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 37
"Bronze Shackles"
(The Odyssey of Taharqa)


"My Father's House"
(The Election of Psamtik as Pharaoh over Greeks)

There was a second prince clearly favored in the Victory Stela, and who was not one of the five pharaohs that opposed Piye. This was Pediese of Athribis, whose father Bakennefi had been killed in the conflict. Rather than bitter or grieving, a supremely grateful Pediese offered Piye everything in his deceased father's house, and demanded that all other lords of the Delta follow his example! This very suspicious behavior indicates that Pediese was the Libyan identity of Panehesy/Taharqa.a Pediese would have then only been an "eldest son" of Bakennefi. The conquest of the Delta by his true father Piye allowed Pediese to regain his inheritance in Athribis. And even though all of Bakennefi's goods were duly forfeited to Piye, Pediese could reasonably expect his personal wealth and kingship to grow without bound with Piye as Great King.

At Nen-nesut/Herakleopolis, the city of Peftjawybast,b one Pediese son of Ankh-Sheshonq received the lucrative royal monopoly on tariff collection, and was given a "king's daughter" to be his wife.c The mother of Pediese was named there as Taperetd a descendant of Osorkon II and daughter of a High Priest of Memphis also named as Pediese. e Descent from Sheshonq III (Seti I) was claimed for Ankh-Sheshonq. If Pediese son of Ankh-Sheshonq was one and the same as Pediese of Athribis, then Ankh-Sheshonq was logically a more conventional Libyan name of Piye. The unusual name Piye was "a Nubian name transcribed into Egyptian with an ankh-sign probably functioning as an ideogram." f It is alternatively translated as Pi-Ankhi or Pi-Ankhy, which is close in form to the Libyan form Ankh-Sheshonq. Translated as Piye, it is close to the Mesopotamian name of his archetype Ush-Piya (Joseph).g

Nimlot (Smendes/Khaliut) and Pediese (Panehesy/Taharqa) were favored over all other princes of the Delta, because they were both natural sons of Piye. Nimlot, the oldest, was declared the superior of Tefnakhte, Iuput II, Peftjawybast and Osorkon IV. He was in fact made pharaoh of all Egypt, and second only to Piye. Pediese, the younger son, was given control over commerce in the place of Peftjawybast at Nen-nesut. He was also to join his brother as a pharaoh. After the "Coming of the Sea Peoples," the Delta became home to a considerable Greek population, and one sufficient in importance to merit rule by a pharaoh.h Tefnakhte had been primarily responsible for the Greek invasion of Meremptah's Year 5, and became known as Stephanites among the Greeks.i He was allowed by Piye to retain his status as Libyan pharaoh in the predominantly Greek city of Sais, and also appoint two sons, Masaharta and Psusennes, as co-regents. However, his power would be checked by the election of Pediese/Panehesy as Psamtik the first pharaoh of a new Greek throne.

In Egyptian, the name Psamtik (Psametjik) can be interpreted as "wine libation offeror," and derives from an oracle fulfilled by the election of Psamtik as king. As told by the ancient Greek historian Herodotus:

"The time came when the twelve kings (who had been dealing fairly with one another) performed the sacrificial rites in the sanctuary of Hephaestus. On the last day of the festival, when they were due to pour the libations, the high priest brought the usual golden libation cups out for them, but he miscounted and brought out eleven cups for the twelve kings. Since he was without a cup, the one standing at the end of the line - it was Psammetichus - took off his bronze helmet, held it out, and used it for the libation. Now, all the other kings were wearing helmets too and in fact had them on at the time; Psammetichus had held out his helmet without any ulterior motive. But the others noticed what he had done and remembered that the oracle had said that whichever of them used a bronze cup for pouring the libation would be the sole king of Egypt." j

The "twelve kings" were those subdued by Piye in his Year 20, and who were, according to this legend, summoned once again only a short time later for another important declaration at the temple of Thoth (Greek Hephaestus) in Khmenu (Hermopolis). Among them was Pediese, who first demonstrated his resourcefulness, an essential quality for a king of this time, and was then singled out as the one destined to become sole ruler of Egypt. In the near term, Pediese was appointed as a regional pharaoh. Although his potential for even greater kingship as the son of Piye would have been obvious, it was established as "the will of God" by use of the temple oracle.

Perhaps Psamtik did not have any underlying motive for putting his helmet to such an unorthodox use, but his father Piye certainly did. The Greek form of the name Psamtik, that being Psammetichus, connotes, "wine tainting partner" and "depose (by) wine tampering." 1 A year earlier, Pediese/Panehesy was a partner with his grandfather Iuput/Hori in deposing Shabaka. It can be deduced that during a festive occasion of music and drinking Psamtik offered poisoned wine to the living god Shabaka and in some kind of bronze vessel. Shabaka died and the throne was transferred to Piye. The royal standing of the young accomplice was accordingly also increased. It had been no sacrifice for Pediese to share all his inherited wealth with his true father Piye, or to shame his less fortunate fellows into doing likewise. It was then fitting that the anointing of Pediese before those same notables was done in remembrance of the killing that had made it possible. This served not only to keep Pediese humble but also incriminated Iuput/Hori and all those who sided with him (against Piye) after the assassination of Shabaka. Piye was asserting with masterful subtlety that he alone was righteous.

The young Panehesy/Pediese/Taharqa was perhaps unaware of the intrigue or its true significance until after he had played his part in it. That a senior family member was willing to use his own grandson to such an end, and that others were willing to then lay a life-long stigma upon him, is a sad commentary on the culture of the ancient court. According to Herodotus, Psamtik was questioned by his elders and found to have acted in innocence.2 They could not kill him for something done in naivety and by direction of a superior. However, they were nonetheless resentful of the sovereignty the deed had gained for Pediese, and the advantage taken by his father Piye. For his part in the murder, Hori was held beyond reproach due to his great standing and power. Yet after being defeated by his son Piye, Hori was like Pediese required to accept a name change. He would thereafter be known as Herihor-Siamun ("Horus Protects Me, Son of Amun"). The name Siamun (Simeon) was synonymous with murder, and the entire royal family would have been fully cognizant of that fact.3 Hori was guilty as Cain of killing the able but vain Shabaka. And also like Cain he would be marked for protection from avengers, in this case by his son the mighty Horus Piye, the self-proclaimed "righteous Joseph" of his evil generation.

