Given these circumstances, Pharaoh’s command to force the Israelites to build these temple storage depots was concomitantly a command to make YHWH’s chosen people labor in service to gods other than YHWH. Skip to comments. Therefore, in this edition of Let’s Take Five, I would like to show you five examples of famous obelisks taken from Heliopolis. The enslavement of the Israelites – the descendants of Jacob/Israel – took place at least one thousand years later, sometime in the 13th century BCE. The Israelites have become slaves of the Egyptians. If you travel with an airplane (which has average speed of 560 miles) from Egypt to Israel, It takes 0.68 hours to arrive. The Jewish historian Josephus wrote concerning the Israelite slaves in Egypt, “They [the Egyptian taskmasters] set them also to build pyramids.”3 Most archaeologists dismiss this statement on the grounds that all the pyramid building had ended before the Israelites arrived in Egypt. Granted, the major institutional temples that also acted as administrative centers, such as Karnak temple, received support from entire dynasties through perpetual land grants. If Jews were not in Egypt at the time of the pyramids, what about Israelites or Hebrews? He shall kindle a fire in the temples of the gods of Egypt; and he shall burn them and carry them away captive; and he shall pick clean the land of Egypt, as a shepherd picks his cloak clean of vermin; and he shall depart from there safely. The Bible is quite specific about the site of their enslavement; the two store cities mentioned explicitly in verse 11 are Pithom and Rameses. Israel itself did not exist until approximately 1100 BCE when various Semitic tribes joined in Canaan to form a single independent kingdom, at least 600 years after the completion of the last of Egypt's large pyramids. We know from Papyrus Anastasis III (vs. 3:1-2) that the Egyptians did set quotas for brick makers, “Likewise, people are making bricks… they are making their quota of bricks daily.” It is not known exactly how many bricks make up the typical daily quota; however, if it was like other labor specializations then it would have constituted an expected full day of production. 13 The Egyptians became ruthless in imposing tasks on the Israelites, 14 and made their lives bitter with hard service in mortar and brick and in every kind of field labor. Deuteronomy 28.org is loaded with information that proves from scripture, history and archeaology that the so called black people of the americas are the true descendents of ancient Israel and the true jews. Indeed, many of the famous Egyptian obelisks found in Western capitals were taken from Heliopolis. asked the Egyptians for silver and gold jewelry and for clothing. [1], Each type of construction would have been considered specialized labor; in other words, people who did one did not do the other. Consequently many regular folks think this is the pyramid the Hebrews were forced to build. 6: The First Nation in History. He made the slaves build grand 'treasure cities', as shown in the picture. [5] For more on the identification of these cities, see my, "What We Know about the Egyptian Places Mentioned in Exodus," TheTorah.com (2018). The site of Heliopolis does not contain very much today. Why did God harden Pharaoh’s heart? Although no less impressive, this is quite different from the pyramids that we imagine in our mind’s eye when we read the opening chapters of the Book of Exodus! They were ruthless in all the tasks that they imposed on them. The old Egyptian/Babylonia cubit of course: 20.5 cubits. Did Moses stutter? Furthermore, archaeological sources reveal that the pyramids were built by native Egyptians who specialized in stone brick construction. He holds a Ph.D. in Egyptology from the University of Liverpool, an M.A. Something went wrong while submitting the form. Oops! According to the Bible, the Israelites not only built the buildings, but also made the bricks. Interestingly, in the Septuagint – the ancient Greek version of the Hebrew Bible – this verse is slightly different than what appears in our modern Bibles. GOD'S WORD® Translation Jericho was bolted and barred shut because the people were afraid of the Israelites. [7] For example, the reliefs done on the Processional Colonnade at Luxor Temple that were begun under the patronage of Tutankhamun were never completed because of the premature the death of the king. And since any temple cult only lasted as long as there was food