The Land of the King is Lost to the Habiru: An Exodus TL

The Land of the King is Lost to the Habiru: An Exodus TL

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The story contained within this thread is a work of fiction.

It does not purport to prove or disprove the historicity of the Exodus story, nor does it seek to undermine the essence, value and integrity of a story which is a cornerstone of faith for millions around the world in any way or form.

The biblical stories of Joseph, Moses, Joshua and the Israelites can be found in the Books of Genesis, Exodus, Numbers, Deuteronomy, Leviticus, Joshua and Judges.

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Depiction of Egyptians punishing Shasu, a nomadic group resident in Canaan identified by some with Israelites. Carving connected to the Battle of Kadesh.

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"These people, whom we have called kings before, and shepherds too, and their descendants," as [Manetho] says, "held Egypt for five hundred and eleven years. Then," he says, "the kings of Thebes and the other parts of Egypt rose against the shepherds, and a long and terrible war was fought between them."
Flavius Josephus, Jewish historian writing during Roman rule, quoting Manetho, an Egyptian historian of the Ptolemaic period.

"Then Avaris was despoiled, and I brought spoil from there: one man, three women; total, four persons. His majesty gave them to me as slaves. Then Sharuhen was besieged for three years. His majesty despoiled it and I brought spoil from it: two women and a hand. Then the gold of valour was given me, and my captives were given to me as slaves..."
Ahmose, son of Abana, a naval commander in the service of the Pharaohs Ahmose I, Amenhotep I, Thutmose I and Thutmose II

"And the Egyptians made the children of Israel to serve with rigour. And they made their lives bitter with hard bondage, in mortar, and in brick, and in all manner of service in the field: all their service, wherein they made them serve, was with rigour..."
Exodus 1:13-14, King James Version

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Happy Passover, everyone! :biggrin:

This is my latest new project, inspired by my research into the Exodus following the use of the term in Weber's Germany. While the specifics of the Exodus of the Israelites from Egyptian oppression remain a matter of scholarly debate, the historical context of the Hyksos invasion and expulsion of Egypt, followed by the rise and fall of the 18th Dynasty, provide a rich historical background for the Biblical drama to unfold.

As mentioned above, this story is simply a fictionalisation of both the Biblical narrative and the historical backdrop and does not purport to prove or disprove that which is now part of the historical record and that which provides a basis of faith for millions of people worldwide.

The context, as quoted above, lies in the defeat of the Semitic-speaking Hyksos pharaohs, who ruled Egypt during its Second Intermediate Period, and the re-establishment of "native" Egyptian rulers a period of time which Flavius Jospehus identifies as the most probable for the oppression of the Israelites, leading historians to suggest names as varied as Ahmose to Ramesses II as the pharaoh of the Exodus.

After careful research, I believe I may have been able to construct a narrative that satisfies both the Biblical narrative and the archaeological-historical evidence to some degree, but only as far as possibility and nowhere as bold as total plausibility.

Thank you @Ephraim Ben Raphael and @KingCrawa for beta-reading the first chapter, which I'll post later this week. Hope you all enjoy reading it! :)
 

Don Quijote

Banned
Saw this in your test thread (I browse around that forum quite a bit) and wondered if it would come to anything. It's great to see it started already!
 
1. The Fall of the Shepherd-Kings
Thanks, everyone! Let's begin. :biggrin:

The Book of Jotham

1 The Fall of the Shepherd-Kings
These are the words of Jotham the son of Gideon, written in exile for fear of the wrath of his cruel brother Abimelech, who has brought the curse of destruction upon Israel by killing his seventy brothers [0].

Even now the land of Israel is despoiled and its seed lain waste [1], and many of its countrymen have gone into the servitude of the same Egypt which our forefathers once ruled, from where the prophet Moses led them after the kings of Thebes conquered them and put them into cruel bondage, and now they return to the same city in which they once ruled to toil and serve as slaves in the city the Egyptians now call Raameses. [2]

In the times where Jacob won the favour of the Apachnas [Khyan] the king of Egypt, and brought his family of seventy with himself to Egypt [3], the sons of Jacob multiplied and grew numerous in the land of Goshen, which the pharaoh gave unto them to rule, along with the city of or Sharuhen, for the Egyptians called them Shasu, or shepherds [4]. And even in the times after the death of Joseph and his whole generation they were fruitful and multiplied, and waxed exceedingly, and soon the land was filled with these descendants of Jacob.

