Juergen Liepe

The Merneptah stela. “Israel is laid waste; his seed is not” reads the highlighted portion (second line from the bottom of the stela) of this 7.5-foot-high monolith from the funerary temple in Thebes of Pharaoh Merneptah, who ruled Egypt from about 1213 to 1203 B.C.E. The monolith recounts Merneptah’s campaigns in Canaan, where he defeated a people called Israel in the central highlands—solid evidence of Israel’s presence in Canaan in the latter 13th century B.C.E. Thus not only did a people named Israel exist about 200 years before David is said to have united them into a nation, but they were a significant enough force to induce the great Pharaoh to boast of his conquest.