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The Tomb of Hatshepsut. A BibArch™ Photo.

Hatshepsut (pharaoh, 1503-1482) the Great Royal Wife of Thutmose II did not give birth to a male child but did give birth to a daughter named Neferure. She had no natural male heir to the throne, although she was the throne princess at this point in time.

Neferure, however, disappeared from the record in Year 16 of Hatshepsut's reign. This suggests that she probably died as a teenager (Forbes 1998:50). It is likely, under these circumstances, that Hatshepsut would seek to adopt a male child, in the manner that Moses was, to have as her heir-apparent. If Hatshepsut was the Pharaoh's daughter of Exodus she could not have been more than a teenager at the time. Presumably she saw the baby Moses as a gift of the god of the Nile. She took him as a divine gift and later adopted him naming him Moses. This would have given him some claim to the throne as Thutmose II did not have a male child by Hatshepsut.

Apparently such an idea did not sit well with Hatshepsut's half-brother  husband Thutmose II. The implication is that he wanted a physical descendant as heir to the throne, not an Asiatic, a Hebrew of the common class. He chose to father a male heir by another woman. This complicated palace intrigue and the tension between the two was undoubtedly severe and dangerous. 

The Pharaohs of the 18th dynasty of Egypt were the product of royal incest. Royal inbreeding produced a line of rulers unstable in mind, emotion, and temperament. These despots were decidedly cruel and aggressive.

Thutmose II then sought to have the throne pass to Thutmose III, his child by a concubine, or perhaps a commoner secondary wife, named Iset (Aset, Isis), by claiming that the god Amen Ra chose Thutmose III as his successor by prophecy. Some hold, although it is rather unlikely, that he went so far as to join his son and daughter in marriage to secure Thutmose III's succession to the throne.

Thutmose II sought to win public support for his son by another wife by claiming that the god Amen Ra revealed through prophecy that it was Thutmose III who was to succeed him. He and his supporters sought to so win the popular support of rank and file Egyptians. Unless there was a serious political rival, such as an adopted Hebrew son of the throne princess called Moses, there was no need to conjure up such a prophecy.

Hatshepsut was a very strong-willed, ambitious woman who, after the death of her husband, Thutmose II, seized control of the throne. Having never forgotten that her heir was the legal and rightful heir to the throne. She took control but lacked the power to completely oust Thutmose III.

Supposedly, she and Thutmose III were joint rulers with her as the regent. She ruled, however, not as the queen of Egypt, but as King of Egypt. She reigned as a man. Her statues show her as a man, complete with the traditional false beard that men wore (not that she went around in men's clothes all the time - she did not). Just for the public image since this was a male oriented society. She felt it would have more impact if she represented herself as a male than a female. Nevertheless, the Egyptian people knew she was a female. It was simply a matter of presenting herself that way. At first she had to be content with being the regent for Thutmose III due to the made-up prophecy spread by his father and believed by the superstitious pagan Egyptian masses. Nevertheless, in reality from the first she was the actual ruler of Egypt. 

For matters of state she allowed herself to be shown as a co-ruler with Thutmose III. She had his name inscribed next to hers. As her power and influence grew she took steps to establish total control and removed his name from monuments. Declaring that her father, Thutmose I, had, in fact, publicly named her not Thutmose II as his successor, she crowned herself as the sole heir to the throne of Egypt (Forbes 1998:48; Hussein 1989:23). This set up the situation for the elimination of Thutmose II and the eventual transfer of the throne to her own heir. Egyptian records show Hatshepsut riding high and handsome, fully in control of the ship of state. Her reign was a prosperous one. Things went well for Egypt under her rule and she appears to have been an effective ruler.

Suddenly, however, Thutmose III managed to seize the throne. How he brought this about is unknown. Obviously, she lost support of the critical elements of the upper part of Egyptian society. Thutmose III seized the moment and secured that support. He managed to overthrow her. We do not have any details in the surviving Egyptian records for the change in support and success that Thutmose secured at that time.

Nevertheless, in ca. 1483 BCE Moses fled Egypt and it is exactly in this period (give or take a year) that chronologists pin the successful revolution against Hatshepsut and when Tutmose III seized the throne. We can logically connect these two events because it is obvious that Hatshepsut deposed Thutmose III and she groomed Moses as her successor (as the implication is in Acts 7 that Moses could have become the ruler of Egypt cf. Hebrews 11:24). It is quite natural that Thutmose III would not have had any commitment to Moses. When Thutmose III received word that Moses had killed an Egyptian it was a defining moment, a politically expedient opportunity to use this information to rid himself of this hated rivals Hatshepsut and Moses. Moses, apparently anticipating this, fled from Egypt to Sinai.

If this reconstruction is correct, that this is the period of the Exodus and the period of Moses, then Hatshepsut is the only likely candidate for being Moses' adopted mother. She was the daughter of pharaoh who pulled him from the Nile. It would also explain something that has been enigmatic in Egyptian history -- what caused Hatshepsut to so quickly lose support of the priestly aristocracy and the military that Thutmose III could stage a successful revolt against her. Supposedly she simply died peacefully in her fifties but more likely she had some assistance in departing on her voyage to the afterlife.

If she groomed Moses, despite his Hebrew origins, to be the next pharaoh and it turned out that he was a murderer of Egyptians you can see the cause of her loss of support and likely suicide or murder. The shift in this aristocratic and military support allowed Thutmose III to stage a successful coup. 

This pharaoh, Thutmose III, would then be the pharaoh that had to die before Moses could return from Midian (Exodus 2:23). He was the pharaoh who sought Moses' life. That makes an interesting point. Hatshepsut ruled but technically it was joint rule - she had usurped power, but technically Thutmose III still carried the title of pharaoh jointly with her. This enabled him to get rid of her completely.

Thutmose III apparently did something that only occurred one additional time in the span of Egyptian history. The Egyptian people viewed their pharaohs as being a god in the flesh. The temple of Hatshepsut lies along the Nile in the Diro Valley, just across from Karnak, where one can see what remains of Hatshepsut's figure. Thutmose III, who undoubtedly hated her, completely eradicated nearly all her monuments throughout Egypt. Only on one other occasion would Egyptian authorities eradicate the monuments of a previous pharaoh and erase his name wherever found. That was the case of the heretic pharaoh Akhenaten who closed all the temples of the Egyptian gods and tried to get them all to worship a single deity the god of the sun.

Page last edited: 04/06/06 09:18 PM

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