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 26
"A Double Portion"
(Smenkhkare Prepares the Way for Tutankhamun)


Name Associations

Torah Names Kings/Chronicles Names Greek Names Egyptian Names
Jacob-Israel Composite Solomon Dakos Amenhotep II
Sheshonq A
Leah
(wife of Jacob)
Ahijah, Ginath   Tia
Mehtenwesket
Rachel
(wife of Jacob)
Atarah   Merit-Amon
 
By Rachel, two sons
 
1) Joseph
(Reuel/Amram)
Abishalom, Uriel, Omri
Nebat I
Laius, Menoikeus Yuya, Irhuleni
Imram
Asenath ("Egyptian" wife of Joseph)   Tuya
Manasseh
(Aaron)
Jeroboam the Elder
Amon, "Ruler of the City"
Amariah
(Kith-)Airon Aanen, Mery-Re I
Amon-appa/
Amarnappa
Ephraim
(Ithra/Jethro)
(Eleasar)
Asa/Shaul, Shishak, Ahab
Jerimoth, Nebat II
Asocheus, Creon Aye, Sheshonq I
Lab'ayu, Ayyab
Addaya, Rib-Addi
Jochebed
(Zipporah)
Naamah, Maacah, Abihail
Jezebel, Athaliah, Zeruah
Zerephath
Joacaste, Merope
Eurydice
Tiye, Lady of Gubla, Yzebel
  Solomon, Eth-Baal Polybos/Polybus Amenhotep III
Moses
(Balak)
Rehoboam, Nimshi, Shaphat
(son of Naamah & Abishalom)
Oedipus, Hermaeus
Phaethon
Amenhotep IV
Akhenaten
Eliezer Elijah, Abijah, Abijam, Mesha Eteocles (A), Elias Smenkhkare
Gershom/Joshua
(Balaam)
Elisha, 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
(Hamor)
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

"I Must Decrease, He Must Increase"

Before introducing the prophet Elisha and his ministry, the Kings narrative first outlines the life, and implicitly the death, of Elijah. A similar technique was used with respect to the great King Solomon. He does not share the stage with any of his many notable contemporaries. Their stories are delayed in the narrative until his is finished. However, in the presentation of Elijah we encounter a new twist. His story is told in two passes. In the first he stands alone against the wicked Ahab. In the second he is served by Elisha and transfers the prophetical anointing to him prior to being taken away by "chariots of fire" into the land of Moab.

The first account of Elijah concludes in 1 Kings 19 after Elijah meets with the Lord on Mt. Horeb. Elijah did not leave Mt. Horeb alive, but was "struck down" for insubordination. However, at the very point where a description of his death is expected, Elijah is told, "Go back the way you came!" As if by a magic spell, both Elijah and the narrative return - not only to a place, but also in time to an earlier meeting between this same father and son.a Instead of revealing the nature of his undoing, the author recalls the fateful "word of the Lord" spoken to Elijah about three years prior. It would be the zeal of Elijah in carrying out this command that led to his premature death on Mt. Horeb.b

The second account of Elijah begins with that former command of the "Lord" (Akhenaten) instructing Elijah (Smenkhkare) to go and declare Hazael king of Aram in Damascus, Jehu king of Israel, and finally Elisha as prophet. However, rather than going to Damascus, the fifteen-year-old Elijah first finds six-year-old Elisha (Tut). Elijah is old enough to recognize the danger of his mission. Cursorily, he throws his priestly gown over the back of Elisha and then turns to leave his kid brother behind. However, Elisha is excited to see Elijah and naturally wants to go away with him. Elijah only reluctantly agrees. Elisha has little idea of what lies ahead. He thinks only to kiss his mother and father goodbye before going off on the adventure. His parents are evidently not available to give him their blessing, but Elisha is determined to follow after Elijah anyway. Two of the twelve oxen of Elisha are symbolically slaughtered for the benefit of the local people, and then he joins the company of Elijah.

