Journey Down the Nile – Day 4

With Susan, in front of the Great Pyramid of Giza, built to honor the Pharaoh Khufu


It’s probably time that I address my long and winding relationship with my dear friend Janis Susan May Patterson, a prolific and accomplished writer of over 85 published books, both novels and non-fiction. She is a captivating story-teller and hilarious character. Whether it’s a tale of being “temporarily kidnapped” by the PLO or the story of her 1964 plane crash (in which she flipped the entire plane upon landing and was dragged out covered in jet fuel), her stories are legend.

I have known Susan for as long as I can remember. Though she writes under several pseudonyms, she has always just been Susan to me, like a beloved Auntie. 

We met way back when I was about six years old, when, on her first day of work as my mother’s assistant, mom sent her to pick me up from school. The trouble was, mom had taught me never to get into the car with a stranger, so Susan spent quite a lot of time pleading with me to get into the car so she could take me to my mother. 

I flatly refused until she scrambled around in her purse and pulled out one of my mother’s business cards that mom had signed on the back. The way Susan tells the story, that finally convinced me that she was legit, so I climbed into the car and we drove all the way back to mom’s office. 

One of my favorite memories is her showing up every year on Christmas Eve to help me wrap presents while mom worked in the kitchen making food for the big day. Susan with a glass of wine, me with hot chocolate — Just talking and laughing into the wee hours of the morning. Frankly, I can’t remember a time I haven’t known Susan…and loved her. 

So, when she asked Leon and me to join her and her husband, Hiram, on a cruise down the Nile, one that was being hosted by an Egyptologist no less, how could I possibly refuse? So, here we are, laughing and talking (now both of us occasionally drinking a glass of wine. Life has come full circle…and it’s wonderful.


What follows are some of the connections between the Bible and the archeological finds in Egypt that back up the stories of the Bible regarding Joseph and Moses. My eyes are terribly sore from what might be sunburn or sand burn of the corneas. As a result, the best I can do is just copy the disjointed notes I took during yesterday’s lectures.

The Israelites in Egypt 

New archeological discoveries require a new chronology, a new realignment of the timeline

Archeological evidence of the “Sojourn” – Time period when Joesph took the Israelites took the Jews to Egypt until Moses took the Israelites out of Egypt

Pharaoh of the Great Famine

Joseph and Jacob in Goshen (Land of Goshen (Gesem in the Greek) is in the Northeastern delta, very fertile land)

Joseph interpreted dreams for the Pharaoh Amenemhat III, as well as helping to invent the alphabet and figuring out a way to move water flooding the area in order to mitigate the famine that he predicted for the Pharaoh would hit Egypt. He worked in the labyrinth made of limestone, an enormous, white limestone series of “offices” next to Pharaoh Amenemhat III’s pyramid which originally stood about 150 feet high and was also covered in limestone. This enormous complex was alongside the canal created by Joseph to help mitigate the flood waters thereby lessening the effect of the famine in Egypt. 

These six steps of the Exodus occurred during the Middle Kingdom of Egypt

  1. The Arrival
  2. Multiplication (growing of the population)
  3. Slavery
  4. Judgment (10 plagues)
  5. Exodus
  6. Conquest

Destruction of Jericho occurred during the Middle Bronze age in Egypt’s history.

Asiatic = Semitic (Jewish). 

The Israelites from the Bible came to Egypt from very close to Syria. We know this by the long haired sheep that they brought with them into Egypt (present in carvings and drawings of the period) which were only in Syria until the arrival of the Israelites.

Burials of the Age:

  • Semites were buried in semi-fetal position on their sides, with Canaanite pottery and sometimes a jug or axe head alongside them
  • Pharaohs we’re burning with their arms crossed
  • Female Egyptians were buried with one arm up holding a flower to their nose

Moses and the Exodus

The journey to the Sea of Reeds (not the Red Sea as was previously thought)

  • Journey began in Goshen (Avaris), then went though Succoth to Etham, then to Pi-Ha-khiroth (Pi-ha-Khiroth = Mouth – (of) the – Canal ) also called Yam Suph (Sea of the Papyrus reed) so Moses did not cross the Red Sea, he crossed the REED Sea

The Miracle of the Sea 

– Beaufort scale proves that just a 62-mph wind from the east would actually push back the water at the top of the canal where the Israelites were crossing the Reed Sea, (which was only about 1-3 meters deep) from about 8pm one night until about 8am in the morning allowing them to walk on dry land. If the Egyptians started crossing in the early hours of the morning as written in the Bible, by 8:08 they would all be dead as a result of the winds dying down and the sea slapping together again with great force (This has been tested with computer modelings based on algorithms of winds only 62 mph (a wind a person can actually walk in, but at this particular location, it WOULD actually drive back the waters for about 12 hours. When the water flooded back it would slap against itself with great force, killing everything in that stretch of the sea as the Bible says happened to the Egyptian army that had been chasing the Israelites as they fled.

  • The Wilderness Campsites leading to Mount Sinai (Horeb)
  • Traditional Mount Sinai location
  • True site of Kadesh-Barneah
  • Burial place of Moses’ brother Aaron and his sister, Myriam (who died about 30 years before Aaron) actually face each other across two mountains in the place where archeological markers indicate Moses and the Israelites end up.
  • There is even a building erected around the split rock in Egypt that still gushes water into the city of Petra, that the Bible says is the rock Moses split in order to give his people water to drink.
  • Aaron lived roughly from 1529-1407 BC


I often find myself marveling at different cultures as I travel: how different we all are, yet how all alike. Floating down the Nile, we pass house after house, work camp after work camp, and at almost every one of them, children are cheering and waving at us as we pass by on this big, slow boat. Children in India always did the same thing, running down the street chasing our car and waving. Kids in the US are no different: smiling and waving as we drive past them on the freeway in whatever town we happen to be going through. People are all so alike at our core. It’s a pity we can’t focus on how wonderful our differences are, how the uniqueness is something to be treasured. And wouldn’t it be wonderful to simply enjoy the things we all have in common: loving our parents, caring for our children, trying to make ends meet, doing work we care about? If we could just live in those moments, the world would be a much kinder place.


Add Yours
  1. Caroline

    Wat een bijzonder verhaal over Susan en Grace. En nu samen op vakantie.
    Woensdag kreeg Pap het verslag in het Nederlands, heel fijn, maar nu zien wij dat niet meer terug, en ook de nieuwe verslagen niet, heel jammer.

    Liked by 1 person

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