B.C.E. (Before the Common Era) and C.E. (Common Era) are the scholarly alternate designations corresponding to B.C. and A.D.


This name is often written “Merneptah.” The hieroglyphic signs do not indicate vowels, so either vocalization is possible. The name means Beloved of Ptah. The sign for “of” is the hieroglyphic equivalent of n. I believe it much more likely that it was read en, rather than ne.


See Kenneth Kitchen, Pharaoh Triumphant (see endnote 5) pp. 215, 220 and fig. 70. In a recent article, Donald B. Redford (“The Ashkelon Relief at Karnak and the Israel Stele” [see endnote 141, pp. 188–200) tried to return to the older viewpoint by claiming that the usurped cartouches on this wall were unreadable, and that the pharaoh’s chariot team names are the same as those used by Ramesses II. Both of these arguments and others he poses are based on inadequate study of the reliefs and Ramesside sources in general, and on a serious underestimate of epigraphic work; moreover, the usurpation sequence on this wall in some cartouches is unambiguous (for example, in scene 2). See further, my response to Redford, in Yurco “Once Again, Merenptah’s Battle Reliefs at Karnak,” IEJ, forthcoming.


The poetical versification is my own, with the advice of Dr. Edward F. Wente of the University of Chicago.


See “Israel’s Emergence in Canaan—BR Interviews Norman Gottwald,” BR 05:05.



The reliefs I will be discussing are located on the transverse northsouth axis of the Karnak temple on the outer western face of the court between the Hypostyle Hali and the Seventh Pylon, known as the Cour de la Cachette.


Francoise Le Saout, “Reconstitution des Murs de la Cour de la Cachette,” Cahiers de Karnak 7 (1978–1981), pp. 228–232, and pl. IV on p. 262.


Adapted from Frank J. Yurco “Merenptah’s Canaanite Campaign,” Journal of the American Research Center in Egypt (JARCE) 23 (1986), p. 197 (fig. 10).


See Yurco, “Merenptah’s Canaanite Campaign,” p. 196, n. 9.


Another important element in the earlier attribution of all the reliefs on this wall to Ramesses II is the presence of a Prince Kha-em-Wast in one of the later battle reliefs to the left of the Peace Treaty text (scene 2)—for Ramesses II had a very famous son of that name. However, the Prince Kha-em-Wast shown in this scene is not the well-known son of Ramesses II, but a like-named son of Merenptah. Formerly Kenneth A. Kitchen took the Kha-em-Wast of these reliefs to be a son of Ramesses II (“Some New Light on the Asiatic Wars of Ramesses II,” Journal of Egyptian Archaeology 50 [1964], p. 68, n. 9, and Ramesside Inscriptions: Historical and Biographical [Oxford: Blackwell, 1973-present] [hereafter KRI], vol. 2, p. 165, notes 4a-b); but since hearing my paper in Toronto in November 1977, he has accepted my position that Kha-em-Wast is indeed a son of Merenptah (see Kitchen: KRI, vol. 4, p. 82, no. 49 n. B, and Pharaoh Triumphant: The Life and Times of Ramesses I [Mississauga, Ont., Can.: Benben Publ, 1982], pp. 215–216 and fig. 17 on p. 220). Additional evidence supports this identification: in scene 2, Prince Kha-em-Wast is a military personage, while Ramesses IIs’ like-named son was high priest of Ptah for much of his career. Further as shown by Eugene Cruz-Uribe (“On the Wife of Merenptah,” Göttinger Miszellen 24 [1977], pp. 24–25), Merenptah’s chief queen, Isis-nofret II, was a daughter of the high priest of Ptah, Kha-em-Wast I, and a granddaughter of Ramesses II. In the Ramesside royal family, it was very common practice to name grandchildren after their grandparents, and this is precisely what Merenptah seems to have done in the case of Kha-em-Wast II.


