"The Chariot and Horsemen of Israel"
(New Kingdom Empire Salvaged by Seti and Ramses the Great)
The Funeral Wake of Ramses
At the mortuary temple Horemheb in Western Thebes (usurped from Aye), the figure of 27 years was found. This indicates that Horemheb died in Year 26 of his reign as a pharaoh (Osorkon II). It was somewhat customary for a king to be credited with the balance of his final year. For example, Amenhotep III (Solomon) likely died in his 39th year as pharaoh, but was said to have ruled for an even 40 years in the Bible. The highest regnal date for Osorkon II known from archaeology was only his Year 23. The absence of an archaeological record for Years 24 through 26 of Osorkon II/Horemheb probably reflects his poor health and weakening grip over Egypt, and especially Upper Egypt. It may also indicate that in the final two years of his rule, he reluctantly did cede the Libyan throne either to Pedubastet/Nakhtmin or appointed his true son Sheshonq IV (Sheshonq D). Evidently under extreme duress, Horemheb then formally appointed Ramses as his successor in the greater throne of Egypt. Although he had tried to declare their covenant to be null and void, Ramses was strong enough to hold him to it.
Ramses/Takelot II would have been in his own Year 26 upon the death of Osorkon II/Horemheb, in that both he and Osorkon II had been appointed Libyan pharaohs at the same time. A Year 26 date for the passing of Osorkon II/Horemheb and succession of Takelot II/Ramses requires that the combined reign of Aye and Horemheb spanned approximately 15 years. (The death of Tut and Harsiese, and the succession of Aye had occurred when both Takelot II and Osorkon II were in their Year 11.) Aye is thought to have ruled for about four years. This leaves about 11 or 12 years for the sole reign of Horemheb. He is only credited with eight years in the Kings/Chronicles narrative as Jehoram king of Judah, which probably reflects the loss of Thebes to Ramses and Nakhtmin about four years before his death, or the contempt for his rule by the Theban priesthood. Two inscriptions of Ramses are dated to his Year 2, therefore he is considered to have ruled for at least one full year and into the second. However, part or all of that first year would have been as the nominal co-regent of the still living Horemheb. Evidence for a co-regency also comes from an inscription found on a broken obelisk (now in Edinburgh Scotland).
The prenomen of Horemheb was modeled after Djoser, and with a secondary emphasis on Amenhotep I, who had also looked to Djoser as a precedent. Ramses trumped Horemheb by patterning his own throne name Men-pehty-re after Neb-pehty-re Ahmose I, the legal father and predecessor of Amenhotep I. The substitution of Men in his prenomen also suggests that Ramses saw himself as Menes/Hor-Aha, who along with his son Menes/Narmer prevailed over pharaoh Djoser, annexed his dominions, and founded what is now considered to be the Old Kingdom. Seti took the throne name of Men-maatre, logically associating himself with Menes-Narmer. Ptah was the patron god of both Hor-Aha and Narmer. Together they established and dedicated the city of Memphis to the mortuary cult of Ptah. Consistent with this, Seti bore the epithet of Mery-en-Ptah, "Beloved of Ptah," and possibly served for a time as High Priest of Ptah in Memphis.a
According to 2 Kings 13:1, Ahaziah/Jehoahaz became king in Year 23 of Joash. This can only be Year 23 of Sheshonq III, and not Harsiese, which again corresponded to Year 26 of Takelot II. (There was a two and one-half year difference between the regnal dating of Takelot II and his son Sheshonq III.) Year 23 of Sheshonq was a pivotal year. This was the year of Horemheb's death, and succession of Ramses to the greater throne of Egypt. Sheshonq III was at that time also appointed co-regent of Ramses in the greater throne as Seti I. The crown prince was typically challenged to perform a "labor" worthy of his election. The Kings narrative (2 Kings 12:6) notes that starting in his Year 23 Joash began a new initiative to repair the temple of the Lord. Since the previous restoration project in the reign of Harsiese, the temple of Amun at Karnak had endured the ravages of 15 additional years of civil war.
