Matt, Dave, and the Bible By Tom Slattery The following was written as a kind of long note for

a play or screenplay that I intend to write. It is not an academic paper. I include no citations. Much of it comes from Wikipedia and similar sources brought up by search engines. A reader can find these as easily as I did. ****** Two major writers of the New Testament bend over backward to use the Old Testament to link Jesus with the Jewish king David, Matthew and Luke. They include, for instance, long genealogies going from the patriarch Abraham in one instance and going back to Eve's husband Adam in the other, and both ending in their contemporary present day. Both genealogies carefully including King David. The genealogy in Matthew also has a conspicuous missing name if its symmetry of three sets of fourteen names may have once been complete. Probably deriving from numerology from the Hebrew letters of David's name (DVD), Matthew's genealogy is sectioned into three segments. Two contain fourteen names: (1.) Abraham to David, and (2.) Solomon to Jeconiah. The last segment, however, contains only thirteen: (3.) Sheatiel to Jesus. It is as if someone applied Wite-out to a final name in the list who may have been alive at the time the names in the genealogy were listed. It is as if, in other words, someone deleted an offspring of Jesus. If, say, Mary Magdalene and Jesus had a child, say a child named Sarah as in the novel by Dan Brown, then that "Sarah" has been deleted, making the effective three-column list conspicuously non-symmetric. The lack becomes all the more conspicuous because Matthew appears to have intentionally eliminated some Jewish leaders mentioned in the Old Testament in order to create his symmetric pattern of Jewish leadership genealogy. The symmetric pattern seems to have been more important than known history. Unlike Luke, or any other authors of the Gospels, Matthew further links David to Jesus with his long and seasonally cherished infancy story of Jesus and a story of a journey into Egypt. The Coptic Egyptian church has a long itinerary through mostly the Nile Delta and northern Egypt. The point is, though, that both Matthew and Luke made exceptional efforts to link Jesus to David. And that effort to link them is all the more interesting because there is no evidence that King David ever existed. Yes, there was no King David. As far as anyone knows, there is no reliable reference outside the Old Testament and Jewish equivalents to such a powerful and influential Jewish monarch as David is said to have been.

Direct records of the times preserve diplomatic and business correspondence written on clay tablets, papyrus, and parchment. In addition, indirect records of the times from later writers cite or mention earlier documents. But no one in the ancient world bothered to mention King David, or, for that matter, his Jewish kingdom in what is now called Israel and Palestine. One might draw any conclusion from that, but it would seem to appear that King David might be a fictional character. But while there was no King David of the time with a capital in Jerusalem, there was a pharaoh with "David" in his name who ruled from his capital city of Tanis in the Nile Delta at the same time that David is said to have reigned. Ralph Ellis points out a real historical person in the general geographical area who very much resembles King David. He would be the Egyptian pharaoh known by his Greekderived name Psusennes I, who reigned from 1047 BC to 1001 BC, a long and evidently (from his tomb) prosperous reign of 46 years. Forensic examination of his remains indicates that he was about 80 years old when he died. Identities of David's biblical predecessor and successor seem more ambiguous. King Saul may or may not be the Egyptian pharaoh Smendes I. And the famous and probably fictitious King Solomon could be the pharaoh Siamon. Why the coverup? Could it be that when the "biblical" text was finally written down from centuries of oral transmission, these three pharaohs whose rule was restricted to the Nile Delta were vaguely known to have been ethnic Jews? But clearly, even from the biblical stories about them, religious Jews they were not. The Old Testament tries hard not to criticize their flagrant lack of religious values. Here is a scenario. The pharaoh Smendes I was apparently renamed Saul and moved to Israel-Judea. The pharaoh Psusennes I was renamed David and moved there. And the pharaoh Siamon was renamed Solomon and moved there. This may have been done to fill in a troubling gap in time between the hazy era of the judges that directly followed the conquest of Canaan and a better known era of Jewish kings. Even though they reigned in the Nile Delta region of northern Egypt, Smendes I, Psusennes I, and Siamon could very well have been ethnic Jews. Smendes I comes into the scene suddenly and mysteriously from nowhere and because he is different from the final 20th Dynasty pharaoh Rameses XI, they assign a new dynasty to him, the 21st Dynasty. Six centuries before the pharaohs Smendes-Psusennes-Siamun, the Hyksos pharaohs (called 15th Dynasty) had ruled northern Egypt from the Nile Delta city of Avaris for almost a century, from 1620 BC to 1530 BC. Moreover, the Hyksos ruled almost the same northern Egyptian territory that Psusennes I ruled six centuries later and ruled from their capital city of Tanis, a city not far from the earlier Hyksos capital city of Avaris. And in both cases, their direct or indirect authority would reasonably have reached far north into the Levant.