Before being named as successor, the favored son of a king typically held the office of priest-prophet. This was the traditional progression from heir apparent to crown prince. When Elijah passes the cloak of prophet to Elisha, he does so in order to accept the higher calling of kingship. The so-called ascension of Elijah corresponds to the appointment of Smenkhkare as co-regent of Akhenaten. As such, Smenkhkare was considered to be a living god. However, the short reign of Smenkhkare was far from heavenly. He was asked to feign rebellion against his "Lord" and father Akhenaten. This required him to go into "hiding" and lead an armed resistance from across the Jordan. While pretending to seize the lands of Akhenaten, he was actually working to defeat the archenemies of his father, most especially Aye.

Son of the Sun

The name Elisha is a variant of Joshua, and the primary Biblical epithet of the young prince Tutankhamun. He was groomed, probably from birth, by his father to be the second coming of the Middle Kingdom Joshua (Abi-eshuuh/Salitis/Sheshi).c Elisha, and especially the fuller form of Eli-shua,d would have been a more acceptable name than that of Jo-shua to Akhenaten.e Elisha is further designated as the son of Shaphat from Abel Meholah. Shaphat refers to Akhenaten the father of Tut. The name Shaphat means "judge, punish, plead, rule"f and reflects the characterization of Akhenaten as a repetition of Hammurabi-Moses and of the god Re. The customary prefix of Jeho- is omitted in the case of Akhenaten. In contrast to his minister Iuput (Jehoshaphat), Akhenaten was not a patron of Amen.

The place name Abel Meholah represents the city of Akhet-aten. Abelg is a "plain or meadow." Meholahh means, "dancing," and is derived from the Hebrew word chiyl, "to twist or whirl (in a circular or spiral manner), i.e., (spec.) to dance, to writhe in pain (especially of parturition) or fear; figuratively. . be in pain, (be) sorrow(-ful), travail (with pain), tremble, be wounded." The name Abel-Meholah, meaning both "Field of Festival" and "Plain of Pain," well captures the essence of Akhetaten. The art and architecture of the experimental new city suggest that a stark desert bluff had been transformed into a meadow of merriment, but this only masked its true identity as a mead of need, a town of torment, and a mesa of madness.

Isaiah 53:3-4 (KJV) describes Jesus (Joshua II/Tut-Osiris) as "a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief . smitten of God, and afflicted." The NIV translates "acquainted with grief" as "familiar with suffering." As a child growing up in the city of Akhet-aten, Tut would have been surrounded by suffering. Moreover, Tut himself was a sickly child. Although only a young boy, he was afforded with a tomb of his own at Akhet-aten. His older brother Smenkhkare was not. Smenkhkare was a "Theban." In his tomb, Tutankhamun was referred to as Tutu for short. Tutu or Utu was the Syrian name for Thoth as Sun God. It was an appropriate epithet for Tut in Akhetaten, a city dedicated to the sun.

The Spirit of Elijah

After the "call" of Elisha, the next episode involving Elijah occurs two chapters later, beginning with 1 Kings 21:17. Elisha is presumably with him, however this is not made explicit. Elijah receives a "word of the Lord" directing him to condemn Ahab and Jezebel for the murder of Naboth and seizure of his property. Akhenaten did not want Aye to exercise the kingly prerogative of taking life. This was to be reserved for himself alone. Surprisingly, Ahab repents of his actions and humbles himself before the "Lord" (Akhenaten). This prompts another message to Elijah from the Lord granting a temporary reprieve. Ahab would be allowed to live, however his "house" was to be destroyed upon his death.

The murder of Naboth and denouncement of Elijah coincides with Year 15 of Akhenaten. The unauthorized attack on Ramoth-Gilead and the murder of a king of Israel (Sheshonq II) by Jehoshaphat occurred as much as a year later, but is described in the very next chapter (1 Kings 22). Contrary to the narrative, Ahab did not die in this battle, however his participation did give "the Lord" just cause to rescind the stay of execution. There is no need for the Biblical author to mention that the Lord changed his mind and followed through on his earlier threat to kill Ahab. It is not necessary, because in the Kings narrative the death of Ahab occurs (out of chronological order) before the destruction of his "house."

