Friday, March 21, 2014

Rameses II as Pharaoh Necho

"A fragment of a mural from a Theban temple of Ramses II, preserved in the Metropolitan Museum of New York, shows a Palestinian prince, mortally wounded by a dart or a lance thrown by one of the Egyptian Warriors, an the army of this prince is in great dismay."-H.E. Winlock: Excavations at Deir el Bahari, 1911-1913 (New York 1942), p. 12 and plate 6g.

"An obelisk of Rameses II at Tanis mentions "Carrying off the princes of Retenu (Palestine) as living prisoners" The word "princes" is written on the obelisk with a heiroglyph of a size disproportionate to the rest of the inscription, emphasizing their royal status."-See Kemi, revue de philologie et d'archeologie egytpiennes et coptes, V(1935). Plate 26. and p. 113
Above are footnotes from Ages in Chaos II about the first Syrian campaign of Ramses II.
The immediate antecedents to the Battle of Kadesh were the early campaigns of Ramesses II into Canaan and Palestine. His first campaign seems to have taken place in the fourth year of his reign and was commemorated by the erection of a stele near modern Beirut. The inscription is almost totally illegible due to weathering. His records tell us that he was forced to fight a Palestinian prince who was mortally wounded by an Egyptian archer, and whose army was subsequently routed. Ramesses carried off the princes of Palestine as live prisoners to Egypt. Ramesses then plundered the chiefs of the Asiatics in their own lands, returning every year to his headquarters at Riblah to exact tribute.
Now compare that to what Necho does.
II Kings 23: 29-35.
In his days Pharaohnechoh king of Egypt went up against the king of Assyria to the river Euphrates: and king Josiah went against him; and he slew him at Megiddo, when he had seen him. And his servants carried him in a chariot dead from Megiddo, and brought him to Jerusalem, and buried him in his own sepulchre. And the people of the land took Jehoahaz the son of Josiah, and anointed him, and made him king in his father's stead.-----And Pharaohnechoh put him in bands at Riblah in the land of Hamath, that he might not reign in Jerusalem; and put the land to a tribute of an hundred talents of silver, and a talent of gold. And Pharaohnechoh made Eliakim the son of Josiah king in the room of Josiah his father, and turned his name to Jehoiakim, and took Jehoahaz away: and he came to Egypt, and died there. And Jehoiakim gave the silver and the gold to Pharaoh; but he taxed the land to give the money according to the commandment of Pharaoh: he exacted the silver and the gold of the people of the land, of every one according to his taxation, to give it unto Pharaohnechoh.

II Chronciles 35:20-35:4.
After all this, when Josiah had prepared the temple, Necho king of Egypt came up to fight against Carchemish by Euphrates: and Josiah went out against him. But he sent ambassadors to him, saying, What have I to do with thee, thou king of Judah? I come not against thee this day, but against the house wherewith I have war: for God commanded me to make haste: forbear thee from meddling with God, who is with me, that he destroy thee not. Nevertheless Josiah would not turn his face from him, but disguised himself, that he might fight with him, and hearkened not unto the words of Necho from the mouth of God, and came to fight in the valley of Megiddo. And the archers shot at king Josiah; and the king said to his servants, Have me away; for I am sore wounded. His servants therefore took him out of that chariot, and put him in the second chariot that he had; and they brought him to Jerusalem, and he died, and was buried in one of the sepulchres of his fathers. And all Judah and Jerusalem mourned for Josiah. And Jeremiah lamented for Josiah: and all the singing men and the singing women spake of Josiah in their lamentations to this day, and made them an ordinance in Israel: and, behold, they are written in the lamentations.-----Then the people of the land took Jehoahaz the son of Josiah, and made him king in his father's stead in Jerusalem.----And the king of Egypt put him down at Jerusalem, and condemned the land in an hundred talents of silver and a talent of gold. And the king of Egypt made Eliakim his brother king over Judah and Jerusalem, and turned his name to Jehoiakim. And Necho took Jehoahaz his brother, and carried him to Egypt.
The same number of years that separate this event from Carchemish, separated Ramses II's first Syrian Campaign from his second. Which was his battle of "Kadesh".

