Joseph as Saviour of Archaïc Egypt



Damien F. Mackey


The purpose of this article will be my attempt to fill out the biblical character, Joseph, by bringing into alignment the so-called ‘Old’ and ‘Middle’ kingdoms of Egypt and the dynasties therein relevant to Joseph and the seven-year Famine.





Patrick Clarke has attempted, in several articles for Creation Ministeries International [CMI]:



to show that two of Dr. Immanuel Velikovsky’s most famous biblico-historical identifications, Queen Hatshepsut as the “Queen of Sheba”, and pharaoh Thutmose III as “King Shishak of Egypt”, are untenable. Clarke’s strength is his knowledge of Egyptian hieroglyphs, which he uses to good effect. It was not one of Velikovsky’s strengths, apparently, as Clarke is easily able to demolish Velikovsky’s hopeful identifications of objects on Thutmose III’s Karnak wall with items pertaining to King Solomon, his palace and the Temple. Dr. John Bimson had once done a similar demolition job on Velikovsky when he proved beyond doubt that Hatshepsut’s Punt expedition could not have been the same as the Queen of Sheba’s visit to King Solomon in Jerusalem (see “Hatshepsut” article below).

But just because aspects of Velikovsky’s key arguments have been proven wrong does not mean that these two popular identifications themselves are wholly incorrect.

And I have argued back in favour of them in, for example:


Why Hatshepsut can be the ‘Queen of Sheba’

Why Thutmose III can be ‘King Shishak of Egypt’


and, also at


Did Thutmose III Really Lay Siege To Megiddo?


In the early C20th Harold H. Nelson, Professor Henry Breasted’s talented student, wrote a doctoral thesis entitled “The Battle of Megiddo”, in which Nelson painstakingly examined the topographical and tactical aspects associated with Thutmose III’s “first campaign”, whose culmination Breasted believed to have been at the city of Megiddo. But did what Nelson uncover in this thesis really bear out Breasted’s presumptions?


Did Thutmose III Really Lay Siege To Megiddo? Part One B: Points Raised by R. Faulkner.


Essential to Part One (A) were observations made by Harold H. Nelson in his doctoral thesis entitled “The Battle of Megiddo” (1913) pertaining to topography and battle tactics. Egyptologist R. Faulkner published an article of the same title, “The Battle of Megiddo” (1942), in which he lauded Nelson’s thesis as “admirable” and his “sketch-maps … indispensable to the student”. Faulkner gave as his justification for re-visiting the subject, not “any difference of opinion on topographical questions”, but “because a study of the hieroglyphic text … has led to somewhat different conclusions on various points regarding the operations”. Here I would like to recall some of what Faulkner had picked up.


Did Thutmose III Really Lay Siege To Megiddo? Part Two A: Chronologically Anchoring Thutmose III


Egyptologists believe that pharaoh Thutmose III had, in his ‘First Campaign’ against the ‘king of Kadesh’, in the C15th BC, assaulted the strong fort of Megiddo in northern Israel. Dr. Immanuel Velikovsky, however, in his Ages in Chaos (I), whilst accepting that Megiddo was the pharaoh’s target here, had lowered these dates by 500 years, to the C10th BC. For Velikovsky, Egypt’s foe was king Rehoboam, and Kadesh, the “Holy”, was Jerusalem. And Thutmose III was the biblical “Shishak king of Egypt” (I Kings 14:25). My own view, as expressed in Part One, is that Megiddo could not have been the location arrived at by the Egyptians – though I would accept Velikovsky’s dating of Thutmose III. So, what is the preferential geography for this ‘First Campaign’? And was “Kadesh” indeed Jerusalem?


Did Thutmose III Really Lay Siege To Megiddo? Part Two B: The Name “Shishak”.


So far in this series I have embraced the Velikovskian view that pharaoh Thutmose III had belonged to the C10th BC – rather than to the C15th BC, as according to the text books – and that he was at least contemporaneous with the biblical “Shishak king of Egypt”. I also argued, following Dr. Eva Danelius, that Thutmose III’s ‘First Campaign’, against the “king of Kadesh”, could not have been waged against Megiddo as is commonly thought. But, now, can Thutmose III be reconciled to “Shishak”, in both name and military aim?


Did Thutmose III Really Lay Siege To Megiddo? Part Two C: Was Rehoboam the “Chief of Qadesh”?


In his Ages in Chaos, I, Dr. Immanuel Velikovsky boldly proclaimed – against the general view that “Qadesh” was the famous city of that name on the Orontes – that (p. 163): “Kadesh, the first among the Palestinian cities, was Jerusalem. The “wretched foe”, the king of Kadesh, was Rehoboam”. However, there is good reason now to think that this could not have been the case.

  • Edit


Did Thutmose III Really Lay Siege To Megiddo? Part Three A: Towards a New Geography


Regarding the Chief of Qadesh, Dr. I. Velikovsky had written in Ages in Chaos, I (Sphere Books, 1973, p. 143): “Who the king of the city of Kadesh was is not even asked”. So, who may he have been? I have previously (Part Two C) rejected Velikovsky’s identification of the Chief of Qadesh as king Rehoboam of Judah, son of Solomon. Here I begin my search for a new site and identification for “Qadesh” and its ruler.


