Ancient Egyptian Chronologies: The Revised Chronology Part 1

The Revised Chronology

To begin, consider the fact that there are different manifestations of this chronology. The main body of this discussion will be focused on a variant known as the Glasgow chronology. It is similar to that which is outlined by John Ashton and David Down in their book Unwrapping the Pharaohs. A brief look at David Rohl’s New Chronology will also be examined, but for all intents and purposes, the Glasgow-based chronology is the best, since it has the least amount of conflictions with other chronologies and events.

Evidence for the Revised Chronology

Now that each of these issues has been addressed, the evidence for the Revised Chronology can be examined in detail. First, one must realize that the vast majority of the Revised Chronology authors are Bible-believing Christians and seek to restore the authority of the Bible that has been lost to the secularized viewpoint of many. They begin with the assumption that the Bible’s history is true, then look at the other historical evidences to find the most likely conclusions. (Bible Archaeology). For example, God created man to be different from all the animals by creating them in His image (Genesis 1:26). So, we should find that man was an advanced creature, capable of doing many extraordinary things.

Abraham and the Pyramids?

What first may come to mind is the enigma of the pyramids. Many have attempted to explain the mysteries that they hold, but we simply don’t know (Chittick, 143). In his book, Donald E. Chittick, Ph.D., outlines the astonishing accuracy that can be found at the pyramids. He quotes Christopher Dunn here:

In 1881, Sir William Flinders Petrie surveyed the Descending Passage [of the Great Pyramid of Giza], where the fissures were noticed, and discovered that it was remarkably accurate. He found the passage to have an error of only .020 inch over the 150-foot length of the constructed portion; and the entire length of the passage both constructed and excavated, was within a miniscule quarter inch over 350 ft. (Chittick, 102)

This shows the precision with which the pyramid builders were equipped. Chittick adds that “People who are acquainted with modern manufacturing techniques and tolerances are aware of what is required to hold to such fine tolerances.” (Chittick, 105) The way in which many modern historians speak of the ancient Egyptians is that they were primitive and used hand tools to chisel out blocks of limestone. And did they build massive ramps to put in 128 blocks per hour? (Chittick, 126; 128) That does not seem at all feasible by any reasonable means. These men must have had something of which secular history left no trace: the mark of a Creator.

How could the accuracy of these pyramids have come about? As almost anyone fascinated with the pyramids knows, the pyramids didn’t start out perfect. The first attempt in the 3rd Dynasty (21st Century B.C.) by Imhotep and Djoser at Saqqara (just south of the pyramids of Giza) is an excellent specimen, but not quite what one thinks of when the subject of pyramids is discussed.

The Step Pyramid of Saqqara is magnificently engineered. Ashton and Down quote Sir Charles Leonard Woolley, a well-known archaeologist who did much for Egyptology:

But the surprising thing is that there is not a single straight line in the structure. Each wall, from base to top and horizontally from corner to corner is a convex curve, a curve so slight as not to be apparent but giving to the eye of the observer an illusion of strength where a straight line might have seemed to sag under the weight of the superstructure. The architect thus employed the principle of entasis, which was to be rediscovered by the builders of the Parthenon at Athens. (Ashton and Down, 17)

Entasis, here described, is a technique used most notably by the Greeks in building their temples. If one looked at the pillars of the temples, they would seem to become thinner toward the middle and seem to look weaker. So, the innovative Greeks widened the columns at the center ever so slightly, so as to make them look straight and uniform. This same complex technique is used on the Step Pyramid of Saqqara and was not rediscovered by the Greeks until over 1,500 years later.

Perhaps the most prolific pyramid builder was Seneferu of the 4th Egyptian Dynasty. Senefru is known to have built not one, not two, but three pyramids. His first attempt, the Meidum Pyramid, collapsed partway through the building process. His second attempt, appropriately termed “the Bent Pyramid,” had to have its angle adjusted halfway up, due to instability. His third, and final, attempt was the Red Pyramid, which was successful.

Then came the big one; Khufu’s pyramid was built in the 19th Century B.C., according to the Revised Chronology, whereas the Traditional Chronology places it almost 600 years before (Ashton and Down, 36-37). Abram (or Abraham) who sojourned to Egypt in 1921 B.C. (Jones, 49), lived at the time of Khufu. Actually, Josephus, a Jewish historian from the 1st Century A.D. has written, as quoted by Dr. Elizabeth Mitchell and Ken Ham that Abraham

communicated to them arithmetic, and delivered to them the science of astronomy; for before Abram came into Egypt they were unacquainted with those parts of learning; for that science came from the Chaldeans into Egypt. (Mitchell and Ham, 256)

As you may have noticed, some of the previous attempts at building pyramids were unsuccessful, specifically the first two of Seneferu’s. This passage that is quoted from Josephus suggests that Abraham was able to teach the Egyptians arithmetic, specifically the concept of pi. This leads John Ashton and David Down to believe that this is why the pyramids have such accuracy (Ashton and Down, 37). It may also be noted that Terah, Abram’s father, lived at the time of Djoser, the pharaoh for whom the first pyramid was built (Ashton and Down, 16)

Joseph as Vizier

As one moves through biblical history, the next major event concerning Egypt is Joseph’s service to the pharaoh there (Genesis 37:36). In The New Answers Book 2, Chapter 24, Dr. Elizabeth Mitchell and Ken Ham note

Sesostris I of the 12th Dynasty had a powerful vizier named Mentuhotep. Mentuhotep held the office of chief treasurer and wielded authority . . . Compare Mentuhotep with Genesis 41:40, 43. Furthermore, Ameni, a provincial governor under Sesostris I, had the following inscription on his tomb: “No one was unhappy in my days, not even in the years of famine, for I had tilled all the fields of the Nome of Mah, up to its southern and northern frontiers. Thus I prolonged the life of its inhabitants and preserved the food which it produced.”

