Evidence for Jeush Son of Esau
      It is a very rare occasion when we find a historical record of a Biblical figure. And even more remarkable when we find one that lived nearly 4,000 years ago during the time of Isaac and Jacob. And yet, ancient records may in fact bear the name of a grandson of Issac. His name being Jeush. He was the son of Jacob's brother Esau. Jeush is mentioned in Genesis 36:5 and 36:14. In Genesis 36:18 we are told that he later became one of the leaders of his tribe.
 
       So where is Jeush mentioned in antiquity?
 
      Well, there is a very old Egyptian account known as the tale of Sinuhe. Sinuhe was an Egyptian soldier, a bowman to be specific, who served under pharaoh Amenemhat the first. He also served in battle under Amenemhat's son, Senusret.
Siinuhe Bowman
      After the sudden death of Amenemhat, the distressed SInuhe leaves Egypt abruptly without telling anyone, and he starts off on a journey northward. While stopping at the bitter lakes area, bordering the Sinai desert, he meets a chief of a tribe of nomads. This tribal leader befriends Sinuhe and encourages Sinuhe to travel along with his people on a journey northward.
      According to the hieroglyphic inscription shown below, after traveling across many foreign lands with this tribe, he departs from his friends. The tribal leader and his people take off on a far journey to Byblos, while Sinuhe heads off to nearby Qedem.
Tale of Sinuhe Papyrus Berlin 3022 - Line 28-29
      The inscription states: 'Traveling from foreign land to foreign land, I departed from the man because he decided to travel to Byblos. I came across a man going to Qedem. There I stayed for 1 1/2 years."  (Argubright's translation of the Sinuhe artifact based on Papyrus Berlin 3022, Lines 28-29) Fragment G, Zeile.)
      Qedem is likely the Biblical city of Qedemoth (Kedemoth), situated near a major trade route on the eastern side of the Jordan river known as the Kings Highway. And if he traveled the Kings Highway on his journey northward, he would have first traveled through the area of Mount Seir, the territory of the Biblical figure Esau and his sons. And this may have been his first contact with Esau's son Jeush, whom he mentions later in his account.
      After staying at Qedem for a year and a half, Sinuhe meets a man with an Amorite name called Ammi-enshi. This is interesting because the Bible states that Qedemoth, and the areas around it, were controlled by the Amorites.  
      Deuteronomy 2:24-26 states: "Rise, take your journey, and cross over the River Arnon. Look, I have given into your hand Sihon the Amorite, king of Heshbon, and his land.   . . . .  And I sent messengers from the Wilderness of Kedemoth to Sihon king of Heshbon . . .  Then Sihon and all his people came out against us to fight at Jahaz."
       This Amorite leader eventually gives his daughter`s hand in marriage to Sinuhe, and Sinuhe choses the best of this leader`s land called 'Yaa' to reside in. Now, there are two Biblical cities near Qedemoth with 'Yaa' incorporated into their names. They are Jahaz (yahatsah) and Jazer (yaa`zer), both of which were also in Amorite held territory. He may have resided in one of these areas.
       From that point onward, Sinuhe gives an account of his exploits in the land.  
      Many years later, after learning that Sinuhe was still alive and on hearing of his life in Canaan, pharaoh Senusret sends word to the aged Sinuhe that he would like a him to return to Egypt. There he could live out the rest of his years in peace and where he would be honored by Egypt with being buried in the royal tombs upon his death. Sinuhe agrees to the pharaoh`s offer and writes a letter in return to Senusret requesting that a few men, whom he met in Canaan, be allowed to accompany him back to Egypt. One of those men is named Chief Jeush, a likely mention of the Biblical figure.
      "The inscription reads: "May my Majesty command that there be brought Maki from Qedem (Qedemoth) and Chief Jeush, the Bedouin chief from the eastern desert, who leads over the dwelling places of the Keshu."  
      Now some might question, is this the same chief Jeush as mentioned in the Bible? Because the inscription says he was the chief of the Keshu, not the Edomites?  But one must remember, that at the early time of this writing, the Edomites were just a small tribe being established. No lands were known as the land of Edom by outsiders at this time.
      For example, when Joshua and the Hebrews enter the promised land and begin battling with the cities located in the land of Canaan, ancient records mention that the leaders of those cities sent messengers to Egypt for help in repelling the Hebrews. One such letter known as El-Amarna Letter 288 states: "The land of the king is lost; in its entirety it is taken from me, as far as the land of Seir . . . "  
       So as late as the time of Joshua, which comes nearly 500 years after the account of Sinuhe, the people of surrounding areas called Edom the land of Seir.
      Then you may ask, "Why does the Sinuhe inscription call Jeush, chief of Keshu, and not chief of Seir?"  And where was Keshu located?  
Now, we do know the Egyptians called Cush (Nubia) to their south by the name of Kesh.
      But that really wouldn't make sense in this inscription, being that Sinuhe is traveling north of Egypt's boundaries, not southward.
