All posts for the month April, 2015

Chief Judge and Vizier Weni Compared with Chief Judge and Vizier Mentuhotep

Published April 18, 2015 by amaic

Moses. May be Staring Revisionists Right in the Face.


 Damien F. Mackey

If any revisionist historian had placed himself in a good position, chronologically, to identify in the Egyptian records the patriarch Joseph, then it was Dr. Donovan Courville, who had, in The Exodus Problem and its Ramifications, I and II (1971), proposed that Egypt’s Old and Middle Kingdoms were contemporaneous. That radical move on his part might have enabled Courville to bring the likeliest candidate for Joseph, the Vizier Imhotep of the Third Dynasty, into close proximity with the Twelfth Dynasty – the dynasty that revisionists most favour for the era of Moses.

Courville, however, who did not consider Imhotep for Joseph, selected instead for his identification of this great biblical Patriarch another significant official, Mentuhotep, vizier to pharaoh Sesostris I, the second king of Egypt’s Twelfth Dynasty.

And very good revisionists have followed Courville in his choice of Mentuhotep for Joseph.


With my own system, though, favouring (i) Imhotep for Joseph; (ii) Amenemes [Amenemhet] I for the “new king” of Exodus 1:8; and (iii) Amenemes I’s successor, Sesostris I, for the pharaoh from whom Moses fled (as recalled in the semi-legendary “The Story of Sinuhe”), then Mentuhotep of this era must now loom large as a candidate for the Egyptianised Moses.




In 1981 I began a search for Moses in the Egyptian records.

The first lesson that I had to learn (and Courville’s two-volume set served as my guide in this) was that the history books and the Bible just did not align.

Now, after decades of effort on this work of revision, I have been blessed to have encountered – and sometimes to have made – exciting discoveries, including the appropriate era for Moses and the Exodus, and the true archaeology for the Israelite (Joshuan) Conquest of Palestine. But Moses himself, the person, has proved to be most elusive.


I now think that – and it has taken me only about 34 years to realise it –

this Mentuhotep may be Moses staring revisionists right in the face.


In my most recent excursion into this era of biblico-history:

Bible Bending Pharaonic Egypt. Part One: Abraham to Exodus.

I returned to the view – in line with the thinking of professor Immanuel Anati, in his classic, The Mountain of God – that the famous Egyptian “Sinuhe” tale carried a reminiscence of the historical Moses: “I accept that this famous Egyptian tale is based upon a real biblical event. The semi-legendary Sinuhe may at least provide us with the time of the flight of Moses from Egypt to Midian, during the early reign of Sesostris I”.

And I as well, in line with my revised Old to Middle Kingdom parallelism, tentatively making contemporaneous:

4th Dynasty                  6th Dynasty                 12th Dynasty               13th Dynasty

also suggested in this article a possible connection of Sinuhe with the Sixth Dynasty’s Weni. Thus:


There is a famous Sixth dynasty official, Weni (or Uni), who may be the parallel of the Twelfth Dynasty’s Sinuhe as a candidate for the elusive Moses.

I have previously written on this:

Now, given our alignment of the so-called Egyptian Middle Kingdom’s Twelfth Dynasty with the Egyptian Old Kingdom’s Sixth Dynasty (following Dr. Donovan Courville), then the semi-legendary Sinuhe may find his more solidly historical identification in the important Sixth Dynasty official, Weni, or Uni. Like Weni, Sinuhe was highly honoured by pharaoh with the gift of a sarcophagus. We read about it, for instance, in C. Dotson’s extremely useful article (“…. The Cycle of Order and Chaos in The Tale of Sinuhe”) (

“…. The king gives Sinuhe a sarcophagus of gold and lapis lazuli as a housewarming gift. The gift of a coffin by the king was considered a great honor and a sign of respect.

In the Autobiography of Weni from the Old Kingdom, Weni records that the king had given him a white sarcophagus and “never before had the like been done in this Upper Egypt.” ….

