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 39
"His Servant for Three Years"
(Taharqa and Thebes in the Tug-of-War)


Not Friends but Allies

After being "hindered" by Ramses-Psusennes at Megiddo, Taharqa arrived too late at Carchemish to effectively defend his claim to the region. He was routed by Esarhaddon and Nebuchadrezzar, and then pursued in retreat as far as the Egyptian Delta.1 However, upon receiving news of Sennacherib's death, Nebuchadrezzar hurried back to Babylon to claim the succession. Likewise, Esarhaddon moved to secure the greater kingship in Assyria at Nineveh. This gave Taharqa time to reorganize the Egyptian throne and his army. Two years after the Battle of Carchemish, Taharqa was again claiming sovereignty not only over the Delta, but also Palestine, Phoenicia and Syria. Yet, by the end of that same year, Taharqa's eighth as pharaoh of Nubia, Esarhaddon with the help of Nebuchadrezzar had captured Sidon, Ashkelon and Gaza. The "Great Stela of Esarhaddon" depicted Abimilki king of Tyre and probably also Taharqa kneeling before the king of Assyria and pleading for their lives." a Abimilki was beheaded and replaced by another king, Ba'lu. Esarhaddon reports tribute sent from Ba'lu and "Manasseh of Judah," that is, from Taharqa himself, as well as 20 other kings of Syrio-Palestine and the Mediterranean islands.b Such was the situation only three years after the Battle of Carchemish.

Taharqa (Manasseh) became the vassal of Esarhaddon. Similarly, Psusennes II (Jehoiakim) was subjected to Nebuchadrezzar. The Biblical Kings narrative states, "In his days Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon came up, and Jehoiakim became his servant three years.c In repetition of his archetype Naram-Sin (Simeon), Nebuchadrezzar also was allowed pharaonic status in Egypt under the name of Netjerkheperre Siamun. The praenomen Netjer-kheperre means, "God-like is the Appearing of Re." As the latest incarnation of Naram-Sin, Nebuchadrezzar emphasized his own divinity, and as in the case of Naram-Sin it was considered the reason for his later downfall.d The name Siamun itself amounted to implicit acknowledgement of his role in the killing of Sennacherib. As in the earlier killing of Shabaka by Herihor-Siamun, the name also provided a form of protection against reprisals. He was only fulfilling an accepted and expected role. Murder had become institutionalized. A later Babylonian inscription rationalized the killing: "he (i.e. Sennacherib) had evil intentions, he thought out crimes [agai]nst the country (Babylon) ... (Therefore) he made his own son murder the king of Subartu (Assyria), he who (once) upon the wrath(ful command) of Marduk (himself) had brought about the downfall of the country." e

A campaign involving Assyrian or Babylon troops against "Judah" is not mentioned in the various annals of Mesopotamia at this time. However, Taharqa was sufficiently subdued to allow Esarhaddon and Nebuchadrezzar to reassert their authority as Egyptian kings in Thebes and without the use of additional force. Esarhaddonf made his status as "Great King" and regency in Egypt explicit by crowning himself as Usermaatre-sekheperenre Ramses (V). This was of course a direct affront to Taharqa who had several years earlier also claimed the name of Khaemwaset Ramses (IX). Both Esarhaddon (Ramses-nakht) and Assurbanipal (Smendes II) had been suppressed three years earlier as High Priests of Amun upon the death of Sennacherib (Menkheperre). Assurbanipal (Smendes II) was however, not reinstated by Esarhaddon (Ramses-nakht).g Instead, a new High Priest appeared alongside him, namely Pinedjem II ("Prophet Jeremiah"), who became the uncompromising spokesman of the new order established by "the Lord" (Esarhaddon) and Nebuchadrezzar.

Pinedjem II is thought to have been the son of the princess Istemkheb daughter of Psusennes I by Menkheperre, which is consistent with Jeremiah 1:1 where Jeremiah is called the son of Hilkiah, but he may have actually been sired by another king, such as his namesake Pinedjem I. The second Pinedjem, like the first Pinedjem, was not taken seriously as a kingly contender, much less as a prophet, and despite being a propsective neo-Gudea (vanquisher of Naram-Sin). In Thebes, Pinedjem II was given the title of a divine High Priest. However, in practice he did not perform the traditional duties of the office,h and was not remembered as a "chief priest" in the Biblical record. The de facto Priesthood at Karnak was exercised by Ramses-nakht (Esarhaddon), and after his death by Amenhotep/Tanutamun. (There is at least some possibility that Pinedjem II was realy just Pinedjem I in his old age. It was customary for a Noah/Solomon-figure to renew his kingship and to be further disrespected for it!)

