The history of ancient Egypt and the ancient Israelites frequently crosses paths on the pages of the Bible. From the evil Pharaoh in the Book of Exodus to Mary and Joseph’s flight from Herod to Egypt, it is one of the most frequently mentioned locations in the Bible. In the Hebrew Bible alone, there are nearly 700 mentions of Egypt, including a line of pharaohs who ruled over the nation for more than 100 years – the 25th Dynasty of Egypt.
The 25th Dynasty rose to power in the mid-eight century BC, following an invasion into Upper Egypt from the southern Kingdom of Kush.
The Kushite Pharaoh’s were of Nubian lineage, which has earned them the titled of “Egypt’s Black Pharaohs”.
Their descendants still occupy the lands of modern-day Northern Sudan and southern Egypt – a region that has spawned many early civilisations.
And it was during this time that the Nile valley saw widespread construction of pyramids, many of which can be found in Sudan today.
In the seventh century BC, the 25th Dynasty came into conflict with the Neo-Assyrian Empire – a conflict described in the Bible’s 2 Kings.
The Bible speaks of the Pharaoh Taharqa – 747 to 656 BC – being called to the aid of the Kingdom of Judah to wage war against Assyria’s King Sennacherib.
And according to Tom Meyer, a professor of Bible studies at Shasta Bible College and Graduate School in California, US, there is ample archaeological evidence of these events.
He told Express.co.uk: “Archaeological evidence has come to light demonstrating the historicity of one of the ‘Black Pharaohs’, a line of rulers from the 25th Dynasty of Egypt that originated in ancient Nubia or modern-day northern Sudan and ruled over all of Egypt for about 100 years.
“Taharqa (also spelt Tirhakah) was a famous ‘Black Pharaoh’ who is also mentioned in the Bible.
“According to the Biblical account, after king Sennacherib of Assyria had overthrown the Israelite town of Lachish and was attacking the nearby city of Libnah, a field commander let Sennacherib know that they had intercepted intelligence that King Hezekiah of Judah had made a pact with Tirhakah to have him come to Judah’s aid by attacking Assyria from the south.
“The Black Pharaohs were initially neutral in the war between Assyria and Judah, but seeing the writing on the wall, they came to Judah’s aid.
“Tirhakah’s attempt in joining forces with Judah to overthrow Assyria failed; he was forced to retreat upriver back to his capital at Thebes which was overthrown just four short years later by Assyria.”
Professor Meyer believes the discovery of archaeological evidence tied to Taharqa is significant.
He said: “One reason is that now all three of the kings mentioned in this biblical account – Sennacherib, Hezekiah, and Taharqa – have been proven to exist from extra-biblical archaeological sources, thus once again demonstrating the historical accuracy of the Biblical account.”
The most famous object related to the Egyptian pharaoh is the so-called Sphinx of Taharqa.
The Sphinx, which features elements of Egyptians and Kushite design, was discovered at the Temple of Amun in ancient Nubia – modern-day Sudan.
The granite Sphinx is now on display at the British Museum in London, UK.
Professor Meyer said: “The existence of Tirhakah is also testified to by later historians.
“This Black Pharaoh is mentioned by Manetho the third century BC Egyptian priest/historian who authored the best-selling book The History of Egypt, which was the gold standard for chronicling the reigns of Egyptian Pharaohs.
“Tirhakah is also mentioned by the famous first century bc Greek historian Strabo.”