This article is from
Journal of Creation 35(3):64–72, December 2021

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Horus—the deified Ham: part 2


One of the most famous and ancient of Egypt’s many deities was Horus, the falcon sun-god. This article explores connections between this deity and Noah’s third son Ham. In part two, I concentrate on motifs 5–12 drawn from Genesis 5–11. Specifically, comparisons between motifs: 5) Ham’s father vs Horus’s father; 6) Ham vs Horus and global Flood judgment; 7) Journey in the biblical ark vs Egyptian bark; 8) Ham vs Horus and sexualized, political, brotherly enmity; 9) Ham vs Horus and their four sons; 10) Ham vs Horus and their journey from the East; 11) Ham vs Horus eponymously naming Egypt; and 12) Ham vs Horus living to great ages. I conclude, through comparisons of Egyptian evidence with these seven biblical motifs, that the pagan Egyptians likely deified Ham as Horus.

Image: Universität Heidelberg / Public Domainpapyrus of Ani
Figure 1. Vignette titled: “Formula for not dying a second time”. BOD chapter 175, papyrus of Ani, EA10470, c.1275 BC, early 18th Dyn. (Budge14).

In part 1, I began to build a positive case that there are intriguing parallels between Noah’s third son, Ham, and Horus, one of Egypt’s most famous and ancient of deities—represented typically as a solar-falcon, or falcon-headed man. Part 2 compares Horus with the next eight motifs (derived from Genesis) drawn from Ham’s life. Specifically, motifs: 5, comparisons between Ham’s father and Horus’s; 6, Ham’s vs Horus’s journey through the Flood; 7, Noah’s Ark vs the Egyptian bark; 8, Ham vs Horus and sexualized, political, brotherly enmity; 9, Ham vs Horus and their four sons; 10, Ham vs Horus and their journey from the East; 11, Ham vs Horus eponymously naming Egypt; and 12, Ham vs Horus living to great ages. The combined evidence discussed here builds the case that the pagan Egyptians deified Ham as Horus.

Motif 5 (a–d). Ham vs Horus—fathers

Motif 5a. Fathers: Geb and Osiris vs Noah

Ham’s father was Noah, the Flood patriarch (Genesis 5:32ff). Evidence from Old Kingdom Pyramid Texts (OK PTs) demonstrate the father of Horus is predominantly Osiris but, in several cases, Geb, the earth-god (of the Ennead), who is simultaneously father of Osiris (Pepis I PT-518§1195a–b). For example:

Pepis II PT-478§973a
jy r=f
ḥr.w Ꜣ(.t)=f tp=f ẖsf ḥr=f m jt(j)=f gbb.
“So Horus comes, with his power on him and as his face approaches his father Geb.”

Unas PT-219§176a
ḥr(.w) jt(j)=k pw p(w)-nn (w)sjr ḏi.n=k sḏb=f anẖ=f.
Horus, this one is your father, Osiris, whom you revived and let live.”

If Horus is the deified Ham, in what way are Geb and Osiris like Noah? Regarding Geb’s function, Egyptologist H. te Velde states:

“Innumerable texts and expressions dating from all periods of Egyptian history testify to the connection between Geb and the earth … . The word gbb ‘earth’, [Wb 5, 164.7–8] too, is derived from the name of the god … .”1

For instance, Coffin Text (CT)-78 describes how Shu separated his children Geb (the earth), from Nut (the sky) during creation.2 At Genesis 5:29, Noah is associated with the earth by Lamech, who prophetically:

“… called his name Noah, saying, ‘Out of the ground [ăd̲āmāh] that the LORD has cursed, this one shall bring us relief from our work and from the painful toil of our hands.’”

This verse connects to Genesis 8:20–21 where Noah’s soothing (nîḥōa) sacrifice brought relief from YHWH’s curse to the ground/soil (ăd̲āmāh). Later, Genesis 9:20 states: “Noah began to be a man of the soil [ʾîš hāʾăd̲āmāh], and he planted a vineyard” (ESV). Here, Noah became the Second Adam, a “man of the soil”, to restart the new post-Flood world. Noah’s produce of the ground (wine) brought a soothing/(nîḥōa) rest from Noah’s labours (Genesis 9:21) and with it, a fresh curse (see motif 8).

