AGES IN CHAOS
1. WHO WERE THE HYKSOS?
The Egyptian historian Manetho, who lived in the Ptolemaic age, is our main source of information on the invasion of the Hyksos. His history of Egypt is not extant, but some passages dealing with that invasion are preserved by one Josephus.
It is said in the enumeration of the plagues in Egypt:
PSALMS 78:49 — He cast upon them the fierceness of his anger, wrath, and indignation, and trouble, by sending evil angels among them.
What may that mean, evil or bad angels? There is no plague known as the "visit of evil angels". There is no expression like "evil angels" to be found elsewhere in the Scriptures. There is an "angel of death" or "Satan," but no "evil angels". It would appear that the text is corrupted.
"Sending of evil angels" is mishlakhat malakheiroim.
"Invasion of king-shepherds" is mishlakhat malkhei-roim.
The only difference in spelling is one silent letter, aleph, in the first case. It would thus seem that the second reading is the original.
The first reading is not only unusual Hebrew, but it is also contrary to the grammatical structure of the language. If roim (plural of evil) were used as an adjective here, the preceding word could not take a shortened form; roim must therefore be a noun. But if roim were a noun, it would be in the singular and not in the plural; and finally, the correct plural of "evil" is not roim but raoth. "Evil angels" in correct Hebrew would be malakhim roim; "angels of evils" malakhei raoth. Not only the sense but the grammatical form as well speaks for the reading, "invasion of king-shepherds".
When the editor or copyist of the sentence could not find sense in "king-shepherds", he changed the words to "evil angels" without sufficient grammatical change.
Verse 49 of Psalm 78 must therefore read:
"He cast upon them the fierceness of his anger, wrath, indignation and trouble, by sending an invasion of king shepherds."
2. THE EXPULSION OF THE HYKSOS IN THE EGYPTIAN AND HEBREW RECORDS
The Carnarvon tablet records the participation of pharaoh Kamose, son of Seknenre, in action against the Hyksos. He was assisted by some foreign troops. An Egyptian monument has also preserved a description of the final act: the story of the expulsion of the Hyksos is engraved on the wall of the tomb of an officer of Ahmose, a vassal pharaoh of one of the Nomes and probably a brother of Kamose; the name of the officer was also Ahmose. The story is in the form of a narrative about the sieges and battles in which the officer took part.
In the Ahmose inscription, which is the best available Egyptian source on the war of deliverance, an enigma is inserted concerning the most important circumstance. Obviously, not rebellious Egyptian princes but some warriors coming from abroad were the real deliverers of Egypt. The inscription reads:
"I followed the king on foot when he rode abroad in his chariot. One besieged the city of Avaris. I showed valor on foot before his Majesty. One fought on the water in the canal of Avaris. Then there was again fighting in this place; I again fought. One fought in this Egypt, south of this city; then I brought away a living captive. One captured Avaris, one besieged Sharuhen for six years and his majesty took it."
The indefinite pronoun would not have been used if the Egyptian king had been at the head of the besieging army. Had the Egyptian prince been the main figure in this war for freedom his triumph would not have been attributed to the indefinite "one". The writer would have said: "His Majesty besieged . . ." or "Our troops fought . . ." The Egyptian document says in fact that in the war against the Hyksos a foreign army was active. However, Egyptian inscriptions did not memorialize the deeds of foreign kings, and hence the name of the king who destroyed the Hyksos is missing. The war was fought by a foreign "one", and the history written on that tomb did not ascribe the sieges and the expulsion of the Hyksos to the dead man's own chief, who only aided the foreign liberator.
Samuel, the priest and prophet, said to Saul, whom he had anointed to be king over Israel:
I SAMUEL 15:2-3 — Thus saith the Lord of hosts, I remember that which Amalek did to Israel, how he laid wait for him in the way, when he came up from Egypt. Now go and smite Amalek, and utterly destroy all that they have.
Saul gathered "two hundred thousand footmen, and ten thousand men of Judah".
I SAMUEL 15:5 — And Saul came to the city of Amalek, and laid wait on the banks of the nakhal.
The identity of the foreign liberator of Egypt is thus revealed by the Scriptures. The "one" was King Saul. Apophis II was Agog II. The Amalekite city was Avaris.
Before storming the Amalekite city Saul made an agreement with the tribe of the Kenites, affiliated with the Amalekites, regarding their departure from the city under siege.
I SAMUEL 15:6 — And Saul said unto the Kenites: Go, depart, get you down from among the Amalekites, lest I destroy you with them. So the Kenites departed from among the Amalekites.
