Was Joseph also ImHotep?
info This commentary was written by a volunteer for our Bible translation project. It’s not an official view of our project; we are not a religious denomination and we do not establish doctrine. These commentaries reflect a variety of views and some disagree with each other.
Some people identify JoSeph with the Egyptian ImHotep, who served as chancellor to the Third-Dynasty king Djoser, whom some date to 2600 BCE. Why? Because of the records engraved on the Egyptian ‘Famine Stela’ that speak of a 7-year famine on Egypt, and of ImHotep doing the same things that the Bible attributes to JoSeph.
However, the dating for the life of ImHotep appears to be several hundred years earlier than our Bible chronology would suggest for the life of JoSeph. Why the discrepancy?
It’s probably because of a deliberate historical misidentification. Priests of the pagan god Khnum engraved the Famine Stela over 2,000 years after the events, sometime around the 2nd Century BCE. They were writing an historical account, not a contemporary account.
So they perhaps attributed the well-known miracles during the time of JoSeph to a more acceptable and famed Egyptian person, ImHotep. This would raise the prestige of their own gods and deflect any praise away from the God who really enabled it, the God of the Israelites, Jehovah/Yahweh.