… that the Black People mentioned by name in the Bible were invariably prominent individuals?
… that the Black People mentioned by name in the Bible were invariably prominent individuals?
Since in previous posts we have established that Ham is the Biblical progenitor of Black People, we can logically infer from this that Ham’s descendants (Cushites/Ethiopians, Egyptians, Canaanites, and the people of Put) are black. In the case of the Egyptian Pharaohs, we do not have to depend just on Biblical genealogical inferences but have at our disposal secular information bearing on the racial identity of Pharaohs of the Middle Kingdom (2030 B.C-1650 B.C.) and the New Kingdom (1550 B.C.-1050 B.C).
Generally no specific name is given to the Egyptian kings of the Bibles other than Pharaoh which is used more than 250 times. Hophra, Necho, Tirhakah (Tarhaqa), and Shishak are the four Pharaohs that are called by their ames. Tirhakah is referred to as king of Ethiopia (Cush); however, we know that he was both king of Ethiopia and Egypt during the 25th Dynasty and was, therefore, a Pharaoh. Clearly all the Pharaohs were prominent and important persons. Therefore, what I will do is discuss the Pharaohs or their dynasties associated with significant events in the Bible: Abraham’s going to Egypt after leaving his home in Mesopotamia, Joseph and the whole family of Jacob (Israel) moving to Egypt, and the enslavement and exodus of the Hebrews.
By the usual Biblical chronology, Abraham enters Egypt during the First Intermediate Period (from approximately 2170 BC to 2055 BC) when order had broken down after the end of Egypt’s Old Kingdom. Again by the usual Biblical chronology, Joseph would have been sold into slavery in Egypt during the 12th Dynasty. If Jacob and his family moved to Egypt in 1870 BC, it was still during the 12th Dynasty which lasted over 200 years. Joseph was a deliverer, indeed, a type of Christ, and initially life was evidently good for the Hebrews in the land of Goshen. But then the Bible tells us in Exodus “Now there arose a new king over Egypt, who knew not Joseph” (1:8), and subsequently the Hebrews were enslaved. We cannot say for certain when the enslavement began but it comes to an end in the New Kingdom and by the usual Biblical chronology, it would have been the 18th Dynasty, the first dynasty of the New Kingdom period.
Another reason for believing that enslavement of the Hebrews was in the New Kingdom is the fact that it is only in the New Kingdom that there is any significant, but still marginal, slave population in Pharaonic Egypt, not including the later periods of Asian and European domination. The idea that Hebrew slaves built the pyramids is a fiction and an impossibility. The pyramids were not built with slave labor and were built at least a 1,000 years before the Hebrew enslavement.
A dynasty is the period during which one family rules the country. A new dynasty begins when a new family comes to power. We will look at the 12th, 18th, and 25th dynasties. The 25th Dynasty was Cushite or Ethiopian with its capital in the Nubian city of Napata; that is why the Bible call Tirhakah king of Ethiopia. Most view it as the only black dynasty or the only time when black Pharaohs ruled. However, that is certainly not true.
In Ancient Egypt, the right to rule was through the female. A Pharaoh’s legitimacy came from marriage to a princess because inheritance was based on matrilineal descent, as was the case in all of Black Africa before the intrusion Asian and European patrilineal systems. Under a matrilineal system, the throne does not pass from the king to the king’s son (father to son) but from king to the king’s sister’s son, to his maternal nephew. The eminent British Egyptologist of the last century, Sir Flinders Petrie, noted that another eminent scholar De Rouge had “remarked that none of the early kings appear to be sons of their predecessors”1. Petrie does not give an explanation but an explanation would have been quite easy if he had simply acknowledged that inheritance was through the female; therefore, the heir would be his sister’s son, not his son. The throne went to his nephew, his sister’s son. Petrie supplies information that indicates the operation of matrilineal descent in Egypt’s 2nd and 3rd dynasties.
Petrie points out that Queen Hapenmaat of the 2nd Dynasty “seems to have been the queen-mother of the IIIrd Dynasty”2. She was called the “king-bearing mother” which points to her “being specially the ancestress of kings. She was adored at the close of the IIIrd dynasty as Amten … Hence it seems that she was probably the heiress of the IInd dynasty, through whom descended the legitimacy of the IIIrd dynasty; similar to the special honoring of Neithetep with a ka of her own, the ancestress of the 1st dynasty, or like Aahmes Nefertari worshipped during the XVIIIth dynasty.”3.