Motif 5b. Noah: ‘rest’ vs Osiris ‘tired’

Divine epithets of Osiris (phonetically reminiscent of ‘Noah’) include Nny, which means ‘The Tired One’ (LGG IV, 248–249), known from the Middle Kingdom, whose hieroglyph shows a ‘resting figure’, ‘nu pot’ and ‘seated god’ . For example CT-431 states: “the Inert One (nny) who ascends from the watery-abyss (nn).”3 Significantly, nny is also an OK epithet meaning ‘tired’ e.g. PT-578§1534a. The divine name Nw.w ‘Nun’ (Wb 2, 215.5–6) is found commonly in PTs, e.g. PT-233§237a. Text from the 26th Dynasty texts (664–610 BC) also place Osiris directly in the Abyss:

pBrooklyn 47.218.84
wnn wsjr m n.t nw.w
Osiris exists in the Nun.”

Noah means ‘rest/comfort’ (cf. Genesis 5:29) and is conceptually equivalent to Osiris (Nw/nny) (‘tired/inert’)—offering a striking semantic and phonetic connection with Noah.

Motif 5c. Osiris and Ogdoad Nu

My previous article4 identified Ogdoad Nu as the paganized memory of Noah. Is Horus’s father Osiris connected to Nu? Egyptologist H.M. Tirard recognized that Osiris and Nu (of the Ogdoad) were interchangeable, stating:

“In one of the lists of the Ennead the name of Osiris is replaced by that of Nu, the primaeval water … .”5

Tirard was possibly referring to the 30th Dynasty “Great Litany”. Here, Nun (Nu) replaces Osiris within “Address 11–20”, which identifies the “Great Ennead” of Heliopolis as “Atum, Khepri, Shu, Tefnut, Geb, Nut, Isis, Nephthys, Horus, and Nun.”6

Motif 5d. The festival of Khoiak—reflections of Noah? (Including motifs 7 and 8)

A festival of Osiris called Khoiak7 dramatized the struggle between Osiris and Seth, resulting in Osiris’s death and resurrection. The festival started on the 12th day of Hathor (Greek Athyr)—third month of the year, and season of Akhet (Inundation). Khoiak lasted until the end of the month, commemorated by Osiris’s revivification—marked by planting crops at the start of the new agricultural year. Scholars, utilizing multiple sources, have reconstructed the festival program. Sources include a 12th Dynasty (c. 1870–1831 BC) stela from Abydos, (belonging to Ikhernofret) and a royal stela of Neferhotep I of the 13th Dynasty (c. 1741–1730 BC).8 Importantly, many aspects of Khoiak find echoes in the OK PTs.

The festival commemorated the drowning of King Osiris by Seth, who then dismembered his body. These parts were delivered throughout Osiris’s kingdom. Osiris’s wife, Isis, relentlessly searched for the pieces, finding all but his phallus—so Isis modelled a new one. She mummified the pieces, which revived Osiris, who fathered Horus by her. Osiris then descended to the underworld as Lord of the dead. After this, Horus, Osiris’s son and heir, violently and incestuously struggled against Seth—until Horus’s final victory (see motif 8). However, in the festival, Seth is no longer Osiris’s son (as per some PTs), rather his evil brother.

Greco-Roman temple texts at Dendera relate Khoiak’s dramatization. Priests commemorated Horus lifting Osiris’s body from the water of the sacred lake and carrying it to the temple. Osiris was represented by a model mummy made of bitumen—placed in a small wooden boat, ritually floated across the ceremonial lake (representing Nu/Primeval Ocean)—and buried by Horus priests in the temple. The priests processed with other gods past Dendera’s obelisks (representing the Benben, or primeval mound), erected to represent Osiris’s resurrection.9

Plutarch, the Greek philosopher (c. AD 46–119), ascribed to Egyptian priests10 the belief that Osiris died on the 17th of Athyr, when Seth (Typhon), by trickery, trapped Osiris in a wooden box, which was cast into the Nile, and floated out to sea (13, 356C-D; 69, 378E).11 In confirmation to Plutarch’s testimony, an epithet of Osiris describes him as dbn.j “He-who-is-in-the-box (Osiris)” (Wb 5, 437.17), occurring in Unas, PT-219§179–184, along with allusions to Osiris’s dismembered limbs:

§179. “Nut, this is your son, Osiris, of whom you said, ‘Was born to me’, you said … after his beloved son Horus opened his mouth and the gods counted his limbs.”

§184a. “In your name “… the one in the box [dbn] … .”