According to Ahmose, after the capture of Avaris the Hyksos-Amu who saved themselves from death escaped to Sharuhen in southern Palestine. In Manetho's story it is stated that the Hyksos, retreating from Avaris, escaped into Judea to a place which they built and named Jerusalem. There is not the shadow of a doubt that the contemporaneous inscription on the grave of Ahmose contains the correct rendition of the name of the place to which the Hyksos retired, and that the later rendering of Manetho is wrong. Either Manetho's source or his text was corrupted, and the lesser-known Sharuhen was replaced by the better known Jerusalem (Jerushalaim).
This mistake, accidental or deliberate, has played a harsh role in the fate of the Jewish people beginning with the Ptolemaic age; it has left deep marks on the behavior and spiritual evolution of other peoples; only seldom has a mistake of a writing hand had so many tragic consequences as this corrupt text, which is exposed here by comparing the two Egyptian sources on the escape of the Hyksos to Sharuhen in one source, to Jerusalem in the other. I shall add a few more words on this subject at the end of this chapter.
With the crushing of the Amu Empire after this siege, Egypt became free, and the expelled invaders moved to southern Canaan to the stronghold of Sharuhen, where they maintained their hold a few years longer. This fortress in the south of Canaan was beleaguered. The siege was protracted. Finally the city was stormed, its defenders killed, and the few survivors were dispersed and lost their importance.
They left a deep feeling of hatred in the people of Egypt.
The other people were called Amalekites. They left Arabia after a series of plagues and immediately after a violent earthquake. Many of them perished during the migration in a sudden flood that swept the land of Arabia. They sighted the Israelites coming out of Egypt, which was laid in ruins by a great catastrophe. In this catastrophe the water in the river turned red as blood, the earth shook, the sea rose in a sudden tidal wave.
The invaders from Arabia occupied the south of Palestine and simultaneously moved toward Egypt. They conquered Egypt without meeting resistance.
The Amalekite conquerors came from Arabia, but apparently they had Hamitic blood in their veins. They were a nation of herdsmen and roamed with their large herds from field to field.
They mutilated the wounded and the prisoners, cut off limbs, and were unspeakably cruel in many other ways. They stole children and carried off women; they burned cities; they destroyed monuments and objects of art that had survived the catastrophe, and despoiled Egypt of her wealth. They were contemptuous of the religious feelings of the Egyptians.
The Amalekites built a city-fortress on the northeastern border of Egypt. Their chieftains were pharaohs and ruled from their fortress.
They held sway over western Asia and northern Africa and had no peer in their time. They kept the Egyptian population in bondage, and their tribesmen used the Egyptians as slaves. They also built smaller strongholds in Syria-Palestine, and by periodically invading the country with their herds before harvest time, they impoverished the people of Israel. Their domination over many countries of the Near and Middle East endured, according to various reckonings, for almost five hundred years.
Among the kings of the Amalekites there were at least two by the name of Agog, both of them outstanding: one a few decades after the Exodus of the Israelites from Egypt, the other at the very end of the period of Amalekite domination.
This people intermingled with the Philistines.
Their supremacy came to an end when their fortress-residence on the border of Egypt was besieged by Saul, king of Israel. The bed of the river (nakhal) was the main scene of the siege. A large part of the besieged garrison was allowed to depart. After this siege and the fall of the fortress the Amalekite Empire from Havila in the land of the Euphrates to "over against Egypt" collapsed. Their remnants moved into mountainous southern Palestine, where they gathered their strength in a stronghold-city. But that stronghold, too, was surrounded and, after a protracted siege, was captured by storm. After that they lost their significance.
They left in the people of Israel an intense feeling of hatred.
On the basis of the foregoing, the conclusion is inescapable that the Amu of the Egyptian sources and the Amalekites of the Hebrew and Arab sources were not two different peoples, but one and the same nation. Even the name is the same: Amu, also Omaya, a frequent name among the Amalekites, was a synonym for Amalekite. Djauhari, an Arabian lexicographer of the tenth century of the present era, wrote: "It is handed down that this name Amu, or Omaya was a designation for an Amalekite man."
The Amu, or the Hyksos, were the Amalekites.
This identity, established on a large number of correlations and parallels, is the answer to the two-thousand-two-hundred-year-old riddle: Who were the Hyksos? As early as the days of Josephus, in the first century, it was already a debated question of long standing. The arguments of the present chapter for the identity of the Amu-Hyksos and the Amalekites have been stated and repeated here point by point because of the momentous consequences this identification carries. The succeeding parts of this book will show how important the consequences are.
3. THE CONFUSION OF HYKSOS AND ISRAELITES AND THE BEGINNING OF ANTI-SEMITISM
The Israelites could never forget the time of their suffering in Egypt , but they did not bear any hatred against the Egyptians or other peoples of antiquity; the Amalekites alone became the symbol of evil and the object of their hate.
DEUTERONOMY 25:17-19 — Remember what Amalek did unto thee by the way, when ye were come forth out of Egypt; how he met thee by the way, and smote the hindmost of thee, even all that were feeble behind thee, when thou wast faint and weary; and he feared not God.
