Hedjkheperre Setepenre Shoshenq I ( Egyptian ''ššnq''; reigned c. 943–922 BC)—also known as Shashank or Sheshonk or Sheshonq Ifor discussion of the spelling, see Shoshenq—was a pharaoh of ancient Egypt and the founder of the
Twenty-second Dynasty of Egypt The Twenty-second Dynasty of Egypt is also known as the Bubastite Dynasty, since the pharaohs originally ruled from the city of Bubastis. It was founded by Shoshenq I. The Twenty-first, Twenty-second, Twenty-third, Twenty-fourth, and Twenty-fi ...
. Of Meshwesh ancestry, Shoshenq I was the son of Nimlot A, Great Chief of the Ma, and his wife Tentshepeh A, a daughter of a Great Chief of the Ma herself. He is presumed to be the
Shishak Shishak, Shishaq or Susac (, Tiberian: , ) was, according to the Hebrew Bible, an Egyptian pharaoh who sacked Jerusalem in the 10th century BCE. He is usually identified with the pharaoh Shoshenq I.Troy Leiland Sagrillo. 2015.Shoshenq I and bib ...
mentioned in the Hebrew Bible, and his exploits are carved on the
Bubastite Portal The Bubastite Portal gate is located in Karnak, within the Precinct of Amun-Re temple complex, between the temple of Ramesses III and the second pylon. It records the conquests and military campaigns in c.925 BC of Shoshenq I, of the Twenty-seco ...
Karnak The Karnak Temple Complex, commonly known as Karnak (, which was originally derived from ar, خورنق ''Khurnaq'' "fortified village"), comprises a vast mix of decayed temples, pylons, chapels, and other buildings near Luxor, Egypt. Constru ...


The conventional dates for his reign, as established by
Kenneth Kitchen Kenneth Anderson Kitchen (born 1932) is a British biblical scholar, Ancient Near Eastern historian, and Personal and Brunner Professor Emeritus of Egyptology and honorary research fellow at the School of Archaeology, Classics and Egyptology, Uni ...
, are 945–924 BC but his time-line has recently been revised upwards by a few years to 943–922 BC, since he may well have lived for up to two to three years after his successful campaign in
Canaan Canaan (; Phoenician: 𐤊𐤍𐤏𐤍 – ; he, כְּנַעַן – , in pausa – ; grc-bib, Χανααν – ;The current scholarly edition of the Greek Old Testament spells the word without any accents, cf. Septuaginta : id est Vetus T ...
, conventionally dated to 925 BC. As Edward Wente of the University of Chicago noted (1976) on page 276 of his JNES 35 Book Review of Kitchen's study of the Third Intermediate Period, there is "no certainty" that Shoshenq's 925 BC campaign terminated just prior to this king's death a year later in 924 BC. The English Egyptologist Morris Bierbrier also dated Shoshenq I's accession "between 945–940 BC" in his seminal 1975 book concerning the genealogies of Egyptian officials, who served during the late New Kingdom and Third Intermediate Period. Bierbrier based his opinion on Biblical evidence collated by W. Albright in a BASOR 130 paper. This development would also account for the mostly unfinished state of decorations of Shoshenq's building projects at the Great Temple of Karnak where only scenes of the king's Palestinian military campaign are fully carved. Building materials would first have had to be extracted and architectural planning performed for his great monumental projects here. Such activities usually took up to a year to complete before work was even begun. This would imply that Shoshenq I likely lived for a period in excess of one year after his 925 BC campaign. On the other hand, if the Karnak inscription was concurrent with Shoshenq's campaign into Canaan, the fact that it was left unfinished would suggest this campaign occurred in the last year of Shoshenq's reign. This possibility would also permit his 945 BC accession date to be slightly lowered to 943 BC. A 2005 study by Rolf Krauss of Ancient Egyptian chronology suggests that Shoshenq I came to power in 943 BC rather than 945 BC as is conventionally assumed based on epigraphic evidence from the Great Dakhla stela, which dates to Year 5 of his reign. Krauss and David Warburton write in the 2006 book ''Ancient Egyptian Chronology'':
The chronology of early Dyn. 22 depends on dead reckoning. The sum of the highest attested regnal dates for Osorkon II, Takelot I, Osorkon I, and Shoshenq I, added to 841 BC as year 1 of Shoshenq III, yields 938 BC at the latest for year 1 of Shoshenq I... oweverThe large Dakhla stela provides a lunar date in the form of a ''wrš'' feast in year 5 of Shoshenq yielding 943 BC as his year 1.
The Year 5 ''wrš'' feast is recorded to have been celebrated at Dakhla oasis on IV Peret day 25 and Krauss' exploration of the astronomical data leads him to conclude that the only 'fit' within the period of 950 to 930 BC places the accession of Shoshenq I between December 944 and November 943 BC—or 943 BC for the most part. However, Dr. Anthony Leahy has suggested that "the identification of the ''wrš''-festival of Seth as lunar estivalis hypothetical, and husits occurrence on the first day of a lunar month an assumption. Neither has been proven incontrovertibly." Thus far, however, only Dr. Kenneth Kitchen is on record as sharing the same academic view. A 2010 study by Thomas Schneider argued that Shoshenq reigned from 962 to 941 BCE. Ido Koch in his 2021 book considered Schneider's chronology of Egyptian kings as a valuable integrative study. However, recent archaeomagnetic dating at Beth-Shean, one of three early sites that could have been destroyed by Shoshenq I, shows 68.2% probability the destruction occurred between 935 and 900 BC, and 95.4% probability it occurred between 940 and 879 BC.