A Servant with Two Masters

The Kings/Chronicles narrative states that after three years Jehoiakim (Psusennes II) turned and rebelled against Nebuchadnezzar, but declines to explain why he did.i With the publication of the Babylonian Chroniclej it was learned that Nebuchadrezzar faced Necho a second time in battle. The first was at Carchemish along the Euphrates. From there the victorious Nebuchadrezzar had led his Babylonian troops to the Brook of Egypt, as did his ally Esarhaddon. About five years later, Nebuchadrezzar and Esarhaddon again advanced south along the Via Maris toward the Brook of Egypt. They withdrew once more, not by news from Mesopotamia this time, but by the army of Necho.

According to the Babylonian Chronicle, Nebuchadrezzar was defeated at the Egyptian Delta fortress-city of Migdol. There was no mention of the conflict in Assyria, however a Babylonia account of Esarhaddon's reign is clear: "Seventh year: In the month of Addaru, the 5th day, the army of Assyria was defeated in a bloody battle in Egypt." k Another Babylonian account states that three days later the Assyrian army fought at Sha-amele, a place name identified as Sile and only 20 miles away from Migdol.l At the Temple of Amun in Napata of Nubia, Taharqa graphically depicted his rout of the Assyrian army, and in the same section of the temple where his father Piye erected the "Victory Stela" commemorating his own triumph over the Delta princes. Unlike the Victory Stela of Piye, the mural of Taharqa cannot be precisely dated. However, the context indicates that it was associated with the battle against Esarhaddon of his Year 14. Taharqa had destroyed the army of Sennacherib about 10 years earlier, but that event probably took place in Upper Egypt rather than the Delta.

There are three recollections of what happened after the defeat of Nebuchadrezzar and Esarhaddon at Migdol and Sile. Necho was known to have taken Gaza after defeating Nebuchadrezzar. After repelling Esarhaddon, Taharqa reclaimed Ashkelon. His alter ego Psamtik was remembered for capturing Ashdod, a third city along the coast of Philistia.m Prior to this, an army of Scythians had approached the eastern Delta rapidly, but before they were able to join the battle, Psamtik induced their king to withdraw by offering tribute. At this time, the king of the Scythians was known as Bar-Tatua, a name close in form to the Semitic Bar-Dadua or Bar-Tudiya, and designates him as a "Son of David" or "Son of Sargon." The Scythians had not stormed Egypt on their own volition, but were led there by a member of the Patriarchal family. Necho-Taharqa-Psamtik had successfully dealt with threats from three rival brothers.

Immediately after the battle of Migdol/Sile, Esarhaddon found himself under Scythian attack as well, and was obliged to offer his daughter to the Scythian king in marriage. Coinciding with this, Esarhaddon also named Assurbanipal as his successor in the Assyrian throne. Logically, Assurbanipal grandson of Sargon was Bar-Tatua king of the Scythians and the one who accepted tribute from Psamtik/Taharqa. (Taharqa seems to have had some affinity with Assurbanipal. He had earlier marched to the defense of Assur-uballit, who is believed to have been a son of Assurbanipal.) Assurbanipal also had reason not to fully support the Year 7 campaign of Esarhaddon. Five years had passed since the death of Sennacherib, the true father of Assurbanipal, and he had still not been named successor as promised. It was only after the debacle of Year 7 and further pressure from Scythians that Esarhaddon formally acknowledged Assurbanipal as successor in Assyria. However, at the same time, Esarhaddon named one of his own true sons, Shamash-shuma-ukin (a.k.a. Nabu-shuma-ushkin?), to be the "twin" of Assurbanipal and Crown Prince in Babylon.n This served to deny Assurbanipal sovereignty in Babylon and also check the power of Nebuchadrezzar. Nebuchadrezzar like Assurbanipal was likely a natural son of Sennacherib/Nabopolassar.o Nevertheless Esarhaddon had no choice but to rely upon them in his struggle with Taharqa, the determined half-brother of Sennacherib.

