Did joseph really exist


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Did joseph really exist

  1. 1. Sandra Cash<br />December 14, 2010<br />ID#: 971382<br />HIS3115 Old Testament Archaeology<br />Did Joseph really exist? <br />It is very common for modernist scholars to say that Joseph never existed, but the Bible is completely true when it says that Joseph existed. There is plenty of proof to prove that Joseph did exist besides the Bible. First there are a lot of important things that the Bible says that agree with Egyptian history. Second, there is a legend from ancient Egypt, which has a lot of similarities to the biblical story. Third, there was a famine that paleoclimatologist can prove actually happened. Fourth, archeologists have found a house in Egypt that is not a usual Egyptian house, with a grave that has no bones. All this evidence points to the fact that Joseph did indeed exist. <br /> Most people know the story of Joseph because they have heard it in Sunday School. Because of this I will just point out the important things that the Bible says that agree with Egyptian history. The Bible tells us that Joseph was sold into slavery in Egypt. There is evidence from Egyptian text that tells us that in the Middle Kingdom the number of Syro-Palestinian slaves in bondage in the Nile Valley was growing constantly. Now people say that if this was so why is there no written evidence at all of a slave trade between Syria-Palestine and Egypt? This is because we have very few of the written documents composed in the ancient Near East. The slave trade would have been centered in the Nile Delta. Documents become even harder to find due to the high water table there. Also the slave trade would probably not been under government control. Archaeologists have found a papyrus from the Middle Kingdom which deals with salves. This papyrus’ main significance lies in its list of Middle Kingdom slaves with names, nationalities and titles or jobs held by these slaves. These items are enough evidence to say it is more than possible for Joseph to have been sold as a slave in Egypt. <br />Once Joseph explained to Pharaoh what his dreams meant, Joseph was appointed to high office in Egypt and is given several rewards. One of his rewards was a wife by the name of Asenath. Asenath is a typical Egyptian female name from the Middle Kingdom. Aseneth was the daughter of a priest of Re at Heliopolis. Re was one of the gods that the Egyptians worshipped. Therefore, it is more than possible for Joseph to be given Asenath the daughter of a priest of Re. <br />When Joseph was appointed to high office in Egypt he was given some titles. In Genesis 45:8 says Joseph was made Lord of all of Pharaoh’s House. This title is normally translated into English as “Chief Steward of the King.” The main job of the Chief Steward was to supervise the King’s personal agricultural estates. This fits well with Joseph telling Pharaoh to have someone he trusts to take one fifth of the grain from the year of plenty to store for the years of famine. Another title Joseph had was “Father to Pharaoh.” Now this title had a couple of meanings, the first one was it was given to the tutor of the King. The second one means the father in-law of Pharaoh. Neither of these fit with Joseph, but as you will see the third meaning of this title does. The third use of this title is as a special honor given to officials who had served long and well, or who had done the King some special favor. This one fits Joseph because he did the King a special favor by interpreting his dreams and by storing the grain for the seven years of famine. Joseph was also given the title “Chief of the Entire Land.” This title was usually used for viziers. A vizier was the chief record keeper of the government records, was the supervisor of the government, appointed lower officials, controlled access to the person of the Pharaoh and generally supervised construction work and the industry in Egypt’s state-run economy. Also, only the Vizier welcomed foreign embassies coming into Egypt. This fits when Joseph met his brothers when they came to Egypt for some grain. Joseph was also given an Egyptian name, but we do not know the Egyptian form we only know the Hebrew name. All of these titles fit what Joseph did, but we will not be able to tell which of these titles mentioned in historical texts is Joseph, because we only know the Hebrew name, but we do know that these titles did exist. <br />The Legend of Imhotep has a lot of similarities with the story Joseph. The legend states that Imhotep was the vizier to the pharaoh Djoser, the third dynasty king. This legend has two endings; one of the endings goes like this-Imhotep the vizier to the pharaoh Djoser predicted the famine from