Living in Truth:
Archaeology and the Patriarchs

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by Charles N. Pope
Copyright 1999-2004, 2016 by Charles Pope
United States Library of Congress
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Chapter 22
"A Jealous God"
(Tiye, Queen of Egypt, Queen of Exodus)

Name Associations

Torah Names Kings/Chronicles Names Greek Names Egyptian Names
Jacob-Israel Composite Solomon Dakos Amenhotep II
Sheshonq A
(wife of Jacob)
Ahijah, Ginath   Tia
(wife of Jacob)
Atarah   Merit-Amon
By Rachel, two sons
1) Joseph Abishalom, Uriel, Omri 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
Jerimoth, Nebat
Asocheus, Creon Aye, Sheshonq I
Lab'ayu, Ayyab
Addaya, Rib-Addi
  Jehoshaphat son of Asa   Iuput A, Ia
Naamah, Maacah, Abihail
Jezebel, Athaliah
Joacaste, Merope
Tiye, Lady of Gubla, Yzebel
  Composite Solomon, Eth-Baal Polybos/Polybus Amenhotep III
Rehoboam, Nimshi
(son of Naamah & Abishalom)
Oedipus, Hermaeus
Amenhotep IV
Eliezer Abijah, Abijam Eteocles (A) Smenkhkare
Attai Eteocles (B) Tutankhamun
2) Benjamin     Aakheprure
By Leah, six sons and one daughter (Dinah)
1) Reuben Uzziel, Mushi   Webensenu, Neby
2) Simeon     Siamun
3) Levi     Khaemwast
4) Judah Nemuel/Jemuel   Thutmose IV
Nimlot A/Nimrat
5) Issachar
Izhar, Shilki/Shilhi
Amminadab II
Osokhor Osorkon A
Shilkanni (Assyria)
Tola Baasha son of Issachar   Ba'sa, Milkilu
  Elah son of Baasha   Unattested
6) Zebulun Tibni   Nedjem
Reuben (1st son of Leah)
Uzziel, Ram
Neby, Heby
Hanoch (1st son of Uzziel)
Elzaphan?, Hanani
  Vizier Amenhotep
Huy, Haya
  Jehu son of Hanani   Vizier Ipy
(son of Amenhotep)
Haip, Hatip, Haapi, Api, Appiha
Pallu/Phallu? (2nd son of Uzziel)
  Vizier Ramose
"Sethos, which is
called Rameses"
Ramses Ahaziah II/Jehoahaz Adrastus Ramses I
Takelot II
(son of Ramose/Sety)
  Jehoash   Seti I/Sheshonq III
(3rd son of Uzziel)
Jehoram, Naaman, Hazael
Choragos Amenemhet/Surer?
(son of Itj-tawy)
(son of Neby)
Osorkon II
Carmi/Karem (4th son of Uzziel)
Zimri, assassin of Elah
  Jehoiada   Iuwelot
Nimlot B son of Sheshonq I
Nimlot C son of Osorkon II
  Zibiah, Jehosheba   Nesitanebetashru B

Lady or Tramp?

Even though Queen Tiye could not (claim to) produce an heir for Amenhotep III, she remained the Chief Royal Wife throughout her husband's 40-year reign and for many years after. The lasting source of Tiye's power came not from her fertility with Amenhotep III per se, but with other partners. Tiye gave birth to two separate lines of pharaohs. One was through her brother-husband Aye-Sheshonq (Ephraim),a and the other was through her father Yuya (Joseph). In accordance with tradition, the leading sons of both lines became her consorts. Amenhotep IV (Akhenaten) was the heir of the line of Yuya. Her full-brother Aanen (Osorkon) became the designated heir of the Libyan throne. Tiye held the title of "God's Wife," and in a practical sense this meant that she was wife of all the living gods of the royal house. The family Godfather (Yuya) and four pharaohs (Amenhotep III, Sheshonq, Osorkon and Akhenaten) revolved around one diminutive but domineering woman. She became the mother (and the "boss") of all of the leading princes and princesses of the realm.

After the "death" of Amenhotep III, Tiye continued to rule as queen alongside of Sheshonq/Aye, Osorkon and Akhenaten. There were two pharaonic thrones, one Libyan and one Egyptian, but a single woman was queen and queen mother of both thrones. Consistent with this, there are two accounts of Queen Tiye in the Biblical Kings narrative. Jezebel is her memory in Israel. Athaliah is her memory as a queen of Judah (Libya). Likewise, Asa is the memory of Aye in Judah (Libya), and Ahab is his memory in Israel. Aye was at least remembered fondly in one tradition. In the case of Tiye, neither of her major Biblical accounts is flattering. However, this may not be so much a commentary on a woman as it is the treatment of all women in the Bible.

The caricature of Ahab and Jezebel in the book of Kings is particularly extreme.

