Definitive snapshots of history reaching far back in time remain elusive but super exciting when found. One of biblical archaeology’s top-ten discoveries is a 10-foot-tall grey granite slab. Mr. Windle of ABR  gives a succinct overview, leaving space for more pictures to admire.
“The most famous, and arguably the most important, discovery related to Moses and the Exodus is the Merneptah Stele. In ca. 1208 BC Pharaoh Merneptah erected a 10-foot-tall victory monument (called a ‘stele’; see photos) in a temple at Thebes to boast of his claims of victory in both Libya and Canaan. It was discovered in 1896 by Sir Flinders Petrie. On it, Merneptah boasts, ‘Israel is wasted, its seed is not; and Hurru [Canaan] is become a widow because of Egypt.’ The inscription likely refers to a small campaign into Canaan (only three cities were taken), and despite Merneptah’s boast, Israel was not destroyed.”
“Most scholars agree that this is the oldest definitive reference to Israel as a nation outside of the Bible, and certainly the clearest Egyptian reference to Israel. It is also important because it points toward an early date for the exodus (ca. 1446 BC) and not the late date that some scholars hold to (ca. 1270 BC). It is doubtful that there would be enough time from 1270 BC to 1208 BC to account for the Exodus, the 40 years of wandering in the desert, the seven-year Conquest of Canaan, the settlement of the tribes in their territories, and the establishment of a national presence in the land, all before Merneptah claims to have conquered the Israelites. Merneptah’s Canaanite campaign instead likely dates to the time of the Judges, when the nation of Israel was already settled in Canaan. The Merneptah Stele is evidence that the Exodus from Egypt, led by Moses, took place in the 15th century BC as the biblical data indicates.”
“These [and other] discoveries indicate that the accounts of Moses and the Exodus are based in real history. … They provide circumstantial evidence … to reasonably conclude that the people of Israel were slaves in Egypt at the time the Bible indicates. Further, the archaeological data suggests that the Israelites left suddenly and were settled in Canaan by the end of the 15th century BC, in line with the biblical data.”
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