Osiris’s ‘ordeal by water’ within his dbn ‘round-topped wooden box’ (Wb 5, 437.16) has some fascinating parallels with Noah and Moses. Of the latter two biblical figures Old Testament scholar John Currid states:

“… the water ordeal Moses underwent is reminiscent of the redemption of Noah in Genesis 6–8. After the birth of Moses, his mother Jochebed could not hide him for more than three months, so she placed him in a [tēb̲at̲ gōmeʾ] (‘wicker basket’; Exod. 2:3). … Tēb̲at̲, an Egyptian word which means ‘chest, coffin’, is also used in reference to Noah’s ark [Tēb̲at̲ ʿăṣê-g̲ōp̲er ‘ark of gopher wood’ Genesis 6:14]. One should observe as well that in Exodus 2:3 Jochebed covers the wicker basket with ‘tar and pitch’ as Noah did the ark (Genesis 6:14). The deliverance of Noah can be viewed as a re-creation because God directs the cultural mandate of Genesis 1:28 to Noah and his offspring: ‘And God blessed Noah and his sons and said to them, ‘Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth’ (Genesis 9:1). That command is the same decree that the Hebrews were fulfilling in Exodus 1 as they multiplied and increased in Egypt. So the deliverance of Israel out of Egypt is being cast by the biblical writer as a re-creation.”12

Noah (and family) entered the ark (Tēb̲at̲) on the 17th day of the second month (Genesis 7:11), which rested on Ararat the 17th day of the seventh month (Genesis 8:4) (the next year). Noah’s exit from the Ark (salvation from the Flood) and his restarting of the post-Flood civilization can be understood theologically as a resurrection/re-creation event. This may echo Plutarch’s testimony of Osiris’s entering his dbn on the 17th day of the third month, the season of Inundation, followed by his resurrection/re-creation. The Osiris bitumen mummy may share connections with the ‘pitch’ covering Noah’s Ark (Genesis 6:14). Admittedly, such evidence appears late in Egyptian history.

Motifs 5 a–d (7, 8) summary

When Horus’s father(s) are compared with Ham’s father, Noah, several striking connections can be made. Osiris’s association through (motif 5a) Geb with the earth, echoes Noah as the ‘man of earth’ bringing rest from the curse because of the cursed earth. Motif 5b, Osiris the ‘weary’ parallels Noah the ‘restful’. Motif 7, Noah enters the Tēb̲at̲ on the 17th of the second month, which rests on Ararat on the 17th of the seventh month of the Flood, resembles Osiris entering his dbn on the 17th of the Inundation month. Therefore, Osiris/ Geb as Horus’s father(s) resembles Noah as Ham’s father.

Motifs 6–7. Ham vs Horus—journey in ark/bark through global Flood judgment

Genesis (7:7; 8:16–18) narrates how Noah’s family (including Ham) escaped judgment from the global Flood in Noah’s Ark. Can the same be said of Horus? BOD chapter 175 mentions a global Flood sent in judgment. Titled “Formula for not dying a second time”, the top left vignette image (figure 1) from the papyrus of Ani (18th Dynasty c. 1275 BC) is of the deceased Ani and his wife, worshipping Thoth (Lord of Khemnw—the Ogdoad city).13

The context of the chapter makes clear, this flood was sent in judgment in response to the divine complaint made to Atum by Thoth regarding the “children of Nut” who had done “evil” and “rebellion”.15 Egyptologist H.M. Tirard explains:

“In the 175th chapter of the Book of the Dead mention is made of a deluge [ḥwḥw] that should overwhelm the earth … . The text goes on to represent Osiris as voyaging in the boat of the millions [ḥḥ] … to the Isle of Flames, where Horus, his son, will inherit his throne.”16

Egyptologist Edward Neville translated and commented extensively on this chapter, stating:

“… the god [Atum] is going to destroy what is on the surface of the earth by covering it with water, making it to be again Nu, the great ocean, the primitive water out of which everything originated. It will be Nu again as it was at the beginning … .”17

I demonstrated in my previous article,18 within BOD chapter 175, the Ogdoad names appear as scribal puns within the text: Nu (Primeval Ocean), Amun (hidden), Heh (millions), and Kek (darkness). Upon the Nu, sails the bark with Osiris, Horus (his son), Seth (brother), and Thoth (close associate/brother, see motif 8).19 Furthermore, the name of the bark wi Ꜣ-n-ḥḥ (Wb 1, 271.11; 3, 153.15) is connected by phonetic-root to the Eight Chaos-gods (ḥḥ)—a version of the Ogdoad—named after Ogdoad couple ḥḥ and ḥḥ.t.

