by Galit Dayan Tov-el
Yet another wave of violence has reared its ugly head in Israel. I watch the news from my home in Jerusalem, horrified by pictures of a 13-year old child stabbing another child, secure in his belief that this act of violence will bring him closer to heaven. I follow never-ending debates on print and electronic media about righteousness: which side is right and which one is wrong. I listen to the killers’ ostensibly rational arguments, suggesting that their deeds are god’s will. While listening for the millionth time to the claim that the end of all religious wars will only be achieved with the advent of the Messiah, the liberator who will, at long last, bring peace among the nations.
So who could this Messiah be? Is it possible that we already met him when he walked the Earth 4000 years ago? And what happened to his mission to bring about global peace?
As an Egyptologist and person who longs to make a small contribution to the goal of peace, I have been researching a new and alternative theory of this Messiah based on a study of names. I am referring to proper names that provide a code which, when deciphered, offer an alternative story to the one we have been retelling for ages. The central proper name in this case – the starting point, if you will – is the name Messiah, a name upon and around which so much of our history has been built.
In my research I have discovered an interesting connection between the name Messiah and the name of the prince of Egypt Ahmose, he who liberated Egypt from the Hyksos, foreign rulers who ruled in Egypt in around 1650 BC.
Scholars have already drawn parallels between the story of Ahmose, to the biblical story of Exodus. But what if we’ve goten it all wrong? What if Ahmose was actually the Egyptian prince that we know from the bible as Moses, and what if the Pharoah of Exodus was part of the Hyksos regime, which enslaved the habitants of Egypt for years. Is it possible that these two stories are connected or perhaps depict the same story but from two different angles? Are there any clues in these stories that might reveal the answers we are looking for?
Let’s begin with the name of Ahmose, composed in ancient Egyptian by a combination of 3 hieroglyphics signs:
The meaning of his name in English is: “conceived or created by the moon goddess”
While Egyptians always wrote the name of the god at the beginning as a sign of respect, they did not necessarily maintain that order in spoken language. In other words, the name AHMOSE could be pronounced in reverse, as MSI- IAH, revealing a striking resemblance to the biblical name Messiah.
If there is a connection between the name, Ahmose and the word, Messiah – both representing the liberator, might we find other connections in both stories about a liberator?
Let’s return to the English translation of MESSIAH in Egyptian:
“created by the moon goddess”
Who is this moon goddess? And how could she play a role in the story of Exodus?
Let’s consider a few facts.
The Moon Goddess:
She was a female deity, with some masculine traits.
She was worshipped primarily by nomadic peoples.
She was worshipped in various lands such as: Canaan Egypt, ancient Greece, china, mexico, India, Afganistan and Thailand but primarily in Ur ancient Mesopotamia the city of Abraham .
She represented change, wisdom, softness, life, and moving forward.
She was referrd to as Iah in Egypt and as Sin in Mesopotamia.
Ram horns have been discovered around her temples.
In Egypt, she grew stronger in the 12th Egyptian Dynasty (1900 BC), but was most popular in the 18th Dynasty (1550 BC).
There is no doubt that Ahmose was connected to this goddess and to the cult of the moon – a goddess who reached her grandeur in the 18th Dynasty. Indeed, an examination of the names of the subsequent Egyptian kings who were also part of the 18th Dynasty reveal a synonym of the moon goddess in their first name
If indeed the story of Exodus is the same as that of the Prince Ahmose, we should expect the moon goddess to play an important role there too.
Let us take a closer look at some of the names in Exodus.
The biblical word Sinai and Sneh
In the story of Exodus, Moses leads the Israeli tribes to Mount Sinai, where he created a nation of one people known by the name of the people of Israel. This part of the story depicts the extraordinary meeting point of the people of Israel with their god, the one who liberated them from Egypt, and ends with the revelation of the 10 Commandments.
Is it possible that the liberator god was the moon goddess?
The name of the mountain is Sinai which contains the same name of the ancient Mesopotamian moon goddess, known as Sin.
If my assumption is correct, and the liberator in both stories is connected to the moon goddess, Mount Sinai would be her sacred mountain. The place was carefully chosen: the people of Israel stopped at mount Sinai the holy place of their liberator god.
