Are Science and Secular History compatible with Faith?

Shishak Plunders Solomon's Temple

(The Elephant in the Room)

"And it came to pass, that in the fifth year of King Rehoboam, Shishak, king of Egypt came up against Jerusalem, because they had transgressed against the LORD... So Shishak king of Egypt... took away the treasures of the house of the LORD, and the treasures of the king's house..." (2 Chronicles 12:2,9)

Anyone who has visited or studied "Ancient Egypt" is familiar with the Karnak Temple of Luxor, in Thebes, Egypt. Much of the history of the Eighteenth Dynasty is engraved on the walls and columns of the temple complex.

NOTE: A few comments will be helpful to the reader. This first section quickly summarizes the chronological significance of the event described in 2 Chronicles 12 and the reason for the subtitle: "The Elephant in the Room". "The Extended Version" follows and provides specific details that confirm the chronological claims.

But first, why the subtitle: "The Elephant in the Room"?

The event recorded in 2 Chronicles 12 is known from Biblical history to have occurred in 927 B.C.. There is compelling reason to believe Shishak of the Biblical record is Thutmose III of the Eighteenth Dynasty of Egypt. If correct, this effectively synchronizes Biblical history and the classic histories of Egypt.

If Thutmose III can be shown to be Shishak who conquered Jerusalem during the reign of King Rehoboam, then Ramses II (born 759 B.C.) couldn't possibly have been the Pharaoh of the Exodus. It follows then, during the reigns of David, Solomon, and Rehoboam, that Ramses II hadn't yet been born.

But what is the evidence that Thutmose III was Shishak? The evidence is the engraved wall on the Karnak Temple. Thutmose III is looking over "the treasures of the house of the LORD" and "the treasures of the King's house". In "The Extended Version" (below), many of the treasures that are inscribed on the wall will be matched up with descriptions in Exodus, 1 Kings, and 2 Chronicles.

The historic gravity of the plundering of Solomon's Temple can never be fully grasped. In the year 927 B.C., Jerusalem was essentially turned over to Thutmose III (Shishak of the Biblical record). He then plundered "the House of the Lord" and "the King's [Solomon's] home", carrying away everything that was Israel... all the wealth the children of Israel had brought with them from the time of their slavery in Egypt, all the spoils from conquering "The Land of Canaan", all the wealth that had been accumulated during the reigns of King David and King Solomon, the gifts from "The Queen of Sheba:, the gold, the silver, the trees and fauna, the exotic animals from expeditions to Punt. Everything King David had prepared for temple worship... the temple instruments, the furnishings, the alters. Everything that identified Israel as a people. It was all gone. Everything was taken.

In the end, only two things remained: a temple complex that had been stripped bare and "The Ark of the Covenant". But "the Glory of the Lord" had long since departed.

Thutmose III with the Treasures from the Temple of Solomon

In all the classical histories of Egypt, this wall is ignored. It's seldom brought up. It's never discussed.

The question must be asked, why does the scholarly community ignore the significance of Thutmose III's wall on Biblical and Egyptian history? I can only say, the omission is "The Elephant in the Room".


Shishak Plunders Solomon's Temple

"The Extended Version"

This section is based on the information presented in:
Immanuel Velikovsky, Ages In Chaos, Vol. 1
Chapter 4 - The Temple in Jerusalem

Immanuel Velikovsky was the first to suggest the age charts of secular history could not be corroborated with the textual evidence. He put forward a "new chronology" based on evidences such as what follows below. Criticized during his life, his "new chronology" has gained acceptance posthumous. Though discounted by secular historians, "Ages in Chaos" is recommended reading for serious students of Biblical history.

(Portions of this wall will be enlarged)

"The bas-relief displays in ten rows the legendary wealth of Solomon. There are pictures of various precious objects, furnishings, vessels, and utensils of the Temple, of the palace, probably also of the shrines to foreign deities. Under each object a numerical symbol indicates how many of that kind were brought by the Egyptian king from Palestine: each stroke means one piece, each arch means ten pieces, each spiral one hundred pieces of the same thing. If Thutmose III had wanted to boast and to display all his spoils from the Temple and the Palace of Jerusalem by showing each object separately instead of using this number system, a wall a mile long would have been required and even that would not have sufficed. In the upper five rows the objects of gold are presented, in the next rows silver things are mingled with those of gold and precious stones; objects of bronze and semiprecious stones are in the lower rows." (Immanuel Velikovsky, pp. 155-156)


"And he cast for it four rings of gold to be set in its four corners: two rings on one side, and two rings on the other side of it. And he cast for it four rings of gold, and put the rings on the four corners that were at its four legs. The rings were close to the frame, as holders for the poles to bear the table." (Exodus 37:3, 13-14)

Furniture with rings for carrying sticks. 


