Hatshepsut - the queen who became pharao - had already as crown-princess the official title 'Pharao's Daughter'
Reading in 'The Suppressed Record'
1:  The Third Chapter of Vol.1
2:  Summary
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Ove von Spaeth
History and Knowledge:
Rediscovery, Insight, Renewal
The Suppressed Record
- New Data Reveal Moses' Unknown Egyptian Background
         In Danish:   De Fortrængte Optegnelser ; Attentatet på Moses, Vol.1  / by Ove von Spaeth
          Copenhagen 1999 & 2004,  pp. 236,  soft cover,  DKK: 125
          - illstr., facsims., genealog. table, maps, plans.
          Includes bibliography and index.
C.A. Reitzel  Publisher and Bookseller, Ltd., Copenhagen  
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¤ C H A P T E R  3
The Place of the Reception of Moses
- Rediscovered?


Controversial Archaeological Discovery

Locating the actual site on the Nile where the mystery play with Moses in the rushes seems to have taken place may well confirm a great deal of the Bible's account of the episode. This biblical scene of Pharaoh's Daughter walking by the river may now, by means of archaeology, be localized on the east bank of the Nile at Thebes (now Luxor/Karnak) in front of the great temple of Amun, the supreme god of Egypt.
          According to the Rabbinical Writings, Moses was brought from the ark to a royal palace. Until recently, archaeological investigations had not with any certainty been able to recover any ruins deriving from a royal palace in Thebes, the Egyptian capital of that era. Palaces were built of solid, but perishable mud bricks, whereas temples and often tombs were built "for eternity", out of blocks of stone.

          Now, however, references to a royal palace have been found in the inscriptions from Hatshepsut, both in the temple at Deir el-Bahari to the west of the Nile outside Thebes, as well as on fragments from her "red chapel" (later torn down, and now rebuilt) in the Amon-temple at Thebes/Karnak.
          These descriptions also mention that Hatshepsut - among other names here called "Divine Successor to the Throne" - was crowned as her father's co-regent. Furthermore, it appears that during the ensuing ceremony she arrived at the Amun-temple on board a holy barque and went ashore at (quote:) "the head of the canal". This was a small basin with a jetty and steps leading up to the courtyard in front of the temple and palace.

          After this, in the large temple court she followed a certain route, as was usual with "stations" on the way, i.e. a ceremony in accordance with the same principles used for idols being brought from the boat to the temple.
          It is important to bear in mind that Hatshepsut's inscriptions say that the ceremonial route through the large courtyard ended in the king's palace to the left (of the basin) and thus northwest of the temple.
          Hatshepsut also had descriptions made of another religious ritual on the holy River Nile, similarly performed as a mystery play. In this case she had the role of the goddess Maat - whose name forms part of Hatshepsut's other name, Maat-ka-re. Here the inscription states how, via the river, she arrives at her palace which consequently she calls "the palace of the goddess Maat".

          Today, the very existence of the palace and large parts of the plan of the site are known to archaeologists. They are described e.g. in French Egyptologist Michel Gitton's treatise "Le Palais de Karnak", in Bulletin de l'Institut Francais d'Archéologie Orientale (tome 74, Le Caire 1974, pp. 63-70).
          The archaeological excavation of the temple, the forecourt, and the previously mentioned basin - which, by way of the short canal, gave access from the river to both the palace and the temple - agrees with an ancient Egyptian mural painting of a section of the whole structure. The depiction was made on the wall of a sepulchral chamber at Thebes belonging to temple administrator Neferhotep, 12th century BC - i.e. only about a hundred years later than the epoch of Moses.

          According to this recovered plan the ceremonial route went by a processional route from the basin through the common court and front gardens of the palace and temple, and continued through the double gates of the buildings. Even though the palace site is not shown on the mural, archaeologists have found traces of an outer wall belonging to a contemporaneous building exactly where the palace can be localized according to the above descriptions established by Hatshepsut.
          It is evident, too, from Hatshepsut's text that the palace was placed along the north bank of the river, to the left of (at right angles to) the temple front.

