Ephraim’s successor devotes to expunging Moses and fellow Amarna Kings from human memory
When Pharaoh Tutankhamen (King Tut, the son of Moses/Akhenaten) died circa 1352 BC, at age 21, he had no qualifying heirs at all, having gone to the grave without issue. He had, however, long anointed a successor. The terms of the succession were that in the event that Tut died childless, the army general Horemheb would assume the reins.
Horemheb had no connection geneticwise to the royal family but he was an outstanding diplomat and a proficient general. A career dog of war, he first served as Secretary of State under King Tut before he was given the powerful portfolio of army commander-in-chief and adviser to the pharaoh. Aware that Horemheb was the main man behind his father’s ouster, King Tut thought, and wisely at that, that Horemheb had to be won over utterly and completely. Thus from practically the word go, King Tut designated Horemheb as the Hereditary Prince of Upper and Lower Egypt and Deputy of the King in the Entire Land. The message was unequivocal: the young King intended Horemheb to succeed him all other things being equal.
But it so happened that at the time of King Tut’s death, Horemheb was away in Asia on a military campaign and his highly influential uncle Ephraim (Aye to the Egyptians), who loathed the notion of a non-Josephite succeeding to the throne, persuaded King Tut’s half-sister widow, Ankhesenamen, also a child of Moses, to take the throne. But fearful of the perils of pharaonic office under a political climate in which the army now reigned supreme, Amkhesenamen decided that she would rather a new husband of hers became pharaoh rather than she herself, which was perfectly in line with constitutional provisions.
The ranks of Horemheb’s lieutenants, who had remained behind, insisted that Horemheb had to be the next pharaoh come rain or shine, whether in his own right or as Ankhesenamen’s new husband. The proposal was repugnant both to Ephraim and Ankhesenamen and to Amkhesenamen for one, it was anathema. First and foremost, it was Horemheb, along with two other members of the army top brass, Pa-Ramses and Seti, who had forced the abdication of her father Moses and were possibly the behind-the-scenes mastermind of the slaying of her husband. Even more pertinent was the fact that Horemheb had no pedigree: as a commoner, he didn’t have a drop of royal blood coursing in his veins.
So Amkhesenamen decided to look elsewhere for a suitor. This was in foreign territory, in Hatti, the Hittite Kingdom across the Mediterranean Sea. But to Amkhesenamen, the Hittite empire was not strictly foreign territory. At the time, the Hittite Kingdom was the most formidable challenge to Egypt’s geopolitical clout. It had taken advantage of Moses’ tumultuous reign and pried Syria from the clutches of Egypt. Presently, the Hittite Kingdom encompassed modern-day Turkey and Lebanon.
At the time, the largest concentration of the Hykso-Hebrews was found in Harran in Turkey. Harran not only was founded by Terah, Abraham’s father, but the Hittite King’s senior wife was a Hykso-Hebrew and a descendant of Abraham. In a way, therefore, Amkhesenamen was related to Hittite royalty.
JOSEPH’S SON EPHRAIM IS NEW PHARAOH
Amkhesenamen accordingly wrote a letter to King Suppiluliumas of the Hittite Kingdom beseeching him to find her a husband from amongst the Hittite royalty. The letter said, “My husband is dead and I do not have a son. It is said that you have many sons. If you sent one, he could be my husband.” Amkhesenamen underscored in the letter that she wanted a Hittite prince because at home, the powerful Egyptian establishment wanted her to marry “a servant”, that was the abysmally low esteem in which she held Horemheb.
Receiving the letter, Suppiluliumas at first was wary: he thought it was simply a ruse meant to get him to walk into a snare of some sort. So he sent his chamberlain to Egypt with a view to ascertaining the veracity of the message in the letter. The chamberlain was satisfied with his findings and when he returned to Hatti, he carried a second letter from Amkhesenamen, which was at once a plea and a remonstration. “Why do you say, ‘do not deceive me’?” she wondered aloud in the letter. “If I had a son, would I write to a foreign country in such a humiliating way for me and my country? Give me one of your sons and he will be my husband and the king of Egypt.”
