Sunday, June 1, 2014

Did the Hebrew Joseph bring Pyramid Cement Technology to Egypt?

Giza Pyramids:

The How, When and

Why of Them



 Damien F. Mackey



How Were The Pyramids Built?


Though I am no technician, I had been very impressed by the theory of the French polymer scientist, professor Joseph Davidovits, Director of the Geopolymer Institute in St. Quentin, France, who had been claiming that the stones of the Giza pyramids were actually made of a very early form of concrete, or liquid (wet) cement, created using a mixture of limestone, clay, lime, and water. According to the Wikipedia article, for a basic view on the professor (


Davidovits was not convinced that the ancient Egyptians possessed the tools or technology to carve and haul the huge (2.5 to 15 ton) limestone blocks that made up the Great Pyramid. Davidovits suggested that the blocks were molded in place by using a form of limestone concrete. According to his theory, a soft limestone with a high kaolinite content was quarried in the wadi on the south of the Giza plateau. It was then dissolved in large, Nile-fed pools until it became a watery slurry. Lime (found in the ash of ancient cooking fires) and natron (also used by the Egyptians in mummification) was mixed in. The pools were then left to evaporate, leaving behind a moist, clay-like mixture. This wet "concrete" would be carried to the construction site where it would be packed into reusable wooden molds. In the next few days the mixture would undergo a chemical hydration reaction similar to the setting of cement.


Using Davidovits' theory, no large gangs would be needed to haul blocks and no huge and unwieldy ramps would be needed to transport the blocks up the side of the pyramid. No chiseling or carving with soft bronze tools would be required to dress their surfaces and new blocks could be cast in place, on top of and pressed against the old blocks. This would account for the unerring precision of the joints of the casing stones (the blocks of the core show tools marks and were cut with much lower tolerances). Proof-of-concept experiments using similar compounds were carried out at Davidovits' geopolymer institute in northern France. It was found that a crew of ten, working with simple hand tools, could build a structure of fourteen, 1.3 to 4.5 ton blocks in a couple of days. According to Davidovits the architects possessed at least two concrete formulas: one for the large structural blocks and another for the white casing stones. He argues earlier pyramids, brick structures, and stone vases were built using similar techniques.


[End of quote]


However, as there appeared to be amongst mainstream pyramid experts little interest - to practically none whatsoever - in what seemed to my mind to be the eminently sensible and scientific thesis of Davidovits, and since I personally did not have the sort of scientific expertise to push the case of the matter, I have tended to lose interest in the theory until now. This was not because I am unprepared to back a supposed rogue ‘maverick’ against the mainstream flow of conforming scholars. My acceptance of the revision of ‘maverick’ scholar, or ‘wayward polymath’, Dr. Immanuel Velikovsky (Ages in Chaos series), against the conventional view of chronology, is clear evidence of this.

Anyway, my interest in the theory of Davidovits has been rekindled by the following article in support of it (


The Surprising Truth About

How the Great Pyramids Were Built


telling about the discovery along the same lines by one Michel Barsoum, described therein as “a well respected researcher in the field of ceramics”, and “a distinguished professor in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering at Drexel University”. The authors of this article, Sheila Berninger and Dorilona Rose, write about how Barsoum, initially as a sceptic, came to reconsider the whole matter:


…. Barsoum received an unexpected phone call from Michael Carrell, a friend of a retired colleague of Barsoum, who called to chat with the Egyptian-born Barsoum about how much he knew of the mysteries surrounding the building of the Great Pyramids of Giza, the only remaining of the seven wonders of the ancient world.

The widely accepted theory — that the pyramids were crafted of carved-out giant limestone blocks that workers carried up ramps — had not only not been embraced by everyone, but as important had quite a number of holes.


Burst out laughing


According to the caller, the mysteries had actually been solved by Joseph Davidovits, Director of the Geopolymer Institute in St. Quentin, France, more than two decades ago. Davidovits claimed that the stones of the pyramids were actually made of a very early form of concrete created using a mixture of limestone, clay, lime, and water.

"It was at this point in the conversation that I burst out laughing," Barsoum said. If the pyramids were indeed cast, he said, someone should have proven it beyond a doubt by now, in this day and age, with just a few hours of electron microscopy.

It turned out that nobody had completely proven the theory … yet.

"What started as a two-hour project turned into a five-year odyssey that I undertook with one of my graduate students, Adrish Ganguly, and a colleague in France, Gilles Hug," Barsoum said.

[End of quote]


The article goes on to explain some of the geology of the matter, “these blocks are not natural limestone”, and to account for what has puzzled Egyptologists over a long period of time: namely, the high water content:


A year and a half later, after extensive scanning electron microscope observations and other testing, Barsoum and his research group finally began to draw some conclusions about the pyramids. They found that the tiniest structures within the inner and outer casing stones were indeed consistent with a reconstituted limestone. The cement binding the limestone aggregate was either silicon dioxide (the building block of quartz) or a calcium and magnesium-rich silicate mineral.

The stones also had a high water content — unusual for the normally dry, natural limestone found on the Giza plateau — and the cementing phases, in both the inner and outer casing stones, were amorphous, in other words, their atoms were not arranged in a regular and periodic array. Sedimentary rocks such as limestone are seldom, if ever, amorphous.

The sample chemistries the researchers found do not exist anywhere in nature. "Therefore," Barsoum said, "it's very improbable that the outer and inner casing stones that we examined were chiseled from a natural limestone block."

More startlingly, Barsoum and another of his graduate students, Aaron Sakulich, recently discovered the presence of silicon dioxide nanoscale spheres (with diameters only billionths of a meter across) in one of the samples. This discovery further confirms that these blocks are not natural limestone.

[End of quote]


The article then comes to the same dramatic (and somewhat poignant) conclusion arrived at also by chronological revisionists along the lines of Dr. Immanuel Velikovsky (though not intended by the authors of the article): We have been misled.


Generations misled


At the end of their most recent paper reporting these findings, the researchers reflect that it is "ironic, sublime and truly humbling" that this 4,500-year-old limestone is so true to the original that it has misled generations of Egyptologists and geologists and, "because the ancient Egyptians were the original — albeit unknowing — nanotechnologists."

As if the scientific evidence isn't enough, Barsoum has pointed out a number of common sense reasons why the pyramids were not likely constructed entirely of chiseled limestone blocks.

