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Amenemhet III

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Amenemhet III - Amenemhat III - Nimaatre

Considered by some to be the greatest pharaoh of the Middle Kingdom. He was the 6th Pharaoh of the 12th dynasty, the son of Sesostris III. The 12th dynasty spanned almost 200 years. The revised dates of Amenemhet III's reign: 1529-1483BC (approximately).

Pre-History of Amenemhet III’s reign

The Israelites flourished and multiplied quickly when they first came to Egypt in the 3rd dynasty when Djoser (Netjerikhet) was pharaoh. They had the blessing of the Pharaoh and they enjoyed the protection of the vizier Joseph/Imhotep while he was alive. They lived in Goshen, the most fertile part of Egypt. The early pyramids of the 3rd to the 6th dynasties were built out of solid limestone.

12th Dynasty

At the end of the 6th and 11th dynasty (which ran contemporaneously in different parts of the country), there was an uprising by Amenemhet I who was the vizier for Mentuhotep IV of the 11th dynasty. He assassinated Mentuhotep IV and became the first pharaoh of the 12th dynasty, eventually taking over all of upper and lower Egypt.

Hebrew Slave Labour

Amenemhet I did not care or remember that the Israelites were related to Joseph/Imhotep who had saved Egypt from a seven year famine and made the old kingdom pharaohs rich. This pharaoh (Amenemhet I) ruthlessly forced the Israelites to work the fields and make mud bricks for his public works.The Hebrews were numerous enough and living in Egypt long enough to have made the mud bricks for all of the 12th dynasty pyramids. The 12th dynasty pyramids were composed largely of mud bricks which were then covered or faced with a limestone veneer. (Some of the inner rooms and passage ways were also made of limestone) (see Pyramid Age). The pharaohs of the 12th dynasty had enslaved them and forced them to work the fields and make mudbricks for the inner core of their pyramids and other public works such as the Labyrinth which was constructed out of mud bricks too.

Amenemhet III’s Rule

Amenemhet III reigned for 46 years over Upper and Lower Egypt, Elephantine and Lower Nubia. Amenemhet III was the last of a long line of pharaohs in the 12th dynasty who needed a large slave labour force to construct the massive pyramids of the 12th dynasty. The later pyramids of the 12th dynasty were built out of mud bricks and reinforced with straw as there was a shortage of limestone.

Mud bricks in the 12th dynasty pyramid of Amenemhet III at Hawara

Pyramids

Amenemhet III built two pyramids, the first at Dashur (the Black Pyramid) and the second at Hawara where he was buried. He also built the Labyrinth at Hawara which contained over 1000 rooms and was considered to be one of the wonders of the ancient world. The two pyramids of Amenemhet III were the last Great Pyramids to be built. See the Pyramid Age

Amenemhet III

Dashur

The 'Black Pyramid' of Amenemhet III at Dashur (12th dynasty)

Hawara

The site where the Labyrinth once stood with Amenemhet III's second pyramid in the background. The mortuary temple at the Hawara pyramid was known as the "labyrinth". Herodotus describes it as one of the wonders of the ancient world.
This is what remains of the Labyrinth at Hawara. It was built by Amenemhet III in the 12th dynasty. Israelite slave labor was used to make the mud bricks that went into it. It was considered to be one of the the wonders of the ancient world. It had over 1000 mortuary rooms that were used for Amenemhet III's officials.
The ruins of the Labyrinth (the Mortuary Temple) of Amenemhet III's second pyramid at Hawara. Built from mudbricks made by Israelite slaves.
I have seen this building, and it is beyond my power to describe; it must have cost more in labor and money than all the walls and public works of the Greeks put together - though no one would deny that the temples at Ephesus and Samos are remarkable buildings. The pyramids, too, are astonishing structures, each one of them equal to many of the most ambitious works of Greece; but the labyrinth surpasses them.[1]
The ruins of the Labyrinth, the Mortuary Temple at the Amenemhet III pyramid at Hawara.
The Amenemhet III pyramid at Hawara. It was the last of the great pyramids to be built. Unlike the pyramids of the Old Kingdom (dynasties 3-6) which were composed of solid limestone blocks, the pyramids of the Middle Kingdom (12th dynasty) were made out of mud bricks reinforced with straw. The 12th dynasty pyramids were faced with a limestone veneer which has fallen down over the centuries due to earth quakes, erosion and pilfering. Some of the limestome blocks that were in the outer veneer can be seen in this image. The part of the Pyramid that is still standing is the mudbrick core which has been fairly well preserved as a result of the low rainfall in this part of Egypt.
The entrance to the Amenemhet III pyramid at Hawara. It was built by Amenemhet III in the 12th dynasty. It was the last of the Great Pyramids to be built. The limestone blocks strewn around the base were once part of the external veneer that has fallen away. The inner mud brick core is exposed and the entrance to the pyramid can be seen. Considerable erosion can also be seen. The top soil that was used to make the bricks has silted out causing the external veneer to fall down.
The Amenemhet III pyramid at Hawara. Facing the side of the pyramid with the entrance. The Labyrinth was situated on the right and a canal was at the rear (left).
The Amenemhet III pyramid at Hawara (opposite the side of the entrance). There is a square pit next to the pyramid. Mudbricks have fallen from the pyramid and are strewn around the base.
Interestingly, a square pit can be found adjacent to one face of the Amenemhet III pyramid at Hawara. It resembles the pits that can be found in other cities in Egypt, in particular, the ones at the Step Pyramid Complex at Saqqara.