Content with the report of his chamberlain, and excited at the prospect of his own son being Egypt’s sovereign, the Hittite King obliged King Tut’s widow and chose one of his princes, Zannanza, as her new spouse. Horemheb and company were wroth and moved quickly to nip the whole affair right in the bud. Zannanza was waylaid whilst journeying to Egypt and was killed. Amkhesenamen was gutted. On his part, the Hittite King was so incandescent with rage that he invaded Canaan, which was under Egyptian hegemony, and appended much of the territory to Hatti.
Be that as it may, Amkhesenamen was adamant that she could marry Horemheb only over her dead body. Acknowledging that the iron-willed lady simply would not budge, Ephraim then suggested that she and he marry to ensure the throne remained firmly in the hands of the Josephite clan. Although Ephraim was significantly older than her, Amkhesenamen meekly gave ground. Thus it was that Ephraim took the Egyptian throne as Pharaoh Aye in 1352 BC, with Amkhesenamen supplanting her great-aunt Tey (Aye’s first wife) as the Chief Wife.
When Horemheb returned from Asia (he scarcely knew what had transpired as in those days of no mass media and telecommunications, news travelled glacially slowly), he found Ephraim already ensconced as Pharaoh. In order to at once placate him and co-opt him into the royal dynasty, Horemheb was offered a princess of his choice for espousal. He chose Benretmut, the younger sister of Nefertiti (Moses’ senior wife). Benretmut was a true-blue Egyptian royal. She had the blood of Amenhotep III (her father) and Tuthmosis IV (her grandfather). Horemheb already had a first wife, Amenia, but she too was supplanted in prestige by the well-connected Benretmut.
HOREMHEB SEIZES POWER
Yet Ephraim as the new pharaoh did not go far enough in endearing himself to the obviously disaffected and disgruntled Horemheb. Whereas under King Tut Horemheb was army commander, under Ephraim he was no more than 2IC. The rank of army general was given to Nakht Min, who was a relative of Ephraim on his father’s side, which made him a Hykso-Hebrew. To add insult to injury, Ephraim not only adopted General Min as his son but went on to declare him his successor, as some Roman emperors would later do post- first century AD.
It goes without saying that Horemheb was indignant at this virtual snub when King Tut had held him in very high esteem. In any case, Horemheb had always begrudged the Josephite clan. To him, Moses, Aaron, Tut, and Ephraim were all foreigners in that they all were offspring of Joseph, who did not have a single drop of Egyptian blood in him. Of the last six pharaohs, the only true Egyptians, so Horemheb reckoned, were Thutmosis IV and Amenhotep III: the rest were infiltrators whose aim was to steal the Egyptian throne from the sons of the soil and firmly ensconce it in the hands of the Hykso-Hebrew usurpers. Horemheb’s dim view of the Josephite scions was the reason he settled for Benretmut, who was not related to Joseph in any way, shape, or form.
Horemheb’s aversion to the Amarna regime (the pharaohs Moses, Aaron, Tut, and Ephraim) was shared by the dissident establishment in the corridors of Egyptian power. They too resented the Amarna stranglehold on the Egyptian throne. They thus rooted for a true Egyptian to reclaim the throne. They were particularly incensed that Horemheb, an indigenous Egyptian, not only had been elbowed out by Ephraim but he had been sidestepped in the line of succession in favour of another Hykso-Hebrew in Nakht Min, thus perpetuating Hykso-Hebrew control of Egypt.
For the first three years of Ephraim’s rule, Horemheb served him loyally and dutifully but all he was doing was biding his time. Then in year four, he struck. Ephraim was overthrown and both he and his anointed heir Nakht Min were killed. The dude at the helm now was Horemheb. The year was 1348 BC. Horemheb’s power grab ended the Armana era, which lasted a total of 33 years. The number 33 is of special Masonic significance. That Horemheb shot himself to power in the 33rd year of Amarna rule was no coincidence.