"And he overlaid it with pure gold, and made a molding of gold all around it. Also he made a frame of hand breadth all around it and made a molding of gold for the frame all around it. He made the incense altar of acacia wood. Its length was a cubit and its width a cubit -- it was square -- and two cubits was its height. Its horns were of one piece with it." (Exodus 37:11, 12, 25)

"Thus Solomon had all the furnishings made for the house of the Lord: the altar of gold, and the table of gold on which was the showbread." (1 kings 7:48; 2 Chronicles 4:19)

"Piece by piece the altars and vessels of Solomon's Temple can be identified on the wall of Karnak.

In the Temple of Solomon there was an altar of gold for burnt offerings. It was the only such altar. In the second row of the bas-reliefs is an altar with a crown around the edge, partly destroyed, but plainly discernible (Object 9). The inscription reads: "The [a] great altar." It was made of gold.

Another altar in the Temple of Jerusalem was of "brass" (bronze); it was square and very large. In the ninth row of the Karnak relief an altar of "brass" (bronze) is pictures, the shape of which is similar to that of the gold altar. The inscription says (Object 177): "One great altar of brass [bronze]."


"The brim thereof [of the molten sea] was wrought like the brim of a cup, with flowers of lilies." (1 Kings 7:26)

"The preferred ornament on the vessels was the shoshana, translated as "lily" (lotus)." (Immanuel Velikovsky, p. 158)

"The lotus motif is often repeated on the vessels reproduced on the wall of Karnak. A lotus vial is shown in gold (Object 10), in silver (Object 121), and in colored stone (Malachite?) (Object 140). A rim of lily work may be seen on various vessels (Objects 37, 75, 175), a very unusual type of rim ornament, found only in the scriptural account and on the bas-reliefs of Thutmose III." (Immanuel Velikovsky, p. 158)

"Buds among flowers ("his knops and his flowers) were also used as ornamentation in the tabernacle. This motif appears on a vase (Object 195) in the lower row of the Karnak mural and also in the fifth row (Object 75)." (Immanuel Velikovsky, pp. 158-159)


"On the panels that were between the frames were lions, oxen, and cherubim. And on the frames was a pedestal on top. Below the lions and oxen were wreaths of plaited work. On the plates of its flanges and on its panels he engraved cherubim, lions, and palm trees, wherever there was a clear space on each, with wreaths all around." (1 Kings 7:29, 36)

"Of animal figures, lions and oxen are mentioned as decorative motifs of the Temple in Jerusalem. The Karnak mural shows lion heads (Objects 20, 60), and the head of an ox is recognizable as an ornament on a drinking vessel (Object 132)." (Immanuel Velikovsky, pp. 158-159)

"Gods were often depicted in Egyptian temples in shameless positions. Among the figures of sacred objects on the Karnak bas-relief there are none of phallic form, neither are there any pictures of gods at all. A few animal heads (lions) with the sign of the uraeus on their foreheads and the head of a hawk are wrought on the lids of some cups (Objects 58, 59, 60). These cups might have been brought from the palace Solomon had built for his Egyptian wife." (Immanuel Velikovsky, p. 159)

"Idols were and still are used in all pagan worship. The hundreds of sacred objects appearing in the mural were obviously not of an idolatrous cult; they suggest, rather, a cult in which offerings of animals, incense, and showbread were brought, but in which no idols were worshiped. The Temple of Kadesh-Jerusalem, sacked by Thutmose III, was rich in utensils for religious services but devoid of any image of a god." (Immanuel Velikovsky, p. 159)


"He also made the lampstand of pure gold, of hammered work he made the lampstand. Its shaft, its branches; its bowls, its ornamental knobs, and its flowers were of the same piece. And six branches came out of its sides; three branches of the lampstand out of one side, and three branches of the lampstand out of the other side. (Exodus 37:17, 18)

"Thus Solomon had all the furnishings made for the house of God: the altar of gold and the tables on which was the showbread; the lampstands with their lamps of pure gold, to burn in the prescribed manner in front of the inner sanctuary, with the flowers and the lamps and the wick-trimmers of gold, of purest gold; the trimmers, the bowls, the ladles, and the censers of pure gold." (2 Chronicles 4:19-22)

The "candlestick with the lamps" was an illuminating device with lamps shaped like flowers. Objects 35, 36, 37, and 38 of the mural are candlesticks with lamps One of them (Object 35) has three lily lamps on the left and three on the right. The other candlesticks (Objects 37, 38) have eight lamps to the left and eight to the right. The candlestick with lamps wrought by Bezaleel for the tabernacle had three lamps to the left and three to the right. There were almonds, a knop, and a flower on the arms. A later form showed a preference for seven lamps on both sides of the stem."