For example, E.A. Wallis Budge, A History of Egypt (New York: Oxford Univ., Henry Frowde, 1902), vol. 5, pp. 103–108; John A. Wilson, The Burden of Egypt (Chicago Univ. of Chicago Press, 1951), pp. 254–255, Wilson, “Hymn of Victory of Mer-ne-Ptah (The ‘Israel Stele’),” in Ancient Near Eastern Texts Relating to the Old Testament (ANET) with supplement, ed. James B. Pritchard (Princeton, NJ: Princeton Univ. Press, 3rd ed., 1969), pp. 376–378, esp. p. 376; Pierre Montet, Lives of the Pharaohs (London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 1968) pp. 198–200; and Montet, Egypt and the Bible, transl. Leslie R. Keylock (Philadelphia: Fortress, 1968), pp. 25–26.


Kitchen, KRI, vol. 4, p. I, line 9 w‘f K3d3r. Scholars supporting the historicity of the texts include W.F. Flinders Petrie, A History of Egypt (London: Methuen, 1905), vol. 3, p. 114; Eduard Meyer, Geschichte der Altertums (Stuttgart and Berlin: J.G. Cotta’sche Buchhandlung Nachfolger, 1928), vol. 2, pp. 577–578; James Henry Breasted, A History of Egypt (New York: Charles Scribner’s, 1912), pp. 465–466, and Sir Alan H. Gardiner, Egypt of the Pharaohs (Oxford: Oxford Univ. Press, 1961) p. 273.


For the Libyan Victory texts, see Kitchen, KRI, vol. 4, pp. 2–12, esp. p. 8, lines 8–12.


For a similar scene in complete form, see Herbert Ricke, George R. Hughes and Edward F. Wente, The Beit el-Wali Temple of Ramesses I, Oriental Institute Nubian Expedition, vol. I (Chicago: Univ. of Chicago Press, 1967), pls. 7–8.


See Alexander Badawy, A History of Egyptian Architecture: The Empire (the New Kingdom) (Berkeley and Los Angeles: Univ. of California Press, 1968), pp. 448–474 for a discussion of fortress types found in Egyptian reliefs and their patterning on actual buildings.


G.A. Gaballa, Narrative in Egyptian Art (Mainz am Rhein: Philipp von Zabern, 1976), pp. 100–104; applicable to battle reliefs and prisoner collecting scenes. But for Prince Kha-em-Wast II in scene 2, Kitchen would already have identified these battle reliefs with the texts on the Cairo stela no. 34025 and its fragmentary duplicate from Karnak, as he clearly had noted the usurped cartouches while collecting the texts of the scenes for his monumental KRI publications (“Some New Light on the Asiatic Wars,” p. 48, n. 1, and p. 68, n. 9).


Wilson, “An Egyptian Letter,” ANET, pp. 475–479; from the place names within the text, it dates to the reign of Ramesses II. The Shasu are described on pp. 477–478.


Papyrus Anastasi VI. See Ricardo A. Caminos, Late Egyptian Miscellanies (London: Oxford Univ. Press, 1954), p. 293; Wilson, “The Report of a Frontier Official,” ANET, p. 259.


