Promise and Peril
Genesis 13 to Genesis 25 and the birth of two families
Portents of Christ
Genesis 26 to Exodus 2; a ladder to heaven, a coffin in Egypt, and an ark of bulrushes
As Genesis 13 opens Abram goes back to where he started from between Bethel and Hai, to the altar he had built previously and called on the name of the LORD. There was a dispute over grazing land for their grazing animals and Lot went to the plain of Jordan while Abram stayed in Canaan. God promises him all the land that he sees in every direction and his offspring forever in an unconditional covenant. Abram finally ends up at Mamre, in the area of Hebron, where he builds another altar. Chapter 14 begins with a rebellion of five kings against their four overlords.
The local kings of Sodom, Gomorrah, Admah, Zeboiim, and Zoar were apparently tributaries of a coalition which consisted of Amraphel, king of Shinar, whose identity is discussed in the Catholic “New Advent” Encyclopedia, which I will quote here;
“The identity of Amraphel and Hammurabi is now unanimously accepted by Assyriologists and Biblical critics. Phonetically, the two names are identical. The variants of the second form are Ammi¬rabi, Ammurapi, and Hammum¬rabi, etc. Hammu, or Ammu, was in all probability the name of a god, as it is found in many compound names such as Sumu¬hammu, Jasdi¬hammu, and Zimri¬hammu. The element rabi is very common in Babylonia, and it means "great"; the full name, consequently, means "The god Ammu is great", on the same analogy as names like Sin¬rabi, Samas¬rabi, and many others. According to Dr. Lindle, followed by Sayce and others, the name was also pronounced Ammurabi, and, so Dr. Pinches was the first to point out, the form Ammu¬rapi is also met with by the side of Hammurabi, and like many of the Babylonian kings of that period, he was deified, being addressed as ilu¬Ammurabi or Ammurabi¬ilu, i.e. "Ammurabi the god", ilu being the equivalent of the Hebrew El, which means "god". Now Ammurabi¬ilu or Ammurapilu is letter for letter the Amraphel, or Amrapel, of Genesis. According to another hypothesis, suggested by Dr. Husing, the l at the end of the form "Amraphel" is superfluous, for he would join it to the next word, and read: "And it came to pass in the days of Amraphel, as Arioch king of Ellasar was over Shinar, that Chodorlahomer . . ." Another, and according to Dr. Pinches perhaps more likely, explanation is that this additional letter l is due to a faulty reading of a variant writing of the name, with a polyphonous character having the value of pil, as well as bi, which form may, in fact, still be found. But whichever hypothesis we adopt, the identity of Amraphel and Hammurabi is phonetically beyond dispute.
The political situation presupposed in Gen., xiv, reflects, furthermore, with a remarkable degreee of probability, the condition of the times of Hammurabi's reign. The leader of the force and the suzerain to whom the Chanaanitish princes were subject, was a king of Elam. Elam, therefore, must have been the predominant power at the time, and
the Babylonian king must have been its vassal. The narrative, nevertheless, is dated in the reign of the Babylonian king, and not in that of the King of Elam, and it is to the reign of the Babylonian king that the events described in it are attached. Babylonia, however, was not a united country; there was another king, Arioch of Ellasar, who divided with the Amraphel of Sennaar the government of it, and like Amraphel, acknowledged the supremacy of Elam. Finally, the "nations" (goyim), whoever they were, were also subject to Elam, as well as the distant province of Chanaan. If we turn our glance to the political condition of Hammurabi's times and period, we shall find that the contemporary monuments of Babylonia are in perfect accord with the situation presupposed by Gen., xiv. “
Historians are not unanimous in this identification but do tell us that Hammurabi reigned for 43 years over Babylonia. After conquering his greatest enemies, building a great canal connecting Kish and the Persian Gulf for irrigation of a large area of land, and providing security and government to many tribes his reign may have gone into a decline. He built temples and coddled the clergy while at the same time doing great public works such as a bridge crossing the Euphrates. But, here, as part of this alliance he attempts to subdue these vassal states.
Ussher’s dating has this event occurring in 1912BC. The events of this chapter bear reading. (Read Genesis 14 aloud).
One thing to note is that these petty Canaanite kingdoms are little more than cities and their surrounding support areas ruled by kings which are more like mayors in our way of thinking or warlords. The area of Canaan was not one political entity and they spent a great deal of time fighting each other, engaging in trade, and only banding together in an alliance when faced with an outside threat and then only halfheartedly. Except under the nation of Israel and the European Crusader states, the area of Palestine has never been a cohesive political unit all its own, but rather the fodder of conquerors who passed through the region and recognized it as a strategic point between great centers of trade, such as Tyre, in Phoenicia, and Egypt. Look at the map and understand that for navies that had to travel close to land and be supported by and support an army marching along the coast, the area of Palestine or Canaan was very important.
