Mesu Andrews’s The Pharaoh’s Daughter

Mesu-Andrews-Pharaohs-DaughterThese were the children of Pharaoh’s daughter Bithiah, whom Mered had married. ~1 Chronicles 4:18

I love biblical fiction, and Mesu writes some of the best. Her latest, The Pharaoh’s Daughter is breathtaking. It is the story of Anippe, daughter of Horemheb, sister of King Tut, pharaoh of the Exodus. Terrified of dying in childbirth, it is she who finds Moses in the Nile, and passes him off as her son by her husband, Egyptian captain Sebak.

The Pharaoh’s Daughter is a brilliant study of the sometimes brutal beauty of ancient Egypt. The viciousness of her brother and father are a stark contrast to Anippe’s soft and often confused heart. Motherhood and its responsibilities, effects, and choices, and in all its variations, is explored in depth through the life of Anippe and others.

The novel follows Anippe from before her marriage through Moses’s adulthood. Her life follows a torturous path, …

Ancient Hebron, home of Abraham

excavations at Tel Hebron

excavations at Tel Hebron

Hebron: one of the oldest continuously inhabited communities in the world, and the oldest Jewish community.

Over 3,000 feet above sea level, this city lies on the Way of the Patriarchs, the main highway connecting Jerusalem and parts farther north with Egypt.

Genesis 23 tells us that Abraham purchased a plot of ground in Hebron for a burial cave for his wife Sarah. He paid an outrageous sum of four hundred shekels of silver to Ephron the Hittite. In time, Abraham, Isaac, Rebekah, Jacob and Leah would all be buried here.

Originally a Canaanite royal city, archaeological excavations reveal the city was strongly fortified in the Early Bronze Age. Numbers 13, in the story of the spies, says Hebron was founded “seven years before Zoan in Egypt.” Zoan has been dated to 1720 BC, but excavations have proven that the history of the city can …

When is an hour not an hour?

Early Egyptian water clock, 1415-1380 BC  (c) Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library

Keeping track of the passage of time was crucial to the ancient Egyptians, especially to the astronomers and priests who were responsible for determining the exact hour for the daily rituals and sacrifices. They divided the day into two equal periods of twelve hours each. However, due to the revolution of the earth around the sun, the length of the hours in summer was not the same as the length of hours in winter. Summer daylight hours were much longer than nighttime hours, and this was reversed in winter.

A sundial from about 1500 BCE shows this division into 12-hour parts, but the sundial was no use at night. A water clock was invented.

There is documentation of a water clock on a tomb inscription from the 16th century BC, but the oldest water …

What’s a “naja haje”?

Egyptian cobra

The Egyptian cobra, also called a “naja haje,” is most likely the snake the magicians in Pharaoh’s court used in their duel with Moses. It is the most dangerous and one of the largest cobras of the African continent.

When disturbed, cobras have the ability to raise the front quarter of their bodies off the ground and spread their necks (or hoods) in a characteristic threat display. The average length is between 3 and 6 feet, with a maximum length of just under 10 feet.

The color is highly variable, but most specimens are some shade of brown, often with lighter or darker mottling, and often a “tear-drop” mark below the eye. Some are more copper-red or grey-brown in color, while others are almost entirely black. Some specimens can even be yellow.

Their toxin acts on the nervous system and can cause swelling, nausea, dizziness, and possibly paralysis and death …