Probably in Connection with the Establishment of the Jewish Religion.


By Dr. August Eisenlohr,
Privatdocent of the Egyptian Language at the University of Heidelberg.

Read 4th June, 1872.

[Extracted from Transactions of the Society of Biblical Archæology, vol. 1 (1872), pp. 355-84.]

It has long been the object of Egyptologists to discover in the numerous Egyptian monuments still remaining in stone and papyrus, traces of the Israelites, which might show us the events related in the Old Testament from an Egyptian point of view.

So it was regarded as a great progress when Champollion detected on the south wall of the great temple of Ammon at Karnak, among the numerous enemies subdued by king Sheshonk, the name of Judah Melek, that is King of Judah. Nevertheless some Egyptian students acknowledge therein only the designation of some place in Palestine.1 The Papyrus Anastasi I, of the time of Ramses the Great, furnished us with a whole series of Jewish localities, many of which are known to us from the Holy Scriptures, and in another document we have presented the actual account of the travels of an Egyptian Mohar (some kind of superintending officer),2 or perhaps the poetic picture of the sufferings and toils of such an office.3 M. Chabas thought he had dis- [p.356] covered the Hebrews in the designation of a foreign people, called Aperiu or Apru (Pap. Leide, 348, [glyphs], Pap. Leide, 349 [glyphs]), who, like the Shardana and Kahak, that were engaged in the military service of the Pharaohs, were employed by the Egyptians in civil commissions. So we find the Aperiu occupied in dragging stones for a stronghold of Ramses II, probably on the eastern frontier of the land (Pap. Leide, 348), and we see them again making a basin4 on the south of Memphis (Pap. Leide, 346). With the Seneniu, Mesuu, and Marinau, the Aprau [glyphs] appear as a corps belonging to the temple of Heliopolis at the time of Ramses III (Great Harris Pap. 31, 8; Chabas Voy., p. 212). Already at the time of Tothmes III, we find between the numerous tribes of the upper Retennu, who have been captured in the town of Megiddo ([glyphs] Magda) two different Apra ([glyphs]) distinguished by the determinatives of the great and the small bird ([glyphs]).5 De Rouge (Etude sur divers monuments du regne de Toutmes III), considers these two Apra as corresponding to the two Ophra [glyphs] which were situated in Manasse and in Benjamin. That we are not wrong to search for the land Canaan and the Hebrews among the Retennu is proved by a passage in the Great Harris Papyrus (IX, 1-3), where it is said by Ramses III: "I have erected to thee (the god Ammon) a secret house in the land of Djaha like the horizon of the heaven, the House Ramses hak An in Kanana as an abode of thy name. I sculptured thy great statue reposing in its interior; the land Sati ([glyphs]) of the Retennu these come to it with their tributes."

But under Tothmes III the Hebrews, if we understand by [p.357] this designation the descendants of Jacob, had been already a long time in Egypt, and can therefore not be identified with these Apra. Under Ramses IV, whose reign began certainly forty years later than the exodus of the Israelites, we find the Aperu [glyphs] still in Egypt. These Aperu, denoted as belonging to the Petiu antiu ([glyphs] auxiliaries), are ordered, to the number of eight hundred men, to form part of a large colony in the valley of Hamamat (cf. Lepsius, Denkmaeler III, 219). It therefore seems rather hazardous to identify completely the Aperiu with the Hebrews of the Bible, though we have an analogous case in the Shardanas, who at the same time constituted a body of auxiliaries in the Egyptian army, and were a nation, with which Egypt had been in war.

Efforts have not been wanting also to discover some reference to the events of the Exodus in the Egyptian records, especially in some of the Sallier and Anastasi Papyri. Mr. Heath's learned work on the so-called "Exodus Papyri," deserves due acknowledgment, but his interpretations will not stand a severe criticism; and to day, instead of reading in these Papyri the story of the Exodus, we use some of them to picture forth the time of these events.

M. Lauth (Moses der Ebraeer, 1868) would contribute to the biography of Moses by the comparison of two papyri (Anastasi I. of the British and Pap. 350 of the Leyden Museum). The latter, the diary of an officer, contains a rather illegible passage, in which M. Lauth read the accusation of Hui, a theodule, against another priest (soten) called Mesu, who had taken a bath in the Aolath, and had eaten fishes, which was forbidden to priests. As the Mohar, the hero of the I. Anastasi, is described (27, 3, 4) as one having eaten fishes and taken a bath in some water, whose name is destroyed, M. Lauth transferred all that was related of the Mohar to this Mesu, whom he considered to be nobody other than Moses himself. Ingenious as this combination was, it was not accepted by the men of science.

