|Biblical Egypt||by R. David Pogge|
It is standard procedure to include a bibliography of pertinent books on the subject of a manuscript. I took a tape measure to my book shelves and determined that 4 linear feet of shelving are filled with books on Egypt, and I have more than 25 feet of shelving devoted to Bibles, Bible commentaries, and other religious books. I don’t want to list them all those books, and nobody would read the list if I did, so I’m just going to comment on a few.
The two books on Egypt which I found most helpful when writing this manuscript were Peter A. Clayton’s book, Chronicle of the Pharaohs, and The Complete Royal Families of Ancient Egypt by Aidan Dodson and Dyan Hilton. They are by no means the only books I used, and there are lots of other interesting and valuable books, but these were the two most useful for this project because they had details not found in most other books.
Obviously, the Bible is the ultimate authority; but which translation? Many Bibles have useful study aids, which is why I have so many of them. The one that is most useful for comparing Biblical history with Egyptian history is the Archaeological Study Bible, a New International Version published by Zondervan. I'm not too particular about which translation to read because, except for a few radical paraphrases, any Bible will tell you everything you really need to know.
The 5-volume Conflict of the Ages series of books by Ellen White is a uniquely valuable Bible commentary. If one wanted to make a movie dramatizing Biblical history, Conflict of the Ages would be the perfect script. Volumes 1 and 2 (Patriarchs and Prophets and Prophets and Kings) present all the Old Testament stories in chronological order, merging events found in the historical books (1 & 2 Samuel, 1& 2 Kings, 1 & 2 Chronicles) with the words of the Old Testament prophets, putting all the events in context to make them more understandable. Volume 3 (Desire of Ages) is a biography of Jesus created by combining the parallel passages from all four Gospels and presenting them in chronological order. Each chapter heading tells which scriptures were used to present the narrative, and the index at the back tells which chapters address each Bible verse. Volume 4 (Acts of the Apostles) supplements the Biblical book, Acts, with additional historical information and commentary about 1st Century customs and pagan beliefs, making some of the more obscure passages in Acts easier to understand. Finally, Volume 5 (The Great Controversy) describes the rise of the papacy and the history of the Protestant Reformation. It presents European and American history in light of the struggle between Jesus and Satan to control the world. That perhaps makes it the most relevant book in the series.
There is a joke about a man who noticed that a certain railway station that had two clocks which differed by 10 minutes. The man asked the station master why they didn’t tell the same time. The station master answered, “If they both told the same time, we would not need two of them.” The same thing could be said about Egyptian chronologies I used.
“There is no consensus among scholars about exact dates in Egyptian history, nor about the proper way to spell names that, in hieroglyphics or hieratic, were indicated only by consonants.” 1
The seven Egyptian chronologies I used are shown in this table:
|Rosalie David & Rick Archbold||Conversations with Mummies||Black Walnut||Pages 184 - 185|
|Lorna Oaks & Lucia Gahlin||Ancient Egypt||Barnes & Noble||Page 16|
|Giorgio Agnese & Maurizio Re||Ancient Egypt||Barnes & Noble||Pages 24 - 35|
|Peter A. Clayton||Chronicle of the Pharaohs||Thames & Hudson||Pages 68, 98, 172|
|Aida Dodson & Dyan Hilton||The Complete Royal Families of Ancient Egypt||Thames & Hudson||Pages 287 - 294|
|Matthias Seidel & Regine Schultz||Art & Architecture Egypt||Barnes & Noble||Pages 550 - 553|
|Ian Shaw||The Oxford History of Ancient Egypt||Oxford University Press||Pages 480 -489|
There is some disagreement about Biblical chronology, too. The most generally accepted Biblical chronology remains the classic work by Bishop Ussher, The Annals of the World. It puts the creation of the world at 4004 BC.
There is an on-line, interactive Biblical chronology at http://timeline.biblehistory.com/home. It differs slightly from Ussher’s timeline, putting the creation of the world at 3954 BC, but what is 50 years between friends?.
The Rose Book of Bible Charts, Maps & Time Lines is somewhat useful for comparing Biblical events with world history; but their dates don’t always agree with other chronologies. You just have to accept some uncertainty when dealing with dates before 1000 BC.
When Adam had lived 130 years, he had a son in his own likeness, in his own image; and he named him Seth. After Seth was born, Adam lived 800 years and had other sons and daughters. Altogether, Adam lived a total of 930 years, and then he died.
When Seth had lived 105 years, he became the father of Enosh. After he became the father of Enosh, Seth lived 807 years and had other sons and daughters. 2
From the ages of fathers when they had sons in these, and subsequent, verses one can determine the time from Adam’s creation until Noah’s Flood. But although the Genesis 5:3 is accurate, it isn’t precise. It says, “When Adam had lived 130 years.” It does not say, “When Adam had lived 130 years, 2 months, 18 days, 7 hours, 32 minutes, and 15 seconds.” Because it is not precise, errors can accumulate when imprecise time periods are added.
