Defending the Garden of Eden: Bizarre Television Myths Exposed

Article by Rick Dack, Defending The Bible Int’l.

Was Adam's wife a Demon? Was God jealous of Adam? We're Adam and Eve animal-like creatures? Was God a sexually-driven Eden voyeur? For decades anti-faith television documentaries and animated series' have been given free reign to criticize because the church hasn't resourcefully fought back. Why? Most pastors and congregations haven't been educated on how to effectively defend the Bible against modern skepticism. That's why my apologetic classes for churches and schools, The Biographies of the Bible, are so desperately needed, says Rick Dack of Defending the Bible International (

Was Adam's wife a Demon? At least three television programs including "Banned from the Bible II” (2007) investigated Adam's "supposed" first wife Lilith. Apparently Lillith was a demon associated with men's sexuality functions. Lilith birthed demons, spoke Gods “never to utter” secret name and flew away. Where does this strange story come from? The earliest surviving mention of the fictional Lilith comes from "Gilgamesh and the Huluppu-Tree," a Sumerian epic poem found on a tablet at Ur and dating from approximately 2000 B.C.E. ( The example of Lilith is one of many television documentary illustrations of how controversy over truth is a motivator for ratings

Was God jealous of Adam and did he think the first couple were animals? These strange beliefs first appeared on The Biography Channel's "Adam and Eve: Paradise Lost" (1996) and repeated ad nauseam. Interestingly, the source behind God's supposed jealousy was never revealed on television (journalistic credibility?). "Adam and Eve: Paradise Lost" interviewee Carol Fontaine's (Andover Newton Theological School) belief that Adam and Eve were animal-like creatures is ridiculous. This contradiction of Genesis 3:21 prompts the questions, "why would God make the first couple skins to clothe themselves and then forget they were human?"

Was God a voyeur to both Adam and Eve's nakedness? Was there pornography behind an Eden tree? Is the Garden of Eden allegorical? The creators of the animated series' Family Guy, American Dad and Robot Chicken think so. The first examples are obvious malicious parody but what of the last? Is Eden history or allegory?

(Author's note #1: anything pre-Abraham (circa 2100 B.C.E.) is extremely difficult to date and that is why this ministry uses the term “potential” in reference to this evidence. This ministry includes both pro and con explanations concerning artifacts as they relate to the Bible).

(Authors note #2: What is an archaeological seal? Cylinder seals are engraved, cylindrically shaped objects usually made of stone designed to be rolled onto clay to leave impressions.  The engraved images, and usually text, are carved in reverse, so that when rolled out onto clay they face the correct direction. They can be used as identification, jewelry, depict scenes and were used as means of protection regarding personal property (John Hopkins Archaeological Museum).

(Potential Eden artifacts)

Tepe Gawra Seal: This seal was found by E.A. Speiser of the University of Pennsylvania in a 1930-1932 excavation at Tepe Gawra, north of Ninevah. The seal illustrates a man (possibly Adam), a woman (possibly Eve) hunched over as if leaving in shame. This seal was found in an excavation level that was dated pre-3000 B.C.E. (Free 1992, 33).

Ninevah Seal: A cylinder seal whose origin dates back to the Proto-literate period (3200-3100 B.C.) was discovered at Ninevah. Others have said that the man figure is a portrayal of a god but others have contended that this depiction proves an early origin for the Garden of Eden story and that the biblical story is not a late myth. The seal shows a man (possibly Adam) plucking fruit from the tree in the middle, a woman (possibly Eve) plucking fruit from the tree in the middle, a tree in the center could refer to the one that was in the middle of the Garden (Genesis 3:3) and a depiction of a serpent standing behind the woman, Eve (Free 1992, 33). If it is the story of Adam and Eve it dates back at least 1500 years before the writing of Genesis by Moses in the 1400's B.C.E.).

Dilmun (Paradise) Seal: This seal was discovered by Geoffrey Bibby during an excavation that started in 1953 in Bahrain - the site of the mythical Dilmun. The ancient paradise known as Dilmun is a "pure," "clean" and "bright place," in which neither sickness nor death contaminated the fruit-filled garden where the great earth- mother Ninhursag had caused eight divine plants to grow, But then the story goes on, Enki, usually a wise god-comes along and innocently eats them all, and Ninhursag abandons him until, through a intervention of a council gods, she relents (Wood, 77). Possible biblical parallels speak of a fruit-filled garden where neither sickness nor death resides and the eating of the fruit caused a negative reaction.

Tree of Life: For the benefit of the biblical researcher it should be pointed out the term "tree of life" does not exist anywhere in Mesopotamian literature putting to the death the idea that this term may have been borrowed from Mesopotamian myth prior to the Exodus (Tsumura, 37).

Tigris River: Continues to flow.