Biblical Shishak

Shoshenq I is frequently identified with the Egyptian king Shishak (שׁישׁק ''Šîšaq'', transliterated), referred to in the Hebrew Bible at 1 Kings 11:40, 14:25 and 2 Chronicles 12:2–9. According to these passages,
Jeroboam Jeroboam I (; Hebrew: ''Yārŏḇə‘ām''; el, Ἱεροβοάμ, Hieroboám) was the first king of the northern Kingdom of Israel. The Hebrew Bible describes the reign of Jeroboam to have commenced following a revolt of the ten northern I ...
fled from Solomon and stayed with Shishaq until Solomon died, and Shishaq invaded Judah, mostly the area of
Benjamin Benjamin ( he, ''Bīnyāmīn''; "Son of (the) right") blue letter bible: https://www.blueletterbible.org/lexicon/h3225/kjv/wlc/0-1/ H3225 - yāmîn - Strong's Hebrew Lexicon (kjv) was the last of the two sons of Jacob and Rachel (Jacob's thi ...
, during the fifth year of the reign of Rehoboam, taking with him most of the treasures of the temple built by Solomon. The egyptologist
Kenneth Kitchen Kenneth Anderson Kitchen (born 1932) is a British biblical scholar, Ancient Near Eastern historian, and Personal and Brunner Professor Emeritus of Egyptology and honorary research fellow at the School of Archaeology, Classics and Egyptology, Uni ...
claims that Shoshenq's successor, Osorkon I, lavished 383 tons of gold and silver on Egyptian temples during the first four years of his reign and correlate it directly to the looting, while the archaeologist Israel Finkelstein proposes that the looting narrative in question "should probably be seen as a theological construct rather than as historical references". Shishak/Sousakim was also related to Jeroboam: "the wife of Jeroboam" is a character in the Hebrew Bible. She is unnamed in the Masoretic Text, but according to the Septuagint, she was an Egyptian princess called Ano: :And Sousakim gave to Jeroboam Ano the eldest sister of Thekemina his wife, to him as wife; she was great among the king's daughters...1 Kings 12:24e
New English Translation of the Septuagint The ''New English Translation of the Septuagint and the Other Greek Translations Traditionally Included under That Title'' (NETS) is a modern translation of the Septuagint (LXX), that is the scriptures used by Greek-speaking Christians and Jews of ...

