biblical identifications Damien F. Mackey Revised History Era King Hezekiah Judah post-graduate Tiglath-pileser John R. Salverda

All posts tagged biblical identifications Damien F. Mackey Revised History Era King Hezekiah Judah post-graduate Tiglath-pileser John R. Salverda

Judith and Huldah

Published July 8, 2020 by amaic

Part One:

Era of Josiah merged with Era of Hezekiah


Damien F. Mackey

Why did king Josiah, upon the finding of the Book of the Law, send his chief ministers to consult, not the male prophets, Jeremiah and Zephaniah, but a mysterious female prophetess named Huldah (חֻלְדָּה, a Hebrew name supposedly meaning “weasel” or “mole”)? (2 Kings 22:8-20).

The situation becomes even more extraordinary in the context of my revision which merges the era of king Josiah with that of king Hezekiah, showing that the king’s servant “Asaiah” of Josiah is to be identified with the great Isaiah himself. Previously I wrote on this:

“What has king Hezekiah of Judah to do with Jeremiah? it may well be asked.

That is all explained in my most recent article:

De-coding Jonah

in which I merge the era of king Hezekiah with the era of king Josiah, Jeremiah’s era. And so we find:

Hezekiah becomes Josiah;

Hilkiah becomes Hilkiah the high priest;

Shebna the secretary becomes Shaphan the secretary;

Joah the recorder becomes Joah the recorder;

Isaiah becomes Asaiah.

And there will be more names to be added to this list”. [End of quote]

Indeed, I have since added Jeremiah as Eliakim son of Hilkiah:

Jeremiah was both prophet and high priest

Two things to be noted here.

Firstly, the prophet Isaiah (= Asaiah), to whom the king was wont to send his officials for consultation (Isaiah 37:2), is now to be found amongst those of the king’s officials consulting the woman, Huldah. And, secondly, regarding my statement “there will be more names to be added to this list”, we need a female from the era of king Hezekiah to merge with Huldah of king Josiah’s era – a female pairing to restore some balance for all of those male connections.

Can we find such an incredibly famous woman at the time of king Hezekiah?

To achieve this, which is the purpose of this present article (see Part Two), will fully serve to answer the question in my title above, “Huldah who?”

Part Two: Huldah’s identity

in reign of king Hezekiah

There is only one woman, and one woman alone, at the time of king Hezekiah of Judah, who can possibly be identified with the famous prophetess Huldah.

That is the Simeonite heroine, Judith.

Before I had realised that the era of Hezekiah had to be merged with the era of Josiah, Huldah’s era – and having already come to the conclusion that Huldah must be Judith – I had been forced, chronologically, to regard Huldah as Judith in her old age.

That interpretation, for me, accounted, perhaps, for how Huldah – traditionally a mentor of king Josiah – had been able to speak so bluntly about the pious king: ‘Tell the man …’.

2 Kings 22:15-16: “She said to them, ‘This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: Tell the man who sent you to me, ‘This is what the Lord says: I am going to bring disaster on this place and its people, according to everything written in the book the king of Judah has read’.’”

Here was an aged and famous prophetess, I had thought, bluntly speaking her mind.

{Although it may have been that Huldah was merely quoting verbatim the words that the Lord himself had directed her to speak}.

Huldah appeared to me to have had the same sort of bluntness that Judith had exhibited when addressing the elders of “Bethulia” (e.g., Judith 8:11-13):

‘… you were wrong to speak to the people as you did today. You should not have made a solemn promise before God that you would surrender the town to our enemies if the Lord did not come to our aid within a few days. What right do you have to put God to the test as you have done today? Who are you to put yourselves in God’s place in dealing with human affairs? It is the Lord Almighty that you are putting to the test! Will you never learn?’

And I had compared Judith, in this regard, with the forthright and outspoken Joan of Arc:

Judith of Bethulia and Joan of Arc

With Josiah’s era now to be merged into the era of Hezekiah, though, there must take place a major chronological reconsideration. Instead of Huldah’s statement belonging to an historical phase significantly later than the victory of the young (or young-ish) Judith over the Assyrian commander-in-chief (on this, see my):

“Nadin” (Nadab) of Tobit is the “Holofernes” of Judith

the Huldah incident must now be regarded as pre-dating by some several years Judith’s victory.

This would mean that Huldah was quite young when she uttered her words, making it even more extraordinary that king Josiah had chosen to send his chief ministers, including the great Isaiah (= Asaiah), all males, to consult the gifted woman.

In this way, we might understand Isaiah’s praise of Judith when he, a fellow Simeonite, said of her, as Uzziah, that Judith’s wisdom was known ever since she was a child (Judith 8:28-29):

“Then Uzziah answered Judith,

‘Everything you have said makes good sense, and no one can argue with it. This is not the first time you have shown wisdom. Ever since you were a child, all of us have recognized the soundness and maturity of your judgment’.”

Uzziah (= Isaiah) also calls Judith here ‘a deeply religious woman’ (v. 31).

This, therefore, must go a long way towards explaining why the woman Huldah (= Judith) was consulted by king Josiah’s most eminent male officials – even over the great Isaiah himself.

So, adding to our former merger:

Hezekiah becomes Josiah;

Hilkiah becomes Hilkiah the high priest;

Shebna the secretary becomes Shaphan the secretary;

Joah the recorder becomes Joah the recorder;

Isaiah becomes Asaiah;

Eliakim son of Hilkiah becomes Jeremiah son of Hilkiah,

Judith becomes Huldah.

This last identification is not without several difficulties pertaining to genealogy and geography that will need to be addressed now in Part Three.

Part Three:

The heroine’s husband

Happily, we know something about Judith’s husband, about Huldah’s husband.

But is the former husband the same person as the latter husband?

Whereas Judith’s husband seems to have been situated in “Bethulia”, identified as Bethel-Shechem in the north, Huldah, and presumably her husband, appears to dwell in Jerusalem, in the south.

The apparent geographical problem, at least, can easily be accounted for with reference to Isaiah and his father, Amos, the father-son combination of, respectively, Uzziah and Micah, of the Book of Judith. Like Judith, these men were Simeonites, and were no doubt related to her. They spent large portions of their time in the northern Bethel, but were also often found residing in Jerusalem as advisers to a succession of kings of Judah.

Jewish legend even has Amos as the “brother” (no doubt a marriage relationship) of king Amaziah of Judah.

Judith’s husband, “Manasseh, who belonged to her tribe and family”, had died only about three years before the Assyrians invaded Israel (Judith 8:2-5):

Her husband Manasseh, who belonged to her tribe and family, had died during the barley harvest. For as he stood overseeing those who were binding sheaves in the field, he was overcome by the burning heat, and took to his bed and died in his town Bethulia.

So they buried him with his ancestors in the field between Dothan and Balamon. Judith remained as a widow for three years and four months at home where she set up a tent for herself on the roof of her house. She put sackcloth around her waist and dressed in widow’s clothing.

He had left Judith a very wealthy woman (v. 7): “Her husband Manasseh had left her gold and silver, men and women slaves, livestock, and fields; and she maintained this estate”.

And Judith never married again (16:21-24):

After this they all returned home to their own inheritances. Judith went to Bethulia, and remained on her estate. For the rest of her life she was honored throughout the whole country. Many desired to marry her, but she gave herself to no man all the days of her life after her husband Manasseh died and was gathered to his people. She became more and more famous, and grew old in her husband’s house, reaching the age of one hundred five. She set her maid free. She died in Bethulia, and they buried her in the cave of her husband Manasseh; and the house of Israel mourned her for seven days. Before she died she distributed her property to all those who were next of kin to her husband Manasseh, and to her own nearest kindred.

That is all that we learn about Manasseh.

We also need to take into account the fact that names in the Book of Judith have become confused over time. See e.g. my article:

Book of Judith: confusion of names

Thus Manasseh, for instance, may be found elsewhere in the Scriptures under a different name.

Perhaps, for example, the name “Manasseh” has been derived (in Greek) from a name like MeshelemiahMeshillemithMeshillemothMeshullamMeshullemeth, all being “related names” to Shallum, the husband of Huldah.

Shallum was renowned in Jewish legends. We read of Huldah and Shallum in the article, “Huldah”:

HULDAH (Heb. חֻלְדָּה; “weasel”), wife of Shallum son of Tikvah, the “wardrobe keeper” of the king; one of the five women in the Bible referred to as nevi’ah, “female prophet”) and the only woman prophet in the book of Kings (ii Kings 22:14–20). She was consulted by *Josiah when he sent to “inquire of the Lord” concerning the Book of the Law discovered during the restoration of the Temple. She prophesied God’s ultimate judgment upon the nation. However, this judgment was to be postponed until after Josiah’s peaceful death because of the king’s acts of repentance. Inasmuch as Josiah’s death was not peaceful hers may be a genuine predictive prophecy. Most of her prophecy is molded by the authors of the Book of Kings in Deuteronomistic style. It is of interest that women prophets are well-attested in roughly contemporary Neo-Assyrian sources.

[Tikva S. Frymer /

  1. David Sperling (2nded.)]

In The Aggadah

She was one of the seven prophetesses (by rabbinic count) mentioned by name in the Bible. After Josiah found the copy of the Torah in the Temple, he consulted Huldah rather than Jeremiah, because he felt that a woman would be more compassionate and more likely to intercede with God on his behalf (Meg. 14b).

Since Jeremiah was a kinsman of the prophetess, both being descended from Joshua and Rahab, the king felt no apprehension that the prophet would resent his preference for Huldah (ibid.). While Jeremiah admonished and preached repentance to the men she did likewise to the women (pr 26:129). In addition to being a prophetess, Huldah also conducted an academy in Jerusalem (Targ., ii Kings 22:14). The “Gate of Huldah” in the Temple (Mid. 1:3) was formerly the gate leading to Huldah’s schoolhouse (Rashi, ii Kings 22:14). Huldah’s husband Shallum, the son of Tikvah, was a man of noble descent and compassionate. Daily he would go beyond the city limits carrying a pitcher of water from which he gave every traveler a drink, and it was as a reward for his good deeds that his wife became a prophetess. Huldah’s unattractive name which means “weasel” is ascribed to her arrogance when she referred to Josiah as “the man” (ii Kings 22:15) and not as king.

[Aaron Rothkoff]


Ginzberg, Legends, index. add. bibliography: M. Cogan and H. Tadmor, ii Kings (1988), 295; S. Parpola, Assyrian Prophecies (State Archives of Assyria vol. ix; 1997), xiviii-lii”. [End of quotes]

Huldah’s husband must have been very old (article, “Shallum”, Jewish Encyclopedia):

“…. Even at the time of the prophet Elisha, Shallum was one of the most eminent men (“mi-gedole ha-dor”) in the country. Yet he did not think it beneath his dignity to lend personal aid to the poor and the needy. It was one of his daily habits to go outside the gates of the city in order that he might give water to thirsty wanderers. God rewarded him by endowing him and his wife Huldah with the gift of prophecy. Another special reward was given him for his philanthropy, for it is he who is referred to in II Kings xiii. 21, where one who was dead awoke to life after being cast into Elisha’s sepulcher and touching the prophet’s bones. A son was granted him, who became distinguished for exceeding piety—Hanameel, Jeremiah’s cousin (Jer. xxxii. 7; Pirḳe R. El. xxxiii.)”.

This brings us to a deeper problem, genealogy.

Whereas Judith’s husband, Manasseh, would appear to have been a Simeonite, as he “belonged to her tribe and family”, Shallum was clearly a Levite. He was “son of Tikvah, the son of Harhas, keeper of the wardrobe” (2 Kings 22:14).

