10.22.04 Hittite Treaties, Annals and other documents from Anatolia to Egypt, relating to Indo-European rites
Hittite Treaties, Annals & Documents from Anatolia to Egypt (continued)
Records of Assyria and Babylonia dealing with the Hittite territory and Jerusalem
Nearly 500 years after the collapse of the Hittite Empire (~1,180 B.C.), the Hittite lands are still referred to in Assyrian and Babylonian documents. About the same time we have Biblical records referring to such lands and people of Hittite ancestry.
In the period 681-669 B.C. the son of Sennacherib, Esarhaddon, launched a campaign that involved the submission of 22 kings of Hatti-land, that included the sea coast and island of Cyprus. Manasseh (Menasi) of Judah is among those subdued in his operations against Tyre and the lands east of Egypt.
Esarhaddon's Syro-Palestinian Campaign (681-669 B.C.) (1), (2)
I called out the kings of the Hatti-land and the Trans-Euphrates area; Ba'al, king of Tyre, Manasseh, king of Judah, Qaushgabri, king of Edom, Musuri, King of Moab, Sil-Bel, king of Gaza, Metinti, king of Ashkelon, Ikausu, king of Ekron, Milki-ashapa, king of Gebal, Matan-ba'al, king of Arvad, Abi-ba'al, king of Samsimuruna, Pudu-il, king of Beth-Ammon, Ahi-milki, king of Ashdod 12 kings of the sea coast. Ekishtura, king of Edi'il (Idalion), Pilagura, king of Kitrusi (Chytrus), Kisu, king of Sillu'a (Soli), Ituandar, king of Pappa (Paphos), Erisu, king of Silli, Damasu, king of Kuri (Curium), Atmesu, king of Tamesi, Damusi, king of Qartihadasti, Unasagusu, king of Ledir (Ledra), Bosusu, king of Nuria 10 kings of Iadnana (Cyprus), an island; a total of 22 kings of the Hatti-land, the seashore and the island. I sent all of these to drag with pain and difficulty to Nineveh, the city of my dominion, as supplies needed for my palace, big beams, long posts and trimmed planks of cedar and cypress wood, products of the Sirara and Lebanon mountains, where for long they had grown tall and thick; also from their place of origin in the mountains the forms of winged bulls and colossi made of ashnan-stone, of breccia both large and fine grained, of yellow limestone, of pyrites.
The Babylonian Chronicle The Fall of Nineveh (612 B.C.) (1), (2)
(In the fourteenth year) the kingof Babylonia called out his army and marched to..., the king of the Umman-manda (3) and the king of Babylonia met each other in...Kyaxares made...the king of Babylonia to cross and they marched along the Tigris river bank andpitched camp by Nineveh. From the month of Sivan to the month of Ab they (advanced?) only three...They made a strong attack on the citadel and in the month of Ab, [on the...th day the city was taken and] a great defeat inflicted on the people and (their) chiefs. On that same day Sin-shar-ishkun, the Assyrian king (4) [perished in the flames]. They carried off much spoil from the city and temple-area and turned the city into a ruin-mound and heap of debris...of Assyria moved off before [the final attack?] and the forces of the Babylonian king [followed them]. On the twentieth of Elul Kyaxares and his army returned to his land; the Babylonian king and his army marched as far as Nisibin. Booty and prisoners...and of the land of Rusapu were brought before the Babylonian king at Nineveh. In the month of [...Ashur-uballit] sat on the throne in Harran as king of Assyria. [The Babylonian Chronicle, British Museum 21901, 38-50]
Biblical Records of the period
The Prophesy of Zephaniah (~630 B.C.) (5)
Zeph. 1:1 The word of the LORD that came to Zephaniah son of Cushi, the son of Gedaliah, the son of Amariah, the son of Hezekiah, during the reign of Josiah son of Amon king of Judah:
Zeph. 1:2 ³I will sweep away everything from the face of the earth,² declares the LORD.
Zeph. 1:3 ³I will sweep away both men and animals; I will sweep away the birds of the air and the fish of the sea. The wicked will have only heaps of rubble when I cut off man from the face of the earth,² declares the LORD.
Zeph. 1:4 ³I will stretch out my hand against Judah and against all who live in Jerusalem. I will cut off from this place every remnant of Baal, the names of the pagan and the idolatrous priests
Zeph. 1:5 those who bow down on the roofs to worship the starry host, those who bow down and swear by the LORD and who also swear by Molech,
Zeph. 1:6 those who turn back from following the LORD and neither seek the LORD nor inquire of him.
Zeph. 1:7 Be silent before the Sovereign LORD, for the day of the LORD is near. The LORD has prepared a sacrifice; he has consecrated those he has invited.
Zeph. 1:8 On the day of the LORDıs sacrifice I will punish the princes and the kingıs sons and all those clad in foreign clothes.
Zeph. 1:9 On that day I will punish all who avoid stepping on the threshold, who fill the temple of their gods with violence and deceit.
Zeph. 1:10 ³On that day,² declares the LORD, a cry will go up from the Fish Gate, wailing from the New Quarter, and a loud crash from the hills.
Zeph. 1:11 Wail, you who live in the market district ; all your merchants will be wiped out, all who trade with silver will be ruined.
Zeph. 1:12 At that time I will search Jerusalem with lamps and punish those who are complacent, who are like wine left on its dregs, who think, The LORD will do nothing, either good or bad.ı
Zeph. 1:13 Their wealth will be plundered, their houses demolished. They will build houses but not live in them; they will plant vineyards but not drink the wine.
Zeph. 1:14 ³The great day of the LORD is near near and coming quickly. Listen! The cry on the day of the LORD will be bitter, the shouting of the warrior there.
Zeph. 1:15 That day will be a day of wrath, a day of distress and anguish, a day of trouble and ruin, a day of darkness and gloom, a day of clouds and blackness,
Zeph. 1:16 a day of trumpet and battle cry against the fortified cities and against the corner towers.
Zeph. 1:17 I will bring distress on the people and they will walk like blind men, because they have sinned against the LORD. Their blood will be poured out like dust and their entrails like filth.
Zeph. 1:18 Neither their silver nor their gold will be able to save them on the day of the LORDıs wrath. In the fire of his jealousy the whole world will be consumed, for he will make a sudden end of all who live in the earth.²
Zeph. 2:1 Gather together, gather together, O shameful nation,
Zeph. 2:2 before the appointed time arrives and that day sweeps on like chaff, before the fierce anger of the LORD comes upon you, before the day of the LORDıs wrath comes upon you.
Zeph. 2:3 Seek the LORD, all you humble of the land, you who do what he commands. Seek righteousness, seek humility; perhaps you will be sheltered on the day of the LORDıs anger.
Zeph. 2:4 Gaza will be abandoned and Ashkelon left in ruins. At midday Ashdod will be emptied and Ekron uprooted.
Zeph. 2:5 Woe to you who live by the sea, O Kerethite people; the word of the LORD is against you, O Canaan, land of the Philistines. ³I will destroy you, and none will be left.²
Zeph. 2:6 The land by the sea, where the Kerethites dwell, will be a place for shepherds and sheep pens.
Zeph. 2:7 It will belong to the remnant of the house of Judah; there they will find pasture. In the evening they will lie down in the houses of Ashkelon. The LORD their God will care for them; he will restore their fortunes.
Zeph. 2:8 ³I have heard the insults of Moab and the taunts of the Ammonites, who insulted my people and made threats against their land.
Zeph. 2:9 Therefore, as surely as I live,² declares the LORD Almighty, the God of Israel, surely Moab will become like Sodom, the Ammonites like Gomorrah a place of weeds and salt pits, a wasteland forever. The remnant of my people will plunder them; the survivors of my nation will inherit their land.²
Zeph. 2:10 This is what they will get in return for their pride, for insulting and mocking the people of the LORD Almighty.
Zeph. 2:11 The LORD will be awesome to them when he destroys all the gods of the land. The nations on every shore will worship him, every one in its own land.
Zeph. 2:12 ³You too, O Cushites, will be slain by my sword.²
Zeph. 2:13 He will stretch out his hand against the north and destroy Assyria, leaving Nineveh utterly desolate and dry as the desert.
Zeph. 2:14 Flocks and herds will lie down there, creatures of every kind. The desert owl and the screech owl will roost on her columns. Their calls will echo through the windows, rubble will be in the doorways, the beams of cedar will be exposed.
Zeph. 2:15 This is the carefree city that lived in safety. She said to herself, I am, and there is none besides me.² What a ruin she has become, a lair for wild beasts! All who pass by her scoff and shake their fists.
Zeph. 3:1 Woe to the city of oppressors, rebellious and defiled!
Zeph. 3:2 She obeys no one, she accepts no correction. She does not trust in the LORD, she does not draw near to her God.
Zeph. 3:3 Her officials are roaring lions, her rulers are evening wolves, who leave nothing for the morning.
Zeph. 3:4 Her prophets are arrogant; they are treacherous men. Her priests profane the sanctuary and do violence to the law.
Zeph. 3:5 The LORD within her is righteous; he does no wrong. Morning by morning he dispenses his justice, and every new day he does not fail, yet the unrighteous know no shame.
Zeph. 3:6 ³I have cut off nations; their strongholds are demolished. I have left their streets deserted, with no one passing through. Their cities are destroyed; no one will be left no one at all.
Zeph. 3:7 I said to the city, Surely you will fear me and accept correction!ı Then her dwelling would not be cut off, nor all my punishments come upon her. But they were still eager to act corruptly in all they did.
Zeph. 3:8 Therefore wait for me,² declares the LORD, for the day I will stand up to testify. I have decided to assemble the nations, to gather the kingdoms and to pour out my wrath on them all my fierce anger. The whole world will be consumed by the fire of my jealous anger.
Zeph. 3:9 ³Then will I purify the lips of the peoples, that all of them may call on the name of the LORD and serve him shoulder to shoulder.
Zeph. 3:10 From beyond the rivers of Cush my worshipers, my scattered people, will bring me offerings.
Zeph. 3:11 On that day you will not be put to shame for all the wrongs you have done to me, because I will remove from this city those who rejoice in their pride. Never again will you be haughty on my holy hill.
Zeph. 3:12 But I will leave within you the meek and humble, who trust in the name of the LORD.
Zeph. 3:13 The remnant of Israel will do no wrong; they will speak no lies, nor will deceit be found in their mouths. They will eat and lie down and no one will make them afraid.²
Zeph. 3:14 Sing, O Daughter of Zion; shout aloud, O Israel! Be glad and rejoice with all your heart, O Daughter of Jerusalem!
Zeph. 3:15 The LORD has taken away your punishment, he has turned back your enemy. The LORD, the King of Israel, is with you; never again will you fear any harm.
Zeph. 3:16 On that day they will say to Jerusalem, Do not fear, O Zion; do not let your hands hang limp.
Zeph. 3:17 The LORD your God is with you, he is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing.²
Zeph. 3:18 ³The sorrows for the appointed feasts I will remove from you; they are a burden and a reproach to you.
Zeph. 3:19 At that time I will deal with all who oppressed you; I will rescue the lame and gather those who have been scattered. I will give them praise and honor in every land where they were put to shame.
Zeph. 3:20 At that time I will gather you; at that time I will bring you home. I will give you honor and praise among all the peoples of the earth when I restore your fortunes before your very eyes,² says the LORD.
Compare these verses to the Bible, 2 Kings chapter 25 (599 B.C. - 588 B.C.):
2Kgs. 25:18 The commander of the guard took as prisoners Seraiah the chief priest, Zephaniah the priest next in rank and the three doorkeepers.
2Kgs. 25:19 Of those still in the city, he took the officer in charge of the fighting men and five royal advisers. He also took the secretary who was chief officer in charge of conscripting the people of the land and sixty of his men who were found in the city.
2Kgs. 25:20 Nebuzaradan the commander took them all and brought them to the king of Babylon at Riblah.
2Kgs. 25:21 There at Riblah, in the land of Hamath, the king had them executed. So Judah went into captivity, away from her land.
2Kgs. 25:22 Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon appointed Gedaliah son of Ahikam, the son of Shaphan, to be over the people he had left behind in Judah.
