The Joseph Narrative (Genesis 37, 39–50)

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This article was published in the Winter 2003 issue of Bible and Spade.

The Presence of Semites in Egypt

In Middle-Kingdom Egypt of the 12th to 13th Dynasties (ca 1963–1786, 1786–1600 BC), and called by the Egyptians simply “Asiatics,” many West-Semitic-speaking individuals appear at various social levels. As the property of temples, they served, some as dancers, others as porters. As slaves, some might be handed-over as payment by the state to officials and private owners, and (as private property) could be passed on from one owner to another. 1 Such Semites occur on family monuments as domestic servants (hery-per in Egyptian), as cup bearers, as personal confidants, and even entrusted with the family cult (libating to the dead).2 Papyrus Brooklyn 35.1446 of ca. 1740 BC3 sheds vivid additional light on this situation. Of 77 people listed on its reverse as belonging to a large Egyptian household, 48 were “Asiatics,” engaged in quite varied occupations,4 bearing good West-Semitic names that find an echo in Hebrew names. Such are a Menahem, a Shipra (cf. Ex 1:15), Sakar (cf. Issachar), an Asher, an Aqob (related to Jacob).5 What is noteworthy is that this household with over two thirds of its minions being Asiatics lived not in the Delta close to the Levant but at Thebes, over 300 mi south of the Delta, some 500 mi away from south Canaan. So, the numbers of such people in the north would have been all the greater. Archaeological illustration of this situation comes from Tell el-Dab’a in the East Delta, with its extensive cemeteries of Middle Bronze Age Canaanites, Canaanite temples and pottery, etc.6

Semites entering Egypt, ca. 1870 BC, from the tomb of Khnumhotep, Beni Hasan, Egypt. Carl R. Lepsius, Denkmäler aus Aegypten und Aethiopien, Vol. IV, Ab. II, BI. 133, Berlin: Nicolai, 1949.

How did these people come to be in Egypt? For the Middle Kingdom there was very little evidence until recently by contrast with the following New Kingdom (ca. 1550–1070 BC) when conquering Pharaohs (16th to early 12th centuries BC) brought many captives from Canaan into Egypt, to be employed in state and temple servitude, some passing into private hands as slaves; Canaanite merchants also visited Egypt then. For the Middle Kingdom, we now at last have some specific data, from blocks from Memphis whose text offers us parts of two years from the annals of Amenemhat II (within ca. 1901–1866 BC).7 In this record, Asiatics enter Egypt under several circumstances. In line 8, an Egyptian force is sent into the Levant to make havoc, and (line 16) duly returns with booty including 1,554 Asiatics as prisoners. Others arrive as tribute, proffered by Semitic chiefs and rulers (line 13), so 1,002 Asiatics. Another expedition sent in two ships to Lebanon returned with a massive argosy of exotic products, and also 65 Asiatics (line 21)—most probably by trade and purchase, not by war or tribute, in this case. Thus, many a young Semite (like a Joseph) might enter Egypt as a bought slaves, as a slave sent as tribute, or as a prisoner-of-war (as in later times.)

The Hammurabi Law Code, mentioning the price of slaves.

A Question of Cost

In Genesis 37:28, we read that his brothers sold Joseph for 20 shekels of silver. The price of slaves through successive epochs of antiquity is a matter of some interest. Away back in the late third millennium BC, a decent slave fetched (on average) from 10 to 15 shekels of silver. A rate of 10 shekels was the commonest during the Third Dynasty of Ur (21st century BC).8 In the first half of the second millennium BC (esp. ca. 1800–1700), 20 shekels—as for Joseph—is the basic average price. This figure (expressed as 1/3 mina) is given as the mean in the laws of Hammurabi,9 §§116, 214,252. Precisely this figure of 20 shekels recurs in real-life documents at this same period. So, at Mari in a legal document (Boyer 1958:23, No. 10:1–4), and in other Old-Babylonian legal records of this period, as the basic and common price-tag (varying in special circumstances).10 In the later second millennium BC, the basic price of slaves crept upwards, to 30 shekels (and more) as at later 15th-Century Nuzi,11 and 14th-13th century Ugarit,12 compare the replacement-price quoted in Exodus 21:32 (30 shekels). Thereafter, in the first millennium BC, price-inflation continued. Male slaves in Assyria fetched 50/60 shekels,13 compare for the eighth century BC, the ransom-price of 50 shekels exacted by Menahem of Israel from his notables to pay Assyrian tribute (2 Kgs 15:20). In the post-exilic Persian Empire period, slave-prices simply took off, running up to 90 or even 120 shekels, for example.14 Thus, Joseph at 20 shekels fits the early second millennium BC, Exodus at 30 shekels fits the later second millennium BC, Menahem at 50 shekels fits the early first millennium BC, and none of these fit the altogether higher prices of the later exilic and post-exilic periods.

