The Pyramid of Giza
Who built the Great Pyramid
and how did they build it?
Since the earliest of times the "Great Pyramid" of Giza (Arab.
Al Jizah ) along with its 2 other main pyramids have been considered one
of the wonders of the world.
One of the Wonders of
the Ancient World
The Great Pyramid is still among the
world's largest structures, standing almost as tall as a 50 story
skyscraper. The 3 main pyramids were built as tombs for 3 Egyptian
Pharaohs who were considered to be gods on earth. The first and largest
pyramid, known as the Great Pyramid was a tomb for Pharaoh Khufu (Cheops
to the Greeks), who ruled the 4th dynasty around 2575 BC, which would
have been centuries before Abraham, the first Hebrew. But the real
marvel of this Great Pyramid was its massive size.
about a society where they didn't have cameras, You didn't see
great images. And so here are these stupendous, gigantic things
thrusted up to the sky, polished white limestone, blazing in the
sunshine. and there's Khufu, the biggest thing on the planet actually
in the way of a building until the turn of the century -- our century.
And you see, for the first time in your life, not a few hundred, but
thousands...of workers and people and industries of all
kinds." - Mark Lehner
Size and Description
The true pyramid exists only in Egypt, though the term
has also been applied to similar structures in other countries. The
Great Pyramid stands 480 feet tall with a base of 750 feet in each
direction forming a square at the bottom. The pyramid contains around
2,300,000 individual blocks of stones each weighing over 2.5 tons on the
average, with some weighing over 16 tons and the granite roof slabs of
Khufu's burial chamber weigh over 50 tons. The stones form a giant
staircase with each step being waist high. The foundation below the
pyramid is solid rock. Today the city of Cairo is extended out very
close to the pyramids but in ancient times it stood out in the desert.
Originally the stones were incased in brilliant white polished limestone
which gave it a glittering appearance so much so that one Greek
historian named Diodorus Siculus who lived during the 1st century BC
"The Pyramids...by the
immensity of the work and the skill of their construction strike those
who see them with wonder and awe."
A Masterpiece of
Khufu is perhaps the greatest single building ever erected by mankind.
Its sides rise at an angle of 51°52' and are accurately oriented to the
four cardinal points of the compass. The Great Pyramid is a masterpiece
of technical skill and engineering ability. The geometric
precision of its layout and the accuracy of its stonecutting are truly
amazing, especially when you consider the colossal proportions of its
massive size and the weight of the blocks used in it. The internal walls
as well as the outer-casing stones that still remain in place, some of
which weigh as much as 16 tons, show finer joints than any other masonry
constructed in possibly the whole world. The casing stones which were
custom cut and set, one to another, with so much accuracy that you can't
get a knife blade in between the joints is truly amazing.
Who Built the Pyramids
and How Was It Built?
The question of who built the pyramids, and how, has
long been debated by Egyptologists and historians and there is really no
completely satisfactory answer. According to the earliest known
historian of the Egyptian Pyramid Age, the ancient Greek historian
Herodotus (5th cent. BC), the Great Pyramid took 20 years to construct
and demanded the labor of 100,000 men, yet it is hard to believe that
any of these enormous monuments could have been built in one pharaoh's
lifetime. Even the ancient Herodotus was still 2200 years after the
actual building of the pyramids.
What Archaeologists Have
Archaeologists have been trying to solve the puzzle of
where the possibly 100,000 laborers who built the pyramids lived. Once
they find the workers' living area, they can learn more about the
workforce, their daily lives, and perhaps where they came from. Thus the
settlement of the camps have been discovered, Bakeries have been found
to feed the workers, as well as cemetaries, tools, hieroglyphical
inscriptions, names of the craftsmen, overseers, inspectors, 25 unique
new titles, and more. They even found 600 skeletons of Egyptians, some
of which had emergency medical treatment having been injured while
working on the pyramid. There is also evidence that these workers worked
all year round, seeing that, according to their beliefs, they were
assured a certain place in the afterlife. Their hard labor for their
king and Pharaoh would also benefit the future and prosperity of Egypt
as a whole.
