Andrea Jemolo

Fathers, daughters, husbands, wives. The pronouncement of Amenophis III that “from of old no [Egyptian] king’s daughter has been given to anyone” convinced many Old Testament scholars that, contrary to the Biblical account, Solomon could not have married a daughter of a pharaoh. This assumption ignores changes in royal proprieties that may have occurred in the four centuries between the reigns of Amenophis III (1386–1349 B.C.) and Siamun (979–960 B.C.), Solomon’s contemporary in Egypt. The granddaughter of Amenophis III himself, princess Ankhsenamun, widow of the young King Tutankhamun (1334–1325 B.C.), to whom she is shown applying unguent in the brightly painted relief at left, offered herself in marriage to a Hittite prince to avoid being married to a commoner. This and other Biblical and Egyptian references indicate that women from Egyptian royal families did occasionally marry foreigners during Solomon’s era; other sources attest that the practice ceased sometime in the sixth century B.C.