In his Ages in Chaos (1953), Velikovsky argued that the Hyksos, who conquered and ruled Egypt for several generations prior to the rise of the Eighteenth Dynasty, were the same people as the Amalekites, whom the Bible names as inveterate enemies of the Israelites. Velikovsky further claimed that the war of liberation waged by the Egyptians against the Hyksos was contemporary with the war waged by the Israelites under King Saul against the Amalekites. The Amalekite king Agog, whom Saul captured and set free, was one and the same as the Hyksos ruler Apopi, whose final defeat signaled Egypt's independence. (Velikovsky also stressed that in the old Phoenician/Hebrew alphabet the letters 'p' and 'g' are almost indistinguishable).
Velikovsky's identification of the Amalekites with the Hyksos was dependent upon his wider proposal to bring Egypt's Eighteenth Dynasty down the timescale by five centuries. If that is done, then Egypt's war with the Hyksos and Israel's war with the Amalekites become contemporary, and the Hysos/Amalekite equation becomes almost inevitable.
Although I agree with Gunnar Heinsohn in equating the Hyksos with the Old Assyrians (or Akkadians), I also accept the Amalekites as another alter-ego of the same people. But if this is the case, where did the Israelites get the name Amalekite, and where can we find mention of the Assyrian conquest of Syria/Palestine in the Old Testament?
The first thing to note is that the name Amalekite is found only in the Bible. One other source, the Arab historians, do mention them, but it has to be remembered that the Arabs were heavily under the influence of the Bible; so much so that they can scarcely be considered an independent source. Nonetheless, it is of interest to note that the Arab genealogies name the Amalekites as Assyrians and Egyptian pharaohs. (See eg. Ali ibn al-Athir, The Complete History, p. 67) This is significant, since in the reconstruction of history proposed here, the Hyksos were an Assyrian dynasty that ruled Egypt. The name Amalek may well be a pejorative one implying “people of Moloch”, Moloch being the Canaanite god condemned in the Bible for requiring child sacrifice. Moloch derives from the Hebrew/Phoenician melek, 'king' and is cognate with the Akkadian malku. Melek/Malku formed a component part of several of the gods of Syria and Mesopotamia. One thing is certain: outside of the Bible there is no record of any nation going by the name “Amalek”, so it would seem certain that this was a name given to them by the Bible authors. This then begs the question: By what name did the Amalekites know themselves, or, what Malku or god did they worship?
Throughout the Book of Judges and the Book of Samuel the Amalekites are presented as a mighty power, as first among the nations. A sorcerer's wish for Israel says, “and his king shall be higher than Agog [the Amalekite] and his kingdom shall be exalted.” From the time of the Exodus until the reign of King David we hear no mention of Egypt or the Egyptians, with one exception: In the Book of Samuel we are told how an Egyptian slave of an Amalekite defected to the Israelites. This by itself would suggest that the Amalekites controlled Egypt.
The normal Egyptian word for the Hyksos was Amu, a name which Velikovsky associated with 'Amalekite'. The Amalekites may have been the Amu, but it is unlikely that the two words are connected. The Egyptians told how the Amu retreated to their capital Avaris, in the north-eastern quarter of the Nile Delta, and how, after a long siege, some of them escaped eastwards to Sharuhen – presumably somewhere in southern Palestine. These events took place during the reigns of the Egyptian princes Kamose and Ahmose, whilst the Hyksos pharaoh at the time was Apopi (apparently the second ruler of that name, though this is now denied by some Egyptologists). It is at this point that Egyptian history meets Israelite, according to Velikovsky. One description of the siege of Avaris was found on the wall of a tomb of an Egyptian officer involved in the action. Naturally, he extols his own valor, yet he also gives credit to an unnamed and apparently foreign ally, who is referred to as “One”. In the end, the intervention of this ally is decisive, for we hear that, “One captured Avaris.” Now it was just at this time, according to Velikovsky, that the war between the Israelites under Saul and the Amalekite King Agog reached its climax. The Bible tells us that Saul “captured the city of Amalek” along with its ruler Agog. Instead of killing the latter, however, as was expected, he spared his life and let him go. The result was that the war was prolonged and, in Velikovsky's reconstruction, the Amalekites/Hyksos retreated to Sharuhen in the Negev region, where another siege took place. Only then was Amalekite/Hyksos power broken. For Velikovsky, then, the “One” who assisted the Egyptians against Apopi the Hyksos was King Saul.
Velikovsky's surmise may be correct, but there is another possibility. Since the Hyksos/Amalekites were one and the same as the Akkadians/Old Assyrians, the war to overthrow them involved not just Egyptians and Israelites, but also the Mitanni – the Medes. From the Amarna Letters, written late in the Eighteenth Dynasty, we find officials with Mitannian names in positions of power throughout Syria and Palestine. These persons – one of whom bears the well-known Persian name Bardiya – are designated as part of the mariyanna, the chivalric class of Mitannian society. Clearly then Mitannian forces had been active against the Hyksos/Old Assyrians throughout Syria/Palestine and probably as far as the border of Egypt. Could it be that the “One” who assisted the Egyptians at the siege of Avaris was a Mitannian general?