The 18th Dynasty almost certainly came out of Nubia. For more than a century, a large part of northern Egypt had been under the control of Asiatic shepherds, the Hyskos, a Semitic people. A prophecy, the Prophecy of Neferty, dating back to the 12th Dynasty, speaks of Egypt being overrun by Asiatic shepherds with their herds. It also speaks of a deliverer, a king coming from the South:
There is a king who will come from the south
Ameny true of voice is his name.
He is the son of a woman of the Land of the Bow (Italics added),
he is a child of the Heartland of Nekhen.
He will take up the White Crown,
he will raise up the Red Crown,
he will unite the Two Mighty Goddesses,
he will appease the Two Lord Gods,
with what they desire.4
Take note that this king, according to the prophecy, will be the son of a woman of the “Land of the Bow”, from Nubia (Ethiopia), the land of the blacks, par excellence. It was called Ta-Seti, the Land of the Bow, because the Nubians were renowned for their devastating skill in the use of the bow. Nekhen, located south of Thebes and only 70 miles north of the 1st Cataract, is the Ancient Egyptian name for Hierakonpolis, Egypt’s earliest city where the kingship was developed. Notice that the prophecy speaks of the “son of a woman”, not of a man, who will deliver the country. Evidently this black Sudanese (Ethiopian) woman confers legitimacy on the man who is to be king. Whether this prophecy was composed before the fact or after the fact is not as important as the fact that the deliverers came from Nubia, south of Egypt.
Though spoken in the 12th Dynasty (1939 B.C.-1630 B.C.), this prophecy speaks of events that are to transpire at the beginning of the 18th Dynasty which will coincide with the inauguration of the New Kingdom around 1550 B.C. and will last 500 years. Remember the Pharaoh of the exodus is a New Kingdom king but not the first king. Though he is not one of the good guys, this Pharaoh is clearly a person of importance and influence.
Pharaoh Seqenenra, a Nubian, that is, a black, paved the way for the end of Hyksos domination and the beginning of the dazzling 18th Dynasty. His queen was Aahotep. A son and a daughter of Aahotep were Aahmes (Ahmose) and Nefertari, who would become king and queen of Egypt, married each other, a custom of the Egypto-Nubian royalty. I will explain below the probable reason, not a justification, for these brother-sister marriages. Flinders Petrie comes to the conclusion that Aahmes and Nefertari had different fathers based on the fact that Nefertari was black and Aahmes had an “Egyptian color”. In the words of Petrie,
“Aahmes [Ahmose] is always (except once) shown of the same color as other Egyptians, while Nefertari is almost always colored black … As Nefertari was specially venerated as the ancestress of the dynasty, we must suppose that she was in the unbroken female line of descent, in which the royal succession appears to have been reckoned, and hence her black color is the more likely to have come through her father. The only conclusion … is that the queen Aahhotep had two husbands: the one black (the father of Nefertari), namely, the celebrated Seqenenra … and the other an Egyptian …”5. The featured image of this blog (also shown below) is Queen Ahmose Nefertari in all her glorious blackness. Inserting Ahmose, or Aahmes, before her name serves to distinguish her from other queens named Nefertari.
At another place he asserts, “ … through her descended all the rights of the royal line, and she was adored for many centuries as the great ancestress and foundress … She is styled on contemporary monuments as the “royal daughter, royal sister, great royal wife, royal mother, great ruler (athy), mistress of both lands”6.
Nefertari’s mummy was found but, “Unhappily it was left without examination for over four years, amid the damp of the Nile shores; it was found to be decomposing and was “provisionally interred, without any scientific examination of its characteristics. The racial details would have been of the highest interest, in comparison with the rest of the family. Thus disappeared the most venerable figure of Egyptian history.”7 I leave it to the reader to come to a conclusion as to the reason for this criminal neglect.
Petrie’s creating an Egyptian husband (he gives no name for the alleged husband) for Aahotep to explain the “Egyptian color” of Aahmes seems unnecessary. The images of Aahmes and Nefertari shown below illustrate that there is nothing about their appearance that is inconsistent with their having the same parents. If Aahmes is not black, what color is he? He is certainly not white. His color is merely a shade of black that would not stand out among a group of Americans of African descent. The scene with Aahmes fighting Asiatics (shown below) illustrates the graphic difference between his color and the white color of the Asiatics he is fighting. The difference is striking.
