The Mythical Monster Moses - 1

In this two-part post I plan to address the question: Who was Moses? And immediately I want to acknowledge rapport with any reader who would respond: “Who cares?” That is, personally, I don’t care who Moses was – or if he existed at all. And I admit that my feelings on the matter are rather convenient, given that nobody seems to know for sure who Moses was – or if he existed at all.

My principal reason for not caring (who Moses was) is simply because the Old Testament (OT), as well as the New Testament (NT), the Koran (or Qur’an), the Book of Mormon (and the Mormon’s Book of Moses), and for that matter, all “sacred scripture” and “holy books” that “reveal” interactions with various gods are either delusions or fabrications, i.e., either phantasmal speculations of psychotics or simply lies. The most certain knowledge that we humans can possess, even more certain than the knowledge that we exist, is that no supernatural being (no “god”) exists or has ever existed. We can therefore unequivocally conclude that all the stories in the OT (and in the NT, the Koran, the Book of Moses, etc.) about Moses interacting with his god and performing various supernatural stunts (and similar stories about Jesus, Muhammad, Joseph Smith, etc.) are childish speculations (pure, unadulterated balderdash) not worth the huge amount of paper and brainpower wasted on them.

All such stories are ruses used by clerics (to this day!) to hoodwink people into carrying the clerics’ useless (and in most cases, worse-than-useless) carcasses. In particular, in the stories about Moses in the Pentateuch, the role that the clerical authors assigned to Moses was similar to the roles that other authors assigned to Robin Hood, King Arthur, William Tell, and tens of thousands of other fictional “heroes”, namely, contrivances to convey the authors’ messages. But in the case of the clerical authors, their message is horrible: as I’ll detail below, their mythical Moses is a monster. So, my personal opinion about Moses, his god, and all the damnable priests who profit from peddling their poisonous messages, indoctrinating children (and childish adults) in clerically concocted tales of mayhem, murder, and debauchery, is: “To hell with them all!”

Unfortunately, however, there does seem to be some value in examining characteristics of the clerically concocted Moses monster, because stories fabricated about him have caused and continue to cause so much hell on Earth. In the Bible, Moses is depicted to be a real “nut case”, convinced that he knew “the truth” (without even knowing what “truth” means). Worse, the depicted Moses proceeded to ram his “truth” down other people’s throats – or have the throats of “unbelievers” slit.

Thereby, the clerics’ Moses served as a role model for such maniacs as the butcher-emperor “Saint” Constantine and subsequent Christian leaders (who crammed Christian “truth” down the remaining unslit throats of Europeans), Muhammad and subsequent caliphs (who crammed Islamic “truth” down the throats of the remaining unslit throats of those whom they conquered), Hitler, Mussolini, and Hirohito’s handlers (who crammed fascist “truth” down the remaining unslit throats of those whom their armies conquered), Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot, etc. (who crammed Communist “truth” down the remaining unslit throats of those who survived their purges), and so on. Thus, the clerical authors depicted Moses as an ideologue: he wasn’t just someone who possessed a special idea; instead, like all ideologues, a special idea possessed him.

That the clerical authors chose such a monster as Moses to be the “hero” of their fiction is one thing. But the real horror is that (as unbelievable as it may seem that people could possibly be so dumb) approximately half the people now living in the world (including all “believing” Jews, Christians, Muslims, and Mormons) “think” that the depicted Moses was not only a real person but also “a holy man”, a “prophet of God”, someone who was in direct communication with “the creator of the universe” (i.e., the symmetry-breaking quantum fluctuation in the original void that led to the Big Bang). Consequently, both because so many people “believe” such nonsense about Moses to be “true” and because Moses (as depicted in the OT) has served as a role model for so many megalomaniacs, I reluctantly conclude that it might be helpful to humanity to address the otherwise pointless question: Who was Moses?

But for those readers who (understandably) don’t want waste their valuable time slogging through the details, in the following sentence I’ll summarize the results of my own slogging. My guess is that, with maybe 80% probability, there was a historical figure whom the Ancient Hebrews called Moses, but the Moses depicted in the OT is (with about 90% probability) essentially entirely (~99%) a fictional character, a literary construct, who (in essence) was the author’s “alter ego”. Exactly who was the author (or authors) of the Moses tale (as given in the Pentateuch) is unclear. But whereas it appears that Ezra & Co-Conspirators (whom I’ve been identifying in these posts as Ezra & C-C) appear to be the final “redactors” of the Pentateuch, then I expect it’s fairly safe to say (as I’ll be saying), with ~60% reliability, that Moses was Ezra’s alter-ego. For this two-part post, my goal is provide my reasons for the above speculations.