This is a distinct possibility, though for the present it must remain speculative. The Bible of course makes no mention of Mitannian/Mede (or Egyptian) help against the Amalekites, but this presents no real problem. We have seen the Egyptians just as reluctant – in a contemporary record – to credit the assistance of foreigners in the war against the Hyksos.
In the reconstruction of history proposed here, the Assyrian/Hyksos/Amalekite conquest of Syria/Palestine and Egypt would have occurred at the start of the Sixth Dynasty – contemporary with the rise of the Akkadian Empire. Pepi I and II of the Sixth Dynasty were the same persons as Apopi I and II of the Hyksos. In terms of biblical history, this would have occurred shortly after the Israelite Conquest of Canaan – ie. shortly after the time of Joshua. And in fact the Bible clearly states that immediately after the death of Joshua the whole of Canaan was made subject to a great conqueror from Mesopotamia:
“The people of Israel did what was evil in the sight of the Lord, forgetting the Lord their God, and serving the Baals and the Asheroths. Therefore the anger of the Lord was kindled against Israel, and he sold them into the hand of Cushan Rishathaim king of Mesopotamia; and the people of Israel served Cushan Rishathaim eight years.” (Judges 3: 7-8)
Josephus the Jewish historian actually calls Cushan Rishathaim “king of Assyria.” It is just at this time too that chariot warfare, which we associate with the Akkadians/Assyrians (and with the Hyksos), makes its first appearance in the Bible. (The one and only earlier mention of chariots, at the time of the Exodus, is clearly an anachronism). We are told that shortly after the Mesopotamian conquest, the Israelites were oppressed by King Jabin of Hazor in northern Canaan. Jabin, it was said, had “nine hundred chariots of iron.” From this time onwards chariots are a frequent and decisive feature of warfare in the Bible.
We are told that after eight years Othniel the Judge freed Israel from the power of Cushan Rishathaim. Yet in our reckoning the Assyrian (Hyksos) kings remained more or less in control of Syria/Palestine for almost a century. How is their apparent absence to be explained?
The answer, of course, is that the “Amalekites” were the people of Cushan Rishathaim – who can only have been Sargon I of Akkad. Throughout the period of the Judges, the Israelites, we are told, were “oppressed” by this nation – as well as by their allies the Philistines. The latter people were not natives of Canaan: They were a race of overseas immigrants who settled on the coastlands of Canaan and battled for control of the uplands. The Scriptures inform us that their original homeland was the island of Caphtor and hint very strongly that the conquest of central Canaan by Joshua coincided with the arrival of the Philistines on the coastal regions. Certainly they are not mentioned until after Joshua's death. Now Caphtor is usually identified as Crete, so that the Philistines are popularly viewed as a race of Aegean immigrants. However, the great flood of immigration to the Canaanite coastlands during the Palestinian Middle Bronze 2 (ie. the Hyksos epoch) comes from Cyprus, and for this reason the present writer identifies the Philistines as Cypriots. Nevertheless, this seafaring nation did have close relations with the Minoan Cretans, as shall be seen presently.
Aside from the fact that the Philistines were great exponents of the chariot, two other considerations in particular make us suspect that they became a client nations of the Assyrians/Hyksos. Firtstly, Sargon I mentioned Kapturu as one of his imperial domains. Kapturu can only be Caphtor, the Philistine homeland, and since a seaborne invasion by the non-maritime Assyrians seems improbable, we can only suspect that the people of Kapturu/Caphtor voluntarily forged an alliance with the Assyrians.
Secondly, the Hyksos kings of Egypt adopted the twin titles "Rulers of the Nations" and "Lords of the Sea" (See Petrie, The Making of Egypt, p. 143). The latter claim always seemed a strange one to make until a scarab of the Hyksos king Khyan was found at Knossos in Crete. In addition to this, scholars began to note that many of the Hyksos scarabs - large numbers of which occur in the Philistine cities of Palestine - bear typically Minoan-style spiral motifs. So pervasive was the Minoan influence upon the Hyksos in Palestine that some scholars even began to suggest a Cretan origin for the dynasty - a suggestion which became even more believable after the discovery of substantial Minoan remains, including an apparently Minoan palace, complete with frescoes, in the Hyksos capital Avaris. Yet the Asiatic, indeed Mesopotamian, origin of the Hyksos is beyond question, so that the Minoan influence can only indicate a strong alliance.
It was the Philistines, then, allies of the Amalekites/Assyrians/Hyksos, who extracted tribute from the twelve tribes of Israel and who crushed the periodic rebellions of these tribes during the hundred years or so of the Judges epoch.
Before leaving this topic there is another point that needs to be stressed: In the Book of Exodus a tribal group called "Amalekites" is said to have attacked the Israelites in the land of Midian, shortly after the crossing of the Red Sea. In the reconstruction proposed here, this event would have occurred during the reign of Sneferu, at the start of the Fourth Dynasty, and these "Amalekites" cannot possibly be the same people which later oppressed the Israelites in Canaan. It cannot be forgotten that "Amalekite" is a term used only in the Bible and is almost certainly a pejorative one. The "Amalekites" who attacked the Israelites in Midian were evidently an Arabian people uprooted by the recent catastrophe, who may have been - like the Israelites themselves - wandering in search of a new home.