The Bible records that Joseph was given a chariot to travel through Egypt.
If Joseph and Imhotep were the same person, this would mean that chariots existed in Egypt as early as the third dynasty.
In the third dynasty, only high officials like the pharaoh and his chancellor / sage / vizier were afforded a chariot to travel in.
Chariots in the 3rd dynasty were not horse drawn, they were carried by a procession of servants.
The Hebrew word (merkabah) in the Bible can be translated as ‘chariot’ or ‘riding seat’. It does not distinguish between a vehicle that is horse drawn or a vehicle that is carried.
The enigma of chariots in the third dynasty is, therefore, easily explained.
Horse drawn chariots were used for military purposes and were not introduced until the 12th dynasty. Most of the chariots of the 12 & 13th dynasty were lost in the Red Sea at the time of the Exodus and paintings depicting horse drawn chariots in the 12th dynasty would not have survived.
It is hardly surprising then that there are no findings of horse draw chariots before the 15th dynasty unless, of course, one accepts that the chariot wheels found in the Red Sea by Wyatt in 1978 were from the 12th and 13th dynasty.
The oldest well preserved horse drawn chariots that have been discovered by archaeologists date back to the Hyksos period. Rather than suggest that the Hyksos introduced chariots to Egypt it would seem more likely that the Exodus immediately preceded the arrival of the Hyksos.
Egypt’s chariots were all destroyed at the time of the Exodus.
Only Chariots produced after the Exodus would be found by archaeologists.
No discoveries horse drawn chariots have been found prior to the 15th dynasty. This would tend to suggest that the Exodus took place before the 15th dynasty. One would not expect to find chariots of dynasties prior to the Exodus because they were all destroyed at the time of the Exodus.
Wyatt found chariot wheels covered with coral strewn across the bottom of the Red Sea. There was a well preserved golden 4 spoked chariot wheel. He also found six and eight spoked chariot wheels covered with coral from one side of the Red Sea to the other in the Gulf of Aqaba where there is a large beach and a natural land bridge at the opening of the Wadi Wadir, just a little bit north of Jabel Lawz on the opposite side. Wyatt also found a pair of columns which appeared to have been left by Solomon to mark the site of the Red Sea crossing at this point.
Unfortunately, as no examples of 12th dynasty chariots have been found, the chariot wheels found by Wyatt were dated to the 18th dynasty. This has lead many an archaeologist to go looking for the Exodus in the 18th dynasty. There is no evidence for a mass Exodus in the 18th dynasty. There was an exodus at the end of the second intermediate period but this is when the Hyksos kings were evicted from Egypt and is clearly not the Israelite exodus.
The Bible states that the exodus pharaoh pursued the Israelites with all of Egypt’s chariots and that these were lost in the Red Sea. One would, therefore, not expect to find a chariot that predated the exodus. If a chariot has been found, other than in the Red Sea, then it must have been produced after the Exodus.
While the Hyksos (15th dynasty) did use chariots to invade and occupy lower Egypt, they were only able to do this because the Egyptian army had been decimated by the Exodus and all of it’s chariots were at the bottom of the Red Sea.
Many historians and archaeologists believe that the horse drawn chariot was introduced to Egypt by the Hyksos because there are no findings of 12th and 13th dynasty chariots. If all of Egypt’s chariots were lost at the time of the exodus, the finding of 15th dynasty chariots should suggest that the Exodus occurred prior to the 15th dynasty, namely the 13th dynasty. It also follows that the chariot wheels found in the Red Sea by Wyatt were from the 12th and 13th dynasties.
The Hyksos were credited with having introduced the chariot to Egypt only because no 12th and 13th dynasty chariots have been found. The fact that Hyksos chariots are the earliest surviving chariots to have been found means that the exodus took place immediately before the Hyksos entered Egypt. This would further support a 13th dynasty Exodus.
Also supporting a 13th dynasty exodus is the prolific use of mudbricks in the 12th dynasty and the finding of a slave village at Kahun that was rapidly evacuated in the 13th dynasty when Neferhotep I was ruling (as evidenced by scarabs found by Petrie). Amenemhet III has the credentials to be the pharaoh of Moses birth and the pharaoh that Moses fled from. Sobeknefru has the credentials to be Moses foster mother and Amenemhet IV has the credentials to be Moses himself!
This article looks at the Egyptian identity of Moses in the light of new insights into Egypt’s History and better understanding of the Egyptian chronology.
The Bible is a reliable source of historical information. It contains the historical records and the chronicles of Israel. It is not just a record of God’s dealings with mankind. It is God’s word. The Exodus of Israel can be dated to 1446BC as the Bible records that there were 480 years from the Exodus to the buiding of the Temple by Solomon (1Kings 6:1 ) and the date that the foundations of the Temple were laid by Solomon is agreed upon by most Archaeologists to be 966BC. (seeArchaeological Evidence for Moses and the Israelites in the 12th dynasty of Egypt) Moses was 80 yrs old at the time of the Exodus of Israel ( ).
If the Chronology of Egyptian History was as reliable as the Bible then it would be fairly easy to ‘look up’ Egyptian records and see which Pharaohs were ruling at the time. Unfortunately, the dates of Egyptian dynasties and the dates of Pharaohs reigns (the Egyptian chronology) based primarily on Manetho’s records has turned out to be quite erroneous because some of the dynasties ran in parallel (in the north and south of the country) and Pharaohs often co-reigned together at the beginning and end of their reigns. Consequently, the time frame of Egyptian history is substantially shorter than the Traditional Chronology which was based on sequential dynasties, some of which have been counted twice (see David Down).
Due to the inaccuracies of the Traditional Chronology, a number of Egyptian correlates of Moses have been put forwards by various people over the ages. Better understanding of the Egyptian Chronology requires a reassessment of the Archaeological Evidence. Candidates that were identified according to dates alone, that were a poor character profile match for Moses can now be excluded. And candidates that seemed to match the character profile of Moses exactly but were thought unlikely to be Moses based on the dates can now be reconsidered. Amenemhet IV of the 12th dynasty of Egypt is one such candidate that is a very good Character Profile match for Moses but thought to be unlikely because the Traditional Egyptian Chronology dated his reign to be around 1798-1786BC.
In a revised Egyptian Chronology the dates of Amenemhet IV‘s co-regency are likely to be around 1495-1486BC making it highly likely that Amenemhet IV was Mosesof the Bible. This is supported by strong archaeological evidence that the Israelites were slaves in Egypt during the 12th dynasty and left Egypt in the 13th dynasty before the Hyksos invaded (or took over) Egypt to start the 15th dynasty (the second intermediate period).
18th dynasty candidates for Moses can now be excluded. Israel had little to do with the Hyksos when they were in Egypt and the defeat of the Hyksos at the beginning of the 18th dynasty was NOT the Exodus of Israel. The first 18th dynasty Pharaohs were contemporaries of Saul, David and Solomon. Saul seems to have encountered the Hyksos (the Amelekites) after they were ejected from Egypt; 400yrs after they took power! This was the end of the second intermediate period and the beginning of Egypt’s New Kingdom (the 18th dynasty). The second intermediate period, when the Hyksos were ruling in Egypt (dynasties 15 & 16), coincides with the period of the Judges in Israel.