Did Thutmose III Really Lay Siege To Megiddo? Part Three B: Qadesh and its Chief Re-visited.


An attempt will be made here to identify the ruler of Qadesh, who was Thutmose III’s chief foe during the pharaoh’s First Campaign, and whose aggressive activities against Egypt were, according to Thutmose, the very reason for this Egyptian military action.


Did Thutmose III Really Lay Siege To Megiddo? Part Three C: Road to Victory.


Whilst I have accepted Dr. I. Velikovsky’s revised chronology for pharaoh Thutmose III, as a contemporary of King Solomon of Israel (C10th BC), and, hence, an older contemporary of Solomon’s son, Rehoboam, I have rejected his view that the pharaoh’s ‘foe of Qadesh’ was Rehoboam himself, and that Qadesh (Kd-šw) referred to Jerusalem (the “Holy”). And in Part Three B I arrived at a new identification for the ruler of Qadesh, as the biblical Hadad, the Edomite, with Qadesh now referring to Qadesh-Barnea in the south. Also, with my rejection (along with others) of the pharaoh’s “Mkty” as Megiddo, in northern Israel, it remains to be determined if this “Mkty” can be related to Jerusalem (as according to Dr. E. Danelius), in support of Velikovsky’s Thutmose III = “Shishak”.


Did Thutmose III Really Lay Siege To Megiddo? Part Three D: The Karnak Treasures.


According to Dr. I. Velikovsky (Ages in Chaos, I, 1952, p. 155): The treasures brought by Thutmose III from Palestine [Israel] are reproduced on a wall of the Karnak temple. The bas-relief displays in ten rows the legendary wealth of Solomon. There are pictures of various precious objects, furnishings, vessels, and utensils of the Temple, of the palace, probably also of the shrines to foreign deities. Under each object a numerical symbol indicates how many of that kind were brought by the Egyptian king from Palestine: each stroke means one piece, each arch means ten pieces, each spiral one hundred pieces of the same thing. If Thutmose III had wanted to boast and to display all his spoils from the Temple and the Palace of Jerusalem by showing each object separately instead of using this number system, a wall a mile long would have required and even that would not have sufficed. …. But was Velikovsky right about this?


Patrick Clarke reminds me somewhat of an earlier revisionist with SIS, Lester Mitcham, who made a habit of tearing apart the efforts of fellow revisionists, earning himself the description of a ‘nit picker’ from David Rohl who was then valiantly trying to bring some sort of cohesion to the highly complex Third Intermediate Period of Egyptian history – a historian’s greatest nightmare. Whilst the critical/analytical approach is necessary, forcing one to a deeper evaluation of things, ‘keeping us all honest’ as a colleague has recently noted, those who excel in this approach seem rarely, if ever, to come up with a compelling alternative. I discussed Mitcham’s case in my:


Bringing New Order to Mesopotamian History and Chronology


Mitcham’s attempted Mesopotamian revision was a poor thing, I believe, and certainly failed to gain any stout adherents. And Clarke, whilst being confident that he has obliterated Hatshepsut and Thutmose III as candidates for, respectively, “Sheba” and “Shishak”, has, despite promises for the future, failed to propose any suitable candidates of his own.



Regarding Joseph of Egypt



  • Some Points of Criticism re Clarke’s article


Clarke, in his article on Joseph (



dismisses the possibility that perhaps the most favoured candidate for Joseph, vizier Imhotep of Egypt’s Third Dynasty, could be Joseph. He does this partly on his basis that the “godly” Joseph would not have borne such a pagan name: “Imhotep translates as Content is Horus (lit. Horus who is content). Again the question must be asked, ‘How happy would the godly Joseph have been to bear the name of the Egyptian sky god, Horus?’”

I would reply, ‘How happy would have been the godly Mordecai of the Book of Esther to have borne the name of the god Marduk (= Mordecai)?’

Moreover, Mordecai was, according to my reconstruction at least, none other than the godly Daniel himself:

Belshazzar’s Feast in the Book of Esther?


Clarke, moreover, shrinks from any thought that Imhotep and the Third Dynasty might be able to be shifted down the time scale by some 700 years, though he is prepared to shift his candidate for Joseph’s pharaoh by 300 years: “… [he] appears to meet these requirements perfectly, needing a movement of three centuries rather that the stress-inducing seven centuries required by Wyatt [for Imhotep] …”. More on this in the next section (ii).

