The names Mizraim and Cush both have serpent connotations. Mizraim/Gilgamesh plays on the Sumerian word for serpent, mus. Cush may relate to the Hebrew word for serpent, nachash. As young princes they were sent to the subordinate lands of Egypt. Lower Egypt became the domain of Mizraim ("Egypt"). He was known there by the Egyptian names of Cobra, the symbol of Lower Egypt, and Zeser/Djoser Netjer-i-khet ("divine of the body"). Among his descendants were Greek tribes such as Caphtorites and Philistines. (His Greek counterpart Belus was the father of Aigyptos and Danaeus, Aigyptos obviously indicating Egypt and Danaeus being related to the renowned Greek people called the Danaeans.)
Upper Egypt fell to Cush ("Ethiopia"), who assumed the Egyptian names of Scorpion and Horus-Aha ("fighting falcon"). Ultimately Cush eclipsed not only Mizraim but also Shem, heir to the superior line in Mesopotamia. The leading son of Cush is called Nimrod in the Bible, founder of a kingdom that included the cities of Babylon, Erech/Uruk, and Akkad/Agade. This is our first clue that something is wrong with the Bible's chronology or that of Egyptology. Either the Bible has compressed history or Egyptology has stretched it, or a little of both. It is a goal here to decide which is the case.
In the main list of Cush's sons, Nimrod probably corresponds to Havilah. (This can be deduced from the description of a later prince who was thrust into the role of an incarnated Nimrod. Elisha of Abel Meholah was the main Biblical recollection of the boy-king Tutankhamun. The place name Meholah derives from the same root as Havilah in Genesis.) Nimrod/Havilah draws comparison to the early Old Kingdom pharaohs Narmer and the Horus Huni ("Smiter").
Havilah is listed as the second son of Cush. The first is called Seba, meaning "winebibber." Seba became a type of Noah/Adapa in the house of Cush. He corresponds to the pharaoh Snofru, who was remembered as a wise king and a great builder. Snofru also follows Huni in the Egyptian king-lists, but most likely ruled alongside him as the earlier Ham ruled with Noah and eventually usurped his authority.
The third son of Cush is called Sabtah, evidently a Hebrew adaptation of the Egyptian Sa-Ptah, "son of Ptah". After the reigns of Huni and Snofru the throne was occupied by Khufu, who was styled after the usurper god, Ra, son of Ptah. The fourth son of Cush is called Raamah, who is called the father of Sheba and Dedan. These Patriarchs find ready comparison with renowned Egyptian princes Ra-hotep, Imhotep, and Chephron (or Den/Udimu). The name Sheba means "seven" and Imhotep was considered the incarnation of Thoth the god whose number was seven. The fifth and final son of Cush is called Sabtecah, a variant of Sabtah/Sa-Ptah. He equates to pharaoh Menkhaure successor of Khufu and Chephron, and one known for his devotion to Ptah.
The family of Cush maps closely to what is known about the renowned 4th Dynasty of Egypt. The Genesis account appears to also compress dynasties 1-3 with dynasty 4, e.g., Huni is melded with Narmer, Chephron with Den, etc. To find out whether Huni was really another name of Narmer, and Chephron was one and the same as Den, we will need more information. We can once again look to the Egyptian New Kingdom for insight. As noted above the role of Nimrod was first assigned to Sheshonq II the grandson of Aye-Sheshonq. Akhenaten had Sheshonq II murdered and gave the role to his own son Tutankhamun instead. After the deaths of Akhenaten and Tut, the role of Nimrod was then claimed by Sheshonq III, the future pharaoh of all Egypt, Seti I. Next we will explore New Kingdom history after the rule of Seti and see if it tracks the known sequence of pharaohs after Huni of the Old Kingdom.
© Charles N. Pope, US Library of Congress. All rights reserved.