Thursday, March 3, 2011

Solomon and Sheba

Damien F. Mackey


News  2


Solomon and Sheba 4

Damien Mackey presents new evidence that Hatshepsut was the Queen of Sheba.


Society for Interdisciplinary Studies




Editor's Notes

Probably few articles caused more disappointment in SIS circles than John Bimson's 1986 `Hatshepsut and the Queen of Sheba', which presented strong evidence and argument against Velikovsky's proposal that the mysterious and exotic queen who visited King Solomon was none other than the famous Egyptian female pharaoh. This removed one of the key identifications in Velikovsky's Ages in Chaos historical reconstruction and was a key factor in the rejection of his proposed chronology by Bimson and others in favour of the more moderate `New Chronology'. It also took away what had seemed a romantic and satisfactory solution to the mystery of the identity and origins of Solomon's visitor, leaving her once more as an historical enigma.

In this issue, Damien Mackey returns to the question, challenging Bimson's conclusions, giving a new twist to Velikovsky's scheme - and throwing up some controversial identifications of other famous Egyptian (and Greek) histori­cal figures. No doubt it will not be the last word on the matter but maybe it will stimulate fresh discussion about the identities and lives of these people whose names and stories have been handed down to us from ancient times ….


Damien Mackey (MA, BPhil, MA) has two Master of Arts Degrees, from the University of Sydney (Australia). His first thesis `The Sothic Star Theory of the Egyptian Calendar', was a ‘demolition job’ on conventional Egyptian dating. In his reconstruction (i) the Exodus occurred at the end of Egypt's Old Kingdom (EBA); (ii) the MBI people were the Israelites of the Exodus/Conquest and (iii) the early monarchy of Israel was contemporary with the early New Kingdom of Egypt. On these points his reconstruction is close to Donovan Courville's in his `The Exodus Problem and Its Ramifications'. Mackey’s second thesis, ‘A Revised History of the Era of King Hezekiah of Judah and its Background’, was his attempt to develop a more acceptable alternative to the conventional chronology.

Here I have re-presented my 1997 article for SIS, “Solomon and Sheba”, but with some very important corrections and additions (author, March 2011).


New evidence is brought forward in support of Veliko­vsky's ingenious thesis that Hatshepsut, the female pharaoh of Egypt's 18th Dynasty, was in fact the biblical Queen of Sheba. That new evidence is the presence of Solomon himself in the Egyptian inscriptions in the person of Hatshepsut's great Steward, Senenmut.


A decade has elapsed since Dr. John Bimson wrote his probing critique [I] of Immanuel Velikovsky's thesis that Queen Hatshepsut was the biblical Queen of Sheba [2]. In the interim, there has been a succession of other critiques - and new chronologies - by James, Rohl, Sieff, Sweeney, and others. Dr. Bimson, by submitting Velikovsky's thesis to intense scru­tiny, has done a great service, forcing those who would wish to defend the idea that Hatshepsut was the Queen of Sheba to dig deeper and to come up with more cogent arguments.

In The Queen of Sheba - Hatshepsut [3], I endeavoured to answer objections raised by Bimson and bring forward some new evidence in support of Velikovsky's conclusion. There are reasons for believing that the biblical queen was not an Arabian queen from Yemen (as Bimson and others have proposed) but an Egyptian queen ruling over Egypt/Ethiopia, Hatshepsut.

Her Name

Contrary to Bimson's claim, there is no grammatical obstacle to Velikovsky's view that `Sheba' was actually the queen's personal name. The construct state is used in various places in Hebrew for an ‘Apposition’ - a proper name or a description of a proper name [4]. According to Velikovsky, Sheba was probably a nickname for Hatshepsut in the close relationships that existed between the 18th Dynasty and the House of David and in Ethiopian legend Solomon's visitor was called Makeda, a name almost identical to Hatshepsut's throne name, Make-ra (Maat-ka-re).

Her Nationality

Bimson argued that the biblical description had an Arabian flavour, with camels, gold, spices and precious stones but all the monarchs who came to hear Solomon's wisdom brought `silver and gold ... myrrh, spices ...' (cf. I Kings 10:25 & II Chronicles 10:24). Ever since the time of Joseph, an Arabian camel train had operated between Egypt and northern Palestine, carrying similar types of gifts (Genesis 37:25). The New Testament evidence that Solomon's visitor was a ‘Queen of the south [who] came from the ends of the earth ...’ (cf. Matthew 12:42 & Luke 11:31) supports an Egypto-Ethiopian identity. In the Book of Daniel, the phrase `of the south' was used with various rulers to designate rulership over Egypt and Ethiopia (cf. Daniel 11:5, 6, 9, 11, 25, 40). ‘Ends of the earth’ is an Egyptianism, in line with what Professor A. Yahuda has written about the influence of the Egyptian language on the Scriptures [5]. Both phrases point us in the direction of Egypt and Ethiopia.

Bimson suggested that the biblical queen was from Yemen in Arabia, but van Beek [6] 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 [7] 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?

Her Family

I accept Velikovsky’s basic alignment of Israel's early kingdom with the 18th Dynasty, with pharaoh Thutmose I as Solomon's father-in-law Thutmose I had only two daughters; Hatshepsut and another who died as a child.

The archaeological evidence for destruction at Gezer in Late Bronze I-II that Bimson [8] has equated with its sacking by Solomon's Egyptian father-in-law (cf. I Kings 9:16), well fits the era of Thutmose I [9].

Her Religion

During Hatshepsut's co-rulership with Thutmose III, there was a trend towards monotheism in Egypt, with Amon-Ra being identified in inscriptions as ‘King of All Gods’ [10]. The Egyptians were admittedly polytheistic, with a marked inclination towards idolatry but in the case of Amon-Ra, Mallon [11] has shown, this plurality was of titles rather than of gods. The devotion to Amon-Ra developed at the time Joseph [12], so the monotheism of Hatshepsut's time would have related specifically to the worship of the God of Joseph. Joseph's influence over Egypt must have been enormous. Pharaoh gave him for a wife the daughter of the priest of Heliopolis (Genesis 41:45), and the highly religious Joseph would undoubtedly have exerted a considerable theological influence on the system of Heliopolis [13].

The influence of Hebrew wisdom on the Egyptians did not end with Joseph. Hatshepsut's own inscriptions betray Israelite influence - especially from Genesis, the Psalms and, most interestingly, the writings generally attributed to Solomon (Proverbs, Wisdom, Song of Songs) [14]. From the perspective of Thebes there were several further interesting similarities between these two periods (apart from the prominence of Amon-Ra [or Ptah]) [15].

The Punt Expedition

Bimson's analysis of the Punt expedition (and the lack of reference in the Old Testament to Egypt in relation to the Queen of Sheba) constituted his most formidable argument against Velikovsky's thesis. Bimson made a detailed com­parison in situ between the Egyptian bas-reliefs and the biblical description and concluded that the match was extremely poor. The gifts given by the Egyptians to the Puntites were insignificant compared with those given by the Queen of Sheba to Solomon. And Bimson also found no evidence in the inscriptions to support Velikovsky's view that Hatshepsut had actually gone in person to Punt (whereas the Queen of Sheba had most certainly gone in person to Jerusalem).

However, on the basis of Dorman's chronology of Hatshepsut's, era [16], the Punt expedition is actually irrelevant to the matter. Velikovsky had made a significant chronological miscalculation when arguing that Hatshepsut would have been influenced, in the design of her own temple, by what she saw in Jerusalem. Hatshepsut would already have commenced the building of her temple (and would a fortiori have been in possession of the plans for it) before she launched her Punt expedition as Pharaoh of Egypt. (See Appendix A for a revised explana­tion of the Punt venture.)

For, whilst Velikovsky was quite correct in his view that Hatshepsut had been influenced in her temple design by what she saw in Jerusalem, the fact is that she would have needed to have gone to Jerusalem before her having launched the Punt expedition, i.e. while she was still only ‘queen’ in Egypt. Both the Old and New Testaments specifically entitle Solomon's visitor ‘queen’, which is a significant chronological clue.


QUEENSHIP (Regnal years 1-6)

Velikovsky had claimed to have found in writings about the Queen of Sheba a profile of Hatshepsut, sovereign of Egypt. Can we find any trace of King Solomon in Egyptian records?

I believe that we can, and that Senenmut was Solomon himself (Heb. Shelomoh). Practically all the inscriptional evidence is favourable to this except for a snag in relation to Senenmut's tomb complex. Senenmut was honoured with a lavish tomb - two tombs in fact [17]. He was not buried in either of them and it has been argued that he was never intended to be [l8]. Senenmut's parents are supposed to have been buried together in one of these tombs - but Solomon's father, King David, was buried in Jerusalem (I Kings 2:10).

Furthermore, with the Punt expedition no longer chronologically convinc­ing as the Egyptian record of the Queen of Sheba's visit to Solomon, there is no recorded venture to take its place.

