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 30
"His Youngest Son Succeeded Him"
(Ramses and Seti in the Amarna Period)


Captain, My Captain, Sety

Ramses recorded in three different locationsa that his father was an army captain by the name of Sety. For this reason Ramses is considered by Egyptologists to have been a commoner who worked his way up through the ranks of the military. However, in a Biblical sense the rank of "captain" or "captain of the host" was equivalent to general-of-the-army or field marshal. For example, the five highest-ranking generals of Jehoshaphat (Iuput) are called his "captains." They were true generals and commanded as many as 300,000 men each.b At least two captains under Jehoshaphat were prominent enough to be mentioned in the Amarna correspondence.c Therefore, we should expect to find Captain Sety among the leading ministers in the reign of Amenhotep III, and also in the Biblical family of Reuben/Uzziel son of Jacob-Kohath.

One of the sons of Uzziel is named as Sithri,1 which is an obvious Hebrew transliteration of the Egyptian compound name Set-re. This son of Reuben was uniquely described by Josephus (citing Manetho) as "Sethos, also called Rameses." d In other words, the Egyptian nobleman was known by two names, Set (Sety) and Re (Ra-mose).e The gods Set and Re feature prominently in Reuben's line, not only in family names, but also as its patron deity along with Amun. They are also emphasized, using word plays, in the blessing of Reuben by Jacob in the Book of Genesis.f Ramose the oldest true son of Neby was vizier of Lower Egypt, and one of the most prominent ministers in the reign of Amenhotep III. It is concluded then that it was Sety/Ramoseg son of Neby and great-grandson of Thutmose III through Prince Amenemhet who became the father of pharaoh Ramses I.

A wife of Vizier Ramose is named in his tomb as Ptah-meryt, the daughter of his half-brother Vizier Amenhotep/Huy. As such, Ptah-meryt would have been a very high-ranking princess. Ramose did not depict his son the future pharaoh Ramses or any other children in his own tomb, however this may be attributable to other factors. Sons, especially hereditary princes, were usually omitted from monuments. Possibly it was also considered "bad luck" to immortalize a son in a tomb while he was still holding a junior office. On the other hand, the name and title of Ipy, who was son of Ramose's half-brother Amenhotep/Huy is featured in the tomb. Perhaps this was an attempt to "frieze" Ipy in his present office. Horemheb, the grandson (legal son) of Neby, is also not found in the tomb of Ramose under any of his various Egyptian names, such as Amenemhet, Surer, or Nefer-sekheru. Rivalry with his half-brother Ramose may have precluded his depiction. Itj-tawy, another likely son of Neby and full brother of Ramose is missing as well, but he may have been deceased prior to Year 5 of Akhenaten when work on the tomb appears to have stopped.

Ramses son of Sety/Ramose, like Horemheb, was known both as a king in Israel and in Judah. As the successor of Ipy (Jehu) in Israel, Ramses is called Jehoahaz, and assigned a reign length of 17 years. The name Jehoahaz is identical to that of Ahaziah, meaning "God has seized." The first Ahaziah/Jehoahaz (Takelot I)h was the brother of Joram and a son of Ahab (Aye-Sheshonq). Ahaziah was also a "son" of his brother Joram in the sense of kingly seniority. The length of his reign cannot be established from archaeology, but he is generally allowed at a minimum the 13 years given him by Manetho. The second Ahaziah (Takelot II/Ramses) ruled as Libyan pharaoh for 26 years. In the final year of his life, he succeeded Horemheb (Jehoram) as ruler of the greater throne of Egypt and the Patriarchal "World." As the successor of Horemheb, Ramses is correctly given a reign of only one year.i

After the death of Jehoram (Horemheb) king of Judah the narrative does not proceed as expected to tell the story of his "youngest son" and successor Jehoahaz," i.e., Ahaziah II (Ramses I), but instead loops back to the time of the first Ahaziah (Takelot I).j The conflation between Ahaziah I and Ahaziah II in the Kings narrative allows the spiral history to appear linear and seamless. The only narrative record of Ramses is as a king of Israel and is found in 2 Kings 13:1-9.k Jehoahaz is viewed in that passage with the typical disfavor expressed for all the kings of Israel, however the author is careful to recognizel that through him came deliverance for Israel from the oppression of Hazael king of Aram. This was a direct result of the triumph of Ramses in his war of attrition with Horemheb.

The Firstborn of Pharaoh

The fall of Akhenaten (Moses II) was brought about by an alliance of three pharaohs, Aye, Horemheb and Ramses. In Year 17 of Akhenaten none of these men had yet succeeded to the greater throne of Egypt, however they were very much ruling as the Libyan pharaohs Sheshonq I, Osorkon II and Takelot II, respectively. In the Middle Kingdom, the Exile of the young prince Auibre/Hammurabi (Moses I) was imposed by pharaoh Senusret III. The Exodus occurred after the death of Senusret III and succession of Amenemhet III approximately 40 years later. In the New Kingdom, Amenhotep III assumed the role of Amenemhet III. The banishment of Akhenaten (Moses II) from Thebes in his Year 5 was imposed both by Amenhotep III and Aye-Sheshonq (Shishak), who had assumed the role of the earlier Senusret III (Shashak). It was possibly conceived to be a fulfillment of both the Exile and Exodus of Moses. Upon the death of Amenhotep III, Akhenaten was reinstated and probably considered his obligation in the role of Moses to have been honorably discharged. However, the course of events over the next five years motivated the still living Aye-Sheshonq and other family elders to revisit that role. Consensus was reached that Akhenaten could and should be "humbled" once more, and a new pharaoh was appointed to chase him from Egypt.