But should we really despair of finding in Egyptian accounts anything relating to the events which, however they may be presented in the Biblical narratives, yet at any [p.358] rate gave rise to the establishment of a new religion, and to the emigration of a great people? I was of this opinion till the winter of 1869-70, when I was permitted to study in Alexandria the Great Papyrus which the late A. C. Harris obtained during one of his journeys in the valley of the Nile, just as it was discovered by the Arabs, with a great number of other papyri, in the rubbish of a tomb behind the temple of Medinet-Abu. This Papyrus, the most beautiful, best preserved, and largest of any yet discovered, has now been, I am happy to state, recommended for purchase by the Trustees of the British Museum. It consists of 79 great leaves of 51 to 42 centimetres. The Papyrus contains the history of the exploits of Ramses III, dated in the thirty-second year of his reign. It is in the form of a royal address to the officers of the government and the people. After a long enumeration of all that the king has spent on the gods of Thebes, Heliopolis, and Memphis, and the other gods of Upper and Lower Egypt, in buildings and offerings, the last five sheets are filled with the account of his wars, maritime expeditions, and the colonisation of the peninsula of Sinai. As an introduction to this account the king relates his accession to the throne and the occurrences which preceded this event. As this text is of historical value, I may be permitted to quote it verbally, transcribed from the hieratic into hieroglyphics and accompanied by the transliteration and interlinear translation.

Leaf 75.—Line 1.

(1) [glyphs]
djet an suten sekhet ra user ma mer anion ankh udja scneb pa ncter aa kher uaruu
Said by the King (Sun strong by Truth, beloved by Ammon) life, welfare, health, the god great to princes


[glyphs] (2)
hautiu na ta menliu entheteraii Shardanau shermertu aslitu Shardana
governors of land archers horsemen allies numerous

Line 2.

anch u neb na ta en tamera sotemuiiu dua amaniu tenu em naiu akliuu a arua em suten en rekhiu un pa ta en
living all of land of Tamera (Egypt) Hearken I let see my exploits which I performed as King of men. It was the land of

Line 3.

Kem kha em ruti sa
Egypt thrown outwards man


neb em akaf an mm rohar renpetu kennuu kher bat er bauu ketecbu an pa ta en Kem
every at his pleasure not (was) to them a head years numerous having pre-eminence over matters other. Was the land of Egypt

Line 4.

em uaruu em autn ua semamu sonf em bna sbuau Kii bauu kbepeiai hasaf em renpetu sbuiu au a arsu bek ua Kbara
to princes in districts one killed his second in envy of power. Other events took place thereafter in years distressing had made himself chief one Chara


Line 5.

em dull em uar au duf pa ta terf em kherpu er hatf ua samuf ketiuf hura kheriitiiu au a aruu na neteru ma ketenu na retu
among them as prince he brought the land whole in subjection to his conduct sole he assembled his companions plundered their treasures. They made the gods in likeness (of) the men

Line 6.

an semattu hotepu em khennu raupauu kher ar na neteru
not were presented offerings in interior (of) temples. There were the gods


[glyphs] (13)
penauu er hotep er dut ta akat ma sekerf merti
overturned to lie down on ground his pleasure like his plan in harmony.

Line 7.

ausenu emen sa senu pir em hatseuu er liek a. u. s. en ta neb er setuu uar ra user sha sotepenra meramon a. u. s. sa ra ra set nekht merer amoumeri
They appointed their son arising from their limbs to prince l. w. h. of land every on their seat the great Sun rich in diadem chosen by Ra, beloved by Amon, I. IV. h. son of Ra (Sun, valiant Seti loving, beloved by Amon)


Line 8.

auf em Khepera sutekh kheft neshti tuf auf sept ta terf unu beshetu auf semat na khauku unu em ta mera auf sab
He has as Khepera-Sutehh in his tempest he put in order land whole (which) was revolted he executed the abominables (who) were in the land Mera he purified

Line 9.

ta asbutu aat en Kem auf . em hek a. u. s. tati er se turn auf
the throne great of Egypt he has as chief I. w. h. of both lands at the place of Tum. He


dut hiu sepded uiiuu seliaitu er (am)amu ea neb sonf unuu sliera auf smen raupau kher neter hotepu er semau en paut
made the faces upright (which) were perverted to... recognise man every his brother (what) was decayed he set up the temples with the offerings for serving the nine

neteru ma entaiisenu auf dehenia er erpat em se sebu aua rohar aa en tau Kem em selian en
gods according to their institutions. He designated me for crown-prince on the seat of Seb l am head great of the lands of Egypt in administration of

Leaf 76.—Line 1.


ta terf dema em ba ua anf hotep em akhutituf ma paut neteru armief aartu ent asra khenit em paif suten uaa ha tep ateru hotep em
land whole together at once he set in his horizon like the nine gods. Were made to him the ceremonies Osiris navigating in his royal bark on the surface of the river he descended to

Line 2.

het tuf lieh amenti atef au amon neb neteru ra
his house eternal in the west of Thebes. The father Ammon, lord of the gods, Ra,


tum ptah neferha ssliaua em neb tati er se uteta shepa aa en atef
Tum, Ptah the good looking, they elevated me to lord of hath lands upon the seat of my engenderer. I took the dignity of the father

Line 3.

[glyphs] (21)
em ahahaiu au ta hotep mf hu kher hotepu auu resh tnu en maa em liek a. u. s. tati ma har hekf tati er se asra shauk
with exultation. The land was pacified. It was enjoying on offerings. They were delighted on seeing me as chief l. w. h. of both lands like Horus who rules both lands on the seat of Osiris adorned with


Line 4.

