SEDER OLAM - Revisited

סדר עולם - חדש



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Index of names


Generations  1-14
(3760 - 2080 BCE)

Generations 15-21
(2080 - 1240 BCE)

Generations 22-28
(1240 - 400 BCE)

Generations 29-35
(400 BCE - 440 CE)

Generations 36-42
(440 - 1280 CE)

Generations 43-49
(1280 - 2120 CE)

Generation 50

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(2280 AM - 1480 BCE)

Thutmose III
(2302 AM - 1458 CE)

Death of Joseph
(2309 AM - 1451 CE)

Death of Levi
(2330 AM - 1430 CE)

Amenhotep II
(2335 AM - 1425 CE)

Thutmose IV
(2359 AM - 1401 CE)

Enslavement of the Hebrews

Amenhotep III
(2369 AM - 1391 CE)

Birth of Aaron
(2371 AM - 1389 CE)

Birth of Moses
(2374 AM - 1386 CE)

The Tetragram at Soleb Temple

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Hebrew years 2280 to 2400 (1480-1360 BCE)

Year 2280 - 1480 BCE - Hatshepsut

After Thutmose II’s death, in 1479 BCE, his wife Hatshepsut became regent. In fact, already during his reign, she was acknowledged as the real ruler of Egypt, as shown in many depictions where she is represented with a bigger size than her husband. And her effective reign continued after his death because her step-son, Thutmose III, was only 2 years old when he officially became the next Pharaoh. Then, even when he was getting mature enough, Hatshepsut continued to rule for a total of 21 years, and until her death in 1458 BCE at the age of about 50 years old.


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Year 2302 – 1458 BCE  – Thutmose III

After the death of his step-mother Hatshepsut, Thutmose III became sole ruler of Egypt and endeavoured to raise his country as a military power. Historians have nicknamed him the "Napoleon of Egypt".  He campaigned in many lands, and even crossed the Euphrates, and his reign lasted a total of 54 years, or rather 33 years from Hatshepsut’s death. On the home affairs, he wanted to remove the souvenir of Hatshepsut from History, due to his anger at her retaining power control during so many years of his reign.

At the beginning of his reign, he crushed a coalition of Canaanite kings led by the king of Kadesh who challenged his new rule. Their united army was assembled in Megiddo. Thutmose III, against their expectation, marched his army across a dense forest on the side of the small river "Aruna" (modern-day Irone River, or Wadi 'Ara) and fell by surprise on Megiddo from the south-western side. in year 1458 BCE. Here is Thutmose's decisive strategy explained in the Egyptian annals that have been carved on the walls of the Temple of Karnak:

They [Thutmose's officers] said to his majesty: "How will it be to go [on] this road which becomes narrow, when it is [reported] that the enemies are waiting there [beyond and they] are numerous? Will not horse go behind [horse] and [soldiers] and people too? Shall our vanguard be fighting while the [rearguard] waits here in Aruna, unable to fight? [...] do not make us go on that difficult road." [...] 
[His majesty ordered to] tell the whole army: {"Your valiant lord will guide your steps on] this road which becomes narrow." [...] [Thus his majesty resolved] that he himself should go before his army. [Every man] was informed of his order of march, horse following horse, with his majesty at the head of his army.
--- Annals of Thutmose III, the Battle of Megiddo
Thutmose III
Thutmose III smiting his enemies (Great Temple of Amon, Egypt)

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Year 2309 – 1451 BCE  – Death of Joseph

Joseph died at the age of 110: this was the Hebrew year 2309. He was the first of Jacob’s sons to die as the text mentions the following deaths, in order:

And all the souls that came out of the loins of Jacob were seventy souls; and Joseph was in Egypt already. And Joseph died, and all his brethren, and all that generation.
- Exodus 1:5-6

With Joseph’s death ends the book of Genesis, at chapter 50 verse 26. The chronology of the main steps of his life has been:

