Archaeology

Joseph--DEACTIVATED

Joseph, in the Old Testament, became the most powerful man in the world. It was he who, by the hand of God, made Pharaoh the ultimate Egyptian power that he became. Joseph was truly a king-maker. Thus he became a father to Pharaoh.

Could such a magnificent account disappear without a trace in history? Was it just a fairy tale? Is there a record in secular history?

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Joseph--DEACTIVATED

Article#: 739

The great and notable stories of the scriptures are all true and not fairy tales as one unbelieving theologian had once told me. There is a trail left in history, and archaeology continually unearths it. The Bible is a reliable history book. Now for today’s subject.

GOD SAID in Genesis, chapter 41, verses 41-45:

      41

And Pharaoh said unto Joseph, See I have set thee over all the land of Egypt.

      42

And Pharaoh took off his ring from his hand, and put it on Joseph’s hand, and arrayed him in vestures of fine linen, and put a gold chain about his neck;

      43

And he made him to ride in the second chariot which he had; and they cried before him, Bow the knee: and he made him ruler over all the land of Egypt.

      44

And Pharaoh said unto Joseph, I am Pharaoh, and without thee shall no man lift up his hand or foot in all the land of Egypt.

      45

And Pharaoh called Joseph’s name Zaphnathpaaneah; and he gave him to wife Asenath the daughter of Pottipherah priest of On. And Joseph went out over all the land of Egypt.

MAN SAID, "These accounts found in the Bible are fairy tales — grand stories concocted by men. The ancient Biblical accounts cannot be corroborated by archaeology."

Now THE RECORD. In the very first book of the Bible a record of great antiquity is given of a young man whose name was Joseph, the son of Israel (Israel’s birth name, of course, was Jacob). Joseph’s mother’s name was Rachel. Joseph was Rachel’s first born son. This was the Joseph of the coat of many colors, who was sold into slavery by his jealous half brothers (excluding Benjamin) who would become the heads of the tribes of Israel. Joseph was sold to an Ishmeelite caravan of merchants. These Ishmeelite merchants were distant kin to Joseph because their progenitor, Ishmael, was the half brother to Isaac, the grandfather of Joseph. The Ishmeelites purchased the 17- year-old Joseph from his jealous brothers and sold him to a rich Egyptian by the name of Potiphar. After a period of time, Joseph was placed in charge of all Potiphar’s affairs. Potiphar had an evil wife who attempted to seduce the young Joseph, but Joseph refused to commit this evil with his master’s wife. After her repeated attempts at seduction, Potiphar’s wife falsely accused Joseph of attempting to rape her and he was thrown into an Egyptian prison. Because the favor of God shined upon Joseph, he was quickly elevated to the head of affairs of the prison and resided there until the age of 30.

During his confinement in the prison, Joseph interpreted the dreams of two of Pharaoh’s former officers, whom Pharaoh also had imprisoned. Both interpretations came true. According to Joseph’s interpretation, one officer was put to death and the other, Pharaoh’s butler, was restored to his position. A short period of time passed and the Pharaoh of Egypt also had two troubling dreams. No one in his kingdom could interpret their meaning. But Pharaoh’s butler remembered a young man named Joseph who had the supernatural ability to interpret the deep secrets of dreams, for this butler had once had a dream while in prison and it was Joseph who declared its meaning.

This Joseph became the most powerful man in the world. It was he who, by God’s hand, made Pharaoh the ultimate Egyptian power that he became. Joseph was truly a king-maker. Thus he became a father to Pharaoh.

Could such a magnificent account disappear without a trace in history? Was it just a fairy tale? Is there a record in secular history?

Joseph had interpreted Pharaoh’s two dreams: Joseph said that Egypt would have seven years of great abundance, followed by seven years of great famine — a famine so great that the seven years of abundance would be consumed by its dearth and fully forgotten. Because of Pharaoh’s dreams and Joseph’s interpretations of them, Joseph counseled Pharaoh to build grain centers in Egypt and store one fifth of all crops during the years of plenty to preserve life during the great famine.

According to author David Rohl, who wrote the research book, "Pharaohs and Kings," during the time of Joseph:

Three regional departments were set up to oversee the agricultural labor, conscript labor and storage of grain supplies for redistribution to the Egyptian population during periods of famine.Avaris [in Goshen] is the site of one of the three regional departments.

Now, Goshen was where the children of Israel resided. There is also archaeological evidence that a famine was preceded by bumper harvests during the time of Joseph.

During the seven years of famine, things were so bad that the people of Egypt were forced to sell their animals, lands, and their own selves to Pharaoh in exchange for food. Rohl continues:

The local chieftains found their own grain silos exhausted and were forced to sell their land holdings to the Pharaoh. The power of the governors of Egypt was broken and Pharaoh became the sole authority in Egypt — the evidence for this is that the grand tombs of the governors of Egypt ceased to be built. This signals the diminution of the authority of a semi-independent nobility and the return of political control to the kingship.