[glyphs] (25)
em atef kher araru klinuma sha shuti ma tatenen snodjem kem tend] a har tebuk akhuti m khekeruu ma tum
the crown and the snake diadems. I put on the attire of the two feathers like Tatenen, sitting down on the throne clothed Harmakhis, with ornaments like Tum.

Explanatory Remarks.

1. Though there is employed (75, 1) only one of the cartouches of Ramses III, there can be no doubt that the speaker is not the king Ramses II, who had the same prenomen, but Ramses III, Hek An. In many other passages of the Papyrus, especially in the exordium (1, 1), both his names are used. His other name ([glyphs]) Ramses Hek An, means engendered by Ra, prince of An (Heliopolis). The king received this name probably on account of the numerous presents he offered to the temples of Heliopolis, which fill not less than nineteen plates of the Papyrus (pl. 24-42).

2. The Shardana, prisoners taken from the people of Shardana, who appear among the enemies of Ramses III, constituted a corps of auxiliaries in the Egyptian army.


3. The literal translation of [glyphs] kha em ruti, is, "thrown out." This meaning is proved by the citations in Brugsch's Dictionary, p. 852. The sense must be here, to have gone to ruin, to decay.

4. Sa neb em nkaf, every one at his pleasure, means there was no law in vigour, every one did what he liked.

5. The word [glyphs] rohar is probably the same with [glyphs] (Brugsch, Worth., p. 833) ro, or also rohar, platform ceiling (not atrium). The meaning of the word, which occurs again in the last line of plate 75; the uppermost, the chief, the head, is not doubtful. There was no common head of the country for many years.

6. For the word [glyphs], hauu, the adopted acceptation, time, is not applicable, 1. 3. We must give the word a more general signification: circumstances, events, &c.

7. The uaruu [glyphs] the highest officers in military and in civil services as well as the princes of foreign nations. We have an uar en cheta, prince of the Cheta, (3 Sail. 4, 3), uar uen punt, princes of Punt (Dumichen, Histor. Inschriften II, Taf. 14), uar en lihu prince of the Libu (Menephtah text, 1. 13).

As a high position in the army we meet the lam (3 Sall. V, 2; Great Harris Pap., 75, 1). A royal prince has the functions of [glyphs] madjaiu, chief of the life guard (Lepsius, Konigsbuch, 418). The uar en nut [glyphs] is the commandant of the town (Papyrus Abbot Maspero, 13, 6), and in the judicial trial the uaj'u, sometimes with the apposition of aaiu (the great) is the collective name of the magistrates (Pap. Abbott Masp., p. VIII, 3, and p. IX; Pap. Judic. Turin, p. IV, 1, 2). We are therefore right to draw from all these applications the acceptation of prince or chief.

8. Much depends on the understanding of the group [glyphs]. The word is an uncommon one. The first sign is in the hieratic text; equally written with the [glyphs] in hek. chief, and similar also to the determinative of foreign [p.369] nations [glyphs]. (60 and 77 of the Great Harris Pap.) V. But the head of the crook in our sign is more curved backwards, than in the determinative of foreign nations, so that we prefer the transcription [glyph] to [glyph]. On the reading of the group we cannot be doubtful, if we compare the examples which Brugsch in his Dictionary (p. 1719) has put together; aut is the name of this crook [glyph], but also the name of the goat and of the four human races [glyphs] autuu ra (Sarcophagus Seti I, plate VII, 1). With the determinative of town we find it only here. The Coptic jouot juht hahitatio, is possibly the same. It is not probable that we have in the word an allusion to the Shepherds (goats), but we understand by uauru m autu the independent chiefs of the principal towns or districts.

9. [glyphs] bua-shua is a homophony. The word [glyphs] combined with [glyphs] occurs (Denk. Ill, 72, 12) as a kind of priest, [glyphs] archon,6 chief (Prisse, Monument XXIX; Rhind Papyri, 32c.) So we may be allowed to see in the combined word bua-shua the invidious struggle for supremacy.

10. We shall perhaps be blamed for not translating the passage ua a arsu hek ua chara, by "he made himself the only chief a Syrian:" or, "he made himself chief one Syrian;" but only the following words em dim em uar inform us what the Syrian made himself, i.e. a prince (uar) among them. We are therefore obliged to take hek ua chara as the subject of the sentence. I cannot omit directing the reader's attention to the form [glyphs] which we find also in the next line [glyphs] prefixed syllable [glyphs] denotes sometimes the imperative (cf. Brugsch, Hierogl. Grammatik, p, 56, 184; Schwarze, Copt. Grammatik, ed. Steinthal, § 172). But it occurs also in relative and participial forms, as (Pap. Orbiney, XI, 8) [p.370] [glyphs] The people were coming into the country (Brugsch, Gram. p. 20). It is true that we find it very often before the verb (ex. gr., Pap. Orbiney, VI, 8; IX, 9; Chabas, Pap. Magique, p. 119), so that Dr. Brugsch makes a verbal form of it (cf. Brugsch, Worterbuch, p. 97, and Einleitung VIII). I believe this [glyphs], gives here sometimes to the following verb the character of a preterite. We find this [glyphs] with perfect character still in the Coptic language (cf. Schwartze, Copt. Grammatik, ed. Steinthal, § 148).

