Sunday, February 25, 2018

Slightly Shifting “Shishak”

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Damien F. Mackey






Whenever a revisionist comes to light with yet another of those hopeful biblico-historical models then I invariably find this exclamation from the Book of Jeremiah springing to mind (11:13):


“For according to the number of your cities so are your gods, O Judah!”


It seems that everyone wants to be a Time Lord.

Over the past 30-35 years I have read dozens or more such hopeful revisions, each one proposing a different model.

This has led me eventually to write articles such as, “Distancing oneself from Velikovsky” (, which article includes this critical observation:


“However, the so-called “New Chronology” of [David] Rohl - somewhat similar to [Peter] James’s efforts at reconstruction - situated halfway between convention and Velikovsky, fails at virtually every point despite the optimistic advertisements. It is far inferior to the respective revisions of Courville and Martin Sieff – the latter tending to persevere with the most promising aspects of Courville and “[the] Glasgow [School”, but with excellent modifications and contributions of his own. Sieff, in fact, adopted the perfect approach to Velikovsky, by building upon his solid foundations, but also modifying him where there were problems, and rejecting outright Velikovsky’s glaring mistakes. He even wrote by far the best account of the psychology of Velikovsky (who was a psychiatrist), the fascinating “Velikovsky and His Heroes” (SIS Review, vol. v, no. 4, 1980/81, pp. 112-120)”.


A trap for young players


One must be very careful about the ramifications, further down the line, of any particular biblico-historical identification. In a new case, it is the suggestion that the biblical “Shishak” who despoiled the Temple of Yahweh, in the 5th year of king Rehoboam, was pharaoh Amenhotep II.

David Rohl, for example, was taken to task by Dale Murphie for not anticipating the biblical ramifications of Rohl’s identification of Shishak with Ramses II ‘the Great’. Thus Murphie wrote (“Critique of David Rohl’s A Test of Time”, C and C Review, 1997:1, p. 31):


“In Rohl’s historical scheme, this is a paramount issue. He gives three full chapters (4-6), plus his Preface as reinforcement, to the proposition that Ramesses II is Shishak. If he is mistaken here, the New Chronology comes under considerable threat. It is worth examining the general milieu into which Rohl thrusts Ramesses II, to see how snugly he fits. There seem to be a number of problems, stemming from biblical evidence that the regional power of Egypt became diminished and the Judaean state re-established full independence in this very period.

Firstly, given Ramesses’ 67 year reign, he would only have reached Year 22 when Asa of Judah, grandson of Rehoboam, ascended his throne. The significance of this date is that only one year previously Ramesses concluded his famous treaty with the Hittite King, Hattusilis. At this stage, with Egypt and the Hatti entering a long period of unprecedented harmony, consider the remarkably provocative actions of miniscule Judah. This tiny nation, under her new king, flouted the Egyptian/Hatti pact (which provided for mutual aid in just such an event), by starting the greatest fortress building phase of its entire history and developing a standing army of 540,000 men [II Chronicles 14:6-8] – and where did this military build up take place? Not in some distant corner of Egyptian/Hatti territory, away from prying eyes, but right in the demilitarised zone between the two powers, where all might see and not be under the slightest doubt that Judah meant business”.




Similarly, if Amenhotep II is to be Shishak, then the early to middle part of King Solomon’s reign of peace and prosperity is now set to coincide, most awkwardly, with decades of his supposed father-in-law Thutmose III’s rumbling through Syro-Palestine in campaign after successful campaign – this mighty pharaoh’s years 22-50 approximately.

Thutmose III, ‘the Napoleon of Egypt’ as he has been called.

Not much evidence in the Bible for such violent military incursions into Syro-Palestine during the high point of King Solomon’s reign.


Now, in Velikovsky’s scheme (also Courville’s and Sieff’s), no such problem occurs, with the rampant phase of Thutmose III belonging a few years after the death of Solomon.


Moreover, Velikovsky’s identification of Solomon’s pharaonic father-in-law with Thutmose I is more biologically likely (in relation to his Thutmose III as Shishak), since the reign of the father-in-law would not have so significantly overlapped the reign of the son-in-law as is the case with the article under review.


That there may be reason to query whether, as according to a common view, Thutmose III actually destroyed the city of Gezer becomes apparent from a footnote [29] to John Bimson’s important article, “Can There be a Revised Chronology Without a Revised Stratigraphy?” (SIS: Proceedings, Glasgow Conference, April, 1978), according to which: “The oft-repeated statement by Dever that Thutmose III claims to have destroyed Gezer (e.g. BA 34, 1971, p. 127; IEJ 22, 1972, p. 159; EAE II, p. 438) is untrue”. Here follows Bimson’s full footnote [29]:


“… J. D. Seger, IEJ 23 (1973), p. 250 W. G. Dever at first suggested a date as late as the reign of Thutmose IV: IEJ 20 (1970), p. 226 and Gezer I (1970), p. 55. However, he subsequently retracted this date, believing it to be too late (cf. IEJ 23, 1973, p. 26, n. 6), and suggested linking the destruction “provisionally” with the first campaign of Thutmose III (EAE II, p. 438). But Seger prefers a date earlier still (op. cit.) as also does Kempinski, IEJ 22 (1972), p. 185. The oft-repeated statement by Dever that Thutmose III claims to have destroyed Gezer (e.g. BA 34, 1971, p. 127; IEJ 22, 1972, p. 159; EAE II, p. 438) is untrue. Reliefs in the Temple of Amon at Kamak, illustrating this pharaoh’s campaigns, depict rows of Asiatic prisoners identified by the names of their towns of origin, one of which is Gezer. There is no reason to assume that this indicates the destruction of the town. For references to Asiatic campaign(s) by Thutmose I, see Breasted: Ancient Records of Egypt II (1906), pp. 28-31, 33-35; cf. Velikovsky, A in C, iii: “Two Suzerains”.”


