Did Thutmose III Really Lay Siege To Megiddo? Part Three B: Qadesh and its Chief Re-visited.



Damien F. Mackey


An attempt will be made here to identify the ruler of Qadesh, who was Thutmose III’s chief foe during the pharaoh’s First Campaign, and whose aggressive activities against Egypt were, according to Thutmose, the very reason for this Egyptian military action.




  1. Faulkner has described “the King of Kadesh [as] the head and front of the opposition to Tuthmosis [Thutmose III]” (“The Battle of Megiddo”, JEA, 28, Dec. 1942, p. 15), and this opinion would generally be supported. H. Goedicke, for instance, has written similarly, even using the same title (The Battle of Megiddo, Halgo, Inc. 2000, pp. 2-21):

The promulgated casus belli is the actions attributed to the ‘chief of Qadesh.” They consist of prolonged improper treatment of Egyptian subjects in his jurisdiction and the rejection of messages or messengers sent about it. The term ḥ᷾ḏ3 which is used for it is probably more inclusive than the frequent reference “to plunder” [ref. R.O. Faulkner, A Concise Dictionary, 164], but also more extended than “to act criminally” in an exact legal sense …. It is precisely the lack of legality which ḥ᷾ḏ3 seems to indicate, so that the rendering “to act lawlessly” appears appropriate …. In the prevailing political setting ḥ᷾ḏ3 conveys here the lack of a legal basis of the “Chief of Qadesh” but not necessarily belligerence.

[End of quote]

Despite the troublemaker’s prominence, the precise identification of his city of Kd-šw (Qadesh or Kadesh), as given in Thutmose III’s Annals, is uncertain. This is apparent from the fact that – as we have discovered in this series – historians have variously assigned to that city (or country) different locations (e.g., Qadesh on the Orontes; Qadesh of Naphtali; or even Jerusalem el-kuds, “the Holy”, itself).

And I shall be, in this article, suggesting quite another geographical location for this Kd-šw.

The designation is commonly taken to mean “holy” or “sanctuary”. Goedicke again (p. 28): “The “Chief of Qadesh” appears to have been the leader in a confederation of city-states, presumably due to a central sanctuary located at Qadesh …”. And he himself favours Qadesh Naphtali for Kd-šw.

Creationist P. Clarke, who, though a revisionist, has strongly criticised Dr. Velikovsky and his followers regarding their identification of Thutmose III with the biblical “Shishak”, is of the majority view that Kd-šw was the Qadesh on the Orontes (“Was Jerusalem the Kadesh of Thutmose III’s 1st Asiatic campaign? – topographic and petrographic evidence”, Journal of Creation, 25 (3), 2011, p. 52):

This [Clarke’s proposed identification of the king of Qadesh] actually illuminates a major point of contention among revisionists (of which I am one – see endnote 1): Velikovsky claimed Kadesh was Jerusalem and that the city was plundered during this first campaign. Other revisionists accept the claim of Thutmose that he attacked and devastated his Kadesh (Qidshu) seven years after the year 23 campaign: he then crushed another uprising at Kadesh during his 17th campaign. Figure 4 … shows the important Beqa and Orontes sites, including some of the region’s Egyptian garrisons; … the location of Thutmose’s Kadesh (Qidshu) is easy to establish.

If Kadesh was Velikovsky’s Jerusalem and Thutmose III was his Shishak, that would mean that Jerusalem was assaulted three times by the same king of Egypt; this is very different to the Bible account where Shishak came just once to plunder, went home, and was never mentioned again. This is not an argument from silence but from ‘conspicuous absence’; given the pre-eminence of Jerusalem in biblical history, it would be odd indeed for the Bible to only refer to one attack by this ruler if there were in fact three.

[End of quote]

Whilst I no longer accept that Thutmose III’s Kd-šw can refer to Jerusalem, I do not necessarily agree with Clarke’s statement that the Bible would enumerate every single attack, given the historical telescoping (admitted by many scholars) involved, for instance, in the biblical accounts of Sennacherib’s campaigns. To give an example of this from my thesis:

A Revised History of the Era of King Hezekiah of Judah

and its Background


(Volume Two, p. 11):

…. Isaiah taunts Sennacherib with a prediction that could hardly have been uttered about the time of the Assyrian army’s encirclement of Jerusalem (37:33): “Therefore thus says the Lord concerning the king of Assyria: ‘He shall not come into this city, shoot an arrow there, come before it with a shield, or cast up a siege ramp against it. …’.” Most of these things that Isaiah says the Assyrian king will not do, Sennacherib did in fact do during his Third Campaign! ….

[End of quote]

Either the great prophet Isaiah got it completely wrong, or there were in fact – as argued in my thesis – two Assyrian campaigns against the kingdom of Hezekiah.