a dream of the pharaoh. In this dream the god of the Nile spoke to the pharaoh, and Imhotep was the only one that could interpret the dream. <br />The second ending goes like this- Imhotep the vizier to the pharaoh Djoser explained the connection between the god Khnum and the rise of the Nile to the king, who then had a dream in which the Nile god spoke to him, promising to end the drought. <br />Joseph, the shepherd boy was sold into slavery by his brothers, and after many trials eventually predicted, and prevented, a seven year famine. He became the grand vizier to pharaoh of that time and in all of Egypt the only person that was above him, was the pharaoh himself. That sounds suspiciously similar to the life of Imhotep. We know that legends are about a historical event or person but blown out of proportion or distorted, so this could very well be a legend of Joseph, but just a different name. <br />Paleoclimatologist can prove there was actually a huge famine. A paleoclimatologist is a person who studies the past climatic conditions a variety of proxy records from ice sheets, tree rings, sediment, corals, shells and rocks to determine the past state of the climate system on Earth. Paleoclimatologist Barbara Bell says that there was a huge famine during the reign of Sesostris III. This shows that there was a famine, but not howthe Egyptians survived. The answer is Joseph.<br />Joseph died at 110 years old; this was considered by the Egyptians the perfect age to die. Now Joseph was embalmed and he was placed in a coffin in Egypt, but before he died, Joseph made the sons of Israel swear an oath and said, “God will surely come to your aid, and then you must carry my bones up from this place.” Therefore it is useless to look for Joseph’s grave in Egypt, since his body left Egypt at the time of the Exodus. Tel el Bab’a or Ramses is important because archaeologist have found a retirement home of a rich person out in the suburbs. This home was not Egyptian for a couple of reasons, first it had a statue of its owner, which had the mushroom hairstyle, the skin was yellow and held a throw stick. Yellow when on a statues in Egypt meant that the person had Syria-Palestine descent which could be Canaanite. The throw stick in Egypt means that the person was Canaanite. By these things from just the statue we know that the owner of this home must have been Canaanite. What is also interesting is that the graves were in the garden next to the house proves once again that it is not Egyptian. Grave number one which would be the owner of this house grave does not have any bones or paintings. Even if this is not Joseph’s retirement home this shows us Joseph’s story of a foreigner becoming a person of importance could be a reality! <br />The Bible is always correct, therefore Joseph did really exist. This is supported by the Egyptian historical documents which agree with the Bible. The Legend of Imhotep also supports the existence of Joseph. Paleoclimatologists can prove a famine did happen, which confirms the Biblical famine. A home of a foreign person of importance found in Egypt supports the idea of a Hebrew official. These things help prove that Joseph did really exist. <br /> <br />Bibliography BIBLIOGRAPHY 2009. 14 December 2010 <http://www.reference.com/browse/Imhotep>.Epp, Theodore H. Joseph 'God planned it for good'. Lincoln: The Good News Broadcasting Association Inc., 1971.Miclaus, Claudia. Imhotep - One Of The Greatest Personalities Of Egypt. 2010. 14 December 2010 <http://www.buzzle.com/articles/imhotep-one-of-the-greatest-personalities-of-egypt.html>.Professor Charles F. Aling, Ph.D. "Joseph in Egypt Part II: Joseph the Slave." 4 January 2010. NWC Moodle. 14 December 2010 <http://courses.nwc.edu/file.php/10751/PDFs/Sourcebook/Lesson_Nine/HIS3115_Sourcebook_7_Joseph_in_Egypt_2.pdf>.—. "Joseph in Egypt Part IV: Joseph Before Pharaoh." 4 January 2010. NWC Moodle. 14 December 2010 <http://courses.nwc.edu/file.php/10751/PDFs/Sourcebook/Lesson_Ten/HIS3115_Sourcebook_9_Joseph_in_Egypt_4.pdf>.—. "Joseph in Egypt Part V: The Egyptian Titles of Joseph." 4 January 2010. NWC Moodle. 14 December 2010 <http://courses.nwc.edu/file.php/10751/PDFs/Sourcebook/Lesson_Ten/HIS3115_Sourcebook_10_Joseph_in_Egypt_5.pdf>.—. "Joseph in Egypt Part VI: Joseph, the Last Years." 4 January 2010. NWC Moodle. 14 December 2010 <http://courses.nwc.edu/file.php/10751/PDFs/Sourcebook/Lesson_Eleven/HIS3115_Sourcebook_11_Joseph_in_Egypt_6.pdf>.Redford, Donald B. A study of the Biblical story of Joseph (Genesis 37-50) . Leiden: Brill Archive, 1970.Taylor, William M. Joseph The Prime Minister. Michigan: Baker Book House, 1961."The Holy Bible New International Version." Genesis. Grand Rapids: Zondervan Publishing House, 1984. 28-40.<br />