The sequence of events, as told, is still consistent with the "word of the Lord" spoken through Elijah (Smenkhkare), that is, the death of Ahab would precede that of his sons. In actuality, the sons of Ahab were executed well before Ahab's death. After the battle of Ramoth-Gilead, "the Lord" (Akhenaten) did everything within his power to destroy Ahab (Aye), his family and his political administration. In the Kings narrative, the "House of Ahab" is dismantled by Jehu (Ipy, the Steward of Akhenaten). As an incentive to do a thorough job, Jehu is appointed as King of Israel in the place of Aye. Although a highly motivated hit man, both Ahab (Aye) and Jezebel (Tiye) would escape his capture and execution.

Shortly after the battle of Ramoth-Gilead, Elijah again speaks on behalf of the Lord (Akhenaten), this time against an injured King Ahaziah (Takelot I). The floor of an upper room had collapsed and Ahaziah fell through. This proved to be a bad omen in that it coincided with his fall from grace with the Lord. Ahaziah would not get the chance to fully recover from his accident. After being sentenced to death, Ahaziah sends messengers to Elijah. Elijah stands on a hill and scorches these messengers of Ahaziah with a "sun gun."i In fulfillment of the word of the Lord through Elijah, Ahaziah was himself soon to be shot down by Jehu (Ipy). Ahaziah survived his fall, but not Jehu falling upon him. The collapse of the family of Ahab, led to the rise not only of Jehu but also that of two other princes from the house of Reuben. After the death of Ahaziah, we are told that there was no one else strong enough within the family of Ahab to fight on his behalf. Ahab (Sheshonq I/Aye) was forced to replace his fallen sons with Joram II/Jehoram (Osorkon II/Horemheb) and Ahaziah II/Jehoahaz (Takelot II/Ramses).j

The death of Ahaziah recorded in 2 Kings 1 is followed by another chronological break in the narrative. The next episode is dated to the time "when the Lord would take up Elijah."k The taking up (away) of Elijah (Smenkhkare) was associated with his election as co-regent (in Year 15) of Akhenaten. This occurred before the assassinations of Ahaziah and Joram by Jehu (in Year 16 of Akhenaten). In 2 Kings 2, Elisha (Tut) follows Elijah (Smenkhkare) across the Jordan where "chariots of fire" take Elijah from him into the land of Moab. As Elisha returns home, the opportunity is not wasted to cultivate his image as Joshua.l Elisha as Joshua parts the waters of the Jordan and crosses over. He then accepts the "submission" of prophets in Jericho, who prostrate themselves in recognition of his royalty and recent promotion to the vacated priestly office of Elijah.

A Man Set Against His Fatherm

In the very next chapter, 2 Kings 3, disciplinary action is undertaken against the wayward Mesha king of Moab. Mesha would appear to be one and the same as the rebel Mesh of the Amarna letters, who had perhaps moved his base of operations to a more remote location across the Jordan in Moab. However, this turns out to be misleading. In the Kings narrative, it is Elijah/Abijah who has just been transported to this region. The Amarna royals were "seeing double." There was Jeroboam the Elder and Jeroboam the Younger, there was Joram and Jehoram, there was Joash and Jehoash, and there was Ahaziah and Jehoahaz. Mesh and Mesha also represent separate individuals. Mesh of the Amarna letters was the Egyptian prince Panehesy. Mesha King of Moab, as he is called in the Bible, was an alias of Smenkhkare.