Hebrew Year


Joseph’s age



1561 BCE


Birth of Joseph in Charan


1544 BCE


Joseph sold by his brothers; taken as slave to Egypt


1533 BCE


Joseph explains the dreams of the two chamberlains


1531 BCE


Joseph becomes Governor of Egypt


1524 BCE


End of the 7 years of abundance; famine starts


1522 BCE


Joseph reunited with his family; in Goshen


1506 BCE


Death of Jacob, aged 147


1451 BCE


Death of Joseph, aged 110

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Year 2330 – 1430 BCE  – Death of Levi

Joseph was the first son of Jacob to die, and Levi was the last. Only both are mentioned in the Biblical text concerning their life length, as all the other brothers died in between. For Levi, it is said:

And these are the names of the sons of Levi according to their generations: Gershon and Kohath and Merari. And the years of the life of Levi were a hundred thirty and seven years.
--- Exodus 6:16

As we assumed that Levi was born in year 2193, he therefore died in Hebrew year 2330 (1430 BCE).

Beside his three sons, he also had a daughter, Jochebeth, who was born in Egypt. The eldest son of Kohath, called Amram, took her as a wife. They will give birth to Aaron and Moses (Exodus 6:20), who are the two brothers who will conduct the Hebrews out from Egypt.

According to Jewish tradition, all the sons of Jacob were taken back to Canaan after their death for burial. There are various locations presently in Israel which are assumed to be the resting place of each of them. As for Joseph who had been an important official in Egypt, his embalmed body will be taken to Canaan when the Israelites will all leave Egypt at the Exodus.

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Year 2335 – 1425 BCE  – Amenhotep II

Thutmose III died in 1425 BCE (Hebrew year 2335) and was replaced by his son Amenhotep II. This king ruled for 24 years until his death in 1401 BCE. 

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Year 2359 – 1401 BCE  – Thutmose IV starts to oppress the Hebrews

The next Pharaoh was Thutmose IV who reigned for 10 years until 1391 BCE. He was the Pharaoh who started the oppression against the Hebrews:

A new king rose over Egypt who had not known Joseph. And he said to his people: "Behold, the people of Bene-Israel are numerous and mighty compared to us. Come and let us outsmart it lest it will increase, and if there would be a war, it would join our enemies, and make war against us, and rise from the land."
--- Exodus 1:8-10

Why is it written that he had not known Joseph? Indeed Joseph had died in Hebrew year 2309 (1451 BCE) so 50 years before the start of Thutmose IV’s reign. He was probably the first ruler of Egypt who had not known Joseph because his father, Thutmose III, died 25 years after Joseph’s death, so, assuming that he died in his thirties or forties of age, he had known Joseph in his youth, and will become the last ruler to have known Joseph.

The Biblical text of the Bible does not name him as Pharaoh, as previously used for Egyptian monarchs, but as a new king [who] rose over Egypt. The reason is that Thutmose IV was not the heir to the throne of Egypt: he usurped it from his brother. This also explains the expression a new king because Thutmose IV was not supposed to be the next Pharaoh. He will obviously become Pharaoh as he quickly consolidated his power, but he was not so at the time of his usurpation, which is when the Biblical text mentioned him in this verse.

Thutmose IV
Thutmose IV (Musee du Louvre, Paris)

Thutmose IV had initiated a policy of enslavement of the Hebrews, now called Bene-Israel [Sons of Israel, or Israelites], after their ancestor Jacob “Israel”. He probably did so because, as often with usurpers, they know that their power is initially fragile and the best they can do is to focus people’s attention against imaginary threats or enemies. In addition, the Hebrews were wealthy in Egypt so his decree gave to the Egyptians license to steal the wealth from the Hebrews when they enslaved them. This was a populist decree that won support to the usurper. The same will be seen again and again by Jewish people throughout their History, and until today with Arab nations that keep at "war" against Israel as a scapegoat to make their own people not focus on internal affairs and their dictatorship. Blaming the Jews has always been a convenience for rulers, in every generation. 