They, apparently, “lived in Jerusalem, in the New Quarter”.

Shallum’s ancestors, Tikvah and Harhas, were Kohathite Levites (I Chronicles 6:33, 37): “From the Kohathites ….  the son of Tahath [Tikvah], the son of Assir [Harhas] …”.

My tentative explanation would be that Manasseh was Shallum, a Kohathite Levite, hence related to the prophet Jeremiah, whose ancestors had set up home in the city of Shechem. “The hill country of Ephraim gave the Kohathites Shechem, which was a city of refuge …”. (Giver of Truth Biblical Commentary-Vol. 1: Old Testament, pp. 405-406). There, Shallum had married into the family of Simeon, as the Ephraimite (?) father of Samuel may have married a Levite. “It is possible that Elkanah was an Ephraimite who married Hannah, ostensibly a woman from the tribe of Levi” (Robert D. Bergen, 1, 2 Samuel, p. 64). Shallum, or Manasseh, may have married a daughter of Judith’s ancestor, Merari.

Judith may have been a wife of Shallum’s old age, his second wife.

Shallum, or Manasseh, “belonged to her tribe and family”, but only, I suggest, through marriage.

“Before [Judith] died she distributed her property to all those who were next of kin to her husband Manasseh, and to her own nearest kindred”.

Shallum may also have possessed a field in Anathoth (Jeremiah 32:7).



Amenhotep Hapu and Horemheb

Published April 8, 2020 by amaic

See the source image

Who was the enigmatic Amenhotep Hapu?



Damien F. Mackey


Part One:

Amenhotep Hapu, named Huy, as Amenhotep Huy


Here I am using the conventional dates as given by N. Grimal in his A History of Ancient Egypt (Blackwell, 1994).

To presume to identify Amenhotep son of Hapu, flourishing at the time of pharaoh Amenhotep ‘the Magnificent’  (1390-1352 BC), with general Amenhotep Huy, at the time of Tutankhamun (1336-1327 BC) – particularly considering that Hapu is thought to have been “born during the reign of pharaoh Thutmose III” (1479-1425 BC)


– would be to make of Huy a very aged general indeed.

Somewhere in the vicinity of 95 years of age.

My revision, though, according to which Thutmose III is to be merged with Thutmose IV (cutting out about 11 years), and Amenhotep II is to be merged with Amenhotep III (cutting out some 24 years), 35 in total, enables this connection to be biologically quite reasonable.

Why do I favour connecting Amenhotep Hapu (Huy) with Amenhotep Huy?

  1. Obviously there is the perfect name correspondence.
  2. The fact that Amenhotep Hapu is known to have lived to at least 80, and had hopes of attaining the age of 110 (immortalised by Joseph = Imhotep).
  3. The common role in Nubia.
  4. The quasi-pharaonic titles. 
  5. The fact that general Huy was considered important enough to have officiated at Tutankhamun’s funeral.  

As I had noted in my university thesis, this general Huy was acting “as a virtual pharaoh”: 

General Huy, as Doherty tells it, had returned victorious from Nubia as a virtual pharaoh (if he had not been that already before he had departed): 


Huy’s tomb also gives an insight into the power structure at Thebes. He is not bashful in viewing himself as Viceroy, or even more. One scene … depicts Huy’s return almost as a Pharaoh holding the flail as well as the crook. He may pay homage to Tutankhamun but Huy’s tomb pictures also illustrate Nubian tributes being presented directly to the Viceroy … nosing the ground … in front of [him]. … The inescapable conclusion … is that Huy saw himself very much in charge. He is active while the Pharaoh is passive. He does not receive the seal of office directly from the Pharaoh but from another powerful official which can only be Ay. Tutankhamun can be depicted as a warlike chieftain in the pictures on the fan found in his tomb. He may have had body armour buried with him but, as far as Huy was concerned, Huy was the victor of Nubia and, rather than Huy basking in Pharaoh’s glory, the positions are reversed.

Amenhotep son of Hapu likewise mentions being on a campaign to Nubia:

I was the chief at the head of the mighty men, to smite the Nubians [and the Asiatics (?)], the plans of my lord were a refuge behind me; [when I wandered (?)] his command surrounded me; his plans embraced all lands and all foreigners who were by his side. I reckoned up the captives of the victories of his majesty, being in charge of them.

Further on, Doherty will recall some of the elite titles that had been bestowed upon general Huy:


Huy, who was also present at Tutankhamun’s mysterious burial, rejoiced in some of the highest titles in the land. He was not only Viceroy of Nubia but ‘Divine Father’, one of the ‘Fanbearers on the King’s Right Hand’, ‘Supervisor of the Amun’s Cattle in the land of Kush’, ‘Supervisor of the Land of Gold of the Lord of the Two Countries’ … His Majesty’s Brave in the Cavalry.

Compare Amenhotep Hapu’s similarly grand titles:

Hereditary prince, count, sole companion, fan-bearer on the king’s right hand, chief of the king’s works even all the great monuments which are brought, of every excellent costly stone; steward of the King’s-daughter of the king’s-wife, Sitamen, who liveth; overseer of the cattle of Amon in the South and North, chief of the prophets of Horus, lord of Athribis, festival leader of Amon.

Part Two:

Amenhotep Hapu as Horemheb


The conclusion was reached in Part One, that that extraordinary character in Eighteenth Dynasty Egyptian history, Amenhotep Hapu, or Huy, was the same as the quasi-royal general serving king Tutankhamun, Amenhotep Huy.

Now, Amenhotep Huy I had previously identified with Horemheb, a future pharaoh of Egypt. There I wrote: 

It is here suggested that the powerful Horemheb may actually have been present at the lavish funeral of pharaoh Tutankhamun in the guise of General Huy.

A possible identification of Horemheb with Huy was one of my many attempts at revising ancient history through the use of alter egos in my university thesis:

A Revised History of the Era of King Hezekiah of Judah

and its Background


Beginning on p. 242 of Volume One, Chapter Ten, I presented the following section:

Horemheb as General Huy

With regard to the highly successful Nubian campaign effected during the reign of Tutankhamun, Horemheb is thought to have played a rôle only secondary to Huy. And Horemheb was entirely absent from Tutankhamun’s burial, according to Doherty … who has told of Ay’s sinister part in the entire funerary rites. …. Horemheb’s presumed absence though may be a misconception, based on what might be a one-dimensional view of this multi-dimensional official. He was I believe to the fore in both the Nubian campaign and the funeral; but not under the actual name of ‘Horemheb’. It is here I submit that … Horemheb is perhaps also the multi-titled Huy, “one of Ay’s close lieutenants” … who was at the forefront of both the Nubian campaign and Tutankhamun’s funeral.

Doherty has described the Nubian campaign, with Tutankhamun as merely a passive onlooker by contrast with the real power in Egypt at the time: ….

If Tutankhamun was not the real leader in the projected campaign against Kush then who was? General Horemheb must have played a part: paintings from his tomb at Sakkara portray the general bringing Nubian captives before Pharaoh and receiving [his] approval and approbation …. Horemheb was involved in the Nubian campaign and displayed his exploits both in his tomb at Sakkara and on the stela describing the events which led to his own coronation as Pharaoh.

Nevertheless, his nose may have been put out of joint, for the real star [sic] of Tutankhamun’s Nubian campaign was … the court official … Huy … Viceroy of Nubia and Huy unashamedly described his achievements in his own tomb paintings … These paintings place Huy very much at the heart of affairs. …

But this Huy was, I suspect, Horemheb himself. And this makes it almost certain that he was therefore the same also as Amenhotep Huy, king’s son of Kush. …. Whilst Doherty can only conclude about the Nubian campaign: …. “Very little if any mention is made of General Horemheb’s role”, the situation of course takes on a completely different aspect when Horemheb is equated with Huy. 


Doherty will discuss what he calls “three versions of the Nubian campaign”: i.e. one in the tomb of Tutankhamun, one in the tomb of Huy, and one in the tomb of Horemheb. …. But his complete separation of these last two, which I consider to belong to the one general, will necessitate from him this somewhat convoluted explanation: ….

On one level these different versions can be amusing but they do betray the tensions [sic] at Tutankhamun’s court. Huy, in his paintings, claims the credit, whilst General Horemheb presents an alternate [sic] version. There is no evidence of two Nubian campaigns. Horemheb may have gone ahead to prepare the ground for Huy or may have acted in concert with him. Nevertheless, the inescapable conclusion is that both [sic] men claimed the glory for … a victorious campaign.

Horemheb as Huy certainly also attended Tutankhamun’s funeral. Doherty again:


Huy, who was also present at Tutankhamun’s mysterious burial, rejoiced in some of the highest titles in the land. He was not only Viceroy of Nubia but ‘Divine Father’, one of the ‘Fanbearers on the King’s Right Hand’, ‘Supervisor of the Amun’s Cattle in the land of Kush’, ‘Supervisor of the Land of Gold of the Lord of the Two Countries’ … His Majesty’s Brave in the Cavalry.

…. Horemheb had … astonishing titles as well [e.g. ‘King’s Deputy in All Countries’, ‘King’s Elect’, ‘The Greatest Amongst the Favourites of the Lord of the Two Countries’, ‘The True Scribe Well Beloved of the King’]. …. Courville marvelled at the nature of Horemheb’s titles and privileges. …. That Horemheb was already at least quasi-pharaoh during the reign of Tutankhamun is quite apparent from the fact that Horemheb’s cartouche has been found together with that of Tutankhamun on commemorative stone slabs found at the base of sphinxes as part of the Avenue of Sphinxes at Karnak. ….

Horemheb, if identical to Amenhotep Huy, may have taken the name, “Amenhotep”, in honour of his great benefactor, Amenhotep ‘the Magnificent’.

I had calculated Amenhotep Huy’s age to have been about 60 during the reign of Tutankhamun. That number will still require the addition of 4 years for Aye, plus the amount of time that Horemheb reigned.

I would favour a short reign, despite Horemheb’s vast building works. Much of these could have been completed during the reign of Amenhotep ‘the Magnificent’.

For Amenhotep Hapu was:

“… a priest and a Scribe of Recruits (organizing the labour and supplying the manpower for the Pharaoh’s projects, both civilian and military). He was also an architect and supervised several building projects, among them Amenhotep III’s mortuary temple at western Thebes, of which only two statues remain nowadays, known as the Colossi of Memnon. He may also have been the architect of the Temple of Soleb in Nubia. …”. 

Likewise, Horemheb was a Scribe of Recruits and the Overseer of the Priests of Horus:

More recently I have written:

“The large grey granite statue of Horemheb in the pose of a scribe … is related stylistically to those of Amenhotep son of Hapu … Horemheb has the same plump, well-fed body and wears a long wig similar to that of the aged wise man …”.

Smith and W. Simpson

Amenhotep son of Hapu, Horemheb, contemporaneous, having lived during the reign of Amenhotep III. And in Part One, it was observed:

Horemheb, for one, may have been stylistically influenced by Amenhotep. For according to W. Smith and W. Simpson (The Art and Architecture of Ancient Egypt, Yale UP, 1998, p. 195): “The large grey granite statue of Horemheb in the pose of a scribe … is related stylistically to those of Amenhotep son of Hapu … Horemheb has the same plump, well-fed body and wears a long wig similar to that of the aged wise man …”.

Using information on “Amenhotep son of Hapu” as provided by Anneke Bart:

I shall point out some comparisons between him and Horemheb (for whom I shall be drawing largely from Arianna Sacco’s article “Soldier, scribe, king: the career of Horemheb”).