Egyptologists are consistently confronted by unanswered questions: How is it possible that some of the blocks are so perfectly matched that not even a human hair can be inserted between them? Why, despite the existence of millions of tons of stone, carved presumably with copper chisels, has not one copper chisel ever been found on the Giza Plateau?

Although Barsoum's research has not answered all of these questions, his work provides insight into some of the key questions. For example, it is now more likely than not that the tops of the pyramids are cast, as it would have been increasingly difficult to drag the stones to the summit.

Also, casting would explain why some of the stones fit so closely together. Still, as with all great mysteries, not every aspect of the pyramids can be explained. How the Egyptians hoisted 70-ton granite slabs halfway up the great pyramid remains as mysterious as ever.

[End of quote]


Whilst ignorance in such cases can be to some degree simply a natural outcome of pioneering efforts to reach right conclusions about an overwhelming mass of early evidence, Velikovskian-inspired revisionists would be well aware, too, of another common factor that is inexcusable: the persistence by mainstream scholars to proceed in the face of hard evidence.



When Were The Pyramids Built?


Apparently, to account for the make-up of the Giza complex, one no longer has to resort to some of the more esoteric views according to which, due to the high water content - and the heavy erosion associated with the Great Sphinx - the Giza complex was constructed hundreds, to thousands, of years before the era of Egypt’s 4th dynasty, where conventional Egyptology (with which I would here fully agree) has the pyramids being built. Robert Bauval, for instance (, would suggest a possible date of as far back as 10,500 BC for the Sphinx and for the initial planning of the Giza necropolis, though not for the Great Pyramid itself, which he locates to “somewhere around 2500 BC”. This is the conventional time for the 4th dynasty (c. 2613 to 2494 BC).

I, too, would unhesitatingly accept that the Giza complex was created during Egypt’s powerful 4th dynasty, but yet with some major differences from convention, whose grossly over-inflated dates have been estimated on the back of the artificial Sothic theory. See my post-graduate thesis:




and, for simpler reading:




Hence I would - based on such previous research - depart from conventional Egyptian history, and re-set standard dates - in the case of the 4th dynasty, by (i) radically re-dating this dynasty to approximately a millennium lower on the time scale, but also, through a re-alignment of Egypt’s so-called Old and Middle kingdoms, by (ii) merging the pyramid- and sphinx-making 4th dynasty with the pyramid- and sphinx-making 12th dynasty: an era that revisionists have found highly compatible with the presence of biblical Israel in Egypt (read on).


Israel in Egypt


According to Josephus it was the Israelite captives in Egypt who built the pyramids for the pharaohs. Dr. Ed (Ewald) Metzler tells of this and links it to Middle Kingdom Egypt (


§  8.  The pyramids were built by the people of   Israel,   by  its  twelve  tribes  known  as  the
Dodecarchs “twelve rulers” or “dynasts”, whence
the  “twelve  dynasties”  of  the pyramid age, and
after   their   Exodus  at  the  end  of  the  twelfth
dynasty  no more pyramids were built in Egypt.22)

This   is  confirmed  by  Josephus  Flavius,  who
writes  in  his  Jewish  Antiquities  (II,  9) that the
people  of Israel suffered from building pyramids
and  irrigation  ditches,  which fits the description
of  the  last  pyramids  of the Middle Kingdom in
Fayoum,  irrigated  by  diverting  water  from the
Nile  into the Baher Youssouf canal.23)

            22)  A connection between the “Dodecarchs” of Herodotus
and the “twelve dynasties” of Manetho was already suspected by
Francis  Llewellyn  Griffith,  as  quoted  by  Armayor (N. 20) p. 62.

[End of quote]


Astute revisionists, rejecting the conventional view that the Israelites would have been in Egypt, if at all, during the 19th dynasty period of Ramses II ‘the Great’, have pointed to evidences of 12th dynasty pharaohs employing - for their pyramid building purposes - bricks mixed with straw, just as according to the Book of Exodus. I take this interesting section from Digging up the Past (


The Chronology of Joseph and the Exodus


By the present chronological system of Egyptian history there are serious problems in synchronising the events described in the Biblical account with Egyptian history. Most scholars have therefore concluded that the Bible record is unreliable or distorted. In 1 Kings 6:1 it is stated that "In the 480th year after the children of Israel had come out of the land of Egypt, in the 4th year of Solomon's reign over Israel ... that he began to build the house of the Lord". Most scholars would accept a date of about 970 BC for the beginning of Solomon's reign. His 4th year would be 966 BC, and this being the 480th year after the Exodus would place that event about 1445 BC.

But because of the lack of archaeological evidence both in Egypt and Israel to support this date, most scholars have rejected the information supplied in 1 Kings 6:1, and have accepted a date closer to 1200 BC for the Exodus. But even for this date there is only very flimsy circumstantial evidence, and scholars still disagree as to who was the Pharaoh of the Exodus. Dr Immanual Velikovsky claims that the fault lies, not with the Biblical information, but with the generally accepted chronology of Egypt, and that the Egyptian dates need to be reduced by some 600 years at the time of the Exodus. This would mean that the ruling dynasty of Egypt at the time Exodus would be the 13th dynasty, rather than the 18th or 19 dynasty as is now generally believed, and the pharaohs at the time of Joseph and Moses were the rulers of the 12th dynasty. When this system is adopted there is found to be remarkable agreement between the histories of Egypt and Israel. The following article, the substance of which has appeared in articles already published in Diggings, demonstrate the consistency of the revised chronology.



The Oppression of Israel

"Now there arose up a new king over Egypt which knew not Joseph." (Exodus 1:8) Not that the pharaoh was ignorant of Joseph's services to the nation, but he wished to make no recognition of them, and, so far as possible, to bury them in oblivion. Josephus wrote:

"Having in length of time forgotten the benefits received from Joseph, particularly the crown being now come into another family, they became very abusive to the Israelites, and contrived many ways of afflicting them." Antiquities of the Jews, book 1, chapter IX, paragraph 1


From the historical records we learn that Asiatic slaves were used during the twelfth dynasty.