For example, Raphael Giveon, Les Bédouins Shosou des documents egyptiens Documenta et Monumenta Orientis Antiqui, vol. 18 (Leiden: E.J. Brill, 1971), pp. 267–271, Manfred Weippert, “Canaan, Conquest and Settlement of,” in Interpreters Dictionary of the Bible Supplement (Nashville, TN: Abingdon, 1976), p. 129; Wieppert, “The Israelite ‘Conquest’ and the Evidence from Transjordan,” in Symposia Celebrating the Seventy-Fifth Anniversary of the American Schools of Oriental Research (1900–1975), ed. Frank Moore Cross, (Cambridge, MA: American Schools of Oriental Research, 1979), pp. 32–34; Donald Redford, “The Ashkelon Relief at Karnak and the Israel Stele,” Israel Exploration Journal (IEJ) 36 (1986), pp. 199–200; Redford’s assumption that the Shasu in the Merenptah reliefs are the Israelites because Israel is not named elsewhere in the reliefs ignores the battle relief in scene 4, where the top is lost. His glib assertion that all the other names on the reliefs (except the Shasu) are also found on the Israel stele overlooks the plain evidence from the walls—only Ashkelon, in scene 4, is named; the fortresses in scenes 2 and 3 are unnamed, Yurco, “Merenptah’s Palestinian Campaign,” pp. 196 and 199–201; Kitchen, KRI, vol. 2, p. 165, lines 4–7. This position, again taken by Israel Finkelstein, “Searching for Israelite Origins,” BAR 14:05, uncritically following Redford, and without reference to either my paper (“Merenptah’s Palestinian Campaign”) or to that of Lawrence Stager, “Merenptah, Israel and Sea Peoples: New Light on an Old Relief,” Eretz Israel 18 (1985), pp. 56–64. From Papyrus Anastasi I (Wilson, “An Egyptian Letter,” ANET, p. 476), where the Shasu are described as uttering Semitic phrases as they furtively watch an Egyptian divisional camp, one may conclude that like other Canaanites the Shasu were Semitic peoples; it is not impossible that they were related to the Israelites, but Merenptah’s reliefs, particularly scene 4 of the battle reliefs, make it quite clear that the Shasu were not Israelites.


In Merenptah’s reign, Gaza, capital of Canaan, was called Gdt (Gaza) and not Pa-Canaan, as in some other reigns. See Gardiner, Ancient Egyptian Onomastica, 2 vols. (Oxford: Oxford Univ. Press 1977), vol. I, p. 191, no. 624; and Caminos, Late Egyptian Miscellanies, pp. 108–110 (Papyrus Anastasi III, verso 6, 1 and 6, 6).


6 Kitchen, KRI, vol. 4, pp. 2–12; and Kitchen and Gaballa, “Ramesside Varia II,” Zeitschrift für Agyptische Sprache 96 (1969), pp. 23, 25, 27, and table 8, also, Kitchen, KRI, vol. 4, pp. 23–24.


Yurco, “Merenptah’s Canaanite Campaign,” p. 213 and n. 55.


Yurco, “Once Again, Merenptah’s Battle Reliefs at Karnak,” IEJ, forthcoming.


Under Merenptah, the Sea Peoples attacked from the west, and did not settle in Canaan. See Kitchen, Pharaoh Triumphant, p. 215; see also Itamar Singer, “The Beginning of Philistine Settlement in Canaan and the Northern Boundary of Philistia,” Tel Aviv 12 (1985) pp. 111–114.


Redford, “The Ashkelon Relief at Karnak,” p. 199.


See Yurco, “Amenmesse: Six Statues at Karnak,” pp. 15–31; and Cardon, “An Egypt-Royal Head of the Nineteenth Dynasty in the Metropolitan Museum,” pp. 5–14.


Eliezer D. Oren, “‘Governors’ Residences’ in Canann under the New Kingdom: A Case Study of Egyptian Administration,” Journal of the Society for the Study of Egyptian Antiquities (JSSEA) 14, no. 2 (March, 1984), pp. 37–56.


Ivory sundial, see Kitchen, KRI, vol. 4, p. 24, no. 7B; R.A.S. MacAlister, The Excavation at Gezer (London: John Murray, 1912), vol. I, p. 15 and vol. 2, p. 331, fig. 456 (described as a pectoral). First identified as a sundial by E.J. Pilcher, “Portable Sundial from Gezer,” Palestine Exploration Fund Quarterly Statement (1923), pp. 8589. See also Singer, “An Egyptian ‘Governor’s Residency’ at Gezer,” Tel Aviv 13 (1986), pp. 26–31.


