Living in Truth:
Archaeology and the Patriarchs

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by Charles N. Pope
Copyright 1999-2004, 2016 by Charles Pope
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Chapter 21
"The Wrath of the Lord is upon You"
(The Suppression of Amen by Akhenaten)


The Lord hath Spoken Evil

Akhenaten has been labeled as a pacifist, however this is greatly mistaken. Prior to his succession he had been forced to live in exile for seven years. During those years he could not have established the foundation required to rule decisively. The Amarna Letters indicate a lack of leadership during the reign of Akhenaten. However, this also is misleading. The Amarna Letters reflect the same sense of anarchy during the reign of Amenhotep III. It would have always been the policy of the crown to avoid playing favorites among local rulers and to ignore petty disputes. The preferred state was one in which ministers remained pitted against one another and dependent upon pharaoh rather than engaging in private alliances and intrigue with their peers. Pharaoh would only be motivated to interfere if one vassal was becoming too dominant.

When Akhenaten succeeded Amenhotep III as pharaoh of Egypt, he faced an almost impossible situation. Aye was king in Israel and his son Iuput was both High Priest of Amen and king in Upper Egypt. Two other sons of Aye were reigning as Libyan pharaohs. Although Queen Tiye was the Chief Wife of Akhenaten and the mother of two sons and two daughters by him, she was also the mother of at least four children through Aye. Queen Tiye favored Akhenaten and assured his succession, yet her affections were naturally divided between her children by Akhenaten and those of Aye.

After the "death" of Amenhotep III, the number one priority of Akhenaten was to break the dominance of Aye. Aanen, the stepbrother of Aye and true son of Yuya, was made High Priest of the Aten. Aanen also retained some authority in Israel. However, this was not nearly enough to counterbalance the strength of Aye. Therefore, Akhenaten also cultivated a strong alliance with the king of Aram, who is named as Ben-Hadad in the Bible and Abdi-Ashirta in the Amarna Letters. Secondly, Akhenaten tried to exploit a rift among the sons of Aye. Iuput was likely the eldest son of Aye. His mother was a daughter of the murdered Osokhor (Issachar/Hamor). However, he was being pushed aside by his half-brothers, Osorkon and Takelot, the sons of Aye by the higher-ranking queen, Tiye.

As the favor and authority of Sheshonq II son of Osorkon grew in Upper Egypt, so did the desperation of Iuput and his reliance upon Akhenaten. Akhenaten depended on Iuput for much the same reason. The children of Aye through Queen Tiye also represented the greatest threat to his own kingship. Although hated by Akhenaten, Aye arguably had greater de facto power. Aye was also thoroughly entrenched within the Egyptian administration and had the favor of Queen Tiye. He could not be removed without first being found guilty of a very serious offense. The unauthorized assault of Aye on Ramoth-Gilead provided Akhenaten with the due cause he needed.

Akhenaten could not have been genuinely angry with Iuput for encouraging Aye to commit an act of insubordination, and thereby take a "fall." In fact, 1 Kings 22:20-23a makes it quite clear that Aye was the victim of a deliberate entrapment scheme on the part of Akhenaten. "The Lord" (Akhenaten) had himself directed Iuput and other advisors to induce Aye to commit a capital offense.b In exchange for selling out his own father, Iuput may have been given at least tacit permission to assassinate Sheshonq II. Sheshonq II was killed, but the truth eventually came to light. Contrary to the "wrath" of Akhenaten, that of Queen Tiye toward Iuput was certainly not feigned. Consequently, Akhenaten had to at least pretend that he also was inclined to punish Iuput for his intrigue. This too only served the purposes of Akhenaten as it would check the newly recovered power of Iuput.

When the battle of Ramoth-Gilead goes "badly" and the King of Israel (Sheshonq II) falls victim to friendly fire, Jehoshaphat (Iuput) returns to Jerusalem (Thebes). Regaining control of Judah (Upper Egypt) and his former status as high priest and king was the objective of Jehoshaphat's intrigue all along. However, he may not have been allowed to revel in it for very long. Once back home, we are told that Jehu son of Hanani was dispatched by the "Lord" and confronted Jehoshaphat in Jerusalem. Jehu states, " 'Should you help the wicked and love those who hate the Lord? Because of this the wrath of the Lord is upon you.' "c

Iuput was highly venerated in the priestly tradition of the Kings/Chronicles narrative, therefore the nature of the "the wrath of the Lord" against him would have been disguised. Aye had been lured by Iuput into an incriminating act. Sheshonq II had been lured to his death. Apparently both were authorized. In the Biblical narrative, the "Lord" (Akhenaten) does not hold Jehoshaphat (Iuput) accountable for the death of the "king of Israel" (Sheshonq II). Akhenaten likely covered for Iuput and maintained that the death of the king of Israel had been unintentional. Rather, Iuput is charged only with a far lesser crime of the heart, that is, for having shown greater devotion for his father Aye than for "the Lord." Akhenaten chose not to take action against Iuput directly, but instead attacked the cult of Amen over which Iuput had formerly governed as High Priest.

