Episode 79: Let My People Go

Amunhotep II (Part 3): the Origins of the Exodus.

1435 BCE was a landmark year. Leading two campaigns, in regnal years seven and nine, Amunhotep II institutes a new policy of depopulating rebellious regions in Canaan, Lebanon and Syria. He strips whole communities of their families, and brings thousands back to Egypt as captives. These prisoners include groups – like the Apiru and Shasu – who may be precursors to the Biblical Hebrews. We go in search of some Biblical stories…

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2017.7.79 tt52 Nakht osirisnet (2) - Copy

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The armour of an Egyptian charioteer, mid-18th Dynasty (Davies 1917)

2017.7.79 tt52 Nakht osirisnet (2)

Wine-makers (Egyptian and Hurrian) in the tomb of Nakht at Thebes (Osiris.net)

2017.7.79 foreigners Khaemwaset, Morris 2014

Image from Morris, 2014.

2017.7.79 foreigners Puiemra, Morris 2014

Image from Morris, 2014.

2017.7.79 foreigners Menkheperresoneb, Morris 2014

Image from Morris, 2014.

2017.7.79 foreigners Menna, Morris 2014

Image from Morris, 2014.

2017.7.79 foreigners plowing, Morris 2014

Image from Morris, 2014.2017.7.79 Paheri workers, Morris 2014

Image from Morris, 2014.


Tomb of Paheri: a Canaanite (left) bundles flax, while an Egyptian (centre) calls him an “old, balding farm-hand” (Osiris.net)


A scene of the marshes and waterways of the Delta, from the tomb of Qen-Amun at Thebes (Davies 1917)

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Work and leisure in the Delta: at bottom-right, Egyptian and foreign peasants work the vineyards, catch fish, and bring their products to Nakht and his wife (left). Tomb of Nakht, at Thebes (Osiris.net)

Syrian Soldier Stela - staatliche museum

A Syrian drinks beer through a straw, while his servant and wife look on – the straw is an invention of Mesopotamia, which the Egyptians never picked up. Amarna Period (Staatliche Museum, Berlin)

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Fisher-men working among the marshes of the Delta. Tomb of Rekh-mi-Re (Osiris.net)


Osiris.net – Tomb of Nakht (website)

Ancient.eu – Teaching of Khety / Satire of the Trades (website)

Wine of Ancient Egypt.com (Project Website)

Yohanan Aharoni, “Some Geographical Remarks Concerning the Geography of the Campaigns of Amenhotep II,” Journal of Near Eastern Studies, 1960.

Manfred Bietak, “Peru-Nefer: The Principle New Kingdom Naval Base,” Egyptian Archaeology, 2009.

Edwin C.M. van den Brink, Tombs and Burial Customs at Tell el-Dab’a, 1982.

Barbara Cummings, Egyptian Historical Records of the Later Eighteenth Dynasty, 1982.

Norman de Garis Davies, The Tomb of Ken-Amun at Thebes, 1917.

Norman de Garis Davies, The Tomb of Rekh-mi-Re at Thebes, 1944.

Aidan Dodson, “Amenhotep (Amenophis) I-III,” The Encyclopedia of Ancient History, 2013.

Aidan Dodson, Amarna Sunrise, 2014.

Nicolas Grimal, A History of Ancient Egypt, 1994.

William C. Hayes, The Scepter of Egypt, 4th Edition, 1990.

James K. Hoffmeier, “Out of Egypt,” Ancient Israel and the Exodus, 2012.

A. Lucas, Ancient Egyptian Materials and Industries, 4th Edition 1989.

Peter der Manuelian, Studies in the Reign of Amenophis II, 1987.

Patrick E. McGovern, Ancient Wine: The Search for the Origins of Viniculture, 2013. Google Books.

Ellen Fowles Morris, The Architecture of Imperialism, 2005.

Ellen Morris, “Mitanni Enslaved: Prisoners of War, Pride, and Productivity in a New Imperial Regime,” Creativity and Innovation in the Reign of Hatshepsut, 2014.

Paul T. Nicholson & Ian Shaw, Ancient Egyptian Materials and Technology, 2003. Google Books.

William H. Peck, The Material World of Ancient Egypt, 2013.

James B. Pritchard, “Syrians as Pictured in the Paintings of the Theban Tombs,” Bulletin of the American Schools of Oriental Research, 1951.

Anson F. Rainey, “Whence Came the Israelites and Their Language?” Israel Exploration Journal, 2007.

Anson F. Rainey, “Unruly Elements in Late Bronze Canaanite Society,” Pomegranates and Golden Bells: Studies in Biblical, Jewish, and Near Eastern Ritual, Law, and Literature in Honor of Jacob Milgrom 1995.

Catharine A. Roehrig, Life Along the Nile: Three Egyptians of Ancient Thebes, 2002.

J.J. Shirley, “Kenamun/Qenamun,” The Encyclopedia of Ancient History, 2013.

William Kelly Simpson (editor), The Literature of Ancient Egypt, 2003.

Barbara J. Sivertsen, The Parting of the Sea, 2009.

Rachael Thyrza Sparks, “Canaan in Egypt: Archaeological Evidence for a Social Phenomenon,” Invention and Innovation: Social Context of Technological Change (2), 2004.

B.G. Trigger et al., Ancient Egypt: A Social History, 1983.

William A. Ward, “The Shasu ‘Bedouin’: Notes on a Recent Publication,” Journal of the Economic and Social History of the Orient, 1972.

William A. Ward, “Foreigners Living in the Village,” Pharaoh’s Workers: The Villagers of Deir el-Medina, 1994.



2 Comments Add yours

  1. Austin says:

    Thank you for your great work on this history. We are all richer because of it. You mention in this episode you will bring up the Cannaites and the exodus in a “much later” episode. I am a late comer here, and have a lot more listening to do. Now, I’m very curious if you’ve already posted that episode, or if it is still to come. Thank you again for sharing your research with us.

    1. DominicPerry says:

      Hi Austin, thank you for listening! I haven’t reached the Exodus-discussion yet; that will take place in the 19th Dynasty and I am still working my way through the 18th. I’d anticipate 2020 for that particular episode 🙂


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