Brent massaged his temples. His eyes were tired from reading the highlighted papers strewn across the patio table; his hand ached from writing numerous failed rough copies, which littered the deck floor; and his mind was a jumble of thoughts as tried to make sense of his assignment. His high school history teacher told the class that archeological evidence was subject to interpretation in light of its context, and right now, he was having a difficult time sifting through all the facts. Just how was he supposed to approach the historical significance of Imhotep?
“What ya doin’?” The voice surprised him, breaking his concentration. He looked up to see the pixie faced next door neighbor, Casey, staring across the table at him. Her wispy blond curls danced in the warm breeze.
“Research.” Brent hoped the simple answer would placate the little girl. Casey loved to come over and chat, and usually this wasn’t a problem, but this essay was due to tomorrow and he really needed to get it done. His eyes returned to his work.
“What kind of re-search?” she sounded out the new word carefully.
Brent let out a slow sigh, and without looking up he said flatly, “About a man.”
“What’s his name?” her blue eyes sparkled with curiosity. Brent realized this was not going to be a little visit, and relented to a temporary change in focus.
“His name is Imhotep.”
“Does he live around here?”
“No silly, he lived a long time ago, in a far away land.”
“Did he die?” Her face became full of concern, her little brow furrowed. “Because my sister’s bunny died last yesterday, an’ she cried for a whole week!” Brent chuckled quietly to himself trying hard not to be insensitive to the little girl’s serious comments. “Did your guy die last yesterday?” she squeaked.
“No Casey, Imhotep died way before last yesterday. He lived before your great grand-pappy was born. Even,” he added as an after-thought, “before Jesus.”
“Oh!” her eyes opened wide in understanding. “Was he a good guy or a bad guy?”
“Definitely a good guy; he was a doctor, and he built huge buildings, and even though he came from a different place, he was second in command in his new country; and,” he emphasized, “he saved millions of people from dying.”
“Yep, he was definitely a good guy.” Casey acknowledged seriously, curls bouncing in affirmation.
Brent grabbed one of the articles and showed Casey a picture, “See, this is a statue of him. People made this 1000 years after Imhotep’s death because he was such a hero. But,” he added with a whisper, “Do you know what is really weird?” He waited for her full attention, “When they found his coffin, his body was gone!”
Casey considered this carefully for a moment, her head tilted to the side. “Maybe he had to go home again.” She added in all seriousness.
Brent smiled amused. Some concepts are just too hard for a child, he reasoned, and too complicated to explain. Looking down at the little girl, he tried a new approach, “I told you about my guy, have you heard any good stories lately?”
“Yep!” Casey’s eyes lit up with excitement. “Mama told me all about Joseph in Egypt. He told Pharaoh about the fat cows and the skinny cows, and he builded huge-mongous barns and everybody had to listen to him. And when he died Moses took him home again.”
“Casey!” The little girl’s mother called from the next yard.
“Oh! Gotta go! Bye Brent.” Casey skipped away, curls bouncing with each step. “Coming Mama!”
Brent sat in his deck chair, paralyzed in thought. Could Imhotep be the same person as Joseph? Imhotep whose name is carved on the foundation of the Step Pyramid in Sakkara alongside the name of Pharaoh Djoser; Imhotep, Chancellor of the King of Lower Egypt; Chief under the King, Administrator of the Great Palace; Imhotep the builder. He is the one man who is credited with Egypt’s survival during seven years of famine and seven years of plenty. Could it be?
With an enlightened perspective Brent began his research anew. He sifted the archeological evidence through the screen of God’s Word and interpreted it in light of God’s sovereign context.
There are twenty-seven comparisons between Joseph and Imhotep; from his Asian heritage to his death at age 110. Most secular scholars deny the correlation, but the evidence is very compelling.
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