The narrative of 2 Chronicles 19 suggests that Iuput, in return for "leniency," publicly renounced his allegiance to Aye and earnestly submitted to the will of Akhenaten in order to save his skin and his kingship in Upper Egypt. Iuput was publicly rebuked for helping Aye capture Ramoth-Gilead. However, this would not have been a sufficient penalty to satisfy Tiye. Therefore, Akhenaten ordered the unthinkable, that the temples of Amen, including Karnak, should be closed and the very name of Amen should disappear in all of Egypt. No expense was spared as it was expunged from the depths of tombs to the tops of obelisks. This not only would have appeased Queen Tiye, but also served to fulfill Old Kingdom history in which the gods of Egypt had been suppressed by Khufu in favor of Re.d If Iuput remained in power, which may not have been possible on account of Queen Tiye, it would have been his duty to ensure that this edict was carried out in Upper Egypt.

Counting on Ipy

The Kings narrative indicates that Jehoshaphat (Iuput) received only a token warning from the Lord (Akhenaten). The Bible does not disclose how he died.e Strangely, the Bible notes that "the other events of Jehoshaphat's reign, from beginning to end, are written in the annals of Jehu son of Hanani, which are recorded in the book of the kings of Israel,"f and not in the annals of the kings of Judah. When Jehu son of Hanani confronted Jehoshaphat, he did so in the guise of prophet. Jehu would later become king of Israel by the "word of Lord (Akhenaten)." As the king of Israel, Jehu was commissioned to destroy the House of Ahab. He began by attacking Joram (Osorkon father of Sheshonq II) and Ahaziah (Takelot I). Archaeology indicates that Osorkon died only months after Sheshonq II. That would have been only a few months after Iuput was "rebuked" for his alliance with Aye at Ya-Rimuta (Ramoth-Gilead).g

Apart from his mother-wife Tiye, his uncle Aanen, and the disgruntled Iuput, Akhenaten also gained the support of high-ranking ministers who had served under his predecessor Amenhotep III. The most important of these was Vizier Amenhotep, also called Huy. By Year 32 of Amenhotep III (Year 5 of Amenhotep IV/Akhenaten), Vizier Huy had transferred at least some of his duties to his son Ipy, including the title "Steward of Memphis." In this same year, a letter was written by Ipy to Amenhotep IV assuring him that all was well in Memphis. After the exile of Akhenaten, Ipy became Steward and "Overseer of the Inner Palace of Pharaoh in Akhet-aten." Ipy also possessed a "fine home and a tomb at Akhet-Aten."h As his titles indicate, Ipy was among the inner circle at Akhetaten.

Ipy (Jehu) was the biological son of Vizier Amenhotep (Biblical Hanoch, a variant of Hanun/Hanan/Hanani, "favored"). Politically, Jehu was the steward and therefore the "son" of the Lord (Akhenaten). In the Kings narrative, Jehu (Ipy) is twice called the "son of Nimshi." Nimshi is derived from the verb "to draw out," and corresponds to Moses-Rehoboam. Two other times Jehu is called "the son of Jehoshaphat son of Nimshi." This is not a genealogy in this case, but a pecking order. Jehoshaphat (Iuput), the king Jehu (Ipy) was sent to chastise, was technically his superior within the administration of Rehoboam (Akhenaten). Nevertheless, Jehu did not rebuke Jehoshaphat on his own authority, but as the prophet (spokesman) of the "Lord."

It was vogue in every generation for royalty to monopolize the offices of high-ranking priests and prophets. The High Priest of Amun was referred the 1st Prophet of Amun; the Second Priest of Amun was 2nd Prophet of Amun, and so forth. Frequently, the heir apparent served first as High Priest of Amun prior to becoming co-regent and king. Possibly Ipy also held a priestly office under Akhenaten or was promised one in exchange for services rendered to the crown. However, the instability and brevity of his tenure may not have allowed the luxury of making inscriptions. Ipy is better known from archaeology as the Steward/Vizier of Akhenaten. He became king of Israel, but did not rule long enough to leave an archaeological record. For information about his ephemeral reign we must rely on the cultural record of the Kings narrative.