But it is not only certain ‘godly’ Creationists who appear to have difficulty in giving any credibility to Velikovsky. I have been critical of how former Velikovsky-inspired revisionists have come to light with their so-called ‘new chronologies’ as if Velikovsky had never existed:


Distancing Oneself from Velikovsky


Velikovsky was a Jewish nationalist, according to Martin Sieff in his most interesting paper, “Velikovsky and His Heroes”: and consequently his heroes seem to have been more the ‘baddies’ of the Bible (Saul, Ahab), rather than the ‘goodies’ (Moses, Isaiah). But whether or not Velikovsky believed in God, not to have done so would not disqualify him from being able to arrive at a right synchronism for the Eighteenth Egyptian Dynasty, which I believe he achieved. Sure, his original model was defective and needed modifications in various places. But the final result has been an impressive platform for the re-building of ancient history upon proper foundations. His critics, including Clarke, have not been able to come anywhere near it.

So, is Velikovsky too ‘ungodly’ for the likes of Creationist Clarke, who must therefore find a model alternative to Velikovsky’s? I don’t know for sure, but my own view is that Creationism may not be quite as godly as its exponents may think it to be. In fact, I believe that it can be quite un-biblical. See my:


What Exactly is Creation Science?



  • Some Points of Favour re Clarke’s article



It wasn’t necessarily always a ‘re-establishment of Old Kingdom policies’, or a ‘return to Old Kingdom values’. It was, rather, a ‘never having left the Old Kingdom!’



While Clarke, owing to his complete rejection of Velikovsky, may have placed himself in a kind of no man’s land, without any hope now of his finding “Sheba”, or “Shishak”, or biblical others, he may have managed to score points in “Joseph’s Zaphenath Paaneah”, already mentioned. As I said, Clarke’s strong point is his knowledge of the hieroglyphs, and it is in this regard that he may have trumped previous efforts of which there have been many. Thus Clarke: “A search of the literature reveals a bewildering number of solutions offered to the meaning of the Egyptian name of Joseph, Zaphenath Paaneah (Heb. Tsophnath Pa`neach—pronounced tsof·nath’ pah·nā’·akh)”. And he gives a table 1 listing some of these.

In providing his own solution to the problem of the Egyptian name, Clarke begins with this realistic tribute to the cultured Moses:


Moses spent four decades living as an Egyptian where “[he] was learned in all the wisdom of the Egyptians, and was mighty in words (Greek logos) and deeds” (Acts 7:22). This clearly implies that Moses was very accomplished in the use of words; and not just in speaking. The Egyptian system of teaching was very thorough and, after four decades of life in the royal household, Moses would have understood the complexities and applications of the Egyptian language and court etiquette. Therefore his choice of the Hebrew, Zaphenath Paaneah, is very likely to be a valid transliteration into Hebrew from the original Egyptian.


Having explained the first part of the name, “Zaphenath” as a title, according to Egyptian norm, Clarke then proceeds to decipher the second part, “Paaneah”, which is the name by which Joseph will now be called. And I think that what he comes up with here is excellent. Clarke explains:


The second section, p3nn’i3ḫ , is a proper name, and like the ending ‘ty of ḏf3n‘ty, exhibits Archaic traits. This name, p3nn’i3ḫ, is also composed of three elements—p3n ; n’i ; 3ḫ . The first part, p3n, ‘he of’ is written but there is no grammatical or historical evidence for it necessarily being vocalized. The second part, n’i, and the third, 3ḫ, combine to express Joseph’s new Egyptian name literally as [p3n]n’i3ḫ ‘[He of the] Excellent/Gracious Spirit’ where n’i translates as ‘excellent/gracious’ and 3ḫ translates as ‘spirit’.


Clarke’s argument that a name such as the one given to Joseph, “Zaphenath Paaneah”, and the Joseph story in general, are most appropriate in an Eleventh Dynasty (Early Middle Kingdom) context, is quite in accord with the following table that I gave in my:


Jacob, Pharaoh and the Famine. Part Three: Jacob Blesses Pharaoh


Patriarch Old Kingdom Middle Kingdom Archaeology
Abraham 0-I X (?) EBI
Joseph [II]- III XI EBII
Joshua (Conquest) MBI on EB III/IV
Anarchy in Egypt VII-IX (?) XIII-XVII


aligning the Eleventh Dynasty with the Third Dynasty (Imhotep’s). (Famine dynasties).

His choice of Joseph’s Famine pharaoh is the impressive Mentuhotep II Nebhepetre.

However, a failure to appreciate that the so-called ‘Old’ and ‘Middle’ Kingdom(s) of Egypt were, in part, contemporaneous, leads Clarke to a statement such as this one:


Mentuhotep reestablished [sic] the foreign policies of the Old Kingdom, sending military expeditions against the Libyan tribes to the west, and the Bedouin to the east in Sinai. He began the process of bringing Nubia back under Egyptian control, for the purposes of mining and trade.38


On this, see my:


Egypt’s Old and Middle Kingdoms Far Closer in Time than Conventionally Thought


It wasn’t necessarily always a ‘re-establishment of Old Kingdom policies’, or a ‘return to Old Kingdom values’. It was, rather, a ‘never having left the Old Kingdom!’


Strangely, Clarke does not refer to any actual Eleventh Dynasty Famine.

Dr. J. Osgood will locate it, archaeologically, to Late Bronze II (“From Abraham to Exodus”:

And typically, Clarke does not end up finding his man, Joseph: “Unfortunately, most of the tombs of 11th Dynasty officials have been vandalized, which makes it impossible to identify a named official of the time as Joseph”.

