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Joseph and Imhotep

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The largest statue of Imhotep in the Louvre
The rear of the large statue of Imhotep in the Louvre

Joseph (son of Jacob) is a key figure in the Old Testament of the Bible, who became a vizier (sage/viceroy) for an Egyptian pharaoh and during this time was responsible for saving ancient Egypt from a seven year famine. Joseph was able to acquire all the land of Egypt (except that of the priests) by selling grain during the famine. In this way, Joseph made the Pharaohs very rich. Joseph was only 30 years old when he became vizier and 44 years old when he had saved Egypt and bought up all the land. He lived to the age of 110 years and was given a royal Egyptian burial. The Bible is silent about what Joseph did for the last 66 years of his life although the Bible does say that he was able to not only ensure the survival of his family, he was able to protect them as they grew into a great nation numbering over 2 million at the time of the Exodus (which occurred 430 years after Joseph's family entered Egypt).

Given Joseph's position and achievements, one would expect to find some evidence for his existence in Non-Biblical Egyptian records and archaeological discoveries. (See Evidence for the Israelite Sojourn in Egypt).

The identity Joseph in Egyptian history is debated, but some scholars identify him with Imhotep, who was the vizier during the Third Dynasty under Pharaoh Netjerikhet (also called Djoser / Zoser).

Imhotep is perhaps the most highly acclaimed vizier in Egyptian history, having designed the first pyramid; the Djoser Pyramid (also called the Step Pyramid). This Pyramid has a large vertical shaft under it and the complex contains many similar structures that seem to have been used to store grain, hence the connection to Joseph. Imhotep is also credited with having saved Egypt from a seven year famine (see Famine Stele). Imhotep is reputed with having designed the first buildings with columns, written many literary works, and developed preservation techniques. Hundreds of years after his death, his legend had grown so much so that he was worshiped as a deity, particularly during the Ptolemaic period. Pilgrims would bring mumified animals to his tomb in the hope of being healed.

Is it really surprising that Egypt's most accomplished vizier would be none other than the Joseph of the Bible? If Joseph had saved all of Egypt and brought up all the land in Egypt, one would expect him to be a very prominent vizier, if not the most prominent. Imhotep built grain silos and saved Egypt from a seven year famine and his pharaoh, Netjerikhet (Djoser) was considered a hereditary Land Lord (see Famine Stele).

Netjerikhet did not become know as Djoser until hundreds of years after his death. In fact it was not until the discovery of the Famine Stele that Djoser and Netjerikhet were proven to be the same person. It should not be surprising then if Netjerikhet came to be known after his much celebrated vizier (Joseph / Imhotep) as Pharaoh Djoser.

Biblical References to Joseph

References to Joseph can be found in the Book of Genesis in the Holy Bible, the Torah and the Koran. These are the Holy scriptures of the Christian faith, Judaism and Islam respectively. The story of Joseph is told in Genesis Chapters 37-50. Genesis is the first book of the Bible and no Biblical scholars would dispute the historical nature of this part of the Book. Any suggestion that Joseph was a symbolic, mythical or a fictional character would be deeply offensive to these religions.

Biblical Genealogy

Genealogy of Abraham according to the Bible

After the Flood [24] and the dispersion of Babel [25], people spread out over all the Earth. Terah set out from Ur of the Chaldeans with his Son Abraham to go to Canaan but stopped at Haran. [26] This is where Abraham was called by God. God promised to make him into a great nation and to bless all nations through him. [27] God made a covenant with Abraham and promised him the land of Canaan which his descendants would take possession of after serving as slaves in a foreign land (Egypt) for 400 years (4 generations). [28] Abraham was to become the father of many nations centered around the middle east as we know it today. He had Ishmael (Ishmaelites) to Hagar, his wife’s maid servant. [29] Ishmael became the Patriach of the Islamic religion. Then at the age of 100 Abraham had Issac to his wife Sarai. [30] It was to be thru Issac that God would fulfill his promise to Abraham and so Ishmael was sent away. [31] Issac married Rebeka who bore Esau (the Edomites) and Jacob (the Israelites). Abraham had a third wife Keturah who bore many children who were sent to the middle east and became fathers of nations there too. [32] Jacob eventually bore 12 sons and a daughter. The eleventh son was Joseph. Joseph was the first son of Rachael (Jacob’s second wife). [33] Jacob had an encounter with God one night and was renamed Israel. [34] His descendants (the Jews) became the Nation of Israel (from which comes Judaism) out of which came Christ (Christianity) with whom God would fulfill his promise to Abraham.[35]

Biblical History

In the Biblical account, (Genesis 37-50) Joseph was the first born Son of Rachael (Jacob's second wife). Jacob (Israel) favored Joseph over his other children. Joseph had a dream that one day he would rule over his brothers. His brothers became jealous of him and so sold him to slave traders who took him to Egypt. [36] He was subsequently sold to Potiphar in Egypt as a slave and was subsequently wrongfuly imprisoned. It was probably in prison where Joseph acquired his stone masonry skills and it was in prison where he came to the attention of Pharaoh through his cupbearer who informed Pharaoh of Joseph’s ability to interpret dreams by the power of God. Pharaoh needed counsel about his own dreams and was not able to find anybody from his own kingdom to help. Joseph was able to tell Pharaoh the meaning of his dreams which fortold of a coming famine lasting seven years but preceded by seven years of abundance. Pharaoh made Joseph second in charge over his all his kingdom. During the seven years of abundance, Joseph was able to build silos in every city and store enough grain to feed the Nation during the seven years of famine that followed.[37]

Joseph’s achievements in Egypt

Genesis 41:33-36 “And now let Pharaoh look for a discerning and wise man and put him in charge of the land of Egypt. Let Pharaoh appoint commissioners over the land to take a fifth of the harvest of Egypt during the seven years of abundance. They should collect all the food of these good years that are coming and store up the grain under the authority of Pharaoh, to be kept in the cities for food. This food should be held in reserve for the country, to be used during the seven years of famine that will come upon Egypt, so that the country may not be ruined by the famine.”

When Joseph was 30 years old, Pharaoh put him in charge of the whole land of Egypt. Pharaoh gave Joseph his signet ring, dressed him in fine linen and put a gold chain around his neck. He was given a riding seat to travel around Egypt as second in command. (The Hebrew word (merkabah) in the Bible can be translated as ‘chariot’ or ‘riding seat’. It does not distinguish between a vehicle that is horse drawn or a vehicle that is carried.) In Joseph's time, this word is better translated as 'Riding Seat'.

Joseph’s name was changed to Zapheneth Paneah and he was given a wife Asenath (Daughter of Potiphera, priest of On). [1] During the seven years of abundance, Joseph stored up huge quantities of grain in each city from the fields surrounding them. [2]

Joseph arrived in Egypt around 1900 BC. His family followed about 20 years later. During this period, Joseph was a slave in Potipher's House and then in prison until he was recognized by Pharaoh as a man with a divine connection and appointed as a vizier over all Egypt. Joseph would have been in charge of Egypt for at least 7-10 years by the time his brother's came to Egypt to buy food. (seven years of plenty and seven years of famine) The Pharaoh was so impressed with Joseph that he invited Jacob and his family came to live in Egypt in the best part of the land (Goshen) in Lower Egypt (roughly 1880 BC).

Joseph had two sons to Asenath, Mannaseh & Ephraim [38] who went to live with the Hebrews. Legend has it that Asenath died in Child birth.

Joseph saved Egypt by building grain silos in key cities, storing the grain and then selling the grain to the Egyptians and the surrounding nations during the 7 year famine. When the people had run out of money, Joseph bought their livestock. When they had run out of livestock he bought the land titles. [3] In this way, Joseph bought up all the land in Egypt for Pharaoh. The priests did not have to sell their land as Pharaoh gave them a supply of food. [11] Joseph’s family were saved. [39] Jacob (Israel) and his eleven other sons along with their wives and servants were invited by Pharaoh to come and live in Egypt. [40] They settled in the land of Rameses and became great in number.

At no time is Joseph ever hailed or even noted as being a man of science, medicine, chemistry or architecture. His primary legacy is centered in agrarian logistics, which perfectly intersects his prior training and skills as a shepherd and farmer. He may, however, have acquired masonry skills and other skills whilst in Jail. The Bible records that Joseph directed the physicians in his service to embalm his father Jacob when he died (Genesis 50:2). Joseph was second in charge of the kingdom and had doctors, architects, farmers and chemists at his disposal (Genesis 41:41-46). He also married the daughter of the High Priest of On (Heliopolis) and may also have had some influence on the priesthood.

