[b-hebrew] The Exodus Mention in Egyptian Annals ?

Walter R. Mattfeld mattfeld12 at charter.net
Wed Aug 25 20:32:47 EDT 2004

Russell Gmirkin wrote :

"I wouldn't put much stock in Manetho's account as historical, especially 
his second story (as there appears no historical evidence for a Ramesside 
return of Hyksos to Avaris!)."

Dear Russell,

I suspect that Manetho's Osar-Siph, who is identified with Moses, is 
actually a garbled Amenhotep IV (Akhenaten). It was the latter who closed 
Egyptian temples for 13 years, diverting their funds to Aten temples while 
he retired southwards towards Nubia to Akhet-aten, just as Amenophis retires 
to Nubia. Some have suggested Manetho's Amenophis is but a Greek form of 
Egyptian Amenhotep, I suspect their right, and that Amenhotep IV is being 
recalled with this name.

We know from the Amarna letters that Abdi-Heba of Jerusalem requested 
permision to abandon Jerusalem if Akhenaten/Amenhotep IV wasn't going to 
send an army to put down the Apiru revolt in Canaan, and that he wanted to 
settle in Egypt. So Manetho's statement about Asistics from Jerusalem 
settling in Egypt is not that far-fetched We also have wall reliefs from the 
time of Horemheb when he was a general under Tutankhamun, showing Asistics 
requesting asylum in Egypt, reporting that their towns have been destroyed 
and they are starving. So perhaps these two late 18th Dynasty events are 
being "recalled" in Manetho's statement that Asiatics have entered Egypt.

The problem is that we don't where Akhenaten or Tutankhamun (or 
'Generalisimo' Horemhab) settled them, "_if_ they allowed" their entry. We 
also know that Amenhotep IV DID eventually send an army into Canaan to put 
down the Apiru revolt, but Breasted judged the enterprise to have been 
largely ineffective. Perhaps Manetho's statement about Amenophis sending an 
Army to put down rebelling Asiatic recalls this event ? Another interesting 
sttaement by Manetho is that upon the initial outbreak of the 13 year revolt 
at Avaris by Asiatics, Amenophis withdrew his army and waited till the end 
of the period to attack. This mirrors somewhat an Amarna letter from 
Akhenaten to a rebel chieftian, warning him that pharaoh does NOT want to 
have to send an army into Canaan, devasting it, and that he had better mend 
his ways "or else". Evidently this "reluctance/forbearance" on Akhenaten's 
part, only encouraged more open rebellion amongst the Apiru. So, I do see 
"possible" real events being recalled in a somewhat garbled manner by 
Manetho of Amenhotep IV's mishandling of the Apiru rebellion in Syria, 
Phoenicia and Canaan. Of interest about Manetho's understanding that the 
rebellion is going on within Egypt, is the rhethoric of some earlier 
pharaohs like Thutmoses III who declared they were "extending the borders of 
Egypt" in conquering Asia (Canaan, Syria and Phoenicia). Could perhaps 
Egypt's Amarna border have been visualized as in Syria and hence the Apiru 
revolt was misconstrued by Manetho as being within Egypt proper (the Delta) 

Manetho never utters a word about Amenhotep IV's introduction of the ONE 
god, the Aten/Aton. He only mentions Osar-Siph of Heliopolis desecrating 
Egyptian gods and temples. To a degree, we cannot fault Manetho- he 
apparently was NOT aware that Horemheb and his Ramesside successors, the 
19th Dynasty, had officially "corrupted" Egyptian history by excising the 
Atenist pharoahs from the official records. A wall mural in one Ramesside 
tomb shows Amenhotep III (father of Amenhotep IV/Akhenaten), then Horemheb, 
then Rameses I, the intervening Atenist pharaohs, Akhenaten, Smenkhkare, 
Tutankhamun and Ay are all missing in the scene. The official Ramesside 
annals also skip the Atenist names as well.

I find it all rather amazing that Manetho was able to present what he did of 
the events leading up to the birth of 19th Dynasty and its Ramesside 
pharaohs, considering the "deliberately falsified texts" he was working 

I am unaware of any evidence that Asiatics from Jerusalem were admitted and 
settled at Avaris (Tell ed-Daba or Qantir). The earliest known name at Dab'a 
is of  Pharaoh Horemheb on a lintel from a temple he dedicated to the god 
Seth. Now if "General" Horemheb allowed the Asiatics asking for admittance 
to Egypt  in his wall relief (cf. his so-called General's tomb) to settle at 
Dab'a, maybe this event was recalled by Manetho ? Did Horemheb use Asiatics 
to build the Seth temple ? Amenophis' son, Rameses "might" be Manetho's 
confusion, caused by the Ramesside records, that skip the Atenist pharaohs ?

Quite clearly, if Osar-Siph is but a garbled aspect or "alter-ego" (Dr Jekyl 
and Mr. Hyde) of Amenhotep IV/Akenaten, then he isn't Moses. Moses was famed 
for "re-introducing" Monothesim to the Hebrews. Yet Manetho knows nothing of 
Akhenaten's (Amenophis) similar efforts at One god worship. Obviously the 
Ramessides had done a "through job" on eliminating from the records 
available to Manetho, the Atenist experiment.

What is of interest regarding the "Osar-Siph-is-Moses-tale," is that it is 
set in the period of the Apiru reconquest of Amarna era Canaan. A loyal 
Byblos mayor had warned Akhenaten that the grand design of the Apiru was to 
take ALL of Syria-Canaan to the border of Egypt, and make it free of 
Egyptian overlordship. I note that Yahweh had promised this same general 
area to Abraham the Hebrew. And for those scholars arguing a Conquest of 
Canaan ca. 1406 BCE, the Hebrews were probably in Shechem, a city accused of 
Apiru activity under its leader Labayu.

I have noted earlier, that Judges 3:5-6 stated that Israel married the 
Canaanites and worshipped their gods. If Israel is at Shechem during the 
Apiru wars, then perhaps she is intermarried with Apirus. That is to say the 
Conquest of Canaan in the Bible is recalling the Apiru conquest, the 
Canaanite mothers and fathers telling these stories to their Israelite sons 
and daughters in Iron IB and early Iron II ?

Regards, Walter

Walter Reinhold Warttig Mattfeld y de la Torre, M.A. Ed.
mattfeld12 at charter.net

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