The Skinny on Queen Hatshepsut

In case you weren’t around a few days ago, I should let you know I have been following up on a minor obsession I have with determining whether I believe there is enough evidence to support the scholary theory that Queen Hatshepsut (18th Dynasty Egyptian Queen) could have been Moses’ adopted mother. I watched The Lost Queen of Egypt on the Discovery Channel last Sunday and I still have several questions not addressed on the show. Before I talk about those, first let me tell you a few of the fascinating details which were given on this program by Egyptian Antiquities Minister, Zahi Hawass, and Egyptologist, Dr. Kara Cooney.

Firstly, know that Queen Hatshepsut was a princess who was forced to marry her half-brother, Thutmosis II, when her father (Thutmoses I) died in order for the lesser born brother to have a legitimate claim to the throne. Hatshepsut could not become the Pharaoh because she was a woman, however, inscriptions show she made herself co-ruler with her husband. Thutmose II was weak and sickly. He died within 2-3 years of marrying Hatshepsut. Thutmose III was Hatshepsut’s stepson by another of Thutmose II’s wives and was the heir to the throne, however, he was too young to assume the position when Thut II died. This being the case, Hatshepsut assumed the position of Pharaoh in his stead. Hatshepsut claimed her father named her the heir to his throne and even wore a fake beard and the Egyptian kilt traditionally worn by the male ruler. She undertook major building projects and did much to advance the glory of Egypt. When Thutmose III reached the age of being able to rule, Hatshepsut would not give up the position. Many have theorized there was much hatred and jealously by Thutmose III towards his stepmother which ultimately resulted in her possibly being murdered.

Here are a few conclusions the documentary presented:

1. Zahi and his team of scientists have now positively identified Queen Hatshepsut’s mummy by matching a tooth found in a funerary box inscribed with her name. Also inside the box? Her intestines and liver. Yum.

2. Queen Hatshepsut was not murdered by her stepson, Thutmose III, as has been theorized in the past. Her CT scans revealed cancer however, she most likely died from infection from an absessed tooth, hence the tooth in her funerary box.

3. The Queen, her half brother, and stepson all had hereditary skin lesions. Seems the Queen could have most likely used some ProActiv.

4. The Queen was responsible for many fabulous temples and ancient inscriptions find her boasting of a trip to the land of Punt – the equivalent for us today of saying we had visited Atlantis.

5. Ancient inscriptions detail a ‘difficult to define relationship’ between herself and a man named ‘Senenmut’. He was an architect for Hatshepsut and very close to her personally. Just who was this man? Hmmmm…Many speculate Senenmut was indeed Moses. There are some problems with this theory. a: The reading I have done says the tomb of Senenmut’s parents was found in Egypt. Would Moses have buried his parents in an Egyptian manner? It would be very cool if dna testing were done on these mummies to see if they were Asiatic. Don’t look for that to happen anytime ever…Another cool thing? The tomb of Senenmut was found but never a body. Several websites I read claim there was never a body in the tomb. Tombs were prepared well in advance of one’s death so this is not unusual. What is awesome is the ceiling of Senenmut’s tomb reveals the oldest star chart ever discovered. (You know, lunar calendars, constellations and stuff) We know Moses was very well learned…Is this something he would have inscribed on the ceiling of his tomb?

6. Queen Hatshepsut’s images have been defaced throughout Egypt. Dr. Kara Cooney theorized the reason for this was so Thutmoses III could show a clear line of succession without Hatshepsut’s insertion into the male line of Pharaohs. Dr. Cooney does not feel there was any animosity between Thutmoses III and Hatshepsut but the defacement of the Queen’s images was just clearing up the family tree, so to speak.

Here are some things I have dug up which were not addressed and which I still want to find out.

1. Hatshepsut was only 12 years old when her father died and fifteen when her half-brother husband died. Was Hatshepsut old enough at 11-12 years of age to find a baby floating on the Nile and claim it as her son? Most biblical scholars I read say yes which makes sense considering she was married at 12.

2. Hatshepsut had one daughter with Thutmose II named Nefurere. This image is said to be one of Senenmut (the Queen’s advisor) and her daughter. What I can not find explanation of is why the daughter is presented with the traditional side pony tail of a male child. Another site I found states the statue is instead of Hatshepsut holding a male child. I’m not sure I give this site much credibility as it also makes other claims which are farfetched, but I am very curious to find out more about this.

3. Hatshepsut’s image was not defaced until many years after her death. The Egyptians believed if a pharaoh’s images were removed, they would be banished from the afterlife. If Thutmose III indeed held no animosity towards his stepmother, why this drastic measure just to clear up the geneaological records? And, if he was concerned over making sure his kingship was viewed as legitimate, wouldn’t he have had her images removed as soon as she died?

4. A theory I find plausible is the timing of Hatshepsut’s defacement coincides with the Exodus. This devastation of Egypt led by a man (Moses) whom Hatshepsut had raised in the palace would have caused great national outrage thereby explaining her images being removed all over Egypt. This could also have been a way the people would feel they could inflict punishment upon Hatshepsut for her participation.

My conclusion? Hatshepsut very well could have been Moses adopted mother. Or not. I believe there is so much information discovered that has never been viewed through a Biblical lens which could shed much light on this subject. I still have many questions over the information I have located. Obviously, this is another mystery of the Lord and something we do not have to have scientific proof of in order to continue on in our faith but I personally think it is healthy and exciting to exercise our ‘Wonder’ muscle.

Well those are my thoughts and questions on the subject. If any of you are Egyptologists and would like to educate me, wow, would I ever be so happy. I should tell you I did a REALLY nerdy thing after the documentary. I emailed Dr. Kara Cooney, the Egyptologist on the show, and asked her to send me some sources which would tell me why Moses couldn’t be Senenmut. She’s not a Christian the best I can tell but I would still love to have 5 minutes of picking her brilliant brain. Of course, I never heard back from her, but a girl can ask can’t she?

I’ll let this rest for now because, in my southern slang, I’m way too “eat up with it”. I have got SO much more important stuff to do than become obsessed with Queens who bury their guts in boxes – like hug my children and talk to my husband from time to time.

Ya’ll have a great Saturday!