"Only one of the high commissioners named in the Amarna Letters, Maya, is certainly known from Egyptian sources."i Nevertheless, we can be sure that the host of strange names in the Amarna Letters represents a veritable "Who's Who" of Egyptian royalty and nobility during the reign of Akhenaten. After Maya, two of the most obvious identifications are those of Vizier Amenhotep/Huy and his son Ipy. Amenhotep/Huy is called both Amenhatpe (Amenhotep) and Haya (Huy). The father Haya is accused on multiple occasions of treason, but it is not clear whether or not Akhenaten agreed. Certainly, Ipy remained in good standing even though Rib-Haddi also asked Akhenaten to have him replaced.j

In the Amarna letters, Ipy is variously called Haip, Haapi, Api and Appiha. The form Appiha is thought to mean, "Api shines."k Ipy especially won favor with Akhenaten through his hasty obedience. He engaged the enemies of Akhenaten with the alacrity of concentrated sunrays, even if his rapid fire was not always on target. In Hebrew, Ha is the definite article. Haip can thus be interpreted as "The Ip." Ha was also "an ancient Egyptian god of fertility and the desert regions. In various eras he was regarded as a defender of Egypt's borders and the protector of the throne. In the later periods he was honored in the seventh nome of Lower Egypt."l The variant Ha'pi/Haapi was "one of the four divine sons of Horus and Isis," and "the god of the Nile."m

Standard approaches to etymology do not apply in the multi-lingual, multi-cultural milieu of New Kingdom Egypt. When creating an identity, royal persons were free to adapt roots from multiple languages, as well as substitute references between a host of deities in order to suit the needs of a particular location or circumstance. It is difficult to appreciate today that eminently pedigreed royalty would assume such bastardized pen names. Crude transliterations were the norm. However, a name created in such a fashion could convey sophisticated nuances. It also seems logical that in the rank and file world of the ancient royal court a new name would more often than not have been assigned rather than assumed. A Biblical example is found in Numbers 13:16 where it states that Moses gave Hoshea son of Nun the name Joshua (Jeho-shuah).

Ipy was a leading minister of Akhenaten, therefore the patron god of Jehu could not have been Jehovah (Amen), at least not at the city of Akhet-aten. Akhenaten did not tolerate Amen, but had composed a new formulation of the divine around a relatively new god, the Aten. However, as the spokesman of Akhenaten, Ipy may have been favorably compared with Ihi, an Egyptian form of Thoth, the "tongue of Re." Ihi/Ahi can also be written as Iahu/Yahu (Jehu). The connection between the names Ipy and Jehu may also be based in part on a subtle word play between disparate languages. The Hebrew root huw is roughly equivalent to the Latin root ip.1 Of course Latin did not exist, per se, as a language during this period, however a precursor to it certainly did.

The use of the name Jehu in the Year 18 inscription of the Assyrian king Shalmaneser III does confirm that the name Jehu was not merely a later makeover by a Biblical editor, but the preferred form of his name, at least in Semitic-speaking regions such as Israel/Palestine. There is a constant interplay between Hebrew nicknames and formal Egyptian birth names. It is often not clear whether the Hebrew was derived from the Egyptian, or vice versa. However, colloquial Hebrew names were more commonly used in day-to-day interaction. Hebrew or Hebraized names of high-ranking Egyptian officials were also used by the Semitic-speaking rulers of Mesopotamia. The name Ipy may only have been used for the sake of appearances in Egypt.

Serving the Sun

The name Akhenaten is variously translated as "Glorified Spirit of the Sun-Disc," Effective for the Sun Disc," "He who is Useful to the Sun-Disc,"n and "Servant of Aten."o Among the gods, the leading minister of Re had been Thoth. A Semitic name of the sun god Re is Shamash, which connotes both "sun" and "servant."2 Thoth served the servant god Re and ultimately stood in the place of Re. By association, the name of Akhenaten can be interpreted as "Thoth of the Aten." Accordingly, he was remembered in Hermetic tradition as Hermes Trismegistus ("Thoth the Thrice Great"). The name Akhenaten does not suggest passivity but energetic and purposeful activity in the "spirit" of Thoth on behalf of the Sun-disc. In the solar metaphor, light rays do the work of the sun by traveling at great speed and becoming effective for life and the living on earth. Consistent with this model, Akhenaten remained as distant as the sun and instead sent his sons and ministers out as "spirits" or "rays of light."

As a rational thinker after Thoth, Akhenaten could not accept the false euphemism of death associated with Osiris and Re, and which by his time had become so fantastical in Egyptian burial art and literature.p This is not to say that Akhenaten considered it inappropriate as king and pharaoh to assume the divine role of the gods while he still lived. Nor did he deny the former existence of Re, Osiris, Thoth or any of the other gods or goddesses, only their continuing power over the living. The change in his name from Amenhotep (IV) to Akhenaten is a very strong identification with the "historical" Osiris rather than the one embellished by faith. The Egyptian word akh was used to designate the "blessed dead,"q that is, ancestors who had both the wealth and wisdom to prepare for death and thereby join the gods as "transfigured beings"r in the afterlife. In this sense, a deceased person could remain "effective" and possess the ability to influence the world of the living, even as the gods themselves were believed to do.

