Job’s Eight Answer, Part 2 of 5 & The Campaign of Shishak

Finger Pointing UpIt appears that Job is now content with his situation and believes that death is soon to come. The why is unclear, all I can imagine is that he knows that You are present and that whatever happens to him is according to Your will and he’s willing to do whatever is needed to please You.

And that’s how everyone should be because when You are in charge all is best.

1. The Karnak Temple
The Karnak Temple Complex, commonly known as Karnak, comprises a vast mix of decayed temples, chapels, pylons, and other buildings.

Building at the complex began during the reign of Senusret I in the Middle Kingdom and continued into the Ptolemaic period, although most of the extant buildings date from the New Kingdom.

The area around Karnak was the ancient Egyptian Ipet-isut (“The Most Selected of Places”) and the main place of worship of the eighteenth dynasty Theban Triad with the god Amun as its head.

It is part of the monumental city of Thebes. The Karnak complex gives its name to the nearby, and partly surrounded, modern village of El-Karnak, 2.5 kilometres (1.6 miles) north of Luxor.

The complex is a vast open-air museum and the largest ancient religious site in the world.

It is believed to be the second most visited historical site in Egypt; only the Giza Pyramids near Cairo receive more visits.

It consists of four main parts, of which only the largest is currently open to the general public.

The term Karnak often is understood as being the Precinct of Amun-Re only, because this is the only part most visitors see.

The three other parts, the Precinct of Mut, the Precinct of Montu, and the dismantled Temple of Amenhotep IV, are closed to the public.

There also are a few smaller temples and sanctuaries connecting the Precinct of Mut, the Precinct of Amun-Re, and the Luxor Temple.

The Precinct of Mut is very ancient, being dedicated to an Earth and creation deity, but not yet restored.

The original temple was destroyed and partially restored by Hatshepsut, although another pharaoh built around it in order to change the focus or orientation of the sacred area.

Many portions of it may have been carried away for use in other buildings.

The key difference between Karnak and most of the other temples and sites in Egypt is the length of time over which it was developed and used.

Construction of temples started in the Middle Kingdom and continued through to Ptolemaic times.

Approximately thirty pharaohs contributed to the buildings, enabling it to reach a size, complexity, and diversity not seen elsewhere.

Job’s friends’ application of traditional wisdom to human suffering has been even more unsatisfactory than Job’s untraditional response.  Both attempts to penetrate the mystery have failed, and the dialogue has come to an unsatisfactory conclusion. 

Therefore Job,  or perhaps the unknown author of the book, inserts a striking wisdom poem that answers the question, Where shall wisdom be found? (v 12).

2. This Bubastite Portal
This Bubastite Portal
The temple wall depicts a list of city states conquered by Shoshenq I in his Near Eastern military campaigns.
This Bubastite Portal gate is located in Karnak, within the Precinct of Amun-Re temple complex, between the temple of Ramesses III and the second pylon.

It records the conquests and military campaigns in 925 Century B.C. Israel of Shoshenq I, of the Twenty-second Dynasty.

Shoshenq has been identified with the biblical Shishaq, such that the relief is also known as the Shishak Inscription or Shishaq Relief.

This gate was erected by the kings of the Twenty-second Dynasty of Egypt, also known as the “Bubastite Dynasty”.

It is located to the south-east side of the Temple of Ramesses III.

Although Karnak had been known to Europeans since the end of the Middle Ages, the possible significance of the Bubastite Portal was not apparent prior to the decipherment of hieroglyphics.

Portal showing cartouches of Sheshonq I

One facade shows King Sheshonq I, Teklot and Osorkon of the 22nd dynasty, making offerings to the gods and goddesses.

Another scene shows Sheshonq grasping a group of captives by the hair and smiting them by his mace.

Behind and below him, there are the names of Canaanite towns in several rows.

Many of these are lost, but originally there were 156 names and one of the most interesting names which were mentioned is ‘The Field of Abram’.

The inscriptions give no details for this expedition and mentioned only the victory over the Asiatics.

The poem consists of three parts: (1) precious stones and metals are found in the deepest mines (vv 1-11); (2) wisdom is not found in mines, nor can it be bought with precious stones or metals (vv 12-19); and (3) wisdom is found only in God and in the fear of Him (vv 20-28).

The chapter then anticipates the theme of God’s speeches (38:1-42:5).  God alone is the answer to the mystery that Job and his friends have sought to fathom.

Surely there is a vein for the silver, and a place for gold where they fine it.

Iron is taken out of the earth, and brass is molten out of the stone.

He setteth an end to darkness, and searcheth out all perfection: the stones of darkness, and the shadow of death.

The flood breaketh out from the inhabitant; even the waters forgotten of the foot: they are dried up, they are gone away from men.

As for the earth, out of it cometh bread: and under it is turned up as it were fire.

The stones of it are the place of sapphires: and it hath dust of gold.

There is a path which no fowl knoweth, and which the vulture’s eye hath not seen:

The lion’s whelps have not trodden it, nor the fierce lion passed by it.

