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Picking back up with Pharaoh Dynasty

We find that Egypt was the making of Mizraim, son of Ham. The name 'Mizraim' is the original name given for Egypt in the Hebrew Old Testament. Hebrews associated Mizraim with the land of Egypt also known as “the land of Hamites” as referred to in Psalm 105:23. In the Old Testament, the twofold form of matzor could signify the two Egypts; Upper Egypt and Lower Egypt.

A Correct Chronology by David Down and Dr. John Ashton on January 21, 2010

Because of the ambiguous, and often erroneous nature of the information upon which Egyptian chronology must be calculated, it is not possible to present a full list of Egyptian dynasties and dates.

Assyrian chronology is far more reliable than Egyptian chronology and should be used as the basis for chronological calculations, and as biblical chronology is very specific and is consistent with Assyrian chronology, the Bible also can be used as a reliable source.

The difficulty and uncertainty in assigning dates can be illustrated by the following list for Dynasty 12. The exact lengths of reign are problematical. The figures listed below are as given in the monuments, Manetho, and those assigned by Breasted and Petrie. The conflicting figures may convey to the inexperienced reader the problems facing scholars trying to arrive at correct figures for Egyptian chronology.

The great pyramid of Khufu is usually assigned a date about 2550 B.C., but a more realistic date should be about 1875 B.C. when Abraham visited Egypt. Josephus says that Abraham brought with him from Ur knowledge of astronomy and arithmetic which he taught the Egyptians.

It should be remembered that the monuments do not give the total length of reign, only the year of the king in which his latest monument was erected.

The above list of Manetho is as quoted by Africanus, who gives a total of 160 years to the 12th Dynasty, but as quoted by Eusebius, Manetho assigns a total period of 245 years to the 12th Dynasty, and the Turin Canon assigns 215 years to the dynasty. Obviously, the monuments require a longer reign for Sesostris III and Amenemhet III than the years in the Manetho list. Both Breasted and Petrie assume that copyists have omitted the initial figures for the reigns of these kings in Manetho’s list and read them as three and four respectively. This seems to be a reasonable assumption. Breasted and Petrie have also taken co-regencies into account, reducing the total periods for the dynasty to 212 and 218, respectively.

All these lists assume Amenemhet IV to have succeeded Amenemhet III and to have ruled for nine years after his predecessor’s death, but there is evidence to suggest the former to have been a co-regent during the reign of Amenemhet III rather than after it. The biblical events and dates have therefore been calculated on this basis.

Biblical Chronology

Bible chronology is very specific and for known periods is demonstrably reliable. Earlier periods conflict with traditional dates and are in direct conflict with the theory of evolution. It is not in conflict with the demonstrable facts of science. The theory of evolution would place the origins of life on this planet billions of years ago, but Bible chronology would limit it to 6,000 years ago.

To some it seems incredulous that men should live such an abnormally long time following the creation, but if creation was a fact, we should surely expect that humanity would be much healthier and live longer than it does now after thousands of years of bad habits, wrong diet, and unhealthy lifestyles. The following is a chronological table based on the figures given in the King James Version, which was based on the Hebrew Masoretic text.

Carbonized wheat from Pharaoh’s destruction of Gezer by fire.

*Noah was 600 when the flood started

The flood was a universal worldwide deluge. “The waters prevailed exceedingly on the earth, and all the high hills under the whole heaven were covered. The waters prevailed fifteen cubits upward, and the mountains were covered. And all flesh died that moved on the earth: birds and cattle and beasts and every creeping thing that creeps on the earth, and every man” (Genesis 7:19–21).

The majority of scientists are evolutionists and reject this record, but there are hundreds of highly qualified scientists who consider the available evidence to be more supportive of the record of creation than of the theory of evolution. “The waters prevailed on the earth one hundred and fifty days” (Genesis 7:24), and during that time, with the water and debris swirling to and fro on an enormous scale, forests would have been buried, accounting for the huge coal deposits, and sea life and animals, including dinosaurs, would have been embedded in the geological strata. They have been preserved as fossils.

These strata were not deposited in a slow evolutionary process. Most of the strata are sharply defined, indicating that one layer was suddenly deposited on the layer beneath it. The fossils they contain are not being formed like that today. Their state of preservation can only be accounted for by life-forms being suddenly buried beneath piles of sand and mud. When creatures die today they are scavenged and disintegrate before they can be buried and fossilized, but creatures that were buried in the Flood are mostly well-preserved as fossils.

Mountains before the Flood were likely not originally as high as they are now. Today’s lofty peaks have been thrust up at the end of the Flood by lateral pressures causing the earth to fold, so the amount of water needed to cover all the pre-Flood mountains would have been within possible limits. As the Flood receded, the ocean floors would have sunk, absorbing the water that flowed off the land.