The Egyptian Kd-šw appears universally to be transliterated as “Kadesh”, or “Qadesh”, despite Clarke’s further criticism of “Velikovsky’s rendering of the Hebrew qodesh קֹ֫דֶשׁ[as] kadesh [as a] linguistic faux-pas” given that the first consonant of the Egyptian word “is a 2-consonant sound, transliterated and pronounced as qd”. On Clarke’s own admission, the Egyptian Kd-šw is “properly translated into English as Qadesh”.


Who Was the Ruler of Qadesh?


My new theory is that the Egyptian Kd-šw referred to Qadesh barnea in the region of Edom, and that its ruler who had long troubled Egypt was the biblical Hadad, the Edomite.


We read previously that Velikovsky had asked this very same question, and had answered it, idiosyncratically, by designating this ruler as king Rehoboam of Jerusalem (his “Kadesh”). Goedicke refers to Epstein’s more conventional identification, whilst, however, disagreeing with it (op. cit., p. 30, n. 130): “Claire Epstein, “‘That Wretched Enemy of Kadesh’.” JNES 22 (1963), 242-246, by assuming that Thutmosis’ opponent was the ruler of Kadesh on the Orontes and a vassal of the Mitanni, identified him as Durusa, who had nothing to do with the area in question”. Clarke, following Epstein and N. Na’aman, will conclude, “he was Durusha, king of Kadesh” (op. cit., p. 51).

Whilst, I would agree with Goedicke, that “Kadesh on the Orontes and … Durusa … had nothing to do with the area in question”, my discussion in Part Three A has led me to focus upon Hadad and his son, Genubath, of Edom, and it is with that region – rather than with Goedicke’s Qadesh Naphtali – and with those princes, that I would now seek to find Kd-šw and its troublesome ruler. After all, we found the people of “Genubatye” (of Genubath) bringing their tribute to Egypt shortly after the First Campaign of Thutmose III.

My new theory is that the Egyptian Kd-šw referred to Qadesh-Barnea in the region of Edom, and that its ruler who had long troubled Egypt was the biblical Hadad, the Edomite. His son, Genubath – and hence the people designated by Thutmose III, “Genubatye” – would be too new to the political scene to be able to qualify for the long-lived “Chief of Qadesh”.

The importance of Qadesh-Barnea, also known as “Kadesh” is apparent from the following description of it (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kadesh_(Israel)):

Kadesh or Qadhesh in Classical (Hebrew: קָדֵשׁ‎), also known as Qadesh-Barneaʿ (קָדֵשׁ בַּרְנֵעַ),[1] is a location mentioned in the Hebrew Bible where a number of historical events took place. Kadesh was an important site in Israelite history. It was the chief site of encampment for the Israelites during their wandering in the wilderness of Zin (Deut. 1:46); it was from Kadesh that the spies were sent out into Canaan (Num. 13:1-26); The first failed attempt to take the land was made from Kadesh (Num. 14:40-45); Moses disobediently struck the rock that brought forth water at this location (Num. 20:11); Miriam (Numbers 20:1) and Aaron (Numbers 20:22-29) both died and were buried nearby; and Moses sent envoys to the King of Edom from Kadesh (Num. 20:14), asking for permission to let the Israelites pass through his terrain. The Edomite king denied this request.

Kadesh-Barnea is also a key feature in the common biblical formula delineating the southern border of Israel (cf. Num. 34:4, Josh. 15:3, Ezek. 47:19 et al.)[2] and thus its identification is key to understanding both the ideal and geopolitically realized borders of ancient Israel.

[End of quote]

Although this description would tend to suggest some geographical separation between Qadesh and Edom: “Moses sent envoys to the King of Edom from Kadesh (Num. 20:14)”, there is good evidence that Edom’s territory included (perhaps at a later stage) Qadesh-Barnea (http://nabataea.net/eborder.html):

One of the more neglected topics in the field of Biblical Geography involves the territorial extent of Edom’s geographical domain. Earlier scholars have limited the geographical territories of Edom exclusively to Southern Transjordan’s mountains of Edom (i.e. Edelman 1995: 2-3; Aharoni 1979: 40-41; Bartlett 1969: 1-20; Gleuck 1936: 152). Its boundaries included an area that lies between ‘Wadi el-Hesa in the north, ‘Wadi Arabah in the west, ‘Wadi Hisma in the south and Transjordan’s basalt desert in the east.