Grain Silos were the Hallmark of Joseph

The Djoser Pyramid at Saqqara, Egypt. (otherwise known as the 'Step Pyramid' or The 'First Pyramid' )
Large pits can be found within the Step Pyramid complex at Saqqara. The bottom of the pit can be accessed from an adjacent pit that has stairs. It was most probably used for storing grain. Grain would have been poured into the open top and retrieved from the bottom via the adjacent pit that has stairs. The open stairs would have afforded much better ventilation than the protypical shaft which is under the Step Pyramid.
One of three statues of Imhotep in the Louvre. Imhotep and Joseph may be the same person.

According to the Bible, Joseph built silos to store grain in key Egyptian cities. This had never been done before. If one was to look for some lasting legacy of Joseph in Egypt that is mentioned in the Bible, it would have to be grain silos, particularly the first ones built.

Massive underground silos can be found in many cities of Egypt dating back to the third dynasty. [1] [2] [3] It is not unreasonable to suggest that these may have been built under Joseph's direction. In particular, Joseph may have built the silos associated with the first pyramid built in Egypt (The Step Pyramid which is part of the Djoser Pyramid complex at Saqqara, designed by Imhotep). [4] [5] [6] [7]

The Step Pyramid complex of Djoser contains a dozen such shafts that appear to be grain storage bins accessible via tunnels connected to the bottom of the pits and linking to a central open stairwell. Interestingly, there is a shaft with similar dimensions right underneath the center of the Step Pyramid. The shaft obviously predates the pyramid. Access to the shaft was via a closed in stairwell linking to tunnels around it's base. It would appear that this was a prototype grain silo. Ventilation would have been a problem and it was likely that it was abandoned as a silo once the better ventilated silos were operational. The abandoned silo was subsequently used as a burial chamber for the Pharaoh when he died in the 5th year of the famine. It was encased with ornate limestone and sealed with a granite slab after the pharaoh's sarcophagus had been lowered into it. A mastaba was built on top of it using solid limestone blocks. Successive mastabas were added to bury the the Pharaoh's wife and 11 daughters. The result was the Stepped Pyramid.

The Step Pyramid in Saqqara. Built on top of a shaft that was probably the first grain silo built by Joseph. When Pharaoh Djoser (Netjerikhet) died in the 5th year of the famine, Joseph (Imhotep) made the grain silo into a tomb by encasing it with ornate limestone. Djoser's sarcophagus was placed on a platform at the bottom of the shaft and then the top of the shaft was sealed with a heavy granite slab. Successive mastabas were built on top of the burial chamber (shaft) resulting in a Stepped Pyramid.
Tunnels under the Step Pyramid in the Djoser complex at Saqqara, Egypt. The main entrance leads directly to the shaft and would have offered no challenge to grave robbers.
A diagram of the shaft and tunnels under the Step Pyramid of Djoser (Netjerikhet) at Saqqara in Egypt. The Step Pyramid was the first pyramid to be constructed and was designed by Imhotep who was the sage / vizier of Pharaoh Djoser. The central shaft has many similarities to other shafts in the Step Pyramid complex. The main entrance leads directly to the central shaft in which Djoser's sarcophagus was placed when he died. If this shaft had been previously used to store grain, a means of retrieving grain from the bottom of the shaft would have been necessary. Four such tunnels connect to the bottom of the shaft below the level of a platform on which Djoser's sarcophagus was placed. These tunnels radiate out of the shaft into a series of blind ending galleries where Djoser's treasures and mortuary vessels would have been placed. They are connected to the main entrance by a pair of tunnels with stairs. Ventilation would have been poor if the shaft had been used as a grain silo prior to converting it into Djoser's tomb. Other grain silos in the complex have much better ventilation.

There are many similarities between the profile of Joseph and Imhotep. [8] [9] [10] [5] Imhotep is also credited with saving Egypt from a seven year famine after hearing of the Pharaoh's dream. Imhotep, like Joseph, was a commoner with some divine connection and was placed second in charge of Egypt by the King (Netjerikhet). [8] Joseph bought up all the land for Pharaoh by selling the grain he stored during the seven years that preceded the famine [11]; a feat that could only have been performed once, early in Egypt’s history. It explains how the Pharaohs became so powerful and able to build the pyramids. The Famine Stele records that Netjerikhet (also known posthumously as Djoser) was the Hereditary Lord with rites to the Land.

Netjerikhet was not known as Djoser during his life time. He became known as Djoser during the 18th dynasty. It was not until the finding of the famine Stele, which had both names, that it could be confirmed that Djoser and Netjerikhet were the same person.

Imhotep therefore has the necessary credentials to be Joseph and Netjerikhet (Djoser) has the necessary credentials to be Joseph's Pharaoh.

Given that Joseph was one of the Patriarchs of Israel, and figures very early in the Biblical record, less than 1000 years after the flood of Noah, it is quite possible that he may have figured in the early parts of Egyptian history, namely the Third Dynasty as the vizier for Pharaoh Djoser. [9][12][13]

Is Joseph likely to have figured in Egyptian records?

If Joseph was placed second in charge of Egypt by Pharaoh, there should be some note of this in Egyptian records. [1]

If Joseph helped to save Egypt and the surrounding nations from a famine lasting seven years and acquired all the land of Egypt for the Pharaoh, he would have been a very prominent figure in Egyptian History. [2]

Joseph would have had to construct massive grain silos for storing grain in many Egyptian cities and indeed, massive silos can be found in many historical significant Egyptian cities today (eg Saqqara).

Joseph married the daugher of one of the High Priests in Egypt. [1] He saved his country from a seven year famine and bought up all the land of Egypt except for that of the priests who did not need to sell their land because Pharaoh supplied them with food. The people became loyal subjects of Pharaoh because of what Joseph had done. [3] Joseph was, therefore, responsible for making the Pharaoh's wealthy and powerful. [11]

It is no wonder Joseph was given a Royal Egyptian burial and almost deified in Egyptian culture, having saved Egypt from a seven year famine, acquired all the land of Egypt for the Pharaoh, having been the first to construct buildings with columns, having designed the first pyramid, constructed grain silos to store grain, developed mummification techniques and taken the burial of Pharaohs to a new level by burying Netjerikhet in the first grain silo and constructing a pyramid on top of it. [77]

Imhotep's Tomb

Joseph served the Pharaohs from the age of thirty. [1] He died at the age of 110 years of age and was given a Royal Egyptian burial. Imhotep's (Joseph's) tomb was found not far from the Step Pyramid in Saqqara by Walter Emery. It was connected to the Ibis Galleries. It contained a coffin that was orientated towards the North suggesting that he did not worship Re, the God of the Egyptians. His coffin was empty; there was no mummy inside. This is hardly surprising given that Joseph and Imhotep were the same person. (Joseph's bones were taken to the Promised land by Moses at the time of the Exodus.) The Ibis galleries contained thousands upon thousands of mummified Ibis birds and other animals that were brought by pilgrims as an offering to Imhotep in the Ptolemaic period when Imhotep was regarded as a God because of the great things he achieved.

'Millions of mud bricks' were the hallmark of the Israelites

The Pyramid of Amenemhet III at Hawara (the 6th pharaoh of the 12th Dynasty of Egypt). Millions of large mudbricks went into the building of Amenemhet III's second pyramid. It was originally faced with stone but it is now just a heap of mud bricks. This was the last of the Great Pyramids to built. Paradoxically, the early pyramids were made of solid limestone blocks but the later pyramids of the 12th dynasty were constructed from mudbricks and then faced with a veneer of limestone.
Mud bricks in the Amenemhet III pyramid at Hawara. The the exterior limestone facing (veneer) has fallen away due to erosion, earthquakes and pilfering over the centuries exposing the inner core of mudbricks. There is very little rain in this part of the world and so the mudbricks are in quite good condition considering their age. This was the last of the great pyramids to be built. Although there are many mud brick structures in Egypt, the pyramids of the 12th dynasty contain millions of mud bricks which, of necessity, would have required a very large slave labor force to produce. Josephus, a Jewish historian around the time of Christ, records that the Israelites were given the task of making Pyramids.