Maybe it was not recorded - at least with the same sort of inscriptional magnificence as the Punt expedition - because it had occurred when Hatshepsut was still a ‘queen’, and not the ‘Pharaoh’, probably in the brief phase in Regnal Year 1 when Thutmose III ruled Egypt as a child-Pharaoh. Thutmose III was the son of Hatshepsut's husband, Thutmose II, by the concubine, Isis - but Thutmose III was a mere child and Hatshepsut soon intervened to assume the governance of Egypt. With Hatshepsut merely a ‘queen’ at the time of her trip to Jerusalem, it would have been a personal initiative, not recorded in the official inscriptions.

Perhaps the real evidence for the queen's visit to the Jerusalem of Solomon's time lies, not in any actual records of the expedition itself, but rather in the effects that Israelite religion and culture had on the Egypt of Hatshepsut's time.

Hatshepsut and Thutmose III

The architect Ineni described Thutmose as ‘the ruler upon the throne of him who begot him’ but says that ‘His sister, the Divine Consort, Hatshepsut, adjusted the affairs of [Egypt] by reason of her designs ...’ [19]. Hatshepsut brought to the throne of Egypt some ambitious plans and historians agree she could not have carried them out without the support of Senenmut and powerful officials. Neverthe­less, Budge says ‘... we are quite justified in saying that the interests of the country suffered in no way through being in her hands’ [20].

Senenmut's Call

Senenmut is a complete enigma to historians. His ancestry was not unequivocally Egyptian. According to one of his statues ‘I was in this land under [her] command since the occurrence of the death of [her] predecessor ...' [21]. His ‘ancestors were not found in writing’, or - variously translated ‘[whose name] is not to be found amongst the annals of the ancestors’ [22]. Both indicate that Senenmut did not hail from Egypt.

Further possible hints that Senenmut was a foreigner were his fascination with the Egyptian language, his ‘idiosyncra­cies in regard to the Egyptian language - the uncommon substitution of certain hieroglyphs' and his penchant for creating cryptograms, e.g. in relation to Hatshepsut's throne name, Make-ra [23]. His appearance, as depicted on statues does not provide any clues. The most outstanding feature is ‘his massive wig’ [24], an Egyptian feature. However, Solomon was thoroughly Egyptianised - two of his high officials in Jerusalem bore Egyptian names Shisha and Eli-horeph (I Kings 4:3). Peter James [25] refers to an ivory plaque found at Megiddo, ‘showing a monarch holding court’, depicted in Egyptian guise. Megiddo was one of Solomon's great forts in northern Israel, where he had built a ‘monumental palace compound’ (I Kings 9:15). According to James, the ‘material culture of Palestine at the end of the Late Bronze Age [Solomon's era by the revision] is best seen’ at its site and the ivory plaque ‘... is of particular interest. [The monarch] is seated on a throne decorated with sphinxes. If it was intended to represent a specific rather than an idealized ruler, would it be too much to imagine that in this ivory we actually have a depiction of the Egyptianized King Solomon?’ Solomon may indeed have worn an Egyp­tian wig [26].

I believe that Senenmut's arrival in Egypt was a direct result of Queen Hatshepsut's visit to Jerusalem as the Queen of Sheba. ‘King Solomon gave to the queen of Sheba all that she desired, whatever she asked ...’ (I Kings 10: 13). She was so convinced by what he told her that ‘there was no more spirit in her’ (cf. I Kings 10:3,5). Hatshepsut regarded Senenmut as her mentor and he claimed to have been an influence in Egypt ‘since [Hatshepsut's] youth’ [28]. One of his Cairo statues says he was one ‘whose opinion [Hatshep­sut] has desired for [herself], who pleases the mistress of [Egypt] with his utterance’ [27] and he was both ‘chief spokesman of her estate’ (i.e. the material wealth and properties of the royal household were under his supervision) and ‘judge in the entire land’ of Egypt. Similarly, Solomon was called ‘judge' of Israel (Wisdom 9:7). Wilson [29] recognised that Hatshepsut perceived Senenmut as ‘an adviser’, though ‘In what manner he forged the bonds which brought him into close relations with his royal mistress and by which he won not only her trust but possibly even her love is a closed page of history’. Dorman notes, in relation to Winlock [30], that Queen Hatshepsut gave Senenmut his first government posts, ‘linking him closely to the royal family by giving him charge of princess Neferura'.

What had impressed the young queen during her visit to Jerusalem? It was Solomon's civil and religious administration. His military organisation was also efficient, and - despite enemies later like Hadad in Edom and Rezon in Damascus (1 Kings 11:14-25) - he was never really seriously challenged during his entire 40-year reign. In fact, the era of Solomon and Hatshepsut (in revisionist terms) was one of singular peace.

Hatshepsut would also have noticed Solomon's magnificent fleet (I Kings 10:11) and the parks and gardens in Jerusalem with their exotic myrrh trees (Song of Songs 5:1; 6:2). Presumably these were what later inspired Hatshepsut’s Punt expedition.

Hatshepsut asked Solomon for help in governing her land. She probably also sought military back-up in case other forces in Egypt took advantage of the initially fragile situation in Egypt, to engineer a coup against young Thutmose III [32]. Perhaps, too, there were some who did not dispute his accession but were ready to dispute any intervention by the queen as co-ruler. Winlock [33] suggests that Hatshepsut required Senenmut’s assistance for her own coup d'êtat. Hayes says [34]: ‘The person who probably contributed most to Hatshepsut's success was her Chief Steward, Senenmut, a canny politician and brilliant administrator who ... rose [sic] to be the queen's most favoured official’.

‘Greatest of the Great’

Most historians would agree with Baikie [35] that Senenmut ‘was by far the most powerful and important figure of [Hatshepsut's] reign’. Few supposedly non-royal personages in pharaonic Egypt have caused as much ink to flow [36], and his statues and inscriptions are still abundant despite the campaign of destruction waged against them after his death. He boasted ‘I was the greatest of the great in the land …’ [37]. According to Baikie [38]: ‘... we have sufficient evidence to make it manifest that a good deal of it was simple truth, and that [Senenmut] was by far the most powerful and important figure of the reign’.

He even seems to have eclipsed Thutmose III who - after his death - went on to become perhaps the most potent of all Egypt's rulers.

Given Solomon's generous disposition (cf. Wisdom 7:13-14); his opportunism in trading matters (cf. I Kings 10:28-29), his love for beautiful foreign women (1 Kings 11:1), he could have found it hard to refuse Hatshepsut's requests. There may have been much behind the statement ‘King Solomon gave to the queen of Sheba all that she desired, whatever she asked ...’. On the Cairo statue of Senenmut, it says he ‘was one who entered in love and came forth in favour, making glad the heart of [Hatshepsut] every day ...’ [39]. Even during her lifetime, there were rumours that Senenmut owed his power to his relations with the Queen. Ironically, because there is no record in Egypt of his having had any offspring, Senenmut is thought by Egyptologists to have been a life-long bachelor.

My reconstruction of the Queen of Sheba's visit to Solomon would answer the question of how Senenmut came to power in Egypt and became the might behind the throne there, pursuing one of the most amazing careers in ancient Egypt’ [40]. Had historians realised who he was, they might not have puzzled over why Hatshepsut ‘during her lifetime ... faced less opposition than might have been expected’ [41].

Senenmut as Tutor of Neferure & Thutmose III

Senenmut was a renowned ‘judge’ in the land - and also Steward of Hatshepsut. Steward of Neferure and Steward of Amon - the latter considered to be ‘his most important position’ [42]. There are various statues of him cradling Neferure in his arms, or with her peeping out from the folds of his cloak. Senenmut was also tutor to the young Thutmose III. On a stela discovered in North Karnak, he applies to the child ruler for deed, of transfer of land for institutions within the estate of Amon-Ra [43]. The application was granted. There is nothing conclusive in inscriptions to support the traditional view that Thutmose III held a deep-seated grudge against Hatshepsut or Senenmut. However, the biblical scenario shows that, towards the end of Solomon's life, serious cracks began to relationship with the young Pharaoh (as the biblical ‘King Shishak of Egypt’).

Senenmut's ‘Floruit’

In this revision, Senenmut's floruit in Egypt would correspond to the mid-to-late phase of Solomon's reign = Years 1-16 of Thutmose III. (N.B. Hatshepsut's reign is dated by the regnal years of Thutmose III). Just prior to this period, Solomon completed his great building projects in Jerusalem, and, towards its end, he fell away from pure Yahwism into a decadent phase, building shrines to pagan gods for his foreign wives (I Kings 1:18). In perfect accord this. Grimal says Senenmut ‘was a ubiquitous figure throughout the first three-quarters of Hatshepsut's reign' [44]. He oversaw some of the most famous temples and shrines built during the co-reign of Hatshepsut and Thutmose III, and Neferure's name also figures in some of these.

Solomon's years of service to Yahweh and also his apostasy from Yahwism ought both perhaps to be reflected in Senenmut's inscriptions [45].

Solomon's Administration

The Queen of Sheba visited Solomon at the peak of his power. Bright [46] has provided a realistic account of how he organised and administered the land of Israel. Much of it is favourable, but there is also a negative side to it. Increasingly, he laid a heavy hand on his subjects in the form of taxation (1 Kings 4:7-19), appointing governors throughout the land to collect it. The state eventually faced a chronic financial crisis. When one thinks of Solomon's building projects, his army, his lavish support of the liturgy, of the worship of Yahweh, his burgeoning private establishment and the administration of the state and its undertakings, this is understandable.

