Bend Them Like Hatshepsut

*The last posting* ended with Hatshepsut taking Moses to live with her at the royal palace as her adopted son. She was the daughter and only surviving child of the Pharaoh Thutmose I and his main wife Ahmose. Hatshepsut had had two brothers, but they’d died early. For Egyptian royalty to die early wasn’t unusual because they were so inbred. A prince could marry his sister; or a princess her brother; or a king his daughter, and no-one raised an eyebrow.

On the other hand, if a man-on-the-street Egyptian married his sister, daughter or cousin, people raised their eyebrows. Hence it was rare for a man-on-the-street Egyptian to marry his sister, daughter or cousin, for he didn’t want to go through life with everyone always looking at him and raising their eyebrows.

While an Egyptian royal was free to marry his sister daughter or cousin, this freedom came at a price – which was that his children from these unions would likely have things seriously wrong with them, like receding chins, withered limbs, noses missing, unsightly skin, and diminished intelligences. These were among the countless congenital maladies that afflicted Egyptian kings, being as they were the products of inbreeding.

You would think, then, that the hardy Egyptian people would soon have overthrown their feeble royal kings. If you think this, you forget that in those days – 3500 years ago – there were no radios, televisions, smart-phones, cameras, computers, or any else of the technological wizardry we today take for granted. Hence almost no Egyptian man-on-the -street knew what his royal rulers looked like, let alone knew in what bad congenital shape they were.

Should a king (pharaoh) go out in public, he was covered from head to foot with robes, so you couldn’t see what he looked like. So you couldn’t see his receding chin, or withered limbs, or the hole in his face where a nose would normally be, or his unsightly skin, or know that his intelligence was that of a child. But, no matter how feeble a pharaoh, his authority was unquestioned and his word was law. No matter how silly or barbaric his policies and orders might be, there were no ends of minions to carry them out.

This was the ambiance in which Moses would be surrounded when he went to live with his adoptive mother, Hatshepsut, at the royal palace. He was fortunate, though, in that all the congenital royal feeblenesses seemed to have passed Hatshepsut by. She was, for one thing, endowed of a beauty so sublime, it reduced men in her presence to bowel-evacuating cowering jackals.  Also,  she was luminously intelligent, was intrepidly courageous, knew her own fine mind, and had a basaltic will. She thought herself in every way the better of men, who she could bend any way she liked.

– Exodus 2
Women in Scripture
Bible Archeology
The Perplexing Historical Moses

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2 Responses to Bend Them Like Hatshepsut

  1. Lucy says:

    You have such an arresting way of looking at the past. Your sparkling intelligence oozes from your writing. You never disappoint. You are unique.

  2. Christopher says:

    Would that more of my readers feel as you do (sigh).

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