According to the great Jewish historian Josephus, in his account of the antiquities of the Jews, Joseph was honored by Pharaoh with the title, "’Psothom Phanech,’ out of regard to his prodigious degree of wisdom; for that name denotes the revealer of secrets."

The following archaeological notes are found in Halley’s Bible Handbook:

Concerning The Seven Years’ Famine. Brugsch, in his book "Egypt Under the Pharaohs ," tells of an inscription which he calls a "very remarkable and luminous confirmation" of this. In a family rock-cut tomb of a certain Baba, governor of the city of El-Kab, south of Thebes, erected in the 17th dynasty, which was contemporary with the 16th dynasty in the north, under which Joseph ruled, there is an inscription in which Baba claims to have done for his city what the Bible says Joseph did for all of Egypt: "I collected corn, as a friend of the harvest god. And when a famine arose, lasting many years, I distributed corn to the city, each year of the famine." Brugsch says: "Since famines in Egypt are of the very greatest rarity, and since Baba lived about the same time as Joseph, there remains but one fair inference: that the ’many years famine’ in the days of Baba are the ’seven years of famine’ under Joseph."

And Halley’sagain records this archaeological note:

The following is in regard to Joseph and Potiphar’s wife. The "Tale of Two Brothers," on an ancient papyrus now in the British Museum, written in the reign of Seti II, shortly after the Exodus, has such close resemblance to the story of Joseph and Potiphar’s wife that the editor of the English edition of Brugsch’s "History of Egypt" surmised that it must have been worked up from the incident, which must have been recorded in the annals of the Egyptian court: A married man sends his younger brother, who was unmarried, and to whom he had entrusted everything about his place to his home, to bring some seed corn. The wife tempts him. He refuses. She, angered, reports to her husband that he had tried to force her. The husband plans to kill him. He flees; and later becomes king of Egypt.

Finally Halley’s records that in 1912 archaeologist Sir Flinders Petrie reports the discovery of palace ruins he believes was the palace of Joseph, the father of Pharaoh.

The following papyrus uncovered by archaeologists establishes the famine in the times of Joseph and also the fact that the other nations of the region were coming to Egypt to find food. It reads:

A frontier official writes to his superior: "I have another matter to bring to the attention of my lord and it is this: We have permitted the transit of the Bedouin tribes from Edom via the Menephta fort in Zeku, to the fen-lands of the city of Per-Atum . . . so that they may preserve their own lives and the lives of their flocks on the estate of the king, the good Sun of every land. . . ."

The next excerpt is taken from Werner Keller’s widely read and recognized book, The Bible As History:

The town of Medinet-el-Faiyum, lying 80 miles south of Cairo in the middle of the fertile Faiyum, is extolled as the "Venice of Egypt." In the lush gardens of this huge flourishing oasis grow oranges, mandarins, peaches, olives, pomegranates and grapes. Faiyum owes these delicious fruits to the artificial canal, over 200 miles long, which conveys the water of the Nile and turns this district, which would otherwise be desert, into a paradise. The ancient waterway is not only to this day called "Bahr Yusuf," "Joseph’s Canal," by the local people, but is known by this name throughout Egypt. People say that it was the Joseph of the Bible, Pharaoh’s "Grand Vizier" as Arab legends would describe him, who planned it.

There is a trail left in time by the great man of God called Joseph. The Bible is a reliable history book.

GOD SAID in Genesis, chapter 41, verses 41-45:

      41

And Pharaoh said unto Joseph, See I have set thee over all the land of Egypt.

      42

And Pharaoh took off his ring from his hand, and put it upon Joseph’s hand, and arrayed him in vestures of fine linen, and put a gold chain about his neck;

      43

And he made him to ride in the second chariot which he had; and they cried before him, Bow the knee: and he made him ruler over all the land of Egypt.

      44

And Pharaoh said unto Joseph, I am Pharaoh, and without thee shall no man lift up his hand or foot in all the land of Egypt.

      45

And Pharaoh called Joseph’s name Zaphnathpaaneah; and he gave him to wife Asenath the daughter of Pottipherah priest of On. And Joseph went out over all the land of Egypt.

MAN SAID, "These accounts found in the Bible are fairy tales — grand stories concocted by men. The ancient Biblical accounts cannot be corroborated by archaeology."

Now you have THE RECORD.



References:

King James Bible

Halley, H.H., "Halley’s Bible Handbook."

Josephus, F., "Complete Works Of Flavious Josephus," Porter and Coates, p 49.

Keller, W., "The Bible As History," Bantam Books

Rohl, D., "Pharaohs and Kings."

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