"Evil More Than All Before"
(Israel During the Amarna Period)
Name Associations (new associations in bold)
|Torah Names||Kings/Chronicles Names||Greek Names||Egyptian Names|
|Jacob-Israel||Composite Solomon||Dakos||Amenhotep II
(wife of Jacob)
(wife of Jacob)
|By Rachel, two sons|
|Laius, Menoikeus||Yuya, Irhuleni|
|Asenath||("Egyptian" wife of Joseph)||Tuya|
|Jeroboam (the Elder)
Amon, "Ruler of the City"
|(Kith-)Airon||Aanen son of Yuya
|Asa/Shaul, Shishak, Ahab
|Asocheus, Creon||Aye, Sheshonq I
|Jehoshaphat son of Asa||Iuput A, Ia|
|Naamah, Maacah, Abihail||Joacaste, Merope
daughter of Yuya
|Shiloh||Composite Solomon||Polybos/Polybus||Amenhotep III|
(son of Naamah & Abishalom)
|Eliezer||Abijah, Abijam||Eteocles (A)||Smenkhare|
|By Leah, six sons and one daughter (Dinah)|
|1) Reuben||Uzziel, Mushi||Webensenu, Neby|
|4) Judah||Nemuel/Jemuel||Thutmose IV
|Tola||Baasha son of Issachar||Ba'sa, Milkilu|
|Elah son of Baasha||Unattested|
|Reuben||(1st son of Leah)
|Hanoch||(1st son of Uzziel)
|Jehu son of Hanani||Vizier Ipy
(son of Amenhotep)
Haip, Hatip, Haapi, Api, Appiha
|(4th son of Leah)||Thutmose IV
|Ephraim||Asa (natural son of Judah)
(adopted son of Joseph)
|Aye, Sheshonq I|
|Asa, Shishak, Ahab
(natural son of Judah)
|Asocheus, Creon||Aye, Sheshonq I
|Miriam||Mahalath dau. of Jerimoth||Euryganeia?||Nefertiti|
|Phinehas II||Jeroboam son of Nebat||Polyneices||Panehesy|
(son of Asa and Azubah)
|Iuput A, Ia
(son of Sheshonq I)
|Ahaziah son of Ahab||Takelot I, Tagi|
|Joram/Yachas son of Ahab||Osorkon I, Mut-Baal
House of Omri
Upon the death of Jacob (Amenhotep II) he was succeeded directly, not by a son of Judah, but by Shiloh-Solomon (Amenhotep III) the natural son Joseph (Yuya), for it was written that "the sceptre shall not depart from Judah . until Shiloh come."a After the death of Judah (Thutmose IV), the "birthright was Joseph's."b Although he did not himself assume the title of Pharaoh, Joseph nevertheless became "the Lord" who blessed his young son Solomon for choosing wisdom over riches. c The "House of Joseph" was the ruling house of the empire and Solomon was nominally the "king of kings," including in Israel. During the reign of Solomon, traditional Israel can be seen as a semi-autonomous province within the Egyptian empire. Tribal identity established during the Middle Kingdom and Hyksos Period was still strong. Although Joseph and Solomon had nominal sovereignty over all Israel and many other regions, in practice they ruled through a network of alliances. The direct rule of Israel belonged to another prince.
Prior to his death, Jacob (Amenhotep II) had appointed Baasha (Milkilu) son of the murdered Issachar (Osorkon A) as king of Israel. Baasha in turn appointed his own son named as Elah ("strong") to be his successor. However, in the Kings narrative, after Elah son of Baasha is attacked and killed by Zimri, a new character named as "Omri, commander of the army" quickly moves in to reconsolidate his franchise. Rather than surrender to Omri, the assassin Zimri (a.k.a. Carmi, son of Reuben) sets the palace at Tirzah on fire and perishes in the flames. After the death of another rival Tibni (Zebulun, sixth son of Jacob and Leah/Ginath), Omri is declared "King of Israel."d The parentage of Omri is not given. Although he is distinguished as "the captain of the host," Omri is a man who needs no introduction. In Chapter 15, it was shown that in the Torah the latter years of Joseph are accounted for under the pseudonym of Reuel. Similarly, in the books of Kings and Chronicles, the aged Joseph is accounted for in the story of Omri, whose name means "Heaping," and "Grain Gatherer."
The right of Omri-Joseph and his house to rule directly over Israel was not fully recognized until the dynasty established by his father in that region was brought to an end. After all six of his elder half-brothers had either died or been disgraced, Omri-Joseph is said to have ruled Israel for 12 years. These 12 years correspond to the final 12 years of the reign of Solomon (Amenhotep III) and the first 12 years of Rehoboam (Amenhotep IV/Akhenaten). These 12 years of direct influence by Joseph over Israel are looked upon with extreme disfavor by the author of the Kings narrative. "Omri did evil in the eyes of the Lord and sinned more than all those before him."e Perhaps this is the reason why the latter years of Joseph are not explicitly mentioned in the Torah. We are told in the book of Genesis that Joseph was hated by his brothers. However, we are led to believe that all was forgiven and that Joseph enjoyed a universally celebrated adulthood. Elsewhere in the Torah, Joseph is only mentioned in passing as Reuel, the "friend of God," and father-in-law of Moses. So it comes as some surprise that he continued to be held in contempt, not only by the children of his brothers, but at end of his days, even in the eyes of his own sons.
With the assassination of his heir Elah in about Year 27 of Shiloh-Solomon, the dynasty of Baasha was effectively terminated. Nevertheless, Baasha clung to the title "king of Israel" for five or more years. Although he would not voluntarily relinquish his dominions, they would later be taken from him by force. Shortly after the death of Elah, Omri (Joseph) named his adopted son Asa (Ephraim) as co-regent to the throne of Israel. He would have functioned in this capacity for most if not all of the following 12 years. As appointed successor of Joseph in Israel, it became the duty of Asa to crush the remaining resistance of Baasha, f which he did in Year 32 of Shiloh-Solomon. Baasha was not killed but all of his territory was taken away, with the possible exception of the city Tirzah. (Yuya had appointed Amenhotep IV, the future Akhenaten and his son by Queen Tiye, as co-regent and successor to Amenhotep III in Egypt. The secondary throne of Israel was a consolation prize for Aye.)