THE PHARAOH OF THE OPPRESSION
The name Horemheb means “Triumph of Horus,” one of the most popular of Egyptian gods. In a war both of vengeance (in relation to Set’s killing of Osiris, father to Horus) and the control of Egypt, Horus trounced Set and ejected him from Egypt. No doubt, Horemheb saw himself as Horus and the now terminated Amarna kings as a Setean cabal. Indeed, his coronation text formally credited “my god Horus” for establishing him on the throne. Indigenous Egyptians now ruled Egypt. The country had been redeemed from the iron grip of the Hykso-Hebrews.
Upon taking the throne, Horemheb appointed Pa-Ramses, a supine henchman of his, as army commander as well as his first vizier, thus making him the most powerful man in Egypt after Horemheb himself. Pa-Ramses’ son, Seti, was appointed deputy army commander and second vizier. Both Pa-Ramses and Seti would in future take turns as pharaohs of Egypt. That all the first four pharaohs after King Tut – Ephraim, Horemheb, Ramses I, and Seti – were from the ranks of the army attests to just what a sway the army had on the politics of Egypt.
HOREMHEB IS THE PHARAOH DESCRIBED IN EXODUS 1:8 AS “A NEW KING OVER EGYPT WHICH KNEW NOT JOSEPH”. But the proper rendering of this statement should have been of a king who was “not related” to Joseph. Joseph died during the rule of his son Ephraim and therefore Horemheb must have been well-acquainted with him. What set Horemheb apart from his four predecessors was that he was not descended from Joseph.
In fact, he was an implacable enemy of the Hykso-Hebrews. Under his rule, it were the Hykso-Hebrews he targeted first and foremost and saw to it that he made a misery of their lives. As such, he has become known to scholars who place him in that timeframe as the Pharaoh of the Oppression. The Hykso-Hebrews abounded in the Goshen region in the eastern delta and were concentrated at Avaris and Zaru.
Since Pa-Ramses came from the eastern delta, he was also entrusted with the post of Mayor of Zaru and Overseer of the Fortress of Zaru. Pa-Ramses seemed to have devoted himself to making the Hykso-Hebrews lives “bitter with hard bondage, in mortar, and in brick, and in all manner of service in the field”. In the olden days before the time of Thutmosis IV, Zaru used to be a fortress prison. Under Thutmosis IV, it was rehabilitated as one of Egypt’s principal garrison cities.
Horemheb decided to restore it to the prison it used to be and had Pa-Ramses conscript the Hebrew-Hyksos and set them to the harsh work of rebuilding it along the lines of a prison-city. Pa-Ramses personally supervised the project, seeing to it that Hebrew-Hyksos were subjected to the harshest labour imaginable just out of sheer callousness and not because of desperate necessity.
Once the reconstruction was complete, Pa-Ramses gathered all the hardcore criminals both from among the Hykso-Hebrews and the Egyptians and massed them into the prison-city, with the Egyptian criminals under express instructions to ensure they made hell of the lot of Hykso-Hebrew prisoners. Because Zaru was reconstructed under the mayoralship of Pa-Ramses, the Bible causes it Pi-Ramses. But it was the plush residence of Pa-Ramses, again built on Hykso-Hebrew slave labour, that Egyptians dubbed Pi-Ramses.
HOREMHEB SETS OUT TO ERASE MEMORY OF AMARNA STREAK
When Horemheb came to power, his aim was to tippex into oblivion the memory of the Amarna Kings, who he regarded as foreign encroachers and appropriators of Egypt’s monarchical institution. As such, he went to unseemly lengths to ensure they were rendered obscure to posterity and even in the annals of the world altogether.
The names of the four Amarna Kings were removed from the official Kings’ List of the 18th Dynasty and all other Egyptian records for that matter, so that the next king after Amenhotep III was listed as Horemheb himself. Horemheb was so phenomenally successful in this purge that for the next 3000 years, the world was unaware totally that once upon a time, Egypt was ruled by pharaohs Akhenaten, Smenkhkare, Tutankhamen, and Aye.