"The Asiatic inhabitants of the country at this period must have been more times more numerous than has been generally supposed. Whether or not this largely slave population could have played a part in hastening ... the impending Hyksos domination is difficult to say." Cambridge Ancient History, vol II part I, p. 49

"Asian slaves, whether merchandise or prisoners of war, became plentiful in wealthy Egyptian households." Encyclopaedia Britannica 1964, volume 8, p. 35

Gardiner wrote:

"It should be noted, however, that on stelae and in papyri Asiatic slaves are increasingly often mentioned, though there is no means of telling whether they were prisoners of war or had infiltrated into Egypt of their own accord." Egypt of the Pharaohs, p. 133

From the Scripture records, we can say that they did infiltrate into Egypt of their own accord, but were subsequently enslaved.

There was an extensive building program carried on in the Delta where the Israelites were located during this dynasty. The temples of the eighteenth dynasty at Luxor were too far away from the delta to have been built with Israelite slave labour - and they were built of stone. The buildings constructed in the delta under the twelfth dynasty were made of mud brick. Mountains of such bricks went into the city of Avaris and nearby cities.

Moreover the pyramids of Sesostris III and Amenemhet III were also made of mud bricks. The early dynasties' burial places were made of mud brick. The magnificent third and fourth dynasty pyramids were built of stone. For some strange reason these twelfth dynasty rulers reverted to mud brick. It is interesting in this connection to note that Josephus wrote:

"They (the Egyptians) set them (the Israelites) to build pyramids." Antiquities of the Jews, book 2, chapter IX, paragraph 1

On the assumption that the oppression took place during the eighteenth or nineteenth dynasty, this statement is regarded by scholars as a glaring blunder by Josephus, for by this time, according to their view, the Pyramid Age had ended. The pharaohs of the New Kingdom dynasties were buried in the Valley of the Kings near Luxor. But maybe it is the scholars who have blundered, for the kings of the twelfth dynasty did build pyramids, and what is more, they built them of mud bricks mixed with straw. "Ye shall no more give the people straw to make brick as heretofore: let them go and gather straw for themselves." (Exodus 5:7)

Especially relevant is the research done by Rosalie David whose book The Pyramid Builders of Ancient Egypt was published in 1986. She researched the work done by Sir Flinders Petrie in the Faiyyum. Petrie worked in the Faiyyum in 1889 and he explored the pyramids of the 12th dynasty and identified the owners.

He also excavated the remains of a town that had been occupied by the workmen who actually built these pyramids. He wrote:

"The great prize of Illahun was unknown and the unsuspected by anyone. On the desert adjoining the north side of the temple, I saw traces of a town, brick walls, houses and pottery; moreover, the pottery was of a style as yet unknown to me. The town wall started out in a line with the face of the temple; and it dawned on me that this could hardly be other than the town of the pyramid builders, originally called Ha-Usertesen-hotep, and now known as Kahun. A little digging soon put it beyond doubt, as we found cylinders of the age, and no other; so that it was evident that I actually had in hand an unaltered town of the twelfth dynasty, regularly laid out by the royal architect for the workmen and stores required in building the pyramid and its temple. After a few holes had been made, I formed up the workmen in a line along the outmost street, and regularly cleared the first line of chambers, turning the stuff into the street; then the chambers beyond those were emptied into them; and so line after line, block after block, almost every room in the town was emptied out and searched." Ten Years Digging in Egypt, pp. 112 - 113

From the unidentified pottery and other evidence, Petrie concluded that the occupants had been foreigners. Expanding on this thought Rosalie David has an entire chapter headed "The foreign population at Kahun." She wrote:

"From his excavations at Kahun, Petrie formed the opinion that a certain element of the population there had come from outside Egypt." The Pyramid Builders of Ancient Egypt, p. 175

"It is undeniable that the inhabitants used foreign wares which were derived from the Aegean islands or from Syria-Palestine." p. 188.

"It is apparent that the Asiatics were present in the town in some numbers, and this may reflect the situation elsewhere in Egypt. It can be stated that these people were loosely classed by Egyptians as 'Asiatics', although their exact homeland in Syria or Palestine cannot be determined... The reason for their presence in Egypt remains unclear." pp. 190-191.

Neither Petrie nor David guessed that these Asiatics were the Israelites because they unquestioningly accept the standard chronology. Velikovsky's views have so far not been widely accepted by the archaeological world, but obviously the evidence fits the Biblical records in a remarkable way.

[End of quote]


Whilst many revisionists seem to have arrived at this same conclusion, that the 12th dynasty era fits very well indeed as the Era of the Oppression of Israel in Egypt, a lot of these, including contributors to Digging up the Past, have continued to follow the conventional view in its separation of the Old and Middle kingdoms. Consequently, they have missed out on what other revisionists believe to be the vital connection of the biblical Joseph with the genius Imhotep of Egypt’s 3rd dynasty. I strongly favour this connection of Joseph with Imhotep. My revised alignment of the Famine era 3rd and 11th dynasties (era of Joseph), and the Oppression era 4th and 12th dynasties (era of Moses), I have outlined in my:




For Joseph as Imhotep (among others), see my:   




And why might not the Israelites have (together with slaves from other nations) built pyramids both of stone (but also as we have seen above using ancient cement) and later - perhaps as materials became scarcer - of bricks mixed with straw?

Egypt’s Old and Middle Kingdoms were, I believe, far closer in time than is conventionally thought. The following samples that might indicate this necessary shortening of eras are taken entirely from N. Grimal’s A History of Ancient Egypt (Blackwell 1994):


P. 67:

“Like his Third Dynasty predecessors, Djoser and Nebka, Snofru soon became a legendary figure, and literature in later periods credited him with a genial personality. He was even deified in the Middle Kingdom, becoming the ideal king whom later Egyptian rulers such as Ammenemes I sought to emulate when they were attempting to legtimize their power”.


P. 71:

“… texts that describe the Fourth Dynasty kings …. It was … quite logical for the Egyptians of the Middle Kingdom and later to link those past rulers represented primarily by their buildings with the greatest tendencies towards immoderation, thus distorting the real situation (Posener 1969a: 13). However, it is difficult to accommodate within this theory the fact that Snofru’s reputation remained untarnished when he built more pyramids than any of his successors”.


P. 73

“A Twelfth Dynasty graffito found in the Wadi Hammamat includes Djedefhor and his half-brother Baefre in the succession of Cheops after Chephren”.


P. 79

“The attribution of the Maxims to Ptahhotep does not necessarily mean that he was the actual author: the oldest versions date to the Middle Kingdom, and there is no proof that they were originally composed in the Old Kingdom, or, more specifically, at the end of the Fifth Dynasty. The question, moreover, is of no great importance”.