To quote Durant, once again in his “The Story of Civilization, Volume 1, Our Oriental Heritage”; “The climatic history of the land tells us again how precarious a thing civilization is, and how its great enemies – barbarism and desiccation – are always waiting to destroy it. Once Palestine was “a land flowing with milk and honey”, as many a passage in the Pentateuch describes it. Josephus, in the first century after Christ, still speaks of it as “moist enough for agriculture, and very beautiful. They have abundance of
trees and are full of autumn fruits both wild and cultivated….They are not naturally watered by many rivers, but derive their chief moisture from rain, of which they have no want.” Try to reconcile that picture of Palestine with the one you see on your television screens today.
Abram’s ability to defeat this coalition with such a seemingly small number of people, 318, has to do with God’s supernatural favor using the tactical advantage of a night attack. Later, Gideon performs a similar feat against the Midianites.
The true identity of the king to whom Abram offers his tithe is not a subject of this history study but has more to do with doctrinal applications of the Bible. We will attempt to limit our study to history and avoid doctrine except where that is impossible. In chapter 15 God asserts his promise to Abram and his PHYSICAL descendants of all of the land from the Nile, the river of Egypt, to the Euphrates, and dominion over the land that the descendants of Ham now currently occupied.
In chapter 16 we have the birth of Ishmael, the offspring of Abram, a descendant of Shem, and Hagar, the Egyptian, a descendant of Ham. We also have a prophecy of the way Ishmael’s descendants will interact with other peoples. This was not, by the way, the child he was promised, as the Bible makes clear. The Arab peoples look upon Ishmael as their common ancestor although many other people point out that Ishmael is only the father of the Ishmaelites. The term, Arab, is first found in Assyrian annals of the ninth to seventh century BC and the word probably means, nomad, according to “The Dictionary of the Ancient Near East”. One important thing to remember is that until the creation of modern Arab states such as Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Syria, Iraq, and the petty states such as Bahrain, Qatar, Yemen, etc. the Arabia peninsula had never been a single cultural or political unit, and even today, it is not. The Arabs always fought among themselves in tribal groupings and were only united by their common worship of many gods and ultimately by Islam, but that is a story for later.
In chapter 17, God changes Abram’s name to Abraham and commanded circumcision as a token of the covenant between them. This later spread to the Egyptians after the Jews lived in that country. Chapter 18 reinforces God’s promise of a son to Abraham through his wife, Sarah, which name was also changed, from Sarai, in chapter 17. God’s intention to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah is revealed in this chapter, as well. Although modern students of the Bible dispute as to the location of these two cities Ussher makes the following statement regarding them;
“The monument of this (their destruction) remains to this day, even the Dead Sea,. The valley of Siddim, where these five cities stood in former times, was full of brimstone and salt pits. This has since grown into a vast lake which, because of the brimstone floating in it, is called Laces Asphaltitis or Lake of Brimstone and because of the salt, Mare Salsum or the Salt Sea.” He then refers to the historian, Solinus, for a description of the area.
I think it would be suitable to define “brimstone” here. It means “sulfur”. The American Heritage dictionary defines sulfur as “A pale yellow nonmetallic element occurring widely in nature in several free and combined allotropic (define) forms. It is used in black gunpowder, rubber vulcanization, the manufacture of insecticides and
pharmaceuticals, and in the preparation of sulfur compounds such as hydrogen sulfide and sulfuric acid.”
According to a study initiated by the Institute for Petroleum and Organic Geochemistry, Juelich, Federal Republic of Germany, cited on the internet’s Department of Energy ‘Energy Citations Database’, the Dead Sea area is formed by oils, asphalts, and sulfur compounds. An interesting study would be for you to research the efforts by archaeologists to locate the cities that God destroyed at this time.
From reading the chronicle of the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah and the perversion that plagued those cities and recalling the sexual content of ancient worship one can imagine the depraved nature of the ancient world. If you add this to the aforementioned manner in which the rebellious sons of God in Genesis 6 dealt with humanity we get a very negative picture of mankind’s moral standing before God.
Solinus was a Latin grammarian and historian of the 3rd century AD, by the way.
In chapter 21, we see the first persecution of the Abraham’s child of promise, Isaac, by his older half-brother, Ishmael. Ussher begins the 400 year persecution until the Exodus from this point. See Galatians 4:29; Genesis 15:13; Acts 7:6. Ishmael, the son of an Egyptian, and the father of the Arab nations, according to them, is still persecuting Isaac. It is interesting to note that the late Yasir Arafat was an Egyptian. Isaac’s feast and
Ishmael’s mocking occurred in 1891BC, according to Ussher’s chronology. Abraham’s testing with regard to Isaac’s “sacrifice” occurred in 1871BC according to the same chronology. Finally, Sarah’s death and Abraham’s first purchase of property in Canaan for her grave is given as 1859BC. Interestingly, Shem, Noah’s son, and Abraham’s ancestor doesn’t die until 1846BC. Dr. Floyd Nolen Jones in his 1993 “Chronology of the Old Testament” agrees in the main with Ussher, using computer models based on a literal application of the Bible.