Kingship gained by murder or maiming carried with it a potential curse, even for the child Panehesy/Pediese. He was crowned as Psamtik, "the (poisoned) libation giver," and given the throne name of Wahibre, which had been the Egyptian given name of the "criminal" Moses-Hammurabi in Egypt. This made him the "Moses son of Joseph" of that generation. As the cupbearer to Shabaka he was a type of "Benjamin." As the partner of Hori (Herihor-Siamun/"Simeon") in killing the Issachar/Osiris-figure Shabaka, he was also saddled with the assassin's role of "Levi." If this were not enough, he may also have had to accept the tragic typecasting of the man he helped murder, that being the role of Shabaka as "Eliezer/Elijah" (Smenkhkare/Menkhaure). This was a heavy burden for a 12-year old boy, and one that he would spend the next 54 years of his reign and life trying to reconcile.

The Egyptian name of Panehesy would have pigeonholed him as the next Biblical Phinehas, whose "zealous" and "righteous" killing of a law-breaker won for him an "everlasting priesthood" and perhaps even an "everlasting kingship." (See Chapter 8.) The role of Levi carried the expectation of primary kingship as sole ruler of Egypt (to be fulfilled by him as Psamtik). The roles of Moses and especially Eliezer also offered hope that a son of Panehesy would one day become Great King, even if he himself did not. His half-brother Smendes was heir apparent, but his typecasting as Judah served to predestine him for tragedy and even death by assassination, after which his line would become subordinate to the House of Joseph through Moses and Eliezer. This of course would have given Panehesy even greater cause for optimism and even pride.

"Working All Things Together for (God's) Good"
(Psamtik becomes a Double Agent in Greek Philistia)

Tradition also dictated that the young Moses be humbled, and more than once. After "killing an Egyptian," that is Shabaka, Panehesy fled from Egypt to the "desert" of Nubia before the approaching army of Tefnakhte/Setnakhte. In less than a year he would return behind Piye and his army and be named as pharaoh Wahibre Psamtik. The rival dynasts of the Delta must have resented (or at least pretended to) the former Pediese (now Pharaoh Psamtik) for his earlier audacity (as documented on the Piye Victory Stela), and were perhaps overeager to help him fulfill his new "God-given" role of Moses. In contrast, the titulary of his brother Nimlot-Smendes was based on that of Sheshonq I/Aye and Takelot II/Ramses I. These two earlier pharaohs had been responsible for the exile and exodus of Akhenaten. According to Herodotus, all 12 kings rejected the sovereignty of Psamtik and determined to drive him away from their towns and consign him instead to the bulrushes of the Delta. This too was used to the advantage of Piye/Sargon. Psamtik had not only been given the identity of Moses, but also Eliezer and Levi. Immediately after being expelled by the pharaohs of the Delta, Psamtik was directed by the Lord (Sargon) to begin a new mission in fulfillment of the latter two roles.

In emulation of the mock rebellion led by Eliezer/Elijah (Smenkhkare) of the 18th Dynasty, Psamtik went under cover as an upstart Greek dynast in the Philistine city of Ashdod. Sargon wrote:

"Then [to] the rulers of Palestine (Pi-lis-te), Judah (Ia-u-di), Ed[om], Moab (and) those who live (on islands) and bring tribute [and] tamartu -gifts to my lord Ashur - [he spread] countless lies to alienate (them) from me, and (also) sent bribes to Pir'u, king of Musru - a potentate, incapable to save them - and asked him to be an ally." k

In the detailed accounts of this rebellion, Sargon uses two names for the rebel, Ia-mani and Ia-Dna, and deliberately alternates their use. Ia-mani can be translated as "the Ionian." Ia-Dna may refer to Danaeans, another Greek tribe. The pairing of Mani and Dana however reveal that "Ia-mani the Greek" was operating in the role of Mannu-Dannu (Levi/Ehud), assassin of the Judah-figure Rimush (Eglon) and first heir of Sargon. His apparent mission was therefore to dethrone both Sargon II and his heir apparent Nimlot/Smendes (as the new Rimush). In reality it was an elaborate charade, a highly coordinated sting operation inspired by the earlier "Mesha rebellion" of Smenkhkare son of Akhenaten.l For Piye-Sargon the exercise would have served two purposes. Number one, it replicated, at least symbolically, the spirit of rebellion that characterized the reign of Sargon-the-Great. It also baited potential enemies within the royal family and without to expose their divisive tendencies so they could be removed from authority. The "rebellion" also provided a pretext for Sargon to invade Palestine and turn it into an Assyrian province, which he wasted no time in doing.

In expectation of his father's invasion of the Philistine Coast, Psamtik took leave in Nubia, but gave the appearance of taking flight. The long crook of the Lord eventually found him there, and he was returned to the sheepfold in Assyria to complete the grand charade:

"The king of Ethiopia who [lives] in [a distant country], in an inapproachable region, the road [to which is ...], whose fathers never - from remote days until now - had sent messengers to inquire after the health of my royal forefathers, he did hear, even (that) far away, of the might of Ashur, Nebo (and) Marduk. The awe-inspiring glamour of my kingship blinded him and terror overcame him. He threw him (i.e. the Greek) in fetters, shackles and iron bands, and they brought him to Assyria, a long journey." m

In other words, Piye sent word to his father Kashta asking him to have his son Taharqa escorted back to Assyria! The Biblical Kings narrative of Manasseh reads, "So the Lord brought against them the army commanders of the king of Assyria, who took Manasseh prisoner, put a hook in his nose, bound him with bronze shackles and took him to Babylon. In his distress he sought the favor of the Lord his God and humbled himself greatly ... so he brought him back to Jerusalem and to his kingdom." n It is odd that Manasseh was captured by Assyrians, but actually "imprisoned" in Babylon (evidently as part of his Moses/Hammurabi typecasting). However, during this time period Sargon had become direct ruler of both Assyria and Babylon. The confusion is akin to that surrounding the death of Sennacherib. The Bible states that he returned to Assyria and then murdered, however he was probably assassinated in Babylon.

