Did Thutmose III Really Lay Siege To Megiddo? Part Two A: Chronologically Anchoring Thutmose III.



 Damien F. Mackey



Egyptologists believe that pharaoh Thutmose III had, in his ‘First Campaign’ against the ‘king of Kadesh’, in the C15th BC, assaulted the strong fort of Megiddo in northern Israel.

Dr. Immanuel Velikovsky, however, in his Ages in Chaos (I), whilst accepting that Megiddo was the pharaoh’s target here, had lowered these dates by 500 years, to the C10th BC.

For Velikovsky, Egypt’s foe was king Rehoboam, and Kadesh, the “Holy”, was Jerusalem.

And Thutmose III was the biblical “Shishak king of Egypt” (I Kings 14:25).

My own view, as expressed in Part One, is that Megiddo could not have been the location arrived at by the Egyptians – though I would accept Velikovsky’s dating of Thutmose III.


So, what is the preferential geography for this ‘First Campaign’?

And was “Kadesh” indeed Jerusalem?



Thutmose III must be

Re-located to C10th BC


Dr. Velikovsky’s revised chronology for Egypt’s famous Eighteenth Dynasty is, to my way of thinking, his great contribution. So rock solid had I considered to be his identifications of the supposedly C14th BC kings of “Amurru”, Abdi-ashirta and Aziru – {El Amarna period, 18th dynasty} – with the C9th BC biblical kings of Syria, respectively, Ben-hadad I and Hazael, that I made this one of the foundational aspects of my post-graduate thesis:


A Revised History of the Era of King Hezekiah of Judah

and its Background




Velikovsky, being a pioneer, and thus blazing entirely new trails with his Eighteenth Dynasty reconstructions, did not always succeed in attaining to perfect accuracy. Nor should this have been expected of him. His work required modifications. A very good example of this, I think, was Peter James’s alteration of Velikovsky’s view that the El Amarna correspondent of ‘Urusalim’, Abdi-hiba, was the good king Jehoshaphat of Jerusalem, revised by James to the far better fitting, idolatrous, Jehoram, son of Jehoshaphat (“The Dating of the El-Amarna Letters”, SIS Review, Vol. 2 No. 3, 1977/78).

Closer to Thutmose III, Velikovsky had identified that pharaoh’s celebrated contemporary, Hatshepsut, with the biblical ‘Queen of Sheba/of the South’ – this also needing modifications. See my:

Why Hatshepsut can be the ‘Queen of Sheba’



In an article previous to this one, in:

Solomon and Sheba



I, whilst in the process of defending (in a modified fashion) Velikovsky’s Hatshepsut = Sheba against Dr. John Bimson’s strong critique of it, became convinced that the biblical Solomon himself also emerged in the history of Hatshepsut in the person of the quasi-royal, Senenmut –  perhaps even Hatshepsut’s consort – often described as ‘the real power behind the throne’. See also my:

Does the Name ‘Senenmut’ Reflect the Hebrew ‘Solomon’?



Overall Velikovsky’s revision (his Ages in Chaos series) has, despite its flaws, paved the way for relieving ancient history of its troublesome ‘Dark Ages’ (c. 1200-700 BC).

Moreover, it has spelled the end of the ‘Sothic’ astronomical theory upon which artificial bed the lengthy dynastic history of Egypt has been so uncomfortably spread out. Its worth has become apparent from the plethora of biblico-historical synchronisms – so lacking in the Sothic scheme – that have sprung up in association particularly with the Eighteenth Dynasty.

Unfortunately, some of the best minds associated with the necessary modification of Velikovsky’s revision, most notably those connected with what has come to be known as the “Glasgow School” of the late 1970’s to 1980’s – the likes of Peter James, John Bimson and Geoffrey Gammon – eventually abandoned those well-established Eighteenth Dynasty synchronisms and went off in search of ‘new’ chronologies. There is an interesting exchange between one who had persisted with the “Glasgow” findings, Michael Reade, and Bimson, formerly of that school, who had not (C and C Review 1999:2, pp. 38-40):