One of the Hyksos pharaohs is named "Jacob" (Yakov-el). A normal reading of the name is Yaqub-her. But as with modern Chinese, Japanese, and other tongues, the ancient Egyptian language made no differentiation between the "r" sound and the "l" sound. So it would seem that one is free to pronounce the name Yakub-el or Yakov-el. Yakov-el (roughly1594 BC – 1586 BC) preceded the more powerful and thus better known Hyksos pharaohs Khayan and Apophis. When he became the Hyksos northern Egyptian pharaoh, Yakov-el took a reign name of Meriweserre (translated as Strong Is The Love Of Re). Might one stretch this name, taken late in life as a reign name, to be "Israel" a name that was given to Jacob later in life? Play with it and pronounce it mumbling. Take the last three syllables, "weserre," and add the last syllable of his previous name (that might be pronounced "el"). It could sound like "Israel. Isn't it just a tiny bit tempting? At least some of the Hyksos would seem to have been what one might call proto-Jews, ethnic Jews but about five centuries before Moses and his discovery of the monotheistic god Yahweh. The "Jewish" Hyksos in those centuries prior to Moses were like everyone around them, polytheists and idol worshippers. Six hundred years after the Hyksos ruled in northern Egypt the three new "Jewish" pharaohs, Smendes (Saul), Psusennes (David), and Siamun (Solomon) ruled from a newly rebuilt city of Tanis, not far from the old Hyksos capital of Avaris. And they naturally would have ruled up into what had been Canaan and then Judea. But after the conquest of Canaan by Joshua, the land that would some day become known as Israel and Palestine was ruled by Jewish "judges" who had to have been somewhat democratically appointed. This seems to have happened before. After the legitimate pharaoh Ahmose from Thebes had defeated the last Hyksos pharaoh Khamudi in about 1530 BC, the Hyksos military and leadership were kicked out of the Nile Delta and Egypt. They may have salvaged what they had left and set themselves up in what is now southern Israel and Gaza. Probably not all of the defeated Hyksos were forced to leave Egypt. Their diplomatic and trade connections and business and technological expertise probably would have been gladly received. So the Hyksos seem slowly to have returned to government and power circles in the superpower of the day, Egypt. The most powerful Egyptian prime minister, possibly in all of Egyptian history -- and thus one with a tomb that rivaled the pharaohs' tombs -- was named Yuya. His foreign name Yuya was rendered in Egyptian hieroglyphs and hieratic script in more than a half-dozen different ways as traditional Egyptian scribes struggled to deal with it. Yuya, whose government service centers around 1390 BC, served two of the most powerful pharaohs in Egyptian history, Tuthmosis IV and Amenhotep III. Yuya married

off his daughter Tiye to the latter. Through his bright and capable daughter Tiye, Yuya became grandfather of the next pharaoh, Amenhotep IV. Amenhotep IV, second in line to the throne until his older brother died in an accident, seems not to have been raised to be the next pharaoh. He was apparently an art student. When not long after his brother died his father also died, he became pharaoh. As absolute monarch he defied the old established religion centering on Amen-Re. About three centuries before Moses lived, this new pharaoh created a new protomonotheistic religion. He abolished the old polytheistic gods, notably the chief god Amen that was in his name, and changed his name to Akhnaten to fit his new protomonotheistic religion of worship of the disk of the Sun. If you take the first syllable of his grandfather Yuya's name and take a significant syllable from one of his grandfather's official Egyptian government titles, you get Yu-Seph (Joseph). Centuries later, the writer or writers of Genesis were working with tales preserved by faulty human memory in ballads and oral-tradition stories and may not have been able to piece together an exact chronology. Unknown to them this possible "real" Joseph lived about two centuries after the possible "real" Jacob. The Old Testament would then only obscurely preserve a long ago but powerful Jewish influence in Egyptian government. It was possibly the shadow political and military connections to the respected and powerful prime minister Yuya as well as the drive and wisdom of his daughter Tiye that made the overthrow of the ancient established religion and the establishment of a new proto-monotheistic one politically, militarily, and economically possible. So a couple centuries after the Hyksos pharaohs had been chased out of the Nile Delta and into what is now Israel and Gaza, the ethnic but pre-monotheistic "Jews" were again running Egypt from the prime minister's office. And Yuya's grandson overthrew the agesold Egyptian polytheism and established his proto-monotheism as the new state religion. This new religion lasted as the official Egyptian state religion only for 20-or-so years, at best a quarter of a century. After it was brought crashing down by the old polytheistic conservatives you have, basically, a series of pharaohs named Rameses -- Rameses I through Rameses XI. And in the middle of this series is Rameses V, who died apparently of smallpox in 1154 BC. His mummy is covered with mummified smallpox vesicles. Let me introduce my theory (maybe best called a hypothesis). This "theory" says that the Exodus occurred during a great smallpox pandemic that must have been raging throughout the Old World then. A probable end date to the smallpox pandemic would be September 30, 1131 BC. This is when a solar eclipse occurred in the region. The eclipse probably gave rise to the story of

