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Famine stele

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The Famine Stele ("Hungry Rock") is an inscription located on Sehel Island in Egypt, which speaks of a seven year period of drought and famine. The Famine Stele is proof that Netjeriket and Djoser were the same person. The Famine Stele also shows that Djoser owned the land and had the right to give land to the priests. The Famine Stele also gives an account of a seven year famine in which Imhotep is credited with saving Egypt by interpreting the Pharaoh's dream. Along with the discovery of many gain silos in the Djoser complex, the Famine Stele is powerful proof that Joseph and Imhotep were the same person.

A stele (known as Hungry Rock) on the island of Sahal in the Nile River describes a seven-year famine in vivid detail.[1] This similarity between the famine described on the stele and the famine described in Genesis is substantial. The Genesis account describes a severe shortage of food that lasted for seven-years probably the result of a draught brought on by reduced flow of the Nile river. The devastation that could have resulted was largely averted by Joseph (the son of Jacob) who foretold the coming of the event and was appointed the Pharaoh's viceroy. As viceroy, he prepared the country by storing up food during the years that preceded the famine. The Egyptian famine was a pivotal event in the history of the Israelites and the subject of continuing controversy in secular archaeology and Egyptology.

The famine on the stele is described as follows:

I was in mourning on my throne, Those of the palace were in grief, my heart was in great affliction. Because Hapy [the river god] had failed to come in time in a period of seven years. Grain was scant, Kernels were dried up, kernels were dried up, scarce was every kind of food. Every man robbed his twin, those who entered did not go. Children cried, youngsters fell, the hearts of the old were grieving; legs drawn up, they hugged the ground, their arms clasped about them. Courtiers were needy, temples were shut, shrines covered with dust, everyone was in distress.[1]

The stele states the famine occurred during the reign of Neterkhet, an otherwise unknown king. In addition, Djoser, a third dynasty king who built the step pyramid of Saqqara centuries before the famine of the Old Testament is mentioned in the heading. However, it should be noted that during the Greek period, the island of Sahal was a place for budding scribes to practice their craft, and every piece of flat rock is said to have been used for cutting reliefs and writing hieroglyphic text. Such practice was often done by copying and rewriting texts from earlier periods, and in this case the scribe was writing more than 1000 years later, and therefore the accuracy of the inscription is called into question.[1] The complete text of the Famine Stela is available here.


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Ashton, John F., PhD, and Down, David. Unwrapping the Pharaohs: How Egyptian Archaeology Confirms the Biblical Timeline p.84, Green Forest, AR: Master Books, 2006. ISBN 0890514682.

See also