Solomon, unlike his father David, embarked upon no significant military conquests - so, while expenses mounted, revenue from tribute did not. Trade was profitable, but not enough to balance the budget. Solomon took drastic measures and resorted to the hated corvée. State slavery and forced labour were common in the ancient world, especially in Egypt. However, when the Canaanite population proved inadequate, Solomon even inaugurated the corvée in Israel [47]. Labour gangs were levied and worked in relays in Lebanon felling timber for his building projects (I Kings 5:13f.).

This was a bitter dose for freeborn Israelites to swallow. The prophet Samuel had warned of the hardships if they opted for a king to rule over them (1 Samuel 8:11-18). Moses had predicted that a future king of Israel might cause the people wrongfully ‘to return to Egypt in order to multiply horses’ (Deuteronomy 17:16). Ultimately, it was the corvée that made Israel rebel against Solomon's son, Rehoboam, who had threatened ‘My father made your yoke heavy, but I shall add to your yoke; my father chastised you with whips, but I shall chastise you with scorpions’ ( I Kings 12:14).

When the administration of Israel spilled into Egypt, Hatshepsut apparently enforced the same harsh system there. Egypt ‘was made to labour with bowed head for her ...’ [48]. Not surprisingly, she put Senenmut in charge. ‘I was a foreman of foremen’, he tells us, ‘... overseer of all the works of the house of silver [treasury?] .... I was one to whom the affairs of [Egypt] were reported; that which South and North contributed was on my seal, the labour of all countries was under my charge’.

The taxation system that Hatshepsut introduced was based upon ‘a Middle Kingdom prototype’ [49]. It would not be surprising if this were the same stern model by which Joseph had reduced the Egyptians to servitude (cf. Genesis 41:34,35). Interestingly Jeroboam, son of Nebat, who led the revolt against Rehoboam, was previously appointed by Solomon in ‘charge of all the forced labour of the House of Joseph’ (I Kings 10:28). Archaeologists have discovered evidence of Senenmut's work gangs - e.g. an ostracon dated to Regnal Year 16 records the division between two foremen of a group of labourers apparently conscripted by Senenmut [50] and ‘two of Senenmut's pay sheets with three or four of the men struck off the lists’ [51].

Senenmut's Religious Functions

Historians claim ‘Steward of Amon’ was the most illustri­ous of all Senenmut's titles. This would be fitting if he were Solomon, and Amon-Ra were the Supreme God, the ‘King of Gods’, as the Egyptians called him. Senenmut was also ‘overseer of the garden of Amon’ (see Appendix A). Like Solomon, a king who also acted as a priest, Senenmut's chief rôle was religious. He was in charge of things pertaining to Amon and was ‘chief of all the prophets’. Solomon, at the beginning of his co-regency with David, had prayed for wisdom and a discerning mind (I Kings 3:9). On the completion of the Temple, he stood ‘before the altar of the Lord in the presence of all the assembly of Israel, [he] spread forth his hands towards heaven’ (I Kings 8:22). Likewise, Senenmut is depicted in Hatshepsut's temple with arms up-stretched to heaven, praying to Hathor, the personification of wisdom.

Acting Abroad

Solomon must have spent a fair amount of time in Egypt - from approximately his 22nd/ 23rd year of reign (corresponding to Regnal Year 1 of Thutmose III) to late in his 40-year reign, when Jeroboam turned against him and sought protection with Thutmose III (‘Shishak’). Is this a realistic scenario?

The Bible gives far less detail about the latter part of Solomon's reign. In I Kings, only 15-16 verses separate the account of the Queen of Sheba’s leaving Jerusalem (10:13) from chapter 11, which informs us that ‘Solomon loved many foreign women’ who turned his heart away after other gods (vv. 1,4), and that he began to build shrines for them (vv. 7-8), so that God snatched most of the kingdom away from the House of David (v. l1). Next we read about the election of Jeroboam and his flight to Egypt to escape Solomon, who sought to kill him (v. 40). The verses in between describe Solomon, not so much as a ruler of Jerusalem, but as the great businessman and world trader

<!--[if !supportLists]-->· <!--[endif]-->sharing, with Hiram of Tyre, the trade of the ‘ships of Tarshish’ (10:22);

<!--[if !supportLists]-->· <!--[endif]-->receiving gifts from the ‘kings of the earth’ (vv. 23-25), who no doubt wanted a share in his trade; and

<!--[if !supportLists]-->· <!--[endif]-->importing horses and chariots from Egypt and Cilicia and exporting them to Hittite and Syrian kings (vv. 28-29).

This far-reaching commercially-based type of scenario seems to be backed up by Senenmut's claim that ‘the labour of all countries was under my charge’. During this period, the Scriptures do not say specifically that King Solomon was in Jerusalem, so there is perhaps scope for his having spent a fair amount of his time abroad, e.g. in Egypt. Israel would have been in a position to run itself. His government was in control and unchallenged, his bureaucrats well paid and much of the population was in a kind of subjection. Israel's fortifications were formidable, as was its army, which would have been allied with the armies of Egypt. So Solomon may well have been free to travel and to influence other countries (see Appendix B).



Hatshepsut's Coronation

In about the 7th year of Thutmose III, according to Dorman [52], Hatshepsut had herself crowned king, assum­ing the name Maatkare or Make-ra (‘True is the heart of Ra’). In the present scheme, this would be close to Solomon's 30th regnal year. From then on, Hatshepsut is referred to as ‘king’, sometimes with the pronoun ‘she’ and sometimes ‘he’, and depicted in the raiment of a king. She is called the daughter of Amon-Ra - but in the picture of her birth a boy is moulded by Khnum, the shaper of human beings (i.e. Amon-Ra) [53].

According to Dorman, Senenmut was present at Hatshep­sut's coronation and played a major rôle there [54]. On one statue [55] he is given some unique titles, which Berlandini-Grenier [56] identifies with the official responsible for the ritual clothing of the Queen ‘the stolist of Horus in privacy’, ‘keeper of the diadem in adorning the king’ and ‘he who covers the double crown with red linen’. Winlock was startled that Senenmut had held so many unique offices in Egypt, including ‘more intimate ones like those of the great nobles of France who were honored in being allowed to assist in the most intimate details of the royal toilet at the king's levees’ [57]. The rarity of the stolist titles suggested to Dorman [58] ‘a one-time exercise of Senenmut's function of stolist and that prosopographical conclusions might be drawn’, i.e., he had participated in Hatshepsut's coronation.

It would be fitting for Hatshepsut to have wanted Solomon, greatest king alive, to crown her as Pharaoh. The most recent statue of Senenmut to be found was of alabaster, unlike the rest which were granite. ‘Alabaster, used very much in the statuary of Thutmose III, is essentially, it seems, a stone reserved for royal monuments’ [59]. Perhaps Hatshepsut had even intended Senenmut to become legitimate ruler of Egypt with her. According to Redford [60], Hatshepsut planned to insert Neferure into the line of succession, as demonstrated by the Sinai stela dated to the 11th year of Neferure, behind whom is portrayed ‘Senenmut, who may well have been the ‘evil genius’ behind this and many other novel moves’. However, maybe it was simply Hatshepsut acknowledging that Senenmut was a legitimate king in his own right.

Chief Architect

Now that Hatshepsut was Pharaoh, nothing could stop her grandiose plans. As queen, she had seen fantastic thing in Israel - the King enthroned in splendour, the palace, the Temple with its magnificent liturgy and gardens, and the Red Sea fleet, which may have arrived at Solomon's port while she was visiting him (cf. 1 Kings 10:1 & 10:11). Solomon could provide the same for her in Egypt. Significantly he, as Senenmut, was also Hatshepsut's chief architect [61].

Egypt could be efficiently reorganised on the same stern system that Solomon had imposed upon his own country. The work gangs would be employed everywhere, with Senemut both their ‘foreman [and] overseer’. We recall how cruel were the Egyptian ‘foremen’ in Moses' time, and that Moses had killed one of them for beating an Israelite (Exodus l:11 & 2:11-12). Yahweh had ultimately delivered his people from this ‘iron furnace’ of slavery in Egypt. How ironical, then, that a king of Israel, a believer in Yahweh, would now force the Egyptian people into servitude - but now with the Pharaoh's blessing! In return, Solomon could play the rôle of trading middleman, e.g. between Egypt and Syria.

Hatshepsut's Temple

Hatshepsut naturally enlisted Senenmut to plan her temple, ‘The Most Splendid of Splendours’, at Deir el-Bahri. He no doubt, in turn, as Solomon, sought expert assistance from the Phoenicians, just as he had done more than two decades earlier in the case of the Temple of Yahweh, in Jerusalem. Accordingly, Velikovsky had referred to Mariette's view that Hatshepsut's fine building betrayed ‘a foreign influence’, possibly from ‘the land of [Punt]’ [62]. If the Puntites were the Phoenicians [63] - and (according to the Bible) Phoenician craftsmen had assisted Solomon in his building of Yahweh's Temple - then it is most interesting that Mariette had observed that Hatshepsut's temple ‘probably represents ... a Phoenician influence’ [64]. From this, Velikovsky had concluded that the design of the latter was based on the Jerusalem model.