After ruling for thirty-six years and seven months, Apachnas died. He was succeeded by Apophis [Apephis], who was king for sixty-one years, who then died. He was succeeded by Janins [Khamudi] [5], who was the last of the kings of Egypt to come from the east.

For there arose a new king in the south, who knew not Joseph. He said unto his subjects, "Look at these people who we have called kings before, and their shepherds, and their descendants who are more and mightier than we are, and who have ever waged war with us and wished to destroy us to our very roots. Let us drive them out of this land." [6]

And so the men of Thebes and the other parts of Egypt rose up against the kings of the Shasu, and besieged them at length in their city of Avaris, where the king Tethmosis [Ahmose I] fought them upon the water and took their gold of valour [7]. And those descendants of Jacob who did not thereafter escape into Syria or the lands beyond, shut themselves up in their city of Shahuren, which fell to the Egyptians after three years of siege. [8]

Shahuren was despoiled and its men were brought as slaves to the mines in the shadow of Avaris, their former city which the Egyptians later rebuilt as Ramesses, and the Egyptians set upon them taskmasters to afflict them with burdens. But the more they afflicted them, the more they multiplied and grew, and Tethmosis sent another army into Syria to punish them [9], and set upon these descendants of Jacob yet more labours in their bondage, in brick and in mortar, in the fields with rigour. [10]

And then Pharaoh died, and his son Amenhopis [Amenhotep I] became king of Egypt. And in these times there was a priest of Osiris called Userseth [11], and he was elected as king by those who had been sent to work in the mines. And he gave unto them a law that they should not worship the gods of Egypt, nor abstain from the animals which they held in esteem, but instead slay them and eat their flesh. And this priest of Osiris sent messengers to the shepherds of Jerusalem, desiring them to come to his assistance in his rebellion against Egypt.

Amenhopis was amazed at their defiance, but first went into the land of Kush [12] to gather unto him his allies and joined battle with the shepherds led by this priest, and conquered them and killed a great many of them, and pursued the remainder to Kedmi and the borders of the Midianites, and thereafter Egypt found no opposition in Syria. Although God had heard the misery of His children, he blazed with fury at them for following this false prophet. God had not revealed Himself to this priest, who had instead misled them with wonders and used them as his tools of rebellion against Egypt, and so God delivered them all unto the hands of their enemies [13].

And Pharaoh then told the midwives of those remaining descendants of Jacob which had not followed this false priest, "Let us deal wisely with these people, lest they multiply, for if it comes to war they shall surely join with our enemies, and fight against us. When you do the office of midwife to these shepherds, and see their children upon a stool, slay the sons but let the daughters live." [14]

But these midwives, fearing God, did not carry out the orders of Pharaoh and let the sons live, and God dealt well with them, and shielded them from the wrath of Pharaoh. And Amenhopis charged all his people, saying every son that is born you shall cast into the river, and every daughter you shall let live.

[0] The literary device is, much like Arturius Aurelianus, an exile writing of the history of his people. Jotham is mentioned in Judges 9 in the way I've described and is famous for the first parable in the Old Testament, where he curses his brother for his unworthiness as king.
[1] Quote from the Merneptah Stele, the first recorded use of the term "Israel" (hence why the insistence on "descendants of Jacob" for the time being - we'll get to "Hebrews" later), dating this account to about 1208 BCE, which is entirely consistent with my chronology for Judges.
[2] Pi-Ramesses, theorised to have been built over Avaris, wasn't constructed before the reign of Ramesses II, so it obviously would already be standing by Merneptah's reign.
[3] Genesis 45 -47, and I'm equating Jacob with Yaqub-Har, a Semitic vassal king of the Hyksos.
[4] This is taking a cue from the use of "Shasu" to refer cattle-driving nomadic peoples and Josephus' identification of the Hyksos (wrongly) with shepherds. Note that the Israelites are only ever referred to as Shasu and shepherds by Egyptians in this account.
[5] Manetho quoted by Josephus
[6] A gloss from Manetho and Exodus 1:9-10 , which is also quoted later.
[7] A term used by Ahmose, son of Abana, who gives a contemporary account of the sieges of Avaris and Shahuren
[8] A gloss from Manetho and Ahmose, son of Abana
[9] This campaign is recorded in an ostrakon found in the tomb of Ahmose I's wife.
[10] Exodus 1:13-14
[11] The entire saga of Osarseph (which isn't a real Egyptian name, hence my "pre-corruption" account of "Osar" with the semi-realistic User-seth "Set is powerful") is allegedly recorded in Manetho, and identified by Josephus with Moses, although the two accounts are similar but not identical.
[12] The only campaigns of Amenhotep I recorded are in Nubia, but it's important to note that Thutmose I met no resistance in his Syrian campaign, implying Egypt pacified the area before his reign. Inscriptions do mention Qedmi, somewhere in the Levant, and Mitanni/Midianites.
[13] False prophets are specifically warned against in Deuteronomy 13:1-5 .
[14] Exodus 1:10 and 1:16
 