In direct opposition to long-accepted customs, "Akhenaten's religion offered mortals only the hope of continuing to exist on earth under the rays of the sun. Images and texts relating to traditional concepts of the afterlife were avoided."s For Akhenaten, akh came to represent a transformation achieved in life through the power of the Aten and "living-in-maat." It was not realized upon death as there was no longer the expectation of life after death. Much like the disillusioned Djehuty of the early 18th Dynasty, Akhenaten identified with Osiris primarily as a "living sacrifice."t This was a concept later borrowed in Christianity. Even though Djehuty had not been literally killed, he was called "the Osiris." For a crown prince the loss of kingship was tantamount to death. Amenhotep IV was in Year 5 of his reign stripped of power. In the "hereafter" of the next 12 years he was to become an Osiris like Djehuty (Abraham) and exist as if in a state of the living dead.

This root akh is also fundamental in the Greek memory of Osiris. It is encoded in key emotive epithets of Dionysos/Adonis, namely Actaeon, Bakchos and Iakchos. Iakchos connotes crying or howling, by association with the Greek word iache.u However, it is also related by context to the West Semitic word yakke, "to strike, to smite, to kill."v The name Bakchos has no significant Greek etymology other than as a nondescript cry, but contains the Semitic root baku, to "weep, wail."w Similarly, the "unvocalized name" Aqht, from which Actaeon is derived, is not Greek, but comes from the West Semitic poem of Aqhtx, a local version of the Osiris story. Aqht was murdered and could not be revived. He was mourned seven years by his father Danel ("the Judge", i.e., Re), and endowed with a symbolic immortality.

Another important connotation of akh in the ancient Egyptian culture is as "light." From the perspective of earth, radiated light is the effective quality or "creative spirit" of the sun. In the right amount the sun's radiation stimulates germination, growth and regeneration. Too much or too little sunlight results in death. Amarna art emphasized the life-giving nature of light. Yet, during the Amarna Period an apparatus was invented or refined that focused the rays of the sun in a highly destructive manner. Demonstrations of this technology are described in Exodus 19:16-24; 20:18-21, 1 Kings 18:22-38, and 2 Kings 1:9-14. The ancients were able to produce optical lenses, as evidenced by those used to form the eyes in Old Kingdom statues. They also knew or learned how to make reflective collimating mirrors. According to extra-Biblical records, such mirrors were used to set ships on fire from a distance.y The revival of the use of light in warfare can be traced to Djehuty (Abraham) in the early 18th Dynasty. Djehuty (Abraham) had not only been an astronomer, but a master magician who specialized in ingenious light tricks. He made use of both natural (moon) light and the artificial firelight of torches to "serve" his own purposes.z

The time of Djehuty in the early 18th Dynasty had been one of great adversity and oppression in Israel from Mesopotamian (Midianite) kings. In desperation the deposed clan of Tao I (Terah) turned to soul-searching and reform. Tao's son Djehuty (Abraham) and half-brother (Samuel) attempted to purge the country of necromancy and idolatry.aa In the late 18th Dynasty, Israel was once again threatened by a "troubling adversary" from the North, the Assyrian king Shalmaneser III. At this time, Akhenaten like Djehuty before him endured a symbolic death in the form of humiliating defeat and exile. Emulating Djehuty and other New Kingdom founders, Akhenaten devoted himself to ridding the land of superstitious practices, which were once again perceived as a hindrance to progress.

Akhenaten ruled as a "living god" for 17 years. His experiment with reality was reckoned unto him not as righteousness, but as sedition. The people welcomed the return of the gods. The comfort of white lies was preferred to dark truth. For having outlawed the worship of the gods, Akhenaten and his name were officially cursed. Beginning with the reign of Horemheb, the monuments of Akhenaten were taken down and it became a crime to even utter his name. However, rather than the memory of Akhenaten simply fading away, it was repressed and therefore permanently preserved in a masked state. Many of the reforms of Akhenaten were considered valid and ultimately assimilated into Amenism/Judaism. These included the prohibition of making and worshipping "graven images," and the conjuring of "familiar spirits."

Akhenaten shared the identification of Djehuty (Abraham) not only with Thoth and Osiris, but also the Aten. The first known reference to the Aten comes from the tomb of Djehuty (Abraham) at Deir el-Bahari in Western Thebes, where he refers to the deity as the "living Aten, lord of the two lands."ab Consistent with this archaeological finding, Biblical Abraham is the first to address God as "Adonai YHWH."ac It must at least be suspected that the name Akhenaten was derived from "YHWH Adonai," or vice versa.ad YHWH is considered to be a late Biblical form of the divine name, and has plausible etymological links both to akh and Yahu (Thoth).ae The most telling vestige of the Amarna suppression would then be the prohibition on voicing the divine name of YHWH.

