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Did the Israelites build the pyramids of Egypt?

Byline: Jan. 8th, 2010 — 4:00 PM

Josephus credits the Israelites with the building of the great pyramids of Egypt.  This belief is often reflected in the artwork of many of the Passover Haggada pictures:

“. . . .for they enjoined them to cut a great number of channels for the river, and to build walls for their cities and ramparts, that they might restrain the river, and hinder its waters from stagnating, upon its running over its own banks: they set them also to build pyramids, and by all this wore them out; and forced them to learn all sorts of mechanical arts, and to accustom themselves to hard labor. And four hundred years did they spend under these afflictions; for they strove one against the other which should get the mastery, the Egyptians desiring to destroy the Israelites by these labors, and the Israelites desiring to hold out to the end under them” (Antiquities, Book II, Chapter 9).

Contrary to Josephus, the Pyramid Age of Egypt was really built nearly at least 500 years before Abraham! The oldest pyramids date back to 3rd and 4th Dynasty. The apex of pyramid building was reached at the beginning of the fourth dynasty, the step pyramid, built by King Djoser (c. 2660 BCE.), is the earliest large stone building known to man.  The Great Pyramid at Giza, the work of Djoser’s  son Cheops (2600 BCE). Certainly by the time of the New Kingdom started, pyramids were no longer being constructed. The Torah makes it clear that the Israelites only built the storage cities, but nowhere is there any reference to the Israelites having built a single pyramid.



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