In Upper Egypt (Libya/Judah), Ephraim was the dedicated patron of Yahweh-Amun and was remembered fondly as the good king Asa. With the appointment of Rehoboam, the presence of Asa in Jerusalem (Thebes) was no longer required, at least for the next five years. At the same time, his influence in Israel rapidly grew. However, in Israel, Aye venerated the leading god of that region and was known by a different popular name, that of Ahab son of Omri. From a Theban perspective Ephraim was not at all the same "doubly fruitful" man that he was in Upper Egypt, but an "evil" worshipper of Baal. Likewise, his adoptive father was not the God-fearing Joseph-Reuel of the Torah. Rather he was Omri and libeled as having been more wicked than any king of Israel before him!
Adversaries of Solomon
Solomon not only had the unenviable task of keeping the peace within the "House of Omri," but he also faced challenges from collateral royal lines. When discussing the enemies of Solomon, the Kings narrative first takes us back almost to the beginning of the 18th Dynasty. g We are told that King David campaigned in Edom and put the men of that region to death. However, a young prince named Hadad(-ezer) and his officials fled to Egypt. Hadad-ezer is likely the former "son" and servant of Abraham, who is named in the Torah as Eli-ezer. He was not only given refuge by "pharaoh" but was given the sister of Queen Tahpenes to be his royal wife. In Part I, it was shown that Tah-panes was an epithet of Hatshepsut. Hatshepsut was wife of Thutmose II (Ephron-Perez/Panes). Thutmose I (Abimelech-David the Elder) was the son of Nahor's "brother," Tao I (Terah-Jesse). On the other hand, Thutmose II was a son of Sekhemre (Nahor-Judah). Although natural rivals, the two kings named Thutmose remained more-or-less on friendly terms by virtue of the marriage of Hatshepsut daughter of Thutmose I to Thutmose II.
After the death of King David, h Hadad was allowed to leave the Egyptian court and return to "Edom." It is now evident that the Edom to which Hadad returned was not in the Trans-Jordan, but was instead the Edom of Mesopotamia. The return of Hadad represented the revival of Nahor's line, and he was crowned as king by those who rejected the rule of the "House of Terah." Under an Assyrian king name, probably that of Adad-shuma-user, Hadad would have become the nemesis of the Elder Solomon (Amenhotep II). However, it would be his son Shalmaneser III, the next great king of Assyria, who would cause trouble in the reign of the Younger Solomon (Amenhotep III). This son of Hadad is given the symbolic name of Genubath, meaning "Theft."i
The other "troublemaker" coming from outside the House of Omri is named as Rezon ("Prince") son of Eliada (Heb. El-Yada/Judah), who managed to become king of Aram. He is said to have been a problem for Solomon and especially for Israel throughout the reign of Solomon. It has already been demonstrated that the reign of Asa was entirely parallel with that of Solomon. In the Asa narrative, this same king of Aram is named as Ben-Hadad son of Tabrimmon son of Hezion. Ben-Hadad and Rezon are logically different epithets of the same king of Aram. Tabrimmon ("Good Horus/Osiris") then corresponds to El-Yada/Judah (the murdered Horus-king Thutmose IV). The "father" of Tabrimmon is named as Hezion, which could be an epithet of Jacob (Amenhotep II) or of Issachar (Osorkon A), the original appointee of Jacob as ruler of Aram. In the Middle Kingdom, the variant Hezron was an epithet of Sekhemkare (archetypal Issachar).
|"Adversaries of Solomon"|
|Torah Names||Kings/Chronicles Names||Egyptian Names|
|1) Eli-ezer||Hadad/Hadad-ezer I||Adad-shuma-user|
|Genubath son of Hadad||Shalmaneser III/
Shalmaiati (EA 155)
Sulum-Marduk (EA 256)
"King of Hatti" (EA 157,
|2) Rezon son of El-Yada||Ben-Hadad son of Tab-Rimmon son of Hezion||Hadad-ezer II/Hadad-idri
The Thievery of Shalmaneser
In Year 30 of Amenhotep III (Shiloh-Solomon), about three years after the election of Amenhotep IV (Rehoboam) as co-regent, Shalmaneser (Genubath) went on the offensive against a king named Irhuleni of Hamath in Syria. In the "Monolith Inscription" dated to his Year 6, Shalmaneser wrote:
"I departed from Aleppo and approached the two towns of Irhuleni from Hamath (Amat). I captured the towns of Adennu, Barga (and) Argana his royal residence . I set his palaces afire . He brought along to help him 1,200 chariots, 1,200 cavalrymen, 20,000 foot soldiers of Adad-idri (i.e. Hadadezer) of Damascus (Imerisu), 700 chariots, 700 cavalrymen, 10,000 foot soldiers of Irhuleni from Hamath, 2,000 chariots, 10,000 foot soldiers of Ahab, the Israelite (A-ha-ab-bu mat Sir-'i-la-a-a), 500 soldiers from Que, 1,000 soldiers from Musri, 10 chariots, 10,000 soldiers from Irqanata, 200 soldiers of Matinu-bal'u from Arvad, 200 soldiers from Usanata, 30 chariots, 1[0?],000 soldiers of Adunu-ba'lu from Shian, 1,000 camel-(rider)s of Gindibu', from Arabia, [.],000 soldiers of Ba'sa, son of Ruhubi, from Ammon - (all together) these were twelve kings. They rose against me [for a] decisive battle . I did inflict a defeat upon them ."j
Irhuleni (variously spelled Irhulena and Irhulina) is the name Shalmaneser (Genubath) gave to Yuya (Joseph/Omri) in this Year 6 inscription. Irhuleni is not a Semitic name, but a regional identity of Yuya in the traditional "Hatti-land" of Hamath. This name of Yuya is also the likely source of one his more obscure Biblical epithets, that being Uriel. In 2 Chron. 13:1-2, King Abijah (Smenkhare) is called the son of Queen Maacah (Tiye) daughter of Uriel (Yuya). We do not have a reference by Shalmaneser to the Semitic name Omri until his Year 18. By then Yuya had been dead for three years and Aye (Ahab) was ruling in Israel. However, in his Year 18 Shalmaneser records tribute received not from Ahab but from one "Jehu son of Omri" (Ia-u-a mar Hu-um-ri-i), k a new claimant to the throne of Israel. Shortly before this Year 18 inscription of Shalmaneser, Akhenaten (Rehoboam) then in his own Year 15 attempted to suppress Aye and place his own minister Ipy (Jehu) on the throne of Israel. The events leading to the attack on Aye and the subsequent overthrow of Akhenaten by a coalition led by Aye are described below and in the following chapters.
