Biblical Archaeology: The Merneptah Stele

by Arthur Khachatryan

merneptah_steleThrough the ages that have come and gone, generation after generation have tried to record the events of the lives of the people and of nations. Mankind has been transmitting information for millennia. Thus, the breadth and depth of the earth soil holds treasured of the history of the world. And though we sometimes come across obvious legends and myths, we also many times find historical corroboration through archaeology.

The biblical Old Testament (OT) book of Genesis tells us of a famine, under which conditions the Jews of Abraham’s descent end up in Egypt. While initially the Jews were simply living alongside the Egyptians, they were eventually enslaved and subjected to hard labor by the Egyptians. The book of Exodus tells us that eventually the Jews were forced to be released by Pharaoh through God’s miraculous intervention. This recorded narrative has been a hot target for those who are not only skeptical of the supernatural events that lead to Pharaoh’s release of the Jews, but that any of the biblical narrative is historical at all.

The biblical account has been further scrutinized because of the lack of known Egyptian reference to the events recorded in the OT. However, a significant discovery in late 19th century and some scant knowledge of Egyptology reveals the skepticism to be hollow.

It is well known that the ancient Egyptians were quite egocentric in recording historical information. It appears that they would reverse their defeats into victories when recording events, and at other times (perhaps when more difficult to revise history), they avoided making reference to events altogether. This is well demonstrated, for example, in the four-seated colossi of Rameses II overlooking the Nile (now Lake Nasser) at Abu-Simbel. Though Rameses is known to have barely escaped with his life at the battle of Kadesh against the Hittites, the recordings of the event inside the walls speaks of an enormous Egyptian victory…

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Recommended Resources: The Stones Cry Out: What Archaeology Reveals About the Truth of the Bible |The Archaeological Study Bible