Origins and family

Shoshenq I was the son of Nimlot A and Tentsepeh A. His paternal grandparents were the Chief of the Ma Shoshenq A and his wife Mehytenweskhet A. Prior to his reign, Shoshenq I had been the Commander-in-Chief of the Egyptian Army, and chief advisor to his predecessor Psusennes II, as well as the father-in-law of Psusennes' daughter ''Maatkare''. He also held his father's title of Great Chief of the Ma or Meshwesh, which is an Egyptian word for
Ancient Libya The Latin name '' Libya'' (from Greek Λιβύη: ''Libyē'', which came from Berber: '' Libu'') referred to North Africa during the Iron Age and Classical Antiquity. Berbers occupied the area for thousands of years before the recording of hi ...
ns. His ancestors had settled in Egypt during the late New Kingdom, probably at
Herakleopolis Magna Heracleopolis Magna ( grc-gre, Μεγάλη Ἡρακλέους πόλις, ''Megálē Herakléous pólis'') and Heracleopolis (, ''Herakleópolis'') and Herakleoupolis (), is the Roman name of the capital of the 20th nome of ancient Upper E ...
, though
Manetho Manetho (; grc-koi, Μανέθων ''Manéthōn'', ''gen''.: Μανέθωνος) is believed to have been an Egyptian priest from Sebennytos ( cop, Ϫⲉⲙⲛⲟⲩϯ, translit=Čemnouti) who lived in the Ptolemaic Kingdom in the early third ...
claims Shoshenq himself came from Bubastis, a claim for which no supporting physical evidence has yet been discovered. Significantly, his uncle
Osorkon the Elder Aakheperre Setepenre Osorkon the Elder was the fifth king of the 21st Dynasty of Ancient Egypt and was the first Pharaoh of Meshwesh (Ancient Libyan) origin. He is also sometimes known as Osochor, following Manetho's ''Aegyptiaca''. Biography O ...
had already served on the throne for at least six years in the preceding 21st Dynasty; hence, Shoshenq I's rise to power was not wholly unexpected. As king, Shoshenq chose his eldest son, Osorkon I, as his successor and consolidated his authority over Egypt through marriage alliances and appointments. He assigned his second son, Iuput A, the prominent position of
High Priest of Amun The High Priest of Amun or First Prophet of Amun ('' ḥm nṯr tpj n jmn'') was the highest-ranking priest in the priesthood of the ancient Egyptian god Amun. The first high priests of Amun appear in the New Kingdom of Egypt, at the beginning ...
at Thebes as well as the title of Governor of Upper Egypt and Commander of the Army to consolidate his authority over the Thebaid. Finally, Shoshenq I designated his third son,
Nimlot B Nimlot B, also Nemareth ('' fl.'' c. 940 BCE) was an ancient Egyptian prince, general and governor during the early 22nd Dynasty. Biography Nimlot was the third son of pharaoh Shoshenq I (after Osorkon I and Iuput A); his mother was the quee ...
, as the "Leader of the Army" at Herakleopolis in Middle Egypt.

Foreign policy

He pursued an aggressive foreign policy in the adjacent territories of the Middle East, towards the end of his reign. This is attested, in part, by the discovery of a statue base bearing his name from the Lebanese city of Byblos, part of a monumental
stela A stele ( ),Anglicized plural steles ( ); Greek plural stelai ( ), from Greek , ''stēlē''. The Greek plural is written , ''stēlai'', but this is only rarely encountered in English. or occasionally stela (plural ''stelas'' or ''stelæ''), whe ...
from Megiddo bearing his name, and a list of cities in the region comprising Syria,
Philistia Philistia (; Koine Greek ( LXX): Γῆ τῶν Φυλιστιείμ, romanized: ''gê tôn Phulistieìm''), also known as the Philistine Pentapolis, was a confederation of cities in the Southwest Levant, which included the cities of Ashdod, As ...
, Phoenicia, the Negev, and the
Kingdom of Israel The Kingdom of Israel may refer to any of the historical kingdoms of ancient Israel, including: Fully independent (c. 564 years) *Kingdom of Israel (united monarchy) (1047–931 BCE), the legendary kingdom established by the Israelites and uniting ...
, among various topographical lists inscribed on the walls of temples of Amun at al-Hibah and
Karnak The Karnak Temple Complex, commonly known as Karnak (, which was originally derived from ar, خورنق ''Khurnaq'' "fortified village"), comprises a vast mix of decayed temples, pylons, chapels, and other buildings near Luxor, Egypt. Constru ...
. The fragment of a stela bearing his
cartouche In Egyptian hieroglyphs, a cartouche is an oval with a line at one end tangent to it, indicating that the text enclosed is a royal name. The first examples of the cartouche are associated with pharaohs at the end of the Third Dynasty, but the ...
from Megiddo has been interpreted as a monument Shoshenq erected there to commemorate his victory. Some of these conquered cities include ancient Israelite fortresses such as Megiddo, Taanach and Shechem. There are other problems with Shoshenq being the same as the biblical Shishak: Shoshenq's Karnak list does not include Jerusalem—his biggest prize according to the Bible. His list focuses on places either north or south of Judah, as if he did not raid the center. The fundamental problem facing historians is establishing the aims of the two accounts and linking up the information in them. There have been some possible suggestions and proposals from scholars regarding this issue. Some argue that the mention of Jerusalem was erased from the list over time. Others believe that Rehoboam's tribute to Shoshenq saved the city from destruction and therefore from the Bubastite Portal's lists. Some scholars even propose that Shoshenq claimed a conquest that he did not enact and copied the list of conquered territories from an old Pharaoh's conquest list. As an addendum to his foreign policy, Shoshenq I carved a report of campaigns in Nubia and Israel, with a detailed list of conquests in Israel. This is the first military action outside Egypt formally commemorated for several centuries. This report of conquests is the only surviving late Iron Age text concerning
Canaan Canaan (; Phoenician: 𐤊𐤍𐤏𐤍 – ; he, כְּנַעַן – , in pausa – ; grc-bib, Χανααν – ;The current scholarly edition of the Greek Old Testament spells the word without any accents, cf. Septuaginta : id est Vetus T ...