This then was the sequence of events that led Biblical Jehoiakim (Psusennes II) to withhold tribute and once again accept the regency of his grandfather Necho (Taharqa). The prophet Jeremiah, who was actively prophesying in the early years of Jehoiakim, especially Years 3 and 4, had little or nothing to say for the balance of his reign. The best "the Lord" Esarhaddon and Nebuchadrezzar could do in response was to harass Jehoiakim with threats and raids of terror. "And the Lord sent against him bands of the Chaldees, and bands of the Syrians, and bands of the Moabites, and bands of the children of Ammon, and sent them against Judah to destroy it, according to the word of the Lord, which he spake by his servants the prophets." p

It would be three full years before Esarhaddon, by then in his Year 10, was able to bring Assyrian troops back into Egypt. "Prayers were offered to the sun-god Shamash: 'Should Esarhaddon, king of Assyria, plan and strive to set out with his troops, his chariots and his armor to march to the Trans-Euphrates to Ashkelon? ... will (the Egyptians plan and strive to wage war against Esarhaddon, king of Assyria, in the region of Ashkelon?" q En route, "Esarhaddon visited a temple at Harran in central Mesopotamia, and while there two crowns were placed on his head, a sure sign that this double uraeus diadem of Egypt would soon grace his brow." r

Esarhaddon was not resisted by Taharqa at Ashkelon, nor was he upon arriving at the border of Egypt. Taharqa was either caught off guard by the speed of Esarhaddon's advance, or decided against making a stand at the fortifications of Migdol and Sile as before, possibly thinking that his rivals would be better prepared for this. A surprised Esarhaddon noted that he passed by Migdol unhindered. Instead, Taharqa made the invaders march further into the Delta and face him in a pitched battle near Memphis. The strategy, if it was one, did not work. After many days of fierce combat, the army of Taharqa was overcome by the new and improved forces of Esarhaddon. Memphis then fell and Taharqa could scarcely save himself. Esarhaddon boasted, "His queen, the women of his palace, Ushanahuru his 'heir apparent', his other children, his possessions, horses, large and small cattle beyond counting I carried away as booty to Assyria." s

Assurbanipal was not mentioned in connection with this battle. Regardless, he evidently had persuaded Esarhaddon that the blitzkrieg tactics of the Scythians be employed in order to achieve a different outcome. It seems that Assurbanipal also insisted that the army not be slowed down by a joint operation with Nebuchadrezzar, [lit., Nabu-ku-durri-user], who he calls by the Assyrian variant of Nabu-sharru-user (Biblical Sharezer, assassin of Sennacherib). "An oracle request addressed to Shamash by the Crown Prince Assurbanipal asks whether he should send Nabu-Sharru-user to Yakinlu [of Arvad near Tyre and Sidon] ... Another request by Assurbanipal, carrying the same date as the Arvad request, asks whether Nabu-Sharru-user should be sent to Egypt." t

With some reservation Assurbanipal agreed to allow Nebuchadrezzar to remain an integral part of the alliance. Like Esarhaddon, Nebuchadrezzer had committed himself for three full years "to gather together his chariots and horses in great number." u However, these forces would not be used against Taharqa directly, but were instead directed toward his co-regent Psusennes II. "Against him [Jehoiakim] came up Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon and bound him in fetters, to carry him to Babylon." The whereabouts of Psusennes at the time of the invasion is unknown. However, the Biblical Kings narrative indicates he was captured away from Jerusalem, because Jerusalem was besieged by Nebuchadrezzar only after Jehoiakim was taken. If Nebuchadrezzar struck before Esarhaddon, then it may have been as a deliberate ploy to draw away at least part of the army of Taharqa. Regardless, Taharqa was not able to defeat either Nebuchadrezzar or Esarhaddon this time.

Who's Buried in Psusennes' Tomb?