          Such a combination of royal palace and temple - also known, for instance, in connection with biblical King Solomon - agrees with the fact according to the Rabbinical Writings as well as the Bible that the residence of Pharaoh's Daughter was not far away, apparently only a few steps from the river. The Rabbinical Writings confirm this - e.g. in S. Baring-Gould's collection of Rabbinical Writings: "Legends of Old Testament Characters, from Talmud and Other Sources" (vol. 2, p 73 et seq.) - which further add:

          "… Bithja (name of Pharaoh's Daughter) … bathed, not in the river, but in baths in the palace; but on this day she went forward to the bank of the Nile, though otherwise she never left her father's palace …".

The ark was observed among the bulrushes in the river, and then Pharaoh's Daughter sent out a maid to fetch it. This indicates that the ark was towed to the entrance of the canal leading to the small basin in front of the temple and palace, where normally the receptions took place at the various river ceremonies. Hence, this event did not take place at the Mut temple, where Hatshepsut, when she later became queen, had placed her own barque station/harbour.

          In later times, the river and the canals receded from the shoreline at the palace. Gradually the ground, basin and canal were filled up with material, and several pharaohs extended the temple across the site, including the courtyard and the riverbank. This happened especially about 300 years later when Rameses II extended the temple, redoubling its original size. The pharaohs continued to enlarge the temple for more than a thousand years. The ruins covering 1.5 square km make up the world's largest group of religious buildings ever.

          During this process the palace was gradually reduced to a few small rooms in connection with the temple, merely functioning as a ceremonial resting place for the pharaohs when travelling around the country participating in temple ceremonies. It was an accommodation arrangement becoming a well-known tradition also at the other large temples in Egypt.
          As time went by, the course of the Nile changed so that the river was some distance away, and the small basin, as mentioned, was filled up as a building site for the expansion of the temple. This means that the scene with Pharaoh's Daughter and Moses cannot possibly have taken place during the time of Rameses II.

          The Rabbinical Writings - e.g. S. Baring-Gould's above-mentioned collection (vol. 2, p. 74) - give us this vivid description from "Targum Jonathan": Although Pharaoh's Daughter had sent her lady-in-waiting out into the bulrushes to fetch the small vessel, she dared not depend solely onher. Not being able to wait she herself stepped into the water to take hold of the ark with the child, she reached out to such an extent that

          "… her arm was lengthened by 60 ells …",

- clearly expressing her extreme eagerness and worry as could be expected by the child's real mother.
          By saying so the Rabbinical Writings indicate that Pharaoh's Daughter already knew that there was a child in the vessel. She could not have seen it from the river bank, as the ark - according to the Bible - had to be opened first. The Rabbinical Writings precisely describe that there was a lid over the small floating "chest".
          Thus the incident with Moses in the ark floating on the Nile was not a "foundling performance", but a perceptible official expression of the fact that here was "the child of the god" delivered by the river to be received in the royal palace.

          Furthermore, the Rabbinical Writings say that instead of just walking to the basin, Pharaoh's Daughter, solicitous for the child's safety, walks all the way to the shore of the river, i.e. to the entrance of the basin.
          Behind the claim that Pharaoh's Daughter had "arms" reaching out for Moses in the ark to a length of 60 ells, is another matter of interest: Measured from the steps of the jetty down to the Nile, the length of the basin in front of the temple and palace was 60 Egyptian ells, altogether; i.e. 30 m, standard measure.
          Some information about Egyptian measures supports this observation. The Egyptian term remen means '(upper)arm' and could, with the same pronunciation, mean 'the side of a lake or pond'. With ui added to signify the dual form, the meaning is '(upper)arms'.

          An Egyptian ell, meh, is a full arm's length, consisting of seven handbreadths or 28 fingerbreadths. One meh equals 0.525 m. Such high precision of this particular measure was not always commonly in use at the time of Moses, in fact not until the "metric" reform during the 26th dynasty in the 7th century BC. It is known to have been introduced almost simultaneously with similar reforms in other Mediterranean countries, e.g. Palestine. Cf. also Danish Egyptologist Erik Iversen's "Canon and Proportions in Egyptian Art" (Warminster 1976).

