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Ezekiel 41 – The Temple and It’s Walls & Thebes

Finger Pointing Up

3 Hatshepsut
Queen Hatshepsut
A daughter of King Thutmose I, Hatshepsut became queen of Egypt when she married her half-brother, Thutmose II, around the age of 12. Upon his death, she began acting as regent for her stepson, the infant Thutmose III, but later took on the full powers of a pharaoh, becoming co-ruler of Egypt around 1473 B.C.

As pharaoh, Hatshepsut extended Egyptian trade and oversaw ambitious building projects, most notably the Temple of Deir el-Bahri, located in western Thebes, where she would be buried. Depicted (at her own orders) as a male in many contemporary images and sculptures, Hatshepsut remained largely unknown to scholars until the 19th century.

I had heard of King Tut before, but not Thebes.  I wonder why we don’t hear about it, or at least I never had before?  They have a lot of famous pharaohs and things there.

Something else caught my eye, what is the…

Ezekiel 41
The Temple and It’s Walls

1 Afterward he brought me to the temple, and measured the posts, six cubits broad on the one side, and six cubits broad on the other side, which was the breadth of the tabernacle.

2 And the breadth of the door was ten cubits; and the sides of the door were five cubits on the one side, and five cubits on the other side: and he measured the length thereof, forty cubits: and the breadth, twenty cubits.

3 Then went he inward, and measured the post of the door, two cubits; and the door, six cubits; and the breadth of the door, seven cubits.

4 So he measured the length thereof, twenty cubits; and the breadth, twenty cubits, before the temple: and he said unto me, This is the most holy place.

5 After he measured the wall of the house, six cubits; and the breadth of every side chamber, four cubits, round about the house on every side.

6 And the side chambers were three, one over another, and thirty in order; and they entered into the wall which was of the house for the side chambers round about, that they might have hold, but they had not hold in the wall of the house.

7 And there was an enlarging, and a winding about still upward to the side chambers: for the winding about of the house went still upward round about the house: therefore the breadth of the house was still upward, and so increased from the lowest chamber to the highest by the midst.

8 I saw also the height of the house round about: the foundations of the side chambers were a full reed of six great cubits.

2 Queen Hatshepsut’s Death and Legacy
Queen Hatshepsut’s Death and Legacy
Hatshepsut probably died around 1458 B.C., when she would have been in her mid-40s. She was buried in the Valley of the Kings, located in the hills behind Deir el-Bahri.

In another effort to legitimize her reign, she had her father’s sarcophagus reburied in her tomb so they could lie together in death. Thutmose III went on to rule for 30 more years, proving to be both an ambitious builder like his stepmother and a great warrior.

Late in his reign, Thutmose III had almost all of the evidence of Hatshepsut’s rule–including the images of her as king on the temples and monuments she had built–eradicated, possibly to erase her example as a powerful female ruler, or to close the gap in the dynasty’s line of male succession.

As a consequence, scholars of ancient Egypt knew little of Hatshepsut’s existence until 1822, when they were able to decode and read the hieroglyphics on the walls of Deir el-Bahri.

In 1903, the British archeologist Howard Carter discovered Hatshepsut’s sarcophagus (one of three that she had prepared) but it was empty, like nearly all of the tombs in the Valley of the Kings. After launching a new search in 2005, a team of archaeologists discovered her mummy in 2007; it is now housed in the Egyptian Museum in Cairo.

9 The thickness of the wall, which was for the side chamber without, was five cubits: and that which was left was the place of the side chambers that were within.

10 And between the chambers was the wideness of twenty cubits round about the house on every side.

11 And the doors of the side chambers were toward the place that was left, one door toward the north, and another door toward the south: and the breadth of the place that was left was five cubits round about.

12 Now the building that was before the separate place at the end toward the west was seventy cubits broad; and the wall of the building was five cubits thick round about, and the length thereof ninety cubits.

13 So he measured the house, an hundred cubits long; and the separate place, and the building, with the walls thereof, an hundred cubits long;

14 Also the breadth of the face of the house, and of the separate place toward the east, an hundred cubits.

15 And he measured the length of the building over against the separate place which was behind it, and the galleries thereof on the one side and on the other side, an hundred cubits, with the inner temple, and the porches of the court;

16 The door posts, and the narrow windows, and the galleries round about on their three stories, over against the door, cieled with wood round about, and from the ground up to the windows, and the windows were covered;

17 To that above the door, even unto the inner house, and without, and by all the wall round about within and without, by measure.

18 And it was made with cherubims and palm trees, so that a palm tree was between a cherub and a cherub; and every cherub had two faces;

19 So that the face of a man was toward the palm tree on the one side, and the face of a young lion toward the palm tree on the other side: it was made through all the house round about.

20 From the ground unto above the door were cherubims and palm trees made, and on the wall of the temple.

21 The posts of the temple were squared, and the face of the sanctuary; the appearance of the one as the appearance of the other.