Euphrates River: Continues to flow.

Pishon River: The first river of Genesis 2:11 may have been found! Pebbles of granite and basalt found in this river bed are not native to Kuwait but are indigenous to the Hijaz Mountains of Saudi Arabia, 650 miles away. This issue led Farouk El-Baz, Boston University Scientist, to study satellite photographs of the area in which he detected a subterranean dry river bed (Wadi-Al-Batin). El-Baz noticed that the once flowing river carried these deposits to Kuwait along a fault line. This Kuwait River or Pishon may have been the famous river of Genesis 2:11. Farouk El-Baz, as of July/August 1996, requested Shuttle Imaging Radar photos of the region and his analysis is forth coming (Sauer, July/August 1996).  Authors comment: This ministry (Defending The Bible Int’l.) believes that the Bible is a historically reliable document. Some articles from Biblical Archaeology Review lean towards non-belief and/or liberal academic opinion. Read all articles, including mine, with the clear understanding that the Bible is our standard not mine or anyone else’s opinion no matter the academic credentials of the author.

The Adapa Epic: It has been said by some that the four cuneiform fragments known as the Adapa Epic (B: from the El-Amarna archives and
C and D from the Ashurbanipal Library) is a retelling of the story of Adam. If it is a recreation what parallels and dissimilarities are there? First of all it is best to give a brief description of the Adapa Epic. Adapa (not immortal) was the priest of the god, Ea at Eridu. His boat was capsized by the south wind while he was pursuing his profession of fishing to provide food for his god's (Ea) sanctuary. He became angry and broke the wings on the wind disrupting the climate. He was brought before a council of other deities by the great god Anu and was warned not to eat or drink during his trial. Actually, Adapa was offered the fruit of life but he refused it and failed to get eternal life The parallels and differences between the two characters consist of the fact that both went both underwent a test by a deity and the test was based upon something that they consume and both failed the test to get immortality. Also, a result of their actions, mankind was affected and both were considered the first of mankind. Though both were tested with food it should be said that Adam and Eve were tested with fruit and Adapa was tested with bread and water. Both individuals were sentenced to death but within different contexts, Adapa's choice was in obedience to Ea and Adam was free to make his own choice. Finally, Adapa's choice affected the choice of nature and Adams was moral (Tsumura, 34).

A Walking Snake: Dr. Randall Price points out in his book “The Stones Cry Out” an interesting report about the recent discovery in Israel of a fossilized snake with well-developed hind legs (Price, 22). The fossil, that was uncovered in a stone quarry lends further credence to the biblical story of the snake in the Garden of Eden alluded to in Genesis 3:1-15.

Has your Pastor and Principal addressed media Bible myths and offered a defense of the scriptures? If not, your church and school needs to invite Defending the Bible Int'l. This ministry's "Biographies of the Bible" classes and presentations supply all the answers you will ever need in defense of the scriptures. These classes also include 3D animations of Bible sites, Hollywood stories of faith, archaeological biographies of Bible characters and more. Check out for class information on over thirty topics including Adam and Eve, Noah's Ark, Joseph, Samson, David and Goliath, Daniel, the Nativity, the Resurrection, Acts and more!


Free, Joseph P. Archaeology and Bible History. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan Publishing House, 1992.

Price, Randall. The Stones Cry Out. Eugene, Oregon: Harvest House Publishers, 1997.

Sauer, James A., The River Runs Dry: Creation Story Preserves Historical Memory. Biblical Archaeology Review, July/Aug 1996.

Tsumura, David T. Genesis and Ancient Near Eastern Stories of Creation and Flood: an Introduction (Part 2). Bible and Spade, Spring 1996.
Wood, Mary Lucy. Kramer of Sumer. Bible and Spade. Summer/Autumn, 1979.


Did Moses steal Noah's Ark: The Epic of Gilgamesh Controversy

Article by Rick Dack of Defending the Bible Int’l.

Did Moses steal Noah's Ark? Did the first Charlton Heston (The Ten Commandments) rent some semi-trucks, dismantle the Ark and hide the parts in an airplane hangar somewhere? Well no, but I'm surprised the scenario didn't end up in Russell Crowe's "NOAH," everything but the biblical story did (love those exploding rock monsters). I'm referring to the media myth that Moses borrowed or premeditatedly stole ancient Mesopotamian stories (Gilgamesh Epic, 2600 BCE) to write Noah's Ark/Genesis - a common, veiled claim about many Bible events over the last three decades on television Bible documentaries. The purpose of the 12 tablet Epic of Gilgamesh is the quest for immortality not necessarily meant as a flood narrative (Price, 63).

"In the case of Noah and the flood, it's very clear that it (was) borrowed from an older version..."
 - Daniel Smith-Christopher (Noah and the Flood - Mysteries of the Bible, The Arts and Entertainment Network, 1994).

