1. Lesson One of the Book of Daniel, Introduction to the Book of Daniel

Lesson 33,  Geography Study Concerning the Scriptures, Patriarchal Migrations and Wanderings, Joseph in Egypt


Last week we offered the theory that the Pharaoh that was in power during Joseph’s rule as prime minister was from the Hyksos (rulers of foreign lands) dynasty. 


If that were true then the king who knew not Joseph and therefore the Pharaoh that was in power during the exodus, was an Egyptian. 


That is one of two theories that are prominent and I would like to offer the other theory because each is plausible. 


It is possible that the Pharaoh during Joseph's rule was an Egyptian and that the Pharaoh that knew not Joseph was of the Hyksos dynasty. 


Recent evidence indicates that the rule of the Hyksos lasted around 150 years. 


The Hyksos probably began infiltrating northern Egypt about 1900 BC and finally gained control by 1730.


According to biblical chronology which establishes 1445 BC as the year of the exodus and adding a 430 year sojourn in Egypt the probable date of Jacob’s migration into Egypt during Joseph’s premiership was about 1870 BC.


This date represents anywhere from 94 to 140 years before the rise of the Hyksos, and puts Joseph back in the period of the Twelfth Dynasty. 


This of course brings the conclusion that the Pharaoh that promoted Joseph was an Egyptian and not a Hyksos and the Pharaoh that knew not Joseph was a Hyksos and not an Egyptian.


There are some indications in the book of Genesis that support this conclusion. 


In the first place the reigning Egyptian dynasty shows a nationalistic contempt for Asiatic foreigners. 


When Joseph receives his brothers in his banquet room, he is compelled to seat them by themselves.


Genesis 43:32,   And they set on for him by himself, and for them by themselves, and for the Egyptians, which did eat with him, by themselves: because the Egyptians might not eat bread with the Hebrews; for that is an abomination unto the Egyptians.


It is thought that this race prejudice could never have occurred if the Hyksos rulers were in power, for the base of their power was Syria and Palestine from which they had migrated. 


In other words the Hebrews were similar to themselves and because of this there would have been no prohibition to eating with Hebrews.


In the second place, it is quite obvious that the sentiment of the Egyptian government in Joseph’s time was strongly averse to shepherds. 


Genesis 46:31-34,  And Joseph said unto his brethren, and unto his father’s house, I will go up, and show Pharaoh, and say unto him, My brethren, and my father’s house, which were in the land of Canaan, are come unto me;   And the men are shepherds, for their trade hath been to feed cattle; and they have brought their flocks, and their herds, and all that they have. And it shall come to pass, when Pharaoh shall call you, and shall say, What is your occupation? That ye shall say, Thy servants’ trade hath been about cattle from our youth even until now, both we, and also our fathers: that ye may dwell in the land of Goshen; for every shepherd is an abomination unto the Egyptians. 


It is true that Egyptian monuments frequently depict cattle but they never depict sheep. 


There always is a clear division between cattle men and shepherds isn’t there?


The Hyksos were known to the later Egyptians as the Shepherd-Kings.


It was therefore necessary for the sons of Jacob to stress their possession of cattle and omit mention of their flocks of sheep if they were to make a favorable impression before an Egyptian Pharaoh.


In the third place, if the Pharaoh at the time of the Exodus was an Egyptian that presupposes the the Hyksos had already been driven out of Egypt. 


If that was the case why then did the Egyptians allow the Israelites who were friends and allies of the Hyksos to remain. 


The Egyptians purged Egypt from any memory of the Hyksos and it would not seem reasonable for the Egyptians to make a distinction between the Hyksos and the Hebrews. 


Based upon this reasoning it is most probably that the Hyksos were expelled long after the exodus took place and the Hebrews were already gone. 


Another reason for thinking that the Hyksos were in power during the Exodus is because of the statement of the Pharaoh in:


Exodus 1:8-10,  Now there arose up a new king over Egypt, which knew not Joseph.   And he said unto his people, Behold, the people of the children of Israel are more and mightier than we: Come on, let us deal wisely with them; lest they multiply, and it come to pass, that, when there falleth out any war, they join also unto our enemies, and fight against us, and so get them up out of the land.


It does not seem reasonable to believe that this statement was made by an Egyptian Pharaoh because it would be a gross exaggeration to assert that the Israelites were more numerous than the Egyptians, but it was quite possible that they were more numerous than the Hyksos themselves.


As to joining up with their enemies who would the Israelites join up with except true Egyptians that may begin an uprising?


So based on these and other points we have not mentioned, this theory has good arguments in its favor. 


It may be that the king who knew not Joseph was of the Hyksos dynasty and it was he who put the Hebrews to work as slaves at his building projects.  


Regardless of which theory you believe it appears that the king who knew not Joseph was of a race different from the king who knew Joseph.