Bimson, however, would then reject this view, saying that Hatshepsut’s temple was clearly based on the layout of smaller 11th Dynasty temple nearby. Baikie [66], for his part, admitted that the 11th Dynasty temple would have offered Senenmut ‘the suggestion of how it would best to treat such a site ...’, but he was adamant that Hatshepsut’s temple was no slavish imitation of the older building. Senenmut, he said:

... appreciated a good suggestion when he saw it - all the more credit to him for his commonsense; but to say that he must therefore be denied any credit for originality is to set up a canon of criticism which would deprive Shakespeare of the credit for the creation of Hamlet, and Donatello of that for the creation of the Gattamelata statue. Having got his suggestion, he proceeded to glorify it, until he had produced a building which is infinitely superior ... to that of the earlier architect.

Baikie regarded the 11th Dynasty effort as ‘stumpy and sawn-off looking compared with the grace of the successive terraces, the long ramps and the graceful colonnades of the XVIIIth Dynasty artist’.

Senenmut's Tomb Complex

At about the same time, Hatshepsut also ordered a magnificent tomb complex [67] to be built in Senenmut's honour, on the highest hill in the private necropolis, at Sheikh Abd el-Qurna (No.71), with a subterranean passage at Deir el-Bahri down through the friable tafl to the fine limestone (No.353).

Helck [68] has suggested a novel purpose for tomb 353 (that all agree was the intended place of burial), claiming that it was meant - like the subterranean gallery below the temple of Mentuhotep II (11th Dynasty) - for the burial of a jubilee (heb sed) statue of the ruling monarch on the eve of the celebration of jubilee. The curious presence of Senenmut in the decorated chamber signified to Helck that it was also destined to hold a statue of Hatshepsut's Great Steward, as a ‘mock burial’. Strangely, the intended sarcophagus was found shattered in pieces on top of Sheikh Abd el-Qurna. Although its exterior surface was carefully polished, carved and given a coat of red varnish, the lid was never completed. Was Senenmut/Solomon really meant to have been interred in it?

Senenmut's Astronomical Ceiling

The versatility of Senenmut is revealed in the paintings of his funerary complex. As Grimal has noted [69]:

‘[Senenmut's] constructions show that he was an archi­tect, but other dimensions of his career are suggested by the presence of an astronomical ceiling in his tomb at Deir el-Bahri and about 150 ostraca in his tomb at Qurna, including several drawings (notably two plans of the tomb itself), as well as lists, calculations, various reports and some copies of religious, funerary and literary texts ...’.

Senenmut's tomb complex has some significant features:

<!--[if !supportLists]-->· <!--[endif]-->the lowest chambers of tomb 353 were within the sacred precincts of Hatshepsut's temple.

<!--[if !supportLists]-->· <!--[endif]-->in numerous niches there are reliefs depicting Senenmut praying on behalf of Hatshepsut. This usurpation of royal property and/or privilege has amazed historians [70],

<!--[if !supportLists]-->· <!--[endif]-->at the same time, a new corpus of funerary texts - what Assmann [71] calls ‘liturgies’ - was introduced into Egypt. [Interestingly, in the light of my claim that Egypt was at this time influenced by the era of Joseph, these liturgies are based upon ‘sequences attested only on Middle Kingdom coffins’ [72].

<!--[if !supportLists]-->· <!--[endif]-->among the literary texts was the famous Egyptian folktale, the Story of Sinuhe. I have argued [73] that this story is a conflation of biblical stories pertaining to Moses (especially), but perhaps also to David and to Joseph. Senenmut enjoyed the Story of Sinuhe [74].

<!--[if !supportLists]-->· <!--[endif]-->of special interest is the astronomical information in tomb 353, particularly the ceiling of Chamber A [75]. Senenmut's ceiling is the earliest astronomical ceiling known. We are reminded again of Solomon's encyclopaedic knowledge of astronomy and calendars (Wisdom 7:17-19). The ceiling is divided into two parts by transverse bands of texts, the central section of which contains the names ‘Hatshepsut’ and ‘Senenmut’ [76]. The southern half contains a list of decans derived from coffins of the Middle Kingdom period that had served as ‘a prototype’ for a family of decanal lists that survived until the Ptolemaïc period; whilst ‘The northern half is decorated with the earliest preserved depiction of the northern constellations; four planets (Mars, Venus, Jupiter, Saturn) are also portrayed with them, and the lunar calendar is represented by twelve large circles’. [77]

In tomb 71 at Sheikh Abd el-Qurna,

<!--[if !supportLists]-->· <!--[endif]-->the sarcophagus itself is carved of quartzite in a unique oval form adapted from the royal cartouche shape. Dorman [78] says ‘... the sarcophagus seemed to be yet another proof ... of the pretensions Senenmut dares to exhibit, skirting dangerously close to prerogatives considered to be exclusively royal’. Winlock [79] would similarly note that it was ‘significantly designed as almost a replica of royal sarcophagi of the time’,

<!--[if !supportLists]-->· <!--[endif]-->one of the painted scenes features a procession of Aegean (Greek) tribute bearers, the first known representation of these people [80] - the only coherent scene on the north wall of the axial corridor portrays three registers of men dragging sledges that provide shelter for statues of Senenmut, who faces the procession of statues.

Senenmut had presented to Hatshepsut ‘an extraordinary request’ for ‘many statues of every kind of precious hard stone’, to be placed in every temple and shrine of Amon-Ra [81]. His request was granted. Meyer [82] pointed to it as an indication of his power.

Senenmut's ‘Parents’

In part 2 I had referred to the problem for this reconstruction of the burial of Senenmut's parents in Egypt. Beneath the collapsed artificial terrace in front of tomb 71 excavators in the 1930’s had found the small rock-cut chamber with the mummies presumed to be Senen­mut's family, including Ramose (father), Hatnofer (mother), near the funerary monument of their illustrious son. However Solomon's father was King David, who was buried in the city of Jerusalem (I Kings 2:10). Solomon's mother, Bathsheba, was probably much younger than David, and we know nothing about her death - the last that we hear of her is at the beginning of Solomon's reign, when his brother was illicitly bidding for the throne (v. 19).

It is possible - in the context of the revision of the 18th Egyptian Dynasty - that Bathsheba was this same Hatnofer, whose mummified corpse shows that she was elderly when buried with great pomp in Egypt, in approximately Regnal Year 7 (c. Year 30 of Solomon's reign). Bathsheba may thus have remarried after David's death [83]. Moreover, all of the mummies in this chamber, except Hatnofer's, had been disinterred and re-located there. That is always a problem with regard to one’s making proper identifications. Ramose (the husband) was about 50 or 60 years old (notably younger than David). Just possibly he was her original husband, Uriah the Hittite, for whom she had made lamentation (2 Samuel 11:3, 26), though his age would be a factor. Of the eight mummies, Hatnofer alone ‘had been carefully mummified in linen from Hatshepsut's royal estate and equipped with a complete funeral outfit ...’ [84]. On two walls Senenmut is depicted with one of his parents - Hatnofer. Historians presume Ramose may have accompa­nied him on a wall that is damaged. But we cannot be sure of that.

‘The origin of [Senenmut's] family must ... remain uncertain ...’ [85], it is thought, so firm conclusions cannot be reached about them in a standard Egyptian context. However, this study has revealed evidence completely refuting the usual view that Senenmut was of common origin.

Commemorative Obelisks

Can we pinpoint when Solomon, as Senenmut, was actually present in Egypt?

He would definitely have been there during Hatshepsut's coronation in Regnal Year 7, and, again, on the occasion some time after Regnal Year 9, when she sum­moned Senenmut and the her Nubian official, Nehesi, gave them places of honour, and proclaimed to the assembly the success of her Punt venture, and again on several occasions during Regnal Year 16. Senenmut may often, of course, have delegated tasks to his foremen (like Jeroboam) while he was elsewhere.

In Regnal Year 16 Senenmut opened the Silsileh quarries, ‘probably in preparation for a planned intensification of construction at Karnak under Hatshepsut’ [86]. For Hatshep­sut's jubilee, she entrusted to Senenmut the task of acquiring two commemorative obelisks. From the record engraved on the rocks at Aswan, in the far south of Egypt, it is likely that he went there in person. Baikie [87] says ‘The great man [Senenmut] set off at once, and carried out his commission with characteristic energy’. Getting the two huge shafts of granite out of the quarry at Aswan occupied seven months and was an extraordinary feat of engineering. Raising the obelisks in Thebes must have been a tremendous task. The survivor is almost 100 feet and weighs over 320 tons.

Thutmose III in the Ascendant

Thutmose, far from having engaged in damnatio memo­riae, actually placed a statue of Senenmut in his Karnak temple and was ‘willing to see honor done to him, at least posthumously’ [88]. Thutmose III's apparent respect for his mentor might explain why such a military-minded Pharaoh left it 5 years after Solomon's death before invading Jerusalem and sacking the Temple [89] (as the biblical ‘Shishak’).

