“Joseph never advised the Pharaoh of Egypt.”
Confirming the events of the Old Testament is noticeably more difficult than confirming the events in the New Testament. The Old Testament is much older, covers a much greater span of both time and space and lacked highly trained Roman officials with an obsessive focus on keeping good records. That does not mean, however, that there is no evidence for the events of the Old Testament. The tale of Joseph does not come under fire as often as other stories in Genesis, but it certainly takes its fair share of heat. The famine, for instance, has been difficult to pin down, though there was a canal dug between 1850 and 1650 B.C. that was so effective it still functions today. There is no record of the original builder, but for thousands of years it has been called Bahr Yusef, the Waterway of Joseph. This does not, however, keep skeptics from claiming that there is no evidence for Joseph’s existence.
While hard, physical evidence is difficult to come by, there are a number of different theories about the story of Joseph. Some people believe that the Israelites entered Egypt with or as part of the Hyksos people who invaded around 1720 B.C. when Egypt was struggling with internal political squabbling. The Hyksos were expelled from Egypt around 1560 B.C. Some people believe that the Israelites entered and left Egypt with the Hyksos, but others claim that the story does not fit with the tale of Joseph.
A second theory is that it was actually the king of the Hyksos who enslaved the Israelites, not the pharaoh of Egypt. Assuming that Joseph was as important to Egypt as the story claims, it makes sense that the king “who did not know Joseph” would be a foreigner. The Hyksos held territory in Egypt for around 200 years and were the first to introduce the horse drawn chariot into the area. The Hyksos, the theory states, enslaved the Israelites when Egypt was dealing with its own internal turmoil. An odd piece of evidence supporting this is actually, of all things, a grave robbery. A tomb from before the Hyksos invasion was found to have been robbed. This in and of itself is not unusual. Grave robbing was, and still is, a good source of black market goods. What is strange is what was stolen. The grave robbers took the actual body from the tomb. Some suggest, based on evidence including hieroglyphs and the Asiatic appearance of a broken statue, that the grave robbers were none but faithful Israelites who removed Joseph’s body to keep it safe from Hyksos who desecrated the tomb.
A third theory states that Joseph was actually advising a Hyksos king, not the Egyptian pharaoh, about the king’s dreams. When the Hyksos were expelled, the Egyptians saw the Israelites as allies of their enemies. The Egyptians enslaved the people as a result. Archaeology of Hyksos sites suggest that the Israelites were close allies or at least lived under Hyksos control. Artifacts uncovered in the area do not match Egyptian typology but that which is found in Israel.