Anubis, the Jackal-god, the god of Embalmment

January 5, 2023

In this post we continue to look at some of the displays of the Egyptian Museum at Cairo, Egypt.

This statue of Anubis is situated on the cover of a casket in the form of a shrine. The shrine was on a litter used to carry the image of the god in processions.

Portable Simulacrum of Anubis. Egyptian Museum, Cairo. Photo ©Leon Mauldin.

The Anubis Shrine was included in the burial equipment of Pharaoh Tutankhamun, otherwise known as King Tut. His tomb was discovered in the valley of the Kings in 1922 by Howard Carter, in the Treasure Room.

ANU′BIS (Ἄνουβις), an Egyptian divinity, worshipped in the form of a dog, or of a human being with a dog’s head. In the worship of this divinity several phases must be distinguished, as in the case of Ammon. It was in all probability originally a fetish, and the object of the worship of the dog, the representative of that useful species of animals. Subsequently it was mixed up and combined with other religious systems, and Anubis assumed a symbolical or astronomical character, at least in the minds of the learned.

( In W. Smith (Ed.), Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology (Vol. 1, p. 218). Little, Brown, and Company.)

When this statue was discovered there was a scribe’s ivory tabled that had belonged to Meritaten, one of the six daughters of Akhenaten and Nefertiti.

In Egyptian mythology Anubis, represented with the head of a dog/hyena, often with the body of a man, was considered lord of the necropolis and oversaw embalming rites. He was responsible for guiding the dead in the underworld and presenting them before Osiris for the weighing of the heart.

The idolatrous veneration of the dog by the Egyptians is shown in the worship of their dog-god Anubis, to whom temples and priests were consecrated, and whose image was borne in all religious ceremonies. Cynopolis, the present Minieh, situated in the lower Thebais, was built in honour of Anubis. The priests celebrated his festivals there with great pomp.

(Watson, R. In A Biblical and Theological Dictionary (p. 314). Lane & Scott.).

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Hatshepsut, Egypt’s Female Pharaoh

December 30, 2022

The book of Exodus begins with the great affliction of Israel in Egypt as the setting. Hebrew male babies born at that time were literally under a death sentence from Pharaoh. Moses’s mother hid him three months– “But when she was no longer able to hide him, she took a papyrus basket for him and sealed it with bitumen and pitch. She put the child in it and set it among the reeds along the edge of the Nile” (Ex. 2:3, NET). In God’s good providence Pharaoh’s daughter had compassion on the Hebrew baby, and allowed him to live. She gave him the name Moses (2:10), and secured a Hebrew nurse, Moses’s mother! The New Testament records the faith of Moses’s parents as the motivation for their defiance of the king’s command (Heb. 11:23), as well as the faith that Moses made his own! (Heb. 11:24-28).

These events happened during Egypt’s Eighteenth Dynasty (Walter C. Kasier, Jr. dates this period, 1570-1320 BC, and dates Moses’ birth at 1526 BC, and the Exodus at 1446 BC). Using Egyptian chronology, this would place Moses’ birth during the last year of Amenhotep I (1546-1526) or the first year of Thutmose I (1526-1512). Many suggest that the princess, Pharaoh’s daughter who rescued baby Moses, was Hatshepsut, daughter of Thutmose I. Though not dogmatic, Kasier states, “There is no doubt, however, that the chronology suggested here would fit nicely with her, and that she was a most unusual person for her times, possessing a strong personality and unusual gift of leadership, which she eventually used to claim the throne for herself” (Kaiser, W. C., Jr. A History of Israel: from the Bronze Age through the Jewish Wars, p. 88. Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman, 1998.

She reigned as Pharaoh in Egypt c. 1503-1483 BC [Note: scholarly dates on Egyptian chronology vary; this does not impact the historicity of scripture]. In his newly published Origins of the Hebrews, Douglas Petrovich concludes, “All of the evidence points to Hatshepsut as the best candidate for Moses’s stepmother” (Petrovich, Douglas. Origins of the Hebrews, p. 148. Nashville, TN: New Creation, 2021).

