to his conclusion that the story of David and Bathsheba is a recycled version of the Abraham and Sarah story, in which they travelled to Egypt, and Sarah was taken into the harem of the Pharaoh. The Pharoah lusted after the beautiful Sarah, and took her into his harem despite the fact that she was married to Abraham (Ur-iah). The death of David (Dadua of the Amarna Tablets) would have been a convenient time for Egypt to intervene, and grant power to the Zadokites. Jerusalem was for the next 40 years governed directly from Egypt (starting with Horemheb), or through an Israelite vassal. In either case, that ruler assumed the symbolic name of Solomon. This is a prime example of what Theaux refers to as Repetition, in that this Solomon took on many of the same characteristics as Amenhotep III, which Horemheb and the Ramessides strove to reestablish. As Osman also points out, the succession of Rehoboam is also suspect, in that he is said to be the son of an Ammonite princess. The strong Egyptian influence during the reign of "Solomon" would accord well with Rohl's theory that a palace for an Egyptian princess was built at this time above Jerusalem as the Bible describes. Perhaps, this palace was built for Horemheb's royal wife, or for a non-royal daughter given in marriage to his Israelite vassal.
Question: The stories of Moses and Joshua were written/compiled by heavily biased Zadokite priests. Is this reflected by one of the reasons given in the DSS for the Qumran (Essene/Enochic) community's separation, i.e., because the Jerusalem (Zadokite) Priest were corrupting the Scriptures?
Question: Had the Zadokites also cut a deal with the Ramseses in order to gain political supremecy in Jerusalem (Kadesh)?
Question: When the Zadokites did achieve supremacy in Jerusalem, did this usher in a second 40 year "peace of Solomon" (begun under Horemheb and continued under the Ramessides)? What was Horemheb's role? Was he the one who commissioned Joab's execution, and Abiashar's dismissal (through "Benaiah the Levite")? Did he, as did Amenhotep III, marry the heiress "daughter of Pharaoh" (Mutnodjme(?) in this case). Were the magnificent cities built by Amenhotep III reclaimed by him (or ruled by an Israelite vassal appointed by him)? Did he (Horemheb or the local vassal) build the palace for a daughter of Horemheb (from a previous, non-royal wife) above Jerusalem?
Question: Does the Talmud explicitly state that it was on the day when Moses came down from the mountain that Phineas killed him (Baalam/Jesus), does it explicitly state that it was Mt. Sinai from whence he descended, and does it state that it was on the occassion of Moses receiving the tablets? If so, then this would represent a major impediment (confound/contradiction) to identifying Semenkhare as a more integral part of the history.
Question: Was the account of Moses' return to Egypt transposed to be at the beginning instead of the end? Should it have been properly placed before the final Midianite (Shasu) passage, which would correspond to Seti I's slaughter of "the foe belonging to the Shasu," and the death of Moses. The remnant that escaped likely found (or imposed for themselves) a new home among "Solomon's" court in "Israel."
Question: How can the Biblical events associated with the exile be distinguished from those of the later return to Egypt to reclaim his throne? Would the 10 plagues have been reflective of the "chaos" associated with Akhenaten's abdication and flight? Which would relate to passage through the swampy reed sea, and to the exodus of a large number of his followers. Would the exile been a more unhurried departure safeguarded by Semenkhare. The Bible account states that Moses, Aaron and Joshua were looking after 600,000 men. The return to reclaim the throne likely involved far fewer people, but may have involved leaving with a great number. The "parting of the red sea" seems more applicable to Akhenaten's hasty retreat in chariots after the failed attempt. The death of the Pharaoh Ramses I in pursuit of Moses (or simply contemporaneous with Moses' flight) is also more consistent. Although Semenkhare's death occurred shortly after Moses' exile, his death was probably not associated with his attack on Moses and the Israelites. In Seti I's account, there were 200,000 Shusu.
Question: The Egyptian 18th Dynasty set the standard for treachery. (For example, did Ankhesenamun and Aye set a trap for the Hittite prince?) No doubt, Akhenaten/Moses already had an escape route carefully laid out before entering Egypt. He also may have had at his disposal some of the world's finest architects and engineers. The best escape plan is one in which the pursuers can be cut off. If they can also be killed in the process, all the better. Akhenaten likely set a trap at an appropriate point on the Red Sea (probably where the river/gulf was narrow, and also provided a convenient hard pan or land bridge bottom. Could Akhenaten have made reservoirs on either side of the passage, and upon the arrival of the search (and destroy) party, opened the "flood gates?" Much to Akhenaten's surprise (and probably delight), the posse included Pharaoh Ramses I, himself! The possibility that "Pharaoh" himself was among the party (as the Bible claims) may reflect the personal nature of the rivalry.
Question: What clues does the New Testament hold regarding Joshua's death. For example, the Gospel account of Judas, would indicate that it was Joshua who was the one betrayed, and by a kiss no less. Perhaps, the Levite/Zadokite priests delivered up Joshua after conspiring with the enemies of the Aton, i.e., the Egyptian military (Horemheb or Ramses (then mayor of Zarw)), and the "Sanhedrin" of Priests of Amun and other Egyptian gods. What did they get out of the deal? Was Jerusalem the reward "promised" for their treachery (handing Joshua over on a silver platter)? Was Joshua a lamb before the slaughter, the scapegoat used to cover a multitude of sins on both sides of the struggle. Was he the atonement that brought an empty peace between Egypt and Israel?
Question: Were the roles of Eteocles and Polynice reversed in the Sophocles plays? Had they become transposed (as they inadvertently were on Theaux's web site!) in their passing down, or for political purposes, i.e., to make a tradition, the telling of which was punishable by death, more socially acceptable? There are two sides to every story, and in this case at least two sides. The tradition that led to Sophocles' plays may have been more similar to that of the Zadokites.
Question: Was one of the breaks in faith by Semenkhare, a return to "Baal" worship, i.e., a return to kingly practices that Akhenaten had prohibited? One such practice has been interpreted by Sir Laurence Gardner in his Dec/Jan '99 Nexus article. If Gardner is correct, then this practice was likely resumed (not merely for spiritual purposes, but for a practical one) in order to protect the health of the Pharaoh in the midst of the rampant plague that was ravaging the entire Near East. Was the passage involving the worship of the golden calf at Mt. Sinai also symbolic of what was occurring in Semenkhare's Egypt. Later, Tutankhuam and Aye (Ephraim) were accused of the same transgression?
Question: Did Athens derive its name from Akhetaten (Aten)?
In Rohl's New Chronology, Akhenaten's reign would have occurred around 1000 B.C. Would this have made it contemporaneous with the emergence of the Oedipus legend in Greece, and the execution of Socrates?