(First published in newsletter # 3 in 1993)
The year is about 1446 BC. The Egyptian pharaoh, his army and all the members of all the priesthoods have left in great haste. They are enraged that their entire slave population has fled, even though less than a week earlier the pharaoh and his ministers had virtually begged them to leave. The Egyptians lavished the great multitude of slaves with objects of gold, silver and precious stones as supposed “payment” for all the work they had done as slaves.
EXO 12:35 And the children of Israel did according to the word of Moses; and they borrowed of the Egyptians jewels of silver, and jewels of gold, and raiment: 36 And the LORD gave the people favour in the sight of the Egyptians, so that they lent unto them such things as they required. And they spoiled the Egyptians.
The Hebrew words in this text that are translated “borrow” and “lent” are the same word, “shaal”. And this word simply means “ask”, “demand” “request”, “give”, etc. Only 6 times in the entire Bible is it translated “borrow” and 2 times as “lend” or “lent”. But 87 times it is translated “ask” and in excess of 60 times is it translated to read other words which mean simply “ask”. The verses are telling us that they “asked” for these things, as God had told them to do so they would not be a destitute nation. And the Egyptians were quite happy to comply with whatever they asked. The fear of God was in the Egyptians after the terrible plagues which had befallen them by the Hand of the Israelites’ God.
Back home in Egypt, the entire country is trying to recover from the catastrophic destruction the country has suffered as a results of the plagues brought by the God of the slaves, “I AM”. Every family is in mourning for the loss of their first born. Nothing of this magnitude has ever been experienced by these people.
The crown-prince, the young boy, Tutankhamen, is being mourned by the entire nation and preparations are being made for his burial. But mostly, all is at a standstill until the pharaoh, the ministers of state, the army and the priesthoods all return with the slaves. Throughout the land, the continuous sound of mourning can be heard from sun up to sun down, and even throughout the night.
The pharaoh, as soon he ascended the throne 8/9 years earlier as emperor, had taken as his “great wife and queen” a lady of foreign blood by the name of Tiy. When he had been co-regent in Memphis, he had been married to a royal daughter, as was tradition. It was this royal lady who had given birth to his firstborn, Tutankhamen. But it was the “common” foreign wife whom he elevated to “great king’s wife and queen” as soon as he was “boss”- and this lady was to play a big part in later events of Egyptian history after the Exodus. But now, back to the story at hand.
Soon, word arrives at the palace in Memphis that is too fantastic to be believed- the entire Egyptian army, all of the priesthood and the pharaoh himself have all perished! All drowned in the Red Sea while in pursuit of the slaves! The confusion, grief, fear and agony of the entire country is impossible to imagine. But very quickly, it becomes utmost in the minds of those remaining that knowledge of what has happened must be kept secret.
The previous emperor had secured the position of Egypt as the world power. All nations feared as well as respected Egypt. They all, for the most part, brought their tribute regularly to the palaces, and Egypt had want of absolutely nothing. She had no need to ever go to war for the nations feared her great army. If word of what happened here became known, Egypt could lose her control over her vassal territories and that would mean financial disaster.
There is a miraculously-preserved record of the last official correspondences of the pharaoh who drowned in the Red Sea, as well as correspondences with the later pharaoh, and even Tiy. These are contained in the group of tablets found in ancient Amarna, called the Tel-Amarna Letters. In these were found correspondences to this pharaoh of the Exodus, Amenhotep 3, from the Babylonian king, Kadashman-Enlil and the Mittanni king, Tushratta, which serve to verify other world events of this time.
The greatest contender for world power, after Egypt, at the time of the Exodus was the rapidly emerging Hittite Empire. And the greatest Hittite king, Suppiluliumas, had just taken the throne a few years earlier. The Egyptians were sitting ducks if word leaked out…
Time passed; the Egyptians tried to pick up the pieces and go on with their lives, but it was difficult. The only thing they had in their favor was the fact that they were so isolated from the rest of the world. No one could enter the country without being detected far before they arrived. Careful precautions were taken to see that the true situation was not discerned by others.
There was but one person in Egypt who had the royal right to seat a new pharaoh- this was the original great royal wife of Amenhotep 3- the mother of Tutankhamen. But, her situation was not an easy one. Remember, when her husband took the throne as emperor, he took a non-royal wife and she became his favorite.
“My Husband has died and I have no son!”
The true, royal wife of the royal bloodline took the only step she knew to take to secure strong leadership for the country and provide protection and security for Egypt. She wrote a letter to the Hittite king. We can learn about this in an inscription left behind by the Hittite king, Suppiluliumas’ son:
“…When the people of Misra [Egypt} learned of the destruction of Amqa, they were afraid, for to make matters worse their master, Bibhuria had just died and the widowed queen of Egypt sent an ambassador to my father and wrote to him in these terms:
`My husband is dead and I have no son. People say that you have many sons. If you send me one of your sons he will become my husband for it is repugnant to me to take one of my servants to husband.’
