Living in Truth:
Archaeology and the Patriarchs

Chapter 37   Book Navigator    Chapter 39

by Charles N. Pope
Copyright 1999-2004, 2016 by Charles Pope
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Chapter 38
"Peace and Security in My Time"
(The Trials and Triumphs of Shebitku)


Thou Shalt Covet Another Man's Life
(Psamtik takes the rule and role of Tefnakhte)

Like his role model Senakhtenre Tao (Terah), Tefnakhte had recovered from two devastating setbacks.  The first was the loss of his status as heir apparent due to the premature death of his father Khaemwaset son of Ramses II. The second came in defeat to Piye/Sargon. Unlike Tao, he would endure a third and final humbling. It would be inflicted by Psamtik/Taharqa and his army of Greek adventurers.i Prior to the last fall, Tefnakhte served as High Priest of Amun, which satisfied the requirements of his other dominant archetype, High Priest Amenemhet (Merari) son of Thutmose III. The office was taken away from Tefnakhte effectively ending his remarkable career. At the same Tefnakhte also witnessed the demotion of his two leading sons. The eldest, Masaharta/Mentuemhet, was reduced in rank from 1st to 4th Prophet of Amun and declared to be the new Aaron (Aanen). Fittingly, his younger half-brother Ramses-Psusennes was made over to be Moses, a role happily relinquished by Psamtik/Taharqa and transferred to him. (Note the correspondence between Aken-esh, the probable Libyan name of Ramses-Psuennes, and Akhen-aten.)

By giving his daughter the name of Nitocris, Psamtik/Taharqa designated himself as a repetition of the 6th Dynasty pharaoh Neferkare Pepi II, who was father of an earlier famous queen by that same name. Psamtik also installed his man Ibi as the personal steward of Nitocris. Ibi was typecast after the 6th Dynasty Ibi, a governor in Upper Egypt appointed by Pepi II and his close relative.a The 26th Dynasty Ibi went so far as to copy a mural from the tomb of his 6th Dynasty namesake for use in his own tomb (TT 36).b At this time, Psamtik also assimilated the role of Tao/Apepi, which Tefnakhte had not been able to fully satisfy before his forced retirement. The installation of Amenirdis II/Nitocris in Thebes was likely the last official act of Tefnakhte.c He was denied in his bid to become Great King. On the other hand, Psamtik/Taharqa, as son of Piye/Sargon, had a more than reasonable chance of succeeding to that coveted position.d At the age of only 21, he already could boast of having "united the Two Lands in his youth," and in accordance with another one of his own personal archetypes, Montuhotep II (Levi).

Piye-Sargon would have been pleased that his son Psamtik had curbed the growing power of Tefnakhte and his sons Ramses III and Masaharta. He likely would not have approved of Psamtik's alliance with "Harkhebi son of Haremakhet" and especially of Harkhebi's appointment as the new High Priest of Amun in the place of Masaharta. Haremakhet son of Shabaka had once been High Priest of Amun prior to the assassination of his father. In fact it was the election of Haremakhet to that post which ultimately led to his father's assassination. The previous High Priest, Amenhotep, was an eldest son of Shabaka by a different queen. He was the true son of Kashta.e However, after securing his kingship Shabaka suppressed Amenhotep in favor of his own true son Haremakhet. Henceforth, Amenhotep in effect became the political "son" of his half-brother Haremakhet, who was also soon to be named by Shabaka/Takelot III as Libyan successor, Osorkon IV, and heir apparent to the Egyptian/Nubian throne. The name Harkhebi, like that of Haremakhet, is considered to be a Nubian identity, and seems to have been used in place of Tanutamon/Tanuatamun, because of his earlier disgrace. Shabaka the father of Haremakhet and legal father of Amenhotep/Tanutamon/Harkhebi emphasized only his Nubian name Shabaka and Libyan name Takelot. His Egyptian identity is obscure, however before becoming pharaoh he may have been known as General Amenemope "father" of Bakenkhonsu. (See also Chapter 34, Note 2.)

When Shabaka was killed by Kashta, another one of Kashta's sons Piye usurped the throne. Piye not only subdued his own father, but also his younger brother Amenhotep and his nephew Haremakhet. On the Victory Stela of Piye, Kashta and Haremakhet were called by their Libyan names, Iuput and Osorkon, respectively. The vanquished Amenhotep/Tanutamon appears there as the prince and great Libyan chief Djed-amun-efankh of Per-Baneb-djed.f During his earlier tenure as High Priest, Amenhotep was probably known by other regional names, specifically Bakenkhonsug (son of General Amenemope) and Ma-Huhy. Ma is a generic Libyan prefix, and Huhy is a variant of Huy the Egyptian short form of Amenhotep. Amenhotep/Harkhebi formed an alliance with another disgruntled prince, his nephew Psamtik/Taharqa, and made a stunning political comeback.h Upon his re-election as High Priest, Amenhotep was given a new Egyptian identity, evidently derived from his formerly disgraced names. He was no longer Tanutamon, Amenhotep/Ma-Huhy, Djed-amun-efankh, or Bakenkhonsu, but called Djed-khonsu-efankh. With this new name Djed-khonsu-efankh, Amenhotep/Harkhebi also became a divine High Priest, much like Masaharta who preceded him.

Smendes/Nimloti might have been subdued by his brother Psamtik (in Year 9), but was more likely away from Egypt at the time to support the agenda of Piye-Sargon elsewhere. The second coming of the Sea Peoples, dated to Year 11 of Sargon as king of Assyria, also involved the overthrow of Hatti, Syria, Phoenicia and Palestine states. Despite the victory of Psamtik in Egypt, Smendes (then in his own Year 24), remained the heir apparent to their father Piye in the greater throne now in Assyria. Tradition demanded that Smendes in the role of "Judah-Rimush" eventually be appointed co-regent to Piye, who had assumed the role of "Jacob/Israel-Sargon." In the 18th Dynasty, the role of Judah was played by Nimlot A/Thutmose IV, who was named the co-regent of Amenhotep II (Patriarch Jacob).

Consistent with the pattern, Smendes took a new name in his Year 25. The name selected was Menkheperre, which had been the throne name of the 18th Dynasty Thutmose IV. It had also been the throne name of Thutmose III, and used by Piye as the latest incarnation of Thutmose III. The renaming of Smendes as "Menkheperre son of Menkheperre" left no doubt as to the succession order. However, for Smendes there was still the matter of reestablishing his authority in Egypt, and especially within the cult of Amun. Piye would have considered Smendes, his heir apparent, to be the best choice as a deified High Priest. Within a year, Sargon took action to remove that distinction from Harkhebi and give it to Smendes. Piye/Sargon first moved against Haremakhet in Babylon, who was known there by the Babylonian name Marduk-Balladin (the Biblical Merodach-Baladan son of Baladanj). In Year 12 of Sargon, Marduk-Balladin was determined to be "unfaithful" and placed under attack. Marduk-Balladin fled to Elam, and Sargon then established his direct rule over Babylon.k Harkhebi "son of Haremakhet" was targeted next in Egypt.