Domestic policy

Libyan concepts of rule allowed for the parallel existence of leaders who were related by marriage and blood. Shoshenq and his immediate successors used that practice to consolidate their grasp on all of Egypt. Shoshenq terminated the hereditary succession of the high priesthood of Amun. Instead he and his successors appointed men to the position, most often their own sons, a practice that lasted for a century.


Shoshenq I was succeeded by his son Osorkon I after a reign of 21 years. According to the British Egyptologist
Aidan Dodson Aidan Mark Dodson (born 1962) is an English Egyptologist and historian. He has been honorary professor of Egyptology at the University of Bristol since 1 August 2018. Academic career Dodson, born in London on 11 September 1962, studied at Langl ...
, no trace has yet been found of the tomb of Shoshenq I. The sole funerary object linked to Shoshenq I is a
canopic chest Canopic chests are cases used by ancient Egyptians to contain the internal organs removed during the process of mummification. Once canopic jars began to be used in the late Fourth Dynasty, the jars were placed within canopic chests. Although the ...
of unknown provenance that was donated to the
Egyptian Museum of Berlin The Egyptian Museum of Berlin (german: Ägyptisches Museum und Papyrussammlung) is home to one of the world's most important collections of ancient Egyptian artefacts, including the iconic Nefertiti Bust. Since 1855, the collection is a part of t ...
(ÄMB 11000) by Julius Isaac in 1891. This may indicate his tomb was looted in antiquity, but this hypothesis is unproven. Egyptologists differ over the location of Shoshenq I's burial and speculate that he may have been buried somewhere in
Tanis Tanis ( grc, Τάνις or Τανέως ) or San al-Hagar ( ar, صان الحجر, Ṣān al-Ḥaǧar; egy, ḏꜥn.t ; ; cop, ϫⲁⲛⲓ or or ) is the Greek name for ancient Egyptian ''ḏꜥn.t'', an important archaeological site in the ...
—perhaps in one of the anonymous royal tombs here—or in Bubastis. However, Troy Sagrillo in
GM 205
(2005) paper observes that "there are only a bare handful of inscribed blocks from Tanis that might name the king (i.e. Shoshenq I) and none of these come from an ''in situ'' building complex contemporary with his reign."Troy Leiland Sagrillo,
''The Mummy of Shoshenq I Re-discovered?''
Göttinger Miszellen ''Göttinger Miszellen'' (often abbreviated as GM) is a scientific journal published by the Seminar für Ägyptologie und Koptologie ( Göttingen, Germany) which contains short scholarly articles on Egyptological, Coptological, and other relat ...
205 (2005), p.99
Hence, it is more probable that Shoshenq was buried in another city in the Egyptian Delta. Sagrillo offers a specific location for Shoshenq's burial—the Ptah temple enclosure of Memphis—and notes that this king built: Sagrillo concludes by observing that if Shoshenq I's burial place was located at Memphis, "it would go far in explaining why this king's funerary cult lasted for some time at the site after his death." While Shoshenq's tomb is currently unknown, the burial of one of his prominent state officials at Thebes, the Third Prophet of Amun
Djedptahiufankh Djedptahiufankh (c. 969 – c. 935 BCE) served as Second Prophet of Amun and Third Prophet of Amun during the reign of Shoshenq I of the 22nd Dynasty. Family and career Djedptahiufankh is only known from his burial and mummy. He held the title of ...
, was discovered intact in tomb
DB320 The Royal Cache, technically known as TT320 (previously referred to as DB320), is an Ancient Egyptian tomb located next to Deir el-Bahri, in the Theban Necropolis, opposite the modern city of Luxor. It contains an extraordinary collection of mu ...
in the 19th Century. Inscriptions on Djedptahiufankh's Mummy bandages show that he died in or after Year 11 of this king. His mummy was discovered to contain various gold bracelets, amulets and precious
carnelian Carnelian (also spelled cornelian) is a brownish-red mineral commonly used as a semi-precious gemstone. Similar to carnelian is sard, which is generally harder and darker (the difference is not rigidly defined, and the two names are often us ...
objects, and give a small hint of the vast treasures that would have adorned Shoshenq I's tomb.