"And Ahab the son of Omri did evil in the sight of the Lord above all that were before him. And it came to pass, as if it had been a light thing for him to walk in the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, that he took to wife Jezebel the daughter of Ethbaal king of the Zidonians, and went and served Baal and worshipped him."c Ethbaal is a generic name meaning "With Baal" or "Increase of Baal."d The phrase "daughter of Ethbaal" can be interpreted figuratively as "cherished of Ethbaal." Tiye was the child bride of the boy-king Amenhotep III. Amenhotep III became the "King of Kings," which made him at least the nominal ruler of Sidon and all other cities within the Egyptian sphere. And when in Phoenicia, the king and queen of Egypt did as the Phoenicians - they assumed Phoenician names and paid homage to the god of Phoenicia, Baal.

In Phoenicia, Amenhotep III was known as Ethbaal. Tiye, his beloved child bride, was known in Sidon and other Phoenician cities by the name of Yzebel. The Kings narrative of the Bible instead calls her Jezebel, which has the facetious meaning of "Chaste." As "God's Wife" Tiye was the consort of at least five kings, and mother of children by at least four of them. On account of this she is denigrated as a whore in the Kings narrative. The adultery, and more specifically the incestuous adultery of Tiye and the royal house of Egypt is also denounced in the prophetical books of the Bible, especially Ezekiel and Hoshea.

Tiye was the polyandrous queen of the polytheistic king Amenhotep III. Fault is not found in Amenhotep III (Solomon) for his sexual conduct, but only that he allowed his 700 wives and 300 concubines to "turn his heart away from the Lord." In these many marriages, Solomon was probably only "keeping up with the Jonah's"e of his own family. And if anyone were able to bind more women in love than Obedf it would have been Ahab (Aye). As the New Kingdom Ephraim he emulated the Middle Kingdom Ephraim (Senusret I) in prolific "nesting."g Yet Ahab is not censured for his own countless wives and concubines. Only his marriage to the two-timing Jezebel is found intolerable.

An Egyptian style seal dating to the ninth century BC is thought to have belonged to Yzebel. Although the article is Phoenician, the imagery on it is Egyptian, including a winged sphinx and a winged sun-disc. This points to the dual identity of Tiye as queen both in Phoenicia and Egypt during this time period. In order to look after her many husbands and estates Queen Tiye traveled widely. For the first two or three years of Akhenaten's sole reign, Tiye became a prominent resident of Akhet-aten. During the final years of Akhenaten's reign, she evidently spent more time with Aye in Phoenicia and Israel. The name given to Tiye in the Book of Exodus is Zipporah, which means, "to flit about (as a little bird)."h

Almost all of the Amarna letters of Ayei addressed to Akhenaten begin with the salutation: "May the Lady of Gublaj grant power to the king, my lord." A letter of Aye written to Aanenk also opens: "May the Lady of Gubla establish your honor in the presence of the king, your lord."l Various Amarna letters reveal that the Lady of Gubla (Byblos) had servants as well as possessions that needed to be protected. Important matters were to be brought to her attention, and she was called upon as a witness.m The appeals of Aye to the "Lady of Byblos" were not solely directed toward Astarte, called Ba'alat Gebal in Byblos,n but to a flesh and blood queen. As Isis had been the consort of many gods ruling in many places, so Queen Tiye was the consort of many kings in her day. In his letters, Aye conjures up Tiye as a meditative spirit. She was the common bond and peacemaker between Akhenaten and his archrival Aye. Tiye, as the "incarnation of Isis/Astarte," upheld the rule of Akhenaten as the "incarnation" of Re in Egypt, and that of Aye in Phoenicia and Israel as the "incarnation" of Seth-Baal.

Queen Tiye had numerous royal children through multiple partners. This was not only the source of her great power, but also her boundless pride. However, in the Kings narrative, we get the first indication that the office of "God's Wife," or the exercise of it by Queen Tiye, was not considered by all to be fully honorable. "In the Phoenician language, Jezebel's name may have meant 'Where is the Prince?" which was the cry of Baal's subjects. But the spelling of the Phoenician name has been altered in the Hebrew Bible, perhaps in order to read as 'Where is the excrement [zebel, manure]? - a reference to Elijah's prediction that 'her carcass shall be like dung on the ground' (2 Kings 9:36)."o

Haste Makes Waste

The "word of the Lord" pronounced by Elijah to Ahab (Aye) and Jezebel (Tiye) served as a first warning.p A second offense would be punishable by death. When Ahab was induced by "lying spirits" into attacking Ramoth-Gilead, and his son Jehoshaphat (Iuput) murdered the "king of Israel" (Sheshonq II),q the Lord (Akhenaten) then had the justification he needed to not only kill Ahab but also his entire household. The Libyan dynasty of Sheshonq/Aye was supposed to function as the Egyptian war department. Instead of defeating the rogue prince Shalmaneser III in Mesopotamia, the Libyan princes were more concerned with fighting and killing one another. Therefore, the Libyan throne was to be eliminated altogether. The proverbial "pool of hippopotami which is in the east of Thebes" was to be once again cleared of its boisterous occupants.