The battle in Year 6 of Shalmaneser III is commonly known as the Battle of Qarqar, from the site of the conflict. After suffering the loss of Hamath and of Qarqar, Irhuleni (Joseph/Omri) was able to counterattack near the town of Qarqar with an impressive array of allies. Although Shalmaneser claims to have won the day, it appears that the match ended more or less in a draw. The advance of Shalmaneser was halted at Qarqar. However, he would return four more times during his reign to face many of the same leaders of Syrian, Palestinian and Arabian states, who he claims in each case "rose" against him. These later battles are dated to his regnal years 10, 11, 14 and 18 (corresponding to Years 7, 8, 11 and 15 of Akhenaten). Shalmaneser claims to have been victorious on all occasions, yet only in his Year 18 did he claim to have annexed new territory in Aram.
Wayne Pitard writes in Ancient Damascus:
"The famous Monolith Inscription, which describes Shalmaneser's battle with the Syrian coalition at Qarqar in his sixth year, lists Hadad-idri of Damascus, Irhulena of Hamath, and Ahab of Israel as the three major allies who opposed him in the battle. Ahab, according to the monolith supplied the allied army with 2,000 chariots, by far the largest contingent of this type, and 10,000 foot soldiers. This indicates that Ahab was very powerful and on an equal footing with the major powers of the day."
Shalmaneser considered Ahab to be the wealthiest king among the enemy alliance. It has been argued that Ahab could not have contributed such a large and costly chariot force, and that Shalmaneser must have been motivated to exaggerate the size of the opposing forces. However, it is not unreasonable that a king with the stature of Aye in the late 18th Dynasty Egypt could have commanded this level of military might. In the inscription of his Year 6, Shalmaneser gives Ahab the epithet of Sir-'i-la-a-a, which is translated as "Israelite." If correct, this is good indication that as of Year 3 of Akhenaten (Year 30 of Amenhotep III), Aye had already assumed the office of crown prince in Israel under Yuya. As we have seen, Aye began his kingly career as pharaoh in Egypt over Libyan tribes. Aye was not strictly speaking a Libyan or an Israelite, but was the appointed ruler over those regions and peoples. The ultimate goal of any high-ranking prince was to become king of every region and people - to rule as God over the whole earth.
The Nine Lives of Aye
Baasha son of Issachar is named as Ba'sa (Baasha) son of Ruhubi l in the inscription of Shalmaneser, and is the last of the twelve enemy kings listed by him. After returning from Qarqar, a dispute arose between Ahab (Asa) and Ba'sa (Baasha). In the previous chapters it was demonstrated that Baasha and Asa were also known as Milkilu ("King") and Labayu ("Lion Man/Libyan Aye") in the Amarna Tablet correspondence. Milkilu provoked Labayu by blocking access to his territory. With the cooperation of the king of Aram, Labayu (Asa/Ahab) then struck back and acquired most of the dominions of Milkilu (Baasha). His actions were condoned by Amenhotep III, if not directly commissioned. After routing his life-long nemesis Ba'sa/Milkilu, Aye was then summoned to Thebes by Amenhotep III to force the exile of Akhenaten. Succeeding also in this, Aye was authorized to install his own son Iuput as High Priest of Amun and Governor of Upper Egypt. This occurred in Year 5 of Akhenaten (Rehoboam) and Year 32 of Amenhotep III. At this time, Aye clearly became an extremely powerful king, second only to Amenhotep III within the "House of Omri."
In the campaign mural of Sheshonq at Karnak over 50 cities are listed as having been captured. The war of Sheshonq/Aye/Asa against Milkilu must have made him extremely unpopular, even hated, especially among the many nobles that he dispossessed. One of the leading cities taken by Sheshonq was that of Megiddo. In this case, we have three letters that the ousted mayor Biridiya sent to Amenhotep III in protest. From this correspondence we learn that Labayu was first hindered from taking Megiddo by the intervention of Satatna/Surata ruler of Akka (Akko). However, Labayu was not handed over to his accuser, the commissioner Suta. Instead, he was allowed not only to pay his own ransom, but also to resume his attacks on Megiddo. Biridiya, the besieged mayor of Megiddo complains vehemently to Amenhotep III about the situation. He urges Amenhotep III to have Labayu arrested and called into account for his actions. m In a final appeal for pity, Biridiya pretends to not understand why his "brothers" are being honored over him or why Amenhotep III has authorized the seizure of his city.
A short time later a victorious Labayu wrote to Amenhotep III in order to combat the many accusations that were being leveled against him by Biridiya and other mayors. n Although still very much in favor with Amenhotep III, Aye in the guise of Lab'ayu gained for himself the reputation of being a rebel to the crown. Labayu asserts his innocence and also claims to have no knowledge of another allegation made against one of his sons. This was the accusation of making league with rebels known as "Apiru." The identity of this group and their leader will be demonstrated in Chapter 25.