the Sun and the Moon standing still in the sky as Joshua and the Gibeonites battled the Amalikites in the conquest of Canaan (in Joshua, by Robert G. Boling, Anchor Bible Series, in note on page 283). It may give the Exodus a timeframe. Between the death of the pharaoh Rameses V in 1154 BC and Joshua's battle in Canaan in 1131 BC is a time of 23 years. Perhaps Moses led his followers out into the Sinai a few years before Rameses V caught his fatal disease of smallpox. Pharaohs may have been isolated and thus caught the disease later than the peons. Thus the timeframe of the Exodus fits rather neatly within 30 or the biblical 40 years. But also in those 23 to 40 years you have the fading away of the powerful dominant Egyptian Empire, possibly the sole superpower. And at the same time you have the tenuous beginning of the new (and monotheistic and moral) Jewish state run by quasidemocratically appointed "judges" shortly after Moses died and Joshua led motley forces to conquer Canaan. Roughly a century after the 1131 BC eclipse date in the midst of the conquest you have the reign of the pharaoh Psusennes I (1047 BC - 1001 BC) who seems to have been the real David. By then the smallpox pandemic was long gone to history. Millions had died from it. Nations had vanished. And a long slow struggle back to civilization through centuries of a dark age was beginning. Egypt never completely recovered from the political-economic-military devastation of the smallpox pandemic. Psusennes, for instance, only ruled the northern half of divided Egypt while the High Priest of Amen-Re ruled the southern half from the religious capital city of Thebes. But the lavish tomb and silver coffin of Psusennes I shows that some of the old power and glory of Egypt had been sought and had been brought back. And it would not at all be surprising to find that three "Jewish" boys -- with genealogical lines back to Egypt's most powerful prime minister Yuya (Joseph) and/or to a Hyksos pharaoh Yakov-El (Jacob) -- had become powerful Egyptian pharaohs in the Nile Delta and by inference powerful monarchs in Israel-Judah. What is interesting, however, is the attempt by Jewish authors to fictionalize these three apparently Jewish boys, one the likely first pharaoh of the twenty-first dynasty Smendes, two the almost certain powerful and prosperous pharaoh Psusennes I, and three the likely last pharaoh of the twenty-first dynasty Siamon. Instead someone -- someone who may have had knowledge since he used part of Psusennes' name in creating David -- created Saul, David, and Solomon of Jerusalem to cover the exact time that there were the real Smendes, Psusennes, and Siamon of Tanis, Egypt. Why bother doing that when you have history on your side and real historical people? Moreover, why, a thousand years later than that, does the author of the Gospel of Matthew bend over backwards and perform compositional contortions in order to link his biography, of a real person he had known called Jesus, to a fictional King David? If he