Slaves working on bricks in Egypt
Slaves in Egypt

But the more Thutmose IV oppressed the Hebrews in servitude, with the view to reduce their number, the more their number increased. He then tried another tactic, by requesting from the Hebrew midwives to get rid of any newborn male child.  But the midwives used a subterfuge to avoid executing his wish.

Seeing that the previous measure was not working, he then asked his own people to get rid of every newborn male by throwing them into the Nile River. This decree was still in force by the time he died, after 10 years in power, in 1391 BCE.

An examination of his mummy showed that he had suffered from a disease that had wasted his body in the last years of his life. Maybe a divine punishment for his decree against children.

Thutmose IV mummy head
Thutmose IV's mummy head

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Year 2369 – 1391 BCE  – Amenhotep III

The next Pharaoh was Amenhotep III (also called Amenophis III) who reigned for 38 years until 1353 BCE. Although he did not cancel the decrees set by his father, he did not apply them as harshly as his father did, otherwise the Hebrews would have been exterminated over such a long reign. He must have been more pragmatic: if he had got rid of all the Hebrew males, who would have worked for him?

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Year 2371 – 1389 BCE  – Birth of Aaron

At the beginning of Amenhotep III’s reign, with the change of ruler over Egypt, the decree against the newborn Hebrew boys was questioned, whether it should be maintained or not. Meanwhile it was suspended and this is when a boy was born from Amram and Jochebeth and they called him Aaron. He lived because of this suspension of the application of the evil decree.

The birth years for Aaron and Moses are calculated from the year of the Exodus and considering that Aaron was 3 years older than Moses.And Moses will be 80 years old at the time of the Exodus (see next chapter).

Some time after Aaron's birth, Pharaoh’s advisors probably argued that the Hebrew population was far too numerous anywy and still constituted a threat. So the decree was reinstated for newborn sons.

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Year 2374 – 1386 BCE  – Birth of Moses

In Hebrew year 2374, which was the fifth year of Amenhotep III’s reign, another boy was born to Amram and Jochebeth. Due to the decree being inforced this time, the new baby boy was put in a basket (the word in Hebrew is תֵּבַה, the same word used for the Ark of Noah) and left on the Nile, under the surveillance of his older sister Miriam. The fact that the word used for Moses' basket and Noah's ark is the same (and these are the only two places in the entire Bible where this specific word is used) indicates a parallel between the two events, the Flood and the birth of Moses (who became the guide of the Hebrews during the Exodus). In both events, there is "re-birth": with Noah it was the re-birth of Creation, when God intervened to initiate a new era for mankind, and for Moses, it was a re-birth of the Hebrews, enslaved in Egypt and who needed God's intervention to guide them from slavery into the birth of a nation, the Israelites. In fact, the birth of Moses is the third step of a three steps progress influenced by God: 1- the Creation, 2- the Flood, and finally 3- the birth of Moses. With the birth of Moses, a new chapter of the Creation is started: the re-birth of the Hebrews as the Israelite nation. They were chosen to receive the Torah from God. Before it happened, the Creation was clueless. After it happened, the Creation had meaning. This connection between Creation and Exodus, the latter being represented by the birth of Moses, may also be understood with the parallel between the account of Genesis, where God repeatedly saw that what He had done was good (Hebrew expression is כִּי-טוֹב)  and the verse Exodus 2:2 where Jochebeth saw that her newborn child was good (using the same Hebrew expression כִּי-טוֹב). What else could mean this expression, in Jochebeth's mind, other than to realize that this child was born from the will of God Himself?

And Pharaoh’s Daughter went down to bathe on the river and her maidens walked along the river. And she saw the basket inside the reeds. She sent her maidservant and she took it. She opened and saw the child, and behold! He was crying. And she took pity of him and said he was a child from the Hebrews. […] and he was a son to her. And she named him Moses because, she said, from the water I have drawn him.
--- Exodus 2:5-10
Moses found by Pharaoh's daughter
Moses found by Pharaoh's daughter (Gustave Doré, 1868)

The name Moses is actually written in the Biblical text as Me-SHI-THe-U (
מְשִׁיתִהוּ). If we take the pronunciation of his name as it would have been in hieroglyphic writing, it would be MES-SS-TH-U, which means birth in Old Egyptian language as shown in the hieroglyphic word below. In other words, the daughter of Pharaoh meant to say that the young child was given birth by the waters.