Labayu agrees to send his son Ia (Iuput)o to Egypt as requested. He adds that he could not withhold his own wife if desired by pharaoh! The humor of this line should not be missed in that Queen Tiye was the Chief Wife of both Amenhotep III and Aye. As a show of good faith, Aye tells Amenhotep III that he is placing his son "Ia" (Iuput) in the care of one Addaya. The name Add'ayu is quite intriguing in that it is of an uncertain language. The root add means to "increase." After vanquishing Milkilu and taking his cities, the rank of Aye was increased even further by Amenhotep III. He was summoned to Thebes in order to supervise the exile of Amenhotep IV (Akhenaten). In doing so he fulfilled the earlier Middle Kingdom role of Jethro (Heb. Ith-ra) as the father-in-law of Moses in the wilderness. The roots add and ith are equivalent. Meanwhile, his former identity as Labayu was abandoned. At this moment, the serpent-king Aye shed the skin of Lab'aya and became Add'aya. p Through his sons the rumor was apparently spread that Labayu had been killed. q Strange as it may seem, this would not be the last time that the still living lion was written off as a dead dog, either in the Amarna Tablets or in the Bible.
The man we know today as Pharaoh Aye is thought to have ruled as king for only four years. However, it can now be said that he held the status of pharaoh and king for over 60 of his roughly 70-year lifespan. During this extraordinary career he faced death and destitution many times. Miraculously he recovered even as the afflicted and despised Job (Heb. Ayyab). Over the course of seven decades of volatile court life he assumed many names and identities. r The major ones are listed below:
- Ephraim, blessed to be "doubly fruitful" in kingship, marriage and fatherhood.
- Ahab (Ayyab/Rib-addi). s
- Je-rimoth ("Joseph of Aramathea") father of Mahalath (Nefertiti).
- Jethro/Ithra (Add-ayu).
- Eleasar the priest, father of the New Kingdom Phinehas (Panehesy).
- Nebat, the "highly decorated" father and protector of the dissident Jeroboam.
As a young boy, Aye son of Thutmose IV (Judah) was crowned king over Libyan tribes and assumed the Libyan name of Sheshonq. As such, he began to be called more colloquially in some parts as Lab-ayu, that is "Libyan Aye" and the reigning "Lion (of Judah)." In the Jerusalem of Egypt (Thebes), this son of Judah was called Asa king of Judah. In the Amarna Tablets the word "asu, 'to go/come forth,' as said of troops, always refers in EA [El-Amarna Letters] to leaving Egypt."t Another one of Aye's epithets, that being "Jerimoth son of David," also emphasizes his natural lineage through the New Kingdom Judah, Thutmose IV ("David IV").
Although the biological son of Thutmose IV (Judah), Aye was perhaps better known as the political and legal son of Yuya (Joseph). Consequently, other pseudonyms of Aye identify him as a faithful son within the "House of Joseph/Omri." As identified by Ahmed Osman in Moses: Pharaoh of Egypt, Aye represents the second son of Joseph who is named as Ephraim in Genesis. Through a daughter of Osokhor (Issachar), the "doubly fruitful" Aye became the father of Iuput (Jehoshaphat). After Queen Tiye was unable to produce children through Amenhotep III, she and Aye became the parents of Nefertiti (Miriam/Mahalath), Panehesy (Phinehas/Jeroboam) and the Libyan heirs Osorkon I (Joram) and Takelot I (Ahaziah). Aye had myriad other children through his many other wives. He evidently rivaled Amenhotep III (Solomon) himself in number of marriages. However, it was his relationship with Queen Tiye that ensured his kingly survival and ultimate triumph over all his rivals.
In the book of Exodus, Aye is called Jethro/Ithra. His adoptive father Yuya (Joseph) reappears there under the pseudonym of Reuel (See Chapter 16). In the books of Kings and Chronicles, Yuya is instead named as Omri, "Grain Gatherer." He is first commander of the army and then king of Israel for 12 years. As the son of Omri, Aye is called Ahab. When Omri dies he is succeeded by Ahab, who in turn rules for 22 years. However, Ahab ruled alongside Omri for most if not all of Omri's own 12 years. The 22 years of Ahab (Aye) as king of Israel extended for roughly another 10 years after the death of Omri (Yuya) at which time he began preparation for his next and final promotion to It-nejter, "Holy Father" of the entire family empire. u The mistakenly placed death of Ahab in the Biblical Kings narrative is discussed below.
The equivalence of Aye, Sheshonq, Labayu and Ahab becomes more obvious when a comparison is made between the names of their respective sons. After the death of Omri, Ahab became sole king in Israel and named his son Ahaziah as his co-regent. The Hebrew name Ahaz, "to seize," corresponds to the Libyan name Takelot. The Indo-European root tak also means, "to seize," literally, "to take."1 Another son of Ahab named Joram (Heb. Jehoram) also becomes a king of Israel. The link between the Hebrew name Joram/Jehoram and the Libyan name Osorkon is not as direct, but can still be made. 2 In the Amarna letters, "the two sons of Labayu" are called Mut-Baal and Tagi. Tagi ("Beautiful") is an obvious adaptation of Take(-lot), the younger but more favored son of Sheshonq. Mut-Baal ("Man of Baal") is the assumed Canaanite name of Osorkon. In the Year 6 Monolith Inscription of Shalmaneser, Mut-Baal is called by the variant of Matinu-bal'u. Iuput, the son of Sheshonq by a different wife, is named in the Amarna Tablets as Puti-Heba (variously translated as Abdi-Heba), and is on one occasion (EA 280) called "another (son of) Labayu."