The main construction of Seti at Karnak was the majestic Hypostyle Hall with its 134 massive columns laid out neatly in rows. It was enclosed by the 2nd pylon on the east and by the 3rd pylon facing east. Murals were placed on the north and south retaining walls in raised rather than the more common sunken relief. At the Luxor temple Seti would also nearly complete a grand new pylon and peristyle forecourt appointed with colossal statues and obelisks. He is known for personally visiting the stone quarries and gold mines to empathize with workers, and for having raised their wages in relief.
The Seti temple restoration project was a sign that the protracted civil war was considered to be over, and that the glorious Ramesside Age could be inaugurated. However, with the death of Ramses, Seti would have to survive yet another strong challenge from Nakhtmin/Pedubastet. As successors of Aye (Ephraim II) in the Libyan throne, Horemheb and Ramses had consciously chosen to emulate Sekhemkare and Amenemhet II, the sons of Middle Kingdom pharaoh Senusret I (Ephraim I). Sekhemkare and Amenemhet II had both been ambushed and killed by a younger brother Senusret II, a Jacob-figure who then claimed the greater throne of Egypt for himself. Nakhtmin/ Pedubastet therefore recognized the opportunity to upstage Horemheb and Ramses by assuming the role of Senusret II.
As noted above, both Horemheb and Ramses, as pharaohs of all Egypt, further sought to identify with Amenemhet I, founder of the 12th Dynasty. Although Horemheb claimed the role first, it would be Ramses, another grandson of Neby, who founded a lasting dynasty comparable in greatness to that of the 12th Dynasty of Amenemhet.b Wegaf, the first successor of Amenemhet had been killed, possibly by his brother Senusret I, who replaced him as co-regent. Amenemhet was himself subsequently murdered by Ur-Nammu. The significance of this multi-dimensional typecasting was not lost upon Nakhtmin. By combining the roles of Senusret I (assassin off Wegaf), Senusret II (assassin of Sekhemkare and Amenemhet II), and Ur-Nammu (assassin off Amenemhet I), he could not only justify the overthrow of Horemheb, but also wresting of the throne from Ramses and Seti. Nakhtmin with the support of Ramses had already played a decisive role in bringing down Horemheb. Nakhtmin may have been reluctant to attack Ramses directly, however news of his failing health prompted action. Fulfillment of "prophesy" would have dictated that he at least be close by at the time of Ramses' death. He could then be credited with hastening the demise of Ramses if not outright causing it.
The Biblical narrative indicates that the resources and life force of Ramses had been spent in his struggle with Horemheb, and he likely only survived him by a matter of months. According to 2 Kings 13:7 (NIV), "Nothing had been left of the army of Jehoahaz except 50 horesemen, 10 chariots and 10,000 foot soldiers, for the king of Aram [Hazael] had destroyed the rest and made them like the dust at threshing time. This is an amazing (even if exaggerated) reversal of fortunes for a country that was capable of sending over 2,000 chariots to take part in the Battle of Qarqar in Shalmaneser's 6th year. On the other hand, Nakhtmin/Pedubastet was gaining momentum. He no doubt also recognized that Seti was at that moment as vulnerable as he would likely ever be.
At the time of his father's death, Seti recorded that "One came to say to His Majesty: 'the foe belonging to the Shasu are plotting rebellion' " and in another scene, "… the rebels, they know not how they shall [flee]; the vanquished of the Shasu (becoming like) that which exist not." c According to the Karnak Temple account from which these excerpt are quoted, the size of the Shasu force was numbered at 200,000, which is formidable considering the Biblical estimate of the forces left to Ramses. The origin of the Shasud in Northern Moab, Edom and Arabia is also significant. Philistines and Arabs "that were near the Ethiopians" e were involved in the raid on Jerusalem late in the reign of Jehoram (Horemheb). These same groups were obviously exploited once again in order to spoil the coronation party of Seti (Jehoash).
Seti did not dignify the rebel leader ("foe") of the Shasu by naming him in his Karnak inscriptions, but he can be identified with confidence as Nakhtmin/Pedubastet (Amaziah), ruler of the Philistines of Nubia and the self-appointed king of Arabs in Edom. The front of the Shasu army of Pedubastet was not attacked in Egypt, but only the rear was harassed as they made their trek through the Sinai and back to Edom. Pedubastet likely withdrew voluntarily from Egypt after the death and burial of Ramses and out of respect for his former ally. A funeral was also not a "politically correct" time to wage war. Nakhtmin had achieved his purpose of giving the impression that he was in some way associated with the death of Ramses. Before retreating, he also had served notice to Seti that his succession would not go unchallenged.