Hatshepsut, Egyptian Museum, Cairo. Photo ©Leon Mauldin

This head of Hatshepsut is from one of her Osirian statues from the pillared facade of the portico of the upper terrace of her temple at Deir el-Bahri.

It is possible that she was the pharaoh’s daughter who rescued the baby Moses (Ex. 2:1–10). If Moses was born ca. 1530, the pharaoh who decreed the death of all Hebrew male babies would have been Thutmose I, Hatshepsut’s father. Moses would have grown up during the reigns of Thutmose I and Thutmose II (Hatshepsut’s husband), and with Hatshepsut’s sponsorship he could have attained the prominence that later tradition attributed to him (cf. Acts 7:22; Josephus Ant. ii.10).

(Shea, W. H. The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, Revised Vol. 2, p. 233).

Hatshepsut certainly left her imprint, much of which can still be viewed today. Her mortuary temple is located in Thebes (at Deir el-Bahri) on the western bank of the Nile. “The temple at Deir el-Bahri remains Hatshepsut’s most enduring monument. Built of limestone and designed in a series of terraces set against the cliff wall in a bay formed naturally by river and wind action, the temple called ‘Holy of Holies’ (djeser djeseru) was Hatshepsut’s most complete statement in material form about her reign” (Shaw, Ian. The Oxford History of Ancient Egypt, p. 232. Oxford, NY: Oxford University Press, 2000).

The Valley of the Kings, burial site of the Pharaohs of the 18th Dynasty, is located behind Hatshepsut’s temple and cliff in our photo.

Hatshepsut’s Mortuary Temple at Deir el-Bahri. Photo ©Leon Mauldin.

Pharaoh Nebhepetre Mentuhotep II

December 23, 2022

The fall of Egypt’s Old Kingdom occurred towards the end of the reign of Pepi II, during a time of political disruption and famine. Scholars place Pharaoh Nebhepetre Mentuhotep II at the beginning of Egypt’s Middle Kingdom. The 11th dynasty is divided into two parts, the first concluding the Old Kingdom, and the second part ushering in the Middle Kingdom, with Mentuhotep II as its first king (r. ca. 2065-2014 BC). (To keep things interesting, Baines & Malek state that Nebhepetre Mentuhotep is “called I or II by different writers.” They date his reign at c. 2016-2010 BC. Source: Ancient Egypt, The Cultural Atlas of the World, p. 35).

Pharaoh Nebhepetre Mentuhotep II. Egyptian Museum, Cairo. Photo ©Leon Mauldin

With the fall of the Old Kingdom, there was initially a period of disunity, the First Intermediate Period, during which time two rival kingdoms co-existed in a state of mutual hostility. But in the year ca. 2025 BC, under the leadership of Nebhepetre Mentuhotep II, the Theban armies were victorious over Lower Egypt. Consequently he was looked upon as the great unifier of the Two Lands (Upper Egypt and Lower Egypt), the great monarch who reunified Egypt.

His statue was found in his funerary chamber under the terrace of his mortuary temple at Thebes, at Deir el-Bahri. The statue retains sculptural traditional traits characteristic of the Old Kingdom.

The statue had been wrapped in a linen cloth and seems to have been painted black just before it was buried. It represents Mentuhotep seated, wearing he red crown and enveloped in the white jubilee mantel which barely reaches to the king’s knees. His black skin and his beard curved at the end like the beards of the gods, as well as the position of his arms crossed on his chest, place him in relation to the god Osiris with whom the king was identified after death.

The Egyptian Museum Cairo, eds Prestel-Verlag and Philipp von Zabern, #67.

Ian Shaw writes:

In addition to the emphasis on his lineage, part of Mentuhotep’s strategy to enhance his reputation with his contemporaries and successors was a programme of self-deification. He is described as “the son of Hathor” on two fragments from Gebelein, while at Dendera and Aswan he usurped the headgear of Amun and Min . . . Evidence from his Deir el-Bahri temple indicates that he intended to be worshipped as a god in his House of Millions of Years, thus pre-dating by hundreds of years ideas that became a central religious preoccupation of the New Kingdom. It is evident that he was reasserting the cult of the ruler.