"Provoke not Thy Children to Wrath"
(The Murder of Sennacherib)

To prove his worthiness as successor, Smendes cum Menkheperre was in that same year challenged by Piye-Sargon with the "labor" of wresting control of the Amun cult and its wealth away from Harkhebi/Djedkhonsuefankh, and if necessary, also deal with Psamtik (Taharqa) and Ramses III (Psusennes). In his Year 25, Smendes/Menkheperre marched with purpose on Thebes. With the use of some force, perhaps only a token show, he entered the Karnak Temple of Amun and was declared divine High Priest. (In the Biblical narrative of Josiah, Menkheperre appears as the prominent High Priest Hilkiah.) Afterwards, Menkheperre seems to have maintained two sets of regnal dates, one beginning with his appointment as High Priest and the other referenced to the beginning of his kingship as Smendes. Harkhebi was last heard from three year later in Year 14 of Psamtik (Year 28 of Smendes/Menkheperre), so he was evidently not suppressed violently as he had been in the reign of Shabaka/Tiglath-pileser III. He may have even remained as High Priest with Menkheperre acting as his regent, even as Masaharta had functioned under Piankh-Sematawy/Tefnakhte. However, Harkhebi was no longer allowed the status of pharaoh under the name of Djed-khonsu-efankh.l

It would not be until three years later that Piye-Sargon was ready to officially appoint Menkheperre as co-regent in Assyria, and under the Assyrian name of Sennacherib. In character for Piye-Sargon, he was in no hurry to announce his decision regarding succession. Moreover, there was a good reason to delay it. Year 28 was highly significant for Menkheperre, in that his former name Smendes was an epithet of Osiris, the god who was killed in the 28th year of his reign. Smendes as Osiris endured a form of death as a king in Egypt, but was "resurrected" to greater glory as "king of the world," or so he would address himself in Assyrian inscriptions.

Sargon-the-Great is credited with a reign of 55 years. This would have been perceived as yet another blessing for his namesake Piye/Sargon II. However, after only 35 years of kingship, and only about a year after declaring Sennacherib as successor, Piye-Sargon was ambushed and killed in a routine "peacekeeping" operation. Piye-Sargon, supremely confident and ever mindful of the "cloud of witnesses" overshadowing his reign, was caught completely off guard. His "fate" should have been to rule for another 20 years, but he obviously underestimated the hatred he had inspired in his son and other officials.

The name of Sennacherib (Sin-ahhe-eriba), although probably given rather than assumed, conveys the curiously vindictive meaning, "(the god) Sin has compensated (the deaths of) the brothers." m It probably reflects the deadly feud that erupted between his father Piye-Sargon (Jotham) and Shabaka-Tiglathpileser III (Ahaz) not long after his birth. (Biblical Ahaz was accused of putting his "sons" to death.) Before that conflict of almost three decades ago, a very young prince Smendes had been made co-regent, not of his father Piye, but to Piye's much younger half-brother Pinedjem. This had been the express will of Ramses-the-Great himself before his passing. Politically speaking, the father of Smendes became as one of his sons. But, this all changed when Shabaka and then Piye usurped the throne of Ramses II, and Smendes was subjected one after the other to their regencies.

The passing of Pinedjem in his own Year 28 must have only added to the resentment of Smendes, who was then in his Year 24. Instead of becoming Great King, Smendes would endure four more years of frustration prior to being appointed only as "God-elect" for a second time. Moreover, he was still typecast as Judah, a role that not only carried an expectation of premature death, but also death before succeeding to the throne of one's father. Although no doubt a child provoked to wrath,n Sennacherib still required a pretext for removing his pompous, egomaniacal, self-righteous and anal-retentive father. For inspiration, Sennacherib probably looked to the great conqueror Tikulti-Ninurta the Assyrian alter ego of Thutmose III, whose mummy is doubtfully identified.

As the story goes, Tikulti-Ninurta became irrational, was declared mentally incompetent, and then killed by one of his own sons. Sargon II was likewise attacked with extreme prejudice. His body was either completely destroyed or not reclaimed so as to deny him a place in the afterlife. After Sargon's death, Sennacherib disassociated himself from the memory of his father. "Sennacherib allowed the theologians to affirm that the violent death of his father, and his failure to receive a proper burial, had been a result of Sargon's sin in building his new capital city." o This of course was the same rationalization used to explain the troubles of Sargon-the-Great. In Egypt, the image and name of the supposedly "Beloved" and "Perfect God" Piye were actually defaced on his monuments.p

In his 16th and final year as King of Assyria, Sargon II had again turned his attention to the west. Although Cyprus and Phrygia were at peace, the land of Tabal in the Taurus Mountains of Anatolia was apparently vexing the king. "One year after Dur-Sharrukin was officially inaugurated Sargon 'went against Tabal and was killed in the war.' " He was perhaps emulating the deed of Sargon-the-Great, who according to legend went to Cappadocia of Anatolia in an attempt to make it safe for trade." q The body of Sargon II was not recovered, and therefore not properly buried. This did not appear to fulfill any prophesy or tradition. (The closest analog apperas to be the death of the Judah-figure Amenemhet in the early Middle Kingdom.) In fact, it would have been perceived as a curse and sign of disapproval on the part of the gods, which is precisely what Sennacherib intended for him.

One must imagine that Sargon II strode forth to his "fate" with the usual air of invincibility, but the illusion of grandeur cultivated over a lifetime was shattered in an instant. According to the Kings/Chronicles narrative, Jotham "rested with his fathers" and was buried in the City of David. The mummies of Osorkon III/Alara (Uzziah), Takelot III/Shabaka (Ahaz) and Rudamun/Piye (Jotham) are unaccounted for, so it is not possible to say for sure whether they were buried at Thebes, in el-Kurru of Nubia, Tanis in the Delta, Timbuktu, or as in the case of Sargon II, not at all. Perhaps the news of his ignominious death was suppressed, at least in far away Egypt. In the absence of evidence to the contrary, it would have been assumed later that the king was buried in a manner befitting a righteous king of Judah after David.

Sennacherib had ensured that he would not be denied the succession, but as a consequence his family rivals could just as easily rationalize open revolt. Marduk-Baladan returned from exile and declared himself king in Babylon. Ramses III and Psamtik/Taharqa reclaimed their sovereignty over Thebes and Egypt. It took over a year for Sennacherib to gain the upper hand over Marduk-Baladin in Babylon, at which time Sennacherib then assumed the Babylonian king name of Nabopolassar (Nabu-appla-user). In the third year ("third campaign"), he turned his attention toward the rebellious "Hezekiah the Jew" (Ramses III). "Tarqu" (Taharqa) marched out in support of Hezekiah but then turned back. On this occasion at least he either chose not to risk losing his army or sold Ramses III out for a better deal with his half-brother Sennacherib. Ramses III was placed under siege by Sennacherib and forced to "cry uncle" to his first cousin.

The Hezekiah account doesn't mention Hilkiah directly, but only Eliakim son of Hilkiah (future king Jehoiakim), who is named as "palace administrator," that is, a "steward" in Egyptian parlance. The Hezekiah account does explicitly acknowledge that Hezekiah "rebelled" against Sennacherib (Hilkiah) but later agreed to pay a king's ransom in gold and silver as tribute. On the other hand, the Josiah narrative does not mention an Assyrian attack, but features Hilkiah prominently. He is specifically honored by the title of "High Priest" and also actively participates in the Passover Observance. The only hint of conflict between Hilkiah and Josiah involves a veiled debate over the destruction of Jerusalem according to what was written in the Book of the Law." r

"Power to Tread on Serpents"
(Death Sentence and Reprieve for Hezekiah)

After the epic defense of Egypt against the "Peoples of the Sea," the second most notable event in the reign of Ramses III was the attempt on his life known as the "Harem Conspiracy." Opinion has been divided as to whether the death of Ramses III was caused by the intrigue, or whether the plot had taken place earlier in his reign and he recovered. The latter scenario is the more likely as Ramses III personally appointed 12 judges to preside over the hearings of 33 persons implicated in the assassination attempt. The chief culprits were found to be Queen Teye and one of her sons Pentawer/Pentaweret.s There is no mention of any punishment for the queen, and perhaps it was not possible to arraign her. Pentaweret was required to take his own life, as were many others.