2Kgs. 25:23 When all the army officers and their men heard that the king of Babylon had appointed Gedaliah as governor, they came to Gedaliah at Mizpah Ishmael son of Nethaniah, Johanan son of Kareah, Seraiah son of Tanhumeth the Netophathite, Jaazaniah the son of the Maacathite, and their men.
2Kgs. 25:24 Gedaliah took an oath to reassure them and their men. ³Do not be afraid of the Babylonian officials,² he said. ³Settle down in the land and serve the king of Babylon, and it will go well with you.²
2Kgs. 25:25 In the seventh month, however, Ishmael son of Nethaniah, the son of Elishama, who was of royal blood, came with ten men and assassinated Gedaliah and also the men of Judah and the Babylonians who were with him at Mizpah.
2Kgs. 25:26 At this, all the people from the least to the greatest, together with the army officers, fled to Egypt for fear of the Babylonians.
2Kgs. 25:27 In the thirty-seventh year of the exile of Jehoiachin king of Judah, in the year Evil-merodach became king of Babylon, he released Jehoiachin from prison on the twenty-seventh day of the twelfth month.
2Kgs. 25:28 He spoke kindly to him and gave him a seat of honor higher than those of the other kings who were with him in Babylon.
The Babylonian Chronicle The Egyptian Intervention in Palestine and Syria (610 B.C - 609 B.C.) (1), (2) (6)
In the sixteenth year, in the month of Iyyar, the Babylonian king called out his army and marched to Assyria. From the [month of Sivan?] to the month of Marcheswan they marched about victoriously in Assyria. In the month of Marcheswan the Umman-manda [who had come to the he]lp of the Babylonian king united their armies and marched to the city of Harran (6) [against] Ashur-uballit who had claimed the Assyrian throne. As for Ashur-uballit and the army of Egypt which had come [to help him], the fear of the enemy fell on them, they abandoned the city and...crossed [the river Euphrates]. The Babylonian king reached Harran...captured the city, they carried off much spoil from the city and temple...
In the [seventeenth year], the month of Tammuz, Ashuruballit, king of Assyria, a great Egyptian army...crossed the river, and marched against the city of Harran to conquer it....they slew the garrison which the Babylonian king had stationed there...and he beseiged the city of Harran. Until the month of Elul he assaulted the city, but although he did not take it, they withdrew...
Route of Necho II from Carchemish to Harran in 609 B.C. Click on image for larger view.
The Babylonian Chronicle The Battle of Carchemish (605 B.C.) (1), (2)
In the twenty-first year the king of Babylon stayed in his own country while the crown-prince Nebuchadrezzar, his eldest son, took personal command of his troops and marched to Carchemish which lay on the bank of the river Euphrates. He crossed the river (to go) against the Egyptian army which was situated in Carchemish and...they fought with each other and the Egyptian army withdrew before him. He defeated them (smashing) them out of existence. As for the remnant of the Egyptian army which had escaped from the defeat so (hastily) that no weapon had touched them, the Babylonian army overtook and defeated them in the district of Hamath, so that not a single man [escaped] to his own country. At that time Nebuchadrezzar conquered the whole of the land of Hatti. For twenty-one years Nabopolassar had been the king of Babylonia. On the eighth of Ab he died; in the month of Elul Nebuchadrezzar returned to Babylon and on the first day of the month of Elul he sat on the royal throne in Babylon.
In the accesion-year Nebuchadrezzar went back again to the Hatti-land and marched victoriously through it until the month of Sebat. In the month of Sebat he took the heavy tribute of the Hatti-land back to Babylon. In the month of Nisan he took the hands of Bel and the son of Bel and celebrated the New Year Festival.
In the first year of Nebuchadrezzar he mustered his army in the month of Sivan and went to the Hatti-land. He marched about victoriously in the Hatti-land until the month of Kislev. All the kings of the Hatti-land came before him and he received their heavy tribute. He marched to the city of Ashkelon and captured it in the month of Kislev.
Red indicates the cities Ashquelon & Carchemish that Nebuchadrezzar took ~604 B.C. Click on image for larger view.
In the seventh year, in the month of Kislev, the Babylonian king mustered his troops, and, having marched to the land of Hatti, besieged the city of Judah, and on the second day of the month of Adar took the city and captured the king. He appointed therein a king of his own choice, received its heavy tribute and sent (them) to Babylon (7) [The Babylonian Chronicle, British Museum 21946]
Letters from Lachish Ostracon III (1), (8)
In 1935 eighteen ostraca with inscriptions in ancient hebrew written upon them were discovered by the Wellcome Archeological Research Expedition to the Near East. They were found in the ruins of a small room under the gate-tower which formed part of the main defences of Tell ed-Duweir, now generally identified with the ancient fortress city of Lachish. Three others were discovered in 1938. The initial sets of ostraca are believed to date about 590 B.C. The tell is located about 40 miles southwest of Jerusalem and may be viewed by going to: http://www.ebibletools.com/israel/lakish/. The following text may be an appeal for help of a Hebrew garrison to the pharoah against the invading army of Nebuchadrezzar, who invaded Judah three times in his career. In Ostracon III, Hoshayahu may be the military governor of Lachhish and belong to the end of Zedekiah's reign. Zedekiah was the last king of Judah (reigned 598-588 B.C.). Ostracon IV shows another message from the commander of the garrison concerning the removal of Semayahu, who had been taken to Jerusalem (the capital) and the fact that the signal fires of the town of Azekah could not be seen. They were apparently communicating via signal fires from one hill-top town to another and since he could not see the signal fire from Azekah something was wrong, the Assyrians may have captured the city. These texts compare to the Linear B tablets from Mycennaean times (~1,200 B.C.), when the Mycennaean cities of Tyre, Pylos, Mycennae, etc. were under attack. We don't know who the attackers were that brought down that civilization. (1), (8)
Thy servant Hoshayahu hath sent to inform my lord: May Yahweh bring thee peaceful tidings! And now [thou hast sent a letter but my lord did not] enlighten thy servant concerning the letter which my lord sent to thy servant yesterday. For the heart of thy servant hath been sick since thou didst send to thy servant. And now when my lord saith, 'Thou dost not know how to read a letter!' as Yahweh liveth, no one has ever tried to read a letter to me, and indeed any letter which may have come to me, I have certainly not read it...at all.
And thy servant hath been informed, saying, 'The commander of the army, Konyahu, son of Elnathan, hath gone down on his way to Egypt, and Hodawyahu, son of Ahiyahu, and his men hath he sent to obtain...'
Old map of Palestine by Jacob Ziegler, Strassburg, 1532. Underlined in red are Raphia, (probably Beth-haraphid), Ascholon, Lachish and Aelia (Jerusalem). Click on map for larger image. (9)
|Old map of Palestine, by Lucas Barndis de Schass, Lubeck, 1475. The first printed maps of the East with Jerusalem at the center. Ascolona (Aschalon) and Raphaim (Raphia) underlined in red. Click on the map for a larger image. (9)
And as for the letter of Tobyahu, servant of the king, which camae to Shallum, son of Yaddua, through the instrumentality of the prophet, saying, 'Take care!' thy servant hath sent it to my lord.'
May Yahweh bring my lord this very day good tidings! And now, in accordance with all that my lord hath written, so hath thy servant done. I have written on the door in accordance with all that [my lord] hath directed me. And with regard to what my lord hath written about Beth-haraphid, there is nobody there. And as for Semakyahu, Shemayahu hath taken him and brought him up to the capital, and thy servant...send thither...And
[my lord] will know that we are watching for the signals of Lachish, according to all the signs which my lord hath given, for we cannot see Azekah.
The town Azekah means "dug over" in Hebrew. It is a town of Judah mentioned in Joshua 10.10,11. The town next to Ascolona (Ashkelon) is Azotus (Ashdod).
Joshua 10.1 Now it came to pass, when Adonizedec king of Jerusalem had heard how Joshua had taken Ai, and had utterly destroyed it; as he had done to Jericho and her king, so he had done to Ai and her king; and how the inhabitants of Gibeon had made peace with Israel, and were among them;
10.2 That they feared greatly...
10.10: And the LORD discomfited them before Israel, and slew them with a great slaughter at Gibeon, and chased them along the way that goeth up to Bethhoron, and smote them to Azekah, and unto Makkedah.
10.11 And it came to pass, as they fled from before Israel, and were in the going down to Bethhoron, that the LORD cast down great stones from heaven upon them unto Azekah, and they died: they were more which died with hailstones than they whom the children of Israel slew with the sword.
10.13 And the sun stood still, and the moon stayed, until the people had avenged themselves upon their enemies...
About 50 years later the Babylonian Empire took a bad turn. Awil-Marduk (Evil-Merodach in the Old Testament, 561-560 B.C.), the son of Nebuchadrezzar, lost the support of the priests of Marduk, and was dethroned. His brother-in-law, Nergal-shar-usur (called Neriglissar in classical sources; 559556B.C.), succeeded him and in 557 B.C. invaded Cilicia to no success, and his minor son Laashi-Marduk was murdered following that campaign. An Aramaean from Harran, Nabonidus (Nabu-na-ihc, 556-539 B.C.) obtained the throne and his mother, Addagoppe, who lived to be 103 years old, a priestess of the god Sin in Harran had some influence in the turn of events. The Medes had taken Harran and Nabonidus launched a campaign in Cilicia to recover it and Harran was surrendered to him in 555 B.C. He concluded a peace treaty with Astyages of Media against the Persians who were becoming more of a threat under Cyrus II. Since Nabonidus gave preference to the god Sin (a moon-god) over Marduk, he had not endeared himself to the powerful priests of Marduk, and this, coupled with his declining control over Mesopotamia, caused Nabonidus to take a sojourn from Babylon, establishing himelf in Taima (Tayma) in Northern Arabia. He set up his son, Bel-shar-usur, the Belshazzar of the Book of Daniel in the Bible, as his viceroy in Babylon. He and Croesus of Lydia formed an alliance against Cyrus, but Cyrus attacked Croesus Nabonidus failed to appear in support of Croesus and annexed Lydia in 546 B.C.; a few years before (550 B.C) Cyrus had annexed Media. Nabonidus returned to Babylon and in 539 B.C. he and Cyrus met in battle, with Nabonidus being defeated. Cyrus marched into Babylon without any battle and the other cities of Babylonia also fell without any resistance. Cyrus I1 was succeeded by his son Cambyses 1, who reigned from 529-522 B.C.). Cyrus II (Born between 590-580 B.C.) established the Achaemenid Dynasty in Persia and was according to a cuniform text in Akkadian says that he was the "son of Cambyses, great king, king of Anshan, grandson of Cyrus, great king, king of Anshan, descendant of Teispes, great king, king of Anshan, of a family [which] always [exercised] kingship."
Although Cyrus II had planned to conquer Egypt, that task was left to his eldest son, Cambyses II (reigned 529 B.C.-522 B.C.), who conquered Egypt in 525 B.C. The Egypt campaign was launched against Psamtik III, last king of Egypt of the 26th dynasty (reigned 526525 B.C.), who failed to stop the invasion and was executed for treason after Cambyses' conquest. Cambyses II had enlisted the aid of the Arabs who provided water to his troops and other aid as he crossed Sinai and defeated the Egyptians at Pelusium, on the frontier of Egypt. Psamtik III withdrew to his capital, Memphis (near modern day Cairo) but the Persians laid seige to the city, capturing it and its pharoah. (10)
Before Cambyses invaded Egypt (525 B.C.), perhaps under the benevolence of Cyrus II who returned the captive Jews in Babylon to Judah, a second Temple dedicated to JHVH was built in Elephantine, where a garrison on the Upper Nile frontier was located (near Lake Aswan). Letters from the Jews garrisoned there to the governor of Judah, during the reign of the Persian King Darius II ("fifth year of his reign, i.e., 419 B.C.), reveal some important characteristics of the Egyptian religion we may not otherwise have known. The Egyptian religion was founded on the firm conviction of life after death (through the god Osiris) and extended that belief to all living things. Thus, they considered animals in a ritualistic way, to be preserved as humans expect to be preserved. Cats were particularly honored and tombs were created in the various cities dedicated especially for cats. Birds had their sanctuaries and bulls and cows theirs, along with alligators, jackels, dogs and birds. They have all been mummified. Herodotus describes their procedures as follows:
Herodotus, Chapter 2.LXXXIV. The practice of medicine is so specialized among them that each physician is a healer of one disease and no more. All the country is full of physicians, some of the eye, some of the teeth, some of what pertains to the belly, and some of internal diseases.