Genesis 6:15–16 give the ark’s dimensions (300 × 50 × 30 cubits). MK CT-759 gives the dimensions of the enormous Solar bark:

“A million [ḥḥ] (cubits) are a half of the length of the bark; starboard, bow, stern and larboard [port] are four million [ḥḥ] (cubits) … .”20

Motifs 6, 7 summaries

Horus journeyed in the ‘Bark of Millions (ḥḥ)’ through a global flood of judgment with his father Osiris, brother Seth, and Thoth—is very reminiscent of Ham’s journey in the ark, surviving the Flood, with Noah and brothers.

Motif 8. Ham vs Horus—political, sexualized, brotherly enmity

Genesis (9:229:24–27) informs us that Ham committed a serious sin against Noah, who lay naked and drunk in his tent. The implications of Ham’s crime—”seeing” and “telling his brothers” (9:22) have been debated for centuries. Various rabbinic speculations identify Ham’s sins to include sodomy, emasculation and even castration of Noah. The last speculation account for Noah not fathering more heirs after Ham. Recent scholarship has suggested an attempted power grab through maternal incest involving Noah’s wife and Ham—resulting in Canaan.21 However, Umberto Cassuto recognized Scripture deliberately “employs chaste language … [and] brevity” and he wisely admonishes:

“… we must not read into the Pentateuchal narrative more than it actually states, taking the words at their face value.”22

Noah’s responding blessing and curse had political ramifications for his sons, regarding Shem and Japheth’s dominance over Canaan. That Ham, in this episode, is called the “father of Canaan” twice is noteworthy (Genesis 9:1822). The nature of their sin is explained at Leviticus 18:3’s admonition to Israel not to emulate the ‘practices of the Egyptians and Canaanites’ (cf. 18:2427, 28b)—listed as prohibitions against: incestualized family relationships (18:6–16); sexual immorality, perversion (18:17–20; 22, 23); and idol worship (18:21). This list specifically identifies these categories of sins as pertaining to Egypt and Canaan.

Scripture is silent regarding Ham’s feelings towards his brothers. Naturally speaking, brotherly enmity would be expected in terms of Ham’s jealousy and anger regarding the debasing of his son Canaan to be “a servant of servants” to Shem and Japheth (Genesis 9:25). In particular, towards Ham’s older brother Shem (Genesis 9:26) who was specifically granted mastery over Canaan.

Concerning the earliest myths surrounding Horus—if he is the deified Ham—can similar motifs be discerned? Brotherly enmity? Struggle for political dominance? Sexual perversion, incest? Egyptian speculations regarding emasculation/castration of Horus’s father?

Similar motifs are indeed discernible within the Egyptian myth “The Contendings of Horus and Seth” (26th Dyn. Chester Beatty Pap. I, Oxford). This recounts the sordid, violent struggle between Horus and Seth, in regard to political succession to Osiris’s throne. This is arbitrated by Thoth, the ‘brother-like’ god (lord of the Ogdoad city).

The festival of Khoiak (described in motif 5) was the prelude to this struggle. Seth had murdered Osiris, placing his body in the dbn chest, and floated it upon the water. The resulting fight between both opponents is violent; Horus loses an eye, and Seth his testicle—both organs should be viewed as political symbols. Later, according to the inscriptions, Horus is sodomized by Seth, in what appears to be a political manoeuvre to dominate Horus.23

Motif 8 summary

It is this author’s opinion that the Khoiak festival and “Contendings of Horus and Seth” represent a pagan polemic against the political situation that likely existed between Ham and his family. I propose that Shem was re-cast by the Egyptians as Seth the villain—who murdered Osiris and dominated Horus (sexually) in an attempt to steal the crown. In reality, Ham had ‘violated’ his father, in a sense, attempting a political subterfuge. As a result, Ham was placed in political subjugation (via his firstborn son Canaan) under his older brother Shem (Genesis 9:22–27). Ham likely had closer relations with his eldest brother Japheth, who, I propose, is re-cast as Thoth, who intervenes between Horus and Seth as peacekeeper. Political intrigue, sexualized violence (including Osiris’s emasculation and Seth’s partial castration) echoes somewhat the later rabbinic speculations regarding Ham’s crime against his father and family. Although such comparisons are speculative, these later festivals (which have their roots in PTs) may represent pagan-politicized reinterpretations of real biblical history, seen through the eyes of Ham and passed on down through the generations.

Motif 9. Ham vs Horus—four sons

Image: British Museum / Public DomainFour sons of Horus as canopic jars
Figure 2. Four sons of Horus as canopic jars.