What Tiye may not have realized was that against all the gods and goddesses of Egypt, living and dead, Akhenaten would attempt to execute judgment, including his own deified mother. Several years earlier Akhenaten had killed his father Yuya, allegedly in self-defense. He was now determined to rid himself of his mother Tiye as well. Before killing Osorkon I (Joram), the Kings narrative puts the following words in the mouth of Ipy (Jehu): "How can there be peace as long as the idolatry and witchcraft [lit., adulteries and whoredoms] of your mother Jezebel abound."r Ipy made his intent and that of Akhenaten perfectly clear. Queen Tiye was targeted for destruction along with all of her children through Aye.

The anointing of Jehu was done in an inner room.s His kingship in Israel was not to be publicized, at least not until his orders were fulfilled. This operation specifically included killing the sons and wife of Ahab. Moreover, Jezebel was not only to be killed, but her body was to be left unburied and eaten by dogs. However, upon the urging of his men, Jehu vainly divulges his commission. His men "blew the trumpet and shouted, 'Jehu is king!' "t Jehu rides "furiously" to Jezreel and the unsuspecting king Joram is killed outside the city. His body is left exposed in the field.u Ahaziah is wounded but makes it to Megiddo before dying. He thereby assures that he will at least receive a proper burial.

Next, Jehu enters Jezreel and confronts Jezebel wife of Ahab, however the element of surprise is now lost. When Jezebel learns that Jehu has entered the city she makes herself presentable and then taunts Jehu from an upper window. (This is a Biblical allusion to the goddess Hathor (Nin-Ti), archetypal mother of both gods and men, who is often depicted as peering out of a "Window of Appearance.") Jehu urges the queen's bodyguard to betray her. Jezebel is then seized by "two or three"v of her men and thrown out the window to her death. We are told that while Jehu casually takes in a meal, the flesh of Jezebel is eaten by dogs in fulfillment of the words of Elijah.w

The depiction of Jezebel's death is embellished even more than that of her hated husband Ahab. Tiye's well-preserved mummy has been identified with a high degree of certainty on the basis of a matching hair sample from Tut's tomb. She was certainly not devoured by hungry dogs, however the account of Jehu and Jezebel is probably not a complete fabrication. After being warned by sentries or other informants about the "treachery" of Jehu, Queen Tiye took the precaution of using a double. Biblical Jezebel "painted" her face and appeared to Jehu only from a distance. The Hebrew word for paint1 connotes disguise and transference. Queen Tiye did not present herself directly to Ipy, but imputed her image to another. A stand-in applied makeup in order to fool the impetuous Jehu. It would have been this look-alike who suffered the ignominious fate intended for Tiye. It is highly unlikely that two or three of the many servants attending to the actual queen would have broken ranks and thrown her out a window to her death.

Queen Tiye was present at Mt. Sinai, therefore her death could not have occurred prior to the abdication of Akhenaten in his Year 17. Her mummy is in a good state of preservation, which is further indication that she did not suffer the indignity of being thrown to the dogs. However, there is still very good reason to believe that Queen Tiye was threatened by Ipy (Jehu). It may also have been this tactical error that ultimately cost Akhenaten the throne of Egypt and Ipy the throne of Israel. Ipy had given Tiye the ultimate proof that Akhenaten not only wanted her dead, but also had ordered her execution and bodily desecration. Tiye changed her mind and accepted the plan of Aye to depose Akhenaten and place another one of her sons on the throne.

Akhenaten would have been very pleased to hear that Tiye had been destroyed. He may indeed have promised Ipy a four-generation dynasty in Israel as remuneration. Nevertheless, when Akhenaten was deposed, Ipy went down with him. It is doubtful that Ipy received a kingly burial after his treatment of Osorkon and the body double of Queen Tiye. The Kings narrative rationalizes, "Jehu took no heed to walk in the law of the Lord God of Israel with all his heart: for he departed not from the sins of Jeroboam."x Jehu is attributed a reign of 28 years. It is at least possible that a prince of his stature held some kind of kingship for this length of time. However, his rule as a king of Israel would have been exceptionally brief, possibly as little as 28 days. No details of his reign are given other than his attacks on Joram, Ahaziah and Jezebel. It was the successor of Jehu, namely Jehoahaz who ruled for a combined 28 years, 26 years as the Libyan pharaoh Takelot II and possibly more than one year as Ramses I, pharaoh of Egypt.

Daughter of Joseph

As explained above, Jezebel is called the "daughter" of Ethbaal, the wife of Ahab, and the mother of Jehoram. On the other hand, Athaliah is called the daughter of Omri,y the wife of Joram,z and mother of Ahaziah. Queen Tiye was all of these things and more. Only one daughter of Yuya (Omri-Joseph) is known to us, that being Queen Tiye. The name Athaliah is synonymous with that of Maaca,aa and is the epithet of Queen Tiye as wife of Rehoboam-Akhenaten.ab As queen of Libya (Judah), Tiye was referred to by the name or title of Maatkare/Karamat, which she chose in emulation of the earlier Hatshepsut. (Ka-ra-mat is a "Libyan" transposition of Maat-ka-re.) Tiye is depicted as the goddess Ma'at in the tomb of Vizier Ramose, and also in the tomb of Kheruef (TT 192). When the Egyptian gods were desecrated by Akhenaten, the name of Ma'at was spared. This is most likely due its association with Queen Tiye rather than any honoring of the memory of Amenhotep III (praenomen: Neb-Ma'at-Re).