The illness and recovery of Hezekiah occurred after the invasion of Sennacherib (dated to Hezekiah's Year 14) and before the celebration of the Passover in the following year (Year 15 of Ramses III/Year 18 of Psusennes I). After being healed, Hezekiah is informed by "word of the Lord" (Sennacherib) through Isaiah (Mentuemhet) that he would be allowed to live 15 years longer.t This would place the death of Ramses III in his Year 29, however he is known to have died in Year 32. Sennacherib, did place Jerusalem under siege a second time in Year 29, exactly 15 years later. It seems that he was determined to keep his word and end the life of Ramses just as promised.u However, Ramses III was better prepared and better supported by Taharqa in the second attack. (See the end of Chapter 39 for further discussion of the two sieges.) The Biblical narrative is careful to note the irony of Sennacherib's death, which it attributes at least indirectly to the second failed attempt to kill Hezekiah. However, in this case, rather than acknowledging that a prophesy had failed to come true, Hezekiah is not given credit for the final three years of his reign!

It is clear from the Biblical Kings narrative that Hezekiah was not expected to survive his earlier sickness. "In those days Hezekiah became ill and was at the point of death. The prophet Isaiah son of Amoz went to him and said, 'This is what the Lord says: Put your house in order, because you will die; you will not recover." v During the trial, Ramses is referred to as "the great god" and speaks of himself as "in the company of Osiris," indicating that he passed away before judgments were issued by the court.w However, Ramses III (Hezekiah/Josiah) did not die from this palace intrigue, but from wounds suffered in battle at Megiddo. On the mummy of Ramses III, three amulets of the god Horus were found over his throat. Ramses III was also later invoked in the place of Horus as a charm against deadly snakebites.x This must have been associated with the assassination attempt and his survival.y

Before the role of Moses was imposed upon Ramses III, he had been patterned after Benjamin/Uzziel (Gudea of the 11th Dynasty and Neby of the 18th Dynasty). However, Sennacherib found a way to undermine that typecasting. Neby had not been given the role of Benjamin/Uzziel until after another prince of that time, Aakheperre son of Amenhotep II, became sick and died. If Ramses III were to die in a similar manner as Aakheperre, then Sennacherib could then reassign the role of Benjamin/Uzziel to one of his own sons. Judging from the Genesis account, Benjamin son of Jacob (Aakheperre son of Amenhotep II) was ill for a long time,z perhaps even 15 years before he finally passed away. After surviving the deadly bite of an adder, Ramses III could then claim the roles of both 18th Dynasty Benjamins, Aakheperre and Neby. In the role of Moses, he was also entitled to a stay of execution. Akhenaten had not died immediately after the Exodus of his time, nor did Hammurabi. Ramses III no doubt considered the ordeal to represent a symbolic death, and his perceived divinity was undoubtedly enhanced as a result. He became a "living Osiris" and as such joined the lofty spiritual order not only of Moses but also Abraham and King Uzziah.aa

"Neither Shall Thine Eyes See All the Evil"
(The Passover Celebration Revived)

Two sons of Piye are known, one is Taharqa and the other Prince Khaliut. There is evidence to suggest a "conflict within the royal family, perhaps in the reign of Shabaqo or Shebitqo, between Prince Khaliut, a son of Piye, and Taharqo." ab Although the Biblical name of Sennacherib, Hilkiah, was patently derived (by transposition) from his Nubian name Khaliut, he did not seem to care for Nubia like his father Sargon. Ramses III/Shebitku was deeded the title of pharaoh in Nubia in exchange for tribute and other concessions, including maintenance of his Moses typecasting and probably refraining from any alliance with Taharqa. Hezekiah is quoted, "I intend to make a covenant with the Lord," ac that is, with his overlord Sennacherib.

In the first month of the first year of his new kingship (as Nubian pharaoh), Hezekiah orders repairs made to the temple. Meanwhile, the Book of the Law of Moses is "discovered" by Hilkiah the Priest, and this (he claims) is proof of certain doom for Jerusalem. A distraught Josiah does not speak to his oppressor Hilkiah face to face but only through intermediaries. For a second opinion on the Book's "interpretation," the prophetess Huldah and widowed wife of Shallum (Pinedjem I), that is, the Queen Mother and former God's Wife, is consulted for her knowledge of past events and therefore the ability to foresee those soon to come. Huldah is likely the mother of both Hilkiah and Josiah and therefore an objective party. Her answer: there is to be a final and more intensely destructive Exodus.ad For the sake of Hezekiah/Josiah it would be postponed, but in deference to Hilkiah it would not be cancelled.ae

In the second month, Hezekiah/Josiah presides as Moses over a large Passover observance. The celebration begins a month late (based on the Laws of Moses), purportedly because "not enough priests had consecrated themselves and the people had not assembled in Jerusalem." af The main temple of Ramses III at Medinet Habu in Western Thebes employed more than 60,000 persons, and at that time seems to have eclipsed even the Karnak Temple in activity and importance.ag It is unlikely that there would have not been enough staff there to support the event. The Jerusalem of Palestine was much closer to the remnant of tribal Israel that was invited to participate, but perhaps less equipped to host "a very large crowd of people." ah

Sennacherib reported that he had driven out over 200,000 people from Judah just the year before.ai Tiglath-Pileser III and Sargon II who preceded him had deported most of Israel. Those who had averted the dragnet and remained generally scoffed at the idea of celebrating anything, much less a Passover. And in truth, this particular observance was intended to be more than simply a revival - for it was both an admission that an Exodus had just occurred and that another perhaps even more traumatic Exodus was expected to follow. The royal family had decided to abandon Egypt as their capital in favor of Mesopotamia, and in order to complete another grand cycle of history. Apparently this would have occurred earlier if it had not been for the resistance of Ramses III to the will of Menkheperre/Sennacherib. The primary objective of the Exodus, at least from the perspective of the presiding Great King, was not the resettlement and healingaj of the oppressed in Egypt, but to increase the security of his new throne in Mesopotamia by weakening Egypt.

"You Shall Worship Before One Altar"
(The "Reforms" of Hezekiah)

The first turning point in the reign of Ramses III took place in his Year 5 (Year 8 of his reign as Psusennes).ak At that time, Egypt was invaded by the "Peoples of the Sea," that is, Greek mercenaries under the leadership of Psamtik/Taharqa. Despite his claim of victory at Medinet Habu (Jerusalem), Ramses-Psusennes was in fact subdued and required to accept a change in typecasting. It was also in Year 5 that a still very young Ramses III decided to begin construction on his mortuary temple.al In the opinion of one Biblical history author, it was in that very Year 8 that Josiah began to do good by seeking the "God of his father David" and acting in accordance with the Laws of Moses.am By his Year 12, Josiah was tearing down high places and Asherah poles, and attacking idols and images, not only in Jerusalem and Judah, but also in Israel.