Josephus, quoting Manetho, wrote that those responsible for Egypt's 13 years of trouble were attacked by "Rampses" and driven out of Egypt. These 13 years represent Years 5-17 of Akhenaten, who was conveniently made the scapegoat for Egypt's misfortune at that time. However, Akhenaten was not deposed by Ramses as pharaoh of all Egypt, but in the first year of his rule as the Libyan pharaoh Takelot II (Jehoahaz/Ahaziah II). Ramses would not become sovereign of the greater throne until his Year 26 as Takelot II, over a quarter century later, and only upon the death of Horemheb.

Facing the "double jeopardy" of being deposed a second time, Akhenaten no doubt burned with anger. However, when most if not all of the leading ministers as well as Queen Tiye turned against him in his Year 17, there was no time to take revenge but only a furious flight. About a year later, early in Year 1 of Tut, Akhenaten returned begrudgingly to the Egyptian Delta in order to extract a diseased and dying multitude. The resentment Akhenaten felt in the role of Moses in Exodus was real even if his steps were ordered. His interpretation and reenactment of Middle Kingdom events may have been particularly vindictive. The typecasting of Moses as the "fallen angel" Lucifer/Re was itself a license to steal, kill and destroy. Psalms 105:36 (KJV) reads, "He smote also all the firstborn in their land, the chief of all their strength." In Genesis 49:3, Jacob refers to Reuben as "the chief/beginning of his strength," and Ramses, the pharaoh that evicted Akhenaten, was the grandson of Reuben. The Exodus account then indicates that a first born or "eldest son" within the House of Reuben and particularly within the House of Ramses was the victim of Akhenaten's tirade and part of the seventh and final plague that claimed the lives of firstborn sons throughout (Lower) Egypt.m

The late 18th Dynasty was a time of overpopulation, famine and disease. For the royal family this was a signal to prepare for catastrophe and an evacuation on the order of the Great Flood, when gods and men alike faced extreme peril and almost certain death. In fact, the Exodus was by definition conceived as a repetition of the Great Flood. However, as it had been at the end of the Old Kingdom, doom was ushered in by too little water rather than too much. By official decree firstborn sons produced through fertility rites were to be sacrificed (rather than redeemed) at the temple, or even drowned in the Nile to appease the unhappy river gods. This policy had likely been in place from the time of Akhenaten's birth, but now it was to be fully enforced.n As in the late Middle Kingdom there was also a proliferation of royal males. The Biblical Exodus account implies that the life of Akhenaten (Moses II) himself was threatened as an infant. Prior to the abdication and "Exodus" of Akhenaten, scores of princes of all ages had been put to death as rival lines competed for dominance. In the reigns of Tut, Aye, and Horemheb, many more would fall prey, including those pharaohs themselves. In this sense, the death of a firstborn son of a pharaoh was not an exceptional event.

It must be emphasized that the "firstborn son" of any pharaoh was very likely not his own true son but that of his wife. In that sense, the loss of such an heir was far more tragic to the ruling queen. To the king, death or disgrace of an "eldest son" was more often a relief, in that it allowed for a natural son to succeed him without protest or moral dilemma. Within this context, Exodus 11:5 should then be interpreted as, "Every firstborn son in Egypt will die, from the firstborn [of the wife] of pharaoh, who sits on the throne, to the firstborn son of the slave girl." In the Middle Kingdom, we might then expect that it had been the firstborn son of the female pharaoh Sobeknofru who had been put to death by "the Angel of the Lord." Similarly, we should look for the firstborn of a leading queen in the New Kingdom as the target of Akhenaten.

In order to fix the spiteful aim of Akhenaten's "Parthian shot" with any degree of certainty, it is necessary to better understand the Middle Kingdom precedent. Unfortunately, it is not possible to identify an archetypal royal victim from that time. The pharaoh of the first Exodus, Amenemhet III, was an old man upon succeeding Senusret III. Prior to the Exodus, he had already named a "brother" Amenemhet IV as his own successor to the throne rather than a true son. Sobeknofru, the Queen of the Exodus, is thought to have been a "sister" of Amenemhet IV, but their exact relationship is perhaps unknowable. The name and office of the firstborn of Sobeknofru is likewise lost to us.

Sometime in Year 1 of Tutankhamun, Ramses (Takelot II) named his son Seti (Sheshonq III) as successor to his half of the Libyan throne. Ramses was by then well into his third year as a Libyan pharaoh. Possibly Ramses was simply compensated at this time by Aye for fulfilling his end of the bargain in dethroning Akhenaten. However, the timing of this election may suggest another reason. Perhaps the appointment of Seti was granted as a concession to Ramses after losing a firstborn son of his wife Sitre/Satre to the premeditated attack of Akhenaten. Alternatively it could have even been a consolation for Seti himself if it had been the firstborn son of his own wife Tuya who was murdered.o The eldest son of Seti is thought to have died as an infant. Similarly, Bekennefi the firstborn son of Sheshonq III is also known to have died young. Finally, it cannot be ruled out that it was the elderly Neby (Reuben) himself, the firstborn of Queen Tia (Leah) wife of pharaoh Amenhotep II (Jacob) whose life was taken at this time.p