Game and Match to Seti
Although Nakhtmin may have felt considerable allegiance toward Ramses, there was little or none for Seti. Any treaty formerly binding them had long since been discarded. After consulting his advisors, Pedubastet decided that the omens were still very much in his favor to make a play for the greater throne and prevail over Seti. So much so, that he abandoned the way of his role models, that of treachery and ambush, for a more direct approach. Moreover, by winning the throne in an honorable fashion,f he might avoid the fate of at least one of his own archetypes, that of Senusret II. Besides, how could he possibly lose with such strong precedent and superior military strength on his side? With supreme confidence, Nakhtmin (King Amaziah) openly called out Seti (Jehoash) of Israel to fight in a pitched battle: "Come, let us look one another in the face," that is, Ra (ra'ah) to Re (reya), Sun-King to Sun-King,g as the Hebrew wording implies.h The Hebrew word for face, paniym,i is also an allusion to Gen. 32:30 where another Jacob-figurej (Amenhotep II) met face-to-face with his brother Esau and father Isaac (Thutmose III) at a place called Peniel, "Face of God." Jacob strove "with God and with men" and prevailed, winning for himself the birthright.
Upon being challenged to a duel by Biblical Amaziah, Jehoash retorts, "A thistle in Lebanon sent a message to a cedar in Lebanon, 'Give your daughter to my son in marriage.' Then a wild beast in Lebanon came along and trampled the thistle underfoot. You have indeed defeated Edom and now you are arrogant. Glory in your victory, but stay at home!" k Seti fully understood the basis for his rival's action. However, he had cultivated a winning image of his own. In his Biblical encounter with Amaziah, Jehoash calls himself sadeh chay,1 "wild beast," which is not only a word play on the Egyptian name Seti, but a condensed form of Seti's Horus name, "Strong Bull Arising in Thebes, Who Causes the Two Lands to Live." Seti not only intended to emulate his Hebrew namesake Joash/Jesse/Terah (Tao I/Apophis I) in the attainment of long life and kingship, but also became a Horus-king in the style of another forefather Isaac-David (Thutmose III).
As part of his Two Ladies name, Seti dedicated himself to "Recapture the Nine Bows,"l i.e., reestablish and defend Egyptian territory and monuments against foreign invasion, and to facilitate a "Repetition of Births." This latter phrase was first used by Amenemhet I, founder of the Middle Kingdom, and in a practical sense referred to temple and cult image restoration.m Menmaatre Seti had plans to restore the Temple of Karnak and other monuments after their despoiling by "foreign legions," and to resume the building legacy of Nebmaatre Amenhotep III. Elsewhere Seti referred to his reign as the "beginning of eternity," an expression that perhaps alluded to his Old Kingdom namesake Menes-Narmer. In setting many goals and taking many roles, he also recognized the need to counter superstitious and fatalistic aspects of his typecasting. As declared in his Golden Horus name, his lot was not to be cut down in his prime, but to become "Strong-in-Years, Great-of-Victories." n
Amaziah (Nakhtmin), as king of Edomites, Arabs and Philistines, had more than held his own against Jehoram (Horemheb), and probably considered himself the main reason for his demise. However, he evidently underestimated the strength, resolve and resourcefulness of Seti. After trying to dissuade Amaziah, Jehoash came to meet his challenger. The site of the battle, Beth-Shemesh, is also of symbolic importance in that Shemesh was a regional name of Min. This must have given Nakht-min even greater assurance. However, it would be unmerited. In his Karnak memoir, Seti claimed to have savored the beginning of conflict with his new enemy, and compared it to "the day of rejoicing" (onset of a festival?). The challenge of Nakhtmin was accepted - the game was on! Some weeks or months after the death of his father, while still in Year 1 of his reign, Seti led an army into the Jordan Valley with highly satisfactory effect. "A stela celebrating this glorious achievement was erected in the garrison city of Beth-Shan, and Seti returned home in triumph with the province of Canaan secure and his own reputation greatly enhanced." o
Seti did not identify the exact location of the battle. However, Beth-Shean, the site of the stela, is only a short distance below Beth-Shemesh and on the same side of the Jordan River south of the Sea of Galilee. Seti had led his army along the Mediterranean coast well to the north of Beth-Shean and then doubled back rather than taking a more direct and predictable route from the south. Also, rather than giving Pedubastet time to strike first or set a trap, he surprised his rival by taking to the offensive (ala Narmer and Thutmose III). His small army was divided into three companies, named after the gods Amen, Seth and Re, which recalls the earlier tactics of Gideon and "the Lord."p Although possibly greatly disadvantaged in numbers, the "men of Israel" would have been highly motivated. Their earlier snubbing by Pedubastet was not forgotten,q and the army of Libya ("Judah") was routed - an event well worth commemorating by Seti. According to the Biblical narrative, Pedubastet (Amaziah) was quickly captured, put to death by the officers of Seti (Jehoash), and then brought back to Thebes (Jerusalem of Egypt) for burial.