Smenkhkare was the first successor of Akhenaten (Rehoboam/Moses II). Like all other major Egyptian New Kingdom figures, he was patterned after an archetype from the Middle Kingdom. The first successor of Hammurabi (Eber/Moses I) had been Samsu-iluna, the Biblical Joktan ("diminished"). Samsu-iluna served as the co-regent of Hammurabi for 30 years. However, all of the many sons of Samsu-iluna were ultimately passed over for succession in favor of Abi-eshuuh (Joshua I/Salitis). The royal family of the New Kingdom was anxious for the history of the Middle Kingdom to repeat itself. What took Samsu-iluna of the Middle Kingdom thirty years to do, the New Kingdom Smenkhkare accomplished in less than three. He, like his role model Samsu-iluna, was "destined to be diminished." The New Kingdom Smenkhkare was subsequently replaced by Tutankhamun, who was himself being groomed as a second Joshua (Abi-esuuh).

It can be deduced that the Egyptian name of Samsu-iluna had also been Smenkhkare, and that the eldest son of Amenhotep IV/Akhenaten was therefore deliberately named after him. The Smenkhkare of the Middle Kingdom bore the epithet of Imyro-mesha, "The General."n Emulating his Middle Kingdom namesake, Smenkhkare son of Akhenaten also adopted the epithet of Mesha. The "Lord" Akhenaten decided to use the precedent of Middle Kingdom Smenkhkare to his advantage against family rivals. Smenkhkare was a veritable clone of his father Akhenaten. However, the designated role of Smenkhkare was to play the unruly son. Smenkhkare was instructed to withhold his tribute from Akhenaten,o act insolently toward all authority, and begin raiding the holdings of other kings, especially those of Aye. He was encouraged to be zealous but wild in his conduct. He became defiant of the family elders and campaigned dangerously out of control. Father and son also pretended to be alienated. Consistent with this, the epithet "beloved of Waenre (Akhenaten)" was dropped from Smenkhkare's name.

In Greek memory, Eteocles (Smenkhkare) and Polyneices (Panehesy) were "twins." They shared an almost identical epithet, Mesh/Mesha. In Hebrew, Mesha has two meanings. Mesha (4331) means "departure" and derives from a verb meaning "to depart through the idea of receding by contact." Mesha (4337/4338) means "safety" and derives from a primitive root meaning "to be open, wide or free."1 Panehesy broke away from the royal family, staged a broad upheaval in the Egyptian territory of Israel, and achieved a measure of independence. However, Akhenaten decided that this role more properly belonged to his own son, and arranged for Smenkhkare to take kingship in the Trans-Jordan as the rogue Mesha of Moab. The life of Smenkhkare was being carefully scripted by "the Lord." Yet, it is not entirely clear at any given moment whether he remained faithful to his father or ultimately became truly free (as Panehesy did) and a rebel in every sense of the word. We cannot be sure who was playing or being played by whom, and this also would have been a constant source of concern for the protagonists themselves.

The archetypal Moses had faced the challenge of having an overzealous and even rebellious co-regent. Perhaps Hammurabi (Moses I) had managed to curb the actions of Samsu-iluna and keep him more or less in line. Perhaps not, and this is why Samsu-iluna was ultimately disgraced. The succession was denied to a son of Samsu-iluna and went to another prince, Abi-eshuuh. It was the role of Akhenaten to do the same as his Middle Kingdom archetype. However, as in other instances, Akhenaten either does not recognize his appointed part, refuses to accept it, or chooses to creatively redefine it.

Brother Against Brother

Shortly after Smenkhkare began this deceptively divisive program, Akhenaten authorized a coalition of subordinate kings to purportedly bring him back into the fold. However, it is clear that Akhenaten did not want Smenkhkare to be seriously threatened. Akhenaten was secretly directing and supporting him. He only intended to give the appearance that Smenkhkare was acting independently. In the Kings narrative, the expeditionary force against Mesha-Smenkhkare is led by Joram (or Jehoram) of Israel, Jehoshaphat of Judah and an unnamed king of Edom.p Instead of taking a direct route, they first march seven days through the desert at which time their water supply is exhausted.