The Papyrus Harris listed the works of Ramses III, everything from monumental construction at Karnak and Medinet Habu to the donation of flowers and clusters of grapes. The training of "lay priests" an is specifically noted,ao as well as the observance of festivals and even "old feasts." However, nothing resembling a Passover festival and nothing from his Year 15 (Year 18 of Psusennes) is mentioned. Likewise, there is no mention of any religious reforms. On the contrary, the document is careful to assert that Ramses III ordered the traditional carving of numerous cult images, great and grand statues, and figures.ap The Papyrus Harris shows that he was devoted not only to Amen, but also equally well to Ra, Ptah and to a lesser degree all of the gods and goddesses of Egypt and their local representations. As a Moses-figure, we would expect Ramses III to have suppressed Amen and other Egyptian cults in exclusive favor of Re, but this course was not taken by him. If Ramses III initiated any reforms, then they occurred outside Egypt proper in the Judah and Israel of Palestine. Within Egypt at least, Ramses III was far more interested in staying true to the role of Gudea/Inyotef II (Benjamin/Uzziel), who was distinguished for his service to the entire pantheon, and also for having grown abundantly stout.aq

Seals of Hezekiah have been discovered that feature winged-discs and scarab beetles, the symbols of solar religion in Egypt. As a Moses-figure, an emphasis on the sun god is actually to be expected. Yet, the accounts of Hezekiah and Josiah reveal other behavior that is inconsistent with the stereotype. Specifically, Josiah is said to have destroyed chariots in Jerusalem that had been dedicated to the sun. One gets the impression however that these chariots had been consigned to the scrap heap simply because they were obsolete, and that any cult association they possessed was completely incidental. Hezekiah, on the other hand, is said to have destroyed the brasen serpent Nehushtan, a prominent symbol associated with Moses and the Exodus.ar After surviving the bite of a deadly snake and becoming a type of Osiris himself, one might think that the relic would have taken on a greater significance to Ramses III, but it seems that just the opposite was true, or that he simply could not find a way to control (profit from) the people's reverence of it.

In an Assyrian inscription, Sennacherib called Hezekiah "overbearing and proud." as The Biblical Hezekiah narrative includes a taunt from Sennacherib's officer that Hezekiah unreasonably demanded that all the people worship at a single altar.at Hezekiah was an advocate of centralized religion, not so much for the sake of spiritual welfare, but for strengthening the state. If Egypt was to avoid conquest by foreign armies, she needed the means to pay for her defense through the conscription of native Egyptians into military and civil service. Ramses III, as the Biblical Hezekiah, was remembered as a great hoarder of wealth. The trait gained him a general reputation for being a miser, but made him immensely popular among the temple workers. This is reflected in the Biblical narrative where the stewardship of Hezekiah is praised:

"And Hezekiah had exceeding much riches and honour: and he made himself treasuries for silver, and for gold, and for precious stones, and for spices, and for shields, and for all manner of pleasant jewels: Storehouses also for the increase of corn [grain], and wine, and oil; and stalls for all manner of beasts, and cotes for flocks." au Likewise, Ramses III was especially proud of his wealth. In his reign the treasury of Medinet Habu "groaned with gold, silver, and precious stones, which in the king's words numbered 'by the hundred thousand.' The temple granaries overflowed with grain, and the crops of its fields and herbs were bountiful 'as the sand of the shore.' " av "The king went so far as to boast of the riches in his palace in Thebes, speaking of his tableware being of fine gold, silver, and copper too numerous to count and of a multitude of foodstuffs, such as bread, beer, wine, and fatted geese and oxen, daily offered to the god." aw

"But when envoys were sent by the rulers of Babylon to ask him about the miraculous sign that had occurred in the land, God left him to test him to know everything that was in his heart." ax "Merodach-Baladan son of Baladan king of Babylon sent Hezekiah letters and a gift, because he had heard of Hezekiah's illness. Hezekiah received the messengers and showed them all that was in his storehouses - the silver, the gold, the spices ... there was nothing in his palace or in all his kingdom that Hezekiah did not show them." ay In response, Isaiah denounced Hezekiah, " 'everything in your palace ... will be carried off to Babylon ... and some of your own flesh and blood, that will be born to you, will be taken away, and they will become eunuchs in the palace of the king of Babylon.' " az

In the final years of Sennacherib (a.k.a. "God"), Merodach-Baladan (Osorkon IV/Haremakhet) became something of a double agent. He had always been an ally of Ramses III/Shebitku, but he also made a deal with Sennacherib and was ultimately named as his successor. (How this unlikely scenario happened will be explained in the following section.) Sennacherib was somewhat frustrated in his attempt to carry off the wealth of Ramses III and Egypt.  It would be Marduk-Baladin, after becoming the Great King Esar-haddon, who successfully conquered Thebes with Assyrian troops and initiated the final destruction of Thebes.

The vanity of Hezekiah and his eagerness to show off his treasures invited criticism from the Biblical author. From the perspective of those devoted to the supremacy of Jerusalem (Thebes in Egypt), Hezekiah had grievously erred by eliciting the lust of "foreign" kings. When rebuked, his reaction was surprisingly smug. " 'The word of the Lord is good,' Hezekiah replied. For he thought, 'Will there not be peace and security in my lifetime.'"ba This character trait also is evident in the words of Ramses III. "From numerous bombastic speeches inscribed on the walls of his mortuary temple, his self-satisfaction is undeniable." bb However, it is difficult to say whether it was the true personality of Ramses III being expressed, or whether he was merely emulating the grandiloquent Gudea.

"The Youngest of My Brothers"
(Appointment of Esarhaddon as successor to Sennacherib)

Eleven years before his death, Nabopolassar found himself in full retreat before the combined army of Psamtik and an Assyrian ally, presumably Assur-uballit II, and "we find Egyptian forces operating against Chaldeans inside Iraq itself." bc The struggle of Psamtik/Taharqa against his half-brother Nabopolassar was pursued in repetition of the conflict between Tao I (Terah), the archetype of Psamtik, and his main rival Adad-Nirari (Judah/Nahor). Tao I ultimately prevailed against Adad-Nirari, and one of his sons Kara-indash (Haran) also recaptured Kish in Babylon. This instilled confidence in Psamtik that he would depose Nabopolassar/Sennacherib. Eleven years before the end of his reign, the "eldest son" of Sennacherib was deposed in Babylon by forces from Elam and replaced by an interloper named Mushuezib-Marduk. (See Chart for side-by-side comparison between the reigns of Sennacherib and Nabopolassar.) It seems reasonable that Mushuezib-Marduk was the assumed Elamite name of a son of Psamtik/Taharqa who was placed in the role of Kara-indash.bd A year later, Mushuezib-Marduk marched toward Assyria and was only turned back by Sennacherib with great loss. Two years after that, the city of Assur was captured by the Mede Cyax-ares, and Nabopolassar was compelled to offer him a treaty.

The following year, Sennacherib captured Mushuezib-Marduk and punished Babylon.be Surprisingly the new Crown Prince of supposedly "destroyed" Babylon was none other than Marduk-Baladin (Esar-haddon) with Sennacherib once again acting as regent. Esar-haddon (Haremakhet) also returned to favor in Egypt as High Priest of Amun under the regency of Menkheperre (Sennacherib). This indicates that Esar-haddon, the former enemy of Sennacherib had become his ally in the struggle with Psamtik and Mushuezib-Marduk,bf and was rewarded handsomely for it. A year after this, Sennacherib/ Nabopolassar with support from Cyax-ares subjected Nineveh in Assyria to a similar fate as Babylon. Assur-uballit II, the ally of Psamtik-Taharqa was forced out of Nineveh and then took refuge at Harran.

In emulation of his archetype Gudea/Inyotef II, Ramses-Psusennes (Usermaatre-Wasmuria) established petty kingships in Media, Elam/Persia, and Urartu/Armenia, where he was called by the variants Cyax-Ares, Cyrus and Rus, respectively. Ramses III planned to become Great King as his role model Gudea by bringing down "barbarian hordes" from the mountains to the north of Mesopotamia. The Median name Cyaxares is a transliteration of the Greek name Psusennes, as is the Persian name Cyrus. Another proto-Persian king name, Aria-ramnes, is an adaptation of Wasmu-aria Ramses III. According to the Talmud, Hezekiah had 11 different names. Besides the five-fold Egyptian titulary of Ramses III, which included the throne name Usermaatre/Wasmuria, he was also known as Akenesh (Libyan), Psusennes (Greek), Shebitku (Nubian), Cyax-ares (Median), and Koresh/Cyrus/ Aria-ramnes (Persian). He no doubt had many other names in other regions, such as Babylon and Hatti.