Therefore it shall be, when the Lord thy God hath given thee rest from all thine enemies round about, that thou shalt blot out the remembrance of Amalek from under heaven; thou shalt not forget it.
". . . thou shalt not abhor an Egyptian; because thou wast a stranger in his land" (Deuteronomy 23:7)
The utter wickedness of this people was iterated and reiterated throughout the old literature: how they came to "suck the blood" of the weary in the desert; how cowardly they acted in attacking from ambush; how vile and ignoble and merciless they were.
They mutilated the wounded and blasphemed by throwing the mutilated parts of the bodies toward the heavens and jeered at the Lord.
A legend presents the feeling of the Israelite nation in these symbolic words:
"So long as the seed of Amalek exists, the face of God is, as it were, covered, and will only then come to view when the seed of Amalek shall have been exterminated."
There was also a tradition that "God bade Moses impress upon the Jews to repulse no heathen should he desire conversion, but never accept an Amalekite as a proselyte". For his sins Amalek shall "the first descend to hell". "God Himself took up the war against Amalek".
The Hyksos engendered the same hatred in the Egyptians; their extreme cruelty and their wantonness were cut deep into the memory of the people. They befouled and burned rolls of papyri and objects of art; in their camps they tortured their captives. Heads were cracked open, teeth smashed, eyes gouged out, and limbs hacked off. They professed faith only in their superior strength and employed it in their camps on their defenseless victims.
Even the Arabian authors exposed the evil and the recklessness of the Amalekites in dealing with the holy and the profane in Mecca and in Egypt. They, too, proclaimed that the Lord had sent them away from Mecca for their iniquity.
It was the lot of Saul to carry on the war of liberation of Israel and Egypt. That the Israelites were not remembered with praise for what they had done for Egypt and were referred to as "one" and "they" in Egyptian history was the least of the injustices; their real reward at the hands of the Egyptian historians was to be identified with the ravagers whom the Israelites had driven out of Avaris.
Ahmose wrote that when Avaris was taken, the Hyksos retreated to Sharuhen, in southern Palestine. But Manetho, many centuries later, wrote that the Hyksos retreated into Palestine and built Jerusalem; also that at a later date, when a leper colony in Avaris revolted, these rebels summoned the Solymites (the people of Jerusalem) and together conquered Egypt; that these Solymites were extremely cruel to the population, and that one of the lepers, Osarsiph, had changed his name to Moses.
This confused story reflects the Assyrian conquest of Egypt, when Sennacherib and Esaharddon invaded Palestine and Egypt "with a great host of Assyrians and Arabs". The people of Jerusalem never conquered Egypt.
The first wave of anti-Semitism in the east was spread much later in the Persian Empire by the vizier, Haman, "the Agagite, the Jews' enemy". Haman, who was of the seed of Agog, the Amalekite, conspired to destroy the Jewish population in Persia and Media.
We may imagine that the traditions of Haman's house were likely to inspire this hatred. These traditions told how Haman's royal forefather Agog had been dispossessed by a Jewish king and killed by a Jewish prophet.
In the Greek world no signs of racial antipathy toward Jews can be traced until the stories of Manetho began to circulate. The Jews were occasionally looked upon as a mysterious people, but no expression of animosity or contempt is preserved in the writings of the old authors.
The hatred, never extinguished in the memory of posterity, for the inhuman shepherd-conquerors was revived: the Jews were identified with the descendants of the Hyksos. Inaugurated by Manetho, an extensive Jew-baiting literature followed, and the stories of Manetho were told and retold and adorned by many writers.
An equally glowing hatred of the Amalekites persisted in the memory of the Jews. A Jewish mother even today frightens her child with an "Amalekite".
Hatred can last a long time even when its object is not alive. How much stronger is that hatred if the hated ones did not dissolve their national existence a thousand years before on the Arabian peninsula, but are still supposed to exist? The Egyptian author saw in the Jew the wretched seed of cruel tyrants. Subsequently Greek and Roman authors established in their writings the object for the never dying necessity to hate. Insinuations were heaped one on the other, and monstrous stories were invented about the head of an ass which the Jews kept in their temple and worshiped, and about the human blood they sucked.
The curse on the Amalekites became a curse on the Israelites. "Thou shalt blot out the remembrance of Amalek from under the heaven". It was blotted out. No one knew any longer that the Amalekites were the Hyksos.
The Israelites endured much suffering from this distortion of history. They bore their pain for being identified with the Hyksos. The persecution started with the misstatements of Manetho, the Egyptian, whose nation was freed from the Hyksos by the Jews. In later years anti-Semitism has been fed from many other sources.
Ages in Chaos by I. Velikovsky, 1952