Some of his titles:

Hereditary prince, count, sole companion, fan-bearer on the king’s right hand, chief of the king’s works even all the great monuments which are brought, of every excellent costly stone; steward of the King’s-daughter of the king’s-wife, Sitamen, who liveth; overseer of the cattle of Amon in the South and North, chief of the prophets of Horus, lord of Athribis, festival leader of Amon

Horemheb’s titles (“In this tomb, Horemheb is given 90 titles, most of which are military”):

But Horemheb progressed also in his administrative career, becoming scribe and chief registrar of recruits, as well as royal messenger to foreign lands. He was awarded the title, “Royal messenger at the front of his army to the southern and northern lands”. Other titles included: “Crown Prince, Fan-bearer on the Right Side of the King, and Chief Commander of the Army”, “Attendant of the King in his footsteps in the foreign countries of the south and the north”, “Sole Companion, he who is by the feet of his lord on the battlefield on that day of killing Asiatics”.

Family background and career:

Amenhotep called Huy, son of Hapu was a very influential noble from the time of Amenhotep III. Amenhotep was the son of Hapu (Hapi) and the Lady Itu. 

Horemheb’s origins unknown:

Early military career

The original name of Horemheb may have been Paatenemheb. His family came from Herakleopolis Magna. However, nothing is known for sure about the origins of the king.

Horemheb doesn’t speak of his parentage, which suggests that he was probably of modest origin and that he was a self-made man. One knows that his family was from Herakleopolis, close to the entry of the Fayum, whose tutelary god was Herishef, a god with the head of a ram. Nevertheless no monument of this city makes allusion to Horemheb, and it seems that he had no particular devotion for its god, no more that he erected a place of cult worship there for his family (at least nothing has been found).

Several inscriptions outline his career and show how he rose through the ranks.

Horemheb rose through the ranks:

Horemheb’s career started in the army during the reign of Akhenaten.

He may have led an attack against the Nubians, who lived in the extreme south. He managed to secure a number of military successes in Nubia. Evidence for these military victories are reflected in his titles and the representations in his tomb at Saqqara, described further down in this article.

Horemheb ascendant

During the reign of Tutankhamun (r. 1336–1327 BC), Horemheb progressed in his military career and became the commander of all the army.

Amenhotep started off as a king’s scribe as mentioned on his statue:

I was appointed to be inferior king’s-scribe; I was introduced into the divine book, I beheld the excellent things of Thoth; I was equipped with their secrets; I opened all their [passages (?)]; one took counsel with me on all their matters.

 After distinguishing himself, Amenhotep was promoted to the position of Scribe of Recruits.

… he put all the people subject to me, and the listing of their number under my control, as superior king’s-scribe over recruits. I levied the (military) classes of my lord, my pen reckoned the numbers of millions; I put them in [classes (?)] in the place of their [elders (?)]; the staff of old age as his beloved son. I taxed the houses with the numbers belonging thereto, I divided the troops (of workmen) and their houses, I filled out the subjects with the best of the captivity, which his majesty had captured on the battlefield. I appointed all their troops (Tz.t), I levied ——-. I placed troops at the heads of the way(s) to turn back the foreigners in their places.

Ample evidence above of Horemheb as king’s scribe.

Amenhotep mentions being on a campaign to Nubia.

I was the chief at the head of the mighty men, to smite the Nubians [and the Asiatics (?)], the plans of my lord were a refuge behind me; [when I wandered (?)] his command surrounded me; his plans embraced all lands and all foreigners who were by his side. I reckoned up the captives of the victories of his majesty, being in charge of them.

Horemheb campaigned in Nubia and against Asiatics:

Horemheb’s career started in the army during the reign of Akhenaten. He may have led an attack against the Nubians, who lived in the extreme south. He managed to secure a number of military successes in Nubia. Evidence for these military victories are reflected in his titles and the representations in his tomb at Saqqara, described further down in this article.

Horemheb ascendant

During the reign of Tutankhamun (r. 1336–1327 BC), Horemheb progressed in his military career and became the commander of all the army. He was responsible for campaigns into Nubia and Asia. Mostly, the Egyptian efforts were focused on Syria, where the Hittites had wrested control from the Egyptians over Amurru and Karkemish.

The goal of the Egyptian campaigns in the region was to re-establish Egyptian rule over Palestine and Lebanon. These campaigns turned into further successes for Horemheb and, as with the Nubian expeditions, the victories secured here were quickly reflected in the honorary titles bestowed on him. 

Later he was promoted to “Chief of all works”, thereby overseeing the building program of Pharaoh Amenhotep III

Horemheb was “uppermost of all works of the king and Regent to the young king”:

His connections to court finally led to Amenhotep being appointed as Steward to Princess-Queen Sitamen.

Horemheb was “Steward of the Lord of the Two Lands”. 

Mortuary temple edict

An inscription on a limestone stela records how Amenhotep son of Hapu was allowed to build a mortuary temple right next to the temple of Amenhotep III. This type of honor is exceedingly rare.

Year 31, fourth month of the first season, sixth day, under the majesty of the King of Upper and Lower Egypt, the Lord of the Two Lands, Nibmare, L.P.H.; Son of Re, of his body, Lord of Diadems, Amenhotep (III), L.P.H.

On this day, one (=the king) was in the ka-chapel of the hereditary prince, count, king’s-scribe, Amenhotep. There were brought in: the governor of the city, and vizier, Amenhotep, the overseer of the treasury, Meriptah, and the king’s-scribes of the army.

One said to them in the presence of his majesty, L.P.H.: “Hear the command which is given, to furnish the ka-chapel of the hereditary prince, the royal scribe, Amenhotep, called Huy, Son of Hapu, whose excellence is [extolled (?)] in order to perpetuate his ka-chapel with slaves, male and female, forever; son to son, heir to heir; in order that none trespass upon it forever.

“[Horemheb] also usurped the mortuary temple of Ay at Medinet Habu for his own, rebuilding it on a much larger scale”:

At Luxor, he continued the work of Amenhotep III and Tutankhamun, usurping the latter’s monuments both there and elsewhere. Perhaps much of the work completed during the reign of Tutankhamun was actually commissioned by Horemheb for today, many of the statues and reliefs bearing Horemheb’s cartouches was actually work completed during Tutankhamun’s reign.

Amenhotep son of Hapu would go down in history as a god. He was worshipped for centuries and there are inscriptions showing Amenhotep was venerated as a healer.

“Once Ramses II was on the throne, Horemheb was deified” (Charlotte Booth, “Horemheb: The Forgotten Pharaoh”, 2012).


Part Three:

An early Horemheb


The conclusion was reached in Part One, that that extraordinary character in Eighteenth Dynasty Egyptian history, Amenhotep Hapu, or Huy, was the same as the quasi-royal general serving king Tutankhamun, Amenhotep Huy.

And, in Part Two, the long-living Amenhotep Hapu was further extended to embrace Horemheb.

Now, here, in Part Three, I shall consider whether our composite character might also be the Horemheb the Scribe of Recruits, during the reign of pharaoh Thutmose (so-called IV).

We read about the quality of the tomb decoration of the early Horemheb:

The owner of the TT78 Theban tomb is called Horemheb Horemheb (Hrw-m-h3b, Hr-m-hb, Heremheb, Horemhab, Haremhab, “Horus is celebrating”), as was the well-known pharaoh, but the two characters are not contemporaries: our Horemheb lived about 80 years before the sovereign. Through its texts and images, this tomb makes an important contribution to knowledge of the Egyptian culture of the middle of the XVIIIth dynasty.

Although he has not reached the highest levels of power, Horemheb held important titles in the civil, military and religious spheres and enjoyed royal favour. Witness to this are the dimensions of his tomb, the variety of his titles, and the variety of decoration in the tomb, whose style and execution make this monument one of the jewels of the eighteenth dynasty and a summit of Egyptian funerary art. A notable historical fact is that in the chapel of Horemheb, and that of Menna TT69), there are the oldest known tomb representations of scenes of the judgment of the dead.

Our composite Amenhotep Huy-Horemheb I had estimated to have been about 60 years of age during the reign of Tutankhamun. 

To that we would need to add 4 years for the reign of Ay (Aye), plus the 14-27 years of Horemheb as  pharaoh.

Naturally favouring the shorter reign length, we arrive at the age of about 80. And this was indeed the age that we know Amenhotep Hapu reached, with a further hope of his attaining 110.

{One always has to consider a further reduction in time due to co-regencies}.

At least most of those extra (110-80 =) 30 years would be required to be added on if we were to include the early Horemheb’s service as a young scribe under Thutmose. 

{I have previously merged as one Thutmose III and IV}.  

In conventional history, Amenhotep Hapu is estimated to have been born during the reign of Thutmose III, whilst Horemheb looked back to Thutmose III with great filial respect.

The early Horemheb held many impressive titles reminiscent of Amenhotep Hapu (Amenhotep Huy) and Horemheb, such as:

“fan bearer on the right of the king”, “true scribe of th(e king, who loves him”



Court titles 

Horemheb was rewarded with twenty-two honorific titles, which give information on the rank of the holder and the esteem in which the sovereign held him. These honorary titles are always placed at the beginning of the person’s titulary: “Prince and Count”, “Familiar of the King”, “Great Confidant of the Lord of the Two Lands”, “Favorite Confident”, “Beloved of the Perfect God”, “Nearest of Horus”, “close to the Lord of the palace”, “fan bearer on the right of the king”, “true scribe of the king, who loves him”, “companion of the Lord of the two lands”, “companion of the bearer of the force”, “the eyes of the king through the land”, “one of those who bring good into the royal house and who comes out of it loved”, “beloved”, “from a beloved.”

Titles related to an office 

Horemheb held twenty-one different office titles, with five variants in writing. It can be seen that the range of all these titles covers three spheres, military, civil and religious.

  • The military titles of Horemheb are in the transverse room and date from the reign of Thutmose IV. We see that he reached the highest levels of the army: he began as “Royal Scribe”, then became “true royal scribe” and finished up as “Overseer of all the scribes of the army”.

He will reach the top, becoming “One responsible for recruiting and organizing troops”: all soldiers and active officers are then subordinate to him. This explains why, in the banquet scene, there are no less than five army commanders among the guests.

  • His office functions included the military and civil sphere, and it is he who receives the tributes of foreign countries, and who controls the populations. He is also “Overseer of Cattle”, “Overseer of Birds and Fish”, which gave him control over hunts and royal estates.
  • His offices in the temples of Karnak and in the domains of Amun (drawing Brack-049) are of the greatest importance :“Overseer of the fields of Amun”, “Overseer of the cattle of Amun”, “One in charge of the constructions of Amun”, “Chief of the Priests of Upper and Lower Egypt”. Their representation is confined to the long room; the latter having been decorated under Amenhotep III, these titles were therefore effective under the reign of that king.



Hadrian a reincarnation of Augustus

Published April 7, 2020 by amaic


When reading through Anthony Everitt’s 392-page book, Hadrian and the Triumph of Rome (Random House, NY, 2009), I was struck by the constant flow of similarities between Hadrian and Augustus – which the author himself does nothing to hide.


Here are some of them:


Pp. 190-191:


Ten years into his reign, Hadrian announced to the world that, speaking symbolically, he was a reincarnation of Augustus.


P. x:


… Augustus, whom Hadrian greatly admired and emulated.


P. 145:


Flatterers said that [Hadrian’s] eyes were languishing, bright, piercing and full of light”. …. One may suspect that this was exactly what Hadrian liked to hear (just as his revered Augustus prided himself on his clear, bright eyes).