However cracks in their relationship surfaced near the end of Solomon's life when Jeroboam, chosen by God ‘to tear the kingdom from the hand of Solomon’, feared for his life and fled to ‘Shishak’ in Egypt, where he remained until Solomon's death (I Kings 11:26, 31, 40). Perhaps during the last few years of Hatshepsut's reign, with Solomon in decline, Thutmose Ill began to assert his independence. He may have realised that it would fall to him to rectify Egypt's economic problems. He accomplished this after Hatshepsut's death, by embarking upon a series of mighty military conquests.

Senenmut's Decline and Death

‘Senenmut's continuing goodwill at court seems to have continued unabated during most, if not all, of Hatshepsut's floruit’ [90]. In this reconstruction, Senenmut died in about Regnal Year 18/19. Hatshepsut died in about Regnal Year 21. Neferure may have lived well beyond both of their deaths [91]. There have been all sorts of intriguing guesses about Senenmut's demise. Schulman [92], who estimated Senenmut's age at over 50 in Regnal Year 16, thinks ‘it would not at all have been surprising for [Senenmut] to have died from natural causes at a relatively old age, without our having to suppose a fall from the royal favour which resulted in his death’.



At the time of Hatshepsut, Amon-Ra probably equated to the Supreme Lord, Yahweh. Any Yahwistic influence in Egypt would be due to Solomon. Neither the Old or New Testament accounts of the visit by the ‘Queen of Sheba/Queen of the south’ specifies that she was converted to the God of Israel. She still said ‘Blessed be the Lord YOUR God’ (1 Kings 1l0:9) - for her Yahweh was not yet ‘my God’. Whether she converted to Yahwism in the end is not clear but the scriptural accounts show she was profoundly impressed and influenced by all that she had seen in Jerusalem.

Successor of the King

There is an early parallel between Solomon and Hatshep­sut in the ways their fathers presented their children to the assemblies of their respective countries, to designate them as their successors.

(i) The Assembly is Summoned

‘David assembled at Jerusalem all the officials of tribes, the officers of the divisions that served the king, the commanders of thousands ... of hundreds, the stewards of the property ... and all the seasoned warriors’ (I Chronicles 2:81). Likewise Hatshepsut's father, Thutmose I ‘... caused that there be brought to him the dignitaries of the king, the nobles, the companions, the officers of the court, and the chief of the people’ [93].

(ii) The Future Ruler Presented

Next, King David presented Solomon to the assembly, saying ‘... of all my sons ... the Lord ... has chosen Solomon my son to sit upon the throne of the kingdom of the Lord, over Israel. He said to me, ‘It is Solomon your son .... I have chosen him to be My son, and I will be his Father’’ (vv. 5-6). ­So did Pharaoh present his daughter to the assembly ‘This my daughter ... Hatshepsut .... I have appointed her; she is my successor, she it is assuredly who will sit on my wonderful seat [throne]. She shall command the people in every place of the palace; she it is who shall lead you …’ [93].

(iii) The Assembly Embraces the King's Decision

In Israel, ‘... all the assembly blessed the Lord ... and bowed their heads, and worshipped the Lord, and did obeisance to the king .... And they ate and drank before the Lord on that day with great gladness’ (29:20, 22). Similarly, the Egyptian officials [93] ‘kissed the earth at his feet, when the royal word fell among them .... They went forth, their mouths rejoiced, they published his proclamation to them’. Also, just as Solomon was presented as ‘son’ of God (cf. II Samuel 7:14), so in Egyptian inscriptions Hatshepsut was called ‘daughter of Amon-Ra’.


Some of the most notable features of the majestic 18th Dynasty temple were its sweeping terraces. Velikovsky [94] pointed this out in relation to the Psalmic ‘song of the ascent’ (Shir ha-maaloth), and then noted that a Jerusalem style of liturgy was instituted in Egypt, even with a high priest officiating. It ought not to surprise us that Hatshepsut, Queen of Sheba, would have wanted to copy the Temple o Yahweh. Does not the Bible tell us that she drank it all in with astonishment (e.g. II Chronicles 9:3, 4-5, 6, 12)?

Scriptural Influence

(i) An Image from Genesis

After Hatshepsut had completed her Punt expedition, she gathered her nobles and proclaimed the great things she had done. Senenmut and Nehesi had places of honour. Hatshepsut reminded them of Amon's oracle commanding her to ‘... establish for him a Punt in his house, to plant the trees of God's Land beside his temple in his garden, according as he commanded’ [95]. At the conclusion of her speech there is further scriptural image ‘I have made for [Amon-Ra] a Punt in his garden at Thebes ... it is big enough for him to walk about in’; Baikie [96] noted that this is ‘a phrase which seems to take one back to the Book of Genesis and its picture of God walking in the Garden of Eden in the cool of the evening’. This inscription speaks of Amon-Ra's love for Hatshepsut in terms almost identical to those used by the Queen of Sheba about the God of Israel's love for Solomon and his nation.

Compare the italicised parts of Hatshepsut's

‘... according to the command of ... Amon ... in order to bring for him the marvels of every country, because he so much loves the King of ... Egypt, Maatkara [i.e. Hatshepsut], for his father Amen-Ra, Lord of Heaven, Lord of Earth, more than the other kings who have been in this land for ever ...’ [97].

with the italicised words in a song of praise spoken to Solomon by the Queen of Sheba ‘Blessed be the Lord your God, who has delighted in you and set you on the throne as king for the Lord your God! Because your God loved Israel and would establish them for ever ...’ (II Chronicles 98) [98].

(ii) An Image from the Psalms

When Hatshepsut's commemorative obelisks were com­pleted, she had the usual formal words inscribed on them. However, Baikie states that [99]:

‘The base inscriptions ... are of more importance, chiefly because they again strike that personal note which is so seldom heard from these ancient records, and give us an actual glimpse into the mind and the heart of a great woman. I do not think that it is fanciful to see in these utterances the expression of something very like a genuine piety struggling to find expression underneath all the customary verbiage of the Egyptian monumental formulae’.

In language that ‘might have come straight out of the Book Psalms’, the queen continues,

‘I did it under [Amon-Ra's] command; it was he who led me. I conceived no works without his doing .... I slept not because of his temple; I erred not from that which he commanded. ... I entered into the affairs of his heart. I turned not my back on the City of the All-Lord; but turned to it the face. I know that Karnak is God's dwelling upon earth; ... the Place of his Heart; Which wears his beauty ...’.

Baikie continues, unaware that it really was the Psalms and the sapiential words of David and Solomon, that had influenced Hatshepsut's prayer:

‘The sleepless eagerness of the queen for the glory of the temple of her god, and her assurance of the unspeakable sanctity of Karnak as the divine dwelling-place, find expression in almost the very words which the Psalmist used to express his ... duty towards the habitation of the God of Israel, and his certainty of Zion's sanctity as the abiding-place of Jehovah.

‘Surely I will not come into the tabernacle of my house, nor go up into my bed; I will not give sleep to mine eyes, or slumber to mine eyelids. Until I find out a place for the Lord, an habitation for the mighty God of Jacob.

- For the Lord hath chosen Zion; he hath desired it for his habitation. This is my rest for ever; here will I dwell; for I have desired it’.’

(iii) An Image from Proverbs

In another related verse of the Punt reliefs about Amon-Ra leading the expedition to ‘the Myrrh-terraces ... a glorious region of God's Land’, the god speaks of creating the fabled Land of Punt in playful terms reminiscent of Solomon's words about Wisdom's playful rôle in the work of Creation (Proverbs 8:12, 30-31). In the Egyptian version there is also reference to Hathor, the personification of wisdom [100]: ‘... it is indeed a place of delight. I have made it for myself, in order to divert my heart, together with ... Hathor ... mistress of Punt …’.

Interestingly, the original rôles of Hathor and Isis in the Heliopolitan ‘theology’ were similar to those of Moses's sister and mother (the god Horus reminding of Moses). Grimal [101] says ‘Isis hid Horus in the marshes of the Delta ... with the help of the goddess Hathor, the wet-nurse in the form of a cow. The child grew up ...’. In The Queen of Sheba - Hatshepsut, I had compared this Egyptian account with the action of Moses's mother and sister in Exodus 2:3-4, 7, 10.

(iv) Images from the Song of Songs

In the weighing scene of the goods acquired from Punt (i.e. Lebanon), Hatshepsut boasts [102]:

‘[Her] Majesty [herself] is acting with her two hands, the best of myrrh is upon all her limbs, her fragrance is divine dew, her odour is mingled with that of Punt, her skin is gilded with electrum, shining as do the stars in the midst of the festival-hall, before the whole land’. Compare this with verses from King Solomon's love poem, Song of Songs (also called the Song of Solomon), e.g. ‘My hands dripped with myrrh, my fingers with liquid myrrh; Sweeter your love than wine, the scent of your perfume than any spice; Your lips drip honey, and the scent of your robes is like the scent of Lebanon’ (4:10-11; 55). (cf. 4:6, 14; 5:1, 5).

Maccoby [103] went so far as to suggest that the Song of Songs was written by Solomon for the Queen of Sheba/Hatshepsut. Clearly, the poem is written in the context of marriage (e.g. 3:11). We read, partly following Maccoby [103]:

l. ‘To a mare among Pharaoh's cavalry would 1 compare you, my darling’ (1:9). This reference to Egypt is strange for an Israelite girl, but natural if the beloved was an Egyptian.

