IMHOTEP AS JOSEPH
Unauthorized Research in Non-Bible Sources
Dr. Ben Carson received a lot of unfavorable publicity early in his campaign to become President of the United States because of his stated belief that the Biblical story of Joseph son of Jacob was true, that there was indeed a 7-year famine in Egypt in the days of Joseph, and that one or several pyramids was connected in some way with the storage of grain supervised by Joseph.
Inscription of the 7 Year Famine
Joseph's main position was that of a prime minister and Imhotep appears to be the first who could boast of such a broad range of authority in ancient Egypt. There are records of many, many viziers throughout Egyptian history- but the first evidence which connects Imhotep with Joseph is an amazing inscription found carved on a large rock on the island of Sihiel just below the First Cataract of the Nile.
This inscription claims to be a copy of a document written by Djoser in the 18th year of his reign,- this copy being written over 1,000 years after the events it claims to be relating. It goes on to tell of a 7 year famine and 7 years of plenty. Let's look at a few passages from this inscription and compare them with the Biblical account, keeping in mind that this was written a millenium after the events it claims to be describing:
1. It begins with the great distress of the pharaoh: "I was in distress on the Great Throne..."
GEN 41:8 And it came to pass in the morning that his spirit was troubled;
2. In the inscription, the pharaoh is troubled about a famine and asks Imhotep who the god of the Nile is, so he can approach him about the drought: "... I asked him who was the Chamberlain,...Imhotep, the son of Ptah... `What is the birthplace of the Nile? Who is the god there? Who is the god?'" Imhotep answers: "I need the guidance of Him who presides over the fowling net,..."
GEN 41:16 And Joseph answered Pharaoh, saying, It is not in me: God shall give Pharaoh an answer of peace. In the Egyptian text, Imhotep is termed "the son of Ptah", who was the Egyptian god known as the "creator" of everything else, including the other gods.
"Imhotep, the Voice of the God, Im (I AM)"
The name, Imhotep, in ancient Egyptian is translated to mean "the voice (or mouth) of Im" however, there is no record of a god in Egypt called "Im". But, we all know the God, "I AM":
EXO 3:14 And God said unto Moses, I AM THAT I AM: and he said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you.
JOH 8:58 Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am.
God told Moses to tell the pharaoh that "I AM" had sent him because "I AM" was the name by which the Egyptians had known Joseph's God. Could "Im" have been "I AM"?
The name the Bible states that was given to Joseph by the pharaoh, "Zaphenath-paneah", has been translated by some to mean, "the God lives; the God speaks". Since we do not fully understand the meaning of the Egyptian "hotep", it is quite possible that the translation of Imhotep ("The voice of I AM) is identical to the Biblical name of Joseph ("the God lives; the God speaks).
Note that Mary Nell Wyatt in her write up equating Imhotep with the Biblical Joseph admits that there are indeed discrepancies, as we would indeed expect from two different authors with two widely divergent world views and sets of religious beliefs. But she, and we, expect to find enough similarities for us to rightly assume that we're talking about a historical TRUTH and a historical PERSON which really did live at a certain time in history and do certain things that can still be identified if one reads BOTH ACCOUNTS with a certain amount of good judgment -- allowing for the possibility that BOTH accounts have been edited to make each account acceptable to its intended audience.
I, Dr. Robert Holt, MD am willing to go even further than Mary Nell has gone here and point out the similarity with part of the Moses story in Exodus, and say that this part may have also come from the Imhotep story. The Imhotep story, being as it was very well known to the Egyptians, would be recognizable to the Israelites, who had by the time of Moses been living in Egypt, part of that time in slavery, for several hundred years.
Moses is told God's Name
Exodus 3:1 "And Moses kept the flock of Jethro his father in law, the priest of Midian; and he led the flock to the backside of the desert, and came to the mountain of God, even to Horeb."
2 "And the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush; and he looked, and, behold, the bush burned with fire, and the bush was not consumed,"
3 "And Moses said, I will now turn aside, and see this great sight, why the bush is not burnt."
4 "And when the Lord saw that he turned aside to see, God called unto him out of the midst of the bush, and said, Moses, Moses. And he said, Here am I."
5 "And he said, Draw not nigh hither: put off thy shoes from off thy feet, for the place whereon thou standest is holy ground."
6 "Moreover he said, I am the God of thy father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. And Moses hid his face; for he was afraid to look upon God."
7 "And the Lord said, I have surely seen the affliction of my people which are in Egypt, and have heard their cry by reason of their taskmasters; for I know their sorrows; "
8 "And I am come down to deliver them out of the hand of the Egyptians, and to bring them out of that land unto a good land and a large, unto a land flowing with milk and honey; unto the place of the Canaanites, and the Hittites, and the Perizzites, and the Hivites, and the Jebusites."
9 "Now therefore, behold, the cry of the children of Israel is come unto me: and I have seen the oppression wherewith the Egyptians oppress them."
10 "Come now therefore, and I will send thee unto Pharaoh, that thou mayest bring forth my people the children of Israel out of Egypt."
11 "And Moses said unto God, Who am I, that I should go unto Pharaoh, and that I should bring forth the children of Israel out of Egypt?"
12 "And he said, Certainly I will be with thee; and this shall be a token unto thee, that I have sent thee: When thou hast brought forth the people out of Egypt, ye shall serve God upon this mountain."
13 "And Moses said unto God, Behold, when I come unto the children of Israel, and shall say unto them, The God of your fathers hath sent me unto you; and they shall say to me, What is his name? what shall I say unto them?"
14 "And God said unto Moses, I AM THAT I AM: and he said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel. I AM hath sent me unto you."
15 "And God said moreover unto Moses, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, The Lord God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, hath sent me unto you; this is my name FOR EVER, and this is my memorial unto all generations."
Cartoon of Dr. Carson circulated by Democrat Opponents in late 2015