by later scholars. 44–46 There is therefore no timeline difficulty
posed by the Ebla tablets for an early date for Sodom.
This highlights the importance of considering the divergence of the biblical and secular timelines in comparing the
order of historical events and people. If we do not do this,
we can arrive at incorrect conclusions.
The destruction of the land of Sodom would have
taken place around 3000 BC or earlier (secular), showing a
divergence of at least 1, 100 years between the biblical and
secular timelines at this time. Among other things, this
affects the culture of Sodom’s era, who the united kings
of Mesopotamia were, and the history of Jericho relative
to the land of Sodom. Above all, it is a significant issue
in dating any archaeological remains that are claimed to
be Sodom. We have also seen why the level of the Dead
Sea enters into this discussion, and why Tall el-Hammam
cannot be Sodom.
Support for Sodom’s destruction
near the end of the Early ;ron;e ;ge I;47
The argument for this date of Sodom’s destruction is
based on where we put Abraham in time. Abraham’s place
hinges on recognizing Joseph as the famous Imhotep of
Egyptian history. Imhotep was vizier to Djoser, whose
reign began about 2670 BC. 48 If that is when Joseph lived
on the secular timeline, this moves his great-grandfather
Abraham back before that by a considerable period of time.
Some brief comparisons of Joseph and Imhotep49
• Joseph was promoted to vizier by pharaoh (Genesis
41: 40–44); Imhotep was vizier for the third-dynasty
pharaoh Djoser. 50
• Their names are similar. ;Joseph; sounds like ;Hotep;.
It is most likely that the Egyptians took Joseph;s Hebrew
name and phonetically pronounced it in Egyptian.
• A severe seven-year famine was associated with both
Joseph (Genesis 41–47) and Imhotep (famine stela
inscription at Elephantine51), who both assisted the
pharaoh in coping with it.
• Both were famous for great wisdom. The pharaoh called
Joseph discreet and wise (Genesis 41: 39). Imhotep was
considered greatest of all in genius. 52
• Both were seers. Joseph predicted the future seven
years of plenty and the future seven years of famine
(Genesis 41: 25–32). Imhotep was a highly regarded seer. 53
Conclusion: The probability that Joseph and Imhotep
were the same person is very high, given the number of
Why Joseph fits in the third dynasty
• The Saqqara pyramid was built by Djoser in the third
dynasty. Pharaoh became wealthy at this time from grain
sold during the famine, and from grain collected as taxes,
a system that Joseph set up (Genesis 47: 14, 26). This is
how Djoser could afford this historically unprecedented
• Pharaoh could conscript the large amount of manpower
needed for the Saqqara pyramid because at the end of the
seven-year famine pharaoh owned all the people. Joseph
arranged this by supplying the people with grain to survive
(Genesis 47: 13–26).
• Manetho started a new dynasty with Djoser because of
major events in his time, such as revolutionary changes in
architecture and society. We would argue that Joseph/
Imhotep was responsible for these changes.
• The lifespan of Joseph was 110 years (Genesis 50: 26). It
is hardly coincidental that this same age was considered
ideal in Egypt right back to very early times. 54 We might
expect that this was because the famous Imhotep of the
third dynasty had lived this long.
Placing Abraham and the date of Sodom’s destruction on
the secular timeline
We first need to find a crossover date for Joseph and
Imhotep. For that, we will calculate when construction of
the Saqqara pyramid by Djoser probably began, because
this project is known to have been overseen by Imhotep. 55
If we allow for a few years of this pharaoh’s reign before
Joseph was promoted, plus 14 years for the seven years each
of plenty and famine, this would take us perhaps 20 years
into the pharaoh’s reign before the beginning of construction
of this pyramid. (We are making an assumption on this,
because it was at the end of the famine period that the people
were literally owned by the pharaoh, and were therefore
available to be conscripted to work for him. However,
construction could have begun earlier.) Djoser began
his reign in about 2670 BC (secular time) as noted above,
making the start of the Saqqara pyramid around 2650 BC.
This is the date that we can use for placing Imhotep and
Joseph together on the secular timeline.
Joseph was made vizier by the pharaoh in 1715, 56 182
years after Sodom’s destruction in 1897 (which was one year
before Isaac’s birth). 57 If we count 20 years to the beginning
of the Saqqara pyramid, this makes a round figure of about
200 years back to Sodom’s destruction/Abraham. This would
appear to land Abraham at 2850 BC (secular time). But this
is in the middle of the murky period of the first and second