Israel & Egypt: Correlating Biblical and Egyptian History

Last Updated: 04/29/2021 21:33    | Print This Page | |

I was watching a documentary from the History Channel on the history of Egypt and it made me wonder if there is any known archaeological evidence found linking Biblical and Egyptian history. Being a Biblical Christian and seeing so much of scripture proven true, I know there is a correlation, but there also must be some kind of evidence out there.

The interaction between Israel and Egypt actually begins with the story of Joseph and the coat of many colors. It was this story of jealousy and betrayal that God turned and used for His glory. The young Joseph went from being sold into slavery to becoming the vizier in Egypt and saving his family and the genealogy from which the Messiah would come.

I recommend watching the Patterns of Evidence series: Exodus as well as the second film The Moses Controversy and the latest The Red Sea Miracle Parts 1 & 2.

On that note, I came across the following article that takes a pretty convincing look at some archaeological evidence with some pretty amazing correlations:

Inscription of the 7 Year Famine
Part 3 of Joseph in Ancient Egyptian History | Wyatt Archaeological Research

Joseph’s main position was that of a prime minister and Imhotep appears to be the first who could boast of such a broad range of authority in ancient Egypt. There are records of many, many viziers throughout Egyptian history- but the first evidence which connects Imhotep with Joseph is an amazing inscription found carved on a large rock on the island of Sihiel just below the First Cataract of the Nile.

This inscription claims to be a copy of a document written by Djoser in the 18th year of his reign,- this copy being written over 1,000 years after the events it claims to be relating. It goes on to tell of a 7 year famine and 7 years of plenty. Let’s look at a few passages from this inscription and compare them with the Biblical account, keeping in mind that this was written a millennium after the events it claims to be describing:

1. It begins with the great distress of the pharaoh: “I was in distress on the Great Throne...”

Genesis 41:8
And it came to pass in the morning that his spirit was troubled;

2. In the inscription, the pharaoh is troubled about a famine and asks Imhotep who the god of the Nile is, so he can approach him about the drought: “... I asked him who was the Chamberlain,...Imhotep, the son of Ptah... `What is the birthplace of the Nile? Who is the god there? Who is the god?’” Imhotep answers: “I need the guidance of Him who presides over the fowling net,...”

Genesis 41:16
And Joseph answered Pharaoh, saying, It is not in me: God shall give Pharaoh an answer of peace. In the Egyptian text, Imhotep is termed “the son of Ptah,” who was the Egyptian god known as the “creator” of everything else, including the other gods.

3. In the inscription, Imhotep answers the pharaoh about the god of the Nile and tells him where he lives. In the Bible, Joseph interprets the pharaohs dream. But, the next thing in the inscription tells that when the king slept, the Nile god Khnum, revealed himself to him in a dream and promised the Nile would pour forth her waters and the land would yield abundantly for 7 years, after a 7 year drought. This passage reflects the fact of a dream by the pharaoh of 7 years of plenty and 7 years of famine, although reversed.

4. The inscription then goes on to record Djoser’s promise to the Nile god, Khnum, in which the people were to be taxed 1/10 of everything, except for the priests of the “house of the god,” who would be exempted.

Genesis 47:26
And Joseph made it a law over the land of Egypt unto this day, that Pharaoh should have the fifth part, except the land of the priests only, which became not Pharaoh’s.

So here we have an inscription which tells a story of pharaoh Djoser asking his vizier, Imhotep, to help him with the problem of a great 7 year famine. Imhotep tells him he must consult the god because the answer is not in him. Then, the pharaoh dreams a dream which foretells the event.

Next follow 7 years of plenty, which is reverse from the Biblical account.

The pharaoh levies a tax of 10% on all of the population except for the priesthood. The Biblical account tells of a 1/5, or 20% tax, with the priesthood exempt. All of the components of the Biblical account are present in this inscription, except that the story has been “Egyptianized” to fit their religious beliefs.

It is believed that this inscription was written during the 2nd century BC, by the priests of Khnum for the purpose of justifying their claim of some land privileges. Part of the inscription states the pharaoh dedicated some of the land and taxation to the god.

But, this isn’t the only inscription with this “tale”- there is a similar inscription on the Isle of Philae, only this one has the priests of Isis stating that Djoser made the same gift to their god for the same purpose. Just as the story of the flood is found in almost every ancient culture but is twisted to fit their own purposes and gods, here we find the story of Joseph, only it is twisted to fit the needs of the priests of the various gods in substantiating their claims to certain land.


Netjerikhet or Djoser (Turin King List “Dsr-it”; Manetho “Tosarthros”) is the best-known pharaoh of the Third dynasty of Egypt. He commissioned his official, Imhotep (ca. 2650-2600 BC), to build the first of the pyramids, a step pyramid for him at Saqqara.


The Famine in Egypt (2296 AM-2303 AM, or 1708 BC-1701 BC) was a seven-year period during which no grain grew in Egypt, or indeed anywhere in the ancient Near East. It is a pivotal event in the history of the Israelites and the subject of continuing controversy in secular archaeology and Egyptology.

Joseph to Joshua: From the Talmud and other sources:

2229 Joseph became Viceroy of Egypt.
Joseph was released from prison on the 1st of Tishre and became viceroy of Egypt [Bible Br.41.46/Tal.R.H.11a]. Joseph married Osnat, his niece, the adopted daughter of Potipher (see 2205) [Mid.Yal.Br.34.134]. Pharaoh gave him the Egyptian name of Tzaphnat Pane’ach [Bible Br.41.45]. Some say that graduates of a special university in Khartoum were the Khartumim who acted as Pharaoh’s advisers [Pirush Inyaney Chalom Par’oh Br.41.8].

2235 7 years of famine
The seven years of plenty came to an end and the famine began [Tal.Toseph.Sot.10.3] Kohath (son of Levi) was born [Ralbag q.Sed.Had.]. Manasseh and Ephraim (Joseph’s sons) were born before the famine years [Bible Br.41.50].

Egyptology in the Torah: Biblical Archeology

7. “And Pharaoh took off his ring from his hand, and put it upon Joseph’s hand, and arrayed him in garments of fine linen, and put a gold collar about his neck” (Genesis 41:42). Joseph advised the pharaoh to store a portion of the harvest in granaries during the years of plenty to be used during the years of famine. Pharaoh acknowledged the wisdom of Joseph and made him the viceroy. This investiture of power was formalized in three ways: 1) Joseph was given the pharaoh’s ring, 2) Joseph was arrayed in fine linen clothing, and 3) a gold collar was placed around Joseph’s neck.

The symbolism of a king removing his ring and placing it upon the hand of another is well known as an investiture of authority and power in the ancient world.8] A vizier who was given the pharaoh’s signet ring was known officially as The Royal Seal Bearer.[9] The wearing of fine linen garments, so thin as to be semi-transparent, seem to have been a sign of royalty and great prestige in ancient Egypt. Princes and princesses and members of their household are often depicted wearing semi-transparent linen clothing. The placement of a gold collar around the neck is a uniquely ancient Egyptian custom called the conferment of the Gold of Praise.[10]

There are two well-known depictions of this ceremony. The first one shows Pharaoh Seti I sitting on his throne under an ornate canopy. Before him are two servants placing a gold collar around the neck of a priest. The second depiction shows Akhenaten and his queen standing on their balcony tossing gold collars to one of the gods. Though there are almost 40 known depictions and written references to the investiture ceremony, none pre-date the Eighteenth Dynasty.[11] The story of Joseph occurred during the Eighteenth Dynasty. Circa 1550-1300 BCE