The Cosmic Journeyman
- Sep 29, 2005
- Creative Industrialist
The "inescapable conclusion"(47) is that the story of Solomon was patterned specifically after the life of Amenhotep III. The name Solomon itself, which literally means "peace" or "safety" points to Amenhotep III whose long and pervasive reign in the 14th Century B.C. did not include any major military campaigns, but was characterized by unprecedented stability throughout the Near East.(48) After the Egyptian 18th Dynasty, the region between the two great rivers was not controlled by a single power again until the Assyrian empire of Ashurbanipal (the grandson of Sennacherib) who invaded Egypt and pillaged Thebes in the 7th Century B.C.,(49) and the 6th Century B.C. empire of Cyrus, who also conquered Egypt and made it a Persian province.(50) There is no evidence of any empire at any time controlling this region whose capital was Jerusalem.(51)
Solomon is said to have had "a thousand and four hundred" chariots (1 Kings 1:26). This represents a prodigious army by ancient standards, and one which could only have been amassed over a long period of time by an established civilization.(52) Yet we are told that only five years after the great King Solomon's death, the Egyptian Pharaoh Shishak and his allies invaded Judah and captured its fortified cities with little or no military resistance (2 Chron. 12). The Bible adds that Jerusalem itself was spared only after delivering up the entirety of King Solomon's accumulated wealth to Shishak.
The rapidness with which Solomon's empire was established, as described by the Bible, and the ease with which it shortly thereafter submitted to a foreign power is also not consistent with the pattern set by other great ancient civilizations.
In the Bible,(1) King Solomon is said to have:
1. Inherited a vast empire conquered by his father David that extended from the Nile in Egypt to the Euphrates River in Mesopotamia (1 Kings 4:21; Gen. 15:18; Deut. 1:7,11:24; Joshua 1:4; 2 Sam. 8:3; 1 Chron. 18:3).
2. Accumulated great wealth and wisdom (1 Kings 10:23).
3. Administered his kingdom through a system of 12 districts (1 Kings 4:7).
4. Possessed a large harem, which included "the daughter of Pharaoh" (1 Kings 3:1; 1 Kings 11:1,3; 1 Kings 9:16).
5. Honored other gods in his old age (1 Kings 11:1-2,4-5).
6. Devoted his reign to great building projects (1 Kings 9:15,17-19), including:
1. the Temple (1 Kings 6).
2. the Royal Palace (1 Kings 7:2-12).
3. the walls of Jerusalem,
4. the Millo (an earthen fill made to enlarge Jerusalem) (1 Kings 11:27)
5. the royal cities of Megiddo, Hazor, and Gezer
6. the store cities, the cities for his horsemen and the cities for his chariots throughout his empire.
To be consistent with the pattern of other great Bronze and Iron Age cultures in the ancient Near East (Egyptian, Babylonian, Assyrian, and Hittite), it would be expected that numerous documents, art, and inscriptions on buildings or public monuments would have been left by such a great king or by his descendants later in honor of him.(2) Yet no article of any kind bearing his name has ever been found.(3)
The cities of Hazor, Megiddo and Gezer have now been extensively excavated. A stratum containing large palaces, temples and strong fortifications was found in each of these cities. The name of Solomon was not found, but the cartouche of the 18th Dynasty Pharaoh Amenhotep III instead.(4) In Jerusalem, it has not been possible to excavate the temple mount, however, extensive excavations in the city, including the areas adjacent to the temple mount have not revealed the existence of a Solomaic palace complex.(5) Moreover, excavation of the Millo has revealed (due to pottery found in the Millo) that its original construction was also contemporary with the Egyptian 18th Dynasty of Amenhotep III.(6)
Amenhotep III, known in ancient times as the "King of Kings" and "Ruler of Ruler's,"(7) was a Pharaoh of Egypt's glorious 18th Dynasty. He, like Solomon, inherited a vast empire whose influence extended quite literally from the Nile to the Euphrates.(8) In contrast to the empire of Solomon, the empire of Amenhotep is indisputable.(9) The buildings, monuments, documents, art, and numerous other vestiges of his reign are ubiquitous and unparalleled (with the possible exception being those left by the 19th Dynasty Pharaoh, Ramses II).
The entire reign of Amenhotep III was devoted to monumental construction throughout Egypt, Canaan, and Syria.(10) In addition to the ancient world's most glorious temple at Luxor,(11) he built many other temples of similar design throughout Egypt and in the rest of his empire,(12) including the Canaanite garrison cities of Hazor, Megiddo, Gezer,(13) Lachish and Beth-shean.(14)
According to Egyptian records, Amenhotep's father Thutmose IV and grandfather Amenhotep II deported over 80,000 Canaanites. The Canaanite inhabitants of Gezer were specifically included in this deportation.(15) It was during Amenhotep III's reign that Gezer and other major Palestine cities were refortified as royal Egyptian garrisons, and endowed with fine temples and palaces.
The Bible states that in Solomon's day, the Pharaoh of Egypt captured the Canaanite city of Gezer and presented it to his daughter as a dowry upon her marriage to Solomon (1 Kings 9:16-17).(16)
It was customary and obligatory for Amenhotep III to marry "the daughter of Pharaoh" in order to secure the throne.(17) This is precisely what was done when he was married to Sitamun, the daughter of his father, Pharaoh Thutmose IV.
The network of Egyptian 18th Dynasty garrison cities also included Jerusalem. If construction by Amenhotep III at Gezer, Hazor, Megiddo and other garrison cities is any indication, then a magnificent temple undoubtedly was also built by Amenhotep on Jerusalem's venerated Temple Mount.(18) The structure adjacent to Jerusalem's Temple Mount, known traditionally as "Solomon's stables," is consistent with the architecture of Amenhotep's garrison cities.(19) Archaeology has also confirmed that chariots were kept in these cities during his reign in groups of between thirty to one hundred and fifty each.(20)
Upon further investigation, the problem with all this is that Shishak, as mentioned in the Bible, was supposedly an ally of King Solomon.
Shishak was not a ruler of the 18th dynasty.