But there is another name in this story that reinforces this assumption and that is the biblical word “SNEH”- the burning bush, the first meeting between Moses and god, the moment that Moses was chosen to liberate his people from the oppression of the Egyptian authority. Again the name Sneh could be a derivation of the same moon goddess, Sin- Sneh.
So if Ahmose/Moses liberated the ancient Israeli tribes with the aid of the moon goddess, is it possible that the liberation of the slaves was part of a religious conflict? A conflict between those who worshipped the moon goddess and those who worshipped different deities?
Let’s take a look at another name in our story: Rameses.
The biblical word Ramesses
The name Ramesses in ancient Egyptian means: “was created/conceived by the sun god.” Who is this sun god? And how could he play a role in our story?
The Sun God
He was a masculine deity, referred to as Ra.
He was worshipped primarily by farmers.
He represented status quo, power, stagnation, violence.
He was the most popular God in Egypt from the early Dynasties, reaching his grandeur in the 19th Dynasty (1290 BC).
While examining the important role of the moon god in the story of Ahmose/Moses, it will be interesting to see how opposite this god is to the former one, if the moon god was mostly the god of the nomads the later is the god of the farmers, if the moon god was mostly femimine this one is a strong masculine deity, but there is more to it, you see the The Biblical word for evil doing is “ra”. Could this wouldn’t be just a phonetical resemblance but in fact a reminder of the outcome of an old and ancient conflict between the moon god and the sun god? Beween a theologie that represent freedom, moving forward . life and wisdom (moon) and a theologie that represent permance, stagnation, status quo power and violence (sun)?
Taken together, rather than viewed in isolation, these facts suggest a fresh, alternative reading of the story of Exodus. More than anything, they raise some important questions:
Is it possible that the name Ahmoses / Messiah became a synonym for the notion of liberator?
Can we imagine that at the time of the Exodus, there may have been a severe clash of two theologies, those of the Moon and Sun Gods, the former being supported by nomadic tribes and the latter by farmers?
Could it be that Ahmoses/Messiah/Moses liberated all ethnicities who worshipped the Moon God and led them to the promised land?
Might it be that Mount Sinai was not simply an accidental stop en route to the Promised Land, but rather the sacred mountain of the moon god?
Is it conceivable that the 10 Commandments was in fact a contract or code of living intended to unite people from diverse tribes or ethnicities under a single roof, through the propagation of a common set of values and ways of living?
These questions might form the basis for a revolutionary new conversation about the religious conflicts in our region, and indeed, the foundations upon which we have been engaged in centuries of religious and tribal conflict.
Finally, let me share with you my interpretation of the story. if the mission of this Messiah was to establish the theology of the moon god and to create a nation that will cherish his values and lead the world towards a better place, there were some steps that he had to follow in order to execute his plan .
first, he had to unite all ethnicities who believed in this god and his theology under one roof: – ethnicities that were comprised of Hebrews, Egyptians, Arab tribes Mesopotamians Assyryans, and others .Therefore he released them from slavery and led them to a new country a land that was chosen by their god known as Canaan the promised land.
Second ,he had to make sure that all these moon worshipers would merge and become one nation . The way to accomplish that was by uniting all traditions , symbols, names of this moon god under one roof forming one religion
Third , he had to create a contract that would foster the commitment among the followers and a contract between this new nation and their god – known as the 10 commandments.
And the signing ceremony was carefully chosen to be held at the holy mountain of the moon god known as Sinai.. It was only when all these diverse ethnicities became one people under one contract and one goal ie to live under the values of the moon such as freedom ,life , unity and mutual respect, did the god reveal itself to them and guided them to the promised land.
Supposing that my interpretation of the code name Messiah is plausible, I cannot but wonder if at some point in our history, we took a wrong turn, and gave back our soul to the sun god, leaving the beautiful original message lost in translation?
It is never too late to reconsider the common departure point; to consider that we actually share a bond with the Ten Commandments, that we – Jew, Muslim, Christian – all share the same ancient roots and have the same ties to an ancient, yet still relevant, contract or code of living.
Murder and violence was never meant to be part of our lives: it was prohibited by that first contract, known to us as the 10 Commandments, and revered for millennia. If my theory is even remotely plausible – and I believe that it is – then it represents a brilliant white flag, a truce between our peoples, calling us to reexamine who are are, where we came from, where we want to go and what kind of values we wish to bestow upon our children.