At this time, traditional historians, believe the Middle Kingdom of Egypt was in power, starting with the 12th dynasty with well trained, professional armies, including Nubian auxiliary units. According to “The Harper Encyclopedia of Military History”, we are right on the edge of the Hyksos invasion of Egypt, its first foreign invasion by Semitic peoples who, according to Harper’s “introduced the horse and horse-drawn chariot in Egypt”. We’ll get to this later when we get to Joseph.
With this account we are also just before the Aryan migrations in India and the emergence of historical China. The earliest civilization that historians mention in India is the Mohenjo-Daro culture which they give as existent around 2900BC according to Durant. India is not so much a nation as Egypt or Sumeria but more like Europe, a polyglot of languages and cultures on a sub-continent called South Asia. The river Indus, a thousand miles long, had its name from the native Punjabi word for river, sindhu, which the Persians, changing it to Hindu, applied to all of Northern India, as Hindustan, the land
of the rivers. Mohenjo-Daro and Harappa, on the Indus river, were discovered in 1924 and may represent a more advanced civilization than even Ur, with the lowest strata of excavation being a more advanced culture than the upper and possibly representing the pre-flood civilization. Some of the things found include “household utensils, dice, chess-men, coins older than any previously known, over a thousand engraved seals done in an unknown pictographic script, stone carvings superior to that of the Sumerians, copper weapons and tools, a copper model of a two wheeled cart; one of the oldest examples of this vehicle, gold and silver jewelry finished and finely polished in such a manner that they could have come from a modern jewelry store, and, as mentioned earlier, the finds get more detailed and spectacular the deeper the archaeologists look. Many believe that the civilization of Mohenjo-Daro was the oldest in the world. Durant laments that “In India, or elsewhere, the beginnings of civilization are buried in the earth, and not all the spades of archeology will ever quite exhume them”.
There are some students of Hindu religious literature such as the Vedas and the Mahabharata that insist that they contain verses that describe airplanes and spaceships, and even descriptions of nuclear warfare. While flying machines are also mentioned in
Babylonian literature as being of quite ancient origin and also in Chaldean “writings” it is the claim that it may have been atomic warfare that destroyed Mohenjo-Daro which is most interesting. In 1979, David Davenport, an Englishman born living in India wrote a book that claimed that evidence of an event generating enormous heat is everywhere on the site of the city. However, most scientists regard his interpretation of the evidence as ranking right down there with Erik Von Daniken’s “Chariots of the Gods” book from the 1970’s which claimed that extraterrestrial alien life forms gave us our civilizations.
A source devoted to studying ancient Indian religious literature contained the following;
“Only seven years after the first successful atom bomb blast in New Mexico, Dr. Robert Oppenheimer (1904-1967) Scientist, philosopher, bohemian, and radical. A theoretical physicist and the Supervising Scientist of the Manhattan Project, who was familiar with ancient Sanskrit literature, was giving a lecture at Rochester University. During the question and answer period a student asked a question to which Oppenheimer gave a strangely qualified answer:
Student: Was the bomb exploded at Alamogordo during the Manhattan Project the first one to be detonated?
Dr. Oppenheimer: "Well -- yes. In modern times, of course.””
Whatever is true or mere fantasy, Durant is probably correct and there are simply a great deal of things we will never know in this life.
Reliable historians state that no one knows where the Chinese came from, or what was the beginning of their race, or how old their civilization is. There is a great deal of fossil evidence in China and Mongolia to lead the atheistic scientist to conclude that Paleolithic, Stone Age man existed there for tens of thousands of years. But, since some of the most striking evidence of their early art and industry clearly came from Mesopotamia I would insist that once again we must look to the biblical narrative for answers. Some say that the Chinese descended from Ham, while others say Shem. Those who theorize that the Chinese came from Ham point to the son of Canaan called Heth. The cuneiform of the word Hittite is Khittae also known as Khitai which comes down to us as Cathay, an old word referring to the Chinese people. Quoting directly from Tim Osterholm who uses “Noah’s Three Sons” by Arthur Custance, “Genesis and Early Man” by the same author, Bill Cooper’s “After the Flood”, Henry Morris’ “The Genesis Record”, and Ruth Beechick’s “Genesis, Finding our Roots”, among others, as references;
“Sin (or Seni), a brother of Heth, has many occurrences in variant forms in the Far East. There is one significant feature concerning the likely mode of origin of Chinese civilization. The place most closely associated by the Chinese themselves with the origin of their civilization is the capital of Shensi, namely, Siang-fu (Father Sin). Siang-fu appears in Assyrian records as Sianu. Today, Siang-fu can be loosely translated, "Peace to the Western Capital of China". The Chinese have a tradition that their first king, Fu-hi or Fohi (Chinese Noah), made his appearance on the Mountains of Chin, was surrounded by a rainbow after the world had been covered with water, and sacrificed animals to God (corresponding to the Genesis record). Sin himself was the third generation from Noah, a circumstance which would provide the right time interval for the formation of early Chinese culture.
