Israel in Egypt -- By: Gary A. Byers

Journal: Bible and Spade (Second Run)
Volume: BSPADE 18:1 (Winter 2005)
Article: Israel in Egypt
Author: Gary A. Byers


Israel in Egypt

Gary A. Byers

The main route between Canaan and Egypt was along the northern coast of Sinai. A number of Biblical figures no doubt traveled this road. Known to the Egyptians as “the Way of Horus,” and in the Bible as “the road through the Philistine country” (Ex 13:17), it ended in the eastern delta in the Goshen region. This is the part of Egypt where most Biblical characters lived and Biblical events took place.

Michael Luddeni

Pyramid development. They started from a flattop rectangular mud-brick tomb, called a mastaba (Arabic for “bench”). The first pyramid (left) was a series of six increasingly smaller mastabas, one on top of the other. The famous builder Imhotep constructed the four-sided stone structure for Pharaoh Djoser (Third Dynasty; 27th century BC) at Saqqara. This stepped pyramid is the oldest freestanding stone structure in the world. From Djoser’s stepped pyramid came the first real pyramid with four smoothed flat sides, constructed by Pharaoh Sneferu (Fourth Dynasty; 27th century BC) at Dahshur (center). Unfortunately, his builders were forced to correct the slope half way up, and it is known today as the Bent Pyramid. A later Sneferu pyramid at Dahshur, known today as the Red Pyramid because of the reddish color of the local limestone that was used in its construction, was perfectly constructed and is generally recognized as the first true pyramid (right). Contrary to popular opinion, none of Egypt’s royal pyramids were constructed by Israelite slaves. Instead, known archaeological evidence suggests they were constructed by professional builders who lived in nearby villages and spent their lives working on the project.

Pyramid of 12th Dynasty Pharaoh Sesostris II at El-Lahun in Lower Egypt. This was possibly the Pharaoh under whom Joseph rose to the position of vizier in Egypt. Although a Middle Kingdom Pharaonic tomb, it was much smaller than the Old Kingdom pyramids at Giza. Sesostris II’s pyramid was constructed of a mud-brick core with a limestone casing. All that remains today is the mud-brick core, as the casing was stripped away long ago by locals for building material.

Insert: Uraeus worn by Sesostris II. Discovered in Sesostris II’s pyramid by W.M. Flinders Petrie in 1920, it had been left behind by tomb robbers. The term uraeus is derived from the Greek...

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