The Oxford History of Ancient Egypt, pgs. 151-152.

Ka-aper, the Sheikh el Beled

December 21, 2022

We continue to explore some of the exhibits in the Egyptian Museum at Cairo. It is believed that Ka-aper served during the beginning of the 5th dynasty of the Old Kingdom, probably during the reign of Pharaoh Userkaf, (c. 2475-2467 BC). His statue was discovered in 1860 in a mastaba at Sakkara, near the pyramid of Pharaoh Userkaf. “Userkaf, whose reign lasted for only seven years, may have come to the throne as an old man” (Shaw, The Oxford History of Ancient Egypt, p. 109). This life size statue, made of sycamore, is said to be the most celebrated statue of the Old Kingdom.

Ka-aper’s role was that of chief lector-priest, in charge of reciting prayers for the deceased in temples and funerary chapels.

Originally the statue was covered with painted plaster, some traces of which remain. The eyes were made of alabaster, crystal, and black stone and ringed with copper. The facial features are considered to be in the veristic artistic school rather than the idealistic.

Ka-aper, the Sheikh el Beled. Egyptian Museum, Cairo. Photo ©Leon Mauldin.

One interesting note about the name, Sheikh el Beled: Upon its discovery the workers (under the oversight of the French archaeologist Auguste Mariette) saw a remarkable resemblance to the mayor of their village, translated in Arabic as “Sheikh al-Balad,” which means “chief of the village.” The name stuck!


Adad-Nirari III, the Deliverer of Israel?

December 20, 2022

The study of the biblical books of 1-2 Kings is a study of inspired theological history. That is to say, it is history but with an emphasis always on the divine perspective. The concern of the narrative is consistently whether the king under consideration, whether in the northern kingdom of Israel, or in Judah’s kingdom to the south, did that which was “right in the sight of the LORD.”

The Lord had promised Israel’s King Jehu (r. 841-814 BC) that his sons would reign to the fourth generation (2 Kings 10:30). Meanwhile Syria was ravaging Israel, gobbling up the territory on the eastern side of Jordan. Israel was drastically reduced in size (2 Kings 10:32). Following Jehu’s death, his son Jehoahaz reigned (814-798), and the Aramaic oppression continued (2 Kings 13:3) with its terrible devastation. The fascinating thing about this northern king is that though he was “evil” (2 Kings 13:2), “Jehoahaz pleaded with the LORD” (v. 4). What is further amazing is the mercy of God: though God permitted the Arameans to punish Israel because of national covenant unfaithfulness, “the LORD listened to him; for He saw the oppression of Israel, because the king of Syria oppressed them (Ibid.).

The next verse tells us, “Then the LORD gave Israel a deliverer, so that they escaped from under the hand of the Syrians; and the children of Israel dwelt in their tents as before” (2 Kings 13:5, NKJV). The ESV reads, “Therefore the LORD gave Israel a savior, so that they escaped from the hand of the Syrians, and the people of Israel lived in their homes as formerly.” (Note: the KJV, NRSV also render מושיע as “savior”. Most translations have “deliverer.” The hiphil participle means to deliver, to save).

This is reminiscent of the language of the Judges, where in times of punishment for sin, Israel would cry out to the LORD for deliverance, and He would send the Judge would deliver/save Israel from its oppressor. The biblical text does not name who the deliverer/savior was at the time referenced in 2 Kings 13:5.

Many scholars believe that it is the Assyrian King Adad-Nirari III who is referenced here as Israel’s מושיע.

Adad-Nirari III praying before his gods. Istanbul Museum of the Ancient Orient. Photo ©Leon Mauldin

For example, “Adad-nirari III may have been the ‘savior’ bringing them freedom from Aramean oppression” (Gilboy, The Lexham Bible Dictionary). “Adad-nirari III may have been the ‘deliverer’ of Israel mentioned in 2 Kgs. 13:5” (Chavalas, Eerdmans Dictionary of the Bible, p. 18). “By intervening in the affairs of the Syrian kingdoms, Adad-nerari III put pressure on Damascus, thus relieving Israel from the heavy hand of the Arameans (Mordechai Cogan, The Raging Torrent, p. 41).