Though I think that his deciperment of Joseph’s name may now provide a positive clue.

More on that later.





The quasi-pharaonic Imhotep has rightly, I believe, been identified by some revisionists with Joseph of Egypt.

According to N. Grimal, a conventional scholar who has no intention of making any such biblical connection, this Imhotep is “better known than” his contemporary pharaoh, Djoser (or Zoser) (A History of Ancient Egypt, Blackwell, 1994, p. 65):


It has only proved possible to identify Djoser with Netjerykhet because of ancient tourists’ graffiti at his pyramid, or sources such as the Famine Stele that confirm the importance of Memphis during his reign. Strangely enough, Imhotep the courtier is now better known than Djoser the king, and it was Imhotep, rather than Djoser, who later became the object of a popular cult.

[End of quote]


The long-recognised greatness of Imhotep is apparent from Grimal’s encomium of him, indicating Imhotep to have been the greatest of the great (pp. 65-66, emphasis added):


[Imhotep’s] role never seems to have been that of a politician: the only offices he is known to have held are high priest of Heliopolis, lector-priest and chief architect. It was his post as architect that gave him such fame, but the legend that survived him shows that quite apart from his architectural work he quickly developed a reputation as the most striking personality of his time. The literature of the New Kingdom describes him as patron of scribes, not because of his qualities as a writer but because of his role as a personification of wisdom and therefore also of education, the principal form taken by wisdom. His intellectual, rather than literary, abilities provide evidence of the offices that he probably held under Djoser. In fact it was in recognition of his achievements as a wise counsellor – which was identical to those that Egyptian religion recognized in Ptah, the creator-god of Memphis – that Imhotep was described in the Turin Canon as the son of Ptah. This was the first stage in the process of heroicization that led eventually to him becoming a local god of Memphis, served by his own priesthood and having his own mythology, in which he was considered to be an intermediary on behalf of men beset by the difficulties of daily life, specializing particularly in medical problems. The Greeks, who knew him as Imouthes, recognized this specialization by equating him with their own god of medicine, Asklepios. In fact, the cult of Imhotep was to spread from Alexandria to Meroe (via a temple of Imhotep at Philae), and even survived the pharaonic civilization itself by finding a place in Arab tradition, especially at Saqqara, where his tomb was supposed to be located. Djoser, on the other hand, was not deified, and he only achieved immortality through his pyramid – the first example of an architectural form that was to be adopted by his successors until the end of the Middle Kingdom.

[End of quote]


Some striking patterns of Jacob, and his great son, Joseph, can be identified in Djoser’s Egypt. For, as I wrote in:


Heb-Sed Festival Clues in Genesis? Part Two: Jacob and Joseph


The era of the substantial Third Dynasty pharaoh, Zoser (c. 2670 BC, conventional dating) has been favoured by some revisionists – myself included – as being the most likely time for Jacob and Joseph in Egypt, with Zoser’s vizier, Imhotep, thereby accepted as Joseph.

That would necessitate a lowering of pharaoh Zoser on the time scale by about a millennium.

Among the “patterns of evidence” for this scenario are the highly important reference to a seven-year famine; the Step Pyramid, reminding one of Jacob’s dream of a Stairway to Heaven; and, as I noted recently in:


Heb-Sed Festival Clues in Genesis


with reference to Genesis 32:4, Jacob’s wrestling with the man (angel): “wrestling with a young man was also a feature of the ancient Egyptian Heb-Sed festival, as is apparent from the case of pharaoh Zoser”. “One of the more remarkable signs of the Heb Sed can be found at the Djoser (3rd Dynasty) Step Pyramid complex at Saqqara, where remnants of the Heb Sed court were found, as well as an inscription on a false doorway inside the pyramid”.

A further potential “pattern of evidence” is the testimony of the Papyrus Chester Beatty IV (British Museum ESA 10684) that Imhotep, among others, could tell the future with certainty (


Is there another like Imhotep?


Those who knew how to foretell the future,

What came from their mouths took place ….

[End of quote]


Perhaps an entire so-called ‘Egyptian’ mythology and religion, as like that which can be found in the Book of Genesis, may have arisen from this extraordinary time when, due to the famine crisis, the people of Israel burst upon the Egyptian scene. Typically, the originally pure and inspirational Hebrew wisdom would have been corrupted and paganised. See my:


Which Came First, the Chokmah or the Ankh?


With this in mind, did the Greek god, “Asklepios”, actually arise from the ancient and prototypal Imhotep/Joseph – in the same way as the Romans deified Tubal-cain (Genesis 4:22) as Vulcan – rather than Imhotep/Joseph being equated with a Greek god already then being honoured? In the case of Paul and Barnabas, on the other hand, it was certainly a case of the biblical pair being appropriated to Greek deities already being worshipped (Acts 14:12).