2.LXXXV. They mourn and bury the dead like this: whenever a man of note is lost to his house by death, all the women of the house daub their faces or heads with mud; then they leave the corpse in the house and roam about the city lamenting, with their garments girt around them and their breasts showing, and with them all the women of their relatives;  elsewhere, the men lament, with garments girt likewise. When this is done, they take the dead body to be embalmed.
2.LXXXVI. There are men whose sole business this is and who have this special craft.  When a dead body is brought to them, they show those who brought it wooden models of corpses, painted likenesses; the most perfect way of embalming belongs, they say, to One whose name it would be impious for me to mention in treating such a matter; the second way, which they show, is less perfect than the first, and cheaper; and the third is the least costly of all. Having shown these, they ask those who brought the body in which way they desire to have it prepared.  Having agreed on a price, the bearers go away, and the workmen, left alone in their place, embalm the body. If they do this in the most perfect way, they first draw out part of the brain through the nostrils with an iron hook, and inject certain drugs into the rest.  Then, making a cut near the flank with a sharp knife of Ethiopian stone, they take out all the intestines, and clean the belly, rinsing it with palm wine and bruised spices;  they sew it up again after filling the belly with pure ground myrrh and casia and any other spices, except frankincense. After doing this, they conceal the body for seventy days, embalmed in saltpetre; no longer time is allowed for the embalming;  and when the seventy days have passed, they wash the body and wrap the whole of it in bandages of fine linen cloth, anointed with gum, which the Egyptians mostly use instead of glue;  then they give the dead man back to his friends. These make a hollow wooden figure like a man, in which they enclose the corpse, shut it up, and keep it safe in a coffin-chamber, placed erect against a wall.
2.LXXXVII. That is how they prepare the dead in the most costly way; those who want the middle way and shun the costly, they prepare as follows.  The embalmers charge their syringes with cedar oil and fill the belly of the dead man with it, without making a cut or removing the intestines, but injecting the fluid through the anus and preventing it from running out; then they embalm the body for the appointed days; on the last day they drain the belly of the cedar oil which they put in before.  It has such great power as to bring out with it the internal organs and intestines all dissolved; meanwhile, the flesh is eaten away by the saltpetre, and in the end nothing is left of the body but hide and bones. Then the embalmers give back the dead body with no more ado.
2.LXXXVIII. The third manner of embalming, the preparation of the poorer dead, is this: they cleanse the belly with a purge, embalm the body for the seventy days and then give it back to be taken away.
2.LXXXIX. Wives of notable men, and women of great beauty and reputation, are not at once given to the embalmers, but only after they have been dead for three or four days;  this is done to deter the embalmers from having intercourse with the women. For it is said that one was caught having intercourse with the fresh corpse of a woman, and was denounced by his fellow-workman.
2.XC. Anyone, Egyptian or foreigner, known to have been carried off by a crocodile or drowned by the river itself, must by all means be embalmed and wrapped as attractively as possible and buried in a sacred coffin by the people of the place where he is cast ashore;  none of his relatives or friends may touch him, but his body is considered something more than human, and is handled and buried by the priests of the Nile themselves. (14)
According to the Bible Jacob (renamed Israel) died in Egypt, seventeen years after his tribe of seventy souls sought refuge there owing to a drought in Canaan (~1706 B.C.; Gen. 46.27). Jacob was embalmed according to Egyptian custom and his body returned to Canaan and buried in the cave of the field of Machpelah, the land being purchased from Ephron the Hittite (Gen. 50.13). This is the account of the embalming and burial ceremony:
Genesis 50:2 Then Joseph directed the physicians in his service to embalm his father Israel. So the physicians embalmed him,
Gen. 50:3 taking a full forty days, for that was the time required for embalming. And the Egyptians mourned for him seventy days. (16)
Gen. 50:4 When the days of mourning had passed, Joseph said to Pharaohıs court, ³If I have found favor in your eyes, speak to Pharaoh for me. Tell him,
Gen. 50:5 My father made me swear an oath and said, ³I am about to die; bury me in the tomb I dug for myself in the land of Canaan.² Now let me go up and bury my father; then I will return.ı ²
Gen. 50:6 Pharaoh said, ³Go up and bury your father, as he made you swear to do.²
Gen. 50:7 So Joseph went up to bury his father. All Pharaohıs officials accompanied him the dignitaries of his court and all the dignitaries of Egypt
Gen. 50:8 besides all the members of Josephıs household and his brothers and those belonging to his fatherıs household. Only their children and their flocks and herds were left in Goshen.
Gen. 50:9 Chariots and horsemen also went up with him. It was a very large company.
Gen. 50:10 When they reached the threshing floor of Atad, near the Jordan, they lamented loudly and bitterly; and there Joseph observed a seven-day period of mourning for his father.
Gen. 50:11 When the Canaanites who lived there saw the mourning at the threshing floor of Atad, they said, ³The Egyptians are holding a solemn ceremony of mourning.² That is why that place near the Jordan is called Abel Mizraim.
Gen. 50:12 So Jacobıs sons did as he had commanded them:
Gen. 50:13 They carried him to the land of Canaan and buried him in the cave in the field of Machpelah, near Mamre, which Abraham had bought as a burial place from Ephron the Hittite, along with the field.
Gen. 50:14 After burying his father, Joseph returned to Egypt, together with his brothers and all the others who had gone with him to bury his father.
To read more about mummification go to: http://www.crystalinks.com/mum.html.
While the Egyptians did sacrifice animals to the gods, there were limitations, and there certainly was a limitation on the sacrifice of sheep, particularly rams. The symbol of the sun-god, Amon-re, was a ram. (The ram-headed serpent is a symbol of the sun-god, Lord of Beasts, Curnunnos, of the Celts.) Feasting on a lamb on the Jewish Passover is perhaps the holiest feast of the Jews, since the sacrifice and feasting on a lamb was the sign used to separate Jews from Gentiles (Egyptians) when Moses led the Jews out of Egypt about 1,200 B.C. The most probable date for the Exodus is about 1290 B.C. The oppressive pharaoh noted in Exodus (1:22:23) was probably Seti I (reigned 13181304), and the pharaoh during the Exodus would thus have been Ramses II (c. 1304c. 1237); however, if we were to use the date specified in I Kings 6:1: that the Exodus from Egypt occurred 480 years before Solomon began building the Temple in Jerusalem, the time of the Exodus would have been ~1480-1440 B.C., when Thutmose III was pharoah in 1,440 B.C. (10). This is what the Jews were told to do:
Exod. 12:11 This is how you are to eat it: with your cloak tucked into your belt, your sandals on your feet and your staff in your hand. Eat it in haste; it is the LORDıs Passover.
Exod. 12:12 ³On that same night I will pass through Egypt and strike down every firstborn both men and animals and I will bring judgment on all the gods of Egypt. I am the LORD.
Exod. 12:13 The blood will be a sign for you on the houses where you are; and when I see the blood, I will pass over you. No destructive plague will touch you when I strike Egypt.
Exod. 12:14 ³This is a day you are to commemorate; for the generations to come you shall celebrate it as a festival to the LORD a lasting ordinance.
Exod. 12:15 For seven days you are to eat bread made without yeast. On the first day remove the yeast from your houses, for whoever eats anything with yeast in it from the first day through the seventh must be cut off from Israel.
It had been the tradition, since the building of the Temple ~960 B.C., that sacrifice for the Hebrew feasts could be only in one place: theTemple of Jerusalem. The Passover Feast attracted people to Jerusalem in the hundreds of thousands. The historian Josephus records about a million people in the city at the time Titus laid seige to it in 70 A.D.
Before the time of Cambyses II (conquering Egypt in 525 B.C.) a second Temple was built in Elephantine, Egypt. But the temple was destroyed by the Egyptians who apparently were at odds with the Jews over the sacrifices of the Temple, as we learn from the Papyri from Elephantine, (11) which begin with the order from Darius to observe the Jewish Passover:
(Written by Yedoniah, the priest over the
Jewish colony at Elephantine ~407 B.C.)
[To] my [brethren
Yedo]niah and his colleagues the [J]ewish gar[rison], your
brother Hanan[iah]. The welfare of my brethren may the
Now this year, the fifth year of King Darius, an order was sent
from the king to Arsa[mes, saying,
'.....Jew]ish [garrison].' Now therefore do you count four-
 [teen days of the month Nisan and ke]ep..., and from the
fifteenth day until the twenty-first day of [Nisan
....]. Be ritually clean and take heed. [Do] n[o] work
[...no ]r drink..., and anything whatever [in] which the[re]
[do not eat...from]sunset until the twenty-first day of Nis[an
....do not br]ing [it] into your houses, but seal [it] up
between [these] day[s].
[To} my brethren Yedoniah and his colleagues the Jewish
garrison, your brother Hanan[iah].
Petition to Bagoas, Governor of Judaea
To our lord Bagoas, governor of Judaea, your servants Yedoniah
and his colleagues, the priests who are in the fortress of
Elephantine. The welfare
of your lordship may the God of heaven seek abundantly at all
times, and give you favour before King Darius
and the court circles a thousand times more than at present, and
may He grant you long life and may you be happy and
prosperous at all times.
Now your servant Yedoniah and his colleagues depose as follows:
In the month of Tammuz in the fourteenth year of King
Darius when Arsames
[(5] departed and went to the King, the priests of the god Khnub
in the fortress of Elephantine combined with Widrang,
who was governor here,
Elephantine Papyrus, "Petition to Bagoas" (1)
saying: 'Let the temple of the God Yahu in the fortress of
Elephantine be done away with.' Then Widrang, that
scoundrel, sent a letter to his son Nephayan, who was in command
of the garrison in the fortress of Elephantine, saying, 'Let
the temple which is in Elephantine,
the fortress, be destroyed.' Thereupon Nephayan led the
Egyptians with the other troops. They came to the fortress
of Elephantine with their weapons,
entered that temple, razed it to the ground, and broke the stone
pillars which were there. Moreover five gateways
 of stone, built with hewn blocks of stone, which were in that
temple, they destroyed, and their doors were set up, and the
of those doors were of bronze, and the roof of cedar wood, all of
it, with the rest of the timber-work and other things which
was entirely burned with fire, and the basins of gold and silver
and everything whatsoever that was in that temple they
and made their own. Our fathers built this temple in the fortress
of Elephantine in the days of the Kings of Egypt, and when
Cambyses entered Egypt
he found that temple already built, and though all the temples
of the Egyptian gods were destroyed, no one did any harm
to that temple.
 When this was done we, with our wives and children, put on
sackcloth and fasted and prayed to Yahu, the Lord of
Who let us see our desire upon that hound Widrang. The anklet
was torn from his legs, and all the wealth he had acquired
was lost, and all the men
who sought to do harm to that temple were all killed, and
we saw our desire upon them. Further, before this, at the
time when this evil
was done to us, we sent a letter to your lordship and to the High
Priest Johanan and his colleagues the priests in Jerusalem
and to Ostanes, the brother
of 'Anani, and the leaders of the Jews. They have not sent any
letter to us; Moreover from the month of Tammuz in the
fourteenth year of King Darius
 until this day we have worn sackcloth and fasted. Our wives are
made as widows, we do not anoint ourselves with oil,
and we drink no wine. Also from then till the present day, in
the seventeenth year of King Darius, meal-offering and
inc[en]se and burnt offering
have not been offered in this temple. Now your servants Yedoniah
and his colleagues and the Jews, all citizens of Elephantine,
'If it seems good to your lordship, take thought for that temple to
rebuild it, since they do not permit us to rebuild it. Look
upon your well wishers and friends here in Egypt. Let a
letter be sent from you to them concerning this temple of the
 that it be rebuilt in the fortress of Elephantine as it was built
before, and let meal-offering, incense and burnt-offering be
upon the altar of the God Yahu in your name, and we will pray
for you continually, we, our wives, and our childrfen and all
who are here, if it is so arranged that this temple be rebuilt, and it
shall be a merit to you before Yahu, the God of
Heaven, greater than that of a man who offers Him a burnt-
offering and sacrifices worth as much as a thousand talents
of silver.' Now concerning gold, concerning this
we have sent and given instructions. Further we have set out the
whole matter in a letter sent in our name to Delaiah and
Shelemaiah, the sons of Sanballat the governor of Samaria.