P. 190:


… the true hero among his predecessors was Augustus.

For the image on Hadrian’s signet ring to have been that of the first princeps was an elegantly simple way of acknowledging indebtedness …. Later, he asked the Senate for permission to hang an ornamental shield, preferably of silver, in Augustus’ honor in the Senate.


P. 191:


What was it that Hadrian valued so highly in his predecessor? Not least the conduct of his daily life. Augustus lived with conscious simplicity and so far as he could avoided open displays of his preeminence.


P. 192:


Both Augustus and Hadrian made a point of being civiles principes, polite autocrats.  


Whenever Augustus was present, he took care to give his entire attention to the gladiatorial displays, animal hunts, and the rest of the bloodthirsty rigmarole. Hadrian followed suit.


P. 193:


Hadrian followed Augustus’ [consulship] example to the letter – that is, once confirmed in place, he abstained.


Hadrian’s imitation of Augustus made it clear that he intended to rule in an orderly and law- abiding fashion … commitment to traditional romanitas, Romanness. It was on these foundations that he would build the achievements of his reign.

Like the first princeps, Hadrain looked back to paradigms of ancient virtue to guide modern governance. Augustus liked to see himself as a new Romulus …. Hadrian followed suit ….


P. 196:


[Juvenal] was granted … a pension and a small but adequate farmstead near Tibur ….Hadrian was, once again, modelling himself on Augustus, who was a generous patron of poets ….


P. 202:


[Hadrian] conceived a plan to visit every province in his wide dominions. Like the first princeps, he liked to see things for himself….


P. 208:


Hadrian introduced [militarily] the highest standards of discipline and kept the soldiers on continual exercises, as if war were imminent. In order to ensure consistency, he followed the example of Augustus (once again) … by publishing a manual of military regulations.


P. 255:


[Eleusis] … at one level [Hadrian] was merely treading in the footsteps of many Roman predecessors, among them Augustus.  


P. 271:


… with his tenth anniversary behind him … the emperor judged the time right to accept the title of Pater Patriae, father of his people. Like Augustus, and probably in imitation of him, he had declined the Senate’s offer for a long time ….


P. 277:


{Hadrian] was soon widely known throughout the Hellenic eastern provinces as “Hadrianos Sebastos Olumpius”, Sebastos being the Greek word for Augustus ….


P. 322:


The consecration ceremony was modeled on the obsequies of Augustus.


Part Two:


Here are some more comaprisons from the same book:


P. 31:


Augustus’ constitutional arrangements were durable and, with some refinements, were still in place a hundred years later when the young Hadrian was becoming politically aware.


P. 58:


In Augustus’ day, Virgil, the poet laureate of Roman power, had sung of an imperium sine fine. A century later he still pointed the way to an empire without end and without frontiers.


P. 130:


… [Hadrian] depended on friends to advise him. Augustus adopted this model ….


P. 168:


So far as Hadrian was concerned [the Senate] offered him the high title of pater patriae ….

He declined, taking Augustus’ view that this was one honor that had to be earned; he would defer acceptance until he had some real achievements to his credit.


P. 173:


So military and financial reality argued against further enlargement of the empire. … Augustus, who had been an out and out expansionist for most of his career ….

… the aged Augustus produced a list of the empire’s military resources very near the end of his life. …. Hadrian may well have seen a copy of, even read, the historian’s [Tacitus’] masterpiece.

P. 188:


… all the relevant tax documents were assembled and publicly burned, to make it clear that this was a decision that could not be revoked. (Hadrian may have got the idea for the incineration from Augustus, for Suetonius records that … he had “burned the records of old debts to the treasury, which were by far the most frequent source of blackmail”).


P. 198:


His aim was to create a visual connection between himself and the first princeps, between the structures that Augustus and Agrippa had left behind them and his own grand edifices …. Beginning with the burned-out Pantheon. ….

Hadrian had in mind something far more ambitious than Agrippa’s temple. …. With studied modesty he intended to retain the inscribed attribution to Agrippa, and nowhere would Hadrian’s name be mentioned. 


Mackey’s comment: Hmmmm


P. 233:


It can be no accident that the ruler [Hadrian] revered so much, Augustus, took the same line on Parthia as he did – namely, that talking is better than fighting.


P. 324:


As we have seen, until  the very end of his reign, Augustus was an uncompromising and bellicose imperialist. Dio’s prescription [“Even today the methods that he then introduced are the soldiers’ law of campaigning”] fits Hadrian much more closely, and he must surely have had this example in mind when penning these words.  


Part Three

“This is the chief thing: Do not be perturbed, for all things are according to the nature of the universal;

and in a little time you will be nobody and nowhere, like Hadrian and Augustus”.


Marcus Aurelius, Meditations


The names “Augustus” and “Hadrian” often get linked together.

For instance, for Hadrian – as we read here: “Augustus was an important role model”:


Rome’s first emperor, Augustus (reigned 27 BC–AD 14), had also suffered severe military setbacks, and took the decision to stop expanding the empire. In Hadrian’s early

reign Augustus was an important role model.

He had a portrait of him on his signet ring and kept a small bronze bust of him among the images of the household gods in his bedroom.

Like Augustus before him, Hadrian began to fix the limits of the territory that Rome could control. He withdrew his army from Mesopotamia, modern-day Iraq, where a serious insurgency had broken out, and abandoned the newly conquered provinces of Armenia and Assyria, as well as other parts of the empire. ….

Hadrian was even “a new Augustus” and an “Augustus redivivus”.

Thus Anthony R. Birley (Hadrian: The Restless Emperor, p. 147):

Hadrian’s presence at Tarraco in the 150th year after the first emperor was given the name Augustus (16 January 27 BC) seems to coincide with an important policy development. The imperial coinage at about this time drastically abbreviates Hadrian’s titulature. Instead of being styled ‘Imp. Caesar Traianus Hadrianus Augustus’, he would soon be presented simply as ‘Hadrianus Augustus’. The message thereby conveyed is plain enough: he wished to be seen as a new Augustus. Such a notion had clearly been in his mind for some time. It cannot be mere chance that caused Suetonius to write in his newly published, Life of the Deified Augustus, that the first emperor had been, ‘far removed from the desire to increase the empire of for glory in war’ — an assertion which his own account appears to contradict in a later passage. Tacitus, by contrast, out of touch – and out of sympathy – with Hadrian from the start, but aware of his aspirations to be regarded as an Augustus redivivus, seems subversively to insinuate, in the Annals, that a closer parallel could be found in Tiberius. ….

“In Hadrian: The Restless Emperor, Anthony Birley, according to a review of his book, “brings together the new … story of a man who saw himself as a second Augustus and Olympian Zeus”.


Hadrian is often presented as a finisher, or a restorer, of Augustan buildings. For example:

The Pantheon is one of the few monuments to survive from the Hadrianic period, despite others in the vicinity having also been restored by him (SHA, Hadrian 19). What is unusual is that rather than replacing the dedicatory inscription with one which named him, Hadrian kept (or more likely recreated) the Agrippan inscription, reminding the populace of the original dedicator. At first this gives the impression that Hadrian was being modest, as he was not promoting himself. Contrast this with the second inscription on the façade, which commemorates the restoration of the Pantheon by Septimius Severus and Caracalla in 202 CE (CIL 6. 896). However, by reminding people of the Pantheon’s Augustan origins Hadrian was subtly associating himself with the first emperor. This helped him legitimise his position as ruler by suggesting that he was part of the natural succession of (deified) emperors. It is worth noting that Domitian had restored the Pantheon following a fire in 80 CE (Dio Cassius 66.24.2), but Hadrian chose to name the original dedicator of the temple, Agrippa, rather than linking himself with an unpopular emperor. In addition, the unique architecture of the Pantheon, with its vast dome, was a more subtle way for Hadrian to leave his signature on the building than an inscription might have been – and it would have been more easily ‘read’ by a largely illiterate population.

Thomas Pownall (Notices and Descriptions of Antiquities of the Provincia Romana of Gaul),

has Hadrian, “in Vienne”, purportedly repairing Augustan architecture (pp. 38-39):

That the several Trophaeal and other public Edifices, dedicated to the honour of the Generals of the State, were repaired by Augustus himself, or by his order, preserving to each the honour of his respective record of glory, we read in Suetonius …. And it is a fact, that the inhabitants of Vienne raised a Triumphal Arc, to grace his progress and entry into their town. The reasons why I think that this may have been afterward repaired by Hadrian are, first, that he did actually repair and restore most of the Monuments, Temples, public Edifices, and public roads, in the Province: and next that I thought, when I viewed this Arc of Orange, I could distinguish the bas-relieves and other ornaments of the central part of this edifice; I mean particularly the bas-relief of the frize, and of the attic of the center, were of an inferior and more antiquated taste of design and execution than those of the lateral parts; and that the Corinthian columns and their capitals were not of the simple style of architecture found in the Basilica, or Curia, in Vienne, which was undoubtedly erected in the time of Augustus, but exactly like those of the Maison carrée at Nimes, which was repaired by Hadrian.

La Maison Carrée de Nîmes

Edmund Thomas will go a step further, though, and tell that the Maison carrée belonged, rather, to the time of the emperor Hadrian (Monumentality and the Roman Empire: Architecture in the Antonine Age, p. 50):

Also worth mentioning is the so-called ‘Temple of Diana’ at Nîmes. It was roofed with a barrel-vault of stone blocks, unusual for western architecture, and its interior walls, with engaged columns framing triangular and segmental pediments … resemble those of the ‘Temple of Bacchus’ at Baalbek …. It seems to have formed part of the substantial augusteum complex built around a substantial spring …. The date of the building is much disputed; but the resemblance to the architecture of Baalbek and the association of Antoninus Pius with Nemausus [Nîmes], may be indications of the Antonine date formerly suggested. …. Indeed, the famous ‘Maison Carrée’ in the same city, usually

regarded as an Augustan monument, has recently been redated to the same period, when the town was at its height, and may even be the ‘basilica of wonderful construction’ founded by Hadrian around 122 [sic] ‘in honour of Plotina the wife of Trajan’ ….

Joseph and Tamar Comparisons

Published April 6, 2020 by amaic
Chapter Joseph in Egypt-Old Testament Stories Joseph In Egypt, Bible Illustrations, Old Testament, The Bible Movie, Bible Stories, Ancient Civilizations, Statue, Closer, Artwork


Damien F. Mackey


A parent’s favourite, given a special cloak, sold out by brothers, mocked, sexually harrassed, emerging from the desert on a spices-laden camel train, imprisoned, though much admired, capable of good management, ruling in Egypt as second only to Pharaoh.

These are just some of the similarities that Tamar at the time of King David shared with Joseph.  

This article presupposes my multi-identifications of Tamar as developed in:

The vicissitudinous life of Solomon’s pulchritudinous wife


“Conclusion 2: Abishag, of uncertain name, the same as Tamar (her given Hebrew name), hailing from Shunem, was hence “the Shunammite” of King Solomon’s Song of Songs. Ethnically, she may have been Egypto-Canaanite, which thought will lead to the consideration … that she was also Velikovsky’s Hatshepsut = “Queen of Sheba”.”


Some of the Comparisons


Joseph, beloved of his father (Genesis 37:3): “Now Israel [Jacob] loved Joseph more than any of his other sons …”, was hated by his brothers (v. 4): “ When his brothers saw that their father loved him more than any of them, they hated him and could not speak a kind word to him”.