Joseph's family, the descendants of Jacob (the Israelites), multiplied and "filled the land". By the time of the Exodus, 430 years after they first came to Egypt, they numbered over 2 million. The Bible records that the Israelites were enslaved by a pharaoh who did not know Joseph. They were forced to make mud bricks and work the fields.

The pyramids of the 12th dynasty contained millions of mudbricks. Seven such pyramids were built over a 200 year period ending with those of Amenemhet III who also built an enormous mudbrick structure called the Labyrinth. A large slave labour force was needed to build the 12th dynasty pyramids. It is likely that the Hebrew slaves were the ones who produced the bricks that went into the 12th dynasty pyramids. After the Exodus in the 13th dynasty, no more great pyramids were built. See Pyramid Age.

Amenemhet I is likely to be the Pharaoh who knew not Joseph and had a different attitude towards the Israelites. The 12th dynasty spanned 200 years and it is likely that the Israelites were slaves throughout this dynasty.

There were over 600 thousand adult males (not counting women and children) who were led out of Egypt by Moses during a time of great disaster in Egypt. [47]

The Egyptian timeline has been stretched too far

Until recently, the most compelling argument against Joseph and Imhotep being the same person, has been the discrepancy between the estimated times during which they lived. [4][14]

Egypt was not always united and sometimes there were different rulers in upper and lower Egypt. Sometimes, a conquering Pharaoh would let regional rulers (Nomarchs) stay on as governors when a new dynasty began (eg 12th dynasty). The division of the kingdom into up to 42 'nomes' (regions or provinces) can be dated back to the Old Kingdom and it continued until the Roman period.

Clearly, there are many problems with the "traditional Egyptian chonology" that assumed the Egyptian dynasties were sequential and did not allow for co-regency and dynasties running in parallel. Evidence is now accumulating to suggest that Egyptian dynasties may overlap and may not date back as far as was once thought. [15][16][17][18]

Egyptian records are not chronological and dates have been calculated from very sketchy notes of third parties who saw the original documents (eg Manetho's records in the Alexandrian Library before they were destroyed in a fire). [12] Other documents such as the Turin King list are very fragmented and incomplete. In many cases, all that is known about some pharaohs are their names and how long they reigned. The pharaohs of dynasties 7-11 (the first intermediate period) were not buried in pyramids as were the pharaohs of the Old Kingdom (dynasty's 3-6) and the Middle Kingdom (dynasty 12). Some pharaohs in this first intermediate period may turn out to be 'Nomarchs' or 'other high ranking officials' and not 'pharaohs' at all! The result of this is that Egyptian history is probably a lot shorter than previously thought and the pyramids were probably constructed much later than many historians have previously estimated. [19]

If David Down is on the right track with his "modern alignment" of the Egyptian dynasties and allowing for a long sojourn of the Israelites in Egypt of 430 years (Exodus 12:40), it is quite likely that Joseph and Imhotep were the same person, particularly if some pharaohs in dynasties 7-11 (the first intermediate period) turn out to be 'high ranking officials' or 'Nomarchs'. [20][21][22][23][18]

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

Where does Joseph fit into Egyptian History?

Estimates of dates have long been the common denominator used by archaeologists and historians alike when trying to piece together ancient history.

Various archaeologists such as Petrie have used a number of different dating methods to estimate how old a particular artifact is. For example, the type of pottery that is predominant in a layer can be used to date the layer. As creationists have noted however, dating methods are highly unrealiable and cannot be trusted as authoritative.

Assumptions behind various dating techniques are not always right. This can sometimes lead to artifacts being incorrectly dated by as much as 1000 to 2000 years.

If history is pieced together based only upon the estimated dates of particular dynasties, the results can be quite erroneous and it will be little wonder why Egyptian and Hebrew history does not fit together and why no Egyptian equivalent of Joseph has been found using the dates traditionally ascribed to various Egyptian dynasties.

An increasing number of historians are now calling into question the dates of Egyptian dynasties. In particular, Sweeney [15][21][19][48], Velikovski [49][50][51], Fry [52] [12] [53][16][54][55][56][57][58][59][20], Reilly [13][17][60][22] Down [18]. They have proposed revisions of the Egyptian timeline which generally contract the Egyptian time frame and bring the dates of the Egyptian dynasties forwards. The revised Egyptian dates when aligned with the Biblical dates suggest new candidates for Biblical figures which now need to be confirmed by Character matching and Archaeological discoveries.

Using their revised dating systems, the historical records of Israel and Egypt fit together differently, purportedly making it possible to identify likely contemporaries of important Biblical Characters.

Conventional wisdom which has been very reliant on the Biblical record and timeframes, has been unable to find any evidence that the Patriarchs of Israel lived in Egypt and have not found any possible candidates for Joseph because they are looking for evidence of him in the Hyksos dynasty which is estimated to have been around 1700BC according to conventional chronology.

Many scholars have tried to place the Exodus in the 18th dynasty because of arguments related to when chariots were first introduced to Egypt. A lot of emphasis has been placed on this one point and seems to have sent many an archaeologist on a 'wild goose chase' looking for evidence of a mass exodus in the 18th dynasty (and of course they cannot find it because the Exodus took place in the 13th dynasty).

Although hundreds of Chariot Wheels containing 4, 6 and 8 spokes have been found in the Red Sea at Nuweiba by Wyatt and others, these chariot wheels had been dated to the 15th dynasty or later and so the 12th dynasty was overlooked. The fact that no 12th dynasty chariots have been found would not be surprising even as the Bible tells us that Egypt lost all of it's army and chariots to the Red Sea at the time of the Exodus. As Egypt was totally devastated by the loss of it slaves, it's army, it's transport and it's king (not to mention plagues and earth quakes, it would have taken quite some time to rebuild following the Exodus even it they had the know how. If the Exodus took place 30 years into the 13th dynasty, one would not expect the chariot to have become common place again until the 14th or 15th dynasty. This is in fact what archaeological records show (if Wyatt's discovery of Chariot wheels in the Red Sea is excluded). The discovery of 4,6 and 8 spoked chariot Wheels in the Red Sea, however, suggests that the Chariot was in common usage in the 13th dynasty at least. In the 12th dynasty, hieroglyphs were painted onto the veneer of tombs and pyramids and are therefore not well preserved. 12th dynasty drawings do not confirm or refute the presence of chariots in that dynasty.

Rather than looking for 'Chariot Wheels', we should be looking for lots of 'mudbricks' and what better place to look than the 12th dynasty. Mud bricks were used most prolifically in the 12th dynasty, not only for buildings like the Labyrinth, but also for the pyramids of the 12th dynasty.

Aligning the Revised Egyptian Chronology with the Biblical Chronology results in a very different picture with the history Israel and Egypt purportedly matching better with "archaeological" records, which of course are subject to interpretation. Abraham is then considered to be a contemporary of Menes (who may be Mizraim according to Manetho). Imhotep is considered to be the Joseph of the Bible and Djoser is considered to be the Pharaoh that he served [13][17][21] [15] [52][54].

A revisionist 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.

The revised chronology would fit with the theory that Amenemhet III was the Pharaoh of Moses who oppressed the Israelites making them make mud bricks [18]. Also of note is that the pyramid of Amenemhet III was made of mud bricks containing straw. [18] Amenemhet III was the 6th Pharaoh of the 12th dynasty and lived 450 to 500 years after Pharaoh Djoser in the 3rd dynasty. [18] He had only daughters. One of his daughters Sobekneferu had an adopted son (Amenemhet IV) who disappeared before he could become King. It has been suggested that Amenemhet IV was Moses and Sobekneferu was the Princess that found Moses in the Nile. [18]

The revised chronology also fits with a 13th dynasty Exodus for which there is also strong independent evidence documented by Flinders Petrie. As evidenced by the finding of scarabs, buildings, tools, scrolls and baby skeletons in the Towns of Tel ed Daba and Kahum where the Israelite slaves who built the pyramids lived, it can be determined that the Exodus took place during the Reign of Neferhotep I during the 13th dynasty. According to the Bible the Exodus took place 480 years before the building of the temple in Jerusalem 966BC by Solomon (this date is not disputed by most archaeologists). This means that the Exodus took place in 1445BC. [18] The Hyksos took over lower Egypt shortly after this with little resistance. The Hyksos reigned in Lower Egypt for around 400years. This coincides with the period of the Judges in the Promised Land. The Hyksos were finally defeated by Ahmoses who founded the 18th dynasty which was the beginning of the New Kingdom of Egypt. It would therefore follow that the Hyksos (15th & 16th dynasties) which were contemporary with Joshua and the Judges, came to an end when King Saul destroyed the Amalekites (Hyksos) [18] after they were forced to leave Egypt by Ahmose I who started the 18th dynasty (New Kingdom of Egypt). [61] This would place Dynasty 17 as contemporary with dynasty 16.[18] Likewise the 18th dynasty as contemporary with the United Kingdom of Israel when Saul, David and Solomon were on the throne. This would also mean that Amenhotep I and Thutmose I of the 18th dynasty were contemporaries of David. [18] Hatshepsut was the Queen of Sheba who visited Solomon. [62] [63] Thutmose III (Shishak) came to power during the reign of Jereboam and became the greatest Pharaoh of Egypt. [18]

Synchronisms between the New Kingdom of Egypt and the United kingdom of Israel suggested by the revised Egyptian Chronology.

