Unwrapping the Pharaohs: How Egyptian Archaeology Confirms the Biblical Timeline by John Ashton & David Downs, Master Books (2006)

Egyptian chronology simply doesn’t confirm the Bible, but there is an excellent reason for this. Egyptian chronologies contain inflated lifespans for their god-kings and do not take into account Eusebius’ statement that “several Egyptian kings ruled at the same time… It was not a succession of kings occupying the throne one after the other, but several kings reigning at the same time in different regions” [p.73]. This state of affairs caused quite a few paradoxes for history; for example, “Sennacherib records his wars against the Hittites – rather hard to explain if the Hittites ceased to be a nation 400 years earlier [by traditional Egyptian chronology]” [pp.75-76].

John Ashton and David Downs suggest in Unwrapping the Pharaohsthat that “instead of relying on Egyptian history and dates, and calculating the dates of neighboring countries on the basis of synchronizing with Egypt, it is essential to consider the evidence from Assyria, the Hittites, ancient Greece, the biblical records, and the archaeological ages of Palestine to correctly date the events of Egyptian history. This will inevitably require a reduction of Egyptian dates” [p.77].

A number of things are suggested from this revised Egyptian history [summarized in a chart spanning pages 205-210] which directly impact our understanding of and strengthen our faith in Biblical history. Namely, if Ashton and Downs are correct:

Khufu [aka Cheops] might well be the pharaoh whom Abraham met. Noting Josephus’ claim that Abraham “communicated to them their arithmetic, and delivered to them the science of astronomy; for before Abram came into Egypt they were unacquainted with those parts of learning; for that science came from the Chaldeans into Egypt,” Ashton and Downs suggest that “Abraham may have helped the Egyptians achieve the mathematical accuracy that is found in Khufu’s pyramid” [p. 37].

It may well have been Sesostris I who appointed the Biblical Joseph (identified as his grand vizier, Mentuhotep) over Egypt [pp.82-83]. Furthermore, the seven years of famine of Joseph’s time may be recorded on “Hungry Rock” on the Nile River isle of Sehel [p.84].

The pharaoh of the Israelite oppression could be the severe Sesostris III, while Sobekneferu, the daughter of Amenenhet III, likely drew Moses from the Nile. The Hyksos may be identified as the Biblical Amelekites. This reduced chronology also explains why the Hyksos were able to conquer Egypt without a fight – because Neferhotep I, the pharaoh who refuses to let God’s people go, and his armies were at the bottom of the Red Sea!

Furthermore, “this book identifies Pharaoh Hatshepsut as the Queen of Sheba, while her sister Neferbity was probably the daughter of Pharaoh (Thutmosis I) whom King Solomon married. The great pharaoh Thutmosis II would have been the pharaoh named in the Bible as Shishak who looted Jerusalem. Pharaoh Amenhotep II was probably the king named in the Bible as Zerah, the Ethiopian who fought against King Solomon’s great grandson, Asa” [p.215].

I found this book altogether fascinating for its detailed Egyptian history and the beautiful illustrations. I gained further insights from the bonus DVD Digging Up the Past(included with the book) which includes two short features: “Pyramids of Egypt” and “Temples and Tombs.” Yet the most awesome thing I can say about this book is that it not only builds one’s faith in Biblical history but shows how many historical problems can be corrected by taking the Bible as our ultimate authority! Get this book today. It is well worth the price!

-Rev Tony Breeden, from the Bookwyrm's Lair


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