Pp. 80-81

{Teti, I have tentatively proposed as being the same pharaoh as Amenemes/Ammenemes I, based on (a) being a founder of a dynasty; (b) having same Horus name; (c) being assassinated. Now, Pepi I and Chephren were married to an Ankhesenmerire/ Meresankh – I have taken Chephren to have been the foster father-in-law of Moses, with his wife Meresankh being Moses’ Egyptian ‘mother’, traditionally, Merris. Both Pepi I and Chephren had substantial reigns}.

Grimal notes the likenesses:

“[Teti’s] adoption of the Horus name Sehetep-tawy (‘He who pacifies the Two Lands’) was an indication of the political programme upon which he embarked. … this Horus name was to reappear in titulatures throughout subsequent Egyptian history, always in connection with such kings as Ammenemes I … [etc.]”.

“Manetho says that Teti was assassinated, and it is this claim that has led to the idea of growing civil disorder, a second similarity with the reign of Ammenemes I”.


P. 84:

“[Pepy I] … an unmistakable return to ancient values: Pepy I changed his coronation name from Neferdjahor to Merire (‘The devotee of Ra’)”.


P. 146:

“The words of Khety III are in fact simply the transposal into the king’s mouth of the Old Kingdom Maxims”.


P. 159:

[Ammenemes I]. Like his predecessors in the Fifth Dynasty, the new ruler used literature to publicize the proofs of his legitimacy. He turned to the genre of prophecy: a premonitory recital placed in the mouth of Neferti, a Heliopolitan sage who bears certain similarities to the magician Djedi in Papyrus Westcar. Like Djedi, Neferti is summoned to the court of King Snofru, in whose reign the story is supposed to have taken place”.


P. 164:

“[Sesostris I]. Having revived the Heliopolitan tradition of taking Neferkare as his coronation name …”.


P. 165:

“There is even evidence of a Twelfth Dynasty cult of Snofru in the region of modern Ankara”.


P. 171:

“Ammenemes IV reigned for a little less than ten years and by the time he died the country was once more moving into a decline. The reasons were similar to those that conspired to end the Old Kingdom”.


P. 173:

“… Mentuhotpe II ordered the construction of a funerary complex modelled on the Old Kingdom royal tombs, with its valley temple, causeway and mortuary temple”.


P. 177:

“… Mentuhotpe II’[s] … successors … returned to the Memphite system for their funerary complexes. They chose sites to the south of Saqqara and the plans of their funerary installations drew on the architectural forms of the end of the Sixth Dynasty”.

…. The mortuary temple was built during the Ammenemes I’s ‘co-regency’ with Sesostris I. The ramp and the surrounding complex were an enlarged version of Pepy II’s”.


P. 178:

“The rest of [Sesostris I’s el-Lisht] complex was again modelled on that of Pepy II”.


Pp. 178-179:

“[Ammenemes III’s ‘black pyramid’ and mortuary structure at Dahshur]. The complex infrastructure contained a granite sarcophagus which was decorated with a replica of the enclosure wall of the Step Pyramid complex of Djoser at Saqqara (Edwards 1985: 211-12)”.

“[Ammenemes III’s pyramid and mortuary temple at Harawa]. This was clearly a sed festival installation, comparable to the jubilee complex of Djoser at Saqqara, with which Ammenemes’ structure has several similarities”.

“The tradition of the Old Kingdom continued to influence Middle Kingdom royal statuary …”.


P. 180:

“The diversity of styles was accompanied by a general return to the royal tradition, which was expressed in the form of a variety of statues representing kings from past times, such as those of Sahure, Neuserre, Inyotef and Djoser created during the reign of Sesostris II”.


P. 181:

“A comparable set of statures represents Ammenemes III (Cairo, Egyptian Museum CG 385 from Hawara) … showing the king kneeling to present wine vessels, a type previously encountered at the end of the Old Kingdom (Cairo, Egyptian Museum CG 42013 …) …".


[End of quotes]


So far, my attempts to align the 3rd with the 11th, and the 4th (possibly including the 6th) with the 12th, dynasties, have been fairly sketchy. Regarding the latter pairing 4th (possibly 6th) and 12th, I have in the past put together the following bits and pieces in relation to Moses and the Book of Exodus:


4th Dynasty


From the 4th dynasty, we gain certain elements that are relevant to the early career of Moses. Firstly we have a strong founder-king, Cheops (Egyptian Khufu), builder of the great pyramid at Giza, who would be a good candidate for "the new king" during the infancy of Moses who set the Israelite slaves to work with crushing labour (Exodus 1:8). This would support the testimony of Josephus that the Israelites built pyramids for the pharaohs, and it would explain from whence came the abundance of manpower for pyramid building. Cheap slave labour.

"... they became very abusive toward the Israelites, and contrived many ways of afflicting them; for they enjoined them to cut a great number of channels for the river, and to build walls for their cities and ramparts, that they might restrain the river, and hinder its waters from stagnating, upon its running over its banks: they set them also to build pyramids, and by all this wore them out; and forced them to learn all sorts of mechanical arts, and to accustom them to hard labor." ….

The widespread presence of Asiatics in Egypt at the time would help to explain the large number of Israelites said to be in the land. Pharaoh would have used as slaves other Syro-Palestinians, too, plus Libyans and Nubians. As precious little though is known of Cheops … despite his being powerful enough to build one of the Seven Wonders of the World, we shall need to fill him out later with his 12th dynasty alter ego.

In Cheops' daughter, Mer-es-ankh [III], we have the Merris of tradition who retrieved the baby Moses from the water. The name Mer-es-ankh consists basically of two elements, Meres and ankh, the latter being the 'life' symbol for Egypt worn by people even today.

Mer-es-ankh married Chephren (Egyptian, Ka-kheper-re), builder of the second Giza pyramid and probably of the Great Sphinx. He thus became Moses' f/father-in-law. Chephren is the Chenephres of tradition …. Prince Moses, now a thorough-going 'Egyptian' (cf. Exodus 2:19), must have been his loyal subject. "Now Moses was taught all the wisdom of the Egyptians and became a man of power both in his speech and in his actions." (Acts 7:22) Tradition has Moses leading armies for Chenephres as far as Ethiopia. Whilst this may seem a bit strained in a 4th dynasty context, we shall see that it is perfectly appropriate in a 12th dynasty one, when we uncover Chephren's alter ego.



