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KRONOS Vol. I, Issue 2

A Concordance Of Disaster

In the year 1969, in an article titled "Worlds in Confusion,"[1] Isaac Asimov chided Velikovsky for comparing the catastrophes described in the Papyrus Ipuwer with corresponding ones in the Book of Exodus and for further concluding that the two sources reflected contemporary accounts of the same natural upheaval.[2]

As far as Asimov was concerned, Ipuwer "was the author of a papyrus which has been dated back to the time of the Sixth Dynasty, about 2200 B.C. It was a time when the 'Old Kingdom' . . . was in decay, and when Egyptian society was breaking down into feudalism, confusion and misery. Ipuwer didn't like the situation and described it very much in the tones with which Tacitus described the decaying Roman society of his time and the New Left describes the decaying American society of our own time."[3]

Asimov then went on to question the very reality of Ipuwer's lament. . what are we to make of Ipuwer's words, which go on and on in their wailing? Is it possible, is it just barely possible, that he was making use of metaphor? If I were to say that 'Society is going to the dogs' would Velikovsky be justified in supposing that I was speaking of a band of wild dogs who had entered my city and were devouring its inhabitants?" [4]

For Asimov, it was of no consequence that five years prior to his untutored remarks, Egyptological scholarship had already vindicated Velikovsky's earlier conclusions regarding the chronological placement of the Papyrus and its physical cataclysmic content.[5]

But for the benefit of those who may still harbor any doubt that the Papyrus lpuwer describes other than mere social calamity, we present

Concordance Key

Exodus (EX) — References are from the King James Version.

Papyrus Ipuwer (PI) — References are from A. H. Gardiner's translation of 1909 (similarities were not observed by him).

Toland (T) — References are from J. Toland's The Rising Sun (N.Y., 1970).

Hersey (H) — References are from J. Hersey's Hiroshima (N.Y., 1946).

Popol Vuh (PV) — References are from A. Recinos' Popol Vuh: The Sacred Book of the Ancient Quiche Maya (Norman, Oklahoma, 1972), English version by D. Goetz and S. G. Morley.

Revelation (R) — References are from the King James Version.


EX 7:21 there was blood throughout all the land of Egypt.

PI 2:5-6 Plague is throughout the land. Blood is everywhere.

T 974 they looked "as if they had crawled out of a pool of blood."

Bloody Waters

EX 7:20..... all the waters that were in the river were turned to blood.

PI 2: 10 The river is blood.

T 975..... The surface of the water was covered with carmine scum. From blood?

PV 2:2 Then they arrived [the demigods Hun-Hunahpu and Vucub-Hunahpu in the underworld of Xibalba] at the shore of a river of blood, and they crossed it without drinking its waters . . .

R 16:4 And the third angel poured out his bowl upon the rivers and fountains of waters, and they became blood.

lmpotable Water

EX 7:24 And ill the Egyptians digged round about the river for water to drink; for they could not drink of the water of the river.

PI 2: 1 0 Men shrink from tasting . . . and thirst after water.

H 42 he carried them water from the river—a mistake, since it was tidal and brackish.

Death in the Waters

EX 7:2 t And the fish that was in the river died.

PI 10: 3-6 Lower Egypt weeps . . . The entire palace is without its revenues. To it belong (by right) wheat and barley, geese and fish.

H 69 . . . the fat, two-foot carp . . . floated dead on the surface of the water.

R 16:3 And the second angel poured out his bowl upon the sea, and it became like the blood of a dead man; and every living soul died in the sea.


EX 9:23 and the fire ran along upon the ground.

PI 2:10 Forsooth, gates, columns and walls are consumed by fire.

H 45 then flames came along his side of the street and entered his house.

T 974 Blasts of flame . erratically ripped off corrugated roofs as if they were cardboard, blasted houses apart and twisted metal bridges.

R 13:11-13 And I beheld another beast coming out of the earth; and he had two horns like a lamb, and he spoke like a dragon . . . And he doeth great wonders, so that he maketh fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men.


EX 10: 22 . . . and there was thick darkness in all the land of Egypt.

PI 9:11 The land is not light.

T 995 In the twilight gloom people milled around helplessly.