Genesis 10:6 records that Ham had four sons (Phut, Cush, Mizraim, Canaan). Horus had four sons also, whose purpose was to restore the deceased pharaoh in the after-life and hold his internal organs within their four canopic jars (figure 2).24 In BOD 141:4, they are associated with the four points of the compass. Within PTs they are named, for instance:

PT Pepis I, 580§1548a
“… the children of Horus, whom he loves: Hapi, Amset, Duamutef, Qebehsenuef.”

PT-688§2078–2079 is particularly noteworthy as it describes these four as “the children of Horus of Khem (ḥr.w ḫm).”25

Horus’s four sons are pictured within Hunefer’s BOD. Egyptologist E.A.W. Budge gives the context of the vignette (figure 3):

Image: Universität Heidelberg / Public DomainVignette from Hunefer BOD
Figure 3. Horus and his four sons appear with Osiris within the BOD. Vignette from Hunefer BOD chapter 17, EA9901-3, c.1450 BC 19th Dyn. (Budge26).

“The god [Osiris] enthroned within a shrine … in front a lotus-flower, on which stand the four children of Horus … . The throne of the god is set upon the waters [Nu] … . The address of Horus to Osiris, announcing the righteousness of Ani [the deceased] … .”26

Motif 9 summary

Numerically, Horus’s four sons are consistent with Ham’s four sons. A further study is required to establish (any) linguistic connections between the meanings of these names.

Motif 10. Ham vs Horus—journey from the East

Image: Google Earth (modified)May of Hams route
Figure 4. Red route represents Ham’s most practicable journey from Shinar. Site of Horus-square boat rock art (red ring).

Genesis 11:2 states: “as people migrated from the east, they found a plain in the land of Shinar and settled there.” Here Ham’s grandson, Nimrod, fomented rebellion through the building of Babel and its tower. After YHWH confused their language, He “dispersed them from there over the face of all the earth …” (Genesis 11:8). Geographically, Shinar is east of Egypt—being approximately 1,300 km (805 mi) away—measured from Cairo to modern Babylon Governorate. However, this would not represent the route Ham and his tribe would have followed to enter Egypt, because a vast wilderness of harsh desert and mountains would have required traversing. The other option would be by boat. Two possible routes are apparent (figure 4, green–north, red–south) measured using GoogleEarthTM.

The northern (green) route is the shortest sailable route c. 1,846 km (1,147 mi), but would require transporting boats 188 km (117 mi) across mountains and desert in northern Syria—no easy task.

The southern (red) route navigates the Arabian Peninsula—total distance approximately 6,823 km (4,240 mi). The shortest available land crossing from the Red Sea (west coast, near Quseer) to the Nile Valley (near Luxor)—is approximately 142 km (88 mi).

Although over four times the distance of the northern route, the southern route would involve water most of the way and would therefore be the most practicable.

The implications of the biblical text imply the shortest land crossing by Ham’s tribe, coming from the east. Is there archaeological evidence consistent with this journey? Yes, and some striking pre-dynastic rock art indicates such a journey by the Shemsu Hor—the followers of Horus—took place as Genesis 11:2, 8 predicts. Archaeological sites (midway between Quseer and Luxor) (map–figure 4) possess many large Horus-insignia boat depictions (figures 6a, b). Egyptologist Hans Winkler27 first described these, as more recently did Egyptologist David Rohl.28 Rock images of distinctively square, flat keels, with high prows and sterns are strikingly similar in form to Uruk Period cylinder-seal boat depictions (4th millennium bc, from Sumer/Shinar) (figure 7).29 The rock art is testament to a marine migration from the east, culminating in the dragging of large, seventy-manned vessels (figure 8) across the desert near Edfu, which became the centre of Horus worship.

Motif 10. Horus means ‘far distant one’, ‘from the east’.

OK PT divine epithets of Horus (ḥr.w) indicate, by a shared phonetic root, that his name means ‘far distant one’ (ḥr.tj). For instance:

Teti PT-370§645c–d
sja kw n ḥr.w j: ms k(w) jr=f m ḥri jr=f m rn k n(.j) ḥr.t(j)
“Approach Horus; go to him [Osiris]. Do not be far from him in your name ‘One of the Far’.”

Horus is also ‘from the east’. For instance:

Unas PT-301§450c
jy.n (|wnjs|) ẖr=k ḥr.w-jꜢ b.tj
“Unas has come to you, Eastern Horus.”