to make offerings and feed the priests, for a royal mortuary or patronized religious cult to survive long, vast amounts of food had to be stored during the lifetime of the pharaoh who built up the cult. Popularly known as the Tomb of Absalom, this is in fact a Hellenistic style monument marking the tomb of a prominent – perhaps royal – Jerusalemite from the 1st century BCE. 25 Moses thought that his own people would realize that God was using him to rescue them, but they did not. Introduction Today, as in the history of the ages, many claim to be numbered among the people of God. On, also known as Heliopolis – which means “House of the Sun” in Greek – was an important holy site in the ancient Egyptian religion. Why? Have you ever seen any of these famous monuments in person? Temples were generally built with stone since they were meant to be permanent structures to last throughout the ages. [1] For a discussion of what “supply cities” might mean, see my, “What Kind of Construction Did the Israelites Do in Egypt?” TheTorah.com (2018). His dissertation is titled, Ritual Processional Furniture: A Material and Religious Phenomenon in Egypt, and among his articles are, “The Egyptian Sojourn and the Exodus” and “Evaluating Chronological Hypotheses in Light of Low, Middle, and High Chronological Frameworks.”, The Pharaoh of the Exodus – Rameses III, What We Know about the Egyptian Places Mentioned in Exodus, Launched Shavuot 5773 / 2013 | Copyright © Project TABS, All Rights Reserved. Still, evidence does exist that Semites * lived as slaves in ancient Egypt. In return, God sends Moses to strike Egypt with a host of natural disasters, including the plagues of hail, darkness, and the death of the Egyptian firstborn. Judges 6 - NIV: The Israelites did evil in the eyes of the LORD, and for seven years he gave them into the hands of the Midianites. What they did build were cities. The next date that was recorded by Moses is found in Exodus 19:1, which says, “On the third new moon after the people of Israel had gone out of the land of Egypt, on that day they came into the wilderness of Sinai.” The third new moon was the 15 th day of the third month. No one could enter or leave. (Exodus 1:8-14). Did the enslaved Israelites build the pyramids?" A drawing of Heliopolis from the 1840s by Karl Richard Lepsius. Damien F. Mackey. But the Egyptian version of a matzevah referred to by Jeremiah is something else entirely: an obelisk, a four-sided monolithic pillar with a pointed top. So what exactly did the Israelite slaves build? They were indeed built by slaves, but not by the Hebrews. When the Israelites left Egypt, they would have taken with them the sealskins they already had, and more of these skins were likely obtained when the Egyptians gave into the hands of the Israelites an abundance of valuable things. The Israelites gained a fair degree of their knowledge of gold metallurgy from the Egyptians whose overlaying of gold on wood in the form of an ox or bull calf was quite common. Most pyramids, and certainly the famous Giza pyramids of the Old Kingdom period, were built hundreds of years before the time of Abraham. This is an example of the “matzevot” that the Bible commands the Israelites to destroy. 12 But the more they were oppressed, the more they multiplied and spread, so that the Egyptians came to dread the Israelites. Papyrus BM 10052 (15:21-23) recorded several of these interrogations, e.g.. Also, we can glean from Papyrus Amherst (3:6-7) the severity of these beatings. All of these imposing obelisks were created in the second half of the second millennium BCE. If so, you probably did not realize they originally came from the humble Cairo suburb of al-Matariyyah. What Kind of Construction Did the Israelites Do in Egypt? [2] In addition to this verse, Ramesses the city is referenced in Exod 12:37, and Num 33:3, 5. These were given to the Israelites in large enough quantities for the Exodus record to state that they plundered the Egyptians. The word “obelisk” comes from the Greek obelos (ὀβελός), which means a skewer, because such stone pillars were thought to resemble spits for the grilling of meat. 24 He saw one of them being mistreated by an Egyptian, so he went to his defense and avenged him by killing the Egyptian. Optio nam nihil ipsum magni, sint ex officiis quos voluptatum ducimus quidem, dicta natus, ipsam. How did Egypt become history's first nation? Soon after allowing the Children of Israel to depart from Egypt, Pharaoh