The Exodus Case – Imhotep

The Exodus Case by Dr. Lennart Moller – Book Review, Part Three of Seven

“I hate mummies.” Rick O’Connell, The Mummy Returns

If you’ve seen either of the Mummy movies with Brendan Fraser and Rachel Weisz, you’ll remember the name Imhotep. He was The Bad Guy from ancient Egypt who became The Mummy. He was a priest in Egypt who held the secret books of spells and could raise his warriors from the dead to go after our heroes, Rick O’Connell and Evelyn “I…am a librarian” Carnahan.

But did you know Imhotep was a real person in the days of the pharaohs? He was essentially the overseer of Egypt as well as its high priest. Anything to do with managing the country for Pharaoh or regarding matters religious, Imhotep was the go-to guy. Originally there were doubts as to whether he was a real person, but archeological discoveries have confirmed not only his existence, but just what an incredible person he was.

He has sometimes been referred to as the Leonardo da Vinci of Egypt, but he was more than that. An Egyptian Priest, Manetho, wrote a history shortly after Imhotep’s reign. Manetho is considered to be an important source for Egypt’s ancient history. He writes that Imhotep’s reputation among Egyptians was that of Asclepius, the Greek God of Medicine because of his healing abilities. He also invented the process of building with hewn stone and was the force behind the first pyramid, the so-called Step Pyramid of Sakkara.

Now, if Imhotep was actually Joseph who was sold into slavery by his brothers, and he was in Egypt at that time, you would expect a number of parallels between the two identities and events of that time. Well, guess what?

There is an inscription on the island of Sihiel just past the first cataract of the Nile, describing a seminal event in Egyptian history. It was carved over a thousand years after the event, but it may sound familiar to us.

In it, the Pharaoh Djoser has a dream that troubles him. He calls on Imhotep, “the son of Ptah,” to figure it out. Imhotep, according to the inscription, says the dream foretells seven years of famine followed by seven years of plenty. Except for the reverse order – famine before plenty – it corresponds in detail to the biblical account of Joseph. Bad years happen from time to time, but there is only ONE time in Egyptian history when such a famine occurred.

The biblical record of plenty before famine has greater credibility, because such a famine without time to prepare would have completely wiped out the eastern Mediterranean region.

Imhotep being described as the son of Ptah makes sense, because he was seen as the priest of Ptah, the greatest god of Egypt, creator of all things. That could be an apt description of Joseph, who served the one, true God. It makes sense that, one thousand years after he lived, the record was “Egyptized” by the writer. According to the inscription, when Pharaoh Djoser asks Imhotep to explain the dream, Imhotep says, “I need the guidance of Him who presides over the fowling net…” (from the Sihiel inscription). In Genesis, Joseph replies that “It is not in me: God shall give the answer.”

There is also another inscription from the Nile island of Philae, which is also an “Egyptized” account of the seven year famine. So we have two non-biblical accounts that appear to confirm the biblical account of a seven year famine.

While Joseph was not described in the Bible as being a physician of any sort, as Pharaoh’s ruler in Egypt, he had doctors in his service. This from Genesis 50:2 – “And Joseph commanded his servants the physicians to embalm his father: and the physicians embalmed Israel.”

Joseph commanded medical services, and he also was counselled by God to interpret dreams and receive direction on his actions as Pharaoh’s right arm. Both Joseph and Imhotep were known for consulting God before answering questions and making big decisions. People traveled to Imhotep for healing. They would have travelled to Joseph too.

Imhotep and Joseph are also reputed to be very wise. Genesis 41:39 says that “…Pharaoh said unto Joseph, Forasmuch as God hath shewed thee all this, there is none so discreet and wise as thou art.” Regarding Imhotep, there was a saying referring to having heard wisdom: “I have heard the words of Imhotep” (wise sayings). While none of Imhotep’s writings have survived, his successors wrote wise sayings in his tradition

The Old Testament Book of Proverbs has no author ascribed to it, although tradition holds that at least sections are attributed to King Solomon. Proverbs and the sayings of Imhotep share some similarities. Dr. Moller theorizes in The Exodus Case that Joseph/Imhotep was the one who gave rise to Proverbs. Either the wise sayings were incorporated into Egyptian tradition, or the Israelites took the sayings with them, eventually making them part of the Old Testament.

Earlier I mentioned how Imhotep was the initiator of the Step Pyramid at Sakkara. That’s where he lived, because it was the religious capitol for Egypt. It makes sense that the high priest of Egypt had his administration there. If Imhotep was Joseph, you would expect something to indicate that.

At Sakkara there is a system of 11 open shafts going deep into the ground. At the bottom they are connected by a tunnel. One shaft has a stairway reaching all the way to the bottom. There is a theory that these were some sort of burial complex, but that doesn’t hold. Tombs of the day were covered and hidden to prevent desecration by grave robbers. These shafts are open and easily located. What was found at the bottom gives us a great clue as to what they really were. Remains of grain were found at the bottom!

“And Joseph gathered corn as the sand of the sea, very much, until he left numbering, for it was without number.” Joseph built silos to store grain during the seven years of plenty. Today we picture silos as being above ground. In Egypt, underground silos provide the cool, dry conditions needed for long-term storage. And this complex at Sakkara is unique, not being found anywhere else in Egypt. There are also carvings that show men carrying sacks over their shoulders up the stairs in the shaft. These are quite possibly Joseph’s storage facility to nurse Egypt through the famine

Imhotep had a reputation as a great builder. Joseph oversaw huge building projects to store grain and save Egypt. Are they the same guy? Dr. Moller makes a strong case. There is much more on this in his book, but you get the idea.

Intrigued? The book is available on Amazon. I’d also recommend getting the two DVDs that Amazon will suggest you buy along with it. I got them and, I’m glad I did. The book is 400+ pages with tons of documentation, but VERY readable.

Maybe not sold yet? Well, I’m going to continue giving you an overview of several of the most impressive sections in the next few posts, so stay tuned!

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