Jehoram understandably begins to suspect that he has been set up by "the Lord" in order to be defeated by Mesha of Moab. Jehoshaphat (Iuput) knows what is going to happen next. However, rather than reassure the King of Israel himself, he calls upon Elisha to "predict" the flow of water that will be produced for the army the following morning. Elisha is encouraged to become more proficient in the office of prophet by speaking on behalf of "the Lord" to the kings of Edom and Israel.q Jehoshaphat has one of his "officers" proclaim that Elisha son of Shaphat "used to pour water on the hands of Elijah." This suggests that Elijah is now dead, however he has only taken on a new identity, that of Mesha. Elisha is now called upon to announce the pouring out of water for an army sent to confront his beloved brother Elijah!

The normally eager young prince does not want to perform for the King of Israel and becomes testy. In so many words he tells Joram that he should consult the gods of his own mommy and daddy. Joram repeats his suspicion to Elisha, perhaps half teasing and half taunting: "the Lord hath called these three kings together to deliver them into the hand of Moab."r Young Elisha then becomes flustered and exposes his devotion both to "the Lord" (Akhenaten) and to Jehoshaphat (Iuput). He spouts: "As surely as the Lord Almighty lives, whom I serve, if I did not have respect for the presence of Jehoshaphat, I would not look at you or even notice you."s (Nanny, nanny, boo, boo!) Although Elisha has disdain for Joram king of Israel, he has only the highest esteem for Iuput himself. This reflects both the bias of the author toward Iuput, and the good relations at the time between Akhenaten and Iuput.

War was as much a seasonal sport as it was serious conquest. The insouciance of kings for battle is astonishing. There was little or no mercy for commoners, however it is clear that kings were playing by an entirely different set of rules. If a royal person was captured, they were not usually put to death, unless their actions were in unequivocal violation of a treaty. The death penalty was normally reserved for a second clear offence. Moreover, in these rules of engagement, the sons of a king were not punished for the "sins" of their father. It was something of a "catch, tag and release" policy. The losing king would be forced to make concessions to the victor, however he would not likely pay with his life. Possibly for this reason kings were willing to take even a small child into battle.

During this time, Elisha (Tut) was not a king, but a very young tanistt in training. However, due to the orchestrated defiance of Smenkhkare (Elijah) and his "destiny to be diminished," preparation of the young Tutankhamun was accelerated. In addition to his more distant ancestor Joshua, Tut had a double billing as the latest incarnation of David. The name Tut is translated as "image" in Egyptian, however it is also an obvious transliteration of David (Dvd/Dod/Dud), the "beloved." The darling little Tut was brought along to Moab as something more than a talisman. The opportunity to establish him even at this tender age as a David-in-the-making could not be wasted.

Elisha does not show any direct animosity toward the unnamed king of Edom, who probably represents Ahab (see below). However, rather than allying himself with Edom, Elisha was more interested in smiting them as his role model David had done. David [Thutmose I] had been particularly severe in his treatment of both Edom and Moab. "He made them lie down on the ground and measured them off with a length of cord. Every two lengths of them were put to death, and the third length was allowed to live."u Elisha (Tut) was encouraged to share the capacity of David for extremes in tolerance and anger, liberality and severity.v The zeal of David included killing seventy of his own brothers. Despite the natural attachment of Elisha for his big brother Elijah, he was now deliberately pitted against him, at least in practice. Elisha recites a prepared statement for the three kings: "Ye shall smite every fenced city, and every choice city, and shall fell every good tree, and stop all wells of water, and mar every good piece of land with stones."w

The pharaohs named Amenhotep were stylized as intellectual, restrained, and as worriers. On the other hand, those named Thutmose were seen as physical, spontaneous, and as warriors. The Biblical King David (composite of Thutmose I & III) is especially characterized by his capacity for extremes both in generosity and brutality. Tutankhamun not only assumed this open role, but in many ways he redefined it. Royal princes after Tutankhamun continued to strive for fulfillment of this evolving kingly ideal, including one in the 1st Century AD. This model represented a melding of New Kingdom pharaonic stereotypes (Amenhotep and Thutmose), the ultimate ruler, and especially the perfect god-man. In other words, a complete impossibility!