PV 3:8 They did not steep; they remained standing and great was the anxiety of their hearts and their stomachs for the coming of dawn and the day . . . They bad come . . . far. "Oh, we have come without joy! If only we could see the rising of the sun! What shall we do now?" . . . They talked, but they could not calm their hearts which were anxious for the coming of the dawn.

R 16:10 And the fifth angel poured out his bowl upon the throne of the beast, and his kingdom was full of darkness . . .

Earthquake and Concussion

PI 7:4 The residence is overturned in a minute.

T 967 . . . an unearthly concussion . . . obliterated all but a few solid, earthquake-proof buildings within two miles [of the hypocenter].

PV 1:3 The desperate ones . . . ran as quickly as they could; they wanted to climb to the tops of the houses, and the houses fell down and threw them to the ground; they wanted to climb to the treetops, and the trees cast them far away; they wanted to enter the caverns, and the caverns repelled them [closed up before them].

R 6:12-17 And I beheld, when he had opened the sixth seal and, lo, there was a great earthquake, and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became like blood; And the stars of heaven fell unto the earth, even as a fig tree casteth her untimely figs, when she is shaken of a mighty wind. And the heaven departed as a scroll when it is rolled together; and every mountain and island were moved out of their places. And the kings of the earth, and the great men, and the rich men, and the chief captains, and the mighty men, and every [slave], and every free man, hid themselves in the dens and in the rocks of the mountains, And said to the mountains and rocks, Fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb; For the great day of his wrath is come, and who shall be able to stand?

All are Perished

EX 12:29 And it came to pass, that at midnight the Lord smote all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, from the firstborn of Pharaoh that sat on his throne unto the firstborn of the captive that was in the dungeon.

PI 5: 3,6 Forsooth, the children of princes are dashed against the walls.

PI 6:12 Forsooth, the children of princes are cast out in the streets.

PI 6:3 The prison is ruined.

T 967 . . . the blast hurled him into the vast barnlike warehouse, driving him into the collapsing roof beam where five long nails in his back held him suspended several feet off the ground.

T 977 Twenty-two of the victims were American prisoners of war . . . There were twenty-three prisoners in all. The twenty-third, a young soldier, was pulled out of the rubble alive, but he was killed by an angry mob of Japanese survivors.

Hailstones and Trees Destroyed

EX 9:25 . . . and the hail smote every herb of the field, and brake every tree of the field.

PI 4: 14 Trees are destroyed.

T 974..... large trees were uprooted . . . Telephone poles ignited explosively.

EX 9:24..... there was hail, and fire mingled with the hail, very grievous.

PV 3:5 Much hail fell on all the tribes and the fire was put out because of it, and again the fire was extinguished.

R 16:21 And there fell upon men a great hail out of heaven, every [hail] stone about the weight of 100 pounds; and men blasphemed God because of the plague of the hail; for the plaque was exceedingly great.


PI 4:2 years of noise. There is no end to noise.

PI 6: 1 Oh, that the earth would cease from noise, and tumult (uproar) be no more.

T 973 With distance [from the hypocenter] the noise grew perceptible, then shattering. From three miles it sounded like the rumbling of unworldly thunder; at four miles it was a distant moan which crew into a jarring boom . . . several miles offshore, salvagers . . . heard a deafening "thunderbolt" clap.

R 4:1 . . . and, behold, a door was opened in heaven; and the first voice that I heard was, as it were, of a trumpet . . . which said, Come up here, and I will show thee things which must be hereafter . . .

R 16:17-18 And the seventh angel poured out his bowl into the air, and there came a great voice out of the temple of heaven, from the throne, saying, It is done. And there were voices, and thunders, and lightnings; and there was a great earthquake, such as was not since men were upon the earth, so mighty an earthquake, and so great.

Black Rain

PV 1: 3 A heavy resin fell from the sky . . . This was to punish them because they had not thought of their mother, nor their father, the Heart of Heaven, called Huracan. And for this reason the face of the earth was darkened and a black rain began to fall, by day and by night.

PV 3:5 There was much hail, black rain and mist, and indescribable cold.

T 973 . . . huge drops of rain began to plummet down . . . and stained by radioactive dust [fell] in large drops. The "black rain," weird and almost supernatural, horrified the survivors.

T 996 Incongruously, there was a heavy shower, the raindrops hissing into the fires and hot earth.

Botanical Destruction

EX 10: 15 . . . there remained not any green thing in the trees, or in the herbs of the field, through all the land of Egypt.