In his Year 5, Ramses III was required to accept the role of Moses (Akhenaten) as a type of sacrificial or substitute king in the place of Wahibre Psamtik. The two leading sons of Ramses III, viz., Ramses IV and Psusennes II, were later placed in the roles of Elijah/Eliezer (Smenkhkare) and Elisha/Gershom (Tut). In emulation of Smenkhkare, Ramses IV was removed shortly after the death of Ramses III. His body may have been desecrated, but it was later salvaged, as was the body of Smenkhkare son of Akhenaten. Psusennes II, a younger son of Ramses III was then placed on the throne under the regency of Psamtik-Taharqa, and as Tutankhamun had earlier been patronized by Aye. The throne name of Psusennes II, Tyet-kheperure, was clearly modeled after that of Neb-kheperure Tut-ankhamun. Moreover, after nine years of rule, a plan was put into motion to remove Psusennes, even as Tut had been attacked and killed in his 9th year. The reign of Psusennes actually ended sometime in his 10thyear, and he was given credit for a full 11 years in the Biblical account. He was then taken away and probably died a short time later. In any event, like Tut, he does not appear to have been capable of fulfilling the role of a new Joshua/Gudea.

Concerning Jehoiakim (Cambyses I), it was written, "They shall not lament for him ... He shall be buried with the burial of an ass, drawn and cast forth beyond the gates of Jerusalem." v and "He shall have none to sit upon the throne of David: and his dead body shall be cast out in the day to the heat, and in the night to the frost." The typecasting of Jehoiakim as Tut seems to have required that he be attacked and killed outside the walls of Jerusalem. However, it would have also required that he be intensely mourned and given a rich burial. Consistent with his typecasting, the burial of Psusennes II was full of valuable articles, and also the only undisturbed kingly burial from the time of Tut onward. When opened, all organic material (papyri, wood, human remains) was found decomposed beyond recognition due to the high humidity of the Delta. He, like Tut, may have suffered bodily harm, it is not possibly to say, but the body was obviously not left exposed indefinitely. Ultimately he was placed in a suitably furnished royal crypt. In particular, his magnificent gold mask was clearly patterned after those made for the two Joshua-figures of the Amarna Age, Tutankhamun and Sheshonq II.w

Like Tut, Psusennes II was buried in a tomb that was not his own and by the man who was most responsible for his death. (Tut was buried by "the ass" Aye.) The name of Siamun was found in the entrance to his burial vault, indicating that it was he who conducted the burial. The burial vault itself had originally been prepared for Psusennes I the father of Psusennes II. However, Psusennes I/Ramses III was buried in the Valley of the Kings, permitting the reuse of his tomb at Tanis. The mummy of Ramses III was later removed from KV 11 and placed in the DB 320 cache. A docket was found on the innermost mummy wrapping which stated that the High Priest of Amun, Pinedjem, had ordered the scribes Djesersukhons and Butehamun to "Osirify" the body of "Usermaatre Meryamun" (the throne name of Ramses III) in Year 13 of an unspecified king.x One of the two outer mummy wrappings was dated to Year 9 of an unspecified king and has a notation with the name of High Priest of Amun Pinedjem son of Pinakh. The other outer wrapping has only a date of Year 10, again of an unspecified king.

The outer two wrappings were dated to Years 9 & 10 of an unspecified king. Logically, the innermost wrapping should have been the lowest regnal year date of the three. Instead, it is the highest, Year 13. The innermost wrapping can only be that of Pinedjem II, who was the son of Menkheperre (or Piye or Kashta) and not Piankh. It must be concluded that the outer two wrappings were recycled from the time of Pinedjem I either out of necessity or for sentimental or symbolic reasons. Pinedjem I could not have supervised the original interment or the later reburial of Ramses III, because he predeceased him. Pinedjem II (Jeremiah) began his prophetical career in Year 13 of Ramses III (Hezekiah) and continued in the reigns of Psusennes II (Jehoiakim) and Amenemope (Zedekiah).y He was then the Pinedjem that ordered the scribes Djesersukhons and Butehamun to remove Ramses III (i.e., his substitute) from his tomb, strip his mummy of valuables and then rewrap for reburial.

Excavation of the tomb revealed the name of Butehamun the scribe and that of his son Pakhyneter. The original clearance of the tomb, undertaken by Pinedjem II not long after the death of Ramses III, would have occurred late in the career of Butehamun, who is said in his own burial to have attained a ripe old age.z In the reign of Pinedjem I, Butehamun was still a relatively young man, and perhaps still an apprentice of his own father Djutmose.aa It is established that Pinedjem I and Pinedjem II were both responsible for rewrapping royal mummies in their respective administrations. The regnal dates (Years 9 & 10) supplied on the wrappings of Ramses III ordered by Pinedjem I, if not his own, would have been those of Shabaka. The regnal date (Year 13) on the innermost wrapping ordered by Pinedjem II would have referred either to Siamun (Nebuchadrezzar) or Ramses IX (Taharqa).