The Biblical dates before the Exodus are determined by whether one assumes a long or a short sojourn of Israel in Egypt. This is another confounding factor that can throw out the Biblical dates by as much as 200 years resulting in an incorrect alignment for events prior to the Exodus.

'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)

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. According to the revision, rhere was no first intermediate period.

Why is it so hard to piece together Egyptian records?

The Egyptians suffered great losses at the time of the Exodus and may not have wanted to remember what Joseph and his family had achieved during their 400 year stay in Egypt. This may be one reason why it is very difficult to find historical information about the exploits of the Israelites in Egypt. Another reason why it is difficult to find historical information is because much of it was lost or destroyed by various seiges, conquests, natural distasters and even erosion over the centuries. Some pharaohs have even tried to white wash the memories of their predecessors by destroying monuments that they had made. Egyptian records are written as qlyphs (pictures) in stone. They have a number of limitations - you need to know 'the code' ie what they mean. Pronunciation is not indicated as with Greek and English and there is no time stamp. The art of interpreting them (heiroglyphics)has been somewhat lost. It is therefore highly important that we not regard Egyptian history as authoritative over the Scripture (its message is only as faithful as the interpreter).

Who was Imhotep?

Statuette of Imhotep in the Louvre
Imhotep was a most interesting figure in the Egyptian culture, his name means "the one who comes in peace". He served Djoser, the third dynasty king, he was the vizier to the pharaoh and Egyptians say that he was the high priest to the sun god Ra. [64] Joseph, being consummately dedicated to the One True God, presumably would never have allowed such a label to be placed upon him. Imhotep is attributed with being the first person in history to be an acting physician, he was also the first architect, he was a poet and also a philosopher. After his death he was given the status of a deity, he was only one of a very few commoners to ever be given that kind of an honor. [64] He is thought to be the architect of the first Pyramid; the step pyramid at Saqqara.[64] He is also credited with the use of columns in architecture. [64] He is known as the founder of Egyptian medicine, and he is famous for not incorporating magic into his medical treatments, he diagnosed and treated over two hundred diseases, he extracted medicine from plants and he is also known to have performed operations and dentist work. He knew the circulation of the blood system and he knew where each vital organ was placed and what its uses were. [64] He became the god of medicine and healing, when the Greeks invaded Egypt they worshiped him and built him temples because they saw in him their own god of healing named Asclepius. [64] Imhotep was also the first person known to use the papyrus scroll. He may have actually invented it! [64] Among other things Imhotep is also attributed to have stopped a famine after it had been underway for seven years. We must keep in mind that Joseph is only recorded has having been trained in agrarian matters (which he applied to save Egypt from a coming famine, as opposed to one that was already underway). He is not attributed with any education in science or medicine of which he is considered the founder. He may have acquired his stone masonry skills whilst in prison. No doubt, his was a divine appointment and most of his achievements were inspired by God.

Similarities between Joseph and Imhotep

Imhotep - Egyptian records Joseph - Bible
Imhotep is appointed Administrator by Pharaoh Djoser during the periods of seven years famine (The Famine Stele) [8] Joseph is appointed Administrator to Pharaoh for the seven years of plenty, followed by famine
Imhotep uses technology to stop a seven-year famine already underway Joseph uses dream-interpretation to save Egypt from a famine-to-come
Imhotep is fully Egyptian Joseph is Canaanite and not a part of the Egyptian bloodline or culture (although would have found favor with Hyksos culture, as they were Canaanites)
Minister to the King of Lower Egypt [8] Pharaoh .. made him ruler over all the land of Egypt
Administrator of the Great Palace [8] Thou shalt be over my house
Not of royal blood; attained position by ability [8] From another nation and religion, not of royal blood, attained position by ability
Not appointed by Pharaoh Djoser until he had reigned for some time [8] Appointed well after Pharaoh ruled Egypt
Given the status of "son" to Pharaoh [8] Granted the status of "son" to Pharaoh
High Priest in Heliopolis [8] Married to Asenath, daughter of Poti-Pherah, High Priest in Heliopolis - by custom, would succeed father-in-law. Joseph however, would not have accepted such a position because it would be open disloyalty to the One True God.
Builder and architect [8], but also in medicine and science, none of which are skills associated with Joseph Overseer of grain storehouse contruction, as expected from one who is only schooled in agrarian matters
Exalted by Pharaoh Djoser as of godly character [8] And Pharaoh said, 'a man in whom the spirit of God is!'
"I need advice from God" [8] Noted as saying, "It is not in me; God shall give Pharaoh an answer"
Had great medical skill - was compared to the Greek God of Healing [8] Had doctors under his authority but no known medical knowledge - otherwise leveraged ability to interpret dreams
Decided the tax rate during the seven years of famine; also not to apply to priests [8] Decided the tax rate during the seven years of famine; also not to apply to priests

Could Imhotep and Joseph be one and the same person?

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.
The Roman-Jewish historian, Josephus, quotes the writings of Manetho, Egyptian historian: "During [the] reign of .. Pharaoh Djoser, 3rd Egyptian dynasty, lived Imhotep .. [with a] reputation among Egyptians like the Greek God of medicine - [Manetho even wondered] whether Imhotep could have been an actual person .. [because he had] "so many outstanding qualities and talents .. a very special person [who] appears in the history of Egypt." On the foundations of the Step Pyramid in Sakkara was carved the name of Pharaoh Djoser and ".. Imhotep, Chancellor of the King of Lower Egypt, Chief under the King, Administrator of the Great Palace, Hereditary Lord, High Priest of Heliopolis, Imhotep the Builder..".[8] [65] Joseph arrived in Egypt as a young man and married Asenath, the daughter of Potipherah, the priest of On. [1] This information precludes the theory that Joseph lived during Hyksos rule in Egypt. On or An was the ancient capital of Heliopolis (As-t Tem). Some claim that Egyptians also believed in One Great God who was never represented in their art work. Only his attributes, functions as Creator, Teacher and Healer were known as the neter or neteru. The symbolism surrounding Egyptian deities then is different from this One Great God, in whose image man was made, in that it scales our world and the universe to our dimensions so man can grasp it. The Egyptian name for this `One Great God' is neter, probably an echo or more distant memory of the biblical Creator God of Abraham, Issac and Jacob. [66] Both Imhotep and Joseph imposed a 20% (one fifth) tax on the people with the exemption of the priests. [54] Moeller refers to an inscription on the island of Sihiel, near the first cataract of the Nile, which actually links Imhotep to the key biblical element of the Joseph story - telling of Pharaoh Djoser in the 18th year of his reign. The inscription states "seven meagre years and seven rich years". Commenting on the inscription, Moeller writes, "Pharaoh Djoser asks Imhotep to help him with the coming seven years of famine. All the biblical components of the story are there, and there is a similar inscription on the island of Philae in the Nile." (This is exactly as in the Bible with Joseph, except for listing the "meagre" years before the years of plenty. Note: The famine years were, of course, the event of significance, saving everyone from starvation and bringing in much wealth to Egypt - it is noted that the manuscript was written a thousand years after the occurrences.) [67] [8] Pharaoh renamed Joseph 'Zapeneth Peneah' [1] which means "master of the school of learning" [66] or "Man to whom secrets are revealed" [54]. Notice however, how this name is not remotely similar to the Egyptian name "Imhotep", so connecting these two people is further problematic. It is also interesting to note that circumcision was widely practiced among Egyptians from the third dynasty onward. Abraham visited Egypt during this period so could have introduced the practice to Egypt. We have no record whatsoever that this was introduced by Abraham. and could have been introduced by the Ishmaelites who regularly traded with Egypt. Circumcision has health benefits as well as religious ones. Egyptian records show that before Imhotep, the bodies of Egyptian royalty were not embalmed. Instead, they were entombed in early Egyptian structures called mastabas, (or mastabahs), oblong structures with flat roofs and sloping sides built over the opening of a mummy chamber or burial pit . [54] Djoser appears to be the first king to have be embalmed, [54] Jacob (Israel) was embalmed by Joseph and buried in a coffin and Joesph himself was embalmed and given a royal Egyptian burial. This merely means that embalming may have been established by Imhotep, not that Joseph had established it. [46] [42] The Biblical account suggests that only Joseph's bones were preserved as was the practice in the early dynasties of the Old Kingdom. However, Joseph had requested to be buried whole in the land of Canaan, so the preservation of his body is unrelated to Egyptian culture. In Egypt, preservation of the whole body was not practiced until the Era of King Tut (New Kingdom), but as this is the part of the 18th Dynasty that immediately succeeded Moses, may we presume that they took a cue from preserving Joseph's remains even thought they were many centuries old? [54]