Furthermore, those who came from the Far East to trade were called Sinæ (Sin) by the Scythians. Ptolemy, a Greek astronomer, referred to China as the land of Sinim or Sinæ. Reference to the Sinim in Isaiah 49:12 notes they came "from afar," specifically not from the north and not from the west. Arabs called China Sin, Chin, Mahachin, Machin. The Sinæ were spoken of as a people in the remotest parts of Asia. For the Sinæ, the most important town was Thinæ, a great trading emporium in Western China. The city Thinæ is now known as Thsin or simply Tin, and it lies in the province of Shensi. Much of China was ruled by the Sino-Khitan Empire (960-1126 A.D.), which Beijing became the southern capital. The Sinæ became independent in Western China, their princes reigning there for some 650 years before they finally gained dominion over the whole land.
In the third century B.C., the dynasty of Tsin became supreme. The word Tsin itself came to have the meaning of purebred. This word was assumed as a title by the Manchu Emperors and is believed to have been changed into the form Tchina. From there the term was brought into Europe as China, probably from the Ch'in or Qin dynasty (255-206 B.C.). The Greek word for China is Kina (Latin is Sina). As well, Chinese and surrouding languages are part of the Sino-Tibetan language family. Years ago, American newspapers regularly carried headlines with reference to the conflict between the Chinese
and Japanese in which the ancient name reappeared in its original form, the Sino-Japanese war. Sinology refers to the study of Chinese history.
With respect to the Cathay people of historical reference, it would make sense to suppose that the remnants of the Hittites, after the destruction of their empire, traveled towards the east and settled among the Sinites who were relatives, contributing to their civilization, and thus becoming the ancestors of the Asian people groups. Still others migrated throughout the region and beyond, making up present-day Mongoloid races in Asia and the Americas. The evidence strongly suggests that Ham's grandsons, Heth (Hittites/Cathay) and Sin (Sinites/China), are the ancestors of the Mongoloid peoples.”
We will have much more to say about China and India as we move forward. These nations are particularly important in today’s world with regard to geopolitics and for conditions at the end time. Sam Cohen, father of the neutron bomb, in his book, “Shame”, has prophesied that in twenty years Asia will be using as much oil in a day as we do now in a year and will be importing more than half of it. This has serious implications when considering the ongoing struggles in the Middle East and Revelation’s “kings of the east” in Revelation sixteen.
The doctrinal applications of Abraham’s testing by God in chapter 22, dated at around 1871BC by Ussher, are not the subject of this study but different theologians give Isaac’s age as 25 to 35 at the time of this test of Abraham’s faithfulness.
Sarah, Abraham’s wife, and Isaac’s mother, dies and is buried in Hebron in a cave in a field Abraham purchased from the “sons of Heth”.
Chapter 24 deals with Abraham’s servant fetching a bride for Isaac from among his own people and Genesis 25 reveals Esau selling his birthright to Jacob for a bowl of stew. Esau aka Edom plays significant roles in future history as an enemy of Israel, although Esau himself eventually loses his own personal enmity against his brother. Edom, also called Seir, is part of the country of Jordan. In Roman times it was known as Idumea, the origin of the Herods, puppet rulers of Judea. Its worship of the spring festival of Ishtar is believed to be the reasoning for the King James translators controversial translation in Acts 12:4 by some. Edom, meaning red, and taken from the red pottage he bargained his birthright away for, used red in its banners, as Idumea, and was characterized by a particularly bloody reign over Judea.
One of the principal wonders of the area of Edom is the rock city of Petra, which figured into the movie, ‘Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade’. It wasn’t built until much later in history, presumably around the 6th century BC by Nabatean Arabs but I thought I would mention it here as nail to hang your memory of Edom upon as this area has a significant role to play in end time prophecy according to many Bible commentators.
Now, I want to talk about the Hittite empire mentioned in the Table of Nations reference earlier. Most of traditional or non-Biblical scholars information about the Hittites comes from thousands of clay tablets excavated from their capital, Hattusas. The ‘Dictionary of the Ancient Near East’ claims that their power finally ended around 1200BC. However, Snell, in ‘Life in the Ancient Near East’, states that the texts that the knowledge about the Hittites is based on are hard to date and therefore, one would conclude, that any absolute dating by traditional historians is unsure. Durant claims that the Egyptians of this period mentioned importing iron from the Hittites. He states that they had spread their influence from south of the Black Sea to the area of Babylon. This would be around the time of Abraham’s journeys. Abraham buries Sarah and is buried by Isaac and Ishmael in a plot of land he purchased from a Hittite.
Genesis 26 opens up with Isaac repeating his father’s behavior during a famine, only this time the place of refuge is not Egypt but the land of the Philistines. While God’s promise to Abraham is repeated here to Isaac, things look pretty bleak for a couple for whom it was hoped back in chapter 24:60 would produce billions of descendants.