2. The Prince of Egypt
The Book of Jotham

2 The Prince of Egypt

And in these times a man of Levi married a woman of the Levites, and she conceived, and bore unto him a son. When he was three months of age, the soldiers of Amenhopis came to carry the task which Pharaoh pressed unto them, she hid him for he was a goodly child. When she could no longer hide him, she placed him into an ark made of bulrushes, and set him off on the brink of the river, and his sister stood from afar to watch.

It was then that the daughter of Tethmosis, Anosis the queen of Egypt [1], came to the river to wash herself, and beheld the ark among the sedges of the river, and pressed her servant to recover the baby. And when the babe wept, she was overcome with compassion, saying, "This is one of the children of the Shasu". Anosis did this knowing full well of the great massacre ordered by Amenhopis, but he did not oppose her decision for she was both his sister and his queen, for this incestuousness was the way of the pharaohs. [2]

And so the sister of this babe called out to Anosis, saying unto her, "Shall I fetch a woman of his people to nurse him?"

And Pharaoh's wife said unto her, "Go." [3]

Thus was it done, and she paid the mother of this babe to nurse him, until such time that he was weaned, and thereafter he became the son of Anosis, and she became known as "King's Mother" among the Egyptians though she had never borne children [1]. He was named "son of the river" by the Egyptians, for he he had been carried to Anosis upon the bulrushes, but all Hebrews now know him as Moses. [4]

And it came to pass in time that Amenhopis died, and as punishment for his great evil against the descendants of Jacob, God had struck his firstborn son down, and so there was no man to succeed him. [5] Although Moses was known to the Egyptians as prince, Pharaoh's advisors said that as a son of the shepherds they had driven out of Egypt he could not be king. So a general named Tuthmosis [6] was appointed by Amenhopis as regent before he died, and ruled Egypt as king thereafter.

Tuthmosis was vengeful against thee kings and their shepherds, and went into Canaan to vent his wrath. Now Moses had previously proved his valour among the Egyptians in Nubia, and had braved his way through the bad waters and had made slaughter of Tuthmosis' enemies there. [7] For his great service Moses was placed in the vanguard of the armies of Egypt when they rode their chariots into Canaan. [8]

But when they entered the land of Canaan he found that their foemen were none other than his kinsmen, and he spied an Egyptian smiting one of his brethren. And he sought to stop this Egyptian, and smote him. Knowing not his strength, he slew the Egyptian in a single blow. And he looked this way and that, and when he saw that there was no other man about, he hid the body of the Egyptian, for he knew that if this thing was known Tuthmosis would surely slay him.

On the second day, he saw two of his kinsmen in an affray. And he said unto him who was at fault, "Why do you strike your brother?"

And his kinsman, the man who was at fault, said, "Who but Pharaoh made you judge and prince and over us, and do you not flee from his face now? Will you slay us like you slew your fellow Egyptian?"

Finding no solace amongst his kinsmen, Moses fled through the desert into the country of the Midianites. And when he rested by a well, the daughters of the high priest came to this well to water their flock. However, those shepherds which had already been expelled by the Egyptians had in this time become bandits and thieves, and so they came and drove them away, but Moses stood and defended them, and watered their flock. [9]

So thereafter they brought him to their father, a friend of God. [10] And the priest gave unto him his daughter Tzipporah, who bore him a son whom he named Gershom, for he said, "I have been a stranger in a strange land."

And now in the times since Pharaoh's death, Moses' kinsmen sighed and groaned in their servitude, and God heard their groans. And God remembered his covenant with Abraham, with Isaac, and with Jacob, and seeing Moses among the Midianites, had respect unto him.