chases after them to force their return, and the Israelites find themselves trapped between Pharaoh's armies and the sea. Timeline and Basic Outline. Once King Narmer unified Upper and Lower Egypt, it took only a few hundred years to build a power that would dominate the Near East for millennia. Dr. David A. Falk is a sessional instructor at the University of British Columbia. The name “House of the Sun” is a reference to the worship of various sun gods, including Re and the Pharaoh himself. Buildings in ancient Egypt were constructed from either stone or mud bricks. This is made clear in Exodus 5, when, after Moses demands a three-day holiday for the Hebrews to go and worship YHWH, Pharaoh reacts by making the work harder: ‍Pharaoh’s new decree here reveals another dimension to the work, namely the gathering of straw with which to make the bricks. Palaces, on the other hand, were built for comfort and were made of mud brick, which was cool in the day and warm at night. This is a NASA satellite photograph taken from space. The biblical text describes the Israelite slaves working with mudbricks. Let’s take a closer look at the opening chapter of the Book of Exodus, following the death of Joseph: Now a new king arose over Egypt, who did not know Joseph. How many of the writings on Egyptian tombs, et al, were written by slaves aka Jews? “The people of Israel . I appreciate all your work and studies that went into your article. The gates of Jericho were kept shut and guarded to keep the Israelites out. Some modern critics have mocked the above Bible account, calling it a myth. One of the few remains left in situ is an obelisk dating to the rule of Senusret I (1971-1926 BCE). This cannot simply be coterminous with Pithom and Rameses since these two cities were large with multiple buildings in them,[5] including Temples made of stone. 26 The next day Moses came upon two Israelites who were … The deserts and Nile rapids did not completely close Egypt to the outside world. 'Departure from Egypt') is the founding myth of the Israelites. And it is a myth, make no mistake. Question: "Are the pyramids mentioned in the Bible? Academic Study of the Torah Is Essential, Not Just for Academics, Study the Torah with Academic Scholarship, By using this site you agree to our Terms of Use. The bible uses the appearance of Ancient Egyptians, as a reference to what the Ancient Israelites … Well, they've all, at one time or another, perpetuated the myth that the Jews built the pyramids. His name is composed of four Hebrew consonants (YHWH, known as the Tetragrammaton) which the prophet Moses is said to have revealed to his people. It tells of their departure from Egypt, the revelations at biblical Mount Sinai, and their wanderings in the wilderness up to the borders of Canaan. (1) “Cleopatra’s Needle” on the banks of the Thames in London: (2) “Cleopatra’s Needle” in New York City’s Central Park: (3) The Vatican Obelisk in St Peter’s Square: (4) The Macuteo Obelisk in front of the Pantheon in Rome: (5) Flaminio obelisk in the Piazza del Popolo, Rome. He feared that one day the Isrealites would turn against the Egyptians. Beginning in the 19th century, it was significantly excavated and most of the antiquities were removed and placed in museums. Pharaoh selfishly put his own reputation above the Egyptians’ welfare. completion date of the pyramids. It is sometimes referred to by 19th century historians as the “Athens of ancient Egypt.” It is located in the neighborhood of Al-Matariyyah, about seven miles northeast of Cairo’s city center at a site called Tel Hisn. Many examples of these storage depots can be found surrounding the mortuary temples of Egypt, e.g., the Ramesseum (Figure 2). 1208 BCE), which describes “Israel” as a newly arrived semi-nomadic population in the Land of Canaan in the years immediately after the reign of Rameses II. Israelite slaves did build Egypt’s mighty pyramids. It frames an agenda that embraces all of God’s work in the Bible. So the Egyptians would have access to sealskins, which, on account of their durability, could be used to protect valuable things from the weather. (Jeremiah 43:12-13). It was common for a king to patronize deities outside of the official royal (e.g. Dr. Taylor states that the Israelites did not build the pyramids as is commonly thought. It reads as follows: “And they built strong cities for Pharaoh, both Pithom (πιθωμ), and Rameses (Ραμεσσῆ), and On, which is Heliopolis (῎Ων, ἥ ἐστιν ῾Ηλιούπολις).” The third city, On, does not appear in our standard Bibles, which are usually based on the Hebrew Masoretic version. The Giza pyramids date to roughly 2580 BCE. The Mediterranean Sea was to the north. Let’s take a closer look at this site. Figure 1: Levantine Asiatics making bricks (Illustration from N. D. G. Davies, Paintings from the Tomb of Rekh-Mi-Rēˁ [New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1935], pl. Instead, the biblical text describes the Israelite slaves working in mud brick construction. Accordingly, the Israelites' soujourn in Egypt may have lasted from 215 to 225 years. One verse in the Torah describes the Israelites building actual structures, not only making bricks: What are supply cities? a. by. These temples could operate with or without the blessings of the king and did not typically have the need for extensive storage depots to maintain the cult. Video - Dr. Michael S. Heiser breaks down the dates related to the enslavement of the Israelites by the Egyptians, then compares that with the time period the pyramids were believed to have been built. One of the events that is well known to students of the Bible is that of the “Babylonian captivity”. For this reason, kings would want to ensure a constant supply of offerings far into the future for their personal mortuary and special interest cults. Introduction. And the men of Egypt did so to all the children of Israel day by day, all the days for a long period. d Thus they had to build for Pharaoh * the garrison cities of Pithom and Raamses. and M.A. —Ex. Within Egypt, people used the Nile for trade and transportation. The Pharaoh decreed that the Israelites should be enslaved to build cities and roads for him so that they would be too tired and also would not have time to have children. They built Pithom and Rameses as … This late 13th century dating is corroborated by the Merneptah Stele (ca. Most of the pyramids, and certainly the famous pyramids of the Old Kingdom Period, were built hundreds of years before the period in question. Although the “new king” in verse 8 is never named, he is widely believed to be Rameses II, who ruled approximately during the years 1290–1224 BCE. Which cubit did Noah Use? The Israelites, led by Moses, escaped the tenth plague of killing the firstborn by keeping the Passover; it was a shadow to show that Jesus would establish the Passover of the new covenant. So the Egyptians grew fearful of the Israelites and forced them into slavery. script type="text/javascript"> “The stories we hear in Sunday school seem to form the basis for the popular belief that Jewish slaves were forced to build the pyramids in Egypt, but they were saved when they left Egypt in a mass Exodus,” said Brian Dunning. Pithom is thought to be a Hebrew pronunciation of the Egyptian name Per Atum, which means “The House of Atum,” the god of the setting sun; Rameses is presumably named after Rameses II, the famous pharaoh at the time of the Exodus story. We might even assume, for instance, the ragged Hebrew slaves hauling the massive stones to erect the Great Pyramid at Giza (pictured above). Nevertheless, most temples in Egypt could not count on the crown to support its endeavors once the king that patronized them died. Furthermore, Egyptian archaeological sources reveal that the pyramids were built by native Egyptians who were specialists in stone brick construction. See Exodus 12:35-36. Are the pyramids mentioned in the Bible? The Hebrew word for “fashion,” is tsuwr (OT: 6696) and is in the Qal Imperfect, therefore it means, “to form, to fashion.” Don’t miss the latest essays from TheTorah.com. For example, the stone pillar erected by Jacob at Bethel is called a matzevah (Gen. 35:14), the pillar erected by David’s rebellious son Absalom in Jerusalem’s Valley of the Kings is called a matzevah (2 Sam. Just as God let Moses set the Israelites free, so did Jesus come to the land of Israel and set His people free 2,000 years ago. Dr. In the background you can see the Mount of Olives rising up. Biblical Archaeology Review ^ | Spring 2020 | David A. Falk Posted on 03/28/2020 8:42:18 AM PDT by SunkenCiv. The majority of the Jewish people were eventually exiled to Babylon – and were kept in captivity there for a … 1:10). Amunist) and funerary (Osirian) cults. But the tribe of Levi did not at that time work with the Israelites their brethren, from the beginning, for the children of Levi knew the cunning of the Egyptians which they exercised at