Friday, May 13, 2005

Who was Abraham? (15)

Based on the works of scholars, who will be revealed when the blogging for this topic ends. Works of other authors may be included, but where these are done, full acknowledgement will be made.

Advice: Those who may take offence in seeing biblical (OT) quotations or liberal discussion of OT biblical characters should not read this topic.

According to Ahmad Osman, the Israelite family of Jacob who ’descended’ into Egypt to settle numbered 70 but only 69 names were noted in the Bible (Exodus Chapter 46). Osman went into detail to identify the missing 70th name. He believed that it was Tiye, daughter of Yuya (Joseph) who was already in Egypt.

He reckoned that her name was omitted from the Bible because either a woman’s name was usually left out unless she had a significant role in the story, or, the more likely reason, the Hebrews were still so bitter over the trials and tribulations leading to the Exodus, that the author deliberately refused to include her name because they didn’t want to have anything to do with an Egyptian.

Osman noticed that in the Book of Exodus, Moses royal ‘mother’ was identified as the daughter of Pharaoh.

“And the child grew, and she brought him unto Pharaoh’s daughter, and he became her son. And she called his name Moses: and she said, Because I drew him out of the water.” (Exodus 2:10)

In an earlier post of this series, we have already read how Sigmund Freud, himself a Jew who was familiar with the Hebrew language, pointed out that the name Moses didn't reflect the Biblical claim that it meant "I drew him out of the water".

However, back to the identity of Moses' mother, Osman saw that the Koran claims Moses' mother as the Queen, Pharaoh’s wife. Since Osman didn't provide the exact Koranic quote I decided to google and obtained:

“… Pharaoh's wife said, Here is joy for me and thee! Slay him not; haply he may be of use to us, or we may adopt him as a son …” (Sura 28:9)

Osman argued that the Koranic version is more plausible as ancient Egyptian custom would not have allowed an unmarried Egyptian princess to adopt a child.

Osman went on to list two possible factors for the Biblical mistake. The author of the Exodus understood that the mother of Moses was an Israelite but was also b-t Pha’ra, literally ‘the House of Pharaoh’. How could that be?

Because the author of the Exodus was unaware of the deliberate omission of Queen Tiye (an ‘Israelite’ from his her father’s side, but also b-t Pha’ra) from the Book of Genesis, he decided to resolve the conflicting allegiance of Moses' mum by creating the two ‘mothers’, one an Israelite who was the biological mother, and the other b-t Pha’ra, an Egyptian princess who adopted him.

Note: Osman stated that both the ancient Egyptian and early Hebrew written language initially didn’t have short vowels. Vowels were introduced much later.

Osman also explained why the author of the Exodus placed Moses’ Egyptian mum as a princess rather than a queen. The Egyptian word b-t meant ‘house’ but also signify ‘wife’, thus b-t Pha'ra would have meant Pharaoh's wife or Queen. But to a Hebrew b-t meant ‘house’ as in the sense of a building or ‘household’. He went into elaborate scholarly discussion on ancient Egyptian and early Hebrew philology, and demonstrated various misinterpretation in the story of Joseph in the Book of Genesis with regards to the no-vowel languages and the subsequent introduction of 'y' as a vowel in them.

He attributed the designation of princess rather than Queen as a result of the author’s lack of understanding of the Egyptian written language.

Thus, according to Osman, both Moses’ (Akhenaten's) real and 'adopted' mum was Queen Tiye, the daughter of Yuya (Joseph).

To be continued ……..

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