The “Shunammite” was (Song of Solomon 6:9): “… the favourite of her mother, perfect to the one who gave her birth”, but mis-treated by her brothers (1:6): “My mother’s sons [brothers] were angry with me and made me take care of the vineyards”.


Joseph’s father “made an ornate robe for him” (Genesis 37:3).


Tamar “was wearing an ornate robe, for this was the kind of garment the virgin daughters of the king wore” (2 Samuel 13:18).


The exact same Hebrew words to describe “ornate robe”, or “coat of many colours”, are used in the case of Joseph and of Tamar, ketonet passim (כְּתֹנֶת פַּסִּים).


Jacob sent Joseph to his brothers (Genesis 37:13): ‘As you know, your brothers are grazing the flocks near Shechem. Come, I am going to send you to them’.

‘Very well’, he replied.


 David sent Tamar to her ‘brother’, Amnon (2 Samuel 13:7, 8): “David sent word to Tamar at the palace: ‘Go to the house of your brother Amnon and prepare some food for him’. 

So Tamar went …”.


From “Hebron ….” (Genesis 37:14).


Six of Tamar’s ‘brothers’ were born to David at “Hebron” (I Chronicles 3:1-4).


Joseph asks a man at Shechem (Genesis 37:16): ‘I’m looking for my brothers. Can you tell me where they are grazing their flocks?’


Similarly the Shunammite asks her beloved (Song of Solomon 1:7): ‘Tell me, you whom I love, where you graze your flock and where you rest your sheep at midday’.


Joseph’s brothers “plotted to kill him” (Genesis 37:18).


Tamar was a pawn in a conspiratorial plot by Absalom and his adviser to kill Amnon (see above article).


“So when Joseph came to his brothers, they stripped him of his robe—the ornate robe he was wearing” (Genesis 37:23).


“Tamar … tore the ornate robe she was wearing” (2 Samuel 13:19).


Joseph’s brothers “looked up and saw a caravan of Ishmaelites coming from Gilead” (Genesis 37:25).


Were they “flock of goats”-like? 

(Song of Solomon 4:1): ‘Your hair is like a flock of goats descending from the hills of Gilead”.


“Their camels were loaded with spices, balm and myrrh, and they were on their way to take them down to Egypt” (Genesis 37:25).


(I Kings 10:1, 2): “… the Queen of Sheba … came … to … Jerusalem with a very great caravan—with camels carrying spices …”. 


“Judah said to his brothers, ‘… after all, he is our brother’.” (2 Genesis 37:26, 27).


“Her brother Absalom said to [Tamar], ‘…. Be quiet for now, my sister; he is your brother’.” (2 Samuel 13:20).


“… his brothers pulled Joseph up out of the cistern and sold him for twenty shekels of silver” (Genesis 37:28).


“Solomon had a vineyard in Baal Hamon; he let out his vineyard to tenants. Each was to bring for its fruit a thousand shekels of silver” (Song of Solomon 8:11).


“… the Ishmaelites … took [Joseph] to Egypt” (Genesis 37:28).


‘I liken you, my darling, to a mare among Pharaoh’s chariot horses’ (Song of Solomon 1:9).


“Reuben returned to the cistern and saw that Joseph was not there, he tore his clothes. He went back to his brothers and said, ‘…. Where can I turn now?’ (Genesis 37:29, 30).


‘What about me? Where could I get rid of my disgrace? And what about you? You would be like one of the wicked fools in Israel’ (2 Samuel 13:13).


“Then Jacob tore his clothes, put on sackcloth and mourned for his son many days. All his sons and daughters came to comfort him …” (Genesis 37:34-35).


“The king stood up, tore his clothes and lay down on the ground; and all his attendants stood by with their clothes torn” (2 Samuel 13:31).


Given the above similarities, it would be no accident that the narrative concerning Joseph is suddenly interrupted by Genesis 38, the account of Judah and another “Tamar” who is treated with some disrespect by Joseph’s brother, Judah.


“Joseph found favour in his eyes and became his personal attendant. Potiphar put him in charge of his household, and he entrusted to his care everything he owned” (Genesis 39:4).


“Abishag … took care of the king and waited on him …” (I Kings 1:4).

“And Achitophel said to Absalom. ‘Go in unto thy father’s concubines, which he hath left to keep the palace …’ (2 Samuel 16:21).


“Now Joseph was well-built and handsome …” (Genesis 39:6).


“… Tamar, the beautiful sister of Absalom son of David” (2 Samuel 13:1).

“… they searched throughout Israel for a beautiful young woman and found Abishag, a Shunammite” (I Kings 1:3).

‘O thou fairest among women …’ (Song of Solomon 1:8).

“… Hatshepsut still described herself as a beautiful woman, often as the most beautiful of women …” (


“… after a while his master’s wife took notice of Joseph and said, ‘Come to bed with me!’” (Genesis 39:7).


“In the course of time, Amnon … grabbed her and said, ‘Come to bed with me’ …” (2 Samuel 13:1, 11).


{So Judah with the other Tamar ‘Come now, let me sleep with you’ (Genesis 38:16), before his having to concede: ‘She is more righteous than I …’ (v. 26) – something Amnon would fail to do in the case of the other Tamar}.


“But he refused. ‘…. My master has withheld nothing from me except you, because you are his wife. How then could I do such a wicked thing and sin against God?’” (Genesis 39:8, 9).


‘No, my brother!’ she said to him. ‘Don’t force me! Such a thing should not be done in Israel! Don’t do this wicked thing’ (2 Samuel 13:12).


‘When he heard me scream for help, he left his cloak beside me and ran out of the house’ (Genesis 39:15).


“Tamar put ashes on her head and tore the ornate robe she was wearing. She put her hands on her head and went away, weeping aloud as she went” (2 Samuel 13:19).


“When his master heard the story his wife told him … he was furious” (Genesis 39:19).


“When King David heard all this, he was furious” (2 Samuel 13:21).


“Joseph’s master took him and put him in prison, the place where the king’s prisoners were confined’ (Genesis 39:20).


“[Amnon] called his personal servant and said, ‘Get this woman out of my sight and bolt the door after her’.” (Genesis 39:17).

“And Tamar lived in her brother Absalom’s house, a desolate woman” (39:20).


“When two full years had passed …” (Genesis 41:1).


“Two years later …” (2 Samuel 13:23).



Following Isaiah

Published April 4, 2020 by amaic

The prophet Isaiah writing of Christ's birth, by Harry Anderson


Damien F. Mackey

The long-lived prophet Isaiah has a Hebrew name (ישעיה) which means:

Yah Is Salvation”, or “Salvation Of The Lord”.

He was the “son of Amos [Amoz]” (Isaiah 1:1), who is generally considered to have been the same as the prophet Amos.

Isaiah witnessed for Yahweh during the reigns of this succession of kings of Judah (1:1):

“Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz and Hezekiah”.

Whilst these kings ruled in Jerusalem, other kings ruled contemporaneously in Israel.

Jeroboam II, for instance, being one of these as we shall see.

Probably following the footsteps of his father Amos, whom Yahweh had called from Judah to witness at Bethel, in the northern kingdom (Amos 7: 10, 15), Isaiah, at some stage, headed northwards.

We know him in this guise as the prophet Hosea, of an almost identical-meaning Hebrew name (הושע):


Hosea, as well as witnessing for Yahweh during the very same succession of Judaean kings as had Isaiah (Hosea 1:1): “Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz and Hezekiah”, also included in his listing the above-mentioned “Jeroboam [II] … king of Israel.

The messages of Isaiah, Hosea, are very similar.

Also, the names of the children of Isaiah, of Hosea, as well as that of the father, were meant to be signs and symbols, “a sermon to the nation” according to one commentator.

The prophet was not confined to the north, of course.

He would have returned to Jerusalem at least for the great feast-days.

On one occasion he famously encountered King Ahaz of Jerusalem (Isaiah 7).

Unfortunately this stubborn king took no notice of Isaiah’s sage advice.

Isaiah was in Jerusalem again at times during the reign of the pious, reforming king, Hezekiah, whom I have identified with the pious, reforming king, Josiah.

For example, when King Hezekiah was grievously ill (2 Kings 20), the prophet predicted 15 more years of life for the king (v. 6), and prescribed an efficacious cure for his illness (v. 7).

Now Isaiah may feature in Jerusalem again – and this is the new identification I am proposing for him – as “Asaiah, the king’s attendant” (2 KIngs 22: 12), who was sent by King Josiah (my Hezekiah) as part of a delegation to that mysterious prophetess, Huldah (v. 14).

She would, like Isaiah had done, predict a good outcome for the king because he had humbled himself before Yahweh in the midst his trials.

Isaiah is back in Bethel (or “Bethulia”) – which is the key (strategic) northern city of Shechem – when Sennacherib’s eldest son, Ashur-nadin-shumi – the “Holofernes” of the Book of Judith – invades the land with an 185,000-strong Assyrian army.

Isaiah is here called Uzziah, and he has apparently been given command of this most important of cities. For Uzziah is the chief magistrate of Bethulia.

More than that he is, according to the Douay Book of Judith, “the prince of Juda[h]”, and “the prince of the people of Israel” (Judith 8:34; 13:23).

His royal connections may have arisen form the his father Amos’s having been (according to Jewish Talmudic legend) the brother (in marriage?) of King Amaziah of Judah, and hence a member of the royal family.

Uzziah’s father and, finally, his tribe, are given in Judith 6:15: “Uzziah son of Micah, of the tribe of Simeon”. That makes Micah, Amos, and so it is little wonder that the prophet Micah has been called “Amos redivivus”.

Micah hailed from Moresheth (Micah 1:1), in Judah.

These were the glory days, with Israel’s great victory over the seemingly invincible Assyrians!

Micah, who had witnessed successfully during the reign of King Hezekiah (Jeremiah 26:18), would have died before the Judith incident.

But Isaiah lived into the next reign, that of Manasseh, when legend has him martyred.

He is, I believe, referred to in the Book of Jeremiah as having been chased down into Egypt by the minions of King Jehoiakim (who is my Manasseh), and murdered. Jeremiah calls him Uriah (or Urijah).

And we finally learn where Isaiah may have resided when in Judah, Kiriath Jearim (Jeremiah 26:20-23):

(Now Uriah son of Shemaiah from Kiriath Jearim was another man who prophesied in the name of the Lord; he prophesied the same things against this city and this land as Jeremiah did.  When King Jehoiakim and all his officers and officials heard his words, the king was determined to put him to death. But Uriah heard of it and fled in fear to Egypt. King Jehoiakim, however, sent Elnathan son of Akbor to Egypt, along with some other men. They brought Uriah out of Egypt and took him to King Jehoiakim, who had him struck down with a sword and his body thrown into the burial place of the common people.)

Here Isaiah’s “father” is called by yet another name, Shemaiah.

But this character may in fact have been an earlier important Simeonite ancestor named Shemaiah (I Chronicles 4:37).

Na’aman and Hazael  

Published March 18, 2020 by amaic
Naaman visits Elisha to be cured


Damien F. Mackey


Hazael’s being Na’aman (if that is who he was) would account for the curious fact that Yahweh had commissioned the prophet Elijah at Sinai to anoint a Syrian.

For Na’aman was a Syrian who had (in his own fashion) converted to Yahwism.



Dr. Velikovsky had put together quite a reasonable case for EA’s Ianhama to have been the biblical Na’aman the leper.