*Abraham was 75 when he left Haran

All air-breathing, land-dwelling life in the world today (including people) must have its origins in the Middle East since the Flood. The dynasties of Egypt and the pyramids must be dated subsequent to the Flood. Full information about the early dynasties of Egypt are scanty and often contradictory, and even the Bible does not provide complete information about all the events subsequent to the Flood. However, the list of patriarchs after the Flood can be considered reliable.

Terah was 70 years old when he sired Abram, Nahor, and Haran (Genesis 11:26), but this must refer to his eldest son, not Abraham.

Some scholars have tried to at least partially reconcile Bible chronology with the extended Egyptian chronology by trying to move the date of the Flood back beyond the biblical date of about 2,300 B.C. In the third century B.C., scholars translated the Hebrew Old Testament into the Greek language which had become the universal language of that time. It is known as the Septuagint, abbreviated as the LXX. Such scholars point out that the LXX adds 100 years to most of the progenitors named in Genesis 5 and 11. So, instead of Genesis 11:14 reading “Salah lived thirty years and begat Eber,” the LXX reads “Sala lived an hundred and thirty years and begot Heber.”

So, which is most likely to be correct? This is not just a scribal error. It is a deliberate attempt by some scribes to alter the text. Either the Hebrew scribes reduced the number of years or the Greek scribes inserted the extra centuries. I can think of no possible motive for the Hebrew scribes to want to reduce the length of years, but I can see why the Greek scribes could want to extend the periods. They were living in the Greek world, which believed in an older earth. It would make the LXX more acceptable to them if the years were extended.

Moreover, it can be demonstrated that the LXX translators were just not good at numbers. The LXX of Genesis 5 says that:

But verse 27 says that “all the days of Methuselah which he lived were 969 years and he died.” That would mean he died 14 years after the Flood, but only eight people survived the Flood in the Ark, and Methuselah was not one of them.

There are other instances of bad arithmetic in the LXX. Numbers 1 details the number of men in each of the 12 tribes of Israel. They add up to 603,450, but verse 46 gives the total 603,550. They got it wrong on the tribe of Reuben. The KJV gives the correct figure for Reuben as 46,500 instead of the LXX figure of 46,400.

In Numbers 26 there is an even more glaring blunder. Again, the tribes are numbered and they add up to 580,630, but the total given in verse 51 is 601,730. They got it wrong again.

Another argument that some scholars raise is that there are some “proven gaps” in the Bible records, so perhaps there are many more gaps that could result in pushing the date of the Flood back thousands of years.

It is true that there are gaps in some Bible genealogies. When the Hebrew text says that someone is the son of someone, it can mean grandson, or great-grandson, or even further back, or where it says that someone begat someone else, it could refer to a grandfather or great-grandfather. So, we have the instance in Matthew 1:8 where the writer says that “Joram begat Ozias.” Three generations in between have been omitted. First Chronicles 3:11–12, gives the names of Ahaziah, Joash, and Amaziah in between Joram and Ozias (Azariah).

It should be recognized that there is a distinct difference between genealogies and chronologies. There can be gaps in genealogy, but not in chronology. When the Bible says that “Salah lived thirty years, and begat Eber,” or that “Eber lived four and thirty years, and begat Peleg” (Genesis 11:14–16), there can be no gaps in between. Either he did or he didn’t. Either the Bible is wrong and can be scrapped as a historical record, or it is right and must be accepted.

There is, however, the instance of an addition being made to the Genesis record as quoted in the Gospel of Luke. Genesis 10:24 says, “Arphaxad begat Salah,” but Luke 3:36 says, “Sala which was the son of Cainan, which was the son of Arphaxad” (KJV). One possibility is that Luke is quoting from the LXX, which inserts this name, but as already pointed out, the LXX is open to question when it comes to chronologies.

But would Luke’s quotation of the LXX in this instance give it authenticity? Not necessarily. Luke was writing to a Greek-speaking world, and the only Bible they knew was the LXX. If he had not quoted from the LXX, his readers would have thought he was not quoting correctly. But many scholars consider that Luke did not make this insertion, but an early Greek-speaking copyist, regarding it as an omission, may have inserted it. In any case, this is slim evidence for adding thousands of years to the period between the Flood and Abraham.

We can also only approximate the period of time it would have taken for the events following the Flood to have taken place, although a synchronism may be found in the record of the Tower of Babel. When Noah emerged from the Ark after the Flood subsided, “God blessed Noah and his sons, and said to them: ‘Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth’ ” (Genesis 9:1). The blessing seemed to work very well because Peleg was born only 100 years after the Flood, and “in his days the earth was divided” (Genesis 10:25). His name is actually the Hebrew word for “divide” and may refer to the splitting up into tribes of the men who built the Tower of Babel.