The Philistines are first mentioned back in chapter 21 and Abraham lived among them “for many days”, it says. Who were the Philistines? Snell states that Palestine derives its name from the Philistines, who were seafaring people who had “afflicted Egypt”. Those who settled around modern Gaza are best known and he also says that they were called something different, Tjekker, further north. They came from the Aegean Sea and brought Mycenaean pottery from Greece with them. They had five major cities, each ruled by a despot, and Snell says that they tried to control the hill country of Palestine, probably starting out as the Pharaoh’s mercenaries; of which the Egyptians used quite heavily. Greek mercenaries were used through the ancient near east affecting language and culture, preparing the way for Alexander’s eventual conquests and the spread of the common or Koine’ Greek language with which the New Testament was written. Bienkowski and Millard’s “Dictionary of the Ancient Near East” concurs with these statements. Durant barely mentions them in his history.
According to Ussher, quoting Christian historian Eusebius from his work ‘Chronicles’ who was quoting Castor of Rhodes, the reign of the Argives in Greece began in 1856BC. Also, quoting Varro from his work ‘Human Antiquities’ Ussher refers to Inachus as the first king About the time of Issac’s move to Philistia (1796BC?) for a respite from the famine, the Ogygian Deluge was supposed to have occurred in Greece and this is found in the works of Hellanicus, Castor, Thallus, Diodorus Siculus, Alexander Polyhistor, and Julius Africanus as reported by Eusebius.
Now, for some definitions. The Argives were of Argos one of the foremost Mycenaean cities of the Peloponnesus. In Homer's Iliad, "Danaans" ("tribe of Danaus") and "Argives" commonly designate the Greek forces opposed to the Trojans. The Greek geographer of the second century, Pausanius, as reported in the Encyclopaedia
Britannica, states with regard to the Argives, "from the earliest times... have loved freedom and self-government, and they limited to the utmost the authority of their kings:"
The Peloponnesus is the part of Greece south of the Isthmus of Corinth. The Philistines may have come from there escaping the constant struggles that occurred as the Greek city states were forming.
Another possiblity is that they were refugees or colonists from the fallen Minoan civilization of Crete. The Minoans were a mercantile people who engaged in overseas trade and showed signs of a highly developed civilization from the middle of the last half of the second millenium (around 1700BC) onward. Things to remember would be the mythical king Minos and his labyrinth uncovered by Sir Arthur Evans at Knossos, the palace of the Minoans. Their pantheon of gods was headed by a goddess. In mythology the labyrinth was an elaborate maze that contained the Minotaur, a half man half bull, which was eventually defeated by the Athenian hero Theseus, who Plutarch states was the son of Poseidon and was contemporary with the Atlanteans.
Another event of note was the Ogygian Deluge, which I just mentioned. This event is considered by many to be mythological while others consider it to be a real time happening. During the reign of Ogyges, King of Boetia, in Greece, there was supposed to have been a disastrous flood. The Roman writer, Varro, states that the Planet Venus underwent a strange change before this flood. Ev Cochrane reports that this planet was worshipped almost universally in the ancient world but not always as a good thing. The Aztecs in Mexico viewed Venus as a harbinger of disaster. The modern “alternative science” writer Immanuel Velikovsky claimed that the formation of and subsequent activities of the planet Venus was the cause of great catastrophes on the earth. The Ammizaduga tablets of Babylon, considered by some to be the oldest astronomical tablets extant or still in existence talk about Venus’ ability to adversely affect the affairs of mankind.
Back to the Minoan civilization and some things to remember. Before the Minoan civilization suddenly disappeared in the middle of the second millennium BC, possibly due to a huge volcanic eruption on Thera, which may have been the model for Atlantis in Plato’s work, it was a highly advanced civilization. A medical bag has been found in a tomb at Nauplion in Crete dating to about the time of the culture’s extinction that contained forceps, drills, scalpels, all made of bronze but at least a thousand years before their use in mainland Greece. The Minoans also used lightning rods on the temples built on high mountains. The palace at Knossos had indoor toilets which have not been improved upon until the present day. The Minoans enjoyed spectator sports and, if their artwork is a correct representation even had stadiums in which to enjoy them.
In Plutarch’s ‘Lives’, Theseus is the first hero mentioned. In keeping with Satan’s counterfeiting of the promise of the virgin birth of Christ in Genesis 3:15, Theseus, like Romulus, legendary founder of Rome, and so many other heroic figures of past
mythology and history, including Alexander, was said to be the offspring of a human woman and a god. Satan’s lying deceptions are found interwoven throughout history and are not the subject of secret conspiracies for the truth of his falsehoods is written right on the surface for anyone who wants to see, to see, unless perhaps they suffer from the
blindness mentioned in 2 Corinthians 4:4 and the resultant delusions promised by God to the unbelieving evil world (Isaiah 66:4; 2 Thessalonians 2:11)?