According to MARK LEHNER, Archaeologist, Oriental
Institute of the University of Chicago, and Harvard Semitic Museum,
"Everything I saw (at Giza)
told me, day by day, year by year, that they were very human and the
marks of humanity are everywhere on them....my respect increases for
those people and that society, that they could do it...it's a very
impressive job, extraordinary for the people who lived then and there,
but it could be done. They are human monuments."
They hauled these blocks with oxen and gangs of men
with various group names like: "boat Gang," Vigourous
Gang," "North Gang," Friends of Khufu Gang,"
"Powerful Gang," etc. We know this because these names are
still marked on some of the blocks. None of these names indicate that
they were slaves but rather were devoted laborors for Khufu, who they
believed to be god on earth. There is also evidence that these laborors
also owed a labor tax, yet they rotated from in and out of the labor
force. So it seems that the builders were Egyptians as stated by ZAHI
HAWASS, Director General of Giza:
"There is support (that) the
builders of the pyramids were Egyptians. They are not the Jews as has
been said, they are not people from a lost civilization. They are not
out of space. They are Egyptian and their skeletons are here, and were
examined by scholars, doctors and the race of all the people we found
are completely supporting that they are Egyptians."
It is interesting that the wheel wasn't invented for a few centuries
later yet with primitive tools the Egyptians had to quarry and cut to
size the massive blocks of rock. Only 2 alloys were known to the
Egyptians during this time, gold and copper. Since gold was too soft
they used copper tools, such as a saw, chisel, and drill, (sharpened by
the many metalworkers) with strong handles of wood, and others. Here are
some of the tools that have been discovered:
Copper Chisels. Since
gold was the only other available metal they chose the stronger copper
for their tool-making. They pounded with granite dolerite rock balls and
wooden mallets into granite to split the bedrock.
Copper Saws. These were
used to cut the soft stone blocks. They also sawed into large wooden
posts that were used to lever the blocks into place.
Adze with a Copper Blade.
They used this as a plane and to smooth the objects and shape them to
the correct finish.
Copper Drills. These
were spun by twine attached to a cross-piece that was moved back and
forth like a bow. They were also used to make furniture and other tools.
Where Did They Get The
HAWASS states that:
"All the stones have been
taken from the plateau, except the casing stones that came from Tura,
and the granite in the burial chamber that came from Aswan."
They quarried the blocks (mostly limestone) and
dressed them to size. The fine white limestone came from Tura, about 8
miles away on the other side of the Nile. The granite came from quarries
at Aswan, around 600 miles upstream. In some of these sites there are
clear marks left in the rock. They used the copper chisels, hardened and
tempered by heat and quenching, to cut their way down into the
limestone, gradually separating block after block from the rock face.
Limestone is a sedimentary rock that will split along its layers, while
granite, being an igneous rock had to be heated by fire with a sudden
pouring of cold water which would cause the imperfections to split off
leaving the best quality granite underneath.
Levelling the Site. They
had no levels like we have today and knowing that water finds its own
level they would run a channel around the hill filled with water, and
then dug many more channels back and forth and then filling them with
rocks and sand.
How Was it Raised?
The most plausible answer is that the Egyptians, who
lacked tackle and pulleys for lifting heavy weights, employed a sloping
embankment of brick, earth, and sand, which was increased in height and
in length as the pyramid rose and up which the stone blocks were hauled
by means of sledges, rollers, and levers. They could have used one ramp
or 4 (one for each corner).
North, South, East, and West.
They were very particular about the direction the
pyramid would be facing. The Egyptian astonomers had incredible skill
lining up the sides of the pyramids on a particular star which causes
the sides to face almost exactly north, south, east, and west. Since the
Egyptians were known for their ability in mathematics, they were
familiar with triangles and that a triangle with sides of 3, 4, and 5
units would autimatically yield a right angle and using squares similar
to what builders and masons use today making sure that the corners were
perfectly square. The work of the surveyors was so brilliant that the
sides of the Great Pyramid are not more than 7 inches different in
length out of 750 feet. A masterpiece in engineering. The study of the
burial chamber and how the Pharaoh was entombed will have to come later.