Sennacherib came to terms with at least two of his three main rivals in order to save his throne. In other words, he had been compelled to redefine his relationship with both Esar-haddon/Haremakhet and with Ramses-Psusennes/Shebitku in the face of an even greater challenge from Psamtik-Taharqa and Mushuezib-Marduk. However, only a year or so later, the balance of power shifted once again when Shebitku appointed Taharqa as co-regent in his Nubian throne. This prompted Sennacherib to go on the offensive again. First, Assuru-ballit II was attacked and forced out of Harran with help from his son Nebuchadrezzar. Then Sennacherib placed Shebitku (Hezekiah) under siege in Thebes (Jerusalem) for a second time. However, this time Taharqa did not keep his distance. The Assyrian army was annihilated and Sennacherib returned to Mesopotamia in humiliation. Hostilities appear to have ceased for about three years while Sennacherib contemplated his next move.

Sennacherib, having been a king for over 50 years and Great King for over 20 years, was in a dilemma. None of the four Judah-figures who preceded him had succeeded to the greater throne of the family empire much less lived to appoint a true son of their own as successor. In the final years of his reign, Nebuchadrezzar, called Nabu-sharru-user in Assyria, had emerged as heir apparent after distinguishing himself against Assur-uballit II. However, in what must have been a shocking move, Nebuchadnezzar and other sons were stilted, in favor of their father's one time nemesis Marduk-Baladin/Esar-haddon, not only as successor in Babylon but in the greater throne of Assyria. Nebuchadrezzar and the other contenders were outraged and civil war ensued.

Although unexpected, the decision had a sound basis, at least in the mind of its maker. Tradition demanded that the throne pass from Judah to a collateral line, but there was also precedent for the throne to be restored later to a descendant of Judah. In the 12th Dynasty Amenemhet II (Judah II) was murdered by Senusret II (Jacob), but the throne was subsequently recovered by Senusret III son of Amenemhet. In the 18th Dynasty, the throne passed from Menkheperre Thutmose IV (Judah IV) to Yuya (Joseph son of Jacob) but was later regained by Aye son of Thutmose IV. Sennacherib/Menkheperre must have believed that loss of the throne was inevitable, and that the only way for it to be restored to his line was to place one of his true sons in the role of Senusret III and Aye.

Esar-haddon claimed to be the "youngest son" of Sennacherib. He was not in age, but certainly in terms of blood ties to Sennacherib. Earlier, Ramses I (Jehoahaz) had been called the "youngest son" of Horemheb (Jehoram). Although he was also not a true son of Horemheb he did gain the succession for other reasons. Esar-haddon was actually the true son of Tiglath-Pileser III and at first the sworn enemy of Sennacherib. His succession, like that of Ramses, was due to other factors. First of all, it can be deduced that the "eldest son" of Esar-haddon, Assurbanipal, was actually the true son of Sennacherib. As Yuya had been the legal/adopted father of Aye, so Esar-haddon was the legal/adopted father of Assurbanipal through his marriage to the mother of Assurbanipal. In inscriptions, Assurbanipal explicitly claimed to be "offspring of the loins of Esarhaddon." bg Assurbanipal also called himself the "legitimate king," and frequently referred to Esarhaddon as "my own father" and to Sennacherib as "my own grandfather." bh His effort to establish the traditional dynastic relationship with his predecessor was excessive, and can now be revealed as propaganda to counter challenges to his right of kingship. In fact, he was not the biological son of Esarhaddon, but that of his alleged "grandfather" (second predecessor) Sennacherib.

Secondly, it was convenient for Sennacherib that Esar-haddon (Osorkon IV/Haremakhet in Egypt)bi was an Issachar-figure, and also chronically ill.bj In the 18th Dynasty, Issachar was murdered by Simeon and Levi, and prior to the death of Judah. Therefore, Esar-haddon would succumb to a similar fate allowing Assurbanipal to become king during the lifetime of Sennacherib. Late in his reign, Sennacherib (Smendes I/Menkheperre) seems to have shared the High Priesthood of Amun with Esar-haddon (Haremakhet), who began to be called by the Egyptian name Ramses-nakht and the variant Usermaatre-nakht.bk Upon his appointment as successor, a new High Priest was installed, Smendes II, under the regency of Ramses-nakht. Smendes II, thought to be a true son of Menkheperre, emerges as the Egyptian identity of Assurbanipal, who referred to himself as "Assurbanipal, the holy high priest, the (ever)praying servant (of the gods) ... " bl In the early reign of Ramses III (Hezekiah/Josiah), Assurbanipal had been appointed as Chief Scribe, and is called Shaban/Shaphan in the Kings/Chronicles narrative. In Assyria he became renowned as a scholar (Simeon/Thoth figure) and antiquarian. He built a vast library and claims to have deciphered records from before the Great Flood. The name Smendes is also a further indication of natural lineage from Menkheperre/Smendes I. It was also Assurbanipal rather than Esar-haddon who was later compelled to avenge the murder of Sennacherib.bm

Esar-haddon would have understood the risk he was taking, but accepted the fatalistic typecasting as reasonable, and with the expectation that it could be reworked to his advantage at some future date. Esar-haddon, although in poor health, expected to become Great King and founder of a lasting dynasty in fulfillment of what he called his "paternal legacy." bn His father Tiglath-pileser III had been cast in the role of Smenkhkare son of Auibre Hor/Hammurabi. Although Smenkhkare was disgraced and replaced by Neferhotep II/Salitis, one of his sons later reclaimed the throne for one of his own sons, Khyan. If Esarhaddon could outlive Sennacherib, then he would be free to install a true son of his in the role of Khyan. His typecasting, in addition to the Middle Kingdom Issachar would have encompassed the as yet unclaimed role of Old Kingdom pharaoh Khafre/Den. His challenge would be to find a way to survive his new regent Sennacherib, who already had a murderous reputation, and then to preempt Assurbanipal with one of his own true sons.

The arrangement of Esar-haddon and Sennacherib fulfilled all necessary prophesy, but it excluded the heir apparent Nebuchadnezzar (Nabu-kudurri-user). Nebuchadrezzar, who was called Nabu-sharru-user in Assyria and Sharezer in the Bible, conceived a two-fold scheme of his own to satisfy the fates and claim the throne for himself. His first move was to gain military and strategic dominance by finishing off Assur-uballit. In response, a king the Bible calls pharaoh-Neco marched north from Egypt to Carchemish in his defense. The Biblical text is ambiguous and translated by the KJV as "Pharoah-Nechoh king of Egypt went up against the king of Assyria to the river Euphrates." bo In other words, Necho was helping Assur-uballit, one king of Assyria, but fighting against another, namely Esarhaddon. Nebuchadrezzar allied with Esarhaddon convincingly defeated Necho and they had advanced together as far as the Egyptian Delta before getting news that the second part of the conspiracy had taken into effect. Sennacherib/ Nabopolassar was dead. Within a month Nebuchadnezzar was back in Babylon to claim the succession. Likewise, Esarhaddon departed in order to confirm his own succession in Assyria.