At this point it might be worth mentioning an important event in Egyptian history, the invasion by the Hyksos, or Shepherd Kings. Durant says that the Hyksos were just one of a series of nomadic peoples that conquered Egypt and were changed by the wealth and easy living of the conquered, then when they lost their tough, barbaric edge, they were defeated themselves. The Hyksos ended the Middle Kingdom era of Egyptian history. His statement that the Hyksos probably introduced the horse to Egypt is absurd on its face, as if the Egyptians had no prior contact with other Asian people or animals. Snell defines the period of the domination by the Shepherd Kings (we’ll see later that in Joseph’s time the common Egyptian detested shepherds while the ruling class welcomed them) as the Second Intermediate Period and dates it between 1786BC and 1558BC. Ussher, quoting ancient historian Eusebius quoting even more ancient historian Manetho, has them being defeated and leaving Egypt at least 30 years before the events of Genesis 26 while Dr. Floyd Jones has the Pharaoh who embraced Joseph later as being one of these Hyksos. As in the case of all conquerors or those who enslave others, the conqueror or enslaver usually adopts the culture of the conquered or the slave before the tables are turned. Bienkowski and Millard state that the Hyksos ruled the 15th dynasty between 1650 and 1550BC. Ussher has them expelled in 1825BC. Remember, barring any definitive dating that is not arguable or evidence which is subject to interpretation and controversy we can only conclude that the events described in this part of Genesis are occurring in the first half of the second millennium before Christ, somewhere between 1500 to 2000BC. The word, Hyksos, is a Greek derivation of an Egyptian phrase, meaning “rulers of foreign lands”.
Moving on past Jacob and Rebekah’s deception of Isaac and Esau, Laban’s deception of Jacob, and Jacob’s reunion with Esau in chapters 27 – 33, and passing over the ladder to heaven of chapter 28, which is the Lord Jesus Christ according to John 1:51, we come to the story of Joseph, which begins in Genesis, chapter 37. Joseph is sold into slavery and eventually winds up in the “employment” of an officer of Pharaoh. He winds up in prison which eventually results, in Chapter 41, in Joseph, now 30, as being second in command of the entire nation of Egypt, under the Pharaoh. The question many scholars ask if who was Joseph in the extra-biblical historical record of ancient Egypt? There are many beliefs as to his identity outside of the Biblical record. We know what God calls him but what did the ancient Egyptians call him? Verse 45 of chapter 41 says that the Pharaoh called him Zaphnathpaaneah, which, according to Strong’s concordance means “treasury of the glorious rest”.
Durant would place Joseph’s life at around 1900BC but also implies he is only a mythical figure, the subject of poetic imagery. Most historians view the entire Bible in this light as what they hold as valuable in human history is in direct opposition to what God regards as of the utmost importance. Ussher places Joseph’s promotion at 1715BC which places him during the Hyksos domination of Egypt, as Floyd suggests.
According to the late Ron Wyatt, controversial and often ridiculed Biblical Archaeologist and the basis for Anchor Stone International at anchorstone.com, the identity of the biblical Joseph matches that of Imhotep, the vizier or prime minister of Pharaoh Djoser. This group reports on their website that Imhotep translated means the “voice of IM” or “I Am”. However, dating Imhotep to the building of the first pyramid creates a problem for traditional archaeology as there is a near 1,000 year discrepancy between Joseph’s sojourn in Egypt and the building of that pyramid.
The dating of Joseph’s influence in Egypt is certainly a topic of interest. The discovery of a canal and the extinct lake called the “Sea of Joseph” by the American engineer, F.C. Whitehouse, over a century ago and the inscriptions found in Egypt referring to the seven years of famine and the seven years of plenty are quite intriguing to say the least. The problems and controversies surrounding the various voices regarding the dating of ancient Egypt make this even more difficult to study. Egyptology and Biblical Archaeology are two of the most fascinating fields of the sciences dealing with the past. It is dangerous, however, to assume, without critical questioning, the stance of any one individual university or any one influential celebrity such as Flinders or Kenyon in regard to when things actually happened or if they happened at all. Many a person has lost their faith in the Biblical record over an assumption made by a science “celebrity” that was revealed by later discoveries to be wrong or a blatant falsehood. Before accepting any statement by someone outside of the Bible as being dogma please investigate for yourself. The so called “facts” of history can change with each new publication of a scientific journal and in the end it is only the Bible that you can count on as your final authority. It has been said that given enough time, science will catch up with the Bible. In saying this I do not mean to show disrespect for the scientific method. It is the best means we have of discovering the natural world, however, broad pronouncements and categorical statements about historical facts made with limited evidence and biased in favor of one theory or the other must be taken for what they are; conjecture.
Moving to China for a moment; it is at this time where the Shang Dynasty is supposed to sit in Chinese history. First, and I am speaking from Durant here, there is a period of legendary rulers clouded in obscurity and lost in the mists of time, then in the late third millennium according to traditional historians there began the reign of Fu Hsi, Shen Nung, the first Huang Ti, Yao, Shun, the Hsia Dynasty, Yu, Chieh Kuei, and then in the second half of the second millennium, the Shang. Remembering that the historical record can easily show, rather than consecutive rulers of a place, a list of rulers who reign concurrently, at the same time, you need to look critically at the way in which these reigns are dated. One belief of the origin of the Chinese was about the first man named
P’an Ku, after working for 18,000 years to make the universe, finally accomplished the task in 2,229,000BC. As he worked his breath became the wind and the clouds, his voice became the thunder, his veins the rivers, his flesh the earth, his hair the grass and trees, his bones the metals, his sweat the rain, and the insects that clung to his body became the human race.