He putteth forth his hand upon the rock; he overturneth the mountains by the roots.

He cutteth out rivers among the rocks; and his eye seeth every precious thing.

He bindeth the floods from overflowing; and the thing that is hid bringeth he forth to light (Job 28:1-11).

cutteth out rivers among the rocks – makes tunnels.  An 18th century B.C. inscription found at Jerusalem’s Pool of Siloam testifies to the sophistication of ancient tunneling technology.  A fascinating, lyrical description of ancient mining techniques.

But where shall wisdom be found? and where is the place of understanding? 

Man knoweth not the price thereof; neither is it found in the land of the living.

The depth saith, It is not in me: and the sea saith, It is not with me. 

It cannot be gotten for gold, neither shall silver be weighed for the price thereof. 

It cannot be valued with the gold of Ophir, with the precious onyx, or the sapphire.

The gold and the crystal cannot equal it: and the exchange of it shall not be for jewels of fine gold. 

No mention shall be made of coral, or of pearls: for the price of wisdom is above rubies. 

The topaz of Ethiopia shall not equal it, neither shall it be valued with pure gold. 

Whence then cometh wisdom? and where is the place of understanding? 

Seeing it is hid from the eyes of all living, and kept close from the fowls of the air.

Destruction and death say, We have heard the fame thereof with our ears. 

God understandeth the way thereof, and he knoweth the place thereof (Job 28:12-23).

4. Records of the campaign of Shishak who captured Jerusalem relief at Karnak Thebes Egypt.
Records of the campaign of Shishak, who captured Jerusalem, relief at Karnak, Thebes, Egypt.

Shishak or Susac or Shishaq is the biblical Hebrew form of the first ancient Egyptian name of a pharaoh mentioned in the Bible.

Shishak’s Reign

The Bubastite Portal at Karnak, depicting a list of city states conquered by Shoshenq I in his Near Eastern military campaigns.

Shishak is best known for his campaign against the Kingdom of Judah, as recorded in the Hebrew Bible (1 Kgs 14:25;2 Chr 12:1-12).

Shishak had provided refuge to Jeroboam during the later years of Solomon’s reign, and upon Solomon’s death, Jeroboam became king of the tribes in the north, which became the Kingdom of Israel.

In the fifth year of Rehoboam’s reign (commonly dated between 926 and 917 B.C.), Shishak swept through the kingdom of Judah with a powerful army, in support of his ally.

According to 2 Chr 12:3, he was supported by the Lubim (Libyans), the Sukkiim, and the Kushites” (“Ethiopians” in the Septuagint).

According to the biblical story Shishak carried off many of the treasures of the temple and the royal palace in Jerusalem, including the “shields of gold” that Solomon had made.

The story is not specific about the means by which he acquired these treasures, though it is most likely that he received them as a tribute from Rehoboam to secure peace.

Shishak’s Name

Texts written in various ancient languages seem to indicate that the first vowel was both long and round, and the final vowel was short.

For example, the name is written in the Hebrew Bible as שישק [ʃiːʃaq].

The variant readings in Hebrew, which are due to confusion between the letters < י > Yod and < ו > Vav that are particularly common in the Masoretic Text, indicate that the first vowel was long in pronunciation.

The Septuagint uses Σουσακιμ [susakim], derived from the marginal reading שושק [ʃuːʃaq] of Hebrew.

This indicates during the 2nd century B.C. Hebrew-speakers or Alexandrian Greek-speakers pronounced the name with an initial long close back rounded vowel [u].

Shishak identified as Pharaoh Sheshonk
The Bubastite Portal at Karnak, showing the cartouches of Sheshonk I.

In the very early years after the decipherment of Egyptian hieroglyphs, on chronological, historical, and linguistic grounds, nearly all Egyptologists identified Shishak with Sheshonk I.

This position was maintained by most scholars ever since, and is still the majority position.

The fact that Shoshenq I left behind “explicit records of a campaign into Canaan (scenes; a long list of Canaanite place-names from the Negev to Galilee; stele), including a stela [found] at Megiddo” supports the traditional interpretation.

Other identifications have been put forward which have been considered fringe theories.

In his book Ages in Chaos, Immanuel Velikovsky identified him with Thutmose III.

More recently, David Rohl’s New Chronology identified him with Ramesses II, and Peter James has identified him with Ramesses III.

Destruction and death – Sheol is located in the depths of the earth (cf Ps 139:8), but wisdom is in such a remote place that even death and destruction have only heard of its fame (rumor/reputation).

3. Ancient Egyptian Cartouche of Thutmose III Karnak Egypt.
Ancient Egyptian Cartouche of Thutmose III, Karnak, Egypt.
In Egyptian hieroglyphs, a Cartouche is an oval with a horizontal line at one end, indicating that the text enclosed is a royal name, coming into use during the beginning of the Fourth Dynasty under Pharaoh Sneferu.

While the Cartouche is usually vertical with a horizontal line, it is sometimes horizontal if it makes the name fit better, with a vertical line on the left.