Let us return again to Dale Murphie, who now touches on the inadequacies of Rohl’s chronology in relation to the biblical Queen of Sheba. According to Murphie:


“At the beginning of this time frame Shishak is tied chronologically to another celebrity who, like Zerah, simply cannot be ignored. On p. 178 Rohl mentions the Egyptian princess, bride of Solomon, but pays little attention to the contemporary visit of the Queen of Sheba, to whom he assigns 2 lines on p. 32 and a patronising comment about Velikovsky on p. 402. By aligning Dynasty XIX with the middle to near end of the United Monarchy of Israel, the New Chronology lacks a suitable candidate for Solomon’s celebrated visitor. It is not good enough to stay with the received opinion that she was a denizen of the south-west regions of Arabia Felix, when Josephus [Antiquities of the Jews, VIII, vi, 5] informed us that she was the Queen of Egypt and Ethiopia …. Further, the Ethiopian Kebra Nagast (The Book of the Glory of the Kings), discussing their Queen’s visit to Solomon, delivers her name as Makeda, almost identical to the royal name of Dynasty XVIII Queen Hatshepsut Makera, used repeatedly in the Dier [sic] el-Bahri mortuary complex inscriptions of her trading mission to Punt, placing the events in Dynasty XVIII”.


Note well: “… the New Chronology lacks a suitable candidate for Solomon’s celebrated visitor. It is not good enough to stay with the received opinion that she was a denizen of the south-west regions of Arabia Felix, when Josephus [Antiquities of the Jews, VIII, vi, 5] informed us that she was the Queen of Egypt and Ethiopia …”.


Where the revisions of Velikovsky, Courville and Sieff have a magnificent historical queen who fully accords with the ancient testimony of Josephus, and whose throne name, Makera (Maat-ka-re), is extremely close to the Ethiopian name for her of Makeda, these fancy pants new chronologies end up with absolutely no flesh-and-blood historical candidate whatsoever for the biblical queen. Be it Dr. John Bimson, Patrick J. Clarke, or any others, there is just no viable candidate to be found by them.

My comment on this in the case of Bimson, in “Solomon and Sheba”, is relevant here, too (


“Bimson suggested that the biblical queen was from Yemen in Arabia, but van Beek … has described the geographical isolation of Yemen and the hazards of a journey from there to Palestine and none of the numerous inscriptions from this southern part of Arabia refers to the famous queen. Civilisation in southern Arabia may not really have begun to flourish until some two to three centuries after Solomon’s era, as Bimson himself has noted … and no 10th century BC Arabian queen has ever been named or proposed as the Queen of Sheba.

If she hailed from Yemen, who was she?”


“Sheba” has brought many unstuck. Again, in my article, “The Queen of Beer(sheba)” (, I have demonstrated that Jesus Christ himself actually gave the perfect geographical co-ordinates for the kingdom of “Sheba” that would easily have been grasped by his Israelite (Jewish) audience, but that would be completely lost on modern western-minded, non-Semitically attuned, readers.


How the queen progressed from her brief period as ruler of Beersheba, to queen, then Pharaoh, of Egypt and Ethiopia (as according to ancient testimony), as the wondrous Hatshepsut, I have outlined in my recent article: “The vicissitudinous life of Solomon's pulchritudinous wife” ( And what enormously supports my thesis (built upon the efforts of Velikovsky, Courville and Sieff), is the evidence as given in my “Solomon and Sheba” for the in-pouring of Israelite wisdom into Egypt at the time of Hatshepsut, images from Genesis, from Proverbs, and, most notably - from a chronological point of view - from David’s Psalms and Solomon’s love poetry.


The new proposal follows a conga-line of revisionists who have tried to find an Egyptian explanation for the biblical name, “Shishak”, in this case taking the Egyptian nebty name of pharaoh Amenhotep II, weser fau, sekha em waset, whilst admitting that: “At first glance, this name might not look like “Shishak”.”

And with very good reason, I say. It looks nothing like it!

I found perhaps more plausible K. Birch’s suggestion (“Shishak Mystery?”, C and C Workshop, SIS, No. 2, 1987, p. 35) that “Shishak” may derive from pharaoh Thutmose III’s Golden Horus name, Djeser-khau [“chase a cow”] (dsr h‘w): “… the (Golden) Horus names of Thutmose III comprise variations on: Tcheser-khau, Djeser-khau …”.


However, it may be a complete waste of time seeking after an Egyptian meaning for this biblical name. “Shishak” was how he was known to the Jews (and he was probably very well known to them due to the pervasive influence of his ‘stepmother’, Hatshepsut.

See “The vicissitudinous life”).

According to I Kings 4:3, there were high-ranking officials, sons of a “Shisha”, in the court of King Solomon. And there was also a biblical “Shashak” (I Chronicles 8:14).

Finally, to say something much in favour of any revisionist article that would locate the Eighteenth Dynasty pharaohs Hatshepsut and Thutmose III to the approximate time of kings David and Solomon, it will always be some half a millennium closer to chronological reality than is the Sothic-based textbook chronology. 


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