[End of quote]

Naturally, Dr. Courville’s radical proposal that the Egyptian Sixth and Twelfth dynasties were contemporaneous – whereas, according to conventional history some four centuries separate the end of the Sixth (c. 2200 BC) from that of the Twelfth (c. 1800 BC) – has not been well received by non-revisionist historians, such as e.g. professor W. Stiebing who has written ( “There is simply no textual support for making the Sixth and Twelfth Dynasties contemporaneous, as Courville does”. However, as I noted in my:

Connecting the Biblical Patriarchs to Ancient Egypt

…. [Dr.] J. Osgood proposes a possible close relationship between the 6th and 12th dynasty mortuary temples ….:

Edwards certainly opens the possibility unconsciously when referring to the pyramid of Sesostris the First ….: “… and the extent to which its Mortuary Temple was copied from the Mortuary Temples of the VIth dynasty, as illustrated by that of Pepi II … is clearly evident.”

The return of a culture to what it was before … after some three hundred years must be an uncommon event. The theoretical possibility that the two cultures, the Twelfth and the Sixth Dynasties were in fact contemporary and followed a common pattern of Mortuary Temple must be borne in mind as real.

[End of quote]

That there is in fact some impressive evidence to suggest that, as I wrote:

Egypt’s Old and Middle Kingdoms [Were] Far Closer in Time

than Conventionally Thought

is apparent from a set of examples that I listed there taken from N. Grimal’s A History of Ancient Egypt (Blackwell 1994). After recalling some striking similarities between the Sixth Dynasty founder, Teti, and the Twelfth Dynasty founder, Amenemes I, as follows: “…. {Teti, I have tentatively proposed as being the same pharaoh as Amenemes/Ammenemes I, based on (a) being a founder of a dynasty; (b) having same Horus name; (c) being assassinated. ….}”, I continued:

Grimal notes the likenesses:

Pp. 80-81

“[Teti‟s] adoption of the Horus name Sehetep-tawy (“He who pacifies the Two Lands”) was an indication of the political programme upon which he embarked. … this Horus name was to reappear in titulatures throughout subsequent Egyptian history, always in connection with such kings as Ammenemes I … [etc.]”.

“Manetho says that Teti was assassinated, and it is this claim that has led to the idea of growing civil disorder, a second similarity with the reign of Ammenemes I”.

  1. 84: “[Pepy I] … an unmistakable return to ancient values: Pepy I changed his coronation name from Neferdjahor to Merire (“The devotee of Ra”)”. ….
  2. 159:

[Ammenemes I]. Like his predecessors in the Fifth Dynasty, the new ruler used literature to publicize the proofs of his legitimacy. He turned to the genre of prophecy: a premonitory recital placed in the mouth of Neferti, a Heliopolitan sage who bears certain similarities to the magician Djedi in Papyrus Westcar. Like Djedi, Neferti is summoned to the court of King Snofru, in whose reign the story is supposed to have taken place”.

  1. 164: “[Sesostris I]. Having revived the Heliopolitan tradition of taking Neferkare as his coronation name …”.
  2. 165: “There is even evidence of a Twelfth Dynasty cult of Snofru in the region of modern Ankara”.
  3. 171: “Ammenemes IV reigned for a little less than ten years and by the time he died the country was once more moving into a decline. The reasons were similar to those that conspired to end the Old Kingdom”.
  4. 173: “… Mentuhotpe II ordered the construction of a funerary complex modelled on the Old Kingdom royal tombs, with its valley temple, causeway and mortuary temple”.
  5. 177:

“… Mentuhotpe II’[s] … successors … returned to the Memphite system for their funerary complexes. They chose sites to the south of Saqqara and the plans of their funerary installations drew on the architectural forms of the end of the Sixth Dynasty.

…. The mortuary temple was built during the Ammenemes I’s “co-regency” with Sesostris I. The ramp and the surrounding complex were an enlarged version of Pepy II’s”.

