Digging up the past

Chapter 1 Land of the pyramids

Plagues Strike Egypt

During the 13th Dynasy, the ten plagues fell upon Egypt and the Exodus took place. The Pharaoh of the Exodus could have been Neferhotep I, who was the last king before the Hyksos entered Egypt.

These plagues, as described in Exodus 7 to 12, must have devastated Egypt. A sage by the name of Ipuwer wrote on a papyrus a description of conditions at the time. This papyrus was found at Memhis, and is now in the Leiden Museum in Holland. In part it says: 'Plague staks through the land and blood is everywhere ... Nay, but dead men are bureid in the river ... Nay, but the river is bloody ... the stranger people from without are come into Egypt. ... Nay, but corn hath perished everywhere. The Ancient Egyptians, pages 95-99.
A plague of blood is described in Exodus 7:14-24.

Nile River turns to blood in the ten plagues of Egypt

Flies and locusts plaguing the nation of Egypt

Egypt's cattle died from the hail and from disease

The strangers would be the Hyksos who invaded the land at this time. Quoting from Manetho, Josephus wrote, 'There was a king of ours whose name was Timaus. Under him it came to pass, I know not how, that God was averse to us, and there came, after a surprising manner, men of ignoble birth out of the eastern parts, and had boldness enough to make an expedition into our country, and with ease subdued it by force, yet without our hazarding a battle with them

Egypt usually maintained a well-trained standing army. It is hard to explain how the Hyksos could occupy Egypt without a battle, unless the Egyptian army had been destroyed in the Red Sea, as described in (Exodus 14:28). Certainly, by the 13th Dynasty there was a large Hyksos population in Egypt. As the central govenment entered a period of decline, their presence made possible an influx of pwople from castal Phoenicia and Palestine and the establishment of Hyksos dynasy.

Whatever the reason, the dark ages had fallen upon the land of Egypt.

Ipuwer's Papyrus records the plight of Egypt

This marks the beginning of the Second Intermediate Period, a time of turbulence and disunity, a 'dark ages' that lasted some 214 years. The Hyksos of the 15th Dynasty ruled from Avaris in the eastern delta, controlling middle and northern regions of the country. At the same time the 16th Dynasty also existed in the delta and Middle Egypt, but it may have been subservient to the Hyksos. More independence was exrted in the south by a third, contemporaneous power, the Theban 17th Dynasty, which ruled over the territory between Elephantine and Abydos. It was the Theban Kamose (1576 to 1570 BC) who battled successfully against the Hyksos, but it was his brother Ahmose I who finally subdued them reuniting Egypt.

The Ipuwer Papyrus in the Leiden Museum

Leiden Papyrus number 344, style of script