As Aye Lives

At the battle of Ramoth-Gilead, Ahab found it necessary to disguise himself. Three years earlier, Ahab had entered into a covenant with Ben-Hadad. In exchange for his life, Ben-Hadad offered Ahab a treaty, which provided Ahab significant concessions. Ahab knew that the seizure of Ramoth-Gilead could jeopardize his relationship with Ben-Hadad, and ultimately it did. Ahab's aggression allowed Ben-Hadad to release himself from the obligations of their treaty. Ben-Hadad immediately renewed hostilities toward Ahab, as documented in both the Amarna Tablets and the Bible. Ben-Hadad captured the city-fortress of Samaria forcing the retreat of Rib-Addi to Gubla (Byblos). In the Amarna Tablets, Rib-Addi (Ahab/Aye) reports to Akhenaten that Abdi-Ashirta (Ben-Hadad) sent an assassin to kill him, and that he had been stabbed nine times.af

While Amenhotep III yet reigned, Akhenaten remained at his chosen city of refuge, Akhet-aten, as a political prisoner. Aye was the warden. During the sole rule of Akhenaten, Aye became the nominal subject of his former inmate. Akhenaten did not trust Aye, and insisted on being kept informed as to his whereabouts and actions.ag He only provided Aye with token support at best, despite Aye's constant nagging. Aye (Rib-Addi) wrote constantly to Akhenaten, but his requests were seemingly always ignored. On one occasion, Akhenaten actually complained to Rib-Addi about his annoying letters.

Before Rib-Addi could be driven from Gubla (Byblos) and finished off by Abdi-Ashirta (Ben-Hadad), the king of Aram himself became gravely ill, possibly allowing Rib-Addi to reclaim Samaria. In response, Akhenaten authorized another prince to take up the slack of Abdi-Ashirta (Ben-Hadad) in persecuting Rib-Addi. The aggressive new king of Aram is called Aziru in the Amarna Tablets and Hazael in the Bible.ah Hazael murdered Abdi-Ashirta and then resumed Aramaean raids on Israel and the assault of Aye. About this time Akhenaten wrote a highly unusual and detailed letter to Aziru, which was both threatening and conciliatory. The letter begins with an impassioned rebuke of Aziru, evidently for having shown sympathy toward Rib-Addi when he was shut out of the city of Gubla (Byblos).ai Akhenaten demands to know why Rib-Addi was not instead apprehended and extradited to Egypt.aj One can feel the torment of Akhenaten and his desperation over having yet again come so tantalizingly close to being rid of his greatest enemy. Later in the same letter the barely restrained Akhenaten must resort to cajoling Aziru, "If you perform your service for the king, your lord, what is there that the king will not do for you? . So perform your service for the king, your lord, and you will live. You yourself know that the king does not fail when he rages against all of Canaan."ak

The "service" of Hazael was obviously a critical component in the policy of Akhenaten, and Hazael did not entirely disappoint him. Aye was forced to "castle" all the way to Beirut where he accepted the patronage of one Hammuniri. He remained trapped there for as much as 12 months. At last Aye writes Akhenaten to "say uncle." He reports that Beirut was in danger of falling to Aram. In desperation Rib-Addi begged for mercy and asylum. However, he refused to appear before Akhenaten's minister Api (Ipy).al He also claimed to be suffering from a grievous disease and unable to come to Egypt as ordered.am It was now Aye who claimed to be living like the proverbial "bird in a cage" and hoping for an exile administered by Akhenaten. Even if a ploy to gain relief, these words must have been sweet music to the ears of Akhenaten.

The capture of Ben Hadad by Aye occurred before Year 12 of Akhenaten. Ben-Hadad of Aram was murdered by Hazael before Year 17 of Akhenaten as indicated by the Kings narrative of the Bible. His passing is also recorded in the annals of the Assyrian king Shalmaneser III. In his Year 18, Shalmaneser faced a new king in Aram, Hazael. Shalmaneser recorded on a basalt statue: "Hadadezer (himself) perished. Hazael, a commoner (lit.: son of nobody), seized the throne, called up a numerous army and rose against me."nn Therefore, the death of Ben-Hadad (Abdi-Ashirta) can be placed between Year 14 and Year 18 of Shalmaneser III, and likely closer to Year 18.

Shalmaneser claims that a man of inferior pedigree named Hazael seized his throne in Aram. However, it can be determined that Akhenaten directed Hazael to assassinate Ben-Hadad of Damascus and assume kingship there. After the murder of Ben-Hadad, Hazael wrote to Akhenaten under the pen name of Aziru, and denied all culpability.ao In other words, Hazael was not guilty of murder because he had been ordered by Akhenaten to perform the killing and become king of Aram in his place.ap In effect, the prince authorized to succeed Ben-Hadad (Hadad-ezer) was not only authorized to take his throne, but also to assume his name/title, that of Ezer/Issachar. Hazael became the next Hadad-ezer and the latest incarnation of Issachar in Aram. The pen name of Aziru (Ezer) reflects that new status.