Might this Ianhama, though, have been a bit too early for the healing of Na’aman by the prophet Elisha: “Yanhamu began his service under Amenophis III” (E. Campbell, The Chronology of the Amarna Letters, Section C. “Yanhamu and the South”, 1964, p. 93) – the miraculous biblical incident having occurred not very long, apparently, before the assassination of Ben-Hadad I? The latter event I would estimate to have been significantly later than the time of pharaoh Amenhotep ‘the Magnificent’.


Another possibility for the historical identification of the haughty Syrian captain, Na’aman, I would tentatively suggest, would be Hazael himself, whom Dr. Velikovsky had wonderfully identified with Aziru of the EA series.

Hazael was, like Na’aman, a Syrian (I Kings 19:15): “The Lord said to [Elijah], ‘Go back the way you came, and go to the Desert of Damascus. When you get there, anoint Hazael king over Aram’.”

2 Kings 5:1: “Now Naaman was commander of the army of the king of Aram”.


Na’aman, Hazael, dwelt in very close contact with king Ben-Hadad I.

Compare Na’aman’s words to Elisha (2 Kings 5:18-19):


‘But may the Lord forgive your servant for this one thing: When my master [אֲדֹנִי] enters the temple of Rimmon to bow down and he is leaning on my arm and I have to bow there also—when I bow down in the temple of Rimmon, may the Lord forgive your servant for this’.

‘Go in peace’, Elisha said [,]


with the fact that Hazael had close personal access to his “master” (same Hebrew word, adoni

used in both instances) (2 Kings 8:14-15):


Then Hazael left Elisha and returned to his master [אֲדֹנִי]. When Ben-Hadad asked, ‘What did Elisha say to you?’ Hazael replied, ‘He told me that you would certainly recover’.  But the next day he took a thick cloth, soaked it in water and spread it over the king’s face, so that he died. Then Hazael succeeded him as king.


Hazael’s being Na’aman (if that is who he was) would account for the curious fact that Yahweh had commissioned the prophet Elijah at Sinai to anoint a Syrian. For Na’aman was a Syrian who had (in his own fashion) converted to Yahwism.


Moreover, the former Syrian captain was militarily astute, “Na’aman …. was a valiant soldier” (2 Kings 5:1), who may have begun the demise of the House of Ahab himself by fatally shooting Ahab with an arrow (Emil G. Hirsch, et al., “Naaman”):


And the Syrian captain would have considered the disposal of Ben-Hadad I as being a Divinely commissioned task, especially after this (2 Kings 8:13): “Hazael said, ‘How could your servant, a mere dog, accomplish such a feat?’ ‘The Lord has shown me that you will become king of Aram’, answered Elisha”.


Finally, as Velikovsky had found Na’aman to have been “a generous man”, as is apparent from 2 Kings 5:5: “So Naaman left, taking with him ten talents of silver, six thousand shekels of gold and ten sets of clothing”, so, too, was Hazael an extremely generous man (2 Kings 8:9): “Hazael went to meet Elisha, taking with him as a gift forty camel-loads of all the finest wares of Damascus”.



The Statutes of Omri

Published March 17, 2020 by amaic


Damien F. Mackey



“For the statutes of Omri are kept, and all the works of the house of Ahab,

and you walk in their counsels; that I should make you a desolation, and the inhabitants

thereof an hissing: therefore you shall bear the reproach of my people”.

 Micah 6:16



With the obscure King Omri (qua Omri) now expanded into Jeroboam I:


Great King Omri missing from Chronicles


then it becomes somewhat clearer what may have been “the statutes of Omri” as referred to by the prophet Micah.

They were the unorthodox religious laws and teachings of Jeroboam I.

And they had much of their inspiration from Egypt, where Jeroboam lived prior to his reign in Israel. King Jeroboam even uses the very same description of his golden calves that the MBI Israelites had used of theirs in the desert:



(Exodus 32:4): ‘These are your gods, Israel, who brought you up out of Egypt’.


(I Kings 12:28): ‘Here are your gods, Israel, who brought you up out of Egypt’.


Here, then, are the statutes of Omri = Jeroboam I (I Kings 12:26-33):


Jeroboam thought to himself, ‘The kingdom will now likely revert to the house of David. If these people go up to offer sacrifices at the temple of the Lord in Jerusalem, they will again give their allegiance to their lord, Rehoboam king of Judah. They will kill me and return to King Rehoboam’.

After seeking advice, the king made two golden calves. He said to the people, ‘It is too much for you to go up to Jerusalem. Here are your gods, Israel, who brought you up out of Egypt’. One he set up in Bethel, and the other in Dan. And this thing became a sin; the people came to worship the one at Bethel and went as far as Dan to worship the other.

Jeroboam built shrines on high places and appointed priests from all sorts of people, even though they were not Levites. He instituted a festival on the fifteenth day of the eighth month, like the festival held in Judah, and offered sacrifices on the altar. This he did in Bethel, sacrificing to the calves he had made. And at Bethel he also installed priests at the high places he had made. On the fifteenth day of the eighth month, a month of his own choosing, he offered sacrifices on the altar he had built at Bethel. So he instituted the festival for the Israelites and went up to the altar to make offerings.



Micah compares, but also distinguishes between, “the statutes of Omri … and all the works of the house of Ahab”.

For, as we read in the above-mentioned article, Omri and Ahab – though universally thought to have been successive rulers of Israel – in reality belonged to separate houses, that of Jeroboam and that of Ahab.


Great King Omri missing from Chronicles

Published March 17, 2020 by amaic
Image result for samaria omri


Damien F. Mackey



“The royal dynasties of Israel and Judah are usually designated as ‘founders’ houses‘, i.e. Saul’s house, David’s house, Jeroboam’s house, Baasha’s house, and Jehu’s house.

Yet the name Omri’s house is conspicuously missing from the Bible.

Instead, the same dynasty is always called Ahab’s house, although Omri was

the dynastic founder and Ahab was his successor”.

T. Ishida




Suspecting yesterday morning (16th September, 2019), once again, that there may be some degree of duplication amongst the listings of the kings of Israel of the Divided Monarchy period, which thought prompted me later that day to write:


Bible Bashing Baasha problem king of Israel. Part One: Reprising my earlier Baasha View

and then reading through the accounts of the kings of Israel in Kings and Chronicles, I was really surprised to find that Omri does not figure directly in Chronicles.

That I was not mistaken or deluding myself about this was confirmed when I read the following in Wilfred J. Hahn’s article “Omri: The Merger King”:


King Omri was one of the most influential kings of the northern kingdom of Israel. It would be difficult to discern this from the Bible alone without careful study. As only 13 verses (1 Kings 16:16-28) recount the history of this man, it would be easy to overlook his significance. Unusually, no direct mention is even made of his reign in the books of Chronicles, apart from referring to his son, Ahab, and grandsons Ahaziah and Joram. The only biblical indication we get of the repute of his legacy is found in Micah 6:16.


[End of quote]


Another famous name amongst the kings of Israel (Divided Kingdom) who is missing from Chronicles is Jeroboam II.

Regarding this surprising omission I have noted “that some of the most defining political and military events received little attention from the theologically-oriented writer of the Scriptures” … may not necessarily be entirely true. Jeroboam so-called II may figure more prominently in the Scriptures than is thought – but under an alter ego.


And now I am going to suggest the very same thing, that we may need to begin to look for the – seemingly neglected in the Scriptures, but undoubtedly famous – Omri (qua “Omri”) under the guise of Jeroboam I.

That Omri, currently designated as the sixth king of Israel (Divided Kingdom):



Jeroboam I


needs to be located significantly earlier than this is quite apparent from the fact that Omri was involved in war with Ben-Hadad I’s father, Tab-rimmon, who was, in turn (it can be estimated), a contemporary of Abijah king of Judah.

I Kings 15:18: “Asa then took all the silver and gold that was left in the treasuries of the Lord’s temple and of his own palace. He entrusted it to his officials and sent them to Ben-Hadad son of Tabrimmon”. That this Tab-rimmon had warred with Ahab’s father, Omri, is apparent from Ben-Hadad’s statement to Ahab in I Kings 20:34: “So Ben-Hadad said to [Ahab], ‘The cities which my father took from your father I will restore; and you may set up marketplaces for yourself in Damascus, as my father did in Samaria’.”


King Omri of Israel, whose fame extended down even to the neo-Assyrian period – referred to by the Assyrian kings as “House of Omri (Bīt Humri) – did not need for the Scriptures also to mention an “Omri’s house”, because the king already had his “Jeroboam’s house”.


Thus Omri was actually the first, not the sixth, king of Israel (Divided Monarchy).


Omri and Tibni

Published March 12, 2020 by amaic

Image result for omri and tibni


Damien F. Mackey


“‘I will return the cities my father took from your father’, Ben-Hadad offered.

‘You may set up your own market areas in Damascus, as my father did in Samaria’.”

I Kings 20:34


Ben-Hadad I of Syria has, in this treaty statement of his to the victorious King Ahab of Israel, provided us with some chronological details of the utmost importance towards a revision of the earliest period of the Divided Monarchy.


What the King of Syria is basically saying here to Ahab is that:


Ben-Hadad’s own father, who we know from I Kings 15:18 to have been Tab-rimmon – {“Asa then took all the silver and gold that was left in the treasuries of the Lord’s temple and of his own palace. He entrusted it to his officials and sent them to Ben-Hadad son of Tabrimmon, the son of Hezion, the king of Aram, who was ruling in Damascus”} – had taken cities from Ahab’s father, who we know to have been Omri, the founder of Samaria, and had even set up his market in Omri’s capital city of Samaria.


No doubt the cunning Ben-Hadad I well knew his recent Syro-Israelite history.

His statement, however, must create a massive chronological headache (or so I should think) for the conventional biblico-historians.


Well Tab-rimmon, as we learn from I Kings 15:19, had not only reigned contemporaneously with Abijah, king of Judah (a contemporary and foe of Jeroboam I (I Kings 15:6)), but had actually signed a treaty with the same Abijah (15:19). No doubt their alliance would go a long way towards accounting for the fact that Abiijah of Judah was able to defeat the mighty Jeroboam of Israel in battle (2 Chronicles 16:13-19), so emphatically, in fact, that (v. 20): “… Jeroboam of Israel never regained his power during Abijah’s lifetime …”.

Putting all of this together, it must necessitate that Jeroboam and Omri, contemporaneous with Tab-rimmon, were one and the same king. For there is nothing whatsoever to indicate that Israel had two kings ruling at the same time – and this would have been impossible, anyway, given the might of Jeroboam, of Omri.

Admittedly the given reign lengths are substantially different:


I Kings 14:20: “[Jeroboam] reigned for twenty-two years and then rested with his ancestors”.


I Kings 16:23: “In the thirty-first year of Asa king of Judah, Omri became king of Israel, and he reigned twelve years, six of them in Tirzah”.


But geographical factors also need to be taken into account.

Jeroboam appears to have begun at Shechem, but may later have moved to Peniel (or Penuel) (I Kings 12:25), and to Tirzah (14:17).

Tirzah would make perfect sense in my context, because that is from where Omri ruled for six years of his reign. Then Omri built Samaria as his capital (16:24): “[Omri] bought the hill of Samaria from Shemer for two talents of silver and built a city on the hill, calling it Samaria, after Shemer, the name of the former owner of the hill”.

So while the longer reign length attributed to Jeroboam I could pertain to his total reign, the shorter one attributed to Omri would perhaps refer only to his time in Tirzah, and Samaria.


The reign of Tab-rimmon would have coincided with the early reign of Asa, who, I have argued elsewhere, was actually the same person as Abijah (traditionally thought to have been Asa’s father). The Syrian king would not have fought with Asa. The latter’s reign had begun with a decade of peace (2 Chronicles 14:1): “…. In his days the land had rest for ten years”. But that situation would have ensued only after Asa (as Abijah) had smashed Jeroboam I in battle.