11. [glyphs] Ketiu, are labourers or followers. The negligence of the Egyptian writer in the application of suffused pronouns is evidently shown by the pronominal annex of Kheru, which seems to point at the Ketiu, while we can only refer it to the inhabitants of the country.

12. The sentence, au a aruu na neteru ma ketenu na retu, "they made the gods like the human beings," can have no other meaning than they degraded the gods, they held them in no peculiar veneration, they abolished the service of the gods. Two special moments of this degradation are exhibited: no more sacrifices were brought, and the gods, i.e., their statues, were subverted, so that they lay on the ground. The preposition [glyphs] tet, on, may complete the list of compound prepositions in Brugsch's Hier. Grammar, p. 91.

13. The phrase, akaf ma sekheif merti, "his pleasure like his plan in harmony," denote the capricious way in which the usurper devised and executed his plans. We find as before a sudden change of the pronoun in singular to the pronoun in plural, and again to the singular, so now (1. 7) the plural ausenu begins the new sentence. This cannot refer to the rioters, but only to the gods, who were laid down on the ground. As the speaker did not distinguish between the gods and their statues, he can ascribe the installation of the new king to the same gods whom he has just let fall down.

14. The expression, per em hat senu, is the peculiar phrase for divine origin, so that it is not possible to regard the new [p.371] king Seti nekht as the son of the rioters, as might appear at sight.

15. The name Khepera-Sutekh is a compound of the names of two gods, like the name Ammon-Ra. This compound name seems to invest the god Sutekh with the power of generation.

16. The [glyphs] Khauku, are the wretches, abominable criminals. The king uses this strong word to express his abhorrence of the sacrilegious faction.

17. There is a hiatus in the text after the word sehaitu. In the hieratic original we find the passage thus:


The stroke after sehai must be the rest of [glyphs] the reversed feet [glyphs] can belong to sehai, as participle passive; the following sign might be [glyph] er, ad, so that. Of [glyphs] the first two letters are wanting, which may be found in [glyphs]. Then we have: prevented to .... recognise. The [glyph] is in reference to auf tet hiu septet. If we refer it to sehaitu we must interpolate [glyphs] an not, for what remains indeed a vacant space.

18. [glyphs] there is decayed, ruined. So also must be translated the word in the two passages of the Abydos text (Maspero, 1. 16, 53), not zumauern, "wall up" (Brugsch, Worterbuch), but einreissen, "knock down."

19. [glyphs] is an example of a double plural; both words, which denote erpe, temple, are put in the plural form.

20. The word [glyphs] teheni, appears here with the uncommon determinative of the inkstand instead of the head [glyph]. It seems that the designation of the royal successor was performed by a written act.

21. [glyphs] ahahaiu (also pl. 78, 10 of the Papyrus) is the reduplicated form of [glyphs] (Brugsch, [p.372] Worterbuch, p. 108), with the intensified meaning of exultation.

22. It is a question whether we should translate [glyphs] hu kher hotepu, "enjoying in peace," or "enjoying on (with) offerings." In the former case it is only a repetition of the foregoing mi ta hotep, "the land was pacified."

23. [glyphs] hekf is used here as a verb, nevertheless it takes the enclosure of a king's name.

24. I have transcribed the sign [glyph] by se in the word seat, and by as in the word Osiris. The hieratic makes a distinction between [glyph] in the word seat and [glyph] in the word Asra.

25. I wish to draw attention to the [glyph] or [glyphs] k or kua, which recurs here three times. It can be nothing else than the form of the participle present of the first person of singular. M. Chabas, who calls this [glyphs] paragogic, has pointed out good proofs of it in his Voyage (Vocabul., No. 354).

The translated passage of the Papyrus contains the interesting story of a political and religious revolution, which was suppressed by Seti nekht, the father of Ramses III.

"Thus saith the King Ra user ma mer amon, life, welfare, health, the great god, to the princes, the governors of the land, to the archers, the horsemen, the Shardana, numerous allies, to every living person of the land of Ta-Mera. Hearken. I let you see my mighty acts which I have performed as king of men. The land of Egypt was in a state of ruin. Every man did as he liked. There was no head to them for many years, who might preside over other matters. The land of Egypt belonged to the princes in the districts. One killed the other through envy of power. Other events took place thereafter in years of distress. One Syrian chief had made himself a prince among them. He brought the whole land into subjection under his sole rule. He assembled his com- [p.373] panions, plundered the treasures of the inhabitants. They made the gods like the human beings. Offerings were no longer presented in the interior of the temples. The images of the gods were thrown down and remained on the ground. His pleasure was in harmony with his plan. They (the gods) appointed their son, the issue of their limbs, to be prince l. w. h. of the whole land on their seat, the great Ra user sha sotep en ra mer amon l. w. h. the son of Ra, Ra Setinehlit merer amonmeri, l. w. h. He was Khepera-Sutekh in his tempest. He arranged the whole land which had revolted. He executed the criminals who were in the land Mera. He purified the great throne of Egypt. He was chief of both lands at the place of Tum. He made the faces upright, which were perverted, so that everyone recognised his brother. What was decayed he set up, the temples with their divine revenues in order to offer to the nine gods according to their regulations. He designated me as crown prince on the seat of Seb. I am the great head of the lands of Egypt in the administration of the whole land together at once. He set in his horizon like the nine gods. There were made to him the ceremonies of Osiris navigating in his royal bark on the surface of the river. He descended to his eternal house in the west of Thebes. The father Ammon, the lord of the gods, Ra, Tum, the good-looking Ptah, they elevated me to the lord of both lands upon the seat of my engenderer. I received the dignity of the father with exultation. The land was pacified. It was enjoying on offerings. They were delighted on seeing me as chief, l. w. h. of both lands in the same manner as Horus rules both lands on the seat of Osiris, adorned with the crown and the snake diadems. I put on the attire of the two feathers like Tatenen, sitting down on the throne of Harmakhis, clothed with ornaments like Tum."

