Meruserre Yaqub-Har (Other spellings: Yakubher), also known as Yak-Baal was a pharaoh of Egypt during the 17th or 16th century BCE. As he reigned during Egypt's fragmented Second Intermediate Period, it is difficult to date his reign precisely.
While he is occasionally described as a member of the Hyksos based 15th dynasty, the Danish specialist Kim Ryholt has suggested that Yaqub-Har was actually one of the last kings of the 14th Dynasty. This is because while the early Hyksos kings are known to have used the title heka-khawaset in their reigns such as Sakir-Har or Khyan--at least early in the latter king's reign before he chose the prenomen Seuserenre. Later Hyksos kings such as Apophis simply adopted a prenomen—like the 14th dynasty kings. Yaqub-Har himself always used a prenomen or royal name, Meruserre, in his reign which might suggest that he was rather a member of the Asiatic 14th dynasty which preceded the Hyksos. Meruserre means 'strong is the love of Re.' The 14th Dynasty of Egypt was an Asiatic dynastic which ruled in the Delta region—like the Hyksos. Ryholt has suggested that the name Yaqub-Har had a West Semitic origin. Unlike the extremely well attested 14th dynasty king Sheshi who is attested by a massive 396 seals, Yaqub-Har is only attested by a relatively modest 26 seals.
However, Yaqub-Har's scarab seals are stylistically almost identical with those of the Hyksos king Khyan which suggests that he was either Khyan's immediate 15th dynasty successor or a Hyksos vassal king who ruled a part of the Egyptian Delta under Khyan's authority. As Ben-Tor writes, "Supporting evidence for the Fifteenth Dynasty affiliation of King Yaqubhar is provided by the close stylistic similarity between his scarabs and the scarabs of King Khayan" and the wsr-sign form of both these king's royal prenonomen's or throne names which
- "argue for a chronological proximity [between Yaqub-Har and Khyan] and against Ryholt's assigning of Yaqub-Har to the Fourteenth Dynasty and Khayan to the Fifteenth Dynasty."
The Ancient Egyptians blamed the Hyksos for conquering their country. The truth may have been a somewhat more benign and gradual process of integration.
In Exodus Decoded filmmaker Simcha Jacobovici suggested that he was the Patriarch Jacob on the basis of a signet ring found in the Hyksos capital Avaris that read "Yakov/Yakub" (from Yaqub-her), similar to the Hebrew name of the Biblical patriarch Jacob (Ya'aqov). Jacobovici ignores the fact that Yaqub-Har is a well-attested to Egyptian pharaoh of the Second Intermediate Period; and Yakov and variants are common Semitic (not just Hebrew) names from the period. Furthermore, Jacobovici provides absolutely no explanation as to why Joseph would have a signet ring with the name of his father Jacob, and not his own, which is a modern-day equivalent of signing legal contracts with a signature of one's father.
- Ryholt, K. ‘The Date of Kings Sheshi and Ya'qub-Har and the Rise of the Fourteenth Dynasty’, The Second Intermediate Period: Current Research, Future Prospects, edited by M. Maree, Orientalia Lovaniensia Analecta 192, Leuven, Peeters, 2010, pp. 109-126.
- Iorwerth Eiddon Stephen Edwards, ed. (1970). Cambridge Ancient History. C. J. Gadd, N. G. L. Hammond, E. Sollberger. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. p. 59. ISBN 0-521-08230-7.
- Kim Ryholt, The Political Situation in Egypt during the Second Intermediate Period, CNI Publications, Copenhagen: Museum Tusculanum Press, 1997. p.96
- Ryholt, pp.99-100
- Ryholt, pp.199-200
- Daphna Ben-Tor, Sequence and Chronology of Second Intermediate Period Royal-Name Scarabs, based on excavated series from Egypt and the Levant in Marée, Marcel (Hrsg.): The Second Intermediate Period (Thirteenth - Seventeenth Dynasties). Current Research, Future Projects. Leuven-Paris-Walpole 2010, pp.96-97. (Orientalia Lovaniensia Analecta ; 192)
- Ben Tor in Marée, 2010, p.97
- Morris L. Bierbrier (1989). The Tomb-Builders of the Pharaohs. American University in Cairo Press. p. 146. ISBN 977-424-210-6.
- Higgaion » The Exodus Decoded: An extended review, part 4
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