THE EIGHTEENTH DYNASTY
Egypt had beaten off the Hyksos in a major battle, but they still held onto many of their garrisons and their capital at Avaris.
1. Ahmoses (1570-1546 B.C.).
Ahmoses was the younger brother of Kamoses. After the death of his brother, Ahmoses completed the systematic expulsion of the Hyksos, driving them up into Palestine.
Returning to Egypt. Ahmoses found the country once again racked by civil war. Putting down all opposition, Ahmoses made himself the pharaoh of all Egypt.
2. Amenhotep 1 (1546-1526 B.C.).
Amenhotep was the son of Ahmoses. When he came to the throne following his father s death, he was faced with rebellion by the Nubians in the south and the Libyans in the west.
First, he marched south and defeated the Nubians, pushing them back to the 3rd cataract. Then he swung back around, conquering the Libyans in the west.
Back in Egypt, Amenhotep proved himself to be an able administrator. The government of Egypt was reorganized and order began to be restored. No trace of the old feudalism of the past was left in this reorganization. The rule of the pharaoh became absolute. After 21 years of rule, he died and his son came to the throne.
3. Thutmoses 1 (1525-1512 B.C.).
During the first year of his reign, Thutmoses had to put down a revolt in Nubia, marching all the way to the 4th cataract. Next, he led an expedition into Palestine, setting a precedent in the years to come.
The chariot became a regular part of the Egyptian military at this time (riding a horse was always repulsive to the Egyptians).
The pyramids had long since been abandoned as far too costly. Thutmoses began a new tradition, having a tomb for himself built in an area which was to become known as the Valley of the Kings. Luxor lay on the east bank of the Nile; the Valley of the Kings was on the west bank, in the direction of the setting sun.
The kings of the 18th, 19th and 20th dynasties were buried here. A second valley to the southwest became known as the Valley of the Queens. It became the resting place of both queens, princes and other nobility.
Thutmoses had no surviving male heirs, hut he did have a daughter named Hatshepsut and an illegitimate son who took for himself the name Thutmoses 2nd, marrying Hatshepsut to legitimize his right to the throne.
4. Thutmoses 2nd (1512-1504 B.C.).
Thutmoses 2nd was only 20 years old when he came to the throne. He was totally dominated by his energetic and ambitious wife. When the Nubians revolted, Thutmoses II stayed home while his army went out and put down the revolt.
If we are correct in dating the Exodus at 1446 B.C., then it may well have been Hatshepsut who found the child Moses in the Nile River and who adopted him and raised him as her own.
Josephus tells of an account how it was Moses who let the armies of Egypt to put down the revolt of the Nubians.
The fact that there is no mention of either Moses or the Exodus from Egypt in any of the extant inscriptions should not surprise us. The Egyptians did not record their own defeats and would have carefully edited anything in the way of the exodus event.
b. Quest for an heir.
Thutmoses 2nd and Hatshepsut had no legitimate sons, but they did have two daughters. Thutmoses 2nd also had a son by a concubine. This son took the name Thutmoses 3rd.
Thutmoses 3rd was still under age when his father died after a short reign. Therefore his mother assumed the throne in his place, taking the position of regent, but effectively acting as pharaoh and even wearing the ceremonial beard of the pharaohs (Egyptians were clean-shaven, so the wearing of a ceremonial beard was not unusual).
5. Hatshepsut (1503-1482).
Following the death of her husband, Hatshepsut ruled as the regent for the next 21 years. She engaged in at least four military campaigns, leading one of the campaigns herself. However, she is best remembered for her peaceful quests to bring economic prosperity to Egypt.
a. Building programs.
Hatshepsut built great monuments all over Egypt. Her royal tomb was carved out of the mountainside at Thebes.
I have restored that which was ruins,
I have raised up that which was unfinished.
Since the Asiatics were in the midst of Avaris of the northland,
And the barbarians were in the midst of them,
Overthrowing that which has been made,
While they ruled in ignorance of Re. - Hatshepsut
She adorned the great temple of Karnak with four huge granite obelisks, cut out of the quarries at Aswan and floated down the Nile. One of them, which is still standing, is the tallest in the whole of Egypt, being nearly ninety feet high.
b. International trade.
She also opened up the trade routes to other countries which had been closed since the Hyksos domination.
The reliefs at the beautiful mortuary temple of Deir el-Bahri depict her voyage to Punt and show an extremely fat queen of that land as well as the plants and animals to be found there.
c. The decision of Moses.
It would have been at this time that Moses made a decision which was to affect the rest of his life.
