Merneptah Stele

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The stele in the Egyptian Museum in Cairo.

The Merneptah Stele is something Biblical literalists don't like talking about. In 1896, a black granite obelisk was uncovered in Thebes, dating from around 1213-1203 B.C.E. It bears a very interesting inscription:

"The princes are prostrate, saying 'Mercy!' Not one raises his head among the nine bows.

Desolation is for Tehenu; Hatti is pacified; plundered is the Canaan with every evil. Carried off is Ashkelon; seized upon is Gezer; Yanoam is made as that which does not exist; Israel is laid waste, his seed is not; Hurru is become a widow for Egypt! All lands

together, they are pacified."[1]

So what?[edit]

This is the first extrabiblical reference to Israel. No one mentions them before this. Also, the hieroglyph for Israel describes them as a people, whilst the others are described as "lands". So this means that Israel wasn't a kingdom yet, so the Stele must date from the time of the Judges at the latest. This doesn't fit with Usher's chronology, which claims Solomon ascended in 970 B.C.E.

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