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Egypt and Israel                          221
conjectures of this kind; nevertheless, though the narratives in
question can hardly be held to be reliable history, it may be
regarded as certain that Hebrew traditions always had some
basis in fact; so that there may well be some justification for
believing that these narratives do contain an echo, expressing the
Hebrew point of view, of the Hyksos period.
The supremacy of the Hyksos in Egypt lasted till about
1580 B.C., though the opinions of experts differ regarding the
length of their rule in Egypt. Their expulsion took place with
the rise of the Eighteenth Dynasty. Ahmose, the first ruler of
this dynasty, drove them out, and pursued them into Southern
Palestine, conquering the city of Sharuhen (this city is men-
tioned in Joshua xix. 6).1 This was, however, only a beginning;
wars continued under his successors Amenhotep I and Tuth-
mosis I, and went on for many years. The real destroyer of their
power was Tuthmosis III (i5o6r-i^.6i B.C.), whose great victory
at the battle of Megiddo (1478 B.C.), though not decisive, was
of prime importance. On a commemorative inscription of this
' victory there occur names of conquered cities which are familiar
to us from the Old Testament, such as Taanach, Jaffa, and
others. Although there were further wars to almost the end of
the fifteenth century, the power of the Asiatics was no more a
menace. The mention of the Hittites on this inscription, though
it does not concern the present inquiry, is worth noting, for it
is the first mention that we have of them; they are often spoken
of in the Old Testament.
We come now to what is often described as the Tell-el-
Amarna period. 'All the powers', says Breasted, 'Babylonia,
Assyria, Mitanni, and Alasa-Cyprus, were exerting every effort
to gain the friendship of Egypt. From the Pharaoh's court, as
th e centre, radiate a host of lines of communication with all the
great peoples of the age. The Tell-el-Amarna letters, perhaps
1 Breasted, Ancient Records of Egypt: Tbs Historical Documents^ iL 13