Joseph in Egypt
Were the accounts of David and Solomon in the Bible an attempt to purloin the glorious history of the Egyptian 18th Dynasty? Not according to the research of Ahmed Osman, which indicates that at least one faction of the Israelites considered themselves to be descendants of the royal Egyptian House of David, and that the achievements of the Egyptian 18th Dynasty beginning with Thutmose III were actually their own. (See Appendix B.)
Ahmed Osman has discovered that the legacy of the Egyptian 18th Dynasty included not only David and Solomon, but Joseph, Moses, and Joshua whose stories are patterned respectively after the historical lives of Yuya (prime minister and father-in-law of Amenhotep III), Amenhotep IV (son of Amenhotep III, who later changed his own name to Akhenaten), and Tutankhamun (also a descendant of Amenhotep III and the last of the Thutmosid's to sit on the 18th Dynasty throne).
A Hebrew Wife for Solomon
Even though the Bible does not mention a Hebrew wife of Solomon (Amenhotep III), he, by definition, would have required at least one. We now know that Amenhotep III did have a wife of significant Hebrew descent.(1) She is another key to understanding why the authors/editors of the Bible considered the history of 18th Dynasty Egypt to rightfully be theirs. In Egypt, the word for Hebrew did not apply to a specific tribe, or place (Hebron), but to an entire social class of foreign workers (Semitic, Asiatic, or otherwise).(2)
Upon the death of Pharaoh Thutmose IV, a situation identical to the one encountered by Thutmose III appears to have occurred. Although Thutmose IV is known to have had daughters, they apparently were not through his Chief Wife, Mutemiya, and did not qualify to inherit the title "God's Wife." In addition to being married to a daughter of Thutmose IV, Amenhotep III was married to Tiye (a pet form of the name Nefertari)(3) who was the daughter of Tuya (a pet form of the name Ahhotep)(4) and the Superior of the Harem of Amun as was Huy in Thutmose III's time.(5) (See Chart, "Pharaohs of the Egyptian 18th Dynasty.") Tiye, and not the daughter of Thutmose IV, became Amenhotep III's Chief Wife.
Amenhotep's accession and marriage to Tiye was widely proclaimed by the distribution of commemorative "scarabs" (examples of which have been found at the far extremities of the empire).(6) The names of Tiye and her parents are plainly stated, "the Great King's Wife Tiye: the name of her father is Yuya, and the name of her mother is Tuya."(7)
Tuya had traditional Egyptian features, however her husband Yuya, as his exceptionally well preserved mummy shows, was clearly of mostly Asiatic/Semitic heritage. Asiatics were renowned for their handling of horses, and were highly valued in the Egyptian military during the 18th Dynasty at which time the Egyptians first utilized the chariot in warfare. Yey, a forefather of Yuya, had also held the title of "Commander of the Chariotry."(8)
Yuya, also written as simply Yu,(9) has been associated with the Biblical Patriarch Joseph by Osman.(10) The name Joseph (written as Yuseph in Arabic)(11) is a compound name consisting of Jo or Yu,(12) and Seph.(13) Jo/Yu is the Hebrew root word Yah, the contraction of the full name of Jehovah. Yah is used to form many other common Biblical names, such as Joel (meaning Jehovah is God). Seph is derived from the first part of the Egyptian name (Zaphnath-pa-a-neah)(14) given to Joseph, and can be translated as "sustenance" as the Bible indicates.(15) The 1st Century A.D. historian Josephus quotes from the 3rd Century B.C. history of the Egyptian priest Manetho that in the time of Amenhotep III, Osarseph (literally "Vizier Seph") prohibited the worship of the Egyptian gods.
The description of the Egyptian Vizier Seph, i.e., Joseph in the Book of Genesis is consistent with that of a vizier of 18th Dynasty Egypt, and the titles given to Joseph in the Bible are identical to those of Yuya (Genesis 41:40-45; 45:8; Isaiah 41:8, James 2:23).(16) Yuya's titles (as found in his tomb) included "Master of the Horse," "Overseer of the Cattle of Amun and Min (Lord of Akhmin)," "Deputy of His Majesty in the Chariotry," "Bearer of the Ring of the King of Lower Egypt," "Mouth of the King of Upper Egypt," "The Wise One," "Favorite of the Good God," "Great Prince," "Great of Love," "Unique Friend," "Beloved of the Lord of the Two Lands," "One Made Great by the Lord," "He Whom the King Has Made His Double," and "The Holy Father of the Lord of the Two Lands."(17)
The Bible credits Joseph for a tremendous influx of wealth into Egypt due to his plan to prepare for an extended drought. The seemingly inexhaustible wealth of Egypt at this time was devoted to the extravagant building programs of Amenhotep III. That Yuya was held in very lofty esteem (for whatever reason) is evidenced not only by his titles, but by his marriage to the high ranking Tuya (the Asenath, Genesis 41:45, of the Genesis story and associated with the priesthood of On),(18) and also by his exceedingly privileged burial in a tomb beside those of the 18th Dynasty Pharaohs themselves in the Valley of the Kings. The tomb of Yuya and Tuya was the most undisturbed tomb found in the Valley of the Kings prior to the discovery of the tomb of Tutankhamun.
Corresponding to the Bible account, Yuya literally became "father to Pharaoh," that is to the young Pharaoh Amenhotep III, who was not yet a teenager upon the death of his natural father Thutmose IV.(19) Childhood articles belonging to both Amenhotep III and Sitamun were placed in the tomb of Yuya and Tuya indicating that they helped raise them along with their own daughter Tiye.(20)
After Amenhotep III became Pharaoh, he built a palace for Sitamun in Thebes as mentioned above. Amenhotep also built a palace for Tiye at Thebes and a second residence for her at the Nile delta fortress city of Zarw in the Biblical Land of Goshen.(21) At Zarw, the son of Amenhotep and Tiye, Amenhotep IV, was born and spent his childhood sheltered from all political enemies of the royal family (who may have at least been suspected in the death of Amenhotep III's eldest son Thutmose V in Memphis).(22)