The Seti Temple Project

As a Libyan pharaoh Seti ruled for 40 years under the name of Sheshonq (III). This is the precise reign length of the Biblical Joash son of Ahaziah/Jehoahaz king of Judah. It was not until some time in Year 23 of his reign as a Libyan pharaoh that he was named co-regent of his father Ramses in the greater throne of Egypt. As pharaoh of Egypt (with sovereignty over both Judah and Israel), Seti ruled for 16 additional years. This is also the reign length assigned to the Biblical Jehoash son of Ahaziah/Jehoahaz king of Israel. Manetho gave Sethos (Seti) a reign of 59 years dated specifically to the expulsion of Hermaeus (Akhenaten).q The 40-year reign of Seti as king of Judah/Libya did begin immediately after the Exodus of Akhenaten in Year 1 of Tutankhamun. However, Akhenaten was expelled twice, which may have resulted in some confusion in dating the reign of Seti. Some Egyptologists think that Sheshonq III actually ruled for a total of 53 years, which would reach back all the way to Year 5 of Akhenaten, the time of his Exile to Akhet-aten. Seti may have held some form of kingship even at that early date, but could reasonably have only played a leading role in the expulsion of Akhenaten's Year 17.r

Several years after the election of Seti as co-regent to Ramses in the (double) Libyan throne, a new prince was declared High Priest of Amun and king in Upper Egypt. His name was Harsiese, but in the Kings/Chronicles narrative he is also called by the Hebrew epithet of Joash. As an infant he was rescued from the death order of Queen Tiye (Athaliah). After Queen Tiye ruled Thebes for six years, she was murdered by Iuwelot, who declared that the then seven-year-old Harsiese should rule in her place. Osorkon II/Horemheb, the (legal) father of Iuwelot, condoned the appointment of Harsiese as High Priest of Amuns and king in Upper Egypt, but he declined to nominate Harsiese as co-regent in his half of the Libyan throne.

Queen/Pharaoh Hatshepsut had been killed earlier in the dynasty for hindering the succession of Thutmose III. This may have provided a convenient precedent for the murder of Queen Tiye by Iuwelot. However, the kingship of Harsiese as a substitute for Tutankhamun in the dual role of David and Joshua was untenable for other reasons. It can be deduced that the covenant between Horemheb and Aye required that Horemheb relinquish control over his half of the Libyan throne to a descendant of Aye upon succeeding Aye in the greater throne of Egypt. As the grandson of Aye, Harsiese would have qualified as a candidate for the Libyan throne. However, Aye was already committed to the election of an older and more prominent son, Nakhtmin, who was known by the Libyan moniker of Pedubastet.

Regarding succession, the writing was already on the wall … literally in the tomb of Maya, the Wet Nurse of Tutankhamun. A mural of that tomb shows the young pharaoh Tutankhamun with six leading ministers behind him, who have been identified as Aye, Horemheb, Ramses, Seti, Vizier Nakhtmin and Finance Minister Maya. Of the six cabinet members, four would succeed Tut to the throne: First Aye, then Horemheb, Ramses and Seti I. The Libyan names of these future pharaohs of Egypt were Sheshonq I, Osorkon II, Takelot II, and Sheshonq III. Likewise, Nakhtmin and Maya were also highly active under Libyan aliases. Nakhtmin, a son of Aye, as discussed in greater detail below, would be named as successor of Horemheb/Osorkon II in the Libyan throne as Pedubastet. Maya emerges as the Libyan Iuwelot/Nimlot, who was appointed as High Priest of Amun in the sole reign of Horemheb (after the death of Aye).

Joash was the name given in the Book of Judges for Terah of Genesis and Jesse of 1 & 2 Samuel. At the end of the Hyksos Period, Terah (Tao I/Apophis I/Samsu-ditana) was both a type of Moses and Joshua.t He had suffered humiliating defeat and disgrace on two occasions (as had Moses), but lived and fought long and hard enough to reclaim his throne and reunite the world (as had Joshua). It is not surprising then that at least two prominent kings of the late 18th Dynasty looked to him as a role model in dealing with the chaos of their own time. The first was Seti/Sheshonq III son of Ramses/Takelot II. The second was Harsiese son of Takelot I. Harsiese was made king in Thebes only about four years after Sheshonq III. (In Year 6 of Sheshonq III (Seti), there is confirmation from archaeology of the kingship of Harsiese in Thebes, who would have been in his Year 2 at the time.)

The mother of Joash is called Zibiah, which would correspond to either Nesitanebetashru (Karamat B) mother of Harsiese or to Sitre the mother of Seti. Or perhaps a single God's Wife was the mother of both princes nicknamed Joash. In that case, Sit-re would have been short for Nesitanebetashru. Adding to the confusion, their respective fathers bore the same Libyan name, Takelot. The 40-year reign length attributed to Joash is most definitely that of Seti/Sheshonq III. The reign of Harsiese was closer to four. Even so, both of these kings named Joash/Jehoash were prominent in the same city and at the very same time. This understandably led to a later fusing of their memories, and is similar to what happened with two princes nicknamed Jeroboam (Aanen and Panehesy)u Doublets abounded in the "Divided Kingdom" period. However, the Kings/Chronicles author(s) was comfortable working with the ambiguity of these figures, and evidently even considered it to be an integral aspect of the history.