These divine epithets of Horus (‘Distant One’, “Eastern Horus”) are consistent with Ham’s approximately 7,000 km marine and land journey from Shinar in the east.

Motif 10 summary

Genesis 11:2, 9 indicate Ham and his tribe migrated from the East in Shinar to Egypt. The most practicable journey, by boat, would have involved the shortest land crossing, the closest point being the Red Sea coast (Quneer) to the Nile valley (Luxor/ Edfu). Nearby Pre-dynastic rock art demonstrates a large crew of Horus followers made such a journey, dragging their boats across the desert. That Horus came far, from the east, is demonstrated in PT divine epithets ‘Eastern Horus’ and ‘Distant One’ being titles consistent with Ham’s journey. The boats’ distinctively high prows, sterns, flat keel, fixed rear-oared forms of Sumerian origin likely become the religious iconography (Solar barks) of Egyptian art. Such became the new ‘Noah’s Arks’, transporting Ham and his tribe from the old world to the new.

Motif 11. Ham vs Horus—eponymously name Egypt

Scripture eponymously links Egypt to Ham (Psalms 78:51; 105:23, 27; 106:22). The earliest hieroglyphic inscription (from OK onwards) for Egypt and its people, is km.t—phonetically similar (see part 1, phonetic considerations) to Hebrew ḥām, the feminine common noun km.t (so ends in .t) means the ‘black land’ (Wb 5, 127.4–127.17), which signifies the fertile, black Nile-flood soils. Km.tı͗ “Egyptians”, literally means “people of the black land” (Wb 5, 127.18–20). The connections between the black earthy products of Genesis 11:3; 14:10; Exodus 2:3 (ḥēmār, ḥōmer) and Egypt’s “black land” (km) now become apparent (see part 1) as evidence consistent with Ham (ḥām) founding Egypt. The appellation for Egypt, km.t, occurs in OK PTs, e.g.:

Pyramid Pepis I., PT 674 + PT 462§1998b
ꜤḥꜤ =k ẖntj km.t(j).w
“You [Nephthys] will stand before the people of Egypt … .”

Ham the ‘man of the black earth’ accords well with Horus and the Egyptians of the ‘Black Land’.

Afrique : Archéologie et Arts / Open AccessMap of petroglyph sites
Figure 5. Petroglyph sites between Kawm Umbu (south) and Qina (north) with some west of the Nile30.

Athribis (km)

Situated approximately 40 km north of Cairo, on the eastern bank of the Nile, at Tell Atrib, (Athribis in Greek), 10th nome (territorial division) of Lower Egypt. Its original Egyptian name, km-wr, means “Great Black”, the hieroglyphs of which include the black ox, km, and nome symbols:


Horus was worshipped at Athribis in his form of “the magnificent black bull” (LGG VII, 285). Km-wr occurs in OK PTs e.g.:

Hans Alexander Winkler / Open SourceSquare boat and Horus insignia rock art
Figures 6a–c. Square boat and Horus insignia rock art (Winkler27).

Teti PT-342§556b–c
m(j) mꜢ =ṯ sꜢ = ṯ pḫr n=f km-wr
“Come and see your son, who is served by the (nome) Great black-bull … .”

Letopolis (ḫm)

Horus was also the god of Khem (ḫm)—being the name of the second nome of Lower Egypt—called Letopolis by the Greeks (Λητοῦς Πόλις). The city marked the centre of Horus worship in his form Khenty-khem, mentioned in PTs, e.g.:

Pepis I 438§810a–b
Ꜥnḫ nḫ n m(w)t=k js m(w)t.t mj nḫ ḥr.w ḫnt(.j) ḫm.“Live, live—you certainly will not die—like Horus, who is at the head of ḫm [Letopolis] lives.”

Textual evidence suggests a temple to Horus likely stood there from the foundations of Egyptian history.31 The following inscription suggests Horus names Egypt—which is called the ‘two banks’, because of the Nile River’s two banks:

Pyramid of Pepi II, PT 439§812a
(|ppy|) (|nfr-kꜢ-rꜤw|) [p]w [s] ṯ.t j ṯi.t tꜢ, rkḥ.t šsp.t jdb=s.
“This is Pepi Neferkare, (o) Satet, who takes possession of the two countries … who receives their two banks [Egypt].”

Significantly, Horus is also called ‘two banks’, so eponymously linking him directly to Egypt: jdb.wj-ḥr.w “the two banks of Horus (Egypt)” (Wb 1, 153.7). Here, Egypt is depicted with two bank symbols and Horus the falcon:


For example:

(Ptolomaic) Papyri of Nesmin from Thebes, pBM 10208
sb ḥr m ḥꜤꜤ.
“The shores of Horus (Egypt) are (then) in jubilation!”