Playing King of the Holy Hill

Driven from Memphis by Esarhaddon, Taharqa entered Thebes of Upper Egypt. He was by then in his Year 14 as Taharqa pharaoh of Nubia and Year 8 as Ramses (IX) pharaoh of Egypt. It was likely at this time that he ordered an inscription at the Karnak Temple of Amun known as the Lament of Taharqa, which has been dated to between Years 14-17 of his reign.ab The inscription indicates that Taharqa had suffered a crushing setback, and was searching his soul before Amun to determine what had gone wrong and what he should do next. He did not have long to decide for his enemies were soon to force his withdrawal from Thebes as they had from Memphis.

Esarhaddon claimed to have marched on the entirety of Egypt (Magan and Meluhha), and to have installed new vassals throughout.ac However, the Biblical Kings narrative only acknowledges the activity of Nebuchadrezzar. After capturing Jehoiakim (Psusennes II), he then proceeds to subjugate Jerusalem (Thebes). "And Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon came against the city, and his servants did besiege it. And Jehoiachin the king of Judah went out to the king of Babylon, he, and his mother, and his servants, and his princes, and his officers: and the king of Babylon took him in the eighth year of his reign." ad Jehoiachin had ruled in the place of Jehoiakim for only three months.ae There is no indication that Taharqa/Necho, after abandoning the city, attempted to relieve it during the two-months or so it was under siege.

The prophesies of Ezekiel against Jerusalem and Egypt are dated from the fifth year of Jehoiachin's exile and continue until the twelfth, by which time the second fall of Jerusalem (Thebes) was a foregone conclusion. A final prophesy is dated to the 25th year of the exile. However, dislocated in the Book of Ezekiel is a passage (Ezekiel 29:17 through 30:19) dated to a 27th year, not of the exile, but evidently of Nebuchadrezzar as a king in Babylon. It corresponds to the 8th year after the death of Nabopolassar when Nebuchadrezzar and Esarhaddon collaborated to besiege Tyre, but were unsuccessful in doing so. The prophet Ezekiel pronounced that Egypt would be given to Nebuchadrezzar instead as booty for his dedicated army. The culmination of that year's campaigning was the invasion of the Egyptian Delta by Esarhaddon and Upper Egypt by Nebuchadrezzar at which time Jehoiachin surrendered and was exiled (and Taharqa retreated to Nubia).

Nebuchadnezzar "received its (Jerusalem's) heavy tribute, and sent it to Babylon." af According to the Biblical Kings narrative, this occurred in the 8th year of Nebuchadrezzar (27th year total), that is eight years since the death of Nabopolassar/ Sennacherib in Babylon.ag Also according to the Kings narrative, Jerusalem would be placed under siege and fall again in the 18th Year of Nebuchadnezzar, a little over 10 years later. The second defeat was typecast as an Exodus, but the first only an Exile. As had happened to the court of Necho in Memphis, Jehoiachin's mother and wives, the other princes, officers, craftsmen, artisans, treasures and cult apparatus were taken away to Babylon, leaving only the poorest of the people to work the land. This is a bit of an overstatement in that the Biblical account also informs that a new king, Mattaniah/Zedekiah, was installed along with a new puppet government. Jeremiah (Pinedjem II) also remained in Jerusalem to represent the interests of Nebuchadrezzar.

The new king of Judah appointed by Nebuchadrezzar underwent a name change, or perhaps more accurately he received an additional name. This was a throne name associated with his new status as pharaoh in Egypt. Mattaniah the son of Josiah, whose name meant, "gift of God," was thereafter to be known as Zedekiah, "justice/righteousness of God." ah His Egyptian given name was Amenemope, but he was upon becoming pharaoh also known by the throne name of Usermaatre, "the justice of Re is powerful." ai The Bible gives Zedekiah a reign of 11 years. The highest regnal date for Usermaatre Amenemope is Year 10, which accords well.