It has been previously noted that Biblical passages mix the variants of Joram and Jehoram, and of Jehoahaz and Ahaziah. The same occurs with Joash and Jehoash in 2 Kings Chapters 12 through 14.v Moreover, in the case of Joash and Jehoash it even occurs between the books of Kings and Chronicles. For example, 2 Kings 12:1 (KJV) reads: "In the seventh year of Jehu Jehoash began to reign; and forty years reigned he in Jerusalem." 2 Chronicles 24:1 reads: "Joash was seven years old when he began to reign, and he reigned forty years in Jerusalem." In 2 Kings 12:1, and elsewhere in the Books of 2 Kings and 2 Chronicles, the NIV sometimes translates the Hebrew name Jehoash as Joash and vice versa in order to achieve consistency, not only within a particular passage, but also across chapters and books. The KJV does not alter the name for consistency.w

A fresh analysis of 2 Kings 12 and 2 Chronicles 24 within the new context presented here leads to the conclusion that the Kings account of Joash/Jehoash was written primarily from the perspective of Seti/Sheshonq III while Chronicles was biased heavily toward Harsiese. The variant Jehoash, more often applying to Seti rather than Harsiese in the Book of Kings, is never used in Chronicles. Instead, Joash is used there to designate both a king of Judah and a king of Israel. In 2 Chronicles 24, the emphasis is on the destructive acts of Queen Tiye (Athaliah) and her sons, which had just occurred prior to the tenure of Harsiese. Repairs to the temple were to be made using money collected in accordance with the command of Moses, which again reflects the recent influence of deposed but still living Akhenaten (Moses II). The Joash of Chronicles was buried in the City of David, but not in the tombs of the kings. The burial of Harsiese was found at Medinet Habu, which was part of ancient Jerusalem proper, whereas Seti was buried in the nearby Valley of the Kings.

Ash to Ashes

The Kings account of Joash/Jehoash emphasizes the king's Year 23, which can only apply to Seti/Sheshonq and not to Harsiese, who was killed in about Year 4 of his kingship (corresponding to about Year 8 of Seti/Sheshonq). In 2 Kings 12, the temple restoration project dated to Year 23 was to be financed by a variety of sources, none of which involve Moses or Mosaic Law explicitly. Jehoiada is more prominent in the Chronicles account where he is identified as the "chief priest." In Kings he is simply Jehoiada the priest. From a synthesis with archaeology, it can then be established that Iuwelot/Nimlot (Egyptian Maya) was a priest and leading official in the reign of Harsiese (Years 4-8 of Sheshonq III), but not necessarily High Priest of Amun. However, he did later become High Priest of Amun during Years 12-19 of Sheshonq III (Years 1-8 of Horemheb), and again in Year 23 of Sheshonq (Year 1 of Ramses I). He was perhaps also the same as High Priest May known in Year 4 of Akhenaten.

Prior to his assassination, Joash entertained unnamed officials of Judah. He not only readily accepted their "homage," but also their unsolicited advice.x The impressionable Harsiese must have been persuaded to make a preemptive declaration of pharaonic status. It was probably common knowledge at the court that Aye planned to arrange (or already had made) the election of Nakhtmin as successor to the Libyan throne of Horemheb. Nakhtmin naturally would in turn nominate one of his own sons as his successor effectively blocking any chance of Harsiese for greater kingship.y Iuwelot probably urged Harsiese to reject the counsel he had been given, but was suppressed. Harsiese took the titles of a pharaoh and named another "son" as High Priest of Amun instead of Iuwelot/Nimlot.z

What the pre-pubescent king may not have fully understood was that by crowning himself pharaoh, he had committed an act of insubordination for which he could be struck down. And this was likely the desired outcome of the intrigue. Harsiese was likely set up for a fall even as Tut, and at the very same time. Aye was not interested in patronizing another youthful Joshua figure, even if he was one of his own grandsons. His nurture of Tut had already caused considerable trouble for him, and only made it more difficult physically and emotionally to remove him. For a season, Egypt would be ruled by a group of elder statesmen, probably as it had been after the earlier Exodus of Hammurabi. The designation of Harsiese as the next candidate for the role of New Kingdom Joshua was considered premature and he was removed at the same time as Tut.

The invasion of Hazael of Aram, during which both Tut and Harsiese were killed, is central to both the Kings and Chronicles records of Joash/Jehoash. This attack can be dated to the end of the four-year period during which Seti/Sheshonq III and Harsiese shared power in Thebes.aa During the attack, one Joash (corresponding to Seti/Sheshonq III) collects everything of value in the temple and sends it as tribute to Hazael, who then withdraws from Jerusalem leaving him unscathed.ab The other Joash (corresponding to Harsiese) would not be allowed to guarantee his safety with tribute. After being gravely wounded, he fled the city only to be hunted down and killed. The names of his assassins are given in 2 Chron 24:26 (KJV) as "Zabad the son of Shimeath an Ammonitess, and Jehozabad, son of Shimrith a Moabitess." In effect, Harsiese-Joash had been tracked down by two men with the same name, and whose mothers also had very similar names.2 Zabad was an epithet of Middle Kingdom Issachar. Panehesy ("Prince Osorkon") son of Queen Tiye was commissioned by Aye to attack and kill Tut. After achieving that end he reportedly helped Horemheb (Osorkon II) son of Queen Tuya (Kapes) give chase to Harsiese and kill him as well.