The Name 'Moses' 

'Moses' is generally thought to be identified with the Egyptian ms (pronounced Mes), and derived from the root msy, 'conceive, give birth', in the sense of 'child, son of so-and-so'. Egyptologists point to names like Thut-mose, 'Son of [the god] Thoth' and Ra-meses, 'Son of [the god] Ra', which incorporate the ms element with the theophoric (god-name). Professor A. Yahuda … however, strongly disagreed with this standard explanation, claiming that the identification of Moshe with ms, or msy, whilst "having the appearance of being in order" is in fact "very far-fetched." The whole explanation "falls to the ground", he wrote, in view of the fact that the very name 'Rameses', in which ms is held to be of the same root as the Hebrew mes in Moshe, is twice transliterated in the Exodus narrative (1:11 and 12:37), not as should be expected by Ramešes, but by Rameses. Yahuda considered it "unthinkable" that the same Egyptian word ms could be reproduced at one time as Moshe and at another as Mose, not only "in two different vocalizations but also in two sibilants [i.e. sh and s] which etymologically and phonetically are quite different." As to Yahuda's own account of the name, Moshe, from the elements mw and še (i.e. Mwše), I am half in agreement with him. I can readily accept his view that the first element of the name corresponds to Egyptian, mw, meaning 'water' (vocalised as Mu, alternatively Nu …).

Yahuda claimed that mw here stands metaphorically for 'seed' in the sense of 'child, son' [e.g. mw ntry 'divine water' of So-and-so = 'divine son']. But perhaps his explanation of the second element, as še, meaning 'pond, lake, expanse of water', "... applied here to the Nile which was called by the Egyptians also še", may give rise to a redundancy. Whilst Yahuda's overall conclusion, that "the name means simply 'Child of the Nile'", is ingenious, I rather find the impression he creates of Moses as a Watery Seed of the Nile to be a bit too, well, watery for my liking. For a possible further clue on the name 'Moses' we shall need to turn to the 12th dynasty, to the famous The Story of Sinuhe … the Egyptian Moses.


The 12th Dynasty and The Story of Sinuhe


From the 12th dynasty, we gain certain further elements that are relevant to the early career of Moses. Once again we have a strong founder-king, Amenemes I, who will enable us to fill out the virtually unknown Cheops as "the new king" of Exodus 1:8. This new ruler "knew not Joseph", not in the sense of never having heard of him (the great Imhotep, still 'known' about a millennium and a half later in Ptolemaïc times), but in the Hebrew sense of 'not knowing', presumably , that is, 'not recognising' what Joseph had done for Egypt. {But also not having been alive during the lifetime of Joseph}. The reign of Amenemes I was, deliberately, an abrupt break with the past. The beginning of the 12th dynasty marks not only a new dynasty, but an entirely new order. Amenemes I celebrated his accession by adopting the Horus name: Wehem-Meswt ("He who repeats births"), thought to indicate that he was "the first of a new line" … that he was "thereby consciously identifying himself as the inaugurator of a renaissance, or new era in his country's history." …. Amenemes I is thought actually to have been a commoner, originally from southern Egypt …. Further on … I shall attempt to track down his beginnings. This will be done via the 6th dynasty, which too will be found to be contemporaneous with the 4th and 12th.

"The Prophecy of Neferti", relating to the time of Amenemes I, shows the same concern in Egypt for the growing presence of Asiatics in the eastern Delta as was said to occupy the mind of the new pharaoh of Exodus, seeing the Israelites as a political threat (1:9). That Asiatics were particularly abundant in Egypt at the time is apparent from the Cambridge Ancient History …: "The Asiatic inhabitants of the country at this period [of the Twelfth Dynasty] must have been many times more numerous than has been generally supposed ...". D. Down gives the account of Sir Flinders Petrie who, working in the Fayyûm in 1899, made the important discovery of the town of Illahûn [Kahun], which Petrie described as "an unaltered town of the twelfth dynasty" …. Of the 'Asiatic' presence in this pyramid builders' town, Rosalie David (who is in charge of the Egyptian branch of the Manchester Museum) has written …:

It is apparent that the Asiatics were present in the town in some numbers, and this may have reflected the situation elsewhere in Egypt. It can be stated that these people were loosely classed by Egyptians as 'Asiatics', although their exact home-land in Syria or Palestine cannot be determined ... The reason for their presence in Egypt remains unclear.

Undoubtedly, the 'Asiatics' were dwelling in Illahûn largely to raise pyramids for the glory of the pharaohs. Is there any documentary evidence that 'Asiatics' in Egypt acted as slaves or servants to the Egyptians? "Evidence is not lacking to indicate that these Asiatics became slaves", Down has written with reference to the Brooklyn Papyrus …. Egyptian households at this time were filled with Asiatic slaves, some of whom bore biblical names. Of the seventy-seven legible names of the servants of an Egyptian woman called Senebtisi recorded on the verso of this document, forty-eight are (like the Hebrews) NW Semitic. In fact, the name "Shiphrah" is identical to that borne by one of the Hebrew midwives whom Pharaoh had commanded to kill the male babies (Exodus 1:15). "Asian slaves, whether merchandise or prisoners of war, became plentiful in wealthy Egyptian households [prior to the New Kingdom]", we read in the Encyclopaedia Britannica. ….

Amenemes I was represented in the 'prophecy' - as with the 'new pharaoh' of Exodus - as one who would set about rectifying the problem. To this end he completely reorganised the administration of Egypt, transferring the from Thebes in the south to Ithtowe in the north, just below the Nile Delta. He allowed those nomarchs who supported his cause to retain their power. He built on a grand scale. Egypt was employing massive slave labour, not only in the Giza area, but also in the eastern Delta region where the Israelites were said to have settled at the time of Joseph. Professor J. Breasted provided ample evidence to show that the powerful 12th dynasty pharaohs carried out an enormous building program whose centre was in the Delta region. More specifically, this building occurred in the eastern Delta region which included the very area that comprised the land of Goshen where the Israelites first settled …. "... in the eastern part [of the Delta], especially at Tanis and Bubastis, ... massive remains still show the interest which the Twelfth Dynasty manifested in the Delta cities." Today, archaeologists recognise the extant remains of the construction under these kings as representing a mere fraction of the original; the major part having been destroyed by the vandalism of the New Kingdom pharaohs (such as Ramses II).