Reception room of a large early Hyksos palace at Tell el-Dab’a, Egypt, ca. 1800 BC.

What’s in a Name?

On his appointment to office as the pharaoh’s chief minister, Joseph was given an Egyptian name, Zaphenath-pa’aneah (in English form) and an Egyptian wife Asenath, daughter of a Potiphera, (high) priest of On (i.e., Heliopolis)—Genesis 41:45—the latter’s name being reminiscent of his former employer’s (Potiphar, Gn 39:1). Naturally, these outlandish names have attracted much comment. Regarding Zaphenath-pa’aneah, the suggestion of C. Steindorff, a century ago, has enjoyed wide, not to say dogmatic acceptance (1889:41–42; 1892:50–52). He understood it as Egyptian Dje(d)pa Nute(r) (e)f-’ankh, to be translated “The God has said: ‘he will live’!”15 This particular type of name (Djed DEITY ef-’ankh) is very well attested from the late 20th Dynasty down to the 26th Dynasty and after, say ca. 1100–500 BC.16 But this particular form of the name, with “God” instead of a named deity, is still purely theoretical,17 and may be purely imaginary.18 Its theoretical status is not the only problem. It is, by meaning, a birth-name, the kind given to a child at birth (as various scholars have pointed out) and hence eminently unsuitable for Joseph at 30 years old.19

Thus, we are fully entitled to present a better solution to Zaphenath-pa’aneah if it exists.20 Quite some time ago, this writer presented precisely such a solution, but only in brief (1962; 1980); hence, a slightly fuller treatment is in order here. The Hebrew “name” is rather long and falls into two parts. The second half clearly contains the Egyptian word ‘ankh, “life/to live,” as is almost universally conceded; before it is some element containing p or f. The first half, conversely, seems much more “Semitic” at first sight: Zaphenath is directly reminiscent of the common Semitic root zaphan,21 and of very little in Egyptian.22 However, if a simple metathesis of the p and t be conceded, giving Zat(h)nap(h) for Zap(h)nat(h), then the situation is radically different. Zatnap corresponds precisely to Egyptian djad(u)-naf, “who is called...,” introducing a second name after the first-for example, “Ankhu djad(u)-naf Hedjeri” means “Ankhu called Hedjeri.” In its masculine and feminine forms, this construction appears in the Middle Kingdom (from ca. 2000 BC), and stayed in use into the New Kingdom to at least the 18th Dynasty.23 The verbal variant of this construction, djad tu-naf (and feminine equivalent) was current mainly from the 18th Dynasty (ca. 1550–1300 BC) onwards, into the Later Period.24 Thus the construction is superabundantly attested in Egyptian, in two closely-similar forms, covering between them the period of ca. 2000–600 BC.25 But is the assumption of metathesis justified? The answer is “yes.” It is a common feature when names and words transfer from one language into another. Compare the k/s and s/k sounds in Greek (Al)eksandros and Arabic Iskander; or the Hurro-Hittite Ini-Tesub becoming in Egyptian Ini-Tebus. Or in the Bible itself, Egyptian Taharqa becoming in Hebrew Tirhaqah. And not least with our name itself Hebrew Zapnat becomes in the Greek of the LXX Psonth... The reason in our case (Djat-naf to Zapnat) is very simple. The consonantal succession was totally foreign to a Semitic speaker and writer, so it was switched to a sequence that was very familiar, z-p-n(-t). Hence, there is no problem in accepting Zapnat from Egyptian Djad(u)-naf.26