  1. 178: “The rest of [Sesostris I’s el-Lisht] complex was again modelled on that of Pepy II”.

Pp. 178-179:

“[Ammenemes III’s “black pyramid” and mortuary structure at Dahshur]. The complex

infrastructure contained a granite sarcophagus which was decorated with a replica of the enclosure wall of the Step Pyramid complex of Djoser at Saqqara (Edwards 1985: 211-12)”. “[Ammenemes III’s pyramid and mortuary temple at Harawa]. This was clearly a sed festival installation, comparable to the jubilee complex of Djoser at Saqqara, with which Ammenemes’ structure has several similarities”.

“The tradition of the Old Kingdom continued to influence Middle Kingdom royal statuary …”.

  1. 180:

“The diversity of styles was accompanied by a general return to the royal tradition, which was expressed in the form of a variety of statues representing kings from past times, such as those of Sahure, Neuserre, Inyotef and Djoser created during the reign of Sesostris II”.

  1. 181:

“A comparable set of statures represents Ammenemes III (Cairo, Egyptian Museum CG 385 from Hawara) … showing the king kneeling to present wine vessels, a type previously encountered at the end of the Old Kingdom (Cairo, Egyptian Museum CG 42013 …) …”.

[End of quotes]

Further on, I shall be drawing multiple comparisons also between the Sixth Dynasty official, Weni, and the Twelfth Dynasty official, Mentuhotep, thus suggesting time approximation.

On the strength of this possible allowance for tucking Egypt’s Old Kingdom, in part, into the Middle Kingdom – especially with Teti being so reminiscent of Amenemes I, and with the building complexes of Pepi II so resembling those of Sesostris I – then a merger of the official Weni, with the apparently important Sinuhe, may now loom as being actually plausible.

         Sinuhe Flees Egypt

As for the vizier Mentuhotep, however, despite his having officiated at the very same time that Sinuhe is said to have, during the reign of Sesostris I, I had not really followed through. And that despite the rapturous manner about which revisionists (thinking that Mentuhotep was the patriarch Joseph) have written of this powerful official, largely following Courville. Thus Drs. D. Down and J. Ashton (“Unwrapping the Pharaohs”), introduce him as follows (

Sesostris [I] is known to have had a vizier, or prime minister, by the name of Mentuhotep who wielded extraordinary power, and some scholars have identified this vizier with the biblical Joseph. Sir Alan Gardiner assigns a date of 1971–1928 B.C. to Sesostris I, but by a revised chronology he would have been ruling when Joseph was sold as a slave into Egypt in about 1681 B.C.


Genesis 41:43 adds, “He [Pharaoh] had him ride in the second chariot which he had; and they cried out before him, ‘Bow the knee.’” That was the sort of status that was not usually ascribed to viziers, but it was in the case of Mentuhotep. Another great Egyptologist, Emille Brugsch, wrote in his book Egypt Under the Pharaohs, “In a word, our Mentuhotep . . . appears as the alter ego of the king. When he arrived, the great personages bowed down before him at the outer door of the royal palace.”3

And A. Montgomery writes about Mentuhotep (

Courville identified Joseph as Vizier Mentuhotep, the most powerful Vizier of the 12th Dynasty. Under Senurset [Sesostris] I, his many impressive titles were: Vizier, Chief Judge, Overseer of the Double Granary, Chief Treasurer, Governor of the Royal Castle, Wearer of the Royal Seal, Chief of all the Works of the King, Hereditary Prince, Pilot of the People, Giver of Good -Sustaining Alive the People, Count, Sole Companion, Favourite of the King [Courville, 1977, Vol. 1, p.142]. Such titles were unprecedented.