As the regent of Amenemope, Nebuchadrezzar also gave himself new names in Egypt. He was no longer to be only Nejterkheperre Siamun, but also Nebmaatre Ramses (VI). In Western Thebes (Jerusalem), at least, Nebuchadrezzar was recognized as the superior of both Taharqa/Psamtik/Necho (Ramses IX) and Ramsesnakht/Esarhaddon (Ramses V). Three kings were then claiming the name and crown of Ramses at the same time. Moreover, there were also three recognized kings of Babylon, viz., Esarhaddon, Nebuchadrezzar and Shamash-shuma-ukin. Rather than differentiate between them, the Kings narrative uses generic language in which names are dispensed with altogether: "And the king of Egypt came not again any more out of his land: for the king of Babylon had taken from the river of Egypt unto the river Euphrates all that pertained to the king of Egypt." aj

Taharqa it seems was no longer a force to be reckoned with in Syria, Phoenicia or Palestine, but he was not entirely washed up along the Nile in Egypt and Nubia. After his Libyan co-regent Necho II (Ushanahuru/Ankhurru) was captured by Esar-haddon and reinstated as the sworn vassal of Assyria, Psamtik/Taharqa appointed a new Crown Prince in his place. Like the earlier pharaoh Aye, the critically injured and reeling Taharqa decided to offer up his throne to one oppressor in exchange for support in overthrowing others.2 His choice was Amenhotep/Tanutamun, who had previously done Taharqa a service by taking from him the role of Levi through killing Sennacherib.

Amenhotep was an "eldest son" of Shabaka but a younger true son of Hori/Kashta and therefore an uncle of Taharqa of nearly the same age or slightly younger. During the reign of Piye-Sargon, Amenhotep had supported Psamtik in reunifying Egypt and was rewarded with the High Priesthood. He would be asked to do this once more, but the price of his support would now include more than the priesthood. Amenhotep was immediately made co-regent in the Libyan throne under the name of Nefer-ibre Psamtik (II), and was not only promised the High Priesthood at Karnak, but also the greater thrones of Egypt and Nubia in exchange for help in overthrowing Esarhaddon, Assurbanipal and Nabu-sharru-ezer (Nebuchadrezzar).

By the end of Nebuchadrezzar's first year as Ramses VI, Taharqa and his new ally were threatening Thebes. Proof of this comes from the tomb builders of Deir el-Medina. "Typical of many entries in the work-journal of this time is one that records: 'Year one, first month of winter, day three [... the first year of Ramesses VI's reign]. No work for fear of the enemy." ak Also, "In 'Year one, in the first month of winter' the work-journal reported that 'those who are enemies have reached Pernabi [presumably a town north of Thebes] and destroyed all that was there and burned its people', and that the High Priest of Amun, Ramessesnakht, had taken control of the defense of the royal valley: 'Bring the medjay of Pernabi and those who are in the south and those of the [kings'] tombs, and have them stay here to watch the [kings'] tombs.' " al

The Deir el-Medina diary leaves us in suspense; the resolution is found in the Book of Jeremiah. Shortly after Zedekiah was made king by Nebuchadnezzar, "Pharaoh's army was come forth out of Egypt: and when the Chaldeans that besieged Jerusalem heard tidings of them, they departed from Jerusalem." am In other words, the Babylonian army that had besieged the Jerusalem of Jehoiachin was now occupying it in the first year of Zedekiah. However, "it came to pass that the army of the Chaldeans was broken up from Jerusalem for fear of Pharaoh's army." an With the departure of Nebuchadrezzar's army, Pharaoh Necho/Taharqa regained control of the Theban metropolis and of Memphis in the Delta. In response, Ramsesnakht (Esarhaddon/Ramses V) led the Assyrian army back from Assyria to Egypt, but passed away en route.ao

The death of Ramses V is dated to Year 2 of Ramses VI (Nebuchadrezzar).ap By association, this was also Year 2 for both Amenemope (Zedekiah) and Psamtik II (Hananiah/Amariah). The original burial of Ramses V is uncertain, because his tomb (KV 9) was taken over by Ramses VI. Ramses VI probably coveted this tomb due to its very close proximity to that of Tutankhamun (and perhaps also that of his role model Akhenaten) - it is located directly above it. Although Ramses VI usurped the main burial chamber, there is some indication that he prepared a new side chamber for the burial of his predecessor Ramses V. Despite the precautions taken by the Deir el-Medina village, some damage was done in the Valley of the Kings when hostilities resumed between Taharqa (Ramses IX) and the loyalists of Esarhaddon and Nebuchadrezzar. In particular, the unfinished tomb of Ramses VI/Ramses V was robbed, and probably with encouragement from the soon-to-be High Priest Nes-Amun.aq After restoring order, Taharqa had the tomb sealed later in the year of Esarhaddon's death (corresponding to Year 9 of Ramses IX), likely not to prevent further robbery but to stop work on it.