Sennacherib was guilty of assassinating his father Sargon. It was considered only just for Sennacherib to be murdered by a son of his own. Moreover, as "Judah (Horus the Elder)," it was his "destiny" to be killed by a "Levi (Set)." However, the inclusion of a Simeon-figure served to transform Sennacherib into an "Issachar (Osiris)," as well. A later inscription literally states that the god Marduk made Nebuchadrezzar commit the murder.bp Although Nebuchadrezzar did not physically perform the killing, he had planned the assassination and thereby accepted the role of Simeon. Immediately afterward, he also assumed the name of Siamun in Egypt, and claimed sovereignty there as Naram-Sin (Simeon I) had done after conspiring with Montuhotep II (Levi I) in the death of his predecessor Rimush (Judah I). In the Kings/Chronicles narrative, Sharezer has an accomplice named as Adrammelech, a variant of Urdamane (Amenhotep/Tanutamon). It was he, as the "Levi," who performed the actual murder by causing a cult statue to fall upon Sennacherib as he prayed and then perhaps finishing him off with the sword.

Esar-haddon reported that his "brothers," upon learning of his election, "abandoned godliness" and "went out of their senses." bq Esar-haddon claimed to have gone into hiding as his rivals clashed with one another, and while at least two of them conspired to kill Sennacherib himself in Babylon. After the death of Sennacherib, Esar-haddon forced his way into Nineveh and was then recognized as the "legitimate king" of Assyria. He also claimed to have become regent over Babylon, which implies that he and Nebuchadrezzar had agreed to share power there. Despite the blustering of Esarhaddon in his lengthy inaugural inscription and disavowal of any wrongdoing in connection with his predecessor's death, we find that he and Nebuchadnezzar immediately began to pursue a common agenda, and in fact were already doing so prior to the murder of Sennacherib/Nabopolassar. It must then be strongly suspected that Esarhaddon was not only privy to but also part of the conspiracy against Sennacherib. As noted above, Esarhaddon in the role of "son of Issachar" wanted to ensure that he got his chance to rule (in accordance with tradition). Esarhaddon’s father was the primary Issachar of that time, but Sennacherib was made to join him in that role.

"What Quarrel is There Between Us"
(The Death of Ramses III)

The Biblical Kings/Chronicles narrative recalls that on his way to battle at Carchemish, "pharaoh-Neco" was confronted by King Josiah. The epithet Neco/Necho, also written as Nekau, was adapted from Netjerkhau, the Horus name Pepi II, who became the primary role model of Psamtik. It can also be considered as a short form of Neferkare the throne name of Pepi II. When Psamtik became pharaoh of Nubia as Taharqa, he used an almost identical throne name, written as Nefer-tem-khu-re or Nefer-tem-khau-re. (Taharqa appears to also have claimed a shared of his father Piye's typecasting of Atum/Tem!) The royal titulary of Taharqa also included the names Khu-tawy and Qa-khau. There is no cartouche associated with Nekau/Pharaoh Necho I, which is further indication that this was merely a popular epithet of Taharqa-Psamtik as the incarnation of Pepi II.br By emulating Pepi II, Taharqa-Psamtik effectively became the rival/double of Nebuchadrezzar in the Simeon role.  He was already the "twin" of Tanuatamon in the Levi role.

Necho marched with urgency toward the Euphrates, however upon reaching Megiddo his progress was halted by Josiah.bs There has been much speculation as to why Josiah decided to do such a thing. However, in the model proposed here, Josiah is the Biblical representation of Psusennes/Ramses III/Shebitku, and Necho is Psamtik/Taharqa. Taharqa had been elected by Shebitku as co-regent in the Nubian throne about six years before the confrontation. Technically, Biblical Josiah was the superior of Necho. Normally, it would have been his prerogative to forbid any action Necho planned to take. However, the appointment of Taharqa as Nubian tanist was an admission by Shebitku that Taharqa was the stronger king and that Shebitku had desperately needed a powerful ally in his struggle against Menkheperre/Sennacherib.

Three years into the co-regency Shebitku was in fact rescued when Taharqa annihilated the army of Sennacherib. As a result, Taharqa no longer respected the authority of Josiah over him, directly or indirectly. This led to yet another rendition of the conflict between Horus the Elder and Seth. Necho quips, "What quarrel is there between you and me, O king of Judah? It is not you I am attacking at this time, but the house [of Sennacherib] with which I am at war." bt As in the original story, a battle ensued at Megiddo and Josiah (Ramses/Psusennes) as Horus was defeated by Necho (Nekau) in the role of Seth. Even though Josiah tried to disguise himself once the battle began, the overweight king was detected and shot with arrows. It is believed that he either died there at Megiddo or in Jerusalem only a short time later.bu However, when the mummy labeled as Ramses III was tested, it was not found to have the royal blood type, therefore Ramses III evidently had a commoner buried in his place!  His confrontation with Taharqa was therefore likely staged, as well as his death. 

Analysis of the mummy of Ramses III indicates an age at death of between 35 and 50 years. If he had first become pharaoh at the age of eight, his actual age (at the time of his staged death) was no greater than 45 years. This accounts for a two to three year delay between his elections as Psusennes I and Ramses III. Ramses III was buried with his arms crossed over his chest, as was traditional for a pharaoh of Egypt, however the hands were open rather than clasping the hook and flail. These all-powerful symbols were denied to him in burial as a subordinate ruler. None of his three thrones were fully sovereign but subjected first to the self-appointed Assyrian throne of Piye/Sargon and then to that of his successor Sennacherib. Whoever saw to his mummification decided to make that point clear, or simply refused to allow Ramses III's non-royal substitute to have that honor.

According to Jeremiah 46, the resounding defeat of Necho at Carchemish took place in the fourth year of Jehoiakim. This means that Jehoiakim (Psusennes II) was first appointed pharaoh at least three years before the death of Josiah (Psusennes I), and likely just after Sennacherib's second siege of Thebes. Ramses IV is also thought to have reigned between four and six years, which indicates that he was appointed pharaoh at about the same time as either Taharqa or Psusennes II. The age at death of Ramses IV, based on examination of his mummy, is somewhat less than 40 years. If accurate, and his mummy is also correctly identified, then this would all but rule out his claim of being a true son of Ramses III who was perhaps less than ten years his senior. However, he seems to have been an officially appointed successor.

"Ramesses IV is at pains to assert over and over again, on stelae, temple walls, and documents, that he is the legitimate ruler of Egypt, not a usurper, and that his offspring are the rightful heirs to the kingship." bv In the Papyrus Harris, Ramses III was represented as fully endorsing Ramses IV as his designated successor and urges this decision to be universally accepted. Although this document was probably written by Ramses IV on behalf of his deceased father, and of the same ilk as the Instruction of Amenemhet,bw it probably still documents a proper election, especially if the above assertions were made while Ramses III was still living. However, after Taharqa spurned the command of Ramses III at Megiddo, he also rejected Ramses IV as successor to Ramses III in the Egyptian throne.

After being routed by Nebuchadrezzar and Esarhaddon, partly due to being thwarted rather than supported by Josiah, Necho returned to Jerusalem. Josiah was by then dead for three months, and his throne was being claimed Jehoahaz (Ramses IV) son of Queen Hamutal (Henutawy) daughter of Jeremiah I (Pinedjem I). Henutawy would have been the same queen who led the earlier conspiracy against Ramses III. Ramses IV was evidently not punished for the sin of his mother, but he still strove to confirm his legitimacy in public inscriptions. Irrespective, Necho imprisoned Jehoahaz (Ramses IV)bx and named Jehoiakim (Psusennes II) son of Josiah (Psusennes I/Ramses III) king instead.