Sargon, as the presumed embodiment of the entire godhead, demonstrated that he had the power to extradite the fugitive "Levi" from the furthest corner of the world and bring him to justice.o Piye-Sargon was beside himself over the success of Operation Ia-mani. He elaborates about his handling of the matter at length and in multiple inscriptions. This episode is also evidently the source of one of Psamtik's Biblical names, King Manasseh, who had been humbled by exile and restored to kingship. King Manasseh (eventual successor of Hezekiah), we are told, became king at the age of 12. By the age of 19, he had already endured a symbolic confinement in Babylon (ala Moses/Hammurabi) before being set upon his throne again. One of the role models of his father Piye was Yuya, the 18th Dynasty Joseph, who had three prominent sons, Aye/Amenhotep III, Aanen and Akhenaten.  The first two are called Ephraim and Manasseh in the Book of Genesis. The role of Ephraim (as a Judah-styled prince) was apparently assigned by Piye to Nimlot/Smendes, who produced at least two formidable princes, specifically the "twins" Assurbanipal/Smendes II and Nebuchadrezzar/Siamun II. This meant that Pediese/Panehesy/Taharqa/Psamtik had to play the parts of both Aanen-Manasseh and Akhenaten-Moses, at least initially. 

The Unpardonable Sin
(Manasseh as Scapegoat)

After his "capture" and release, the kingdom of Manasseh is restored to him, and he is said to have become a changed man.p The Kings narrative gives the impression that this event took place near the end of his long reign, however it is now evident that it was very near the beginning. Consequently, the "shedding of innocent blood" in the streets of Jerusalem (Thebes) that he is held accountable for must have occurred prior to his symbolic incarceration. In fact, the looting and bloodshed in Thebes being referred to was associated with the assassination of Shabaka/Takelot III by the nave Panehesy/Taharqa. However, the young Panehesy/Taharqa was himself a victim in his grandfather Hori's intrigue. What's more, he was not praised for acting the part of his namesake Phinehas, but instead branded with other murderous roles, that of Levi, Aaron, Moses and Eliezer.4

For most if not all of his actual reign, Panehesy/Psamtik was a patron of the many temples and gods of Egypt.q However, in the role of archetypal Eliezer (Menkhaure of the Old Kingdom), he was despised for this liberality. In addition, he was as Moses blamed for killing an Egyptian and closing temples, especially the temple of Amun, events that occurred before his actual reign. In this earlier capacity, he followed not only Akhenaten and Hammurabi, but also the Old Kingdom Moses-figure of Khufu, who was credited with suppressing all the gods of Egypt except for Re.r Panehesy upon his appointment as pharaoh was to be called Psamtik (Psa-metjik). This unusual name not only recalled his part in the murder of Shabaka, but also alluded to the Horus name of Khufu, that being Medjedu.s Consistent with this typecasting, Panehesy/Psamtik built the largest pyramid in Nubia, where he was known by the Nubian name of Taharqa. The pyramid was not immediately beside those of his contemporaries at Kurru but offset a couple of miles away at Nuri.

Considering that the capture and return of Manasseh to his kingdom had occurred very early in his 55-year reign, we would expect that the preponderance of his rule should then have been considered good rather than bad.5 However, it was not. Because of his negative typecasting, he had to be adjudged as "evil" by the Kings/Chronicles authors. In the ancient mindset, he was not only guilty of causing the anarchy that followed the death of Shabaka, but also responsible for inevitable reoccurrences of Assyrian barbarism in the future.t The action of Manasseh had allowed unrestrained Assyrian soldiers to rob and kill innocent people in Jerusalem. It was the same as if Manasseh had killed those innocent people himself, and indeed he may have worsened the tragedy in his haste to restore order and seize control of the government.

Honest in the Sight of All Menu
(Psamtik Deals with Reverse Discrimination in Egypt)

When Psamtik was released by Piye-Sargon in Mesopotamia and returned to Egypt, his half-brother Smendes was even more established as king there. While Psamtik was away, Tefnakhte also had been more than placated by Herihor-Siamun and Piye-Sargon. Two of his sons were made pharaohs in place of the two sons and pharaohs Tefnakhte had lost, namely Bocchoris and Amenemnisu. The oldest surviving son of Tefnakhte, Masaharta, was made a deified High Priest in Thebes. An even younger son was appointed as a Libyan co-regent under the illustrious name Pa-seba-kha-en-niut, "The Star Appears in the City (Thebes)." By Year 3 of Psamtik, this prince became a full-fledged pharaoh of Egypt under the name Ramses III.

To make matters worse, in Year 6 of Psamtik, his grandfather Hori passed away, and he was not even allowed to succeed him as High Priest of Amun in Thebes. Like Panehesy (Phinehas) of the 18th Dynasty, this lesser election was ironically denied him because of his desire for greater kingship. And also, a more senior member of the royal family had a more urgent, if not superior claim to the post. That relation was none other than Tefnakhte, who was recognized as the incarnation of the 18th Dynasty prince Amenemhet son of Thutmose III. Amenemhet (Merari son of Levi) was made High Priest of Amun by his half-brother Amenhotep II (Kohath-Jacob) for support in his battle with Saussatar (Esau). Likewise, Tefnakhte was bequeathed the High Priest of Amen by his half-brother Hori for support in his battle with the 19th Dynasty House of Esau, that is, Osorkon III. And as Amenemhet, Tefnakhte was appointed to that office late in life.