All the standing monuments of the Amarna Kings, including their milestone installations, were systematically dismantled. For example, Ephraim’s titulary, which was carved on the back of a towering 17-ft statue, was deleted and Horemheb’s own was carved in its place. In an extreme act of sacrillege, Ephraim’s tomb was ransacked: his sarcophagus was smashed to pieces and his name was chiseled out of the tomb. Although Horemheb spared, by and large, King Tut’s tomb, obviously on account of the fact that it was under his rule that he rose to prominence, he still replaced many of Tut’s cartouches with his own.
In the wide-ranging judicial reforms that he instituted, Horemheb laid down strict reprisals even for crimes that were not felonies as such but were simply misdemeanours. One such barbarism was the decree that all those who misappropriated monies meant to boost the national fiscus, such as tax receipts, were to have their noses hacked off before being taken to the fortress prison at Zaru, there to die a slow and agonising death.
The Theban priesthood were not entirely left to their own devices either. They were allowed unfettered religious freedom alright, but their ranks were heavily diluted with deployees from the army whose allegiance first and foremost was to the pharaoh and only secondarily to matters of faith. That way, Horemheb intended to ensure that the priesthood did not undermine his authority or secretly connive with pro-Armana dissidents to oust him.
HOREMHEB HAUNTED BY MOSES
Of the four Armana Kings, two were dead. Of the two who were alive, that is, Moses and Aaron, it was Moses who represented the greater threat to Horemheb: it didn’t matter that he was no longer based on Egyptian soil but was practically in another country. It transpired that the Cult of the Aten that Moses had pioneered and fiercely championed as pharaoh did not die with his departure: in point of fact, it had been gaining ground in the intervening years.
A great number of Egyptians had adopted Atenism and were no longer a peripheral religious constituency. Horemheb feared that if these continued to rally in force and make a great deal of politico-religious commotion, they would transform into a serious pro-Moses movement that could pose a serious threat to his rule. Horemheb thus decided to put his foot down and drown away the potential clamour for the return of Moses.
In what one scholar has termed the ruthless Amunism of Horemheb (his fanatical devotion to Amen-Ra-Marduk), Horemheb declared Moses his Enemy No. 1. He prohibited the worship of Aten and designated the very mention of the name Akhenaten punishable by death. In public pronouncements, Moses was referred to as the Fallen One of Akhetaten (the original name of Amarna); the Scoundrel of Akhetaten; or the Rebel of Akhetaten. Egyptians who secretly continued to venerate Aten were dubbed “Polluted Persons”. The monuments that Moses had erected and which were still standing up to the time of Ephraim were pulled down and the rabble thereof used as part of the building material for Horemheb’s pylons.
With the mention of Akhenaten’s name outlawed, his underground followers had decided to come up with a coded name. This was Mos, or Mosis. In the Egyptian language of the day, Mos had two meanings. One was “son” and the other was “the rightful son and heir”, the “Royal Mosis”. To his followers, Akhenaten was not only the firstborn son of Amenhotep III, the 8th Pharaoh of the 18th Dynasty, but he remained the rightful King of Egypt given the circumstances under which he left office.
IT WAS THE MONIKER MOSIS WHICH IN THE HEBREW VERSION OF BIBLE APPEARS AS MOSHE AND AS MOSES IN ENGLISH TRANSLATIONS. Says the renowned Egyptologist Ahmed Osman: “The biblical editor, who may not have had any knowledge of the original name of the greatest Jewish leader, attempted to put forward a Hebrew explanation of the Egyptian word Moses in order to sever any possible link between Moses and Egypt.”
Horemheb has been characterised by scholars as akin to the Spanish dictator Franco. But his reign was not entirely without its bright spots. He was “a prolific builder who erected numerous temples and buildings throughout Egypt”. Under him, “power and confidence were once again restored after the internal chaos of the Armana period”. For that he deserves a bit of credit and not wholesale pillorying.
