**

Amen, a.k.a. Amun and the Jewish God

       

The ancient Israelites who were part of the Canaanite Hyksos invaders of Egypt took many ideas from ancient Egypt when they along with the Hyksos community were expelled from Egypt after 200 years of Hyksos rulership. This expulsion was recast as the Exodus Story which covered up the actual humiliation of Israelites. Israelite priests of Judah when concocting their myths of origin borrowed heavily from ancient Egypt's religion. By the time period the Torah/Tanakh stories were written, 500 to 300 BC, Egyptian rulers and priesthoods had succumbed to Alexander's conquest and the Greek Ptolemies were installed. Jewish writers felt free to retell the by then 1000 year old story of how they left Egypt. Ahkenaton's monotheistic rebellion was recast by these ancient Hebrews as Moses' Sinai Covenant wherein the Canaanite pantheon's God Most High, EL Elyon, was subsumed into Yahweh, EL's son. EL's consort, Asherah, was given the boot along with all the rest of the Canaanite pantheon. And it worked because unlike Ahkenaton's Egypt there were no Canaanite priesthoods left to reestablish Canaanite religion after their defeat at the hands of Egyptian armies.

Ancient Jewish authors of the Torah/Tanakh remade many pagan deities into "Hebrews" and the Hebrew God of Israel character was borrowed from Egypt's "hidden god", Amun, cognates Amen as Amen-Ra, the hidden god with the Sun's appearance. But look at the way Egyptians thought of Amen and match it with YHWH/EL.

"[Amun] who comes at the voice of the poor in distress, who gives breath to him who is wretched..You are Amun, the Lord of the silent, who comes at the voice of the poor; when I call to you in my distress You come and rescue me...Though the servant was disposed to do evil, the Lord is disposed to forgive. The Lord of Thebes spends not a whole day in anger; His wrath passes in a moment; none remains. His breath comes back to us in mercy..May your ka be kind; may you forgive; It shall not happen again."--from Wikipedia

"EL stands in the Divine Assembly. He judges among the gods. "How long will you judge unjustly, and show partiality to the wicked? Defend the poor and fatherless; Do justice to the afflicted and needy. Deliver the poor and needy; Free them from the hand of the wicked."--Psalm 82:1-4

"And he passed in front of Moses, proclaiming, "The LORD, the LORD, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness."--Exodus 34:6

Amen was effectively neutralized and made an afterthought of Hebrew prayer. This was the Jewish way--capturing pagan deities and recasting their stories to support the Jewish theology and Jewish "history".

 

Amun and Amun-Re

"Amun-Re grew so important spiritually and politically by the time of the New Kingdom that Egypt became something of a Theocracy. At the apex of his worship, Egyptian religion approached monotheism. The other gods became mere symbols of his power, or manifestations of Amun-Re. In essence, he became the one and only supreme deity.

In the middle of the 16th Dynasty, with the expulsion of the Hyksos rulers of Egypt, Amun's growth was accelerated due to the vindication of both Egyptian power and Amun-Re as a protector of both the Egyptian state and the Monarchy. At that time, temples were built and dedicated to Amun throughout Egypt, including the Luxor Temple and the Great Temple at Karnak. His importance during this and later periods is evidenced by the grander and extravagance of these temples. They were enlarged and enriched over the centuries by rulers of Egypt who were eager to express their devotion to Amun-Re.

The worship surrounding Amun, and later, Amun-Re represented one of ancient Egypt's most complex theologies. In his most mature form, Amun-Re became a hidden, secret god. In fact, his name (Imn), or at lest the name by which the ancient Egyptians called him, means "the hidden one" or "the secret one" (though there has been speculation that his name is derived from the Libyan word for water, aman. However, modern context seems to negate this possibility). In reality, however, and according to mythology, both his name and physical appearance were unknown, thus indicating his unknowable essence.

The ancient theology made Amun-Re the physical father of the king. Hence, the Pharaoh and Amun-Re enjoyed a symbiotic relationship, with the king deriving power from Amun-Re. In return, the king supported the temples and the worship of Amun. In theory, Amun-Re could even take the form of the king in order to impregnate the chief royal wife with the successor to the throne (first documented during the reign of Hatshepsut during the New Kingdom). Furthermore, according to official state theology during the New Kingdom, Egypt was actually ruled by Amun-Re through the pharaohs, with the god revealing his will through oracles.

In reality, the god did in fact threaten the monarchy, for the cult of Amun-Re became so powerful that its priesthood grew very large and influential, and at one point, priests of the deity actually came to rule Egypt (during the 21st Dynasty). At other times, Amun-Re created difficulties for the king, such as in the case of Akhenaten, who sought to change the basic structure of Egyptian religion. In this instance, Amun-Re eventually proved more powerful then the king, for though Akhenaten desperately tried to change the nature of Egyptian religion, for such efforts he himself became the scorn of later pharaohs. After Akhenaten's reign, Egyptian religion almost immediately reverted back to its prior form and to the worship of Amun-Re."

--by Taylor Ray Ellison

 

Amen of Egypt

"Of the attributes ascribed to Amen in the Ancient Empire nothing is known, but, if we accept the meaning "hidden" which is usually given to his name, we must conclude that he was the personification of the hidden and unknown creative power which was associated with the primeval abyss, gods in the creation of the world, and all that is in it. The word or root amen, certainly means "what is hidden," "what is not seen," "what cannot be seen," and the like, and this fact is proved by scores of examples which may be collected from texts of all periods. In hymns to Amen we often read that he is "hidden to his children, "and "hidden to gods and men," and it has been stated that these expressions only refer to the "hiding," i.e., "setting" of the sun each evening, and that they are only to be understood in a physical sense, and to mean nothing more than the disappearance of the god Amen from the sight of men at the close of day. Now, not only is the god himself said to be "hidden," but his name also is "hidden," and his form, or similitude, is said to be "unknown;" these statements show that "hidden," when applied to Amen, the great god, has reference to something more than the "sun which has disappeared below the horizon," and that it indicates the god who cannot be seen with the mortal eyes, and who is invisible, as well as inscrutable, to gods as well as men. In the times approaching the Ptolemaic period the name Amen appears to have been connected with the root men, "to abide, to be permanent;" and one of the attributes which were applied to him was that of eternal."

--From Budge's The Gods of Egypt