As High Priest of Amun, Hori was known as Herihor-Siamun (Ahitub). Upon his own appointment, Tefnakhte also was required to assume a new name in Thebes, that of Piankh-Sematawy (Zadok). To further establish the legitimacy of his election, Piankh claimed descent from the High Priests of the 18th Dynasty. He of course was not actually descended from all 18th Dynasty priests, but of only one, his personal archetype Amenemhet (Biblical Merari/Ahimaaz son of Levi). The Biblical progression of High Priestsv during the late New Kingdom is given as:

  1. Azariah/Harim (Osorkon F/Haremakhet)
  2. Amariah/Immer (Amenhotep/Bakenkhonsu)
  3. Ahitub/Uriah (Hori/Herihor-Siamun)
  4. Zadok/Tikvah (Tefnakhte/Piankh-Sematawy)
  5. Shallem/Shelemiah (Pinedjem/Ramses XI)

The Biblical name Zadok ("righteous") is the most renowned of epithets used by High Priests. As previously shown, Tefnakhte/Setnakhte also made identification with Senakhtenre Tao/Apepi/ Apophis I, the "Living/Perpetuated One," because of his resiliency. After the empire was regained by Tao for a second time, he was called "Melchi-zedek priest of Salem." w Likewise, the rise of Tefnakhte as High Priest was the pinnacle of his second recovery in the role of Tao I. The Hebrew name Tikvah ("live")x is synonymous with the Egyptian Ankh ("life"), and derives from Tefnakhte's new name Piankh-Sematawy. The Per-Ankh or Pi-Ankh was an institution dedicated to Ptah. Like their father Khaemwaset son of Ramses-the-Great, both Hori-Kashta and Ramses-Tefnakhte were associated with the cult of Ptah in Memphis. Tefnakhte was sem-priest of Ptah, but possibly not at the same time that his brother Hori was High Priest of Ptah.

The names of High Priest Piankh-Sematawy and pharaoh Piankhy (Piye) were written differently, however the similarity was still close enough for Tefnakhte to be considered as the "double" of his absentee overlord and nephew Piye. The Horus name of Piye was also Sematawy, which made for an even closer correspondence. However, unlike Piye and Herihor/Hori, his predecessor in the office of High Priest, the "Justified" Tefnakhte did not write his name in a cartouche. He was evidently not authorized to reassert his former status as pharaoh Setnakhte there. Even so, power in Thebes became at that time almost exclusively held by the family of Piankh-Sematawy-Tefnakhte. After the death of his father Hori/Kashta, the weak king Pinedjem (Shelemiah son of Cushi) began calling himself the son of his legal father Piankh-Sematawy-Tefnakhte. Consistent with this, Pinedjem is in the Bible is called Shallem son of Zadok,y especially with regard to the priesthood, and Shallem son of Tikvath.z

In the role of the earlier High Priest Merari, Piankh-Sematawy-Tefnakhte designated his two surviving sons, Sheshonq/Masaharta and Pa-Seba-kha-en-Niut/Ramses III as Mahli and Mushi/Reuben, respectively. Archetypal Reuben (Manishtushu/Montuhotep I) in the 11th Dynasty became the father of Levi (Mannu-Dannu/Montuhotep II). In accordance with tradition, Piye made the kingship of Ramses III/Shebitku greater than that of Psamtik-Taharqa in the role of Levi. Although Ramses III/Shebitku was about five years younger than Psamtik-Taharqa and of inferior pedigree, he was still considered his "father." Later in life, Taharqa recalled on the Kawa Stela in Nubia how as a youth he was summoned to the court of Shebitku, who was only a child himself at the time.

Conspiracy Theory
(2nd Coming of the Sea Peoples under Psamtik)

The situation must have looked extraordinarily bleak to the impatient teenager Psamtik. He had not become sole ruler of Egypt as the oracle required, but was effectively powerless in the company of five older pharaohs, namely, Smendes (Nimlot), Pinedjem (Peftjawybast), Tefnakhte (Piankh-Sematawy), Masaharta (Sheshonq), and Osorkon IV (Haremakhet). He also bowed to the younger Ramses III (Psusennes). According to Herodotus the confounded Psamtik sought a new oracle:

"He was aware of how badly he had been treated by them, and he kept trying to think of a way to pay them back for driving him away. When he sent a query to the city of Buto, the home of the most reliable Egyptian oracle, he received in return a prophecy to the effect that his revenge would come in the form of bronze men appearing from the sea. The idea of bronze men coming to help him struck him as extremely implausible, but a short while later some Ionian and Carian raiders, who had left home in search of rich pickings, found that they could not avoid being driven on to the coast of Egypt, and disembarked in their bronze armour. An Egyptian who had never before seen men dressed in bronze armour went to the marshes and told Psammetichus that bronze men had come from the sea and were plundering the plain. Psammetichus realized that the oracle was coming true. He got on friendly terms with the Ionians and Carians and, with promises of generous rewards, persuaded them to support him. Then, with the help of his Egyptian partisans and these allies of his he deposed the kings. So Psammetichus gained control of all Egypt." aa

In Year 8 of Sargon (corresponding to Year 4 or 5 of Ramses III), the king of Assyria and of the "whole world" attacked and subdued the people of Urartu in Armenia, whose king Rusas had been meddling in Assyrian territory for about six years. This must have been an especially sweet moment for Sargon, as he reflected on the triumph of Nimrod/Enmerkar over this very same region (formerly known as Aratta),ab and claimed it as further fulfillment of his destiny. With the northern territory secured and at least nominal subjection of his eastern rival Marduk-Baladin in Babylon, Sargon was ready to bring about sweeping changes in the West. In the words of Ramses III:

"The foreign lands made a convocation(?) in their islands ... no land could stand before their arms, beginning with Katte [the Hittites] ... Amurru [Syria] ... ruined ... like something that had never existed ... On they came ... the Pelset, the Tjekru, the Shekelesh, the Da'anu, the Washosh, and the lands all united.ac

After the Fall of Troy6 and sack of Hattusus (the Hittite capital), the "Peoples of the Sea" did not head for the breadbasket of Assyria (as they would have done if migrating on their own accord), but were instead directed by Sargon II into Palestine and Lower Egypt.

The first strike of the "Peoples of the Sea," which occurred about 30 years before, was actually more of a conspiracy. The second strike was not aimed at overthrowing the Great King Menerptah, but intended to help the Great King Sargon maintain his control over powerful vassals. There was no hint in the Year 5 inscription of Menerptah that the Hittites were in danger, or that Egypt's traditional border with the Hittites had been compromised at that time. However, the inscription of Ramses III tells us that the Hittite dynasty was terminated.