The tomb of Ramses VI, which would receive further attention later by the Deir el-Medina tomb workers, was beautifully decorated. Visitors from the later Greek and Roman Periods left behind their own memorials in the tomb, at which time it was referred to as the Tomb of Memnon. Memnon had been the Greek name of Nebmaatre Amenhotep III, and was one role model of Nebmaatre Ramses VI. In the time of Napoleon it was called La Tombe de la Metempsychose, "The Tomb of the Transmigrated Soul." As we have seen, all of the pharaohs considered themselves to be the incarnation of one or more ancestors. Ramses VI (High Priest Si-Amun/Nebuchadrezzar II), in addition to choosing Akhenaten (Nebuchadrezzar I), also emulated Inyotef (Naram-Sin) and Auibre Hor (Hammurabi).


  1. David Rohl, Pharaohs and Kings, p 119.
  2. Ancient Near Eastern Texts, J. Pritchard, ed., p 291.
  3. 2 Kings 24:1 (KJV)
  4. Daniel 4
  5. Ancient Near Eastern Texts, J. Pritchard, ed., p 309.
  6. Also known as Osorkon F/IV, Haremakhet and Ramses-nakht/Usermaetre-nakht in Egypt. Ramses V is thought to have ruled for at least four years, which indicates that the crowning had occurred by Year 7 of the 12-year reign of Esarhaddon.
  7. Smendes II was only active as High Priest for two years or less.
  8. Nicolas Grimal, A History of Ancient Egypt, p 315.
  9. 2 Kings 24:1
  10. D.J. Wiseman, Chronicles of the Chaldean Kings, London, 1956.
  11. Ancient Near Eastern Texts, J. Pritchard, ed., p 303. Year 7 of Esarhaddon corresponds to the fifth year after Sennacherib's death.
  12. Ibid. See also, D. Redford, Egypt, Canaan, and Israel in Ancient Times, p 359.
  13. The name of Ramses IX was found at nearby Gezer. (Nicolas Grimal, A History of Ancient Egypt, p 289) Ramses IX took special pride in his triumph over foreigners. (D. Redford, Egypt, Canaan, and Israel in Ancient Times, p 290, note 28)
  14. Joan Oates, Babylon, p 121.
  15. Nebuchadrezzar insisted on being called the "firstborn of Nabopolassar." This implies that he was not the true son of Nabopolassar, but possessed the legal right to succession as an "eldest son."
  16. 2 Kings 24:1-2 (KJV) 
  17. Donald Redford, Egypt, Canaan, and Israel in Ancient Times, p 359-360.
  18. Donald Redford, Egypt, Canaan, and Israel in Ancient Times, p 360, citing S. Parpola, Letters from Assyrian Scholars to the Kings Esarhaddon and Ashurbanipal (Neukirchen-Vlyn, 1970), no. 117.
  19. Ancient Near Eastern Texts, J. Pritchard, ed., p 293.
  20. Robert Morkot, The Black Pharaohs, p 266.
  21. D.J. Wiseman, Chronicles of the Chaldean Kings, 31-32, 70. See commentary in D. Redford, Egypt, Canaan, and Israel in Ancient Times, p 459.
  22. Jeremiah 22:18-19 (KJV)
  23. The mummy of Sheshonq II was also discovered in this same tomb complex at Tanis.
  24. For a full reading of the docket, see: http://anubis4_2000.tripod.com/mummypages2/20A.htm
  25. Jeremiah 1:2; 25:3
  26. John Romer, Ancient Lives, p 200.
  27. Ibid, p. 194.
  28. For additional commentary and an alternative view as to the dating see, www.kent.net/DisplacedDynasties/Taharka's_Lament.htm
  29. Ancient Near Eastern Texts, J. Pritchard, ed., pp 292-293.
  30. 2 Kings 24:11-12 (KJV) 
  31. Jehoiachin possibly corresponds to the crown prince Ramesses-Ankhefenmut son of Psusennes I by Queen Mutnodjmet or another (?) wife Wiay. His name was removed from in his tomb indicating discredit. Aidan Dodson, Monarchs of the Nile, pp 158-159.
  32. D.J. Wiseman, Chronicles of Chaldean Kings (London, 1956), 72. See additional commentary in D. Redford, Egypt, Canaan, and Israel in Ancient Times, p 460.
  33. In the Kings/Chronicles narrative, Jehoiachin is variously said to be eight and eighteen years of age at the time. Possibly it was later thought that the reference to Year 8 was in relation to his age rather than the kingship of Nebuchadrezzar.
  34. 2 Kings 24:17 
  35. Peter Clayton, Chronicles of the Pharaohs, p 178.
  36. 2 Kings 24:7 (KJV)
  37. John Romer, Ancient Lives, p 145.
  38. Ibid.
  39. Jeremiah 37:5
  40. Jeremiah 37:11
  41. The mummy of Ramses V was found in the KV 35 (tomb of Amenhotep II) cache. "Small marks on his body may indicate that this pharaoh had smallpox, but there has been no microscopic confirmation of this, so it is far from an established fact." Bob Brier, Egyptian Mummies, p 276
  42. The significance of this apparent overlap in the reigns of Ramses V and Ramses VI is debated by Egyptologists. See, Peter Clayton, Chronicle of the Pharaohs, p 167-168; Nicolas Grimal, A History of Ancient Egypt, p 288; and Aidon Dodson, Monarchs of the Nile, p 149 .
  43. For the robbery and involvement of the so-called "foreigner Nes-Amun" in the robbery of KV 9, see John Romer, Ancient Lives, pp 146, 179-180, 203; Nicolas Grimal, A History of Ancient Egypt, p 289. Note: If there had been an earlier robbery of the tomb of Nebmaatre in the time of Pinedjem I, then it was that of Nebmaatre Amenhotep III rather than Ramses VI.