 Also Arsames knew nothing of all this that was done to us. Dated
the twentieth of Marchesvan in the seventeenth year of King
Reply (memorandum) to the Petition to Bagoas
Memorandum of what Bagoas and Delaiah said
to me: Let it be a memorandum to you in Egypt to
to Arsames concerning the altar-house of the God of
Heaven, which was built in the fortress of Elephantine
 long ago, before Cambyses,
which that scoundrel Widrang destroyed
in the fourteenth year of King Darius,
that it be rebuilt in its place as it was before,
and that meal-offering and incense be offered upon
 that altar as was formerly done.
What happens in the last letter of the series is of much interest, since the reply is a clarification of Bagoas' reply, to the extent that the Jewish garrison at Elephantine would pay (presumably Bagoas) a certain amount of money and goods with permission to proceed with rebuilding the temple based upon the clarification that only incense and meal-offering would be offered to the altar of Yahu. Bagoas' reply only stipulated incense and meal-offering and made no mention of the offering of sheep, oxen and goats. Thus, the following clarification with the payment of a bribe was the next and apparently final negotiation in the terms to rebuild the Temple of Yahu at Elephantine.
Your servants Yedoniah, the son of G[emariah] by
Ma'uzi, the son of Nathan, by name, one,
Shemaiah, the son of Haggai, by name, one,
Hosea, the son of Yathom, by name, one,
Hosea, the son of Nathun, by name, one: five persons
Syenians who [ow]n [proper]ty in the fortress of
say as follows: 'If your lordship is [favour]able
and the temple of Yahu ou[r] God [is rebuilt]
in the fortress of Elephantine as it was form[erly
but sheep and oxen and goats are [no]t offered there,
but incense and meal-offering....
and your lordship iss[ues] an edict [to this effect],
we will pay to your Lorship's house the sum of
a thous[and] ardabs of barley.'
Herodotus' confirmation of the Egyptian ban on sheep sacrifice
Herodotus goes into considerable detail on the Egyptian rites. One thing he makes clear is that sheep cannot be sacrificed, neither can cows be sacrificed, and goats, being the image of the god Pan cannot be sacrificed. They, like the Jews, spent considerable attention to cleanliness, both for the priest and the sacrificial victims. The priests shaved their head and entire body, so to avoid contamination by lice lest they contaminate the sacrifice to a god. Animals were identified as being either "clean" or "unclean." Swine are held to be unclean beasts. Herodotus exounds upon this, leading to the Egyptian cult of Dionysus and the origin of the Greek gods in Egypt:
Book 2.XLVII In the first place, if an Egyptian touches a hog in passing, he goes to the river and dips himself in it, clothed as he is; and in the second place, swineherds, though native born Egyptians, are alone of all men forbidden to enter any Egyptian temple; nor will any give a swineherd his daughter in marriage, nor take a wife from their women; but swineherds intermarry among themselves.  Nor do the Egyptians think it right to sacrifice swine to any god except the Moon and Dionysus; to these, they sacrifice their swine at the same time, in the same season of full moon; then they eat the meat. The Egyptians have an explanation of why they sacrifice swine at this festival, yet abominate them at others; I know it, but it is not fitting that I relate it.  But this is how they sacrifice swine to the Moon: the sacrificer lays the end of the tail and the spleen and the caul together and covers them up with all the fat that he finds around the belly, then consigns it all to the fire; as for the rest of the flesh, they eat it at the time of full moon when they sacrifice the victim; but they will not taste it on any other day. Poor men, with but slender means, mold swine out of dough, which they then take and sacrifice.
2.XLVIII. To Dionysus, on the evening of his festival, everyone offers a piglet which he kills before his door and then gives to the swineherd who has sold it, for him to take away.  The rest of the festival of Dionysus is observed by the Egyptians much as it is by the Greeks, except for the dances; but in place of the phallus, they have invented the use of puppets two feet high moved by strings, the male member nodding and nearly as big as the rest of the body, which are carried about the villages by women; a flute-player goes ahead, the women follow behind singing of Dionysus.  Why the male member is so large and is the only part of the body that moves, there is a sacred legend that explains.
2.XLIX. Now then, it seems to me that Melampus son of Amytheon was not ignorant of but was familiar with this sacrifice. For Melampus was the one who taught the Greeks the name of Dionysus and the way of sacrificing to him and the phallic procession; he did not exactly unveil the subject taking all its details into consideration, for the teachers who came after him made a fuller revelation; but it was from him that the Greeks learned to bear the phallus along in honor of Dionysus, and they got their present practice from his teaching.  I say, then, that Melampus acquired the prophetic art, being a discerning man, and that, besides many other things which he learned from Egypt, he also taught the Greeks things concerning Dionysus, altering few of them; for I will not say that what is done in Egypt in connection with the god and what is done among the Greeks originated independently: for they would then be of an Hellenic character and not recently introduced.  Nor again will I say that the Egyptians took either this or any other custom from the Greeks. But I believe that Melampus learned the worship of Dionysus chiefly from Cadmus of Tyre and those who came with Cadmus from Phoenicia to the land now called Boeotia.
2.L. In fact, the names of nearly all the gods came to Hellas from Egypt. For I am convinced by inquiry that they have come from foreign parts, and I believe that they came chiefly from Egypt...
2.LVII... The fashions of divination at Thebes of Egypt and at Dodona are like one another; moreover, the practice of divining from the sacrificed victim has also come from Egypt.
2. LVIII. It would seem, too, that the Egyptians were the first people to establish solemn assemblies, and processions, and services; the Greeks learned all that from them. I consider this proved, because the Egyptian ceremonies are manifestly very ancient, and the Greek are of recent origin.
2.LIX. The Egyptians hold solemn assemblies not once a year, but often. The principal one of these and the most enthusiastically celebrated is that in honor of Artemis at the town of Bubastis1 , and the next is that in honor of Isis at Busiris.  This town is in the middle of the Egyptian Delta, and there is in it a very great temple of Isis, who is Demeter in the Greek language.  The third greatest festival is at Saïs in honor of Athena; the fourth is the festival of the sun at Heliopolis, the fifth of Leto at Buto, and the sixth of Ares at Papremis.
The Egyptian feast days, particularly the Festival of the Lights, are of interest. The ceremony associated with the dawn recalls the practice in the Rig Veda (one of three rites performed during the course of a day, but probably the most important).
2.LX. When the people are on their way to Bubastis, they go by river, a great number in every boat, men and women together. Some of the women make a noise with rattles, others play flutes all the way, while the rest of the women, and the men, sing and clap their hands.  As they travel by river to Bubastis, whenever they come near any other town they bring their boat near the bank; then some of the women do as I have said, while some shout mockery of the women of the town; others dance, and others stand up and lift their skirts. They do this whenever they come alongside any riverside town.  But when they have reached Bubastis, they make a festival with great sacrifices, and more wine is drunk at this feast than in the whole year besides. It is customary for men and women (but not children) to assemble there to the number of seven hundred thousand, as the people of the place say.
2.LXI. This is what they do there; I have already described how they keep the feast of Isis at Busiris. There, after the sacrifice, all the men and women lament, in countless numbers; but it is not pious for me to say who it is for whom they lament.  Carians who live in Egypt do even more than this, inasmuch as they cut their foreheads with knives; and by this they show that they are foreigners and not Egyptians.
2.LXII. When they assemble at Saïs on the night of the sacrifice, they keep lamps burning outside around their houses. These lamps are saucers full of salt and oil on which the wick floats, and they burn all night. This is called the Feast of Lamps.  Egyptians who do not come to this are mindful on the night of sacrifice to keep their own lamps burning, and so they are alight not only at Saïs but throughout Egypt. A sacred tale is told showing why this night is lit up thus and honored.
2.LXIII. When the people go to Heliopolis and Buto, they offer sacrifice only. At Papremis sacrifice is offered and rites performed just as elsewhere; but when the sun is setting, a few of the priests hover about the image, while most of them go and stand in the entrance to the temple with clubs of wood in their hands; others, more than a thousand men fulfilling vows, who also carry wooden clubs, stand in a mass opposite.  The image of the god, in a little gilded wooden shrine, they carry away on the day before this to another sacred building. The few who are left with the image draw a four-wheeled wagon conveying the shrine and the image that is in the shrine; the others stand in the space before the doors and do not let them enter, while the vow-keepers, taking the side of the god, strike them, who defend themselves.  A fierce fight with clubs breaks out there, and they are hit on their heads, and many, I expect, even die from their wounds; although the Egyptians said that nobody dies.  The natives say that they made this assembly a custom from the following incident: the mother of Ares lived in this temple; Ares had been raised apart from her and came, when he grew up, wishing to visit his mother; but as her attendants kept him out and would not let him pass, never having seen him before, Ares brought men from another town, manhandled the attendants, and went in to his mother. From this, they say, this hitting for Ares became a custom in the festival.
2.LXIV. Furthermore, it was the Egyptians who first made it a matter of religious observance not to have intercourse with women in temples or to enter a temple after such intercourse without washing. Nearly all other peoples are less careful in this matter than are the Egyptians and Greeks, and consider a man to be like any other animal;  for beasts and birds (they say) are seen to mate both in the temples and in the sacred precincts; now were this displeasing to the god, the beasts would not do so. This is the reason given by others for practices which I, for my part, dislike;
LXV. but the Egyptians in this and in all other matters are exceedingly strict against desecration of their temples. (15)
There is a prescribed ritual for sacrificing bulls, and like the Jews (or the Jews, like the Egyptians) prescribed purity laws had to be met:
Herodotus, The Histories, 2.XXXVII. They are religious beyond measure, more than any other people; and the following are among their customs. They drink from cups of bronze, which they clean out daily; this is done not by some but by all.  They are especially careful always to wear newly-washed linen. They practise circumcision for cleanliness' sake; for they would rather be clean than more becoming. Their priests shave the whole body every other day, so that no lice or anything else foul may infest them as they attend upon the gods.  The priests wear a single linen garment and sandals of papyrus:1 they may have no other kind of clothing or footwear. Twice a day and twice every night they wash in cold water. Their religious observances are, one may say, innumerable.  But also they receive many benefits: they do not consume or spend anything of their own; sacred food is cooked for them, beef and goose are brought in great abundance to each man every day, and wine of grapes is given to them, too. They may not eat fish.  The Egyptians sow no beans in their country; if any grow, they will not eat them either raw or cooked; the priests cannot endure even to see them, considering beans an unclean kind of legume. Many (not only one) are dedicated to the service of each god. One of these is the high priest; and when a high priest dies, his son succeeds to his office.
2.XXXVIII. They believe that bulls belong to Epaphus, and for this reason scrutinize them as follows; if they see even one black hair on them, the bull is considered impure.  One of the priests, appointed to the task, examines the beast, making it stand and lie, and drawing out its tongue, to determine whether it is clean of the stated signs which I shall indicate hereafter. He looks also to the hairs of the tail, to see if they grow naturally.  If it is clean in all these respects, the priest marks it by wrapping papyrus around the horns, then smears it with sealing-earth and stamps it with his ring; and after this they lead the bull away. But the penalty is death for sacrificing a bull that the priest has not marked. Such is the manner of approving the beast; I will now describe how it is sacrificed.