It was at Medinet Habu in Western Thebes that Ramses III recorded the invasion of Sea Peoples in his Year 5.ad Medinet Habu was built on a site of great historical and religious importance. It lay directly over what still remained of the venerated "City of David," which itself rested upon the shoulder of ancient Jerusalem. The centerpiece of the new complex of Ramses III was a chapel earlier built by Hatshepsut and Thutmose III (David). A number of royal tombs or cenotaphs, such as those of Harsiese A (Joash) and Osorkon III (Uzziah), were also located on this "holy ground." Ramses III enclosed (or re-enclosed) the area with a massive outer retainer wall and placed within its confines a large temple intended to service his own mortuary cult upon death.

The second wave of Greek marauders was far more extensive and fearsome than the previous one of Menerptah's Year 5. The works attributed to Ramses III at Medinet Habu were hastily and poorly constructed, likely due to the particular crisis of his Year 5, and the general instability of the years that followed. ae Nevertheless, it is still the best-preserved temple of ancient Egypt. As a result, it was one of the few examples of New Kingdom Egyptian temple architecture and decoration available to the Persian, Greek and Roman period rulers who sought to revive imperial Egyptian forms. The city was called Djeme in Egyptian, but is now known by the Arabic name of Medinet Habu ("Fortress of Habu").af Its inner wall evidently was already in place before the reign of Ramses III. The enclave was also already considered a fortress at least by the time of Menerptah's co-regency with Ramses-the-Great, and probably far earlier, especially if it is to be associated with the Biblical City of David.ag

Adopting and Adapting
(Nitocris Daughter of Psamtik Adopted as God's Wife)

Ramses III, like Meremptah before him, won a few battles against Greek invaders and also resisted expulsion from Thebes, but it is now clear that he lost the overall war.ah Likewise, Piankh-Sematawy is known to have been fighting successfully against the "rebel" Panehesy in Nubia in Year 28 of Ramses XI. However, any victory was fleeting, even as it had been nine year before. Panehesy was vindicated once more, not by the army of Piye this time, but through his Greek mercenaries and ironically through support from Harkhebi son of Haremakhet, the former High Priest of Amun and son of the fallen Shabaka. In Year 9 of Psamtik, the High Priesthood was taken away from Piankh and his son Masaharta and given to Harkhebi.

In that same Year 9 of Psamtik, he ordered that his young daughter Nitocris by his wife Mehtemwesket be adopted as the "eldest daughter" of Shepenwepet II daughter of Piye. As such, she was given the title of "Divine Adoratrice" and designated as successor in the office of God's Wife of Amun. The Adoption Stela makes much of the fact that it was no lesser person than the Great General Sematawy-Tefnakhte,ai who escorted Nitocris (by his command) from the Delta to be installed in her new office at Thebes. Psamtik would no longer be considered the subordinate of Tefnakhte, but his superior in the royal pecking order.aj

Nine years earlier Piye had installed Shepenwepet II as heir to the office of God's Wife by having her adopted by his half-sister Amenirdis I the daughter of Hori-Kashta.ak This occurred after the Year 20 conquest of the Delta by Piye. 25 years before that, Amenirdis herself had been adopted by Shepenwepet I daughter of Osorkon III-Alara. "Two statues of the god Osiris, dedicated by officials who served these votaresses, prove that the three princesses were alive and in office at the same time. They refer to the God's Wife Shepenwepet, daughter of king Osorkon; her daughter, the Hand of God, Amenirdis daughter of king Kashta; and her daughter, the Adorer of the God, Shepenwepet, daughter of Piye." al Shepenwepet I possibly died or retired from the office before Year 9 of Psamtik, because she is not mentioned in the Adoption Stela, which reads:

"I [Psamtik] have heard that a king's daughter [Shepenwepet II] is there, (a daughter of) the Horus Lofty-of-Diadems, the Perfect God [Piye], justified, whom he gave to his sister [Amenirdis I] to be her eldest daughter and who is there as Adorer of the God. I will not do what in fact should not be done, and expel an heir from [her] seat ... I will give her [Nitocris] to her [Shepenwepet II] to be her eldest daughter just as she was made over to the sister [Amenirdis I] of her father [Piye] ... Now after she came to the God's Wife Shepenwepet [II], the latter saw her and was pleased with her; she loved her more than anything and made over to her the testament which her father [Piye] and mother [Amenirdis I] had executed for her; and her eldest daughter, Amenirdis [Nitocris], daughter of king Taharqo [Psamtik], justified, did likewise." am

In the above excerpt, the dual identity of Psamtik as Taharqa was literally spelled out. This was a rare, even unique, instance of a king who was motivated to reveal an alter ego rather than disguise it. The name of Psamtik would have been virtually unknown in Thebes before Year 9. In fact, no monuments dated to years one through eight are known anywhere in Egypt for Psamtik. This can be attributed to the mock rejection and exile he endured shortly after becoming king. Therefore, the Adoption Stela makes clear that Psamtik was one and the same as Taharqa, a more suitable (Nubian) name in Upper Egypt, if not yet attached to a well-known figure. Likewise, he reveals that Nitocris is also to be known by the name of Amenirdis. In other words, Amenirdis II was one and the same as Nitocris, and Taharqa father of Amenirdis II was one and the same as Psamtik father of Nitocris. We have then definitive proof of these unexpected relationships. (Amenirdis II is presently thought to have held the office after Shepenwepet II and before Nitocris.)

It has been formerly assumed that "the Perfect God" mentioned in the Adoption Stela was Taharqa, but this was not the case. Piye was still alive and ruling as Great King at the time of the inscription. Moreover, Amenirdis Ian was the half-sister of Piye (both were children of Kashta), therefore the text reads properly with the name of Piye restored after the adjective "the Perfect God" instead of Taharqa. Neither Psamtik/Taharqa nor Piye were in attendance when Nitocris/Amenirdis II was installed and the Adoption Stela was carved. Therefore, the author of the Adoption Stela took the liberty of condescendingly adding the term "Justified" after each of their names in the inscription. Psamtik and his father Piye had in fact both been disgraced and then later restored as kings. However, if either had been present, it is unlikely that they would have permitted the author to append the pejorative qualifier, "Justified," to their names.