Like the Striving of Jehu
2 Kings 14:17 and 2 Chron. 25:25 both state that Amaziah outlived Jehoash by 15 years. It is reasonable that Pedubastet lived and ruled for 15 years after the death of Harsiese, but not 15 years after the death of Sheshonq III/Seti. 2 Kings 14:1 states that Amaziah (Pedubastet) became king in Year 2 of Joash (Harsiese). This corresponds to Year 6 of Jehoash (Sheshonq III). The first record from archaeology of Pedubastet as pharaoh comes from an inscription dated to Year 8 of Sheshonq III. Pedubastet did not provide his own regnal year, but that of his superior Sheshonq.r If Harsiese died in Year 8 or 9 of Sheshonq III, then Pedubastet died 15 years later in Year 23 or 24 of Sheshonq III, which corresponds closely with the first "Asian" campaign of Seti after the death of Ramses. However, it seems that Pedubastet was considered a king of Judah prior to being made a pharaoh. The reign length of 29 years attributed to Amaziah indicates that his kingship actually began late in the reign of Akhenaten.
Ipy (Jehu) was appointed king late in the reign of Akhenaten and credited with a reign of 28 years as a king of Israel. However, there is no record of his actual reign in the Bible other than an indirect reference to his seventh year, at which time Joash (Harsiese) was declared king of Judah. If Ipy was not a part of the conspiracy that dethroned Akhenaten, then he likely died in the coup. However, Ipy could have been offered kingship in Judah by Aye at the same time as Horemheb and Ramses. This may have been the price Aye was willing to pay in order to persuade Ipy to betray Akhenaten and join the coalition. It would also explain why Akhenaten could not offer any resistance to the coup, and had to run for the border like a common criminal. Amaziah (Nakhtmin) may then be the post-Akhenaten identity of Jehu (Ipy).2 The reign length of 29 years of Amaziah as a king of Judah is essentially equivalent to the 28 years of Jehu as a king of Israel, in that Amaziah was perhaps credited with the balance of his 28th year as a king of Judah, but not as a king of Israel.
A Dynasty Like David's
After killing Amaziah, Jehoash (Seti) then dealt with surviving princes in the House of Hazael (Horemheb). Jehoash is said to have attacked Ben-Hadad son of Hazael on three occasions and restored the territory of Israel previously taken by Hazael.s Likewise, the archaeological record shows that Seti campaigned three times in Aram during his first six years of rule. The identity of Ben-Hadad within the extended royal family is uncertain. After the rebellion of Pedubastet, Horemheb likely appointed his son Sheshonq D (Sheshonq IV) as successor to his Libyan throne. As High Priest of Ptah, Sheshonq D supervised the burial of an Apis bull in Year 23 of Osorkon II, and therefore could have survived and succeeded Osorkon II, who died in his Year 26. The defeat of the son of Hazael in Aram is mirrored by that of the sons of the deceased Marduk-zakir-shumi in Mesopotamia by Shamshi-Adad IV, which is the Assyrian identity of Seti.
