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Biblical Archaeology:
Egyptian Hieroglyphics

Another important discovery was the decipherment of Egyptian Hieroglyphics.

The Discovery of the Rosette Stone

During the Napoleonic Expedition in Egypt, a French engineer officer found a black basalt slab with ancient writing at Fort Julien in Rosetta in 1799. The French surrendered the stone to the British where it is now on display in the British Museum. Jean Francois Champollion was able to decipher the Egyptian Hieroglyphics because the Rosetta stone said the same thing in three different languages of Greek, Demotic, and Egyptian hieroglyphics. Because he knew what the Greek said, he could figure out what the hieroglyphics said, first in the cartouches which encircled royal names. The decree was of Ptolemy V in 196 BC.

Important Egyptian Discoveries Relating to the Bible

  1. Rosetta Stone discovered in 1799. This led to the decipherment of Egyptian hieroglyphics.

  2. Merneptah's Stele. First mention of "Israel" in Egyptian texts. Stele dates to about 1210 BC.

  3. Amarna Letters (14th century BC). Letters written from Canaanite scribes in Akkadian to king Akhenaten about the conditions in Canaan, especially the troublesome Hapiru which probably refers to the Hebrews.

  4. Inscriptions at Karnak. Karnak is the largest temple complex in the world. There also may be the earliest depiction of the Israelites.

  5. Mortuary Temple of Rameses III at Medinet Habu. It depicts the battle with the Sea People. One of the five groups of Sea Peoples was the Philistines. There are carvings of what the Philistines looked like.

Important Egyptian Texts Relating to the Bible