Until then, “the whole earth had one language and one speech” (Genesis 11:1). But when they tried to defy heaven by building this tower, the Lord said, “Let Us go down and there confuse their language, that they may not understand one another’s speech. So the Lord scattered them abroad from there over the face of all the earth” (Genesis 11:7–8). This is the Bible record of the origin of nations and languages. Shem’s descendants occupied the Middle East, Ham’s descendants headed for Africa, and Japheth’s descendants spread in all directions.

One of Ham’s sons was Mizraim (Genesis 10:6). Mizraim is considered to have been the father of the Egyptians. The word Egypt is derived from the Greek word Aiguptos, but modern Egyptians call themselves Misr. The history of Egypt would begin soon after the dispersion from Babel, around 2100 B.C. Whether Misr is to be identified with Menes, the first king of the 1st Dynasty, we cannot be sure. The ancient historian Eusebius thought so. He wrote,

“Egypt is called Mestraim by the Hebrews; and Mestraim lived not long after the flood. For after the flood, Cham (or Han), son of Noah, begat Aeguptos or Mestraim, who was the first to set out to establish himself in Egypt, at the time when the tribes began to disperse this way and that. . . . Mestarim was indeed the founder of the Egyptian race; and from him the first Egyptian Dynasty must be held to spring.”

Before the 1st Dynasty of Egypt, most scholars place a pre-historic period, and then a pre-dynastic period of about 2,000 years. The former is dependent on the evolutionary period to which is attributed millions of years, and the second should be identified with the dynastic period.

In the 1988–1989 annual report of the Oriental Institute of Chicago was a summary of the research of Bruce Williams, whose scholarly articles on Narmer have been published in archaeology journals. During his study he re-examined the evidence on the discoveries related to the pre-dynastic period and concluded that the material from this period had to be dated to the dynastic period. The Oriental Institute report said, “Both articles are part of an expanding body of evidence that links the period once known as ‘predynastic’ so firmly to the ages of the pyramids and later, that the term should be abandoned.”

That should have been the end of the matter, but the establishment did not want to know about it. Archaeologists had been giving lectures and writing articles about the pre-dynastic period for so long that they could not contemplate such a radical revision, so they are still blithely lecturing on this period which “should be abandoned.”

Can Egyptian chronology be reduced to the biblical dates? There are too many ambiguities in the Egyptian records for anyone to be dogmatic. There is, however, one possible synchronism that may be helpful. Genesis 12 records a covenant God made with Abraham when he was 75 years of age, and it seems that soon after, a famine in the land of Canaan obliged Abraham to go to Egypt for sustenance. Abraham was a wealthy tribal chief. He could have had a thousand retainers in his tribe. His arrival in Egypt was not unnoticed, especially as his wife Sarah was very nice looking, and Pharaoh’s scouts reported this to their master who then inducted Sarah into his harem, and rewarded Abraham with many valuable gifts.

Relevant to this incident, the Jewish historian Josephus makes an interesting comment. Concerning Abraham he wrote, “He communicated to them arithmetic, and delivered to them the science of astronomy; for before Abram came into Egypt they were unacquainted with those parts of learning; for that science came from the Chaldeans into Egypt.”

Abraham came from Ur of the Chaldees (Genesis 11:31). Josephus could not have known what we know today about ancient Ur. Sir Leonard Woolley excavated there from 1922 to 1934 and found it to be virtually the world’s first civilization with a remarkable knowledge of astronomy and arithmetic. The early Sumerians were the first to invent writing. They made dictionaries and could calculate square and cube roots.

Woolley wrote,

“After grammar came mathematics, and we find tables of multiplication and division, tables for the extraction of square and cube roots, and exercises in applied geometry—for instance, how to calculate the area of a plot of ground of irregular shape by squaring it off so that the total of the complete squares included in it added to that of the right-angled triangles which fill in its contours gives an answer approximately correct.”

There was something else that Josephus could not have known—the earliest pyramids of Egypt were amazing architectural accomplishments, but they were not exactly square, nor were they exactly orientated to the four points of the compass, but when Khufu built his pyramid, there seems to have been a new burst of astronomical and mathematical knowledge. Khufu’s pyramid was exactly square, exactly level, exactly orientated to the points of the compass.

All this suggests that Abraham may indeed have visited Egypt during the reign of Khufu and imparted to his pyramid builders a knowledge of arithmetic and astronomy.