Aye (as Asa) may have died as stated in the Bible from a "disease of the feet,"v however this did not occur after 41 years of kingship, but over twenty years later. Aye was a master of disguise. He was the ultimate survivor of the 18th Dynasty. With the help of his sons and direction of Amenhotep III, the identity of Aye as Lab'ayu was exchanged for another one that was more worthy of his "increased" status within the royal family. Aye cleverly replaced an old dusty skin with a shiny new one. In his more than 60 years of kingship the "Lion-Man" lived out "nine lives" and possessed at least that many aliases. His nemesis Milkilu/Ba'sa, although defeated did not die at this time either. In fact, he would be restored to favor by Akhenaten and resume his struggle with Aye as part of the plan of Akhenaten to destroy Aye. When Akhenaten was deposed by Aye, Milkilu was likely forced to march with him in Exodus.
Upon his first triumph over Milkilu (Baasha), Labayu/Aye (Asa/Ahab) ruled alongside his adoptive father Yuya (Joseph/Omri) as king of Israel. In order to become a king in Israel, Aye laid aside his Libyan identity, but did not relinquish control over the throne of Libya/Judah itself. He did however largely delegate its rule to his two leading sons. Upon the death of Yuya, Aye then appointed these two sons as his co-regents in Israel. There was only one greater throne left for Aye to pursue. After surviving the perils of subordinate kingship for 59 beleaguered years, he ascended as "king of kings" of the royal family. He undoubtedly considered this to be a fulfillment of earlier tradition and at least some compensation for all his troubles. (After the defeat of Naram-Sin in the Middle Kingdom, archetypal Shaul, Shar-kali-shari, continued to rule for a short time.) Yet, considering his grievous health problems and continued political strife, it is doubtful whether his four years as pharaoh of Egypt were satisfying as anything other than a "moral victory."
Timeline (Kingship of Aye)
|+0||Death of Thutmose IV, Sheshonq I (Aye) becomes king in Shechem.|
|+3||Milkilu (Baasha) declared king of Israel in Tirzah.|
|+4||Death of Amenhotep II. Succession of Amenhotep III in Egypt.|
|+29||Assassination of Elah son of Baasha.|
|+32||Omri (Yuya) declared king of Israel.|
|+32||Amenhotep IV (Rehoboam) named co-regent of Amenhotep III (Solomon).|
|+37||Sheshonq I forces the submission of Thebes (Jerusalem).|
|+37||Amenhotep IV leaves Thebes. Changes name to Akhenaten.|
|+44||Deaths of Amenhotep III (Solomon) and Yuya (Omri).|
|+44||Akhenaten (Rehoboam) regains sovereignty of Thebes.|
|+46||Smenkhare (Abijah) named co-regent of Akhenaten.|
|+46||Akhenaten suppresses the cult of Amun.|
|+48||Smenkhare reopens the Temple of Amun.|
|+49||Akhenaten (Moses/Rehoboam) abdicates.|
|+49||Smenkhare killed approximately three months after Akhenaten's abdication|
|+50||Succession of Tutankhamun.|
|+50||Treaty (Covenant) requires Akhenaten to remove the diseased from the Delta, and the change of Tutankhamun's name from Tutankhaten.|
|+59||Death of Tut and succession of Aye.|
Sunset of Solomon
Despite the fall of Baasha to Ahab, the Omride coalition was defeated a second time in Year 10 of Shalmaneser and again in his Years 11 and 14. These battles corresponded to Years 7, 8 and 11 of Akhenaten, and Years 34, 35 and 38 of Amenhotep III. It was very late in the reign of Amenhotep III (Solomon) and Aye (Ahab) was still acting as the co-regent of the elderly Yuya (Omri/Irhulena) in Israel. As the vitality of both Yuya and Amenhotep III began to fade, Ben-Hadad began taking the cities of Ahab in Israel as a preemptive move for greater sovereignty. Internal strife among Egyptian princes also allowed Ben-Hadad and Shalmaneser of Assyria to annex cities in northern Syria prior to the death of Amenhotep III. This is reflected by the diminishing of the "United Kingdom" at the end of Solomon's reign as recorded in the Biblical Kings narrative.
The breaking of oaths and withholding of tribute was the customary practice of vassals in conjunction with the approaching death and succession of a great king such Amenhotep III. He was not yet dead, however it was probably no secret that his end was drawing near. Akhenaten was still in exile and was no threat to rebellious vassals. His very succession would have been seriously in doubt. The resolve of the ailing Solomon and that of his aging father Omri-Joseph was tested. Shortly before the passing of Amenhotep, the raids of Ben-Hadad of Aram against Israel intensified. The intent of Ben-Hadad seems to have been to unseat Aye and take the throne of Israel for himself. However, with the help of Yuya (Omri), Aye was able to defeat Ben-Hadad king of Aram on two occasions. In the second battle, Ben-Hadad was actually captured by Aye. In exchange for sparing his life, Ben-Hadad offered Aye (Ahab) liberal concessions in Aram and a new and more favorable treaty. (The previous treaty was made in Year 4 of Akhenaten/Year 32 of Amenhotep III, as discussed in Chapters 17-19.)
In Year 38 of Amenhotep III (Year 11 of Akhenaten), the "12 kings" of the Egyptian Empire failed for the fourth time to defeat the renegade Shalmaneser of Assyria, who was then in his own Year 14. It is probably significant that Shalmaneser describes his opposition as a collection of independent kings under Irhulena (Omri) and Ben-idri (Ben-Hadad) w and not as a unified force. It is also not surprising that the Israel-Aram "alliance" was ineffective against the Assyrian king. Many of the kings of the so-called alliance were more concerned about attacks from each other than with engaging Shalmaneser. Renewed hostilities and the capture of Ben-Hadad by Ahab would have taken place shortly after the battle in Year 14 of Shalmaneser and shortly before the deaths of Amenhotep III and Yuya.
The Uncle they Loved to Hate
After the death of Amenhotep III and succession of Akhenaten, by far the greatest number of Amarna letters are from a certain Rib-Addi of Samaria. Velikovsky wrote, "The name Rib-Addi, written in ideograms, means 'the elder [brother among sons] of the father, the first part of the name signifying 'the elder' brother or 'the elder' son, and the second part 'father.' " It is construed like the Hebrew name Ahab, the first part of which means 'brother' (ah), the second part 'father' (ab)."x The pen name Rib-Addi is clever. It indicates both subordination and seniority with respect to Akhenaten.