First, though, because little is known about Ezra (and much less is known about Moses), I probably should explain what I mean by describing Moses as Ezra’s alter ego. What I mean is simply that the principal author of the OT’s tales about Moses (whom for definiteness I call Ezra), knowing essentially nothing about Moses, created the literary character Moses in the author’s own image. In a way, then, Moses is what Ezra wanted to be. And it would probably surprise Ezra to know that he was amazingly successful: Ezra depicted Moses as the founder of the Jewish religion, but now, throughout Judaism, Ezra is recognized as “the father of Judaism”!

Now, exactly how the clerical authors concocted their Moses story is, of course, unknown. Yet, the following list of ten possibilities (which continues into the next post) suggests that the authors had a substantial number of readily available ingredients to “cook up” their Moses myth, relying on available myths and on the people’s vague memories of historical events.

1. The hero, while still an infant, escaping execution.
In Exodus 1 the authors inform us that the dictator of Egypt (the pharaoh) ordered the death of the infant Moses, “the deliverer”, just as the authors’ audience in Babylon almost certainly knew that the dictator of Persia (the emperor) had ordered the death of the infant who became Cyrus the Great, whom the Jews in Babylon called the “anointed one” or “the Messiah”.

Further, at Exodus 2, 3 the authors inform us about details of the escape:
But when she [Moses’ mother] was no longer able to hide him [Moses], she took a papyrus basket for him and sealed it with bitumen and pitch. She put the child in it and set it among the reeds along the edge of the Nile.
That’s the same story as the people had probably heard about Sargon the Great (who ruled the Akkadian Empire, extending from parts of present-day Iran to parts of present-day Syria, for 56 years in about 2300 BCE, i.e., about 1,000 years before Moses allegedly lived). For example, an Akkadian myth about Sargon the Great (a myth written about 300 years before Ezra & C-C completed their “redaction” of the Moses story) states:
My humble mother conceived me; she bore me in secret, placed me in an ark of bulrushes, made fast my door with pitch and gave me to the river which did not overwhelm me… (or, in another translation, “set me in a basket of rushes; with bitumen she sealed my lid. She cast me into the river which rose not over me.”)
2. Astrological tales.
Almost certainly the ancient Hebrews had heard many astrological tales (“stories told in the stars”) about the constellation called by the Sumerians “Gilga the hero” (or “Gilgamesh”), called by the Egyptians "Osiris" (probably the origin of the English word 'sir'), and called by the Greeks “Orion the hunter” (who allegedly could walk on water). In many such tales this constellation (Gilga, Osiris, Orion, Moses?) interacts with one or more of (the stars in the constellation known as) “the Seven Sisters” or “Pleiades” (known in many aboriginal cultures as “the water girls”), just as the authors of the Pentateuch tell us (at Exodus 2, 15 et seq.) that Moses met a Median priest’s seven daughters at a watering trough (and eventually married one of them, namely, Zipporah).

Additional hints that some of the stories about Moses were Jewish versions of astrological tales about Gilgamesh, Osiris, or Orion include his walking through the constellation known in some astrological charts as the Reed Sea (at Orion’s feet), his defeating Taurus the bull (as did Gilgamesh – with the added feature in the Moses myth that the astrological symbol of Egypt was Taurus), his leading the twelve tribes of Israel (each identified with one of the twelve signs of the Zodiac) out of the wilderness by a “pillar of fire” (a comet?), and his inability to cross the river Jordan (the constellation Eridanus, known as the Great River, which lies at Orion’s/Moses’ feet and which, of course, he never crosses).