In the aftermath, it was Prince Osorkon who officiated as High Priest of Amun.3 According to the account of Prince Osorkon at Karnak, many of the "rebellious priests" under Harsiese had been executed and burned. Harsiese himself was also killed at that same time by Horemheb and with assistance of Prince Osorkon A magnificent falcon-headed coffin belonging to Harsiese was found at Medinet Habu. Standing in stark contrast to the contemporary burial of Tut, only a skull was found within the coffin of Harsiese, indicating that his body had been desecrated along with his supporters. This skull has a hole in it with signs of partial healing, indicating the king was subjected to a trauma. If this is indeed the skull of Harsiese then it could be consistent with the Biblical account in which he was first critically wounded, killed a short time later, and then brought back to "the City of David" for burial. However, the coffin of Harsiese was placed on a base originally belonging to the later princess Henutmire sister of Ramses II.ac This indicates that a reburial had occurred and casts some doubt on the identity of the skull.

In the Kings account, Zabad (there called Jozabad) and Jehozabad are named as the assassins of Joash as an epilogue.ad In fact, the only occurrence of the variant Joash is found in that epilogue. He is previously only called Jehoash in the passage. This is further indication that it was Harsiese and not Seti who was attacked and killed by Horemheb/Hazael and Prince Osorkon/Panehesy. Even so, there is reason to conclude that Seti was also assassinated many years later, not for declaring himself pharaoh, but as part of a vendetta. Iuwelot (Jehoiada) died shortly after the temple restoration program of Year 23 of Seti/Sheshonq. The Chronicles narrative states that Joash then authorized the stoning of Zechariah the "son" of Jehoiada for speaking out against him.ae For this, Seti-Jehoash was evidently attacked and killed in his bed as an old (and possibly dying) man.

Preordained Rebellion

Aye conceded the greater throne to Horemheb, but required that Horemheb in turn yield his half of the double Libyan crown to a true descendant of Aye, and thereby restore the throne of Libya (Judah) to the line of Thutmose IV (Judah). Upon being named as co-regent of Aye to the greater throne, Horemheb (Osorkon II) then named a Libyan successor, Pedubastet. Pedubastet was not a true son of Osorkon II, but emerges as the Libyan identity of Vizier Nakhtmin of the House of Aye. Pedubastet/Nakhtmin can be further identified as King Amaziah of Judah in the Kings/Chronicles narrative.4 From a synthesis of archaeology and the Kings/Chronicles narrative, it can be determined that Nakhtmin rejected the succession of Horemheb and defeated him in battle with the help of Seti and Ramses.

It is not clear whether Nakhtmin rebelled on his own initiative or had received encouragement from his father Aye before his death. Regardless, he had a clear precedent to do so. Horemheb had assumed the role of Amenemhet I founder of the 12th Dynasty. In the reign of Amenemhet I (Nam-Hani), a vassal named Ur-Nammu in Mesopotamia successfully rebelled against him and established an independent kingdom (3rd Dynasty of Ur). Furthermore, the men of Ur-Nammu had killed Amenemhet in a nighttime ambush on his camp. This role of Ur-Nammu was eagerly taken on by Pedubastet, who then became the ungrateful son of Horemheb/Osorkon, the very one who had made him pharaoh. By assuming the role of Ur-Nammu, Nakhtmin could not only justify his insubordination and declaration of independence, but also begin plotting the murder of Horemheb. Conversely, Horemheb is known to have defaced the monuments of Nakhtmin.af

There is evidence from archaeology that Aye named Nakhtmin as his own heir after succeeding Tut as pharaoh of Egypt. It may be that Nakhtmin was only to be considered as heir in the Libyan throne of Aye ceded to Horemheb. However, it might also suggest that it was actually Aye himself who first violated the pact he had made with Horemheb and the other members of the anti-Akhenaten coalition. Upon the death of Aye, Horemheb succeeded him as pharaoh of Egypt, but the civil war only resumed with even greater virulence. Ramses and Seti no doubt held out some hope that Horemheb would uphold the contract between them, if not with Nakhtmin. However, all indications are that Horemheb (implicitly or explicitly) declared the grand compromise orchestrated by Aye to have been voided by the death of Aye or other factors. The building program of Horemheb in Thebes clearly demonstrates that he had nothing but contempt for Aye and held him equally responsible with Akhenaten of kingly malfeasance. Once becoming "God," Horemheb could also have exercised the prerogative to annul any former accord, and without any explanation. He had spent a lifetime on the frontline battling Shalmaneser III, ag and with the likes of Aye watching his back. He must have felt that he had more than earned the birthright.

One of Horemheb's first acts was removing Prince Osorkon/Panehesy (Phinehas II) as High Priest of Amun and replacing him with Iuwelot/Nimlot (Jehoiada). Iuwelot probably represents the continuation of the career of Aanen son of Yuya, which would have been revived by the birth of one or more desirable royal daughters. Iuwelot/Maya was evidently also one of the original stakeholders in the new order established by Aye based on the aforementioned mural in the tomb of Wet-nurse Maya. This perhaps made him a more acceptable choice as High Priest of Amun than Prince Osorkon, who was not included in their company. Nevertheless, the move may have been unsettling to Ramses, who was more closely allied with Prince Osorkon by marriage. Horemheb also did not reassure Ramses by publicly acknowledging him as co-regent or heir in the greater throne of Egypt, at least in his early reign. Neither did he fully relinquish control over his half of the Libyan throne to Pedubastet (Amaziah), but continued to maintain his regnal-year count as a Libyan pharaoh.