"The lampstands of pure gold, five on the right side and five on the left in front of the inner sanctuary, with the flowers and the lamps and the wick-trimmers of gold." (1 Kings 7:49)

"Other candlesticks are mentioned in addition to those with lamps. In the Book of Kings they are described as bearing flowers. This form is seen in the third row of the bas-relief (Objects 25, 26, 27, 28). The candlestick is in the shape of a stem with a lotus blossom."


"The table and its poles, all its utensils. He made of pure gold the utensils which were on the table: its dishes, its cups, its bowls, and its pitchers for pouring. (Exodus 35:13; 37:16)

"The table, like its vessels, was of gold. "The tables of sacrifice" in the third row (of gold) and in the seventh row (of silver) of the mural have sets of vessels on them: three flat dishes, three large cups, three pots (or bowls), one shovel. Many tables of gold and silver and bronze are reproduced on the bas-relief." (Immanuel Velikovsky, p. 160-161)


"Also the pots, the shovels, the forks -- and all their articles Huram his master craftsman made of burnished bronze for King Solomon for the house of the LORD." (2 Chronicles 4:16)

"The paraphernalia of the Temple contained also "hooks and all instruments". In the third row of the Karnak mural, near the table of offerings, and in the same row at the left end, there are hooks, spoons, and other implements (Objects 30, 31, 32, 33, 43, 44); bowls." (Immanuel Velikovsky, p. 161)


"The incense altar, its poles, the anointing oil, the sweet incense..." (Exodus 35:15)

"The incense altar, and his staves, and the anointing oil: were in the Temple of Jerusalem. As no detailed description of the form of this altar is given in the Scriptures, various objects in the form of altars suitable for incense may be considered. Did the smoke of the burning incense pour through the openings in the ornamental spouts? Was the incense burned in a dish set on a base (Objects 41, 181)? Vessels containing anointing oil are shown on pedestal altars (Object 41); over the figures in the lower row (Objects 199, 198, 197) is written: "Alabaster, filled with holy anoint oil for the sacrifice." (Immanuel Velikovsky, p. 161)


"The basins, the trimmeres, the bowls, the ladles, and the censers of pure gold..." (1 Kings 7:50, 2 Chronicles 4:22)

"Golden snuffers were used in the Temple of Solomon for spreading the fragrance during the service. Masrek in Hebrew means a fountain or a vessel that ejects a fluid. Such fountains are mentioned as having been in the Temple of Solomon. Among the vessels shown on the wall at Karnak there are one or two whose form is peculiar. The vessel in the fifth row (Object 73) has two side spouts and is adorned with figures of animals. The spouts are connected with the basin by two animals (Lions?) stretching toward them; rodents run along the spouts, one pair up and one pair down' amphibians (frogs) sit on top of the vessel. It is not unusual to decorate modern fountains in a like manner. The figures of frogs are especially appropriate for this purpose. The tubes and the mouths of the animals on the vessel could be used to spout perfume or water. The neighboring object seems also to be a fountain." (Immanuel Velikovsky, p. 161)


"He also made ten tables, and placed them in the temple, five on the right side and five on the left. And he made one hundred bowls of gold." (2 Chronicles 4:8) 

"One hundred basins of gold were made by Solomon for the Temple. Ninety-five basins of gold are shown in the sixth row of the mural; six larger basins are shown apart." (Immanuel Velikovsky, p. 161)


"The larger room he paneled with cypress which he overlaid with fine gold, and he carved palm trees and chainwork on it. And he decorated the house with precious stones for beauty, and the gold was gold from Parvaim.. (2 Chronicles 3:5-6; 1 Kings 6:28ff)

"The walls and floor of Solomon's Temple were "overlaid with fine gold" and "garnished with precious stones". Pharaoh, who "took all," did not leave this gold or these stones on the walls. Some of them were worked into jewels, and the inscription (over Objects 63-65) READS: "Gold and various precious stones his majesty had reworked." Other gold was taken in the form of bricks and links (chains) (Objects 23, 24). Chains of gold are also mentioned as having been in the Temple of Solomon." (Immanuel Velikovsky, pp. 161-162)

