Erich Lessing

King Shishak of Egypt, in the fifth year of the reign of the Judahite king Rehoboam (928–911 B.C.E.), “took the fortified cities of Judah and came as far as Jerusalem” (2 Chronicles 12:4). Pharaoh Sheshonq I (945–924 B.C.E.), called Shishak in the Bible, campaigned in Israel and Judah and had a victory stela carved at the temple to Amun in Karnak. Sheshonq also drew up lists boasting of his conquests, among them Arad, Gibeon and Megiddo (where archaeologists have uncovered another victory stela erected by Sheshonq). In this regard, the Bible records a substantively accurate chronology, even if the books of Kings and Chronicles were not put into their final form until hundreds of years after Sheshonq’s invasion. How did these memories remain alive so long? Author Nadav Na’aman suggests that scribes, employed by the Jerusalem court, recorded historical events in their annals, which were later used by the Biblical authors to compose Israel’s history. Na’aman concludes that the relatively unimportant Rehoboam probably was not responsible for creating the office of court scribe; rather, that office was likely instituted during the united monarchy of David or Solomon, as the Bible relates (see, for example, 1 Kings 4:3).