There is little doubt that many of the
characters mentioned in the Bible had seen the Great Pyramid at Giza at
some time or another.
to see a 3D image of the great Pyramid.
Egypt in Smith's Bible Dictionary
(land of the Copts), a country occupying the northeast angle
of Africa. Its limits appear always to have been very nearly the
same. It is bounded on the north by the Mediterranean Sea, on the
east by Palestine, Arabia and the Red Sea, on the south by Nubia,
and on the west by the Great Desert. It is divided into upper Egypt
--the valley of the Nile --and lower Egypt, the plain of the Delta,
from the Greek letter; it is formed by the branching mouths of the
Nile, and the Mediterranean Sea. The portions made fertile by the
Nile comprise about 9582 square geographical miles, of which only
about 5600 is under cultivation. --Encyc. Brit. The Delta extends
about 200 miles along the Mediterranean, and Egypt is 520 miles long
from north to south from the sea to the First Cataract. NAMES. --The
common name of Egypt in the Bible is "Mizraim." It is in the dual
number, which indicates the two natural divisions of the country
into an upper and a lower region. The Arabic name of Egypt --Mizr--
signifies "red mud." Egypt is also called in the Bible "the land of
Ham," Ps 105:23,27 comp. Psal 78:51
Egyptian Writing in the Bible Encyclopedia - ISBE
4. Four Views of Future Life:
The religion of Egypt is an enormous subject, and that by which
Egypt is perhaps most known. Here we can only give an outline of the
growth and subdivisions of it. There never was any one religion in
Egypt during historic times. There were at least four religions, all
incompatible, and all believed in at once in varying degrees. The
different religions can best be seen apart by their incongruity
regarding the future life.
(1) The dead wandered about the cemetery seeking food, and were
partly fed by the goddess in the sycamore tree. They therefore
needed to have plates of food and jars of water in the tomb, and
provided perpetually by their descendants in front of the doorway to
the grave. The deceased is represented as looking out over this
doorway in one case. Here came in the great principle of
substitution. For the food, substitute its image which cannot decay,
and the carved table of offerings results. For the farmstead of
animals, substitute its carved image on the walls and the animal
sculptures result. For the life of the family, substitute their
carved figures doing all that was wanted, sacrificing and serving,
and the family sculptures result. For the house, substitute a model
upon the grave, and the pottery soul-houses appear with their
furniture and provisions. For the servants, put their figures doing
household work, and their service is eternal. For the master
himself, put the most lifelike image that can be made, and his soul
will occupy that as a restful home fitted for it. This principle is
still believed in. Funeral offerings of food are still put even in
Muslim graves, and a woman will visit a grave, and, removing a tile,
will talk through a hole to her dead husband.
(2) The dead went to the kingdom of Osiris, to which only the good
were admitted, while the evil were rejected, and consumed either by
monsters or by fire. This heavenly kingdom was a complete duplicate
of the earthly life. They planted and reaped, sported and played.
And as the Egyptian felicity consisted in making others work for
them, so each man was provided with a retinue of serfs to cultivate
the land for him. These ushabti figures in later times usually
number 400, and often 1 in 10 of them is clad as an overseer. A
special chapter of the Book of the Dead is to be recited to animate
them, and this, more or less abbreviated, is often inscribed upon
(3) The dead joined the company of the immortal gods, who float on
the heavenly ocean in the boat of the sun. With them they have to
face the terrors of the hours of the night when the sun goes through
the underworld. Long charms and directions are needed for safety in
this passage, and these form a large part of the funerary tests,
especially on the Tombs of the Kings in the XVIIIth-XXIst Dynasties.
To reach the boat of the sun a boat must be provided in the tomb,
with its sailors and sails and oars. Such are frequent from the
(4) The dead were carried off by the Hathor cow, or a bull, to wait
for a bodily resurrection. In order to preserve the body for some
life after the present age, each part must be protected by an
appropriate amulet; hence, dozens of different amulets were placed
on the body, especially from about 600-400 BC.