As Libyan queen, Tiye/Maatkare/Karamat (Athaliah/Jezebel) was “mother” of both Osorkon (Joram) and Takelot (Ahaziah) by Aye/Sheshonq (Asa/Ahab). According to archaeology, both the mother of Osorkon and the mother of Osorkon’s son Sheshonq II are named Maatkare. It has been assumed that two different queens shared a common name. However, it is now evident that only one queen was the mother of both. In fact, Queen Tiye was the mother of all, politically and in most cases also biologically! She became the consort of her son Akhenaten (and perhaps other sons as well), and may have even had a daughter (named Beketaten) by Akhenaten. However, in the case of Osorkon, she would have more likely been his sister rather than actual mother. Yet, Sheshonq II very well could still have been their son. In the previous generation the same expectation was placed upon Queen Tia/ Mehtenwesket (Biblical Leah). She may have had at least one son, Milkilu (Baasha), by her own son Osokhor (Issachar). She also attempted, perhaps unsuccessfully, to have children through her son Thutmose IV (Judah).

Coinciding closely with the succession of Akhenaten in his Year 12, Sheshonq II was appointed as High Priest of Amun in Thebes. Iuput surrendered this title to Sheshonq but was allowed to retain the rule of Thebes. By Year 16 of Akhenaten, Sheshonq II had been declared co-regent of Osorkon I and pharaoh in Upper Egypt. Iuput was effectively dispossessed of this franchise as well. The rise of Sheshonq II first to High Priest of Amen and then as pharaoh in Upper Egypt was primarily due to the favor and influence of Queen Tiye. It could have been this prince "Sheshi"ac who was initially expected by Queen Tiye to play the role of the New Kingdom Joshua-Salitis. However, the ever-increasing favor of Sheshonq II in Thebes would have been perceived as treasonous by Akhenaten, and he moved to eliminate that threat. When Sheshonq II was murdered (or at least dramatically removed as High Priest and King), Queen Tiye would have been understandably furious (if it had been done without her consent). Sadly and cynically, her tirade was likely staged (like everything else), and the event used for some other political advantage. She later, and possibly with some (pretended) reluctance, agreed to give the part of Joshua to Tutankhamun, but it may not have originally been intended for him.

The two main impediments to the dynasty of Akhenaten were Aye and Sheshonq II. These same two figures also stood in the way of Iuput. A plan was devised by Akhenaten and/or Iuput to eliminate them both, and at once, while also framing Aye. The Kings narrative indicates that Aye and Sheshonq II were "lured" into attacking Ramoth-Gilead. Sheshonq II was killed by the agency of Iuput. Iuput was not also expected to kill his own father (Aye/Sheshonq I), but he did encourage Aye/Shesonq to commit an act for which he could be put to death by Akhenaten (if convenient). Publicly, it was necessary for Akhenaten to rebuke Iuput for his actions. Privately, he would have praised him and even promised a reward. If Akhenaten was angry with Iuput about anything it would be that he did not make the death of Sheshonq II seem convincing enough. (Note that the emphasis on the place name of Gilead connects to the earlier royal history of the 12th Dynasty when “Prince Gilead” was suppressed.)

According to the Kings narrative, after learning of the death of her son Ahaziah, Queen Athaliah sets about to kill the entire royal family of Judah (Libya).ad However, if the murder of Ahaziah was what set Athaliah off, it does not make sense that she also sought the life of Ahaziah's own son Joash.  It is more likely that the murder of the "king of Israel" (Sheshonq II) three months earlier is what triggered the killing spree. When her beloved son Sheshonq II was murdered by Iuput, Queen Tiye naturally retaliated (or was given ample justification for a planned act of retaliation). At first, Tiye may not have blamed Akhenaten, but only the assassin. Iuput and his “lying prophets” of Amen would have been her primary targets. Although her relationship with Akhenaten was obviously strained or even estranged, she might also have initially sided with Akhenaten in his dynastic feud with Aye, and ordered all of the Libyan princes (that weren’t hers, including and especially Iuput!) to be executed, but certainly not the young son of the still living Ahaziah. The web of intrigue could have eventually forced her to choose between her two families, but at this point the “House of Joseph” seems to have still been holding together by a thin scarlet thread.

Cornered Lion

While the young princes of Libya (Judah) were being killed by Akhenaten and/or Tiye, the administration of Aye in Israel was decimated by Ipy, who was declared by Akhenaten to be King of Israel in the place of Aye. A beleaguered Aye wrote to Akhenaten: "Like a bird in a cage, so am I in Gubla [Byblos]."ae The man who had once imprisoned him was now trapped in a "city of refuge" of his own. However, this was as much satisfaction as Akhenaten would receive. It proved to be a Pyrrhic victory. Rather than resign himself to defeat, disgrace, and ultimately to death, Aye made peace with Horemheb and Ramses and offered them greater kingship in exchange for military aid against Akhenaten, Jehu and Iuput. In doing so, Aye/Sheshonq replaced his fallen sons with a new double dynasty under his regency. Horemheb assumed the Libyan title of Osorkon II and Ramses became Takelot

