Jeremiah 47 – Prophecy about the Philistines & Pharaoh Amasis II

I haven’t found any information about Pharaoh Amasis that makes him any worse than any other Egyptian Pharaoh, other than the fact that he didn’t walk with You.

Memphis, Tennessee, Pyramid

It’s kind of creepy that some of the blocks that Egypt gave Memphis came from the palace of Pharaoh Amasis, and the pyramid in Memphis, Tennessee, is decorated with figures and inscriptions of his.  At least, as far as I know, people in Memphis don’t worship the dead pharaoh.

In 1991, the city of Memphis and Shelby County spent $69,000,000 to build the pyramid, which is the sixth largest in the world, slightly 16 feet taller than the Statue of Liberty.  It’s a 20,142-seat arena located in downtown Memphis at the banks of the Mississippi River and it was to be used for sports events and concerts.

The seats were uncomfortable and the audio was horrible so it hasn’t been used since 2004.  And this makes no sense to me at all, in 1990, Memphis, Tennessee, was at the bottom of the barrel of the poverty line. 

A.C. Wharton, Jr. is a Tennessee Democratic politician who is the mayor of
Memphis, Tennessee. Previously, he served as mayor of Shelby County, the first African-American to serve in that office.

Memphis is one of the the poorest cities in the United States.  You would think that Richard Hackett, Mayor of Memphis (1982-1992) would have had more sense than to create the pyramid.  Then again, he could have thought it would help the city, but that’s a big gamble.

By 2004, if not sooner, anyone could see it was a waste of money, but in 2009, the city of Memphis paid Shelby County for their share of a worthless pyramid. 

The pyramid is really nice on the skyline so I guess the mayor, A. C. Wharton (2009-present), thought something beautiful was more important than feeding people.  Of course he did, he’s a democrat.

Anyway, back to Amasis II/Ahmose II, he was a general before he was a Pharaoh,  so I want to know about…

Jeremiah 47
Prophecy about the Philistines

1 The word of the LORD that came to Jeremiah the prophet against the Philistines, before that Pharaoh smote Gaza.

2 Thus saith the LORD; Behold, waters rise up out of the north, and shall be an overflowing flood, and shall overflow the land, and all that is therein; the city, and them that dwell therein: then the men shall cry, and all the inhabitants of the land shall howl.

3 At the noise of the stamping of the hoofs of his strong horses, at the rushing of his chariots, and at the rumbling of his wheels, the fathers shall not look back to their children for feebleness of hands;

This sketch is from a relief depicting prisoners of Ramesses II, ancient Asiatic and Philistine captives.
During the time of the Old Testament the Philistines were a non-Semitic people living by the seacoast of Israel. Their 5 main cities included: Gaza, Ashkelon, Ashdod, Gath, and Ekron. The Philistines conquered almost all of Israel and subjugated the tribes of Israel in the 11th century BC.

It was king David who pushed them back and little is mentioned of the Philistines after this. Later they left their religious devotion to Dagon, Astarte and other Ammonite deities to follow those of the Semites.

4 Because of the day that cometh to spoil all the Philistines, and to cut off from Tyrus and Zidon every helper that remaineth: for the LORD will spoil the Philistines, the remnant of the country of Caphtor.

5 Baldness is come upon Gaza; Ashkelon is cut off with the remnant of their valley: how long wilt thou cut thyself?

6 O thou sword of the LORD, how long will it be ere thou be quiet? put up thyself into thy scabbard, rest, and be still.

7 How can it be quiet, seeing the LORD hath given it a charge against Ashkelon, and against the sea shore? there hath he appointed it.

“Against Ashkelon” – the immediate fulfillment took place under Nebuchadnezzar in 604 B.C.

Pharaoh Amasis II

Amasis II or Ahmose II was a pharaoh (570 B.C. – 526 B.C.) of the 26th Dynasty of Egypt, the successor of Apries at Sais. He was the last great ruler of Egypt before the Persian conquest.