Hans Alexander Winkler / Open SourceUruk and Egyptian rock art boats
Figure 7. Winkler27 compares Uruk (Sumer/Shinar) and Egyptian rock art boats.

ḥr.w nb-tꜢ (.wj).
Horus, Lord of the Two Lands.”32 Horus, therefore, is as synonymous with Egypt as biblical Ham is.

A common OK term (exactly phonetically equivalent to Ham), is ‘ḥm’ meaning ‘majesty (of the king, or god)’ (Wb 3, 91.1–92.11). Ḥm is also used of Horus, as an epithet; for instance:

12th Dyn. (1971–1926 BCSesostris I Month Temple of Tod, Column 32
ḥm ḥr“… the majesty of Horus … .’”

Motif 11 summary

Ham (ḥām) eponymously named Egypt (Psalms 78:51; 105:23, 27; 106:22) and Horus eponymously names Egypt (km.t) and two nomes as patron deity and majesty, with phonetically related names to Ham (km, ḫm, ḥm).

Motif 12. Ham vs Horus—lived to great ages

Genesis 11:11 indicates Shem lived 600 years—nothing in Scripture suggests Ham lived a shorter lifespan. If Horus is the deified Ham, is Horus commemorated as an ancient elder-deity? Yes. In PT 303§466a Horus is called ‘the eldest god’. A Horus divine epithet is Hr.w-sms.w means “Horus the Elder” (LGG V, 290) occurring in (PT-256§301b). As already noted in article-1, BOD chapter 19 (22nd Dynasty) states: “Horus the son of Isis and the son of Osiris has repeated millions of jubilees … .” These epithets indicate Horus was considered an ancient deity—consistent with Ham living to a great age.

Table 1. Motifs 1–12 of Ham’s life drawn from Genesis 5–11, compared to Horus and Egyptian evidence.
Motif of Hams life


Image: F. LankesterPre-dynastic rock art
Figure 8. Pre-dynastic rock art at Wadi Baramiya-9, Central Eastern Desert, Egypt, depicting a seventy-manned Horus ‘square boat’ being dragged across desert (Lankester,30 figure 7).

My two articles have investigated 12 motifs of Ham’s life drawn from Genesis 5–11, compared with Horus (table 1).

Part 2 has concentrated on motifs 5–12, summarized here:

  • Motif 5—Ham’s father, Noah, vs Horus’s father(s), Osiris/ Geb, reveals the following connections: ‘rest’ vs ‘weary’, “man of the earth” vs “earth-god”. Furthermore, Osiris is synonymous with Ogdoad Nu—a paganized memory of Noah.
  • Motif 6—Noah entered the ark (tbt) on the 17th vs Osiris entered the chest (dbn) on the 17th.
  • Motif 7—Ham’s family in the Ark surviving the Flood echoes Horus, Osiris, Thoth, and Seth in the Solar bark in the Nun (BOD-175).
  • Motif 8—Noah’s curse and blessings may be polemically reversed in the Khoiak festival and Contendings of Horus and Seth.
  • Motif 9—Horus’s vs Ham’s four sons.
  • Motif 10—Genesis 11:2, 9 predicts Ham’s tribe migrated from the East, specifically Shinar to Egypt. Pre-Dynastic rock art demonstrates a journey was made across the desert to the Nile by followers of Horus.
  • Motif 11—Egypt is named after Ham, and Egypt (including two nomes) are named after Horus.
  • Motif 12—Ham likely lived long, and Horus possesses elder-deity epithets.

It is my opinion that the combined evidence presented in both articles supports the hypothesis that the Ancient Egyptians deified Ham as Horus. The evidence (admittedly some more speculative to interpret) is consistent with the historical events of Genesis 5–11. Ham, a Flood survivor, helped re-start civilization, founded Egypt, and lived to a great age. The pagan Egyptians therefore deified Ham as Horus—one of Egypt’s most important and oldest deities.


I would like to thank Gary Bates and several anonymous reviewers for their critical remarks on earlier manuscripts.