Akhenaten may yet have prevailed over Aye and secured his throne, but his lack of any true royal son made his continued rule superfluous. It enabled a thoroughly humiliated Aye to persuade Tiye that it was time for Akhenaten to go, and before he find a way to double-cross them both. Ramses and Horemheb had already been convinced to go along with a “new deal.” Aye would have had an even more compelling rationale to offer Tiye. According to the Middle Kingdom precedent, the Exodus and death of Moses (as played by Akhenaten) must precede the reunification of Joshua (as played by Tut and/or Harsiese). Moreover, Tiye was to take her own role to the next level as "Queen of the Exodus" in emulation of Hatshepsut of the late Hyksos Period, Sobeknofru of the Middle Kingdom, Nitocris of the Old Kingdom, and even the goddess Sekhmet of the Sep Tepi. These earlier Great Queens had ruled Egypt during an environment disaster, dynastic collapse and associated expulsion of undesirables.

A Queen's Prerogative

The first Exodus occurred at the end of the Egyptian Middle Kingdom, and was led by the exiled crown prince Auibre Hor (Hammurabi). Amenemhet III was the pharaoh who resisted him and his daughter Sobeknofru was the reigning Queen. In the aftermath of the devastating floods and evacuation that brought down that civilization, Sobeknofru also ruled for a short time as a pharaoh, assuming the praenomen of Sobek-ka-re. After the flood event preceding the Old Kingdom, the mother of Narmer assumed the role of Isis and then Hathor in re-establishing culture and kingship. Every later renaissance in Egyptian history was also preceded by the rise of a female ruler. During the collapse of the Old Kingdom, it was Queen Nitocris. Sobeknofru took the reigns of Egypt during the Exodus of Hammurabi-Moses. This event was especially seen as a repetition of the Great Flood that brought an end to the time of the gods. When the Hyksos Dynasty established by Salitis-Joshua collapsed, several royal women stepped forward to take the role of the goddess in restoring order. Among them were Tetisheri, Nefertari, Isis (Sarah) and finally Hatshepsut. It had come to be expected that each "New Age" had to be founded by a woman. The part was coveted and competed for even as princes fought for traditional male roles.

One basis that Hatshepsut used to justify her pharaonic status was that she had evicted unwanted persons from Egypt, even as the Middle Kingdom queen cum pharaoh Sobeknofru had done. As further identification with Sobeknofru (praenomen Sobek-ka-re), Hatshepsut assumed the praenomen of Maat-ka-re. Hatshepsut also left a very revealing inscription. "As Goedicke translates the text, it tells of a people called the Amu (an Egyptian term for Canaanites), among whom was a group of aliens called the shemau (semites?), who had enjoyed special privileges which Hatshepsut had annulled, and had 'disregarded the tasks assigned to them.' After she allowed these 'abominations of the gods' to depart, the 'father of fathers (who Goedicke identifies with the primeval water god Nun) came unexpectedly' and 'the earth swallowed their footsteps.' To Goedicke, this is nothing less than an Egyptian version of the Exodus ..."ag

Hatshepsut was providing justification for a shift from Babylonian rule over Egypt to what would ultimately lead to Egyptian rule over Babylon. "Asiatics," that is Babylonian ministers and "loyalists" were to be dismissed. Troublesome population groups were to be killed off or dispersed at the same time. This was later referred to generically as the "expulsion of the Hyksos."ah It was actually part of the royal shakeout associated with the founding of the New Kingdom (see Chapters 10-12). As the family "Godfather," Tao I (Apophis I) orchestrated the housecleaning. He was not satisfied with the cooperation he received from either Tao II or Kamose. Both of these co-regents were killed and replaced by Thutmose I, a man who did not flinch in shedding blood. As the leading daughter of Thutmose I, Hatshepsut recognized her own opportunity for greatness.

Shortly after the death of Thutmose I, there was a power struggle between Hatshepsut and Thutmose III (son of Thutmose I). Thutmose III prevailed and Hatshepsut was killed. For this reason, Thutmose III was seen as an avenging and unifying Joshua figure. After the Middle Kingdom Exodus, Salitis (Joshua-Reu) reunited the empire and was then succeeded by Yakub-hor (Patriarch Serug). Likewise, in the New Kingdom, Thutmose III was succeeded by Amenhotep II, who was typecast as a Jacob-figure. However, at some point during the New Kingdom, there was a change in guiding philosophy. It likely occurred toward the end of the reign of Thutmose III or during the early reign of Amenhotep II.

The legitimacy of the role of Hatshepsut as a repetition of Queen/Pharaoh Sobeknofru, the "Queen of the Exodus," was rejected. It was argued that a true Exodus was to occur after a revival of Egyptian culture, as in the Middle Kingdom, and not after a prolonged time of neglect in Egypt. The statues and memory of Hatshepsut were literally buried. Thereafter, Amenhotep II was not considered to be a repetition of the Hyksos king Jacob (Yakub-Hor), but the Jacob of the Middle Kingdom, Senusret II.  Likewise, Thutmose III was thereafter looked upon more as a repetition of the great Middle Kingdom conqueror Senusret III rather than as Joshua/Salitis of the Hyksos Period. As a consequence, this meant that the New Kingdom Exodus was yet to be fulfilled.