The second half of the name (“pa’aneah”) is very straightforward. As Engelbach long ago foresaw, names of the type Pa(i)ankh are very rare and unsatisfactory. But at least two other better solutions exist. One is to understand (E)fankh, as in the birth-name solution, but as an independent name. Such a name is attested from Middle-Kingdom times to the Greek period (Ranke 1935:14:5). The other, far better-based solution is to understand Pa’aneah as Egyptian (I)p-ankh or (I)pi-ankh or (I)pu-ankh, closely-related variants of each other (Ranke 1935:21:30; 22:16; 23:18). These are very common in the Middle Kingdom, but not any later. So, at court, the pharaoh is to be envisaged as calling his new minister Yosep djad-naf (I)pi-ankh, “Joseph called (I)pi-ankh.” In Hebrew the link-word djad-naf and name proper (I)p-’ankh were simply taken over as one epithet of Joseph. The case of a foreigner in Egypt being given an Egyptian name introduced by djad-naf now known to be a very common one, from the Middle Kingdom, as Papyrus Brooklyn 35.1446 of the 18th century BC makes very clear (Hayes 1955:99–102).

Joseph’s wife Asenath also bears an Egyptian name. But which? The classic explanation owed to Sethe (1899: §223,l)was to derive it from Egyptian Nes-neit (“she belongs to [the goddess] Neit,”), with elision of initial n, giving Es-neit. For this, we have cuneiform and Greek transcriptional evidence during the first millennium BC. However, this name is not attested, it is theoretical, although there are plenty of other such names compounded with those of other deities—(N)es-Amun, (N)es-Hor, etc. (Ranke 1935:173–80, passim). And, as Spiegelberg objected (1904:18–19), the a-vowel in Hebrew Asenath and LXX Greek Asen(n)eth did not agree with the e-vocalization of the (N)es-names. He therefore suggested a name Iu.s-en-Neit (pronounced As-en-Neit) instead. This, too, is unattested; it has a parallel with one other deity—Mut is attested.27 The, pronounced As-en-, is certainly preferable to Sethe’s (N)es. But the ancient goddess Neith is rather rare in personal names—she belonged mainly in Sais in the West Delta, whence we have almost no data on personal names. In the East Delta, at Heliopolis, she would not be expected to occur in names. Is there an alternative? Again, yes. We have men called Iuf-ni, “he belongs to me” (spoken by a parent), and commonly women called Ius-ni, “she belongs to me” (ditto), well-attested in the Middle Kingdom (Ranke 1935:14:7 and 15:4, respectively). We have women called Ius-n-ites and Ius-en-mutes, meaning “she belongs to her father” and “she belongs to her mother” (Ranke 1935:15:1, 7, respectively; of Middle Kingdom date). We have a man called Iuf-en-at, probably “he belongs to you” (fem.), i.e. to his mother (Ranke 1935:14:12, of the First Intermediate Period/early Middle Kingdom). From this, it is a very short step indeed to suggest that our Asenat(h) is simply Ius-en-at, “she belongs to you” (fem.), in exactly the same way, and pronounced As-en-at. This explanation for Asenath eliminates the unrealistic link with Neith, fits the vocalic pattern in Hebrew and Egyptian, and derives from an attested name (even if in the masculine only at present).

Mummy of Ramesses II, Pharaoh of Egypt 1279–1213 BC. Egyptian Museum, Cairo.