Psusennes II (Eliakim/Jehoiakim) was a son of the God's Wife Maatkare/Isis/Nitocris, and therefore a grandson of Necho/Taharqa. Consistent with this, the queen is called Zebidah/Zebudah daughter of Pedaiah in the Bible.by This Hebrew name was apparently adapted from her Syrian epithet Habazillatu ("The Meadow Flower")bz and her Assyrian name Zakutu. Her son the Biblical Eliakim/Jehoiakim is called the son of Hilkiah in the Hezekiah narrative and in the Book of Isaiah. However, upon being named king of Judah by Necho he is instead called the son of Josiah. If Eliakim was the true son of Hilkiah, then he was probably made co-regent in the throne of Judah (Libya) by Necho/Taharqa as an act of appeasement to the partisans of murdered Hilkiah (Sennacherib/High Priest Menkheperre). Eliakim would have then only been a son of Josiah in the political sense. (Psusennes I had previously given one of his daughters, Isetemkheb, to High Priest Menkheperre in marriage.)

The reign of Psusennes II is fairly obscure. Reign lengths between 5 and 14 years have been proposed. The Bible gives Jehoiakim a reign length of 11 years, which would include the years he spent as co-regent before the death of Josiah. Although his Hebrew name was changed from Eliakim to Jehoiakim,ca he did not appear to receive a new election as pharaoh of Egypt, but merely allowed to continue in his Libyan throne by Necho. Psusennes II also remained, as his throne name Tyet-kheperurecb suggests, in the tragic role of Nebkheperure Tut (Joshua II). The disgraced Ramses IV was treated as Elijah-Smenkhkare II, who had also been deposed and killed only three months after Moses-Akhenaten was himself dethroned. The mummy of Ramses IV was discovered in the KV 35 (Amenhotep II) cache. It is not known whether there are any signs of a violent death.cc Smenkhkare had been struck down, but later buried in defiance of the family elders in the Valley of the Kings (KV 55). This would have set a precedent to be followed for Ramses IV.

As implied by the Biblical text, Necho was acting as regent in the throne of the deceased Josiah (Ramses III). Consistent with this, Psamtik/Taharqa added to his Libyan/Greek and Nubian thrones that of Egypt under the name Neferkhaure Ramses (IX). His new throne name, Nefer-khau-re, was only slightly abbreviated from the one he used as Taharqa, and reinforced his preferred typecasting as the Horus Netjerkhau (Necho/Nekau), Pepi II. His defiance and killing of Ramses III would have otherwise reinforced the less desirable typecasting of Levi (the god Set). However, this role was shared only weeks later when Sennacherib (Judah) was murdered by Urdamane/Tanutamon (Adrammelech). In the latter part of his reign, Psamtik/Taharqa became adverse to the role of Seth/Levi, who was "no longer considered patron of the conquering Nineteenth Dynasty kings but simply the god of the Hyksos." cd The reverence of Set may have peaked with the short reign of Setnakhte, who had made identification with the last great Hykos king, Apophis.ce

In Nubia, Taharqa exulted in a "miracle" that occurred in his Year 6. There had been an exceptionally good flood, which carried with it the expectation of prosperity. What went unsaid was that Ramses III as Moses had made his "Exodus" in that year from Egypt (to better cultivate kingships elsewhere, such as Persia), and Taharqa was now sole ruler of Egypt! Once in possession of both the Nubian and Egyptian thrones, Taharqa could also dictate elections in the lesser Libyan throne. In addition to upholding the kingship of Psusennes, he also appointed Wah-em-ibre Necho II. The throne name Wah-em-ibre pigeonholed this crown prince as the next Moses, and a replacement for Necho I/Taharqa and/or Ramses III, who left the role partially unfulfilled by his premature death/departure. This was a role originally assigned to Taharqa as Wahibre Psamtik, but later pawned off on Ramses III.

Although the intended role of Necho II is obvious, his identity within the royal family is not. There seems to be some evidence that Necho II was the true son of another by-gone Moses-figure, Bakenrenef/Bocchoris, whose Libyan kingship had been "sacrificed" so many years before.cf More likely, Necho II was a son of Necho I/Taharqa, and may in fact also have been the exiled prince Assur-uballit II,cg who was supported by Necho on at least one occasion. Alternatively, if Assur-uballit II was the true son of Assurbanipal (Smendes II), as he is generally thought to be, then his election as pharaoh may have been part of an (attempted) alliance formed between Psamtik/Taharqa and Assurbanipal. The roles of most of Sargon the Great’s sons (Rimush/Judah by Sennacherib; Montuhotep/Reuben by Ramses III; Inyotef/Simeon by Nebuchadrezzar; and Montuhotep II/Levi by Taharqa and Tanuatamon) had been played. Sargon the Great himself had been played by Piye. At question was which of the younger princes would emerge to become the neo-Gudea.