may have known even a remnant of the real historical Psusennes story it may explain the "star over Bethlehem," the "flight to Egypt," and the apparent childhood of Jesus in Egypt. But this would imply that the Jesus whom Matthew and Luke struggle to connect with David is in fact connected with the pharaoh Psusennes I? This would connect Jesus with recently overthrown Egyptian royalty at a time when known legitimate heirs to Egyptian royalty were being executed by the new Roman imperial government. Matthew appears to have written his book in Hebrew language and using Hebrew script. If not that, it was in the similar Semitic language Aramaic and using the then similar Aramaic script or Hebrew script. He was, in other words, writing for the few Jews who would be able to read it. The other gospels and writings in the New Testament were first composed in Greek language and using Greek script, the lingua franca of that time, readable by practically all who were literate, including most upper-class Romans. In view of this reality of having so few readers literate in Hebrew, Matthew's book eventually had to be translated into Greek, too. And while it was known by many early Christians that a Hebrew version had once existed and Christians, Jews, and others had commented on it, the entire text of the Hebrew Matthew was eventually lost and only fragments remained. The Greek-language gospels were translated into Latin and became the meat of our present-day New Testament, eventually to be translated into the languages of our planet. Bible scholar and historian George Howard seems to have cleverly recovered the original Hebrew Gospel of Matthew. As a result, it is now possible to see that while there are differences between the canonical New Testament gospel and the original Hebrewlanguage biography written shortly after the death of Jesus, two millennia and a number of religious and political redaction changes later there are surprisingly few differences. As with a Hollywood movie made from a popular novel, the Matthew story remains generally recognizable and only the facts have been changed for the box office. We can see, then, that from the beginning, the author Matthew creates links in his story between the legendary hero but apparently not real King David and the life of his real friend and teacher Jesus. These relationships of Jesus to David permeate the text, but Matthew lays it out from the very beginning of his book. He begins with a David-linking genealogy different from that of Luke and thus found nowhere else and then with a perplexing and David-linking infancy story not found elsewhere. In view of the star in the Egyptian cartouche (i.e. name) of the pharaoh Psusennes I and its Egyptian alternative word for "star" that leads directly to the Hebrew name "David," we might wonder about the star in the infancy story. For instance, might there have been two similar astronomical-astrological events, one in about 1080 BC when Psusennes I would have been born and one roughly 4 BC when Jesus was born? What was Matthew

thinking with his star over Bethlehem and the star that comes from Egyptian into Hebrew to make up the name of David, and perhaps knowingly the word star in the name of the pharaoh Psusennes I? A thousand years had gone by since the time of either the fictitious David or the real Psusennes I and the time of Matthew and Jesus. It could be that Matthew knew about both the pharaoh Psusennes and the star in his cartouche and thus may have known about the fiction surrounding a King David. In the years around 50 to 60 AD when Matthew could have been writing his book somewhere in Judea or Galilee, Imperial Rome was consolidating its power in the eastern Mediterranean. Egypt had been defeated in two battles in 31 and 30 BC, and the last person who might have had a legitimate claim on being pharaoh of Egypt, Cleopatra, had committed suicide. The new emperor Augustus (63 BC – 14 AD) had effectively repealed the Roman Republic, even before 27 BC. While a perfunctory senate continued on, Matthew only knew of empire. He may have lived through as many as five Roman emperors, Augustus (to 14 AD), Tiberius (to 37 AD), Caligula (to 41 AD), Claudius (to 54 AD), and Nero (to 68 AD). But for all the power of Rome and its emperors, Egypt and related remnants of former Hellenistic monarchies continued to have influence. Cleopatra had died in 30 BC, but she had kids who could inherit the ancient Egyptian throne of the pharaohs. And her one long-surviving and remarkable kid stands out in history. Probably by virtue of being the daughter of the last Egyptian pharaoh Cleopatra and Mark Anthony and thus half-Roman, Cleopatra Selene (born 25 December 40 BC and living to circa 6 AD) effectively co-ruled a territory larger than Egypt in the western Mediterranean called Mauretania. She reigned as queen with her scholarly husband King Juba between 20 BC and circa 6 AD, when unlike three of her siblings she apparently died of natural causes. But she and Juba had a son named Ptolemy, and Ptolemy became co-regent with Juba and then king of Mauretania Thus way off in the western Mediterranean throughout Jesus and Matthew's childhood, and until about 6 AD there was a legitimate direct heir to the throne of the Egyptian pharaohs co-ruling a territory larger than Egypt in the eastern Mediterranean. The influence of the heirs to the empire of Alexander the Great and the cultural influence of Egypt was not quite dead yet. Moreover, this queen, Cleopatra Selene, had a son, Ptolemy of Mauretania. He born in circa 10 BC-5 BC, about the same time as both Jesus and Matthew. This last Ptolemy would inherit the throne of this large swath of the western Mediterranean and could, but for Roman power, legitimately claim the throne of the Egyptian pharaohs at the other end of the Mediterranean.