A further synchronism between Palestine and

Egypt by Michael G. Reade


Ten potential synchronisms between Palestine and Egypt during the period 1000-600 BC (approx.) were listed in the article ‘Shishak, the kings of Judah and some synchronisms’ [I]. A further such synchronism can be derived from John Bimson’s article ‘Dating the wars of Seti I’ [2]. This one has the special advantage of being independent of Dr. Velikovsky’s proposals in Ages in Chaos [3], which dominate the first four of the ten synchronisms and which seem to be particularly distrusted by some people. Dr. Bimson’s article rather plainly shows that Seti I’s campaigns in Palestine were synchronous with the time of Jehoahaz (of Israel). Jehoahaz ruled Israel during years 23-37 of Joash of Judah [4], though he is elsewhere credited with 17 years of rule (II Kings 13: I).



Notes and references

  1. Reade, MG, ‘Shishak, the Kings of Judah and some synchronisms’, C&CR 1997:2, pp. 27-36.
  2. Simson, Dr J, SISR V:l, pp. 11-27,1980/81.
  3. Velikovsky, Dr I, Ages in Chaos, Abacus (pub. Sphere Books), 1973, first pub. 1952 in USA.



A response to Michael Reade

by John J. Bimson


Michael Reade is leaning heavily on my ‘Dating the Wars of Seti I’ (SISR V:I, 1980/81, pp. 11-27), written almost twenty years ago. He goes so far as to state that my article ‘rather plainly shows that Seti I’s campaigns in Palestine were synchronous with the time of Jehoahaz (of Israel)’. Unfortunately I no longer stand by the conclusions of that article and want to state clearly why I do not believe any further arguments should be based on it. A little history may help to clarify the picture.

By the late 1970s it became obvious to a number of us who were testing Velikovsky’s chronology that his separation of the 18th and 19th Dynasties was not viable. However, at that stage we were still persuaded that his redating of the 18th Dynasty had a lot to be said for it. The next logical step was therefore to test the possibility of adopting Velikovsky’s dating of the 18th Dynasty and letting the 19th and 20th Dynasties follow it consecutively (as in the conventional scheme). This experiment was reflected in some of the papers presented at the SIS international conference held in Glasgow in 1978 [I] and consequently the alternative revision became known as the ‘Glasgow Chronology’. The paper to which Michael Reade refers was an attempt to test and develop that revised chronology.

However, doubts about the Glasgow Chronology soon emerged. On the Egyptian side, we could not find room to accommodate the Third Intermediate Period; in my own field, the archaeology of Palestine, it became clear that sufficient compression of the Iron Age would be difficult to achieve; Peter James’s work on the Hittites raised parallel

problems; and so on … After further research and soulsearching, those of us most closely engaged with this problem (myself, Peter James and Geoffrey Gammon) reluctantly admitted that our alternative to Velikosvky’s scheme could not be brought to completion. In short, the evidence was now forcing us to question Velikovsky’s dating of the 18th Dynasty. Hence the postscript (dated Oct. 1982) which Peter James added to his Glasgow paper shortly before its publication: ‘The writer would like to add that he now feels somewhat higher dates than those experimented with in this paper are required by the evidence’. ….


Notes and References

  1. See papers by Geoffrey Gammon, John Bimson and Peter James in Ages in Chaos? Proceedings of the Residential Weekend Conference, Glasgow, 7-9 April 1978 (SISR VI: 1-3), 1982. ….

[End of quotes]


I have, like Reade, found myself still continuing favourably to embrace “Glasgow” modifications despite the fact that its authors would no longer associate themselves with their early findings. Hence, my adoption of Peter James’s Abdi-hiba = king Jehoram identification. And I have also, similarly to Reade, written of the “Glasgow” school as having ‘thrown out the baby with the bathwater’ – for Reade will, in his response to Bimson, use the like phrase, ‘thrown in the sponge’:


Michael Reade replies


I am happy to assure Dr Bimson that I still stand by what I wrote in C&CR 1997:2 (top of p. 33): ‘I shall not attempt to adjudicate the extent to which either Velikovsky’s proposals or the ‘New Chronology’ are ‘right’ or ‘wrong’. I doubt whether it is even possible in the present state of the evidence’. My immediate object is to test the proposition that the founders of the Glasgow chronology may have thrown in the sponge before it is really necessary.