* M. Bierbrier, The Late New Kingdom in Egypt (c.1300-664 BC), Aris & Philips Ltd, (1975) * Ricardo A. Caminos, Gebel Es-Silsilah No. 100, JEA 38 (1952), pp. 46–61
Rupert L. Chapman IIIPutting Shoshenq I in his Place
Palestine Exploration Quarterly 141, 1 (2009), pp. 4–17 * M. Georges Daressy, Les Parents de Chéchanq Ier, ASAE 16 (1916), 3
Aidan Dodson
The Canopic Equipment of the Kings of Egypt, Kegan Paul Intl, (1994) * Erika Feucht, Zwei Reliefs Scheschonqs I. aus El Hibeh, SAK 6 (1978), 69-77 * Alan H. Gardiner, The Dakhleh Stela, JEA 19 (1933), 19-30 * Rolf Krauss, Das ''wrš''-Datum aus Jahr 5 von Shoshenq Discussions in Egyptology 62 (2005), pp. 43–48
Troy Leiland Sagrillo

The Mummy of Shoshenq I Re-discovered?
' GM 205 (2005), pp. 95–102
Troy Leiland Sagrillo

The Geographic Origins of the "Bubastite" Dynasty and Possible Locations for the Royal Residence and Burial Place of Shoshenq I
' In The Libyan period in Egypt: Historical and cultural studies into the 21st–24th Dynasties, edited by G.P.F. Broekman, R.J. Demarée, and O. Kaper. Egyptologische Uitgaven 23, Leuven: Uitgeverij Peeters. 2009: pp. 341–359
Troy Leiland Sagrillo

Šîšaq’s army: 2 Chronicles 12:2–3 from an Egyptological perspective
In The ancient Near East in the 12th–10th Centuries BCE: Culture and history; proceedings of the international conference held at the University of Haifa, 2–5 May 2010, edited by Gershon Galil, Ayelet Gilboa, Aren M. Maeir, and Dan’el Kahn. Alter Orient und Altes Testament: Veröffentlichungen zur Kultur und Geschichte des Alten Orients und des Alten Testaments 392. Münster: Ugarit-Verlag. 2012: pp. 425–450. * Troy Leiland Sagrillo. 2015.
Shoshenq I and biblical Šîšaq: A philological defense of their traditional equation
" In ''Solomon and Shishak: Current perspectives from archaeology, epigraphy, history and chronology; proceedings of the third BICANE colloquium held at Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge 26–27 March 2011,'' edited by Peter J. James, Peter G. van der Veen, and Robert M. Porter. British Archaeological Reports (International Series) 2732. Oxford: Archaeopress. 61–81.
Ad ThijsFrom the Lunar Eclipse of Takeloth II back to Shoshenq I and Shishak
In: P. James and P. van der Veen (eds.), Solomon and Shishak, BAR International Series 2732, Archaeopress, Oxford, 2015: pp. 42–60
Peter van der Veen
The name Shishak, an update
2005), pp. 8, 42
Peter van der Veen

The Name Shishaq: Shoshenq or Shyshu/q? Responding to the Critics and Assessing the Evidence
In: P. James and P. van der Veen (eds.), Solomon and Shishak, BAR International Series 2732, Archaeopress, Oxford, 2015

External links

* ttp://www.reshafim.org.il/ad/egypt/sheshonqi.htm The Palestine Campaign of Sheshonq I {{Authority control 10th-century BC Pharaohs Pharaohs of the Twenty-second Dynasty of Egypt Chiefs of the Ma Ancient Libyans Pharaohs in the Bible Berbers in Egypt