A Voice Crying in the Wilderness

The punitive measure against Smenkhkare had to be convincing. According to the Kings narrative the battle became quite convincing and the inexperienced crown prince may have panicked. "Then he took his eldest son that should have reigned in his stead, and offered him for a burnt offering upon the wall, and there was great indignation against Israel: and they departed from him."x This act certainly would have given the impression that Smenkhkare's rebellion was not being feigned. The sacrifice of his own son was the strongest denouncement of his father that Smenkhkare could make. Akhenaten naturally would have been indignant that the "three kings" sent as a token disciplinary force had pressed Smenkhkare so hard that he sacrificed his son to Baal-Chemosh in desperation. The eldest son of Smenkhkare represented the continuation of Akhenaten's dynasty to a third generation. It seems unimaginable that Akhenaten would have required Smenkhkare to do this, but he may have only been following precedent. Samsu-iluna, the Middle Kingdom Smenkhkare (Joktan II) was disgraced. Nevertheless, one of his many sons, possibly not his eldest, Ammi-ditana (Serug/Boaz), had regained the throne after the death of Abi-eshuuh (Reu/Joshua) without heir.

Irrespective of whether or not the sacrifice of the eldest son of Smenkhkare had a precedent, it would have had an intensely repulsive effect upon all who witnessed it. The three kings called off the battle and returned home in disgust. Times of extreme famine and disease, such as existed in the Amarna Period, would have induced greater offerings in order to appease angry gods. Parents would also have been more inclined to sacrifice children that they could not provide for. The cult of Seth/Baal condoned and perhaps even required child sacrifice. However, the sacrifice of a healthy royal child, especially a prince, by the biological parent must have been extremely rare. Yet, the sacrifice made by Mesha was only a prelude of horrors to come. A short time later, dozens of princes of all ages would be put to death. Mesha-Smenkhkare would himself be "sacrificed" by his own parents, Queen Tiye and Akhenaten.

Famous Last Words

Despite the pruning of his land and forces by the "three kings," Smenkhkare was soon able to resume the mission given him by Akhenaten, and began working in concert with other members of the royal family. In the Amarna letters, Milkilu, who had earlier been defeated by Aye, is accused of conspiring with the Apiru/Mesh, as well as the high-ranking Vizier Amenhotep (Haya). The primary target was as always Aye, and the relentless guerrilla warfare of the "twins" Mesh-Panehesy and Mesha-Smenkhkare was a major factor in bringing him to the brink of ruin. Aye (Rib-Addi) wrote to Akhenaten that he and his people were starving. Getting no relief, Aye made a preemptive strike on the breadbasket of Ramoth-Gilead in order to feed himself and his remaining subjects. In retaliation Ben-Hadad of Aram then turned against Aye as well. Together, Ben-Hadad and Mesha wrought "an everlasting destruction" upon Aye (Ahab) and the land of Israel, as commemorated by the Moabite Stone.

The Moabite Stone of King Mesha reads:

"I (am) Mesha, son of Chemosh-[.], king of Moab the Dibonite -- my father (had) reigned over Moab thirty years, and I reigned after my father, -- (who) made this high place for Chemosh in Qarhoh [.] because he saved me from all the kings and caused me to triumph over all my adversaries. As for Omri, king of Israel, he humbled Moab many years (lit., days), for Chemosh was angry at his land. And his son followed him and he also said, "I will humble Moab." In my time he spoke (thus), but I have triumphed over him and over his house, while Israel hath perished for ever! (Now) Omri had occupied the land of Medeba, and (Israel) had dwelt there in his time, and half the time of his son (Ahab), forty years; but Chemosh dwelt there in my time."y

Chemosh is the name of Baal/Seth in Moab.2 The inscription of Mesha informs us that the "high place" where his stele was to be placed was built and dedicated to the god Chemosh by his predecessor. In the Bible, we are told that Solomon dedicated a "high place" to Chemosh in Moab.z Kingship was assumed in Moab by Mesha about three years after the "death" of Amenhotep III. By association, this "father" of Mesha logically refers to Amenhotep III (Solomon), who is referred to in the inscription by the Moabite name of Chemosh-[.]. Unfortunately, the unique element of the name has been lost. As noted in the Chapter 22, Amenhotep is also called Eth-Baal king of Sidon in the Bible.