Philosophically, Imhotep/Joseph was a true archetype, he being the model for the legendary Thales:


Joseph as Thales: Not an “Hellenic Gotterdamerung” but Israelite Wisdom


and (through Ptahhotep, to be discussed in Part Three of this series) of Pythagoras:


Hebrew Foundations of Pythagoras


Unfortunately, though, the current knowledge of Egypt’s Third Dynasty is so poor as not to enable for proper justice to be done to any proposed reconstruction associated with it. Grimal, writing of the Third Dynasty, gets us off to this most unencouraging start (pp. 63-64):


The Beginning of the Third Dynasty


Ironically, the Third Dynasty is less well known than the two earlier dynasties, and there is still no agreement on its origins, which were dominated by the personality of Djoser. King Djoser, however, was not the first ruler of the Third Dynasty; although the archaeological evidence and the king-lists tend to suggest that he was its founder, there are reasonable grounds for suggesting that its king would actually have been Nebka, who is mentioned in Papyrus Westcar.

[Mackey’s comment: Well, how confusing is all that!].

[Nebka] was also known to Manetho, and a priest of Nebka’s mortuary cult is known to have lived in the reign of Djoser. However, nothing is known of Nebka’s reign since this section is missing from the Palermo Stone. He and Djoser would have reigned for about the same length of time.

[End of quote]


I would tentatively suggest that Nebka and Djoser (djeser-sah) were the same pharaoh, given that either may have founded the Third Dynasty; and may have reigned for the same length of time; and (Grimal, p. 64): “Their parentage is not documented …”. And (p. 67): “Djoser and Nebka … became legendary …”.

Sadly, though (loc. cit.): “It is not possible to give a satisfactory account of the Third Dynasty, but archaeological research may yet provide the data for more sense to be made of it”. Yes, indeed, but I would strongly suggest, too, that the picture can be filled out by a proper alignment of the dynasties, so that we no longer have to be content simply with an impoverished one-dimensional view.

A reconstructed Joseph will, I believe, enable us to achieve this bigger picture.

Here, in fact, I am pitching for a three-dimensional view, something more akin to Joseph’s ‘years of plenty’, as opposed to the famine of the meagre conventional structure as evidenced again by Grimal (p. 66): “The end of the Third Dynasty was hardly any clearer than its beginning had been …”.

I have already explored the possibility of a Third Dynasty and an Eleventh Dynasty correlation (see earlier chart).

The Eleventh Dynasty of Egypt will be the focus of the Khety (Akhtoy) section below.



Sub Note


According to the Papyrus Chester Beatty IV, a late (Ramesside) product, Egyptian folklore could boast the following seers who had the ability to foretell the future unerringly:


Is there one here like Hardjedef?

Is there another like Imhotep?

None of our kin is like Neferti,

Or Khety [Akhtoy], the foremost among them.

I give you the name of Ptah-emdjehuty,

Of Khakheperre-sonb.

Is there another like Ptahhotep,

Or the equal of Kaires?

Those sages who foretold the future,

What came from their mouth occurred;

It is found as their pronouncement,

It is written in their books.


Who of these, apart from Imhotep, already discussed (and Ptahhotep, already hinted at), may be the biblical Joseph?

Ptahhotep is a stand-out, given that he wrote a very biblical-like set of wise Instructions, and that he lived to be 110 years of age, exactly the same as Joseph (Genesis 50:22).

But Ptahhotep belonged to Egypt’s Fifth Dynasty, and so far (refer to chart above) I have tentatively aligned only the Third and Eleventh dynasties.

Further consideration of this Ptahhotep, and a possible Fifth Dynasty scenario for Joseph, will be found later, in Part Three of this series.

The wise Khety/Akhtoy, on the other hand, being (as I would interpret it) a high official of the Eleventh Dynasty, and “the foremost among” the scribes, now becomes a most intriguing prospect for the biblical Joseph.


Khety (Akhtoy)




Having accepted that the era of the Eleventh Dynasty was one of apparent suitability to the time of Joseph, a conclusion reached also by Creationist and revisionist, Patrick Clarke (



the next step was to try to identify within the Eleventh Dynasty a fitting candidate for Joseph.  I had already concluded – along with other revisionists – that Imhotep of the Third Dynasty was Joseph. In my scheme, the Third and Eleventh run parallel.

Now the Eleventh Dynasty could boast a high official, the Chancellor Khety, or Akhtoy, who has been described as “ubiquitous”, and who was obviously very closely connected to the royal family. Imhotep, likewise, was a Chancellor (


  • There are two ancient Egyptian titles sometimes translated as chancellor.


There is the “royal sealer” (xtmtj-bity or xtmw-bity), a title attested since the First Dynasty (about 3000 BC).[10] People holding the post include Imhotep and Hemaka.[11]


The other title translated as chancellor is “Keeper of the Royal Seal” (or overseer of the seal or treasurer—imy-r xtmt[12][13]). Officials holding the post include Bay or Irsu, Khety[14] Meketre,[15] and Nakhti.[16]


The first title (royal sealer) announced a certain rank at the royal court, the second (supervisor of the sealed goods, i.e. treasurer) was responsible for the state’s income. This position appears around 2000 BC.