"If you read the stories, the passages in Gilgamesh and you didn't tell people where they come from, you'd say this is from the Bible. It sounds almost the same." - Bruce Zukerman, University of Southern California (Mysteries of Noah's Flood, The Learning Channel, 2002).

Are there similarities between Noah's Ark and the Mesopotamian Epic of Gilgamesh? Yes but not as many as one would think.

·         - A ship was built (Genesis 6:14)
·         - Bitumen was used on the ship (Genesis 6:14)
·         - Food was stored (Genesis 6:21)
·         - Animals were put onto the ship (Genesis 7:7)
·         - A family was on the ship
·         - Waters covered the mountains (Genesis 7:20-22)
·         - The ship had a window (Genesis 6:8)
·         - The boat landed on a mountain (different mountain)
·         - There were birds sent out (not in the order of the Genesis narrative)
·         - An altar was used in a sacrifice (Genesis 8:20-22).
·         - God was pleased with the altar of sacrifice (Genesis 8).

Unfortunately, the overall proposition is that Genesis is rooted in pagan myth. Is this true? The following are examples of the differences between the Bible and Gilgamesh rarely mentioned on television but provided in textual detail in James B. Pritchard's two volume book “The Ancient Near East.”

·         - The gods (polytheistic) made the flood
·         - The gods had a counselor.
·         - The Noah figure (Utnapishtim) was instructed to leave his gods.
·         - The Gilgamesh Ark with cube shaped unlike know was which was barge-shaped.
·         - The Ark was launched and moved into position unlike Noah's Ark that was lifted by the waters.
·         - On lines 17-37 there is either no parallel to the Genesis narrative or the lines are missing.
·         - Noah's Ark had three decks and not seven. The interior of the vessel was divided into nine parts in the Gilgamesh Epic.
·         - Noah's Ark did not have a ship's captain unlike the Epic of Gilgamesh.
·         - Noah's Ark did not have a craftsman on board but the Epic of Gilgamesh does.
·         - The Bible does not give a time of day that the flood occurred but the Epic of Gilgamesh does (evening).
·         - The Noah figure (Utnapishtim) closes the Ark door. In Genesis God closes the door of the Ark.
·         - A sailor (Puzur-Amurru) was onboard the Epic of Gilgamesh vessel.
·         - A black cloud signaled the start of the deluge.
·         - The gods participated in the ship's removal from its anchor and flood preparations.
·         - The gods were frightened by the flood and they fled.
·         - A battle occurred.
·         - Six days and seven nights was the length of the deluge in the Epic of Gilgamesh. The Genesis narrative, 150 days (Genesis 7:24).
·         - After 12 days the land appeared according to the Epic of Gilgamesh.
·         - Mount Nizir not the mountains of Ararat was the landing place of the vessel.
·         - A raven was sent out of the Epic of Gilgamesh instead of a dove in the biblical narrative.
·         - The Noah figure (Utnapishtim) and his wife become like gods.
If television documentary creators revealed these facts it would obliterate their 'controversy for ratings' goal/premeditated attempt to discredit the Bible's foundation - if you can't trust the foundation (Genesis) the house (Exodus – Revelation) will fall. Do I sound like a conspiracy nut? It's one thing to have a documentary or two insinuate this false belief quite another when theatrical/television films in the 1970's and 1980's propose this and for the next three decades documentaries do the same," stated Rick Dack of Defending the Bible Int'l. Historian Dr. Kenneth Kitchen stated, "It's fair to say that the Mesopotamian's had a flood tradition in common, which existed and was transmitted in several versions. Therefore it is out of place to talk of borrowing the Hebrew from the Babylonians (or Sumerian) or vice-versa” (Tsumura, 107). What do you think? Did Moses steal Noah's Ark? This ministry wants to hear from you ( 

Check out for information on the "Biographies of the Bible" classes for churches and schools developed by Rick Dack of Defending the Bible Int'l. These classes include archaeological biographies of Bible characters, Hollywood Bible myths exposed, 3D animations of Bible sites, Hollywood stories of faith and more!


Price, Randall. The Stones Cry Out. Eugene, Oregon: Harvest House Publishers, 1997.

Pritchard, James B. The Ancient Near East, Volumes 1 and 2: An Anthology of Texts and Pictures. Princeton University Press; First Edition edition (February 1, 1973).
Tsumura, David T. Genesis and Ancient Near Eastern Stories of Creation and Flood: an Introduction (Part 4). Bible and Spade, Autumn 1996.


What is The Sumerian Kings List?