There remain Potiphar and Potiphera. The universally acceptable interpretation of Potiphera is that it is from the Egyptian Pa-di-Pre, “the gift of the (god) Re,” a well-known type of name (Pa-di-DEITY), and in fact attested just once on a stela in Cairo Museum, attributed to the 21st Dynasty (=ca. 1070–945 BC), but quite possibly later (Hamada 1939:273–76, pl. 39). It is also usually conceded that Potiphar is simply the same as Potiphera with the final ‘ayin consonant omitted. This is possible, but leaves one very skeptical—but I have no good alternative to this suggestion at present.28 Pre is merely a variant of Re (the sun-god), with the definite article prefixed; it is attested from the 19th Dynasty (Sethos I/Ramesses II), 13th century BC. The name Pa-di-Re (without P of Pre) was reported on funerary cones from Thebes, attributed to the 18th Dynasty, and the first examples of the similar name Pa-di-Khons to the New Kingdom.29 However this may be, we certainly have the name Pa-di-su-er-nehah in the time of Sethos I, ca. 1290 BC (Spiegelberg 1896:23, pl. X.a: Verso II.1.a; Kitchen 1975:269; in English, Kitchen 1993:223 [end]). Thus, the Egyptian original of Potiphera (and possibly of Potiphar) would not date before the 19th Dynasty (13th century BC) and could be current long after. The name-form Pa-di-DEITY (and in the feminine, Ta-di(t)-DEITY) is simply a modernized Late-Egyptian form of an earlier type of name: Dd(w)-DEITY, feminine Ddt-DEITY, “gift of (DEITY).”30 In the early 18th Dynasty, in the 16th-15th centuries BC, we have a transitional form of name in this category, attested (so far) only in the feminine version: Ta-didi(t)-es, “The one that she [=goddess] has given,” lit. “the gift of her” [=goddess].31 The masculine would be: *Pa-didi-(DEITY or pronoun-suffix). Given the clear existence of the sequence of types of name with the same meaning: Didi-X, then *Padidi-X Ta-didi(t)-X, then Pa-di-X, it is possible to suggest that in fact Joseph’s father-in-law was originally called *Didj..Re a name which became later (if not *Pa-didi-(P)Re) the present Pa-di-Pre.

To sum up, Zaphenath-pa’aneah (Joseph) could either derive from a purely theoretical name of a known type, but of unsuitable application (12th-fifth centuries BC) or from a commonly and solidly attested link-word and name having no problems (link-word, Middle/New Kingdoms, and one variant still later; name, overwhelmingly Middle Kingdom). The best suggestion for Asenath has a very close relative in the Middle Kingdom, the second best (type, Asen-Neit) would occur in the Middle and New Kingdoms in principle; the Late-Period equivalent, *(N)es-Neit is in every way inferior (unattested; wrong vocalization, etc.). Potiphera is of a form that began in the New Kingdom, going on through the Late Period; it is simply the modernized form of an older type of name with the same meaning (going back massively to the Middle Kingdom.)

Other News in Brief

Semites in High Office in Egypt

Not all Levantines in Egypt remained on the bottom rungs of its society. With particular skills, some climbed into broadly “middle-class” niches. Such were an “Asiatic and Chief Craftsman, Tawti” (=“David”) and his colleague “the Chief Craftsman Epir” (cf. Ephron) from a 19th/18th century BC stela in Rio de Janeiro.32 Half a millennium later, ca. 1280 BC, we have a family of seven generations of Chief Draughtsmen of (the Temple of) Amun, whose founder Pada-Baal (“Baal has redeemed”) entered Egypt ca. 1450 BC. He married a lady with a Hurrian name (Ibri-kul), his male descendants married girls sometimes of Semitic background, sometimes Egyptian, down to Didia whose own mother and mother-in-law were each called Tal, “Dewdrop,” in good West-Semitic.33 In the New Kingdom, at the highest levels, we find such people as (e.g.) Urhiya (Hurrian for “True one”), a general under Sethos I, and his son Yupa (Canaanite, “fine/handsome”) (Ruffle 1979 and Kitchen 1979). Going back to the late Middle Kingdom, still higher, we have the Superintendent of the (Royal) Seal or “Chancellor,” Hur, well-known from numerous scarab-seals ca. 17th/16th centuries BC.34 Joseph’s appointment would be at this level, as a supremo, personally responsible to the pharaoh, or as a vizier. In New-Kingdom times, we have scenes of presentations of the royal seal to the highest dignitaries, or their mention of this—so, Huy, Viceroy of Nubia (under Tutankhamun), and Nebwenenef, High Priest of Amun (under Ramesses II).35 And from early times (third millennium BC onward), many royal officials bore the title “Seal-bearer of the King.”36 And some Semites even ascended the throne briefly in the 18th century BC before the Hyksos kings took over. Such were “Ameny the Asiatic” and the kings Khandjer (name, Semitic hanzir, “boar”).