Herodotus (Book II: 158) says Necho II initiated but never completed the ambitious project of cutting a navigable canal from the Pelusiac branch of the Nile to the Red Sea. Necho's Canal was the earliest precursor of the Suez Canal.  Archaeology says Ramses II did that, and there is no evidence of any Suez Canal construction by any 26th Dynasty Pharaohs.

Supporters of the conventional chronology care a great deal about names. So Necho not being identical to Ramses is a big deal to them. But the Bible often refers to foreign leaders by code names or nicknames, sometimes being puns on a real name of theirs but maybe not always. 

Necho's Strongs Number is 5224 (Pharohnecho is 6549 near Pharaoh). Necho is similar to the Hebrew words Nekeh (5222 abject) or Nakeh (5223, Contrite, Lame), and also Nachon (5225) the name of an Israelite mentioned in 2 Samuel 6:6.

The Talmud implies somewhere Nehco was a Hebrew  nickname for that King meaning "The Lame One".  A source for this I now have, Page 93 of Disability and Isaiah's suffering Servant by Jeremy Shchiper.

The name is believed to reflect him having some sort of disability, perhaps one effecting his ability to walk.  From Wikipedia about Ramses II's Mummy.
In Paris, fungus was found attacking Ramesses's mummy and killed. During the examination, scientific analysis revealed battle wounds, old fractures, arthritis and poor circulation.
Ramesses II's arthritis is believed to have made him walk with a hunched back for the last decades of his life.[Bob Brier, The Encyclopedia of Mummies, Checkmark Books, 1998, p. 153.] A recent study excludedankylosing spondylitis as a possible cause.[Can. Assoc. Radiol. J. 2004 Oct;55(4):211–7, PMID 15362343.] 
 As far as Herodotus knowing him by the same name, he often got names wrong, and he was accused by Manetho and others of outright lying. Either directly or indirectly he could have heard the name from a Jewish source, or another Semitic one.  And then heard he was named after his grandfather and just assumed that was the same name he knew him by.

But if I wanted to look for Necho among Ramses known Egyptian names.   Pharaohs, especially Ramses, had many names, usually at least 5, but Ramses is known to have had many more.

Names Ramses II is known to have had
Hor “Falcon King”: Ka-nakht "Strong Bull”, Mery-Ma’at “Beloved of Truth"
Nebty “He of the Two Goddesses”:, Mek-Kemet "Protector of Egypt,” Waf-khasut “Who curbs foreign lands",
Hor-nub “Horus of Gold”: User-renput "Rich in Years,” Aa-nehktu “Great in Victories",
Nesu-bity (Insibya) “King of Upper & Lower Egypt”: User-maat-Re ("Strong in Right is Re") [Setep-en-Re "Chosen of Re"]
Se Re “Son of Re”: Rameses Mery-Amun “Beloved of Amun” [Nutjer-Heqa-Iunu "God, Ruler of Heliopolis"]

Leaving out Translations you get.

Hor: Ka-nakht Mery-Ma’at;
Nebty: Mek-Kemet Waf-khasut;
Hor-nub: User-renput Aa-nehktu;
Nesu-bity (Insibya): USER-MAAT-RE Setep-en-Re;
Se Re: RAMESES Mery-Amun Nutjer Heqa-Iunu.

Either nakht or nehktu could be the basis for Necho, especially if corrupted for the sake of a Hebraic pun.  This Egyptian epithet means Mighty.

Supporters of conventional chronology love to insist that generally only the Insybya (USER-MAAT-RE Setep-en-Re for Ramses II) and Nomen (RAMESES Mery-Amun Nutjer Heqa-Iunu. for Ramses II) were ones the Pharaoh was generally refereed to by, especially by foreigners. But given our lack of total information that's frankly an assumption. Maybe scholars have decided that simply because those two names are often best the ones that verify conventional chronology.

They've also claimed my two potential Necho sources here are names all or most Pharaohs of the period had so it'd be useless in identifying which Pharaoh. Thing is I don't believe identification was the intent in the Biblical accounts at all, I believe both Biblical accounts were written soon after the events happened, their original readers would have known who without issue. Notice how Pharaoh and Necho are often put together as if they're one word Pharaohnecho.

In fact it's primarily because of The Bible modern society is so used to calling the rulers of Egypt Pharaoh.  That wasn't really a thing in ancient Egypt, the word Pharaoh comes from a title of the King's Royal Palace.  So it really was similar to referring to a United States Presidential administration as The White House.

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