From Abraham to the Exodus was 430 years (Exodus 12:40–41). Galatians 3:16–17 says, “To Abraham and his seed were the promises made. . . . And this I say, that the law, which was four hundred and thirty years later, cannot annul the covenant that was confirmed before by God in Christ.” Some scholars, trying to extend the dates back earlier, claim that the 430 years apply only to the period of Israelite slavery, and the covenant with Abraham was centuries earlier.

It is true that Exodus 12:40 can be translated to give that meaning, but that would hardly fit the other references to this period. In Genesis, Abraham was told that his descendants would be “strangers in a land not theirs” (Genesis 15:13), “but in the fourth generation they shall return here” (Genesis 15:16). Those four generations are listed in Exodus 6 as Levi, Kohath, Amram, and Moses (verses 16-20). This hardly leaves room for more years than the total period from Abraham to the Exodus.

Thus, the period from the Flood can be calculated by working back from the destruction of Jerusalem by the Babylonians in 586 B.C., a date which is acceptable to all scholars. The Assyrians conquered Samaria and sent the ten tribes of Israel into exile in 722 B.C. Working back from these dates, and using the information found in the Books of Kings and Chronicles, we can calculate that Solomon died in 931 B.C., which would mean he came to the throne 40 years earlier, in 971 B.C. (1 Kings 11:42). In 1 Kings 6:1, we are told that Solomon “began to build the house of the Lord” in the fourth year of his reign, and the Exodus occurred 480 years before then in 1445 B.C. From this information we can calculate the following dates and synchronisms with Egyptian history, as reconstructed in the preceding chapters of this book.

While there are good reasons for confidence in Bible chronology, and a drastic reduction on dates for world history is a must, it would be unwise to insist on specific dates.

Three covenants between God and Abraham are recorded. We assume Galatians 3:17 refers to the covenant made with Abraham when he was 75 years old, but there is the possibility it could refer to one of the other covenants. The patriarchs’ ages are mostly given in multiples of five. Is this coincidence, or were they given in round figures? Only the years for the ages of the patriarchs are given. Extra months could add up to some extra years, so 2302 B.C. should be regarded as close to, but not necessarily exactly, the date of the Flood.

We can calculate dates from the time of the Flood onward, keeping in mind that many of the dates for which we lack reliable information are approximate, and the table below must be regarded as tentative. Lengths of reign for later Egyptian kings are taken from The Complete Pyramids by Mark Lehner7 and The Complete Valley of the Kings by Nicholas Reeves and Richard Wilkinson.8 However, there is so much uncertainty about the lengths of reign, the names, and even the existence of some of the kings of the earlier dynasties that it would be folly to even try to assign dates to them.

Some statements illustrating this problem are frankly made by Sir Alan Gardiner in his book Egypt of the Pharaohs. He wrote “The Abydos and Sakkara king-lists support the Turin Canon’s figure of four rulers, but there are disturbing discrepancies in the names that they give.”

About the length of reign of Khufu, builder of the Great Pyramid at Giza, he wrote, “Nor is there sound criterion upon which to base a decision as to Khufwey’s length of reign. This the Turin Canon states as 23 years, while Manetho, perhaps only guessing, accords to him no less than sixty-three.”

Concerning the lengths of reign usually ascribed to six kings from Djedefre of Dynasty 4 to Sahure of Dynasty 5, he sounds a note of warning. “The present tendency is to assign to Dyn. IV a duration of no more than 160 years and to Dyn. V no more than 140. These figures are small in view of the great works accomplished, but apparently will have to be still further reduced, for there seems no reason to doubt the veracity of a courtier who claimed to have been honoured by six kings from Ra’djedef to Sahure.” In other words, the accepted figures are inflated and need reduction.

Another “serious similar problem confronts us” concerning another courtier named Weni who worked for Teti and Piopi of Dynasty 6. “Weni will have been well over 60 when he passed into the service of a new royal master.” Gardiner considered that was just too old for the strenuous tasks he subsequently performed. Another case of inflated figures for the kings involved Piopi II who is considered to have reigned for more than 90 years, but that figure would have to be suspect.

Another dubious method of calculating chronology has been based on the supposition that the Egyptian cattle count took place only every second year. “An expedition to the alabaster quarry of Hatnub is dated in the year of the twenty-fifth cattle count, which being biennial at this period means his fiftieth regnal year.” But is this assumption valid? We do not know how many such periods have been erroneously doubled.

No wonder Gardiner despairingly wrote, “Our materials for the reconstruction of a coherent picture are hopelessly inadequate.”

Perhaps it would be better to rely on revelation than evaluation. God should know more about the past than finite man. The following list is presented on that basis.

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