          Anyhow, during the time of Moses, around 1500-1400 BC, the Egyptian ell is known to measure close to 0.5 m. It is remarkable that "60 ells" and "arms", as asserted in the Rabbinical Writings, hold a double meaning. The archaeological surveying of the length of the basin and the small canal leading to the Nile is 60 ells or "arms" (30 metres). And it is in agreement with the extremely widespread Egyptian custom to assign a multiple meaning to words - the ancient Egyptians also called the canal "the arm" (and, accordingly, the basin: "the head").
          More that 30 years after the archaeological discovery of the basin, there was - in the late autumn of 2007 - a new excavation resulting in some extra data, however nothing changing the above main picture.

The Bathing of the Princess Was of Special Significance

By putting a child (Moses) in a vessel off the river bank at a place where the princess and her attendants usually passed by, the Bible may give the impression that an attempt was made to avoid Pharaoh's decree of drowning all boy children in the Nile.
          On the whole, this Bible passage is highly contradictory. The parents assumedly wished to save the child from being killed by drowning. Yet, of all places in all Egypt they chose to set the child out where the risk was at its greatest - namely, in the exact area frequented by the courtiers of the pharaoh who had issued the aforesaid death decree.
          More clearly, it shows that it had all been arranged. It is supported even more so by the fact that Pharaoh's Daughter - as already quoted from the Rabbinical Writings - just on that very day, when Moses arrived in the ark, went directly to the river bank instead of going to the basin by the palace.
          Similarly, an extra aspect of the case is described in Exodus (2:5), revealing one more peculiarity of this point of the episode. It says,

"... and the daughter of Pharaoh came down to wash herself at the river ...".

However, a Pharaoh's Daughter would hardly take a bath directly in the river. Like most people she would rather avoid bathing surrounded by rush and papyrus, where - besides the danger of crocodiles - small organisms such as flukes and bugs (ticks) containing borrelia bacteria live in the water and on aquatic plants. This species of bacteria may cause infections leading to highly dangerous diseases (e.g. attacks the joints, cause inflammation, skin diseases, meningitis, and insanity). Particularly dangerous are bilharziosis (intestinal disease) and onchocerciasis (leading to river blindness).
          In modern times, when looking at statistics from around the year 2000, more than 20 million people along the Nile are victims of these micro-organisms; and in Egypt alone 20 percent of the population are infected with river parasites.

          Also back at the time of the pharaohs, these diseases were commonly known. It was difficult to avoid them completely; they were in foodstuffs, water etc. The remains of mummies of several Egyptian kings as well as of their subjects, dating back 4.600 years, show clear signs of bilharziosis (according to "Parasitology Today", 1996).
          Egyptian physicians of the time would prescribe no direct contact with the water of the river, and ancient pictures show fishermen, sailors, and peasants protecting themselves in various ways. Only certain places which are mostly free of aquatic plants provide safe bathing in the Nile, preferably in the South and during the winter season.

          In addition, another important aspect has to be considered - a lady of high rank simply would not perform her bathing in public. Furthermore, the Bible's Hebrew term lirchos means 'wash', not 'bathe' (swim or plunge). It is even more unlikely that a high-born lady should wash herself in public; and certainly not in the often dangerous water of the river. Despite this, experienced researchers and translators throughout the ages have accepted the story of the bathing in the river.
          What really seems to have happened is a ceremonial performance in which Pharaoh's Daughter participated in the reception of the child, "the new king". According to traditional preparation for the meeting with this god, she would simply perform a ritual ablution: the ceremonial cleansing, i.e. exactly (Hebrew: 'al,  'above') as the Hebrew Bible (Exodus 2:5) - verbatim - says about her:

          "... bathing above the Nile ...!"

The person in question would be slightly sprinkled with holy water from iteru, 'the Nile'. Ritualistic cleansing was compulsory preparation prior to holy scenes in which "the gods would perform" and it was even considered to be a necessary ceremonial act at the introduction of the mystery plays.
          The king was sprinkled with holy water before entering the "Holy of Holies" of a temple. Usually, ablution was carried out in pools made for that special purpose in front of the Egyptian temples, but in this case the rabbinical text emphasises that it took place at the river - i.e. unlike normal practice.
          In the mystery play Pharaoh's Daughter was the goddess Isis receiving her son. In Egyptian mythology several episodes are mentioned in which gods and goddesses rinse themselves in the holy river.