Genesis 5 tells us there were eight generations between Adam and Noah. Similarly there are eight generations listed on the artifact known as the Sumerian Kings List, a clay prism that was discovered at Nippur (modern day Nuffar ) by Rev. John Peters (1890) and resumed by John Hayes in 1893 (Schoville, p. 176). Now in the Ashmolean Museum in England. The artifact begins, “When kingship was lowered from heaven, kingship was first in Eridu.” Following this is a list of eight kings (some versions have 10) who reigned for lengthy periods of time ranging from 18,600 to 43, 200 years (Wood, 120). The first Sumerian king was Alulim followed by seven other pre-flood Kings who ruled in various locations such as Eridu, Badtibira, Larak, Sippar and Shuruppak (Schoville, 178). Then, “the Flood swept over the earth.” Similarly to the Bible, the extended ages of the Kings mentioned on the prism decrease to normal life expectancy levels over time. Although there is no reason to doubt that the oldest man mentioned in the Bible (Methuselah) lived to the ripe old age of 969. In this author's opinion, the ages of the kings mentioned on the list are more than likely exaggerations to depict greatness as opposed to actual life spans.


Schoville, Keith N. Biblical Archaeology in Focus. Grand Rapids, Michigan. Baker Book House, 1978.
Wood, Bryant G. Great Discoveries in Biblical Archaeology: The Sumerian King List. Bible and Spade 16:4 (Fall 2003) p. 120


The Tower of Babel and the Sumerian Problem

The people who lived in the Proto-literate period (3500 – 2350 B.C.E.) wrote in cuneiform script in the Sumerian language and logically called themselves the Sumerians - professional archaeologists say the Sumerians were the earliest major people in southern Mesopotamia and there was no one else. Linguists have been puzzled over why the names of Sumerian rivers, plants, animals and some of the cities are not Sumerian in origin. “They are words from an unknown language unrelated to any other language living or dead,” stated Dr. Charles Aling of the University of Northwestern. This is what is known as the Sumerian Problem and the Bible has the answer. The Scriptures tell us that God confused the language of a people that “wanted to make a name for themselves” thus scattering them but God did not change the peoples material culture only their language (Genesis 11). I encourage the readers of this book to purchase a copy of Readings in Old Testament Archaeology by Dr. Clyde E. Billington and Charles F. Aling via the University of Northwestern in St. Paul, Minnesota. It was not this author's desire to cover all of the material but to give you a taste of these scholars’ work in the area of biblical archaeology.

The Sumerian Epic and Enmerker, the Lord of Aratta

This artifact was probably uncovered by Koldeway during his 1899 excavations. The Sumerian Epic reads," Then Enki, the Lord of Abundance whose commands are trustworthy...Changed the speech in their mouths, brought contention into it, into the speech of man that had been one." George Smith Artifact: Another translation by George Smith, of Gilgamesh Epic fame, has been translated as follows: "The building of the temple offended the Gods. In a night they threw down what had been built. They scattered them abroad, and made strange their speech. The progress they impeded” (Free, 41).


Free, Joseph P. Archaeology and Bible History. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan Publishing House, 1992.

Billington, Clyde E. and Aling, Charles F. Readings in Old Testament Archaeology St. Paul, Minnesota. University of Northwestern (Northwestern University), 2000.


ABRAHAM (Sacrifice and the Cities of Sin)

Compiled by Rick Dack, Defending the Bible Int’l.

Isaac's “near” sacrifice: Evidence for ancient sacrifice, similar to the Genesis story involving Abraham and Isaac, has been uncovered. The Anemospilia Temple (Crete) and the Ekron Temple (of the Philistines) have been thoroughly researched by archaeologists and some interesting facts have been uncovered. Both structures contained sacrifice rooms complete with knife, altar and proof of sacrifice. The remains of three victims, one being a teenage boy skeleton with a knife (some say a spear) resting upon him was recovered (Ian Swindale). This person was bound (Genesis 22:9) and drained of his blood - soon after his sacrifice. It is believed that at some point the Philistines had contact with the Minoans (Caphtor = Crete) who taught them human sacrifice. It is through the Philistines (Genesis 21:32, 34. Genesis 26:1-18) that Abraham many have learned the practice and instituted it for the “near” sacrifice of Isaac.


Billington, Clyde E. “Did Abraham Learn Human Sacrifice From the Philistines? A Comparative Study of Two Temples, One Minoan and One Philistine.” Near East Archaeological Society Bulletin 39-40 (1994-1995): 22-30.

Swindale, Ian. Anemospilia, February 20, 2016. ,


Sodom and Gomorrah: Sodom (Bab edh-Dhra) and Gomorrah (Numeira) along with the other three (Admah, Zeboiim and Zoar) were located in “plain of the Jordan” (Genesis 13:10). In 1973 Walter Rast and Thomas Schaub’s archaeological survey lent credence to a few locations along the Dead Sea. It is believed that the destruction of the sites occurred in late spring.