Kitchen, KRI, vol. 4, p. 37, no. 17 (bowl), dated year 4, king unnamed. Merenptah has been proposed as the pharaoh under whom this bowl was inscribed partly based upon another similar bowl dated year 10 (or higher?), Mordechai Gilula “An Inscription in Egyptian Hieratic from Lachish,” Tel Aviv 3 (1916), pp. 107–108, also Redford “Egypt & Asia in the New Kingdom: Some Historical Notes,” JSSEA 10, no. I (December, 1978), pp. 66–67. This dating, however, has been challenged by Orly Goldwasser (“The Lachish Hieratic Bowl Once Again,” Tel Aviv 9 [1982] pp. 137–138), who would read the texts in a different order and date them to Ramesses III. As the bowl’s texts concern tax collection Ramesses III seems the probable date. Regardless of this problem with the dating of the bowls, Lachish remained firmly in Egyptian control at least into Ramesses III’s reign; see also David Ussishkin, “Lachish—Key to the Israelite Conquest of Canaan,” BAR 13:01.


Stager, “Merenptah, Israel, and Sea Peoples,” p. 62, n. 2, William G. Dever et al., “Gezer II: Report of the 1967–70 Seasons in Fields I and II,” Annual of the Hebrew Union College Nelson Glueck School of Biblical Archaeology (Jerusalem: Keter, 1974), p. 52 and n. 26. See also, Singer, “An Egyptian ‘Governor’s Residency’ at Gezer,” pp. 26.


Kitchen, KRI, vol. 4, p. 242, no. 1, inscribed jar fragments, see Eann MacDonald, J. L. Starkey and G.L. Harding, Beth Pelet II, British School of Archaeology, vol. 52 (London: British School of Archaeology and Bernard Quaritch, 1932), pp. 28–29, and pls. 61, no. 3, and 64, no. 74.


Trude Dothan, The Philistines and Their Material Culture (Jerusalem: Israel Exploration Society, 1982), p. 43 and n. 109.


Scarab: Giveon, “A Monogram Scarab from Tel Masos,” Tel Aviv I (1974), pp. 75–76; another from Tel Taanach, now in the Dayan Collection, p. 76 and n. 3; also Giveon, “The Impact of Egypt on Canaan,” Orbis Biblicus et Orientalis, vol. 20 (Freiburg: Universitats Verlag, 1978), pp. 107–109, and fig. 58b.


Moshe Dayan, “Akko, 1980,” IEJ 31 (1981), p. 111.


Scarab: Kitchen KRI, vol. 4, p. 341 no. 1 Alan Rowe, Catalogue of Scarabs, Scaraboids, and Amulets in the Palestine Archaeological Museum (Cairo: Institut francais d’archeologie orientale, 1936), p. 164, no. 690, and pl. 18.


Kitchen, KRI, vol. 4, p. 341 no. I, and p. 351, no. 17 (faience vessel naming Tawosret, misident;fied as Ramesses II), in H.J. Franken “The Excavations at Deir ‘Alla in Jordan,” Vetus Testamentum (VT) 11 (1961), p. 385, and pls. 4–5. Correctly read as Tawosret by Jean Yoyotte, “Un Souvenir du ‘Pharaon’ Taousert en Jordanie,” VT 12 (1962), pp. 464–469.


Papyrus Anastasi III, verso 6, 4 to 6, 6. Caminos, Late Epyptian Miscellanies, p. 108; and Wilson, “Journal of a Frontier Official,” ANET, p. 258 and n. 6.


Kitchen, Pharaoh Triumphant, pp. 67–68.


Stager, “Merenptah, Israel and Sea Peoples,” pp. 60–62; Stager, “The Archaeology of the Family in Ancient Israel,” Bulletin of American Schools of Oriental Research 260 (1985), pp. 1–24.


Yohanan Aharoni, The Land of the Bible: A Historical Geography (Philadelphia, Westminster, 2nd ed., 1979) pp. 183–184, 195 and 218–220. Contra Aharoni, the Israelites did not conquer Lachish at the end of the XIXth Dynasty, see note 24 above.


Caminos, Late Egyptian Miscellanies, p. 108, and Wilson, “Journal of a Frontier Official,” ANET p. 258 and n. 6.


That the Hebrew is a garbled version of Merenptah was already suggested by Franz Prh. von Calice, “König Menephthes im Buche Josua?” Orientalistische Litteratur-Zeitung (May 1903), p. 224.