However, recent scholars have challenged this notion. They argue that the Edom’s original territories also included the Negev’s Central Highlands and southern portion (Meshel 2000: 104; 1974: 147-150, xii; MacDonald 1994: 230-246; Rasmussen 1989: 91-92; Liver 1982: 324-325; Crew 1984: 2-3; 1981: 110-150; Is 1971: 370-371; Eod-Awd 1963: 622; Cohen 1962: 25). Moreover, two recent archeological discoveries have provided additional support for this notion. The first is the discovery of a large system of Israelite forts and settlements in the Negev’s Central Highlands that dates to David and Solomon’s time in the 11th-10th Centuries B.C. (Meshel 2000: 104; Na’aman 1992: 73; 1974: 147-150; xii; Cohen 1979: 61-79). In particular, excavations at Kadesh Barnea (‘Ein el-Quiderat) and Kuntillet Ajrud reveal a continuous period of Israelite settlement throughout the period of the Judean monarchy (Meshel 1993a: 1458-1464; 1993b: 1517-1520; Cohen 1983; 1976: 49-50). The second is the absence of a similar system in southern Transjordan’s mountains of Edom. Archeological surveys from this region further show that any Israelite settlement occurred between the 9th-7th Centuries B.C. after which there was a noticeable decline (Na’aman 1992: 73; Bartlett 1992a: 290 ff; MacDonald 1994: 230-246; 1992: 296 ff; Weippert 1979: 29-30).

Thus the notion of an Edom whose geographical territories lay solely in southern Transjordan is no longer a universal assumption. Moreover, three OT passages provide additional insight into this matter. Two of these passages refer to the stationing of Israelite garrisons in Edom by King David during his reign (2 Sam 8:14; 1 Chr 18:13). The third passage alludes to a flight to Egypt by Hadad, a member of the Edomite royal family, as a result of David’s military campaign in Edom where his forces under Joab’s command slaughtered every living Edomite male (1 Kgs 11:14-22).

Hadad’s escape to Egypt and subsequent return during Solomon’s reign also fits a geographical location that is better suited to an original Edomite geographical domain whose territories included the Negev’s Central Highlands and southern portion (Na’aman 1992: 74-79). Otherwise Hadad’s escape would have required an arduous trip across an area already occupied by an Israelite enemy. David’s forces could have effectively cut Hadad’s escape route to Egypt by controlling the main access points from southern Transjordan that passed through the Negev Central Highlands and southern portion.

[End of quote]

In a revised context Thutmose III had, for the more than two decades of his reign alongside Hatshepsut – and prior to his 22-23 Year First Campaign – been painfully aware of the rebellious actions of the royal Edomite prince, Hadad, a persistent foe of king Solomon, operating out of Qadesh-Barnea against the borders of Egypt: “Lo, for a long period of years in (my) lifetime, [the chief of Qadesh was] robbing every (Egyptian) man … being defiant to any messenger … sent about it”.

Historians espousing a more northerly Qadesh, however, and imagining that Thutmose III’s First Campaign would culminate at Megiddo, far away in northern Israel, must needs downplay the factor of “belligerence” from the point of view of the Chief of Qadesh. Goedicke, for instance (op. cit., p. 15):

The stationing of [Egyptian] troops at Sharuhen can hardly be considered cause to mount a campaign into the Levant. The repeatedly stated argument that the “Chief of Qadesh” was on the verge of invading Egypt … [ref. Wolfgang Helck] does not square with the fact that Thutmosis’ foray does not encounter any opposition until Megiddo is reached ….

[End of quote]

Though, initially, Hadad had had very cosy relations with Egypt, including his marrying an Egyptian queen, that relationship would have soured greatly during the time of the Thutmosides who, according to the revision, were at least on friendly terms with the Davidides – if not even being actual Davidides. So, from this revised scenario, the following would take on quite a different context (http://nabataea.net/eborder.html):

Furthermore, Hadad’s later alliance with Egypt via marriage would have given the Egyptians a vital source of intelligence on troop strength and movements along the Israelites’ southern flank. This would have greatly aided the planning and execution of a surprise attack by Shishak against Israelite forts and settlements in the Negev’s Central Highlands during Rehoboam’s reign (1 Kgs 14:25-26). The sudden destruction of Israelite forts and settlements in the region during this period supports such a possible scenario (Na’aman 1992: 81-83; Aharoni 1979: 327-330).

[End of quote]


Hadad the Edomite, controlling the southern Qadesh (= Kd-šw), or Qadesh-Barnea, would have been perfectly placed geographically to have been the troublesome “Chief of Qadesh”, wreaking havoc upon the northern Egyptian garrisons, and haranguing Egyptian messengers. As part of a “confederation of city-states” (Goedicke), apparently, he may even have posed a military threat to Egypt proper.

Thutmose III had long been aware of him and of the trouble that he had been causing Israel during the reign of king Solomon, and Egypt, prior to Thutmose’s own military career. By Year 22-23 the pharaoh had had enough of Hadad, the ruler of Qadesh, and had embarked upon his most famous campaign to put a stop to him, and perhaps to replace him with the young Genubath (“Genubatye”), his son.


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