      One possibility is that this territory had some connection with the Hittites, whom the Egyptians called the KeshKesh. A shortened form being Kesh followed by the hieroglyphic chick symbol pronounced 'u' which can mean a district, or property. Possibly referring to a Hittite district or a tribe.
      Now this is quite interesting. Why? Well because one of the downfalls of Jeush's father Esau was that he married wives from the foreign nations who did not worship the God of his father Issac. One such wife was named Aholibamah, who was the daughter of a chief of the Hivites, also known as the Horites. They lived in the area around Mount Seir. According to the Bible she descended from Seir, her grandfather or ancestor. The very man for which Mount Seir was named after. And it was Aholibamah who bore Esau a son named Jeush. In other words, Jeush became one of the chiefs of Seir because of his bloodline.
       Jeush also had many of half-brothers whom he grew up with. They were the sons born from Esau's marriage to two other women. One was a Hittite woman named Adah, who bore Esau his firstborn son Eliphaz according to Genesis 36:15. And if you know anything about the story of Jacob and Esau, the firstborn son was supposed to inherit the birthright. And Esau would have made very sure Elipahz, his firstborn son, would hold a higher position as chief over Esau`s clans of Seir then would Jeush. So, for Sinuhe to describe Jeush as being a leader within a Hittite tribe is within reason since the Horites and the Hittites lived together in this region. They were kinfolk. Yet the Hittites were a more prominent people throughout the land of Canaan.
      Although the Hittite connection is a possibility, the best reference for this land being referred to as Kesh comes from the Bible itself.
       According to the Bible, Moses marries Zipporah the daughter of Jethro, a priest from Midian. Yet, in Numbers 12:1 it says she was a Cushite. Numbers 12:1:"Miriam and Aaron spoke against Moses because of the Cushite woman whom he had married, for he had married a Cushite woman."
       Now, these two statements appear to be contradictory. One says Moses wife was from Midian and another that she was a Cushite. Unless of course the land around Mount Hor and Midian were also known as Kesh (Cush). And guess what? According to Genesis 10:6, Noah's son Ham fathered a son named Cush, and all his sons dwelt in the land of Arabia bordering with the Midianites.
       The prophet Habakkuk also ties Edom, Cush and Midian together saying "God came from Teman (a city in Edom), The Holy One from Mount Paran (in Sinai.) Selah His glory covered the heavens, And the earth was full of His praise. . . I saw the tents of Cushan in affliction: and the curtains of the land of Midian did tremble." Habakkuk 3:3-7
      So, it appears that Cushan (phonetically equivalent with Kesh) has an association with Edom and Midianite areas.
      Now, what is even more interesting is that one possible translation of the Sinuhe hieroglyphic inscription also makes mention that Jeush was chief over those who dwelt in the rocks. This is a description of the Edomites as described by the prophet Obadiah. He states this:
      "The vision of Obadiah. Thus saith the Lord GOD concerning Edom; . . . thou art greatly despised. The pride of thine heart hath deceived thee, thou that dwellest in the clefts of the rock, whose habitation is high; that saith in his heart, Who shall bring me down to the ground? Though thou exalt thyself as the eagle, and though thou set thy nest among the stars, thence will I bring thee down, saith the LORD. . . And thy mighty men, O Teman, shall be dismayed, to the end that every one of the mount of Esau may be cut off by slaughter." Obadiah 1:1-9
Mountains of Edom
The rock landscape of Edom
      Below is one translation of the Sinuhe account mentioning Jeush was a leader of a Kesh people who dwelt among the rocks.
      "Chief Jeush, the Bedouin ruler from the eastern desert, who leads over the dwelling places of the Kesh district. The far-off land of rock territory (or Quarry district) belonging to this foreigner who sits on the border of the Two Lands with the foreigners of the northern lands." (Argubright's translation of the Sinuhe artifact based on Papyrus Berlin 3022, Fragment G, Zeile 219-220. Literal Hieroglyphic reading shown below.)
Tale of Sinuhe Papyrus Berlin 3022 - Line 219-220
      (Note; Some translations combine the hieroglyphic symbols 'men' and 'u' together on the second line into 'Menu' and claim it refers not to a rock district of Jeush, but to a foreign leader named Menu. The word 'menu' can also mean 'abiding', or it can refer to a 'fortress.'
       Edom was also rich in copper and the stone turquoise, a stone prized by the Egyptians.  It is therefore possible that 'men' may refer to turquoise which is typically found in areas of copper deposits and sandstone, like the geography of Edom. We also know that later in history the Egyptians had copper mining operations in Southern Edom at Timna because of the abundance of copper there.)  
      The artifact also states that this territory was located on the boundary of the 'two lands', a reference to Egypt. And the boundary of Egypt was with the 'Fenkhu', the name by which the Egyptians called their general enemies to their north. Much later in history pharaoh Shishak had a list of cities of the Fenkhu that he had defeated. On the list are over 40 cities mentioned in the Bible and many are located in Israel's heartland. And Edom was in fact on Canaan's southern border.  