Posted on homepage: 17 March 2023

References and notes

  1. te Velde, H., “Geb” In Lexikon der Ägyptologie II, Wiesbaden, Germany, pp. 427–429, 1977. Return to text.
  2. Pinch, G., Handbook of Egyptian mythology, ABC-Clio, Oxford, pp. 65–66; 195–197, 2002. Return to text.
  3. Faulkner, R.O., The Ancient Egyptian Coffin Texts, vol. II, Spells 355–787, Aris & Phillips Ltd., Warminster, p. 73, 1977. Return to text.
  4. Cox, G., The search for Noah and the Flood in ancient Egypt—part 4, J. Creation 34(2):75–78, 2020. Return to text.
  5. Tirard, H.M., The Book of the Dead, SPCK, London, p. 91, 1910. Return to text.
  6. Manassa, C., The Late Egyptian Underworld: Sarcophagi and related texts from the Nectanebid period, Harrassowitz Verlag, Wiesbaden, Germany, p. 265, 2007. Return to text.
  7. Hedges, A., The Egyptian Dionysus: Osiris and the development of theater in Ancient Egypt; in: Proceedings of the XI International Congress of Egyptologists Florence Egyptian Museum Florence, pp. 271–275, August 23–30, 2015. Return to text.
  8. Hedges, ref. 7, p. 274. Return to text.
  9. Chassinat, E., Les Mystères d’Osiris au mois de Khoiak, IFAO, Cairo, 1966. Return to text.
  10. Griffiths, J.G., Plutarch’s De Iside et Osiride, University of Wales Press, Cardiff, pp. 56, 68, 75, 1970. Return to text.
  11. Griffiths, ref. 10, pp. 63, 139, 181, 185. Return to text.
  12. Currid, J.D., Ancient Egypt and the Old Testament, Baker Books, Grand Rapids, MI, p. 114, 1997. Return to text.
  13. Cox, G., The search for Noah and the Flood in ancient Egypt—part 1, J. Creation 33(3):105–106, 2020. Return to text.
  14. Budge, E.A.W., The book of the dead (BOD): the Papyrus Ani in the British Museum, The Egyptian text with interlinear transliteration and translation, a running translation, intros, etc., Longmans & Co., London, 1894; digi.ub.uni-heidelberg.de/diglit/budge1894bd1/0043. Return to text.
  15. Cox, ref. 13, p. 104. Return to text.
  16. Tirard, H.M., The Book of the Dead, Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge, London, pp. 92–93, 1910. Return to text.
  17. Naville, E., Mention of a flood in the Book of the Dead, Society of Biblical Archaeology, vol. 26, Harrisons and Sons, London, pp. 251–257; 287–294, 1904; p. 289. Return to text.
  18. Cox, ref. 13, p. 104–105. Return to text.
  19. Cox, ref. 13, p. 105. Return to text.
  20. Faulkner, ref. 3, p. 290. Return to text.
  21. Bergsma, J.S. and Hahn, S.W., Noah’s Nakedness and the Curse on Canaan (Genesis 9:20–27), JBL 124(1):25–40, 2005. Return to text.
  22. Cassuto, U., A Commentary on the Book of Genesis II, Verda Books, Woodstock, IL, p. 152, 2005. Return to text.
  23. Allen, T.G., Horus in the Pyramid Texts, PhD dissertation, University of Chicago, IL, p. 12, 1916. Return to text.
  24. Pinch, ref. 2, p. 204. Return to text.
  25. Faulkner, ref. 3, p. 296. Return to text.
  26. Budge, E.A.W., Facsimiles of the papyri of Hunefer, Ankhai, Kērasher and Netchemet, Longmans and Co., Oxford, plate 5, 1899; digi.ub.uni-heidelberg.de/diglit/budge1894bd1/0018. Return to text.
  27. Winkler, H.A., Rock Drawings of Southern Upper Egypt I, Oxford University Press, London, 1938. Return to text.
  28. Rohl, D., Legend, the Genesis of civilisation, Century, UK, pp. 1–9, 1988; Rohl, D., The Lost Testament, Century, UK, pp. 80–90, 2002. Rohl does not equate Horus directly with Ham but sees the followers of Horus as the descendants of Ham. Return to text.
  29. Winkler, ref. 27, pl. XXXIX. Return to text.
  30. Lankester, F.D., Predynastic Egyptian rock art as evidence for early elites’ rite of passage, Afrique: Archéologie & Arts 12:81–92, 2016. Return to text.
  31. Snape, S., The Complete Cities of Ancient Egypt, Thames & Hudson, London, p. 185, 2014. Return to text.
  32. Faulkner, R.O., The Ancient Egyptian Pyramid Texts, Clarendon Press, Oxford, p. 200, 1969. Return to text.

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