The earliest kings, the Chinese said, ruled 18,000 years each, and struggled hard to turn P’an Ku’s lice into civilized men. Before the arrival of these Celestial Emperors the people were supposedly like animals, eating raw flesh and knowing their mothers but not their fathers. Then came emperor Fu Hsi, who, with his queen, taught human beings marriage, music, writing, painting, fishing with nets, the domestication of animals, and the feeding of silkworms. He appointed Shen Nung upon his death, who introduced agriculture. Then Huang Ti, whose reign lasted only a century rather than thousands of years introduced the magnet and the wheel, built the first brick buildings, and the first observatory. Yao was such a good ruler that Confucius lamented that there was a golden age during his reign that China had fallen from over the centuries. Shun created the calendar and standardized weights and measures. Yu, a great engineer, mirrors the great embanker of Egypt fame who saves the Chinese from floods and establishes the Hsia or first civilized dynasty. The emperor, Chieh, makes 3,000 Chinese jump to their death in a lake of wine. Chou Hsin, inventor of chopsticks, brings the dynasty to an end. Western invaders founded the Chou dynasty which overthrew Chou Hsin. What is clear is that the feudal states that developed arose from isolated agricultural communities, each weak one being absorbed by a stronger neighbor until a handful fought for power. According to ancient tradition, before the Chou dynasty was the Shang. One of the Shang emperors, Wu Yi, was an atheist who defied the gods, blasphemed the spirit of heaven, and played chess with it, eventually being killed by a bolt of lightning. In keeping with Satan’s worldwide counterfeiting of the promise of the virgin birth of Christ in Genesis 3:15 the Jesuit missionaries were astonished to find in China the holy mother, Shing Moo, being pictured with a child in her arms and glory around her as if she had been painted by a Roman Catholic artist.
From Hislop’s ‘The Two Babylons’ we have; “The name of Shing Moo, applied by the Chinese to their "Holy Mother," compared with another name of the same goddess in another province of China, strongly favours the conclusion that Shing Moo is just a synonym for one of the well known names of the goddess-mother of Babylon. Gillespie (in his Land of Sinim) states that the Chinese goddess-mother, or "Queen of Heaven," in the province of Fuh-kien, is worshipped by seafaring people under the name of Ma Tsoopo. Now, "Ama Tzupah" signifies the "Gazing Mother"; and there is much reason to
believe that Shing Moo signifies the same; for Mu was one of the forms in which Mut or Maut, the name of the great mother, appeared in Egypt (BUNSEN'S Vocabulary); and Shngh, in Chaldee, signifies "to look" or "gaze."”
It should of interest to compare the involvement of the “sons of God” with humankind in Genesis 6, and the worldwide legends of heavenly visitors giving special knowledge to people.
It is in this general period of time that the Aryan migrations and invasions of Dravidian India are said to begin. The Dravidian are the non-Indo-European inhabitants of India who now occupy the southern portion and Sri Lanka, which formerly was known as Ceylon. They Aryan invaders were closely related to Persians or Iranians today with regard to language. Very little is known of the warfare between the invaders and the dark-skinned early inhabitants. But, it was the synthesis of the Aryan and the Dravidian that produced the new Hindu civilization, after 1400BC, according to traditional historians.
It can be added that migration into South America and Oceania or the Pacific Islands begins in this time frame with a very limited historical record consisting of controversially dated ruins, human remains, pottery, and folklore. It will be a few hundred years before there is an historical record which we can study clearly. Australia will remain in the Stone Age until the European invasion and colonization thousands of years later.
It is by Joseph’s position of power in Egypt that the family of Jacob is able to survive yet another famine by taking up residence there. It is interesting also to note that Genesis begins with God, traces nearly half of human history, and ends with a coffin in Egypt, a land obsessed with death and the after-life. Petrie believed that they came into Egypt around 1650BC and left around 1220BC. Durant defers to him and says, in rejection of the Biblical record, that we don’t know if they entered as free men or slaves and like Westcott and Hort, the fathers of the modern Bible translation movement, believed that Moses was a mythical figure. Petrie suggests that they followed the path of the Hyksos, Egypt’s semitic invaders. Ussher has Jacob’s family moving to Egypt in 1706BC, using the strict Biblical record. Floyd, who gives a date of the Egyptian sojourn of 1780 to 1546BC, notes that the period under discussion is one of great obscurity in Egyptian history. After studying the works of L. Wood, J. Davis, M. Unger, Petrie, Breasted, Eerdmans, H.H. Rowley, Gardner, Hall, Harrison, W.F. Albright, Bunsen, J. Free, Sir J. Gardner Wilkinson, and S. Schults, all noted Egyptologists and Bible scholars, and many quoted by everyone from Hislop to Durant, concludes that Joseph rose to prominence under a Hyksos king and Moses led the Jews out of Egypt under a native Egyptian king who would not have been so favorably disposed toward them.