Although defeated, Piankh-Sematawy and his son Masaharta both kept their heads, and neither was driven out of town or even from office. Piankh retained his status as Generalissimo, and Masaharta remained a priest - no longer a deified High Priest but reduced to the lesser station of fourth prophet of Amun. The role models of Masaharta/Sheshonq were the two Joshua figures of the late 18th Dynasty, his namesake Sheshonq II and especially the more prominent Tutankhamun. Like Tut, the influence of Masaharta was primarily personal and his status as pharaoh nominal. Unlike Tut, Masaharta was not terminally ill and was not put to death before the end of his ninth regnal year. Instead, Psamtik or perhaps his father Piye/Sargon offered to give him a new identity, that of Shem-Aanen. This role had already been assumed (and partially fulfilled) by Psamtik/Taharqa, however there was good reason to allow Masaharta to take at least a share of it. In the 12th Dynasty, the part had been played by Amenemhet IV, who failed to produce a qualified heir and was therefore relegated to a supporting role. In the 18th Dynasty, the role of Shem was played by Aanen, who likewise was an accomplished prince, but not one that could establish a dynasty of his own. This was the fate that Piye wanted to impose upon Masaharta.

Both Aanen and the earlier Amenemhet IV were somewhat tragic figures, however Aanen perhaps more so than Amenemhet IV. Psamtik would have gladly agreed to part with the dubious distinction of being Aanen (Shem III) and would eventually shed the role of Moses, as well. Masaharta, now made a "sacrificial king" on behalf of Psamtik in the role of Shem-Aanen, would as Aanen become known by at least one other name and would hold multiple priestly offices. Aanen had first held the office of High Priest of Amun under the name of Meri-Ptah, but was later placed as 2nd and probably also 4th Prophet of Amun under the names Aanen and Si-Mut, respectively. In emulation of Aanen, Masaharta was demoted from High Priest to 4th Prophet of Amun, and as such was not called Masaharta but by the Egyptian/Nubian name of Menthuemhet.ao

It is on the Adoption Stela that Mentuemhet appears for the first time, and already as a prominent leader. The stela is careful to note that he held the office of 4th Prophet and was contributing willingly and substantially to the estate of the new God's Wife Nitocris, Psamtik's daughter. Later in his career, Mentuemhet also acquired the office of 2nd Prophet of Amun, apparently without relinquishing the office of 4th Prophet. This matched very closely, if not exactly, the priestly career path of Aanen. Moreover, Mentuemhet like Aanen (a.k.a. Vizier Amenhotep), became renowned in Thebes, not only as a prophet but also as the foremost architect of his time. As a further sign of his ability and favor, Psamtik/Taharqa later gave another daughter of his to Mentuemhet in marriage.

After over eight years as High Priest, the name of Masaharta disappears from the archaeological record, and he is naturally thought to have died. Appearances, in this case, are deceiving. Masaharta was considered to be a legal or political son of Pinedjem I. However, as shown above, he was actually the true son of Piankh-Sematawy-Tefnakhte, the Biblical Zadok/Tikvah. Also as previously noted, Piankh was a name closely associated with Ptah, and Tefnakhte was sem-priest of Ptah. Mentuemhet, on the other hand, was called the son of Nes-Ptah, "King Ptah." Reasonably, Nes-Ptah was simply a highly appropriate epithet for Tefnakhte. This conclusion also serves to associate the Biblical priestly epithet of Zadok ("righteous") with the god Ptah in Egypt. In fact, the two can now be seen as synonymous.