Seventy-seven years ago, on the evening of December 2, 1943, the Germans launched a surprise air raid on allied shipping in the Italian port of Bari, which was then the key supply centre for the British 8th army’s advance in Italy.
The attack was spearheaded by 105 Junkers JU88 bombers under the overall command of the infamous Air Marshal Wolfram von Richthofen (who had initially achieved international notoriety during the Spanish Civil War for his aerial bombardment of Guernica). In a little over an hour the German aircraft succeeded in sinking 28 transport and cargo ships, while further inflicting massive damage to the harbour’s facilities, resulting in the port being effectively put out of action for two months.
Over two thousand ground personnel were killed during the raid, with the release of a secret supply of mustard gas aboard one of the destroyed ships contributing to the death toll, as well as subsequent military and civilian casualties. The extent of the later is a controversy due to the fact that the American and British governments subsequently covered up the presence of the gas for decades.
At least five Batswana were killed and seven critically wounded during the raid, with one of the wounded being miraculously rescued floating unconscious out to sea with a head wound. He had been given up for dead when he returned to his unit fourteen days later. The fatalities and casualties all occurred when the enemy hit an ammunition ship adjacent to where 24 Batswana members of the African Pioneer Corps (APC) 1979 Smoke Company where posted.
Thereafter, the dozen surviving members of the unit distinguished themselves for their efficiency in putting up and maintaining smokescreens in their sector, which was credited with saving additional shipping. For his personal heroism in rallying his men following the initial explosions Company Corporal Chitu Bakombi was awarded the British Empire Medal, while his superior officer, Lieutenant N.F. Moor was later given an M.B.E.
Remember: bricks and cement are used to build a house, but mutual love, respect and companionship are used to build a HOME. And amongst His signs is this: He creates for you mates out of your own kind, so that you may find contentment (Sukoon) with them, and He engenders love and tenderness between you; in this behold, there are signs (messages) indeed for people who reflect and think (Quran 30:21).
This verse talks about contentment; this implies companionship, of their being together, sharing together, supporting one another and creating a home of peace. This verse also talks about love between them; this love is both physical and emotional. For love to exist it must be built on the foundation of a mutually supportive relationship guided by respect and tenderness. As the Quran says; ‘they are like garments for you, and you are garments for them (Quran 2:187)’. That means spouses should provide each other with comfort, intimacy and protection just as clothing protects, warms and dignifies the body.
In Islam marriage is considered an ‘ibaadah’, (an act of pleasing Allah) because it is about a commitment made to each other, that is built on mutual love, interdependence, integrity, trust, respect, companionship and harmony towards each other. It is about building of a home on an Islamic foundation in which peace and tranquillity reigns wherein your offspring are raised in an atmosphere conducive to a moral and upright upbringing so that when we all stand before Him (Allah) on that Promised Day, He will be pleased with them all.
Most marriages start out with great hopes and rosy dreams; spouses are truly committed to making their marriages work. However, as the pressures of life mount, many marriages change over time and it is quite common for some of them to run into problems and start to flounder as the reality of living with a spouse that does not meet with one’s pre-conceived ‘expectations’. However, with hard work and dedication, couples can keep their marriages strong and enjoyable. How is it done? What does it take to create a long-lasting, satisfying marriage?
Below are some of the points that have been taken from a marriage guidance article I read recently and adapted for this purposes.
POSITIVITY Spouses should have far more positive than negative interactions. If there is too much negativity — criticizing, demanding, name-calling, holding grudges, etc. — the relationship will suffer. However, if there is never any negativity, it probably means that frustrations and grievances are not getting ‘air time’ and unresolved tension is accumulating inside one or both partners waiting to ‘explode’ one day.