Bab edh-Dhra (Sodom): Bab edh-Dhra was in existence for over 1,000 years. At its end the city had a population between 600 and 1,200. The Bible tells us that Sodom was fortified. The city well that Sodom was made of stones and mud bricks. The gate we had two towers. The houses at the location where rectangular in shape. It is believed that the people of Numeira buried their dead at Bab edh-Dhra since no cemetery has been discovered at Numeira. It is believed that a new gate was constructed on the northeast side of the city due to the attack of the Mesopotamian king's described in Genesis 14 (approximate period of about 20 years prior Sodom's final destruction). The northeast gate was destroyed by fire with evidence of charcoal, broken bricks and ash. The city wall fell and a sanctuary collapsed.  Five charnel houses (a structure where bodies are kept) discovered at the cemetery were extensively burned. 

Numeira (Gomorrah): This city was in existence for only 100 years. It is believed that Sodom was much older than Gomorrah because an Ebla tablet (Ebla is a Syrian location where thousands of tablets were discovered in 1975) reveals that “Siddim” (Sodom) was part of a trade route. There is no mention of her sister city (Gomorrah) on the tablet. Human bones were discovered at Numeira. The type of pottery discovered (Early Bronze III) confirms that this city was destroyed at the same time as Bab edh-Dhra (Sodom). At the clear ash was discovered in every area excavated. 

Zoar (Genesis 19:21-23): Where Lot and his family fled, except Lot’s wife, from Sodom during its destruction. This is located near present day Safi, Jordan.

Admah and Zeboiim: These two locations were more than likely located between Gomorrah and Zoar and in close proximity to each other. Admah
is also mention
on an Ebla (Syrian) tablet alongside 287 other place names including Sodom (Siddim).


Wood, Brant G. The Discovery of the Sin Cities of Sodom and Gomorrah. Bible and Spade, Summer 1999.

I encourage the readers of this book to read more on this issue at the Associates for Biblical Research website ( as well as the Institute for Biblical Archaeology ( Defending the Bible International strongly urges you to support these organizations and subscribe to their magazines “Bible and Spade” and “Artifax” magazine.

Out of respect for the fine archaeological organizations (previously mentioned) and their need for financial support I have chosen to “briefly” discuss the archaeological evidences for the life of Abraham (regarding Isaac and Sodom and Gomorrah). Other Abrahamic evidences included within “Bible and Spade” and “Artifax” cover Serug (Abraham's Great Grandfather), Nahor (Abraham's Grandfather) Terah (Father), Abraham Caravan Trade Routes, the discovery of tar pits (associated with the Mesopotamian king's Genesis 14), earthquake fault evidence (Sodom and Gomorrah locations), Hebron, Keturah (Genesis 25:1-6), Abimilech and Gerar, Ur, Tel Dan/Gate, the Surpa Document (Genesis 15),  Isaac's Bride at Nahor, Beersheba, Abraham in Egypt (Khety III and Merekare), Bethel and more.


Jacob and Joseph in Archaeology

Written by Rick Dack, Defending the Bible Int’l.

"The Bible is a fairy tale" - Bill Maher, host of Politically Incorrect on ABC. August 22, 2001.

"The people who wrote the Bible - It was not meant to be history, it was not meant to be literal"
- Bill Maher, host of Politically Incorrect on ABC (Christian Research Institute: 1-28-2002).

"The Biblical tradition is a composite of..."legends that still may be regarded as containing moral truths but until now they must be regarded as uncertain historical provenance." - William Dever of the University of Arizona (retired). (Brantley, 16).


Does the Bible touch history or are the scriptures fairy tales/legends?

Jacob and Esau / The Oral Blessing: Nuzi tablets discovered in Iraq beginning with excavations in 1925 (Schoville, 192) contain “legalities of an oral blessing given by the father to his son.” This is similar to the blessing given by Isaac to his son Jacob in Genesis 27. Multiple other family actions similar to those in the Old Testament are also present on other Nuzi tablets (Bible and Spade, Summer 2004) p. 89).

Jacob's Route in Egypt: After Shishak invaded Palestine, during the reign of Jeroboam, he wrote on the wall of the Amon Temple at Thebes about his great triumph. Included in this commemoration are the names of three cities that Jacob visited in Genesis chapters 32 and 33, Mahanaim, Penuel and Succoth (Bible and Spade , Spring 1978, p. 62).

The price of a slave: The typical wage for a slave was the approximate 20 pieces of silver (Gen. 37:36). This fee steadily rose from 20 to 30 to the height of 60 shekels (Bible and Spade, Autumn 1993, p. 106).