Asiatic and Nubian slaves making bricks for the Temple of Amun at Karnak. From the Tomb of Rekh-Mi-Re, a vizier, at Thebes, ca. 1470-1445 B.C.

“Death comes as the End”

Both Jacob (Gn 50:2–3) and Joseph (Gn 50:26) were reportedly embalmed at their deaths in Egypt. But the old man requested that he be buried in the ancestral family tomb, back in Canaan—in effect, to be gathered to his fathers, like so many people there in the Middle Bronze Age,37 in the Late Bronze Age,38 and into the Iron Age under the Hebrew kingdoms (Bloch-Smith 1992). However, of Joseph it is stated that “he was put in a coffin in Egypt” (with a deferred hope of being reburied in Canaan). He and his family thus appear as being more assimilated to Egyptian cultural usages than old Jacob. Other Semites, too, ended up “in a coffin in Egypt”—from the late Middle Kingdom/Hyksos epoch, one thinks of the coffin of that indubitable Semite ‘Abdu, of the 17th/16th centuries BC, containing also a handsome dagger of one Nahman (another good West-Semitic name) bearing the cartouche of the Hyksos king Apopi.39 In later periods, most especially the New Kingdom, other foreigners entered even more fully into Egyptian ways, and had completely Egyptian tombs; one thinks again (at random) of general Urhiya mentioned above (Malek 1979:661, “Iurokhy”). And, of course, much later—witness Carian tombstones in Saite and Persian-period Egypt (Boardman 1980:137/8, and figs. 158–59).

Reproduced by permission from He Swore an Oath: Biblical Themes from Genesis 12–50, ed. R.S. Hess, P.E. Satterthwaite and G.J. Wenham, Tyndale House, Cambridge, England, 1993, pages 77–89.