According to the Biblical account of Amaziah's reign, "And it came to pass, as soon as the kingdom was confirmed in his hand, that he [Amaziah] slew the servants which had slain the king his father." ah The slain father of Amaziah being referred to is ostensibly Joash (Harsiese), but upon closer scrutiny this is not necessarily the case. The death of Joash (Harsiese) had indeed resulted in the election of Amaziah (Pedubastet) as king, although not as a conventional successor of Harsiese. Moreover, Harsiese had been declared king at the age of seven, and ruled for no more than five years. He would have been provided with at least one wife,ai yet it is doubtful that he lived to reach sexual maturity and produce a male heir.aj Even if he had, such a prince would have been a mere infant, and incapable of avenging the death of Harsiese only a few years later. There would have been no motivation for Pedubastet to avenge the death of Harsiese, unless it was used as justification for attacking the administration of Horemheb, the man who was chiefly responsible for killing Harsiese. If Aye was murdered by officials of Horemheb as well, then retribution would also have been in order from Pedubastet for that.

Bound by a recognized treaty or not, Nakhtmin/Pedubastet "rebelled" against Horemheb after the death of Aye. In the two Biblical accounts of his reign,ak Amaziah is credited with defeating Edom in the Valley of Salt and killing 20,000 enemy soldiers. King David had earlier killed 18,000 Edomites in the Valley of Salt.al Repetition of the exploit by Amaziah obviously was intended to establish him as the new (and even improved) David in the line of Thutmose IV and Aye. This event is mirrored in the separate account of Jehoram where it is stated, "In his days the Edomites revolted from under the dominion of Judah, and made themselves a king." am More specifically, it was Amaziah who rebelled against Jehoram and established himself as the king of Edom. The Jehoram account does not explicitly mention Amaziah in this regard, or for other calamities that would befall Jehoram later. The disease that ultimately took his life and the army of Philistines and Arabs that captured his sons and wives are instead attributed generically to "the Lord," because of the unfaithfulness of Jehoram. Jehoahaz (Ramses), the "youngest son" of Horemheb, implying the least in pedigree or seniority, was the main beneficiary of this misfortune and succeeded Jehoram to the throne.

Amaziah raises his army of 300,000 men from among the tribal regions of Judah and Reuben. He also hires 100,000 men from Israel/Ephraim for 100 talents of silver. (However, Amaziah is persuaded to send the mercenaries from Israel/Ephraim home prior to the battle in Edom, an offence that would later cost him much more.) We are also told that "Libnah" (Libya) also rebelled against Jehoram at this time and in concert with the revolt in Edom.an These additional details from the Chronicles account of Amaziah suggest that the Libyan pharaoh Takelot II (Ramses) became the ally of Pedubastet, ao and that he also was in open rebellion against Horemheb. Takelot II/Ramses was both from the House of Reuben5 and a king in Israel under the Biblical name Jehoahaz. Although Jehoram brings his best troops to Edom against Amaziah, he is out maneuvered by him and barely escapes with his life.