Let me illustrate the problem with an example from American history.
Franklin D. Roosevelt was inaugurated as President of the United States on March 4, 1933. He died during his fourth term as president, serving only 13 of the 16 years to which he was elected. He was succeeded by Harry S. Truman, who served 8 years as president. The next president was Dwight D. Eisenhower. When did Eisenhower take office?
Some might say, 1933 + 13 + 8 = 1954. But the correct answer is January 12, 1953. How can that be?
Roosevelt was president from March 4, 1933 – April 12, 1945. That’s really only 12 years and 1 month (and 8 days). He had just started his 13th year when he died in office. Truman’s “8 year” presidency lasted from April 12, 1945 – January 20, 1953. (1953 – 1945 = 8.) But, when you think about it, it was 7 years from April 12, 1945, until April 12, 1952. It was another 8 months to January 12, 1953. So Truman actually served only 7 years, 8 months, and 8 days. Roosevelt only served 12 years, and Truman served only 7.
Therefore, 1933 + 12 + 7 = 1952. Wrong again!
Depending upon how one does the math, the answer can be off by plus or minus one year after just two presidents because of rounding errors. The uncertainty increases with every president.
In the same way, simply adding up the number of years each king of Israel ruled, or the number of years each pharaoh ruled, or how old a father was when he had a son, can lead to an accumulation of rounding errors that can get quite large quickly. Different scholars use different rounding techniques, which may be one reason why published Egyptian chronologies differ from each other more and more as we go back farther into history.
The accuracy of the Egyptian chronology is further complicated by pharaohs who defaced monuments of previous pharaohs in an attempt to expunge them from history, and uncertainty about how long certain pharaohs ruled as co-regents. Some scholars have tried to correct the record based on periodic cattle counts and Sed Festivals, which probably happened at fixed intervals—but not necessarily. Not to mention astronomical observations of eclipses and comets, which may correct the timeline, or make it worse if the comet in question isn’t the comet scholars think it was.
That’s why I consider all chronologies to be “ballpark numbers.” They are probably in the right ball park, but not the correct seat in the stands.
Often, a discussion between an atheist and a Christian goes like this:
Atheist: How do you know the Bible is true?
This is called circular reasoning, which is not a valid form of logic. It isn’t valid to use the conclusion to prove the premise if you have used the premise to prove the conclusion.
To prove the Bible is true, you need some external evidence. I was raised as an atheist but became a Christian later in life because I found that external evidence. When an atheist asks me why I believe the Bible is true, the conversation begins this way:
Atheist: How do you know the Bible is true?
In this book, I have given you historical evidence from secular Egyptian sources which confirm the historical accounts of Egyptian history in the Bible. The Bible is historically accurate.
The first nine chapters of First Chronicles doesn’t list the name of every descendant of Adam who lived up to, and including King Saul—but when your eyes glaze over reading all those names, it sure seems like it! As boring as those nine chapters are, it is important to realize that when comparing the names and places listed there with secular historical documents, they agree. The Bible accurately describes early human migration.
An estimate of the population of Egypt based on what the Bible says about family sizes, life spans, and reproductive ages agrees with Egyptian sources about the number of people involved in the construction of the pyramids.
The pyramids themselves are tangible confirmation of the Biblical claims that ancient people built massive structures without modern technology.
The Bible implies Joseph rose to power during the 15th or 16th Dynasty, when Semitic people (not native Egyptians) ruled Egypt. It is not just plausible, it is very likely, that Joseph could have risen to such an important position in the government at that time.
When Moses was born, Tuthmosis III had three Semitic wives, any one of whom could have had a daughter who would have been inclined to rescue a Hebrew baby from the Nile River because of their common heritage. The story is plausible.
The remarkable religious conversion of Akhenaten is a complete mystery to Egyptologists who don’t believe the Bible—but it makes perfect sense in the aftermath of the plagues, the death of Thutmose B (the firstborn son of Amenhotep III) and the Exodus. The Great Hymn to Aten is unmistakably based on psalms that Akhenaten would have heard when the Hebrews lived in Egypt. What more evidence do you need to convince you that the Exodus story in the Bible is true?
The lack of military campaigns by Egypt for years following the Exodus can be explained by the devastation of the Egyptian army in the Red Sea.
The conquest of Egypt by Babylon, Persia, and Greece predicted by Daniel is so accurate that some skeptics claim the Book of Daniel was written after the fact.