2. ‘Black am I but beautiful, O daughters of Jerusalem, like the tents of Qedar, like the curtains of Solomon. Do not gaze at me because I am swarthy, because the sun has blackened me’ (16). A darker complexion would not be surprising in an Egyptian woman.

3. Perhaps the sentence ‘Who is she that cometh out of the wilderness ... perfumed with myrrh and frankincense, with all the fragrant powders of the merchant?’ (3:6), refers to the visit by the Queen of Sheba, who brought a great store of perfumes. She gave Solomon ‘a very great store of spices ... there came no more such abundance of spices as these which the Queen of Sheba gave to King Solomon’ (I Kings 10:10).

4. ‘My mother's sons were angry with me. They made me the keeper of the vineyards, but mine own vineyard I have not kept’ (1:6). It is a puzzle that the female here is represented as a humble vineyard-watcher but elsewhere she appears as a great lady. Maybe here she is speaking metaphorically about her country (and her native reli­gion?) as a ‘vineyard’? The anger of her ‘brothers’ would be understandable, perhaps, if she were a princess of Egypt. Her involvement with Solomon would have unwelcome politi­cal and religious implications.

5. ‘O that you were as my brother ... I would lead you and bring you to my mother's house’ (8:1-2). She perhaps regrets that Solomon is not an Egyptian, who could live permanently with her.

Concluding Remark

Unfortunately, most of Solomon's greatest works in Jerusalem are now lost because of the successive destruc­tions and looting of that city and because it is impossible at present to excavate the Temple Mount. Thanks to Veliko­vsky, however, we can now recognise much of the Temple and palace wealth of Solomon's era in the bas-reliefs of Thutmose III and his officials. Thutmose III, as ‘Shishak’, eventually divested Jerusalem of its greatest treasures and carried them back to his own land. How ironic that perhaps the most complete records of Solomon's achievements are today to be found in Egypt!



According to the Bible, the Queen of Sheba made at least the latter part of her journey to Jerusalem by camel train, probably taking the same route as had the Ishmaelite traders who carried Joseph to be sold in Egypt. Contrary to Velikovsky, she did not come to Jerusalem via the Red Sea and Solomon's port of Ezion-geber. The gifts she brought were of enormous value but Solomon allowed her to take them all back with her (II Chronicles 9:12).

I suggest that the Punt expedition was a venture entirely separate from the Queen of Sheba's visit to Jerusalem, undertaken about 9 years later, when Hatshepsut had made herself Pharaoh. Its chief purpose was to obtain myrrh trees for the garden (or park) surrounding the temple of Amon-Ra at Deir el-Bahri, to provide a continuous supply of this rare plant in Thebes. Hatshepsut, recalling the magnificent parks and gardens she had seen in Jerusalem, wanted to create the same for her capital city.

Hence, unlike in Velikovsky's scenario, Hatshepsut's temple must already have been built, or was being built. The Egyptian inscriptions show Punt as a land of trees - e.g. the c-s tree that Nibbi equates with the pine [104]. This is consistent with the view that Punt was Phoenicia/Lebanon, Lebanon being the most noteworthy place for trees in the ancient Near East. Solomon had a free hand building in Lebanon (I Kings (9:19, 20), where he used forced labour. The Song of Songs refers to a ‘mountain of myrrh’, apparently in Lebanon (cf. 4:6 & 4:8). Solomon's palace was actually called ‘The House of the Forest of Lebanon’, because it was ‘built upon three rows of cedar pillars, with cedar beams upon the pillars’ (1 Kings 7:2). All this priceless timber could have been obtained from the Phoenicians.

Bimson - whilst favouring Velikovsky's chronological view that Hatshepsut's Punt expedition dated to about the time of Solomon - argued that the expedition had travelled southward on the Red Sea, to NE Africa (modern Eritrea). (Velikovsky argued that the fleet had sailed northward on the Red Sea, to Ezion-geber.) Bimson claimed that myrrh trees were to be found there, and he explained how the fauna and flora of the Punt reliefs reflect a NE African location [105]. Interestingly, in Solomon's own naval expeditions to Ophir (which certainly were southward voyages on the Red Sea) his servants brought back mainly gold (1 Kings 10: 11), and there is no mention at all of myrrh trees. Hatshepsut informs us that in her Year 9 an oracle of Amon-Ra inspired her to dispatch a naval and land expedition to Punt [106]:

‘Maatkara [Hatshepsut] ... made supplication at the steps of the Lord of the Gods; a command was heard from the great throne, an oracle of the god himself, that the ways of Punt should be searched out, that the high-ways of the Myrrh-terraces should be penetrated ‘I will lead an army on water and on land, to bring marvels from God's land for this god, the fashioner of her beauty’.’

Was Solomon/Senenmut the oracular voice that spoke on behalf of Amon-Ra? One of Senenmut's titles was ‘overseer of the garden of Amon’. He may have been the brains behind the entire Punt expedition. Hatshepsut credits Amon-Ra with leading the expedition. Five ships were equipped, provided with an armed guard of Egyptian troops commanded by one of the queen's officials, Nehesi. In the wonderful series of reliefs illustrating the adventure, we see them setting sail.

Since my writing of The Queen of Sheba - Hatshepsut, I have revised my views about the logistics of the Punt expedition in the light of points raised by A. Nibbi [107], especially her insistence that the Egyptians did not travel on the open seas. This helps solve a problem with which both Velikovsky and Bimson had grappled: namely, that the Punt reliefs provide no evidence that the Egyptian fleet had at any stage been transported overland, from the Nile to the Red Sea. This led Bimson to assume that something must have been left out of the reliefs [108]. In the present scenario this would no longer be a problem, as the Red Sea was not involved at all. If Hatshepsut's fleet never left the Nile, there would have been no need for overland transportation of boats.

I suggest that Hatshepsut's expedition was northward bound, for Lebanon, but it was an expedition ‘on water and on land’. The fleet simply sailed northwards to the Nile Delta. There, Nehesi and his small army disembarked and marched northward through friendly territory to Lebanon. Admittedly, the inscriptions at first give the impression that this fleet sailed all the way to Punt. ‘Sailing in the sea, beginning the goodly way towards God's Land, journeying in peace to the land of Punt ...’. However this only really says that the naval leg was the ‘beginning’ of the trip to Punt.

Early Egyptian expeditions to Punt were generally connected with a place they called kpn; commonly thought to be Byblos on the Phoenician coast. Nibbi [109] has disputed this and has identified this kpn with a port in northern Egypt. She first mentions Canopus but prefers El Gibali in Sinai. In my opinion, however, Canopus would have been the ideal place for the Egyptian fleet to have dropped anchor, close to the Mediterranean (cf. Appendix B).

Hatshepsut stressed that the travelling was peaceful. Trips to Punt had ceased for many centuries, presumably because the ‘Hyksos’ had controlled the Nile Delta, making it impossible for ship from Thebes to land there (see e.g. Hatshepsut's ‘Speos Artemidos inscription’ [110]). However, prior to the Hyksos era, the Egyptians are known to have made several expeditions to Punt. Egypt's revival of interest in Punt must have coincides with Solomon's maritime ventures, which had only become possible in David's generation (at least in Velikovskian terms, after the combined Egyptian-Israelite slaughter of the Hvksos/Amalekites).

Any maritime venture would have needed the co-operation of the Phoenicians, making King Hiram of Tyre a third important power. The Phoenician ports were international marts where all sorts of exotic merchandise could be acquired - all that Hatshepsut did in fact acquire from Punt.

Now, contrary to Velikovsky,

<!--[if !supportLists]-->· <!--[endif]-->Hatshepsut did not go in person to Punt. Again the Punt venture does not match the visit to Solomon by the Queen of Sheba;

<!--[if !supportLists]-->· <!--[endif]-->In stark contrast to the gifts given to Solomon by the Queen of Sheba, the presents that Egypt gave the Puntites were poor indeed. They comprised an axe, a poignard in its sheath, two leg bangles, eleven necklaces and five large rings. ‘The poverty and meanness of the Egyptian gifts’, wrote Mariette [111], ‘are in striking contrast to the value of those which they receive’.

I suggest that Hatshepsut's fleet would have laid at anchor at the mouth of the Nile, awaiting the outcome of Nehesi’s negotiations with the Puntite/Phoenicians, who then transported the goods via barges or rafts to Egypt, to be loaded on to Hatshepsut's ships. It is clear from Hiram's own words to Solomon (I Kings 5:8-9) that the Phoenicians did transport cedar and cypress timber in this fashion to southern ports. It the Punt reliefs, we see barges depicted beside the ships of Hatshepsut's fleet. Henri Gaubert gives an account of negotiations between the Egyptians and the Phoenicians in those days [112]:

‘In all these scenes the illustrator takes good care to depict these men from far off countries as tributaries or dependants of Egypt. Braving the dangers of the seas, they have come especially to Egypt to pay homage to the mighty Egyptian monarch. The artist has deliberately omitted the next stage, but we know from other sources what happened. The vessels which had arrived at one of the mouths of the Nile, laden with raw materials or manufactured goods, would soon leave again for their home port with cargoes of wheat or millet, lentils or beans. On the coast of Lebanon ... or in the isles of the Aegean sea ... there was a shortage of these foodstuffs, and it was precisely to barter for cereals or dried vegetables that these merchants had come to Egypt’.

