For some time the experts told the world that ancient Israel was nothing more than a myth, a creation of some vivid minds around 600 years
before Christ was born. But unfortunately for the ‘experts’ the archaeological record reveals that ancient Israel was a distinct people over
3200 years ago as the Bible suggests and we have the proof in stone!
Pharaoh Merenptah was the son of Ramesses II. His temple in ancient Thebes is in a terrible state. However, in this temple
Merenptah recorded on a large stone the battles that he had in the land of Canaan. This record is called the Merenptah Stele and is now in
the Egyptian Museum. The stele itself is dated to 1207 BC and at the bottom of the stone Pharaoh Merenptah speaks of his war with Israel
saying, ‘Israel is laid waste, its seed is no more.’
This record indicates that Israel was well established in Canaan by 1200 BC, but it also shows the unreliability of Egyptian records. Pharaoh
Merenptah boasts that he has committed genocide against Israel – wiping them off the face of the earth. This is a clear case of propaganda
and makes us wonder what other records in Egypt have been falsified.
The stele dates to the time of the Judges in the Bible and the word ‘Israel’ is written with the determinative for ‘a people’ rather
than ‘a nation.’ The Bible tells us that the time of judges was a time of chaos where central leadership broke down, as every man did
what was right in their own eyes. So the Bible and the stele agree on this.
‘In those days there was not a king in Israel; everyone did what was right in their own eyes’ Judges 17:6.
The Egyptian record of Pharaoh Merenptah also helps to confirm the story of the Bible. In Judges 1:29, we learn that ancient Israel
was not able to take the city of Gezer. But Pharaoh Merenptah, with much greater military might managed to take the city that was
too strong for Israel. The stele says, ‘Gezer has been captured.’
The Merenptah stone also teaches us about the ‘Russian Roulette’ element of archaeology. The Merenptah stele proves that there was an ancient
people called Israel living in their land by 1200 BC, but if this stone was still buried in Egypt, the next mention of Israel outside of the Bible
is found four hundred years later!
If the Merenptah stele was still buried, archaeologists would be telling us now that ancient Israel only existed by the time of 800 BC, based
on the Moabite stone and later Assyrian records. However, the Merenptah stone gives us a permanent date for the existence of ancient Israel
that cannot be dismissed – the Bible was right after all and perhaps there are other artefacts still buried in Egypt that will one day reveal more!
‘Israel in Egypt - The Exodus Mystery DVD’
Enter ancient Egypt and search for the evidence for the Bible's Exodus. Go
‘The Exodus Evidence Book’
Experience a photographic search for the Bible’s Exodus. 100+ colour photos. Go