At the risk of being condemned to be burnt at the stake as an incorrigible heretic, however, I am willing to test the possibility of major revisions of this pattern, which could indeed permit this compression. Dr Bimson and his friends betray their own timidity in this respect when they speak of bringing down the chronology of Egypt by 250 or 350 years. This implies a shift of the existing order (en bloc) – a logical impossibility – whereas what I am envisaging is gross interference with the traditional order, which looks to be a house of cards erected on insecure foundations. It is high time these foundations were re-examined but this will obviously be a long and a slow business, involving testing a great many scenarios which must at least start out as very speculative. ….

[End of quote]


I fully agree with Reade’s sentiments, if not his own personal efforts at historical revisionism. Whereas Velikovsky had proposed – in what is now appearing more and more to have been a rather flawed reconstruction – that Hatshepsut’s contemporary, Thutmose III, was the biblical “Shishak king of Egypt”, who sacked the Temple of Yahweh in Jerusalem in the 5th year of king Rehoboam (I Kings 14:25), according to the ‘New Chronology’, ably led by David Rohl, Ramses II of the Nineteenth Dynasty was this Shishak. With Velikovsky’s anchors of Hatshepsut/Queen Sheba and Thutmose III/Shishak now thrown away, the ‘New Chronology’ immediately suffers from its not being able adequately to replace these Eighteenth Dynasty candidates with suitable Nineteenth Dynasty ones. This is especially true in the case of the Queen of Sheba – there is simply no appropriate royal woman to take her place!

I shall return to this again briefly below.



Rohl admittedly does make a very good fist of trying to match Ramses II with Shishak. But, as we shall read in the following critique, this ‘new’ version of Shishak runs into some insurmountable problems, thus placing “the New Chronology … under considerable threat”. Rohl, like James (Centuries of Darkness), still manages to score telling points against convention, but his mid-way revision leaves him wandering in something of a no man’s land. Dale Murphie (recently deceased) has provided the following rather devastating “Critique of David Rohl’s A Test of Time” (C and C Review, 1997:1, p. 31):


According to David Rohl, ‘The evidence from the Egyptian monumental reliefs, artefacts and documents points to the identification of Ramesses II as the historical counterpart of the biblical Shishak, conqueror of Jerusalem’ [Test of Time, I, p. 170: ‘Conclusion 8’]. The evidence certainly points to Ramesses II having been in the Judaean capital but is this conclusion the only option? ….


Having sketched Ramesses II into the Shishak position, Rohl takes on the conventional view that Shoshenq of Dynasty XX [sic] was the biblical Shishak. His argument is cogent, convincing and compelling. Even Kenneth Kitchen, reigning champion of the Third Intermediate Period (TIP) dogma, must surely come under pressure to yield ground, opening the way to a dramatic TIP revision. The great advance here is that David demonstrates Shoshenq is not Shishak – and the book is worth its price for this gem alone – but he does not actually prove Ramesses II is Shishak. He merely establishes that this would be the case if his input data are comprehensive and accurate. I suggest they are neither.


In Rohl’s historical scheme, this is a paramount issue. He gives three full chapters (4-6), plus his Preface as reinforcement, to the proposition that Ramesses II is Shishak. If he is mistaken here, the New Chronology comes under considerable threat. It is worth examining the general milieu into which Rohl thrusts Ramesses II, to see how snugly he fits. There seem to be a number of problems, stemming from biblical evidence that the regional power of Egypt became diminished and the Judaean state re-established full independence in this very period.


Firstly, given Ramesses’ 67 year reign, he would only have reached Year 22 when Asa of Judah, grandson of Rehoboam, ascended his throne. The significance of this date is that only one year previously Ramesses concluded his famous treaty with the Hittite King, Hattusilis. At this stage, with Egypt and the Hatti entering a long period of unprecedented harmony, consider the remarkably provocative actions of miniscule Judah. This tiny nation, under her new king, flouted the Egyptian/Hatti pact (which provided for mutual aid in just such an event), by starting the greatest fortress building phase of its entire history and developing a standing army of 540,000 men [II Chronicles 14:6-8] – and where did this military build up take place? Not in some distant corner of Egyptian/Hatti territory, away from prying eyes, but right in the demilitarised zone between the two powers, where all might see and not be under the slightest doubt that Judah meant business.


