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HYKSOS:

Name of a line of Egyptian kings, occurring in a passage of Manetho quoted by Josephus ("Contra Ap." § 14). It is said that they ruled for 511 years. Manetho explains "hyk" as "kings" (which Josephus disputes) and "sos" as "shepherds." The latter is "shasu" on the monuments. The Hyksos came as conquerors from Syria and Arabia; and Josephus claims them as the close kindred of his race. They were gradually expelled in a native rebellion, which began at Thebes. They form the fifteenth and sixteenth, perhaps also the seventeenth, dynasties. During the eighteenth dynasty Thothmes III. brought Egypt to its highest power; the nineteenth embraces Rameses I., Sethos (Setoy), Rameses II., usually taken to be the Pharaoh of the oppression, and Me(r)neptaḥ, the supposed Pharaoh of the Exodus.

The words in Ex. i. 8, "Now there arose up a new king over Egypt, which knew not Joseph," are thought to fit the long rule of Semitic kings, one of whom, Apopy, raised Joseph to high rank and settled his brethren in Goshen. If Adolf Erman, in his "History of Egypt," has rightly fixed the beginning of the eighteenth dynasty at 1530 B.C., and if the Biblical chronology (I Kings vi. 1), placing the Exodus 480 years before the completion of Solomon's Temple (i.e., in 1478 B.C.), is correct, then the first king of the eighteenth dynasty is clearly that "new king" who takes measures for keeping the Israelites in check. Modern critics will not allow this; first, because the Israelites were put to build the store-city of Raamses, bearing the name of the later kings; secondly, because the El-Amarna letters and other monuments indicate that long after 1438 B.C., the supposed year of Joshua's invasion, Palestine was still under Egyptian control.

If the "new king" is to be placed at the end of the eighteenth dynasty rather than at its opening (which hypothesis is not in conflict with that of Joseph's ministration under a Hyksos king), it may be explained thus: Amenophis (Amen-ḥotep IV.), of the eighteenth dynasty, and his two successorsattempted to reform the religion of the country, setting up a supreme god, Aten (= ?), in place of the many divinities of Egypt; this movement came to an end, and the worship of Amon, Ra, etc., was resumed; hence a king, not indeed new in race, but new in faith and in sympathies.

Bibliography:
  • See Egypt.
E. G. H. L. N. D.
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