The Biblical account states that: "... they made their lives bitter with hard bondage, in mortar and in brick". (Exodus 1:14).

According to the Book of Exodus, not only did the Egyptians enslave the Israelites, to keep them in check, but Pharaoh even gave orders for all their male babies to be slain at birth, to stem the numbers (1:15-16). In the light of this grim episode, an intriguing aspect of Sir Flinders Petrie's discoveries was the unusual number of infant burials beneath the floors of the houses of Illahûn. Rosalie David thus describes Petrie's find …:

"Larger wooden boxes, probably used to store clothing and other possessions, were discovered underneath the floors of many houses at Kahun. They contained babies, sometimes buried two to three to a box, and aged only a few months at death .... Internment of bodies at domestic sites was not an Egyptian custom, although such practices occurred in other areas of the ancient Near East".

David Rohl …, moreover, has noted multiple graves in the Delta region, at Tell el-Daba during the same approximate period, had an excessively large proportion of babies:

"... it was discovered that there was a higher percentage of infant burials ... than is normally found at archaeological sites of the ancient world. Sixty-five per cent of all the burials were those of children under the age of eighteen months. Based on modern statistical evidence obtained from pre-modern societies we would expect the infant mortality rate to be around twenty to thirty per cent. Could this be explained by the slaughter of the Israelite infant males by the Egyptians?"

Amenemes I assumed a co-regency with Sesostris I …, who acted as the king's deputy and was entrusted with the control of the army, responsible for Libya and Ethiopia. Also, late in his reign, Amenemes undertook campaigns into Ethiopia (Nubia), opening up to him the diorite quarries at Wadi Toshka …. And he campaigned against the Bedouin in the Sinai, thereby safeguarding the turquoise mining operations at Serabit el-Khadem …. It is at this point in history that the 4th and 12th dynasties can really be found to converge, thus seeming to vindicate Courville's view of the contemporaneity of the two kingdoms. For instance, Sesostris I had, as another of his names, Kheper-ka-re; a name containing the exact same elements as we had discovered in the Egyptian name of (the Greek version) Chephren …. Thus, as far as names go, Sesostris I (Kheper-ka-re) is as equally likely as Chephren (Kha-kheper-re) to have been Chenephres, the traditional f/father-in-law of Moses.


Then there is the further seemingly identifying element of Sphinx obsession in the case of 'these' prolific builders. This is quite obvious with Chephren, in his building of the Great Sphinx of Giza. And it is again obvious in the case of Sesostris I, from his building works, because he was an obsessive builder of sphinxes. For example: …:

Gold was brought also from mines east of Koptos and hard stone from the nearby Wãdi Hammãmãt, where, in Sesostris I's thirty-eighth year, an expedition of more than seventeen thousand men quarried the blocks for sixty sphinxes and one hundred and fifty statues.

There is also the fact of the 12th dynasty's extension of empire into Ethiopia, where tradition has prince Moses playing so important a rôle.

But the most likely reason for Sesostris I's being the pharaoh whom Moses last served before his flight is that the high official Sinuhe, the 'Moses' of Egyptian folklore, was the servant of Sesostris I. Professor Anati is amongst many who have perceived what are in fact quite startling likenesses between the Exodus account of Moses' flight to Midian/ Arabia and Egypt's account of Sinuhe …:

"The account of Moses in the land of Midian [Exodus 2:15-25] describes how he settled there for several years and formed a family .... Apparently the biblical account also corresponds quite closely to an Egyptian text ... which tells the story of Sinuhe, an officer of Pharaoh Amen-em-het I who lived in the harem and served the hereditary princess. It seems that he committed a violation of some sort, and when the Pharaoh died Sinuhe feared his successor. He fled into Asia, 'in the land of Yaa near the desert', where he was welcomed by a local chieftain.

He took the chieftain's eldest daughter as his wife, raised a family, and tended his father-in-law's pastures and flocks. Finally he was called back to Egypt and returned to his homeland from exile. The chronicle of Sinuhe contains many elements in common with the biblical account of Moses, who escaped to Midian, and his father-in-law, Jethro. It is hard to believe that these similarities are pure coincidence. It seems, instead, quite legitimate to hypothesize that the two accounts have a common matrix that cannot have originated later than the twentieth century B.C". [sic]….

Before we fill out the historical aspects further, and bring to a conclusion the 4th dynasty in its relation to the 12th - and both in relation to prince Moses - we need to conclude our analysis of Moses' name.

The Name 'Moses' (Part Two)

Is it possible to merge the name Sinuhe with the Egyptian name for Moses? And can the former throw any light on the meaning of the latter? I think that the name Sinuhe…, when unravelled, may provide a needed clue. The first part of Sinuhe is variously given as Si …, or Sa …, and translated as 'Son of ...'.

Combining Yahuda's element Mw (i.e. Mu or Nu) with the Sa element from [Sinuhe], we arrive at Sa-mu or Sa-nu, 'Son [or Child] of the Nile', the very same conclusion that Yahuda had reached though via different means. Perhaps 'Child of the Water' ('Water- baby') is more accurate. We can easily discern in the name Sinuhe the two elements Sa-nu …, meaning 'Son [Child] of the Water.' Now I suggest that Sinuhe (var. Sanehat, Samehit) is composed of these same two elements, Sa and Mu (Nu), in reverse (quite a common feature of Egyptian names), with the addition of the theophoric: either Hat, for the goddess Hathor (as in Sanehat), or Re. Originally, Sinuhe was probably something like Sa-nu-re. Now this is a genuine Egyptian name, being found, element for element, in the name of the Fifth Dynasty Pharaoh, N(e)userre, and the Fourth Dynasty Pharaoh, My-ce-ri[nus] (i.e., the Greek version of Menkaure).

Moses' full Egyptian name would therefore have meant, e.g: 'Child Drawn from the Water by Hathor', of which goddess pharaoh's daughter was apparently a personification: "She named him Moses, 'because', she said, 'I drew him out of the water'." (Exodus 2:10). Now notably we find in Egyptian mythology that Hathor was identified with the wet-nurse of Horus, the Moses-like baby god drawn from the marshes of the Nile Delta. And from this legend of Horus I suggest that the Greeks got their concept of Hermes, that is, Hor-mes, "Son of Hathor"; a name carrying exactly the same meaning as Sanehat.