Could Pharaoh Djoser (King Netjerikhet) be the Pharaoh of Joseph?

Pharaoh Djoser - Sakkara
Main article: Pharaoh Djoser (Netjerikhet) was the Pharaoh of Joseph The 'correct alignment' of Israel's and Egypt's history will allow contemporary fragments of information to be linked together to build up a clear picture of ancient history. Combining the records of Egypt, Israel and Mesopotamia will help to fill in the gaps in each nations' record. Evidence is now accumulating to suggest that Egyptian dynasties may overlap and may not date back as far as was once thought. [15] [16][17] [18] [66] The first Egyptian dynasty is now considered to have started around 2100BC and the Great Flood is considered to have been around 2300-2400BC. [18] Dynasty 2 is considered contemporary with dynasty 3. [18] There was no first intermediate period. The Middle Kingdom (dynasty 12) followed on from the Old Kingdom (dynasty 6). The dark ages of the first intermediate period have been confused with the dark ages of the second intermediate period. [18] Any Egyptian dates before the 12th dynasty are considered quite speculative and are only approximations [18]. The 12th dynasty emerged out of the 11th dynasty based in Thebes. The 11th dynasty was contemporary with the 6th dynasty based in Memphis. The 9-10th dynasties were based in Hierakleopolis and were also contemporary with the 6th and 11th dynasties. The Exodus occurred during the 13th dynasty in 1445BC. [66] [18] Some archaeologists identify Dynasties 7-10 with dynasties 15-16 [18]. Dynasty 17 in Thebes, Upper Egypt, (out of which emerged the New Kingdom) was also contemporary with the Hyksos 16th dynasty in Lower Egypt. Egyptian history, therefore, does not date back as far as was once thought (3000BC - 5000BC) as per the Conventional Chronology.[18][50][51][49][21][13][17][52][12][53][16][54][66] This 'Modern Alignment' of the Dynasties marginally fits the Biblical account in some ways but not in others, and also fits the records of Mesopotamia. The 'Modern Alignment' of the Dynasties provides the answers to the major chronological objection to Joseph and Imhotep being the same person (namely the mismatching dates) and by the same token makes it highly likely that Pharaoh Djoser was the Pharaoh of Joseph. We can see how re-compressing history in this specious manner somehow offers permission to rewrite history in terms of Scriptural persons. There still isn't enough time (from the Biblical record) to get Joseph close enough to Imhotep to be the same person. Moreover, it does not solve the most intractable problem, that of the introduction of chariots to the Egyptian culture. There is simply no record of chariots in Djoser's time. While Sweeney points out that Abraham was a contemporary of Menes who were patriarchs of their respective civilizations some time after a catestrophic destruction [21], he has probably over corrected the dates which are far too short even for Biblical events. People after the Flood continued to have long lives, some living over 400 years, many living over 200 years. Shem died very shortly before Abraham died at age 170, so the notion of "contemporary" has a different meaning in the centuries immediately after the Flood. If it is agreed that Joseph was Imhotep and he served Pharaoh Djoser (Zozer) of the Third dynasty, it does not follow that the identity of Moses and the Pharaoh's he was contemporary with will be agreed as there is not universal agreement about which dynasties to identify and which dynasties ran in parallel. [58] [66] [19] [18] [17] Moreover, the identity of Imhotep himself remains in question as to whether he was a legend or real person. 'Conventional' Chronology [21]
Date Egypt Israel
3000BC Menes (First Dynasty displays strong mesopotamian influence) Djoser and Imhotep (Famine crisis solved when imhotep interprets Djoser's dream)
2000BC First Intermediate Period (Age of disturbance in nature and general lawlessness) Abraham (migrates from mesopotamia and introduces some of the basic civilization to Egypt) Joseph (Famine crisis in Egypt solved when Joseph interprets Pharaoh's dream)
1000BC Moses leads the Israelites to freedom amidst violent upheavals of nature
'Revised' Chronology (Sweeney 1997) [21]
Date Egypt Israel Mesopotamia
1300+BC Early Badarian 'Ubaid
1300BC Catestrophic Destruction Catestrophic Destruction Catestrophic Destruction
1200BC Late Bedarian and Gerzean Khirbet Kerak Jamdat Nasr (Early Literacy)
1100-1000BC Destruction episode Destruction episode Destruction episode
1000BC Menes (Early Dynastic Age) Abraham (Early Dynastic Age)
900BC Djoser and Imhotep Joseph
800BC Destruction episode Destruction episode Destruction episode
800BC Pyramid Age Age of the Judges Akkadian Age
700BC Hyksos epoch Saul Sargon I
'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 Thutmosis III (18th Dynasty) Jereboam
** Based on a 430yr long Sojourn of Israel in Egypt (Exodus 12:40)

Problems with the Joseph/Imhotep Connection - discrepancies between the Bible and Archaeology