"And he made chains..." (2 Chronicles 3:16)


"Furthermore he made the court of the priests, and the great court, and doors for the court, and overlaid the doors of them with copper." (2 Chronicles 4:9)

"Thirty-three doors are represented in the lower row of the bas-relief and the inscription says they are "of beaten copper". (Object 190) (Immanuel Velikovsky, p. 162)


"And King Solomon made two hundred large shields of hammered gold; six hundred shekels of hammered gold went into each shield. He also made three hundred shields of hammered gold; three hundred shekels of gold went into each shield. The king put them in the "House of the Forest of Lebanon." (2 Chronicles 9:15-16)

"Targets or shields of 'beaten gold' are named among the booty of the pharaoh. These three hundred shields, together with the two hundred targets of gold were not part of the furnishings of the Temple; they adorned "the house of the forest of Lebanon." In the seventh row of the mural there are three disks marked with the number 300, which means that they represent three hundred pieces. The metal of which they are made is not mentioned; some objects in this row are of silver, but the next figure has a legend indicating that it is of gold." (Immanuel Velikovsky, p. 162)


"And he made the Sea of cast bronze, ten cubit from one brim to the other; it was completely round. Its height was five cubits, and a line of thirty cubits measured its circumference." (1 Kings 7:23; 2 Chronicles 4:2)

"The large "sea of brass" and the brazen bases were not removed by the pharaoh. Among the things which were taken later by Nebuzaradan, the captain of Nebuchadnezzar, were "two pillars, one sea, and the bases which Solomon had made for the House of the Lord." (Immanuel Velikovsky, p. 162)

"The ephod of the high priest (a collar with a breastplate) was not mentioned in the Scriptures among the booty of the pharaoh and might not have been taken. But precious garments of the priests were carried off. The fourth row displays rich collars, some with breastplates; they were destined to be gifts for the priests of Amon." (Immanuel Velikovsky, pp. 162-163)


"In the bas-reliefs of Karnak we have an excellent and detailed account of the vessels and furniture of the Temple of Solomon." (Immanuel Velikovsky, p. 163)


CONCLUSION: "By the conventional chronology he (Thutmose III) would have been contemporary with Moses..." (Unwrapping the Pharahos, p. 126).  And yet, according to conventional chronology, it would be another 170 years before Ramses the Great (Ramses II) would be born.  He, it may be recalled, is believed by classic historians to have been the Pharaoh of the Exodus. It is no wonder the Exodus cannot be found in Egyptian history.

This misalignment of the historical record is called an anachronism.  An anachronism is when the historic time line [that is believed] is shown to be misaligned with the historical record.  

According to conventional chronology, Thutmose III should be the Pharaoh of the Exodus.  Yet, in the histories, Ramses II (Ramses the Great) is taught to be the Pharaoh of the Exodus.  In fact, neither is correct.

The wall on Karnak Temple shows Thutmose III looking down on the treasures taken from Solomon's Temple.  Now, we can consult the Biblical record to align the history.

"And it came to pass, that in the fifth year of King Rehoboam, Shishak, king of Egypt came up against Jerusalem, because they had transgressed against the LORD... So Shishak king of Egypt... took away the treasures of the house of the LORD, and the treasures of the king's house..." (2 Chronicles 12:2,9)

Shishak, king of Egypt turns out to be Thutmose III of the 18th Dynasty. This event occurred in 927 BC, 518 years after the Exodus.

Using Biblical chronology, we can realign conventional chronology by moving Thutmose III forward on the time line by 688 years. 


Once again, the Biblical record is confirmed.  By consulting the Biblical record, we are able to synchronize Biblical chronology with secular history.  This is also instructive in locating the Exodus in Egyptian history. To locate the Exodus in the histories, we'll have to look to a time period 688 years before the reign of Thutmose III. 

© 2012 Gregory Drake


Authors / historians / archaeologists that have suggested Shishak was Thutmose III:

Dr. Donovan A. Courville, The Exodus Problem, (Challenge Books, Loma Linda, 1971)

Dr Herman Hoeth, Compendium of World History (out of print)

Immanuel Velikovsky

John Ashton & David Down, Unwrapping the Pharaohs, (Master Books, Green Forest, 2006)


Authors / historians / archaeologists that have suggested Shishak was Ramses II:

David RohlA Test of Time, Vol. 1, (Century Ltd, London, 1995)