Mesha claimed that his "father" reigned for 30 years over Moab before him. Amenhotep III (Solomon) ruled for 40 years, but perhaps only over Moab for only the final 30 years of his reign. Mesha uses the standard political doublespeak of royalty. The previous king is always the father, whether or not this was literally true. If Smenkhkare became the king of Moab, then the previous ruler (Amenhotep III) was by definition his "father." Nevertheless, as the son of Queen Tiye, the widowed Chief Royal Wife of Amenhotep III, Smenkhkare could reasonably claim to be the "son" of Amenhotep III, and this is the likely scenario. During the final 30 years of Solomon, Omri (a.k.a. Abishalom, the "father of Solomon") king of Israel "humbled" Moab. After the death of Omri, his "son" Ahab determined to do the same, but Mesha claimed to have brought his domination to an end. Mesha had such complete disregard for this son of Omri that he refused to even mention his name. However, it is certainly Ahab (Aye) who was intended, as indicated parenthetically by the above translation of the Moabite Stone.

The Moabite Stone was part of the plan for Smenkhkare's to "go native" in Moab. It also served as a public disavowal of Aye on the part of Mesha-Smenkhkare. In the traditional fashion, Smenkhkare turned his personal struggle (and that of Akhenaten) with Aye into the national (political and religious) agenda of Moab. Instead of "me against him," it became "us verses them." Mesha patron of Chemosh and the Moabites were set against Ahab son of Omri and the Israelites. Although the territory and administration of Ahab (Aye) was subsequently destroyed, he was still living and ruling, as implied in the Moabite Stone itself.aa The Moabite Stone indicates that Ahab had formerly attempted to "humble" Moab just as his "father" Omri had done. Likely Ahab is the unnamed king who participates in the mock disciplinary action taken against Mesha (Smenkhkare) in the Kings narrative. However, he cannot be explicitly named as such, because his death is inserted prematurely in the Kings narrative.

After defeating Ahab, Mesha turned his attention toward the Jerusalem and Judah of Jehoshaphat (Iuput). The fear expressed by Jehoshaphat for his welfare and that of Jerusalem (Thebes) found in 2 Chron. 20 is reflected by the pleas of Puti-Heba (Iuput) in the Amarna Tablets. It was evidently not feigned. However, Jehoshaphat was promised deliverance from "the Lord." He would not be required to fight a second battle with Mesha king of Moab. While on his way to engage him in battle, Moab and its allies from Ammon and Mount Seir turn on each other. Curiously, Jehoshaphat makes no attempt to capitalize on this opportunity. Instead of attacking Mesha, he returns to Jerusalem rejoicing.

The demise of Jehoshaphat must have followed in rapid succession. In the final year of Akhenaten, Smenkhkare entered Thebes and reopened the Temple of Amun. Yet, as was the case for his Old Kingdom archetype, Menkhaure,ab the tolerance of S'menkhkare for the worship of gods other than Re went unappreciated. Before Smenkhkare could formally exult in his conquest over Aye and Iuput, he and his father Akhenaten were deposed. The Moabite Stone was likely left unfinished and undedicated.ac It would be Aye who ultimately prevailed with words, if not by war.