Secular history confirms the Biblical account of the battle between Pharaoh Necho and Nebuchadnezzar.
Secular history confirms large Jewish settlements in Egypt, just as the Bible says.
This book is filled with examples of how Egyptian history confirms the Bible.
Science also confirms the Bible. Every month for more than 20 years I have published several articles on the Science Against Evolution website presenting the latest scientific evidence that contradicts the theory of evolution. Since the theory of evolution is scientifically impossible, and cannot explain the origin and diversity of life on Earth, there must be another explanation. The most plausible alternative is the Genesis account.
One reason why we don’t present scientific evidence proving Biblical Creation on the Science Against Evolution website is because Science Against Evolution was incorporated as a secular, non-profit educational corporation. The second reason is that we realize atheists won’t be convinced by religious arguments, and will stop reading our articles before we get to the purely scientific evidence against the theory of evolution. The third reason is that the Institute for Creation Research website and the Answers in Genesis website both do an excellent job of presenting geological, astronomical, chemical, and biological evidence proving the Bible is true. There is no reason for us to duplicate their work.
There have been personal experiences in my life which have also helped to convince me that God exists and the Bible is true. I could tell you those stories—but skeptics would not believe them, so there is not point in sharing them.
Skeptics can examine the history I have presented in this book, and they can read the scientific arguments I have published on the Science Against Evolution website. They may, or may not, find the historic and scientific reasons I have for my faith convincing—but at least I have specific reasons for my beliefs. If you ask an atheist why he doesn’t believe the Bible is true, or why he doesn’t believe in God, the reason usually boils down to, “I just don’t believe it.” To me, that isn’t a very compelling argument.
Upbringing has some influence on how people come to believe what they believe. There are a few details about my life which have a bearing on how I came to be interested in the Bible and Egypt, which may affect how you receive this book.
My father was the medical director of a pharmaceutical company. As a mid-level executive he made enough money that we lived in a new two-bedroom home in a nice neighborhood. Since I had no brothers or sisters, I had one of the bedrooms all to myself. My parents were both alcoholics who paid little attention to me, so I spent most of my time alone in my room doing homework. Since both my parents were atheists, I never went to church, and was taught to look down on Christians.
Having no social activities to distract me, I got straight A’s in school. My favorite subject was science. Although the theory of evolution never really made sense to me, I accepted it because the only alternative was creation, which was only believed by stupid Christians. When I questioned my teachers about evolution, they could not answer my questions and just told me I would understand it when I got older.
In high school I fell in love with a girl who was crazy about the Beatles. I had never been interested in music up to that point, but because she liked the Beatles, I started listening to the Beatles and liked their music. I thought I could make her love me if I learned to play the guitar. I was wrong.
My guitar teacher, Rick Evans, quit his day job to go off with Denny Zager and record a song called, “In the Year 2525.” I replaced him as the guitar teacher when he quit. I soon fell in love with the lovely organ teacher who worked at the same music store. She was also a church organist.
I started going to church just to spend Sunday mornings with her. We got married, and I joined the church for purely social reasons. From my point of view, the church members were nice people, fun to be with, who believed a harmless lie about God.
When we had our first child, I had to take care of our baby in the mother’s room because my wife was playing the organ. The church PA system had only 2 microphones, one of which was a lavaliere hanging around the pastor’s neck. In this particular protestant denomination, a lot of the service involved singing. Singing was not a talent with which the pastor had been blessed. It was like being in Hell, sitting in the mother’s room, hearing the pastor’s off-key singing drowning out the rest of the congregation.
By this time (1975) I was working full-time as an electronic engineer, so I solved the problem by designing a new audio system. Engineers have a tendency to go crazy and add extra features to things they design, and I was no exception. I added the capability to produce radio broadcasts of the service if we should ever want to do that in the future.
A week or two after the new audio system was operational, a salesman from a local radio station offered the pastor a Sunday morning time slot for just $40 a month. He could not pass it up. He called to tell me I was to start producing the radio program the next month.
For the most part, the program was simply a recording of the service. It was broadcast two hours after the service ended; but since the listeners would not have a bulletin, I did a voice-over during the opening hymn setting the stage by telling the listeners the sermon title and how the sermon related to the Bible text. This forced me to read the Bible and listen to the sermon. That was the first time I realized that much of what the pastor was saying contradicted the Bible.
The church was offering a class on what the other denominations believe; but it really turned out to be a class on what was wrong with all the other denominations. Since my wife was busy playing the organ on Sunday morning, and I was busy producing the radio broadcast, we could not go to any other church to hear for ourselves what the other denominations taught.