  1. Panehesy is an Egyptian name and Taharqa Nubian.
  2. Peftjawybastet was the Libyan name of Pinedjem/Ramses XI. See Chapter 36.
  3. She is called Ta-khered-en-ta-ihet-weret, and may correspond to the only known wife of Taharqa, Mehtemwesket daughter of Harsiese S.
  4. The mother of Taharqa was named Abar, and also possibly called Tabiry, a variant of Taperet. Abar was a daughter of Alara (Osorkon III), which implies that he had at one time held the High Priesthood in Memphis as he did in Thebes.
  5. Robert Morkot, The Black Pharaohs, p 275.
  6. J.G. Manning, in an on-line review of "Textual Sources for the History of the Middle Nile Region Between the Eighth Century B.C. and the Sixth Century A.D., Vol 1. (http://ccat.sas.upenn.edu/bmcr/1996/96.04.03.html)
  7. See discussion of Piya and Ush-Piya in the previous chapter.
  8. In the 18th Dynasty, Philistines were primarily if not exclusively an ethnic group of Upper Egypt. Even after the coming of the "Sea Peoples," Philistines continued to be associated with Upper Egypt, as well. In the Book of Jeremiah, Upper Egypt is referred to as Pathros, and Paturisi by the Assyrians at this time. The Pathrusites/Pathrusim were closely related to the Philistines. (Gen. 10:14; 1 Chron. 1:12)
  9. Stephanites is a Greek melding of the names Tefnakhte and Setnakhte.
  10. Herodotus, Vol 2, Section 151, translated by Robin Waterfield, Herodotus: The Histories, Oxford University Press, pp 156-157.
  11. Ancient Near Eastern Texts, J. Pritchard, ed., p 287.
  12. Shabaka (Tiglath-Pileser) in the role of Smenkhkare had also been directed to rebel against his father Azaru/Osorkon III (Assur-Dan III) as a strategic ploy.
  13. Ancient Near Eastern Texts (ANET), J. Pritchard, ed., p 286.
  14. 2 Chron. 33:11-13 (NIV)
  15. In another text, Sargon called himself "the subduer of the country Judah (Ia-u-du) which is far away." (ANET, p 287) Piye/Sargon had conquered Nubia and Egypt in his Year 20. The Judah of Nubia and Upper Egypt was quite "far away" from Assyria in comparison to the Judah of Palestine.
  16. 2 Chron. 33:10-13
  17. Psamtik is actually distinguished for his "restoration of original religious purity." (Nicolas Gimal, A History of Egypt, p 356)
  18. For the characterization of Menkhaure and Khufu, see Chapter 5.
  19. Per-Medjed, "House of Medjed" was one of places subdued by Piye as documented in his Victory Stela.
  20. 2 Kings 21:12-14
  21. Romans 12:17
  22. Zadok follows Ahitub in the late New Kingdom in repetition of the early New Kingdom (time of David). See the chart and analysis at the bottom of Chapter 24.
  23. See discussion in Chapter 10.
  24. Tikvah/Tikvath (8616/8615) "a cord (as an attachment [comp. 6961]; fig. expectancy: -hope, live, thing that I long for. Cf qavah (6961) and havah (1934) "exist"
  25. 1 Chron. 6:12; Ezra 7:2
  26. 2 Kings 22:14; 2 Chron. 34:22
  27. Herodotus, Vol 2, Sections 152 & 153, translated by Robin Waterfield, Herodotus: The Histories, Oxford University Press, p 157.
  28. For the association of Urartu and Aratta, see David Rohl, Legend, Chapter 2.
  29. Excerpted from D. Redford, Egypt, Canaan, and Israel in Ancient Times, p 251, quoting Ramesside Inscriptions, 7 vols., ed K.A. Kitchen (London, 1969-) V, 39-40; and W.F. Parentheticals mine.
    Edgerton and J.A. Wilson, Historical Records of Ramesses III (Chicago, 1936), 53-56.
  30. Year 8 of his reign as Psusennes I. The inscription was possibly not made until Year 8 as Ramses III.
  31. Velikovsky noted that archaic Greek letters were written on the backs of tiles used in the temple of Ramses III. This form of Greek dates to the 7th Century B.C. (Peter James, Centuries of Darkness) Psusennes (Pa-Seba-em-Niut, "The Star Appears in the City (Thebes)," claimed as part of his titulary to be "Great Builder in Karnak." Construction of his was found in Tanis, but no monuments in Thebes are attributable to him. Rather, his building was performed there under the names of Ramses III and Shebitku. On the other hand, almost no evidence of Shebitku/Shabataka or Shabaka has been found in Nubia, which belies the claim that they were in fact Nubian.
  32. The origin of the name Habu is unknown. Perhaps it relates to Hebron, an epithet of David.
  33. The "fortress city" was mentioned in the Papyrus Mayer, see discussion in Chapter 40, Note 1.
  34. It seems that the Lord (Piye-Sargon in this case) gave the blessings of kingship to Ramses III (as Ramses II had appointed Meremptah) only for the purpose of later taking it away.
  35. Compare the title of Piankh-Sematawy as a Great General:
    http://members.tripod.com/~ib205/piankh.html
    http://touregypt.net/who/payonkh.htm
  36. At the city of Herakleopolis Sematawy-Tefnakhte was considered the "son" of the much younger Pediese, the Libyan identity of Psamtik/Taharqa/Panehesy.
  37. The status of Tiy-merenese (Henutawy A/Tentamon/Makare) daughter of Meremptah as a God's Wife seems to have been ignored or removed by Piye. This is consistent with the subjugation of her husband Pinedjem/Ramses XI.
  38. Robert Morkot, The Black Pharaohs, p 185-186. This was not a matrilineal sequence, in that the word daughter is not used in the literal sense, but figuratively or legally as in adoption. Consistent with this, after her adoption, Nitocris referred to Shepenwepet II rather than Mehtemwesket as her "mother" in official inscriptions.
  39. R. Caminos, "The Nitocris Adoption Stele," Journal of Egyptian Archaeology, 50:71-101, 1964. Parentheticals within square brackets mine.
  40. The continued prominence of Amenhotep the firstborn of Amenirdis I is indication that she had not died by Year 9 of Psamtik. Although she is only referred to indirectly on the Adoption Stela (as the "mother"/regent of Shepenwepet II), she likely was still living and holding the title of God's Wife of Amun. Likewise, Shepenwepet I was not mentioned in conjunction with the adoption of Shepenwepet II by Amenirdis I, but was still holding the title of God's Wife.
  41. Masaharta and Sheshonq are considered Libyan names, whereas Mentuemhet or Menthuemhet is considered a Nubian form of the classical Egyptian name Montuemhet.

Note 1:

Psao-metichos, connoting, "(wine) tainting partner."

psallo (5567) probably strengthened from psao (to rub or touch the surface), to twitch or twang, i.e. to play on a stringed instrument (celebrate the divine worship with music and accompanying odes):- make melody, sing (psalms).

Meta:
Conjugates formed with the Greek root meta have meanings of transfer, give over, remove/depose, take/carry away, share, go/travel over, trickery/wile, be summoned/called, change, expatriate, repent, waiver.
(3179, 3180, 3348, 3349, 3350, 3353)

Cf Eber/Moses

metecho (3348) to share or participate, by implication, belong to, eat (or drink):- be partaker, pertain, take part, use.

metochos (3353) participant, sharer, associate:- fellow, partaker, partner

methistemi/methistano ( 3179) to transfer, i.e. carry away, depose or (fig.) exchange, seduce:- put out, remove, translate, turn away

metha (3178) an intoxicant, i.e. (by impl.) intoxication:- drunkenness

conjugates meaning drunk, drunkenness
(3182, 3183, 3184)

Cf Greek Psao and Egyptian Tao

Alan Gardiner writes,

"The name, for all its outlandish appearance, is an Egyptian one meaning 'the negus-vendor', a designation apparently connected with Herodotus's story (ii. 151) of his improvisation of a libation bowl out of his helmet."

"negus, a beverage made of wine, hot water, lemon juice, sugar, and nutmeg. (Invented by Colonel Francis Negus, died 1732, English soldier)"
- The American Heritage Dictionary

Note 2:

"They interrogated Psammetichus and found that he had acted without premeditation, so they decided that it would be wrong to kill him, but they resolved to strip him of most of his power, exile him to the marshes, and ban him from setting out from the marshes to have anything to do with the rest of Egypt."

Herodotus, Vol 2, Section 151, translated by Robin Waterfield, Herodotus: The Histories, Oxford University Press, p 157.