2.XXXIX. After leading the marked beast to the altar where they will sacrifice it, they kindle a fire; then they pour wine on the altar over the victim and call upon the god; then they cut its throat, and having done so sever the head from the body.  They flay the carcass of the victim, then invoke many curses on its head, which they carry away. Where there is a market, and Greek traders in it, the head is taken to the market and sold; where there are no Greeks, it is thrown into the river.  The imprecation which they utter over the heads is that whatever ill threatens those who sacrifice, or the whole of Egypt, fall upon that head.  In respect of the heads of sacrificed beasts and the libation of wine, the practice of all Egyptians is the same in all sacrifices; and from this ordinance no Egyptian will taste of the head of anything that had life.
2.XL. But in regard to the disembowelling and burning of the victims, there is a different way for each sacrifice. I shall now, however, speak of that goddess whom they consider the greatest, and in whose honor they keep highest festival.  After praying in the foregoing way, they take the whole stomach out of the flayed bull, leaving the entrails and the fat in the carcass, and cut off the legs, the end of the loin, the shoulders, and the neck.  Having done this, they fill what remains of the carcass with pure bread, honey, raisins, figs, frankincense, myrrh, and other kinds of incense, and then burn it, pouring a lot of oil on it.  They fast before the sacrifice, and while it is burning, they all make lamentation; and when their lamentation is over, they set out a meal of what is left of the victim.
2.XLI. All Egyptians sacrifice unblemished bulls and bull-calves; they may not sacrifice cows: these are sacred to Isis.  For the images of Isis are in woman's form, horned like a cow, exactly as the Greeks picture Io, and cows are held by far the most sacred of all beasts of the herd by all Egyptians alike.  For this reason, no Egyptian man or woman will kiss a Greek man, or use a knife, or a spit, or a cauldron belonging to a Greek, or taste the flesh of an unblemished bull that has been cut up with a Greek knife.  Cattle that die are dealt with in the following way. Cows are cast into the river, bulls are buried by each city in its suburbs, with one or both horns uncovered for a sign; then, when the carcass is decomposed, and the time appointed is at hand, a boat comes to each city from the island called Prosopitis,  an island in the Delta, nine schoeni in circumference. There are many other towns on Prosopitis; the one from which the boats come to gather the bones of the bulls is called Atarbekhis; a temple of Aphrodite stands in it of great sanctity.  From this town many go out, some to one town and some to another, to dig up the bones, which they then carry away and all bury in one place. As they bury the cattle, so do they all other beasts at death. Such is their ordinance respecting these also; for they, too, may not be killed.
2.XLII. All that have a temple of Zeus of Thebes or are of the Theban district sacrifice goats, but will not touch sheep.  For no gods are worshipped by all Egyptians in common except Isis and Osiris, who they say is Dionysus; these are worshipped by all alike. Those who have a temple of Mendes or are of the Mendesian district sacrifice sheep, but will not touch goats.  The Thebans, and those who by the Theban example will not touch sheep, give the following reason for their ordinance: they say that Heracles wanted very much to see Zeus and that Zeus did not want to be seen by him, but that finally, when Heracles prayed, Zeus contrived  to show himself displaying the head and wearing the fleece of a ram which he had flayed and beheaded. It is from this that the Egyptian images of Zeus have a ram's head; and in this, the Egyptians are imitated by the Ammonians, who are colonists from Egypt and Ethiopia and speak a language compounded of the tongues of both countries.  It was from this, I think, that the Ammonians got their name, too; for the Egyptians call Zeus ³Amon." The Thebans, then, consider rams sacred for this reason, and do not sacrifice them.  But one day a year, at the festival of Zeus, they cut in pieces and flay a single ram and put the fleece on the image of Zeus, as in the story; then they bring an image of Heracles near it. Having done this, all that are at the temple mourn for the ram, and then bury it in a sacred coffin.
2.LXV. but the Egyptians in this and in all other matters are exceedingly strict against desecration of their temples.
 Although Egypt has Libya on its borders, it is not a country of many animals. All of them are held sacred; some of these are part of men's households and some not; but if I were to say why they are left alone as sacred, I should end up talking of matters of divinity, which I am especially averse to treating; I have never touched upon such except where necessity has compelled me.  But I will indicate how it is customary to deal with the animals. Men and women are appointed guardians to provide nourishment for each kind respectively; a son inherits this office from his father.  Townsfolk in each place, when they pay their vows, pray to the god to whom the animal is dedicated, shaving all or one half or one third of their children's heads, and weighing the hair in a balance against a sum of silver; then the weight in silver of the hair is given to the female guardian of the creatures, who buys fish with it and feeds them.  Thus, food is provided for them. Whoever kills one of these creatures intentionally is punished with death; if he kills accidentally, he pays whatever penalty the priests appoint. Whoever kills an ibis or a hawk, intentionally or not, must die for it.
2.LXVI. There are many household animals; and there would be many more, were it not for what happens among the cats. When the females have a litter, they are no longer receptive to the males; those that seek to have intercourse with them cannot;  so their recourse is to steal and carry off and kill the kittens (but they do not eat what they have killed). The mothers, deprived of their young and desiring to have more, will then approach the males; for they are creatures that love offspring.  And when a fire breaks out, very strange things happen among the cats. The Egyptians stand around in a broken line, thinking more of the cats than of quenching the burning; but the cats slip through or leap over the men and spring into the fire.  When this happens, there is great mourning in Egypt. The occupants of a house where a cat has died a natural death shave their eyebrows and no more; where a dog has died, the head and the whole body are shaven.
2.LXVII. Dead cats are taken away to sacred buildings in the town of Bubastis, where they are embalmed and buried; female dogs are buried by the townsfolk in their own towns in sacred coffins; and the like is done with mongooses. Shrew-mice and hawks are taken away to Buto, ibises to the city of Hermes.  There are few bears, and the wolves are little bigger than foxes; both these are buried wherever they are found lying.
2.LXVIII. The nature of crocodiles is as follows. For the four winter months, it eats nothing. It has four feet, and lives both on land and in the water, for it lays eggs and hatches them out on land and spends the greater part of the day on dry ground, and the night in the river, the water being warmer than the air and dew.  No mortal creature of all which we know grows from so small a beginning to such greatness; for its eggs are not much bigger than goose eggs, and the young crocodile is of a proportional size, but it grows to a length of twenty-eight feet and more.  It has eyes like pigs' eyes, and long, protruding teeth. It is the only animal that has no tongue. It does not move the lower jaw, but brings the upper jaw down upon the lower, uniquely among beasts.  It also has strong claws, and a scaly, impenetrable hide on its back. It is blind in the water, but very keen of sight in the air. Since it lives in the water, its mouth is all full of leeches. All birds and beasts flee from it, except the sandpiper1 , with which it is at peace because this bird does the crocodile a service;  for whenever the crocodile comes ashore out of the water and then opens its mouth (and it does this mostly to catch the west wind), the sandpiper goes into its mouth and eats the leeches; the crocodile is pleased by this service and does the sandpiper no harm.
2.LXIX. Some of the Egyptians consider crocodiles sacred; others do not, but treat them as enemies. Those who live near Thebes and lake Moeris consider them very sacred.  Every household raises one crocodile, trained to be tame; they put ornaments of glass and gold on its ears and bracelets on its forefeet, provide special food and offerings for it, and give the creatures the best of treatment while they live; after death, the crocodiles are embalmed and buried in sacred coffins.  But around Elephantine they are not held sacred, and are even eaten. The Egyptians do not call them crocodiles, but khampsae. The Ionians named them crocodiles, from their resemblance to the lizards which they have in their walls. (14)
2.LXX. There are many different ways of crocodile hunting; I will write of the way that I think most worth mentioning. The hunter baits a hook with a hog's back, and lets it float into the midst of the river; he himself stays on the bank with a young live pig, which he beats.  Hearing the squeals of the pig, the crocodile goes after the sound, and meets the bait, which it swallows; then the hunters pull the line. When the crocodile is drawn ashore, first of all the hunter smears its eyes over with mud; when this is done, the quarry is very easily mastered--no light matter, without that.
2.LXXI. Hippopotamuses are sacred in the district of Papremis, but not elsewhere in Egypt. They present the following appearance: four-footed, with cloven hooves like cattle; blunt-nosed; with a horse's mane, visible tusks, a horse's tail and voice; big as the biggest bull. Their hide is so thick that, when it is dried, spearshafts are made of it.
2.LXXII. Otters are found in the river, too, which the Egyptians consider sacred; and they consider sacred that fish, too, which is called the scale-fish, and the eel. These, and the fox-goose1 among birds, are said to be sacred to the god of the Nile.
2.LXXIII. There is another sacred bird, too, whose name is phoenix. I myself have never seen it, only pictures of it; for the bird seldom comes into Egypt: once in five hundred years, as the people of Heliopolis say.  It is said that the phoenix comes when his father dies. If the picture truly shows his size and appearance, his plumage is partly golden and partly red. He is most like an eagle in shape and size.  What they say this bird manages to do is incredible to me. Flying from Arabia to the temple of the sun, they say, he conveys his father encased in myrrh and buries him at the temple of the Sun.  This is how he conveys him: he first molds an egg of myrrh as heavy as he can carry, then tries lifting it, and when he has tried it, he then hollows out the egg and puts his father into it, and plasters over with more myrrh the hollow of the egg into which he has put his father, which is the same in weight with his father lying in it, and he conveys him encased to the temple of the Sun in Egypt. This is what they say this bird does. (17)
2.LXXIV. Near Thebes there are sacred snakes, harmless to men, small in size, and bearing two horns on the top of their heads. These, when they die, are buried in the temple of Zeus, to whom they are said to be sacred.
2. LXXVIII. After rich men's repasts, a man carries around an image in a coffin, painted and carved in exact imitation of a corpse two or four feet long. This he shows to each of the company, saying ³While you drink and enjoy, look on this; for to this state you must come when you die.² Such is the custom at their symposia.
To continue on the theme of how the Etruscans, Greeks and Romans enjoyed the "rich man's repast" and connected it with their birthdays and funerals, click on, where I invite you to take part in Timalchio's feast. It's a step towards understanding what the ancients thought they were hoping for when they painted banquet scenes in their tombs.
(1) Documents from Old Testament Times, Edited by D. Winton Thomas, Harper Torchbooks, New York; originally published by Thomas Nelson and Sons Ltd., London, 1958, pp. 118-133.
(2) Records of the Assyrian and Babylonian contributed to Documents from Old Testament Times by D.J. Wiseman, M.A., Assistant Keeper in the Department of Western Asiatic Antiquities, British Museum, at the time of the book's publication.
(3) The Umman-manda, or barbarian hordes, have been thought to be either another description of the Median confederation of tribes under Kyaxares, or the Scythian tribes from the northern hills [Thomas' note, p76].
(4) Sin-shar-ishkun was the last king of Assyria at Nineveh (628-612 B.C. The month of Ab is July-August. The ruin-mound (Arabic, tell), has been excavated and can be seen by teh east bank of the Tigris river opposite Mosul. The ruins are known as Tell Kuyunjik and Tell Nebi Yunus ('Ruin-mound of the Prophet Jonah') [based on Thomas' note, p. 76].
(5) The prophesy of Zephaniah (630 B.C.) seems more like a historical account, mentioning the same names and consequences with regard to the names in the Assyrian Chronicles. I have included the entire prophesy for reference.
(6) "When Ashur-uballit had withdrawn from Nineveh to Harran to establish the Assyrian royal court there, he was supported by Egyptian troops with whose aid he held the city for two years. Harran fell in 609 B.C. to a combined assault by the Scythians (Umman-manda) and the Babylonians. To bring adequate support, Necho II, king of Egypt, had to march through Palestine to capture Carchemish and then cross the Euphrates to Harran. This move brought him into conflict with Judah, whose king Josiah was seeking to regain control of former Israelite territory. Josiah's untimely intervention at Megiddo resulted in his death on the battlefield (2 Chronicles 35.20-5). This must have occurred in 609 B.C., for the Babylonian Chronicle for the next year makes no further reference to Ashur-uballit or to the Egyptians [Thomas' note, p. 77].
