Thursday, July 17, 2014

Abraham's Audience with Pharaoh

Genesis 12:18-20

18 And Pharaoh called Abram and said, “What is this that thou hast done unto me? Why didst thou not tell me that she was thy wife (isha)?

19 Why saidst thou, ‘She is my sister (achot),’ so I might have taken her to me for a wife? Now therefore behold thy wife; take her and go thy way.”

20 And Pharaoh commanded his men (anashim) concerning him; and they sent him away with his wife and all that he had.

Alice C. Linsley

Abraham's meeting with Pharaoh is an understated account of a remarkable moment in the patriarch's life. Likely he met with Nebhepetre Mentuhotep II, a powerful ruler of the 11th Dynasty who reigned for 51 years.

Mentuhotep II

Sometime around the 39th year of his reign Mentuhotep II reunited Egypt after two centuries of political instability. Consequently, he is considered the first ruler of the Middle Kingdom. He was a builder of great monuments. The southern shrine city of Thebes was the center of his political power. His royal house had close connection to Nubia and at least one of his wives was Nubian.

Kemsit, Mentuhotep's Nubian queen
She was buried at Mentuhotep's mortuary complex at Thebes.

Mentuhotep had at least seven wives, including his sister Neferu II. He appears to have been a collector of wives and consorts, and this story concerning Sarah reflects historical reality.

Abraham's audience with Pharaoh
Circumcision was a sign of purity among the ancient Egyptians and only circumcised males were permitted to appear before Pharaoh. Therefore, it is highly probable that Abraham was already circumcised at the time of his audience with Mentuhotep.
The king and his insignia, including the crook and the flail, were never to be touched by ordinary mortals. All who were granted audience approached with due reverence, prostrating themselves seven times. During the Late Bronze Age the rulers of Canaan compared the pharaoh to the sun and themselves to the dust under his feet. Gold was associated with the sun and Horus' totem was the golden falcon which appeared the cartouche.

After his enthronement Mentuhotep also bore the title "son of Re" and was known as the ruler of the Upper and Lower Nile regions which were symbolized by the sedge (Upper) and the bee (Lower) and by the double white and red crown.

As a Horite (devotee of Horus), Abraham would have been aware of the titles held by the king of Egypt. The oldest title was the Horus name assumed by Mentuhotep II when he came to the throne as heir or "son" of Horus, ruler of the universe. This was written inside a serekh with the Golden Horus name. The concept of the golden falcon has been definitely traced to the time of Mentuhotep and the 11th Dynasty. The ancient Egyptians believed in the resurrection and associated the golden falcon with the deified king who would rise from the grave and lead his people to immortality.

Sarah was Abraham's half-sister
Analysis of the marriage and ascendancy structure of Abraham's people reveals that the Horite rulers had two wives. The first was a half-sister, as was Sarah to Abraham. The second wife was usually a patrilineal cousin, as was Keturah to Abraham. The wives maintained separate households in distant settlements on a north-south axis. Sarah resided in Hebron and Keturah resided at Beersheba to the south. Both Hebron and Beersheba were in the Horite territory of Edom. The Greeks called this region Idumea, referring to the land of the people with a red skin tone.

It is commonly believed that Abraham lied to Pharaoh when he said that Sarah was his sister. However, Scripture reiterates that Sarah was Abraham’s half-sister in Genesis 20:12. Here Abraham explains this to Abimelek, “She is the daughter of my father, but not of my mother.” This is a significant clue in gaining understanding of the kinship pattern of the Horite rulers.

Related reading: Did Joseph Meet with King Horemheb?The Horite Ancestry of Jesus Christ; Jesus Christ of Two Crowns; The Marriage and Ascendancy Pattern of Abraham's People; Chronology of the Genesis Rulers; The Nubian Context of YHWY; The Urheimat of the Canaanite Y


DDeden said...

Hathor was the wife of Horus per this link while Isis was the mother of Horus per others

Alice C. Linsley said...

Isis is the later name for Hathor. It reflects elements of other religions blended in with the original Nilo-Saharan view of the mother of Horus.

DDeden said...

So did Horus marry his mother Hathor? Why else would they claim she was his wife?

Alice C. Linsley said...

There is so much misleading information surrounding Horus that it is especially important to look at the earliest sources, such as what we find at Nekhen and among the ancient Nilo-Saharans. Hathor (also called Hathor-Meri) was Horus' mother.