When my father learned this, he called together the council of the great: `
Since the most ancient times such a thing has never happened before.’
He decided to send Hattu-Zittish, the chamberlain,
`Go, bring me information worthy of belief; they may try to deceive me; and as to the possibility that they may have a prince, bring me back information worthy of my belief.’
While Hattu-Zittish was absent on the soil of Egypt, my father vanquished the city of Karchemish…
The ambassador of Egypt, the lord Hanis, came to him. Because my father had instructed Hattu-Zittish when he went to the country of Egypt as follows: `
Perhaps they have a prince, they may be trying to deceive me and do not really want one of my sons to reign over them.’;
the Egyptian queen answered my father in a letter in these words; `
Why do you say `they are trying to deceive me?’ If I had a son, should I write to a foreign country in a manner humiliating to me and to my country? You do not believe me and you even say so to me! He who was my husband is dead and I have no son. Should I then perhaps take one of my servants and make of him my husband? I have written no other country, I have written to you…”
There is more, but for the sake of space, we will just tell you what happened. Suppiluliumas finally believed her and sent a son. However, that son never made it to Egypt. No one knows what happened to him exactly, but we do know what happened next.
However, before we leave this most important letter, we must point out that the most convincing evidence of all is the fact that the queen who wrote the Hittite king makes it quite clear that all who remain in Egypt are her “servants”! Is this not a perfect description of the situation that would have resulted after all the royal ministers, priests and army had drowned in the Red Sea?
The scholars assign the name of the dead pharaoh “Bibhuria” as being that of “Tutankhamen”, for one of his names was “Neb-kheper-ru-re”; however, we believe it should be transliterated “Neb-maat-Re”, which was one of the names of Amenhotep 3. Either way, the evidence is equally strong. Either the royal wife or the royal daughter (who was symbolically “married” to Tutankhamen) of the dead pharaoh would have retained the royal right to do this. So it really doesn’t matter which wife wrote the letter as far as the evidence goes.
Rivalry for Power
Meanwhile, time passes in the devastated Egypt. Petty quarrels arise between the true royal wife and the favored foreign wife of the dead pharaoh. It becomes a power struggle- but one that must remain confidential in order that the outside world not realize the vulnerability of Egypt.
There is not clear evidence as to the exact events which next occurred, but there is enough evidence to generally know. The winner in the power struggle was the favored, foreign wife, Tiy. She took a man as her husband who was named “Eye” or “Ay” – a man who left behind evidence that he assumed the role of pharaoh for about 3 to 4 years, but a man who is not later recognized as a true king of Egypt in inscriptions of later kings. It was this man who officiated at the burial of the crown-prince, Tutankhamen. The evidence clearly shows that Tutankhamen was buried very hastily and that most of the items of his burial were not originally his. The names had been changed from that of his father to his- remember, his father had drowned in the Red Sea and had no burial.
Tiy was still the power behind the throne, even though Eye was “officially” the pharaoh. And within 3 or 4 years, she had elevated her son to the throne, as soon as he was old enough. He was known initially as “Amenhotep 4”, but is best known today as “Akhnaten”. He was a true son of the dead pharaoh, but as his mother was of foreign descent, he was not a legitimate contender for the throne. Only in a situation such as Egypt was in at that time could he have ever taken the throne.
And while history records Akhnaten as being the pharaoh, it is evident that it was really his mother who was directing from the background. Those of you who have done any research on Egypt are obviously aware of Akhnaten, and that Egyptologists credit him with shifting the religious system of ancient Egypt from one of many gods to a system of monotheistic worship. And to a degree, this is true. Let’s return to ancient Egypt and the events there…
Tiy, who is now wed to Eye, or Ay as some spell it, finally places her son in the role of emperor. For a while, he is known as Amenhotep 4. He is obviously quite young- one letter found at Amarna from Tushratta, the Mitanni king, tells him to be sure and listen to his mother. The ancient inscriptions and statues depict him as a strange, pot-bellied man married to a beautiful wife named Nefertiti, with a large family of young girls. But in fact, the evidence seems to show that all of this was in fact a cover-up; a made-up story to lend credibility to the fantasy that Egypt had a strong pharaoh calling the shots. The chronology of the ancient records give this fact away by conflicting accounts of the ages of his children, as well as other chronological blunders.
With no priesthood left for the worship of the numerous gods of Egypt, Tiy institutes, through the so-called authority of her son, the pharaoh, a reorganization of the religious system. All prior gods are forgotten. After all, hadn’t they all failed miserably when pitted against the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob? It is the god called “Aten” that is now worshipped- but, in fact, this “Aten” is just another form of the old sun-god, “Amen” and “Re”. And apparently, “Aten” was the god of Tiy’s native land. Since records show that Tiy was worshipped as a goddess in Nubia, and Aten was the Nubian god, we feel safe in assuming she was of Nubian descent. Also, the art-style of this period reflected the Nubian style.
The old capitals of Memphis and Thebes are forsaken by the new ruling house and a new capital is built at a site between the other 2 cities. It is called “Amarna”. And it is here that Tiy, Eye (Ay), Akhnaton and his “family” all reside.
After a few years, the tomb of Tutankhamen is reopened and new furnishings are placed in the tomb- new items which contain the name of the new pharaoh in order to please the gods according to their beliefs. All of these sort of actions are taken for a dual purpose- to comply with their religious beliefs which require each emperor to care for the burial of their ancestors, and also to cover-up the true events which took place. The shame that Egypt suffered at the tremendous losses at the Hand of the Great, I AM, were to be carefully obliterated from any surviving Egyptian records.
Meanwhile, in Palestine, the Egyptian vassals are in trouble. The Tel-Amarna Letters show that these cities, which were under Egyptian control, were being threatened by the Amurru and the Hittites. They pleaded with the pharaoh to send troops, but as one letter stated, no help had been received for 20 years. The situation was deteriorating fast. The Egyptians still had no army to speak of. After all, every trained military man had been lost in the Red Sea, and with no military leaders, even an army of able soldiers would be virtually worthless without proper leadership and training.
In time, the Egyptians finally rebelled against the strange leadership which had sprung up under the guidance of the foreign queen, Tiy. Evidence shows that the entire Amarna family probably died as a result of a plague. Whatever really happened, the events which took place in ancient Egypt back then are a strong testimony to the Biblical record- no matter how hard the historians may try to interpret them otherwise.
“The Omen of the Sun”
The evidence we will deal with in this scenario is something which takes us into the time that the great multitude finally entered the promised land. Remember the Hittite king, Suppiluliumas who received the letter from the Egyptian queen? Murshilish, his son, left a record of an event which occurred in his 10th year- and it is important to establish about when this event would have occurred.
The reign of Suppiluliumas is known to be in excess of 30 years and that he came to the throne just before the Exodus. We know that after he died, another son took the throne for a very short period of time, but died of a plague. The records show that this first son held the throne less than a year. Therefore, if Suppiluliumas died about 30 years after the Exodus, his next son died within that same year, and the son writing of this event reigned 9 full years and was in his 10th when it occurred, this would place the time of the event at about 40 years after the Exodus. I know this is getting complicated, but its important to show when the 10th year of Murshilish would have been.
The event of which Murshilish wrote was “an omen of the sun” that was so sinister that the dowager queen, Tawanna, interpreted it as portending the eminent disaster of the entire royal house. What was this “omen of the sun”? Scholars want to assign it to being an eclipse, but many historians deny that possibility. The fact is that these ancient peoples were all well familiar with eclipses- they possessed the ability to calculate when they were to occur.
There is but one event which perfectly fits the description of an omen of the sun, sufficiently frightening enough to cause the queen to view it as an evil omen- an omen that occurred about 40 years after the Exodus– and we can read of that event in the Bible:
JOS 10:12 Then spake Joshua to the LORD in the day when the LORD delivered up the Amorites before the children of Israel, and he said in the sight of Israel, Sun, stand thou still upon Gibeon; and thou, Moon, in the valley of Ajalon. 13 And the sun stood still, and the moon stayed, until the people had avenged themselves upon their enemies. Is not this written in the book of Jasher? So the sun stood still in the midst of heaven, and hasted not to go down about a whole day.
The “long day” of Joshua, soon after they had entered the promised land after 40 years of wandering, is recorded in the records of the Hittite king, Murshilish!
“The Plagues of the Egyptians”
Murshilish provided another evidence for us, which verified another Biblical fact- let’s go to the Scriptures, where Moses is speaking to the people after they had come out of Egypt:
DEU 7:1 When the LORD thy God shall bring thee into the land whither thou goest to possess it, and hath cast out many nations before thee, the Hittites, and the Girgashites, and the Amorites, and the Canaanites, and the Perizzites, and the Hivites, and the Jebusites, seven nations greater and mightier than thou;
Moses tells that the Lord will cast out the people who inhabit the promised land, and that the Hittites are among those who will be cast out. Now, let’s go back to the same chapter in Deuteronomy where Moses tells them how the Lord will accomplish this:
DEU 7:15 And the LORD will take away from thee all sickness, and will put none of the evil diseases of Egypt, which thou knowest, upon thee; but will lay them upon all them that hate thee.
What exactly were these evil diseases of Egypt?
DEU 28:27 The LORD will smite thee with the botch of Egypt, and with the emerods, and with the scab, and with the itch, whereof thou canst not be healed.