(7) Nebuchadrezzar captured the king Jehoiachin, together with his mother, servants, royal household, and certain soldiers and craftsmen. He appointed the twenty-one year old Mattaniah to succeed his nephew Jehoiachin and changed Mattaniah's name to Zedekiah. About 15 days after Jerusalem (the city of Judah) had fallen the Babylonians carried away the prisoners and the treasures of the Temple (Month of Adar Feb.Mar., ~597 B.C.). He captured the city 16 March 597 B.C. [based on Thomas' note, p. 80,81]. See 2 Kings 24 above and 2 Chronicles 36.10. To view a good page on the modern town of Harran go to: http://www.adiyamanli.org/harran.html. Carchemish was located where the modern town of Jerablus is, on the border between Syria and Turkey. Jehoiachin was released after 36 years of captivity. Giving a captured individual a new name was a common practice during that time. Jeremiah (writing ~606 B.C.) chapters 46.2-26 tells of this account of Nebuchadrezzar who reigned from 605 to 561 B.C. The warning Jeremiah gave to Jehoiakim is in chapter 26, 27; and in Jeremiah chapter 28 the warning is to Zedekiah. Nebuchadrezzar is also known as Nebuchadnezzar. In the ninth year of his reign he revolted against Nebuchadrezzar.
(8) Letters from Lachish contributed to Documents from Old Testament Times by D. Winton Thomas, M.A., Regius Professor of Hebrew, University of Cambridge, at the time of publication of the book. The name Konyahu, 'Yahu is firm,' is recorded in Jeremiah 22.24:
Jer. 22:24 ³As surely as I live,² declares the LORD, ³even if you, Jehoiachin son of Jehoiakim king of Judah, were a signet ring on my right hand, I would still pull you off.
Jer. 22:25 I will hand you over to those who seek your life, those you fear to Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon and to the Babylonians.
Jer. 22:26 I will hurl you and the mother who gave you birth into another country, where neither of you was born, and there you both will die.
Jer. 22:27 You will never come back to the land you long to return to.²
Jer. 22:28 Is this man Jehoiachin a despised, broken pot, an object no one wants? Why will he and his children be hurled out, cast into a land they do not know?
Jer. 22:29 O land, land, land, hear the word of the LORD!
Jer. 22:30 This is what the LORD says: ³Record this man as if childless, a man who will not prosper in his lifetime, for none of his offspring will prosper, none will sit on the throne of David or rule anymore in Judah.²
Elnathan is mentioned in the book of Jeremiah as being sent into Egypt:
Jer. 26:20 (Now Uriah son of Shemaiah from Kiriath Jearim was another man who prophesied in the name of the LORD; he prophesied the same things against this city and this land as Jeremiah did.
Jer. 26:21 When King Jehoiakim and all his officers and officials heard his words, the king sought to put him to death. But Uriah heard of it and fled in fear to Egypt.
Jer. 26:22 King Jehoiakim, however, sent Elnathan son of Acbor to Egypt, along with some other men.
Jer. 26:23 They brought Uriah out of Egypt and took him to King Jehoiakim, who had him struck down with a sword and his body thrown into the burial place of the common people.)
Wherever you see in the Bible the name LORD, because of the ban on pronouncing the name of God, it was written in code. LORD means YHVH (Yaweh). Lord means 'ba'al,' lord, master. Another name for God is El and the plural is Elohim.
(9) Maps of Palestine are from the Yaakov Aviel Collection, published by Yaakov Aviel, Tel-Aviv, 1984.
(10) Encyclopaedia Britannica, 2005.
(11) Papyri of Elephantine contributed to Documents from Old Testament Times by H. H. Rowley, D.D., F.B.A., Professor of Hebrew Language and Literature, University of Manchester, at the time of the book's publication.
(12) Johanan is a name often mentioned in the Old Testament. But the Johanan specifically mentioned in this text is mentioned in the book of Nehemiah:
Nehemiah 12:22 The family heads of the Levites in the days of Eliashib, Joiada, Johanan and Jaddua, as well as those of the priests, were recorded in the reign of Darius the Persian.
Neh. 12:23 The family heads among the descendants of Levi up to the time of Johanan son of Eliashib were recorded in the book of the annals (Chronicles).
The priesthood was an inherited position. Johanan inherited his title as a high priest through his father Eliaship and his ancestors, where the chief priests were drawn by lots, one lot from the family of Eleazar and the other from the family of Ithamar:
1Chr. 24:6 The scribe Shemaiah son of Nethanel, a Levite, recorded their names in the presence of the king and of the officials: Zadok the priest, Ahimelech son of Abiathar and the heads of families of the priests and of the Levites one family being taken from Eleazar and then one from Ithamar.
1Chr. 24:7 The first lot fell to Jehoiarib, the second to Jedaiah,
1Chr. 24:8 the third to Harim, the fourth to Seorim,
1Chr. 24:9 the fifth to Malkijah, the sixth to Mijamin,
1Chr. 24:10 the seventh to Hakkoz, the eighth to Abijah,
1Chr. 24:11 the ninth to Jeshua, the tenth to Shecaniah,
1Chr. 24:12 the eleventh to Eliashib, the twelfth to Jakim,
Eliashib was eleventh out of 24 chief priests drawn by lot from the two sons of Aaron at the time David apportioned the priesthood (~1015 B.C.), and thus his descendant, Johanan, at the time of Darius held considerable influence. Eliashib, the father of Johanan mentioned in the Elephantine Papyrus, was involved in a strong controversy where it was decided that the foreign wives (from Babylon) must be divorced, as mentioned in the book of Ezra, when the Children of Israel had been restored by order of Cyrus:
Ezra 10:1 While Ezra was praying and confessing, weeping and throwing himself down before the house of God, a large crowd of Israelites men, women and children gathered around him. They too wept bitterly.
Ezra 10:2 Then Shecaniah son of Jehiel, one of the descendants of Elam, said to Ezra, ³We have been unfaithful to our God by marrying foreign women from the peoples around us. But in spite of this, there is still hope for Israel.
Ezra 10:3 Now let us make a covenant before our God to send away all these women and their children, in accordance with the counsel of my lord and of those who fear the commands of our God. Let it be done according to the Law.
Ezra 10:4 Rise up; this matter is in your hands. We will support you, so take courage and do it.²
Ezra 10:5 So Ezra rose up and put the leading priests and Levites and all Israel under oath to do what had been suggested. And they took the oath.
Ezra 10:6 Then Ezra withdrew from before the house of God and went to the room of Jehohanan son of Eliashib. While he was there, he ate no food and drank no water, because he continued to mourn over the unfaithfulness of the exiles.
Ezra 10:7 A proclamation was then issued throughout Judah and Jerusalem for all the exiles to assemble in Jerusalem.
Ezra 10:8 Anyone who failed to appear within three days would forfeit all his property, in accordance with the decision of the officials and elders, and would himself be expelled from the assembly of the exiles.
Ezra 10:9 Within the three days, all the men of Judah and Benjamin had gathered in Jerusalem. And on the twentieth day of the ninth month, all the people were sitting in the square before the house of God, greatly distressed by the occasion and because of the rain.
Ezra 10:10 Then Ezra the priest stood up and said to them, ³You have been unfaithful; you have married foreign women, adding to Israelıs guilt.
Ezra 10:11 Now make confession to the LORD, the God of your fathers, and do his will. Separate yourselves from the peoples around you and from your foreign wives.²
Ezra 10:12 The whole assembly responded with a loud voice: ³You are right! We must do as you say.
Thus Johanan had considerable influence and the Jews would have been looking to him to make matters right in Elephantine. D. Winton Thomas, following Josephus' implications, suggests that Johanan was involved in a political struggle: "We learn from Josephus that some time after this, in the reign of Artaxerxes, he was on bad terms with Bagoas who thought to remove him from office and replace him by his brother Jeshua. But Johanan killed his brother in the Temple. Possibly Bagoas and Johanan were already on bad terms, and that was why the answer came in the name of Bagoas only" [Documents from Old Testament Times, pp. 264,265].
Arsames was the governor of Egypt for many years and related to the Persian royal house [Thomas' note, p. 259]
(13) A controversy involving the main players of these letters is described in Nehemiah chapter 6. While these were involved in rebuilding the Temple at Elephantine, the refugees from the captivity in Babylon were just finishing the walls of Jerusalem, but no one had yet moved inside the walls. What is interesting here is the part Tobias plays at Jerusalem and from the testimony of this verse he must have had a hand in the controversy of the Temple in Elephantine. Also, it would appear that the Temple in Elephantine had been restored previous to the restoration of the Temple in Jerusalem, since these letters emphasize the antiquity of the Temple of Yahu in Elephantine.
Neh. 6:1 When word came to Sanballat, Tobiah, Geshem the Arab and the rest of our enemies that I had rebuilt the wall and not a gap was left in it though up to that time I had not set the doors in the gates
Neh. 6:2 Sanballat and Geshem sent me this message: ³Come, let us meet together in one of the villages on the plain of Ono.² But they were scheming to harm me;
Neh. 6:3 so I sent messengers to them with this reply: ³I am carrying on a great project and cannot go down. Why should the work stop while I leave it and go down to you?²
Neh. 6:4 Four times they sent me the same message, and each time I gave them the same answer.
Neh. 6:5 Then, the fifth time, Sanballat sent his aide to me with the same message, and in his hand was an unsealed letter
Neh. 6:6 in which was written: It is reported among the nations and Geshem says it is true that you and the Jews are plotting to revolt, and therefore you are building the wall. Moreover, according to these reports you are about to become their king
Neh. 6:7 and have even appointed prophets to make this proclamation about you in Jerusalem: There is a king in Judah!ı Now this report will get back to the king; so come, let us confer together.²
Neh. 6:8 I sent him this reply: ³Nothing like what you are saying is happening; you are just making it up out of your head.²
Neh. 6:9 They were all trying to frighten us, thinking, ³Their hands will get too weak for the work, and it will not be completed.² But I prayed, ³Now strengthen my hands.²
Neh. 6:10 One day I went to the house of Shemaiah son of Delaiah, the son of Mehetabel, who was shut in at his home. He said, ³Let us meet in the house of God, inside the temple, and let us close the temple doors, because men are coming to kill you by night they are coming to kill you.²
Neh. 6:11 But I said, ³Should a man like me run away? Or should one like me go into the temple to save his life? I will not go!²
Neh. 6:12 I realized that God had not sent him, but that he had prophesied against me because Tobiah and Sanballat had hired him.
Neh. 6:13 He had been hired to intimidate me so that I would commit a sin by doing this, and then they would give me a bad name to discredit me.
Neh. 6:14 Remember Tobiah and Sanballat, O my God, because of what they have done; remember also the prophetess Noadiah and the rest of the prophets who have been trying to intimidate me.
Neh. 6:15 So the wall was completed on the twenty-fifth of Elul, in fifty-two days.
Neh. 6:16 When all our enemies heard about this, all the surrounding nations were afraid and lost their self-confidence, because they realized that this work had been done with the help of our God.
Neh. 6:17 Also, in those days the nobles of Judah were sending many letters to Tobiah, and replies from Tobiah kept coming to them.
Neh. 6:18 For many in Judah were under oath to him, since he was son-in-law to Shecaniah son of Arah, and his son Jehohanan had married the daughter of Meshullam son of Berekiah.
Neh. 6:19 Moreover, they kept reporting to me his good deeds and then telling him what I said. And Tobiah sent letters to intimidate me.
Neh. 7:1 After the wall had been rebuilt and I had set the doors in place, the gatekeepers and the singers and the Levites were appointed.
Neh. 7:2 I put in charge of Jerusalem my brother Hanani, along with Hananiah the commander of the citadel, because he was a man of integrity and feared God more than most men do.
Neh. 7:3 I said to them, ³The gates of Jerusalem are not to be opened until the sun is hot. While the gatekeepers are still on duty, have them shut the doors and bar them. Also appoint residents of Jerusalem as guards, some at their posts and some near their own houses.²
Neh. 7:4 Now the city was large and spacious, but there were few people in it, and the houses had not yet been rebuilt.
Neh. 7:5 So my God put it into my heart to assemble the nobles, the officials and the common people for registration by families. I found the genealogical record of those who had been the first to return. This is what I found written there...
An ardab is a Persian and Egyptian dry measure, representing about a month's allowance of barley for a single person..Syene was on the mainland, opposite Elephantine, and is the modern Assuan (Aswan) [Thomas' note].
