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Jewry: Fake and truth in the Old Testament (OT) according to documents and excavations

New identity by new Jewish history by help of chronology and archaeological research

12. Documents in Egypt with the name of "Israel"

Stele of victory describing victories of Pharaoh
                Merenptah
Stele of victory describing victories of Pharaoh Merenptah

by Michael Palomino (2006 / 2010)

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from: Israel Finkelstein / Neil A. Silberman: The Bible unearthed. Archeology's New Vision of Ancient Israel and the Origin of Its Sacred Texts; The Free Press, a division of Simon & Schuster, Inc., 2001; German edition has got the title "No trombones before Jericho" (orig. German: "Keine Posaunen vor Jericho"): edition C.H.Beck oHG, Munich 2002;

Here in this analysis is used the German version "Keine Posaunen vor Jericho" of DTV, Munich 2004, second edition of 2005. All page indications refer to the German version. I hope the page numbers are not very different.

1207 B.C.
There is a stele of victory of Pharaoh Merenptah mentioning a great victory against the Israelites
(p.28)

Victoria stele describing victories of
                        Pharaoh Merenptah
Victoria stele describing victories of Pharaoh Merenptah
Pharaoh Merenptah is the son of Ramses II. According to this "Merenptah stele" he is said having defeated the Israelites in a successful campaign at the end of 13th century B.C. The Israelites are said having been expelled and massively reduced claiming that Israel's "seed would be off" (p.71).

This stele is the first safe historical proof of a text mentioning the word "Israel" (p.71). But the location of the alleged battle is not mentioned. So, since 1207 B.C. it's only proved that in Egypt it's known that some group exists with the name of "Israel" (p.89).

According to archeology there are founded many new villages in the highlands of Canaan at the same time. These founding wave of new villages can be connected with the expulsion of Israelite population (p.71).

[It can be that the Israelites have played with the sea peoples against Egypt, and Jerusalem was at another place and is not detected yet? Archeology cannot say anything yet. This stele is a mystery. Speculations may go on...]


12th century B.C. / interim period from Bronze Age to Iron Age / end of Late Bronze Age / 1150 B.C. appr.

Collapse of Egypt and Hittite Empires - wave of villages - villages and towns in the highlands - independences

The powers are collapsing (p.134). City states of Canaan are weakened
-- by raids of the sea peoples
-- by rivalries
-- or by social upheavals
-- accompanied by a fast economic decline.

Weakening of the city states of Canaan permits the independence for the city states in the highlands - Shechem (Bible name for "Israel") and Jerusalem (Bible name for "Judah") (p.178).

The survivors of the regions win the independence. The populations of the villages are probably producing just for their personal needs. But the heaviest consequences suffer the Bedouins: They cannot change corn in the villages any more and have to cultivate corn themselves now, and now they are settling down, and there are more villages installed (p.134).

So, according to Finkelstein / Silberman the genesis of villages is the result of the collapse of Canaanite culture, and the importance of the Israelite villages is rising. The native people were the Canaanites. Other peoples as the foreigners, Bedouins who are called Israelites later, were not from the coastal region (p.135)

Wave of villages also in the Eastbank of Jordan river
Also in the Eastbank of Jordan river can be proved the same wave of foundations of villages. But this local population is not Israelite, but is forming the kingdoms of Ammon and Moab and Edom later (p.135).

1180-1130 B.C. appr.
Towns without population
Some decades the big towns are left without population, for example Megiddo, Tel Dor, or Tel Rehov (p.179).

1150-586 B.C. / European Iron Age
The highlands of Canaan are developing a change into territorial states
(p.32)

since 1130 B.C. appr.
New population in the towns of Canaan
The fields of ruins are populated by the native Canaanite population again. There follows a regeneration of the towns, for example Megiddo, Tel Dor, or Tel Rehov, but the towns are not that big like before (p.179).

[Town on hill of ruins ("Tell"): by this are acropolis created
Every town constructed on a hill of ruins is 1.5 to 2 meters higher. The repeated events of destruction and reconstruction gives the result of towns on hills, and at the end these towns are on an acropolis].


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Photo sources

-- stele of victories of Pharaoh Merenptah: http://www.touregypt.net/featurestories/merenphatvictorystele.htm


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