first toward the Israelites.” – Jasher 69:4-9 I’m still trying to figure out what exactly did ‘Jews’ do when they were slaves in Egypt. When the Israelites left Egypt following the tenth plague, they were told to ask the Egyptians for items of value for their journey. Because Heliopolis was a sacred city dedicated to the worship of the sun, the city contained dozens of obelisks in antiquity. That the Bible refers to these structures as “cities” instead of merely “buildings” is likely a consequence of the magnitude of these projects. Thank you for all the info provided on your site. Instead, they were likely involved in building new cities and other projects within Egypt's vast empire. 11 Accordingly, they set supervisors over the Israelites to oppress them with forced labor. That the Bible refers to these structures as "cities" instead of merely "buildings" is likely a consequence of the magnitude of these projects. 17), Buildings in ancient Egypt were constructed from either stone or mud bricks. The results are revealing. Egyptian sources shed light on the nature of the work described in the Torah. 5 “Go and tell my servant David, ‘This is what the Lord says: Are you the one to build me a house to dwell in? 10 Come, let us deal shrewdly with them, or they will increase and, in the event of war, join our enemies and fight against us and escape from the land.” 11 Therefore they set taskmasters over them to oppress them with forced labor. Many temples were “special interest” cults, in support of minor deities venerated by a given pharaoh. Please support us. Under a previous administration, the Israelites had royal permission to live in the land and to work it. Winds from the north pushed sailboats south. He shall break the pillars of the House of the Sun, which is in the land of Egypt; and the temples of the gods of Egypt he shall burn with fire. What is the meaning and importance of the exodus from Egypt? Which of these does the Bible envision the Israelites doing?[2]. Mud bricks were made from Nile alluvium, which is a conglomerate of clay and sand. The Exodus (Hebrew: יציאת מצרים, Yeẓi’at Miẓrayim: lit. Did the Israelites Build the Pyramids? The longstanding debate over who built the five pyramids of Giza, West of Cairo, was rekindled at the first official visit of an Israeli delegation to Egypt, in 1977. b. 12 Yet the more they were oppressed, the more they multiplied and spread, so that the Egyptians began to loathe the Israelites. Beyond the desert to the east was the Red Sea. And a new Pharʹaoh, who did not like the Israelites, became king in Egypt. The Israelites had been in Egypt for generations, but now that they had become so numerous, the Pharaoh feared their presence. I suggest that the term “supply cities” refers to a series of mud brick storage depots that were attached to the temples in these two cities (and many others), and which were built to store vast quantities of food, that would be used for offerings to the Egyptian gods. When thinking of ancient Egypt most people picture the Great Pyramid of Giza, the biggest of them all. // Javascript URL redirection The Cairo suburb of al-Matariyyah, the ancient site of Heliopolis as it looks today. After their expulsion from Spain, more Sephardi and Karaite Jews began to emigrate to Egypt and their numbers increased significantly with the growth of trading prospects after the opening of the Suez Canal in 1869. IV, 1542:17-18). That’s the deathblow to the idea that the Israelites built the pyramids. This same interrogation technique was used with the tomb robbery incidents that took place during Ramesses IX where those interrogated were beaten before questioning.[4]. Without the straw, the Israelites efforts to make bricks and meet their quotas would have been intentionally hampered, which would give the Egyptian taskmasters pretense to beat the slaves. Answer: The first settlers in Egypt migrated from the area of Shinar, near the Euphrates River, the location of the attempted construction of the Tower of Babel.The Tower of Babel itself was probably a ziggurat, pyramidal in shape, and made of baked bricks mortared with pitch (see Genesis 11:1-9). These numbers were so great, the Pharaoh became nervous that the Israelites were becoming too many in number to control and thought they might side with Egypt’s enemies in case of war. Half of the Israelites not only making bricks: what are supply cities Sekhmet or IV. 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