But sheep and oxen and goats are not offered there, refers to the Egyptian ban against sacrificing rams in particular. The Egyptian god, Khnub, Khnum "also spelled Khnemu ancient Egyptian god of fertility, associated with water and with procreation. Khnum was worshiped from the 1st dynasty (c. 29252775 BC) into the early centuries AD. He was represented as a ram with horizontal, twisting horns or as a man with a ram's head. Khnum was believed to have created humankind from clay like a potter; this scene, with him using a potter's wheel, was depicted in later times. The god's first main cult centre was Herwer, near Al-Ashmunayn in Middle Egypt. From the New Kingdom (15391075 BC) on, however, he became the god of the island of Elephantine, near present-day Aswan, and was known as the lord of the surrounding First Cataract of the Nile River. At Elephantine he formed a triad of deities with the goddesses Satis and Anukis. Khnum also had an important cult at Esna, south of Thebes." [Encyclopaedia Britannica, 2005]
(14) The Histories (440 B.C.), by Herodotus, edited by A. D. Godley, http://www.perseus.tufts.edu. Several other sites have Herodotus online, such as the George Rawlinson translation: http://classics.mit.edu/Herodotus/history.2.ii.html.
(15) In Canaan and Rome certain temples were served by temple prostitutes. The Egyptians, as Herodtus claims, may have been unique in forbidding sex in any temple.
(16) It is interesting comparing the account of Genesis 50, concerning the embalming and burial of Jacob (Israel), to Herodotus' account. The total period that the body is "mourned" is seventy days; then, when the seventy days of mourning were past, Joseph requested permission from the pharoah to return and bury the mummy of Jacob in Canaan. The actual period of the embalming may have been forty days. Herodotus may not have known this distinction.
(17) Clement (the disciple of St. Peter and fourth Bishop of Rome, 90-100 A.D. following St. Peter, 62-67 A.D.; Linus, 67-78 A.D.; Cletus, 78-90 A.D. spoke of the Phoenix in his First Epistle (a controversial portion of his epistle). In the year 1628 an ancient manuscript of the Greek Bible was presented to King Charles I by the Patriarch Cyril of Jerusalem. In addition to the books of the Old and New Testaments it contained two other documents, now called the Epistles of Clement. The epistles have great importance in terms of the development of the teachings of the early Christian church. This is what Clement wrote about the Phoenix. Since he lived in Alexandria, Egypt, his source may be directly from there, but we cannot rule out Herodotus as being the source.
Clement 1.XII Let us consider that wonderful type of the resurrection which is seen in the Eastern countries; that is to say, in Arabia.
1.XII.2 There is a certain bird called a Phoenix; of thise there is never but one at a time: and that lives five hundred years. And when the time of its dissolution draws near, that it must die, it makes itself a next of frankincense, and myrrh, and other spices into which when its time is fulfilled it enters and dies.
1.XII.3 But its flesh putrifying, breeds a certain worm, which being nourished with the juice of the dead bird brings forth feathers; and when it is grown to a perfect state, it takes up the nest in which the bones of its parents lie, and carries it from Arabia into Egypt to a city called Heliopolis:
1.XII.4 And flying in open day in the sight of all men, lays it upon the altar of the sun, and so returns from whence it came.
1.XII.5 The priests then search into the records of the time; and find that it returned precisely at the end of five hundred years.
1.XII.6 And shall we then think it to be any very great and strange thing for the Lord of all to raise up those that religiously serve himin the assurance of a good faith, when even by a bird he shews us the greatness of his power to fulfill his promise?
The importance of the Resurrection or life after death is incremental to the beliefs of the Egyptians, through the judgment of Osiris, and it is clear that the notion of life after death continued with the Jews after their Exodus from Egypt. But among the Jews there was a division, for in the worship at the Temple in Jerusalem and also at Elephantine there were at least three sects (See Josephus, Antiquities of the Jews, Book XVIII.1.2ff). The sect that was prominent during the time of Christ was the Sadduccees (meaning disciples of Zadok who was high priest who invoked the Law of Moses during the time of David. The Sadduccees were differentiated from the other sects, the Pharisees and the Essenes, in the context of belief in the resurrection. Jesus the Christ's family was of the sect of Pharisees, and it is probable that some of them, at least his cousin John the Baptist, were adherents of the sect of Essenes who had a monastic colony at Qumran, along the north end of the Dead Sea. What distinguished the Essenes was their practice of baptism in the river Jordan nearby their monestary and caves. The Jews had pools in which they cleansed themselves, for purification sake. Using the Jordan river as a place of such purification was unusual enough in the time of John the Baptist that, according to the gospels, many came to the Jordan river from Jerusalem to witness the new rite. Jesus was baptized by John the Baptist and that rite became a central feature of his ministry, where he insisted that you must be born again through water and spirit a central teaching of his ministry today. In the following dialogue Nicodemus is probably another relative of Jesus and was a high priest serving on the Sanhedrim of the Temple. He and Joseph of Arimathaea took charge of Jesus' body after it was brought down from the cross and carried it to Joseph's tomb which was in Joseph's garden, near the hill of Golgotha (the skull). See The Family of Jesus.html for connections of people mentioned in the gospels and their relationship to him according to ancient church sources.
John 3:3 In reply Jesus declared, ³I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again. ²
John 3:4 ³How can a man be born when he is old?² Nicodemus asked. ³Surely he cannot enter a second time into his motherıs womb to be born!²
John 3:5 Jesus answered, ³I tell you the truth, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit.
John 3:6 Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit.
John 3:7 You should not be surprised at my saying, You must be born again.ı
John 3:8 The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.²
John 3:9 ³How can this be?² Nicodemus asked.
John 3:10 ³You are Israelıs teacher,² said Jesus, ³and do you not understand these things?
John 3:11 I tell you the truth, we speak of what we know, and we testify to what we have seen, but still you people do not accept our testimony.
John 3:12 I have spoken to you of earthly things and you do not believe; how then will you believe if I speak of heavenly things? John 3:13 No one has ever gone into heaven except the one who came from heaven the Son of Man.
John 3:14 Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the desert, so the Son of Man must be lifted up,
John 3:15 that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life.
The function of the Phoenix as a symbol of eternal life may be older than we think, since it may, in fact, be the symbol of the bird of creation. In the myth of the creation of Helen (born from an egg laid by a goose, the goddess Nemesis) it is Aphrodite (goddess of love, Roman Venus, Etruscan Turan) that changes into an eagle to chase Zeus who had changed into a swan in pursuit of Nemesis. In the Hittite and Mitanni ensigns is what appears to be an eagle, and in the Mitanni seals the eagle has two heads (See Hittite_Treaties.html). For lack of any term, let's call that bird the Thunderbird. In the context it would be the symbol of the god of thunder, as Jupiter, Zeus, and Indra, or the Etruscan god Tinia. The Thunderbird, with one head or two, and sometimes as a raven, appears as the sign of the creation on a universal basis. The other universal sign of creation is the mother-goddess who sits upon a throne flanked by two lions or leopards, behind whom or associated with whom is a tree (Tree of Life) with a flowing stream at its base. In the Akkadian mythology and associated cylinder seals it is the god Enki who is the creator and from whom flows the rivers of life (usually shown with fish in the stream). Fish among Indo-Europeans the Salmon became symbols of eternal life. The cylindar seal of Enki, whose shoulders emanate water is an illustration of the combined creator-storm god:
Enki is shown here with the armed Astarte, or Arte
mis, climbing back up to land as it would appear preceeded by what appears to be an eagle with a snake in its claws. Beside Astarte is the Tree of Life. Compare this image to another seal of the god Ningishzida:
Top: The god Enki; bottom the god Marduk presenting a king. Note the emblem of Marduk on the left. Below the throne is the Tree of Life.
The Eagle was a symblol of Rome, and it became of great controversy when king Herod (37 B.C. - 4 B.C.) erected the Roman eagle over the Golden Gate in Jerusalem, according to Josephus (a high priest of the temple and governor who had been captured by Vespasian during the Jewish Wars and witnessed the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 A.D.; he lived 37 A.D - ~100 A.D.). In his Antiquities of the Jews, Josephus tells us:
Book XVII, Chapter VI.2 There was one Judas, the son of Saripheus, and Matthias [a high priest of the Temple], the son of Margalothus, two of the most eloquent men among the jews, and most celebrated intrepreters of the Jewish laws, and men well beloved by the people, because of their education of their youth; for all those that were studious of virtue frequented their lectures every day. These men, when they found that the king's distemper was incurable, excited the young men that they would pull down all those works which the king had erected contrary to the law of their fathers, and thereby obtain the reward which the law will confer on them for such actions of piety; for that it was truly on account of Herod's rashness in making such things as the law had forbidden, that his other misfortunes, and this distemper also, which was so unusual among mankind, and with which he was now afflicted, came upon him: for Herod had caused such things to be made, which were contrary to the law, of which he was accused by Judas and Matthias; for the king had erected over the great gate of the Temple a large golden eagle, of great value, and had dedicated it to the Temple. Now, the law forbids those that propose to live according to it, to erect images, or representations of any living creature. So these wise men persuaded [their scholars] to pull down the golden eagle: alleging, that although they should incur any danger which might bring them to their deaths, the virtue of the action now proposed to them would appear much more advantageous to them than the pleasures of life; since they would die for the preservation and observation of the law of their fathers; since they would also acquire an everlasting fame and commendation; since they would be both commended by the present generation, and leave an example of life that would never be forgotten to posterity; since that common calamity of dying cannot be avoided by our living so as to escape any such dangers: that therefore it is a right thing for those who are in love with a virtuous conduct, to wait for that fatal hour by such a behavior as may carry them out of the world with praise and honour; and that this will alleviate death to such a degree, thus to come at it by the performance of brave actions, which bring us into danger of it; and at the same time to leave that reputation behind them to their children, and to all their relations, whether they be men or women, which will be of great advantage to them afterward.
VI.3. And with such discourses as this did these men excite the young men to this action; and a report being come to them that the king was dead, this was an addition to the wiese men's persuasions, so, in the very middle of the day they got upon the place, they pulled down the eagle, and cut it into pieces with axes, while a great number of the people were in the Temple.
The standard of the Roman Eagle was adopted by Charlesmagne and passed to the Holy Roman Empire and later became a standard of the Germans and the United States.
The German ensign showed the eagle with a single head and a double head, as in the case of the Mitanni over three thousand years earlier. Needless to say the eagle has been an Indo-European symbol of power and sovereignty for a long time. The eagle, or a bird, like the raven, called the Thunderbird, appears in the design of the swastica, a universal sign (turning counter-clockwise, called the Indian Sign) representing the creation. From Eur-Asia to the Americas is a myth explaining that god was accompanied in the creation by only a bird (a raven or an eagle) and to gain more company he grabbed the bird by the leg and spun it around his head. From the bird spun all the living things of creation. In a parallel myth rather than a bird, the god spun a tree around, and all the animals in the Tree of Life were scattered around the world. In pottery found in Mesopotamia (a book, The Cuna Indians and the Tree of Life, has an excellent discussion on the evolution of this idea; I can't remember the author or publisher) the swastica is shown in an evolving state. First the branches of the swastica are dipicted as branches of a tree. Over time the branches became bars, and in its penultimate stage the tips [only] of the bars had tiny trees upon them. Finally traces of the branch disappeared altogether, leaving only crossed bars. The sign was used frequently upon the souls of Buddha, in his various representations. The Thunderbird showed a similar evolution, where the representations of the twirling bird became more abstract and finally succumbed to bars.
German ensign; to read more about its evolution click on the image.
One of many American Indian myths on the Thunderbird and its involvement in the creation can be read at: http://www.indianlegend.com/chinook/chinook_001.htm.