3. Myths about the magical power of names.
At Exodus 3, 13 the authors inform us:
Moses said to God, “If I go to the Israelites and tell them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you,’ and they ask me, ‘What is his name?’ – what should I say to them?” God said to Moses, “I am that I am.” And he said, “You must say this to the Israelites, ‘I am has sent me to you’.”
That might seem to have been a strange interaction [people of the modern era (I don’t want to write “modern people”) might ask God how Elvis was doing or ask for God’s assessment of the assumptions of string theory], but to ancient people, names seemed magical. As an example, consider again the Egyptian creation myth:
In the beginning, before there was any land of Egypt, all was darkness, and there was nothing but a great waste of water called Nun. The power of Nun was such that there arose out of the darkness a great shining egg, and this was Re [the sun god]. Now, Re was all-powerful, and he could take many forms. His power and the secret of it lay in his hidden name…
Later in this same myth, the goddess Isis tricks the sun god Re into revealing his “secret name” (namely, “power”), which then gave Isis power – just as the biblical story tellers have Moses gain power by learning God’s name.

Further, as described by Mudarras Kadhir Gaznavi:
In the Papyrus of Prisse, dating from about 1000 years before Moses, god has [the] following to say of himself:

I am the unseen One who created the heavens and all things. I am the supreme god, made manifest by Myself, and without equal. I am yesterday, and I know the morrow. To every creature and being that exists I am the Law.

Please make a note: This concept of god has appeared about 1000 years before Moses!

How about this? It is very easy to detect the chief attributes of the god of The Old and New Testaments and Islam. This ‘One’ without equal was referred to in Egypt as “the nameless”, the “One whose name cannot be spoken”. The name of the god of Moses also cannot be uttered freely. That is why YHVH the ‘tetragrammaton’ (four letters) and eventually Jehovah-Yehova have replaced it in daily use. When the Egyptian god’s name was ‘unspeakable’ Moses was not around. It was long before him. Most important of all, this Egyptian god has called himself ‘Nuk pu Nuk’…

Prepare yourself for the shock! When “nuk pu nuk” is translated into English it means exactly, ‘I am who I am’. Yes! An almost identical announcement could be seen in Exodus 3, 14: “I am that I am.” Which is how the god of Moses announces himself to his messenger.
As evaluated by Judge Thomas Troward in Chapter 4, entitled “The Mission of Moses”, of his 1913 book Bible Mystery and Bible Meaning:
But though this [the name “I am that I am”] may have been a new announcement to the masses of the Hebrew people, it could have been no new announcement for Moses, for we are told in the Acts that Moses was learned in all the wisdom of the Egyptians, a circumstance which is fully accounted for by his education at the court of Pharaoh, where he would be as a matter of course initiated into the deepest mysteries of the Egyptian religion. He must therefore have been familiar from boyhood with the words, “I AM that I AM”, which as the inscription “Nuk pu Nuk” appeared on the walls of every temple…
But beyond the above “ingredients” available to “spice” a Moses myth, the following “entrĂ©es” surely got the authors of the Moses myth salivating.

4. Rule of the Hyksos.
Almost certainly, the people living in Canaan continued to tell stories about when their ancestors ruled Northern (or Lower) Egypt. Egyptians called these foreign rulers “Hyksos”. In about 250 BCE the Egyptian historian Manetho (or Manethon) explained the meaning of ‘Hyksos’ by saying:
Their race as a whole was called Hyksos, that is ‘king-shepherds’: for hyk in sacred language means ‘king’ and sos in common speech is ‘shepherd’ or ‘shepherds’; hence the compound word ‘Hyksos’.
The same reference adds: “Most scholars think that the proper translation for ‘Hyksos’ is ‘Ruler from foreign lands’.” In Egyptian texts the Hyksos are also called “the Asiatics”.

Describing the Hyksos rule, the same reference states:
The Hyksos were foreign rulers of Lower Egypt from about 1663 to 1555 BCE. They were expelled from Egypt by Ahmose who founded the 18th Dynasty… Manetho describes the rise of the Hyksos by writing:

In his [Tutimaeus’] reign, for what cause I know not, a blast of God smote us; and unexpectedly, from the regions of the East, invaders of obscure race marched in confidence of victory against our land. By main force they easily seized it without striking a blow; and having overpowered the rulers of the land, they burned our cities ruthlessly, razed to the ground the temples of the gods, and treated all the natives with a cruel hostility, massacring some and leading into slavery the wives and children of others. Finally, they appointed as king one of their number whose name was Salitis. He had his seat at Memphis, levying tribute from Upper and Lower Egypt, and always leaving garrisons behind in the most advantageous positions.
The relevance (to the Moses story) of the fact that the ancestors of the Canaanites (or, at least, some of their ancestors) had lived in Egypt, was that those who were to become known as Israelites thereby undoubtedly learned much about Egyptian culture, which was dominated by the supernaturalism in which the Egyptian priests were immersed (a little of which I plan to illustrate in a later post). Further, Egyptian records show that for much of its history, Canaan was ruled by Egyptians.