And that is not the end of the problem for Rohl.

Murphie continues:


To compound this difficulty, the Hebrew annals declare that in Asa’s 10th Year [II Chronicles 14:9-15] (Ramesses’ 31st year in the New Chronology) Judah was invaded from the south. However the biblical record says the foe was neither Ramesses nor Hattusilis (as would be expected in Rohl’s scenario) but another character entirely: Zerah the Ethiopian. Would Hatti and Egypt stand back to allow this fourth party with a massive army (suggested as from Arabia rather than Nubia) to invade their territory? Moreover, Zerah’s expedition suffered a major thumping at the hands of the Judaean upstart, enhancing Asa’s reputation throughout the region. Still the New Chronology has us believe that Ramesses and Hattusilis did nothing! Even if Zerah was acting in some way as agent provocateur of one of the major players (logically Egypt) in an attempt to take out the Judaean Maginot Line of fortresses, how could Ramesses have tolerated Asa’s humiliation of his agent?


If Ramesses II was Shishak, there never was a time when, nor a place where, such a result for Asa could have been more inappropriate or unlikely. ….

[End of quote]


Briefly here, also, Murphie touches on the inadequacies of Rohl’s chronology in relation to the Queen of Sheba:


At the beginning of this time frame Shishak is tied chronologically to another celebrity who, like Zerah, simply cannot be ignored. On p. 178 Rohl mentions the Egyptian princess, bride of Solomon, but pays little attention to the contemporary visit of the Queen of Sheba, to whom he assigns 2 lines on p. 32 and a patronising comment about Velikovsky on p. 402. By aligning Dynasty XIX with the middle to near end of the United Monarchy of Israel, the New Chronology lacks a suitable candidate for Solomon’s celebrated visitor. It is not good enough to stay with the received opinion that she was a denizen of the south-west regions of Arabia Felix, when Josephus [Antiquities of the Jews, VIII, vi, 5] informed us that she was the Queen of Egypt and Ethiopia …. Further, the Ethiopian Kebra Nagast (The Book of the Glory of the Kings), discussing their Queen’s visit to Solomon, delivers her name as Makeda, almost identical to the royal name of Dynasty XVIII Queen Hatshepsut Makera, used repeatedly in the Dier [sic] el-Bahri mortuary complex inscriptions of her trading mission to Punt, placing the events in Dynasty XVIII.

[End of quote]



Thutmose III as “Shishak king of Egypt”


Inevitably, Velikovsky’s vital (for posterity) Eighteenth Dynasty reconstruction, snugly aligned against the United (and later Divided) Monarchy of Israel, must lead him to the conclusion that the long-reigning (54 years) pharaoh Thutmose III was the same ruler as the biblical Shishak. Demonstrating this to be the case in all its major details, though, has turned out to be more elusive, not only for Velikovsky, but for those who have followed him here. I, for my part, am convinced that Velikovsky was entirely correct in this identification of his (though not in his reconstruction of the whole biblico-historical scenario) and I have added a possible extra dimension to the revision by introducing Senenmut (Senmut) as Solomon.



The chronology pertaining to this, at least, is perfect, for as I noted in “Solomon and Sheba”:


Senenmut’s ‘Floruit’


In this revision, Senenmut’s floruit in Egypt would correspond to the mid-to-late phase of Solomon’s reign = Years 1-16 of Thutmose III. (N.B. Hatshepsut’s reign is dated by the regnal years of Thutmose III). Just prior to this period, Solomon completed his great building projects in Jerusalem, and, towards its end, he fell away from pure Yahwism into a decadent phase, building shrines to pagan gods for his foreign wives (I Kings 1:18). In perfect accord this. Grimal says Senenmut ‘was a ubiquitous figure throughout the first three-quarters of Hatshepsut’s reign’ …. He oversaw some of the most famous temples and shrines built during the co-reign of Hatshepsut and Thutmose III, and Neferure’s name also figures in some of these. ….


Solomon’s (Senenmut’s) fade out near to Year 16 of Thutmose III (Shishak), give or take, corresponds very well indeed, mathematically, with the latter’s ‘First Campaign’ of Years 22-23, that being (according to this revision) the 5th year of king Solomon’s son, Rehoboam.


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