The argument for a late sojourn and exodus based on the statement that they built the
treasure city of Rameses who did not rule until the 19th dynasty, according to some, is irrelevant in light of the use of the name, Rameses, before any Rameses ruled, in a burial painting of Amenhotep III of the 18th dynasty at least 60 years before the rule of any Rameses. In fact, Amosis, 16th century founder of the 18th dynasty bore the name of Rameses, meaning Son of Ra, probably as a throne name and perhaps representing a term much like Son of God, as Ra was the principal god of the Egyptians, the S-U-N.
The residence of the family of Jacob in Egypt and the subsequent events of the story of the Exodus are hotly contested among traditional historians. Some regard the entire thing as a myth, while others say that there is no evidence either for or against. I have even read where some conjecture that it was the Jews who built the pyramids even though these structures are not mentioned by name in the scriptures. Moses’ identity in secular history is also one of debate and challenge. You will read some that say that the Egyptian woman who adopted the baby in the ark of bulrushes was the woman who eventually became Pharaoh herself, Hatshepshut. Not surprisingly, many archaeologists claim Moses never existed. The “fathers” of all modern Bible versions, the Anglican clerics, Westcott and Hort, also did not believe that Moses was anything but a mythological character. Moses is even thought of by some to have been an alternate name for the Egyptian pharaoh who commanded the worship of one god, Aton, the man who supposedly introduced monotheism, or the belief in one god, to the Egyptians, Akhenaton.
Nevertheless, there are so many gaps in our knowledge of ancient Egypt that basing your belief on the existence of a Biblical personage on whether or not some clue has been unearthed in an archaeological dig yet, is foolish to say the least and shortsighted at best. Belief in the Biblical record is much more certain and clear than relying on what has been found or will be found in an ancient, much robbed tomb or in an ancient garbage heap. Sooner or later, if you continue your education you will run into such works by unbelievers as Sigmund Freud’s “Moses and Monotheism” designed to overthrow your faith. Freud will be mentioned in this course much later as one of the destroyers of western civilization but that is for much later.
According to Strong, Moses means “drawn”, as in “lifted out”. The scripture’s own built in definition in Exodus 2:10 agrees. There is no known secular record of his early life as an Egyptian prince outside of the much later recording by the Jewish traitor and historian, Josephus. As according to Kneisler there are approximately 80,000 flood stories in 72 languages there are also parallel stories concerning Moses’ birth and retrieval from the Nile. Satan counterfeited the birth of Moses in the account of the Akkadian king, Sargon, whose own mother allegedly saved him by hiding him in an ark of bulrushes as reported in Roux’s “Ancient Iraq”, written in 1964. Although you can find a few parallels to Biblical events in ancient myth all you have to do is to read these myths and read the Bible to see how fanciful and incomplete the myths are and how matter of fact, and reasonable the Biblical account is.
Ussher claims that Moses was born in 1571BC. Josephus calls the Egyptian princess who found him, Thermutis, as did Epiphanius and other chroniclers, according to Ussher. The next year, Cecrops, an Egyptian transported a colony of Egyptians to Greece. I mention this because I want to keep reminding you of the interaction between Greece and the superpowers of the Middle East at that time. According to Eusebius, but in opposition to Plutarch who insists on a more ancient origin, this is the basis for the founding of the city of Athens. Eusebius quotes another ancient historian, Castor. In spite of the claims of the writer of the modern book, “Not Out of Africa”, the Greeks themselves would later
claim that they derived much of their science, philosophy, and religion from Egypt with key Greek historical celebrities even spending time in Egypt.
The Egyptian historian, Manetho, as quoted by Josephus, wrote that the Hyksos were removed from Egypt by Tethmosis, who was king of Thebes or upper Egypt, close to the Mediterranean Sea. This was in a place called Auaris. He had an army of 480,000 men. Unable to actually defeat the Hyksos, an agreement was made that they should leave Egypt. The chronicler Apion called this king Amosis in his lost work, ‘Egyptian Affairs’, quoted by Ussher, and also recorded by Justin Martyr in his ‘Exhortation to the Greeks’ and by Clement of Alexandria in his ‘Stromateis’.
Exodus 2 ends with God hearing the groaning of the Israelites who now were under a king who was not familiar with Joseph and who had no regard for them. The theory then is that Joseph came into Egypt under a Hyksos Pharaoh and Moses was raised by the family of a native Egyptian one. At this time, historians claim that Assyria was dominant on the other side of the Red Sea but that Canaan was ruled by independent towns or cities each with their own king but perhaps the Bible implies that Egypt was the superpower they called on when in trouble (Numbers 14:9). Canaanite religion was vile and degrading, the worst of the religions influenced by Satan, with temple prostitution, ritual child sacrifice, incest, and bestiality as common events although many of these things were common in religion from India to the Nile. The land that God had promised to Abraham was filled with the most wicked sin and depravity. The Jews were ready to leave Egypt and the land was ready to be cleansed of the evil that possessed it.