5. Expulsion of the Hyksos.
After the Hyksos ruled Northern Egypt for more than a century, finally the Egyptians expelled them. As described at the same reference:
The earliest document that describes the time of the Hyksos is from the Temple of Hat-shepsut (1486-1469 BCE) at Speos Artemidos which says:

Hear ye, all people and the folk as many as they may be, I have done these things through the counsel of my heart. I have not slept forgetfully, (but) I have restored that which had been ruined. I have raised up that which had gone to pieces formerly, since the Asiatics were in the midst of Avaris of the Northland, and vagabonds [Canaanites?] were in the midst of them, overthrowing that which had been made. They ruled without Re, and he did not act by divide [divine?] command down to (the reign of) my majesty…

The expulsion of the Hyksos was a series of campaigns which started with Kamose who was king in Thebes, and rebelled against the Hyksos. His son Ahmose was finally successful in pushing the Hyksos out. A commander named Ah-mose records in his tomb the victory over the Hyksos. He says:

When the town of Avaris was besieged, then I showed valor on foot in the presence of his majesty. Thereupon I was appointed to the ship, Appearing in Memphis. Then there was fighting on the water in the canal Pa-Djedku of Avaris. Thereupon I made a capture, and I carried away a hand [to illustrate that he had killed its owner; I suppose it was easier than taking a scalp!]. It was reported to the king’s herald. Then the Gold of Valor [apparently a medal] was given to me. Thereupon there was fighting again in this place… Then Avaris was despoiled. Then I carried off spoil from there: one man, three women, a total of four persons. Then his majesty gave them to me to be slaves. Then Sharuhen was besieged for three years. Then his majesty despoiled it…

Note that Avaris was besieged, there is no mention of how Avaris was taken, and there is no burning of Avaris stated which still fits [the ~100 CE Jewish historian] Josephus’ account. Bietak who has been excavating ancient Avaris says that there is no evidence for a violent destruction of Avaris. He states:

The archaeological material stops abruptly with the early 18th Dynasty [1550–1292 BCE]. There are no scarabs of the 18th Dynasty type… The most likely interpretation is that Avaris was abandoned. No conflagration layer or corpses of slain soldiers have been found so far in the large and widely separated excavation areas… The end of Avaris may have involved a surrender, or as Josephus has stated, an arranged retreat to Palestine…

This exit from Egypt by the Hyksos probably included the Israelites as well. [Although it would probably be better if the author called them not Israelites but Canaanites, since they apparently worshipped Baal, not Yahweh.] The story of the Exodus is most likely based on the expulsion of the Hyksos from Egypt, for there is no other record of any mass exit from Egypt… The evidence seems to fit well with Josephus’ account. Although the Egyptians saw the expulsion of the Hyksos as a great military victory, the Israelites viewed this as a great salvation victory for them. This seems similar to other events recorded in ancient history where both sides claim a great victory.
For later reference in this and the next post, the 18th Dynasty “was founded by Ahmose I, the brother of Kamose, the last ruler of the 17th Dynasty. Ahmose finished the campaign to expel the hated Hyksos rulers… he was succeeded by his son Amenhotep I… [followed by] Thutmose I… Thutmose II and his royal queen, Hatshepsut… daughter of Thutmose I… [Soon] after her husband’s death, [she] ruled for over twenty years… during the minority of her stepson… Thutmose III…” Additional rulers of the 18th Dynasty (including “the world’s first monotheist” Akhenaten and the “boy king” Tutankhamun) are shown in the timeline below [click to enlarge]. The next Dynasty, the 19th, started in 1292 BCE.