By faith Moses, when he had grown up, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh s daughter; 25 choosing rather to endure ill-treatment with the people of God, than to enjoy the passing pleasures of sin: 26 considering the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures of Egypt; for he was looking to the reward. (Hebrews 11:24-26).
Moses could have lived a life of ease and luxury in the palaces of Egypt. Instead, he chose to identify himself with the people of Israel who were still enslaved in Egypt.
6. Thutmoses 3rd (1482-1450).
There had been no love lost between Thutmoses 3rd and his step-mother. The first thing he did upon her death was to destroy or obliterate all of her monuments. We would know nothing of her at all were it not for the fact that some of the concealing plaster had fallen off certain monuments.
If Moses was still in Egypt at this time, then we could understand how the incident of the murder of the Egyptian taskmaster might be all that Thutmoses 3rd needed in the way of an excuse to rid himself of this past rival.
Thutmoses 3rd has been called the Napoleon of Egypt. Like Napoleon, his mummy shows him to have been a short man in stature. Also like Napoleon, he was the greatest military strategist that his country ever produced. In a period of 19 years, he made 17 military campaigns into Palestine and Syria, defeating the Kingdom of Mitanni and beating the cities of Syria into submission. Unlike Napoleon, he never lost a battle.
6. Amenhotep 2nd (1450-1425 B.C.).
Amenhotep 2nd was tall and broad in physique. He was reputed to be one of the best charioteers in all of Egypt. It was said that no man could draw his bow.
a. Campaign into Palestine.
When the princes of Syria heard of the death of Thutmoses 3rd, they stopped payment of their annual tribute to Egypt. Amenhotep 2nd personally led his army into Syria, crossing the Orontes, crushing the revolt, and bringing the seven ringleaders back to Thebes.
Here, he sacrificed them alive and hung the bodies of six of them on the walls of the city. The seventh he sent to be similarly arrayed on the walls of the southernmost fortress in the south as a warning to the Nubians.
b. Building projects.
He entered into a vast building project including a court, colossal statues, a funerary temple for himself and temples in many other cities.
If we are to accept the Massoretic text, then it seems that it would have been early in the reign of Amnenhotep 2nd when Moses and Aaron entered his courts with the demand that the people of Israel be released.
It was against this Egypt, an empire at the very peak of its glory and strength — that the Lord sent the ten plagues which would leave Egypt a ruin from which she would never fully recover.
There were three primary purposes that God had for sending these terrible plagues upon Egypt.
First, these were to be a judgment upon the false gods of Egypt.
These plagues were directed specifically against the various gods which Egypt worshipped
"For I will go through the land of Egypt on that night, and will strike down all the first-born in the land of Egypt, both man and beast; and against all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgment. I am the Lord." (Exodus 12:12).
So Jethro said, "Blessed be the Lord who delivered you from the hand of the Egyptians and from the hand of Pharaoh, and who delivered the people from under the hand of the Egyptians. 11 Now I know that the Lord is greater than all the gods (Exodus 16:10-11a).
...the Lord had also executed judgment on their gods. (Numbers 33:4b).
The following chart is only a partial breakdown of the Egyptian gods who were judged in the plagues.
Corresponding Deities of Egypt
Nile turned to blood
Hapi, spirit of the Nile.
Heqt, the god of resurrection had the form of a frog.
Dust and Gnats
Directed against the priests who were required to be clean.
Flies in swarms
The Ichumeuman fly was considered a manifestation of the god Vatchit.
Death of cattle
Hathor, the mother goddess had the form of a cow.
Apis, the bull-god of Ptah was a symbol of fertility.
Imhotepwas was the god of medicine.
Sekhmet, a lion-headed goddess was supposed to have the power to begin and end plagues.
Nut was the sky godess.
Seth was the protector of crops.
Re was the sun god.
Death of firstborn
The pharaoh himself was worshiped as a god.
Secondly, the plagues were to encourage and build up Israel s faith.
Then the Lord said to Moses, "Go to Pharaoh, for I have hardened his heart and the heart of his servants, that I may perform these signs of Mine among them, 2 and that you may tell in the hearing of your son, and of your grandson, how I made a mockery of the Egyptians, and how I performed My signs among them; that you may know that I am the Lord. (Exodus 10:1-2).
God had beaten Egypt when she was at her STRONGEST. This was to teach Israel that the God they worshipped was the omnipotent Lord of all creation.
Finally, the plagues served as a means of worldwide evangelism.
"But indeed, for this cause I have allowed you to remain, in order to show you My power, and in order to proclaim My name through all the earth." (Exodus 9:16).