[End of quote]




But what had especially drawn me to the Eleventh Dynasty Chancellor as a potential Joseph type was the name Akhtoy – the first element of which, Akh, I had initially thought, might be able to be matched with the name that Clarke had painstakingly shown to have been Joseph’s given name.

Akh glyph


Clarke, discussing the “Paaneah” element of Joseph’s new name, had written [unfortunately the hieroglyphs Clarke provides do not reproduce here]:


The second section, p3nn’i3ḫ , is a proper name, and like the ending ‘ty of ḏf3n‘ty, exhibits Archaic traits. This name, p3nn’i3ḫ, is also composed of three elements—p3n ; n’i ; 3ḫ . The first part, p3n, ‘he of’ is written but there is no grammatical or historical evidence for it necessarily being vocalized. The second part, n’i, and the third, 3ḫ, combine to express Joseph’s new Egyptian name literally as [p3n]n’i3ḫ ‘[He of the] Excellent/Gracious Spirit’ where n’i translates as ‘excellent/gracious’ and 3ḫ translates as ‘spirit’.

[End of quote]


My initial research had suggested to me that the Akh element in Akhtoy had the very same meaning, “spirit”, as Clarke’s “3ḫ translates as ‘spirit’.”

Further investigation, though, revealed that the Chancellor’s name, usually given as Khety (Kheti), did not include that element:






Given Khety’s high rank, however, and his closeness to the royal family, as we shall read, and the fact that he officiated in Egypt for at least forty years, I would not discount him as the sought after Eleventh Dynasty candidate for Joseph. We can read about Mentuhotep II’s Chancellor, for instance, in J. Allen’s “Some Theban Officials of the Early Middle Kingdom” (


Khety’s office is attested throughout the reliefs from his tomb, as well as in his sarcophagus and on the offering table from the tomb’s entrance. The reliefs preserve a number of his other honorary and functional titles as well, including … “Hereditary Noble, High Official, King’s Sealbearer, Unique Friend,”  … “Director of the King’s Acquaintances,” … “King’s Acquaintance and Intimate,” … “God’s Father and Beloved,” …. “Overseer of the Two Treasuries,” …. “Overseer of silver and gold, Overseer of lapislazuli and turquoise,” and …. “Overseer of horn, hoof, scale, and feather.” His name and title also occur on linen from the tombs of Mentuhotep’s queens Aashyt and Henhenet, in the king’s mortuary complex; and from Tomb 23 in the triangular court north of the temple, which also yielded linen dated to Year 40.


[End of quote]


More can be read about the high official, and his tomb near to the king’s, in the following passage in which he, here called Akhtoy, is descibed as “ubiquitous”



To the soldier who commemorated his existence at Abisko is owed the further information that King Nebhepetre’, that is to say Menthotpe … in his third phase, ‘captured the entire land and proposed to slay the Asiatics of Djaty’. The pacification of the entire land must have been accomplished before the forty-sixth year, since a stele at Turin of the date tells us that ‘a good course was set by Mont’s giving the Two Lands to the sovereign Nebhepetre’. Before the end of the reign it had even become possible for a god’s seal-bearer name Akhtoy to engage in extensive foreign travel and to bring back much valuable metal and precious stones of various sorts. But all this involved much successful conflict with the inhabitants. So mighty a king could not rest content with a saff-tomb like his ancestors. The site which he chose for his sepulcher was the cliff-bound inlet of Der el-Bahri, and it would be impossible to conceive of surroundings more impressive.


It was perhaps more on account of this visible token of his splendor than because of his victories that Nebhepetre’ was revered centuries later as a patron of the Theban Necropolis, but he was also the first king since Dynasty VIII who was deemed worthy of a place in the Abydos and Saqqara king-lists. The cliffs around his funerary temple are honeycombed with the tombs of his courtiers, systematically excavated by Winlock for the Metropolitan Museum of New York. Here, for example, were buried the vizier Ipi and the ubiquitous chancellor Akhtoy. ….


[End of quote]




Aidan Dodson tells of Khety’s leading a successful military campaign to Nubia on behalf of the pharaoh ( “Year 41 saw the arrival at Aswan of a large fleet from Lower Nubia, led by none other than the Chancellor, Khety, illustrating the interest shown in re-opening Egypt’s access to Nubia and beyond”.

And N. Grimal writes of more forays (A History of Ancient Egypt, Blackwell, 1994, p. 157):


But Nubia itself still remained independent, despite the fact that such areas as Abu Ballas were reconquered and various expeditions were sent under the command of the chancellor Khety, who had been entrusted with the rule of all the countries in the south. Two of Khety’s forays are known to have taken place in the twenty-ninth and thirty-first years of [Menthotep] II’s reign ….

[End of quote]


Heb-Sed Festival


The celebration of this festival, fairly rare in Archaïc Egyptian history (which, in my system, includes the Eleventh Dynasty), by Djoser, by Mentuhotep II, adds some strength to my identification of ‘these’ as the one pharaoh of the biblical Famine Era. Now, the consideration that Khety may have been involved in the very planning and organisation of Mentuhotep II’s Sed Festival could be a further point in favour of his identification with Joseph. For I had thought it highly likely that incidents in the life of Jacob and his son, Joseph (as Imhotep), had re-emerged in features associated with the Sed Festival of Djoser.