[1] Ahmose-Meritamun, daughter of Ahmose I and sister of Amenhotep I, who indeed was known as "King's Mother".
[2] As in OTL; royal incest infamously continued well into the 19th Dynasty.
[3] Exodus 2:7-8 , identifying Ahmose-Meritamun with Bithiah - interestingly enough both names mean essentially the same thing.
[4] "Moses" or "Mose" is essentially an Egyptian construction (e.g. Ahmose, Thutmose, Ramose/Ramses, etc.); Moses (if he existed) may have initially named after Itrw (the Nile) or Hapi (the god of its flood). Seeing as neither name exists in history (although it well might, given that he would have been contemporary with the uniquely-named Amenmose and Wadjmose) I decided to make it ambiguous.
[5] As in OTL; Amenemhat died young and Thutmose, who may have been Amenhotep I's son-in-law, succeeded him. The theme of God striking down firstborn sons will have an obvious followup.
[6] Thutmose I
[7] This Nubian campaign of Thutmose I is recorded in pretty much these terms in the biography of his general, Ahmose son of Abana.
[8] This Syrian campaign of Thutmose I that went to some place called Retenu is recorded in both of his general's biographies: Ahmose son of Abana; Ahmose Pen-Nekhbet, and evidently went on its merry way after Moses left.
[9] Exodus 2:15-17
[10] Reuel, also known as Jethro.
 
3. The Name of God
The Book of Jotham

3 The Name of God

Now Moses kept the flock of Jethro his father-in-law, the friend of God [1] and priest of the Midianites, and he led his flock to the mountain of God, even unto the place called Horeb. And there an angel of the Lord appeared to him as a flame within a bush, but though fire surrounded the bush, it was not consumed by fire.

And so Moses said to himself: “I shall go over, and see this strange sight, and see why the bush is not burnt up.”

When the Lord saw that he had turned aside, and gone over to look, God called to him from within the bush, saying “Moses, Moses!”

And Moses said, “Here I am.”

And he said, “Come no closer. Remove your shoes from your feet, for this place where you stand is holy ground.”

And he said, “I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. Though I have shown myself to the Midianites through Jethro, the friend of God, still they only know me as the God of the wind that blows upon their fields, [2] and I say unto you that I have you brought here, for I have seen the affliction of my people of are in Egypt and I have heard their cries brought upon by their taskmasters, and I have known their sorrows.

“And I have come to deliver them out of the hands of the Egyptians, and to bring them up out of that land unto a good land, unto a land flowing with milk and honey; unto the place of the Canaanites, and the Hittites, and the Amorites, and the Perizzites, and the Hivites, and the Jebusites.

“Now therefore, behold, the cry of the children of Israel has come to me: and I have also seen the oppression with which the Egyptians oppress them.

“Come now therefore, and I shall send you to Pharaoh, that you bring forth my people out of Egypt.”

And Moses said unto God, “Who am I, that I should go to Pharaoh, and that I should bring forth the children of Jacob out of Egypt? When I come unto the children of Jacob, and shall say unto them, The God of your fathers hath sent me unto you; and they shall say to me, ‘What is his name?’ What shall I say unto them?”

And God said unto Moses, “I AM THAT I AM.” And he said, “Thus say unto the children of Jacob, HE IS WHO HE IS (YHWH), hath sent me unto you.” [3]

And God said moreover unto Moses, “Thus shall you say unto them, YHWH, the Lord God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has sent me unto you: this is my name for ever, and this is my memorial unto all generations.”

And they shall hearken to thy voice: and you will come, you and the elders, to the king of Egypt, and you shall say unto him, ‘The Lord God of our people has met with us, and now let us go, we beseech you, three days' journey into the wilderness, that we may sacrifice to the Lord our God.’

“And I am sure that the king of Egypt will not let you go, no, not by a mighty hand.

“And I will stretch out my hand, and smite Egypt with all my wonders which I will do in their midst, and after that he will let you go.

“And I will give this people favour in the sight of the Egyptians: and it shall come to pass, that, when you go, you shall not leave empty.

“But every woman shall borrow of her neighbour; and of her that sojourns in her house, jewels of silver, and jewels of gold, and clothing: and you shall put them upon your sons, and upon your daughters; and you shall despoil the Egyptians as they have despoiled your fathers before you.”

[1] Reuel literally means "friend of God" so it's fitting that it's through him that the name YHWH is introduced to the Israelites - I mean, sons of Jacob.
[2] One etymology for YHWH is "he blows", and Yahweh may have been worshipped by the Midianites as a weather god.
[3] This covers the other etymology of YHWH: that it comes from a verb meaning "to exist" or "to bring into existence".

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Not much to say about this chapter; it's essentially Exodus 3. The plot will pick up soon, though. :)
 
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