Shalmaneser claimed that Hazael (the new Egyptian Issachar) rose up against him in his Year 18, but that he was defeated and besieged in his royal residence in Damascus. This corroborates that Hazael had already killed Ben-Hadad by Year 18 of Shalmaneser (Year 16 of Akhenaten). Shalmaneser III may also have threatened Aye at this time. Shalmaneser claimed to have received "tribute of the inhabitants of Tyre, Sidon and of Jehu, son of Omri (Ia-u-a mar Hu-um-ri-i).aq According to the sequence of events recorded by Shalmaneser, this tribute was accepted after his conflict with Hazael and siege of Damascus.

At issue here is whether "Ia-u-a mar Hu-um-ri-i" should be translated as "Aye/Ayu/Aya son of Omri" or "Jehu son of Omri." It is Aye (Ahab) who is more commonly referred to as the son of Omri in Israel. The Amarna Tablets (EA 162) also place him in Sidon at about this time. However, in the following sections it is shown that the Biblical figure of Jehu also bursts at this moment onto the political stage in Israel. If the tribute was sent by Jehu rather than Ahab, then it may have been an inducement for Shalmaneser to lift the siege of Damascus and buy more time for Akhenaten to "clean house." It would also have served notice that Ahab was no longer the king of Israel, but Jehu. On the other hand, Ahab (Aye) may also have been motivated to pay tribute to Shalmaneser III in order to give himself relief.

A Madman Among Madmen

In the first battle of Ramoth-Gilead Ahab and Jehoshaphat are the aggressors. In a second battle, which occurs only about three months later, Ramoth-Gilead is being defended against the new king of Aram, Hazael.ar Moreover, it is not Ahab and Jehoshaphat who are defending Ramoth-Gilead, but two sons of Ahab, namely Joram king of Israel and Ahaziah king of Judah. These kings correspond to the historical pharaohs Osorkon I and Takelot I. The Amarna Tablets refer to these "sons of Labayu" by the names of Mut-Baal ("Man of Baal") and Tagi ("Beautiful"). Although Mut-Baal and Tagi both paid lip service to Akhenaten in letters, it is clear that they along with their father were actively maneuvering for even greater sovereignty, and had taken command of Ramoth-Gilead (Ya-Rimuta). In response, Hazael had evidently been directed by Akhenaten to take it away from them.

Egyptologists conclude that Osorkon I died only a few months after his son Sheshonq II. Very little is known from archaeology about Takelot I. It is assumed that his reign began upon the death of Osorkon I. However, it is now evident that he never ruled in his own right, but only as the co-regent of Sheshonq I and as the junior brother of Osorkon I. It is also now evident that both co-regents of Sheshonq I were killed (dethroned) at the same time (in emulation of the twin sons of Middle Kingdom Ephraim, Senusret I). The Biblical account of 2 Kings 8:28 - 9:29 provides the details. Osorkon I (Joram) was first wounded by Aramaeans at Ramoth Gilead in battle against Hazael (Aziru). It was Ipy (Jehu) who then tracked him down and finished him off. Likewise, in the Amarna Tablets we find Ha'ip working in concert with Aziru (EA 132 & 149). The body of Joram was (supposedly) desecrated by being thrown into a field and left unburied.as This was a fate feared more than death. Takelot (Ahaziah) was attacked by Ipy at the same time, but is said to have reached the safety of Megiddo before expiring.

When Jehu confronted Jehoshappat, he did so as a prophet. When he drove his chariot "like a madman" after Ahaziah and Joram, he did so as the newly anointed King of Israel. Whereas Iuput resorted to intrigue in order to dispose of his rival Sheshonq II, Ipy preferred the direct approach. There is absolutely no pretense in the attack of Jehu on Joram and Ahaziah. Ipy hunted them down like prey, and pounced upon them like the "curses of Ibi." Jehu admits to having "conspired against his master" Ahab. Again, there is no pretense in the actions of Biblical Jehu. He had received word and anointing of the "Lord" (Akhenaten). He performed these killings by a higher authority than Ahab (Aye).