Amenhotep III started his reign as a young adult, as it was often the case in these times. After five years of reign, he could not possibly already have a 
daughter who would already be at an adult age herself to take a child as a son to her. So this Pharaoh’s Daughter was not the daughter of Pharaoh Amenhotep III, but the daughter of the previous Pharaoh, Thutmose IV. She was thus Princess Royal and indeed Pharaoh’s Daughter because she was unmarried and had no child. Therefore, she was a sister (or half-sister) to the present Pharaoh Amenhotep III. She was probably in her 20-30’s of age, like her half-brother, the Pharaoh.

Which daughter of Thutmose IV could she be? Among his daughters, one remained unmarried. She was called Tiaa. Her tomb was found in 1857 and the label on it mentioned she was King’s Daughter of Menkheperure. Menkheperure was the official name for Thutmose IV. The mention of King’s Daughter meant that she never (officially) married. She was therefore the princess who adopted Moses as her child. Princess Tiaa survived long enough to be in an age to become the adoptive mother of a boy and to raise him as a prince of the house of her brother, Pharaoh Amenhotep III. According to the Midrash, Moses’ adoptive mother was called Bithiah (בִּתְיָה) by the Hebrews,[1] which can be interpreted both as Daughter of God (Bath-Ya בּת-יה) or Tiaa is with Me (Bi-Tiaa בִּ-תיה). One tradition mentions that God would have told her: 

"Moses was not your son, yet you called him your son; you, too, though you are not My daughter, yet I will call you My daughter"
--- Leviticus Rabba I:3

Moses was weaned by his biological mother, Jochebeth, who took him to the Princess when he was at the right age. He obviously grew up in the knowledge of his Hebrew origin and kept contact with his biological family and the tribe of Levi. He was however raised in the royal palace in Memphis,[2] with the other young princes, the sons of Amenhotep III. 

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There is little doubt that Moses had some influence on Amenhotep III and his royal household because a hieroglyphic text was found inscribed in the temple of Soleb, Sudan, and dated in his reign of this Pharaoh who built that temple. And this text mentions the Hebrew tetragram name for God, also in four hieroglyphic letters.[3]

This 4-letter may just be coincidental. Or it may be related to the enslavement of the Hebrews where the cartouche named them as people of a 4-letter god, as they would have been known at this time. After years of enslavement, and due to the bitterness of their condition, the Hebrews mostly lost everything including the knowledge of their god, or the way to name Him.
The hieroglyphic inscription of the tetragram at Soleb temple
The hieroglyphic inscription of the tetragram at Soleb temple
The last four letters of this hieroglyph is transcribed as Y-H-O-U/A

Moses was 33 years old when Amenhotep III died. His adoptive mother Princess Tiaa had probably died earlier. The next Pharaoh was the eldest surviving son, of the deceased king, and someone Moses grew up with in the royal household.

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[1] Her name is mentionned in I Chronicles 4:18: and these are the sons of Bithiah (בִּתְיָה) Pharaoh's Daughter, etc.

[2] Nothing much remains of the palace of Memphis which featured many temples dedicated to Ptah and other gods; the ruins are located at 29o51'N 31
o15'E, about 3km East from Saqqara, the site of the more ancient city of Egypt; the city of Memphis was desolated at some point of its long History, never to raise again thus receiving the fate of the prophecy of Ezekiel: Thus saith the Lord God: "I will also destroy the idols, and I will cause the things of nought to cease from Noph [Memphis]; and there shall be no more a prince out of the land of Egypt; and I will put a fear in the land of Egypt." (Ezekiel 30:13)

[3] For further information, check related article from Associates for Biblical Research

Copyright © Albert Benhamou 2013 - All rights reserved.