Now it will be seen that each of these beliefs contradicts the other
three, and they represent, therefore, different religious origins.
5. Four Groups of Gods:
The mythology is similarly diverse, and was unified by uniting
analogous gods. Hence, when we see the compounds such as
Ptah-Sokar-Osiris, or Amen-Ra or Osiris-Khentamenti, it is clear
that each god of the compound belongs to a different religion, like
Pallas-Athene or Zeus-Labrandeus, in Greek compounds. So far as we
can at present see, the gods linked with each of the beliefs about
the soul are as follows:
(1) The Soul in the Tombs and Cemetery.
With this belief belong the animal gods, which form the earliest
stratum of the religion; also Sokar the god of "Silence," and Mert
Sokar, the "Lover of Silence," as the gods of the dead. With this
was allied a belief in the soul sometimes going to the west, and
hence, Khent-amenti, a jackal-headed god, "he who is in the west,"
became the god of the dead.
(2) The Soul in the Heavenly Kingdom.
Osiris is the lord of this kingdom, Isis his sister-wife, Horus
their son, Nebhat (Nephthys) the sister of Isis, and Set her
husband. Set also was regarded as coequal with Horus. This whole
mythology results probably from the fusion of tribes who were
originally monotheistic, and who each worshipped one of these
deities. It is certain that the later parts of this mythology are
tribal history, regarded as the victories and defeats of the gods
whom the tribes worshipped.
(3) The Soul in the Sun-Boat.
Ra was the Sun-god, and in other forms worshipped as Khepera and
Atmu. The other cosmic gods of the same group are Nut, the heaven,
and her husband Geb, the earth; Shu, space, and his sister Tefnut.
Anher the Sky-god belongs to Upper Egypt.
(4) The Mummy with Amulets, Preserved for a Future Life.
Probably to this group belong the gods of principles, Hathor the
female principle; Min the male principle; Ptah the architect and
creator of the universe; his spouse Maat, abstract truth and
The Bible Mentions
Exodus 34:18 - The
feast of unleavened bread shalt thou keep. Seven days thou shalt eat
unleavened bread, as I commanded thee, in the time of the month Abib:
for in the month Abib thou camest out from Egypt.
46:7 - His sons, and his sons' sons with him, his daughters,
and his sons' daughters, and all his seed brought he with him into
2:18 - And now what hast thou to do in the way of
Egypt, to drink the waters of Sihor? or what hast thou to do
in the way of Assyria, to drink the waters of the river?
44:14 - So that none of the remnant of Judah, which are gone
into the land of Egypt to sojourn there, shall escape
or remain, that they should return into the land of Judah, to the
which they have a desire to return to dwell there: for none shall
return but such as shall escape.
19:22 - And the LORD shall smite Egypt: he
shall smite and heal [it]: and they shall return [even] to the LORD,
and he shall be intreated of them, and shall heal them.
17:4 - And the king of Assyria found conspiracy in Hoshea:
for he had sent messengers to So king of Egypt, and
brought no present to the king of Assyria, as [he had done] year by
year: therefore the king of Assyria shut him up, and bound him in
23:15 - Thou shalt keep the feast of unleavened bread: (thou
shalt eat unleavened bread seven days, as I commanded thee, in the
time appointed of the month Abib; for in it thou camest out from
Egypt: and none shall appear before me empty:)
10:13 - And Moses stretched forth his rod over the land of
Egypt, and the LORD brought an east wind upon the land
all that day, and all [that] night; [and] when it was morning, the
east wind brought the locusts.
- And the hail smote throughout all the land of Egypt
all that [was] in the field, both man and beast; and the hail smote
every herb of the field, and brake every tree of the field.
44:30 - Thus saith the LORD; Behold, I will give
Pharaohhophra king of Egypt into the hand of his
enemies, and into the hand of them that seek his life; as I gave
Zedekiah king of Judah into the hand of Nebuchadrezzar king of
Babylon, his enemy, and that sought his life.