Whatever these diseases were, we know for sure that they were fatal. Now, let’s read what Murshilish wrote in his “Plague Prayers”, a prayer to the Hittite storm-god- and remember, Murshilish was Hittite king at the time Joshua led the people into the Promised Land:
“What is this that ye have done? a plague ye have let into the land. The Hatti land has been cruelly afflicted by the plague. For twenty years now men have been dying in my father’s days, in my brother’s days, and in mine own since I have become the priest of the gods….
My father sent foot soldiers and charioteers who attacked the country of Amqa, Egyptian territory. Again he sent troops, and again they attacked it….
The Hattian Storm-god, my lord, by his decision even then let my father prevail; he vanquished and smote the foot soldiers and charioteers of the country of Egypt. But when he brought back to the Hatti land the prisoners which they had taken, a plague broke out among the prisoners and they began to die.
When they moved the prisoners to the Hatti land, these prisoners carried the plague into the Hatti land. From that day on, people have been dying in the Hatti land.”
The Hittites caught the plague from the Egyptian soldiers who were stationed in Amqa, Egyptian territory above Lebanon. And those who contracted the plague, died. Again, we can read a contemporary account of the events exactly as stated in the Bible!
We will conclude our discussion of the Exodus with the evidence found at Jericho. In the past few years, atheistic archaeologists have tried to discount the original work done at Jericho which showed clearly that it was destroyed in precisely the manner described in the Bible by Joshua, and also the iron-clad evidence that proved who the kings of Egypt were at the time of the Exodus. Due to lack of space, we must recommend that you obtain the book “New Bible Evidence” by Sir Charles Marston (1934) to read about the tremendous amount of information which verifies the destruction of Jericho at about 1407 BC. We will however, give one quote as an example, from p. 135:
“So great was the importance of verifying the date of the destruction, that in 1930, Professor Garstang and his wife cleaned and examined no fewer than sixty thousand fragments from the strata of the burned city. At the expedition in the following year (1931) another forty thousand fragments were treated in a similar manner. They all attested to the same date, that of the middle of the late Bronze Age (1400 BC) before the infiltration of the Mykenean ware.”
But equally exciting was the discovery of the cemetery of this city, as we read on p. 136:
“In due course a number of tombs were opened that proved to belong to the century 1500- 1400 BC. and included royal tombs of the period. There were found a succession of eighty scarabs bearing the cartouches of the eighteenth dynasty Pharaohs. In one was unearthed scarabs bearing the joint names of Princess Hatshepsut and Thotmes III (1501- 1487 BC.) and in another two royal seals of Amenhetep III….
As the series of dated scarabs all come to an end with the two royal seals of Amenhetep III, there is evidence, quite independent of the pottery, that the city also ceased to exist during that period.”
Amazing, isn’t it, that all this fantastic evidence is hidden deep within old books collecting dust in libraries? But it is there! And we only have touched on the basics of this information- there is much more out there.
We realize that it isn’t necessary to salvation that we know all of these things about ancient history- but I personally can say this: no matter what, nothing can ever shake my faith in the Biblical account because I know it is completely and totally factual. And God has preserved all these evidences of His Truth that none of us should have any reason for doubt. There was a particular time when Ron was discouraged in this work. And at that time, he read a verse- a verse that kept him going all these years:
ISA 45:3 And I will give thee the treasures of darkness, and hidden riches of secret places, that thou mayest know that I, the LORD, which call thee by thy name, am the God of Israel.
Even though Cyrus was being addressed in this verse, it is a promise to us all. He will not leave us in doubt.
RECOMMENDED REFERENCE READING
“Archaeology and the Bible” by George A. Barton
“New Bible Evidence” by Sir Charles Marston
“A History of Egypt” by James Henry Breasted
“Ancient Records of Egypt II” by ”
“Life in Ancient Egypt” by Adolph Erman
“The Ancient Egyptians” by Sir J. Gardner Wilkinson
“The Monuments of Senenmut” by Peter F. Dorman
“X-Raying the Pharaohs” by Jas. E. Harris & Kent Weeks
“Egyptian Mummies” by G. Elliot Smith & Warren Dawson
“Mummies, Myth and Magic” by Christine El Mahdy
“The Ancient Near East, Vol.1”, ed. by James B. Pritchard
“Ancient Egyptian Literature, vol. II” by Miriam Lichtheim
“Records of the Past, vols. 1-6” ed. by A. H. Sayce
“Tutankhamen” by Christine Desroches-Noblecourt
“The Scepter of Egypt, vol II” by William C. Hayes
“When Egypt Ruled the East” by Geo. Steindorff & Keith Seele
“History of Ancient Egypt, vol. 2” by George Rawlinson
“Akhenaten” by Cyril Aldred
“Akhenaton the Heretic King” by Donald B. Redford