Note 3:

Archetypal Phinehas had killed Zimri son of Salu the head of a Simeonite (Naram-Sin) clan. However, the role of Simeon in the time of Hammurabi (late 12th Dynasty) is not clear. Naram-Sin (Simeon) and his son Shar-kali-Sharri (Shaul) had lived many generations before in the 11th Dynasty. Shabaka was the son-in-law of Hori/Kashta, who after the killing of Shabaka had his name changed to Herihor-Siamun in fulfillment of the role of Simeon. Moreover, the murder of Shabaka at an occasion of wine and song was probably a strained attempt to place Shabaka into the role of Zimri/Carmi (and with the young Panehesy as his zealous/righteous killer). The double name Zimri/Carmi combines the inseparable elements of wine and song.

Note 4:

Herodotus transmitted from his sources that Psamtik was exiled twice.

"This was not the first time that Psammetichus had been in exile: he had once fled from Sabacos the Ethiopian, who had killed his father Necho. On that occasion he had gone to Syria, and he was brought back from there by the inhabitants of the Egyptian province of Sais when the Ethiopian left as a result of his dream. And then, when he became king for the second time, the incident with the helmet led to his being forced into exile again, this time in the marshes, banished there by the eleven kings."

Herodotus, Vol 2, Section 152, translated by Robin Waterfield, Herodotus: The Histories, Oxford University Press, p 157.

Sabacos (Shabaka) had controversially killed Bocchoris (Bakenrenef), but not Necho. Another great prince, "Radyan" (Rudamun, Amenemnisu?) was also put to death by Shabaka only a short time after that. It is difficult to say whether these executions were literal ones or only staged in fulfillment of Shabaka's designated typecasting as a neo-Smenkhkare. Regardless, the priestly authors of the Bible disapproved of the acts. The second "sacrifical killing" occurred in Damascus of Syria, and probably before the birth of "Greek" Psamtik ("Nubia" Taharqa/"Egyptian" Panehesy/"Libyan" Pediese). In the early Christian era, Jerome, commenting on Manetho's history, said that it was Taharqa who had killed Shabaka. The first actual flight of Psamtik/Taharqa took place shortly after the assassination of Shabaka. However, he soon returned from Nubia on the coat-tails of his triumphant father Piye back to Thebes and then the Delta. The second exile of Psamtik happened immediately after the episode of the bronze helmet, as correctly preserved by Herodotus. After leaving the "marshes" of the Delta and relocating to Ashdod, Psamtik fled again to Nubia, but was taken captive and led away in chains to Assyria (not Syria as preserved by Herodotus). He became king in Egypt a second time upon his return from this exile.

To view a bronze statuette of Psamtik:
http://www.virtual-egyptian-museum.org/Collection/FullVisit/Collection.FullVisit-JFR.html?../Content/MET.XL.00885.html&0

Note 5:

A reformed Manasseh supposedly purged the temple of offensive cult articles at the end of his reign. However, in the apparent Kings/Chronicles sequence, it is still necessary for Josiah to again purge items that logically had just been removed by Manasseh. Recognizing that the Josiah account is actually a second version of the Hezekiah narrative resolves the contradiction. The items removed by Josiah/Hezekiah would instead have been those of Ahaz. (2 Chron. 33:14-16; 2 Kings 23:12)

Note 6:

After the treaty between Hattusilis III and Ramses II in Year 21 of Ramses, a new equilibrium was reached in the Near East. In Year 33 of Ramses, the two emperors met in Damascus for a wedding. This happy occasion belied the trouble facing the Hittites. Hattusilis III was there to present his daughter to Ramses in marriage. We do not know what the Hittite king received in return, however it must have involved Egyptian relief in the form of grain, weaponry, or the promise of military intervention against Greek and Anatolian forces. The succession struggle of Hattusilis and his nephew Urhu-Teshub had allowed Egypt to recover Damascus and Syria. It had also encouraged the increasing independence and growing power of the Anatolian states of SW Asia Minor.

Hattusilis III likely died shortly after the wedding of Year 33. Hattusilis III and his brother Muwatallis II had reigned for a combined sixty years. Hattusilis was succeeded by his son Tudhaliyas IV. Tudhaliyas was in turn succeeded by his two sons Arnuwandas III and Suppiluliumas II. The expected length of Tudhaliyas IV's reign would have been very short. As the son and heir of Hattusilis III, he would have been advanced in years himself by the death of his aged father. Also, the reassignment of letters and events to Tudhaliyas I that were previously thought to be those of Tudhaliyas IV have reduced the importance of the latter king. (J. G. Macqueen, The Hittites, p 45) Tudhaliyas IV managed to finish a temple that was nearing completion upon the passing of Hattusilis III. However, nothing to the scale of Ramses' construction was undertaken by the Hittites during this period of stability. Rather, Tudhaliyas IV was compelled to recognize the claims of another king (of a region called Ahhiyawa) as his equal. (See Chapter 40, Note 1 for a short discussion on Ahhiyawa.)

The reigns of the two sons of Tudhaliyas IV were also cut short. Arnuwandus III died after a brief and uneventful reign. Drought in the reigns of Arnuwandas III and Suppiluliumas II required the import of grain from Egypt. Moreover, Suppiluliumas notes the sudden appearance and build-up of ships from the Aegean along his coast. However, only the charred remains of the Hittite capital recorded the even more abrupt demise of the last Hittite king. Suppiluliumas II was overwhelmed along with the rest of the northeastern Mediterranean by the "Peoples of the Sea" after an unspecified period of rule.

Without any supporting archaeology, Tudhaliyas IV, Arnuwandus III and Suppiluliumas II are attributed with reigns in round numbers of 30, 20 and 20 years, respectively. (Macqueen, pp 50-51) Within the conventional chronology, this is necessary in order to "postpone" the fall of the Hittite capital Hattusus until after the close of the Egyptian 19th Dynasty, and eleven years into the 20th Dynasty (Year 8 of Ramses III). "The LH IIIB pottery found at the two sites permits the conclusion that the destruction of both Thebes (in Greece) and Troy VI occurred toward the end of the long reign of Ramesses the Great." (Robert Drews, The End of the Bronze Age, p 215)

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