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Imhotep, Joseph, and Hebrew Slavery
In Response To: Re: Moses, Jacob, and Joseph ()

Imhotep was called High Priest of Re and "son of Ptah". His primary typecasting was as incarnated Thoth (Biblical Simeon) rather than Ptah (Biblical Joseph). In New Testament terms Imhotep was a "Simon Magus". I discuss Imhotep in Chapter 5 (see the section titled "Suffering Serpent"). He may have only acquired a Joseph aspect in much later legend. The famous Famine Stela from the Ptolemaic Period does associate Imhotep with the annual Flood of the Nile, which would be more typically linked to someone in the role of Ptah/Khnum.

In the Bible, Joseph is characterized as one who saves the Israelites but also enslaves them. Israelites were enslaved in Egypt on at least two occasions. To better appreciate this we first must understand what was an Israelite. In the original sense they were members of clans founded by pharaohs. Sargon, as "Israel" and king of Egypt and Mesopotamia was succeeded by his sons, grandsons, etc. Each of these successors can be considered the founder of a distinct tribe of Israel. See Chart 1 for the mappings. Over time these clans became further removed from power until they were in effect enslaved to the crown as commoners. This process is described starting in Chapter 7. See especially Chapter 8, the sections titled "Crashing the King's Party" and "Amnesty for Lost Sheep and Shepherds".

The second major period of enslavement occurred in the New Kingdom. See Chapter 15, especially the section titled "Reduced to Servitude". I suppose it could be debated what exactly constitutes slavery. If you were sent off to a stone quarry and died, was it because you were expendable as a slave or just an unfortunate worker who was really prized by pharaoh? Egyptologists tend to downplay evidence of slavery in Egypt, but I tend to give more credence to the Biblical descriptions. Life was tough and people did what they had to do to survive. The nobility of the land had no qualms with exploiting commoners. They considered it their God-given right and necessary in order to properly honor tradition! ("What has been will be again.")