6. Multiple “Moses” Legends.
With the myths, legends, and stories outlined above, the authors of the Pentateuch had a substantial number of ingredients to concoct their Moses myth, but as yet, they didn’t have central character! To remedy that serious deficiency, the authors apparently tapped the Hebrews’ vague memories of a substantial number of “heroic figures”. For example, with their song that appears at Numbers 21, 18 (copied below) the people apparently maintained memory of their leaders finding water in the desert, possibly during the Hyksos expulsion. The authors could have tapped this memory to create the stories about how Moses allegedly used his magical staff to make water flow from rocks (as I quoted in the previous post); yet, if the song is examined in detail, it appears that the people’s memory was not about “prince Moses” but about the “princes” (i.e., probably the Hyksos leaders):
Well up, spring water!
[Water from a spring, not a rock!]
Greet it with song,
The spring unearthed by the princes,
[Unearthing a spring is a lot different from getting a rock to yield water – and notice that the people sang “princes” not “prince”!]
Laid open by the leaders [plural!] of the people
With scepter [a ceremonial staff] and mace [a spiked war club]
[Did they use scepter and mace to dig up a spring?!]
A gift from the wilderness.
[Not, as claimed by the clerics, a gift from God.]
To me, the song suggests that the people maintained memories of how the severe thirst of their ancestor (when they tromped out of Egypt with the Hyksos) was slaked by the Hyksos leaders digging up water with their weapons. I therefore suspect (as have many authors) that “the real Moses” (if there were one – or if there were only one!) lived after the Hyksos were expelled from Egypt.

One possibility for who Moses might have been is contained in the following quotation:
Cornelius Tacitus was born about 55 AD [CE]. He became a senator under Vespasian in 69 [CE], until the death of Domitian in 96 [CE] Tacitus wrote a book called Histories that covers the years from Nero’s death to the death of Domitian. In this book he has a brief discussion about the history of the Jews before describing the fall of Jerusalem in 70 [CE]. Tacitus states:

Most authors agree that once during a plague in Egypt which caused bodily disfigurement, King Bocchoris approached the oracle of Ammon and asked for a remedy, whereupon he was told to purge his kingdom and to transport this race (the Jews) into other lands, since it was hateful to the gods. So the Hebrews were searched out and gathered together; then, being abandoned in the desert, while all others lay idle and weeping, one only of the exiles, Moses by name, warned them not to hope for help from the gods or men, for they were deserted by both, but to trust to themselves, regarding as a guide sent from heaven to one whose assistance should first give them escape from their present distress. They agreed, and then set out on their journey in utter ignorance, but trusting to chance. Nothing caused them so much distress as scarcity of water, and in fact they had already fallen exhausted over the plain nigh unto death, when a herd of wild asses moved from their pasturage to a rock that was shaded by a grove of trees. Moses followed them, and, conjecturing the truth from the grassy ground, discovered abundant streams of water. This relieved them, and they marched six days [not the 40 years claimed in the OT!] continuously, and on the seventh seized a country, expelling the former inhabitants; there they founded a city and dedicated a temple. To establish his influence over this people for all time, Moses introduced new religious practices, quite opposed to those of all other religions…

Although Tacitus has a number of differences with the Bible, there are a number of important similarities. Tacitus acknowledges that there was a plague in Egypt, the Jews were expelled out of Egypt, Moses was their leader, and they conquered a new country. Tacitus gives us a secular viewpoint on Jewish origins.
Meanwhile, a major complication in trying to determine who “the real Moses” might have been (if there were one – or if there were only one!) is the near certainty that his name wasn’t Moses. Thus, the name “Moses” or “mose” is an abbreviation, meaning “born (of)” or “son (of)”, as in the name of the founder of the 18th Dynasty of Egypt Ahmose I (meaning “the moon is born” or “born of the moon”) or the name of the famous conquering pharaoh of the 18th Dynasty Thutmose III [meaning (the god) “Thoth is born” or “son of Thoth”, Thoth being the Egyptian god of wisdom, learning, and magic, and scribe of the gods], with the rest of his name omitted. It’s as if someone with the surname Johnson or Peterson had his name abbreviated to just “son”!

Another possibility for who “the real Moses” might have been is provided in a story from about 250 BCE by the Egyptian priest and historian Manetho (as quoted by the Jewish historian Flavius Josephus, 37 – c.95 CE):
This king [of Egypt, whom Manetho calls ‘Amenophis’, which is Greek for ‘Amenhotep’ – but Manetho didn’t identify which Amenhotep he was writing about (or Josephus didn’t record it); so, the time could be anywhere in the 200-year time period from about 1520–1320 BCE] was desirous to become a spectator of the gods [i.e., he desired to see the gods]… [he] communicated… his desire to… one that seemed to partake of a divine nature, both as to wisdom and the knowledge of futurities, [who] told him that he might see the gods, if he would clear the whole country of the lepers and of the other impure people… [The] king was pleased with this injunction, and got together all that had any defect in their bodies out of Egypt; and that their number was eighty thousand, whom he sent to those quarries which are on the east side of the Nile, that they might work in them, and might be separated from the rest of the Egyptians… [Among these impure people] there were some of the learned [Egyptian] priests that were polluted with the leprosy…