David T. Lamb, in a chapter entitled, “An Evil King Praying, Jehoahaz of Israel,” states, “Within the context of this narrative, the most reasonable deliverer for Jehoash is therefore Adad-nirari III of Assyria since, toward the end of Jehoahaz’s reign, he attacked Aram. Adad-nirari’s campaign would have diverted Aram’s attention away from Israel and toward the north. From the perspective of the text, Adad-nirari would play a similar role to Cyrus (Isa 45:1), as a foreign ruler who accomplishes a divinely appointed task” (Lamb, D. T., 1-2 Kings, T. Longman III & S. McKnight, Eds.; p. 399).

D. J. Wiseman supplies the following information regarding Adad-nirari:

Adadnirari III (810–783 B.C.) took five years to quell the widespread revolt led by nobles, high officials, and some provincial governors who, like Dayan-Aššur, the army commander of Shalmaneser, had accumulated much local power. He had to reassert Assyrian authority also over tribes to the north and east who had meanwhile withheld their taxes. This was the beginning of the internal resistance to the central authority of the king which was to recur and ultimately lead to Assyrian weakness in the following century.


When Šamši-Adad died, his queen Sammu-ramat (in part the legendary Semiramis) took over command as co-regent for five years during the minority of her son Adadnirari. In 806 B.C. the young king undertook an expedition to north Syria, reaching the Mediterranean (Arpad), and another the following year, when he took Hazazu and broke up the powerful coalition developing between Damascus and states as far afield as Malatya. In 804 he struck further southwest to Tyre and Sidon. Joash of Israel, anxious to annul the burdensome treaty imposed on him by Hazael, seems to have taken this opportunity, as had Jehu before him, to obtain Assyrian help. The evidence for this is a royal stele (from Tell ar Rimah, Iraq) in which Adadnirari lists tribute from “Joash of Samaria” (Yu’ asu mātSamerinā) before that of Tyre and Sidon. When the Assyrian entered Damascus and took spoil from Ben-hadad it is likely that Israel was allowed to strengthen trade relations with that city and recover some lost territory (2 K. 13:25).

Wiseman, D. J. (1979–1988). Assyria. In G. W. Bromiley (Ed.), The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, Revised (Vol. 1, pp. 334–335). Wm. B. Eerdmans.

Similarly, the ESV Study Bible in its comments on our text says, “It seems likely that the ‘savior’ in question here is Assyria, whose interest in Syria-Palestine was rekindled in the closing years of the ninth century B.C., resulting in a measure of relief for Israel as the attention of Damascus necessarily turned tot he north.”

On the other hand, Keil & Delitzsch state, “but the Lord gave them the saviour in the two successors of Jehoahaz, in the kings Jehoash and Jeroboam, the former of whom wrested from the Syrians all the cities that had been conquered by them under his father (v. 25), while the latter restored the ancient boundaries of Israel (2 Kings 14:25).” (Keil, C. F., & Delitzsch, F. (1996). Commentary on the Old Testament (Vol. 3, p. 267).

Others have suggested Elisha, who foretold the three-fold victory over Aram, as the “deliverer” under consideration (2 Kings 13:14-19). Could the solution be that Elisha foretold the victory and enlargement of Israel (cf. the later reference to Jonah & Jeroboam II, 2 Kgs. 14:23-25), which was fulfilled in the days of Jehoash and Jeroboam, but was made possible by the role of Adad-nirari? Remember that God rules in the kingdoms of men (Dan. 4:17), and His providential use of the nations could well be under consideration here.


Egypt’s Pharaoh Thutmose III

December 1, 2022

Thutmose III had a co-regency with Hatshepsut. When she died about 1483 BC he began his independent reign (of an additional 32 years). “At the end of some seventeen years of military campaigns, Thutmose III had successfully established Egyptian dominance over Palestine and had made strong inroads into southern Syria. His own reputation was assured, and the proceeds were extravagantly expended on behalf of the temples of Amun and other gods, as well as on those men who followed the king on his quests” (Betsy M. Bryan, The Oxford History of Ancient Egypt, ed. Ian Shaw, p. 243).

