The Hyksos (/ˈhɪksɒs/; Egyptian ḥqꜣ(w)-ḫꜣswt, Egyptological pronunciation: hekau khasut,[4] "ruler(s) of foreign lands"; Ancient Greek: Ὑκσώς, Ὑξώς) were people of probable Levantine origin,[1][5] who established the Fifteenth Dynasty of Egypt (1650–1550 BC)[a] based at the city of Avaris in the Nile delta, from where they ruled the northern part of the country. While the Hellenistic Egyptian historian Manetho portrayed the Hyksos as invaders and oppressors, modern Egyptology no longer believes that the Hyksos conquered Egypt in an invasion.[9] Instead, Hyksos rule had been preceded by groups of Canaanite peoples settled in the eastern delta who probably seceded from central Egyptian control near the end of the Thirteenth Dynasty.[10]

The Hyksos period marks the first in which Egypt was ruled by foreign rulers.[11] Many details of their rule, such as the true extent of their kingdom and even the names and order of their kings, remain uncertain. The Hyksos practiced many Levantine or Canaanite customs, but also many Egyptian customs.[12] They have been credited with introducing several technological innovations to Egypt, such as the horse and chariot, as well as the sickle sword and the composite bow, but this theory is disputed.[13]

The Hyksos did not control all of Egypt. Instead, they coexisted with the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Dynasties, which were based in Thebes.[14] Warfare between the Hyksos and the pharaohs of the late Seventeenth Dynasty eventually culminated in the defeat of the Hyksos by Ahmose I, who founded the Eighteenth Dynasty of Egypt.[15] In the following centuries, the Egyptians would portray the Hyksos as bloodthirsty and oppressive foreign rulers.

Josephus associated the Hyksos with the Exodus of the Israelites from Egypt. Many modern scholars believe the Hyksos may have partially inspired the Biblical account. Hyksos

The Exodus

The Book of Exodus is the second book of the Bible. It describes the Israelites' deliverance from slavery in Egypt through the hand of Yahweh, the leadership of Moses, the revelations at the biblical Mount Sinai, and the subsequent "divine indwelling" of God with Israel.1 The Exodus

Conquest of the Hyksos

The Rhind Papyrus illustrates some of Ahmose's military strategy when attacking the Delta. Entering Heliopolis in July, he moved down the eastern delta to take Tjaru, the major border fortification on the Horus Road, the road from Egypt to Canaan, in October, totally avoiding Avaris. In taking Tjaru[27] he cut off all traffic between Canaan and Avaris. This indicates he was planning a blockade of Avaris, isolating the Hyksos capital from help or supplies coming from Canaan.[31]

Records of the latter part of the campaign were discovered on the tomb walls of a participating soldier, Ahmose, son of Ebana. These records indicate that Ahmose I led three attacks against Avaris, the Hyksos capital, but also had to quell a small rebellion further south in Egypt. After this, in the fourth attack, he conquered the city.[32] He completed his victory over the Hyksos by conquering their stronghold Sharuhen near Gaza after a three-year siege.[16][33] Ahmose would have conquered Avaris by the 18th or 19th year of his reign at the very latest. This is suggested by "a graffito in the quarry at Tura whereby 'oxen from Canaan' were used at the opening of the quarry in Ahmose's regnal year 22."[34] Since the cattle would probably have been imported after Ahmose's siege of the town of Sharuhen which followed the fall of Avaris, this means that the reign of Khamudi must have terminated by Year 18 or 19 of Ahmose's 25-year reign at the very latest.[34] Conquest of the Hyksos


In simple terms, foreigners from Canaan became the first ever non Egyptians to take rulership of Egypt. However, their reign was short lived, and there was an Egyptian uprising, and Pharoah Ahmose I led a successful revolt against the Canaanites and expelled them from Egypt, thus, overthrowing them during a large military coup.

The question is, does this account for the Exodus biblical narrative?

1 Answer 1


This question has already been addressed in the history stack exchange.

In short, the account of the expulsion of the Hyksos, which is in The Antiquities of the Jews (first mentioned in the 3rd century AD) and in Manetho (3rd century BC), has many similarities and close parallels to the story of the Exodus which is in the Septuagint written in the reign of Ptolemy Philadelphus (285–247 BCE).

The author of the Antiquities explicitly states that the Hyksos were Hebrews. This opinion is repeated in another ancient work, possibly by the same author, Against Apion.

Considerable credence was lent to the parallel in the 1930s when excavations at Tell el-Dab'a in Egypt provided evidence that this site was very possibly the same as the Avaris mentioned in both sources as being the capital of the Hyksos.

Be aware that there are significant differences in the accounts. For example, according to the Septuagint and other traditions, the Hebrews were innocent immigrants to Egypt who grew in number by natural increase over the course of 400 years. According to Antiquities/Apion/Manetho, the Hyksos were foreign invaders who conquered and ruled Egypt for about 400 years.

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