In Year 17 of Akhenaten, Queen Tiye became convinced that the time for that New Kingdom Exodus had come. With, or perhaps even without her consent, Aye and other senior members of the royal family had already decided to depose Akhenaten. Queen Tiye may have had little choice but to support them. Yet, if her own life had been genuinely threatened by Akhenaten, she most likely did so willingly. In the Torah, there is the memory of Jethro (Aye) escorting Zipporah (Tiye) along with her sons to Mt. Sinai. We are told in the Book of Exodus that Moses (Akhenaten) had previously sent them away. After the "death" of Amenhotep III and Yuya, Tiye took up residence at Akhet-aten, not as Queen Mother, but as Chief Royal Wife of Akhenaten. However, the last evidence of her at Akhet-aten from archaeology is in Year 14 of her son.

"God is not a Man"ai

At Mt. Sinai, "The Lord replied to Moses, 'Whosoever hath sinned against me, him will I blot out of my book."aj It was the role of Isis-Sheshat-Maatak to record the events of Thoth. "She was closely associated with Thoth, the god of wisdom. Her chief duties were connected with the writing of history. A king was considered very fortunate if his deeds were recorded by her."al Isis was also a goddess of war and a killer of men. With Isis as her role model, Queen Tiye etched out many a prince and prophet from the "Book of Life." She had earlier determined to blot out every royal male in the kingdom of Judah (Libya).

After arriving at Mt. Sinai, one last prince was put to death for "sinning" against Queen Tiye. This was the crown prince Smenkhkare. With Smenkhkare dead and the royal entourage in mourning, the Lord declares, "My name is Jealous." This is a word play based on the names of Smenkhkare/Smenkhara and Maatkara with the Hebrew word qana, "jealous." Smenkhkare had been zealous for his father Akhenaten to the point of condemning his It was now Queen Tiye's turn to show herself jealous. And her rage burned toward both Smenkhkare and Akhenaten. Again, how much of this was real as opposed to play-acting is hard to say. Yet, for Smenkhkare, this meant immediate (and judging by his mummy, literal) death. For Smenkhkare this meant immediate (and evidently, literal) death.

There was no such precedent/mandate for killing Akhenaten, even if his “sins” were greater! Queen Tiye had agreed to be the New Kingdom Queen of Exodus. With Smenkhkare dead in the Sinai camp, Tiye states that her "presence," literally her "face," would go with the people. Queen Tiye was implicitly the God who required Akhenaten to fulfill the role of Moses in leading that Exodus. This included the removal of diseased Egyptians/Israelites from the Delta. Queen Tiye was also "the Lord" and "the Almighty"an who would not allow Balaam (Tut) to curse the people burdening Balak (Akhenaten) and thereby terminate the mission prematurely. If Akhenaten performed his responsibility honorably, then he would be allowed to "see God,"ao that is, he would perhaps be restored to some semblance of favor, not necessarily sexual, or perhaps at least be provided with a kingly burial. If not, he would be executed and his body desecrated, even as he had perhaps intended for Tiye.

A Season for Treason

The murder of Sheshonq II by Iuput son of Aye became the watershed event of the Amarna Period. The fate of Iuput, the presumed assassin of Sheshonq II, is not known. Because Iuput (Jehoshaphat) was a highly venerated and popular king of Judah, there would have been considerable motivation to obscure his role in the death of Sheshonq II, as well as his disgrace and death in punishment for it. The Hebrew name of Sheshonq II is not given in the account of the battle of Ramoth Gilead in which Sheshonq II was assassinated. Possibly Iuput reveled in the rule of Thebes once again for a short time, but it was to last no more than a few months. He could have died from some illness or taken his own life. More likely, Iuput (Jehoshaphat) lost the rule of Thebes and his life when Queen Tiye (Jezebel/Athaliah) used the “death” of Sheshonq II to suppress Iuput, who was not her son.

Upon the downfalls of Sheshonq II, Osorkon and Takelot, Tiye personally took over the rule of Thebes (Jerusalem) as "God's Wife." Even after Akhenaten was deposed, Tiye continued in this capacity. There is no indication that she assumed pharaonic titles for herself, however she was following the precedent of Sobeknofru in ruling as a king during the Exodus of Akhenaten. Biblical Queen Athaliah is said to have ruled Jerusalem (Thebes) for six years. The deaths of Sheshonq II and Takelot I (Ahaziah) took place in Year 16 of Akhenaten. This places the death of Tiye in Year 4 or 5 of Tutankhamun, which is also well after the election of Harsiese. (So, we must remain open to the possibility that the election of Harsiese was actually delayed until this time.)