22 The altar of wood was three cubits high, and the length thereof two cubits; and the corners thereof, and the length thereof, and the walls thereof, were of wood: and he said unto me, This is the table that is before the LORD.

23 And the temple and the sanctuary had two doors.

24 And the doors had two leaves apiece, two turning leaves; two leaves for the one door, and two leaves for the other door.

25 And there were made on them, on the doors of the temple, cherubims and palm trees, like as were made upon the walls; and there were thick planks upon the face of the porch without.

26 And there were narrow windows and palm trees on the one side and on the other side, on the sides of the porch, and upon the side chambers of the house, and thick planks.

Thebes3 Thebes 1

For much of Egyptian history, Thebes was the leading city of southern Egypt. Located on the eastern bank of the Nile some 450 miles  south of Cairo, Thebes was the center of worship for the god Amon, “king of the gods.”

The city reached its zenith between 1500 and 1000 B.C., when it functioned as the center of a vast empire and ranked as one of the wealthiest and most famous cities in the ancient world.

4 Karnak
Karnak
Karnak is an ancient Egyptian temple precinct located on the east bank of the Nile River in Thebes (modern-day Luxor). It covers more than 100 hectares, an area larger than some ancient cities.

The central sector of the site, which takes up the largest amount of space, is dedicated to Amun-Ra, a male god associated with Thebes. The area immediately around his main sanctuary was known in antiquity as “Ipet-Sun” which means “the most select of places.”

To the south of the central area is a smaller precinct dedicated to his wife, the goddess Mut. In the north, there is another precinct dedicated to Montu, the falcon-headed god of war. Also, to the east, there is an area — much of it destroyed intentionally in antiquity — dedicated to the Aten, the sun disk.

Ancient Thebes, located at modern Luxor and Karnak, comprises the largest collection of antiquities in the world, covering an area of 16 to 18 square miles.

The magnificent temple of Amon, located on the eastern bank of the Nile at Karnak, is the largest temple ever constructed and, until modern times, held the distinction of being the largest columned building in the world.   Its magnificent columns, 34 feet in circumference, soar to a height of 69 feet.

Pharaohs recorded their achievements on the temple walls. One of these inscriptions, the Bubastite Portal, constitutes Pharaoh Sheshonk’s  (Biblical Shishak’s)  record of his campaign against Judah and Israel in 925 B.C. and can be compared with 1 Kgs 14:25-26 and 2 Chr 12:2-9.

On the western side of the Nile is the royal necropolis, including numerous mortuary temples and tombs of the kings and queens of the New Kingdom (Eighteenth to Twentieth Dynasties, c. 1570-1070 B.C.). Here may be found, for example, the beautiful mortuary temple of Queen Hatshepsut (c.1479-1457 B.C.) and the famous tomb of Tutankhamen (King Tut – c. 1336-1327).

Another important mortuary temple is that of Rameses III (c. 1184— 1153 B.C.). This pharaoh recorded on its walls his 1176 B.C. victory over the Sea Peoples, among whom were the Philistines, who settled on the southwestern coast of the region now known as Palestine.

Although the New Kingdom pharaohs were the major builders of Thebes and Karnak, other pharaohs also sought to contribute to their glory. The Twenty-sixth (Nubian) Dynasty sought to revive classical Egyptian culture and further enhanced the splendor of the temple of Amon at Karnak in the late 18th century B.C.

Nahum 3:8-10 vividly describes the Assyrian attack on Thebes that took place around 663 B.C., and the prophets Jeremiah and Ezekiel both wrote words of condemnation against the city, a center of paganism, Jeremiah.

5 Mut
Mut
There are temples dedicated to Mut still standing in modern-day Egypt and Sudan, reflecting the widespread worship of her. The center of her cult in Sudan became the Mut Temple of Jebel Barkal and in Egypt the temple in Karnak.

That temple had the statue that was regarded as an embodiment of her real ka. Her devotions included daily rituals by the pharaoh and her priestesses. Interior reliefs depict scenes of the priestesses, currently the only known remaining example of worship in ancient Egypt that was exclusively administered by women.

Usually the queen, who always carried the royal lineage among the rulers of Egypt, served as the chief priestess in the temple rituals. The pharaoh participated also and would become a deity after death.

In the case when the pharaoh was female, records of one example indicate that she had her daughter serve as the high priestess in her place. Often priests served in the administration of temples and oracles where priestesses performed the traditional religious rites. These rituals included music and drinking.

In about 600 B.C., declared that God would punish Amon of Thebes, the pharaoh and the gods of Egypt: They would be given into the hand of Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon (Jer 46:25—26; cf. Eze 30:10-19).

A fragmentary clay tablet attests to an attack upon Egypt by Nebuchadnezzar in approximately 569 B.C. The Persians also sacked the city under Cambyses (c. 525 B.C.) and Artaxerxes III (c. 342).

During the Ptolemy period, Thebes was the focal point for Egyptian resistance to Ptolemaic (Greek) rule and three separate rebellions were supported. By the Roman period the glory of Thebes had come to an end.

…the Royal Necropolis?

 

 

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