Looking ahead, we could see that the class the next week would be about the Seventh-day Adventists. Since they meet on Saturday morning, my wife and I were free to go and listen for ourselves, so we could contribute our first-hand observations of that heretical denomination. As God would have it, the Adventist pastor preached on a passage that our pastor had preached on the previous Sunday. What the Adventist pastor said agreed with the Bible, whereas what our pastor had said did not. We went back to the Adventist church several more times and had the similar experiences.
This didn’t bother me too much because I didn’t believe the Bible was true, so it didn’t really matter to me if the pastor and the Bible agreed or not. But it was my voice on the introduction telling listeners that what the pastor was saying was an explanation of what the Bible said, and I didn’t want to sound like a fool to anybody who was paying attention.
My wife and I continued attending both churches, doing our church jobs on Sunday, and just sitting in the congregation on Saturday. The Adventist pastor’s preaching was consistent with the Bible, and he established the credibility of the Bible by explaining how many prophecies had been fulfilled. It all made sense. I was starting to believe the Bible.
But the Bible said the world was created in one week about six thousand years ago. I had been taught that the world was created more than 2 billion years ago, and began all by itself in a warm pond about 500 million years ago. (Their dates have changed since then—but that’s what evolutionists said back then.) I had accepted the evolutionary story, even though my scientific mind told me it was impossible.
The brand new Cable News Network had just begun, broadcasting Headline News every half hour. One of the stories was a hatchet job about a bunch of kooks in San Diego who established the Institute for Creation Research and a little Creation museum. This was back before the Internet, so I had to call Long Distance Directory Information to get their phone number and address. Then I called them and found out when they were open and drove to San Diego to visit the museum. I was amazed at how much scientific evidence there is that confirms the Genesis account of creation, and how much scientific evidence there is against the theory of evolution.
The accuracy of the fulfillment of Biblical prophecy, combined with the overwhelming scientific evidence against the theory of evolution, and some personal experiences which seemed to be the result of divine guidance, led me to accept the Bible and become a Christian. My wife, who had been a member of a Christian church all her life, realized that much of what she had been taught in her denomination was really secular humanism disguised as Christianity. We both were baptized and joined the Seventh-day Adventist Church.
More than 21 years ago I founded a secular, non-profit educational corporation called Science Against Evolution. Every month since then I have published a newsletter commenting on the current professional scientific journals which contain peer-review articles about the failure of the theory of evolution to explain different aspects of biology or paleontology. Those articles are all archived on the ScienceAgainstEvolution.INFO website.
I also produce a weekly religious program, The Word With Us, which can be heard eight times a week on KRSF Christian Radio, 89.3 MHz, in Ridgecrest, California. You can listen to KRSF streaming live anywhere in the world, or download transcripts and mp3 files of past programs, at the KRSF.NET website.
The KRSF.NET website also has a link to my other on-line books.
It is generally expected that a book have something about the author, so I included that previous section—but this book is really more about you than it is about me. You are the reason I wrote the book.
I want you to have a better understanding of the Bible, and a better appreciation for the historic role Egypt plays in it. I presume you wanted to know about Abraham and Joseph in Egypt, Moses and the pharaoh at the time of the Exodus. I hope this book met your expectations in those areas. I hope it exceeded your expectations by telling you other things you never knew about the role Egypt played in the Biblical narrative. I hope you were pleasantly surprised.
Now the book is finished, and my work is done—but maybe it isn’t over for you. You probably enjoyed learning some new things. Learning should be enjoyable. The question is, “Is the joy going to end now?”
You have learned some things. How is that going to affect your life? Are you just going to move on to another book? Or will the things you have learned in this book make your life better?
You’ve learned how God interacted with the Hebrews and the Egyptians. God never changes. He will interact with you in a similar manner. Did you learn from the mistakes the Hebrews and Egyptians made? Did you get a better appreciation of the importance of Jesus’ exhortations to be prepared for His Second Coming? Is this book going to encourage you make better decisions which will make a difference in this life, and the life to come?
I want to thank the several reviewers who read the fourth draft of this book and gave me positive feedback and encouragement. There are two reviewers I want to especially acknowledge.
JoAn Witzel found more spelling errors and typos than any other reviewer.
Ted Karageorge was the most helpful by pointing out confusing passages and omissions. His criticism definitely improved this book. He inspired me to add Sections 1.5 and 5.7, and clarify a few other sentences.
At the risk of sounding pompous, I need to acknowledge the assistance of the Holy Spirit by inspiring me to write this book, and miraculously directing me to various literary sources. I really do feel that I was guided when writing this book, and am extremely grateful for the opportunity to serve in this way.
R. David Pogge
|Back to Chapter 18||Table of Contents||On to Appendix B|
Footnotes:1 Zahi Hawass, Tutankhamun and the Golden Age of the Pharaohs, page 283