As shocking as this scenario appears to be, there may not have been nearly as much intrigue as it appears. The royal family was addicted to drama, and particularly the drama of replaying earlier royal history. The Middle Kingdom “Manasseh and Ephraim” were the pharaohs Amenemhet and Senusret. Amenemhet did not have sons and yielded the throne to Senusret who did. However, rather than a simple abdication, his death was attributed to an ambush. The co-regent (Wegaf) of Amenemhet had also died under suspicious circumstances. After Senusret took the throne, his own twin sons (Amenemhet II and Sekhemkare) were also eventually killed. This history was being deliberately reproduced during the Amarna Period. Queen Tiye was likely the full-sister of the Manasseh-figure Aanen. They may have produced one or more sons (Thutmose V and/or Sheshonq II), but the royal line was not expected to propagate through such a union. It was still fitting for Aanen to be a king (Sekhem-kheperre Osorkon) and have a kingly legacy. Aanen not only assumed the role of Amenemhet, but Sekhem-kare son of Senusret, as well. His "son" Sheshonq II was cast as a type of Wegaf (“Gilead”), and the role of Amenemhet II, the other twin son of Senusret, was played by Smenkhkare, who assumed the Libyan name of Takelot. It was also his “fate” to die young, but not before producing two royal princes, one of whom was to carry on the kingly line. Smenkhkare’s first son, Tutankhamun, was made pharaoh of Egypt. His second son emerges as Harsiese (“Horus-son-of-Isis”), who was declared High Priest and King in Thebes at about the same time. All of the theatrics of Akhenaten’s final two years were aimed at bringing these two potential Joshua-figures spectacularly to the forefront.

Eye for an Aye

After the "assassinations" of Joram (Osorkon I) and Ahaziah (Takelot I), Jehu turned his attention to the administration of Ahab (Aye). As discussed in the previous essay, the author prematurely scripted the death of Aye in the narrative. Aye was very much alive, if not well. According to the Amarna Tablets, Rib-Addi (Aye/Ahab) was forced to abandon Samaria and then Byblos due to the attacks of Aziru (Hazael). According to the Bible, Ipy (Jehu) was at that same time executing all those related and loyal to him in Israel. 2 Kings 10:11 (NIV) reads, "So Jehu killed everyone in Jezreel who remained of the house of Ahab, as well as all his chief men, his close friends and his priests, leaving him no survivor." While Aziru/Hazael trapped Aye as a bird in a cage, Jehu first "took out" the leading sons of Aye, namely Osorkon I (Joram) and Takelot I (Ahaziah). Next, the administration ("70 sons") of Aye were put to death by word of Akhenaten, even as the "70 sons" of Tao II (Jerubbaal) had earlier been executed by Thutmose I (Abimelech).

During the retreat of Ahab, his "House" was demolished. Although his biological and political sons were “eliminated” by Jehu, Ahab himself was not killed. A close variant of the name Ahab found in the Amarna Tablets is Ayab/Ayyab ("Hated"). Ayyab is the Hebrew form of the Biblical name Job, and during the Amarna Period this epithet applied to Aye.at Like Job, Ayyab-Aye was despised and everything belonging to him was destroyed. However, he himself survived. His fortunes if not his health were later fully recovered. When his persecutor Akhenaten-Moses was driven out of Egypt, Aye (as Jethro) went to meet with him at Mt. Sinai. After this, Aye remained a mentor of Tut during his nine-year reign. Aye would further leverage his relationship with Tutankhamun in order to make the ultimate political comeback. He ended his life (as it began) in the highest office of the land, that of pharaoh of Egypt.

Kingship in Egypt during the Amarna Period was far more complex than ever realized. However, we can now say with all certainly that the Kings/Chronicles narrative of the Bible contains the cultural record of the Amarna Period, and describes the intrigue, feigned or otherwise, within the royal family of Egypt during that time in stunning detail. There are a number of confusions and conflations in the Biblical narrative. Nevertheless, it will be a more than manageable task to sort them out now that we know the proper historical context and the applicable archaeology.