Then, after this era of peace, Asa, who had become a foe of Tab-rimmon’s son, Ben-Hadad I, found himself having to form a hasty treaty with the latter in the face of king Baasha of Israel’s belligerence against Judah (I Kings 15:16-18).


Now that we have determined that Omri must have been in serious conflict with the Syrian king, Tab-rimmon, then it becomes quite clear who was the enigmatic Tibni, foe of Omri (16:21-22):


Then the people of Israel were split into two factions; half supported Tibni son of Ginath for king, and the other half supported Omri.But Omri’s followers proved stronger than those of Tibni son of Ginath. So Tibni died and Omri became king.


Tibni could only have been Tab-rimmon, who, for a while, had had the better of the king of Israel.


As I noted above, Ben-Hadad I’s statement to Ahab “must create a massive chronological headache … for the conventional biblico-historians”.

Or at least it ought to.

But, as so often happens, the standard chronology must universally be defended, even if it means stripping the biblical text of its essential meaning. And so we read, for example, at:


And thou shall make streets for thee in Damascus, as my father made in Samaria;
which confirms it that it is Ahab, and not Benhadad, that is speaking; for Benhadad’s father never had any power nor residence in Samaria, whereas Omri, the father of Ahab, had, he built it, and made it his royal seat; and, in like manner, Ahab promises Benhadad that he should have his palace at Damascus, the metropolis of Syria, and exercise power there, and over all Syria; whereby Ahab renounced all right he had to the kingdom, and any of the cities of it ….


That is not the way that I read the text.

Nor is it the way that D. D. Luckenbill was reading it back in 1911, when in his article “Benhadad and Hadadezer” (The American Journal of Semitic Languages and Literatures, Vol. 27, No. 3, p. 275), he wrote: “… but because of “Ahab’s unseasonable lenity” [Ben-Hadad] was released on condition that he restore the cities his father had taken from Ahab’s father (Omri), and that the Israelites be allowed to “make streets,” that is, have bazaars in Damascus”.

Vol. 27, No. 3 (Apr., 1911), pp. 267-284 (18 pages)Benhadad and HadadezerD. D. Luckenbill

I have – following T. Ishida – concluded that the House of Jeroboam I – hence of (my) Omri) – was an entity separate from the House of Ahab (my Baasha), even though Ahab is usually designated as a son of Omri. This relationship may thus have been through marriage.

Ishida has more to say on such dynastic matters, according to:


Tomoo Ishida instead suggested that the narrative of dynastic instability in the Kingdom of Israel suggests an underlying rivalry between tribes for its throne.[1] In the biblical narrative, the House of Jeroboam was from the Tribe of Ephraim, while the House of Baasha was from the Tribe of Issachar.[1] The Omrides are connected in this narrative with the city of Jezreel, where they maintained a second palace. According to the Book of Joshua, Jezreel was controlled by the Tribe of Issachar. Ishida views the narrative as suggesting that the Omrides themselves were members of the Tribe of Issachar.[1]

The assassinated king Elah and Omri thus shared a “common tribal origin”, and were possibly kinsmen. Omri and the Tribe of Issachar’s opposition to Zimri indicates that Zimri was not a member of their tribe.[1]

Ishida views both Zimri and his successor Tibni as likely members of the Tribe of Ephraim, its candidates in an attempt to reclaim the throne.[1]

But he also suggests another hypothesis, that Tibni originated from the city of Gina (also known as Beth-haggan) mentioned in the Amarna letters (14th century BC). In the Biblical narrative, this city was under the control of the Tribe of Manasseh. So Tibni could instead be the Tribe of Manasseh’s candidate for the throne.[1]

Similarly, genealogist David Hughes speculated that Zimri and Tibni were members of the Tribe of Ephraim, and siblings to each other.[2] He further speculated that they were descendants of Hoshea, son of Azaziah, one of the rulers of the Tribe of Ephraim.[2] Hoshea and Azaziah are characters briefly mentioned in the Books of Chronicles (I Chronicles 27:20), where Hoshea is a contemporary of David:


…of the children of Ephraim, Hoshea the son of Azaziah


Finally, Tibni is referred to as “son of Ginath”, which seems further to complicate my identification. For Tab-rimmon’s father was (as we read in Ben-Hadad I’s statement to Ahab), one “Hezion”.

According to A. Hylton in “Solomon’s Satans for criticism”:

Solomon’s foe, Hadad – the Hadar (or Hadad) of Genesis 36:39 – had “allied himself with Rezon of Damascus and established himself in the region of Aram”:


Not many people have been unfortunate enough to be given the title satan. Jobab was given that title by Abraham Abulafia, but unfortunately for Hadad the Edomite and Rezion the son of Eliada they were given the title satan by the Scriptures themselves. In this paper we will reflect on Hadad the Edomite. We think that the author of Kings understood that Hadad the Edomite of 1 Kings 11:14-25 was the same person as Hadar (d) the King who succeeded Baalhanan son of Achbor (David) as king in Edom who in turn succeeded Saul of Rehovoth (Saul) (Gen 36:37-39) and the ancestor to Ben Hadad I (1 Kgs 15:18-20). We will argue that he was a vassal of Pharaoh King of Egypt and that having returned from exile failed to gain enough support in Edom to revolt against Solomon so he moved north to Aram and aligned himself with Rezon of Damascus and established himself in the region of Aram. After he worked with Rezon ruler of Damascus against Solomon he left behind a line of kings called Ben Hadad. Hadad was not his only name we will suggest it was with Hadad Hezion or Hadad Tab-rimmon (1 Kings 15:18-21). ….


My tentative explanation for this would be that “Ginath” was an Egyptian name, given to the son of Hadad, as “Genubath” in Egypt. I tentatively conclude that Ginath was Genubath.

Previously I wrote on this:


As for “Genubath”, the son of Hadad, Velikovsky had rather strikingly identified his name amongst those giving tribute to Thutmose III, very soon after the latter’s First Campaign. Velikovsky wrote about it (in ch. iv) in “Genubath, King of Edom” (pp. 179-180):


Hadad had returned to Edom in the days of Solomon, after the death of Joab [I Kings 11:21-22]. Since then about forty years had elapsed. Genubath, his son, was now the vassal king of Edom …. Tribute from this land, too, must have been sent to the Egyptian crown; there was no need to send an expedition to subdue Edom.

When Thutmose III returned from one of his inspection visits to Palestine he found in Egypt tribute brought by couriers from the land, “Genubatye”, which did not have to be conquered by an expeditionary force.


When his majesty arrived in Egypt the messengers of the Genubatye came bearing their tribute.3 [3. Breasted: Records, Vol. II, Sec. 474].


It consisted of myrrh, “negroes for attendants”, bulls, calves, besides vessels laden with ivory, ebony, and skins of panther.

Who were the people of Genubatye? Hardly a guess has been made with regard to this peculiar name. The people of Genubatye were the people of Genubath, their king, contemporary of Rehoboam. ….



Maacah mother of Abijah, Asa

Published March 4, 2020 by amaic



Damien F. Mackey



Commentators naturally have difficulty with the queen mother, Maacah, who is said to have been the mother of, supposedly, two successive kings of Judah, Abijah (Abijam) and his son, the long-reigning Asa.


I Kings 15:1, 2: “Abijah became king of Judah…. His mother’s name was Maacah [Maakah] daughter of Abishalom”.


I Kings 15:9, 10: “Asa began to reign over Judah …. His mother’s name was Maacah daughter of Abishalom”.

Some go so far as to translate ‘his mother’ (אִמּוֹ) as ‘his grandmother’ – although the Hebrew word here invariably means “mother”. See e.g.:


2 Chronicles provides the same information, but adds the variation that Maacah was the daughter of one “Uriel”.


2 Chronicles 13:1, 2: “Abijah became king of Judah …. His mother’s name was Maakah, a daughter of Uriel of Gibeah”.


Concerning Asa and Maacah in 2 Chronicles we are told that (15:16): “King Asa also deposed his mother Maakah from her position as queen mother, because she had made a repulsive image for the worship of Asherah. Asa cut it down, broke it up and burned it in the Kidron Valley”.

Again, “mother” (אֵם) here is sometimes replaced by “grandmother”.


Attempted explanations


Rhonda Burnette-Bletsch has, in her article,”Maacah”, offered her own possible solutions to the problem:


The regnal formula of Asa, king of Judah from 908 to 867 b.c.e., claims that his mother is Maacah the daughter of Abishalom (1 Kgs 15:10). This is problematic because the same woman is alleged to be the mother of Asa’s father, Abijah/Abijam (1 Kgs 15:2). An alternative tradition, calling Abijah’s mother Micaiah the daughter of Uriel of Gibeah, is most likely an attempted harmonization of this difficulty (2 Chr 13:2). Either Abijah and Asa are brothers, not father and son, or Maacah was Asa’s grandmother, not his mother. Thus, Maacah is the wife of Rehoboam (2 Chr 11:20–23), whose favored status with her husband ensured Abijah’s succession. This tradition also offers the variant spelling “Absalom” for Maacah’s father. If this refers to the half-Geshurite son of David, Maacah and Rehoboam’s marriage would be politically advantageous. After serving as queen mother during Abijah’s short reign, Maacah continues in that position under her son or grandson, Asa. If Asa is her grandson, this atypical retention of Maacah’s title adds support to the contention that the queen mother was an official functionary in the Judean court and not simply the female parent of the king. Maacah’s role appears most clearly to be an office when Asa removes her from her position as gebirah (“great lady”) after she makes a cult object associated with the goddess Asherah. Ackerman suggests that the primary and generally accepted responsibility of the queen mother’s office was to devote herself to the cultic worship of Asherah. Thus, the lack of biblical evidence for this office might be partly explained by the Bible’s reluctance to admit Asherah worship was ever part of the official royal court. ….


And, at we read, again favouring Maacah as “the grandmother of Asa”:


…. The references to the second Maacah pose certain problems, as a literal reading of all the passages related to her indicates that she is the daughter of Absalom, who, according to ii Samuel 14:27, had only one daughter, Tamar. The above references also indicate that Maacah is the mother of Abijah. According to ii Chronicles 13:2 (mt), Abijah’s mother is Micaiah, daughter of Uriel. Finally the references show Maacah also to be the mother of Asa.

In order to resolve these contradictions, the Masoretic Text of ii Chronicles 13:2 must be corrected in accordance with the Septuagint, which reads “Maacah daughter of Uriel.”

(Everywhere else in the Masoretic Text as well as in the Septuagint Abijah’s mother is called Maacah daughter of Absalom.) With this correction the problems are more easily resolved. Maacah is then the granddaughter of Absalom, the daughter of Uriel and Tamar, the mother of Abijah, and the grandmother of Asa. Some of the original confusion results from the fact that the Bible often used the term “children” for “grandchildren” and even descendants who are generations removed (cf. Gen. 31:28; i Kings 15:11, et al.).


  1. Rudolph (see bibl.) adopts the view of M. Noth (see bibl.) that ii Chronicles 13:2 represents the original text of i Kings 15:2 which is now influenced by i Kings 15:10. Then Abijah would be the son of Rehoboam’s wife Micaiah daughter of Uriel, and Asa the son of Abijah’s wife Maacah, who would have been the literal daughter of an unknown Absalom, not the granddaughter of David’s son Absalom. King Asa deposed Maacah from being queen mother because of an abominable image she had made for Asherah (i Kings 15:13). S. Yeivin maintains that Maacah is Abijah’s mother, while Micaiah daughter of Uriel is Asa’s mother, and that Asa is Rehoboam’s son, and Abijah’s half brother. ….