By Year 4 of Tut, the New Kingdom Exodus was considered finished and the city of Akhet-aten was abandoned. The role not only of Akhenaten but also that of Tiye had been fulfilled. It was also increasingly evident by then that Tutankhamun was physically incapable of fulfilling the role of Joshua (or producing royal children). At some point, further support of his kingship by Queen Tiye would have been perceived by some as futile and a hindrance to real recovery and progress. The life of the even younger prince Harsiese had been saved from the execution order of Queen Tiye. This was likely contrived in order to strengthen his typecasting as a Joshua-Horus figure (ala the infant Hercules being threatened by Queen Hera). The name Harsiese means, “Horus son of Isis,” and he would have been the grandson of the former New Kingdom Isis (now the fearsome Hathor), Queen Tiye. Increasingly, the eggs of the next generation of Isis-figures had to be placed in the basket of Harsiese, and he may not have showed any more promise as he reached puberty. In retrospect, the handwriting was already on the wall for the fabled House of Joseph.

Possibly, Tiye only forfeited her Libyan identity in order to create the spectacle that was Harsiese’s “coming out” party, but that’s a somewhat open question. The Bible calls Harsiese by the name of “Joash son of Ahaziah.” However, the birth of Harsiese corresponded quite closely to the appointment of Sheshonq II as High Priest and/or Pharaoh. It was expedient for Harsiese to also be considered the successor of Sheshonq II (as well as his “father” Osorkon). Harsiese was a bona fide male descendant of Thutmose IV/Nimlot A (Judah), but perhaps not the only surviving male offspring. The habitual complainer Panehesy (Jeroboam) comes readily to mind, and he would in fact have something more to say about the succession!

In order to overthrow Akhenaten, as well as save his very life, Aye appointed Horemheb and Ramses as his successors in the Libyan throne. However, there seems to have been some promise (2 Kings 11:12) made by Amenhotep II/Sheshonq A (Jacob) to Thutmose IV/Nimlot A (Judah/"David IV") that a male descendant of his would always sit on the throne of Libya (Judah). Ramses and Horemheb were both descendants of David (Thutmose III). Ramses may also have been the grandson of Thutmose IV through his mother. However, neither he nor Horemheb could claim male descent from Thutmose IV. Any surviving male descendants of Thutmose IV (Judah) would have rightfully objected to their election as pharaohs of Libya (Judah). Panehesy, for one, became the son-in-law of Ramses (Takelot II) in order to rehabilitate his own claim.

The mother of Joash is named as Zibiah from Beersheba.  This name appears to be a variant of Jehosheba/Jehoshebeath, the "sister of Ahaziah" who also acted to hide Joash.  This isn’t quite enough information to positively identify her within the royal family.  Depending on exactly when Harsiese was born, his mother could have been any of the three daughters of Akhenaten.  (According to the research of Immanuel Velikovsky, only Ankhesenamun was willing to risk her life to bury Smenkhkare.  Perhaps it was because she was the mother of his second son. See next chapter for further analysis.)  She seems to have later become the wife of the priest Iuwelot (“Jehoiada”)  It is Jehoiada, the putative stepfather of Joash, who brings the young prince out of hiding. Iuwelot ("Jehoiada the priest") was considered a political son of Aye and later of Horemheb.2 In Year 4 or 5 of Tutankhamun, Iuwelot "conspired" against Queen Tiye (Athaliah) or her Libyan alter ego Maekare/Karamat and declared the youthful Harsiese (Joash) to be the rightful king of Upper Egypt (Judah). The son of the former king Takelot was placed on the kingly throne of his father.

The Biblical narrative mentions no official reaction to Athaliah being put to the sword by Jehoiada. The people of the land rejoice that a true descendant (as if they would really know) of Judah (Thutmose IV) had been crowned, however a hush fell over the city of Thebes.ap The reigning "Queen of the Universe" for the past 40 years was dead, or so it appeared. Seven years earlier she had no intention of killing her own grandson Harsiese, nor would her brother Aanen (the still living and active “Jehoiada/Jeho-Jada”) have bumped her off on account of it. Her death was therefore likely staged (again), and once again for dramatic effect. She would have been the only queen that most Thebans had ever known, and a symbol of the city's unsurpassed splendor. Despite her excesses, she would have been deeply revered, if not fully loved.