Another campaign of Seti, which took place as early as his Year 3 (Year 26 as Sheshonq III), was directed against "Libya." At this time, Seti may have moved to reconsolidate the franchise of Sheshonq D/IV in the Western Delta and/or Nubia, and also fully dismantle the administration of Pedubastet and his co-regent Iuput I. Seti also evidently rejected the claim of Prince Osorkon to the Libyan throne of his "father (in-law) Takelot (II). Although stilted once again in his quest for kingship, Prince Osorkon was reinstated as High Priest of Amun after the death of Iuwelot. Nothing more is heard from Prince after Year 29 of Shehsonq III (about Year 6 of Seti), at which time he either died or had his protests silenced for the last time.t Instead of restoring the Libyan throne to a surviving descendant of Thutmose IV or Aye, Seti/Sheshonq III ended the proliferation of Libyan pharaohs and rival collateral lines by naming his own son Pimay as pharaoh of Libya. "The king [Shoshenq III] married the Lady Tentamenopet; he had three known sons, his prematurely-deceased heir Bakennefi, Pashedbast, and his second successor, Pimay." u
Pimay would then be the Libyan name of Ramses, the future Ramses II. The name Pi-may (connoting "House of May") recalls the former Chariot Commander May (Mahli), brother of Neby (Reuben/Mushi) and son of Prince Amenemhet. It perhaps also alludes to the House of Maya (Iuwelot), from which Ramses was provided with his most favored royal wife. (See next chapter.) Ramses would later reminisce, "When my father rose up before the people (when I was still a child in his arms) he said of me: 'raise him as a king so that I may see his beauty while I still live.' " v This statement could be interpreted as the establishment of a co-regency between Seti and Ramses. However, Ramses did not begin counting his regnal years as pharaoh of Egypt until after the death of his father or shortly before. Instead of appointing Ramses as successor to the greater throne at such a tender age, he made him pharaoh of Libya. This would have discouraged any other contenders from claiming that vacated throne for themselves.
Seti became the first king since Amenhotep III to be considered the uncontested ruler of Egypt and Mesopotamia. However, tradition called for a youthful conqueror. As a younger man, Seti had coveted the role of Joshua, but was denied by Tut and the family elders. Seti accepted this and actively groomed his son Ramses for the role from birth. It must have been of some consolation to see the young prince respond so eagerly. Nonetheless, there was little for the new Joshua to save and unite. All major threats to the new dynasty, internal and external, foreign and domestic, both in Egypt and Mesopotamia, had been effectively neutralized by Seti. Moreover, through arranged marriages, the two princes most likely to become rivals of his son in the future were co-opted by Seti as the "eldest sons" of Ramses II. In many respects, the designation of Joshua ("savior") then applied more fully to Seti than Ramses II, and especially as a repetition of his Hebrew namesake Joash (Tao I):
"And Jehoahaz besought the Lord, and the Lord hearkened unto him: for he saw the oppression of Israel, because the king of Syria oppressed them. (And the Lord gave Israel a saviour, so they went out from under the hand of the Syrians..." w
It is left somewhat ambiguous in the Biblical text as to whether Jehoahaz, Jehoash or Jeroboam II was that deliverer. Upon the death of his father Ramses I, Seti did ultimately succeed in reuniting the empire under himself, and for this reason was allowed to share the designation of "savior" with his son Ramses II. Seti established the peace, and his son Ramses diligently preserved it. The House of Ramses descended from Webensenu/Neby/Heby (Reuben).
In his youth, the life of Ramses II was far too precious to be placed in any real danger. Opportunities for the heir apparent to prove himself would have to be largely manufactured, as was the case for the young Tut. By Year 9 of his reign, Seti began giving Ramses a leading role in military. However, it would not be until after the death of his father that Ramses was genuinely tested. In his first and last major conflict with another power, he was scarcely able to save himself. Yet in the absence of other challenges, Ramses found it necessary to interpret this "miraculous" escape as the defining moment of his kingship. This was the day that Ramses earned the honor of being called Sese/Sesy.x Sese was plainly the Egyptian form of Sheshi/Sheshy, the Hyksos epithet of the first Joshua, Abi-eshuuh/Salitis. Salitis was from the House of Joseph in the Middle Kingdom. Reuben (Webensenu/Neby) had once saved the New Kingdom Joseph (Yuya). The House of Reuben later redeemed the role of the House of Joseph by supplying the expected Joshua-figure and thereby "saving Israel" in repetition of Salitis.