  1. Margaret Bunson, A Dictionary of Ancient Egypt, p 122. Similarly, the name Mentuemhet if not the actual Egyptian/Nubian given name of Sheshonq/Masaharta, would have been deliberately recycled from the reign of Pepi II.
  2. Nigel & Helen Strudwick, Thebes in Egypt, p 166.
  3. Tefnakhte, a.k.a., Piankh-Sematawy, is thought to have died about the same time as Ramses XI.
  4. Note the phonic resemblance between the name Psamtik (Psa/Psao-metjik) and Tao (Tsao)
  5. See Chart 26a.
  6. Although likely still a very young man at the time of his defeat by Piye, Djed-amon-efankh already had a wife and prominent "eldest son," Ankhhor.
  7. Bakenkhonsu was High Priest late in the reign of Meremptah. Ma-Huhy is the name of the High Priest in the reign of the following pharaoh Amenmesses. In the chronology proposed here, both were contemporaries (and probable alter egos) of High Priest Amenhotep in the early reign of Shabaka. Bakenkhonsu successively held all four priestly offices (Aidon Dodson, Monarchs of the Nile, p 130). This was probably in emulation of Amenhotep/Aanen of the late 18th Dynasty. Ma-Huhy was replaced by Roma-Roy, which by association is likely another name of Haremakhet/Osorkon IV.
  8. Haremakhet, like both Amenhotep and Psamtik, was still a very young prince. It is unlikely that any true son of Haremakhet was powerful enough to have become a political force in his own right by Year 9 of Psamtik. This further indicates that Harkhebi was not a natural son of Haremakhet, but the Nubian identity of Amenhotep.
  9. He was called by his Libyan name Nimlot on the Victory Stela of Piye.
  10. 2 Kings 20:12; Isaiah 39:1. Bala-dan II (Osorkon IV/Assur-dan IV) was of the male line of Bala-dan I (Osorkon III/Assur-dan III).
  11. The archetypal Judah, Rimush, was chosen by Sargon-the-Great as his successor in Babylon rather than Assyria. It was not until after becoming king in Babylon that Sargon II named Smendes/Menkheperre as his own successor.
  12. He might also have been referred to once again by the name of Bakenkhonsu (II) during this short period.
  13. Georges Roux, Ancient Iraq, p 319.
  14. Cf Ephesians 6:4; Colossians 3:21
  15. Wolfram von Soden, The Ancient Orient, p 58.
  16. Robert Morkot, The Black Pharaohs, p 200.
  17. H. Saggs, Peoples of the Past: Babylonians, p 70.
  18. 2 Kings 22:8-20; 2 Chron. 34:14-28 (The "Book of the Law" was used as moral justification for destroying Jerusalem in accordance with prevailing royal policy, that is, moving the capital of the empire to Mesopotamia.)
  19. He was perhaps the Chief of the Ma, Pentweret, named in the Victory Stela of Piye.
  20. Ramses III celebrated a traditional Heb-Sed festival in his Year 30. However, there seems to have been some doubt as to whether he would reach that coveted event. Like the dying Horemheb/Osorkon II, Ramses III celebrated a type of Heb-Sed in his Year 22. See Susan Redford, The Harem Conspiracy, p 92-93.
  21. In Year 29 of Ramses III the tomb workers of Deir el-Medina could not be paid and went repeatedly on strike. (Susan Redford, The Harem Conspiracy, p 30.)
  22. Isaiah 20:1 (NIV)
  23. Susan Redford, The Harem Conspiracy, p 9.
  24. Cf Psalm 91:13; Mark 16:18; Luke 10:19
  25. Susan Redford, The Harem Conspiracy, p 110-111.
  26. Genesis 42:4, 35-38 (Jacob was fully aware that Joseph was still alive. Benjamin likely did not travel because of his health.)
  27. For the typecasting of Abraham as Osiris, see Chapter 13. For Uzziah, see Chapter 34.
  28. Robert Morkot, The Black Pharaohs, p 200.
  29. 2 Chron. 29:10 (NIV)
  30. Sennacherib points out (with some humor no doubt) to Hezekiah and the people that he also acted by "word of the Lord," i.e., Yahweh (Amen)! He was after all not only Great King but the current High Priest of Amun, Menkheperre! " 'Have I come to attack and destroy this place without word from the Lord? The Lord himself told me to march against this country and destroy it' " - 2 Kings 18:25 (NIV)
  31. 2 Kings 22:11-20; 2 Chron. 34:19-28
  32. 2 Chron. 30:3 (NIV)
  33. Susan Redford, The Harem Conspiracy, p 104.
  34. 2 Chron. 30:13 (NIV)
  35. Ancient Near Eastern Texts, J. Pritchard, ed., p 288.
  36. 2 Chron. 30:20
  37. As a point of synchronization, it is noted in 2 Kings 18:9 that Shalmaneser attacked Samaria in Year 4 of Hezekiah (Year 7 of Josiah). The text has confused the deportation of Samaria and Israel, which occurred shortly before Hezekiah/Josiah became a king with the second invasion of the Sea Peoples, which occurred in Years 4 and 5 of Hezekiah (Years 7 and 8 of Josiah).
  38. Susan Redford, The Harem Conspiracy, p 94.
  39. 2 Chron. 34:3-7
  40. 2 Chron. 35:5
  41. Eyewitness: Ancient Egypt, Jon E. Lewis, ed., p 226.
  42. Eyewitness: Ancient Egypt, Jon E. Lewis, ed., pp 227, 229.
  43. Ramses III like Gudea was obese. See Susan Redford, The Harem Conspiracy, p 106. Ironically, this trait may have helped to save his life. His half-brother Masaharta was also corpulent. (Aidon Dodson, Monarchs of the Nile, p 155) We might expect that another half-brother Menkheperre was fat as well, and in emulation of his personal archetype Rimush (Judah/Eglon) son of Sargon.
  44. 2 Kings 17:37
  45. Ancient Near Eastern Texts, J. Pritchard, ed., p 288.
  46. 2 Chron. 32:12; 2 Kings 18:22
  47. 2 Chron. 32:27-28 (KJV)
  48. Susan Redford, The Harem Conspiracy, p 104.
  49. Susan Redford, The Harem Conspiracy, p 31.
  50. 2 Chron. 33:31 (NIV)
  51. 2 Kings 20:12-14 (NIV). See also Isaiah 39.
  52. 2 Kings 20:16-18 (NIV)
  53. 2 Kings 20:19; Isaiah 39:8 (NIV)
  54. Susan Redford, The Harem Conspiracy, p 31.
  55. The Oxford History of Ancient Egypt, Ian Shaw, ed., p 381.
  56. Compare the name Wah-ib-re Psamtik and his successor Wah-em-ib-re Necho with that of Mushuez-ib-Marduk. (Marduk was called Re in Egypt.)
  57. Ancient Near Eastern Texts, J. Pritchard, ed., p 302. Joan Oates, Babylon, pp 119-120.
  58. A son of Marduk-Baladin had been killed in battle against Mushuezib-Marduk. Ibid.
  59. Robert Morkot, The Black Pharaohs, p 277.
  60. Ancient Near Eastern Texts (ANET), J. Pritchard, ed., pp 294-301.
  61. Osorkon F/IV is Manetho's Asardinos/Asordanios, very close in form to Esarhaddon.
  62. "Esarhaddon ... had held an especial belief in omens because of his sickliness. Thus he had a substitute king installed three times, each time having himself entitled 'Mr. Farmer.' One of the three substitutes died in a timely fashion; the two others had to be killed, and were then honored by a state funeral." Wolfram von Soden, The Ancient Orient, p 194. For additional commentary on Esarhaddon's practice of this ritual, see Jean Bottero, Mesopotamia, pp 150-152..
  63. Usermaatre had been the throne name of Ramses-the-Great.
  64. Ancient Near Eastern Texts (ANET), J. Pritchard, ed., p 298.
  65. Ancient Near Eastern Texts (ANET), J. Pritchard, ed., p 288.
  66. Ancient Near Eastern Texts, J. Pritchard, ed., pp 289.
  67. 2 Kings 23:29 (KJV)
  68. Ancient Near Eastern Texts, J. Pritchard, ed., p 309.
  69. Ancient Near Eastern Texts, ed. J. Pritchard, p 289.
  70. Necho, the epithet of Psamtik/Taharqa, was used as a king name by Necho II. Similarly, in the 19th Dynasty, the epithet of Seti I was Meremptah, and this became the name of a later pharaoh, the successor of Ramses II.
  71. 2 Kings 23:29-30; 2 Chron. 22-24
  72. 2 Chron. 35:21 (NIV)
  73. Kings and Chronicles differ on this point. 2 Chron. 35:24, 2 Kings 23:30
  74. Susan Redford, The Harem Conspiracy, p 137.
  75. See Chapter 7.
  76. Ramses I was also called Ahaziah/Jehoahaz in the Kings/Chronicles narrative.
  77. 2 Kings 23:36. Pedaiah was derived from Necho's Libyan name Pediese. See Chapter 37.
  78. Definition from: Susan Redford, The Harem Conspiracy, p 32.
  79. 2 Kings 23:34
  80. The subtle name change was perhaps intended to flatter the holier-than-thou priests of Amun. Necho replaced the Canaanite god El in Eliakim with Jehovah to render the new name of Jehoiakim. Cf Tit-kheperu-re (Kheper, "sun's rising") and Jehoiakim ("Jehovah raised")
  81. Biblical Manasseh (Taharqa) is censured, as was the earlier Ahaz, for making his son pass through the fire (2 Kings 21:6). Taharqa may have considered it necessary to "sacrifice" Ramses IV who was placed in the role of the 18th Dynasty Smenkhkare in order to fulfill his own role as the Middle Kingdom Smenkhkare. The arms of Ramses IV were placed in the same manner as Ramses III.
  82. Nicolas Grimal, A History of Ancient Egypt, p 356.
  83. It was Apophis who first elevated the cult of Seth in the Delta, but then "changed his ways" and worshiped the "true god" Amun
  84. Donald Redford, Egypt, Canaan, and Egypt in Ancient Times, p 364.
  85. Formerly known as Mushuezib-Marduk?

Note 1:

"So Psammetichus gained control of all Egypt. He built the southern gateway of the sanctuary of Hephaestus in Memphis, and opposite the gateway of the sanctuary of Apis he built the courtyard where Apis is looked after whenever he appears; this courtyard is surrounded by a colonnade (consisting of figures, twelve cubits high, rather than pillars) and covered with reliefs. The Greek name for Apis is Epaphus. [154] As a reward to the Ionians and Carians who had helped him win, Psammetichus gave them each their own land to settle."

Herodotus, Vol 2, Section 153, translated by Robin Waterfield, Herodotus: The Histories, Oxford University Press, pp 157-158.

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