Most of this information about him is derived from Herodotus and can only be imperfectly verified by monumental evidence. According to the Greek historian, he was of common origins.

Ahmose II/Amasis II
King of Ancient Egypt 570-526 B.C., 44 years, listed as the 5th ruler of the 26th Dynasty.

He took power through a violent mutiny against the ruling King Apries with Babylonian support. The official reason for this action was the unsuccessful attack on Libya under Apries’ leadership.

A revolt which broke out among native Egyptian soldiers gave him his opportunity to seize the throne. These troops, returning home from a disastrous military expedition to Cyrene in Libya, suspected that they had been betrayed in order that Apries, the reigning king, might rule more absolutely by means of his Greek mercenaries; many Egyptians fully sympathized with them.

General Amasis, sent to meet them and quell the revolt, was proclaimed king by the rebels instead, and Apries, who had now to rely entirely on his mercenaries, was defeated.

Apries was either taken prisoner in the ensuing conflict at Memphis before being eventually strangled and buried in his ancestral tomb at Sais, or fled to the Babylonians and was killed mounting an invasion of his native homeland in 567 B.C. with the aid of a Babylonian army.

An inscription confirms the struggle between the native Egyptian and the foreign soldiery, and proves that Apries was killed and honorably buried in the third year of Amasis (c. 567 B.C.). 

Stela commemorating the burial of the Apis bull during the reign of Ahmose II (Amasis) from the Serapeum at Saqqara, Late Period, 547 BC (limestone)

Amasis then married Chedebnitjerbone II, one of the daughters of his predecessor Apries, in order to legitimize his kingship.

Some information is known about the family origins of Amasis: his mother was a certain Tashereniset.  A stone block from Mehallet el-Kubra also establishes that his maternal grandmother—Tashereniset’s mother—was a certain Tjenmutetj.

Herodotus describes how Amasis II would eventually cause a confrontation with the Persian armies. According to Herodotus, Amasis, was asked by Cambyses II or Cyrus the Great for an Egyptian ophthalmologist on good terms.

Amasis seems to have complied by forcing an Egyptian physician into mandatory labor causing him to leave his family behind in Egypt and move to Persia in forced exile.

In an attempt to exact revenge for his forced exile, the physician would grow very close with Cambyses and would suggest that Cambyses should ask Amasis for a daughter in marriage in order to solidify his bonds with the Egyptians. Cambyses complied and requested a daughter of Amasis for marriage.

The King commonly referred to as Apries (his Greek name), who’s birth name was Wah-ib-re, meaning “Constant is the Heart of Re” and who’s Throne name was Haa-ib-re, meaning “Jubilant is the Heart of Re Forever”, succeeded his father, Psamtik II in February of 589 BC., of Egypt’s 26th Dynasty.

We believe he ruled Egypt until his defeat at the hands of Amasis in 570 BC. Some sources provide that Apries was the Biblical Hophra.

Amasis, worrying that his daughter would be a concubine to the Persian king, refused to give up his offspring; Amasis also was not willing to take on the Persian empire so he concocted a trickery in which he forced the daughter of the ex-pharaoh Apries, whom Herodotus explicitly confirms to have been killed by Amasis, to go to Persia instead of his own offspring.

This daughter of Apries was none other than Nitetis, who was as per Herodotus’s account, “tall and beautiful.” Nitetis naturally betrayed Amasis and upon being greeted by the Persian king explained Amasis’s trickery and her true origins.

This infuriated Cambyses and he vowed to take revenge for it. Amasis would die before Cambyses reached him, but his heir and son Psamtik III would be defeated by the Persians.

Herodotus also describes that just like his predecessor, Amasis II relied on Greek mercenaries and council men. One such figure was Phanes of Halicarnassus, who would later on leave Amasis, for reasons Herodotus does not clearly know but suspects were personal between the two figures.

Amasis would send one of his eunuchs to capture Phanes, but the eunuch is bested by the wise council man and Phanes flees to Persia, meeting up with Cambyses providing advice in his invasion of Egypt. Egypt would finally be lost to Persians during the battle of Pelusium.