PI 6: 1 No fruit nor herbs are found . . .

PI 5:12 Forsooth, that has perished which yesterday was seen.

T 995 . . . eggplant leaves and potato plants were smoldering.

Scorched Earth

PI 2:11 The towns are destroyed. Upper Egypt has become dry (wastes?).

PI 3: 1 Forsooth, the Desert is throughout the land. The nomes are laid waste.

PV 3:9 Instantly the surface of the earth was dried by the sun. Like a man was the sun when it showed itself, and its face glowed when it dried the surface of the earth . . . And its heat was unbearable. It showed itself when it was born and remained fixed [in the sky] like a mirror. Certainly it was not the same sun which we see, it is said in their old tales.

T 967 The heat emanating from the fireball lasted a fraction of a second but was so intense (almost 300,000 degrees Centigrade) that it melted the surface of granite within a thousand yards of the hypocenter, or ground zero directly under the burst.

T 983 Their plane arrived over Hiroshima just before dusk. The general had seen many cities laid waste by fire bombings—usually there was smoldering debris, smoke from emergency kitchens and some signs of human activity—but below him stretched a lifeless desert. No smoke, no fires, nothing.

R 16:8-9 And the fourth angel poured out his bowl upon the sun, and power was given unto him to scorch men with fire. And men were scorched with great heat, and blasphemed the name of God, who hath power over these plagues ...

Suffering Animals

EX 9:3 the hand of the Lord is upon thy cattle which is in the field . . . there shall be a very grievous murrain.

EX 9:19 . . . gather thy cattle, and all that thou hast in the field.

PI 5: 5 All animals, their hearts weep. Cattle moan . . .

PI 9:2-3 Behold, cattle are left to stray, and there is none to gather them together. Each man fetches for himself those that are branded with his name.

T 975 a cavalry horse standing alone . . . was pink; the blast had seared off its skin. It looked at him pleadingly and followed with a few faltering steps . . . (he would dream about the pink horse for years afterward).

T 1000 a black-and-white cow covered with raw spots of pink was placidly lapping water.

Innumerable Dead

EX 12:30 there was not a house where there was not one dead.

PI 2: 13 He who places his brother in the ground is everywhere.

T 977 That day perhaps 100,000 human beings perished . . . and an equal number were dying from burns, injuries and . radiation poisoning.

A Great Cry

EX 12:30 . . . there was a great cry in Egypt.

PI 3:14 It is groaning that is throughout the land, mingled with lamentations.

T 982 The anguished voices of those who had died kept haunting them.

The Dead Untombed

PI 4: 4 Forsooth, those who were in the place of embalmment

PI 6:14 are laid on the high ground.

H 107 Some of them measured the force that had been necessary to shift marble gravestones in the cemeteries.

R 20:13 And the sea gave up the dead that were in it, and death and hades delivered up the dead that were in them; and they were judged every man according to their works.


[1] Originally published in October 1969 in The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction. Reprinted in The Stars in their Courses (Ace Books: N. Y., 1972), pp. 45-56.
[2] I. Velikovsky, Ages in Chaos (Garden City, 1952), pp. 22-39; I. Velikovsky, Worlds in Collision (Garden City. 1950), Chapter 2; 1. Velikovsky, "Theses for the Reconstruction of Ancient History," Script & Academics Hierosolymitana (N.Y., 1945), Theses #7 and #8.
[3] I. Asimov, The Stars . . . . op. cit., p. 49.
[4] Ibid., P. 50.
[5] See J. Van Seters, Journal of Egyptian Archaeology, 50, 1964, pp. 13-23; R. O. Faulkner, Journal of Egyptian Archaeology, 51, 1965, pp. 53-62: W. F. Albright, Bulletin of the American Schools of Oriental Research, 179, 1965, pp. 41-42; J. Van Seters, The Hyksos (New Haven. 1966), P. 120; also see L. M. Greenberg, "The Papyrus lpuwer." Pensee, III (Winter, 1973), pp. 36-37. Almost without exception, the bulk of Asimov's contentions against Velikovsky, which were Presented in "Worlds in Confusion," have been repudiated by a host of scholars (including Carl Sagan) between 1964 and 1974. Yet, in the October 1974 issue of Analog, Asimov was still referring readers to his earlier work as though it were still valid. Some people never learn.

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