Co-regency of Amenemhet III and Sesostris III

Amenemhet III may have begun his rule with a long co-regency (of 20 years) alongside his father, Sesostris III. It was either Sesostris III or Amenemhet III who ordered the Egyptian midwives to drown the Hebrew babies if they were male.

Amenemhet III: Pharoah when Moses/Amenemhet IV was born

The ancestry of Amenemhet IV is unknown. Amenemhet IV may well have been the child of a Hebrew slave. Moses was born to the Hebrew slave Jochebed about 4 years into Amenemhet III's reign (approximately 1526BC). Moses was left in a basket in the Nile to be found by the Princess Sobeknefru. Sobeknefru who was childless may well have been the princess who found him and adopted him and raised him as her own to be the next pharaoh Amenemhet IV after her father Amenemhet III. There was no change of pharaohs during Moses's first 40 years. The pharaoh of the time would have reigned at least 40 years. Moses spent the first 40 years of his life growing up in Pharaoh's household. Sobeknefru would have been grooming Moses to be the next pharaoh (Amenemhet IV).

The exposed mudbricks in the core of the Amenemhet III pyramid at Hawara. The limestone veneer has fallen away exposing the core of mudbricks. It is over 3450 years old. It has been relatively well preserved because of the low rainfall in this part of Egypt.
Closeup showing bricks of Amenemhet III pyramid at Hawara

Co-regency of Amenemhet III and Amenemhet IV

Towards the end of Amenemhet III's reign, he had a co-regency with Amenemhet IV lasting 9 years. Amenemhet IV suddenly disappeared after co-reigning with Amenemhet III for 9 years. Amenemhet IV never got to reign alone.

Disappearance of Amenemhet IV

Amenemhet IV suddenly disappeared before Amenemhet III died. Amenemhet IV / Moses had shown his loyalties to the Hebrews by killing an Eyptian Official for beating a Hebrew slave and had to go into exile in Midian to avoid being killed by Amenemhet III. Amenemhet IV's tomb has never been found. If Amenemhet IV was Moses, Amenemhet IV would not have died in Egypt.

Succession of Amenemhet III

Amenemhet III was left with no male heir to the throne. When Amenemhet III died a few years later, his daughter Sobeknefru succeeded him to become the first Queen of Egypt. Sobeknefru was the last pharaoh of the 12th dynasty, only living for another 4-8 years.

From Amenemhet III to the 13th Dynasty

Egypt was then thrown into turmoil, with a rapid succession of pharaoh's in the next dynasty. The 13th dynasty lasted about 30 years. By the time of the Exodus the Israelites numbered around 2 million as there were over 600,000 men of fighting age. No major pyramids were built after the 12th dynasty because Egypt's slaves had escaped.

13th Dynasty Collapse & Hyksos Invasion

The interval between the end of the reign of Amenemhet III and the end of the reign of the Exodus Pharaoh Neferhotep was about 40 years Towards the end of the 13th dynasty and the reign of Neferhotep, there was a sudden exodus of slaves from Egypt. Kahun, for example, was a slave village that was occupied from the time of Senusret II up until the time of Neferhotep, as evidenced by the scarabs that Flinders Petrie found in the town. Petrie also found evidence that the town was suddenly vacated. The Israelites, had been in Egypt for 350 years when Moses was born in 1526BC. 40 years after Moses went into Exile, Moses lead the Israelites out of Egypt at the age of 80 years in 1446BC. The Israelites were therefore in Egypt for 430 years.

Egypt was devastated by the Exodus. With the loss of it's slaves, Egypt was no longer able to construct pyramids. With the loss of it's army, Egypt was no longer able to defend itself. Egypt was invaded by the Hyksos not long after the Exodus.

Timelines

'Modern' Chronology (Ashton & Down 2006) [18]

Date Egypt Contemporary in Israel
2080BC Menes (First Dynasty) Abraham
1900BC Djoser (Third Dynasty) + Imhotep Joseph **
1531BC Amenemhet III (6th Pharaoh 12th Dynasty) Moses
1445BC Neferhotep I (13th Dynasty) The Exodus (Moses)
1405 -1021BC Hyksos (15th & 16th Dynasty) Joshua to Saul
1018BC Amenhotep I & Thutmosis I (18th Dynasty) King David
950BC Hatshepsut (18th Dynasty) [Queen of Sheba] Solomon
929BC Thutmose III (18th Dynasty) Jereboam

** Based on a 430yr long Sojourn of Israel in Egypt (Exodus 12:40)


An approximate timeline showing a long Israelite Sojourn of 430 years and it's relationship to the dynasties of Egypt.


A schematic diagram illustrating the relationship between the Egyptian Kingdoms and dynasties and the various phases of Israel as the Israelites grew to be a nation while they were in Egypt and then traveled to the promised land where they were ruled initially by Judges and later by Kings. The nation of Israel became divided into North (Israel) and South (Judah) after Solomon. There was no first intermediate period.


[History aligned with the Bible.]

References

  1. Herodotus, The Histories, translated by Aubrey de Sélincourt, Book II, pp. 160-61.


Links

[Terry Hurlbut The Birth and Identity of Moses]

[David Down Searching of Moses - Answers in Genesis]

[Pharaohs of the Oppression]

Evidence for the Israelite Sojourn in Egypt

Moses and Amenemhet IV

Pyramid Age