My tentative solution


Abijah (Abijam) and Asa have the same mother, Maacah, because, as I think, Abijah is Asa.


This is obviously a very bold statement, indeed, especially considering that, whereas Abijah is said to have reigned for a very short period of time (I Kings 15:2): “… he reigned in Jerusalem three years”, Asa reigned for almost four decades longer than that (2 Chronicles 16:13): “Then in the forty-first year of his reign Asa died and rested with his ancestors”.


What makes even bolder my tentative claim (Abijah is Asa) are the seemingly vastly different reputations of, now Abijah, now Asa.

Abijah receives a very bad press from I Kings (e.g. 15:3): “He committed all the sins his father had done before him; his heart was not fully devoted to the Lord his God, as the heart of David his forefather had been”.

By contrast (vv. 11-12): “Asa did what was right in the eyes of the Lord, as his father David had done. He expelled the male shrine prostitutes from the land and got rid of all the idols his ancestors had made”.


Apart from the common Maacah factor, though, there is to be considered the quite different account of Abijah in 2 Chronicles, which presents him as a Yahwist along the lines of a David, or a Hezekiah (13:2-12):


There was war between Abijah and Jeroboam. Abijah went into battle with an army of four hundred thousand able fighting men, and Jeroboam drew up a battle line against him with eight hundred thousand able troops.

Abijah stood on Mount Zemaraim, in the hill country of Ephraim, and said, ‘Jeroboam and all Israel, listen to me! Don’t you know that the Lord, the God of Israel, has given the kingship of Israel to David and his descendants forever by a covenant of salt? Yet Jeroboam son of Nebat, an official of Solomon son of David, rebelled against his master. Some worthless scoundrels gathered around him and opposed Rehoboam son of Solomon when he was young and indecisive and not strong enough to resist them.

‘And now you plan to resist the kingdom of the Lord, which is in the hands of David’s descendants.

You are indeed a vast army and have with you the golden calves that Jeroboam made to be your gods. But didn’t you drive out the priests of the Lord, the sons of Aaron, and the Levites, and make priests of your own as the peoples of other lands do? Whoever comes to consecrate himself with a young bull and seven rams may become a priest of what are not gods.

‘As for us, the Lord is our God, and we have not forsaken him. The priests who serve the Lord are sons of Aaron, and the Levites assist them. Every morning and evening they present burnt offerings and fragrant incense to the Lord. They set out the bread on the ceremonially clean table and light the lamps on the gold lampstand every evening. We are observing the requirements of the Lord our God. But you have forsaken him. God is with us; he is our leader. His priests with their trumpets will sound the battle cry against you. People of Israel, do not fight against the Lord, the God of your ancestors, for you will not succeed’.


As John Scarsbrook has rightly noted about Abijah, “… in 1 Kings nothing good is recorded of him, while in 2 Chronicles nothing directly bad”.


The same writer continues in his article “Abijah”:


The record of Abijah in 1 Kings closes with a brief summary of his reign which was characterized by constant strife. The relentless feud with Jeroboam and the northern tribes was a persistent feature of his life while his father lived, and this continued throughout his own three-year reign until his death. Jeroboam was an Ephraimite, Rehoboam was of Judah, they were of the same kin, yet they were adversaries. It is sad to think that friction between brethren can be perpetuated and even passed on to the next generation without resolution.

When we turn our attention to 2 Chronicles chapter 13, a rather different picture emerges.

There is no record of Abijah following in ‘the sins of his father’, but rather, almost the whole of the narrative is taken up with just one day in his life, a day when a great victory was won, ‘because they relied upon the Lord God of their fathers’, 2 Chr. 13. 18. It has been a feature of battles down the course of history for the army general to address his troops with encouraging words just prior to engaging the enemy. In Abijah’s case this was done not only to strengthen the resolve of his own forces, but from a vantage point and with enough volume to challenge and intimidate the much larger force of Jeroboam. Abijah’s well constructed oration was based (as with all good preachers) around three points. First, he challenged the validity of Jeroboam’s authority by reminding him that the whole kingdom rightfully belonged to David and his descendents. This was confirmed by ‘the Lord God of Israel’, by an unchangeable, incorruptible, ‘covenant of salt’, a perpetual promise, v. 5; Jeroboam was just a usurper.  Secondly, he reminded the ten tribes that the true priesthood of Israel belonged to the line of Aaron and the only acceptable offerings were those associated with the altar and order appointed by the Lord. Jeroboam had surrounded himself with false people, v. 7, false gods, v. 8, and a false priesthood, v. 9. Thirdly, Abijah reveals the main weapon in his armoury, ‘God himself is with us for our captain’, v. 12, and because of this he concludes, ‘ye shall not prosper’.

Such fine words would have done credit to Hezekiah or Josiah in their day, but coming from a man who ‘walked in all the sins of his father’, they seem strangely hollow. Idolatry was still rife even in Judah and the legacy left to Asa, the son of Abijah, was ‘altars of strange gods . . . high places . . . images and groves’, 2 Chr. 14. 3. If our words are to carry weight, then our life must show evidence of reality. Good practice must always go before, and accompany, good preaching! All that Abijah said was true, but it was totally lost on Jeroboam!

While Abijah was rallying his troops, Jeroboam was laying plans for the battle! A detachment of soldiers was moved surreptitiously to the rear of Judah’s army. An ambush was laid which doubtless would have won the day, with Abijah needing to fight on two fronts. But Judah, instead of trying to outmanoeuvre their adversary, ‘cried unto the Lord’, and, remembering the promise of Numbers chapter 10 verse 9, ‘the priests sounded with the trumpets’. Surely there are lessons here for us. When the adversary seems to surround us, when ‘the enemy shall come in like a flood’, Isa. 59. 19, we have a sure defence and well proven armour, Eph. 6. 11-18.

The Lord, ever true to His word, enabled Judah to accomplish a remarkable victory against overwhelming odds. It was a mortal blow to Jeroboam; he never recovered strength again in the days of Abijah. How sad that the nation, and indeed we in our present day, so often fail to appreciate the vast resources at our disposal in times of need. ….


My own explanation of the stark contrast between the inveterate sinner, Abijah, and the exemplary Yahwism of his oration to Jeroboam I, ‘As for us, the Lord is our God, and we have not forsaken him’, backed up by his shattering victory, is to be found in the life of Asa.

Asa’s early reign was characterised by his full-on devotion to Yahweh (2 Kings 15:10-15, 17-18):


They assembled at Jerusalem in the third month of the fifteenth year of Asa’s reign. At that time they sacrificed to the Lord seven hundred head of cattle and seven thousand sheep and goats from the plunder they had brought back. They entered into a covenant to seek the Lord, the God of their ancestors, with all their heart and soul. All who would not seek the Lord, the God of Israel, were to be put to death, whether small or great, man or woman. They took an oath to the Lord with loud acclamation, with shouting and with trumpets and horns. All Judah rejoiced about the oath because they had sworn it wholeheartedly. They sought God eagerly, and he was found by them. So the Lord gave them rest on every side.

…. Although he did not remove the high places from Israel, Asa’s heart was fully committed to the Lord all his life. He brought into the temple of God the silver and gold and the articles that he and his father had dedicated [,]


and he had, like Abijah, the greatest of military success (2 Chronicles 14:2-15):


Asa did what was good and right in the eyes of the Lord his God. He removed the foreign altars and the high places, smashed the sacred stones and cut down the Asherah poles. He commanded Judah to seek the Lord, the God of their ancestors, and to obey his laws and commands. He removed the high places and incense altars in every town in Judah, and the kingdom was at peace under him. He built up the fortified cities of Judah, since the land was at peace. No one was at war with him during those years, for the Lord gave him rest.

‘Let us build up these towns’, he said to Judah, ‘and put walls around them, with towers, gates and bars. The land is still ours, because we have sought the Lord our God; we sought him and he has given us rest on every side’. So they built and prospered.

Asa had an army of three hundred thousand men from Judah, equipped with large shields and with spears, and two hundred and eighty thousand from Benjamin, armed with small shields and with bows. All these were brave fighting men.

Zerah the Cushite marched out against them with an army of thousands upon thousands and three hundred chariots, and came as far as Mareshah.



Asa went out to meet him, and they took up battle positions in the Valley of Zephathah near Mareshah.

Then Asa called to the Lord his God and said, ‘Lord, there is no one like you to help the powerless against the mighty. Help us, Lord our God, for we rely on you, and in your name we have come against this vast army. Lord, you are our God; do not let mere mortals prevail against you’.

The Lord struck down the Cushites before Asa and Judah. The Cushites fled, and Asa and his army pursued them as far as Gerar. Such a great number of Cushites fell that they could not recover; they were crushed before the Lord and his forces. The men of Judah carried off a large amount of plunder. They destroyed all the villages around Gerar, for the terror of the Lord had fallen on them. They looted all these villages, since there was much plunder there. They also attacked the camps of the herders and carried off droves of sheep and goats and camels. Then they returned to Jerusalem.


The 2 Chronicles account of Abijah, the good one, reflects this aspect of Asa (his Dr. Jekyll).


But, later, there is another side (Mr. Hyde) to Asa, which, I think, in the case of Abijah, I Kings is entirely preoccupied with. It is a case of diametric opposition.

King Asa of Judah, from the 36th year of his reign (2 Chronicles 16:1) – which period covers a relatively small portion of his reign – begins a slide which will gather momentum (vv. 7-12):


At that time Hanani the seer came to Asa king of Judah and said to him: ‘Because you relied on the king of Aram and not on the Lord your God, the army of the king of Aram has escaped from your hand. Were not the Cushites and Libyans a mighty army with great numbers of chariots and horsemen? Yet when you relied on the Lord, he delivered them into your hand. For the eyes of the Lord range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him. You have done a foolish thing, and from now on you will be at war’.

Asa was angry with the seer because of this; he was so enraged that he put him in prison. At the same time Asa brutally oppressed some of the people.

The events of Asa’s reign, from beginning to end, are written in the book of the kings of Judah and Israel. In the thirty-ninth year of his reign Asa was afflicted with a disease in his feet. Though his disease was severe, even in his illness he did not seek help from the Lord, but only from the physicians.


That is also the Abijah whom I Kings was intent on portraying.


The size of Asa’s army, “three hundred thousand men from Judah, equipped with large shields and with spears, and two hundred and eighty thousand from Benjamin, armed with small shields and with bows”, compares quite favourably with Abijah’s “four hundred thousand able fighting men” perhaps at an earlier stage.


These figures are, of course, quite unrealistic, with the Hebrew word elef (אָלֶף), of various meanings, being translated – exaggeratedly in this case – as “thousand”.


Very much in favour of the need to extend the length of Abijah’s reign (into the long reign of Asa, as I see it) is what we read about Abijah’s impressive deeds in 2 Chronicles 13:19-22:


Abijah pursued Jeroboam and took from him the towns of Bethel, Jeshanah and Ephron, with their surrounding villages. Jeroboam did not regain power during the time of Abijah. And the Lord struck him down and he died.

But Abijah grew in strength. He married fourteen wives and had twenty-two sons and sixteen daughters.

The other events of Abijah’s reign, what he did and what he said, are written in the annotations of the prophet Iddo.


Most unlikely all of this for a reign of only “three years”, especially the “twenty-two sons and sixteen daughters”!