After those that were sent to work in the quarries had continued in that miserable state for a long while, the king was desired that he would set apart the city Avaris, which was then left desolate of the shepherds [or Hyksos, earlier expelled from Egypt], for their habitation and protection; which desire he granted them. Now this city, according to the ancient theology, was Typho’s city. But when these men were gotten into it, and found the place fit for a revolt, they appointed themselves a ruler out of the priests of Hellopolis, whose name was Osarsiph, and they took their oaths that they would be obedient to him in all things. He then, in the first place, made this law for them: That they should neither worship the Egyptian gods, nor should abstain from any one of those sacred animals, which they have in the highest esteem, but kill and destroy them all; that they should join themselves to nobody but to those that were of this confederacy.

When he had made such laws as these, and many more such as were mainly opposite to the customs of the Egyptians, he gave order that they should use the multitude of the hands they had in building walls about their City, and make themselves ready for a war with king Amenophis, while he did himself take into his friendship the other priests, and those that were polluted with them, and sent ambassadors to those shepherds [Hyksos] who had been driven out of the land by Tefilmosis to the city called Jerusalem; whereby he informed them of his own affairs, and of the state of those others that had been treated after such an ignominious manner, and desired that they would come with one consent to his assistance in this war against Egypt. He also promised that he would, in the first place, bring them back to their ancient city and country Avaris, and provide a plentiful maintenance for their multitude; that he would protect them and fight for them as occasion should require, and would easily reduce the country under their dominion… [Thus, Mantheo claims, this leader (subsequently called Moses) was inviting the Hyksos to return to Egypt.]

But for the people of Jerusalem, when they came down together with the polluted Egyptians, they treated the men in such a barbarous manner, that those who saw how they subdued the forementioned country, and the horrid wickedness they were guilty of, thought it a most dreadful thing; for they did not only set the cities and villages on fire but were not satisfied till they had been guilty of sacrilege, and destroyed the images of the gods, and used them in roasting those sacred animals that used to be worshipped, and forced the priests and prophets to be the executioners and murderers of those animals, and then ejected them naked out of the country. It was also reported that the priest, who ordained their polity and their laws, was by birth of Hellopolls, and his name Osarsiph – from Osyris, who was the god of Hellopolls; but that when he was gone over to these people, his name was changed, and he was called Moses…

[On] the thirteenth year afterward, Amenophis… came upon them out of Ethiopia with a great army, and joining battle with the shepherds and with the polluted people, overcame them in battle, and slew a great many of them, and pursued them as far as the bounds of Syria.
The above is certainly a very different story from the one in the OT! But then, as a general rule, one should never trust what a priest says about another religious leader – or another religion – or even about his own!

Still another possibility for who “the real Moses” might have been has been argued, for example, by Richard Darlow, namely, that Moses was Prince Ramose, who was heir to Thutmose III, who was known as “the great army commander”, and whose name means “son of [the god] Ra”. If Ramose were “the real Moses”, it’s understandable that the Yahwists would drop the name of the god Ra (or Re) from his name!

One of the reasons for suggesting that Ramose was “the real Moses” is that, strangely, Moses is found (at Numbers 12, 1) to be married not only to Zipporah (one of the seven sisters) but also to a black woman:
Then Miriam and Aaron [Moses’ sister and brother] spoke against Moses because of the Cushite woman he had married (for he had married an Ethiopian woman).
Meanwhile, the little that’s known about Ramose includes (as given at Darlow’s referenced website):
Prince Ramose commanded Pharaoh’s southern army, most famously in a campaign against the Ethiopians (then called the Cushites). Pharaoh rewarded his victory by making Prince Ramose the Viceroy of Cush in circa 1462 BC, whereupon Ramose also married the daughter of the king of the southern land. Jewish tradition has Moses conquering the Cushites and marrying Princess Tharbis, daughter of the King and Queen of Cush…
And I should admit that I included the above on Moses’ interracial marriage because it’s in stark contrast to Ezra’s racism, which I’ll address in the second part of this post. In that regard, Ezra seems to have been even more hideous than the fictional Moses.