[End of quotes]

Nevertheless, Mentuhotep – the favoured candidate for Joseph amongst revisionists of a conservative Christian persuasion (e.g., Courville; Down; Ashton; Mitchell) – must have begun finally to impress himself upon my mind as being a possible candidate for Moses, instead, for I also wrote briefly in the above-mentioned ‘Bible Bending’ article:

Along with Weni, and the semi-historical Sinuhe, there is another powerful Twelfth dynasty character under pharaoh Sesostris I, who may be a candidate for Moses. I refer to the Vizier, Mentuhotep, on to whom Courville and others have fastened, instead, as Joseph (thereby missing out on the Joseph = Imhotep synchronism).

But I now think that – and it has taken me only about 34 years to realise it – this Mentuhotep may be Moses staring revisionists right in the face. They have dimly perceived this, though, mistaking him instead for the great Joseph. But, by having missed out on identifying Imhotep as the rightful Joseph (as I see it), and substituting Mentuhotep, they may unwittingly have rendered impossible, within their revision, for an historical identification of Moses.

[End of quotes]


A further potential obstacle for identifying Moses in Egyptian history has been the tendency, following midrashic and other legends, to regard him as having been “a king”, that is, a pharaoh of Egypt. Courville had toyed with the idea that Moses may have been the last of the Twelfth Dynasty pharaohs, Amenemhet [Amenemes] IV (as referred to at:

And I have, for a long time, pursued this line of thought that I now believe to be erroneous. Certainly ancient legend attributes a lot to the talented Moses, who – if he were a combination of Weni (Sinuhe) and Mentuhotep – may not have fallen too far short of such startling claims. Thus we read (

… the long article concerning Moses (Euseb. ix. 27) gives detailed information of his being the real founder of all the culture and even of the worship of the gods in Egypt. For he it was whom the Greeks call Musaeus, the instructor of Orpheus, the author of a multitude of useful inventions and attainments, of navigation, architecture, military science, and philosophy. He also divided the country into thirty-six provinces, and commanded each province to worship God; he also instructed the priests in [hieroglyphics]. He introduced order into State affairs. Hence he was beloved by the Egyptians, who called him Hermas, δια την των ιερων γραμματων ερμηνειαν. King Chenephres however sought, out of envy, to get rid of him. …. When [Chenephres] was dead, Moses received commandment from God to deliver His people from Egyptian bondage. …. Single traits from this history are related, with express appeal to Artapanus, in Clemens Alex. Strom. i. 23. 154, in Chron. pasch. ed. Dindorf, i. 117, and in the Chron. anonym. in Cramer, Anecdota, Paris, ii. 176.

[End of quote]

It should be noted here this alleged creativity generally refers only to the “Egyptianised” Moses (cf. Exodus 2:19 and Acts 7:22), and not to the post Burning Bush version of the man.

Comparing Weni – (and Sinuhe) – with Mentuhotep


About Sinuhe, we learn ( “I was a henchman who followed his lord, a servant of the Royal harim attending on the hereditary princess, the highly-praised Royal Consort of Sesostris in the pyramid-town of Khnem-esut, the Royal Daughter of Amenemmes in the Pyramid-town of Ka-nofru, even Nofru, the revered”.

We have already learned something of the greatness of Mentuhotep.

Weni has, for his part – like Imhotep (Joseph) – been described as a “genius” This little excerpt on the “Autobiography of Weni” ( already tells us a lot about the man:

Weni rose through the ranks of the military to become commander in chief of the army. He was considered by both his contemporaries and many Egyptologists to have been a brilliant tactician and possibly even a genius. His victories earned him the privilege of being shown leading the troops into battle, a right usually reserved for pharaohs. Weni is the first person, other than a pharaoh, known to have been portrayed in this manner. Many of his battles were in the Levant and the Sinai. He is said to have pursued a group of Bedouins all the way to Mount Carmel. He battled a Bedouin people known as the sand-dwellers at least five times.

[End of quote]

Weni’s famous “Autobiography” has been described as, amongst other superlatives ( “… the best-known biographical text of the Old Kingdom and has been widely discussed, as it is important for literary and historical reasons; it is also the longest such document”. This marvellous piece of ancient literature, conventionally dated to c. 2330 BC – and even allowing for the revised re-dating of it to a bit more than half a millennium later – completely gives the lie to the old JEDP theory, that writing was not invented until about 1000 BC.