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1. Cf. Posener 1957: 151-52, citing the Illahun papyri of ca.1800 BC.
2. References in Posener 1957: 154, 155, citing various stelae.
3. Hayes 1955; for a discussion of its foreign personal names, see Albright 1954: 222-23; see also Posener 1957: 147-63; and for a brief note on the possible relevance of the papyrus for OT studies, see Kitchen 1957: 1-2.
4. E.g. domestic servants (hery-per) (cf. Gn 39:2); brewers, cooks, tutors/guardians; women as cloth-makers, hairdressers and storekeepers; cf. Hayes 1955: 103-108 and table.
5. Details, see Albright 1954; Posener 1957: 148-50.
6. For a convenient brief account, see Bietak 1986: 236-63, 283-88, 291-95. On subsequent work there, cf. Bietak 1991.
7. Altenmüller and Moussa 1991; supplemented by Malek and Quirke 1992.
8. See the list of prices (from extremes of 2/3 shekel up to 55 shekels) in Falkenstein 1956: 88-90; here two-thirds of the examples are of 8 to 10 shekels. Similarly for the earlier empire of Akkad, cf. Mendelsohn 1949: 117 and n. 164; for an examination of particular classes, 10 cases of 9-15 shekels, 4 of 20 shekels, 2 in between, plus a few very cheap or very dear, cf. Edzard 1968: 87, Table 5 and the references there.
9. Translations, e.g. in Meek 1969: 170, 175, 176.
10. See, e.g. Van De Mieroop 1987: 10, 11. References for Old-Babylonian slave-prices within a 15-30 shekel span (averaging just over 22 shekels) may be found in Falkenstein 1956: 88, n. 5 end; cf. the earlier study of Meissner 1936: 34 and the references there.
11. Cf. Eichler 1973: 16 and n. 35, and the texts listed, 17-18.
12. Briefly dealt with by Mendelsohn 1949: 118 and n. 181.
13. Cf. the list in Johns 1924: 542-46. For the Neo-Babylonian period see also Meissner 1920: 365-66 and the references there; also 1936: 35-36.
14. Meissner 1920: 366; 1936: 36; Mendelsohn 1949: 117 and n. 174 (additional references).
15. So, with Ranke 1935: 409—12, passim for the related names; Steindorff had translated "the god spoke and he lives."
16. For examples with various deities, see Ranke 1935 Kitchen 1986 index, 501-502. There is no warrant whatsoever for referring such names only or mainly to the 26th Dynasty.
17. Alan Rowe’s claim that this name had been found in a text at Bubastis, reported by W.F. Albright (1952: 56, n. 15) has never been substantiated; all mention of it disappeared in Albright’s later works (1963: 98, n. 27, and 1955: 31); hence it must be disregarded unless definite evidence be produced.
18. A.R. Schulman remarked of this reconstructed name, "I do not think that an exact original prototype [of Djed-pa-nuter-ef-ankh]...will ever be found in the Egyptian documents, for I doubt that it ever existed." He considered it a Hebrew construct of Egyptian type, not origin (1975: 241).
19. For a list of some objectors, see Schulman 1975: 240, n. 26. Schulman’s suggestion (241) that Joseph’s appointment marked "the beginning of a new life for him," and that hence a birth-name would not come amiss, seems implausible. A Hebrew narrator looking for an Egyptian name had plenty to choose from other than this kind.
20. We may safely lay aside both the philologically brilliant but onomatologically improbable solution offered by J. Vergote (1959: 142-46) based on a conflation of the LXX and Masoretic forms, and the weird and wonderful equivalents produced by some early investigators (for a sampling, see Vergote 1959: 151-52).
21. For Hebrew, see Brown, Driver and Briggs 1963: 860-61; for Aramaic and Phoenician, see Jean and Hoftijzer 1965: 246; for Amarna Canaanite, see Gelb, Landsberger and Oppenheim 1962: 96b; for Ugaritic, see Gordon 1965: 475:2185. Here and in what follows, I use a simplified transcription of Egyptian and Semitic names, for technical reasons.
22. In Erman and Grapow (1931: 568, 571-72), there is no root dj-p-n, and only four items under di-f-n (three of Graeco-Roman date).
23. See the references given by Erman and Grapow (1931); Erman and Grapow 1953: 92, to p. 623:1.
24. Erman and Grapow (1931: 568, 571-72; 1953: 92, to p. 623:1). In Papyrus Brooklyn 35.1446, a variant iw djad.tu-naf occurs, taking this construction back to ca.1800 BC; see Hayes 1955: 1:5, 6, 10, etc.
25. This solution was partly foreseen by Engelbach (1924: 204-206), but he did not work out the philological details, nor provide a solution to the pa‘aneah segment.
26. In Djad, "say/call," the d would normally become a t, and by the Late Period (1100 BC onwards) dropped away completely; but in this construction, the d > t would be protected by the following na.f in status pronominalis, as in feminine nouns with suffixes (cf. Gardiner 1957: §78, obs., and p. 432 end). The verbal suffix .t(u) would coalesce with (or even replace) the d > t of the djad to which it was affixed. Either way, the result is a djad/t-naf, from the Middle Kingdom to at least the New Kingdom and probably later. For another metathesis from Egyptian into Semitic (r and n), cf. Eg. Bakenranef (as *Bukun-rinip) appearing in Assyrian as Bukur-ninip in Ranke 1910: 27.
27. Ranke 1935: 15:3, of New-Kingdom date. Slightly modified, this is accepted by Vergote (1959: 149-50).
28. The name Potiphar (no ’ayin) is incised in Hebrew or Aramaic script (mid-first millennium BC?) on an Egyptian sacred-eye amulet (Michailides Collection); see Leibovitch 1943: 87-90, fig. 25. The amulet may be genuine; but has the Semitic epigraph been scratched on in more recent times?
29. References in Ranke 1935: 124:16 (after Daressy) for Pa-di-Re; 125:21 for Pa-di-Khons.
30. For these names, which abound in the Middle Kingdom, cf. Ranke 1935: 401-404, passim.
31. In tombs of Paheri and Qenamun (Ranke 1935: 375:3, 4).
32. Full publication, Kitchen and Beltrão 1991, 1: 64/65-66/67; 2: pl. 45; on the foreigners, cf. Kitchen 1990: 635-38; and 1991: 88-89 with fig., p. 90.
33. The family of Didia, especially on Louvre C.50; see Lowle 1976: 91-106, figs. 1-2, pls. I-II; also Kitchen 1993: 265-69, and Forthcoming a: 19-21; for notes, Kitchen 1993/4: 222-26, and Forthcoming b.
34. There are many examples in Martin 1971: 78-85:984-1088a, pls. 28-42A, passim. For the name, cf. Hebrew Hur (Brown, Driver and Briggs 1963: 301a).
35. For the former, see Davies and Gardiner 1926: 10f, pls. V, VI, left (before the king, pl. IV); for the latter, Kitchen 1983: 47.
36. Examples, Middle Kingdom, Ward 1982: 170:1472; Fischer 1985: 86:1472.
37. As (e.g.) at Jericho, cf. Kenyon 1960 and 1965, passim.
38. In brief, cf. (e.g.) Gonen 1992: 240-41, when single-pit burial also came into use.
39. Cf. Daressy 1906: 118-19 and pl. (dagger); Lacau 1906: 86-87 [28108], pl. 19:1, 2 (typical Middle-Kingdom box-coffin).