      We also know, that according to Genesis 15: 18, Egypt's north eastern border was located at the river or wadi of Egypt, and the Egyptians controlled the Sinai Peninsula. This means Edom was on the very edge of Egypt`s north eastern border, just like the inscription says.  
      Putting all this evidence together, it gives ample credibility for this being a mention of Jeush, the son of Esau, who was living in the area of Edom, just like the Bible says.
       He also fits the right time frame to make him a candidate for the Biblical figure.
       Why?
      Well, Jeush would have been the cousin of Joseph, in other words he was Joseph's contemporary. And as we have shown from our previous article on Joseph, we detailed the Biblical timeline that favored "Senusret the First" as being the likely candidate as pharaoh for when the seven years of famine occurred. This is based on multiple famine accounts in Egyptian records attributed to his reign. And the story of Sinuhe begins the very year Senusret becomes pharaoh. (See our Joseph article in Volume 4 of our series.)
       So, the proper location and time fame in which Jeush lived matches precisely with the Bible.
Lessons to be learned from Jeush and Sinuhe:
       Unfortunately, Jeush must have become enamored with Sinuhe as a powerful leader and one who held a great amount of military strength. And he also brought into the lies Sinuhe was speaking, that the Pharaoh of Egypt, whom he served, was like a God. So Jeush pledged his allegiance to Sinuhe and pharaoh, rather than to the God of his grandfather Jacob.  
      God would eventually send many prophets to the land of Israel warning of this behavior. Rebuking men for putting their trust in a nation`s military might and in leaders, rather than the one true God.  
      Isaiah the prophet would one day give a warning concerning these things. "Lo, thou trustest in the staff of this broken reed, on Egypt; whereon if a man lean, it will go into his hand, and pierce it: so is Pharaoh king of Egypt to all that trust in him." Isaiah 36:6
       So, do not be surprised when your political leaders or parties whom you adore disappoint you. It's because you have placed your trust in mere mortal men instead of the One True and Living God.  
       Many of the Christian citizens of America during the Revolutionary War had a more proper perspective as compared to most people today. They rejected the idea of an earthly leader or a worldwide empire with a great military might, such as Britain at the time, to rule over them. They came up with the well-known saying that reverberated throughout the colonies. "We have no King, but King Jesus."      
       Is your King Jesus? Or are you trusting in someone or something else?
      The other tragedy of this story is that of the Egyptian, Sinuhe. Although he lived a very successful life as far as this world is concerned, he placed his final hope in the false religious system of Egypt. You see the Egyptians, like most men, inherently believed in an afterlife. A place where their spirit departs after their body perishes.  
      But the problem was, the Egyptian religious system never exposed Sinuhe to the truth of how to receive eternal life. They never trusted in the one true God who created them, but they trusted in a multitude of false gods and in their religious practices and cultic priests.
      When Sinuhe returned to Egypt, his account tells us that that pharaoh constructed a great pyramid tomb for him. Mortuary priest were then given to him to perform all sorts of religious ceremonies and pomp that underpinned their cult, and to indoctrinate Sinuhe into the false religious system of Egypt.            
       The same is true today. There are many religious voices out there trying to convince you what comes after death and what you must do to make that life a pleasant one. The Hindus teach you will be reincarnated, others like the Mormons teach that you can become a god yourself. Some people, like Sinuhe, buy into these false concepts hook line and sinker. While others are left to ponder for themselves what the afterlife will be like.
      The good news is that the Bible tells us exactly what the afterlife will be like and how it will be either a heavenly one or a hellish one for you when your physical body dies.
      The Bible describes the hellish one this way."But the cowardly, unbelieving, abominable, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death" (Rev. 21:8).
      The Bible describes the heavenly one this way. "And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, "Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away." (Rev 21:3)
      The Bible says some will go to everlasting heaven, some to everlasting hell.
      "And many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt."  (Dan 12:2)
       What did Jesus say about entering the kingdom of God?
     "The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand. Repent and believe in the gospel." (Mark 1:15)
      How do you repent?
      'Thus says the Lord GOD: "Repent, turn away from your idols, and turn your faces away from all your abominations. (Ezekiel 14:6)
       And what is the Gospel you must believe?
      " I declare to you the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received and in which you stand, by which also you are saved, if you hold fast that word which I preached to you unless you believed in vain. For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures." (1 Cor 15:1-4)
Photo Links to Sinuhe Artifact
Papyrus 3020 Fragment G
Lines 220-234
Mentioning Jeush
Sources:
 