Bust of Thutmose III, Egyptian Museum, Cairo. Photo ©Leon Mauldin.

Thutmose III recorded a detailed account of his Near Eastern campaign on the inside walls of the central hallway after the hypostyle hall at the Karnak Temple. These inscriptions describe specific episodes of the warfare and booty lists.

Thutmose III City List of Canaan Campaign, Karnak Temple. Photo ©Leon Mauldin.

The earliest reference to Canaanite Megiddo:

. . . comes from the annals of the 18th Dynasty Pharaoh Thutmose III (r. 1479–1425 BC) inscribed on the walls of the Karnak temple complex in Luxor (ancient Thebes). Thutmose III campaigned into Canaan to quell a rebellion headed by an alliance of Canaanite leaders in the vicinity of Megiddo (appearing in the text as Ma-k-ta). The account indicates that Megiddo was strategically located near the opening of the Wadi Ara, referred to in the annals of Thutmose III as the Aruna pass. The pharaoh defeated the Canaanites, who then fled into the fortified city of Megiddo. Thutmose laid siege to the city and proclaimed that the taking of Megiddo is “the capture of a thousand towns”—a reference to the city’s strategic location (Lichtheim, Ancient Egyptian Literature, 33). Thutmose III’s campaign marked the beginning of Egyptian hegemony over Canaan, characterized by the establishment of numerous Egyptian strongholds in the southern Levant (see Rainey, The Sacred Bridge, 65–69; compare Aharoni, Avi-Yonah, Rainey, and Safrai, The Carta Bible Atlas, 31–33). Megiddo became an Egyptian administrative center and military garrison. Megiddo also appears in Thutmose III’s list of conquered cities (also at the Karnak temple complex; Rainey, The Sacred Bridge, 72–73), and in a list of Canaanite emissaries attributed to Thutmose III (found in Papyrus Leningrad 1116-A).

Kelley, J. L. (2016). Megiddo. The Lexham Bible Dictionary. Lexham Press.

I’ve previously posted on Thutmose III here and here and here.

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Beth-shemesh in Judah

November 29, 2022

The city of Beth-shemesh was given to the Levites when they were given their possession by lot in the days of Joshua, following the Conquest of Canaan (Josh. 21:16). Years later, during the days of the Judges, the Philistines captured the ark in battle with Israel (1 Sam. 4), but when they were divinely punished they allowed the ark to return. The two cows pulling the cart from Philistian Ekron “headed straight for the road to Beth-shemesh” (1 Sam. 6:12).

Excavations at Beth-shemesh in Israel. Photo ©Leon Mauldin.

Later, in the days of the Divided Kingdom, King Amaziah (Judah) challenged King Jehoash (Israel) to battle. This may have been in retaliation for the destruction and looting carried out by the Israelite mercenaries Amaziah had hired, but then sent back home (2 Chron. 25:6-13). Beth-shemesh was the meeting point of the two armies, which resulted in Amaziah being soundly defeated. The theological reason is given by the inspired historian: “But Amaziah would not listen, for it was from God, that He might deliver them into the hand of Joash because they had sought the gods of Edom.” It was because of Amaziah’s idolatry that God orchestrated events to punish Amaziah. Ironically, it was after God had given Amaziah victory in battle against Edom that Amaziah then decided to worship the gods of Edom!

Panorama with Beth-shemesh in the foreground, looking north. Photo ©Leon Mauldin.

Ferrell Jenkins and I had the opportunity to briefly see Beth-shemesh this past March.

Some poppies at ancient Beth-Shemesh. Photo ©Leon Mauldin.

I’ve previously posted on Beth-shemesh here and here.

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Chapel with the Hathor Cow

November 11, 2022

As we continue to explore some of the displays in the Egyptian Museum in Cairo, we look at the shrine dedicated by Tutmosis III to the goddess Hathor at Deir-el-Bahari.

Shrine dedicated to Hathor. Egyptian Museum. Photo ©Leon Mauldin.