The Hyksos Kings, foreign nomadic herdsmen from the East, that took over Memphis for several hundred years after Egypt was devastated by the Exodus, are credited with having introduced the composite bow and the chariot to Egypt [1];but this may not actually be true if the Exodus was in the 13th dynasty and all of Egypt's 12th dynasty chariots were lost in the Red Sea. (Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence eg If you cannot find a harp with David's name on it, it does not mean David did not play the harp). Egypt took the use of chariots to new levels, using both of these weapons to both guard against attackers and pursue them beyond Egypt's borders. Note that when Pharaoh elevates Joseph to a position of ruler (more than just a vizier, in the case of Imhotep) he parades Joseph in his "second chariot": Genesis 41:40-44 "Thou shalt be over my house, and according unto thy word shall all my people be ruled: only in the throne will I be greater than thou. And Pharaoh said unto Joseph, See, I have set thee over all the land of Egypt. And Pharaoh took off his ring from his hand, and put it upon Joseph's hand, and arrayed him in vestures of fine linen, and put a gold chain about his neck; And he made him to ride in the second chariot which he had; and they cried before him, Bow the knee: and he made him ruler over all the land of Egypt. And Pharaoh said unto Joseph, I am Pharaoh, and without thee shall no man lift up his hand or foot in all the land of Egypt." Moreover, the above is the first time "chariot" is mentioned in Scripture, the second time being when Joseph is reunited with his father Israel (Jacob) in the land of Goshen: Genesis 46:29-30 "And Joseph made ready his chariot, and went up to meet Israel his father, to Goshen, and presented himself unto him; and he fell on his neck, and wept on his neck a good while. And Israel said unto Joseph, Now let me die, since I have seen thy face, because thou art yet alive." Chariots that were used by Royalty in Joseph's time were probably seats that were carried by servants. The sort of chariot used by the military in Moses time were likely to have had wheels and be horse drawn. The word for 'Chariot' used in the Bible ('merkabar') does not distinguish between these two types of transportation. Four hundred years later, during the Exodus, Moses was pursued by Pharaoh with chariots, with an army clearly outfitted with them and well-trained in their utility: Exo 14:5-9 "And it was told the king of Egypt that the people fled: and the heart of Pharaoh and of his servants was turned against the people, and they said, Why have we done this, that we have let Israel go from serving us? And he made ready his chariot, and took his people with him: And he took six hundred chosen chariots, and all the chariots of Egypt, and captains over every one of them. And the LORD hardened the heart of Pharaoh king of Egypt, and he pursued after the children of Israel: and the children of Israel went out with an high hand. But the Egyptians pursued after them, all the horses and chariots of Pharaoh, and his horsemen, and his army, and overtook them encamping by the sea, beside Pihahiroth, before Baalzephon." The presence of 'chariots' during Joseph's rule and later during Moses' time has caused many scholars to think that the Hyksos had already arrived in Egypt, and is the chief reason why many believe that the Hyksos were the ruling power during Joseph's time. The Pharaoh who routed the Hyksos and evicted them from Egypt was Kahmose (son of Sequenre and brother of Ahmose I). Ahmose I became the first pharaoh of the 18th Dynasty (Egypt's New Kingdom). The Hyksos, (also known as the Amelekites in the Bible) had a run in with King Saul of Israel after leaving Egypt and were all but annihilated by Saul (the first king of Israel) who spared the Hyksos King Apopi II (Agag). Samuel had to put Agag to death himself. The Hyksos had been enemies of Israel during the period of the Judges. The challenge before us therefore, in attempting to align Imhotep with Joseph has less to do with their similarities and more to do with reconciling the dates of iconic events such as the arrival of chariots in Egypt. If the chariot had been introduced to Egypt well before the start of the 13th dynasty, such that Neferhotep could project an army against Moses with over 600 chariots, then we would have little difficulty in this matter. As it stands however, to claim that Imhotep and Joseph are the same person, or even contemporaries, is to also claim that either (1) the Bible is wrong in its reference to the presence of chariots in Egypt OR (2)chariots were used in Egypt prior to the Second Intermediate Period (Hyksos) but the evidence for them is missing (because they all went to the bottom of the Red Sea) OR (3) maybe there were different types of transportation "chariots" used in the 3rd dynasty compared to the 12th dynasty and the Second Intermediate Period. In short, it would be true that if Imhotep and Joseph are the same person, and if the chariot was introduced by the Hyksos, then the Bible is factually and historically inaccurate but this is not so.

What implications does this have for Egyptian History?

Main article: Evidence for the Israelites in ancient Egypt
Correlation of Egyptian Dynasties with the Bible.
If the 'modern alignment' of the Egyptian Dynasties is correct, Joseph can be identified with Imhotep who was a preist, physician, sage and visier to the king, the second in charge of the land of Egypt and the architect of the first pyramid and the grain silos that are found in many cities of Egypt. Joseph was born three generations after Abraham (the Patriarch of Israel and many other nations around the Middle East). Djoser was the second Pharaoh of the 3rd dynasty of Egypt and came about three or four generations after Menes who was the Pharaoh of the 1st dynasty of Egypt and a contemporary of Abraham.[18][21][15] The Israelites stayed in Egypt 430 years. This takes us to the 13th dynasty which is when the Exodus occurred. [18] It is unlikely that Joseph was some inconspicuous person in the 18th dynasty or lived during the time of the Hyksos as is commonly held by people who adhere to the 'conventional alignment' of Egyptian dynasties. The Hyksos dynasties (15th & 16th dynasties) started after the Exodus, spanned the period of the Judges and was finally ended by Saul when he defeated the Amalekites/Hyksos after they were evicted from Egypt by Kahmose son of Sequenre and brother of Ahmose I.[18][61] As King Netjeriket of the third Egyptian dynasty was also known by the name 'Pharaoh Djoser', it is possible that this name means 'Pharaoh of Joseph'. What's more, if the 'modern alignment' is correct, the Hebrew influence of Egyptian culture will be re-established. The first pyramid would have been designed by a Hebrew. The Hebrew God should, therefore, be credited for saving Egypt from a seven year famine and giving the Pharaoh's their power, wealth and the means to build the other pyramids. The designer of the first pyramid will, once again, be seen to be a servant of the God of Abraham, Issac and Jacob, even though the pyramids later became objects of pagan worship and Imhotep was deified long after his death by the Greeks. When the Israelites left Egypt, Joseph's association with the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob was forgotten and the pyramids became symbols of pagan gods. With the aid of hind sight it can be seen how the designer of the first pyramid, the savior of the Egyptian people and the man responsible for the Pharaoh's power, known as Imhotep, would become a god in his own right some 1400 years after his death once his connection with the God of Abraham, Issac and Jacob had been lost and forgotten. The first pyramids, which were made of cut limestone, were built by the Egyptian people who had sold their land to Pharaoh and become his subjects. After Joseph's death, a Pharaoh who knew not Joseph emerged. This was Amenemhet I, the first pharaoh of the 12th dynasty. The Israelites were given the lowly task of making mud bricks. [68][69] Amenemhet III was the 6th Pharaoh of the 12th Egyptian dynasty. He was the Pharaoh of Moses birth. The Israelites were cruelly treated as slaves throughout the 12th dynasty which preceded the Exodus which occurred in the 13th dynasty (Neferhotep I) in 1445BC. [18] Moses was forced to flee Egypt and go to Midian after killing an Israelite official. During that period, the Pharaoh (Amenemhet III) died. [70] Sobeknefru took over as there was nobody else to continue the 12th dynasty. When she died 4-8 years later, Egypt was thrown into turmoil. There was a rapid succession of pharaohs in the 13th dynasty. When Moses returned to Egypt 40 years after fleeing from Amenemhet III, there was a new Pharaoh in power (Neferhotep I of the 13th Dynasty). [18] Neferhotep I was the Pharaoh of the Exodus. [18] After the Exodus of the Israelites, no great pyramids were constructed because Egypt had lost it's slaves. The Pyramid Age, therefore, started with Joseph and ended with Moses. Moses may even have been Amenemhet IV who was adopted by Amenemhet III's daughter Sobeknefru and co-reigned with Amenemhet III for 9 years before having to flee to Midian at the age of 40 years leaving Sobeknefru to take the throne when Amenemhet III died. When Sobeknefru died, the 12th dynasty ended and Egypt fell into turmoil. Egypt was subsequently devastated by the Exodus and the plagues that preceded it. Egypt became vulnerable to invasion having lost it's army and chariots at the Red Sea. Nomadic herdsman called the Hyksos (also called Amu / Amelekites) which means 'shepherd kings' from Arabia, invaded Egypt and built a fort at Avaris where they occupied and controlled Lower Egypt for the next 400 years. Joseph, therefore, protected the the Israelites and allowed them to multiply in numbers so that they could fulfill what God had planned; namely to return to the land of Canaan and to take possession of it after spending 430 years in Egypt and 40 years in the Wilderness. [28] In so doing, Joseph saved his family and protected the Israelites as they grew to be a nation in Egypt.[45] (This is in addition to saving Egypt and surrounding nations, making Egypt and the pharaohs wealthy.)[3][11]

What are the implications for Israel and Christianity?

If Joseph was Imhotep, then the historians must discover how chariots arrived in Egypt prior to the reign of Djoser, otherwise the Bible is rendered historically and factually inaccurate and cannot be trusted. If Joseph was not Imhotep, then then Flood (and by consequence the Bible) is vindicated by Egyptian history. This is because Imhotep carried advanced knowledge of many areas of science, chemistry and technology that could only have come from the pre-Flood world. One man could not have amassed such knowledge in a single lifetime. While some suggest that linking Joseph to Imhotep will make archaeological evidence "indisputable" - archaeologists already do not dispute the evidence. They simply reinterpret the evidence to fit their own narrative. If the Bible is the authority, then the presence of the Patriarchs is already indisputable. Some say that linking Jospeh to Imhotep reinforces the archaeological evidence for Israel in Arabia / Midian (Jabel el Lawz) in combination with the above will also corroborate the Biblical account of the Exodus. However, linking two people as one in this manner is still a matter of interpretation, not evidentiary proof. Will Christians and Jews alike have the evidence that they require to defend their faith? Linking Joseph and Imhotep as the same person still requires interpretation and is easily dismissed by those who are already willing to disregard the Biblical account (e.g. the arrival of chariots in Egypt). In short, there is no value in linking Joseph and Imhotep as one person. The earth and cosmos, per Romans 1 and Psalm 19, cry out as to the existence of the Creator, and it is so obvious than mankind is "without excuse". Will people who think that the Bible, the Torah and the Koran have no foundation in reality have to reconsider their beliefs? No, if they are predisposed to disbelieve these documents, linking Joseph and Imhotep will not solve this. The Christian faith, however, should not and does not directly depend on archaeological or historical confirmation. While archaeological and historical evidences reinforce Scripture's truth, a lack of confirmation does not dismantle Scripture's truth (the absence of evidence is not proof of anything). Whether Joseph and Imhotep are the same person, is irrelevant to Christianity. Whether Imhotep's knowledge is linked to the pre-Flood world, is at least intriguing because it provides insight into the extraordinary genious of ancient man, dispelling the evolutionary narrative than ancient man was primitive and dim-witted.


The only lasting evidence of Joseph in Egypt that one might expect to have survived the last 4000 years are the grain silos that were cut into the ground in key Egyptian cities. Grain silos were, therefore, the Hall mark of Joseph. Grain silos date back to the Third dynasty and were utilized extensively in the Djoser Complex designed by Imhotep. In fact, the Step Pyramid seems to have been built on top of a shaft that could originally have been used to store grain. The Djoser complex seems to be a grain storage and distribution center. When Djoser (Netjerikhet) died, he was entombed in this protypical grain silo and a series of Mastabas were build on top resulting in the Step Pyramid. The Famine Stele not only confirms that Djoser and Netjerikhet were the same person, it confirms that Djoser was a hereditary Land Lord and left the land to the Priests. The Famine Stele tells the story of how Imhotep came to Djoser in his 18th year and interpreted his dream. It records how Imhotep saved Egypt from a seven year famine. These archaeological findings and historical records are strong evidence that Joseph and Imhotep were the same person. The fact that Imhotep designed buildings with columns, wrote many literary works and was eventually deified is irrelevant. The problem remains how to account for the discrepancy in chronological timeline if the Israelites were in Egypt 430 years and the Exodus took place in the 13th dynasty.


Joseph was the 11th son of Jacob, the Patriarch of Israel. His brothers sold Him into slavery and he was taken to Egypt. He came to the attention of Pharaoh because of his ability to interpret dreams. Pharaoh put Joseph in charge of all of Egypt. Joseph was 30 years old when he became a vizier (ruler directly under the Pharaoh) Joseph led Egypt through seven years of great harvest followed by a seven year famine. The Pharaohs became wealthy and powerful because of Joseph. Joseph bought up all the land of Egypt (except for that of the priest's) and reduced the Egyptian people to servitude. He married the daughter of the High Priest in Heliopolis (Capital city 'On'). Joseph was the father of two tribes of Israel (Ephraim and Manasseh). He received a double portion from Jacob for saving his family from a famine and allowing the Israelites to multiply to become a Nation in Egypt. Joseph served the Pharaoh's for 80 years and died at the age of 110. He was given a royal Egyptian Burial. Joseph would have been 44 years old (30+7+7) when the famine finished. What did he do for the next 66 years of his life? The Bible is faily silent about this part of his life. Egyptian history records a vizier to Pharaoh Djoser of the third dynasty by the name of Imhotep who saved Egypt from a seven year famine and made Egypt very wealthy. In the prime of his life, Imhotep is reputed with many achievements including building the first pyramid (The Step Pyramid in Saqqara), developing methods of embalming the Pharaoh's (hence the name "Son of Ptah"), performing operations, designing the first buildings with columns and was the first to use to use the papyrus (he wrote over 200 literary works). Imhotep was also known as the High Priest of Heliopolis. Joseph would serve no other God but the One True God. It has been difficult to be certain that Joseph and Imhotep are the same person because of the considerable discrepancy in the estimated dates of their existence. In the last 50 years, a number of problems with the conventional alignment of the Egyptian dynasties have been discovered. Some dynasties ran in parallel (as Egypt was divided into Upper and Lower Egypt at various points in it's history) and some dynasties have been counted twice. What's more, many of the Pharaohs of Egypt were co-regent with one another during a particular dynasty. In other words, some pharaohs had overlapping reigns. Consequently, an Alternative View of Egyptian History has been proposed. This article shows that Egyptian history and archaelogy are consistent with the Bible and that the Bible is a reliable source of historical information. It also shows that the commonly accepted Egyptian history has to-date been radically flawed, and we should not draw hasty conclusions in the wake of its multivariant revisions.


Timeline from Noah to Christ with important landmarks in the Biblical Chronology (long sojourn) aligned with the Revised Egyptian Chronology of David Down.
[History aligned with the Bible.]

Suggested Reading

1. J. Ashton & D. Down, Unwrapping the Pharaohs. how Egyptian archaeology confirms the Biblical timeline, New Leaf Publishing Group (Master books), 2006. ISBN-13 978-0-89051-468-9 ISBN-10 0-89051-468-2

2. H. Bible, “Jacob bore 12 sons,” Genesis chapter 29-32, .

3. H. Bible—”Keturah’s children sent away to Middle East,” Genesis 25:1-4, .

4. H. Bible—”Abrahams children to be reckoned through Issac,” Genesis 21:12, .

5. H. Bible—”Ishmael sent away – Issac the child of promise,” Genesis 21:8-13, .

6. H. Bible—”Issac born to Sarai,” Genesis Chapter 21, .

7. H. Bible—”Ishmael born to Hagar,” Genesis Chapter 16, .

8. H. Bible—”God’s covenant with Abraham,” Genesis Chapters 15 & 17, .;Genesis+17:1-17:27

9. H. Bible—”Call of Abraham,” Genesis Chapter 12, .

10. H. Bible—”Terah sets out from Ur,” Genesis 11:27-32, .

11. H. Bible—”The Dispersion after Babel,” Genesis Chapter 11, .

12. H. Bible—”The Flood,” Genesis Chapter 6, .

13. H. Bible—”The Biblical account of Jospeh,” Genesis chapter 37-50, .

14. H. Bible—”Jacob renamed Israel,” Genesis 32:22-32, .

15. H. Bible—”Jacob favours Joseph,” Genesis chapter 37, .

16. H. Bible—”Joseph sold into slavery and taken to Egypt,” Genesis 37:12-36, .

17. H. Bible—”Joseph falsely accused and imprisoned in Egypt,” Genesis 39:1-23, .

18. H. Bible—”Joseph able to interpret dreams,” Genesis 40:1-23, .

19. H. Bible—”Joseph recognised by Pharaoh,” Genesis 41:1-40, .

20. H. Bible —”The exodus,” Exodus 12:31-42, .

21. H. Bible—”Joseph reassures his brothers afer Jacob’s death,” Genesis 50:15-21, .

22. H. Bible—”Jacob dies,” Genesis 49:29 -50:14, .

23. H. Bible—”Jacob blesses his sons,” Genesis chapter 49, .

24. H. Bible—”Jacob blesses Joseph’s children,” Genesis chapter 48, .

25. H. Bible—”Pharaoh gives Jacob the land of goshen,” Genesis Chapter 45, .

26. H. Bible—”Joseph’s brothers go to Egypt to buy grain,” Genesis Chapters 42-44, .

27. H. Bible—”Death of Joseph,” Genesis 50:22-26, .

28. H. Bible—”Jacob moves to Egypt and settles in Rameses,” Genesis Chapter 46:1-47:12, .

29. H. Bible—”Joseph buys up all the land of Egypt for Pharaoh,” Genesis 47:18-22, .

30. H. Bible—”Joseph saves Egypt by selling grain,” Genesis 47:13-17, .

31. H. Bible—”Joseph has two sons; Ephraim and Mannaseh,” Genesis 41:50-52, .

32. H. Bible—”Joseph stores up huge quantities of grain in Egyptian cities,” Genesis 41:47-49, .

33. H. Bible—”Pharaoh puts Joseph in charge of all Egypt,” Genesis chapter 41:41-46, .

34. H. Bible—”The Queen of Sheba visits Solomon,” 1Chron 9:1-12, .

35. H. Bible—”The Queen of Sheba visits Solomon,” 1Kings 10:1-13, .

36. H. Bible—”Saul destroys the Amalekites,” 1Samuel 15:2-9, .

37. H. Bible-"Moses flees to Midian and Pharaoh eventually dies" Exodus 2:11-25

38. H. Bible, “The Israelites oppressed,” Exodus 1:1-22, .

39. H. Bible—”Pharaoh makes Israelites find own straw to make mud bricks,” Exodus 5:1-21, .

40. "The Wall Chart of World History - From earliest times to the present" 1998 Bracken Books ISBN 1-86256-306-3


  1. H. Bible, "Pharaoh puts Joseph in charge of all Egypt," Genesis chapter 41:41-46, .
  2. H. Bible "Joseph stores up huge quantities of grain in Egyptian cities," Genesis 41:47-49, .
  3. H. Bible"Joseph saves Egypt by selling grain," Genesis 47:13-17, .
  4., "Statemaster - Encyclopedia: Imhotep," ,, 2009.
  5. M. Wyatt, "Joseph in ancient Egyptian history," , 1994.
  6. M. Millmore, "The Step Pyramid at Saqqara," ,, 2008.
  7. N. G. Society, "The Step Pyramid of Djoser. Egypt's first pyramid.," ,, 2009.
  8. A. Kolom, "Is Biblical Joseph the Imhotep of Egypt (famine-savior)? (Extra-biblical proof!)," , 2009.
  9. E. Sweeney, "Were Joseph and Imhotep of Egypt the same man?," THE GENESIS OF ISRAEL AND EGYPT, B. E. Sweeny (Editor),, 2001.
  10. B. Rhodes, "Was Imhotep and Joseph the same person?" ,, 2009.
  11. H. Bible, "Joseph buys up all the land of Egypt for Pharaoh," Genesis 47:18-22, .
  12. D. Fry, "Hebrew sages of ancient Egypt - Time calibrators," Hebrew Sages of Ancient Egypt II, 2004.
  13. J. Reilly, "Displaced Dynasties," Dysplaced Dynasties,, 2009.
  14. G. Byers, "Israel in Egypt," ,, 2008.
  15. E. Sweeney, The Genesis of Israel and Egypt (Ages in alignment), Vol. 1, Algora Pub, 2008. ISBN 0-87586-624-7,M1
  16. D. Fry, "Hebrew sages of ancient Egypt Egypt’s first dynasty," ,, 2009.
  17. J. Reilly, "The Exodus and beyond chapter 3: Joseph & Moses," The Exodus and Beyond,, 2009.
  18. D. Ashton. J & Down, D Unwrapping the Pharaohs. How Egyptian archaeology confirms the Biblical timeline, New Leaf Publishing Group (Master books), 2006. ISBN 978-0-89051-468-9 ISBN 0-89051-468-2
  19. E. Sweeney, The pyramid age, Ages in alignment series, Algora Publishing, 2007.
  20. D. Fry, "Hebrew sages of ancient Egypt - needed changes in modern records," ,, 2009.
  21. E. Sweeney, The Genesis of Israel and egypt, Janus Publishing Company Limited, 1997. ISBN 978-1857563504
  22. J. Reilly, "The Exodus and beyond chapter 1: The Berlin chronology of the second millennium bc - limitations of the Berlin chronology," The Exodus and Beyond,, 2009.
  23. R. Wyatt, "Joseph was imhotep of egypt," , Wyatt Archaelogical Research, 1994.
  24. H. Bible, "The Flood," Genesis Chapter 6, .
  25. H. Bible"The Dispersion after Babel," Genesis Chapter 11, .
  26. H. Bible"Terah sets out from Ur," Genesis 11:27-32, .
  27. H. Bible"Call of Abraham," Genesis Chapter 12, .
  28. H. Bible"God's covenant with Abraham," Genesis Chapters 15 & 17, .;Genesis+17:1-17:27
  29. H. Bible"Ishmael born to Hagar," Genesis Chapter 16, .
  30. H. Bible"Issac born to Sarai," Genesis Chapter 21, .
  31. H. Bible"Ishmael sent away - Issac the child of promise," Genesis 21:8-13, .
  32. H. Bible"Keturah's children sent away to Middle East," Genesis 25:1-4, .
  33. H. Bible"Jacob bore 12 sons," Genesis chapter 29-32, .
  34. H. Bible"Jacob renamed Israel," Genesis 32:22-32, .
  35. H. Bible"Abrahams children to be reckoned through Issac," Genesis 21:12, .
  36. H. Bible"Jacob favours Joseph," Genesis chapter 37, .
  37. H. Bible"The Biblical account of Jospeh," Genesis chapter 37-50, .
  38. H. Bible"Joseph has two sons; Ephraim and Mannaseh," Genesis 41:50-52, .
  39. H. Bible"Joseph's brothers go to Egypt to buy grain," Genesis Chapters 42-44, .
  40. H. Bible"Jacob moves to Egypt and settles in Rameses," Genesis Chapter 46:1-47:12, .
  41. H. Bible"Pharaoh gives Jacob the land of Goshen," Genesis Chapter 45, .
  42. H. Bible"Jacob dies," Genesis 49:29 -50:14, .
  43. H. Bible"Jacob blesses Joseph's children," Genesis chapter 48, .
  44. H. Bible"Jacob blesses his sons," Genesis chapter 49, .
  45. H. Bible"Joseph reassures his brothers afer Jacob's death," Genesis 50:15-21, .
  46. H. Bible"Death of Joseph," Genesis 50:22-26, .
  47. H. Bible"The Exodus," Exodus 12:31-42, .
  48. E. Sweeney Empire of Thebes or ages In chaos revisited (ages in alignment), Algora Publishing, 2006.
  49. I. Velikovski, Worlds in collision, London and New York, 1950.
  50. I. Velikovski-Ages in chaos, London and New York, 1953.
  51. I. Velikovski-Earth in upheaval, 1956.
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  53. D. Fry---"Hebrew sages of ancient Egypt II The birth of Egypt," Hebrew Sages of Ancient Egypt II,, 2004.
  54. D. Fry---"Hebrew sages of ancient Egypt - Joseph found in Egyptian records," ,, 2004.
  55. D. Fry---"Hebrew sages of ancient Egypt The Pyramid age Joseph’s inspiration," ,, 2009.
  56. D. Fry---"Hebrew sages of ancient Egypt The Great Pyramid," ,, 2009.
  57. D. Fry---"Hebrew sages of ancient Egypt - Egypts weather changes," Hebrew Sages of Ancient Egypt,, 2009.
  58. D. Fry---"Hebrew sages of ancient Egypt - Moses found in Egyptian records," ,, 2009.
  59. D. Fry---"Hebrew sages of ancient Egypt -the Exodus disaster in Egyptian records. The search.," ,, 2009.
  60. J. Reilly---"The Exodus and beyond chapter 2: The Patriarchal age," The Exodus and Beyond,, 2009.
  61. H. Bible, "Saul destroys the Amalekites," 1Samuel 15:2-9, .
  62. H. Bible, "The Queen of Sheba visits Solomon," 1Kings 10:1-13, .
  63. H. Bible"The Queen of Sheba visits Solomon," 1Chron 9:1-12, .
  64. C. Miclaus, "Imhotep - one of The greatest personalities Of Egypt," , 2007.
  65. W. Whiston, The works of Josephus complete and unabridged, New Updated Edition, Hendrikson Publishers, 1987. ISBN 0-913573-86-8 ISBN 1-56563-167-6
  66. "From the start of the 12th dynasty to the 18th," , 2009.
  67. L. Moeller, The case for the Exodus, .
  68. H. Bible"The Israelites oppressed," Exodus 1:1-22, .
  69. H. Bible"Pharaoh makes Israelites find own straw to make mud bricks," Exodus 5:1-21, .
  70. H. Bible, "Moses flees to Midian and Pharaoh eventually dies," Exodus 2:11-25, .
  71. J. Dunn, "Imhotep, doctor, architect, high priest, scribe and vizier to king Djoser," ,, 1999.
  72. Britannica, "Imhotep," ,, 2009.
  73. R. Strachan, "Imhotep," ,, 2005.
  74. K. Matthews, "Imhotep," ,, 2008.
  75. Wikipedia, "Imhotep," ,, 2009.
  76. J. Gray, "The Empty sarcophagus of Imhotep in a funery chamber connected to the animal gallery. His tomb was orientated to the North and dates to the third dynasty of Djoser,",, 2011.
  77. N. Hawkins, "Were Joseph and Imhotep the same person? [[1]]