Narmer a Contemporary of Patriarch Abraham


 Damien F. Mackey




Thanks to the important revision of Dr. John Osgood, in “The Times of Abraham”, the Sothically mis-dated monarch, Narmer (c. 3100 BC, though conventional dates vary) can now be established archaeologically during the lifetime of Abraham (c. 1870 BC).





Whilst it is a big thing (many would say, foolish) to suggest that the conventional Egyptian chronology can be out of kilter with real history by more than a millennium, such a claim would not cause great surprise amongst such revisionist historians who are aware of the vastly over-inflated results of the Sothic dating method.

See e.g. my:

The Fall of the Sothic Theory: Egyptian Chronology Revisited

And, in the case of Narmer, Dr. Osgood has been able to establish with some precision how this ruler’s stratigraphical level (Stratum IV at Arad, see below) sits in relation to the relevant Genesis biblical narrative.

Osgood shows, in his masterful aligning of real archaeological history against Genesis 14, that the Syro-Palestinian invasion of the coalition of four Mesopotamian kings in c. 1870 BC,

  1. Amraphel, king of Shinar
  2. Arioch, king of Ellasar
  3. Chedorlaomer, king of Elam
  4. Tidal, king of Goiim (Genesis 14:1)

saw the end of the Ghassul IV civilisation, which he believes was “Amorite”. He explains:

  1. The Mesopotamian complex of Chedor Laomer

Ghassul IV corresponds in Mesopotamia to the period known as the Jemdat-Nasr/ Uruk period, otherwise called Protoliterate (because it was during this period that the archaeologists found the first evidence of early writing). Ghassul IV also corresponds to the last Chalcolithic period of Egypt, the Gerzean or pre-Dynastic period (see Figure 7). ….

Figure 7. Correlation of national archaeological

Then a bit further on, Osgood, whilst recapitulating the conclusions that he has reached so far, includes in this archaeological picture the situation of Narmer and Egypt:

The Philistine Question


We have placed the end of the Chalcolithic of the Negev, En-gedi, Trans Jordan and Taleilat Ghassul at approximately 1870 B.C., being approximately at Abraham’s 80th year. Early Bronze I Palestine (EB I) would follow this, significantly for our discussions. Stratum V therefore at early Arad (Chalcolithic) ends at 1870 B.C., and the next stratum, Stratum IV (EB I), would begin after this.

Stratum IV begins therefore some time after 1870 B.C.. This is a new culture significantly different from Stratum V.112

Belonging to Stratum IV, Amiram found a sherd with the name of Narmer (First Dynasty of Egypt),10, 13 and she dates Stratum IV to the early part of the Egyptian Dynasty I and the later part of Canaan EB I. Amiram feels forced to conclude a chronological gap between Stratum V (Chalcolithic) at Arad and Stratum IV EB I at Arad.12:116 However, this is based on the assumption of time periods on the accepted scale of Canaan’s history, long time periods which are here rejected.

The chronological conclusion is strong that Abraham’s life-time corresponds to the Chalcolithic in Egypt, through at least a portion of Dynasty I of Egypt, which equals Ghassul IV through to EB I in Palestine. The possibilites for the Egyptian king of the Abrahamic narrative are therefore:-

  1. A late northern Chalcolithic king of Egypt, or
  2. Menes or Narmer, be they separate or the same king (Genesis 12:10-20).

Of these, the chronological scheme would favour a late Chalcolithic (Gerzean) king of northern Egypt, just before the unification under Menes.

[End of quotes]

Was Narmer, however, an Egyptian pharaoh, or was he actually one of the Mesopotamian invaders?

Narmer: Egyptian or Mesopotamian?


I would like to propose that Narmer was the similarly named Naram,

that is, the world-conquering Naram-Sin of Akkad,

who claimed to have conquered Egypt (“Magan”) and Ethiopia (“Meluhha”).


There appear to have been several powerful forces in the land at the time of Abra[ha]m: namely,

“Pharaoh [of Egypt]” (12:15);

“Amraphel king of Shinar” (14:1); and

“Abimelech king of Gerar” (20:2).

Could any one of these have been Narmer?

To begin with, I have already – {based upon an analysis of the structure of Genesis} – shortened this list by identifying “Pharaoh” as one with “Abimelech”.

See my:

‘Toledoth’ [Toledôt] Explains Abram’s Pharaoh

I then took this a stage further by suggesting, against the common view, that Abraham’s Abimelech was the same ruler as was his son Isaac’s Abimelech. See my:

Pharaoh of Abraham and Isaac

To qualify for this double honour, my composite biblical ruler (Pharaoh-Abimelech) must have reigned for more than half a century – a phenomenon that I thought ought greatly to facilitate an identification of him in early Egyptian dynastic history.

Juggling with all of this, I wrote in the above article:

Some consider this Narmer to have been the father of Egypt’s first pharaoh, Menes, whom some equate in turn with pharaoh Hor-Aha (“Horus the Fighter”). It is thought that Hor’s nomen, Min, might have given rise to the classical name Menes.

Now, I fully accept Emmet Sweeney’s strong argument for a close convergence in time of Abraham and Menes (http://www.emm​​rticle-director​y/item/70-abr). Most importantly, according to Manetho and Africanus, Hor (Menes) ruled for more than 60 years ( pharaoh/dynasties/dyn01/01menes.h).


My tentative proposal, therefore, is that Abram came to Egypt at the approximate time of Narmer and right near the beginning of the long reign of Hor (Menes), who in his youthfulness had fancied Sarai. However, by the end of his long reign, at the time when Isaac had married Rebekah, the pharaoh (as Abimelech) no longer sought personal involvement with the young woman, but rather commented (Genesis 26:10): ‘What if one of the men had taken Rebekah for himself?’

[End of quote]

In dynastic terms, my preference for Pharaoh (= Abimelech) would be as the long-reigning Hor-Aha, who was possibly also the legendary Menes.

As for Narmer himself, my tentative view is that he was not an Egyptian (or Philistine) ruler at all, but instead a powerful Mesopotamian king, with at least strong connections to the coalition of four kings – he possibly even being the biblical “Amraphel king of Shinar”. Historically, though, I would like to propose that Narmer was the similarly named Naram, that is, the world-conquering Naram-Sin of Akkad, who claimed to have conquered Egypt (“Magan”) and Ethiopia (“Meluhha”).

Now, though historians are reluctant to concede that “Magan” and “Meluhha” could possibly, in the case of Naram-Sin, indicate Egypt and Ethiopia – as they most definitely do in later Assyrian texts – Dr. W. F. Albright is emphatic that Naram-Sin had conquered Egypt, and that the “Manium” whom Naram-Sin boasts he had vanquished was in fact Menes himself (“Menes and Naram-Sin”, JEA, Vol. 6, No. 2, Apr., 1920, pp. 89-98).

This proposed historical alignment of the millennium separated (conventionally speaking) Menes (c. 3100 BC) and Naram-Sin (c. 2200 BC) – which could turn out to be a huge historical correspondence – will be considered in more detail in Part Two.


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