And still another possibility for who Moses might have been is that he was the Pharaoh Akhenaten [who ruled about 100 years after Thutmose III and was known as “the world’s first monotheist”; he worshiped the god Aton, consistent with which he changed his name from Amenhotep (meaning “Amun is satisfied”) to Akhenaten or spelled Akhnaton or Akhenaton (meaning “spirit of Aton”)]. This possibility (or the possibility that Moses might have been a royal-born priest of Akhenaten's monotheism) seems to have been originally made by Freud, apparently in part because of the many similarities in Akhenaten’s Hymn to the Sun and the Bible’s Psalm 104. The reader interested in the possibility that Moses was Akhenaten might want to start by reading the great summary available here.

In his 2002 book Bloodline of the Holy Grail (partially available online at Google Book Search), Laurence Gardner provides additional details (derived from studies by Ahmed Osman) to support Freud’s proposal that Moses was the deposed pharaoh Akhenaten (copied here from pp. 9–11, with footnotes omitted):
The annals of Ramesses II (c.1304–1237 BCE) specify that Semitic people were settled in the land of Goshen, and it is further explained that they went there from Canaan for want of food. But why should Ramesses’ scribes mention this Nile delta settlement at Goshen? According to standard Bible chronology, the Hebrews went to Egypt some three centuries before the time of Ramesses and made their exodus in about 1491 BCE, long before he came to the throne. So, by virtue of this first-hand scribal record, the standard Bible chronology as generally promoted is seen to be incorrect.

It is traditionally presumed that Joseph was sold into slavery in Egypt in the 1720s BCE and was made Governor by the Pharaoh a decade or so later. Afterwards, his father Jacob (whose name was changed to Israel) and seventy family members followed him into Goshen to escape the famine in Canaan. Notwithstanding this, Genesis 47:11, Exodus 1:11, and Numbers 33:30 all refer to “the land of Ramesses” (Egyptian: “the house of Ramesses”) – but this was a complex of grain storehouses built by the Israelites for Ramesses II in Goshen some 300 years after they were supposedly there!

It transpires, therefore, that the alternative Jewish Reckoning is more accurate than the Standard Chronology: Joseph was in Egypt not in the early 18th Century BCE, but in the early 15th Century BCE. There, he was appointed Chief Minister to Thutmosis IV (c.1413–1405 BCE). To the Egyptians, however, Joseph (Yusuf the Vizier) was known as Yuya and his story is particularly revealing – not just in relation to the biblical account of Joseph, but also in respect of Moses. The Cairo-born historian and linguist Ahmed Osman has made an in-depth study of these personalities in their contemporary Egyptian environment and his finding are of great significance.

When Pharaoh Tuthmosis died, his son married his sibling sister Sitamun (as was the pharaonic tradition) so that he could inherit the throne as Pharaoh Amenhotep III. Shortly afterwards he also married Tiye, daughter of the chief Minister (Joseph/Yuya). It was decreed, however, that no son born to Tiye could inherit the throne and, because of the overall length of her father Joseph’s governorship, there was general fear that the Israelites were gaining too much power in Egypt. So when Tiye became pregnant, the edict was given that her child should be killed at birth if a son. Tiye’s Israelite relatives lived at Goshen, and she owned a summer palace a little upstream at Zarw, where she went to have her baby. She did indeed bear a son, but the royal midwives conspired with Tiye to float the child downstream in a reed basked to the house of her father’s half-brother Levi.

The boy, Aminadab (born c.1394 BCE) was duly educated in the eastern delta country by the Egyptian priests of Ra. Then, in his teenage years he went to live at Thebes. By that time, his mother had acquired more influence than the senior queen, Sitamun, who have never borne a son and heir to the Pharaoh, only a daughter who was called Nefertiti. In Thebes, Aminadab could not accept the Egyptian deities with their myriad idols, and so he introduced the notion of Aten, an omnipotent god who had no image. Aten was thus akin to the Hebrews’ Aton – a title borrowed from the Phoenician and meaning ‘Lord’ – in line with Israelite teachings. At that time, Aminadab (the Hebrew equivalent of Amenhotep: “Amun is pleased”) changed his name to Akhenaten (Servant of Aten)…

