The Hyksos, the Babylonians, and Egypt

A news release published in the Austrian Times is reporting that “Austrian archaeologists have found a Babylonian seal in Egypt that confirms contact between the Babylonians and the Hyksos during the second millennium B.C.”

The report says that “Irene Forstner-Müller, the head of the Austrian Archaeological Institute’s (ÖAI) branch office in Cairo, said today (Thurs) the find had occurred at the site of the ancient town of Avaris near what is today the city of Tell el-Dab’a in the eastern Nile delta.” She said a recently-discovered cuneiform tablet had led archaeologists to suspect there had been contact between the Babylonians and the Hyksos.

This discovery is important because the Hyksos were a Semitic people who conquered Egypt, probably at the time when Israel entered Egypt, and established their own dynasty there for almost two centuries. Many Hyksos’s names come from West Semitic languages. Thus, this archaeological discovery, which shows contact between the Babylonians and the Hyksos, is significant because it may provide additional information that will help scholar develop a better understanding of Hyksos’s history and culture.

HT: Jim West

Claude Mariottini
Emeritus Professor of Old Testament
Northern Baptist Seminary

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4 Responses to The Hyksos, the Babylonians, and Egypt

  1. >It's not a seal but a seal impression, so the first question is: what did it seal? Second is the dating. Given the ups and downs of dating foreign Tel el-Dab'a finds, I wonder if they will give evidence that it's in a Hyksos level. We shall hear ….


  2. >Judith,Thank you for your comment and observations. Let us hope the archaeologists involved in this discovery publish the results of their finding soon. We will wait for the published report.Claude Mariottini


  3. Adam Stuart says:

    >Hello Dr. Mariottini,For interested readers I am providing some material from my previous comments and also some new material which I hope you will find interesting. To develop a better understanding of the Hyksos’ history and culture, I suggest that scholars investigate the vast body of evidence that the Hyksos ruled in Egypt over a long epoch of some 400 years or more in the late second millenium BC (not from 1640 to 1530 BC), that the Hyksos should be identified with the biblical Amalekites, and that the Hyksos-Amalekites invaded Egypt at approximately the time of the Hebrew Exodus. It appears probable that Egypt was already devastated due to a natural catastrophe (regardless of how one chooses to explain the cause or causes of the catastrophe) of which both the Ipuwer papyrus and Book of Exodus contain historical memories. This idea explains how the Hyksos were able to invade and conquer in Egypt so easily–without, according to Manetho-Josephus, even a battle. Various early Islamic historians indicated that there were Amalekite pharaohs of Egypt, that Amalekites left Arabia after circumstances of natural catastrophe, that Amalekites invaded and ruled in Syria and Egypt, and that Amalekites ruled in Arabia and neighboring countries including Egypt. Velikovsky showed in ‘Ages in Chaos’ that there is a vast amount of evidence supporting the identification of the Amalekites with the Hyksos. It has long been known that there is archaeological evidence for the Hyksos having extensive international connections. For example, Velikovsky in his 1952 ‘Ages in Chaos’ mentioned a sphinx, discovered in Baghdad, that was engraved with the name of King Khian. The above is evidence that the Hyksos were the Amalekites and ruled in Egypt and Syria, and were dominant or influential in neighboring countries. I discussed the Hyksos-Amalekite identification in my July 12, 2009 comment: current issue of the Australian archaeology magazine ‘Archaeological Diggings’ (I subscribe to this magazine, but have also seen it at a Barnes and Noble bookstore here in Jacksonville, Florida) contains an article by editor and archaeologist David Down entitled “Where Did Israel Come From?”. The article discusses a book by William G. Dever and looks at prominent recent views on Israel’s origins and then expresses a preference for adopting a revised chronology that would result in a harmony between archaeological evidence and biblical history. The article argues for this alternative not on the basis of religious belief, but because it provides a more satisfactory correlation between the Bible and biblical history, and a much more satisfying synchronism between Assyrian records and Egyptian history, eliminating gaps in archaeological evidence found in other lands which are dependent on the chronology of Egypt. Adam Stuart


  4. Adam Stuart says:

    >Dr. Mariottini,I should also mention that in my comment above, the name of the book by William G. Dever is ‘What Did the Biblical Writers Know and When Did They Know It?’. Archaeologist and editor David Down discusses Dever’s book extensively in the article on Israel’s origins and then lists three main alternatives. Down expresses a preference for alternative (3) (adopting a revised chronology that would result in a harmony between archaeological evidence and biblical history). The other two main alternatives listed in the article can be summarized as follows:(1) Support Minimalists and believe that the Bible is pious fiction invented in the second century BC.(2) Join Dever in seeing in Bible history a kernel of truth with a mound of mythology. A tenacious adherance to conventional chronology would nearly oblige scholars to adopt this alternative.Another discussion of Dever’s book—one by Peter James–can be found at the below link. Stuart


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