  1. This plot is repeated in 2 Chron. 18:19-22.
  2. In verse 23, compare the KJV translation, "the Lord has spoken evil" with the NIV translation, "the Lord has decreed disaster." The Hebrew phrase dabar ra can also be translated more literally as "arranged calamity." In the phrase, "the Lord hath spoken evil," note the word play between "evil," Heb. ra, and the god Ra. Earlier in this verse, in the phrase, "the Lord hath put a lying spirit," there is also a word play between "put," Heb. nathan, and the god Aten.
  3. 2 Chronicles 19:2 (NIV)
  4. See Chapter 5.
  5. 2 Chron. 21:4 informs thatJehoram (Osorkon II/Horemheb) put all the sons of Jehoshaphat (Iuput) to death along with selected princes of Israel.
  6. 2 Chron 20:34 (NIV)
  7. Egyptologists presently think that the reign of Takelot I began at Osorkon I's death, however the Biblical record is clear that both Osorkon and Takelot were killed at the same time, and just a short while after Sheshonq II was killed.
  8. Amenhotep III: Perspectives on His Reign, eds. O'Connor and Cline, p 214.
  9. William Murnane, "Imperial Egypt and the Limits of Power," in Amarna Diplomacy, eds. Cohen and Westbrook, p 108.
  10. EA 107.
  11. See W. Moran, The Amarna Letters.
  12. Margaret Bunson, A Dictionary of Ancient Egypt, p 105.
  13. Ibid.
  14. First three definitions in Donald Redford, Akhenaten: The Heretic King, pp 141, 176.
  15. Peter Clayton, Chronicle of the Pharoahs, p 120.
  16. John H. Taylor, Death and the Afterlife in Ancient Egypt, p 38, 146-7, 227.
  17. John H. Taylor, Death and the Afterlife in Ancient Egypt, p 38, 42, 185.
  18. John H. Taylor, Death and the Afterlife in Ancient Egypt, pp 31, 42-3.
  19. John H. Taylor, Death and the Afterlife in Ancient Egypt, p 152. See also p 122.
  20. Romans 12:1, to use New Testament parlance.
  21. Michael Astour, Hellenosemitica, pp 192.
  22. Michael Astour, Hellenosemitica, pp 193.
  23. Michael Astour, Hellenosemitica, pp 174-5.
  24. Michael Astour, Hellenosemitica, pp 163-8.
  25. For the use of lenses and mirrors in ancient times, see Robert Temple, "The Crystal Sun."
  26. Judges 7:13. See commentary in Chapter 10 of this book. Also compare akh ("servant") with the fire distributing function of the menorah's central element, which is called the shemesh ("servant").
  27. 1 Samuel 12:20-25; 28:3; Judges 6
  28. Graham Phillips, The Moses Legacy: the evidence of history, p. 113.
  29. Genesis 15: 2, 8
  30. Akh(u) can be written as Aakh(u)/Iakh(u)/Yakh(u). See, E.A.Wallis Budge, An Egyptian Hieroglyphic Dictionary, Vol I, 1978 edition reprinted, pp 22-23, 77.
  31. E.A.Wallis Budge, An Egyptian Hieroglyphic Dictionary, Vol I, pp 29, 75-76, 142
  32. EA 81 & EA 82
  33. EA 256
  34. This association was made by Velikovsky in Ages in Chaos.
  35. Velikovsky proposed that Gubla corresponded to the Biblical city of Jezreel.
  36. See W. Moran, The Amarna Letters, Notes on EA 162, p 250.
  37. EA 162, translation from W. Moran, The Amarna Letters, p249.
  38. Commissioner Api is also called Ha-api, Haip, Appiha and Appiha-a (DUMU-Bi-ha-a).
  39. EA 137
  40. Ancient Near Eastern Texts, J. Pritchard, ed.,p 280.
  41. The association of Hazael with Aziru was first made by Immanuel Velikovsky (Ages in Chaos).
  42. See EA 157.
  43. ANET, J. Pritchard, ed., p 280-1. See also, The Bible in History, p 182.
  44. 2 Kings 8:28
  45. Rib-Addi (EA 131) writes to pharaoh that this same fate was suffered by the high-ranking official Pewuru, whose body was "cast away" without funerary offerings.
  46. Ancient Near Eastern Texts Relating to the Old Testament, J. Pritchard, ed. pp 329, 486. Genesis 46:13, iyowb (347) hated (i.e.) for his patience:- Job, from ayab (340) to hate. Cf yowb (3102) definitions from Strong's Concordance

Note 1:

The name Ipy is possibly short for Amenemipet, which would not have been "kosher" at Akhet-aten. The short form Ipy was evidently tolerated.

There is a possible linguistic path between Ipy and Jehu:
Jehu (3058) Hebrew Ye-huw, "Jehovah (is) He"
Latin: Ip se dix it, "He himself said (it)."
Latin: Ip so facto, "By the facts themself."
(From The American Heritage Dictionary)

Ergo, Hu ~ Ip

In Egyptian, the root ip means, "count." The Ipet/Opet ("what is counted") Festival was a harvest festival.

"Another connection to the name Epaphos has been suggested by Jean Berard: the name Ip-py was that of two or three Hyksos pharaohs and was conventionally rendered in Greek as Ap(h)ophis." (Martin Bernal, Black Athena, Vol. I, p 92.) The Greek Apophis is equivalent to Seth in Egypt and Baal in Israel. The family of the 19th Dynasty founders, of which Ipy was a part (See Chapter 28), especially venerated the god Seth/Baal.

Note 2:

From Strong's Concordance:

Shemash (8120) corresponding to the root of 8121 through the idea of activity implied in day-light; to serve:- minister

Shemesh (8121) to be brilliant; the sun; by impl. the east; fig. a ray, i.e. (arch.) a notched battlement:- + east side (-ward), sun

Shemesh (8122) corresponding to 8121; the sun:- sun

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