Velikovsky proposed that the pen name Rib-Addi ("Elder Father") was more of a title and corresponds to the Egyptian office of Senior Vizier. He further deduced that this minister must have been none other than Ahab, King of Israel. This turns out to be the case. Moreover, it can now be said with all confidence that Ahab is also one and the same as "Senior Vizier" Aye. In his correspondence, Rib-Addi observes the protocol of the court, however the tone of his letters is far from submissive. This condescending attitude of "Rib-Addi" is a further clue to the author's true identity.
It had been Aye who earlier evicted Akhenaten from Thebes and not only forced but enforced his exile at the city of Akhet-aten. For the last seven years of Amenhotep III's reign, Aye was second in power. Aye acquiesced to the will of Yuya and of Queen Tiye in regard to the succession of Akhenaten, however, there was little love lost between Akhenaten and Aye. Aye would have insisted on retaining his senior status and would have taken precautions in order to protect his various titles and those of his leading sons. Concessions were likely demanded and granted to Aye by Yuya and Queen Tiye in order to secure his support for Akhenaten.
Aye did not write to Akhenaten using his former pen name of Labayu, but that of Rib-Addi, "Elder (of) Father." In spite of this, Akhenaten and other ministers often do not refer to Aye as Rib-Addi, but by the less flattering epithet of Ayyab, connoting the "Hated" or "Where is the Father?" Aye, like the earlier New Kingdom figure of Apophis/Tao, was typecast as a forlorn Job (Heb. Ayyab) figure. He eluded what seemed to be certain death on more than one occasion, from intrigue, war and also disease. Ahab is particularly characterized in the Kings narrative as brooding. However, the name Ahab itself does not mean "Hated" but "Brother (of) Father," that is, "Uncle," and is very close in form to the Amarna Letter pen name of Rib-Addi as noted by Velikovsky. The vizier Aye was also quite literally an uncle, not only to Akhenaten but also to Smenkhare and Tutankhamun. Upon the death of Tut, Aye succeeded to the highest office in the Two Lands and assumed the epithet of It-Netjer, "Father-God" or "Divine/Holy Father."
Aye was many years the senior of Akhenaten, and of greater de facto power. Without Aye's approval, Akhenaten would have remained in exile and not have succeeded to the greater throne upon Amenhotep III's death. In the Amarna Letters, Rib-Addi ("Elder Father") lectures his nephew Akhenaten on Egyptian history, rebukes him on occasion and even proceeds to give orders to the younger pharaoh. y Unlike his days as Labayu, z Rib-Addi never refers to the authority of any commissioner, with the possible exception of Aman-appa (Aanen).aa The submission by Rib-Addi (Ephraim/Aye) to Aman-appa (Manasseh/Aanen) is largely feigned, because he wants Aman-appa to give him aid. Rib-Addi reminds Akhenaten that he had formerly written to his father (Yuya) and received military support. As a consequence, Abdi-Ashirta (Ben-Hadad) had been captured. ab This is a reference in the Amarna Tablets to the capture of Ben-Hadad by Ahab as told in the Kings narrative. After the death of Yuya, Aye appealed to Aanen to maintain the policy of his father.
Velikovsky also associated Aman-appa, a high official of Samaria mentioned in the Amarna letters, with the Biblical Amon (a variant of the name Aanen), ruler/mayor of the city of Samaria in the reign of King Ahab. ac While Aanen may have been mayor of the city of Samaria/Sumer, Aye (Ahab) was the ruler of the entire region. The identification of Biblical Ahab as the Egyptian regent "Rib-Addi" of the Amarna Tablets and future pharaoh Aye also has a profound impact on our understanding of ancient chronology. Due to his mention in the inscriptions of the Assyrian king Shalmaneser III, Ahab is the first Biblical person that can be dated with a high degree of certainty. This in turn allows the close of the Egyptian 18th Dynasty to be dated with equal (and actually greater) precision.
After the death of Yuya (Omri), Aye (Ahab) succeeded him as king of Israel and named his son Takelot (Ahaziah) as his co-regent. Egyptologists presently think that Takelot I was the son and successor of Osorkon I. However, it is now clear that Takelot was not the true son of Osorkon, but a younger brother and therefore only a political "son" with respect to the Libyan throne. In other words, both Osorkon I and Takelot I were the natural sons of Sheshonq I. In the Amarna Tablets they are called Mut-baal (Osorkon I) and Tagi (Takelot I), the "two sons of Labayu."
The Middle Kingdom Ephraim, Senusret II, had set up a double co-regency with his two sons Amenemhet II and Sekhemkare. Sekhemkare (Middle Kingdom Issachar) was the eldest son. Amenemhet II (Middle Kingdom Judah) was younger but more favored. Likewise, the New Kingdom Ephraim, Aye/Sheshonq, established a double co-regency under himself. Prior to the appointment of Iuput as High Priest of Amun in Year 32 of Amenhotep III, his half-brothers Osorkon and Takelot had already been named as pharaohs of the Libyan throne by Sheshonq. ad As a "fulfillment" or "repetition" of the earlier period, both Takelot and Osorkon would be ambushed and killed.
At the same time that Takelot became co-regent in Israel, Osorkon I was allowed to begin grooming one of his sons, Sheshonq II, as his own successor to the Libyan throne. Shortly after the deaths of Amehotep III and Yuya, Osorkon I named Sheshonq II as High Priest of Amun in Thebes. Iuput, the former High Priest, retained the rule of Upper Egypt and Thebes during the first three years of Akhenaten's reign and wrote to Akhenaten from Thebes (Jerusalem) using the pen name of Puti-Heba (variously translated as Abdi-Heba). 3 However, by Year 15 of Akhenaten, Sheshonq II had produced a suitable heir named Harsiese, "Horus son of Isis" (Biblical Joash), and was duly declared as pharaoh in Upper Egypt. This effectively displaced Iuput, the half-brother of Osorkon I. Iuput no doubt protested to Sheshonq his father, who had previously appointed him to both of these posts.
