Can the Name, ‘Shishak’, be reconciled to Thutmose III?




Damien F. Mackey



Upon those revisionist historians – myself included – who would claim that the biblical

“Shishak king of Egypt”, who sacked the Temple of Yahweh (1 Kings 14:25),

was Thutmose III (and not the conventionally viewed Libyan pharaoh, Shoshenq I),

there falls the burden of connecting pharaoh Thutmose III to the name “Shishak”.






Reconciling the name, “Shishak”, with the 18th dynasty pharaoh, Thutmose III, was one of Dr. Immanuel Velikovsky’s most necessary tasks if he were convincingly to establish this pillar of his revised history in his Ages in Chaos I (1952). The other major challenges were to relate the geography of Thutmose III’s First Campaign to the brief biblical account; and to demonstrate that the inscribed Karnak treasures from this campaign matched those of the Solomonic reign (palace and Temple).

I have recently discussed the geographical factor in:

Pharaoh Thutmose III Attacks Jerusalem


and hope shortly to consider also an examination of the treasures taken.

The ‘Name’ of the Game


Shoshenq I as “Shishak”

It was in 1828 that Jean François Champollion visited Egypt for the last time together with Professor Ippolito Rossellini of the University of Pisa, Italy. They made their way to the triumph scene of pharaoh Hedjkheperre Shoshenq I carved into the Bubastite walls of the temple of Karnak at Thebes. There, on the right, were the faint outlines of the pharaoh smashing his enemies. To the left was the royal figure of the god Amon dragging more captives surrounded with oval name rings before the king. The hieroglyphics inside the rings represented the names of the cities conquered in the pharaoh’s 20th year.

Champollion began to read the names inside the rings.

When he came to 29 he read y-w-d-h-m-l-k. Could that really be ‘Iouda-ha-malek’ – kingdom of Judah [Yehud]? Indeed, the biblical “Shishak” had invaded and conquered Judah as we know from 1 Kings 14:25-26 and from 2 Chronicles 12:2-9. Fatefully, from that moment on, pharaoh Shoshenq I, founder of the 22nd Libyan Dynasty, would be accepted as the “Shishak king of Egypt” of the scriptures, and dated to c. 925 BC, the 5th year of Rehoboam of Judah.

However, as W. Max-Mueller pointed out already in 1888, ring 29 should actually be read as yah-ha-melek, which literally means “hand of the King”, and should be understood as “Monument”, or “Stela of the King”. In other words it was a location in Palestine where some un-named ruler had erected a commemorative stela [standing stone] of the King of Judah. More significantly still is the fact that this yah-ha-melek was located in northern Israel and therefore could not possibly have been a location inside the borders of the kingdom of Judah.

Perhaps the major problem facing the Champollionic choice of Shoshenq I for “Shishak” is that the Libyan pharaoh’s Karnak list of conquered does not include Jerusalem—his biggest prize according to the Bible. Shoshenq’s list focusses on places either north or south of Judah, as if he did not raid the centre.

Even conventional scholars such as K. Kitchen agree with this fact. Shoshenq I did not directly assault the city of Jerusalem!

So, “the fundamental problem facing historians is establishing the aims of the two accounts and linking up the information in them” (

If Shoshenq I were “Shishak”, why did he attack locations in northern Israel and carefully avoided Judah and in particular did not attack Jerusalem?

Scholars appear to have made a very serious mistake in following Champollion’s very honest attempt, at the time, to reconcile scripture with history. Despite the elapse of time, and the seemingly insurmountable problems associated with this equation, Shoshenq I – Shishak, they are still tenaciously clinging to it, while ignoring the obvious discrepancies a comparison of the Egyptian and scriptural records reveal.

There is a fundamental problem of methodology in the false assignment of Shoshenq I as “Shishak”.

Thutmose III as “Shishak”

Admittedly the name ‘Shoshenq’ (Sosenq, or Shoshenk) is – despite Dr. J. Bimson’s useful criticisms of it (“Shoshenq and Shishak: A Case of Mistaken Identity”, SIS Review, vol. viii., UK, 1986, pp. 36-46) – phonetically speaking, a far more obvious fit for “Shishak” (Heb. Šiwšaq: (שִׁישַׁק, than is the name ‘Thutmose’ (and perhaps any other pharaonic nomen).

The various names known for Thutmose III are provided here by Phouka


Horus Name Kanakkht Khaemwaset
Nebty Name Wahnesyt
Golden Horus Name Djeserkhau Sekhenpehti
Praenomen Menkheperre “Lasting are the Manifestations of Re”
Nomen Thutmose”Born of the god Thoth”
Manetho Misphragmuthosis, Mepharamuthosis
King Lists
Alternate Names Totmes, Thutmos, Thumoses, Tuthmoses

and I shall be briefly re-visiting one of these names in (ii) below.

It needs to be kept well in mind, however, that “Shishak” was the name by which this person was known to the Jews; so it may not necessarily even have been an Egyptian name.

A similar name, “Shisha” (Heb. Šiyša‘:שִׁישָׁא) – practically identical to “Shishak” but lacking the final k sound (Heb. qôph) – does occur in the First Book of Kings as the father of two of King Solomon‘s highest court officials, scribes (4:3). It is generally thought that “Shisha” is an Egyptian name, as with one of this man’s sons, Eli-horeph. Curiously, Shisha’s name is variously rendered in the Old Testament as “Seraiah” (2 Samuel 8:17); as “Sheva” (20:25); and as “Shavsha” (I Chronicles 18:16), which variability might perhaps indicate its foreigness.

Another very close fit for the name “Shishak” is the biblical name “Shashak” (Heb. Šašaq) of I Chronicles 8:14, 25.

So, “Shishak” may simply be the name by which the pharaoh was known to the Israelites – a consideration that becomes far more likely in my revised context, according to which Thutmose III was one of Solomon’s very sons from a concubine. See my:

Why Thutmose III can be ‘King Shishak of Egypt’

And, as such, he was presumably well known in the court of King Solomon.

Other Revisionist Attempts         

to Account for the Name, “Shishak”

  1. Velikovsky

Dr. Velikovsky himself did not actually attempt to connect “Shishak” to any of the Egyptian names of pharaoh Thutmose III, but merely alluded to Josephus‘s information that the Egyptian conqueror’s name was “Isakos”, or “Susakos”, and also to the Jewish tradition that the name “Shishak” was from Shuk, “desire”, because the pharaoh had wanted to attack Solomon, but had feared him. Certainly, this became an issue as Solomon aged, with his foes now seeking refuge with “Pharaoh” (1 Kings 11:18-22), which monarch is variously given as “King Shishak of Egypt” (v. 40).

Jewish tradition here may not be so far-fetched. ŠŠK is actually an atbash cryptogram in Jeremiah 25:26; 51:41.

(ii)             Birch

If, on the other hand, the name “Shishak” is to be sought amongst those pharaonic titles of Thutmose III, then one might consider K. Birch‘s suggestion that it may derive from Thutmose III’s Golden Horus name, Djeser-khau (dsr h‘w): “… the (Golden) Horus names of Thutmose III comprise variations on: Tcheser-khau, Djeser-khau … (Sheser-khau?) …”. (“Shishak Mystery?”, C and C Workshop, SIS, No. 2, 1987, p. 35).

This Golden Horus name means “holy-of-diadems”.



Whilst Birch’s ingenious explanation may have merit, my own particular preference, at this point of time, is that the name, “Shishak”, was, not an Egyptian name, but was one of those Israelite-applied names in vogue in King Solomon’s court along the lines


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