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The Bible and Archaeology

Why is this find important?

The find is important because it marks the earliest known written reference to Israel outside the Bible. Scholars debate the context of the reference. Merneptah did not annihilate Israel. Perhaps Merneptah referred to a subset of the Israelite community. Perhaps Merneptah meant that the Israelites’ granary was destroyed, not the actual people. Maybe he was exaggerating his exploits to make himself look better. Known as the Merneptah Stele or the Israel Stele, it is on exhibit at the Cairo Museum in Egypt. The Merneptah Stele is also known as the Victory Stele of Mernepah. Incidentally, although the stele known as the Rosetta Stone bears no information about events or people in the Bible, it was nonetheless crucial to deciphering the Merneptah Stele.



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