According to the Bible, there was a three-year cease-fire upon the release of Ben-Hadad under the terms of a new treaty. As noted above, the Amarna Tablets confirm that Rib-Addi (Aye/Ahab) had captured Abdi-Ashirta (Ben-Hadad) very late in the reign of Amenhotep III, and while Akhenaten's father (Yuya) was still alive. However, only a short time after another weak effort against Shalmaneser, war broke out once again between members of the Egyptian alliance. The peace among Egyptian princes ended after Aye (Ahab) and Iuput (Jehoshaphat) invaded Ramoth-Gilead. As the famine continued in Palestine and Syria, Aye became more and more desperate. His repeated requests to Akhenaten for grain from Egypt were ignored. Finally, he decided to take matters into his own hands and seized the farmland of Ramoth-Gilead in the Trans-Jordan belonging to Ben Hadad. Velikovsky identified Ramoth-Gilead as the highly coveted (Ya-)Rimuta of the Amarna Tablets. It is perhaps the modern day site of the Golan Heights. ae
Joseph of Aramathea
The complementary narratives of 1 Kings 22 and 2 Chronicles 18 describe the death of Ahab. Critical analysis of the text has led to the conclusion that the demise of the hated king Ahab was inserted quite prematurely into the narrative. First, we are told that Ahab proposes to Jehoshaphat that they attack Ramoth Gilead. Later in the narrative, the prophet Micaiah son of Imlah (Joseph?) asks, "Who will lure Ahab king of Israel into attacking Ramoth Gilead and going to his death there?" However, if Ahab was the king who initiated the action, why should he need further inducement? This makes absolutely no sense. Moreover, following the scripted death of Ahab in 1 Kings 22:29-40, the Kings narrative af provides a set of interlocking regnal years for the Kings of Israel and Judah that are clearly self-contradictory regardless of whether one postulates co-regencies among Biblical kings or not.
Wayne Pitard writes, "Another reason to suspect the account of Ahab's violent death is found in 1 Kgs 22:40, a passage from the Deuteronomistic framework for Kings. Here the account of Ahab's reign is concluded with the formula, 'And Ahab slept with his fathers,' a formula which elsewhere in Kings is used only of kings who died a natural death. This suggests that the original author of Kings did not include the account of Ahab's death at Ramoth-Gilead in his work and in fact had no knowledge of a violent death for Ahab."ag
Placed in proper historical context, it is now possible to resolve the anomaly of the Biblical passage. There are actually three kings involved in the plot of this narrative, not two. There is Ahab (Sheshonq/Aye), there is Jehoshaphat (Iuput), and there is also an unnamed king of Israel. It was not only Ahab, but also another "king of Israel" who was baited into joining the campaign. This unnamed king, who was killed, turns out to be Sheshonq II, the newly appointed pharaoh of Upper Egypt and recipient of former domains of Iuput. Sheshonq had just been elevated from the post of High Priest of Amun to that of pharaoh of Upper Egypt. This greatly diminished the power of Osorkon's brother Iuput (Jehoshaphat). However, when a campaign to take Ramoth Gilead was proposed by Aye, Iuput saw an opportunity to reclaim his lost inheritance. A means of "luring" Sheshonq II into participating was divined, and lo and behold, the "king of Israel" (Sheshonq II) was struck between his armor by a "stray" arrow and died!
Pathetically, it seems that Sheshonq II did not realize that he had been betrayed. Although the "king of Israel" was badly wounded he steadfastly remains erect in his chariot until evening. If the mummy identified as Sheshonq II is any indication, he was finished off with a blow to the head. In a time of famine, Aye wanted to harvest the productive farmland of Ramoth-Gilead. On the other hand, Iuput just wanted to cut down the soul of Sheshonq II. Aye reclaimed valuable territory from Ben-Hadad of Aram. It was perhaps the fixation of Aye on this prize that earned him the epithet of Jerimoth, a variant of Ya-Rimuta. At the same time, Iuput conspired to win the prize of Thebes. Both Aye and Iuput accomplished what they set out to do, but there would be hell to pay!
- Gen. 49:10 (KJV)
- 1 Chron. 5:2 (KJV)
- 1 Kings 3:1-15
- 1 Kings 16:22-24
- 1 Kings 16:25 (NIV)
- This conflict was discussed in Chapter 19.
- 1 Kings 11:14-25. Cf 1 Kings 8:3-14.
- Possibly referring to the death of Thutmose III (younger David) rather than Thutmose I.
- Genubath (1592) theft, from ganab (1589) thieve (lit. or fig.); by impl. to deceive;- carry away x indeed, secretly bring, steal (away), get by stealth.
- Ancient Near Eastern Texts, J. Pritchard, ed., pp 278-9.
- Ancient Near Eastern Texts, J. Pritchard, ed., pp 280.
- Baasha was left fatherless at a very young age when Issachar (Hamar) was murdered. Ruhubi would correspond to an adoptive or political father of Baasha, and possibly is a form of Reuben elder brother of Issachar. Similarly, Yuya had become the adoptive father of Aye upon the premature death of Thutmose IV.
- EA 244, 245 & 246
- EA 254
- The expression translated as "my son" is DUMU.MU-ia. This construction has confused translators. DUMU.MU is Sumerian for "my son", however the -ia suffix seems to be incompatible. See Moran, Amarna Letters, EA 254, note 4. Aye uses the phrase twice, evidently as a cryptic way of referring to his son Iuput (Ia-Put).
- Addaya the commissioner is referred to in EA 254, 285, 287 & 289.
- EA 250, 255.
- According to Jewish lore, king Hezekiah also bore nine names. These names of Hezekiah will be explored in a later chapter.
- Ayyab can be written as Aya-ab ("Father Aye"). See, David Rohl, Pharaohs and Kings, p 223.