  1. Cf 2 Chron. 13:4.
  2. Mt. Horeb is an alternate name for Mt. Sinai.
  3. This was at odds with the wishes of Queen Tiye, who favored Sheshonq II, her son Sheshonq I/Aye for the role of New Kingdom Joshua.
  4. Elisha (477) is a contraction of Elishua (474), "God of supplication (or of riches)";
    Cf Elishua, a son of King David born to him in Jerusalem (2 Sam 5:15; 1 Chron. 14:5)
  5. Jo/Jeho is a Biblical form of the Egyptian god Amen, which was rejected by Akhenaten.
  6. Moses as Judge - Exodus 18:13-26
    Moses as Punisher - Ex. 2:12; 11:4-8; 16:20; 32:19-28; Num 31:3-4
    Moses as Pleader/Interceder - Num 11:2; 12:13; 14:13-19; 16:22; 21:7; 27:15-17
    Moses as Ruler - Ex. 2:14; 4:16
    (For Moses as Ruler, see commentary in Jonathan Kirsch, Moses: A Life, pp 299-303.)
  7. Strong's (58)
  8. Strong's (4246) from chiyl (2342)
  9. 2 Kings 1:9-14
  10. The identification of Ipy, Ramses and Horemheb as descendants of Webensenu (Reuben) will be made in Chapter 28.
  11. 2 Kings 2:1 (KJV)
  12. 2 Kings 2:13-15
  13. Math 10:35; Luke 12:53
  14. Aidon Dodson, Monarchs of the Nile, pp 68, 207.
  15. Mesha withheld tribute from the "king of Israel." This could have applied either to Aye (Ahab) or his co-regent Osorkon I (Joram), but in this context, probably refers to Akhenaten as the greater king of Israel and Egypt.
  16. 2 Kings 3
  17. 2 Kings 3:11-12
  18. 2 Kings 3:13 (KJV)
  19. 2 Kings 3:14 (NIV)
  20. A tanist was a younger brother or male relative of the king or crown prince considered to be next in line for succession.
  21. 2 Samuel 8:2, 13-14
  22. The Edom and Moab conquered by Thutmose was in Mesopotamia. The campaign in the Trans-Jordan was just a practice exercise for Tut. Although Jehoshaphat led an army against king Mesha of Moab, we are told elsewhere (1 Kings 22:47) that there was no king of Moab during the time of Jehoshaphat. This may reflect confusion between the Moab of the Trans-Jordan and that of Mesopotamia.
  23. 1 Kings 3:19 (KJV)
  24. 2 Kings 3:27 (KJV)
  25. Translated by WF. Albright, ANET, J. Pritchard, ed., p 320.
  26. 1 Kings 11:7, 33
  27. The victory of Mesha over Ahab occurred only "half-way" into the reign of Ahab, that is, his rule did not come to an end as a result.
  28. See Chapter 5.
  29. Immanuel Velikovsky, Ages in Chaos, pp 268-276.

Note 1:

Meysha (4331) (may-shaw') "departure;" Mesha, a place in Arabia; also an Israelite
from muwsh (4185) a prim. root [perhaps rather the same as 4184 through the idea of receding by contact]; to withdraw (both lit. and fig., whether intrans. or trans.): --cease, depart, go back, remove, take away.
muwsh (4184) to touch: --feel, handle

Mesha (4337/4338) "safety" 
from yasha (3467) "to be open, wide or free, i.e., (by impl.) to be safe; causat. To free or succor: -X at all, avenging, defend, deliver (-er), help, preserve, rescue, be safe, bring (having) salvation, save (-iour), get victory.

Middle Kingdom Smenkhkare may have himself looked to Biblical Misraim, the wild, free and rebellious Gilgamesh/Meshkiaggasher as a role model. The "fate" of this earlier Mesh also was to yield to his younger brother Cush (Hor-Aha).

Cf Mash (4902, Meshach), a son of Japheth, and a son of the later Aram
Cf Meshullam (4918) allied
Cf Meshammah (4923) a waste or amazement
Cf meshuwbah (4878) apostasy:- backsliding, turning away
Cf mashshuah (4876) ruin:- desolation, destruction
Cf mashah (4871) to pull out:- draw (out)

Note 2:

Chemosh (3645) to subdue; the powerful

Seth/Baal was an undefeated champion. He was never beaten by any other god, and never "whipped" by any goddess. Almost all kings revered and emulated him.

For another reference to Moab and Chemosh, see Jeremiah 48:13.

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