Late in the reign of Solomon ca. 943 BC, a new Pharaoh named Shoshenq I arose in Egypt, although his interactions were with Solomon’s successors rather than Solomon himself (1 Kings 11:40). Shoshenq I continued to reign after the death of Solomon and into the early period of the Divided Kingdom. This king of Egypt appears around the time of the kings Jeroboam of Israel and Rehoboam of Judah, who were the first kings after the death of Solomon and the split of the kingdom into north and south. In absolute chronology, this is sometime around roughly 930 BC.
Analysis of the Joseph story reveals details of the narrative that demonstrate a setting in ancient Egypt and even suggest a specific time known as the 2nd Intermediate Period. The account begins with a clear distinction between Joseph and his brothers, apparent by happenings such as Jacob giving Joseph a tunic of many colors (Genesis 37:3). Tunics of many colors were in style during the Middle Bronze Age in Canaan, as exhibited by the clothing of migrants from Canaan depicted on the walls of the Tomb of Khnumhotep II (Newberry, Beni Hasan).
The presence of Hebrews in Egypt prior to their departure is a key component in the Exodus story, leading to the eventual formation of the Israelite nation and the subsequent settlement of Canaan. However, skepticism about the historical validity of the Exodus story has spread through both academia and the general public over the last century. One of the key problems for asserting the Exodus narrative as historical has to do with the supposed lack of archaeological confirmation for Hebrews living in Egypt.
Heliopolis (the Greek name for the city), or iwnw (the ancient Egyptian name for the city), was the capital of the 13th nome (district) of ancient Egypt, dating back to the time of Narmer and the unification of Upper and Lower Egypt. The Egyptian name of the city, perhaps pronounced Aonu or Awenu, means “pillar.” This city name likely originated from the Egyptian creation epic stating that Heliopolis was the location of the original mound of creation which arose out of the primordial waters.