          A summary of this information shows that both the Bible and the Rabbinical Writings indicate that
1.       The residence of Pharaoh's Daughter - the palace of the pharaoh - was situated close to the river.
2.       There actually was a basin at the palace of the pharaoh.
          Concerning the archaeological findings and research the agreement is striking.

In later Israelite religion which took over many customs from Egyptian practice, e.g. through the Laws of Moses, the use of ceremonial ablution was determined and kept. Even some of the earliest texts contained in the Five Books of Moses, The Pentateuch, refer to this.
          Ablution was strictly ritualistic. A person had to be 'cleansed' before taking part in religious ceremonies. Later on, in ancient Israel, for instance in the ruins of Qumran, this kind of ceremonial bath (mikveh) has been found side by side with ordinary hygienic baths. Many orthodox Jews all over the world still use ritualistic baths.

          Not even recent Bible translations - supported by a greater knowledge of the past - show this kind of practice, i.e. the well-known religious ablution ceremony performed at the Nile by Pharaoh's Daughter. It ought to be taken into consideration and updated/rephrased.


   -  The location where the episode in the Bible and the Rabbinical Writings took place seems to be identical with the location at the old reaches of the Nile, where archaeologists uncovered the canal and its basin in front of the temple. Furthermore they have identified, by means of Hatshepsut's inscriptions, the site of the royal palace.

   -  The specification of measurements on the waterfront as stated in the Rabbinical Writings corresponds with Egyptian usage and the archaeological surveying of the basin constructions.

   -  The idea that a lady of the highest rank, Pharaoh's Daughter, went down to the river in order merely to take a bath (or wash) in public, is an unrealistic assumption. In reality it was a well-known ritualistic practice under special circumstances, e.g. in connection with holy processions on the river.


The Karnak Temple with the basin in front - as it still appeared in the century after the time of Hatshepsut. For instance Tuthmosis III's record tall obelisk can be seen, at that time placed behind pylon ("monumental tower gateway, portal") no. III. Wall painting from the Thebes-tomb of Neferhotep, the Cattle-Inspector of the Temple. From the time of the 18th dynasty's pharaohs Amenhotep III and IV, i.e. ca. 1400 BC.

Surveying the archaeological site:

Combined drawings of archaeological excavations showing the old course of the Nile with the canal (at the digit '4' in the stream) and the small basin in front of the temple. Its oldest walls together with the pylons III, IV, and V are marked as massive black walls. Later, pylon II was built across the basin. Finally, pylon I was built in the dry river-bed.
          Inserted in the drawing across the place - marked x - where the palace is known to have been situated, is the wall painting from the tomb of Neferhotep now projected over the drawing, and the proportions prove to be exact.
          With vertical and horizontal visual angles of view on one plane - in the Egyptian way - the painting shows (from right to left) the oldest part of the temple (with the obelisk in the forecourt).
          In front of pylon III can be seen the ceremonial gardens and a landing on the front edge of the basin, where a processional barge, the ceremonial boat, could be moored.

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Bibliographical sources

The references and bibliographical sources already mentioned or skimmed in the text of the Chapter Three, are also presented here below - all beeing gathered.

Bibliographies for Vol.1's Chapter Three

References mentioned in particular

Aling, Charles F.:  Egypt and Bible History: From Earliest Times to 1000 B.C., Michigan 1981.

Baring-Gould, S. (ed.):  Moses..., in "Legends of Old Testament Characters from Talmud and Other Sources", (vols. 1-2), London 1871, pp. 63-70, 73 et seq.

Gardiner, Alan H.:  Egypt of the Pharaohs, Oxford 1961.

Ginzberg, Louis (ed.):  ("Moses" in) The Legends of the Jews, vols. 1-7, Philadelphia 1909-38.

Gitton, Michel:  Le palais de Karnak, Bulletin de l'Institut Français d'Archéologie Orientale, tome 74, Le Caire 1974, pp. 63-73.

Hebrew Bible: e.g. Exodus 2:5, cf. Beckwith, Roger T.:  Canon: Canon of the Hebrew Bible and the Old Testament, in: Bruce M. Metzger & Michael D. Coogan, eds., "The Oxford Companion to the Bible", New York/Oxford U.P. 1993, pp. 100-102.

