Merneptah Stele: How this 3,200-year artefact could prove the Bible was RIGHT

The Merneptah Stele is an ancient slab of granite etched with the conquests of the Egyptian Pharaoh Merneptah. The ancient Egyptian ruler is believed to have reigned between 1213 and 1203 BCE when he conquered the Libyans and their allies. But out of the 28 lines of hieroglyphics found on the slab, two lines in particular have fascinated historians as they appear to mention the lands of Israel.

Discovered in 1896 at Thebes by Sir William Matthew Flinders Petrie, the stele is one of four known Iron Age artefacts that mention Israel.

According to Professor Tom Meyer, an expert in Middle Eastern languages and bible studies, the stele is of incredible historical and biblical importance.

He told Express.co.uk: “Despite the Israelites living in Egyptian exile for 430 years – Exodus 12:40 – the word Israel is only mentioned specifically in one archaeological document from ancient Egypt.

This one mention has tremendous implications for proving the historical accuracy of the Bible.

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“The unique mention of Israel comes from approximately 1208 BC during the reign of an otherwise unknown Pharaoh, Merneptah, the son and successor to the famous Ramesses the Great.”

The stele describes Merneptah’s military campaigns in northern Africa against the Libyans and their allies as well as the Sea Peoples, including the Biblical Philistines.

But the last lines of the stele speak of a successful campaign to the lands of Canaan, a region in the Middle East known today as the Levant.

Professor Meyer said: “The victorious Pharaoh Merneptah ordered a stela constructed to commemorate his military success upon his return to Egypt.

Israel is only mentioned specifically in one archaeological document from ancient Egypt

Professor Tom Meyer, The Bible Memory Man

“The stela was found over 3,000 years later in Merneptah’s tomb by the famous English Egyptologist and archaeologist William Matthew Flinders Petrie in 1896 at Thebes, also called Luxor, the ancient Egyptian capital on the banks of the Nile River.”

The expert added this is the first and last time Israel was mentioned in an Egyptian document.

But there is some debate over the exact translation of the Stele’s hieroglyphics.

According to some theories, the inscription reading I.si.ri.ar could instead read Jezreel, a city in the northern valley of Canaan.

But Professor Meyer is certain there are more clues that could reveal the inscription’s true message.

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He said: “After detailing how the Pharaoh subdued the Bible cities of Ashkelon, Gaza and Yanoam that revolted against Egyptian rule, he then brags that ‘Israel is desolate its seed is no more’.

“The Egyptian expression associated with Israel here ‘his seed is no more’ means that Israel has been totally destroyed.

“This phrase does not mean that Israel’s agricultural products – as some interpret ‘seed’ -have been destroyed, rather it is used to signify complete destruction or ruin of their people group.

There is nothing in the Merneptah stela context to suggest that the destruction of ‘grain’ is intended, as some

scholars think.

“Inside the Merneptah funeral chamber where the stela was found, there are wall reliefs probably depicting the pharaoh’s battle with the people of Canaan, including the Israelites.

“The battle scenes match the account engraved on the stela.

“The Merneptah stela is important for two reasons.

“This single Egyptian document mentioning the word Israel proves as an extra-biblical source that the people of Israel were a bonified people group living in Canaan during the fifth or seventh year of his reign, around 1208 BC.”

The ancient slab is now on display at the Egyptian Museum in Cairo.

Professor Meyer is also known as the Bible Memory Man and has memorised more than 20 books from the Bible.

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