Akhenaton…was banished from Egypt [because of his introduction of monotheism]. He fled with some retainers to the remote safety of Sinai, taking with him his royal scepter topped with a brass serpent. To his supporters he remained very much the rightful monarch – the heir to the [Egyptian] throne from which he had been ousted – and he was still regarded by them as the Mose, Meses or Mosis, meaning ‘heir’ or ‘born of’ – as in Tuthmosis (“born of Tuth”) and Ramesses (“fashioned of Ra”).
But I should add that the reader who desires to see data that support such speculations will likely become as frustrated as I became. I’ll quote here the criticism by “boniface” of another of Osman's proposals:
There is far too much here that lacks substantiation, and the author relies far too heavily on the Bible itself (which he himself claims is completely unreliable) and his personal interpretation thereof, to measure up to even a weak academic standard. It IS an entertaining read; but far too many speculations are held together with very little solid evidence for Osman’s argument to be taken completely seriously.
Meanwhile, some circumstantial evidence that supports Manetho’s story about Moses being a rebellious Egyptian priest is available even in the OT and other Jewish literature. For example, the OT includes an amazing amount of detail on skin infections: in Leviticus 13 & 14, it goes on and on and on! Also, on the internet are many versions of the following story, the one below copied from Benyamin Cohen (although the webpage seems to be no longer available):
Rabbi Yisrael Lipschutz, a classic 19th Century commentator on the Mishnah, tells the story that a king [of Arabia] once heard about the greatness of Moses and commissioned an artist to go to the Israelite camp to paint a portrait of him. Upon the artist’s return, the king gasped when he saw the portrait of what appeared to be a mass murderer. “How can this be?” shouted the king. “This evil man which you painted cannot be Moses!” The artist insisted that the evil degenerate in the portrait was indeed Moses. The king could not believe this and himself traveled to the Jewish people’s camp in order to see Moses in person. When the king arrived, he was astonished to find out that the artist had in fact painted Moses. The king, surprised, admitted to Moses why he originally did not believe the artist. Moses responded by saying that the evil they saw in his face was there. Those evil characteristics were a part of him since birth.
Although it’s highly doubtful that the above story can be validated, yet to me, it’s rather surprising that the Jewish priesthood would have continued to repeat a story (for more than 2,000 years!) that supports Manetho’s “historical report” that Moses was a Egyptian priest with physical defects. Even the OT states that Moses had a speech defect, leading to his brother Aaron speaking for Moses (and founding the Jewish, Aaronite priesthood). But then, the reader can also find reports on the internet that Pharaoh Akhenaton also had physical defects; so, who knows?

There is, however, an obvious problem with the idea that Akhenaton (“the world’s first monotheist”) was Moses, namely, the Moses depicted in the Pentateuch wasn't monotheistic but monolatrous (i.e., he worshipped one god without denying the existence of other gods). Thus, no monotheist would claim (as Exodus 20, 3 states Moses did) that his god (the sole god) would dictate (as no less than Commandment #1!): “You shall have no other gods before me.”

But then again, the authors and redactors of the OT didn’t seem to worry much about consistency; recall, for example, the two different genesis myths. Thus, in the case of whether or not the depicted Moses was a monotheist, at Deuteronomy 4, 39 the authors have the monotheist (!) Moses say: “Today realize and carefully consider that the Lord is God in heaven above and on earth below – there is no other!"

Yet, later in the OT, in Psalm 82, we learn that God sentences the other gods to death:
“This is my [God’s] sentence: Gods you may be, sons all of you of a high god, yet you shall die as men die; princes fall, every one of them, and so shall you.”
If you think about it a bit, you’ll probably conclude that, thereby, God pulled off quite a coup, since by definition, gods are immortal (i.e., they don’t die). In fact, the only way to get rid of gods is the same way as they’re created: via imagination unconstrained by logic or reality!

Fortunately for those of us whose constitution is more comfortable with trying to digest logic and reality, in his book Thus Spoke Zarathustra Friedrich Nietzsche offered the following bromide to relieve resulting indigestion (or cognitive dissonance):
For with the old gods things came to an end long ago: – and verily, they had a good and joyful gods’ end! Theirs was no mere ‘twilight’ death – that is a lie! Rather: one day they – laughed themselves to death! This happened when the most godless words issued from a god himself – the words: “There is one God! Thou shalt have no other God before me!” – an old wrath-beard of a god, most jealous, forgot himself…
[To be continued…]


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