  1. Tiye and Aye likely had the same mother but different fathers. Yuya (Joseph) was the father of Tiye, and Thutmose IV (Judah) was the father of Aye (Ephraim).
  2. Panehesy is the subject of the next chapter.
  3. 1 Kings 16:31 (KJV)
  4. Compare the name of Jethro (Eth-Ra).
  5. The Hebrew name Jonah means, "coupling like a pigeon," from yayin
  6. Obed, "to bind, oppress," is one epithet of Solomon. In the Amarna letters, Aye refers to one of his many political marriages as a "connubial" with the king of Tyre.
  7. For the association of Senusret and Ephraim, see Chapter 7.
  8. One of the Egyptian hieroglyphs for a bird is used as a determinative for "evil or small." See Barbara Mertz, Temples, Tombs and Hieroglyphs, p 252.
  9. Amarna letter pen name Rib-Addi
  10. NIN sa URU Gubla, "Lady of the City Gubla (Byblos)"
  11. EA 73, from Rib-Addi to Amon-appa
  12. Translations in W. Moran, The Amarna Letters.
  13. See EA 77, 86 & 109.
  14. The Oxford History of Ancient Egypt, Ian Shaw, ed., p 327.
  15. Janet Howe Gaines, "How Bad was Jezebel?" in Bible Review, Oct 2000, p 20.
  16. 1 Kings 21:17-24
  17. This double event was discussed in the previous chapter.
  18. 2 Kings 9:22
  19. 2 Kings 9
  20. 2 Kings 9:13
  21. Osorkon (Joram) is referred to as Mut-Baal in the Amarna Letters during the reign of Amenhotep III. In the reign of Akhenaten, Yuya is perhaps the commissioner Pawura ("The Great One") who was killed and left unburied. See EA 124:41-52, 131:22, 132:45 & 362:69. Nevertheless, the real Yuya received a proper royal burial.
  22. 2 Kings 9:32
  23. The adulterous wife in the Egyptian "Tale of Two Brothers" was also eaten by dogs.
  24. 2 Kings 10:31 (KJV)
  25. The NIV translation makes Athaliah the granddaughter rather than the daughter of Omri, because of the apparent chronological difficulty.
  26. There is conflation and confusion between the two Biblical kings named Joram/Jehoram, as well as with other doublets in the Kings narrative, for example Joash/Jehoash, Ahaziah/Jehoahaz, and Jeroboam the Elder/Jeroboam the Younger. Each of these will be discussed in turn.
  27. Both names, Maacah and Athaliah, connote "constrained, pierced," and signify a princess who has married and become a queen.
  28. 1 Kings 15:2. See detailed commentary in Chapter 18, Endnote 1.
  29. Sheshi was an epithet of the Hyksos king Salitis, the archetypal Joshua.
  30. 2 Kings 11:1, 2 Chron. 22:10
  31. EA 74, translation in W. Moran, The Amarna Letters.
  32. After the death of Takelot I, Osorkon II is thought to have sent alabaster to Ahab at Samaria. (Donald Redford, Egypt, Canaan, and Israel in Ancient Times, p 339) Osorkon II also called himself "king of upper and lower Retenu," which included Israel.
  33. Robert Schiller, Distant Secrets, p 128, referring to the theory of Egyptologist Hans Goedicke.
  34. The writings of Josephus helped to popularize the notion that the Exodus was associated with the "Expulsion of the Hyksos."
  35. Num 23:19
  36. Exodus 32:33 (KJV)
  37. This goddess was also called Sefkhet-Aabut.
  38. Anthony Mercatante, Who's Who in Egyptian Mythology, p 140.
  39. This will be covered in Chapter 24.
  40. Hebrew Shaddai, "Breast."
  41. This is an expression used in Manetho's account of the Exodus.
  42. 2 Kings 11:20, 2 Chron. 23:21. Chronicles does not mention Jezebel, but does repeat the story of Athaliah from Kings.

Note 1:

paint (7760) suwm/siym, a primitive root; to put (used fig., infer. and ellip.): - any wise, appoint, bring, call [a name], care, cast in, change, charge, commit, consider, convey, determine, + disguise, dispose, do, get, give, heap up, hold, impute, lay (down, up), leave, look, make (out), mark, + name, x on, ordain, order, + paint, place preserve, purpose, put (on), + regard, rehearse, reward, (cause to) set (on, up), shew, + steadfastly, take, x tell, + tread down, [(over-]) turn, x wholly, work.

(6320) puwk, to paint; dye (spec. stibium for the eyes): fair colours, glistering, paint

Note 2:

The name Iu-we-lot is a variant of Nim-lot. [We ~ Nim ; Iu ~ Je ~ Amen]

Nimlot A is the Libyan name of Thutmose IV (Judah). Nimlot B was called the son of Sheshonq I/Aye. Nimlot C was called the son of Osorkon II. Both Nimlot B and Nimlot C held the post of Military Commander at Herakleopolis. They are presently considered to be separate individuals for chronological reasons. However, there is no need to suppose two persons in the framework proposed here. Sheshonq I and Osorkon II were full contemporaries. It is more difficult to say whether Iuwelot is the same as Nimlot, or that Mutnodjme was simply a “Libyan” name of Nefertiti. Regardless, it seems clear that the coronation of Harsiese was carefully orchestrated by Queen Tiye and Aanen with cooperation from both Aye and Horemheb. Unfortunately, Harsiese did not turn out to be any more viable as a Joshua-figure than Tutanakhamun and was removed from power at the same time.

It was Osorkon II who is thought to have officially appointed Harsiese as High Priest of Amun. However, this could only have been done by direction or consent of his own Libyan overlord Sheshonq-Aye (and Queen Tiye). If the mother of Harsiese was a daughter of Osorkon II, this would have made Harsiese the grandson of both Sheshonq-Aye and Osorkon-Horemheb. The daughters of Nefertiti (Mutnodjme?) probably had priority, however we don’t know that all of the daughters of Akhenaten were literally sired by him. Certainly his sons Smenkhkare and Tutankhamun were not his own. To the point, Meritaten could then be one and the same as the leading daughter of Osorkon II/Horemheb. See Chart 17.
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