The Holy Bible, Author: The Lord God - Scripture taken from the King James Version unless noted.
 
Artwork: 'Egyptian Archer" from ' Artistide Maillol' 1945 - Author: Andrew C. Ritchie, Publisher: Golden Eagle Press
 
Photo: 'Mountains of Edomites' from Adventures in Arabia (1927)
Author: Seabrook, W. B. - Publisher: Blue Ribbons Books
 
Ancient Near Eastern Texts Relating to the Old Testament, ISBN 0-691-03503-2 Editor: James Pritchard  
pg. 18-22 The Story of Sinuhe.
 
Notes on the Story of Sinuhe, Librairie Honoré Champion, Paris, 1916. Author: Alan H. Gardiner
 
Transliteration and translation for "Sinuhe", following the transcription of Koch (1990), version R
 
Study Guide for the Story of Sinuhe -This presentation of the Middle Egyptian Story of Sinuhe is a simple reorganization of material created by Jon J. Hirst, published at Jenny Carrington's web site. Transliteration after Roland Koch, Die Erzahlung des Sinuhe, Bibliotheca Aegyptiaca 17, Brussels 1990, using the two principal sources (Berlin 3022 for the bulk of the text, and Berlin 10499, for the first section, missing in 3022)
 
The life story of Sinuhe - With Papyrus Fragments - Hieroglyphic graphics and translation.  
 