Thus we learn from our text that Ramses heh an was the son of Setinekht. This was already supposed by De Rouge (Stele Egyptienne, p. 189). A stele in the Museum at Bulaq (Mariette Catalogue, No. 544) had made this supposition more likely, for in the upper part of this stele the king Ramses III is represented making an offering to Osiris, [p.374] Horus, and Isis; and in the lower part a person named Mersatef is suppliant to the king Seti nekht and his royal wife [glyphs] Tui mer ast. This latter is called also the royal mother, so that we are right in believing she was the mother of the king Ramses III.

The succession and filiation between Ramses hek an and Ramses hek ma is equally confirmed by different passages of the same Papyrus7 where the king Ramses hek an recommends his son and successor to his subjects, and requests the blessing of the gods upon him.

After the long and glorious reign of Ramses II followed his son Menephtah I Hotephimat, whose reign was troubled by the invasion of the Libu and Nashuash, who were dwelling in the west of Egypt, and of their allies on the Mediterranean Sea.8 The king succeeded in defeating his enemies, killing a great number of them and conquering a rich booty. This was for some time the last great triumph of the Egyptian arms. The successor of Menephtah I, Seti II Menephtah, appears to have occupied his father's throne a very short time, as we find no higher date than his second year.9 Under, or after him, must have arisen a revolution which resulted in the anarchy which the text describes in the passage: "There was no head to them for many years, who might preside over other matters." We have no intelligence whether this anarchy was produced by the expiration of the dynasty, or by the dethronement of king Seti II; but as we find afterwards the same name, Ramses, which belonged to two of the kings of this dynasty, occurring as the name of about ten monarchs of the next; and as Ramses III, in the enumeration of his predecessors, joins his father Seti nekht immediately to Seti II, it is highly probable that the kings of the XXth dynasty were the direct descendants of the former one. It would be of great interest to know what were the occurrences which produced the anarchy referred to. The Harris Papyrus tells us nothing [p.375] about that, and we can only guess from some passages in the Anastasi Papyri, that there were combats in the land of Khara (Syria) which ended in this state of confusion. The people of Khara inhabited the east of Egypt (according to a notice in the very mutilated first page of Papyrus Anastasi III) between Djor and Aup.10 The general disorder of the country is indicated by the remark, that everyone did as he liked, that the land belonged to the uaru in the districts, who killed each other through envy of power. And we have seen above, that we must understand by these uaru em autu the chiefs or commandants of the principal towns or districts. It is probable that these chiefs existed also under the monarchical sceptre of the kings, but that now they had become independent. To this political crisis there is a very strong analogy in the story of the incursions of the Assyrian kings into Egypt, which is recorded on the cuneiform cylinders of Esarhaddon and Assurbanipal. The former king Esarhaddon instituted no less than twenty kings on the Egyptian thrones, who are met with again in the narrative of the conquest by Piankhi on the Barkal Stele.

This state of polyarchy, however, was of no long standing. There occurred other distressing events, which elevated a Syrian chief as prince among them. I think "among them" must be referred to the chiefs of the different towns, which till then were independent. This Syrian chief brought the whole land into subjection. He assembled his companions, plundered the properties, abolished the old religion with its numerous sacrifices, overturned the statues of the gods, and did just as he liked.

It would be of the highest interest if our further studies could tell us who this Syrian was, who is now met with for the first time in the annals of Egyptian history.