The Ancient Egyptian word for it was shenu, and it was essentially an expanded shen ring.

In Demotic, the Cartouche was reduced to a pair of brackets and a vertical line.

Of the five royal titularies it was the prenomen, the throne name, also referred to as the, and the “Son of Ra” titulary, the so-called nomen, the name given at birth, which were enclosed by a Cartouche.

At times amulets were given the form of a Cartouche displaying the name of a king and placed in tombs.

Such items are often important to archaeologists for dating the tomb and its contents.

Cartouches were formerly only worn by Pharaohs.

The oval surrounding their name was meant to protect them from evil spirits in life and after death.

The Cartouche has become a symbol representing good luck and protection from evil.

Egyptians believed that one who had their name recorded somewhere would not disappear after death.

A Cartouche attached to a coffin satisfied this requirement.

There were periods in Egyptian history when people refrained from inscribing these amulets with a name, for fear they might fall into somebody’s hands conferring power over the bearer of the name.

For he looketh to the ends of the earth, and seeth under the whole heaven;

To make the weight for the winds; and he weigheth the waters by measure.

When he made a decree for the rain, and a way for the lightning of the thunder:

Then did he see it, and declare it; he prepared it, yea, and searched it out.

And unto man he said, Behold, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom; and to depart from evil is understanding (Job 28:24-28).

fear of the Lords…depart from evil – See  the description of Job’s character in 1:1, 8; 2:3.

that is wisdom – The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom (Ps 111:10; Prov 9:10).

The Campaign of Shishak

Pharaoh Sheshonk I, who ruled Egypt from around 945-924 B.C. (931-910 B.C. on an alternative chronology), is probably the Shishak of the Bible, 1 Kgs 11:40 states that Shishak provided refuge for Jeroboam when he was fleeing from Solomon.

Five years after the division of the United Monarchy, Shishak invaded Judah (2 Chr 12:1-9).

At Karnak in Egypt, near Thebes, at the great temple of Amun, stands an entryway known as the Bubastite Portal. This imposing entrance was probably constructed or renovated by Sheshonk I (the temple complex had existed for hundreds of years prior to Sheshonk and had been built up by numerous pharaohs).

On one of the walls of the Bubastite Portal is featured a commemorative relief of Sheshonk’s expedition into the region now known as Palestine. Although it is now badly damaged, enough remains to indicate that this pharaoh not only attacked Judah, as the Bible records, but campaigned against the northern kingdom as well.

Sheshonk, depicted on the right hand side of the scene, is about to club a group of foreigners.  On the left side is pictured the Egyptian god Amun leading off captive cities with ropes.

Each city is represented by an oval cartouche containing the name of the city, with a bound prisoner on top.  The list primarily contains place-names in the northern kingdom of Israel.

Megiddo is one of the towns listed in the Bubastite Protal.  Sheshonk’s claim to have sacked Megiddo seems to be confirmed by a portion of a commemorative stele found there in 1926.

Sheshon’s name can be clearly read, and the stele is probably from his campaign.  Many other destruction layers found at Palestinian sites from this period are also attributed to Sheshonk.

When his son Osorkon I took the throne, he donated huge amounts of gold and silver to the temples in Egypt, much of it very likely plunder from Sheshonk’s raids on Israel and Judah.

The equation of Shishak with Sheshonk is not without its problems. Most notable is the fact that Sheshonk’s invasion involved a direct attack on the cities of the northern kingdom of Israel under Jeroboam I, even though 1 Kgs 11:40 suggests that Shishak was Jer­oboam’s patron.

5. Thutmose III
Thutmose III (sometimes read as Thutmosis or Tuthmosis III, Thothmes in older history works, and meaning Thoth is born) was the sixth Pharaoh of the Eighteenth Dynasty.

During the first twenty-two years of Thutmose’s reign he was co-regent with his stepmother and aunt, Hatshepsut, who was named the pharaoh.

While he was shown first on surviving monuments, both were assigned the usual royal names and insignia and neither is given any obvious seniority over the other.

He served as the head of her armies.

After her death and his later rise to pharaoh of the kingdom, he created the largest empire Egypt had ever seen; no fewer than seventeen campaigns were conducted, and he conquered from Niya in North Syria to the Fourth Cataract of the Nile in Nubia.

Also, Jerusalem is missing from Sheshonk’s list of subjugated sites, although 1 Kgs 14 and 2 Chr 12 both record Shishak’s plundering of the temple and palace.

However, it is certainly possible that relations between Jeroboam I and Sheshonk/Shishak had deteriorated after Jeroboam had seized control of northern Israel.

The Bible does not provide us with a detailed political history of these times. Also, only about 15% of the writing on the Bubastite Portal is legible, and the absence of Jerusalem from the (readable) names does not prove that it was never there.

It is possible that the in­scription also mentions the “highlands of David” in its ref­erence to Israel. If so, it is the earliest extra-biblical reference to David in existence and as such affords powerful evidence that he was in fact the great king the Bible portrays him to be.

The interpretation of the relevant line of this text, how­ever, is disputed.


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