Potiphar, Captain of the Guard (Genesis 37: 36): This an authentic Egyptian title which could not have been made up later (Bible and Spade Winter, 1996, p. 19).

Joseph became the "Overseer of his House" or rather his steward (over all slaves), also a well attested title. It should also be said that Joseph had to be literate as part of his function as a scribe as Overseer. (Aling)

After the unfortunate advances of Potiphars wife toward Joseph he was unlawfully put into prison, the only prisons of this type that were maintained exactly and precisely the way the Bible describes them were located in Egypt. A typical prison penalty from any nation other than Egypt was either a strict fine or capitol punishment for offenses rendered but only in Egypt do we see the Biblical Genesis prison. According to the Hayes/Brooklyn Papyrus document (1955) a remarkable amount of slaves, forty five out of the seventy nine mentioned were Asiatics (Hebrews). While in prison at Khenret, Joseph encountered the Baker and the Cupbearer (Butler) who told him of their dreams. Of the two, the Cupbearer seems to have the most intriguing dream that parallels the Bible historically in that most Egyptians believed in dreams and believed they told the future. The dream of the three branches (Gen. 40:9-11) as told to Joseph who in turn interpreted this back to the teller is clearly supportable on the wall painting of the Tomb of Nakht which shows the 3 branches of the agricultural grapevine industry (Johnson). The Bible also states that Joseph held a position under the "keeper of the prison" (Genesis 39:22, 23) who appointed Joseph over all the other inmates. This title of "keeper" or overseer is another legitimate title found in Middle Kingdom inscriptions. (Billington, Aling)

The Career of Joseph
Once the Cupbearer was released from prison and was reinstated in his position Joseph remained as a prisoner. It's believed it was sometime until he (Joseph) was called by Pharaoh to interpret the dreams. These dreams connected with the seven fat/lean cows and grain, as stated before, were believed by the Egyptians as omens for the future thus Joseph was called to appear before Pharaoh after the Cupbearer relayed his story about the interpreter (Joseph). It's interesting to note that The Chester Beatty III papyrus dated to Dynasty 12. 1991-1783 B.C. is called the Dream Omen papyrus. This document in its basic structure is similar to the dream that Pharaoh relayed to Joseph…

In each dream the dreamer sees himself doing something. (He was standing by the Nile) Genesis 41:1.

The dreams have
oracle power, they can predict the future. (Pharaoh seeks interpreters for his dreams) Genesis 41:8.

 The dreams are allegorical. (Seven cows, sleek and fat. Seven other cows, ugly and gaunt). - Genesis 41:2-4.

 The dreams have animals for symbology (animals are seen as large or small harvests) Genesis 41:2-4 (Currid).

The question has also come up "Did Joseph appear before an Egyptian or a foreign king"? The inquiry arises from the fact that the Hyksos were fellow Asiatics. The theory follows the line that Joseph could've more easily climbed the ranks of Government with a fellow Semitic in charge where as with an Egyptian leader he would've had more difficulties. Well it can be determined by the biblical text quite easily that it was indeed an Egyptian. The Egyptians were extremely conscious of cleanliness, according to A. Rosalie David's book, The Ancient Egyptians, temple entry had a strict code to follow regarding rules of cleanliness. The priests several days before entry into the temple had to purify themselves by chewing natron and had to fumigate themselves with incense on the day that they were to enter, as well they had to wash themselves, cut their finger and toe nails and shave all of their body hair.

This practice was even performed on the cult statue where its clothes and makeup were removed, also was sprayed with incense and was offered natron for the cleansing of its (statues) mouth (Watterson). In Genesis we see the very act of Joseph shaving and putting on "clean" clothes before he stood before Pharaoh (Genesis 41:14) where a "Semitic" Hyksos (1786-1570 B.C.E.) would not have cared. Further evidence is chronicled by Herodotus, a 5th century greek, (cleanly priests and rulers) (Aling) as well as The Story of Sinuhe: an exile who returned to Egypt after living with Semites shaved before meeting with Sesostris I (1991-1928 B.C.E.) (Merrill). The next question logically arises "Who did Joseph appear before?"

According to Northwestern's resident Egyptologist, Dr. Charles Aling it was more than likely Sesostris II (1897-1878 B.C.E) who was the likely Pharaoh who had the dreams, called for Joseph to interpret and later rewarded him, his son Sesostris III (1878-1843 B.C.) was more than likely the one who dealt with the famine (Aling). Further support of this theory comes from Paleo-Climatologist Barbara Bell who states that at the time of Sesostris III there was a lengthy famine that hit the region (Aling, The Historicity of the Joseph Story).

