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".[2] 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.

External links[edit]