One night – several years after Moses had taken Zipporah to wife – he awoke suddenly in his tent from a deep sleep. Hatshepsut stood at the foot of his bed. A white light glowed softly from her. She was robed, and she looked as youthfully beautiful as Moses had ever seen her.
“I expect you’re surprised I’m here” said Hatshepsut. “I had to appear to you one last time to clear up matters between us.”
“Oh…….Hatshepsut……is it really you?” said Moses. “I can hardly believe it. I never thought I’d see you again. How………how…….did you get here?”
“It doesn’t matter how I got here. It matters that I can’t stay long, and must quickly say what I must.”
“Of course. Of course.”
“I know about all that’s happened to you since you fled Egypt and my love. I know you still think of me night and day and yearn passionately for me as you always have. And……….I know it was you who killed Senenmut…..”
“I…..I can explain……..”
“I know you can. But let me continue. When I saw Senenmut’s mud-covered body after it was pulled out of the hole you dug, I was devastated. Crushed. Then I became angry. Very angry. As angry as I’d never been. How dare’d you do what you did, then slink out of Egypt like a common criminal, leaving me alone at the mercy of all my scheming enemies in the Palace. I wanted to send assassins to track you down and cut off your head and bring it back so I could stick it on a pike and parade it among the people for them to spit on.
Later, though, my initial fury subsided somewhat, when, after reflection, I saw it was ultimately my fault you killed Senenmut, which effectively gave you no choice but to flee Egypt. I confess I knew you would become wildly jealous whenever I lured Senenmut into my bed at the Palace at night and moaned inordinately loudly when in the transports of ecstasy. I knew you would hear all this from your own adjoining room. I therefore knew you might become so furiously jealous you would kill Senenmut, thus destroying your entire future. By killing Senenmut you sacrificed all for me. When I realised this I was overcome with humiliating guilt.
Why, then, did I intentionally make you so murderously jealous, which led to such harmful consequences, not only for you but for me too? I surmised it all came out of a smoldering anger, although I wasn’t aware of having any. Could I, then, have suppressed this anger, so that it manifested disguisedly? I think, yes.
But I also saw that my anger wasn’t really at you. Rather, it was at myself for being so helplessly attracted to you from right when I first saw you. I was as a moth drawn to a bright flame, but knowing it would consume me if I got too close. While your flame didn’t consume me, it may have charred me ever so slightly. I like always to be in charge. To have control over myself, as well as over all those in my life. If I don’t have this control I become anxious. And angry. Are you following any of this? I mean, you being a man, this may be over your head.”
“I’m following you perfectly, dearest Hatshepsut. Please go on.”
“I think also that I’ve always been angry at men generally. As a woman, and especially as one with my intelligence beauty and other gifts, I always thought myself better than any man – better even than you, Moses – although you were the man who came closest to me in your intelligence and other gifts. But, as a woman, I was looked upon as inferior to men by society, and was expected to admire men and submit to the power bequeathed on them as men over me as a woman. How could I not have been very angry at this? I directed some of this anger at you, and it came out as the covert anger which manifested in the form of my making you jealous.”
“Don’t be hard on yourself, dear Hatshepsut. What is past is past. We both survived, did we not?”
“You could put it that way. I, though, didn’t quite, for I’ve just embarked on a journey from which I’ll never return. I’ll explain that some time after you left Egypt I became the Pharaoh through means I won’t bore you with. You’d heard about my becoming Pharaoh?”
“I’d heard rumours”.
“You heard right. A woman like me becoming Pharaoh was enough to focus the minds of all the male schemers and plotters I was surrounded by, into accentuating their efforts to get rid of me. They found ways to slip poison into my food, but in such small amounts I wouldn’t notice immediately. I began to get sicker and sicker. From being the world’s most beautiful woman I quickly transformed into an old, infirm and dying woman.
You are fortunate you never saw me in that state, for it would have erased from your mind all the images of the beautiful Hatshepsut I used to be. Luckily for you, I can now – from that other world I’ve just entered – appear to you as I used to be, when we swam naked in the Nile at midnights and made love in my boudoir until dawn.”
Moses began weeping.
“Don’t cry dearest one. You need now just think of me wherever you are and whatever you’re doing, and I’ll be with you. During the days when you tend the sheep, I’ll be with you. In the evenings when you walk in the hills and think deep thoughts, I’ll be with you. I’ll be with you in your bed at night when you need my arms around you. I’ll be with you when your God calls you to that great task He plans for you. And when it’s your time to leave your world and cross into mine, I’ll be there to greet you.”
Whereupon Hatshepsut vanished. Like a flame just blown out.
“Are you alright, Moses?” said Zipporah the next morning when she saw his reddened eyes.
“All is as it should be” said Moses.
– Exodus 2, 21-22
– The Woman Who Would Be King
– The Perplexing Historical Moses