- W. Moran, The Amarna Letters, p 293 (EA 234, note 2).
- As early as Year 3 of Tutankhamun, the decision had already been made for Aye to succeed the ailing Tut as pharaoh of the greater family empire. At that time, Aye would have relegated the lesser thrones of Israel and Judah/Libya to subordinate princes.
- 2 Chron. 16:12, figuratively speaking of venereal disease.
- Velikovsky proposed in Ages of Chaos (pp 237, 310, 312, 313, 315, 323, 334) that Adad-idri king of Imerisu in Shalmaneser's inscription was not one and the same as Ben-Hadad king of Aram/Damascus. He argued that Adad-idri was instead the Bir-idri/Biridia of the Amarna Letters, who was based in city of Megiddo. In this case, Ben-Hadad/Rezon of Damascus caused trouble for Solomon by not helping in the fight against Genubath (Shalmaneser III).
- Immanuel Velikovsky, Ages in Chaos, p 236.
- EA 91
- EA 254
- EA 85, 93, 94, 95
- EA 117
- 1 Kings 22:26; 2 Chronicles 18:25
- According to The Oxford History of Ancient Egypt, p 346, "Libyans . preferred different patterns of rule to those of their New Kingdom predecessors. A clear instance of this is the Libyans' apparent tolerance of two or more 'kings' simultaneously, each entitled 'king of Upper and Lower Egypt', irrespective of their actual spheres of influence."
- Zecharia Sitchin, The Cosmic Code, pp 12, 31.
- 1 Kings 22:51; 2 Kings 1:17; 3:1; 8:16
- Wayne Pitard, Ancient Damascus, p 122, citing Jepsen 1941-45: 155 and Miller 1966: 442-43. See also, Immanuel Velikovsky, Ages in Chaos, Chapters VI and VII.
Take Cover, Here Comes Takelot
Latin tak, "silent"
lot, "covering, oracle"
The name Takelot appears to be a variant of the slightly earlier Assyrian form Tukulti, as in the king names Tukulti-Ninurta I and II.
Possible meanings of the name Takelot:
1) "receive/act on a (favorable) oracle" (especially from the "hidden" god Amun)
2) "silent, but (speaking) loudly"
3) "not heard or seen"
Indo-European: tak, "take, seize" (German, Old Norse, English)
Hebrew: achaz, "to seize"
English Bibles: King Ahaziah, "Jah has seized"
The name Takelot appears in the Bible as Ahaziah
There are three Biblical King Ahaz's and three Egyptian Kings named Takelot during this time period.
Indo-European word definitions from The American Heritage Dictionary. Hebrew word definitions from Strong's Concordance.
Joram gets a Shallaking
- Shilhi (7977) "missive, i.e., armed" Heb. Shilchi (Shil-khee')
- from (7973) shelach, "a missle of attack, i.e., spear,
figuratively a shoot of growth, i.e., a branch.
from (7971) shalach, "to send away, for, or out,"
in a wide variety of applications, e.g., "shoot forth"
- Joram (two forms)
- (3141) yowram, a form of (3088), i.e., Jehoram, "Jehovah raised"
(3188) yachas (yakh'-as), "a pedigree or family list (as growing
from (3187) yachas (yaw-khas'), "to sprout (in a genealogical sense)"
Yowram and Yachas are used interchangeably in the same narrative. 2 Kings 2:15-29
There are actually seven instances of Yachas and only two occurrences of Yowram (both in verse 16).
Azar-iah is also a transliteration of Osor-kon
Therefore, Shilhi/Shilki (Osorkon) and Azariah are synonymous with Joram.
The Amarna Tablets indicate that powerful members of the family continued to at least pay him lip service to Akhenaten as they had his predecessor Amenhotep III. This included Iuput, who appears in the Amarna Tablets under the politically correct pen name of Puti-Heba or Abdi-Heba. Heba is an Egyptian sun goddess. Note the correspondence between the names of Iu-put and Put-i.
There is no knowledge of the High Priesthood of Amun in the 18th Dynasty after Year 20 of Amenhotep III (in the present chronological framework). In Year 32 of Amenhotep III, Amenhotep IV was exiled from Thebes by Amenhotep III with military assistance from Sheshonq. Iuput, a son of Sheshonq, was named as High Priest of Amun and Governor of Upper Egypt. Seven years later, when Akhenaten succeeded Amenhotep III, Iuput maintained his power in Upper Egypt, and wrote to Akhenaten under the pseudonym of Puti-Hiba, ruler of "Jerusalem" (Thebes). Iuput's family was also prominent in the city of Bubastis (devoted to the goddess Bastet) and the city of el-Hiba. The brother of Iuput, Osorkon I, built or rebuilt the temple of the cat-headed goddess Bastet at Bubastis, and made improvements to the temple at el-Hiba. (See, Nicolas Grimal, A History of Ancient Egypt, p 324.) Compare Heba and the Hittite "Sun Goddess," Hebat/Hepit/Hepa. The fortress of "el-Hiba" (Teudjai) is located near Herakleopolis (between Amarna and Memphis) El-Hiba was also the home base of later 22nd and 23rd Dynasty pharaohs, especially Osorkon III.
Velikovsky noted (Ages in Chaos) that three of the five "captains of Jehoshaphat" listed in the Bible (2 Chronicles 17:14) have a strong presence in the Amarna Tablets. Therefore, he concluded that the ruler of Jerusalem who wrote to Akhenaten was Jehoshaphat, king of Judah. This turns out to be correct, except that the point of origin of the letters was not likely the Jerusalem of Palestine, but Thebes in Upper Egypt.
The Captains of Jehoshaphat identified by Velikovsky in the Amarna Tablets:
- Adnah/Addaia deputy of Dumah (Edom) is "Addu-dani/Adda-dami/Ada-danu"
- Amasiah son of Zichri is the "son of Zuchru" of the Amarna Tablets
- Jehozabad is "Iahzibada"