Iversen, Erik:  Canon and Proportions in Egyptian Art, rev. ed., Warminster 1975.

Josephus, Flavius:  ("Moses" in) Antiquitates Judaicae, 2:2, ("The History of the Jews", holds vols. 1-9), Loeb Classical Library, London 1930-1955.

Magazine:  Bilharziosis, Trematoda parasites, and the Nile, "Parasitology Today", 1996.

Ratié, Suzanne:  La Reine-Pharaon, (transl. in German/deutsch, "Hatschepsut - die Frau auf dem Thron der Pharaonen", Wiesbaden 1976), Paris 1972.

Tildesley, Joyce:  Hatchepsut, the Female Pharaoh, London 1996.

Supplementary sources

All sources stated in the texts can also be found in the book's Bibliography which has been extended with secondary and background literature and now presented on the Internet too - and here being placed on this page of present website: 
BIBLIOGRAPHY: 120 years of literature on Moses & Egyptian astronomy

          The Bibliography is the so far most comprehensive collection of books, articles, and other non-fiction texts about Moses. The collection, through many years build up by Ove von Spaeth, has been used for all his 5 volumes on research of the historical Moses.
          The supplementary sources in the Bibliography, especially about Egyptology, anthropology, history of religions, archaeology, and astronomical dating are contributing to a necessary interdisciplinary, general survey - and establishing a major co-ordinated connection in a greater scale than otherwise possible.
          Last update of the presented Bibliography: January 2005.


Consulting valuable documentation

Although some of these may be of an earlier date, they are all to be found in the libraries, and many have been reprinted, or others are even presented on the Internet. It has often been a somewhat automatically, general practice to anticipate that the latest published research books/papers almost inevitably also has to be preferred among the best. This is an unqualified underrating of the foundations hitherto. Instead, in the present book-series on the historical Moses, the only reasonable procedure has been to use the best of recent information as well as the best of the scrutinized earlier date materials.

          In addition, in order to meet the questions or doubts often raised in connection with the new-orientating knowledge on the historical Moses, a generally less known or inspected group of evidences of authenticity is gathered here:  Genuine Egyptian Source Documentation on Moses. Also, cf. documentation on the historical dates:  A More Precise Dating of Moses.
          Also, it may be preferable to check the Bibliographies on the web-pages with Chapters One and Two to be familiar with further, significant documentation.



The above text (Chapter Three) is directly from a chapter in a book and not a dissertation paper with extra data concerning the scientifical background. Naturally, when the readers on the Internet are carrying out reading it is taking place under different conditions than by reading books. Therefore, regarding a need for some information about the author's background and references:
          - credentials, statements from a number of scientific experts and professionals are presented in the section 1 of the website page containing  introductions to Vol. 1.
          - information through further credentials concerning authorship, research, and the entire book-series can be found on these pages:  authordata-4, Reflecting Views and Zenith IC Project.


Gardiner's A-1: se

... In its entirety Volume 1 contains:  20 chapters, 2 Prefaces, 3 Appendixes, and 35 pages of Bibliography.
References, info, data concerning present Volume 1:  see introducing text at the top.
The chapter 3, above, was translated by Anny Höegh and Ove von Spaeth. - Revised and approved by Ove von Spaeth.
Historical and astronomical research - and updating:  Copyright © 2006 (& © 1999; © 1984) by:  Ove von Spaeth.
All text and editing - and updating:  Copyright © 2006 (& © 1999; © 1984) by:  Ove von Spaeth.


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A special treasure of knowledge and wisdom of Greece, Rome, and the Renaissance had originated in Ancient Egypt - and was here known to connect also with the historical Moses' dramatic fate and mystery.
          Ove von Spaeth has written an intriguing, new-orientating work presenting this still influential background of our civilization. His interdisciplinary research on history, archaeology, and anthropology goes deeply into Egyptian tradition, history of religion, initiation cults, star-knowledge, and mythology - relating to biblical studies, the Rabbinical Writings, and the authors of Antiquity. Each volume offers unique insights not presented before.
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