Josephus also tells us from a letter of Areus, King of the Lacedemonians, to Onais (Book XII.IV.10) that the Lacedemonians and the Jews were of one stock and identifies his letter to Onais which he describes, "is four square; and the seal is an eagle, with a dragon in his claws." Of interst here is the fact that Herodotus compared the Lacedaemonians with the Egyptians (He also says that the people of Colchis had a language, customs, and mode of dress that was identical to the Egyptians:
2.LXXIX. They keep the customs of their fathers, adding none to them. Among other notable customs of theirs is this, that they have one song, the Linus-song, which is sung in Phoenicia and Cyprus and elsewhere; each nation has a name of its own for this,  but it happens to be the same song that the Greeks sing, and call Linus; so that of many things in Egypt that amaze me, one is: where did the Egyptians get Linus? Plainly they have always sung this song; but in Egyptian Linus is called Maneros.  The Egyptians told me that Maneros was the only son of their first king, who died prematurely, and this dirge was sung by the Egyptians in his honor; and this, they said, was their earliest and their only chant.
2.LXXX. There is a custom, too, which no Greeks except the Lacedaemonians have in common with the Egyptians: younger men, encountering their elders, yield the way and stand aside, and rise from their seats for them when they approach.  But they are like none of the Greeks in this: passers-by do not address each other, but salute by lowering the hand to the knee.
2.LXXXI. They wear linen tunics with fringes hanging about the legs, called ³calasiris,² and loose white woolen mantles over these. But nothing woolen is brought into temples, or buried with them: that is impious.  They agree in this with practices called Orphic and Bacchic, but in fact Egyptian and Pythagorean: for it is impious, too, for one partaking of these rites to be buried in woolen wrappings. There is a sacred legend about this.
2.LXXXIII. As to the art of divination among them, it belongs to no man, but to some of the gods; there are in their country oracles of Heracles, Apollo, Athena, Artemis, Ares, and Zeus, and of Leto (the most honored of all) in the town of Buto. Nevertheless, they have several ways of divination, not just one.
Leto is mentioned in the Etruscan scripts. "She is called by the Romans Latona. According to Hesiod, a daughter of the Titan Coeus and Phoebé, a sister of Asteria. She was the mother of Apollo and Artemis by Zeus, to whom she was married before Heré. Homer likewise calls her the mother of Apollo and Artemis by Zeus; he mentions her in the story of Niobé, who paid so dearly for her conduct towards Leto, and he also describes her as the friend of the Trojans in the war with the Greeks. In later writers these elements of her story are variously embellished, for they do not describe her as the lawful wife of Zeus, but merely as his mistress, who was persecuted by Heré during her pregnancy. All the world being afraid of receiving Leto on account of their dread of Heré, she wandered about till she came to Delos, which was then a floating island, and bore the name of Asteria or Ortygia. When Leto arrived there, Zeus fastened it by adamantine chains to the bottom of the sea, that it might be a secure resting-place for his beloved, and here she gave birth to Apollo and Artemis. The tradition is also related with various other modifications. Some said that Zeus changed Leto into a quail (ortux), and that in this state she arrived in the floating island, which was hence called Ortygia. Others related that Zeus was enamoured of Asteria, but that she, being metamorphosed into a bird, flew across the sea; that she was then changed into a rock, which, for a long time, lay under the surface of the sea; and that this rock arose from the waters and received Leto when she was pursued by Python. Leto was generally worshipped only in conjunction with her children. Delos was the chief seat of her worship, and in the sanctuary devoted to her honour she was represented by a shapeless wooden image. See Apollo; Daedala.
It is probable that the name of Leto belongs to the same class of words as the Greek lêthê and the lateo, as typifying night. Leto would therefore signify ³the obscure² or ³concealed,² not as a physical power, but as a divinity yet quiescent and invisible, from whom issued the visible divinity with all his splendour and brilliancy. This view is supported by the account of her genealogy [p. 939] given by Hesiod. (See Preller, Röm. Myth. i. 190; Lang, Myth, Ritual, etc., ii. 199.) From their mother Apollo is frequently Letoïus or Latoïus, and Artemis (Diana), Letoïa, Letoïs, Latoïs, or Latoë." [dictionary: http://www.perseus.tufts.edu.]
Herodotus, The Histories, 2.CIV. For it is plain to see that the Colchians are Egyptians; and what I say, I myself noted before I heard it from others. When it occurred to me, I inquired of both peoples; and the Colchians remembered the Egyptians better than the Egyptians remembered the Colchians;  the Egyptians said that they considered the Colchians part of Sesostris' army. I myself guessed it, partly because they are dark-skinned and woolly-haired; though that indeed counts for nothing, since other peoples are, too; but my better proof was that the Colchians and Egyptians and Ethiopians are the only nations that have from the first practised circumcision.  The Phoenicians and the Syrians of Palestine acknowledge that they learned the custom from the Egyptians, and the Syrians of the valleys of the Thermodon and the Parthenius, as well as their neighbors the Macrones, say that they learned it lately from the Colchians. These are the only nations that circumcise, and it is seen that they do just as the Egyptians.  But as to the Egyptians and Ethiopians themselves, I cannot say which nation learned it from the other; for it is evidently a very ancient custom. That the others learned it through traffic with Egypt, I consider clearly proved by this: that Phoenicians who traffic with Hellas cease to imitate the Egyptians in this matter and do not circumcise their children.
Sestoris is Ramases II, 14th century B.C. The dates of some dynasties are as follows. All dates are B.C.
Dates are B.C. Column A is from http://www.serendipity.li/petrie/chap12.htm, based on a reconciliation of the Turin papyrus and Manetho. Those dates reflect Manetho's calculations. The discrepancy between the Turin papyrus and Manetho is ~258-276 years. Column B, C, D dates are from the Wordsworth Handbook of Kings and Queens, John E. Morby, 1994. Dates are for reference to Etruscan scripts, since we should be able to find a cross-correlation among the older scrips, as in the Zagreb_Mummy_Script. All dates are approximate.
I (Thinite) 3100-2905
Horus Aha aka Meni (Menes)
Horus Djer aka Iti
Horus Wadji aka Iterti
Horus Dewen aka Khasti
Horus Anedjib aka Merpibia
Horus Semerkhet aka Irynetjer
Horus Qaa aka Qaa
II (Thinite) 2905-2755
III (Memphite start of Old Kingdom) 2755-2680
IV (Memphite) 2680-2544
V (Memphite) 2544-2407
VI (Memphite) 2407-2255
VII, VIII (Memphite) 2255-2235
IX, X (Heracleopolitan) 2235-2035
XI (Theban) 2134-1991
XII (Theban) 1991-1786
XIII (Theban) 1786-1668
XIV (Xoite) 1720-1665
XV (Hyksos) 1668-1560
XVI (Hyksos) 1665-1565
XVII (Theban) 1668-1570
XVIII (Theban) 1570-1293
XIX (Theban) 1293-1185
1293-1291 Menpehtyre Ramesses I
1291-1279 Menmare Seti I (son)
1279-1212 Usermare Ramesses II (son)
1212-1202 Baenre Merenptah (son)
1202-1199 Menmire Amenmesses (brother?)
1199-1193 Userkheprure Seti II (sonof Merenptah)
1193-1187 Akhenre Merenptah-Siptah (son?)
1193-1185 Sitre-meryetamun Tawosrer (widow,Seti II)
XX (Theban) 1185-1070
1185-1182 Userkhaure Setnakht
1182-1151 Usermare Ramesses III (son)
1151-1145 Heqamare Ramesses IV (son)
1145-1141 Usermare Ramesses V (son)
1141-1133 Nebmare Ramesses VI (son of Ramesses III)
1133-1127 Usermare-meryamun Ramesses VII
1127-1126 Usermare-akhenamun Ramesses VIII
1126-1108 Neferkare Ramesses IX
1108-1098 Khepermare Ramesses X
1098-1070 Menmare Ramesses XI
XXI (Tanite) 1070-946
1070-1044 Hedjkheperre Smendes
1044-1040 Neferkare Amenemnisu
1040-992 Akheperre Psusennes I
994-985 Usermare Amenemope
985-979 Akheperre Osochor
979-960 Nutekheperre Siamun
960-946 Tyetkheprure Psusennes II
(High Priests of amon at Thebes)
1070-1055 Pinudjem I
1055-1047 Masahart (son)
1047-1046 Djedkhonsefankh (brother)
1046-993 Menkheperre (brother)
993-991 Smendes (son)
XXII (Bubastite) 946-712
946-913 Hedjkheperre Shoshenq I
916-904 Sekhemkheperre Osorkon I (son)
?-904 Heqakheperre Shoshenq II (son)
904-8890 Usermare (?) Takelot I (brother)
890-860 Usermare Osorkon II (son)
835-783 Usermare Shoshenq III
783-773 Usermare Pami
773-735 Akheperre Shoshenq V (son)
735-712 Akheperre Osorkon IV (son?)
XXIII (Tanite) 828-720
828-803 Usermare Pedubast
803-797 Usermare Shoshenq IV
797-769 Usermare Osorkon III
774-767 Usermare Takelot III (son)
767-795 Usermare Amenrud (brother)
814-790 Yuput I (at Leontopolis)
745-712 Wahkare Bakenranef
XXIV (Saite) 740-712
740-718 Shepsesre Tefnakht
718-712 Wahkare Bakenranef
XXV (Nubian) 767-656
767-753 Nymare Kashta
753-713 Seneferre Piye (son)
713-698 Neferkare Shabako (brother)
701-690 Djedkaure Shebirku (son of Piye)
690-664 Khunefertemre Taharqa (brother)
664-656 Bakare Tanwetamani (son of Shebitku)
XXVI (Saite) 664-525
664-610 Wahibre Psamtik I
610-595 Wehemibre Necho (son)
595-589 Neferibre Psamtik II (son)
589-570 Haiabre Wahibre (son)
570-526 Khnemibre Ahmose II
526-525 Ankhkaenre Psamtik III (son)
XXVII (Persian Kings) 525-405
XXVIII (Saite) 405-399
XXIX (Mendesian) 399-380
399-393 Baenre Nepherites I
393 Userre Psammuthis
393-380 Khnemmare Hagor
380 Nepherites II (son)
XXX (Sebennytic) 380-343
380-362 Kheperkare Nectanebo I
365-360 Irmaenre Djehor (son)
360-343 Senedjemibre Nectanebo II (nephew)
XXXI (Persian Kings, Achaemenids) 343-332
Macedonian conquest 332 B.C.
Kingdom of Lydia (Mermnad Dynasty)
680-645 Gyges (son of Dascylus; traditional founder of a new royal dynasty)
645-624 Ardys (son)
624-610 Sadyattes (son)
610-560 Alyattes (son)
560-547 Croesus (son; conquest of Lydia by Cyrus the Great c. 547 B.C.)
Hatrtushili I (sister's son)
?-1590 Murshili I (grandson)
1590? Hanatili I (sister's husband)
Zidanta I (son-in-law)
Huzziya I (son?)
Telipinu (sister's husband)
1525 Alluwamna (son-in-law)
Hantili II (?)
Zidanta II (?)
Huzziya II (?)
1430-1406 Tudhaliya I
1410-1386 Arnuwanda I (son)
1385-1381 Tudhaliya II (son)
1380-1358 Hattushili II (brother)
1357-1323 Shuppiluliuma I (son)
13322 Arnuwanda II (son)
1321-1297 Murshili II (brother)
1296-1271 Muwatalli (son)
1270-1264 Murshili III (son)
1263-1245 Hattushili III (son of Murshili II)
1244-1220 Tudhaliya III (son)
1219-1218 Arnuwanda III (son)
1217-1200 Shuppiluliuma II (brother)
~1200 Hittite Kingdom destroyed.
559-530 Cyrus the Great (fourth in descent from Achaemenes, King of Aanshan. Conquered Media 550)
529-522 Cambyses (son)
522 Smerdis aka Bardiya (brother)
521-486 Darius I, the Great (fifth in descent from Achaemenes)
485-465 Xerxes I (son)
464-424 Artaxerxes I, Longimanus (son)
424 Xerxes II (son)
424 Sogdianus (brother)
423-505 Darius II, Nothus (brother)
404-359 Artaxserxes II, Mnemon (son)
358-338 Artaxerxes III aka Ochus (son)
337-336 Arses (son)
335-330 Darius III aka Codomannus, (great-grandson of Darius II; Macedonian conquest of the Persian empire 330)
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Updated: 10.17.04; 10.19.04; 10.20.04; 10.22.04
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