Note 1:

Josephus quoting Berosos claimed that Nebuchadrezzar had made at least a cursory invasion of the Egyptian Delta at that time of Nabopolassar's death:

"... this Babylonian king conquered Egypt, and Syria, and Phoenicia and Arabia, and exceeded in his exploits all that had reigned before him in Babylon and Chaldaea ... Nabuchodonosor ... set the affairs of Egypt and other countries, in order, and committed the captives he had taken from the Jews, and Phoenicians, and Syrians, and of the nations belonging to Egypt, to some of his friends." - Josephus, Contra Appion. lib. I. c. 19.

Note 2:

The role of Sheshonq-Aye (Ephraim/Asa/Ahab) was being played by Masaharta/Mentuemhet (the Prophet Isaiah/Ma'aseiah/Asaiah), as noted above. However, the role seems to have been usurped somewhat by Taharqa at the end of his life. In the narrative of King Manasseh's reign, Manasseh (Taharqa) is compared to the earlier Ahab (Aye): "Because Manasseh king of Judah hath done these abominations ... I will stretch over Jerusalem the line of Samaria, and the plummet of the house of Ahab: and I will wipe Jerusalem as a man wipeth a dish, wiping it, and turning it upside down." - 2 Kings 21:11-13 (KJV)

Either Taharqa or Mentuemhet is apparently also called Ahab in Jeremiah 29:21. In this passage, Jeremiah expresses the determination of Nebuchadrezzar to make "Ahab son Kolaiah" and another prince named as Zedekiah (son of Ma'aseiah?) pass through the fire even (as he had done to Daniel and his companions shortly after the deportation of Jehoiachin and his court. See Daniel 3.)

In Nehemiah 11:7 the name Kolaiah is possibly equated to Pedaiah, which has already been associated with Taharqa's Libyan name Pediese.

Kolaiah (6964) "voice/fame/thunder of God." Taharqa was son of the "big mouth," Piye/Sargon. Mentuemhet/Masaharta was son of the eloquent Tefnakhte/Piankh-Sematawy.

After Taharqa began to emulate Aye, his successor Tanutamon was placed in the role of Horemheb successor of Aye. In 2 Kings 25:23 and Jeremiah 40:8, Tanutamon is called Tanhumeth the Netophathite. Tanhumeth is derived from tanchuwmah, "compassion, solace: comfort, consolation," and is an epithet reminiscent of Naaman/Horemheb. (Cf Tan'ut-amon and Tan'ch-uwmah) Netophathite, "birdlike" is derived from owph, "a bird, fly away, flee," and perhaps alludes to the frequent tactical retreats of Tanutamon.

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