  1. At Karnak, on a stele commemorating the 400-Year Anniversary of Seth, and in one other inscription.
  2. 2 Chron. 17:14-18
  3. As identified by Velikovsky in Ages in Chaos.
  4. Josephus, Against Apion, Vol. I, pp 98, 245. See also references to "Sethis" (Vol I, pp 101,102, 231), "Rameses" (Vol I, pp 251,300), and "Egypt" (Vol I, p 102).
  5. Ramose means, "child/born of Re," and is a variant of the name Ramesses/Ramses. The wife of the later Pharaoh Ramses and mother of Seti I had the compound name of Satre.
  6. Genesis 49:3-4. See Chapter 28, Note 3.
  7. (a.k.a., Sethy/Seti/Sethi)
  8. In one instance (2 Chron. 25:23 but not in) the first Ahaziah is called Jehoahaz. In this case, the NIV translates the Hebrew Jehoahaz as Ahaziah for consistency with the parallel verse of 2 Kings 14:13. See NIV translator note. This is followed immediately by an instance (2 Kings 14:17; 2 Chron. 25:25) in which Jehoahaz is called Ahaziah (II). See discussion on this second example below.
  9. 2 Kings 8:26; 2 Chron. 22:2
  10. 2 Kings 8:16-24; 2 Chron. 21:4-20. The reign of Ahaziah I (Takelot I) is discussed in Chapters 20-22 of this book.
  11. The Chronicles narrative only mentions Jehoahaz in passing (2 Chron. 25:17). Conversely, there is no record of Horemheb as a king in Israel other than a possible conflation of his memory with that of Joram I (Osorkon I) as a king of Israel.
  12. In verses 4 and 5, and again in verses 22 and 23.
  13. Exodus 11-12.
  14. Exodus 1:22. Normally daughters were sacrificed and sons allowed to live. Reversal of the custom was symbolic recognition of the "topsy-turvy" times preceding an Exodus.
  15. If Tuya was a sister-wife of Seti and the daughter of Ramses, then this might suggest that Sobeknofru had been the daughter of Amenemhet III.
  16. Aanen (Aaron), the "eldest son" of both Yuya (Joseph) and Neby (Reuben), died during the Exodus, but not as part of the "10th plague."
  17. See, Greenberg, The Moses Mystery, p 172.
  18. It is perhaps Seti who is referred to in 1 Kings 22:26, which reads: "take him to Amon ruler of the city and to Joash the king's son." This passage has been dated to Year 16 of Akhenaten. See Chapters 20 & 21.
  19. Nicolas Grimal, A History of Ancient Egypt, p 324.
  20. See Chapters 9-12.
  21. Discussed in Chapters 23-26.
  22. Jehoash is used 5 times in 2 Kings 12 (verses 2, 4, 6, 7, 18). Joash is used only once (verse 19), and only in relation to the king's assassination. In the narrative of the following king of Judah, 2 Kings 14 designates him as both Amaziah son of Joash (verse 1) and Amaziah son of Jehoash (verse 13). Regarding the king of Israel by this name, 2 Kings 13 calls him Joash (verse 9, 12-14), but also calls him Jehoash (verses 10, 25). In 2 Kings 14, he is first called Joash (verse 1), then Jehoash (verse 13) and then Joash once again (verses 23, 27)!!
  23. In the Book of 2 Chronicles, Joash is used to refer to both the king of Israel and the king of Judah. The variant Jehoash is not found in the Hebrew text of 2 Chronicles.
  24. 2 Chron. 24:17
  25. The co-regent of Pedubastet is thought to be a little known pharaoh named Iuput I.
  26. A High Priest by the name of Smendes (III) appears about this time.
  27. Horemheb/Hazael died shortly before the next temple restoration project in Year 23 of Sheshonq III.
  28. Seti delivered the temple treasures to Horemheb/Hazael in recognition of his election by Aye as successor to the greater throne of Egypt. In Biblical terms, the earth and everything in it now belonged to Horemheb anyway.
  29. Aidon Dodson, Monarchs of the Nile, p 165.
  30. 2 Kings 12:20-21
  31. The Hebrew name Zechariah also corresponds closely to Issachar/Osorkon. It may have been Prince Osorkon, the "son" (successor) of Iuwelot in the office of High Priest of Amun, who was later killed by order of Seti. See further discussion below.
  32. The Oxford History of Ancient Egypt, ed. Ian Shaw, p 293.
  33. Under the Assyrian name of Assur-dan II, Horemheb/Osorkon II had considerable success in reducing the territory of Shalmaneser. The 34-year reign of Shalmaneser extended into the second or third year of Horemheb as sole ruler of Egypt and the Patriarchal Empire. If the Babylonian name of Horemheb/Nefer-Sekheru was Marduk-zakir-shumi, then he and Shalmaneser seem to have reached their own accord. They are shown clasping hands as equals in an inscription of Shalmaneser. See Joan Oates, Babylon, p 110, figure 75.
  34. 2 Kings 14:5 (KJV)
  35. 2 Chron. 24:3
  36. Harsiese is generally considered to have died in middle age. It is not known whether Egyptologists have concluded this based on an analysis of the skull or from other factors.
  37. 2 Kings 14:7 and 2 Chronicles 25:5-13
  38. 2 Samuel 8:13; 1 Chron. 18:12
  39. 2 Chron. 21:8 (KJV)
  40. 2 Chron. 21:10
  41. During the reign of Takelot II, there was a "King's Son of Cush" named Hatnakht, quite probably an alternate identity of Nakhtmin in Upper Egypt/Nubia.

Note 1:

Exodus 6:16, 22. Sith-ri is the son of Uzziel (Neby/Reuben) son of Levi (Thutmose III). Levi in this case refers to Thutmose III (Isaac-David) and not to the son of Amenhotep II (Jacob-Kohath) by that same Hebrew name/epithet.

Sons of Uzziel, "Strength of God" (Ex. 6:22):

Elzaphan, "God of treasure," from the verb for "hide, cover, hoard, protect," also "lurk, lay in wait." (Probably refers to Priest and Vizier Aanen/Amenhotep/Huy or to Amenemhet/Surer/Horemheb. Amen means, "hidden."
Sithri/Zithri, "protection, hiding, covering" and "backbiting, disguising." The Egyptian form of this name is a composite, Seth-Re. (Corresponds to Vizier Sety/Ramose.)
Mishael, "Who is God" (By process of elimination, corresponding either to Itj-tawy or possibly Horemheb, who became Pharaoh/God)

Note that only three sons are named for Uzziel. Reuben is credited with having four sons however only two were natural. However, it is not clear which son was omitted from the Uzziel genealogy and for that reason.

Aanen/Amenhotep and Amenemhet/Horemheb were legal sons of Neby. Ramose and Itj-tawy were his true sons. The first son named in the Reuben genealogy is named as Hanoch, which is a clear match with Vizier Amenhotep, "eldest son" of Neby. Ramose corresponds either to Carmi/Zimri or Pallu/Phallu in the Reuben genealogy. Gen. 46:9; Ex. 6:14: Num 26:5; 1 Chron. 5:3. (See discussion in Chapter 29.)