Egypt’s Wealth

Although Amasis thus appears first as champion of the disparaged native, he had the good sense to cultivate the friendship of the Greek world, and brought Egypt into closer touch with it than ever before.

Herodotus relates that under his prudent administration, Egypt reached a new level of wealth; Amasis adorned the temples of Lower Egypt especially with splendid monolithic shrines and other monuments (his activity here is proved by existing remains).

Amasis assigned the commercial colony of Naucratis on the Canopic branch of the Nile to the Greeks, and when the temple of Delphi was burnt, he contributed 1,000 talents to the rebuilding. He also married a Greek princess named Ladice daughter of King Battus III and made alliances with Polycrates of Samos and Croesus of Lydia.

Ancient Temple in Lower Egypt (North)
Settlement dated to about 400 BCE. It later became a site for a temple of the goddess Neith and the capital of Egypt in the 26th Dynasty around 700-650 BCE.

Unfortunately, the site is pretty much destroyed due to the Nile changing its course.

Under Amasis or Ahmose II, Egypt’s agricultural based economy reached its zenith. Herodotus who visited Egypt less than a century after Amasis II’s death writes that:

Relief of Amasis at Karnak Temple

It is said that it was during the reign of Ahmose II that Egypt attained its highest level of prosperity both in respect of what the river gave the land and in respect of what the land yielded to men and that the number of inhabited cities at that time reached in total 20,000.

His kingdom consisted probably of Egypt only, as far as the First Cataract, but to this he added Cyprus, and his influence was great in Cyrene. In his fourth year (c. 567 B.C.), Amasis was able to defeat an invasion of Egypt by the Babylonians under Nebuchadnezzar II.

Henceforth, the Babylonians experienced sufficient difficulties controlling their empire that they were forced to abandon future attacks against Amasis.  However, Amasis was later faced with a more formidable enemy with the rise of Persia under Cyrus who ascended to the throne in 559 B.C.

His final years were preoccupied by the threat of the impending Persian onslaught against Egypt.  With great strategic skill, Cyrus had destroyed Lydia in 546 B.C. and finally defeated the Babylonians in 538 B.C.

This left Amasis with no major Near Eastern allies to counter Persia’s increasing military might.  Amasis reacted by cultivating closer ties with the Greek states to counter the future Persian invasion into Egypt but was fortunate to have died in 526 B.C. shortly before the Persians attacked. 

The final assault instead fell upon his son Psamtik III, whom the Persians defeated in 525 B.C. after a reign of only six months.

Tomb and Desecration

Delphi temple of Apollo
539 B.C. – When Cyrus conquered Babylon, he was employed in leading religious ceremonies and in the cylinder which contains Cyrus’ proclamation to the Babylonians his name is joined to that of his father in the prayers to Marduk.

530 BC – Cambyses is called king of Babylon, although his authority seems to have been quite ephemeral.

525 BC – His main achievement was the conquest of Egypt, which established Persian rule there for two centuries.

Amasis II died in 526 B.C. He was buried at the royal necropolis of Sais, and while his tomb was never discovered, Herodotus describes it as:

[It is] a great cloistered building of stone, decorated with pillars carved in the imitation of palm-trees, and other costly ornaments. Within the cloister is a chamber with double doors, and behind the doors stands the sepulcher.

Herodotus also relates the desecration of Ahmose II/Amasis’ mummy when the Persian king Cambyses conquered Egypt and thus ended the 26th Saite dynasty:

[N]o sooner did [… Cambyses] enter the palace of Amasis that he gave orders for his [Amasis’s] body to be taken from the tomb where it lay. This done, he proceeded to have it treated with every possible indignity, such as beating it with whips, sticking it with goads, and plucking its hairs. [… A]s the body had been embalmed and would not fall to pieces under the blows, Cambyses had it burned.

Hophra, the King of Egypt.