Joseph's Gifts and Titles
“… you shall be over my house, and all my people shall order themselves as you command; only as regards the throne will I be greater than you." And Pharaoh said to Joseph, "Behold, I have set you over all the land of Egypt." Then Pharaoh took his signet ring from his hand and put it on Joseph's hand, and arrayed him in garments of fine linen, and put a gold chain about his neck; and he made him to ride in his second chariot; and they cried before him, "Bow the knee!" Thus he set him over all the land of Egypt. Moreover Pharaoh said to Joseph, "I am Pharaoh, and without your consent no man shall lift up hand or foot in all the land of Egypt." And Pharaoh called Joseph's name Zaph'enath-pane'ah; and he gave him in marriage As'enath, the daughter of Poti'phera priest of On.” - Genesis 41: 40-45, RSV (bibleontheweb).

A particular portion of these previous verses have lead to some disagreements on what the particular interpretation should be. According to Egyptologist Donald Redford the "Gold Chain" of Genesis 41:42 though it is common on tomb wall paintings it's not common among those being inducted into higher office as reward. Not on any of the 32 wall paintings is the chain presented as an induction gift but a reward for services rendered. This belief of Redford's was used by him to deny the historicity of the Biblical account but Dr. Aling has other ideas. It's believed that what is taking place in Genesis 41 are two distinct events, Pharaoh appoints Joseph to office, then he rewards him for his interpretation and its accuracy (Aling
) . The other gifts including the Chariot and his wife Asenath daughter of the priest of On will be discussed here briefly. It was the Hyksos (1786-1570 B.C.) that are known to have introduced the chariot into the land of Egypt but it would not have been uncommon for Government officials to have had chariots such as Joseph was given (2nd chariot) and the Pharaoh obviously having the first (Aling). Joseph's wife may be insignificant in this story but her father gives us clear clues about the time in which Joseph lived. Since Potiphera (Joseph's father-in-law) was the priest of On we know that On (Heliopolis) was center of the worship of Re clearly putting Joseph into the Middle Kingdom just as the Bible historically affirms and not the Hyksos period of which their major deity was "Set" not "Re." (Aling)

Josephs Titles: Father to the Pharaoh

"So then, it was not you who sent me here, but God. He made me father to Pharaoh, lord of his entire household and ruler of all Egypt - Genesis 45:8, NIV) (Aling).

What can be determined by these titles? How did Joseph's earlier life help him in his later reign as second in command? As his first title "father to Pharaoh" or "God's Father," not a literal father, suggests he was given the title either as a traditional Elder Statesmen (Aling, The Historicity of the Joseph Story) - someone who had served the Pharaoh for an extended period of time and was exceptional at his task or someone who had done the King a special favor (Billington and Aling) (Joseph interpreting his dream, it coming to pass and developing a plan to protect Egypt from the coming crisis), the latter seems to be the case since Sesostris II died after the seven years of plenty and Joseph was too young to develop an elder status.

Josephs Titles: Lord of all his household
This second title can also be interpreted as "Chief Steward of the King" or "Chief Overseer of his House" there is a clear agricultural connection here not unlike the work that Joseph did before his imprisonment by Potiphar but this time on a grander scale. This title was common during the Middle Kingdom period where William A. Ward cites 20 examples of this title during this period and Franke nineteen (Aling, The Historicity of the Joseph Story). Alan Gardiner relays the fact that this title "Chief Steward of the King" was 2nd only to the Vizier, my assumption is that when Sesostris II rewarded Joseph he gave him titles of varying degree and influence. So what were the duties of the Chief Steward? The duties of Chief Steward fall directly into line with what Joseph did in Genesis - The Supervisor of the Royal Graineries (Genesis 41:49), Overseer of Royal Flocks and Herds (Genesis 47:6) as well as Administrator of the Royal Estates. The Steward had duties in tomb construction (perhaps in the construction of Sesostris II's) as well in taxes and the acquiring of supplies from other countries which are told in the 11th Dynasty tomb of Henunu at Deir El Bahri (Aling, The Historicity of the Joseph Story).

Josephs Titles: Ruler throughout the land of Egypt
The final title awarded to Joseph perhaps is the most striking of them all. This title of "ruler" is assumed to be the title Vizier, 2nd in the land only to Pharaoh. William Wards criticism of this title and the many other assumed designations (Overseer of the Graineries of Upper and Lower Egypt, Royal Seal-Bearer, God's Father, Great Steward of the Lord of the Two Lands, Foremost of Courtiers and Chief of the Entire Land – (Aling) should not be entirely accepted or rejected but the most credible seems to be Chief of the Entire Land. The contention that these titles do not reflect a pro-Vizier theory for Joseph because he was a foreigner and not a native Egyptian but should not be entirely accepted because prior to Joseph, the title of Vizier was first held by the royal prince. After the 5th Dynasty it was offered to any noble of the Pharaohs choosing. (Steindorff and Seele).