Later, of course, the Yahwistic (monotheistic) Moses would have dropped from his name any Egyptian theophoric elements.


… Sinuhe had impressive official titles such as: "... hereditary prince, royal seal-bearer, confidential friend ... follower ... of the house of the hereditary princess, the greatly favoured, the royal wife." Petrie … claimed that these titles were of a very high rank, implying that Sinuhe was the son either of the king or of a great noble. And his position in the queen's household shows him to have been of importance, quite familiar with the royal family. That someone like Moses could realistically have become a prince of Egypt is affirmed by archaeologist J. Hoffmeier …. The Egyptian court, he says, did rear and educate foreign-born princes, who then bore the title "child of the nursery." Hoffmeier believes that Moses was one of these privileged foreigners, some of whom went on to serve as high officials in their adopted land.


We can now tabulate our 4th and 12th dynasty synthesis around Moses in the following basic fashion:


Fourth/Twelfth Dynasty Integration


1. Cheops = Amenemes I = Moses' f/grand-father;

2. Chephren = Sesostris I = Moses' f/father-in-law;

3. {Mycerinus?} = Sinuhe = Moses.




The following is also highly tentative and incomplete:


According to this scenario, supported by Exodus 4:19, there would be no room for the conventional 12th dynasty sequence of pharaohs Amenemes and Sesostris (3-4 of each name). …. The founder-pharaoh Amenemes I is, I now suggest, the same person as the mighty Amenemes III; whilst Sesostris I is to be equated with the equally mighty Sesostris III. The name Kheper-ka-ra is common, in variant form, to Sesostris I-II-III …. And Courville refers to the "striking discrepancy between the latest monumental inscription of Sesostris II (10th year) and the total figure as given by Manetho (48 years)", as indicating that there was "something unusual in the situation at this point" …. The unusual situation I suggest is simply that Sesostris II stands in need of his alter ego's. Murphie thinks that Amenemes III, as a master of water management, is a candidate also for the legendary Menes himself, unifier of Egypt …:

Ammenemes III ... was a particularly strong ruler, renowned for massive projects involving water storage and channelling on a gargantuan scale. He is credited with diverting much of the Nile flow into the Fayuum depression to create what became known as lake Moeris (the lake Nasser project of his time).

Indeed if a newcomer to Egyptian history was challenged to identify a candidate for the legendary Menes (organiser of a system of dykes and channels to bring the river Nile under control) on the basis of works alone, (ignoring the remarkable similarity in names), he could do far worse than nominate Ammenemes for the role. ...

The grim-faced depictions of the 12th dynasty kings, Amenemes III and Sesostris III, have been commented upon by conventional and revisionist scholars alike. Thus Cambridge Ancient History has noted with regard to the former …: "The numerous portraits of [Amenemes] III include a group of statues and sphinxes from Tanis and the Faiyûm, which, from their curiously brutal style and strange accessories, were once thought to be monuments of the Hyksos kings." For revisionists, these pharaohs can represent the cruel taskmasters who forced the Israelites to build using bricks mixed with straw (Exodus 5:7, 8) …. This combination of materials can clearly be seen for example in Amenemes III's Dahshur pyramid.

Now when one slots Amenemes III into his rightful place at the beginning of the 12th dynasty, there emerges a very comprehensive picture of the régime under which captive Israel toiled. Amenemes III, according to Grimal …:

"... was respected and honoured [sic] from Kerma to Byblos and during his reign numerous eastern workers, from peasants to soldiers and craftsmen came [sic] to Egypt. This influx [sic] of foreign workers resulted both from the growth in Egyptian influence abroad and from the need for extra workmen to help exploit the valuable resources of Egypt itself. For forty-five years [Amenemes] III ruled a country that had reached a peak of prosperity ... and the exploitation of the Faiyûm went hand in hand with the development of irrigation and an enormous growth in mining and quarrying activities".

The Faiyûm was a huge oasis, about 80 km S.W. of Memphis, which offered the prospect of a completely new area of cultivable land. Exodus 1:14 tells of the Israelite slaves doing "all kinds of work in the fields." Mining and quarrying also, apparently, would have been part of the immense slave-labour effort. Grimal continues …:

"In the Sinai region the exploitation of the turquoise and copper mines reached unprecedented heights: between the ninth and forty-fifth years of [Amenemes III's] reign no less than forty-nine texts were inscribed at Serabit el-Khadim .... The seasonal encampments of the miners were transformed into virtually permanent settlements, with houses, fortifications, wells or cisterns, and even cemeteries. The temple of Hathor at Serabit el-Khadim was enlarged .... The expeditions to quarries elsewhere in Egypt also proliferated ...". ….

Here, surely, was all the organisation and slave work force needed for the building of the (contemporary) Giza pyramids as well!

Amenemes III, it seems, was a complete dictator …:

"The economic activity formed the basis for the numerous building works that make the reign of [Amenemes] III one of the summits of state absolutism. Excavations at Biahmu revealed two colossal granite statues of the seated figure of [Amenemes] III .... Above all, he built himself two [sic] pyramids, one at Dahshur and the other at Hawara…. Beside the Hawara pyramid were found the remains of his mortuary temple, which Strabo described as the Labyrinth".



The Jealousy of Chenephres


We already alluded to the fact that pharaoh Chenephres had become jealous of prince Moses - who had been growing in popularity with the people because of his military successes - and had set his mind upon killing Moses. There is a perfect parallel here to Saul's jealousy of David for the very same reasons (I Samuel 18:6-9).

But perhaps the jealousy of Chenephres went even further than all this, to regicide. The assassination of Amenemes I may be implicit in Grimal's likening of the growing civil disorder in the reign of Teti - founder of the 6th dynasty - leading to Teti's assassination, to what happened during the reign of Amenemes I ….

The whole drama may have been re-told again in the legend of Osiris and Set (Seth)…. Let me briefly recall that legend, inserting real names in square brackets after the names of the gods and goddesses:

"Osiris [Khufu/Amemenes] was King of Egypt. Set [Chephren/Sesostris], his brother, urged on by jealousy, resolved to dethrone him and put him to death. The faithful Isis [wife of the King], discovered this criminal design and succeeded for some time in foiling the plots of Set, but his skilful intrigues ended by triumphing over Osiris whom he treacherously assassinated. Set then seized the throne of Egypt".