  1. Allen tells of Khety’s possible involvement in the pharaoh’s sed festival:


Nearly all of Khety’s attestations are associated with the final phase of Mentuhotep’s reign, marked by the Horus name [Zematawy] and prenomen [Nebhepetre]. Besides the graffiti from the Wadi Shatt el-Rigala, this titulary also occurs, along with the king’s image, in the fragmentary stelae from Khety’s tomb. The graffiti are commonly dated to

Mentuhotep’s Year 39 on the basis of year-dates scratched secondarily on either side of the two main inscriptions showing the figure of the king. The relationship between the dates and the graffiti is not completely certain, but the fact that the king is shown, in one instance, in Sed-Festival garb suggests that Khety was involved in the planning or celebration of this event, probably sometime between Years 30 and 39.

[End of quote]

And again we read (


Kheti was an Ancient Egyptian treasurer of the 11th Dynasty, under king Mentuhotep II. Kheti appears in several sources and was one of the most influential figures at the royal court of the king. He is depicted in two rock reliefs at Shatt er-Rigal where he is standing in front of the king. Once the king wears the Sed festival dress. It can be assumed that Kheti was involved in arranging the festival for the king.[1] His name and title appear in the funerary temple of the king in Deir el-Bahari and he had a tomb near the funerary temple of his king.[2] The tomb (TT311) was found heavily destroyed but there are still many remains of reliefs showing that it was once decorated. The burial chamber was better preserved and was also decorated.[3] His successor was Meketre.[4]


[End of quote]



Of the various sages referred to in the Papyrus Chester Beatty IV, one Khety is identified as being “the foremost among them”. I have taken this “Khety” to refer to the Eleventh Dynasty official who is the subject of this article – though scholars are unclear as to who he actually is. See e.g.:

Joseph was indeed the “foremost”, even in the mind of the pharaoh,


in discerning wisdom


(Genesis 41:39):


So Pharaoh asked them, ‘Can we find anyone like this man, one in whom is the spirit of God?’ Then Pharaoh said to Joseph, ‘Since God has made all this known to you, there is no one so discerning and wise as you’.


and, subsequently, in rank (v. 40):


‘You shall be in charge of my palace, and all my people are to submit to your orders. Only with respect to the throne will I be greater than you’.


Whilst Khety has some definite points in his favour as a possible candidate for Joseph, to include him in the mix does add further complexity, such as an extra name, without its having that apparent correspondence with Joseph’s name, “Zaphenath Paaneah”, as I had originally hoped.




Ptahhotep of the Fifth Dynasty, having, as he has, some obvious Joseph-like traits, not surprisingly has been identified by various revisionists with the great biblical patriarch.




Ptahhotep is, as said previously, a ‘stand out’ candidate for Joseph of Egypt, due to his Bible-like wisdom writings and his death at age 110. Whilst the latter figure is generally considered by Egyptologists to be simply an ‘ideal lifespan’, based on references to it in Egyptian inscriptions and literary compositions, I would suggest that Genesis 50:22 was the foundation for it: “Joseph stayed in Egypt, along with all his father’s family. He lived 110 years”.


  1. Grimal tells us of the great man (A History of Ancient Egypt, Blackwell, 1994, p. 79): “But the most famous noble of [Djedkare] Isesi’s reign was Ptahhotep, who was traditionally considered to have been the author of an Instruction often quoted by philosophical and royal texts, until the Kushite period”.

We recall that the Imhotep tradition was long honoured and remembered, “and even survived the pharaonic civilization itself by finding a place in Arab tradition”.

Grimal also notes here that Ptahhotep was buried “at Saqqara in the area north of Djoser’s pyramid”.

One would do well to read the inspiring collection of wisdom writings to be found in Christian Jacq’s The Wisdom of Ptahhotep.



Most interesting, in light of P. Clarke’s view that the Eleventh Dynasty pharaoh, Mentuhotep II, had, through the agency of Joseph, brought about a “semi-feudal system”: “It is not unreasonable to say that Joseph had, in the process, helped create a semi-feudal system not dissimilar to the later European feudal system of the Middle-Ages; and this almost 3,000 years before the Europeans”, is Grimal’s similar statement regarding pharaoh Isesi: “The acquisition of greater powers by officials continued during Isesi’s reign, leading to the development of a virtual feudal system”.

To co-ordinate into one these ‘feudal systems’, which I think is necessary, will mean a chronological shift of some 400 years.


Heb-Sed Festival


In common with Djoser, with Mentuhotep II, the long-reigning pharaoh Isesi “celebrated his sed festival (jubilee), the evidence for which is an inscribed vase in the collection of the Louvre” (Grimal, p. 79). That is, however, very scant evidence for so significant an occasion during the reign of so powerul a pharaoh. If this is the same Heb-Sed festival as Djoser’s, as Menthuotep’s, then there is available far more evidence for it than the mere Louvre vase.