In this context, it should not surprise us that Hatshepsut's fleet had brought its produce to ‘one of the mouths of the Nile’. We know from the Punt reliefs that the Egyptians brought ‘bread, beer, wine, meat, fruit, everything found in Egypt’ [113]. Most of the interesting flora and fauna of the Punt reliefs - of which Bimson had made so much - could be accounted for by the combined exotic locations of

(i) Canopus at the mouth of the Nile, near the Mediterranean Sea, and

(ii) Phoenicia/Lebanon.

Hatshepsut's fleet, loaded with produce from Punt, simply sailed back to Thebes ‘Sailing, arriving in peace, journeying to Thebes with joy of heart ...’. [114]. The story was inscribed on the walls of her new temple and Senenmut was present when Hatshepsut - some time after Regnal Year 9 – announced to the Egyptian court the expedition's success.



There is a case in Greek ‘history’ of a wise lawgiver who nonetheless over-organised his country, to the point of his being unable to satisfy either rich or poor, and who then went off travelling for a decade (notably in Egypt). This was Solon, who has come down to us as the first great Athenian statesman. Plutarch [115] tells that, with people coming to visit Solon every day, either to praise him or to ask him probing questions about the meaning of his laws, he left Athens for a time, realising that ‘In great affairs you cannot please all parties’. According to Plutarch:

‘[Solon] made his commercial interests as a ship-owner an excuse to travel and sailed away ... for ten years from the Athenians, in the hope that during this period they would become accustomed to his laws. He went first of all to Egypt and stayed for a while, as he mentions himself

where the Nile pours forth

its waters by the shore of Canopus’.’

We recall Solon's intellectual encounters with the Egyp­tian priests at Heliopolis and Saïs (in the Nile Delta), as described in Plutarch's ‘Life of Solon’ and Plato's ‘Timaeus’ [116]. The chronology and parentage of Solon were disputed even in ancient times [117]. Since he was a wise statesman, an intellectual (poet, writer) whose administrative reforms, though brilliant, eventually led to hardship for the poor and disenchantment for the wealthy; and since Solon's name is virtually identical to that of ‘Solomon’; and since he went to Egypt (also to Cyprus, Sidon and Lydia) for about a decade at the time when he was involved in the shipping business, then I suggest that ‘Solon’ of the Greeks was their version of Solomon, in the mid-to-late period of his reign. The Greeks picked up the story and transferred it from Jerusalem to Athens, just as they (or, at least Herodotus) later confused Sennacherib's attack on Jerusalem (c. 700 BC), by relocating it to Pelusium in Egypt [118].

Much has been attributed to the Greeks that did not belong to them - e.g. Breasted [119] made the point that Hatshep­sut's marvellous temple structure was a witness to the fact that the Egyptians had developed architectural styles for which the later Greeks would be credited as originators. Given the Greeks' tendency to distort history, or to appropriate inven­tions, one would not expect to find in Solon a perfect, mirror-image of King Solomon.

Thanks to historical revisions [120], we now know that the ‘Dark Age’ between the Mycenaean (or Heroic) period of Greek history (concurrent with the time of Hatshepsut) and the Archaic period (that commences with Solon), is an artificial construct. This makes it even more plausible that Hatshepsut and Solomon were contemporaries of ‘Solon’. The tales of Solon's travels to Egypt, Sidon and Lydia (land of the Hittites) may well reflect to some degree Solomon's desire to appease his foreign women - Egyptian, Sidonian and Hittite - by building shrines for them (I Kings 11: 1, 7-8).

Both Solomon and Solon are portrayed as being the wisest amongst the wise. In the pragmatic Greek version Solon prayed for wealth rather than wisdom - but ‘justly acquired wealth’, since Zeus punishes evil [121]. In the Hebrew version, God gave ‘riches and honour’ to Solomon because he had not asked for them, but had prayed instead for ‘a wise and discerning mind’, to enable him properly to govern his people (I Kings 3:12-13).

Notes and References

l. Bimson, J., ‘Hatshepsut and the Queen of Sheba’, C&C Review Vo1.VII1, 1986, pp. 12-26. Bimson previously wrote some very fine articles supporting the revision, e.g. ‘Can There be a Revised Chronology Without a Revised Stratigraphy?’, SIS Review VoI.VII-3, 1978, pp. 16-26 and ‘Dating the Wars of Seti I’, SIS Review Vol.Vl (1980/1981), pp. 13-27.

2. Velikovsky, I, Ages in Chaos, VoI. I, ch.3, Abacus, 1973.

3. Mackey, D., ‘The Queen of Sheba – Hatshepsut’, in CompuServe's Living History Forum (Ancient/Archaeology library, 1996).

4. See Kautzsch, E. (ed.) Gesenius' Hebrew Grammar, # 130. ‘Wider Use of the Construct State’ and # 131, ‘Apposition’, Oxford. Emmet Sweeney, though, has plausibly suggested that Sheba might refer to the city of Thebes in southern Egypt, or She.wa (var. washe or waset). In ‘Was Hatshepsut the Queen of Sheba, or merely the Queen of Theba?’

5. Yahuda, A., The Language of the Pentateuch in its Relation to Egyptian, Oxford UP, 1933. See also Mackey, Calneggia & Money, ‘A Critical Re-Appraisal of the Book of Genesis’, C&C Workshop, 19871:2. See also my ‘Moses as Compiler of Genesis’ in CompuServe's Living History Forum (Ancient/ Archaeology library, 1996).

6. Van Beek, G., Solomon and Sheba, ch. l, ‘The Land of Sheba’, p. 41.

7. Bimson op.cit. [1], p. 22.

8. Ibid. pp. 16-17.

9. See in relation to this, Bimson’s ‘Can There be a Revised Chronology Without a Revised Stratigraphy?’

10. See e.g. CAH II, Part I, 2nd ed., p. 323, Cambridge, 1973.

11. Mallon, A., ‘The Religion of Ancient Egypt’, Studs. in Comparative Religion (CTS, London, 1956), p. 3: ‘... this multiplic­ity [of gods] was but superficial it was a multiplicity of titles, not of gods. The supreme Creator god was called Atum at Heliopolis; at Memphis, Ptah; at Hermopolis ... Thoth; Amon at Thebes; Horus at Edfu; Khnum at Elephantine; but if we examine them minutely, we recognize at once that these divinities have everywhere a like nature, the same attributes and properties, an identical role. They differ only in external imagery and in a few accidental features’.

12. Tom Chetwynd's identification of Joseph as Imhotep, great Vizier to Pharaoh Zoser (Djoser) of Egypt's Third Dynasty during a seven year famine (in C&AH, January 1987. Vo1. IX, pt. 1, pp. 49-56), fits nicely into my revised scheme, with the Exodus at the end of the Old Kingdom (with which the Middle Kingdom was partly concurrent). This allows possible Middle Kingdom references to the Famine and Joseph, which there are during the late 11th Dynasty, which ruled at Thebes in the south (whereas Zoser and Imhotep were at Memphis in the north). The Pharaoh ruling Thebes at the time was Mentuhotep IV, the last of the 11th Dynasty rulers. During his reign Egypt ‘was evidently left in a confused state. At this point the Turin Canon mentions ‘seven empty years’ …’. (N. Grimal A History of Ancient Egypt, Blackwell, Oxford, 1988, p. 159 (cf. Genesis 41:54). The priest Hekanakht describes ‘the problems of his time, including the onset of famine in the Theban region’. As in the biblical scenario (cf. Genesis 41:53, 54), this famine came after a prosperous period.

13. Heliopolis was the ancient religious capital of Egypt and a great centre for sciences. At Heliopolis, (cf. Mallon, ibid., p. 4) ‘Moses received his education’. Acts 7:22 states that ‘Moses was instructed in all the wisdom of the Egyptians ...’.

14. Some of these books, e.g. Wisdom, are supposed to have been written many centuries later than Solomon. If so, they may be compilations of what he originally wrote, just as Genesis is a collection (or series) of ancient histories that Moses compiled or edited into its present form.

15. A temple was built at Deir el-Bahri at the time, and a trip was made to the Land of Punt.

16. Dorman, P, The Monuments of Senenmut, Kegan Paul, London, 1988. Dorman seems to have worked out the proper sequence of events during Hatshepsut's co-rulership with Thutmose III. He has shown fairly conclusively that Hatshepsut became ‘king\, or Pharaoh, in the 7th year of Thutmose III.

17. Tombs No.71 & 353.

18. See e.g. Dorman, op. cit., p. 103, ref. W. Helck's Zum thebanisehen Grab Nr. 353, GM 24 (1977), pp. 35-40.

19. H. Breasted, A History of Egypt, Hodder & Stoughton, London. 1924. p. 271. Emphasis added.

20. Budge, E., Books on Egypt and Chaldea. Egypt Under the Amenemhats and Hvksos, Anthropological Publications, Nether­lands. 1968, p. 4.