Note 2:

Jozachar (3108) "Jehovah-remembered"
     from (2142) zakar, "to remember," "to be male"
Compare:
Issachar (3485), from (7939) sakar, "hire, price, reward, wages, worth
     from (7936) sakar (pronounced as 2142)

Zabad (2066) "giver"
     from (2064) zabad, "to confer: - endure
1 Chron 2:36,37; 7:21; 11:41; 2 Chron 24:26
Jehozabad (3075) "Jehovah endowed"
     from (2064)
Josabad (3107)
     a form of (3075)
1 Chron 12:4

The mothers of these two assassins are very similar. Prince Osorkon was the son of Queen Tiye. The mother of Osorkon II was likely Queen Tuya, herself also the mother of Queen Tiye.

Shemeath (Shem~Het~"conspicuous position/forefront") corresponds to Kapes (kap = "head"), queen of Takelot I and mother of Osorkon II.

Shemeath (8100), "annunciation," from shema (8088), "something heard, i.e., a sound, rumor, fame." Cf Shem (8034/8035), "name, conspicuous position, renown"

Note 3:

The unrest in Thebes (known from archaeology) in Years 11 and 15 of Takelot II was associated with the succession of Aye and then of Horemheb four years later. Offerings of High Priest Prince Osorkon to Amun are recorded (intermittently) in Years 11-24 of Takelot II and Years 22-29 of Sheshonq III. This represents a continuous period, because Year 24 of Takelot overlapped with Year 22 of Sheshonq. (This correlation was first proposed by Peter James, Centuries of Darkness, 255-6, and expanded upon by David Rohl in Pharaohs and Kings, Appendix A.)

Note 4:

Amaziah (558) "strength of Jah" (Amatz-jah)
     from (553) amats, "to be alert, physically (on foot) or mentally (in courage).
Pedubastet
     Ped = Latin foot; Pedo = "soil, ground" (Greek pedon)
     Latin pedi- cf expedire "to free (the foot) from a snare"

Amaziah was probably an epithet of Jacob. The epithet of High Priest Ahi-maaz, "brother of Maaz/Amatz," (1 Chron. 6:9) likely belonged to Merari (Amenemhet/Merire) the brother of the 18th Dynasty Jacob-Kohath (Amenhotep II).

Note 5:

Beginning with the account of Jehoahaz/Ahaziah II, the Kings/Chronicles narrative provides a continuous and accurate account of the entire 19th Dynasty. The correlation of names and reign lengths is shown in the charts and described in the chapters to follow. However, before moving forward, it is noted that the Reuben genealogy of 1 Chronicles 5:3-8 includes an alternative version of the 19th Dynasty king-list. The sons of Reuben are first enumerated in verse 3. In verses 4-6, the "Great Kings" of Reuben's line are then given. The number of entries is the same as the 19th Dynasty king-list. In verses 7-8, yet another partial set of names is given for these same kings. Only 8 "generations" (kings) are given between Reuben and Beerah, who was deported by Tiglath-Pileser of Assyria. (Vizier Ramose father of Ramses did not achieve the status of pharaoh, however he is included in the genealogy as a son of Reuben.)

19th Dynasty of Egypt Kings of Israel "Chiefs" of Reuben
    (1 Chron. 5:4-6) (1 Chron. 5:7-8)
Ramses I Jehoahaz/Ahaziah Joel Joel
Seti I Joash/Jehoash Shema-iah Shema or Jeiel
Ramses II Jeroboam II Gog Azaz
Menerptah Zechariah Shimei Zechariah
Amenmesses Menahem Micah -
Seti II Pekahiah Reaiah -
Siptah Pekah Baal -
Twosret Hoshea Berah -

Chart Notes:

1) Jeiel, named in 1 Chron. 5:7, was an epithet of Terah/Joash, and may correspond to Seti I (Joash/Jehoash). Note also that Aanen (Shem) although the true son of Yuya (Joseph) became a Reubenite. It may be Aanen rather than Seti who was remembered by the name of Shema/Shema-iah in the Reuben king-list of 1 Chron. 5.

2) The chief Zechariah corresponds to Zechariah king of Israel (Menerptah)

3) There are chronological implications of only eight chiefs (kings/pharaohs) being given between a grandson of Reuben, i.e., Joel (Ramses I) and the time of Beerah (Twosret) who was deported (deposed) by Tiglath-Pileser III. Note also that according to the book of Kings it was Shalmaneser (V) rather than Tiglath-Pileser/Pul who took Hoshea captive.

4) Etymology of Beerah.

Beerah (878) "a well," from (874) baar "dig, inscribe" Cf Beersheba

Twosret was unusual in that she was a queen who assumed pharaonic titles and privileges, which included "digging" her own tomb ("well") in the Valley of the Kings, and "inscribing" her name in a cartouche.

The Egyptian queen name Twosret, means, "The (goddess) Wosret/Isis." According to tradition, all great dynasties concluded with Isis on the throne. This was in repetition of the rule of Ma'at at the end of the "First Time" of the gods. The Old Kingdom ended with the rule of Nitocris, the Middle Kingdom ended with the rule of Sobeknefru, the Hyksos Period ended with the rule of Hatshepsut, and the 18th Dynasty ended with the rule of Tiye. Consistent with tradition, Queen Twosret assumed the status of pharaoh at the end of the 19th Dynasty. The Kings/Chronicles narrative gives her a masculine identity as it earlier does for Hatshepsut. The deportation imposed by Tiglath-Pileser and/or Shalmaneser V would have been considered a type of Exodus, and will be discussed in later chapters.

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