Juba and Cleopatra Selene apparently also had a daughter (although she may have been a granddaughter) named Drusilla. Either as daughter or as granddaughter, Drusilla could also have claimed, especially given the matrilineal inheritance, to be a legitimate heir to the Egyptian throne if all others had been gone. Ptolemy of Mauretania, grandson of the last monarch of Egypt Cleopatra and her husband Mark Anthony, co-ruled and ruled in Mauretania for about 19 years, from 21 AD to 40 AD. Then he was tricked into going to Rome and executed there, coincidentally not long after Jesus had been executed in Israel. Matthew's leader, teacher, and friend Jesus was probably executed in Jerusalem in 34 or 36 AD. Thus by sheer coincidence, Ptolemy of Mauretania and Jesus of Nazareth were born, lived, and died at the same time in history. Ptolemy's sister Drusilla is also interesting. Some say she was his granddaughter. But Wikipedia says she was Ptolemy's sister. Drusilla seems to have been born somewhere around 8 BC to 5 AD. Through her grandmother Cleopatra, Drusilla was in line to the throne of Egypt. Through her grandfather Mark Anthony she was related to the powerful families of Roman emperors. Strangely, though, there is nothing more known about her. There is more known about her aunt of the same name, Drusilla. Her aunt Drusilla eventually shows up as ex-wife of a famous New Testament character and as an ex-wife may have played into a sermon on morals given by another famous New Testament figure. This second Drusilla of Mauretania was the daughter of Ptolemy of Mauretania and Julia Urania from Parthia or Emessa. Emessa, now called Homs, is near the present border with Lebanon in southern Syria. Emessa is slightly farther north of the Sea of Galilee as Jerusalem is south of the Sea of Galilee. As a great-granddaughter of the last Egyptian pharaoh Cleopatra, Drusilla also would have had a legitimate claim on the ancient Egyptian throne. As a great-granddaughter of Mark Anthony, she was related to the Roman imperial families. Drusilla's father Ptolemy was executed in Rome in 40 AD when Drusilla was two years old. Wikipedia says that Drusilla was probably raised in Rome by an Imperial family. When she was about 15, the then Roman emperor Claudius arranged for her marriage to Antonius Felix, Roman governor of Judea. So in 53 AD the fifteen-year-old great-granddaughter of the last real pharaoh of Egypt went off to Judea to be the wife of a distant successor to Pontius Pilate, the Roman judge in the New Testament trial of Jesus in about 36 AD. The trial also involved the Jewish political-religious elite.

In 58 AD, about 22 years after the trial of Jesus, Antonius Felix was the Roman judge in another legal fracas involving Jewish religious/political elite in the New Testament, the similar trial of Paul, a person who had as much influence on Christianity as Jesus himself. By then Felix had divorced the Drusilla who was the great-granddaughter of Cleopatra and married another Drusilla, the Jewish daughter of the Roman puppet king Herod Agrippa I. (Did Felix have a thing for women named Drusilla?) This is the Drusilla who sat in on her husband Felix's interview with Paul, as seen in Acts in the New Testament. This Jewish Drusilla and Felix had a son and daughter. Tragically, Drusilla and her son, Marcus Antonius Agrippa, were caught in the deadly pyroclastic flows from the eruption of the volcano Vesuvius in 79 AD and perished. They, along with Roman admiral and historian Pliny the Elder, are the only named casualties of the eruption of Vesuvius. The other Drusilla, descendant of Cleopatra, eventually married King Sohaemus of Emessa (Homs) and bore a son Gaius Julius Alexio. He later became king of Emessa (7378 AD). Thus King Alexio, great great grandson of Cleopatra, would have had a claim to the ancient throne of the pharaohs if no one else were around. During the time between the death of Jesus in about 36 AD and about 50 AD, Matthew would probably have been either speaking to small, mostly Jewish audiences. By 50 AD and a man at least in his fifties, Matthew would have been either writing or preparing to write biographical material about Jesus so that it could survive his death. At about that time an heir to the throne of the pharaohs, Drusilla, would marry a Roman governor of Judea, Felix. Actuarially, Matthew may no longer have been alive when Felix divorced that Drusilla and married the Jewish Drusilla who shows up in the New Testament. In 58 AD when that Drusilla, her husband Felix, and Paul all sat down for a chat in Paul's jail cell, Matthew would have been in his early sixties. It's not too old now, but back then there weren't many. If he might have still been alive, he would probably also have been finished with his now famous book and possibly wondering, like minor published and unpublished authors sometimes do, if it were worth the time and effort. Rocky River, Ohio December 2010

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