The situation as described by Ameni is strikingly similar to the time of plenty described in Genesis 41:47-49. Consequently, Genesis 41:40, 43, as mentioned in the text shows just how powerful this vizier was.

The Oppression and the Exodus

“Now there arose a new king over Egypt, who did not know Joseph.” Here Exodus 1:8 sets the stage for the entire book of Exodus. Who were the pharaohs of this period of Israelite history? This question has caused quite a stir in the academic community, as well as the church

First, why did this pharaoh suddenly turn on the Israelites? David Down makes an amusing observation:

He [Sesostris I] was a decent Pharaoh. . . You can see his statue in the Cairo museum – nice looking chap. Then, when you come to the time we recognize as the period of slavery, you’ve got Sesostris III, a nasty looking character – the ‘new king over Egypt, who did not know Joseph’ (Exodus 1:8). This was the 12th Dynasty (Walker, Cardno, Sarfati).

As described by David Down in this article, Sesostris III was not such a nice guy. Ashton and Down also note in Unwrapping the Pharaohs that “This is in marked contrast to the statues of Sesostris I, who has quite a pleasant expression, almost a smile, on his face.” So, even the facial expression of the supposed Pharaoh of the Oppression was sour.

Exodus 1:9-11 paints us a vivid picture that it wasn’t just his mood that was sour:

And he [Sesostris III] said to his people, “Look, the people of the children of Israel are more and mightier than we; come, let us deal shrewdly with them, lest they multiply, and it happen, in the event of war, that they also join our enemies and fight against us, and so go up out of the land.” Therefore they set taskmasters over them to afflict them with their burdens . . . [notes added]

To summarize, this suggests that Sesostris III should be the pharaoh who initiated the slave labor of the Israelites around 1600 B.C. (Ashton and Down, 91)

Traditional Chronology advocates may insist that there is no presence of Semitic peoples in Egypt at “the time of the Exodus,” but this is because they are looking in the wrong place. If the dates are realigned to match the biblical timeline, the number of Semitic slaves at this period in Egyptian history is substantial. In a single Egyptian household, there appears to be forty-eight Semitic servants out of seventy-seven total. That’s no coincidence (Ashton and Down, 91-92).

Now one comes to the time of Moses. The successor to Sesostris III was Amenemhet III. Amenemhet III only had daughters and no sons. His daughter Sobkeneferu is thought to have been the foster mother of Moses (Mitchell and Ham, 257).

The Traditional Chronology places Moses in the 18th or 19th Dynasties, when no significant amount of Semitics are present in Egypt (Ibid., 257). This would make Hatshepsut as the foster mother of Moses and Thutmosis III the pharaoh who “drowned” in the Red Sea. This can’t be possible, since we find that Thutmosis III went on to become one of the greatest pharaohs in Egyptian history (Ashton and Down, 92).

Obviously, if the biblical record is to be confirmed, a rethinking in the Traditional Chronology is needed. Sobkeneferu was childless, which explains the reason she went to the Nile river to plead with Hapy, the river/fertility god for a child. She had Moses’ mother raise him until he was full grown. Then, when Moses killed an Egyptian to spare one of his brethren a beating, he flees from the Pharaoh (Amenemhet III) to Midian. (Exodus 2:5-15). In the process of time, Amenemhet III died and his daughter, Sobkeneferu, succeeded him. She ruled for four short years, and, with no heir to follow her, the 12th Dynasty ended (Ashton and Down, 92-95).

The next significant event would be the Exodus. The 13th Dynasty of Egypt was marked by its stark disorder and upheaval. Neferhotep I, supposed to be the Pharaoh of the Exodus according to the Revised Chronology, was the one to come out on top, settling Egypt down for a short respite (Ashton and Down, 98).

After 40 years of exile in Midian, Moses returned to free his people of Israel. Based on what we see in the accounts in Exodus, this Pharaoh was quite haughty: “Who is the LORD that I should obey his voice to let Israel go. I do not know the LORD, nor will I let Israel go (Exodus 5:1-2).”

The Ten Plagues struck at the heart of Egypt’s center of worship, as explained by Lionel Casson in his Ancient Egypt:

Western man places religion in a compartment of its own . . . To an Egyptian this would have been unthinkable. Religion permeated his whole life- socially, politically and economically. As he saw it, every detail of his own life and of the life around him . . . depended entirely on the attitude of the gods . . . His Caesar was the pharaoh, and the pharaoh was a god (71).

Each plague struck a certain god of the Egyptian pantheon. The plague of blood hit Hapy, the river god, whom the Egyptians depended on so desperately. The plague of darkness really hurt their pride; it discredited a major part of their beliefs, the sun god Ra (Ashton and Down, 99-100). This was God’s way of showing the Egyptians who was really in control of all the forces of nature and the things beyond nature.

Eventually the Pharaoh (Neferhotep I) let them go, but then he changed his mind and chased the escaping slaves with his entire army (Exodus 14:5-9). The Israelites were backed into a theoretical corner; stuck in between the city of Migdol and the Red Sea with no escape in sight. Then God placed a pillar of fire in between the two groups and then proceeded to allow the Israelites access across the floor of the Red Sea after He separated the waters. The Egyptians followed, but were all drowned in the Red Sea. Exodus 14:28 sums it up, “. . . Not so much as one of them remained [emphasis added].” How could this be, if we find the body of the supposed “pharaoh of the Exodus” in a museum? The discrepancy lies with the dates. If the date for the Exodus is 1,445 B.C. and the Revised dates are used rather than the Traditional, everything fits perfectly. It is also worthy to note that Neferhotep I’s mummy has never been found (Ashton and Down, 97).

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