The royalty of the 18th Dynasty remained black to the very end. Compare the facial characteristics of King Tut (shown below), who comes toward the end of the 18th Dynasty, and his Queen with those of the Nubian (Negro) captive. There is no essential difference. On the other hand, contrast Tut’s appearance with that of the Asiatic captive; they are clearly of different races. I would also bring to your attention my blog post demonstrating that the bone structure of the Ancient Egyptian kings of the New Kingdom is the same as that of black males in the United States. And quite interestingly, the DNA testing organization 23andme informed me that the New Kingdom Pharaoh Ramesses III and I “share an ancient paternal-line ancestor who probably lived in north Africa or western Asia.”
We read about Tirhakah (Taharqa) in 2 Kings 19:9 (same account in Isaiah 37:9), king of Egypt and Ethiopia (Cush). He was the next to the last Pharaoh of the 25th Dynasty (760 B.C. – 656 B.C.). These Cushites became rulers of Egypt by invitation. Egyptians leaders and priests at Thebes were upset because Libyan dynasts (rulers of provinces (nomes) in Egypt) were trying to take over in Thebes. They appealed to Piankhi who was at his capital of Napata, located in Nubia near the 4th Cataract of the Nile. After routing the Libyans and securing Thebes, Piankhi returned to Napata and ruled from his Cushite capital. The 25th Dynasty lasted about 100 years. When Taharqa comes onto the scene in 2 Kings, he has allied himself with Judah and has come to fight against the Assyrians who were threatening Judah. Taharqa’s confronting the Assyrians gave Hezekiah time until God confounded them and they returned home defeated. At that point, his empire extended from the southern tip of Cush, at least to the 6th Cataract, to the part of Western Asia called the Levant (Israel, Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, etc). Taharqa’s face can be seen on his sphinx shown below.
It appears that the practice of brother-sister marriage comes from the matrilineal descent custom. If the king marries his sister, then his sons can inherit the throne since his son is also his nephew. Furthermore, there are no, or at least fewer, disgruntled cousins to contend with. Alessandra Nibbi notes that Egyptian princes could marry Asian women but Egyptian princesses could not marry Asian men.8 If an Asian man married an Egyptian and had a son, then that son could inherit the throne through his mother. This would be a way for Asian men to get control of the country, through their sons. The son of a foreign woman could not inherit the throne. Around the middle of the seventh century (650 A.D.), the Muslims signed a treaty with the Nubians stipulating that no Arabs and Muslims could settle in the Nubian Sudan. This arrangement held up for about 600 years. An Arab Muslim writer asserted that one of the ways Islam made inroads into Nubia was through Muslim men marrying Christian women9.
Stay tuned for my next blog: prominent blacks in the New Testament.
References and Graphics
- Petrie, W. M. Flanders (1991). A history of Egypt, Part I. London, England: Histories & Mysteries of Man Ltd., p. 49.
- Petrie, Part I, p. 36.
- Petrie, Part I, p. 38.
- Retrieved from: https://www.ucl.ac.uk/museums-static/digitalegypt/literature/nefertytransl.html
- Petrie, W. M. Flanders (1991). A history of Egypt, Part II. London, England: Histories & Mysteries of Man Ltd., p. 337.
- Petrie, Part II, pp. 40.
- Petrie, Part II, pp. 40-41
- Nibbi, Alessandra (1975). The sea peoples and Egypt. Park Ridge, New Jersey: Noyes Press. P. 129.
- Adams, William Y. (1984). Nubia: corridor to Africa. Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press.’
- Adams quotes an Armenian author Abu Saleh who asserted that, “It is said to be the custom among the Nubians, when a king dies and leaves a son, and also a nephew, the son of his sister, that the latter reigns after his uncle, instead of the son; but if there is no sister’s son, then the king’s own son succeeds”. Adams goes on to say: “According to Ibn Khaldun, who records the same custom, it was the rule of matrilineal inheritance which led to the wholesale Islamization of Nubia after Christian women began marrying Moslem immigrants … p. 463.