Enter Horus the Avenger whom we have already associated, in his infancy, with Moses. The chronology is a bit askew, but it is only a legend after all:

"... Isis [here, Moses' Hebrew mother] then gave birth to Horus [Moses] in the marshes of the Delta, near the sacred town of Buto, with the help of the goddess Hathor [Meresankh III, Moses' f/mother]. .... Horus, brought up by his mother amid a thousand dangers, driven to seek a sanctuary in the desert [Midian] to escape the implacable pursuit of Set, grew at last to maturity, and dethroned Set".

Clearly this story has its basis during Moses' career as a prince of Egypt.

Grimal has noted other striking likenesses, too, between Teti and Amenemes I, though he would conventionally date the former about half a millennium earlier than Amenemes. They shared the same throne name, Sehetibre, and the same Horus name, Sehetep-tawy (meaning "He who pacifies the Two Lands") ….


Linking the 4th/12th Dynasty with the 6th Dynasty


We may be able to trace the rise of the 4th dynasty's Khufu (Cheops) to the 6th dynasty, to the wealthy noble from Abydos in the south, called Khui. The latter had a daughter called Ankhenesmerire, in whose name are contained all the elements of Mer-es-ankh, daughter of the Pharaoh who became Moses' adopted mother and married Chephren/ Chenephres. This family relationship may again be duplicated in that Piops I (Cheops?) had a daughter Ankhenesmerire whom his 'son' Merenre I (Chephren/Sesostris?) married. These characters, it seems, have been dupli/triplicated.

Further possible links with the 6th dynasty are the likenesses between the latter's founder, Teti, and Amenemes I, as pointed out by historians. Despite the little that these admit to knowing of Teti - and the fact that they would have him pre-dating the 12th dynasty by half a millennium - historians have noted that Teti shared some common features with Amenemes I, including the same throne name, Sehetibre, the same Horus name, Sehetep-tawy ("He who pacifies the Two Lands"), and the likelihood that death came in 'both' cases through assassination ….


It is noticeable that both the 6th and 12th dynasties ended with a woman ruler, respectively Nitocris and Sobek-neferure, whom I suspect was the same person, suggesting that there were no more male members left of the royal family (after the biblical plagues) …:

The Turin Canon lists Nitocris immediately after Merenere II, describing her as the 'King of Upper and Lower Egypt'. This woman, whose fame grew in the Ptolemaic period in the guise of the legendary Rhodopis ... courtesan ... was the first known queen to exercise political power over Egypt.

Nofer-ka-ra (Nefer-kare) of the 6th dynasty may have been the ill-fated 'first born son' who died in the tenth plague (Exodus 12:29), since it was during his lifetime that Egypt was plunged into darkness. ….

Whilst W. Stiebing would, contrary to Courville's view, flatly reject any notion of contemporaneity between the 6th and 12th dynasties …:

This revision, however, ignores the fact that while Palestinian EB III pottery is found in Sixth Dynasty tombs, it is not found in tombs belonging to the supposedly contemporaneous Twelfth Dynasty. It also ignores stylistic differences and developments in tomb reliefs and inscriptions which indicate that the Old and Middle Kingdoms were not contemporaneous .... there might be some substantial architectural evidence to support Courville. Thus J. Osgood proposes a possible close relationship between the 6th and 12th dynasty mortuary temples …:

"Edwards certainly opens the possibility unconsciously when referring to the pyramid of Sesostris the First ….:

"... and the extent to which its Mortuary Temple was copied from the Mortuary Temples of the VIth dynasty, as illustrated by that of Pepi II …is clearly evident."

The return of a culture to what it was before ... after some three hundred years must be an uncommon event. The theoretical possibility that the two cultures, the Twelfth and the Sixth Dynasties were in fact contemporary and followed a common pattern of Mortuary Temple must be borne in mind as real".



Why Were The Pyramids Built?


With Imhotep, the first pyramid builder, architect of the wondrous Step Pyramid at Saqqara, now identified as a Hebrew, as the biblical Joseph, then perhaps we might find a clue in the Book of Genesis to the why of at least this particular pyramid. My suggestion in the past has been that the Step Pyramid, built by Joseph-Imhotep, was “a ‘material icon’ of his father Jacob’s vision of a ladder (or staircase or ramp) to heaven”. Genesis 28:12: “[Jacob] had a dream in which he saw a stairway resting on the earth, with its top reaching to heaven, and the angels of God were ascending and descending on it”.

And this seemingly esoteric view actually has some degree of support from conventional Egyptology. We read at the beginning the real truth about how the pyramids were built. Well, in 2003, Joyce Tyldesley provided, in her book on the pyramids, what she considered to be: Pyramids: The Real Story Behind Egypt’s Most Ancient Monuments


The Old Kingdom pharaohs believed that death was the beginning of eternal life. That they would rise from their tombs to shimmer in the deep blue night as an unsetting star. Or that they would sail endlessly across the watery heavens in the shining boat of the sun god Re. To help them on their way they built pyramids: huge ramps or stairways charged with the most potent magic, leading directly to the sky. These massive monuments came to symbolize the might of a powerful nation ruled by a semi-divine god king.

[End of quote]


I think that Tyldesley is not far wrong on this one. But it was originally inspired by Hebrew, not by Egyptian, genius.

{Pharaoh Unas of the 5th dynasty also talks about a ‘ladder to heaven’ (in the Pyramid Texts), and he was possibly as well a king of a famine era}.

Given Joseph’s/Imhotep’s pioneering pyramid building, coupled with Davidovits’ view that: “… the architects possessed at least two concrete formulas: one for the large structural blocks and another for the white casing stones … earlier pyramids, brick structures, and stone vases were built using similar techniques”, then might not the genius Joseph, a Hebrew, have brought this cement technology to Egypt?


Finally, I find highly plausible Robert Bauval’s thesis below about the Giza pyramids (


The Orion Mystery

The three pyramids of Giza are a perfect reproduction of the 3 stars of Orion’s belt:

  • the pyramids, the three stars of Orion are not perfectly aligned, the smallest of them is slightly offset to the East.
  • All three are slanted in a Southwesterly direction (Note the exact match in the animation).
  • Their orientation to the Nile recreates Orion’s orientation to the Milky Way.
  • The layout of the pyramids, and their relative sizes were a deliberate design plan, and not the result of three king’s enormous egos as been preached as dogma by the so-called Egyptologists.





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