The merits of Ramses II as a general and pharaoh have been called seriously into question. It can be at least said that Ramses did value his inheritance and did not spoil it either with excessive ambition or neglect. The two previous princes who bore the epithet of Jeroboam, namely Aanen and Panehesy, had been sources of strife rather than harmony. For the better part of six decades, there was no civil war among rival princes of the royal family. This was possibly unprecedented in Egyptian history. Despite his apostasy [devotion to Seth/Baal], along with all other kings of Israel, the Kings/Chronicles author does not begrudge "Ramses the Great" his place as a peacekeeper or as a savior. The author of the Kings narrative later confirms this role of Ramses (Jeroboam II): "And the Lord said not that he would blot out the name of Israel from under heaven; but he saved them by the hand of Jeroboam the son of Joash." y
The name Jeroboam expresses empathy with "the people" who had suffered from nearly forty years of intense adversity. Most of those who had survived the Amarna Period, both in Egypt and Israel, would have understandably been fed up with war and deprivation. Yet there were still those who advocated renewed aggression, especially toward Syrian. Their former king Hazael was perceived as having been the greatest source of oppression. The majority of people in Israel were not privileged to know that Hazael was not a Syrian, and that the cause of their misery was a feud within the royal family. Many therefore felt that Seti should not have accepted a treaty with the Hittites after his three successful campaigns in Syria. Commoners in Israel may have felt that Seti (Jehoash) still not done enough to avenge them. From the perspective of hawks in the royal family, Seti could have and should have followed up his victories over Aram with a conquest of the Hittites.
- An inscription links Takelot II with Merenptah, High Priest of Ptah. (Aidon Dodson, Monarchs of the Nile, p 170)
- It would have been convenient for Ramses to refashion his predecessor Horemheb, who was the legal son and true grandson of Neby (Uzziel II), as fulfilling the role of Inyotef III (Bela), a grandson of Gudea/Inyotef II (Uzziel I) who did not hold the throne. Ramses, also a true grandson of Neby could then claim the role of another grandson of Inyotef II by the name of Amenemhet I, founder of the Egyptian 12th Dynasty.
- James Henry Breasted, Ancient Records of Egypt, Vol. III, p 45. See discussion in Ahmed Osman, Moses: Pharaoh of Egypt, Appendix A, pp 192-193.
- Donald Redford, Egypt, Canaan, and Israel in Ancient Times, pp 272-273.
- 2 Chron. 21:16
- Amaziah is praised in 2 Kings 14:6 for acting honorably and exercising restraint in avenging his father's death.
- The phrase "look one another" is the Hebrew ra'ah echad reya. Bastet, the Libyan namesake of Nakhtmin, was also a sun deity. The Hebrew echad is perhaps an allusion to another famous assassin and self-proclaimed "uniter," Ehud/Levi, Montuhotep II.
- 2 Kings 14:8; 2 Chron. 25:17
- Pan is also the Greek form of the god Min.
- Nakhtmin primarily looked to Senusret II the Middle Kingdom Jacob for inspiration, but in this verse the strivings of the New Kingdom Patriarch Jacob are recalled.
- 2 Kings 14:9-10 (NIV)
- Nicolas Grimal, A History of Ancient Egypt, 247.
- Donald Redford, Egypt, Canaan, and Israel in Ancient Times, p 180.
- Joyce Tyldesley, Ramesses, p 39.
- Joyce Tyldesley, Ramesses, pp 39-40.
- Judges 7:16
- 2 Chron. 25:6-10
- Pedubastet inscribed the regnal year but not the name of Sheshonq. This amounted to an implicit acknowledgement of his subordination to Sheshonq/Seti within the "pecking order" of the royal court.
