It was fortunate for Moses that – courtesy of his rigorous counter-insurgency training in the Egyptian Army – he was able to “live off the land” while plodding through the aridity of what is today the Sinai Peninsula, to reach sanctuary in the Land of Midian. For food, Moses ate the snakes and lizards he caught. For potable water, he squeezed out cacti, and drank from the occasional well he happened upon.
Moses was therefore in quite good nick when he’d crossed into the Land of Midian. He did, though, look gaunt and haggard – due in no small part to his heartbreak at probably never seeing Hatshepsut again. Moses understood that although she had become Egypt’s de facto Pharaoh, she had courtiers – powerful ones – who had resented Moses unique status in the Royal household. Consequently they were always conjuring up plans to kill him. Hatshepsut was therefore risking overthrow through a Palace coup should she try to get Moses back.
There had also been the balefully growing influence in the Royal circles of Hatshepsut’s co-ruler, the boy Thutmose lll (Baby Thut), who had been only a little baby when his father, Thutmose ll (Thut junior), had died. Just before he breathed his last, Thut junior had decreed that his wife Hatshepsut, although not Baby Thut’s mother, would rule Egypt as Regent for the infant boy. Unfortunately Baby Thut wasn’t an infant for long. He soon grew to become a truculent slack-jawed teenager who couldn’t wait to become the sole Pharaoh. He had always hated Hatshepsut, who he regarded as a nosey parker, and bossy.
Baby Tut’s assessment of Hatshepsut wasn’t far off the mark, because she always was ambitious, both for herself and for Egypt. Even while growing up she had considered herself the equal of any man. She therefore saw no reason why she shouldn’t become Pharaoh when her father, Thutmose l, died.
From when she and Moses first became lovers, Hatshepsut would from time to time confide to him what she wanted for Egypt and Egyptians.
Moses still remembered that night he and Hatshepsut were lying post-coitally together, their arms and legs entwined, and she had said, “Dearest Moses, with you at my side I want to make Egypt great again. By this, I mean making Egypt a beacon of hope – a shining city on a hill, if you will – for all our neighbours, whether Hebrew, Canaanite, Aramean, Assyrian, Midianite, Nubian, or what have you. I can only do this by becoming Pharaoh when Daddy dies.”
“This is a considerable undertaking” said Moses. “If anyone can do it you can, sweet Hatshepsut”.
“I want us to come to them as friends, not as conquerors” said Hatshepsut, “I want all our neighbours to love us Egyptians, not hate us, as so many now do because they see us only as foes, and for good reason. Daddy has been the cause of this because of his inferiority complex born of having no sense of inner worth. He is so empty inside, he can only assuage it by having Egypt conquer other peoples. This only makes us more enemies, and weakens us. Having more and more enemies to put down, also uses up our precious state resources better used to help ordinary Egyptians have more fulfilling and happier lives. I mean, what’s the point of Egypt being the mightiest power in our region, if most of our people are unhappy because they’re poor and oppressed, and feel there’s no way out? Unless we – their rulers – change our ways they’re one day going to come for us.”
“For a woman, you’re remarkably perspicacious” said Moses. “Yours is my view too.”
“I’m glad you think this, darling Moses. This is another sign we’re soul mates. You know, the irony is that the poorer and unhappier ordinary Egyptians become, the more they’ll feel the freedom to rise up against Daddy as the Pharaoh, or me, should I succeed him. Even though we might kill them in their thousands while they swarm through the Palace gates, they won’t be stopped because they’ve nothing left to lose. Yes, for them, freedom’s just another word for nothing left to lose.”
“This is brilliant” said Moses, “and it comes out of your brilliant mind. I’ve told you before, darling Hatshepsut, it’s your mind which I love. It excites me as much as your body does. I want to make love to you again, right now. ”
“Yes…….yes…….do” breathed Hatshepsut.