Here I take some of the relevant inscriptions of the renowned Vizier, Mentuhotep (, and juxtapose them with comparable parts of the “Autobiography” of Weni (in brown) ( (all emphasis added):




  1. Hereditary prince, vizier and chief judge

The exterior face of the north wall incorporates a large niche, and during excavations here a damaged false door inscribed for Weni the Elder was discovered in situ. Not only does this false door provide a nickname for Weni (“Nefer Nekhet Mery-Ra”–Egyptian nicknames were often longer than birth names!), but it also documents his final career promotion, a fact not recorded in his autobiography: Chief Judge and Vizier.


attached to Nekhen,

judge attached to Nekhen,

prophet of

prophet of

Mat (goddess of Truth), giver of laws, advancer of offices, confirming … the boundary records, separating a land-owner from his neighbor, pilot of the people, satisfying the whole land, a man of truth before the Two Lands … accustomed … to justice like Thoth, his like in satisfying the Two Lands, hereditary prince in judging the Two Lands …. supreme head in judgment, putting matters in order, wearer of the royal seal, chief treasurer, Mentuhotep.

Hereditary prince, count

the count

… chief of all works of the king, making the offerings of the gods to flourish, setting this land … according to the command of the god.

the whole was carried out by my hand, according to the mandate which … my lord had commanded me.

…. sending forth two brothers satisfied

pleasant to his brothers

with the utterances of his mouth, upon whose tongue is the writing of Thoth,

I alone was the one who put (it) in writing ….

more accurate than the weight, likeness of the balances, fellow of the king in counselling … giving attention to hear words, like a god in his hour, excellent in heart, skilled in his fingers, exercising an office like him who holds it, favorite of the king

I was excellent to the heart of his majesty, for I was pleasant to the heart of his majesty

before the Two Lands, his beloved among the companions,

for his majesty loved me.

his majesty appointed me sole companion and superior custodian of the domain of the Pharaoh.

powerful among the officials, having an advanced seat to approach the throne of the king, a man of confidences to whom the heart opens.

his majesty praised me for the watchfulness and vigilance, which I showed in the place of audience, above his every official, above [his every] noble, above his every servant.

  1. Hereditary prince over the … the (royal) castle (wsh’t) … finding the speech of the palace, knowing that which is in every body (heart), putting a man into his real place, finding matters in which there is irregularity, giving the lie to him that speaks it, and the truth to him that brings it, giving attention, without an equal, good at listening, profitable in speaking, an official loosening the (difficult) knot, whom the king (lit., god) exalts above millions, as an excellent man, whose name he knew, true likeness of love, free from doing deceit, whose steps the court heeds,

when preparing court, when preparing the king’s journey (or) when making stations, I did throughout so that his majesty praised me for it above everything.

overthrowing him that rebels against the king, hearing the house of the council of thirty, who puts his terror … among the barbarians (fp^s’tyw), when he has silenced the Sand-dwellers, pacifying the rebels because of their deeds, whose actions prevail in the two regions, lord of the Black Land and the Red Land, giving commands to the South, counting the number of the Northland,

His majesty sent me to despatch [this army] five times, in order to traverse the land of the Sand-dwellers at each of their rebellions, with these troops, I did so that [his] majesty praised me [on account of it].

When it was said there were revolters, because of a matter among these barbarians in the land of Gazelle-nose, I crossed over in troop-ships with these troops, and I voyaged to the back of the height of the ridge on the north of the Sand-dwellers. When the army had been [brought] in the highway, I came and smote them all and every revolter among them was slain.