The duties of the Vizier are also strikingly similar to those in the career of Joseph that he carried out in the biblical narrative. First of all, Joseph was the head of agricultural production (prior Potiphar duty and current duty under Pharaoh). Secondly, the Vizier would welcome the foreign visitor to the land as well control access of the people to the Pharaoh (Joseph's brothers arrive in Egypt to buy food and meet the Governor/Vizier). The further duties of the Vizier ranged from being the Chief Record Keeper of the Government Record (keeping track of grain output during famine) as well as Government Supervisor, Construction/Industry head and the one who appointed lesser officials to office. One interesting fact about the word Vizier is the verse in Genesis 42 where the brothers refer to him as "the man" these two words may seem insignificant but the same words used for "the man" if one letter is changed reads "Vizier." (Billington and Aling).

As can be seen, Joseph fits perfectly within the Bible as well as Egyptian history in the era in which he is placed. As with any ancient study there are always gaps that need to be filled and question answered but until then the ancient historian can be assured that the Bible, where it touches history, is a solid document. As with anything there will always be critics but, in my limited experience I have noticed that most critics don't have a head problem (academic scholarship and the Bible as consistent historical records) but have great difficulties in acknowledging something higher and greater than themselves, in other words, a heart problem.

Evidence for the Hittites
“Then he gave them these instructions: “I am about to be gathered to my people. Bury me with my fathers in the cave in the field of Ephron the Hittite, the cave in the field of Machpelah, near Mamre in Canaan, which Abraham bought along with the field as a burial place from Ephron the Hittite” (Genesis 49: 20, 30) Much to the annoyance of the Bible critics A.H. Sayce found the capital of the Hittites in 1876. Hugo Winckler, German cuneiform scholar, went to investigate the location upon hearing about the selling of ancient tablets by the locals. At Boghaz-Koy, Turkey he uncovered five temples, a fortified citadel, monumental pictures and 10,000 clay tablets that speak of Boghaz-Koy as the Hittite capital called Hattusha. The Hittites are mentioned 47 times in the Bible.

Jacob’s Funeral March
The artifact known as the Khu Sebek Mortuary Stela (ca. 1859 B.C.E.) has been unearthed. Khu Sebek was an official under Sesostris III (1878-1843 B.C.E.) who wrote of his “unpleasant task” (funeral march?) he had to perform as he journeyed to Canaan. It mentions an attack at Shechem (perhaps in response to Genesis 34 events) as well as the precise funeral route recorded in Genesis 50 that Jacob’s descendants took to bury him in Israel. (Bible and Spade, Spring 1992. Vol. 5, No. 2, p. 42).

The Death of Joseph
The excavations by Manfred Beitak may have uncovered the temporary tomb of Joseph in Egypt. Beitak began his digging at the site in 1966 but the 1984-1987 excavations have unearthed some interesting information about who has been memorialized and buried at Tell El-Dab'a. The evidence includes the retirement home of a high ranking Semitic official (possibly Joseph), an Asiatic/non-Egyptian Cemetary with garden area graves, a 4-room home and the tomb of a high ranking Asiatic official which includes a broken, yellow (Semitic indicator) statue complete with throw stick and mushroom hairstyle (other Semitic indicator's). It has not been determined that this was the temporary tomb of Joseph but whoever it was, lived at the exact time of Joseph, was Semitic and rose in the ranks of Egyptian Government. It is believed that the statue in the tomb was smashed by the Hyksos when they invaded northern Egypt and that Joseph's body was hidden until it could be safely returned to Israel (Bible and Spade, Winter 1996, p. 17-28).


Aling, Charles F. Egypt and Bible History, Baker Book House Company, 1981.

Aling, Charles F. The Historicity of the Joseph Story, Bible and Spade/Associates for Biblical Research, Winter 1996.

Billington, Clyde E. and Aling, Charles F. Readings in Old Testament Archaeology, Northwestern College, 2000.

Brantley, Garry K. Digging for Answers: Has Archaeology Disproved the Bible? Montgomery, Alabama: Apologetics Press, January 1996.

Currid, John D. Ancient Egypt and the Old Testament, Baker Books, 1997.

Hayes, William C. A Papyrus of The Late Middle Kingdom, John Watkins Company, 1955.

Hoffmeier, James K. Israel in Egypt, Oxford University Press, 1996.

Johnson, Paul. The Civilization of Ancient Egypt, Harper Collins, 1999.

Merrill, Eugene H. Kingdom of Priests, Baker Book House, 1996.
Shea, William H. The Burial Of Jacob: A New Correlation Between Genesis 50 And An Egyptian Inscription. Bible and Spade , Spring 1992.

Steindorff, George and Seele, Keith E. When Egypt Ruled the East, University of Chicago Press, 1957.