21. Dorman. op. cit., p. 175. Emphasis added.

22. Baikie, J., A History of Egypt, A. & C. Black Ltd., London, 1929, Vol. 11, p. 80. Historians tend to interpret it as meaning he rose to power through the ranks.

23. Dorman. op. cit., p. 138, p. 165.

24. Ibid. p. 93.

25. James. P. Centuries of Darkness, Jonathan Cape, London, 1991, p. 200. Emphasis added to last part of quote.

26. There is another possible interpretation. Solomon, as a true brother of Absalom, may simply have had a luxuriant crop of hair. Absalom used to cut his hair ‘at the end of every year ... when it was heavy on him ... [and that it weighed] 200 shekels by the king's weight’ (Samuel II, 14:26). The Song of Songs says of Solomon ‘His locks are wavy, black as a raven’ (5:11). In another version, his hair is likened to ‘palm fronds’. If Senenmut were Solomon, it may not have been a wig.

27. See Dorman, op. cit.. p. 124. Cairo, statue, JdE 47278. Emphasis added.

28. Ibid., p. 116.

29. Wilson, .L, The Burden of Egypt, Chicago, 1951, p. 177.

30. See Dorman, op. cit. 5, ref. H. Winlock, ‘The Egyptian Expedition, 1927-1928’, BMMA 23 (December 1928), Section 1125, op. cit., 50.

31. Solomon was apparently co-regent for a time when he was appointed as sole ruler of Israel, it was referred to as a ‘second time’ (cf. I Chronicles 22:6-17 & 29:22).

32. Solomon's brother, Adonijah, tried to usurp the kingdom at the beginning of Solomon's reign (cf. 1 Kings 5-10 & 5:17).

33. Op. cit., 52. Winlock was actually referring not to Hatsheput's intervention as co-ruler, but to her usurpation later in becoming chief Pharaoh.

34. Hayes, W., ‘Egypt Internal Affairs from Tuthmosis I to the Death of Amenophis III’, in CAH, ibid., p. 319.

35. Op. cit., 81.

36. Hari., R., ‘La vingt-cinquieme statue de Senmout’, JEA 70 (1984), p. 141.

37. Baikie, op. cit., pp. 80-81.

38. Ibid., P. 81.

39. See footnote [27]. Emphasis added.

40. Grimal, op. cit., p. 209.

41. Ibid.

42. Dorman, op. cit., p. 120.

43. Ibid., p. 29.

44. Op. cit., p. 211.

45. Solomon's apostasy phase would be reflected in Senenmut’s shrine at Silsileh, in which he is shown being embraced and welcomed by the gods themselves. Baikie, op. cit., ibid., calls it ‘an honour frequently represented as being accorded to Pharaohs and their queens; but never, save in this one instance, to commoners [sic]’.

46. Bright, J., A History of Israel, SCM Press, 1972, pp. 21f.

47. Bimson has also discussed the corvée in a revised context in his ‘Revised Stratigraphy’, with reference to W. Dever in EA. 438.

48. Breasted, op. cit., ibid.

49. See CAH, ibid., p. 385.

50. Dorman, op. cit., p. 176.

51. Ibid., p. 69.

52. Ibid., p 171. 53. For the equation between Amon and Khnum, see [11].

54. Op. cit., pp. 129f.

55. Ibid. The Sheikh Labib statue.

56. Berlandini-Grenier. J., ‘Senenmout, stoliste royal, sur une statue-cube avec Neferoure’. B1FAO 76 (1976), pp. 111-132

57. Winlock, op. cit., ibid.

58. Op. cit., pp. 129-130.

59. Ibid., p. 143. (My translation, emphasis added.)

60. Redford, D., Historv and Chronology of the Eighteenth Dynasty of Egypt Seven Studies, Toronto, University of Toronto, 1967, p. 85.

61. See e.g. Dorman, op. cit., p. 126. According to S. Wachsmann, Aegeans in the Theban Tombs (Uitgeverij Peeters), p. 27: ‘[Senenmut] was responsible, if not actually the architect, for Hatshepsut's principal architectural accomplishments such as her mortuary temple at Deir el-Bahri and her two great obelisks’.

62. As referred to in G. Maspero's The Struggle of the Nations, p. 241, n.2.

63. See footnote [3].

64. Mariette, quoted in Naville, The Temple of Deir el Bahari, Introductory Memoir, p. 1.

65. ‘Hatshepsut’, p. 16.

66. Op. cit., pp. 67-68.

67. ‘Tomb complex’ may be a better description than ‘two tombs’ in the light of Dorman's remark (ibid., p. 99) that ‘tombs 71 and 353 [though separated by the entire width of the Asasif valley] are but two parts of a unified whole’. Architecturally they complement each other and only together do they function as a typical, private Theban tomb.

68. Op. cit., pp. 35-40.

69. Op. cit., p. 211.

70. See Dorman, op. cit., p. 6, p. 173 ‘without parallel Egypt in proper’.

71. Assmann, J., ‘Funerary Liturgies in the Coffin Texts’, referred to by Dorman, op. cit., p. 82.

72. See Dorman, op. cit., p. 83.

73. Cf. [5], ‘Moses as Compiler of Genesis’.

74. See e.g. Grimal, op, cit., p. 159.

75. Neugebauer. O. & Parker. R., Egyptian Astronomical Texts, London. 1969. Vol. l. pp. 22ff; VoI. III, pp. 10-12.

76. Dorman, op cit., pp. 83-84. Much has been made of Senenmut's ceiling, including claims that it shows evidence for a reversed sky, as in the catastrophic events proposed by Velikovsky in Worlds in Collision (Abacus, 1972) – e.g. P. Warlow. ‘Return to Tippe Top’, C&C Review Vol. IX (1987), pp. 2-13.

77. Ibid., p. 84.

78. Ibid., p. 7. Emphasis added.

79. Winlock, op. cit., p. 22. Emphasis added.

80. Dorman, op. cit., p. 100. Wachsmann, op. cit., identifies these Greeks as Mycenaeans and (Cretan) Minoans.

81. Ibid., p. 125.

82. Meyer, C., ‘Senenmut eine prosopographische Untersuchung’, HAS 2 (Verlag Borg, Hamburg, 1982), p. 170.

83. Since Bathsheba was originally married to Uriah the Hittite (2 Samuel 11:3) (the Hittites and Egyptians were both Hamitic), she may have had some affinity with Egypt from the start.

84. Dorman, op. cit., p. 168.

85. Ibid., p. 166.

86. Ibid., p. 176.

87. Op. cit., p. 83.

88. Lesko, B., ‘The Senmut Problem’, JARCE 6 (1967), pp. 113-117. Note the variations in the spelling of the name ‘Senenmut’ (Dorman), ‘Senmut’ (Lesko). Other variations give ‘Senmout’ and ‘Sennemut’.

89. Thutmose III was a man of such culture and refinement that one might well believe that he had been taught by Solomon.

90. Dorman, op. cit., p. 172.

91. Ibid., pp. 78, 79.

92. Schulman, A., ‘The Alleged ‘Fall’ of Senmut’, JARCE 8 (1969-70), p. 48.

93. See Baikie, op. cit., p. 63.

94. Op. cit., pp. 121, 122.

95. Breasted, J., Records, Vol.ll, Sec. 295.

96. Op. cit., p. 74.

97. Dorman, op. cit., p. 99.

98. This particular phraseology, spoken in honour of a royal person, must have been a convention of the time because it also resembles the way that Hiram of Tyre greeted King Solomon (e.g 2 Chronicles 2:11-12).

99. Baikie, op. cit., p. 89.

100. Ibid., p. 70. Emphasis added.

101. Grimal, op. cit., pp. 42-43.

102. Breasted, Records. p. 274.

103. Maccoby, H., ‘The Queen of Sheba and the Song of Songs’, SISR IV, No. 4 (1980). pp. 98-100.

104. Nibbi, A., Ancient Byblos Reconsidered, DE Publications, Oxford, 1985, p. 60.

105. ‘Hatshepsut’, pp. 16-21.

106. See Baikie, op. cit., p. 70.

107. Nibbi, A., Ancient Egypt and Some Eastern Neighbours, Noyes Press, N.J., 1981.

108. ‘Hatshepsut’, p. 18.

109. ‘Ancient Byblos’, pp. 59-72.

110. See Baikie, op. cit., p. 77.

111. Mariette, op. cit., ibid.

112. Henri Gaubert. Solomon the Magnificent, Longman, London, pp. 125-126.

113. Breasted, Records, p. 108. 114. Ibid., p. 110.

114. Ibid., p. 110.

115. Plutarch, The Rise and Fall of Athens (Life of Solon), Penguin Books, Middlesex, 1964, pp. 68-69, emphasis added.

116. According to these authors, Solon had to be instructed by the Egyptians, the Egyptian priesthood claiming to have historical knowledge going back far beyond that of the Greeks.

117. See Plutarch, ibid., p. 43 (parentage) and pp. 69-70 (chronol­ogy).

118. Herodotus, Histories, Penguin Books, London, 1972, Bk.II.

119. History, p. 274.

120. E.g. footnote [25].

121. Boardman, J, et al. (eds.), The Oxford History of Greece and the Hellenistic World, Oxford UP, 1991, p. 112.

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