“Let not some men among you laugh at others: it may be that the (latter) are better than the (former): nor let some women laugh at others: it may be that the (latter) are better than the (former): nor defame nor be sarcastic to each other, nor call each other by (offensive) nicknames.” (49:11)
We all have our individual faults though we may not see them nor want to admit to them but we will easily identify them in others. The key is balance between the two extremes and being supportive of one another. To foster positivity in a marriage that help make them stable and happy, being affectionate, truly listening to each other, taking joy in each other’s achievements and being playful are just a few examples of positive interactions. Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said: “The believers who show the most perfect faith are those who have the best character and the best of you are those who are best to their wives”
Another characteristic of happy marriages is empathy; understanding your spouses’ perspective by putting oneself in his or her shoes. By showing that understanding and identifying with your spouse is important for relationship satisfaction. Spouses are more likely to feel good about their marriage and if their partner expresses empathy towards them. Husbands and wives are more content in their relationships when they feel that their partners understand their thoughts and feelings.
Successful married couples grow with each other; it simply isn’t wise to put any person in charge of your happiness. You must be happy with yourself before anyone else can be. You are responsible for your actions, your attitudes and your happiness. Your spouse just enhances those things in your life. Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said: “Treat your women well and be kind to them for they are your partners and committed helpers.”
Successful marriages involve both spouses’ commitment to the relationship. The married couple should learn the art of compromise and this usually takes years. The largest parts of compromise are openness to the other’s point of view and good communication when differences arise.
When two people are truly dedicated to making their marriage work, despite the unavoidable challenges and obstacles that come, they are much more likely to have a relationship that lasts. Husbands and wives who only focus on themselves and their own desires are not as likely to find joy and satisfaction in their relationships.
Another basic need in a relationship is each partner wants to feel valued and respected. When people feel that their spouses truly accept them for who they are, they are usually more secure and confident in their relationships. Often, there is conflict in marriage because partners cannot accept the individual preferences of their spouses and try to demand change from one another. When one person tries to force change from another, he or she is usually met with resistance.
However, change is much more likely to occur when spouses respect differences and accept each other unconditionally. Basic acceptance is vital to a happy marriage. Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said: “It is the generous (in character) who is good to women, and it is the wicked who insults them.” “Overlook (any human faults) with gracious forgiveness.” (Quran 15:85)
COMPASSION, MUTUAL LOVE AND RESPECT
Other important components of successful marriages are love, compassion and respect for each other. The fact is, as time passes and life becomes increasingly complicated, the marriage is often stressed and suffers as a result. A happy and successful marriage is based on equality. When one or the other dominates strongly, intimacy is replaced by fear of displeasing.
It is all too easy for spouses to lose touch with each other and neglect the love and romance that once came so easily. It is vital that husbands and wives continue to cultivate love and respect for each other throughout their lives. If they do, it is highly likely that their relationships will remain happy and satisfying. Move beyond the fantasy and unrealistic expectations and realize that marriage is about making a conscious choice to love and care for your spouse-even when you do not feel like it.
Seldom can one love someone for whom we have no respect. This also means that we have to learn to overlook and forgive the mistakes of one’s partner. In other words write the good about your partner in stone and the bad in dust, so that when the wind comes it blows away the bad and only the good remains.
Paramount of all, marriage must be based on the teachings of the Noble Qur’an and the teachings and guidance of our Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). To grow spiritually in your marriage requires that you learn to be less selfish and more loving, even during times of conflict. A marriage needs love, support, tolerance, honesty, respect, humility, realistic expectations and a sense of humour to be successful.
The past week or two has been a mixed grill of briefs in so far as the national employment picture is concerned. BDC just injected a further P64 million in Kromberg & Schubert, the automotive cable manufacturer and exporter, to help keep it afloat in the face of the COVID-19-engendered global economic apocalypse. The financial lifeline, which follows an earlier P36 million way back in 2017, hopefully guarantees the jobs of 2500, maybe for another year or two.
It was also reported that a bulb manufacturing company, which is two years old and is youth-led, is making waves in Selibe Phikwe. Called Bulb Word, it is the only bulb manufacturing operation in Botswana and employs 60 people. The figure is not insignificant in a town that had 5000 jobs offloaded in one fell swoop when BCL closed shop in 2016 under seemingly contrived circumstances, so that as I write, two or three buyers have submitted bids to acquire and exhume it from its stage-managed grave.