Ostrakon Clère - Publication: Jean-Jaques CLÈRE: "Three new Ostraca of the Story of Sinuhe - Ostracon OCl" , in: JEA 25 (1939), 18, Plate IV.  Dates from the New Kingdom (second half of the 19th Dynasty) and probably comes from Deir el-Medina. The shard shows eight lines on the front and six lines on the back of hieratic script written in black ink and dotted in red, a passage parallel to Berlin 3022, lines 26-43.
 
An Ancient Egyptian Hieroglyphic Dictionary' by Sir E.A. Wallis Budge (Keeper of the Egyptian and Assyrian Antiquities in the British Museum) published by John Murray, Albemarle Street, London. 1920 used for translating below:
 
Hieroglyphics for: "'Traveling from foreign land to foreign land, I departed from the man because he decided to travel to Byblos. I came across a man from Qedem."
pg. 533 Khast = foreign land, pg. 231 fekh = leave someone or something, pg. 414 er = to, towards, up to, pg. 787 Kapni = Byblos. pg.509 hesi - to encroach upon, to come onto, pg.1045 Qetem = Qedem, country or land in the East.
 
Hieroglyphics for: "chief Jeush the Bedouin chief from the eastern desert who leads over the dwelling places of the Kesh district, the foreign land of the rock territory belonging to this foreign man who sits on the border of the Two Lands with the foreigners to the north."  
pg. 554 khenti = chief leader, pg. lix hieroglyph alphabet aaus = jeush pg.111 Aam = Asiatic, nomad of the eastern desert or pg. 111 Aamu = shepherd, nomad, herdsman. pg. cvi number 26 symbol = in front of anything.  pg. cxxvii number 3, 4 p or pa = house, a dwelling.  pg. 248 Kesh = Nubia, (pg. 248 KeshKesh = Hittite Country.) pg., cxxxiv number 13 u = number 100. pg.144 u(?),uu(?) = district, estate, domain, pg. cxxv number 42 symbol = foreign land, pg. 298  men = kind of stone. pg.144 u(?),uu(?) = district, estate, domain. pg.33 s[a] = man with bent staff = foreign. pg/.264 m = from. pg. cxxv number 40 = two lands. pg. cxxvi number 52 = two boundary limits. pg.260 fenkhu = foreigners
 
Dictionary of Middle Egyptian - in Gardiner Classification Order - Paul Dickson - December 1, 2006.  This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution- Non-Commercial Share Alike 2.5 License. Used for partial translating below:
 
Dictionary of Middle Egyptian - in Gardiner Classification Order - Paul Dickson
December 1, 2006. This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Non-Commercial Share Alike 2.5 License. Used for partial translating below:
Hieroglyphics for: "Chief Jeush the Bedouin chief from the eastern desert who leads over the dwelling places of the Kesh district, the foreign land of the rock territory belonging to this foreign man who sits on the border of the Two Lands with the foreigners to the north."  
pg. 275 [xnty] (khenti) - foremost, pre-eminent in, principal, protruding {W18 N35 X1)
pg.165 [aAm] Asiatic {O29 D36 G17 T14
pg. 275 [xnty] (khenti) -foremost, pre-eminent in, principal, protruding {W18 N35 X1)            
pg. 269 [kAS] (locality) Kush {V31 N37 N25}
pg.84 [w] property {G43}
pg.288 [mnw] type of stone, quartz ? {Y5 N35 W24 \ O39} pg.84 [w] property {G43}
pg.131 [tAwy] (locality) the Two Lands, Egypt {N16 N16}
 
A Concise Dictionary of Middle Egyptian
by Raymond O. Faulkner, D.LIT., F.S.A  Lecturer in Ancient Egyptian in University College, London Modenized by Boris Jegoroviæ
pg.133 mnw - kind of stone, mineral quarry and pg.133 mnnw - fortress.
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