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1955 A Papyrus of the Late Middle Kingdom. New York: The Brooklyn Museum.

Jean, C.-F., and Hoftijzer, J.
1965 Dictionnaire des inscriptions sémitiques de l’ouest. Leiden: Brill.

Johns, C.H.W.
1924 Assyrian Deeds and Documents 3. Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press.

Kenyon, K.M.
1960 Jericho 1. London: British School of Archaeology in Jerusalem.
1965 Jericho 2. London: British School of Archaeology in Jerusalem.

Kitchen, K.A.
1957 A Recently Published Egyptian Papyrus and Its Bearing on the Joseph Story. The Tyndale House Bulletin 2:1–2.
1962 Zaphenath-Paneah. P. 1353 in The New Bible Dictionary, ed. J.D. Douglas. London: InterVarsity.
1975 Ramesside Inscriptions 1. Oxford, England: Blackwell.
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1993/1994 Ramesside Inscriptions, Notes and Comments, 1. Oxford: Blackwell.
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Forthcoming b Ramesside Inscriptions, Notes and Comments, 7.

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Comments Comment RSS

6/27/2009 5:18 AM #

Dear ahsh ahparayam,

The picture does depict Nubians and Asiatics. It does not mean we deny that the Israelites were slaves in Egypt, it that's what your concern is. The Beni Hasan tomb painting at the top of the article is of Semites.

Hope this helps--Henry Smith

ABR - 6/27/2009 5:18:18 AM

6/27/2009 7:24 AM #

The images of the slaves in Egypt as it says are Nubian and Asiatic are false. The truth is that those were the true biblical and ethnical Israelites. Tell the truth!!!!!!

ahsh ahparayam - 6/27/2009 7:24:48 AM

8/18/2009 10:17 AM #

I want to take issue with the 1st paragraph conerning potipher and potiphera.  obviously one is a male and the other is the female version of the same name and we have many modern day examples to use that tell us that the ancient world would be no different in naming their children.

e.g. Billy/Billie; Daniel/Danielle; Robert/Roberta

sometimes i think scholars go overboard in their analyzations and read far too much into their use and meaning.  A parent naming their child christopher may not be thinking of st. christopher but a winnie the pooh character or christopher walken, the actor.

when it comes to the Bible too many scholars just do not think and look for some grand purpose for every name, act, or retort.  now i like kitchen but even he crosses the line sometimes.

dr. david t. - 8/18/2009 10:17:56 AM

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