The goddess Hathor appears here in the form of a cow. This was excavated between the temples of Mentuhotep and Hatshepsut by E. Naville, of the Egypt Exploration Fund, 1906, and dates to the 18th dynasty (New Kingdom), at the end of the reign of Tutmosis III (c. 1504-1450) and the beginning of the reign of Amenophis II (c. 1453-1409).

The painting in the back shows Tutmosis III (left) pouring a libation and burning incense to Amon-Re, seated (at right). The dark blue vaulted ceiling depicts the stars of heaven.

The cult of the Sacred Cow was long associated with Hathor, the goddess of the Theban necropolis. Hatshepsut dedicated her sanctuary to the goddess. Prior to its excavation, earthquakes had buried the entrance to the chapel of the Sacred Cow.

The statue of the sacred cow in our photo bears the name of Tutmosis’s successor, Amenophis II. He is here depicted as crouching beneath the head of the sculpture. Hathor is surrounded by papyrus stems. She wears the Hathoric horns with the sun disk and a uraeus serpent on her forehead.

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Pharaoh Pepi I

November 10, 2022

Excavations at the temple of Horus at Hierakonpolis (ancient Nekhen) on the west bank of the Nile (north of Aswan, and south of Edfu), produced some remarkable finds, including a hollow-cast copper statue of Pepi I.

Copper statue of Pepi from the temple of Hierakonpolis. Egyptian Museum. Photo ©Leon Mauldin

Pepi I had a lengthy reign of about 50 years (c. 2283-2287 BC). His reign is in Dynasty 6, Old Kingdom. Numerous inscriptions record his influence and wealth.

“It is from Pepi’s funerary monument that the modern name of Memphis derives. His pyramid was called Mn-nfr, ‘[Pepi is] established and good'” (Clayton, Chronicles of the Pharaohs, p. 66).

To keep things interesting, Pepi married two daughters of a provincial prince of Abydos who both had the same name, Ankhnesmerire.

Pepi’s pyramid is at South Saqqara, and is badly smashed.

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The Merneptah Stele

November 7, 2022

Merneptah, son of Rameses II, ruled Egypt 1213-1203 B.C., in the 19th Dynasty. The Merneptah Stele, made of granit, is an inscription of great archaeological and biblical importance. It contains the first mention of Israel in a source besides the Bible. On our recent tour of Egypt, this is one of the main artifacts I wanted our group to see and photograph while visiting the Egyptian Museum in Cairo.

Merneptah Stele, Egyptian Museum. Photo ©Leon Mauldin.

The stele was discovered in 1896 at Thebes by F. Petrie in 1896. It is 7.5 feet high, and made of black granite. It is displayed now in the Egyptian Museum at Cairo. The inscription includes the lines:

The princes, prostrated, say "Shalom";
None raises his head among the Nine Bows,
Now that Tenhenu has come to ruin, Hatti is pacified.
Canaan has been plundered into every sort of woe. Ashkelon
has been overcome.
Gezer has been captured.
Yano'am was made non-existent. 
Israel is laid waste (and) his seed is not.
Hurru has become a widow because of Egypt. 
All lands have united themselves in peace.
Anyone who was restless, he has been subdued by the King
of Upper and Lower Egypt, Ba-en-Re-mery-Amun, son 
of Re, Mer-ne Ptah Hotep-her-Ma'at, granted life like
Re, daily. (Frank Yurco, BAR, 16:05, Sept/Oct 1990)

The date of this inscription would be about 1207 B.C. By that point in time, Israel was established in the land of Canaan to such an extent that it would be included in a listing of nations defeated by the world’s most powerful monarch.

Many “scholars” deny that Israel even existed as a nation by this point in time, but the inscription proves them to be wrong.

For further reading I recommend Todd Bolen’s article in The Bible and Interpretation. Go to:

https://bibleinterp.arizona.edu/opeds/bolen357916

At the top of the stele there are two engraved scenes in which Pharaoh Merneptah is wearing ceremonial dress and offers Amun-Ra the reaping hook that symbolized victory and scepters of royalty. In the first scene Merneptah is followed by the goddess ut and in the second by the god Khonsu. Both were members of the Theban triads of gods with Amun-Ra.

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