Ptahhotep Tshefi, generally thought to have been the grandson of Ptahhotep, even though the former, too, was a writer of wisdom, was an official during the reign of Isesi’s successor, Wenis. But that does not mean that he could not have been the long-lived original Ptahhotep. Imhotep is thought to have lived on into the reign of pharaoh Huni, who came to the throne after Djoser.

Interestingly, ancient Semitic writing has been discovered on the walls of the pyramid of pharaoh Wenis (or Unas)


Ancient Semitic Snake Spells Deciphered in Egyptian Pyramid


Mati Milstein in Jerusalem
for National Geographic News

February 5, 2007


The ancient Egyptians believed themselves superior to their neighboring nations in almost every aspect.


But newly interpreted symbols—the oldest Semitic passages ever deciphered—reveal that the Egyptians turned to outside help for magic.


The passages, inscribed on the subterranean walls of the pyramid of King Unas at Saqqara, reveal that the Egyptians enlisted the magical assistance of Semitic Canaanites from the ancient city of Byblos, located in what is now Lebanon.


The Canaanite spells were invoked to help protect mummified kings against poisonous snakes, one of ancient Egypt’s most dreaded nemeses.

[End of quote]


But, getting back to names, the element Tshefi (attached to a Ptahhotep) comes very close to the Tsoph element that constitutes the first part of Tsophnath Pa`neach, which Clarke gives as the Hebrew transliteration of the Egyptian given name for Joseph.

(Tshefi, Tsoph).


Less happily: As was the case with my attempting to match the name Khety (Akhtoy) with any name pertaining to Joseph, I have not yet been able either to connect any names of Mentuhotep II with Djedkare Isesi. However, a possibility of linking the king-list name of Zoser with the king-list name of Izesi (a variant of Isesi) is perhaps worth a thought.


Wise Friend of Pharaoh


We read Dr. E. Martin at:


“The Instruction of Ptah- Hotep”


This brings us to consider the author of an early Egyptian work called “The Instruction of the Vizier [the Prime Minister] Ptah-Hotep.” The man who wrote this document of proverbial teaching was so close to the Pharaoh that he was considered Pharaoh‘s son — from his own body. This does not necessarily mean that the author was the actual son of the Pharaoh. It is adesignation which means that both the author (the Prime Minister) and the Pharaoh were onein attitude, authority, and family. 

 Could this document be a composition of the patriarch Joseph? There are many parallels between what the document says and historical events in Joseph‘s life. Indeed, the similarities are so remarkable, that I have the strong feeling that modern man has found an early Egyptianwriting from the hand of Joseph himself. Though it is evident that the copies that have comeinto our possession are copies of a copy (and not the original), it still reflects what theautograph said; in almost every section it smacks of the attitude and temperament of Josephas revealed to us in the Bible. Let us now look at some of the remarkable parallels.

This Egyptian document is often called ― “The Oldest Book in the World” and was originallywritten by the vizier in the Fifth (or Third) Dynasty. The Egyptian name of this vizier (i.e.,  the next in command to Pharaoh) was Ptah-Hotep. This man was, according to Breasted “the ―Chief of all Works of the King.” He was the busiest man in the kingdom, all-powerful (only the Pharaoh was over him). He was the chief judge and the most popular man in Pharaoh’s government. 

The name Ptah-Hotep was a title rather than a proper name …. The contents of this ― “Oldest Book” may direct us to Joseph and to the later teachings of Israel. Notice what this Ptah-Hotep (the second in command in Egypt) had to say of his life on earth. How long did he live? The answer is given in the concluding statement in the document:

“The keeping of these laws have gained for me upon earth 110 years of life, with the gift of the favor of the King, among the first of those whose works have made them noble, doing the pleasure of the King in an honored position.”


“The Instruction of Ptah- Hotep,” Precept XLIV

[End of quote]


Some Concluding Thoughts


If Imhotep, Ptahhotep, and Akhtoy were all Joseph – and I think that first two certainly were – then the later Egyptians, the Ramessides, responsible for the Papyrus Chester Beatty IV, may have forgotten their ancient history by apparently listing these seers all as separate characters. But the same confused situation has occurred with the highly popular, The Tale of Sinuhe, which, according to professor E. Anati shared a ‘common matrix with the story of Moses’s flight to Midian and subsequent return to Egypt. The story has become hopelessly corrupted, with Sinuhe finally returning to a benign pharaoh, quite unlike the pharaoh Moses and Aaron would encounter.


What I am confident about, now, is that the Third, Fifth and the Eleventh Egyptian dynasties were basically concurrent. And so I would like here to include the Fifth in my table, since it was lacking to it previously:



Patriarch Old Kingdom Middle Kingdom Archaeology
Abraham 0-I X (?) EBI
Joseph [II]- III – V XI EBII
Joshua (Conquest) MBI on EB III/IV
Anarchy in Egypt VII-IX (?) XIII-XVII








Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s