Joseph in Ancient Egyptian History

by Mary Nell Wyatt

(Originally published in Newsletter No. 7, April 1994)

It's rather amazing how historians and archaeologists have managed to "explain away" evidences which validate the Biblical account. Myths and legends derived from actual events of Biblical times are found all over the world, such as the multitude of "flood" stories, but to the unbeliever, these only "prove" that the Bible was influenced by these myths. The fact is that these myths are satanic corruptions of the truth- designed by Satan to convince man that, in his own cleverness, he is smarter than God. And ultimately, this kind of thinking leads a person to deny entirely the existence of God and the truth of the Bible. 

Yet, no one seems to think it strange that every known civilization has had some type of religious system. If there is no God, where did this idea of "religion and gods" come from? It came from the original truths known by the original post-flood family of Noah. And the facts are that the evidences found validate the Biblical account, not the myths and legends. But there will always be those who simply will not see.

Some of these great evidences relate to the story of Joseph in ancient Egypt. Inscriptions on a monument to Horemheb, a pharaoh several years after the Exodus, provide evidence of the story of Joseph's pharaoh's invitation to Jacob's family to come to Egypt and live. It tells of a community of shepherds from the "north" asking Egypt to allow them to pasture their cattle "as was the custom of the father of their fathers from the beginning". 

There is also a picture in the tomb of Tehuti-hetep in Bersheh which has a picture of a herd of Syrian cattle entering Egypt with the inscription: "Once you trod the Syrian sands. Now, here in Egypt, you shall feed in green pastures. (Light from the Ancient Past, by Jack Finegan.)

The evidences which parallel the story of Joseph in more detail are the focus of this newsletter. But first, we must set the stage. According to our chronology, taken from the Biblical record, the flood was in about 2348 BC. Abraham left Haran in about 1921 BC, about 427 years later. 

Soon after this (we don't know exactly how soon) he and Sarah went to Egypt because of a famine in Canaan. The Biblical account is extremely short on the subject of Abraham's visit to Egypt (Gen. 12:10-20) but we do learn that Abraham misled the pharaoh about who Sarah was- he told him she was his sister. This was partially true since she was his half-sister, but she was also his wife. 

The pharaoh, because of her beauty, took her to his palace. (Gen. 12:12-15). The king paid Abraham well for Sarah (verse 16) but God intervened, causing some types of plagues to fall upon the pharaoh. (verse 17). When the pharaoh figured out the cause for these inflictions, he called Abraham to account, asking him why he lied to him about Sarah. (verse 18, 19). He then ordered his men to escort Abraham and his entourage out of Egypt. (verse 20). Egypt at this time was already a rich nation, for it was at this time that Abraham became rich in cattle, gold and silver, given to him as payment for Sarah. (Gen. 13:1,2). 

And there is good evidence that it was at this time that the regulation prohibiting the Egyptians from eating, drinking or fraternizing with foreign shepherds was instituted. (Gen. 46:34). Josephus relates that Abraham was responsible for bringing the knowledge of arithmetic and astronomy to the Egyptians, which may also be true. We believe the time of Abraham's visit to Egypt was early in the 1st Dynasty. It would be about 200 years later when Joseph would be elevated to his high position in Egypt, second only to the pharaoh. And in the 3rd Dynasty, there appears on the scene a most incredible individual in the ancient records- a man called "Imhotep".

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