- 2 Kings 13:24-25
- Another High Priest of Amun, designated as Harsiese B, and a probably son of Prince Osorkon and (maternal) grandson of Ramses, also disappears from the archaeological record in Year 29 of Sheshonq III.
- Aidon Dodson, Monarchs of the Nile, p 168. Pashedbast is perhaps not the true son of Sheshonq III, but an alternate form of the name Pedubastet. Before his rebellion, Pedubastet was considered a subordinate ("son") of Sheshonq III, as implied by the inscription Pedubastet (implicitly) dated to Year 8 of Sheshonq.
- William J. Murnane, Ancient Egyptian Coregencies, p 58.
- 2 Kings 13:4-5 (KJV)
- For this epithet of Ramses II, see David Rohl, Pharaohs and Kings, pp 160-162.
- 2 Kings 14:27 (KJV)
"Come let us look/see one another in the face... And Joash king of Judah, saying, The thistle that was in Lebanon sent to the cedar that was in Lebanon, saying, Give thy daughter to my son to wife: and there passed by a wild beast that was in Lebanon, and trode down the thistle. Thou sayest, Lo thou has smitten the Edomites; and thine heart lifteth thee up to boast/glory: tarry/abide now at home; why shouldest thou meddle to thine hurt, that thou shouldest fall, even thou, and Judah with thee."
-2 Kings 14:8-10; 2 Chron. 25:17-19 (KJV)
There are obvious word plays in this passage involving the cedar, the thistle and the wild beast.
Cf "Wild Beast," Heb. Sadeh Chay, with Seti-Joash. This phrase is also a condensed form of Seti's Horus name, "Strong Bull Arising in Thebes, Who Causes the Two Lands to Live."
wild (7704) sadeh, saw-deh'; or saday, saw-dah'ee; to spread out; a field (as flat):-- country, field, ground, land, soil, X wild.
beast (2416) chay (Chald.), khah'ee, from 2418; alive; also (as noun in plur.) life:-- life, that liveth, living.
(2418) chaya/chayah, corresponding to 2421; to live:-- live, keep alive
(2421) chayah, khaw-yaw', to live, .. save (alive, life, lives)…
Cf Cedar (730) erez from araz, and Re/Ares.
Cf Thistle (2336) chowach with the homonym kowach (3581) "might," from the Blessing of Reuben, and towach (8430) "under," from the Blessing of Joseph.
Joash tells Amaziah allegorically that the Thistle (Nakhtmin) proposed marriage with the Cedar (Ramses), but a Wild Beast (Seti) came along and trambled the Thistle. There was likely a marriage alliance between the Houses of Ramses/Takelot II and Nakhtmin/ Pedubastet (to be discussed in next chapter).
Other word plays in this passage include:
1) An emphasis on the god Ra.
Besides ra'ah (7200), reya (7453), and erez (730) noted above, there is also garah (1624) "meddle," pronounced gaw-raw' and ramac 7429) "trode." Compare ramac, pronounced raw- mas', and Ra-mes/Ramses.
2) An emphasis on Leb-anon and leb ("heart").
These are allusions to the Libyan identities of both Nakkmin-Pedubastet and Seti-Sheshonq III.
3) Use of the phrase, yashab attah, translated "tarry/abide now":
attah (6258) pronounced at-taw'
This phrase is a word play on Jashub-Tao (3437), and an reference to Seti not only as Joash but also as a repetition of Joash/Jesse/Jashub (Tao I).
The impetuousness of Amaziah in 2 Kings 14 is certainly reminiscent of Jehu. The Elijah narrative indicates that the election of Jehu occurred as early as Year 15 of Akhenaten, and coincided with the naming of Smenkhare (Elijah) as co-regent of Akhenaten in the greater throne (although, there was a delay between the decision of "the Lord" to appoint Jehu and his actual anointing as king.) Ipy may have been Hatnakht (a variant on Nakhtmin) and named as a King's Son of Cush ("King of Judah") under Takelot II shortly after his election by Akhenaten as a king of Israel. If so, this indicates a change in loyalty. It must also be noted that Ipy was considered the son of Vizier Amenhotep/Huy. However, if Ipy was one and the same as Nakhtmin/Pedubastet, then he was only an "eldest son" of Huy, and the natural son of Aye.