Though, as I have shown, Ramses III did not acknowledge as his predecessors any monarch between Seti II and Seti nekht, yet there are certain indications of the reigns of other kings in this interval. At the valley of Biban el moluk, where repose the kings of the XIXth and XXth [p.376] dynasty, are also found the tombs of two other kings, Amonmeses, and Menephtah Siptab, with his wife Tauser. These seem to correspond to the Ameneranes and the Thuoris (Tauser), who appear as the two last monarchs of the XIXth dynasty in the extracts of Manetho by Africanus and Eusebius. The tomb of Siptah and of his wife Tauser (No. 14) was afterwards appropriated by Setinekht, not by Seti II, as Champollion believed, confounding the very similar cartouches of Ra user shau ([glyphs]) and Ra user cheperu ([glyphs]).11 Siptah must therefore be placed before Seti nekht, but not before Seti II, while that Amonmeses also came before Setinekht and Ramses III, is proved by the peculiar disposition of the tomb of this latter Pharaoh (No. 11) in relation to the neighbouring tomb of Amonmeses (No. 10). The tomb of Ramses III goes at first straight forward, but afterwards makes a bend to the right to avoid breaking into the sepulchre of Amonmeses. Hence the tomb of the latter must have been finished before the excavation of the tomb of Ramses III.12 There remain very few monuments of these interpolated kings, Amonmeses and Siptah, but in the rich collection of antiquities which the antiquary and silversmith, J. Mayer, of Liverpool, presented to his town, is a large stone of libation with the names and titles of Amonmeses; his other name, Ra men ma eotep en ra [glyphs] twice erased. On this stone it is said of the king, that he established both countries, and that he was great in miracles at Thebes.

In the colonnade of the temple of Seti I, at Gurnah,13 is represented an adoration to the god Anunomra and to three royal figures, the queen Ahmes neferatri, the king Seti I, and his son the king Ramses II. The name of the offering king has been erased and replaced by the cartouche of king Siptah. On both sides of the inscription below were also royal names; at the right is now to [p.377] be seen the other name of Siptah (Khu sotep en ra), and at the left are two other cartouches, which [glyphs] may have contained the names of the dedicator of the monument. The lower of these cartouches shows a name which we can read Ramses hek uas, Ramses prince of Thebes, but also Amonmeses prince of Thebes. As there is no Ramses with the epithet hek uas, it is probable that we have here one of the names of Amonmeses. Thus then the upper cartouche should contain his other name ([glyphs]), Ra men ma sotep en ra, or ([glyphs]) Ra men ma sotep en ra meriamon. But what is to be seen of this cartouche in Lepsius Denkmaeler has this form which resembles the cartouche of Seti I Ramenma, but cannot represent the name of Amonmeses, because [glyph] never replaces [glyph], while for the larger legend Ra men ma sotep en ra ([glyph]) there is not room enough. So there still remains some doubt if we have really existing there the names of Amonmeses, which his successor Siptah began to erase and replace by its own.

On an inscription at Silsilis (Denkmaeler III, 202a), a high functionary, named Bai, is praised that he had "elevated the king Siptah to the throne of his father." So the father of Siptah must have been a king too, and perhaps just as Amonmeses was his father. The inscription of the above-quoted representation at the Gurnah temple, which may be ascribed originally to Amonmeses, states that the king was brought up by the goddess Isis in a place called Hakheb [glyphs] which was a town on the Nile near to Benisuef, now called [glyphs] h'ebe (Brugsch, Geogr. I, 230). The king Siptah assumes in that inscription the standard name of Sha em Meb, "risen at Kheb," so that both kings came from the same [p.378] town, which would strengthen the supposition that they might have been father and son.

I have given this long and not unnecessary exposition to exhibit all that the Egyptian documents offer for the identification of the Syrian chief, the hero of this Papyrus, from which it appears that one of the interpolated kings, Amonmeses, or Siptah, might be held to be the Syrian. There are, it must be stated, some objections which might be raised against this thesis.

First of all, as I have just shown, Amonmeses and Siptah came from the town of Hakheb, which seems contrary to the supposition that one of them might have been the Syrian hero, because Hakheb is a place in Higher Egypt. But we know that all the kings of Egypt considered the king Horus as their model. The birth and education of Horus by his mother Isis was effected at Hakheb,14 so that the designation "as educated and risen at Hakheb," might mean no other than that these kings were the real followers of Horus on the throne of Egypt. Then, again, it seems strange to find the tomb of the revolter and sacrilegist in the same valley, where the legitimate kings repose; but in an adjoining branch of the same valley is also found the tomb of king Ai, who was in an equal degree an unorthodox king, as he belonged to the worshippers of Atenra; this king was not forbidden to excavate his sepulchre in the royal burying place, and it is known at least of one of the unorthodox sovereigns (Siptah), that his tomb was afterwards appropriated by his vanquisher Setinekht, and the pictures of himself and of his wife painted over.

However, I must not proceed further in my deduction without calling my reader's attention to the striking analogy in which our text stands to a narration which Josephus, the Jewish historian, found in Manetho's work, and inserted in his polemical treatise contra Apionem (I, 26).

It is there related, that a certain king Amenophis was desirous of seeing the gods, just as a former king Horus did. A soothsayer of the same name, Amenophis, who was consulted by the king respecting this desire, gave him for an [p.379] answer that the king's desire should be fulfilled, when he had cleared the land of lepers and of all other unclean persons. So the king commanded all persons afflicted with such diseases to assemble together, and then sent them, to the number of 80,000, into the quarries on the east of the Nile (probably at Tura, near Cairo) to undergo compulsory labour. This the gods had forbidden, and threatened that, after a battle with the unclean, the latter would possess themselves of the land, and would govern it for thirteen years. So the king removed the people from the work in the quarries, and directed them to go to Avaris, which had been the residence of the Shepherds before their expulsion from Egypt. There the unclean chose a priest of Heliopolis, named Osarsiph, as their leader. He gave them commandments to worship the gods no longer, nor to refrain from killing and eating the animals held sacred by the Egyptians. Then he fortified the city of Avaris and prepared war against Amenophis. For this purpose he called to his aid from Jerusalem 200,000 of the Shepherds, who had been formerly driven out of Egypt under Tethmosis. Amenophis, not daring to attack so large an army, sent his son Sethos, or Ramses, a child of five years old, to a friend, and fled to Memphis, and from thence to the King of Ethiopia. Now the Shepherds or Solymites began to burn and ravage the land, to defile the temples, and to compel the priests to eat of the flesh of the sacrifices. The rebel-leader, Osarsiph, who was born at Heliopolis, and had formerly been priest of Oshis at that place, now changed his name into that of Moses. Afterwards the king Amenophis and his son Ramses, returned from Ethiopia with great forces, conquered the Shepherds and the unclean people, drove them out of the country, and pursued them to the frontier of Syria. In respect of these names, it must be observed that the son of Amenophis is once called Sethos, as also was Ramses, at another time he is called only Ramses. It is highly probable, however, that Seti nekht is really intended, to whom was applied by oversight the name of Ramses III, who followed him in the royal lists.

Chaeremon and Lysimachus15 give the same account in [p.380] all essential respects as Manetho, with a few modifications only. According to Chaeremon, the consort of Amenophis gave birth to her son Ramses in her flight, and he, when grown up, drove out the Jews to the number of 200,000 men into Syria. Lysimachus, the historian, places the event under the reign of king Bocchoris, who reigned much later; and makes Moses order his followers to destroy the temples and altars of the gods. In fact, he states that the city of Jerusalem derived its name from the Greek word [Greek], which signifies "temple spoils," and that this name was afterwards changed into [Greek].

The authenticity of the account of Josephus is not to be doubted, for if he had not found the story in Manetho, he would not have thought it necessary to denounce it as an absurdity and a lie. The circumstance of the lepers did not agree with his high estimation of the Jews, and with his theory of the identity of the Israelites with the Hykshos, which he needed to evidence the high antiquity of his nation.

It is scarcely necessary to point out the resemblances between the account of Josephus and of the Harris Papyrus. It is true that the whole introduction of the king's desire to view the gods, and of the consequent banishment of the impure men into the quarries, is not to be found in the Papyrus; and there is also depicted in the Papyrus a different condition of the kingdom. In it is not seen a king fleeing away before an insurrection; for long years there is an anarchy in the land; the chiefs of the districts become independent; and only after another change of events does a Syrian chief usurp the supremacy. Manetho's rebelling chief is no Syrian, but a priest of Heliopolis, with a good Egyptian name, Osarsiph (child of Osiris), Also, it can scarcely be doubted, that Manetho places his story in the reign of the follower of Ramses II, Menephtah I, whom he calls Amenophis or Amenophath,16 In the position of this Amenophis the extracts of Africanus, Eusebius, and Josephus (contra Apionem I, 15) are harmonious. On the contrary, the Syrian's dominion is abolished by Setinekht, between whom and Menephtah I there is still the reign of Seti II.


But the proof which seems to me conclusive for the identification of both accounts, is the manner in which the revolution itself is therein described. There is not a simple political change of regimen, but a combination of political and religious innovations. In the Harris Papyrus is related: "The Syrian assembled his companions and ransacked the property; the gods were made equal to the men; no more sacrifices were offered in the interior of the temples; the statues of the gods were overturned, laying on the floor." And Josephus, according to Manetho, says: "Osarsiph gave them a law no more to venerate the gods, nor to abstain themselves from the animals held sacred in Egypt." According to Lysimachus, Moses plainly gave orders to destroy the temples and altars of the Egyptian gods.

As it is not to be presumed that two revolutions of like character took place in so short a space of time, I am induced to see in the speech of the Egyptian king the same events which have been related by Manetho and Josephus described in a somewhat different manner.

It has for a long time been accepted by Egyptologists that the narration of Josephus refers really to the establishment of the Jewish religion and to the Exodus of the Israelites.17 If such is the case, and if Osarsiph, the chief of the rebels, be really Moses, which we understand was Manetho's opinion, then, accepting the supposition that both accounts treat of the same events, we seem obliged to take also the Syrian chief for no other than Moses himself.

However, trying to carry on this identification, we find some want of congruence between Manetho and the Papyrus on one side and the Holy Scriptures on the other. Moses did not abolish simply the sacrifices, as is related of Osarsiph and of the Syrian chief, but he altered the service which he found in Egypt. He did not entirely abolish the worship of the Egyptian gods, but substituted in their stead that of a single divinity, a dogma which already formed a part of the Hykshos' religion, who recognised one deity, under the name of Set or Sutech. However, [p.382] to the hostile Egyptian people and to their king, the alteration of the sacrifices and the abrogation of polytheism might appear as a complete abolition of the old religion. There is farther another difference in the description of the escape. The Biblical account seems to infer that the king was drowned in the Red Sea, whilst Manetho's Pharaoh chases the Jews to the Syrian frontier, and in the Harris Papyrus, Setinekht restores the land to its former order. Further, also, Osarsiph recalls the Hykshos from Jerusalem for his aid; but, according to the Old Testament, Jerusalem was in the hands of the Jebusites till after the immigration of the Jews, and David was the first who took it from them.18

All these discrepancies are insignificant compared with the different representations of the position of Moses. The Book of Exodus makes him the religious reformer and the chief of his own people. Manetho and the Papyrus give him, on the contrary, the dominion of the land of Egypt for a considerable space of time (thirteen years). This difference does not admit of mediation. If Moses = Osarsiph were really the chief of Egypt, and his countrymen the domineering class, that fact would never have been forgotten by the Jews, but would always have remained the pride of the nation, and the object of their favourite songs, and the boast of their historical records.

To surmount these difficulties I see no other way than to make a difference between the political head of this revolution and the religious reformer. The first cannot possibly have been Moses, but it is highly probable that the new religious institutions, which the latter introduced, had been adopted by that political chief, who was no other than one of those anomalous kings, Amonmeses or Siptah. If so, we must separate from the Manethonian records all that belongs to the political dominion of Moses, and leave to him only that which belongs to the Sylvian religious innovator.

Further, if it be accepted that the account of the Great Harris Papyrus treats of the establishment of the Jewish religion by Moses and the subsequent emigration of this [p.383] people out of Egypt, that event cannot be placed any longer under the reign of Menephtah I, but after the reign of Seti II Menephtah, because Seti nekht was the king who subdued the revolution and executed the rioters.

On this hypothesis we may fix with tolerable precision the date of the Exodus. On the south side of the outer wall of the Temple of Medinet-Abu is a calendar of feasts, which was probably made in the twelfth year of King Ramses III, as there is mentioned the victory of that sovereign over the Mashuash in his eleventh year. Now this calendar places the rising of the Dog Star (Sirius) in the commencement of the month Thoth. We know that the so-called sacred year of the Egyptians of 365¼ days began with this rise, as the common Egyptian year of 365 days commenced with the first of the month Thoth. A coincidence in the beginning of both forms of years happened only once in every 1460 sacred (or Julian) years, and, if this calendar can be trusted, that event took place in the twelfth year of King Ramses III. This would equal the Julian year 1322 B.C., which date for the twelfth gives 1333, the first year of Ramses III, and giving to Seti nekht the seven years, which the Manethonian lists ascribe to the last king of the XIXth dynasty, we thus come to 1340 B.C. as the time of the suppression of the revolution. Not long before 1340, therefore, took place the Exodus of the Israelites. Lepsius, believing that the so-called Era of Menophres, the coincidence of both forms of the Egyptian years, fell in the beginning of the reign of Menephtah, placed the Exodus in the ninth year of that Pharaoh, 1314. But Menephtah and Menophres are very different names, the one contains the god Ra, the other the god Ptah, so that the basis of Lepsius' reckoning would appear to be somewhat unsafe. Still, all things considered, it is remarkable that in the seventy-nine sheets of the Great Harris Papyrus, which contain so many details of Ramses Ill's reign, no mention is made of the coincidence of both these forms of years, which could not well remain unobserved.

Though I am not able to clear up all the difficulties which are raised by this newly-discovered document, nor to har- [p.384] monize its statements fully with the records of the Holy Scriptures, I am still confident that its testimony of more than 3,000 years ago will be thought of no little importance for the reconstruction of the history of that time, and of peculiar interest for all those who are occupied with Biblical and Archaeological studies.


1 Brugsch, Geographie, ii, pp. 57 and 62.

2 Chabas, Voyage dun Egyptien, 1866.

3 De Rouge, Revue Arch., 1867; Brugsch, Revue Critique, 1867, Aout-Sept.

4 This passage has been erroneously translated by M. Chabas (Melanges, ii, 148), "Qui trainent la pierre pour le soleil du soleil." [glyphs] Athu se pe ra means: to make a basin of Ka as athumenim (Great Harris, 79, 10): to erect habitations. We know also, a basin of Khonsu (Brugsch, Worterbuch, p. 1361).

5 See De Rouge, Album Photographique, pl. 51, 52.

6 Birch, Dictionary.

7 Cf. Gr. Harris 79, 6; 22, 4; 42, 10; 56, 9.

8 Cf. De Rouge Attaques dirigees contre I'Egypte, etc.; Rev. Arch., N.S. XVI, p. 35.

9 Brugsch, Histoire, p. 179.

10 Cf. Chabas, Voyage, p. 97.

11  Champollion, Notices, p. 451; De Rouge, Stele, p. 186.

12 Wilkinson in Murray's Handbook of Egypt, p. 351, No. 11.

13 Lepsius, Denkmaeler III 201 c.

14 Champollion, Notices, p. 173.

15 Josephus contra Apionem, I, 32-35.

16 Africanus.

17 See Lepsius, Chronologie, p. 317, et seq.; Brugsch, Histoire d'Egypte, p. 176; Unger, Chronologie des Manetho, p. 208, et seq.

18 Jos. X, 6; XV, 8-63; 2 Sam. v, 6.