20:5 - And say unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD; In the
day when I chose Israel, and lifted up mine hand unto the seed of
the house of Jacob, and made myself known unto them in the land of
Egypt, when I lifted up mine hand unto them, saying, I
[am] the LORD your God;
11:18 - And say thou unto the people, Sanctify yourselves
against to morrow, and ye shall eat flesh: for ye have wept in the
ears of the LORD, saying, Who shall give us flesh to eat? for [it
was] well with us in Egypt: therefore the LORD will
give you flesh, and ye shall eat.
8:16 - Since the day that I brought forth my people Israel
out of Egypt, I chose no city out of all the tribes of
Israel to build an house, that my name might be therein; but I chose
David to be over my people Israel.
- For the children of Israel walked forty years in the wilderness,
till all the people [that were] men of war, which came out of
Egypt, were consumed, because they obeyed not the voice of
the LORD: unto whom the LORD sware that he would not shew them the
land, which the LORD sware unto their fathers that he would give us,
a land that floweth with milk and honey.
43:11 - And when he cometh, he shall smite the land of
Egypt, [and deliver] such [as are] for death to death;
and such [as are] for captivity to captivity; and such [as are] for
the sword to the sword.
47:6 - The land of Egypt [is] before thee; in
the best of the land make thy father and brethren to dwell; in the
land of Goshen let them dwell: and if thou knowest [any] men of
activity among them, then make them rulers over my cattle.
29:12 - And I will make the land of Egypt
desolate in the midst of the countries [that are] desolate, and her
cities among the cities [that are] laid waste shall be desolate
forty years: and I will scatter the Egyptians among
the nations, and will disperse them through the countries.
12:42 - It [is] a night to be much observed unto the LORD
for bringing them out from the land of Egypt: this
[is] that night of the LORD to be observed of all the children of
Israel in their generations.
Deuteronomy 16:1 - Observe the month of Abib, and keep the
passover unto the LORD thy God: for in the month of Abib the LORD
thy God brought thee forth out of Egypt by night.
Deuteronomy 17:16 - But he shall not multiply horses to
himself, nor cause the people to return to Egypt, to
the end that he should multiply horses: forasmuch as the LORD hath
said unto you, Ye shall henceforth return no more that way.
- And I gave unto Isaac Jacob and Esau: and I gave unto Esau mount
Seir, to possess it; but Jacob and his children went down into
- That the LORD sent a prophet unto the children of Israel, which
said unto them, Thus saith the LORD God of Israel, I brought you up
from Egypt, and brought you forth out of the house of
41:36 - And that food shall be for store to the land against
the seven years of famine, which shall be in the land of Egypt;
that the land perish not through the famine.
Deuteronomy 13:5 - And that prophet, or that dreamer of
dreams, shall be put to death; because he hath spoken to turn [you]
away from the LORD your God, which brought you out of the land of
Egypt, and redeemed you out of the house of bondage, to
thrust thee out of the way which the LORD thy God commanded thee to
walk in. So shalt thou put the evil away from the midst of thee.
24:32 - And the bones of Joseph, which the children of
Israel brought up out of Egypt, buried they in Shechem,
in a parcel of ground which Jacob bought of the sons of Hamor the
father of Shechem for an hundred pieces of silver: and it became the
inheritance of the children of Joseph.
- Now all the people that came out were circumcised: but all the
people [that were] born in the wilderness by the way as they came
forth out of Egypt, [them] they had not circumcised.
45:23 - And to his father he sent after this [manner]; ten
asses laden with the good things of Egypt, and ten she
asses laden with corn and bread and meat for his father by the way.
- And they did so; for Aaron stretched out his hand with his rod,
and smote the dust of the earth, and it became lice in man, and in
beast; all the dust of the land became lice throughout all the land
30:6 - Thus saith the LORD; They also that uphold
Egypt shall fall; and the pride of her power shall come
down: from the tower of Syene shall they fall in it by the sword,
saith the Lord GOD.
Chronicles 6:5 - Since the day that I brought forth my
people out of the land of Egypt I chose no city among
all the tribes of Israel to build an house in, that my name might be
there; neither chose I any man to be a ruler over my people Israel: