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Sesostris III

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Senusret III - Sesostris III - Senwosret III - Khakhare

Sesostris III black granite statue on display at the British Museum

The fifth pharaoh of the 12th dynasty. Perhaps the most well known Pharaoh of the Middle Kingdom. He expanded the kingdom to included upper and lower Egypt, Elephantine and Lower Nubia. The Hebrews / Jews / Israelites were living in Egypt at the time. The Jews had been enslaved since the beginning of the 12th dynasty and forced to work the fields and make mudbricks for the inner core of the 12th dynasty pyramids. Sesostris III was co-reigning with his son Amenemhet III when Moses was born to a Hebrew slave called Jochebed in 1526BC. His granddaughter Sobeknefru found Moses in a basket floating amongst the reeds of the Nile. Sobeknefru was allowed to adopt Moses and raise him as her own. It was either Amenemhet III or Sesostris III that ordered the Egyptian midwives to kill the Hebrew babies by drowning them in the Nile. Sesostris III reigned for 37 years. The Revised dates of Sesostris III's reign - 1547-1510 BC (approximately - allowing for 20 yrs of co-regency with Amenemhet III)

He was a great warrior who initiated a series of devastating campaigns in Nubia early in his reign and pushed the boundaries of Egypt south more than any of his predecessors securing access to trade routes and mineral resources in Nubia. He stabilized the country by subjugating the authority of the local nomarchs and by dividing it into three regions overseen by viziers.

He was the father of Amenemhet III who succeeded him after a long co-regency (of up to 20 years).

Sesostris III built the pyramid that he was buried in at Dashur. It was the largest pyramid of the 12th dynasty pyramids (but small in comparison to those of the Old Kingdom). It had a limestone casing which has disappeared over the centuries exposing the inner core (made of mud bricks) which has now become severely eroded.

The Israelites, who had immigrated to Egypt in the third dynasty (see Long Sojourn), became numerous by the 12th dynasty (numbering over a million) and posed a threat to the Egyptians who had long since forgotten the connection between the Israelites and the famous vizier Imhotep (Joseph) of the 3rd dynasty. Joseph (Imhotep) saved Egypt from a seven year famine and probably designed the first pyramid; the Djoser Pyramid (also known as the Step Pyramid at Saqqara).

The Egyptians oppressed the Israelites and forced them into all types of slavery for fear that they would rebel.

Sesostris III may have been the pharaoh who ordered the Egyptian midwives to kill the Israelite babies if they were male, by throwing them into the Nile. He allowed his grand daughter Sobekneferu to adopt a Hebrew baby that she found in a basket in the Nile and raise him as her own. She named him Moses, and raised him to be a future pharaoh (Amenemhet IV).

Egypt's wealth and power reached it's peak in the 12th dynasty under Sesostris III and his son Amenemhet III but as they had no successors, the Middle Kingdom started to fall apart when they died. Amenemhet IV (Moses) did in fact co-reign with Amenemhet III for a period of 9 yrs but when he had to flee to Midian at the age of 40 years, there was suddenly no successor for Amenemhet III. His daughter Sobekneferu had to take over the reigns when Amenemhet III died. She only lived for another 4 yrs and when she died, the 12th dynasty ended, Egypt fell into turmoil and became politically unstable. There was a quick succession of Pharaohs in the 13th dynasty until Neferhotep who was the Pharaoh who was ruling when Moses (Amenemhet IV) returned from exile in Midian. After the Exodus of the Israelites, the Hyksos took over Lower Egypt and reigned for some 400yrs (Egypt's Second Intermediate Period - also known as the 15th and 16th dynasties).


Timeline

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

Evidence for the Israelites (JEWS) in Ancient Egypt