Photo, Frank Yurco, Journal of The American Research Center in Egypt 23, 1986; drawing, Paul Hoffman/F. Schonbach

Illustrating the Merneptah Stele are recently identified reliefs from the Karnak temple at Thebes. But which panel portrays the Israelites? One scholar, Frank Yurco of the Field Museum in Chicago, believes that this panel illustrates the reference to Israel near the end of the stele. Significantly, the people depicted here as being subjugated by pharaoh’s army wear ankle-length skirts identical to the skirts worn by others in scenes that unquestionably portray Canaanites. If Yurco’s interpretation is correct, this relief is evidence for the view that the Israelites emerged out of Canaanite society.