His majesty sent me at the head of his army while the counts, while the wearers of the royal seal, while the sole companions of the palace, while the nomarchs and commanders of strongholds belonging to the South and Northland ….

in whose brilliance all men move, pilot of the people, giver of food, advancing offices, lord of designs, great in love, associate of the king in the great castle (wsfi’t), hereditary prince, count, chief treasurer, Mentuhotep, he says:

  1. …’I am a companion beloved of his lord, doing that which pleases his god daily, prince, count, sem priest, master of every wardrobe of Horus, prophet of Anubis of … the hry ydb, Mentuhotep, prince in the seats of … Splendor … at whose voice they (are permitted to) speak in the king’s-house, in charge of the silencing of the courtiers, unique one of the king, without his like, who sends up the truth ….

One to whom the great come in obeisance at the double gate of the king’s-house ; attached to Nekhen, prophet of Mat, pillar … ‘before the Red Land, overseer of the western highlands,

First of the Westerners ….

leader of the magnates of South and North … advocate of the people … merinuter priest, prophet of Horus, master of secret things of the house of sacred writings ….

Never before had one like me heard the secret of the royal harem.

[Sinuhe, too, was] servant of the Royal harim attending on the hereditary princess ….

governor of the (royal) castle,

governor of the South

prophet of Harkefti, great lord of the royal wardrobe, who approaches the limbs of the king,



…. overseer of the double granary, overseer of the double silver-house, overseer of the double gold-house, master of the king’s writings of the (royal) presence, wearer of the royal seal, sole companion, master of secret things of the ‘divine words’ (hieroglyphics) ….

  1. Here follows a mortuary prayer, after which the concluding lines (22, 23) refer specifically to his building commissions at Abydos ….

I conducted the work in the temple, built of stone of Ayan I conducted the work on the sacred barque {nlm * /), I fashioned its colors, offering tables

His majesty sent me to Hatnub to bring a huge offering-table ….

of lapis lazuli, of bronze, of electrum, and silver; copper was plentiful without end, bronze without limit, collars of real malachite, ornaments (mn-nfr’t) of every kind of costly stone. of the choicest of everything, which are given to a god at his processions, by virtue of my office of master of secret things.

[End of quotes]

I recall (but do not currently have it with me) that professor A. S. Yahuda had, in his Language of the Pentateuch in Its Relation to Egyptian, Vol. 1 (1933), when discussing the Exodus 5:5 encounter between Pharaoh and Moses and Aaron: “Then Pharaoh said, ‘Look, the people of the land are now numerous, and you are stopping them from working’”, referred to the rank of Moses and Aaron (differentiating them from the common people) as something akin to new men. Anyway, that is precisely how Weni is classified in this next piece (

Everyone who has studied ancient Egyptian history is familiar with the autobiography of Weni the Elder, an enterprising individual who lived during the 6th Dynasty of the Old Kingdom (ca. 2407-2260 BCE). His inscription, excavated in 1860 from his tomb in the low desert at Abydos in southern Egypt, enthusiastically describes his long service under three kings, culminating in his appointment as “True Governor of Upper Egypt.” Scholars have hailed it as “the most important historical document from the Old Kingdom” and have used it to illustrate the rise of a class of “new men” in Egyptian politics and society–persons whose upward mobility rested in their abilities, not in noble birth.

Early in the season, we excavated a number of inscribed relief fragments from this area, including two pieces that, when joined together, furnished the name “Weni the Elder” and a fragment providing the title “True Governor of Upper Egypt,” the highest title recorded in Weni’s autobiography. Further evidence emerged supporting this association. The exterior face of the north wall incorporates a large niche, and during excavations here a damaged false door inscribed for Weni the Elder was discovered in situ. Not only does this false door provide a nickname for Weni (“Nefer Nekhet Mery-Ra”–Egyptian nicknames were often longer than birth names!), but it also documents his final career promotion, a fact not recorded in his autobiography: Chief Judge and Vizier.

[End of quote]


Weni was, just like Mentuhotep, Chief Judge and Vizier.

Was this also the historical Moses, whose Judgeship, whose Rulership, some of the Hebrews chose to reject (Exodus 2:14): ‘Who made you ruler and judge over us?’